She had been given a gift certificate for a tea shop that had opened in town and decided today was the day. She loved tea, but she usually just bought the bags in the grocery store. She’d never really explored options beyond that.
She felt nervous and out of her element stepping up to the door of the shop. She had imagined an old British woman as the proprietor, stuffy and dismissive of those Americans who were too lazy to make a proper cuppa.
As she entered the shop, she almost turned around and went right back out. There were jars of tea on shelves. Not just a few but probably a hundred different varieties.
Plus the sign? “If you don’t see what you want, ask. We can blend the perfect tea for you.” How could she possibly be able to tell which one she wanted? This was worse than the wine list at a restaurant.
A male voice called from the back. “I’m here if you have any questions, but feel free to browse and sniff.”
She sighed. It was just like a wine list without the alcohol to help the anxiety. “Thank you,” she replied. Turning to the first shelf, she started reading labels. What the fuck was rooibos? She picked up the jar and sniffed it, quickly putting it back. Whatever it was, it smelled vile. No, thank you.
What was Margot thinking? When she gave her the gift certificate, she’d had a gleam in her eyes. Maybe she’d been playing a joke. She heard someone coming up behind her and turned around. Oh. My.
He was tall and just her type. She could tell that he kept himself in shape without that over-muscled look. Brown eyes and soft hair. “I’m sorry,” she blushed. “I didn’t quite hear that.” FFS. Now he thought she was ridiculous–she’d been so busy ogling him that she completely missed his question.
He laughed, but it was a nice one. “I asked if you had found anything interesting.”
Choosing to swallow her first response, she replied, “I have no idea what to look for. There are so many options. My friend Margot gave me a gift certificate, but I’m totally out of my element here.”
“Margot?” he smiled. “Might you be Stacie?”
She raised an eyebrow. “She mentioned me?”
“She described you in enough detail that I should have known it was you as soon as you turned around. She wanted us to meet. Something about being a perfect match.” Now he was blushing.
She laughed. “Now it makes sense. I thought she seemed overly gleeful with her gift. You have me at a disadvantage–you know all about me and I know nothing about you.”
“We’ll have to remedy that. I have over 200 varieties of tea in the shop. I figure by the time we try them all, we’ll know each other perfectly.”
“I don’t know a lot about tea,” she admitted.
“I don’t know a lot about books the way you do, either. But I feel like a bookstore owner and a tea shop owner might be a bit compatible. Maybe even enough to create a partnership.”
Looking into his eyes, she mentally thought to thank Margot. “Tea for two?”