The restaurant she had chosen was small, but a long-time favorite in her neighborhood: Jardin Notre Dame. The waiter greeted her by name and kissed her cheeks.
“I have a good table by the front for you and your friend, Catherine. A beautiful view of the cathedral.”
Catherine took off her hat and Farukh helped with her red wool jacket; she wore a plain grey cashmere sweater and jeans, as well as the heady perfume. Farukh, for his part, wore a white silk shirt, open at the neck, and beautiful cuff links. His trousers looked costly as well. Catherine felt under-dressed.
“It seems I am a little over-dressed.” Farukh was self-conscious.
“No, I am too plain,” Catherine blushed.
At the same time: “You look wonderful.”
And then they laughed.
They lingered over their food.
Catherine had a glass of wine; Farukh abstained, explaining that fermented drinks were not to be drunk by Muslims. They talked about where they grew up. Farukh told her a little about his family in Qom and a bit about life under the Shah, leaving out Dadash’s revolutionary activities. Catherine told him about being an only child in rainy Seattle, leaving out how her family’s conservatism on certain matters embarrassed her.
When dessert had come and gone, Farukh insisted on paying the check.
“You were to be my guest,” she argued.
“Your company was a gift to me,” Farukh replied over Catherine’s protests as he paid the waiter.
"His Beloved Infidel" is available on Smashwords