Tea and Dagger
A Whateley Academy Vignette
Tea and Dagger
E. E. Nalley
And I thought of all the bad luck
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you.
Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter
September 22nd, 2007
Room 502, Dickenson Cottage, Whateley Academy
The knock on the door put an end to the butterflies, the self doubt and the recriminations. Tansy looked over the table a final time. The carafe was full of piping hot water, the china laid out, napkins, even real silverware; she was as prepared as she could be. She thought about how Poise would have opened the door, chin held high, but somehow modest, wardrobe, make-up and hair all perfect, a mien as regal and royal that Princess Diana herself would have felt awed; but Tansy was well aware that she was most definitely not Coleen Fitzgerald. Still, she stood as tall as she could and opened the door.
The girl in the hallway was obviously annoyed at being where she was. She was dressed well, but casually, a deep purple shirt hanging open over a white halter top with a delicate embroidery at the collar, both meant to disguise her rather modest bust-line. Jeans and lovely heeled leather knee boots took her from average height at about five foot six to just at the edge of tall at five nine or ten completed the ensemble. Her stark, milk white hair was worn down and about her shoulders, parted in the middle also to conceal the 'devil's horn' cow licks in her hair that was something of a family trait. Her long face, drawn and thin looked up at Tansy and her intense gold eyes were annoyed.
Tansy couldn't help being taller than Jadis, flat footed she was just shy of six feet and Tansy Wallcutt didn't believe in flats; the lowest set of shoes she owned were three inch heels. Tansy had decided to go with a white, bat sleeved blouse that was cute enough, but did the least flaunting of her figure in diffidence to her guest jeans and a well loved set of black Tamara Mellon pumps rounded out her wardrobe. “Hello Jadis,” Tansy greeted, opening the door completely and stepping to one side. “Won't you come in?”
Despite her obvious reservations, Jadis came in. “Is there a problem with your little 'bat cave?' she asked, then saw the spread laid out on the table. “What is this?” she demanded.
“Sit down, please,” Tansy replied from shutting the door. “Jasmine tea was your favorite, wasn't it?” she asked while pouring a cup from one of the two pots on the table and offering it. “I even have fresh Valencia oranges,” she went on, having remembered Jadis' love of an orange slice in her tea over lemon. Jadis picked up one of the whole fruit and saw the ink stamp of the Indian River plantation on it.
“How did you get these in New England?” she demanded. Tansy smiled from pouring her cup and adding what appeared to be heavy cream to it.
“Oh,” she replied with a smile, “my VISA knows a guy who knows a teleporter. They were picked this morning. Straight from the grove.”
“Alright,” Jadis declared as she put the cup of tea down without tasting it. “I know when I'm being buttered up,” she stated flatly. “Don't think all this is going to give you a discount, either! What is it you want?”
Tansy took a sip of her tea and looked out the French doors that opened onto a small space out the Mansard style roof in a little protected dormer. “What do I want? I want a time machine to go back and beat some sense into myself before I allowed all this to happen. I want a genie who will grant me a wish to magically put right all the hurt I've caused.” She sighed and turned back to the other girl. “I'll settle for an open mind and a fair hearing.”
Jadis stared at her for a moment, then selected a slice of orange with the silver tongs and dropped it into her cup. “Should I be worried that you're not drinking from the same pot as mine?”
“You know I've never cared for Jasmine tea,” Tansy replied. She picked up her pot and offered it. “Earl Grey?” Jadis used a spoon to agitate the tea and orange slice.
“I would be a bad guest if I didn't appreciate all this effort you've gone to,” Daibliku replied as she took an appreciative sip of the tea. “Excellent, as expected. So, it is true you're actually trying to be a decent human being and not playing some game with Carson and the Alphas? I heard about your little heart warming apology to Ayla on the pistol range. Remarkably brave of you, by the way.”
“Trevor I was just mean to, it doesn't take courage to own up to a mistake. Courage is needed to admit to betrayal,” the blonde declared before she sighed and took a sip of her tea. “I, I want you to know, Jadis, I didn't have very many happy moments in my childhood, but almost all of them were because of you.”
“You can't really hurt someone until you know them,” agreed Jadis sharply. “But if you think I'm going to fall to pieces and obsess over the bitch you turned into you're mistaken. I have better things to do with my time.”
Tansy shook her head. “No, I don't expect you to obsess, I suppose that's kind of my job, isn't it? I'm the one who wants to put things right. I'm the one who wants to salvage our friendship.”
