Jessica and Larry went inside first. Jessica looked around to be sure plenty of eyes turned toward her. Of course, after Pierce and Emily came in and he held Emily’s chair for her, Jessica frowned at Larry. Larry ignored the look and spoke softly.
“This place isn’t cheap.”
Emily stood, shrugged at Pierce and followed. “What’s up?” Jessica rolled her eyes but said nothing until they were safely behind the closed door and in front of the mirror.
“Why did I ever let you talk me into this double date?” Jessica pouted.
“It was your idea.”
“Well, it was a dumb idea.”
“I don’t know. Larry seems nice.” He was the semester record having been with Jessica almost two weeks.
Jessica started to say something, but changed her mind and pulled out her lip-gloss. Then she spoke. “Do you think so?”
“And he seems bright, too.” Emily encouraged her. After all, Jessica said she broke up with Tom because he was not very bright.
“Double major. Physics and math.” Jessica smiled. She had hooked a genuine geek. “He could use some help with his manners, though.”
“Yeah, I know. A graduate student when I’m stuck with Joe College. What is he, twenty-three, twenty-four?”
“No. I mean he seems oddly out of place sometimes, like he is older than he appears. Like the old fashioned way he always holds the door and pulls out my chair and stuff like that. And sometimes he seems younger. I don’t know, like old television shows and common knowledge things from when we grew up. He doesn’t remember them at all.”
“Maybe his parents didn’t let him watch television as a child,” Jessica suggested.
Emily looked again at her friend. “Twenty-four, I think.”
“When is his birthday?”
Emily paused to consider and realized she had no answer. “We never talked about birthdays.”
“Larry’s is September third. He is a junior, twenty-one years old. What do you talk about, anyway?”
“Zombies and stuff I bet.”
Jessica smiled in response. “Come on. We better get back before I start getting jealous again.”
They stepped out the door, took two steps and Emily grabbed Jessica to make her stop walking. There was a man standing right behind their table. He was looking up at the ceiling and raising his hands.
“Pierce! Down!” Emily shouted and saw Pierce grab Larry and drag him under the table. Even as Emily dragged Jessica to the ground, the standing man exploded. Flesh and guts and deadly bone fragments shot in every direction. Emily got some green glop on her dress. Jessica had something pink and mushy fall in her lap. She identified it.
“Ew! I hate liver.”
Emily was already up. There were people bleeding all over the room. A couple of them were probably dead, but Emily could not worry about that yet. She arrived at the table when Pierce finished setting it upright again. Somehow, he got himself and Larry under and then tilted the table to act as a barrier. All their plates, utensils and the lovely flowers went to the floor, but the tablecloth remained. Emily ducked under.
“Are you all right?” Pierce and Emily grabbed each other and spoke at the same time.
“Maria, call Detective Lisa and Julie Tam. The dead have risen. They are moving again.”
“What the hell was that?” Larry repeated himself.
Jessica temporarily covered her phone. “Zombie,” she said.