She was aware he was following behind her but continued forward until her empty stomach began to growl louder than her bike. She felt a bit light headed as well and decided she was going to have to eat. She rode on for several more miles before spotting a four door restaurant. Lily smiled to herself at the term her mind had chosen. Daniel had always called family restaurants "four doors" due to the type of cars parked in the lot. Usually sedans with four doors. It held the promise of the same old food one could expect anywhere. The sign above the neat square building proclaimed it to be the "Take it or Leave it Cafe". Sounded interesting enough to stop and she pulled into the lot amist the stares of a large family getting into a late model station wagon. She strode across the lot looking noting that the building almost blended into the sky, painted a shade of blue not far off from a clear summers day. There was the obligatory jingle of bells as she opened the wooden door and looked around. There were booths along the walls, tables for four along both sides of a large central table that would seat as many as twenty. There was also a counter with stools for singles. She noted that none of the table cloths matched, and neither did the chairs. It was like early american attic in decor. The walls were hung with everything from baby pictures in frames to hot wheel cars mounted on tracks. Little wooden plaques hung here and there with witticisms like, "To a friends house, the way is never long", and "Kiss the cook." Only a few people were there, the lunch rush had not begun, but the smell of something cooking made her stomach growl in approval. It had a beefy smell to it. She slid into a booth farthest from the door where she could watch people come in. Before very long, a very young girl, no more than ten possibly, came up to the table and took her drink order.

"Diet coke, Please." The girl batted her blue eyes and reported that was the house specialty and spun away to fill the order. Lily wondered how a girl so young could work there. The child brought her a glass tumbler filled with ice and soda, deposited a straw next to it and walked back across the room to an area Lily hadn't noticed before. There was a small desk near the drink station where a computer was set up and the girl brushed her honey hair out of her eyes and picked up where she had left off, muttering about math. A door swung open from the kitchen area and a plump, dark haired woman passed by the girl, touching her head affectionately before coming over to lily's table.

"Hello and welcome. Our meal today is salsbury steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and a biscuit. All meals come with soup, salad and dessert, todays dessert is cherry pie. Take it or leave it?" Lily was somewhat taken aback.

"What if I'm not in the mood for salsbury steak?"

"Then you are free to look over the "fussy eater" menu, pulling aforementioned item from her apron pocket , or just have the salad and soup."

Lily felt like she was back home with mother.

"I'll take it I guess, but may I look at the "fussy eater menu" while I wait?"

The woman smiled at her.

"Sure, but the wait wont be long." and she turned and went back into the kitchen door. Lily scanned the small menu and noticed items like, grilled cheese, hamburger patty, eggs- any style, peanut butter and jelly, fish sticks and chicken nuggets... kid foods. One in particular caught her eye, salad sandwiches, egg, chicken or ham, ask which is available today. Then she was forced to look up as her meal was being laid before her. A hot bowl of vegetable soup, a salad with a tomato wedge, cucumber slices and sliced hard boiled eggs on the side. A steaming plate of salsbury steak with a mound of what looked to be homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered corn and a large homemade biscuit were quickly placed on the table. A wire carrier held four different types of salad dressing in plastic pouches, a wicker basket held saltines.

"There you are! Salt and Pepper are on the table and so is the butter. I don't have margarine, I don't believe in it. I prefer real food to laboratory food. Do you need anything else?" Lily was astounded by the speed at which the food was ready and realized thats why it was take it or leave it. They only offered one main selection and it was cooked all day long. It smelled so good, and looked so fresh she only shook her head and quickly dropped her napkin into her lap and grabbed up a fork. The plump matron in her quirky apron smiled as she recognized her customers pleasure and told her,

"If you need a refill for your drink, just call for Scarlett." nodding her head toward the child at the desk. "Your pie will be out when you've finished your meal. Did you want whipped cream? No cool whip, just the real thing." Lily nodded yes to the whipped cream, unable to speak for the mouthful of hot potatoes. The woman just smiled and went back into the kitchen again. Everything tasted as good as it looked. So fresh. She wondered fleetingly if she wouldn't get dessert if she didn't clean her plate. It was not to be worried about as she was ravenous and soon finished everything in front of her. A last noisy slurp on her straw brought Scarlett to the table to ask if she would like a refill or something different with her pie. Lily ordered a refill and soon her plates were being cleared by another young girl, this one about 17, with the same blue eyes as Scarlett's but with dark hair like the woman. The cherry pie was warm and fresh and the cold whipped cream was obviously homemade as well. It was all delicious. The good food went straight to her head and made her realize how tired she was. She asked the older girl where she could find a room to rent for sleeping and the girl told her to wait a moment while she asked her mom. In a moment the girl was back telling her there was a motel just down the road a piece, take the first right she came to and it was just a piece further down. Lily thanked the girl, yelled a thank you to Scarlett, who looked up from her studies and waved a little, then wandered over to the counter where the cash register sat. The mother of the girls came out and rang up her meal, 9.99 for the whole thing. One charge, one meal. Lily thought it was a hell of a deal and left a ten dollar tip on the table. As she stood in the doorway, holding her bloated belly she heard the roar of a small cycle and saw Rock shooting by the place. Good, she thought. I need a nap and now I know where he is! Following the directions she was given she soon found a small, but clean and comfortable motel and took a room. Taking off only her boots and jacket, she slid under the covers, stashing a pistol under the pillow and dozed off without another thought in her head.


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