Random 'Phrase' Generator Short Story Part 1: My Cup of Tea
Updated: Mar 2
It's that time again for another Random Generator Short Story... Phrase edition! I couldn't decide if I wanted to stick with only sentences and/or words when writing these stories, but once I saw the random phrase for this month I knew I just had to use it!
This time around, I was able to use the phrase for the title along with inserting it into the story which I find to be even better. Even though yesterday was Valentine's Day I felt I had to write an inspired love story. I hope you enjoy it! If so, please leave a comment below!
Random Phrase: My Cup of Tea
MY CUP OF TEA
"Mommmmm!!!! I'm leaving!" I shouted as the door closed fluttering my loose strands of hair. It would be hours before she even notice I was gone. These days the endless amounts of paperwork received more attention than her only daughter.
It was for the best I thought. Working as a single mom had been extremely difficult over the last several year's after my father vanished in the middle of the night without a word. My mom had enough to worry about since it was just the two of us. No need to bother her.
I could feel the longing starting to set in at the thought of my father. I couldn't have that... not today at least.
Pushing all feelings aside, I popped a stick of minty gum in my mouth and pointed my feet in the direction Google maps suggested the night before. Not like I would need it in this small town anyways.
I could feel the sun beating down through the treetops and onto my checks as I meandered my way towards town, kicking the scattered pebbles along the path. The brisk morning air felt fresh on my face and the hint of pine and wildflower touched my nose. It was summer morning's like these I loved the most.
The dirt path was beginning to widen the closer to town I became. It had been two weeks since we arrived at the new house but this would be the first time seeing where I would be living for the next year or so. Arriving in the middle of the night and spending the last two weeks unpacking pushed back the introduction of the new town. But when I saw the article in the newspaper I knew I needed to leave the house.
THE TEA HOUSE GRAND OPENING!
I wasn't even sure I liked tea. I wasn't really a drink person unlike other girl's my age who would show up to class with their pumpkin spice lattes on the daily.
According to the article, the shop was tech free meaning no phones or computers allowed. The owner, a local man, wanted the town's folk to enjoy each other's company without the distractions of the world. It sounded perfect.
The streets were vacant, the sound of my gum popping echoed as I turned in and out of connecting streets trying to find the little tea shop. I could feel the goosebumps rise the more the silence invaded. The brisk air I enjoyed a minute ago now felt like ice stinging my skin. Before the thoughts of a small town murderer could evade, I saw a white cup of tea protruding from the withering building walls. The Tea House.
The ring of the bell hitting the door announced my entrance. The goosebumps immediately subsided as the warmth of the shop touched my skin. Even though empty of people, the shop seemed welcoming. The aroma of tea filled the air and low sounds of birds chirping left the speakers.
Suddenly a worker emerged from the back. He didn't notice me as his head was buried deep in a book. He leaned against the counter flipping a page.
"Excuse me," I announced politely raising a finger to gain his attention. The boy looked up slowly.
"Who are you?" He questioned his eyes widening with curiosity.
"Um, excuse me?" I said again confused. Wasn't he supposed to be taking my drink order?
"Oh, my, gosh! I am so sorry!" He walked toward me waving in an apologetic manner. "You caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting anyone to show up today let alone the new girl in town."
"Oh," is all I could say. Word really does get around in small towns. I thought it was only in the movies.
"How can I help you?" He asked politely gesturing to the menu board. I peered up instantly feeling overwhelmed. Above me were 5 large chalk boards filled from top to bottom with tea options. There had to be over 60 teas to choose from. I popped my gum feeling the boy's stare as I tried to decide.
"You know I can't decide. What do you recommend..." I glanced at his name tag quickly..."Sebastian?"
He squinted his eyes slightly then turned to glance at the board his arm still slightly raised. After a quick glance he sighed lowering his arm in a sign of defeat.
"Can I be honest with you?" He asked leaning on the counter. Before I could answer he chimed in, "I don't know what I'm doing. My dad's making me work here for the summer. I don't even drink tea."
I nodded my head slowly, "I see the dilemma. I've never tried tea before which is why I'm here," I gestured around. "Well, actually it was to see if I could meet some new people, but from the looks of it I don't think that's going to happen today."
"Yeah.... in this town this is as close to meeting someone as you'll get. At least during the weekdays. Weekends are wild around here though! You might see three or four people on the same block!" Sebastian joked. "Hey! I actually have an idea. Why don't you sit over there," he pointed to a corner seat, "and I'll be with you in a second."
