She wasn’t coming. There hadn’t been enough time to get across London, so they’d agreed to meet later, after he’d eaten. His eyes ran down the menu, moving quickly past the token salads and pastas put there to appease the meat widows, and flipping over onto the other side and the main event. Burgers of every creed and construction. Singles and doubles. With or without oak smoked bacon. Cheddar, Gruyère, American or Monterey Jack.
Christ, what was the American? Surely they didn’t mean that squeezy processed shit.
He motioned to the waitress and half-smiled. She acknowledged and picked her way between the tables to where he was sat. “My friend isn’t going to make it after all, so I’d like to order,” he said, the half-smile still fixed.
“Sure, what can I get you?”
“I’ll take the Classic please,” he said, putting maybe too much emphasis on the please because he was sat alone, “with cheese, uh, cheddar, and French fries.”
“That’s great,” she said scribbling, avoiding eye contact. “And to drink?”
“Coke please. Oh, and, uh, what’s in the signature special sauce?”
“Well it’s kind of like Thousand Island, only with little bits of chopped gherkin.”
“Sounds awful,” he said, grinning, and although it felt like he’d got the tone and timing just right, she flinched slightly.
“It’s actually pretty nice.”
“I’ll just take it as is, thanks.”
“All our burgers are served medium, is that okay?”
“That’s great,” he said, the half-smile gone.