Faery Godlover(8)

By: Lizzie Lynn Lee

So far she’d just dug herself right into a rut, from which there seemed to be no exit, no way out. She grimaced at the chewy consistency of the stale pastry and tossed it into the trash can across the room. However, she missed by about a foot, just as Cynthia walked in.

Perfect. Just perfect.

“If you’re going to waste food and drive up production costs, you could at least dispose of the evidence properly,” Cynthia said, shaking her head.

“Well, I didn’t miss on purpose,” Jasmine replied, getting up to put the croissant directly into the trash this time. Her manager plunked down into a chair and began peeling a banana while poring over the upcoming week’s schedule.

“Can you cover for Gabby next Wednesday?” she asked.

Jasmine’s stomach plummeted. She had been hoping to have that day off so she could finally go see a movie that had come out a week ago. Alone. Of course. She supposed those plans were kind of pathetic, anyway, so she might as well earn some extra cash instead.

“Sure, I guess,” Jasmine answered.

“Thanks. By the way, could you head back out there and help? Julie’s gotta go home early to see her kid’s piano recital,” Cynthia added. So much for a fifteen minute break.

“Yup,” she said dully, walking back out to resume her spot behind the counter, tying her apron on along the way. She typed her employee code into the register and glanced up, affixing a customer-service smile to her face. But at the sight of the man standing on the other side of the counter her jaw immediately dropped..

He was so tall that she had to crane her gaze upward to meet his eye.. His sun-kissed skin was utterly smooth, almost to the point of looking like a wooden sculpture. His shoulders and chest were broad and clearly muscular, accentuated by his tight black button-up shirt. He wore the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, revealing thick, golden forearms. Jasmine had to fight the urge to lick her lips. Somewhere in the back of her mind, a sly voice questioned what it would feel like to be lifted up into the air or pinned against a wall by those strong arms.

And that face… oh, that gorgeous face.

He had a set of full, luscious lips, and silky, dark locks that framed a square jaw and high cheekbones and his thick brows lifted questioningly at Jasmine’s hesitation. She longed to see what his eyes looked like, for despite being indoors, they were hidden behind a pair of curiously dark, round sunglasses. She wondered if perhaps he was eccentric.

But when she continued to stare blankly at him, he cleared his throat.

“Has a cat got your tongue, miss?” he asked, in a voice as deep and smooth as velvet.

Jasmine snapped out of her reverie with a rosy blush to her cheeks, shaking her head slightly as though to shrug off a trance. “Oh, s-sorry,” she began. “Welcome to Java Joy, what can I get started for you this morning?”

“It’s after noon,” the man corrected, with his sensual lips pulling to one side in a hint of a smirk. Jasmine bit her lip.

“Y-yes, sir. Afternoon,” she agreed, smiling sheepishly. Inwardly, she glowered at him. Great, another smartass. As if it really mattered what time of day it was anyway.

“Right. Could I trouble you for a glass of Kadupul flower nectar, shaken, with ice?” he asked, as casually as one might order a cappuccino.

Jasmine blinked dumbly at him, trying to find the lilt of a joke in his tone. But it wasn’t there. “Kad-what? Uh, I-I don’t think we carry that here,” she said, frowning at him in confusion.

He pursed his lips for a moment. “Hmm. Pity. Well, then I’ll just take a chilled moonbeam reduction with a smattering of gold flakes. And whipped cream.”

Jasmine stared at the guy openly. But he simply stood there, a mild smile on his face, awaiting her next move. Well, if he was going to play this game, she would just join in. He’d have to give up eventually and just ask for a tea or something. He looked like an organic tea guy, one of those enlightened yogi types.

“Mhmm, and would you like those gold flakes on the side or on top?” she asked brightly, tucking a loose lock of hair behind her ear.

“On top will suffice,” he replied easily, nodding.

“Would you perhaps like to add a sliver of the Hope diamond or an ancient Mesopotamian artifact to complete your order, sir?” Jasmine quipped, fluttering her eyelashes sarcastically.

“Oh no, I think that might overdo it,” the man said. “How much will that be, then? And what is the currency here—yen? Wait, no. Pesos. Oh, hold on—is it the dollar?”

Jasmine paled, unsure of how to play along with this. Maybe he really was just a weird guy from out of town. And she’d been making fun of him all along. She suddenly felt very guilty. She half-expected Cynthia to poke her head around the corner and write her up a second time for being rude to customers.

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