Hugh pushed his chair back slightly and looked across at the author. ‘She’s not real is she?’
The author shook his head and patted the pile of papers on the table next to him.
‘Could you possibly stop her from doing that?’
‘I’m terribly sorry but I’ve just created her and she’s a bit more than I’d expected otherwise I would have done it somewhere else,’ the author’s face had flushed red. ‘Please,’ he said turning to Rebecca. ‘Please can’t we eat in peace and leave this gentleman alone? I’ll give you all the celebrities you want further down the line. You can have anything you want.’
‘No,’ Rebecca replied without taking her eyes off Hugh. ‘I want him to be in the story as well. He’s gorgeous.’
Hugh put up his hand and signalled to the maître d’ who came running over.
‘Yes sir, how can I help you?’ he said in a fawning tone.
‘It’s these two here,’ Hugh said in a voice barely audible to the author. ‘I think they’re going to be trouble.’
The maître d’ straightened up and looked across at the author. ‘I know you don’t I? You’ve done this before. You come in here by yourself, a few hours before lunch starts. You sit down and you write. By the time lunch hour arrives there’s someone sitting with you. Usually not the sort of person we want in here. Right you two, on your feet, come with me.’
A hush descended over the restaurant as conversations died in mid sentence. A fork with a small parcel of roast lamb, a cube of potato, and a green bean hung in front of the open mouth of a large man with a double chin. An elegantly dressed lady stuck her wineglass into her cheek. The wine ran down her face and dripped blobs of red onto her white clothed breasts.
Rebecca and the author shuffled behind the maître d’ not taking their eyes off the floor. The author could feel the other patrons watching them. ‘Pay your bill and get out,’ he snapped at them pointing at the cashier. The author removed his wallet from his inside jacket pocket and was about to open it when Rebecca snatched it away from him. She ran for the door giving it a hard shove. The thick plate glass swung violently on its hinges in her wake. The author and maître d’ stared after her with open mouths.
‘Who is she?’ demanded the maître d’ picking up the telephone.