The HeartsEase Tea Shoppe was almost deserted when he stepped inside that morning. Lianne, who was filling salt shakers, looked up when the little bell at the door tinkled. She rolled her eyes when she saw the hopeful smile Mike beamed at her.
“Is it just happenstance that he shows up now, or has he been watching for a slack time? Persistent he is.” Lianne grabbed her order book and walked over to the table he’d chosen.
“May I take your order, sir?” She felt the corners of her mouth wanting to curve into a smile, but she ordered herself to smarten up. She was not falling for this guy’s charm.
“Hello, Sweetie. Fancy meeting you here.”
“I doubt if there’s anything fancy about it. I’m thinking just plain persistence. Weren’t you in here last week, too?” She glared at him sternly. If only the corners of her mouth would stop trying to turn into a grin! She waved her pen at him. “May I take your order please.”
He put on a dejected look. “Do I dare order coffee in a Tea Shop…since I’ve dared to come in here in the first place? The waitress doesn’t seem friendly.”
Lianne glanced at the only other occupied table, where two elderly ladies were having tea. She saw one of them adjust her hearing aid. “All the better to hear you with, my dear.” She tried to hide the smile that came with that thought.
When she looked back at Mike, he was grinning mischievously. “Can you find me a sweet cookie with a heart on top,” he asked her, giving a wink to the tea grannies.
Lianne heard a little twitter from the other table and heard one woman say, “We’d be able to see out the window better if we moved over a bit.” Both ladies slid their chairs over as far as they could in the direction of Mike’s table.
Lianne rolled her eyes. She gave Mike an exaggerated frown. “Can you hurry up and order.”
He chuckled. “Now, Lee. Is that any way to treat a paying customer? Why, I might even buy a cinnamon roll and leave you a big tip when I leave.”
“Perhaps I should leave you a big tip, too.”
“If you can tell me how to impress a girl I’m madly in love with.”
She slid into the chair across from him. “We have a special Healthy Harvest whole grain bagel with low-calorie spread. It has no sugar, no cholesterol, no spices, no cream cheese. It’s perfect for people with heart problems.”
He sighed and put his elbows on the table. “I was hoping for something with dates in it.”
Lianne laughed in spite of herself. “You’re a nut.”
The two old ladies at the other table giggled between sips of tea.
“Just think of me as a big teddy bear with a huge attraction to a certain honey tree. I can’t help myself; I just keep coming back, hoping. If you give me some heart’s ease here, I promise I’ll straighten up and make something of myself. And I’ll always treat you right, Lee.”
“So you say. But what if…”
A shrill voice from the next table interrupted her. “For pity sake, young lady, give the man a chance!”
Lianne grabbed a white napkin off the table and waved it in the air. “Alright, Mike. Let’s talk about it.” She glanced at the two ladies, both of them nodding and wearing big grins. “After work,” she added.
Fandango’s challenge word for today: HEART