Dare

The two siblings crashed into the bakery, their limbs entangled. The woman was muscular, and her mousy brown hair fell into her face. Her brother was smaller, with a flop of black hair over one grey eye and two hands over his nose. His sister was shoving a wad of tissue in his face.

“Oliver, you idiot-”

The girl got a muffled response. From behind the counter, Lazare eyeballed the situation. It wasn’t until the girl pulled her brother forward towards him that he noticed that he was bleeding.

“Hey do you have a public restroom?”

“Yeah but its for customers only. Why is he bleeding?” Lazare arched an eyebrow.

“Because he’s an idiot.” She shoved her brother in the direction of the bathroom. He stumbled over and pushed through the door.

“I didn’t know idiocy caused spontaneous bleeding from the nose.”

“It’s a new phenomenon,” the girl smiled. Now that her brother was out of the way, she could get a good look at the cashier. He was tall with mahogany skin and a sweet smile.

“So what’ll it be, darlin’?” Lazare asked.

Unconsciously twirling a strand of hair around her finger, “Uh, a caramel latte and an order of strawberry beignets, please.”

“And your name?”

“What?” Her grey eyes went wide.

“For the order. Or should I just write “darlin’”?” He winked.

“You should write ‘Out of $20’ because I totally won that bet!” her brother, Oliver, interjected. Tissue paper was rolled up and shoved up his nose. His grey eyes matched his sisters.

“Ignore him, my name is Etta.”

“And treats are on her because I won!”

Lazare punched in the order and waved her money away, “It’s on the house. Etta.” She turned a hot shade of pink and they made their way to a table.

Oliver was as energetic as a puppy who just figured out how to walk and was eager to share his tale. “I just went for it — I felt like I was flying!” he looked at his exasperated sister. She was embarrassed. He knew well enough it was because she thought the cashier was cute. Under any other circumstance she would be content to ignore his childish behavior but now he noticed her shooting him glances, twitching her nose, trying to mouth “shut up” but not doing so well. He wasn’t that good at reading lips.

“Oliver you jumped over a bike rack and fell on your face. It was a stupid dare, drop it,” she said through clenched teeth.

“It was a dare I won! So ha!”

Etta put her chin in her palms, defeated.

Lazare swaggered over, tray in hand, “Strawberry beignets and a caramel latte,” he presented their treats. Etta reached for her cup when the writing on the side caught her eye. She turned it to face her. It wasn’t her name or order, it was a number. She looked up at Lazare’s retreating back. She could have sworn she saw a blush creep into his cheeks.