“They do the best tea here, let me treat you.”
Thomas smiles and says “Yeah, alright.”
He’s been waiting for weeks; Diane had to make the first move. He’s known that since they met, reaching for the same book a few Saturdays ago. Diane works days, Thomas works nights, so it’s been snatched moments; arguing good-naturedly about an exhibition at lunchtime; mugs of hot Vimto in Affleck’s; browsing through the musty racks of a vintage shop.
Diane grabs his hand and hurries him up the steps. Thomas pushes open the heavy door for her, breathing in her perfume as she passes. It’s got to be today, he can’t wait any longer. They sit at the back, away
from prying eyes. Diane orders green tea latte; Thomas takes blood orange. They split a slice of carrot cake.
Diane drinks her latte quickly, always in a hurry. Thomas is used to biding his time, and the tea slides down his throat the hazy temperature of blood.
Today Diane talks while Thomas just listens, mesmerised by her voice. He can’t help staring at the mole on her neck, sure that if he was close enough he’d see it quiver from the pressure of her heartbeat. His hands itch to touch Diane’s pale throat.
“You’re miles away.” Thomas looks up, failing to hide his guilty face.
With a smile, Diane lays her hand over his. “Tom.”
Diane’s lipstick is the russet red-brown of dried blood. Thomas has had enough of fighting down the urges, his dark little fantasies.
“Take the afternoon off.”
Diane smiles, terrifying and exhilarating. “I already told them I wouldn’t be back.”
She takes his hand again, leading him this time to her flat. Thomas shifts the bag on his shoulder, hoping he remembered everything. As Diane opens the door on an empty white space, Thomas starts to feel
“It was in your tea,” she says, still smiling as she picks up a knife.
“We all have dark little fantasies.”