Waffles make strange bedfellows

International House of Pancakes

The International House of Pancakes somewhat maintains that small diner feel, even though it is a much larger franchise. Beige walls are decorated with pictures of various menu items, and are lined with four-person booths. The center aisle is also comprised of booths, with a short privacy wall between them. The kitchen is mostly hidden from view, but the smell of cooking food continually wafts through the restaurant.

It's the dinner hour, so there's a fair crowd already gathered at the IHOP this evening. Being early evening, the patrons are tending to be families mainly. As a result, the restaurant is a bit on the noisy side what with all those kids eating with their parents. It's a very different crowd than that which typically shows up during the late night hours. But it seems that someone got the schedule wrong. Cause at a table far in the back sits about 3 women and a man who look more like the after-hours crowd. He looks like some wanna-be rock star while the girls look possibly like ladies of the evening (given their attire and demeanour). The night's festivities seem to already have started for this group as they are loud and drunk and drawing a lot of attention to themselves. The families are giving them disapproving glances. Won't be long before a manager comes over to them.

The bell signaling the entrance of another diner nearly blends into the cacophony as Todd enters the IHOP. Although he opens the door wearing his usual little smile, it wanes slightly when he is confronted by the sound of so many diners. For a moment, he hesitates near the door. He almost seems to be considering leaving, when a waitress spots him on her way through. She pauses, tray in hand to greet him, touching his arm to guide him away from the door. There's a definite familiarity on the part of the waitress, though Todd merely gives her a baffled, but friendly little smile. The waitress is fairly busy, so she only lingers long enough to direct Todd toward an empty table, before bustling off to finish her business. Apparently at the waitress' direction, Todd settles at his table alone, and pulls a notebook out of his shirt pocket to review.

Murphy's Law has a way of exerting its influence in even the most mundane of situations. Because the table that Todd gets seated at is adjacent to the one at which Daemon and his 'party' are sitting at. One of the women, a red head, turns to watch Todd as he is seated. She smiles at him, "Hey Cutie". She's not on the clock yet, but old habits die hard. Daemon is caught up laughing with the other girls, so doesn't pay the other man any notice. At least not at the moment. A family seated not far from them flags down a waitress. They're probably making a complaint; their demeanour suggests as much.

Todd does not seem to be terribly bothered by the whole situation. He's just spotted the menu as is going for it when the red-head talks to him. He blinks a little, glancing over at her, then gives a slow, embarrassed little grin. "Oh. Hi." He looks over her companions, taking the whole thing in with a curious look, even as his hands are picking up the menu and opening it. "Um. How's it going?" he offers, politely.

The Red Head smiles, "Its going well cutie. How's it going with you?" She turns in her booth towards Todd. She's not really 'working' it per say, but in her line of work it always pays to be friendly. A woman at the table behind Todd makes an angry face and grunts disapprovingly. Noting that one of his 'lady friends' is preoccupied, Daemon turns to regard Todd. He takes a slow sip of his coffee, just regarding the other man in a calculating gaze. "Looking for a good time, baby" asks the Red Head?

Todd smiles back at the red head in that perpetually perplexed way that he has, though it's combined with a slight blush as she calls him 'cutie' again. "Just fine, I guess. I'm hungry. It's loud in here, isn't it?" he comments, giving a glance around to the other diners. As he glances, he takes note of the slightly irate looks that the red-head's table is getting, and he frowns slightly. He looks puzzled, but glances back suddenly when a question is asked. "Hm? Oh. Well, that all depends. I mean, I guess it depends on what you're talking about. But everyone likes a good time, right?" He smiles, obliviously, and then adds, "I think I'd really like something with strawberries, right now. And whipped cream." A beat, and his gaze wanders down to look at the menu, and suddenly his brows lift in delight. "Oh! Maybe they have waffles with strawberries and whipped cream," he says, enthusiastically, and starts searching through the menu.

Daemon chuckles to himself as he listens to Todd's exchange. But then he notices a manager heading towards his table. Without a word to his 'companions' he slips out of the booth and steps away unnoticed. The Red Head giggles at Todd. "Strawberries and cream, you have very traditional tastes I see. I think I can oblige." She gives Todd a lascivious look. It seems that she's about to say something else when the manager comes over at asks the ladies to leave. They make a huge protest, but are used to such treatment. So they leave after a bit of argument, more for appearances sake more than anything. A voice across the table from Todd tsks loudly. "Some people simply do not know how to act in public, do they?" Should Todd turn to look at the voice, he'll see it belongs to Daemon who somehow has found his way across from Todd.

Todd blinks a little, and tilts his head slightly. He watches the woman for a moment, and since she's being so very over-the-top, he gives a slightly embarrassed grin. "Oh, that's…um. Well. That's very…er….nice of you. But that's not exactly…you know. Me. At least, I don't think so." Luckily, the manager comes, freeing Todd from the need to talk. Instead, he just watches the arguement, hands folded over the forgotten menu. It isn't until Daemon speaks that he glances over. He doesn't seem particularly surprised, but gives a kind of smile. "Oh, I don't know. I guess," he replies, awkwardly. "They were probably just having fun, you know?" He doesn't greet Daemon, or seem particularly troubled at his presence. He just smiles, in a vaguely puzzled fashion.

