The streets of Bluewater were quiet when I pulled into a parallel spot on Main Street. All the chaos of this morning had me craving a good taco for tonight’s dinner and Blue Haven’s neighboring town had the best. Gemma and I turned off Main Street and followed the red brick pathway to Playa Del Taco. I was proud of myself that I would arrive earlier than planned until I rounded the corner and saw Declan sitting on a bench underneath the white string lights by the front door staring intently at his phone screen. When it came to meeting up with Declan, even when I was early, I was late.
“Well, well, well look who’s come to be the third wheel tonight,” Gemma laughed.
Declan looked up. “Yes, it’s very kind of you to let me join in.”
Gemma stopped a few feet back and I squeezed between her and a light post so I could say hello to my boyfriend. The glow of the streetlight fell on Declan’s face once he stood and I almost tripped over my own two feet the way his blue eyes glimmered. He wrapped his hands around my waist. I squeezed the firmness of his biceps and planted a quick kiss on his lips. Something I felt we didn’t do enough of lately given our hectic schedules, but I was glad to be able to spend a few hours with him tonight.
“I’m starving,” Declan said. “I haven’t eaten since breakfast.”
“Really? Is there something going on around here I don’t know about?” I asked.
“Not here. I got called to help over in Rocky Grove. There was a double homicide and they don’t have enough manpower to handle the investigation and the regular day to day.”
Declan pulled open the door to Playa Del Taco and the live mariachi music welcomed us inside. We followed the hostess to our booth and I slid my purse across the green and white checkered tablecloth until I settled into my seat. Declan sat beside me and Gemma joined us on the other side.
“I can’t tell you how good it feels to sit down,” Declan said.
“I bet,” I said.
I grabbed the menu that sat in front of him and flipped it over to expose the long list of alcoholic beverage options. The way his shoulders tensed as he leaned back against the booth was an indication that he could use one. He did after all have the night off. I knew we were on the same page when I felt his hand pat my knee under the table. The waiter came over and set down a bowl of chips. He pulled a pen out of his red apron and Gemma insisted that Declan order first. His drink of choice rolled easily off his tongue.
“I’ll take a margarita on the rocks please,” he said. “The three taco platter with chicken sounds good as well.” Declan set his menu back onto the table and looked over at me. “What about you babe?”
“I’ll have a mojito, fish tacos and a side of queso, please.”
“Oh, I was going to do a margarita, but a mojito sounds amazing. I’ll do that too,” Gemma chimed in. “For dinner, let’s do the chicken enchiladas.”
“Anything else?” The waiter asked. We all shook our heads. “Great. I’ll get this in for you and your drinks should be out shortly.”
I should have told him to put a rush on those drinks. I could’ve used a mojito or two if I’d known who else was dining at Playa Del Taco that night. I was sifting through my purse looking for my lip gloss when I heard my name. I looked up.
“Hi, Hattie Mae,” I said. Her knee length brown coat was buttoned up to her chin. She was holding a brown box in her hands. “Did you enjoy your dinner?”
Hattie Mae was the newest business owner in Blue Haven. I met her once when I stopped by Betty Jean’s in the middle of one of her garden parties and again during one of my weekend trips to the farmers’ market. She was not shy about the life of privilege that her late husband had allowed her to have. She spent the majority of her life up in Martha’s Vineyard. When her husband passed she decided to migrate south, but Florida was too hot for her. Lucky for us, a realtor friend of Hattie Mae’s recommended Blue Haven.
“I sure did. Even got me some leftovers to enjoy tomorrow for lunch at the chocolate shop.”
I had yet to visit Hattie Mae’s chocolate shop. Though I, or should I say, Von Reklaw, had interviewed Hattie Mae via phone to get the inside scoop for the Kaffeinated Kitchen blog. Checking the shop out in person had been a struggle. Partly because I’d been busy with dog walking. But I think the main reason was that her chocolate shop opened in the old location of Scented Wicks Candle Shop. Scented Wicks used to be owned by Mae Wicks, and our history, well, let’s just say it was anything but pleasant.
“How are things going at the chocolate shop?” I asked.
“They are wonderful. If you don’t count all the mayhem that’s been going on down at the Blue Haven boardwalk.”
“Mayhem?” I asked.
“Yes, all the ruckus going on over at The French Toastery. I still can’t believe they chose to film a segment at that place over my chocolate shop. Mine is certainly more unique and much better suited for TV fame,” Hattie Mae huffed.
“I have heard wonderful things about your chocolate shop,” I said.
“Yet you haven’t stopped by,” Hattie Mae shot back.
“That’s my fault ma’am. I made Veronica promise not to try it out until I came to town.”
I smirked in Gemma’s direction. She was always quick on her feet when it came to comebacks.
“Well then, I guess now that you are here, there are no more excuses,” Hattie Mae said.
“That’s right. We’ll stop sometime soon, Hattie Mae,” I said.
“I look forward to it. Y’all enjoy your dinner. I’m going to go home and watch some reruns of Golden Girls before bed.”
“That sounds like the perfect nightcap. Enjoy Hattie Mae,” I said.
Hattie Mae walked out of Playa Del Taco gripping her box of leftovers to her chest. I looked over at Declan. He had a blank stare across his face. Gemma had a sly smirk and our gazes locked and she let out a laugh.
“I find it interesting that someone so sour owns the only sweet shop in town,” Gemma said.
“Interesting indeed," I said.