That following Monday, Grady found himself in his usual quick breakfast stop...for lunch! It was unusual for him to work outside The Globe building, but he had found himself wanting to try lunch there. Luckily, it was only a quick jaunt down the street. Upon arriving, he was greeted with a familiar "Hey JJ!" by the manager. "We never see ya past then ya grab and run. Whatever brought you back today?" Grady shrugged. Needed to get out of the office I guess You have a table open?"
"Take your pick," the manager waved around the cafe. Some tables were occupied, but there were enough empty ones. Grady nodded and went to take a seat. He took out the notebook that held both notes and a working article he was writing. Someone brought him water and a menu. A simple "thanks" was all that Daryl responded. "I'll be back in a few minutes" the waitress told him. He nodded and picked up the menu before looking around. The place was a bit busier at noon, but it was a normal person's lunchtime after all. He opened his notebook to look at his notes, before he started to write. Daryl Grady didn't usually review community theatre. However, when a co-worker heard that he had attended a show, he had jokingly made a comment about a review. Of course Grady's editor thought it a brilliant idea...
At least he had some good things to say.
Daryl continued to write, oblivious to his surroundings as someone set food down in front of him. "Could I have more water?" he asked without looking up. "Sure. I'll be right back" the waitress answered. Daryl blinked. He knew that voice...
"Miss?" he called after her. She turned around and he was able to see her face then. "You...you're Miss Harris, aren't you?"
"Yes?" she blinked then. "Wait, you're...Matt's uncle, aren't you?"
He chuckled at her warm smile. "That I am. I didn't know you worked here, Miss Harris. I don't often stop here for lunch."
"I don't work the breakfast or dinner shifts."
"That allows time for theatre" Daryl understood. "Have you thought about going professional? You'd do great." Daryl cleared his throat. "But...I don't mean to keep you from your work," he apologized. "I would like to get to get to know you a bit more."
"It was...Daryl, right? I get off in two hours" Nikki offered. "Meet me back here?"
Daryl nodded. "Of course. May I call you...Nikki?" He was clearly a gentleman. With a smile and nod from the young lady, Daryl returned the smile. "Well then, Nikki. I suppose I'll see you back here in two hours. Oh, may I have my check?" It didn't take her long to long to return with it. Daryl Grady paid for his lunch and left her a tip.
Two hours passed very slowly for him. However, it finally arrived. Daryl made his way back to the cafe. Looking around, he spotted Nikki. She had changed out of her uniform and was waiting for him. "Hello Daryl. Let's go for a walk?"
"Alright. Anywhere in particular?
Daryl tipped his hat slightly. "Lead the way." The pair started down the street. At first, there was silence between them. Nikki soon broke the silence. "So, tell me a bit about yourself."
"Well..." Grady thought a moment. I personally have loved theatre for as long as I can remember. Though, I've not been blessed with the skills it takes to perform..."
"What skills have you been blessed with then?"
"The written word I suppose," he replied.
"Oh? Are you a writer?"
"Yes. I work for The Globe."
"What do you do there?" Nikki asked, clearly interested.
"I'm the theatre critic," Grady replied proudly. Nikki looked mildly impressed. He chuckled slightly. "I don't tend to share that bit with too many."
"It's an amazing job! You must have seen a lot of shows!"
Grady gave a nod. "I get to see shows before they open to the public. Some go to Broadway. Some flop."
"What are some of your favorites?" Nikki asked out of pure curiosity. That made Daryl think some more. "Call me old fashioned but, I've always been a fan of the old Fox/Hendricks musicals. Shame they split."
Nikki gave a nod. "I know. I love their musicals too."
"What are some of your dream roles, Nikki?" Daryl asked changing the subject slightly. Nikki took a moment to think before giving a list of her answers. "Have you ever auditioned professionally?"
"Once" she replied. "Though i didn't get it" she shrugged.
"Well," Grady replied. "It's lucky you met me then. I've got countless connections. I'll keep an ear open if you'd like me to do so."
"That's very kind of you. But why? We just met..."
Daryl shrugged. "As I've said Nikki, you've got talent. And after year at The Globe well...I should know talent, right?" He tilted his head.
He smiled. "Just stay...down to Earth, hmm?" he chuckled. "I've seen too many actresses become divas."
"I promise" Nikki replied with a giggle. The pair made there way back to the cafe. "Don't be a stranger" Nikki told Daryl as he flagged down a taxi for her. Daryl smiled. "I have a feeling you'll see me at lunch more often" he promised. Once she was on her way, he too made his way home.