The Alice Tea Club: Part Two
A continued story about friends and tea....
Fay was the next Alice Tea Club hostess. She lived in a meadow cottage surrounded by a garden of trees and flowers. Her home was filled with all manner of plants, and her petpet – a rashpid named Thyme – was mistaken as a plant a couple of times by both Chartreuse and Eilonwy.
"Here we are, my own creation, Autumn Memories herbal tea," Fay said. She placed her pretty pink Wocky tea set on the living room table. "It has apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and orange zest. I hope you like it. I'll go get the food." She dashed away and brought back a tray of chai tea cake; chocolate scones; and cucumber tea sandwiches. Then she went away again.
"Where is she off to, now?" Eilonwy wondered.
Char eyed the yummy cake and wanted a slice of it right then and there, but had to control herself – it was rude to serve yourself when not everyone was present.
Fay came back with a basket this time. Quietly she took its contents out: a tea time Usuki doll; tea time Usuki accessory set; followed by three other tea time plushies: a green Acara in a blue dress that looked almost identical to Chartreuse; a Cybunny in pink; and a Pteri with its plush beak in a cup of tea. Fay set up the tea time Usuki accessories on the couch with all the plushies around it – four best friends having tea together, just like their Alice Tea Club.
"I guess we're too old for dolls," Fay said, "but when I saw these while out shopping, I couldn't help but buy them. 'Angelpuss-Cute' has its own line of Tea Time Dolls, and they are all so pretty and adorable that I simply got inspired!
"Um..." Fay looked to each one of her dear friends. "Is that strange?"
Eilonwy, Orfina, and Chartreuse exchanged looks. Together they said, "Not at all."
"Or... even if it is," Eilonwy said, "what's the matter with being a little strange?"
They all laughed.
"Next time, I'll bring my red Anubis plushie!" Char said. "O-or maybe my Summer Fun Illusen doll!" The Acara had many plushies.
"Oh! I can bring my kadoatie plushie I have," Orfina said, she kept it on her nightstand by her bed as a fun decoration.
"I have an Ilere doll," Eilonwy said, "she probably wouldn't mind coming out of the dusty old toy box for some tea."
Fay flushed with joy. "Thank you!" Perhaps an odd thing to say, but support from friends was something that deserved gratitude – for whatever the reason.
The fourth Sunday the Alice Tea Club headed to Eilonwy's place. The Ixi had a lot of different interests, and her hodgepodge of a home showed that; with an assortment of themes based on faeries, nature, petpets, pirates, and now tea. She had collections all over the place, her favorite being her elemental faerie instruments displayed in one room and spooky souvenirs from the Haunted Woods set up in her living room cabinets.
Now looking more like a Pirate Princess in full-out 'Isca and the Pirates' brand clothes, Eilonwy busied herself setting everything out; first with her springtime tea set of a whimsical Elephante teapot filled with hot orange-cream tea, and four different neopet teacups: pink Cybunny, orange Kougra, white Xweetok, and purple Wocky. Next was a tier of desserts and savories.
"...these watercress tea sandwiches are really delicious," Chartreuse said.
"Thanks, I made them myself," Eilonwy said. She added loads of creamy milk to her tea – it wasn't officially orange-cream tea without the milk!
"I like the honey crumpets," Fay said.
"I'm not one for bacon, but I can't get enough of these bacon and cheese scones," Orfina said.
"Thanks again," Eilonwy said, enjoying a mini coco pumpkin. "I wanted to suggest something for our club."
The others looked to Chartreuse. She was the one who started the Alice Tea Club, so she was the one who had to approve.
"Go ahead, Eilonwy," Char said.
"I thought we could read books based in Neovia – or the Haunted Woods – and talk about them at our Alice Teas. I read in the newest issue of 'Neovia & Alice' that Alice groups – you know, girls like us – are putting together their own book clubs. So I thought we could, too. I mean, of course ours would still be a teatime club, but I would love to talk about the interesting books that I've read about Neovia."
Char looked to Orfina and Fay, then back to Eilonwy. "I think that would be nice. Do you have any suggestions?"
