Excerpt from It’s Not Just Semantics

But it seemed Rome sensed her uneasiness and infuriatingly took extreme efforts to intensify it. He took his own sweet time eating his brunch. From sipping his coffee, to slicing the tinapang bangus, to mixing it in with the fried rice and salted egg with diced tomatoes, before putting it into his mouth, chewing the food, then swallowing it down—Alex felt as though she was watching a silent, slow motion movie. And that was just the first course, because he ordered food enough to feed six persons! All the while, he was smiling at her, throwing glances at her from time to time, taunting her. She went back to her phone and fumed silently.

At last, after more than thirty minutes, as he was eating his second dessert, she couldn’t take it anymore. She growled at him, “Can’t you go a little faster?”

He gasped, looking scandalized. “Why, Alex, I didn’t know you like it fast.”

“What?” She gawked. “No, I didn’t mean that!”

“Mean what?” He asked innocently. “So you like it slow, then?”

“No! Not slow, either!”

“Okay,” he gave her a thumbs up, nodding seriously. “Got it. I’ll remember that. Not slow and not fast. Just the right…,” he bit his lip, “…speed.”

She spoke through clenched teeth, “Will you please get your mind out of the gutter?”

“Alex, what in the world are you talking about?” He opened his eyes wide. “I’m talking about eating…,” pausing meaningfully as he put a teaspoonful of strawberry cheesecake in his mouth and chewing it ever so slowly, “my food.”

Suddenly, both their phones rang. They answered at the same time. Gaia was calling Rome, and Gaia’s secretary was calling Alex to tell them the lawyers were already there, waiting for them.