When Em walked away, Ivey couldn’t help but ask. “What blue ribbon?”
The menu suddenly seemed of deep interest to Jeff, a man who by his account should have it memorized. “After we broke up, some of the business people in town took sides. Those who liked me hung blue ribbons in their establishment. Those who liked you put up pink ones.”
He looked so serious, and that’s what kept her from laughing. “Is that supposed to be a joke? I’d forgotten about your weird sense of humor.”
He continued reading the menu as if it were a medical journal. “Mr. Peterson put up a blue ribbon, but that was before Em bought the place. She took it down.”
“Aunt Lucy mentioned something about people taking sides, but I thought she was exaggerating as usual.” Blue and pink ribbons? Had the whole town gone mad together?
“How many pink ribbons were there?” It would be nice to know who her real friends were.
He met her eyes. “I didn’t count. I thought it was as ridiculous as you do.”
“But Mr. Peterson had a blue ribbon. He always liked you better.”
“You were the one who used to practically sit in my lap every time we were here.”
Ivey felt flushed at hearing the truth stated so matter-of-factly. Even if Jeff had never protested the seating arrangements. “Mr. Peterson was a misogynist.”
“Everyone’s over it now. But I wouldn’t go into the hardware store on Main Street.”
Ivey let out a deep sigh. Everyone had held it against her for leaving town for a man she met online, but it had turned out to be the best place to find a fake boyfriend.
Em came and took their orders. Without the menu, Jeff turned his full attention on Ivey. “So how’s lover boy? John, was it?”
“Joe.” Why couldn’t anyone get his name right? Even imaginary fictional characters deserved a little respect.
“Are you sure?” Jeff narrowed his eyes. “I’m pretty sure it was John.”
“Thanks, but I think I know the name of my ex-boyfriend better than you do.”
Ivey played with the edge of her napkin. “It didn’t work out. Next subject.”