Grinning, Eilonwy said, "How 'bout 'Back Alleyways of Neovia'? It has a lot of interesting and fun facts. We could use it to plan an Alice Tea out visiting Neovia!"
"Ooh~ sounds exciting," Char said. "I think we'll have lots to talk about at our next Alice Tea Club." Which would be at HER house, and Char had already started thinking of a menu and tea course:
Jam and cream scones, tea-infused jelly to put on top, and perhaps four different teas – peachy tea, pomegranate tea, pink negg tea, strawberry spice tea...!
Chartreuse went out and bought her own pretty pink Wocky tea set; as well as a pink Lenny tea set and two other teapots. Then went to sprucing up her room for her friends' visit.
Chartreuse lived with three other friends that were just like family: a blue Shoyru who was a pirate fanatic; a cloud Aisha who was the mother-figure; and a yellow Xweetok who sometimes acted as a father-figure AS WELL as a mother-figure – he liked to bake and read and make sure everyone in the house was happy.
Now and then Arpheo the Xweetok peeked in on Chartreuse, to see what she was doing.
"There! All done!" Char said to herself, placing a Kauvara plushie next to her three different colored Xweetok plushies and a red Anubis stuffed toy; all situated on her bed.
Osiris glanced up from his own bed, then snuggled back into the Christmas Shoyru Char had given him.
Now it was time to get the food ready and the tea brewed!
Fay arrived first, carrying her basket of Tea Time Usuki, plushies, and a copy of 'Back Alleyways of Neovia'. Followed by Orfina, who looked a little strange in her elegant 'Alice, the Moon Glows Bright' attire while holding an old blue kadoatie plushie. Eilonwy came right behind her, looking as eerily beautiful as her Ilere doll.
"Hello, everyone; and welcome!" Chartreuse said. "I planned an extra special Alice Tea Club!"
The friends eagerly made their way to Char's room, through the front hall, the kitchen, and pass the bathroom.
"Ooh~" Fay, Orfina, and Eilonwy awed at the little coffee table stuffed with teapots, tea cups, dessert plates, and a three tier pedestal of sweets and savories. Char had even made little tags and tied them to the pots' lids to tell what teas were in them.
"Oh, Chartreuse, you definitely went all out," Orfina said. "Simply wonderful!"
"Hee, hee, thanks," Char said. "Now, sit down, sit down..."
The coffee table was short, so the friends sat on soft cushions on the floor.
Bite size treats were picked and tea was chosen and poured.
"Can I talk about a great find in 'Back Alleyways of Neovia'?" Fay asked. She took a sip of her peachy tea.
"Sure," Char said. She had a cup of pomegranate tea, but planned to try all the teas she picked.
"I found a great place to visit, too," Eilonwy said; she had chosen strawberry spiced tea. "Maybe they are the same," she winked.
Fay nodded and took the book out. "It's the neatest little place, a tea shop that sells all kinds of lone tea cups, pots, and accessories; as well as rare teas. I'd love to go to it. It's called 'Tea in Wonderland', isn't that cute?"
"Too cute!" Orfina said. "Why don't we visit it for our next Alice Tea Club, Chartreuse?"
"I like it!" Char said. "And it's YOUR turn, Orfina, so if that's what you wish... Oh! Eilonwy, what was YOUR find?"
"Hee, hee... it's kinda creepy," Eilonwy said, "but I think it would be a great adventure. An over-grown cemetery."
"Oh dear, WHY?" Orfina asked. "What does a cemetery have to do with our club?"
"Well... it's a history lesson of sorts," Eilonwy said. "It's really old and even Neovians don't visit it, for the ones buried there have ancestors that moved away from Neovia. I think it would be nice to see who used to live in the village.
"When my turn to host the Alice Tea Club comes 'round again it will be Halloween, wouldn't it be perfect to visit the old cemetery for a picnic tea?"
Fay and Orfina weren't too thrilled at the idea, but Chartreuse totally loved it. "We can check the place out first, and then have the tea during the DAY; for safety. Plus, I trick-or-treat with Draco, Arpheo, and Isca on Halloween night." (Isca was the cloud Aisha, her full name was Mermaid Isca.) "Maybe we could get ghost wards from Sophie the Swamp Witch, I'm friends with her. "Er... kinda, sorta...
