The Original Prompt was:
So, prompt. That awkward moment at a cafe where there is one seat left at any of the tables and you need it, but, naturally, there will be a stranger sitting across from you. And go. Bonus points is said other person is attractive.
Farley had wanted to work on her paper at the library, but Judgey McHotpants, the sign language guru of the library, had been at the front desk and it would have taken IMF or MI6 training to sneak past him – which she didn’t have. So, Farley humped her twenty pounds of notebooks, books, and computer to the nearest coffee shop with wifi and ordered a frappe with an extra shot and whipped cream, but the universe was against her.
When she turned around to find a place to sit there were no empty tables, only empty chairs at occupied tables. It wasn’t that Farley didn’t like sitting with a stranger, it was that she loathed sitting at a table across from a stranger because it was always fuck-off awkward. The options were not good, either. There was a spreader (a person who can take up all the space at a table for four and still look longingly at the space of his neighbor’s table), an entrenched homeless person, a girl talking obnoxiously loud on her phone and looking terrifyingly close to tears, and an a-dork-ably cute guy wearing headphones and reading No Place to Hide.
There was really only one option, and Farley knew it could only end in another socially awkward moment over which Valerie would howl with laughter, and Anne would shake her head. Nodding, Farley girded her loins, metaphorically speaking, and strode over to the a-dork-able guy’s table, deliberately and gracelessly cutting off another customer who had been about to make a move on it. She waved a little until he glanced up, marking his spot with a finger and hooking one headphone off an ear.
“Yeah?” he said.
Be cool, be cool, Farley ordered herself.
“Are you available?” Farley asked, and he blinked, his mouth opening. “I mean! Is this seat available? Not you! I mean, you’re cute, but it’s not like that. I mean it could be like that, but not right now, I just need a place to sit and you are the most appealing option. Fuck, I don’t want to sit on you, just the chair, not that you probably wouldn’t be equally comfortable to sit on, but I meant the chair. It’s a nice chair and you’re not a spreader, crier, or smell bad.”
Farley finally clapped a hand over her mouth. Wordsmith her ass, this shit was easier when she knew the person. There was a really awkward fifteen second pause while they stared at each other.
“You know what? I’m going to try a different table,” Farley said, taking a step back and pivoting toward the now sniffling girl on her phone.
“The seat’s not taken,” he spoke up. “You can sit here.”
“Really?” Farley squinted at him and he gave her a small smile.
Farley gingerly set her drink down and put her backpack on the floor next to what was now her chair. The guy watched her unpack her stuff and set up and Farley struggled not to hunch her shoulders. She kept her head down and quickly got to work. The guy was a good table companion and after a little while Farley was able to relax. The guy left forty-five minutes later and Farley studiously ignored him going over to the barista to ask for something. On his way out the door, he set a folded piece of receipt paper on one of her books and left.
As soon as the door closed, Farley flipped open the paper.
I am available to be sat on or just for coffee without books and laptops
“Holy shit,” Farley breathed. “I am a motherfucking wordsmith!”