Rory drove across the Yolo Bypass, a five-mile-wide spillage channel into West Sacramento and crossed the Sacramento River into Old Sac. Because of the river, the town pushed eastward as its population increased, and this older part had fallen into disrepair.
Over the last decade, the city of Sacramento revitalized the area into a tourist destination and nightspot. They resurfaced the roads with cobblestones, installed wooden sidewalks, and refurbished old buildings to look like the late 1800s.
Rory parked the car. Should I run out first and open her door? He didn’t want to come off too strong, but he wanted Katie to know he liked her. She didn’t give him time to decide. She opened the door herself. They walked side-by-side, their feet clomping on the wooden sidewalk.
“Here it is.” He stopped and opened a heavy wooden door. “It’s upstairs, I guess.” He followed her up the wooden staircase to the French restaurant.
“Good evening, sir. How many are there tonight?” The maître d’ was an attractive, slim woman, with dark hair tied back in a bun and a thin line of dark red lipstick on her lips.
“This way please.” They followed the woman to a table.
“Rory, I thought you said this place was popular. Why are we the only ones here?”
“It’s a little early, I guess.”
They sat down and adjusted their silverware while the waitress handed each a menu.
“I’ll give you a few minutes.”
“Umm, Katie. The menu is in French.”
“It sure is, and there are no prices on it. This restaurant is fancy, Rory. How’d you find out about it?”
“In an article from Sunset Magazine.”
“Do you remember the price range?”
“No, I didn’t, I guess I should have paid attention to that.”
After watching the couple for a few minutes, the waitress returned and tapped Rory on the shoulder. “Excuse me, sir. Could I talk with you for a second?”
“Sure.” Rory stood and followed her.
She asked, “Did you notice the menu has no prices?”
“Yeah... that’s not a mistake, is it?”
“Do you know what that means?”
“The prices change daily with the market, and it’s usually quite expensive.”
“I’m sorry, I hope I haven’t offended you. It’s just that you look like college students, like my son. So, I thought I would check before you ordered.”
“Thank you... Good point,” he laughed. “You just saved our evening. Do you need any money for seating us?”
She smiled and shook her head.
“Thank you, thank you so much.”
He returned to the table.
“What was that about?” Katie asked.
“There are no prices listed on the menu. That means it’s pricy. I’m sorry, but I can’t afford this.” He whispered even though they were alone.
Katie nodded. “Well, let’s look around Old Sac for a better place.”
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Old Sacramento: Butterfly Boy, Chapter 4