"Anyway, Orfina? Did you find any good shops or landmarks?"
"Oh, yes indeed. There's a little quaint shop that sells vintage clothes," Orfina said. "'The Treasure Chest'. I thought we could visit it for inspiration."
"Love that idea," Eilonwy said. "Even if it doesn't sell Alice clothes, I bet I could find a lot of great skirts, blouses, and jewelry for my own 'Isca and the Pirates' style."
Chartreuse got a calendar out. "And so we visit the 'Tea in Wonderland' this next Sunday the 17; then perhaps 'The Treasure Chest' shop on the 24 – is that all right, Fay? Or should we switch and visit the vintage store on Orfina's turn this next Sunday?"
"Oh! It's fine with me," Fay said. "I can't wait to go to 'Tea in Wonderland', so the sooner the better! I don't mind going to the vintage store on my turn to host."
"Okay... 'The Treasure Chest' on the 24 and the Old Cemetery on the 31..." Char penned it all in. "Now I need to pick a place. I saw so many neat places in 'Back Alleyways of Neovia', too many to choose from... Hm... Oh! Arpheo?"
The Xweetok was standing in the open doorway to Char's room.
"Um..." Arpheo shifted nervously. He was wearing an impressive outfit of 'Eerie Peace Now' for boys and holding a tray of Korbat tea sandwiches. "Can I... is it all right if I, er, join your tea club?"
The girls exchanged looks.
"A BOY in our club?" Orfina said. "Wouldn't that be awkward?"
"Arpheo is a very nice gentleman, though," Fay said.
"I don't mind," Eilonwy said.
"He DOES know how to bake the most delicious brownies," Char said. To Arpheo she said, "I didn't know you liked TEA, though? AND the Alice fashion?"
"Well... I saw how much fun you all were having, Char," Arpheo said, "and looked into the Alice brands and found some 'Eerie Peace Now' for guys that was cool, and decided to try it out. I don't mind tea. And I-I wouldn't bring up any boyish ideas, like sports or mechanics. Um... I brought some Korbat tea sandwiches?"
Chartreuse looked to Orfina. "Is it all right?"
Orfina looked Arpheo over. He certainly looked dashing in his black 'Eerie Peace Now' suit with rock star earrings and a top hat. "I guess if he does not ruin our elegant tea club with, what he called 'boyish ideas', and if no one else thinks it is weird, then I don't mind Arpheo joining our club."
Chartreuse got up and grabbed another cushion and tea and cookie set. "Okay, Arpheo, come on over!"
Arpheo broke out smiling. He trotted in, with Ruby his gold mauket trailing behind him to sit in his lap. Putting the tray down on the table, he then got out a bunch of comics. "I heard you were also reading books about Neovia and the Haunted Woods, so, um, maybe we could read some of my 'Spooky' comics by Ghostkomorichu." Arpheo had cut out every 'Spooky' comic that was ever published in the Neopian Times and pasted them in a notebook, making a kind of graphic novel.
"Is it... scary?" Fay asked. "I'm not much of a fan for spooky stuff."
"Neither am I. It's not scary at all," Arpheo said. "It's funny! It's about a Korbat and his three friends who live in the Haunted Woods. Komo, the Korbat, reminds me of myself; and Echo, a Uni, loves to bake – just like me."
The girls looked the comics over.
"This IS funny!" Eilonwy said, laughing at one particular comic strip.
Orfina, being such a lady, wasn't too sure on reading 'comics' at teatime; but she eventually warmed up to the cute, whimsical characters of 'Spooky'.
While the Alice Tea Club commenced, Chartreuse's other friends, Draco and Isca, stopped at the Acara's door and watched; whispering to each other:
"They sure look like they're having fun," Draco said.
"Yeah..." Isca nodded. "I like tea, too, you know."
"I could get to liking it if I get to eat all those sweets Char made. And check out Arpheo's clothes, those are some cool threads."
"I heard that there is a brand of this 'Alice wear' called 'Isca and the Pirates'," Isca said. "I like the SOUND of that." She was quite an Isca and Caylis fan.
"Do you think they'll let us join?" Draco asked.
"We could TRY," Isca said.