Valencia Scoville
There was a temptation to crack.

Rika did not. Instead she turned her head to the side some, resting it on her fist casually, beaming with a bright and confident smile. Hold the fucking course.

"Or would I?"
Incredible. This was what he'd raised. A confident liar. Beauregard laughed, pulled his hand away, tucked it under his chin. Eyeing the two sauces.

Was she starting with the truth to avoid any tell she was lying? Or was Rika bold enough to begin with dishonesty? Each answer seemed equally likely. She had such a protectiveness over him, bawling when he so much as prodded at his own skin for her. But did it carry through a competition?

He took a breath, perhaps intending some variety of trash talk, before releasing it emptily.

"Terrible. This is a terrible game. Who thought of it?"

And then, deciding it was best to be quick, he dipped his finger into the left, then brought it to his tongue with an anticipatory scrunch of his face. And it was... warm. There was a warmth to it. He waited, looked to her with expectation that he would soon be in pain.

"Mild?" he peeped after another moment without immediate suffering.
Aw man. He got it. She'd hoped he would change his mind just before, but instead... FAILURE.

"Milder..." she whined, head tilting back. "I lost the first round!"

She could cheat and make his hotter in his mouth now but he'd see it >:[

She hovered her finger above the hotter sauce sadly. Save her, Beauregard.
Victory, in this case, tasted of unfamiliar spices and the absence of burning. Beauregard was quite pleased with himself, and also softened by her choice to tell the truth first. All part of the damn game, he supposed, but it left him perhaps unwisely kind.

"I will give you a free pass this one time," he said, reaching his hand out to gently guide hers away. "If only because you so sweetly told the truth."

Just as she'd hoped, he supposed. But he couldn't be cruel all the time, surely.

"You're the sweetest sweetest sweetest ever. Try again?"

Oh, certainly, the sweetest. There was no man kinder than Beauregard.

"Yes," he said. "Shake the plates up a bit so that I can't see the mark from my finger. Swap them as you please."

Spoken with an excited sort of authority. From here, he lifted both hands to bring his palms to his eyes, the show of a man who could not see.

This, of course, would be roughly when the waitress arrived to check on them.
She was just pulling the plates to herself when the waitress showed up. OOOOPS.

"Uh- yeah! Everything good!" she said without thinking in an effort to get her away, and it was only after the waitress started to leave that she realized she was supposed to order a thiiiiiing!

He pulled his hands away a moment too late, foolishly dedicated to not peeking. But he caught Rika's distress, if in her expression as much as through his ability.

"Do you need me to call her back?" he asked, eyeing Rika increasingly from the side as he began to tilt his head toward the waitress.

Flustered girl.
A puff.

"No, it's okayyy. I think — this is fine. No peeking," she insisted, trying to get back to work here. Switched the plates around and around, took her own finger and swirled letters in them both. A "B" in one and an "R" on the other.

Realized something, grinned to herself.

"Okay. This time I marked them down with which one is for you, and which is for me."

Sufficiently scolded back to hiding, he brought his hands up again, listening to the sounds of the restaurant. He closed his eyes for good measure, enjoying the sensation of some mid-evening eyelid resting.

But soon enough, it was time to play again, and he was surprised by the display before him. Delighted by her ability to keep the game fresh.

"Hmmmmm," he began. "Tell me what made you select that one for you, and that one for me."
"Uh —" she started, genuinely flustered by the question. "Well, it's- I just thought it was cute. But also! It's obviously the mild one!"

OBVIOUSLY! She grimaced a little through her smile.
Caught her. She'd done well enough the first time, his guess more luck than skill. It felt cruel to catch her twice in a row, but he had been very kind the first time.

Beauregard, with utter conviction, reached to her plate to smear his finger into the sauce, rounding out the "R" to a "B."

Then he bought it to his mouth again, staring her down as he lapped his finger clean. This was a show of confidence, of course, but even the barest heat initially frightened him. (She could have been acting suspicious on purpose, after all.) But, just as last time, he'd found her out.

"Rika!" he gasped. "You would have given me the poison plate!"
Her! Poison! It was a good way to distract her from that image of him lapping at his finger. That had given her feelings!

"Noooo!" she waited, pressing her blushing cheeks together. "I knew you'd find me out again."

Bravely, she smushed her finger into the other plate.

Mmmm, tasted like flavor!
Truthfully, he wasn't much a fan of even this milder sauce. Perhaps if he was eating it on the chicken itself instead of lapping it from an appetizer plate.

"You have to try harder," he bullied, watching her attempt the other sauce.

But she lacked the same reaction as before. Red-faced, all fluids.

"Though hardly fair if you've grown accustomed to it," Beauregard complained, eyeing the plate she tasted from like something that might leap out and attack him.
It was true. Although she did fan her face, the redness from before wasn't there. Oops, Rika.

"I haven't!" she insisted. "It just takes a while to come out sometimes!"
He huffed, having seen her show before. Perhaps she'd eased the flavor for his sake. Beauregard waved her claims away.

"Fine, fine. One more try before we get you some actual dinner?"

There was a chance she'd eat the wings, but certainly they'd cooled now. Beauregard, of all people, understood the value of a hot meal.
"Onnnne more," she nodded.

Rika deleted every trace of capsaicin in both plates. Which meant that she had absolutely no way to make it hot again, but why did people eat hot food anyway?! She smoothed out the sauce with a spoon, and then invited him to try, promising herself that she would tell the truth this time.
He waited again, looking away, shielding his view of her with a lifted hand.

When it came time again, and he was left without any indication of which was which, he frowned thoughtfully.

"Tell me which one is hotter," he requested simply, sweeping a hand across the two options with a loose movement of his wrist.
The one on the...


She pointed to the right.

"That one."
She hesitated for a moment. This, of course, told him nothing as to whether or not she was telling the truth. Beauregard considered the pattern so far. A truth, a lie.

Now a truth, perhaps.

"I believe you," he said, reaching for the left and dabbing a smear of it to his tongue.

The experience was different, somehow less than before, and his expression leaned faintly confused for it.
NnnNHh. NNNNNNNNNGH. She grinned so wide her face hurt.

"Now try the other one."
Something was awry.

Beauregard saw that face, looked down at the plate he'd tasted from as if it might suddenly be apparent to him what was so amusing.

"Why!" he asked in exclamation, refusing to so much as bring his hand near it yet.

He would not suffer heat if he hadn't lost. The rules had been quite clear.
"Just to tryyyyy!" she whined. Stop being such a butt, Bo.
Beauregard didn't like this. If it was hot, he would throw a fit right here at the table.

Sighing with great drama, he swept a finger into the other sauce to taste it. And he felt, immediately-


He felt nothing.

"Rika," he said, tilting his head at her.
She laughed, impish and pure at the same time.

"Yes Bo! Is something wrong?!"

Okay, almost there.
Beauregard had half a mind to suggest her into explaining. He could be a reasonably patient loser, but being tricked was another issue entirely.

"I'm going to put this sauce in your hair if you don't explain," he maliced, putting a threatening hand on the plate.

Of course, they would both knew he'd do no such thing, but it was about making a threat more than acting on it.
"Nooo!" she yipped, covering her hair. "...They're both the same."
Little monster. He'd created a monster. Rendered boyish, he reached across the table to swipe at her, though he was deliberately far from striking.

"That's not the game!" he complained. "You are all trouble. One hundred percent."

Terrible. Awful. Unforgivable. Dreadful, delightful girl.
Rika stumbled backwards out of her seat to avoid.

"One hundred and ten," she laughed.

Safe :relieved:
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