"And do you like fun, my young friend?" Daemon raises an inquisitive eyebrow. "You seem to have a very 'open' demeanour. That's unusual in this world, I'd dare say." Daemon extends a hand. "I'm Daemon. And you are?" Once the introductions are out of the way, Daemon takes the menu from Todd and looks it over. "Waffles, you said? That sounds tasty." He pursues the selection, taking his time over the list of choices.

Todd smiles a little at Daemon, as though he were asking as silly question. "Fun? Of course. Everyone likes fun." He pauses a little, then adds, "Of course, everyone's definition of fun is probably different…" He shakes Daemon's hand, and gives a friendly little smile. His right hand has the medical bracelet announcing his amnesia, if Daemon is the sort to notice such things. "Todd Landers," he replies, in a friendly tone. He glances down as the menu is taken, and gives a sudden, bright smile. "Oh yes! Waffles sound lovely. I think I'll have that."

"Then waffles it is, then. Good choice Todd." Daemon flags a waitress, signalling her over. Daemon glances down at the bracelet casually; making a mental note of what it says while trying to look like that's not what he's doing at all. When the waitress comes over, Daemon orders two plates of Waffles with strawberries and cream. "So Todd Landers, what is it that you do? Tell me all about yourself."

The waitress probably gives Daemon a little odd look and in turn a kind of questioning 'are you okay?' look to Todd. He just smiles at her, and since nothing seems to be terribly amiss, she just takes the order and heads off to the kitchens. She's a busy woman, after all. The question from Daemon causes Todd's friendly expression to falter. "Oh. Um. Well, my name is Todd Landers… Hold on," he reaches reflexively for the notebook in his shirt pocket, and flips to the first page. "I live at Hope House… I work at Tom Thumb. I'm a grocery bagger." He frowns just slightly at that last bit. "Not very impressive, I guess. What about you? What do you do?" he asks, in turn.

Daemon just gives the Waitress a charming smile in response to her confused glance. When Todd pulls out his notebook, the Wicked Wizard raises an eyebrow. He watches as the young man looks up the relevant facts to answer his inquiry. "Grocery Bagger at Tom Thumb, that sounds like an interesting job." Daemon glances around the IHOP before turning back to reply to Todd. "Me? I'm in-between jobs at the moment. I'm new in town."

Todd shrugs a shoulder, and gives Daemon a little grin. "That's nice of you, but I don't agree," he replies, surprisingly cheerful about the whole thing. Then again, it's not like he'd actually remember /doing/ the job. "It sounds kind of boring. I guess maybe it would be interesting meeting the different people, though." He shrugs a shoulder, and then takes an interest in Daemon's answer. "Oh really? What brings you here?" he wonders, in a friendly way.

Daemon smiles in response to Todd's question, "I'm travelling the country. Seeing what I can see. Meeting people is probably what you like about your job, it lets you meet a variety of people." At that moment the Waitress returns with their meal which is saying a lot given how busy it is here tonight. "Ahh…Here we go, waffles. Dig in my friend."

Todd glances up, looking slightly surprised as the waitress appears with the waffles, though he tries to cover it. It's a pleasant surprise, at least, and he gives her a grateful smile. "Thanks!" Then he reaches for his fork, eager to do just as Daemon suggests. "Travel sounds fun," he remarks, absently. "We should go somewhere together. Like…a road trip! Yeah, a road trip sounds fun," he comments, before taking a bite of waffle smothered in strawberry syrup.

The Wicked Wizard chuckles at that suggestion. "A road trip, that sounds interesting. We should definitely do that." Daemon wipes his utensils and then begins to dig into his own meal. "So where shall we go on our road trip, Todd? Where would you like to visit?" Daemon smiles at his newfound friend, "Have you travelled anywhere before? Ever been outside of Dallas?"

Todd blinks a little at Daemon, slightly taken aback by the question. "Oh, I don't know…" When Daemon mentions Dallas, he frowns a little and glances toward one of the windows, with vague confusion. "We're in Dallas?" he asks, seeming to forget his waffles in the shock. "Huh. That doesn't sound right. Do I live in Dallas?" he asks suddenly, glancing toward the man who has been acting so very friendly.

Daemon lifts an eyebrow at Todd's question about being in Dallas. Without missing a beat, he says "Todd, tell me about your home? What do you remember?" The malicious mage points a finger at Todd's notebook. "You've probably written it down. Maybe you've written down places you've like to go, as well, hmm? Why don't you take a look?" Daemon smiles very brightly and simply waits for Todd to refer to his notes.