I shrugged my shoulders and went to make myself comfortable. From where I was sitting, I could see the entire tea house including Sebastian behind the counter. He was scribbling furiously. After a few minutes of watching him, I pulled my sketchpad from my bag. Digging towards the bottom, which I liked to call the abyss, I was able to locate a pencil.
I hadn't gotten very far when Sebastian plopped a small box on the table.
"Here!" He held his hands out towards the box with a joyous smile toddlers usually have when they've made something for their parents. I hoped it wasn't a macaroni necklace. I peered inside to see scraps of paper folded into tiny pieces.
"Am I supposed to know what this is?" I had no clue what these tiny slips of paper held.
"Oh, right," he half smiled. "I wrote the entire menu on scraps of paper. This way we don't have the looming pressure of choosing your first tea."
"Brilliant!" I looked at him, smiled, then back down towards the box. Without hesitation I dunked my hand in and swirled the papers. Once it felt right, I snatched a piece and slowly peeled it away from the others. "Want the honors?"
"No," Sebastian shook his head, "I think you should read it." He was rocking back and forth on the tips of his toes using the chair in front of him to balance. Sebastian looked nervous but excited at the same time. This was probably the most exciting thing to happen to him for awhile from the looks of it.
"Drum roll please," I unfolded the paper and cleared my throat. Sebastian tapped on the table increasing the speed. "Chamomile!" I announced when he hit the top beat.
"Oh boy, wish me luck. Like I said I have no clue what I'm doing," Sebastian gave a thumbs up turning towards the counter. "Oh I almost forgot... what's your name?"
"Shouldn't you already know? It seems as if word spreads pretty quickly around here," I joked. He furrowed his brows as if trying to remember the name he was told before.
"Like this job, I'm not very good at remembering names," he paused then burst out laughing. "Let's pray I don't poison you...."
"Ameila," I filled in.
"Amelia," he repeated. Then in a flash he twirled around making his way to the counter.
I returned to my sketch peering up occasionally to check the surroundings. Every once in a while a clatter would arise from behind the counter. I couldn't hear it, but I knew Sebastian was cussing under his breath whenever he would touch something hot. I giggled quietly. He was at least trying.
I was practically done with my drawing by the time he brought over a cup. He held the handle with a tight grip his other hand cupping the saucer. Gently he placed it on the table. It looked as if someone had peed in the cup.
"Is it supposed to be yellow?" I gritted my teeth. Maybe I wouldn't be trying tea today.
"I think so. Don't worry, I tried my own cup before bringing it over to you. My dad would kill me if I poisoned a customer. It's bad for business you know," he smirked.
"Well here we go. Cheers!" I raised the cup to my lips and took a sip letting the flavor sit on my tongue. "Huh?"
"What?" He leaned forward concerned.
"Are you sure you haven't made this before? It's surprisingly good," I questioned him.
"Oh, phew! I was a bit worried there. I have to say for my first time I think I did okay," He patted himself on the back.
"Right, the first time," I could see several bandages on his fingertips from the multiple attempts.
"What's this?" He pointed to the sketch.
"Oh, it's my sketchbook," I pushed the pages to him. "I'm hoping to get into an art school next year. I bring it everywhere with me." I took another sip of tea.
"Seriously, this is amazing!" He exclaimed. "From the looks of it you'll definitely get in somewhere. Hey, is that me?"
"Yep, that's you," I said. I'd drawn a candid shot of the tea shop. There behind the counter was Sebastian in the midst of towering tea cups and boiling water he was about to burn himself with.
"What's the name of the piece? He asked still gazing at the sketch.
"Ummmmm," My eyes darted looking for some inspiration. "Here!" I shouted as I spotted the tiny piece of paper peeking out from beneath the tea cup. I took my gum rolling it between my fingers and stuck it to the back of the scrap paper. I pressed firmly to the top of the illustration. "It's called, Chamomile."
Sebastian nodded in approval. "I like it."
The ring of the bell echoed into The Tea House. Sebastian was once again behind the counter reading a book, the tiny shop empty.
"You're back!" He said putting down the book. "I thought for sure I scared you off yesterday."
"Nothing scarier than watching you try to boil water," I scoffed jokingly.
"Hey now, boiling water is scary!" He retorted. We both paused unsure what to say next. He broke the silence first.
