29 ~ Ryan

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Ryan was determined to make the most of the evening. He wanted Felix to remember him after she rode into the arms of her former lover. He knew she wasn't interested in rekindling that toxic relationship, but it didn't make the idea easier to stomach. He also couldn't shake off his worries about Felix getting in over her head. He really wanted to keep her around. Donovan's motives for taking out Jenny still weren't clear, but now that she was no longer an option, Ryan knew Felix was the backup. Donovan needed her alive, which offered Ryan's tortured mind some relief.

"So, what's on the agenda before I take Precious out for an evening stroll?" Felix's voice reminded him they were walking, approaching his neighborhood. Damn. He had wasted five minutes bouncing around inside his own head. Ryan stopped Felix in front of 'Rush Hour Diner' across the street from his building.

"How do you feel about pie? This place serves the best pies."

"I'm partial to pie." She gave him a knowing smile, like she had been expecting him to buy her a slice of pie.

They entered the restaurant and Thelma waved at him as she spoke to a customer. He gestured to the farthest corner and she nodded. Once seating had been arranged, Ryan walked Felix to their table.

"Thelma has been serving pie to the fine residents of Chicago for seventeen years," he told Felix. "She tells it like it is, and she's one of the few people I trust in this neighborhood."

"Hi, Sugar," Thelma said as she sashayed over. "I haven't seen you in a couple of weeks, Ryan. I hope you haven't replaced us with another diner." She didn't give Ryan a chance to answer before she greeted Felix with a smile. "Unless you've replaced us with this lovely lady. In which case, I approve. Hi, Sugar. I'm Thelma."

"Hi, Thelma. I'm Felix. Ryan tells me your waitressing skills are legendary."

Thelma pressed her hand to her chest. "Oh, Ryan. I do like this girl." She handed them each a menu before turning to wave at another customer coming in the door. "All right, you lovebirds, can I get you something to drink to start your date. This is a date, isn't it? You two haven't taken your eyes off each other since you walked in."

Ryan watched a grin bloom on Felix's face, and he reached over to take her hand. "Yes, it's our first date, and I'd like coffee. Not my usual decaf. I have a feeling it's going to be a long night."

Thelma smacked his shoulder playfully. "You little devil. And what can I get you, Felix?"

"The same."

"You got it." Thelma winked at her before sauntering away.

"I like her," Felix said as she opened her menu. "I hope they have cherry pie. That's my favorite."

"I'm sure they do. They tend to rotate them, but cherry is almost always available."

"What are you going to order?"

"I usually go with a cream pie. They're featuring a key lime today, so that's what I'll get."

Felix closed her menu and turned to stare at him. "I'm glad you brought me here. I thought we were going straight back to your place to... Well, I had a few ideas, but none of them were pie."

Ryan grinned, wishing he didn't have to hold back the not-so-subtle pie reference he wanted to make, but their conversations were no longer private now that Felix was bugged. "How do you know this wasn't what I wanted to do? Who doesn't like pie?"

Felix kissed him, and when she started to pull away, he slipped his hand behind her head, extending the pleasure. He loved kissing her mouth, and he imagined tasting other parts of her as he took liberties with his tongue. Excalibur was in danger of blowing his cover when Thelma returned with their coffees.

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