He sighed. The coffee shop was full to bursting. Every table was full. The only empty seats were a stool at the bar that ran along one side, and one of the comfy chairs by the window.

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” he asked.

The young woman looked up at Jason in surprise, like no one had ever asked her that before.

“Y-yes,” she stammered, looking away from him.

Figures, he thought, as he went to the bar instead. He didn’t like sitting on stools, and more importantly, there was no power outlets there. His laptop only had maybe half an hour left on it, and he needed to get this work done.

Maybe I should have stayed at the office, he thought, but everyone else had gone home for the day. It was too quiet there. It made him feel like he was being watched.

He couldn’t finish at home, either for the opposite reason. The neighbors were doing construction, and it was far too loud. There was supposed to be a noise curfew, but for some reason, it wasn’t being enforced. Didn’t stop him from getting official complaints whenever Hunter barked. He considered filing a complaint himself, but honestly, it wasn’t worth getting pulled into HOA politics over.

He killed every non essential program, trying to coax as much life out of the batteries as he could. He didn’t even connect to the free wifi. Hopefully he could get this done before he ran out of power.

Twenty minutes later, he glanced up. The young woman was still sitting there, her face hidden behind her book. The seat next to her was still empty.

That irritated him. His back ached from sitting on the stool, and his laptop kept reminding him that he should save any important files and shut down. If she was so shy, why come to a coffee shop to read in the first place?

He was almost, but not quite, finished when his laptop gave up. He’d have to come in to work early tomorrow and finish it there. He couldn’t properly test the program on his laptop anyway.

He glared at the girl and the empty seat one last time on his way out. She seemed to sense his frustration, even if she kept her nose in her book, because she curled up slightly.  Jason sighed and left for his oh-so-noisy house.

 

“Can we go now?” she whispered, forcing herself not to look at the seat next to her.

In the corner of her eye, she could see the tiny man stand up and walk to the edge of the seat. It still boggled her mind that no one else noticed a man, only eighteen inches tall, wearing clothing sewn out of leaves. She had thought she had gone crazy at first. She still wasn’t entire sure she hadn’t.

“Give him a few minutes,” he said in his boyish voice.

“What was so special about him?”

The fairy shrugged. “As far as I can tell, nothing. He’s just an ordinary human, with unusual luck.”

“Good luck?” she asked. “Or bad?”

“Neither,” he said. “Or both, if you prefer. Although if a man like him keeps running into fey, its not likely to end well.”

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