Curious Life of Frieda Leigh
When Jess neared, Frieda stepped toward forcing a friendly smile. “Hi.”
Jess gave Frieda kiss on each cheek. “Hey sweetheart. I made reservations. We got a nice quiet table away from all the tourists.”
Frieda followed Jess inside the teahouse to a secluded corner table. A plump middle-aged waitress arrived at their table with a giddy grin as if serving tea was her life’s calling. “Good morning ladies. Do you know what you’d like?”
“I’ll have the black cardamom tea,” Jess aid with a wink to Frieda. “Your teahouse isn’t being strong-armed by the cardamom cartel?” she joked to the waitress.
The waitress scratched her temple. “No. I don’t think so, but I will check with the manager.” She turned toward Frieda showing unease from Jess’ question. “And for you, hon?”
“I’ll have the same,” Frieda replied.
“We have to support your boyfriend’s cause,” Jess said after the waitress walked away.
Frieda nodded casually. “Yeah, sure.”
“So, how’s the book coming along?” Jess asked getting straight to business.
The waitress appeared again at the table with a three-tiered tray of scones and teacakes. “Tea will be right up. And I checked with the manager, we don’t have any issues with the Cardamom Cartel.”
“Good to know.,” Jess said reaching for a raspberry scone and took a bite waiting for Frieda’s response on her book.
“Honestly, having a little bit of trouble getting started.”
“Huh,” Jess said with a sigh. “Yeah, writing is kind of like sex. If you don’t do it often, it begins to feel unnatural and awkward. Once you start doing it over and over again, you remember how wonderful it is.” She smiled at Frieda. “But since you’re dating several lovers, I’d think you’d be able to draw upon some of your experiences.”
Frieda rested her elbows on the table falling naturally into conversation. “You’d think inspiration is easy, but it’s not. I have characters to draw from, but what's their story? I'm not sure where to begin. So many themes and plotlines to draw from.”
The waitress returned with their tea. Jess squeezed lemon juice from a wedge, added a teaspoon of sugar and a douse of milk. “Well, you know from reading Terrorist Tryst that military eroticism is hot, but I think that trend is fading. No one wants war anymore. Also, rich man, poor girl fantasies are going by the way side. It’s the opposite trend these days. Women want a hunky farmer to heat up the haystacks. Look at the sign of the times. What to people want now? What do women want?” She looked at Frieda. “As a woman, what do you want?”
Frieda studied Jess' face, her serious blue eyes and determined expression. She took a pause to add honey to her tea. “I don't know.”
Jess chuckled. “That's why you have three boyfriends.”
Frieda sipped her tea. “What do you mean?”
“Well, obviously you can’t make up your mind what you want. You’re still in the tasting life mode and haven’t decided on your favorite flavor.,” Jess explained.
Frieda gazed down at her tea, watching the clouds of cream blend into a caramel color.
And when she looked up, she watched Wilhelm delicately pick up a cucumber tea sandwich and take a bite. “These are delicious.” He paused, contemplating the ingredients. “Is that saffron?” He reached across the table offering a bite of his sandwich. “What do you taste?”
Frieda nibbled the edge of the sandwich. “Sage?”
He wiped cream cheese from her lip, and then licked it off with his finger. “Yes. I believe you’re right. Sage. I always get the two confused.”
Jess waved her teaspoon in front of Freida’s face. “Frieda, hello. Are you there?” Jess asked.
“Yeah, yeah. Just thinking,” she muttered.
“First rule of writing. Find out what your protagonist wants. I read books from so many authors who fail at truly defining what their character wants. I believe it has to do with the author not knowing what they want. They are unfocused and constantly looking for distraction.”
“So true,” Frieda said with a sigh glancing around the dimly lit restaurant, noticing the other patrons deeply engaged in conversation.
He gripped the porcelain teacup with both of his big hands, his fingers too thick to grasp the thin handle. He raised it to his lips and took sip.
She leaned toward him, admiring his silver-colored eyes sparkle upon tasting the spicy cardamom. Looking beyond him, her entire body became alert. “Watch out!”
Sergei reached in his side pocket for his pistol, twisted around to take down the Cardamom Cartel as they infiltrated the teahouse.
Patrons took cover under floral-patterned and lace covered tables. Lemon scones and cucumber sandwiches blown to pieces flying across the room. Teacups shattered. It was a massacre of porcelain and tea-stained walls.
“Here! Take this,” Sergei whispered, handing her a gun from behind the table they are using for cover.
Frieda took the gun. She aimed and shot a fat, greasy-haired man in the chest. Bulls eye. The Cardamom Cartel was kaput.
“I think ideas are percolating. I can see your eyes twirling,” Jess said.
Frieda chuckled returning her attention to Jess. “Nothing I can use.”
Jess lifted an egg salad sandwich from the tray. “Whatever your theme, you need to find an erotic edge, something sexy that will make the most reserved woman want to tear her clothes off.”
The rich, exotic sent of jasmine floated throughout the room. The tables and chairs replaced by ornamental pillows. Oil lamps illuminated the romantic setting as lovers cuddled together through the room. A flute and a sitar provided musical ambience.
“May I fill your cup?” Jai asked, refilling Frieda’s cup from a silver kettle with an extra- long spout. The tea poured out in a seductive arch.
She huddled close to him. “As long as you add your honey.”
“I’m always good for extra honey,” he whispered and kissed her check, “honey.”
A chill ran down her spine. She blushed in delight of his touch.
Jess beckoned her attention. “Am I giving you any ideas? Frieda?” Jess asked beckoning her attention.
“Oh yes. Yes! Yes. I think I’m getting it,” she cried out, aroused by her fantasies of Jai..
“Good. Now that you’re in the mood, afterward we can do some shopping,” Jess said with a wink.