The young woman had short chestnut hair, sharp features, and forest green eyes. I noticed right away that while she wore a gold earring in her left ear, her right earlobe was completely missing - ragged and red, like a recent injury. Before I could dwell on it, she flashed me a smile that knocked the reasoning right out of my head.
Blinking, I tried to think of something to say. “Morifeath,” I managed finally, giving her my name and extending a hand in greeting.
She ignored my gesture and reached past me to snatch a potato log off my plate. “Z’tania,” she replied, giving me a wink as she popped the whole thing into her mouth.
My mind and heartbeat ratcheted up a few notches. I figured I'd play it cool. “I haven't seen you here before,” I ventured.
Following her lead, I grabbed a potato log and stuffed it into my mouth. With a grin and wink of my own, I began chewing. Two seconds later I felt the burn. Damn, it was hot as dragon flame! I grabbed frantically for my water, gulping a huge mouthful and spilling half the mug down my shirt.
Grunting desperately and fanning my open mouth with my hands did nothing to ease my distress. One way or another, the potato had to go. I pinched my eyes shut and swallowed, forcing the burning glob down my throat. Red faced and gasping, I drained the last of my water, swirling it around the seared flesh in my mouth while trying in vain to wipe off the front of my shirt.
I'm cool like that.
Stadia popped another potato log into her mouth, chewing it carefully “I like it hot.”