Maylene’s nose twitched and she wet her lips when the silver-haired man entered the Beehive Restaurant. The dining room was full with a pleasant hum in the eating area that faced the Wasatch Mountains. The waiter guided the single man to a table for two by the windows, taking his order for a glass of Pinot noir. The wine came and Lamont sipped, relaxing after the long drive from Boulder, Colorado.
The slender waiter in the white shirt and black tie reappeared, bending down and saying in a low voice, “The lady behind me has offered to pay for your dinner.”
Lamont was startled and glanced up at the young man, who rolled his eyes to the right. Behind the waiter was an attractive blonde in her twenties sitting with five other people. She was talking to a man across the table and Lamont eyed her. She had an oval face, striking sky-blue eyes, and a cupid mouth.
“If you decline she’ll understand.” The waiter added.
“Who is she?” Lamont asked.
“Maylene,” the waiter whispered, noting she was wealthy and from a prominent Logan family. Taking the menu and studying the entrees, Lamont was suddenly aware that a hush had fallen over the dining area. He raised his head and was startled to see that everyone in the big room gazing at him, apprehension and fear on their faces.
In an instant the diners looked away and a low buzz once again filled the room. Shifting in his seat, Lamont looked back at the offerings. What was that about, he wondered. Was this gifting a local custom? Or something else?
The waiter returned with pad and pencil and Lamont nodded, acknowledging he accepted the young woman’s generosity. He ordered the special, a prime rib rare with the house salad. As the waiter hurried away, Lamont saw the group with his benefactress was leaving. They rose quietly and filed past his booth. This time the blonde glanced his way and he quietly thanked her with a nod of his head and a smile.
After finishing his dinner, the waiter confirmed that it was paid for, including the two glasses of wine. Lamont drove back to the hillside B&B, a yellow, many-gabled farmhouse that was flanked by two towering cottonwood trees. His bedroom had a bay window that overlooked the sleepy college town of Logan.
The house was quiet as he went up the stairs. He swiped his key card and went into the room, having left a light on by the windows. As he entered Lamont was startled to see a figure on the bed. He stepped back, but saw it was the blonde from the restaurant. He took a breath as she stood and smiled thinly, her sky-blue eyes glittering.
“There is no free lunch.” Maylene said