Archive for July 20th, 2015

(advent) Day 1 – Wedding Prep!

“I think this is the last one,” Drew said, putting the large cardboard box on the table in front of Molly, where it joined the six others. “I’d forgotten how many of these she had.”

“Are you sure you’re okay with us using them?” Molly asked him, letting one finger trail along the edge of a box. “You don’t want to just keep them?”

“No, I don’t want to keep them.” Drew shook his head. “They don’t belong in a box. Mom would have wanted us to use them like this.” He opened the box, and pulled out a bubble-wrapped package. Molly watched him unwrap it slowly, his strong fingers gently cradling the delicate china tea cup that he revealed. After putting it on the table, he reached back in to the box and pulled out the matching saucer. “Aunt Janice did a good job wrapping these.”

Molly reached out and picked up the tea cup. It was a pale green, with a hand-painted ivy vine wrapping around this. “Where did she get them?”

“Everywhere,” Drew said. “She was like you in that – any time we went anywhere, she would look for these. And she used them every day until she died. I never saw her use a mug for tea. It was always a tea cup.”

“I think I would have liked her,” Molly said.

“I think you would have as well. She would have adored you.” Drew looked at the boxes fondly. “I always wondered what happened to them after the accident. I’m glad Aunt Janice found them.” He kissed Molly on the top of her head, and then said, “I’ll see you later?”

“We’ll be here,” she agreed, and watched him head out to his truck. As he pulled out of the driveway, he passed Lai’s Jeep coming in, and Molly waved to her friends.

“I thought we were working on favors today!” Sue said in greeting as they climbed the stairs. “Did you decide not to?”

“Did you really think I would have anything but tea cups for favors?” Molly said, hands on her hips as she mock-glared at them. “Really?”

“Good point,” Sue said, laughing. “What’s Drew’s contribution?”

“Well, the cups used to be his mom’s.” Molly picked up the pale green cup again and offered it to Sue. “His aunt packed up his mother’s collection and sent it out to us.” She indicated a smaller box that was almost hidden on the table. “And he picked out the tea balls.”

“Oh?” Lai arched a slender black eyebrow and opened the box. “Oh my lord, where did you find these?”

“Show me, show me!” Noemi and Sue crowded around her as she pulled out a small tea ball: a tiny bat, with a baseball-shaped ball attached to it by a slender chain.

“Yes, where did you find BASEBALL Tea balls?” Noemi demanded. “I’ve been looking for those forever!”

“We had to have them specially made,” Molly admitted. “Luckily, I was able to trade for some special scones.”

“So what’s the plan?” Sue asked, putting the cup back down.

“Cup, tea ball, tea,” Molly said, demonstrating with small packets of tea from yet another box on the table. “Tea and tea ball go in the cup, and then the cup and saucer go on the wrapping, and then you get the ribbon.” She pulled the clear silvery film up, gathered it together, and tied it with a long white ribbon. “Like so.”

“And how many of these do we have to do?” Noemi said, picking up a length of ribbon. There were tiny snowflakes in sapphire sprinkled over it.

“One hundred and twenty five,” Molly said, sighing. “I think we can get through it, though.”

“Good thing we brought a couple bottles of wine,” Lai said, winking at Sue. “This is going to be a long day.”

“Where’s Schrodinger?” Noemi asked, looking around. “How come he isn’t helping?”

“He’s working on something for the wedding, and no, I have no idea what,” Molly said. “He won’t tell me, and if he’s told Drew, he’s sworn him to secrecy. All I know is that he said it was for the wedding.”

“Which means it could be anything,” Sue agreed, pulling out a chair. “All right, ladies, let’s get moving.” She peeked in the tea box. “Three different envelopes in the saucer, right?”

Molly nodded. “One for each of us.” She pulled out the envelopes and showed them. “Christmas tea for me, of course. Peppermint for Drew. Earl Grey for Schrodinger.” The envelopes were white, with more sapphire snowflakes sprinkled over them, and each had Drew’s beautiful calligraphy with the name of the tea on it.

“You guys really went all out for these,” Lai said, fingering one of the tea bags gently.

“We’re only getting married once,” Molly said. “Why not go all out?”

“True.” Noemi reached in for another gently-wrapped tea cup. “Let’s get started.”

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Drew pulled into the staff parking lot at the Gate Station, turned off his truck, and then sat for a few moments, lost in thought. The lawns of Carter’s Cove Gate Station rolled out around him in all directions, and in the distance, he could hear the sea. The wind through his open window carried salt, so familiar now and yet so different from where he’d grown up. At one point in his life, he’d never believed he’d end up on the Maine coast.

No, I thought I’d take over Dad’s spot in the Marionville Station, and settle down in my hometown. Isn’t that the normal way?

But after the car accident that had taken his parents and older sister from him, Drew had known he couldn’t stay in the town he’d grown up in. There were too many reminders there, looking at him from every tree and window. He hadn’t even been back since he’d come to the Cove. Not that he’d really had to try hard to avoid it – there had been enough going on here, after all.

Now, though, he couldn’t avoid it any more. Aunt Janice had included a letter with the cups, a letter that Molly hadn’t seen. A letter that Drew still carried with him.

He pulled it from his wallet, and read it again. It wasn’t very long.

Dearest Drew, I was so happy to hear of your upcoming marriage. Your Aunt Janice has kept me apprised of how you have been doing, and your Molly sounds like a lovely girl. I can’t wait to meet her.

Love always, Phoebe