“Friends?” the bad seed demanded, arching a frosty eyebrow in her scornful glance. “Is that what you think we are? You know it never occurred to me to wonder just how Freya found out who I was. I figured she saw a picture of me on the news and let's do be honest, a face like mine is hard to forget and I've been outed publicly enough. So imagine, Tansy, just imagine my surprise when while enduring the single worst year of my life that my tormenter would casually let it slip that the girl I brought to my home and into my life, who I tried to protect from those psychopaths in make-up Heather and Connie Goodkind was who had thrown me under the Freya bus!”
“I was truly happy to see you, Jads,” Tansy replied. “Even after you made friends with Trevor which at the time I'll admit felt like a betrayal...”
“When you turn into a bully you deserve to be betrayed!”
Tansy sighed and took another sip of her tea as she contemplated the morning outside. Even through the shut French doors she could see it was a beautiful autumn day in New England, one of those rare Indian summer days that sometimes happened. “I won't argue that,” she admitted finally. “But when I came over, I meant to return the favor you paid me. To sponsor you into to Alphas so you would be protected...”
“Do you think for a moment I would have stayed once I realized what that group of fiends was about?” Jadis hissed, her eyes narrow.
“I was with Kody's faction he was building,” Solange replied. “Him, Aries and...”
“Oh, were you?” smirked Jadis. “As I recall you were cleaned out with the rest of the garbage...”
“I'm trying to apologize to you, God Damn it!” Tansy shouted out of suppressed rage and frustration. “If you'll just shut the fuck up long enough for me to get it out!”
Jadis rocked back from the outburst, obviously not expecting what she'd heard and been needling for. Blinking in surprise, she looked down at her tea and the orange slice floating in it. Jasmine tea wasn't easy to get right. It was surprisingly easy to scorch it so it was flavorless or over seep it until it was so acidic as to be undrinkable. It was said the tea couldn't be made without a thermometer and a stopwatch. If she had worked this hard on the tea... “I...I'm sorry,” she admitted quietly. “I, I just knew this was some kind of trick. You being sincere was the furthest thing from my mind. I guess I've been holding a grudge over how Freya treated me. Please, forgive me and continue.”
Tansy had the grace to be embarrassed about her shouting and quietly apologized for it. “It was what I intended when I saw you at the pledge party,” she went on, returning to her original subject. “Then, when I touched you to hug you...”
Jadis nodded with a sigh as she refreshed her tea from the pot. “You sensed it,” she said softly. “For what it's worth, it freaks out every telepath I've encountered. Even Mr. Geintz is freaked out by it.” Her temper flared for a moment and she looked away. “It's not like I asked for it!”
“No!” Tansy exclaimed. “I didn't mean to imply you had! I...I just couldn't deal with it.” She sighed and shook her head. “I'm sorry, my need to explain why is getting us out in the weeds. What I'm trying to say is I'm sorry I didn't stand by you, I'm sorry I didn't help you against Freya it was wrong of me and if I could take it back I would.” She stared at her tea, then brought her eyes up. “But I can't and all I can do is apologize. I'm so sorry, Jadis, I hope someday you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I want you back, I want us to be friends again. And I want a chance to do whatever I can to make things right between us.”
Jadis stared at her tea as she stirred it slowly for a long moment. “That...that's not a decision I'm prepared to make just now. I do appreciate you going to all this trouble, but sometimes wounds take time to heal. Especially wounds this deep. You hurt me, Tansy. I don't know that I can forgive you, and if I can't that's my burden, not yours. I...I have to say no one has ever gone so all out to apologize to me.” She sighed and looked up. “I promise you I will consider very carefully what you've said today and I will get back with you soon; one way or another.”
She set the tea down and stood. “Thank you for the tea and the trouble.”
“Take the oranges with you, they won't keep, and I got them for you any way.” Jadis nodded and dropped the oranges into her purse. As she began walking to the door, she heard Tansy say, “You know...Walt...Walt Whitman was a pretty good poet, all things considered.”
Jadis smiled and turned to watch her hostess rise and come open the door for her. Jadis reached out to put her hand on Tansy's arm and thought the better of it at the last moment. From the hallway she stopped and turned to say with a smile, “No, he was just a dirty old man who had a thing for little boys.”
The blonde smiled and dabbed at her eye with a handkerchief. “See you, Jadis.”
“See you, Tansy.”
* Finis *