Todd blinks a few times, confused. "My home…" He frowns, looking around at the other diners, confused. "I don't…I…" He reaches reflexively for his notebook, like a kid reaching for his security blanket. "My name is Todd Landers, and Ruby Landers is my mom. We live at the little house with the roses at the end of the old logging road, and her phone number…her phone number is…" It all has the sound of a rehearsed speech that he recites as he flips through the notebook. He seems quite troubled when what he finds there doesn't match the speech. "Oh. No. I live at Hope House. I'm a grocery-bagger at Tom Thumb…"

Daemon pats Todd's hand showing an appropriate amount of concern. "That's okay, Todd my friend. We can talk about something else." He takes another slip of coffee and then carves another bite of waffle for himself which he swirls around in strawberry syrup before eating it. "What do you do for fun, aside from coming to IHOP?"

Todd smiles back at Daemon, though he still has a somewhat disoriented look. "Okay…" He follows Daemon's example, picking up his fork to take another bite. He chews a little, but reaches for the notepad again to flip through. He nods a little, as though finding something that makes sense. "Mm. I build things. Or…well, I /fix/ things. I'm working on a toaster right now."

"That's very interesting" the Friendly Stranger notes with a smile. Just another bit of useful information that is filed away for future use; boy, Todd was just full of useful tidbits wasn't he? Daemon gulps down another mouthful of coffee. He produces a pen out of some unseen pocket. "May I?" He reaches for Todd's notebook regardless if the young man gives is ascent or not. He flips to the next blank page and writes a few notes there. One says 'Daemon and I are friends'; the other says 'I'm going to Disneyland'. Once he is done writing, he slides the notebook back to Todd. "There you go."

Todd frowns a little as Daemon takes the notebook, "Hey, um…Well, that's mine…" he starts to protest, weakly, but doesn't put up too much of an argument. He watches as Daemon writes something, and gives a bit of a smile as it is returned. "Okay, well. Thanks, I guess." He tucks it back into his pocket, and takes another bite of the waffles. "I do love strawberries," he comments randomly, in reference to the topping on the waffles.

"Yes, waffles are very delicious especially with strawberries. This shall be our dish whenever we're at IHOP together." Daemon smiles and claps Todd on the shoulder. "See…now we have a 'thing'. And when we go on that road trip together, we'll stop at IHOP and have strawberry waffles. Doesn't that sound like fun?" Daemon folks his last bit of waffle, a huge piece, sops up all the strawberry sauce he can and shovels it into his mouth. He follows that up with a final gulp of coffee. He's acting like he hasn't eaten in days or weeks. "Delicious."

Todd beams back at Daemon as he is clapped on the shoulder. "Yeah! Awesome. IHOP and strawberry waffles. Sounds fantastic." He waves his fork, thoughtfully, then starts cutting off another bite. "I wonder if I've ever had a 'thing' before? I don't think so. It sounds fun, though. A 'thing'. Hm." He scoops up the bite of waffle, considering, then looks back at Daemon, suddenly. "So, when are we going on that road trip, again?" he wonders, casually.

The Wicked Witch of the West (actually he's from the East) smiles and chuckles. "Well…I've only just got into town. Let me hang out for a bit before we take off. There's plenty of time for us to begin our adventure. No need to rush, my friend. Relax and enjoy the ride." Daemon grabs a napkin and wipes his mouth. "Thanks for the meal, pal. I enjoyed it." He flags down a waitress and makes a sign for the check.

Todd smiles vaguely at Daemon, "Oh, no rush. Just…checking. You know?" He shrugs a shoulder, and gives an uncertain smile. "Oh, are you leaving?" He actually looks a little disappointed. He fiddles with his fork, but finally just gives a little shrug and a friendly smile. "I guess I'll see you soon, though!" he decides.

Daemon nods at Todd. "Oh you will, my friend. We'll see each other very soon I promise." The Waitress comes over with the bill. He gives Daemon a wary look as she places it down on the table between the two men. She gives Todd a concerned look before hustling off to go service another table. Daemon picks up the bill and reads it. He smiles as he pats his chest. "Oh…geez. I don't have my wallet. You don't mind picking up the tab this time, do you Todd? Thanks bud." He folks the bill and slips it over to his 'friend'. "Maybe I'll drop by your workplace or the home? In any case, we'll meet very soon." With that, Daemon is on his feet. He takes Todd's hand and shakes it very energetically coz Todd seems like he'd like that sort of thing. And then he is gone. Not into thin air or anything, he simply just walks off. The greatest disappearing acts are those that occur right in plain sight.

Todd blinks a little, and reaches for his pocket, uncertainly, "Well, um, I guess. I'll have to…" But it's too late, and Daemon is already moving on, distracting Todd from the inconvenient matter of the bill. And once out of mind, it is forgotten, sitting folded on the table in front of him. Todd grins a little as his hand is shaken, and he nods a little. "Sure…sure…Bye?" he calls after him. Only when Daemon is gone does Todd look around and rediscover the bill. That's going to be one annoyed waitress, when Todd reveals he doesn't have the money to cover both dinners.

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