Creative Writing, Prose

Coffee

Prompt: Create a scene (700-1000 words) with at least three characters. Two of these characters should have different viewpoints on the world; one should be an “insider” in the world you’re creating, and one should be an outsider. For example, you could set the scene in your country and have one person be native and one be a foreign visitor. The third character should be an eavesdropper on a conversation between the first two. Construct the story using no more than three speech tags (a speech tag is something that identifies a speaker, like “she said” and “Kevin replied”); instead, use the setting, descriptions, and idiosyncrasies to make the speakers identifiable. Be careful, however, to avoid caricature.

She looks at him as if he had suddenly grown a second nose. There is disgust in the crinkle of her nose, in the corner of her mouth, and I can’t help but giggle a little from my position next to theirs.

She’s pretty in an understated kind of way, as if she doesn’t care how others perceive her, but I can tell that she does. Her blonde hair is scrunched in a messy bun, but it looks thick and healthy. Her skin is unblemished, except for a matter of freckles on her nose. Her eyes… They are this blue-green color, like teal, I only remember seeing that color once, a long time ago, when I was in third grade. My teacher Irina had eyes like hers. She was the most amazing person I’ve ever known. I know she cares about her looks because she’s done that thing where girls put on makeup that looks as if she wasn’t wearing any. I know because I’ve seen her without it.

He is handsome. Yeah, I can say it, what’s wrong with a guy saying that another guy is handsome? He’s built like a quarterback, all muscles and attitude, and he moves his hands a lot when he talks. For a second there I fear he’ll spill her chai latte on her books, but I guess playing sports has given him good reflexes and he avoids the cup at the last second. He has dark brown hair, but there is a spot in his head that is kind of empty of hair, and I can imagine him in 15 years, going bald and talking about his former glory days. He crosses his arms in front of his chest and frowns while she jots down some notes.

The coffee shop clientele slowly drift out and I can finally take a minute. I make myself a pumpkin spice latte – because why wouldn’t I? – and sit next to the espresso machine. It’s by no fault of mine that I can overhear their talk.

– Look, it’s obviously not a matter of attractiveness. I mean, you are really handsome, but I’m just not interested… – She takes a sip of her drink and points out at the table – Tell me that any of this is even remotely interesting to you and I’ll give it another chance.

The guy looked at the table and pursed his lips. XV century Literature.  Ancient Greece – History and Philosophy. Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Machiavelli’s Prince. His brow furrowed deeper than before.

– I know this one, – taking Holy Blood, Holy Grail and turning it around to read the back cover – isn’t this the one that plagiarized that guy’s book? The one with the albino monk?

She looked at him with an expression between amusement and exasperation.

– Sure, if you can plagiarize something that was written around 35 years after your book. Anyways, really, I’m flattered, but no, thank you.

The guy’s scowl deepened even more, and he gritted his teeth before putting a neutral expression on his face.

– There is no need for you to be sarcastic. Not all of us had the chance to go to a nice school before college. Some of us had to get by and do many things your pretty head couldn’t comprehend so it was possible to get where we are now.

She looked ashamed for a second, before opening her mouth, but there were no words coming out. I laughed a little bit; this was the first time she was left speechless. Good for him, she deserved her ego beaten down a peg or ten. She closed her mouth for a few seconds and opened it again, this time with an appropriate response.

– I’m sorry. You’re right, sarcasm was out of line. You didn’t know that this book was written before that piece of crap Dan Brown wrote… – she looked at him with hesitation – Maybe you would like to read it?

I almost spit my coffee right then and there, but spilling such a treat wouldn’t do. This is the only time of the year when I can enjoy pumpkin spice lattes and I intend to do so, damn it! Besides, had I spit it would have alerted them of my eavesdropping, and I’m no way fit enough to go against quarterback boy.

He looked at her for a few seconds, his stare intense, before answering: – If you give me a couple of days to finish it…

– Sure, – she said, hesitance still in her voice – we could meet here again so you can return it? I’m here almost every afternoon, so it wouldn’t be much of a hassle for any of us, right?

She blushed, oh my God, isn’t that adorable? She needed someone calling her out on her snobbish behavior to get her reasonably interested in another human being! Had I known that I would have done it myself. She IS really pretty, even if sometimes she acts like she’s better than the rest of the world.

He slowly raised himself from the chair, taking the book with him. – So I guess I’ll see you in a couple of days and we can discuss this? – he said with a raised eyebrow.

– Yeah, sure – she gave him a little smile – I’ll see you soon.

He answered her smile with one of his own, turned around and left, opening the book while he did so. I prepared a new Chai latte for her and took it to her table. – This one is on the house – I said, putting it where the book used to be – I guess you’ll be stationed at this table for a couple of days? – I joked, waiting for an annoyed answer.

– I guess I will be – she said before taking a sip of her new drink, the smile never leaving her face.

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