It’s time for a short story again! I decided to try and write something a little different than I normally do (it’s so much easier to write happy things, isn’t it?) , but it still isn’t what I was originally thinking it would be. It’s interesting how the writer isn’t really the one in charge of the story. I hope you enjoy anyway.
Prompt: write about a conversation that’s had over a cup of tea. Is it sinister? Devastating news? Meeting someone they’ve longed to?
The small table had been set to the nines. The tiered serving plates were filled with tea sandwiches, cookies and truffles. A small bouquet lent its color and fragrance while the china boasted its fine craftsmanship. Golden spoons rested on white napkins. Teacups sat atop their saucers, and the small teapot sat full of golden liquid, steam rising from the spout. Nothing had been overlooked for this tete a tete. The old man stepped back to survey his handiwork and a crooked smile covered his face. Pleased with his results, he took off the flowered apron and hung it gently on its hook. Noticing that his visitor was due to arrive any minute, he shuffled down the hall to the bedroom to change his shirt.
At the chiming of the bell, he made his way to the front door to welcome the young woman who stood impatiently on the other side. She paused when she saw the table, set so elaborately, that he had to encourage her to sit down while he served. He could tell she was nervous, but he didn’t comment, he simply poured the tea and motioned toward the tower of treats within easy reach. Her long fingers plucked a truffle off the plate and nibbled it.
“These are delicious.” Her comment came without thought, the taste so surprised her that she momentarily forgot her vow of stubborn silence.
The old man bobbed his head, “I’m glad you like them. There’s a little chocolate shop around the corner. We’ll have to go, next time.”
At that, the young woman’s smile disappeared. “I don’t think so.”
“We don’t have to. I’m happy to get some more. It’s one of my favorite places to -”
“No. I mean. I mean, there won’t be a next time, George.”
The words, so softly spoken, still pierced his heart so sharp that he hunched over and all his spirit seemed to leave him.
“He doesn’t like you coming, does he.”
Despite her decision to be brave, a tear slid down her cheek as she shook her head. “He only let me come to tell you I won’t be back.”
George nodded and sighed heavily, his shoulders rising and falling slowly. “I can’t very well blame him. Well, let’s enjoy this time we have then.” With a visible show of effort, he raised himself up again and picked up his teacup, holding it out in a toast, “To times to be remembered, to people to be embraced and to love, that knows nothing of jealousy or hate.”
In that moment, the young woman realized how much she hadn’t seen before, in her past visits to this small house, the visits where she’d sat quietly, letting him tell her about his life and long-dead wife. He’d ask her questions and she’d give him the tiniest details in return, not really sure she wanted him in her life. But now, as it was all coming to an end she realized that the man who lived in it, the man that she’d never get to know fully as her father – was the richest man in town.
Have you had a fancy tea laid out for you? I’d love to hear about it! Have a happy weekend!