"Is it just you, hon?"

The young hostess looked Clara over. She'd come straight from the build site and with no time to change clothes, so her only concession toward looking dinner-worthy – even at a casual place like The Golden Dawn – was to roll the bottom of her pant legs into cuffs that hid the mud splashes near her ankles. She hoped the hostess wouldn't notice.

Clara's eyes roved the booths and tables. "I'm actually meeting someone here. He's probably..."

The hostess grabbed a menu and stepped out from behind her booth. "He's in the back room," she said. "Told me to look out for you. Follow me."

Clara walked behind the hostess, realizing that although she'd eaten at the Dawn two or three times on her own, she'd never made it past the first room. As they went further back, the diner's little nooks became smaller and darker. She looked into each area as soon as it came into view, hoping to catch sight of Kevin before he saw her.

The hostess stopped in the far corner of the restaurant, in front of an empty booth with a towering beer stein. A good portion of the beverage had sloshed out onto the table, soaking the coaster and the edge of the napkin.

The hostess looked confused. "Hmm," she said. "I'm pretty sure--"

Clara felt it before she heard it – that slow change in the way a room's acoustics altered when something got between your ear and the nearest wall.

"Boo," she heard from behind. The whispered word was followed by a self-satisfied cackle. The hostess looked more disturbed than surprised at Kevin's silent approach. Clara turned around and wasn't surprised to see the satisfied look on his face.

"Thank you," Clara said to the hostess. "It looks like I've found my... dinner companion." She coated the last two words in ice as she laid her purse over the back of the booth.

The hostess handed menus to Clara and Kevin as they took their seats. "I'll send your server right over," she said, making no eye contact as she walked off.

Clara scowled at Kevin. "That was a dick move."

"Ah, it's cool," Kevin said. "I ate breakfast here too. I kinda think that chick kinda likes me." He pulled his beer forward and took a gulp, running his finger down the entrées on the menu.

"She doesn't," Clara said. "It's obvious from the way she reacted to your little prank."

"She'll come around," Kevin said. "At least I know you like being spooked."

"Not by you," Clara said, looking over the specials. She remembered how her view of had Kevin changed significantly after her and Nicholas' discoveries on the Cascade island. Seeing him now she thought he might actually be more like the person she originally thought him to be when she'd arrived in Breach Point – a crude, tactless oaf.

"Order whatever you want," he said. "It's my treat."

Clara looked up. "Oh, you don't have to--"

"Please," Kevin said, his voice growing more somber as he looked at Clara. "Let me get it. It'll make me feel better."

Clara nodded and scanned the menu. She settled on an eggplant parm dish before folding up the menu and sliding it away from her.

"So how's your dad?" Kevin asked, looking back over the entrées. As he turned to the next page, Kevin tugged on the ends of his shirt sleeves, pulling them further toward his hands.

"He's great, actually," Clara said, feeling more comfortable. "He found a place up in the Adirondacks. It's a nice little community. There's a woman he makes a point to mention every time I talk to him."

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