Daniel pulled into the parking lot of the hottest new restaurant in town. He’d called a week ago to get a reservation and give the place time to set up for their arrival. Alex had gone ahead to check the safety of the place.
“How did you get reservations at Juniper? I’ve heard they have a waitlist three months long,” Amelia gushed, leaning forward in her seat. He smiled, he missed seeing her smile. Ever since bringing her to the palace, he sensed she worried about everything. He saw the smile on her face when spending time with Kylie. He wanted that smile with him. He knew she loved him, but being a royal could be stressful.
“I called, and they made an exception,” he explained, parking the car and stepping out. Giving her the car had been a simple decision. She needed a better, more reliable car and he wanted to give her one she would love.
“This is amazing.” Amelia stepped out of the car and he took her hand. Looking down at her, he wondered how she was feeling.
“I love you. I want you to be happy.”
“I am happy,” she answered, looking up at him with a smile on her lips.
“I mean all the time. I know these past weeks haven’t been the easiest for you.” He walked her into the restaurant and they were greeted by the maitre d within seconds.
“Prince Daniel, Lady Amelia.” He bowed deeply.
“Hello, thank you for making space for us on such short notice,” he told the man.
“Our pleasure, Your Highness. If you would follow me I’ll show you your table. We have followed your instructions exactly,” the maitre d explained, motioning them through a door into the restaurant. Daniel tucked a hand into his pocket to make sure his surprise was still there. Feeling it, he relaxed and led Amelia after the maitre d. He took them to a table with a privacy screen wrapped around it on three sides, the table backed against a wall. There Alex stood with one other bodyguard. He nodded at his friend and helped Amelia take her seat. They set the table with a red tablecloth, white china, and polished silverware. He noticed two water goblets were filled and wine glasses waited for their choice.
“Thank you, sir, this looks perfect.” He settled across from Amelia, accepting the menu he’d been handed. Waiting for the man to walk away Daniel hadn’t realized the other diners had stopped talking. When the matradee left the volume in the place increased. It was as if people were waiting to see what he would do with Amelia by his side if something had displeased him.
“Did you see all the people staring at us?” Amelia whispered, opening her menu.
“You will get used to it,” he replied, checking the menu. Juniper specialized in modern takes on old classics. He saw items from buffalo burgers to ostrich eggs as choices.
“This place is wonderful.” Daniel looked over his menu to see Amelia had set hers down to look around. It blocked them from view to give them privacy and keep people from snapping unwanted pictures of them. He didn’t need the press getting a hold of any pictures where they could skew the meaning.
“They have quite an interesting menu,” he replied, setting his down.
“I think I will try the shrimp scampi.”
“Do you want an appetizer?”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought to look.” Amelia picked her menu up again while he decided on the buffalo burger.
“Would you like to try the egg rolls?” she asked over the top of her menu.
“Anything you want,” he replied, he wasn’t a picky eater.
“Then you pick our wine choice,” she countered, making him laugh.
“Okay.” He closed his menu and leaned forward.
“Welcome to Juniper Prince Daniel, Lady Amelia. My name is Venice and I will be your waitress for the evening.” A blond with blue eyes announced she couldn’t be older than eighteen if Daniel judged her correctly. She looked nervous, though Daniel couldn’t blame her.
“Hello Venice,” Amelia said, giving her a bright smile.
“Can I take your order?” Venice asked, holding out her pad of paper.
“We’ll start with the egg rolls and then I’ll take the shrimp scampi.” Amelia gave her a bright smile.
“And you, Your Highness?” Venice turned to Daniel.
“I’ll get the buffalo burger with fries. Can you also get us a wine menu? We’d like wine to go with dinner,” he replied. She smiled and nodded.
“Right away. I’ll put your order in and be right back with the menu.” Venice turned and walked away a little wobbly at the knees.
“She was nervous,” Amelia commented, making him laugh.
“Well, it’s not every day you get to serve royalty.”
“True, though I’m not royalty,” she pointed out with a smile.
“Yet,” he replied, making her raise an eyebrow. Daniel realized his comment and hoped his intentions hadn’t come to light. He didn’t want her to suspect a thing.
“How are preparations going for your store? I spoke with Ramon a little,” he asked, trying to turn her thoughts to something she enjoyed.
“We have to call everyone tomorrow to see if they will accept the job and then get started as soon as possible. I want us fully operational the day before your mom’s birthday party,” she explained, her eyes alight with excitement. Daniel smiled at his mate and let her tell him everything she and Ramon had been through throughout the day.
“Here is the wine menu Your Highness.” Venice handed him the menu. He gave her a smile of thanks and passed it to Amelia. He wanted her to pick the wine she would have with dinner. His meal would better go with red wine, while shrimp paired best with white wine.
“I will take a glass of your Sauvignon Blanc,” Amelia announced after looking it over.
“I will take a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.” Daniel handed Venice back the list. She gave them both a nod and a smile before walking away. He turned back to Amelia and let her continue to tell him about her day.
“And this one baker burned everything. I don’t think they knew how to use the oven and instead of asking, they burned everything.”
“Seriously? Did anyone help them?” he asked sipping on the wine Venice had brought them earlier. He loved listening to Amelia talk. It was refreshing to hear about something other than politics and royal gossip.
“No. I think they were afraid to step in and let them take their job. I went over and showed her later. Then told her next time to ask for help. This bakery is a team, not a group of individuals trying to show up everyone.”
“Well said. Do you want help on opening day?”
“I would love your help. You can be in the front helping us know if we need to put out more cookies. My biggest worry is this will be a total flop and no one will show up.” Daniel reached across the table and took her free hand.
“You will do amazing things. Savannah is already planning on coming. She has told all her friends. You have Thomas as your delivery driver and Ramon will be there to back you up. You will hit it out of the park with your opening, I just know it.” He rubbed her hand with his thumb to offer her comfort.
“Thanks for your support, Daniel. It means a lot you’ve been supporting along the way. We make a great team.” He nodded and leaned back as their meals were set in front of them. They settled in and ate dinner, talking about his mother’s birthday, and all the cookies the queen had asked Amelia to make.