Chapter 50 – Earning Trust (II)
“I had heard that you love black tea, so I prepared Este’s tea,” he said, pouring some in one of the cups. “It has a bit of a strong taste. Is that okay?”
“Yes. I quite like that brand,” she said thankfully, “Thank you, Warren.”
“Please take your time to enjoy it,” he said, handing her a steaming cup of tea.
She took it gratefully. “Thank you.”
Tiana stared at his smiling face. She felt a little odd. His overly polite attitude towards her confused her. She wondered if he was possessed, too. He had seen the ‘Old Tiana’ but his reaction was so much more different from the other servants. She couldn’t figure him out. She raised the cup to her lips and took a sip. The tea was splendid! It was pleasantly different from the tea she had tasted in the past. The aroma and the taste lingered on her tongue long after she had swallowed. Tiana was staring at the teacup in surprise.
“Is it to your liking?” asked Warren, attentively.
“It tastes amazing!” exclaimed Tiana.
“A relief!” said Warren with a smile, “I remember you used to enjoy it before. So, I brought the same one. It does have a nice aroma.”
Tiana was surprised. So, he had met the original Tiana before all the possessions. Or perhaps he had met the one who was possessed previously. She couldn’t be sure. She placed the teacup down on the saucer and looked at him.
“I heard what Marquess Calvino said about you, ma’am,” said Warren in a serious face, “I, too, was utterly confused. But with all due respect, ma’am, I have been keeping an eye on you. It has been a very short time, and I am still not very sure. However, seeing that you are so much alike to how you were back when I knew you… I thought you might be relieved.”
Tiana didn’t respond. She was glad that he thought she was indeed the original Tiana. It would help her much more than her working alone to maintain her image.
“I know I might have crossed a line. I heard what the maids said earlier,” he said, “I apologize for eavesdropping, ma’am.”
“No need for an apology, Warren,” she said, “It’s quite alright.”
“I can vouch that they felt the sincerity of your words, ma’am,” said Warren gratefully, “It must not have been easy, but I thank you deeply for coming forward with it. I will try my best to maintain the sincerity that they showed you. And I shall do my very best to serve you as well. I am Warren Hasper, ma’am.”
Tiana was moved by his words, and grateful that they had accepted her so readily. Sincerity, perhaps, was the right answer to all her troubles. She stood up from her seat and bowed slightly. “Thank you for your kind words, Warren,” she said.
She felt better knowing someone would have her back. They smiled at each other, and Tiana sat back down to enjoy her tea, that took her breath away yet another time. She was relishing every sip of the tea, when Warren glanced at the clock and walked to her. He handed her a white towel.
“What is this for?” asked Tiana, confused.
“You will need it shortly, ma’am,” said Warren.
Warren smiled at her confused face. She was still trying to make sense of the towel when the door to the living room opened. It was Lucius, with dripping wet hair. He was all washed and cleaned and dressed in fresh clothes. But the water from his hair trickled down and wet his shirt.
Tiana looked at the towel in some clarity. Warren looked at her and nodded. He pushed the tray out and left the living room in haste. Lucius had walked to the sofa and sat across from her. Water dripped incessantly from his soaked hair, wetting his neck, collar and shoulders. She wondered why he hadn’t dried himself before coming here. And of course, he had to wear a thin white shirt which showed his skin the moment it touched water! Tiana followed the drip of water to his now see-through shirt, completely caught off-guard. She quickly looked back up to his face.
When she met his gaze, he had been staring back at her. She smiled awkwardly. “Your hair is still wet,” she said, “Why didn’t you dry off?”
“I was worried you would be waiting too long,” he said with a dazzling smile.
“Hmm, still you should dry your hair,” she said sternly, “you might catch a cold. Go get yourself dry and come back.”
He leaned towards her. They were so very close. “Well then,” he said softly, “Are you going to dry it for me?”