Tag Archives: the cheapest dish

The Inklings: Chapter 117

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

From where D’arby was sitting he could see Syafika and Anthony side-on. He peeped over the menu and tried to work out what they were talking about, but couldn’t tell. D’arby noticed that Anthony was tapping his foot a lot and guessed that he was feeling nervous. Syafika was laughing nervously and tilting her head to one side. D’arby reminded himself that his job was to protect Syafika, but wondered what that would mean in practice. Should he go over and drag her away if she started crying? Or should he rescue her if Anthony seemed to have charmed her too much? Then D’arby realised that all Syafika probably needed was to know that she wasn’t alone – she could probably look after herself better than D’arby could, but nobody enjoys feeling like they have to.

When D’arby got around to reading his menu he was a bit shocked by the high prices, until he remembered that the restaurant was on the waterfront in a tourist area. He ordered the cheapest dish and a soft drink and wondered what Syafika and Anthony would order. D’arby looked around the restaurant and realised that nobody else was dining by themselves. He hoped that didn’t make him look suspicious and decided to limit the time he looked at Anthony and Syafika, in case anyone was watching him watching them.

At the table next to Anthony and Syafika was a jolly couple who were laughing a lot. When their meals arrived they seemed delighted and gave generous smiles to the waiter. D’arby hoped he could be that happy one day.

Anthony and Syafika’s food arrived before D’arby’s, and D’arby realised he was feeling really hungry. D’arby wondered if people who ordered the cheapest meal were given lower priority. Syafika had a pasta dish and Anthony had something meaty that had been cooked in tomato sauce. They also had salad and bread. D’arby wished Syafika would throw him a piece of bread.

Finally D’arby’s meal arrived. It was pretty simple – pasta with olive oil and garlic – something he could have easily made at home, but it tasted delicious. D’arby even enjoyed the bitter lemonade he’d ordered to drink. Although D’arby felt like eating fast he paced himself so that he wouldn’t finish too much earlier than Syafika and Anthony.

Towards the end of the meal D’arby thought he noticed Syafika looking worried and wondered what they were talking about.

D’arby paid his bill just as Anthony and Syafika finished their meals so he could wait for them outside, and not risk losing them if they paid and left before he could. Then D’arby went outside and watched the door of the restaurant from the darkest spot he could find.

Not long after Syafika and Anthony came out of the restaurant and D’arby followed them to the cinema then overtook them before they got to the queue. After D’arby had bought a ticket for each of the two movies starting soon he sat down and waited to see which cinema Syafika and Anthony went into.

As Syafika walked past D’arby noticed that she looked less happy than before but D’arby couldn’t tell if her expression was because of physical or mental pain.

D’arby sat two rows behind Anthony and Syafika. As he watched the ads he felt bored and wished he’d bought some popcorn. He also wished the cinema wasn’t dark because he couldn’t really see Anthony and Syafika.

About ten minutes later the movie started and D’arby was just beginning to enjoy being there when he noticed that Syafika was leaving the cinema. After panicking for a few seconds D’arby realised that Syafika was probably just going to the toilet so he stayed where he was. Syafika returned about 5 minutes later and after talking to Anthony for a couple of minutes she got up and left again. This time Anthony went with her. D’arby waited a minute before leaving too – so that it didn’t look like he was following them. Outside the cinema D’arby noticed that Syafika and Anthony were sitting on a seat and Syafika was resting her head on her hands. D’arby walked slowly past in the direction of the men’s bathroom and tried to work out what was going on.

“I feel much better now” said Syafika. “But it is likely that I will need to vomit again soon – I’ve never had a tummy bug before that was over in one vomit”

“We should go then” said Anthony. “You need to rest and recover. I’ll look after you”

“I will call home and see if someone can come and pick me up” said Syafika and she started looking in her bag for her phone. When she found it she dialed her home number but nobody answered.

“They haven’t come home yet” said Syafika. “I’ll just get a taxi”

“No” said Anthony. “If you vomit in the taxi the driver will be very cross. My place is very close. You can stay there until the morning. I will look after you”

D’arby opened the toilet door and went in but left the door open a crack and waited until Syafika and Anthony got up to leave. Then D’arby followed them. As he walked along he wondered what he was going to do. He didn’t think he’d be able to sneak into Anthony’s building behind them, and even if he managed to he wouldn’t be able to sneak into Anthony’s flat.


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