CC returned to the table noticing a particularly problematic actress and her entourage sitting in the corner of the outdoor patio. She didn't turn her head and beelined to the table forcing her smile to reappear before sitting down. "Sorry, about that. I had to straighten something out."
Jake pulled the chair out for her. As Fran leaned over whispering. "Did you see who has the nerve to be sitting in the corner over there."
CC nodded as she sat. "Yes, I did."
Jake turned. "Who? Greta Starr over there?"
Maxwell whispered back. "She broke her contract and threatened to sue us if we didn't buy her out."
Jake looked at CC. "I read something about that. Didn't you smother her with a pillow?"
Fran looked up. "Yeah and she's not the only one."
CC sat up straight and commented tersely glancing at Fran. "I apologized."
"What did she do?" Jake looked at CC with a teasing smile.
CC shook her head. "I'd rather not..."
Fran leaned forward. "I'll tell you what she did…"
"Fran…" Maxwell tried to stop her.
She moved Maxwell's hand off of hers and put it back in front of him patting it softly. "Well, Greta refused to show up to work and when CC fired her, she started having dinner here every night to hit on Niles." Fran was leaning toward them looking directly at the offending party as she spoke.
CC shook her head with her eyes shut. "Must we revisit this stupidity?"
"So, CC, how did you end up smothering her." Jake smirked.
Fran continued. "One night she was hanging all over him. And you know Niles, he was too nice to stop her."
"Fran..." Now CC put her hand down on the table.
Fran patted her hand next as she whispered at Jake. "Well, the same thing happened that happened to the two of you. Stories, you know."
"We do." Jake answered.
CC glanced at Jake wondering when they became a "We".
Fran continued. "So, the next night, CC came in to see exactly what was going on and she caught -that -that…"
"Toad." CC chimed in.
"Yeah, she caught her in Niles' office trying to set him up. And never mind what she did to Niles."
CC looked away. "I think a flower pot and a dish of spaghetti with clam sauce was involved."
"Anyway, It took Niles and all the waiters in the restaurant to pry CC off of Greta before she killed the woman."
CC shrugged looking up. "Would it really have been so bad?"
Maxwell looked at CC. "I hate to remind you just how much that little outburst cost us, CC."
Jake remarked, "Wow. What a slugger. I hope you don't own a gun."
Fran and Max groaned at the thought.
Jake leaned into her ear. "I know you blow me away."
CC laughed at the silly joke and turned her shoulder away from him. "Stop it."
A loud dueling giggle came from the corner of the restaurant. CC turned to see that Niles had stopped at Greta's table and was leaning over her chair speaking to her as the woman laughed loudly.
CC let her teeth grit in a smile as Niles looked over his shoulder at her and he smiled back.
She turned back to her own table and Fran's eyebrows were up. "Oh boy."
CC straightened her napkin. "Don't be ridiculous. I'm not paying any attention."
"Good." Jake put an arm on the back of her chair.
CC looked at his arm and then back at Jake, but then she sat back slowly against his arm. If Rubbermaid wanted to play, it would serve him right.
Maxwell watched as Niles helped the Diva out of her chair. Niles glanced behind him and did a double take at the sight of Jake's arm on the back of CC's chair. Greta turned to see what Niles was looking at and began to beeline toward them as Niles followed. Maxwell sighed with a tired look on his face as they approached. "Oh, CC…"
"The woman has a death wish." Fran whispered, before Greta started in a high girlish voice. "CC, I saw you here with Jake Redding and I just had to come over and say hi."
She held her hand out to Jake and he moved his arm from CC's seat to shake her hand. "Nice to meet you," he nodded. CC stuck her tongue out as if she was going to be sick.
Greta nodded at Maxwell and Fran. "Hello, again." She turned back to CC. "I also wanted to apologize for that big misunderstanding in Niles' office." She turned toward Niles who was now at her side.
CC let out a low calculating laugh. "Oh, you misunderstood that being suffocated with a pillow means that you're actually, not welcome here?"
"CC…we're really not supposed to talk about it." Maxwell fidgeted.
Greta turned to Niles quickly as if she hadn't heard. "It was so nice of Niles to invite me tonight."
"Oh he did. Did he?" CC stared at Niles.
Greta continued. "Niles has forgiven me for the whole thing. You do forgive me don't you, Nilesey?"
Jake let his hand rest on CC's leg under the table to comfort her as CC took a sip of her red wine.
Niles eyed this and squinted one eye at CC before turning to Greta and leaning in to her. "Of course, I do, sweetie."
CC released some sort of a cough almost spilling her wine as the wait staff came with their meals and began setting the dishes in front of them.
Greta began to whisper something into Niles' ear as Maxwell leaned over the table whispering to CC. "Do try to control your temper."
"You're the one who wanted to eat here." CC shot back.
Niles laughed a gentle deep laugh as the actress leaned on him holding his arm.
CC sat up straight and slowly took a another sip of her wine to calm herself. Jake looked at CC with concern and moved her hair behind her shoulder, speaking softly, "Are you OK?"
CC put her wine down and sucked her cheeks in. "I'm just fine." She glared at Niles and put her hand on Jake's leg. Jake looked down and put his hand over CC's before looking at her concerned, asking quietly, "Should we leave?"
"Here it comes." Maxwell singsong-ed to Fran, watching the train wreck in slow motion.
Niles bristled, his voice angry. "That's a wonderful idea Greta, we should dance sometime." He dipped the woman as she laughed. "Why Greta, you're as light as a feather." Niles stared at CC as he raised Greta back up, and she leaned on him for support.
CC gritted her teeth again. "Of course, She's full of the feathers I stuffed in her mouth."
Greta gripped Niles' tie.
That tie was reserved for her. CC shot up from her chair. "What the hell are you thinking, Niles? She dumped her red wine down his shirt. "You can't serve merlot with chicken!"
Greta gasped. "Oh, how dreadful! Niles, are you OK?"
Jake was standing next to CC now and Greta grabbed a napkin and put it on Niles' chest as she leaned on him. Niles blinked at CC in shock then put his arm around Greta's waist.
"That's it!" CC turned to Jake and grabbed his face planting an aggressive but passionless kiss on his lips moving her head back and forth. She let go of Jake and he stumbled backward. Then she looked at Niles. "There! Is that what you wanted to see? Are you happy? Now you can say you were right! Congratulations, Buela!"
She turned to Maxwell and Fran as Jake stood in shock. "I'll see you at the office." She turned on her heal and stormed out of the restaurant.
Niles stood, shocked. "What the-" For a moment he looked as if he was about to punch Jake.
Jake's face was also utterly shocked as he put his hands up. "I- uh- I'm so-" He paused a moment and commented swiftly to Max and Fran. "I'll call you later." Then he dashed after CC.
Niles looked at Greta with a questioning look.
Greta shook her head. "No. But do you think you could get me Jake's number?"
"Coulda seen that one coming a mile away." Fran sighed and began to poke at her lobster. "Ooh. This looks delicious."
Maxwell slowly closed his eyes.