Rex Features / WENN 1 / 14
Rex Features / WENN 1 / 14

Anything that's likely to put Chris Brown in a lousy mood should probably be encouraged, so here it is: Rihanna was seen hanging out with former flame and sometime collaborator Drake during the festivities surrounding Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.

The pair, who have been repeatedly linked since 2009, had a private, well-guarded dinner on Friday with a large group of people at New York eatery Sons of Essex.

"Drake came in around 10 p.m. with 10 people and had four large security guards," a spy tells E! News. "Rihanna came about an hour later, alone, not counting her security. They sat in a back room, the lights were dimmed, and there was sort of a barricade of tables blocking their group off."

As they munched on lobster tacos and crab cakes and downed shots of Canadian Club, Rihanna and Drake sat across from one another and talked.

"They were avoiding photos, and the security kindly asked some fans to leave," adds the snitch. "It seemed very casual. Rihanna was wearing a black T-shirt and shorts. Drake was wearing a flannel shirt and a ball cap."

RiRi left 20-30 minutes before Drake, but not before they settled the bill and left a "generous" $500 tip.

Still, a dressed-down Rihanna displayed little emotion during his performance of "Hold On, We're Going Home" at the VMAs, even though weeks earlier she tweeted her enthusiasm for the song, calling it her "fave" (sample lyric: "I got my eyes on you/Cuz you're a good girl and you know it").

But later that night, after the chanteuse had changed from her boyfriend jeans and T-shirt into a little black dress, she rendezvoused with Drake at Diddy and Jay Z's celebrity-stuffed afterparty at hotspot the Dream Downtown.

According to the New York Post, the rapper turned up a short time after Rihanna and made a beeline for her.

"She was the first person he kissed on the cheek," relays a spy. "Then he headed right over to Diddy and Jay, and they invited him to sit at their table."

Their repeated meet-ups will likely send Brown into one of his rage blackouts, despite the current off-status of his deeply dysfunctional relationship with Rihanna.

In June of 2012, Brown and Drake were at the center of a messy, bottle-flinging New York nightclub skirmish that was supposedly set off when one of them invoked Rihanna's name.

Drake, who lately has been the unwitting object of Amanda Bynes' attentions, called the incident "embarrassing."

"I wish we could sit down, just like you and me are right now, and talk it out man-to-man. But that's not going to happen," he told the July issue of GQ. "Two rappers fighting over the woman. He's not even a rapper, but still, it's the last way you want your name out there. It distracts from the music. But he's made me the enemy, and that's the way it's gonna stay, I guess."