Chapter 1 part 6

The waitress returned with a tall mug, the double wall insulating type, of hot water for Geraldine to steep her herbal tea in, and a cafetière ready to plunge of roasted smelling coffee for him. Geraldine dropped her herbal tea bag into her mug and idly pulled at the string; swirling the bag through the water to try and accelerate the steeping process; as she watched Edward slowly but steadily plunge the cafetière. Edward did not miss the attention that she paid him; his own observations were, he hoped, a little more discrete. He smiled and looked directly at her as she spoke.

“These teas always smell so divine, it is such a shame that the flavour does not live up to the promise of the aroma. But I have become accustomed to the weak flavour now, and honestly quite enjoy them. But they really are an acquired taste I think.”

“I must admit the fragrance from your tea is very …, well, tantalizing. It is quite perfumed. I don’t drink tea as something in it always seems to upset my stomach.” ‘Except when I am on business’ Edward thought, when tea is the perfect drink, being so difficult to mask anything with, unlike coffee which can hide even the bitterest of additions’ Edward bought his full concentration back to Geraldine, this was no time for lapses in concentration.

“Try these when you get a chance” Geraldine was saying, “this brand doesn’t have any actual ‘tea’ in it. It is purely herbal.” She gave him the wrapper that her tea bag was in. “Look along the shelves in the supermarket for this and perhaps buy a mixed selection. But you do need to leave them in the hot water for a long time. These insulated mugs are perfect. The other way of doing it is in a thermos flask, but for some reason they don’t seem to taste quite as good when I’ve done them that way.”