She stirs her coffee and takes the daintiest sip.
“Ah, just the way I like it,” she said, “cold and bitter.”
I stared at her, and then at the cup.
“Do you want some? I can fix one for you,” she said.
“No thanks,” I said. “I don’t drink coffee in the afternoon.”
“What do you drink in the afternoon? What would you like to have right now?” she said.
“Just tea. Do you have some tea?” I said.
“Of course,” she said. “Beatrice,” she called out. “Beatrice.”
“Who’s Beatrice?” I said.
“My maid,” she said.
“You have a maid?” I said.
“Yes, and her name is Beatrice,” she said.
“Since when did you have a maid?” I said.
The door creaked and opened slightly. A Shorthair cat walked in ever so slowly, stopped at Mary’s foot, and purred. Under the cat’s collar hung an oval pendant with the name: “Bea”.
“Your servant’s a cat?” I said.
“She’s British,” she said. Then she said to the cat, “Bea, be a darling and bring in the tea things.”
“Which would you prefer, your ladyship, Scottish Breakfast or Earl Grey?” Bea said.
“William?” Mary said.