Serial Story: Fit to be Chai-ed, Ch. 5

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Fit to be Chai-ed

Chapter 5

“Wow,” Anna said, lowering the cup and hoping Will didn’t notice how badly her hand was shaking. “You’re right – that is amazing! I think I’ll have another cup with lunch.” She smiled and turned toward the door, waiting for something to happen. Something bad.

“Glad you like it,” Will called after her. I’ll see you in awhile then, right?”

“Absolutely!” She nodded, intent on getting out of the shop quickly. If she had been poisoned, she wanted to get to Erik. If not, she still needed to let him know, so he didn’t freak out about her taking a drink when he’d very specifically–

“Oomp!” The air rushed out of her lungs and she had a hard time breathing as something thick and heavy hit her square in the torso. Or had she walked into it? Several sensations collided in her mind all at once – the spicy scent of her tea, a painful heat on her chest and down her stomach, and a familiar musky male fragrance that she wanted to wrap herself up in. 

“Anna? Are you okay?” Strong hands grasped her upper arms and pushed her back a step as she looked down in dismay.

“What the hell, Detective? You couldn’t just say my name or something?” She dropped the empty cup and swiped ineffectively at her jacket as the last drops of tea slid down. Glancing up as he released her arms, she noted his irritated look.

“I told you not to drink it,” he said, brushing liquid off his own jacket. “I thought you were in trouble, so I was coming to rescue you. You’re sure you’re okay? Do you feel queasy or anything?”

Anna shook her head. “I’m fine. I don’t feel weird or anything, but I thought you might want to test it at least. It sure tasted good.” She looked back at The Trusty Mug, wondering how weird it would look if she went back right away. She could see the counter behind the windows, but Will wasn’t in view. He must have gone in back after she left.

“So does this mean Will didn’t do it, because I’m okay? Or do you need another cup of tea to test? Because I told him I’d be back later for more. I could go now and just tell him I spilled it…”

Erik looked over her shoulder and then grabbed her hand, pulling her away from the windows and toward her car.

“I think Will’s probably okay, though I’d still like to come with you later, just to make sure. For now, you need to just go to the office, like always. I’ll meet you there in a little bit.”

“Fine. See you later.” Anna sighed and got into her car, the spicy flavor still lingering on her tongue. She tried to remember if there were any other coffee shops in the area where she could get a replacement. Facing the day without caffeine wasn’t an option. 

She pulled out of the drive and turned right, back-tracking three blocks to a small coffee kiosk that inhabited the corner of a grocery store parking lot. Pulling up to the window, she ordered a tall Chai from the handsome young man inside, admiring the muscles that rippled under his tight t-shirt as he worked. She wondered if he’d ever considered underwear modeling…

He gave her the cup as she handed over the money, and she took a small sip as she waited for her change. It was good. Maybe even better than what Will had made. Another, bigger sip, and she held out her hand, surprised when there were two identical men swaying in the window, rather than one.


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