As you got to the large doors of the dining room you let go of Iida’s hand and scratched your cheek nervously.
“You don’t want to hold hands?” he asked, slightly dejected that you had pulled away.
“No, I-, well… I dunno… umm…” you mumbled.
“Tensei is not home yet?” Iida said, “are you afraid of his teasing?”
“No?” you replied as you looked up at him, “I just…” your voice trailed off and Iida nodded apologetically.
“We are moving too fast. I will let you choose the pace of the relationship.”
You felt bad but nodded and looked down again, internalizing your emotions.
“It’s not that I’m embarrassed… maybe I am a little… but also I’m just a little scared…” you thought as you stepped in once Iida had opened the doors to the ridiculously large dining room with equally ridiculously long table, “what if he leaves me too… like everyone else in my life…”
You glanced up at Iida’s broad back as he walked ahead, then looked down again and walked along behind him down to the end of the table.
Iida greeted all the waiters and waitresses by name then gently pulled your chair out for you to sit down on- which you did, and another waiter pushed your seat in while Iida sat beside you.
Wanting to thank your man for being sweet you reached under the table and touched his leg to get his attention then let slip a soft ‘thanks’.
Iida smiled at you then looked across to the head waiter who was standing patiently on the other side of the table.
“We are ready for our first course,” Iida said politely to the man.
“How many courses is this dinner?” you whispered softly to Iida.
“Just the standard 5,” he replied letting his hand sit under the table as well and reach across for yours.
His fingers brushed the back of your hand and your heart did a backflip at the same time that you processed that it was going to be a 5 course meal.
“5?!” you hissed with surprise, “5 courses?”
“Yes?” Iida asked with a confused look on his, “why are you surprised?”
“If only he knew that I hardly ate when I was at home… for fear of being in the kitchen too long and getting beaten by dad or getting yelled at by mum.”
You just shook your head in reply.
“No, it’s fine,” you said dismissively, waving your free hand in the air because your other one had the fingers now interlaced with Iida’s.
The first course to come out was served by the waitresses and announced by the sous chef.
“Please enjoy our goat cheese crostini with fig-olive tapenade,” the man in the hall chef hat said with a polite nod of his head.
You looked down at the two small slices of crostini bread with white cheese and the black olive mixture, on your plate.
“It’s small… that’s fine. I can handle 5 of these rounds, let’s do this.” you thought as you took the small bread in hand and shoved it into your mouth.
You tried to bite down on it but your mouth was too full to bite it in half and you choked on it while trying to maneuver it around with your tongue so you could chew on it properly.
“Ah shit,” you groaned internally, looking like a horse with peanut butter on the inside of its lips.
Iida didn’t make any comment and you both ate in silence, fingers intertwined under the table while the wait staff watched on.
After finishing your first course, the waiters removed the empty plates from in front of you then the waitresses placed course number 2 down on the table.
“For our second course we have: mushrooms stuffed with Pecorino Romano, garlic, and bread crumbs,” the sous chef announced.
Again, it was only 2 mushrooms that sat on the plate before you and you readied yourself for the next round.
“This is ok too,” you thought, letting go of Iida’s hand to use utensils this time.
Course 3 and 4 came and went and you were starting to feel the pressure in your stomach as you neared the halfway mark with the main course.
“How are you going?” you whispered to Iida after swallowing your mouthful, “you ate more cups of ice cream than me.”
“This is why I wanted orange juice,” he whispered back, “is it possible for one’s stomach to implode due to overeating?”
“Only one way to find out,” you replied softly in a cheeky voice, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get through this… hold on let me ask the chef something-,” you looked up at the sous chef and smiled-, “hey boss, what’s for dessert?”
Oh… it’s, lemon creme brulee with dry white wine,” he replied with a smile.
“Sounds good. I have room,” you said with a smile.
“How did knowing what would be on the menu for dessert help with getting you through mains?” Iida asked with surprise.
“I always find extra room for dessert,” you replied with a closed lipped smile as you chewed on your mouthful.
“Then I shall do the same,” Iida replied, redoubling his efforts to eat mains.
You were both struggling as you shoveled the last few mouthfuls in, glancing at each other while completing your meal.
“Done!” you yelled as you swallowed the last mouthful, smacking your cutlery down on the empty plate then holding your hand up.
“I am also finished!” Iida called, holding his hand up as well.
“I totally won that,” you remarked with a smirk.
“Not by much. I will be the victor next time,” Iida replied with quiet mischief.
“Now for dessert!” The sous chef announced with a bright smile, clapping his hands for the waiters to remove the empty plates.
“Woah, woah, compadre. Let’s just simmer down a little my guy, I’m about to burst. Just cool it for a bit before dessert,” you said, holding your stomach and leaning back on the chair.
The confused sous chef looked at Iida for an explanation and he translated your words.
“My girlfriend… Y/N—,”
An excited gasp escaped one of the waitresses lips then she immediately stiffled it with her own hand, and another groaned.
“There goes my $10,” you heard the waitress who groaned, whisper.
“A bet is a bet,” the other replied.
Iida continued, “—wishes to observe a moments reprieve before commencing dessert.”
“Very well,” the sous chef replied, signaling for the present company to vacate the room so you and Iida could be alone.
“Y/N, I apologize for pressing to hold your hand earlier. I need to be more respectful of your past and where you are at emotionally,” Iida apologized.
“No, no, it’s fine Tenya, I’m sorry. I’m just a little all over the place at the moment.”
“Understandable,” he replied softly.
You took his hand from his side and held it.
“I’m getting used to it though,” you said in a quiet voice, “I’m just scared to get too attached… you know?”