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Book 1 Website Chapters 1-2

“Excuse him, Love,”

“Excuse him, Love,” he pats Alison’s hand. “He’s a bit out of sorts today. Actually, most days, but he’s harmless. Well, I can’t say that. But I’ll do whatever he’s ordered.” The beekeeper turns to Navy, “The ladies and I will meet you at the table.” Alison braves new words to Navy, “Um, Sir, I’m, um, I’m sorry Sir, but I just found out, we’re, we’re out of English Breakfast Tea.” “You’re out of English Breakfast Tea,” agitated, snobbish and superior. “How can you be out of English Breakfast tea if you’re a bloody breakfast establishment? Did somebody tip the abacus? Might they have confused the stone and chisel with the millstone whilst grinding the wheat?” Further abashed, I force my corners straight and up the ante, extending a psychic hug to Alison. “No Sir, I mean yes Sir, we do. We just ran out. I’m sorry,” her lips quiver, she blinks repeatedly, “We have Earl Grey and Orange Spice, Sir.” “Earl Grey then. Would you like me to have containers of English Breakfast Tea shipped over? Maybe I can add it as an adjunct business to my current venture.” He takes a napkin and wipes smudges from the glass case. Alison totals their order but a concerto of plates, glasses and silverware crashes in the back. Adrenalin shoots through my limbs. Navy doesn’t move. Alison looks to Navy, her face scrunched as sounds ricochet off the tile floors, “That will be $14.58, Sir.” “You’re charging me for tea I didn’t want?” his restrained incredulity freed. Leaning, I share a smile with Alison, grace and hope in the tangles of despair. The Rules of Life by Melissa Abbott-Cooke. Contact: Melissa@therulesoflifebook.com 615-669-5643 20

Her cheeks flame, “I’m, I’m sorry, Sir. You’re right Sir. I was wrong to think about it; $11.34, Sir.” She takes his card, he plays his game. Navy steps right. I snap my files on the counter, lips ironed shut, fists clenched and arms folded and locked while my psychic hugs wrap Alison. Her fingernails gnawed, Alison places two silver decanters, ceramic cups and utensils on a tray. She turns but her foot catches on the rubber mat. She flies forward, hurling the contents of the tray. The Boston Tea Party relives when it was just two cups. Skin mottled, Alison’s eyes well with tears, “Oh my God, no! I’m so sorry! Kathryn, your files, I’m so sorry,” she clamors for towels. Navy picks up the pieces. My teeth clenched, I rip rebellious napkins from the holder into my fisted hand. Alison returns with towels which Navy takes. I swipe them away. “It’s okay Alison, it’s okay,” I soothe. Her tears brimming, I take her hand, “I’ll wipe this up; please don’t worry. Just get his order.” I lean closer, “It’s okay Alison, it’s a small moment in time; we’ll get through this together, okay?” Her lip trembles. From the corner of my eye, Navy aligns contents on the tray, soaked napkins in his hand. Outraged, I slap my towel on the counter. His suited arm comes forward to take it. “Here now, I’ll get this.” I wipe and swipe. Pinched lips don’t sink ships, I let go, “You are the most arrogant, selfish, controlling and just, just pedantic man I’ve ever met.” I rip more napkins from the holder. “I can take those for you,” his command softens. The Rules of Life by Melissa Abbott-Cooke. Contact: Melissa@therulesoflifebook.com 615-669-5643 21

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