The restaurant was half empty, even though it was a Saturday night. Not surprising considering the place was out of date, worn and faded. There were newer chains along the outside of the mall about a mile from campus but Mia loved this place. She liked the flexible hours Matt her manager allowed her. She liked the few friendly regulars. And she liked that she could wear her regular college garb to work. No funny hats or ties at this place. It was just a good, classic college pub.
It had been a slow night. Mia’s tables had been cleared, her condiments filled. She was almost ready to head out when a group of guys entered. She glanced over at the other waitress working tonight, hoping the guys would see the blond hair and midriff flashing t-shirt and head over to her area. Mia had more studying to do and she really did not want to waste another hour on this group.
The group paused for a moment, looking the tables over, checking out which had the best view of Sports Center. They walked right past Sally’s section and headed to a table next to where Mia was standing. Taking a deep breath, Mia walked over and started handing out menus to the guys. As she got to the end of the group, she saw him, the guy from the lawn this morning. Based on the way he was looking at her, he had obviously recognized her too.
Without missing a beat, Mia started taking drink orders. As she suspected this was a beer and wings crowd, though the beers were various microbrews. She waited to take lawn guys order until the end. She might be his waitress but she still held some power in the situation. After she had written down everyone’s order she looked at lawn guy. He looked back but did not say anything. He just smiled. He seemed to be waiting for something. Mia was annoyed. She was tired from the long day and was not in the mood to deal with this jerk.
“What would you like?” Mia asked looking him square in the eyes this time.
“What do you have on tap?” he challenged.
Mia shifted her weight and pointed to the list in the middle of the table. “The list is there.”
Lawn guy grabbed the list, glancing at it quickly, and then asked, “What do you recommend?”
Mia’s agitation grew. He obviously knew what he wanted to drink. Any college guy can order a beer within 3 seconds of getting into a bar. “I would recommend a glass of the white chardonnay. Or maybe you are a Pinot Grigio man?” she replied.
The guys around him perked up and began to pay attention to this exchange. Mia noticed the looks; she felt the heat rising in her. She hated that feeling, feeling like her actions were merely a reaction to provocation. She knew better than to play the game. She had years of practice not taking the bait, not engaging, and yet here she was bickering with some guy she hardly knew. There was no reason for it.
“How about a Newcastle?” Mia asked, her polite veneer back in place.
The other guys at the table lost interest now that the tension was gone. They turned back to the highlights of the day’s games. Tim also felt the air around Mia relax or more accurately smooth.
“Thanks. That sounds good.” He conceded. He enjoyed verbal sparing, so different from his usual cadre of women, but he did not want to push his luck.