The tea room was a nice place. Tucked away to the casual passer-by; a haven for those who knew of it and went regularly. Outside it was unremarkable, yet clean and easy on the eye with no floor-to-ceiling windows common to all the major chains. Inside it was small and cosy while maintaining an airy, bright mood with it’s higher ceiling and farmhouse-like decor. Everything served was made on the premises, especially the cakes – the smell of which had attracted more than a few of the regular customers over the years.
It was a quiet moment of the day, so Giles and Peter had the place to themselves; they took up a circular table near the corner furthest from the counter. People walked past the shop windows and all but a few never glanced sideways into the place. Giles meanwhile stared out through those same windows, lost between the occasional passing thought and the welcoming void of listening to his own body’s involuntary reflexes.
“Do you come here often?”
Giles’ dreamstate was broken by Peter’s question. Had he said much? Had he involutarily ignored the strange man who had crashed head-first into his otherwise boring day?
“This place: it’s really quite friendly despite the lack of people in here. I was wondering how you found it and if you come regularly.”
“Oh, no. My route usually takes me either to work or to the botanical gardens where it’s quiet and I can be surrounded by nature.”
“Are there no other green areas? The city seems awfully gray, even with the sunlight.”
“There are a few, just not as nice in my opinion. Where are you from? I thought everyone lived in cities nowadays.” Growing plants and crops had become commonplace in cities with the advance of hydroponics. Farms had become a thing of the past and nature had become part of every city to encourage more outsiders to move.
Peter remained quiet a little while. After another sip of his tea he finally said, “I’m not really sure. I just came on the train. Geography isn’t my thing.” Well, he certainly was a curious guy, Giles thought.
“Oh? What is your thing? What do you do? If you don’t mind my asking that is.”
“Let’s just say I’m the spiritual type. I came here on what non-spiritual people would say was a whim, but I felt led here. There is a reason I’m supposed to be here, today – right now. Even meeting you – that is no coincidence in my mind.”
Giles’ mind whirred. Who was this guy sat across the table from him? He was unsettled, again, but intrigued. Though he didn’t believe in coincidence either, had the events really led him to meet Peter? Or was Peter hiding something more, like having reason to find Giles?
(End of Part II)