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Sweet enough

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Helena eagerly looked up from the counter. She was back again - the woman she'd seen here every day for weeks, sometimes in scrubs, sometimes in high-vis. She was always in a rush, always just wanted a coffee - black, no sugar.

She always looked stressed, and every day Helena put a cookie on top of the coffee, in case she didn't have time to eat.

She was here with a man, this time. He was a fireman who'd been here before, both of them in jeans and shirts today, and he was talking relentlessly, and Helena felt a stab of jealousy. She saw Myka - she wrote the name reverently on the coffee cup each day, called the name in a single breath, the very word rushing from her eager mouth, Myka's fingers brushing hers, the furrowed brow unfurling for a grateful smile for the barista - grimace at something he said. She'd already started the pour, having to move it into a mug when Myka asked for dine-in service. She slid the cookie onto the saucer, pulling a caramel Frappuccino for Pete, along with a slice of cake.

It looked like a date, and Myka looked like she'd rather be anywhere else. Pete kept offering her bites of cake.

"I don't like sweets," Helena overheard Myka say a little too loudly, and she blushed with embarrassment. For weeks she'd been slipping her cookies, and she didn't even like them.

"But you're eating a cookie," Pete pointed out. Myka dipped it into her black coffee with apparent enjoyment. American very very uncivilised, Helena knew, but for a moment she wanted to be taht cookie.

"It's salted oatmeal, and it's bitter with the coffee," Myka said, and she looked up at the counter, and Helena had to hide the instinct to duck, caught out, caught in that friendly gaze.

"They never give me cookies," Pete grumbled, and Myka looked up at Helena again.

"I think it's a special? With the Americano?"

"Isn't that bitter?" Pete asked, making a face.

"I'm a paramedic. I need the kick."

Pete looked down at a device on his pants. "I need to get back to the station," he said, standing. He grumbled and shoveled the cake in his face, and Myka grimaced again, watching as he walked away. She went to the counter.

"Can I please get the rest of this to take away?" Myka asked. "And I can't see the oatmeal on the menu - could I get another please?"

"They're... they're not on the menu. I make them while I'm studying."

"What are you studying?" Myka asked, glossing over the fact that Helena had been smuggling her homemade goods for weeks - months.

"Electrical engineering," Helena said, transferring the coffee and topping up the takeaway cup - not a business directive, but of her own volition. Myka was a good repeat customer, though, and the pour had been short when she'd transferred it.

"Is that where you," Myka gestured to the burn on Helena's arm.

"Oh! Oh, no, that's from the oven here. I always forget..."

"If you ever need a doctor..." Myka said, raising an eyebrow.

"A paramedic treats burns?"

"So you were listening," Myka's eyebrow raised again. "I'm studying to be a neurosurgeon. Why do you bring me cookies?"

"I... uh... I find the cookies here, the food here in America too sweet. Sugar in everything. So I made something comforting to bring in on my shifts. To remind me of home. I noticed, when you came in, you looked hungry, but you didn't pick anything to eat. I had a spare..."

"They're perfect. Um. I'm." Myka watched as Helena pulled a small baggie from a handbag. "Oh! No, I didn't mean to..."

"I make them for you," Helena said, biting her bottom lip, letting it go reluctantly, putting the cookie on the takeaway mug. Every night she baked cookies, she thought of the surprised, pleased smile on Myka's face the first time she'd given her one. Now the smell of oatmeal cookies baking made her blush. "I make them for me," Helena blurted out. "But I always make sure I make some for you, too."

"I think that's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me."

"That's sad," Helena said without thinking. "I mean, it's just a cookie." Helena looked up reluctantly, and Myka was smiling down at her kindly.

"It's not just a cookie to me," Myka said. "It's thoughtful. And it's sweet. I don't normally like sweet, but from you..." Myka looked away, bit her own lip, fidgetting. "I know you're probably just being nice because you're at work, and even if I... I'll miss the oatmeal cookies if you... Um. Here's my number." Myka slid a card across the counter. "You don't have to call..."

"I do," Helena said without thinking. "I mean, I will." She was sure the blush on her face must match Myka's, but Myka's eyes were shining, and she was smiling.

"Good," Myka said, looking down at the device on her belt. She sighed. "I have to go back to the hospital, but I look very much forward to your call."

Helena nodded, swallowing, dusting down her apron.

"Delicious," Myka said, taking a bite of the cookie, but eyeing Helena instead.