Rory and Katie wandered the boardwalks of Old Sac. The air was damp with fog. Horses clip-clopped on the cobblestones, pulling carriages around the antiqued streets. Rory took a gamble, searched for her hand, and held it in his own. The conversation paused, then resumed.
As they turned a corner, they found themselves in front of a saloon that spilled light and laughter onto the boardwalk.
“Hey, it’s Fanny Ann’s Saloon. I read about this in Sunset Magazine, too. Let’s go!” He pulled her inside. The saloon had eclectic decorations and looked a lot more fun than a stuffy, old European bistro.
“Wow, this place is cool!” Rory said. There were wooden airplane propellers on the wall, old license plates, moose heads, and the like. “And the menu items have their prices listed.”
“Yes, and they’re in English,” Katie added.
They went to the counter to order hamburgers and fries, then started up the stairs after Rory picked up the food. The downstairs was packed and noisy. This dinner was supposed to be our first real romantic date. It’ll be okay, Rory thought.
They reached the second floor when someone yelled, “Katie!”
Paula and her new man were sitting at a table eating burgers.
“I thought you were going to a fancy restaurant,” Paula said.
“I thought you were going on a dinner boat cruise.”
The girls giggled.
“I have to use the restroom; I’ll be right back,” Katie said.
“I’ll go with you,” Paula decided.
Rory stepped aside, and the ladies walked off.
“Hi Rory, come sit. There’s room.”
“What happened to you guys?” Rory asked.
“The dinner cruise was sold out. With the fog, it’s too chilly anyway. What about you?”
“I took us to a restaurant with no prices on the menu, way out of my league. Luckily, our waitress knew we weren’t the big-bucks type. She took me aside before we ordered and gave me a way out. We could be washing dishes right now, you know?”
The girls returned. “Did you tell Tom, Rory?” Katie asked. “We just squeaked by on that one.” She sat down next to Rory, grabbed the catsup, and poured it on her food. She quit talking as she bit into the mouth-watering slop. They were both hungry, and Rory smiled, watching her eat with abandon.
“Have you guys been here before?” Tom asked.
“No, just found it tonight. It’s fun, and the food’s good,” Katie said.
“And affordable,” Rory mumbled. Everyone laughed.
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Old Sacramento Tower Bridge
Audiobook coming soon
Fanny Anns: Butterfly Boy, Chapter 4