"No way." Amalia was staring bug-eyed at the menu. The cafe was all smoky brown and gray, the exact thing Joanna imagined her first date to look like. Leather-bound books lined walls. Across from her, Amalia was wearing a little beret, the tip sticking out like a stem.
"What?" Joanna sipped her tea tentatively.
"They're charging eight dollars for a single croissant. Ridiculous."
Joanna took the menu from Amalia. Eight dollars.
"We have to stick out longer," she muttered.
Without saying anything, the two girls put on sunglasses and replaced their hats for different ones. Amalia tied her coiled dark hair into a bun, then tucked it under her beanie.
Joanna didn't need to look behind her to recognize Amalia's code word. They were being watched. She fanned open the menu, the little mirror Amalia had tucked in reflecting the room behind Joanna. A man sat at a table nearby, his smoothed dark hair perfectly gelled away from his face.
"Longer. Don't want to cause suspicion." Amalia was smearing lipstick onto her full lips, bloodred against her dark skin. "He'll leave first. I'm sure of it."
They waved to a waiter, who took their order and took the menus back. Joanna saw Amalia quickly slide the tiny mirror up her sleeve. This first date was going swimmingly.
"Talk to me about first date stuff," Amalia whispered. "For cover," she quickly added.
"Yes. Of course. My neighbor died yesterday." Joanna was unsure what "first date stuff" constituted of. Although they were both trained at the same Academy, Amalia was more well-versed in the arts of talking normally. The cafe's radio was playing silent jazz, the piano clinking out notes slowly and freely. Joanna let herself soak in this moment, each note of the song making their way into her soul. Missions like these were her favorite.
"Boring. Talk more."
"Fine," she gritted out. "Our target has already found us, our cover is definitely blown, and we have approximately seventeen seconds before he finishes his coffee and makes his way towards us." After saying all of it, Joanna knew they had even less time, but she didn't want to alarm Amalia.
"Then we'd better stop him, don't we?"
She efficiently took a tray