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Double Dare

By:Cassandra Dee



She was gorgeous and didn’t even know it. Brown curls bounced as that plump form moved behind the counter.

“Coming up,” the female murmured with a shy smile at the guy in front of me. “Bear claw just like you ordered.”

But as the barista turned and slid the pastry out onto a warming tray, the dude got agitated.

“I want a new one!” he said sharply, “Don’t give me that used shit, you touched it with your bare hands.”

The brunette paused, dismayed. Maybe she’d touched it, maybe a small finger had grazed the flaky edge as the pastry had slid from the glass case, but it was unlikely. Baristas have an uncanny way of handling food items, and I was sure that Katie, as her name tag proclaimed, had been careful.

But nodding silently, the girl stepped over to the trash to dump the first pastry, perfectly good food going to waste. Even more, I could see the tremble in her chin, the way her lashes swept down, hiding tears. Oh shit, oh shit. This fucker was such an asshole, such an idiot douche and I had to step in.

“I’ll take it,” I called out casually. “No worries, no germs are gonna get me today.”

The girl looked up startled, brown eyes wide, meeting mine. God, she was gorgeous, Katie was absolutely my type with the pert, uplifted nose and generous mouth. She hesitated for a moment.

“Are you sure, sir?” she murmured. “I’m happy to get you a new one as well.”

But I shook my head, not even glancing at the customer in front of me.

“It’s totally fine,” I rumbled casually. “Like I said, germs are for second grade, I’ll survive.”

The stranger whirled to face me then.

“I’ll have you know that I’m a cancer survivor,” he sneered. “I can’t just go eating anything and everything. I have to make sure things are super clean, fresh and hot, you never know what could bring it on again.”

I’m not exactly a pro at medical things, but still, his explanation was crazy.

“So you can buy pastries from Ninth Street Espresso, but not if someone accidentally touches it because you’re sick,” I deadpanned, looking him straight in the eye. The guy was about my age, tall and fit, not a day over twenty-five. But he flushed when faced with an alpha male.

“You don’t know what’s out there,” he huffed importantly, puffing out his chest. “Doctor’s orders,” he snapped, like that was the end all, be all.

Fine. This guy was such a loser, and besides, this conversation was totally pointless. I just wanted to get back to admiring the beautiful barista, the way that rump swayed as she moved, lush and round.

“Like I said, I’ll take it,” I rumbled again with a smile her way. “Bear claws are my favorite.”

Katie nodded gratefully, still flushed, glancing downwards shyly before looking up at me again.

But evidently the words set off my opponent because Mr. Cancer Survivor put up his fists, like we were about to duel.

“That’s my bear claw,” he snarled. “You got no claim to it.”

I stared at him, blue eyes disbelieving.

“Are you shitting me?” I asked slowly. “You just said you didn’t want it, that you can’t eat it because of your illness.”

“Well I want it now,” he snarled back, shifting his weight from foot to foot like a boxer about to fight. “That pastry’s got my name on it, you don’t know shit.”

I shook my head slowly. New York City is a weird ass place, and there are kooks on every corner. I turned back to the barista, exchanging a long look before lifting both my hands in surrender.

“Fine, it’s yours,” I replied shortly. “Take it, there’s more than enough,” I said, gesturing to the glass counter filled with pastries below us.

But dude was itching for a fight and before I realized it, the guy launched himself at me, fists bared, ready to pummel.

“I said it’s mine!” he screeched, “You came out of nowhere and took it from me! It’s mine!” he screamed again.

He landed one good one to my chest out of surprise more than anything. I hadn’t exactly expected to brawl this early in the morning, on my way to the office. But hey, a fight is a fight, and shit, I hate little twerps, losers who make like they’re big men on campus. So I swung right back, landing a solid one to his abs.

And Mr. Dorky bent over, gasping like a fish out of water. Like a lot of guys in the city, the loser looked okay on the outside, reasonably fit and tall. But it was all an illusion. The expensive suit hid a flabby body, muscles wasting away underneath, and when my fist made contact, that stomach was doughy and soft. Immediately, the smaller man keeled over, clutching at his middle.