Garrath walked toward the fire station with the coffee balanced in one hand, his mind racing. This had all started as a joke. He told his team that he scares everyone with his scars and gruff manners. They had all scoffed at him, but he was persistent. Finally his best friends, Mikhal and Saba, called him out. They told him if he walked to the coffee shop down the street and the barista was scared of him they'd buy him coffee and lunch for a week, but if they weren't he'd have to buy coffee for the station. It was agreed he'd go the next morning. He was so sure he'd win he didn't even care that they'd told the whole station to be there. Now he was out eighty bucks and had gained quite the puzzle. He had been so sure the women behind the counter had been scared of him when he walked in. She hadn't seen him right away and seemed to be expecting someone else. When she had seen him, she had stared at him with her mouth open and her hand on her head. Garrath didn't know how anyone could make that look adorable, especially while wearing a hair net, but she had. Even when her face turned almost as red as her hair, he still thought he'd win his bet. She kept fumbling over her words and wouldn't look him in the eyes. But then he almost thought she was flirting with him, he had definitely caught her checking him out. He shakes his head, somehow he had even managed to almost flirt back. She definitely didn't seem scared of him when he left, he could feel her staring after him even after he was outside. As he got closer to the station, Garrath started to wonder what to tell everyone. He decided to keep it vague, he'd tell Mikhal and Saba they won and leave it at that. Hopefully they'd be so happy with the free coffee they wouldn't ask too many questions. He was not that lucky. The second he walked into the station he was mobbed. People where grabbing coffee and asking him questions. Garrath's ears started ringing, he was not prepared for this kind of scrutiny about his personal life. Admittedly he never had much of a personal life to scrutinize but honestly. He was still trying to figure out what had happened with the girl at the coffee shop, he didn't need his nosy adopted family picking it apart. Just as Mikhal and Saba had him cornered (they were the only ones big and brave enough to do so) a thought struck. Hardly any of them ever went out for coffee, they usually just drank the crappy stuff they could make at the station that's why it was such a good bet for them. He could tell them anything and they'd believe him. His coffee shop girl could remain his. "Hey!" Garrath's voice rang loud over all the chatter, " I don't know why you guys are so interested. You won! Go drink your coffee and leave me in peace! Just because some old goblin woman with a hare lip wasn't scared of me doesn't prove anything. Honestly I was almost scared of her. So scatter! Nothing to see here!" Satisfied with himself, Garrath grabbed a newspaper and sat down trying to look nonchalant. He thought he had succeeded as the kitchen started to empty but then he heard the sound of hooves. As he glanced up he saw Saba's tail swishing and her arms crossed. Garrath groaned internally, he should have known the centaur wouldn't be easily dissuaded.
"Well" he tried to snarl but it came out rather subdued, "how's your coffee?" Saba sniffed. "Don't give me that! All of that arguing and you just immediately admit defeat?" She wouldn't stop staring at him, he could feel it through his newspaper and it was making him itchy.
"Listen here, lady, I have integrity and I lost. That's it! You're the one who said I should go by myself to get a more realistic reaction, so I don't see why you are still bothering me!" Garrath slammed his paper down on the table and stomped off to his bunk, muttering about goblin women and meddling friends. Saba looked pensive for a moment before calling Mikhal over. She and the minotaur were going to figure out what was really going on. Garrath sighed as he lay on his bunk. He tucked his hands behind his head, he was pretty sure his blundering with Saba had worked. Now he was free to think about his coffee girl. The first thing to do, he decided, was to go back and see if she was really flirting or if she was just having an off day. Yes, he thought, thinking about the freckles on her nose, he would just have to go back. Just to check. Just to satisfy his curiosity. Nothing else. Not because of how her nose and eyes crinkled when she laughed. It was for science. Completely logical.