Crouched over a small table, a half-empty cup of coffee in front of her and a pencil in her hand, she scribbled down the meagerest detail onto a small piece of paper.
“You’re late!” she said without even lifting her head. The chair scratched against the ground as it was pulled away from the table and again as it was pulled closer.
“Would you like anything, sir?” A waiter walked up to the table and stood in front of it with pen and pad at hand.
“I’ll have a coffee”, spoke the low voice inches away from her very own ears. With a light bow, the waiter disposed of the pen and pad into his pouch and retreated to the inside of the shop. The weight in the seat in front of her shifted and a pair of hands, crossed together, sat on the table, in front of her. “Sorry for being later” spoke the same low voice as before. The woman still did not lift her head and kept on scribbling on her piece of paper. Seconds passed yet no response came from the woman. A wry smile dawned on the man.
The waiter came back with a cup of warm coffee and put it in front of the man. At that moment, the woman stood up and, drinking the the lukewarm coffee in one gulp, turned on her heels. The man got up at the same time she did and quickly grabbed her hand. A velvet box brushed her fingers as their hands were united and she froze on the spot.
“Sorry for the commotion. It’s all right.” The dumbfounded waiter nodded and left the premises in a hurry in order to not be further involved in this situation. “Now, now. No need to be embarrassed. You know that this was the reason I called you out.” The man spoke softly, a gentle smile on his face. The woman sat down on her chair again, her hands clutching her skirt and her eyes staring at her feet. The man went back to his seat as well. He drank a gulp of his coffee and pulled his chair closer to the table. He put the velvet box in front of her. “…Won’t you look at me?” After a minute of pondering, she meekly lifted her eyes. Her gaze fell on the gently smiling man, scrolled down to the velvet box then to the half-full cup of coffee in between them.