Characters: Ryo, Dee, Bikky.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Dee had invited Ryo out to the fancy restaurant for dinner, so he really hadn’t anticipated an argument over who should pay…
Word Count: 1470
Written For: Challenge 95: Pay at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
The restaurant was an excellent one: not the most expensive in New York, but certainly one of the city’s more exclusive eateries. That bothered Ryo a bit, especially since there were no prices listed on the menu. If there had been, he would have ordered some of the lower-priced options, but under the circumstances he was flying blind. Still, surely Dee wouldn’t have booked somewhere they couldn’t afford, he was bound to have had the sense to check prices online before booking a table, and he didn’t seem worried about their ability to pay, so…
Everything looked so good, and the Beef Wellington he eventually ordered was delicious, the meat tender and delicately seasoned. The lemon soufflé he had for dessert melted in his mouth, and the accompanying wine complemented their meal perfectly.
Then the waiter brought their coffees along with the bill and Ryo had a job to keep his jaw from dropping; everything added together came to a tidy sum. He mentally added up what he’d ordered, which came to a fair bit more that half the total, and was reaching inside his jacket to get his wallet when Dee stopped him.
“Put your money away,” he said firmly. “It’s not needed. I’m payin’ for dinner.”
Dee didn’t give his partner, now also his lover, a chance to finish what he was about to say. “But nothin’. I’m the one asked you out to dinner, and I picked the restaurant, so I get to pay. This isn’t open to discussion.”
“That hardly seems fair though.” Ryo frowned at the bill. “That’s a lot of money.”
“Sure it’s fair. You never charge me when I invite myself over for dinner, so why would I charge you when I invite you out?”
“That’s different! What I serve up at home in a week doesn’t cost as much as my share of…” Ryo indicated the bill.
Shaking his head, Dee leant over the table and lowered his voice. “This is a date, dummy. I’m an old-fashioned guy; it’s traditional that the one who does the askin’ is the one who pays. You invite me out somewhere, you get to pay, but this, tonight, is my treat. End of story.”
“I suppose that’s fair,” Ryo agreed, albeit a bit reluctantly. “But what about when it’s not a date?” Being romantically involved with the man he worked with almost every day was proving to be a more complex situation than he would have imagined.
“You mean like lunch, breakfast, coffee and such when we’re at work?”
“Yes. Who pays then?”
“We either go Dutch or take it in turns, unless the one who’s supposed to pay is short of cash for whatever reason.”
Ryo thought that over and nodded. “Makes sense I guess. Okay, I’ll agree to you paying for dinner tonight, provided I pay next time we go out.”
Dee rolled his eyes, mildly exasperated with his partner. “This is supposed to be a date, not a negotiation.”
“Have you met me?” Ryo was well aware of his reputation for wanting everything to be properly organised, but he couldn’t help it; that was just the kind of person he was. He liked to know exactly where he stood in any situation; that way he didn’t need to worry so much.
“Fine. Next time you can pay, but you know what that means, don’t ya?”
Ryo eyed his lover warily. “What?”
“You’ll have to ask me out.” Dee smirked at Ryo and signalled to the waiter that he was ready to pay.
“Did you know how expensive this place was?” Ryo asked as they left the restaurant.
“’Course I did, but I figure you’re worth it. Besides, what else was I supposed to spend my little scratch-card windfall on Cigarettes and booze? I figured takin’ you out for a nice meal was a much better idea.”
“You won some money?”
“Only seven hundred and fifty bucks, just enough to treat us both to a night of fine dining and still have a bit left over.”
“You should've saved it. I would have.” Ryo winced at the way that sounded. “Sorry, I don’t mean to sound unappreciative, because I really enjoyed the meal, it’s just, good as it was, that was an awful lot to pay for dinner.”
“I’m not you, babe; when I have money, I spend it, because I don’t see the point of savin’ every penny and never enjoyin’ the pleasures it can pay for. Life’s too short. Live for today and enjoy it while you can, that’s my motto. Besides, when are we ever likely to be able to afford a meal like that again? We might never get another opportunity.”
Put that way, Ryo could see where Dee was coming from. He’d grown up in an orphanage, never having much he could call his own, and had no doubt learned to do without anything he couldn’t afford. Eating in an expensive restaurant must have seemed like an impossible dream back then, so on finding himself with a bit of extra cash why wouldn’t he want to spend it on something he’d never be able to afford otherwise? And instead of spending all his winnings on himself, he’d chosen to share his good fortune with Ryo.
“You’re right.” Ryo smiled at his lover. “Opportunities like that don’t come along often; it’s only common sense to take advantage of them when they do. Thank you.” On their wages, dining out was generally restricted to restaurants in a considerably lower price range.
“You’re welcome. Just promise you won’t try to outdo me on our next date. I’ll be happy whatever we do, as long as I’m with you, and I know for a fact you can’t afford to be too extravagant, not with the House Ape to feed and clothe. Kids are expensive.”
“Tell me about it. I just had to buy more new clothes for him because he grows out of everything in a matter of months.”
“Good thing tonight was a date and not a family outing. Can you imagine the size of the bill if Bikky had been with us? Not sure I could’ve afforded it, even with my winnings.”
Ryo laughed; Bikky was a bottomless pit these days, constantly hungry, which no doubt had something to do with the speed at which he was growing. “I’m not sure he would have appreciated the menu anyway; to Bikky, dinner out means burgers and fries.”
“I was the same when I was his age,” Dee admitted. “Mother always insisted on what she called ‘proper meals’. Stews, meat loaf, pot roast, all with lots of veggies, so anytime Jess took me out for a meal I always wanted a burger. Then I grew up, left home, ate burgers and pizza all the time, and now I’d rather have a good, home cooked meal. Or, y’know, a really lavish three-course meal at an expensive restaurant.” He nudged Ryo. “Maybe if Bikky makes it to the big leagues he’ll have pity on us and take us out for a fancy dinner every once in a while. I should probably be nicer to him, just in case. Butter him up a bit, for the sake of future fine dining. Would be worth it.”
Although he didn’t say anything, Ryo was doubtful that resolution would last more than a day or two, if that. Bikky and Dee had a way of getting on each other’s nerves just by being in the same room. “Where to now? Home?”
“I was thinkin’ we could catch a movie before goin’ back to my place, give us a chance to digest our meal before we get to doin’ anything strenuous.”
“Sounds good; on one condition.”
Dee eyed Ryo suspiciously. “And what might that be?”
“That you hold on to what’s left of your winnings and let me pay.”
“You’re not tryin’ to get out of payin’ for our next date, are ya?”
“Of course not! I expect to pay for that too, I just think you’ve spent enough for one night and even though I think you’re right about sometimes needing to take opportunities when they come along, I still feel bad about you spending so much on me. My meal cost quite a bit more than yours, and I’d just be happier if I at least paid for something tonight.”
“I guess I can live with that.” Dee gestured to the cinema marquee across the road; queues were forming outside as people filed out from the screenings that had just ended. “What d’you fancy seeing?”
Side by side they approached the pedestrian crossing, discussing the choices on offer. Dee was grinning; for a first proper date, this evening had been a huge success. Now if he could just talk Ryo into sitting in the back row…