June 29, 2004

Bulk view

COFFEE OR TEA?

I turned, startled, as the doors burst open and the staccato beat of her heels on tiles announced her approach. From the look of it, she just had a bad day at the office. "Long time no see," I teased her, standing up as she stalked in.

She pecked my cheek and slid into the booth, ignoring the menu I offered her. "Coffee. Black." She looked at her watch. "I have another meeting in two hours. Are you sure an afternoon date is a good idea?"

"You need to relax every so often. Another late night, dear?" I wrapped her hands in mine, quelling her fidgeting. "You're working too hard."

"That's advertising for you. No such thing as a nine-to-five job. It's exciting, though. Always something new."

"I'll take what I can get of you. Perhaps I can invite you out to a late dinner at Chateau Verde?" I caught her glance at the wall clock. "But let's get your coffee first." I beckoned the waiter. "The lady will have coffee. Black, please, no sugar and no cream. I will have Earl Gray, if that's available. That will be all, thank you."

"Black coffee. Earl Gray." The waiter ambled off.

She sighed in frustration. "Dinner? Can't make it. I don't know how late the meeting will run."

"Maybe I could bring you coffee at the office. One of those gourmet blends. Perhaps I can convince you to try tea?"

"Whatever. As long as it has lots of caffeine."

"Allow me to spoil you. Is there anything else I can do for you? I missed you, you know."

Her eyes softened. "Sorry about the past few days. We've just landed a major account and I've been too busy—"

"Hush, it's okay." I leaned forward to kiss her, careful not to smudge her lipstick. Her cellphone rang, so I bumped her forehead instead. I quickly moved back as she snapped her phone open and listened.

After a rapid-fire conversation, she stuffed the phone into her purse and groaned. "Oh, damn! They've moved the deadline up, so we have to scramble." She threw me another apologetic look before digging around for her wallet.

"It's okay, I'll take care of it. You know I never let you pay anyway."

"Can't blame me for trying." She kissed me on the cheek again as she slid out of the booth. "I'll call when it's done!"

I raised a hand to signal the waiter in order to cancel the order. He hurried over with a tray, setting coffee in front of me and tea on the space opposite. I hadn't the heart to correct him or ask him to take the drinks back, so I thanked him and asked for the bill. People got it wrong almost everywhere we ate, anyway.

I reached for the tea across the table. Dark curls of flavor spread through the tepid water as I steeped it, swishing the tea bag around. While waiting for the flavor to develop, I lifted the coffee cup to my lips. The bitter taste made me grimace. I fingered the black velvet box in my coat. I took another sip, and then another, letting the burnt roast trickle down my throat. Coffee would take a while to get used to.

- Written in response to flashxer prompt "A relaxing spot of tea"

Used up the meatballs

I used up the meatballs by having my mom over for lunch and Marcelle over for a late dinner, so I can try out other recipes on Thursday. Lunch was close to perfect. I used the can of spaghetti sauce in the pantry and one packet of meatballs. Dinner simmered for too long and was a bit dry. Meatballs were well-cooked, though. Must keep extra sauce around for emergencies. Have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Also prepared pancake mix for breakfast tomorrow.

Marcelle likes pasta, so I think I'll prepare angel hair pasta with garlic and olive oil sauce next Tuesday. I wonder what other people like...

8-ball answers

- Signs point to yes. - Yes. - Reply hazy, try again. - Without a doubt. - My sources say no. - As I see it, yes. - You may rely on it. - Concentrate and ask again. - Outlook not so good. - It is decidedly so. - Better not tell you now. - Very doubtful. - Yes - definitely. - It is certain. - Cannot predict now. - Most likely. - Ask again later. - My reply is no. - Outlook good. - Don't count on it.

8-Ball Answers