Turning Point

Day #23: Write a short story set in restaurant. One character orders their favorite food. The other orders the same thing. One of the characters ends up leaving before the meal is over.

 

The soft noises of the padding of freshly shined black oxfords could be heard as waiters scuttled along the wooden floor. The clanks of forks and knives against plates is a sharp contrast. A young man sat at a table along the large window that overlooked the entire city. He heaved out a sigh as he hooked two of his fingers in his button- up collar to tug it away from his neck briefly. It snapped back onto his neck and he grimaced. He ran his hand through his freshly cut and dyed hair. His chestnut brown hair was now a jet black.

“Greg,” a voice called from behind him. He looked over his shoulder. He could feel himself fidget with his fingers as a kept his eyes on the lean man in a suit with a shoulder bag walking toward him. He waited while the man pulled out his seat in front of him. Greg rubbed the back of his neck.

“Could you please not call me that?” he asked. The man looked up with a quirked eyebrow. He leaned over to pull a manila envelope from his back.

“Is that not your name?” he asked. Greg looked away from the man and back at the window. He could see the moon, bright and full. It looked so close. His attention was brought back to the sound of oxfords as a waiter padded over to them. He looked up at the woman in a white long-sleeved shirt and black pants. He pursed his lips as he looked at her wavy hair that had been put in a bun. The uncomfortable familiarity left him winded and he looked down at his menu for reprieve.

“What can I start you two off with tonight?” the woman asked. Greg began to open his mouth, but the man spoke first.

“We’ll both have a red wine,” he said smoothly. The woman nodded, writing down on a small notebook. She looked back down at them.

“Anything else?” she asked. Greg drummed his fingers against the menu.

“Can I… have chicken parmesan?” he asked. The woman smiled widely.

“Of course!”

“I’ll have the same,” the man said. The woman nodded and walked back toward the kitchen. Greg focused on the man again.

“So what do you want?” he asked. The man simply reached down and grabbed the folder. He handed it to Greg. He shook it a bit when Greg didn’t take it immediately. He took it with a frown and opened it. He felt his brow quirk in confusion. The firs thing he saw was a newspaper. The headline showed a picture of an old picture of him from college. His eyes focused on the bold “Murderer” at the top. He heaved out a sigh.

“Why did you call me here?” he asked. He looked up to see the man staring down at him. Greg grit his teeth.

“Keep reading,” the man said. Greg looked back down at the folder. He moved the newspaper to see a police report. He felt his heart drop when he saw Emilia’s name. He could feel his head spin.

“Seems that harboring a criminal is a punishable offense,” the man said. Greg squeezed his hand into a tight fist.

“What can I do?” he asked. His head was still spinning.

“Well… I know you’re innocent,” the man said. Greg snapped his attention to the man. The man put his hand up to keep Greg from speaking. “That being said, even if I can prove that you may still be charged for evading arrest.”

“I don’t care, how can I help Emilia?” he asked. The man clasped his fingers together.

“Turning yourself in is the only way to truly keep her out of trouble but-” he stopped when Greg shot up from his chair. He nearly ran into the waiter with her tray of food. He apologized quickly before running out of the restaurant. He could see the puffs of his breath coming out and quick succession. He knew he was the only one capable of keeping Emilia safe. Guilt ripped at his insides. He blinked away tears as he forced his legs to go faster.

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