Amber looked at her phone and sighed. She had worked a double yesterday and it looked like she would be working another today. The new hire had called in for the second day in a row. Chelsea, her co-owner, was out of town, so she couldn't call her to cover it. Amber sighed again, resigning herself to another 12 hour day at the coffee shop.
What was the point of doing well enough to hire new people if they never seemed to show up? Amber mused as she filled the case with her freshly baked pastries. Glancing at the clock, she saw there was only fifteen minutes until the shop would open. She quickly finished with the pastries and set about getting everything else ready.
Only five minutes after open, she heard the bell above the door ring. Thinking it was Mrs. Bellstorm, the old minotaur who came every morning, she didn't bother looking up from under the counter as she shouted a greeting. A gruff male voice answered her. Startled, Amber hit her head on the counter as she stood. "Sorry I thought you-" Amber stopped and stared with her hand still on her bumped head. Before her was the biggest and most handsome orc she had ever seen. He was at least seven and a half feet tall with dark green skin and grey eyes. His tusks were short but shiny. Unusual for orcs, his black hair was cut short. Even the horizontal scars on his face only served to make him more attractive. He was wearing a tight, dark blue t-shirt that accentuated evey muscle of his frankly extensive collection. Suddenly aware that she was staring with her mouth slightly open and her hand on her head, she quickly closed her mouth and put her hand down. Unfortunately, she bit her tongue and slapped the counter. Amber felt herself going red, even worse her attractive new customer seemed irate. Had her clumsiness been that bad? Was he tired of women gawking at him? Oh my God, she still hadn't said anything! Get it together Amber! She silently coached herself, say something!
"I'm sorry", she stammered, her tongue still sore, "I thought you were someone else. We just opened and I wasn't expecting any customers besides sweet, old Mrs. Bellstorm. She comes in every day, you know? I'm by myself this morning so I'm a little behind. We just hired someone new but she's only showed up for one out of three shifts and that's not a very good record. Of course I'm not the one who actually hired her but I did okay it." Oh great, now she couldn't stop talking! This is terrible, he's going to think I'm insane! thought Amber. Amazingly,the orc didn't seem to be as angry. Instead of the irratated expression, his face wore more of a neutral sneer. "It's fine, girl," he practically growled. "I just need coffee." Amber swooned a little. His voice was so low and gruff, it was unbelievably sexy.
"Of course!" She squeaked. "That's what I'm here for! To fulfill all your needs!" Amber squeezed her eyes shut and mentally facepalmed as the orc raised his eyebrow. After a deep breath Amber opened her eyes and said, "Your coffee needs that is. What can I get you?" She waited with a bright smile as the orc dug around in his pant's pocket, obviously looking for something. Taking advantage of the pause, Amber studied him. She noted how broad his shoulders were and how thick his arms. Then she noticed the emblem on his shirt and the walkie talkie hanging from his pants. He was a firefighter! Thinking to herself that she couldn't have made him any more perfect, Amber noticed he was looking at her expectantly. He was holding a piece of paper out to her and she was just staring at him dreamily! Oh lord! She was not giving a great first impression. Quickly she took the paper. Perhaps a little too quickly judging by the surprised look on his face. Deciding to just ignore her latest faux pas, Amber read the slip of paper. Her eyes widened, there were twenty different orders here! She looked up at him. He met her eyes but looked a little sheepish. "I didn't realize you'd be here by yourself," he said. "If it's too much trouble I can go somewhere else."
"No, no it's fine. I was just a little surprised. It might take me awhile though." Amber replied.
As she started getting everything together Amber jokingly asked the orc if he had lost a bet. To her surprise he blushed.
"Yeah, I guess I did." He replied with a sheepish grin. "Now I have to buy coffee for the whole station. Most of them aren't even working, they just came in for free coffee."
"Oh no," Amber laughed, "that doesnt sound fair."
The orc's grin widened, "Well I lost fair and square so I guess I just have to go with it."
Laughing again Amber offered him a pastry on the house while he waited.
"You don't need to do that." He said unconvincingly. "What's good?"
He was looking at the case hungrily. Amber smiled a little smugly, "It's all good. I make it all fresh. But if I were you, I'd go for a pomegranate blueberry scone."
The orc was sitting at a table munching his scone while Amber got the coffee ready. It was proving difficult as she was having trouble not looking at him every few minutes. She even nearly spilled boiling coffee on herself right as Mrs. Bellstorm came in.
"I'll be right with you Mrs. Bellstorm," Amber called to her, "I'm just finishing up this order."
"Take your time dear." Mrs. Bellstorm answered, eyeing the orc.
Amber put all the cups in holders and called to the orc. She looked at the stacks of cups skeptically. "Do you need help carrying these?"
He brought his scone plate to the counter.
"I got 'em," he said stacking all five holders together and starting for the door. He nodded politely to Mrs. Bellstorm as he passed her.
"Who on earth was that, dear?" She almost whispered to Amber after he had left. "Quite the handsome fellow. What is his name? You know, I think my grandson might work with him..."
Amber, who had been hungrily staring at the orc's bottom as he walked down the street, groaned. She hadn't gotten his name! After all the bumbling around she did, she was sure she'd never get another chance to ask either. Oh well, she sighed to herself as she fixed Mrs. Bellstorm's usual. I guess he will just have to stay tall, dark, and mysterious.
Finally have chapter 2 done. Sorry it's taken me so long. Hope you like it!
This chapter is from Garrath's point of view.
Short chapter is short
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.