“Remind me again why we’re going to this thing?”
Early the next evening, Sinbad and his family were getting dressed up in the fanciest clothes they owned. That is to say, not very fancy.
Apparently, Harwood caught wind that morning of a new tea place opening up in Bridgeport on the same day. It was clear that he was all for it the moment the word ‘tea’ was uttered.
Now all three of them were preparing to go to the place’s grand opening. Sinbad was helping Marc put on a clip-on tie while Harwood sat on the couch.
Harwood just gave a sideways smirk. “Well, since I know now that my two boys won’t be dying anytime soon, I thought we could all go celebrate in the best way I know how.”
“You just wanted an excuse to go try new teas, I’m guessing?” Marc asked when his tie was finally on properly.
Now Harwood just gave a coy look. “Oh, I’m not telling you boys that-maybe.” With that, all three got up and left the apartment.
Annette was still silently lamenting her abandonment of her beloved Sagebear. She didn’t even know why she was bothering going to some tea house’s grand opening.
Even so, she was now in a rather upscale boutique, looking over all the choices hanging from numerous racks.
The other customers were chattering away, paying no attention to her whatsoever. Annette could hear them talk about how they hoped to meet their soulmate at the opening.
When she found something that suited her needs, Annette quickly took it to the changing rooms. Once inside, she slipped the dress on under her regular clothes. Much to her surprise and amusement, there wasn’t any camera in the changing room.
“What, too cheap for actual security?” She quipped to herself. Annette then proceeded to sneak out of the boutique, and toward the planned location of the tea house.
“Looks like we got to this city at just the right time!” Dennis said cheerily as his wife and son took a cab to the tea house opening.
Blaise nodded in agreement. “Ya know I ain’t much of a tea drinker, but I think it’d be fun to see a nice new fancy place!”
Shark was just quiet on the ride there. He wished he was able to bring Sagebear along, but he didn’t think the new place allowed dogs in.
To his reluctance, he left her at home with the TV on. He hoped Sagebear would be all right with watching a crappy horror movie.
He was then brought out of his thoughts with a hand on his shoulder, gently shaking him.
“What’s with you, boy? You’ve quiet since we left the house.” Dennis was a little concerned about what could be troubling his son now.
“Huh? Oh, nothing. Just looking at all the scenery, that’s it.” He went back to being quiet until they got there.
The place was more crowded than Annette expected. Even so, nobody seemed to notice her walking about the place.
Several waitresses were walking by her, holding trays of various types of tea. One of them stopped and handed her a cup of jasmine tea. Shrugging, Annette proceeded to sip at it as she kept walking.
Annette was never really one to deny drinking such a delicious liquid. It just didn’t taste right to her because she had no one to drink it with.
Then, as if to taunt her, Annette could hear the sound of Harwood’s laughing. It sounded youthful, and almost mischievous.
From a good distance away, she saw him with Marc and Sinbad. All three of them were drinking tea as a family. Even Sinbad didn’t seem too disgusted by it.
Annette was about to raise a hand to him in greeting, but then decided against it. She didn’t know how the three would react to seeing her after what happened at the warehouse.
Trying to keep walking now, she then saw another familiar group of people walk in. She just hoped she was blending in enough for them not to see her.
Making sure she was inconspicuous enough, Annette watched as they came in.
“Well, here we are!” Blaise said to her husband and stepson as they entered the main area of the teahouse. “Ya don’t have to pay a buttload to try their stuff, right?”
Dennis scratched his head in thought. “I don’t think you have to pay for the samples, just the regular things. Well, let’s go find a seat.”
The place was so crowded, doing so was difficult. After trying to find a table, the family then changed their search to the section with booths.
It was there that Shark saw some very familiar red hair. Not believing his eyes, he took a step closer, and then another.
“Hey, Sharky!” Blaise called out to him. “Where ya going?”
But he didn’t seem to hear her. Shark felt like he was being drawn forward by a large magnet. When he got close enough, he parted his lips and said, with a quavering voice:
Thinking he was just hearing things, Sinbad jerked his head and looked behind his shoulder. Seeing a man he hadn’t seen in over a year, he could’ve sworn he was hallucinating.
Marc and Harwood were quiet now, drinking their tea as Sinbad looked stunned. Sinbad himself began to tremble, feeling hot tears begin to well up in his eyes.
“Hey, bro,” Marc said to try and break the silence, “you know that guy?”
Instead of answering Marc’s question, Sinbad quickly got up and sprinted away, back towards the front door of the tea house. His departure was so sudden, his cup of tea fell to the floor and shattered.
“Sinbad!” Shark called out to him, before starting to follow. “Sinbad, wait! Come back!”
Now the families of both men watched in confusion, as one chased the other out of the building, and somewhere unknown.
Having been in mid-sip when she saw what happened, Annette slowly lowered it as she proceeded to watch Sinbad push a few other patrons out of the way.
Sinbad had his hands covering his face. It was possible that he was crying his eyes out. He could be heard sobbing as he ran out the door. Shark was behind him begging for him to stop.
Setting her cup on the tray of an approaching waitress, Annette slowly began to wander that way herself. The other tea-drinkers now finally noticed the suspicious blue woman going to check out what happened.
By the time Annette got to the front door, Sinbad and Shark were already several blocks away. It appeared that Sinbad was running for the lighthouse.
When she looked behind her, Annette saw that most of the other customers were already going back to their regularly scheduled business. Taking this chance to check it out, Annette left the tea house and began to go after Sinbad and Shark on foot herself.