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In A Cafe (I Watched It Begin)

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Felicity walks up to the counter at Jitters, having finally decided on what to order. Just as she’s about to give the barista her order, though, the girl sticks up a little ‘Register closed’ sign, completely ignoring making eye contact with Felicity, whose mouth drops open in shock and annoyance.

“Seriously?” she mumbles under her breath at the same time as the other barista coming out of the back and rolling her eyes at her coworker.

“Sin, you can’t just close your register on customers!” she chastises the girl, who shrugs and takes her apron off, already halfway to the door.

“Sorry, but my shift’s over, and I’m not spending any more time here than I have to!” the pixie-haired girl calls over her shoulder her now leather-clad shoulder.

“I am so, so sorry about that,” the barista apologizes breathlessly from having to run up to the counter halfway through whatever it was she had been doing before her coworker decided to clock out.

“Oh, it’s okay, it’s not your fault,” Felicity assures the girl. But when she meets her brown-eyed gaze, she trails off, a little breathless herself. “Oh,” she mumbles. “You’re really pretty,” she says, then her eyes widen as she realizes that she actually said that out loud. A blush rises on her face as she squeezes her eyes shut, as if that’ll make her embarrassment go away with the woman’s now smiling face.

Felicity opens her eyes one at a time as she hears the woman laughing.

“And you’re really cute,” she tells Felicity.

“Thanks,” Felicity responds with a blush. “Um, can I have a nonfat latte with extra sugar?”

“Yes, of course. It’s $3.25. And I’m so sorry to do this – again – but since my coworker just stranded me, can I ask you to wait a few minutes while I take that guy’s order? I’m more efficient when I can do one thing at a time,” she explains, looking guilty.

“Yes, of course! I have some time, and my tablet. I’ll just wait over here,” she says, going over to sit at a table off to the side.

The barista smiles at her and asks the guy behind her what he wants while Felicity unlocks her tablet, trying to distract herself so she doesn’t glance over at her every five seconds while she waits. She’s not so successful, though, as her thoughts keep drifting back to the gorgeous barista.

Felicity’s only ever been with one girl before. Back in college, she’d gotten drunk one night with her roommate, Sara, and they’d hooked up, although Felicity can’t remember how far they’d gone since she’d blacked out at some point. But she’s had plenty of crushes over the years. She’s just never been bold enough to ask any of them out because she’s never sure if any of them are actually interested in her, too, or if they’re simply being friendly when they compliment her.

Before she can overthink too much, Felicity’s thoughts are interrupted by a coffee cup being placed in front of her.

“Here you are: One nonfat latte, extra sugar. Again, I am so sorry about my coworker. She’s a piece of work sometimes,” the barista explains as she sets Felicity’s coffee down at her table.

She looks at the barista’s nametag, which reads ‘Iris.’

“It’s totally okay, I can tell you were less than thrilled about it,” Felicity assures Iris with an easy smile. She looks over at the counter and notices that there’s no one else waiting to order, so before she can talk herself out of it, says, “Well now I know your name, so I guess it’s only fair that I tell you that I’m Felicity,” she says, hoping she’s not coming on too strong. She’s not usually so bold.

Which is her dilemma now. Is this barista flirting with her too, or is she simply being great at her job by engaging customers?

Iris simply smiles and gestures to the empty seat across from Felicity, silently asking if she can sit. Felicity nods and bites her lip, silently hoping that she’s not totally misreading this situation.

Iris pulls out the chair and sits down, and their eyes meet. They both give a small laugh at look away, blushing.

“I hope this isn’t too forward of me, but I meant when I said that you’re really cute . . .” Iris starts, and Felicity can tell that she’s holding back. She gives her an encouraging smile before taking a sip of her drink so that Iris doesn’t feel pressured under her scrutiny. “Well, I mean that I meant in in a not-so-platonic way,” Iris explains, nervously looking away and fiddling with a bracelet on her wrist.

“Oh!” Felicity says, frankly surprised that she wasn’t misreading her signals. “I was hoping it wasn’t just me,” she says, both excited and relieved.

“No, definitely not just you,” Iris says, her nerves seemingly disappearing as she meets Felicity’s gaze again, her gorgeous smile returning full-force.

“Um, I hope I’m not being too forward here, but would you maybe wanna go out sometime? It doesn’t have to be coffee. I’m sure you get enough of it at work,” Felicity babbles through her nerves.

Iris laughs and says, “I would love that. Here, put your number in and I’ll give you a call when I’m off work,” she says, handing her phone over to Felicity.

Felicity takes the phone and quickly types her name in before handing it back, explaining, “It’s under ‘S’ for Felicity Smoak.” She smiles again and bites down on her lip, the pink lipstick she’d put on that morning undoubtedly faded by now.

Her phone vibrates from where it rests on the table, alerting her of a call. She lets it ring as she puts on her coat and then gathers up her bag and tablet. “That would be my work. I have to go, but um, thanks for the coffee. I’ll talk to you later!” she calls over her shoulder with a little wave, her heart fluttering as she watches Iris do the same.

“Hi, Mr. Queen. I’ll be right in. I was just stopping for coffee,” she says, closing the door to Jitters behind her. “And no, I did not get you any. I told you, I don’t do coffee runs. And you have a fully functional coffee maker in your office.”

“You are part of a very rare species that I call adorable nerds, Felicity,” Iris says from across the table later that night, grinning adoringly at the blushing blonde.

They had, in fact, ended up back in Jitters for Trivia Night. Iris was hesitant to suggest it at first, afraid of it sounding boring for a first date, but Felicity had enthusiastically agreed, telling Iris that ‘useless information is kind of my specialty.’ They hit it off right away, and despite having very different interests and career pursuits, they’d both come to their own internal conclusions that they wanted to go on a second date.

“This is gonna sound kind of terrible, but I may actually have to thank my coworker for being so terrible at customer service when I see her tomorrow,” Iris says.

“Why, because it forced you to serve me?” Felicity asks, grinning. “Yeah, I was kind of thinking the same thing,” she admits.

“I hope this means that you’re up for a second date?” Iris asks, hope showing in her eyes.

A smile lights up Felicity’s face, and she nods, replying, “Another thing we were on the same page about.”