"Say, you want to grab another piece of paper out of the box? I really need to practice making tea," Sebastian pulled the box of tea options from under the counter.
Without a word I dug deep. "Maybe you will scare me off today," I said as I read the note turning it towards him. "Chai."
A few crashes and one broken tea cup later Sebastian delivered my chai tea.
"Not my best work but it will do for now." He said.
I shook my head at the underlying joke. Unlike the day before the liquid was a milky brown with little bubbles forming around the edges. From the steam rolling off the top, I knew to wait before testing it out. I already had my sketch book out but had yet to start sketching anything.
"So what book are you reading?" I asked Sebastian. The paperback was poking out from his apron pocket.
"You've probably read it before," He pulled the book from his apron tossing it towards me. "To Kill a Mockingbird. It was required reading for English a few years ago. Most of the kids hated it but for some reason I found it fascinating and keep going back to it."
"It's actually one of my favorites as well," I traced my finger over the mockingbird fleeing it's nest. "Do you mind if I borrow this while I draw today?"
"No problem. I have to go clean up the disaster I left behind the counter so it will be awhile before I need it anyways." Sebastian glanced at the cover and then set off to tidy up quickly.
It was one of my better drawings. Once again, I took my piece of gum sticking the scrap piece of paper to the top of the page. With a quick tug, the crispest sound of paper ripping filled the shop. I usually never removed my illustrations from my sketchpad but this one seemed right. I walked up to the counter where Sebastian was wiping the counters down. The small sink overflowing with dishes. "Thanks for letting me borrow your book." I handed him the novel along with the drawing.
"Chai," he read the title, "It's beautiful."
On the page I had drawn a detailed scene including a tea cup with mockingbirds flying in an elegant manner around the rim. Beside it laid a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird. Without much thought Sebastian dispensed some tape hanging the drawing on the nearby wall. "The perfect spot for it."
"Will your dad get mad?" I asked surprised at the kind gesture.
"Nah. He won't mind," Sebastian smiled in reassurance.
"Okay," I shrugged my shoulders. And just like that it became our daily routine. Us bantering with each other, me picking from the box of teas, Sebastian struggling his way through the tea process, and lastly hanging my drawing on the wall.
It had been almost two months of seeing Sebastian daily at The Tea House. My drawings quickly spread through the shop taking up multiple walls. More people had been coming to The Tea House as well, attracted by the drawings. I had met most of the town's folks who were seemingly kind and thoughtful often bringing laughter and joy into the tiny shop.
"Here, my dear," Nancy, one of the older women in town handed me a large envelope as I walked past her one day. "I saw you both adorably laughing from the window and just had to take a picture."
Inside the envelope held a picture of Sebastian and I giggling at the front counter as I sipped one of the teas which had gone horribly wrong. I thanked Nancy and headed to The Tea House. The bell rang but the buzz of everyone talking drowned out the sound. I went to my usual spot in the corner. Sebastian was busy with customers bouncing from table to table. He knew I would wait patiently drawing in my sketchpad.
I was done with the drawing by the time Sebastian slowly walked over to the table, box in hand. He looked nervous as he set it down. Only one piece of paper remained.
"I never thought I would see the bottom of this box. Hopefully it's a good one! Yesterday's tea was very questionable," I said pulling out the last slip. Sebastian nodded in agreeance. Usually he would have said something witty back but now he stayed silent. "You know I'll still come to the store to visit you right?" I tried reassuring him. He, once again, nodded in agreeance. I stared at him for a few seconds trying to figure out why he was being so strange. His eyes kept darting to the slip of paper in my hands.
Giving up, I finally opened the slip. Inside it read 'You're my cup of tea.'
I turned the slip over, confused. This wasn't a type of tea. Sebastian cleared his throat.
"I was hoping you would've pulled the slip out sooner but apparently you're good at the dramatics. Since you walked into the store the first day I thought you were the coolest person I've ever meet and everyday since then hoped you felt the same about me. So, I was wondering Amelia, if you wanted to hangout sometime?" Sebastian nervously rocked on his heels.
I sat back and popped my gum. I gazed down at the tiny piece of paper.
The next thing I knew I was taking my gum and sticking it to my drawing. I took the slip and pressed hard into the gum making sure it wouldn't fall off. I handed him the drawing.
The newly named drawing 'My Cup of Tea" was the sketch of us giggling at the front counter. "How does a coffee date sound?"
Sebastian went and taped the drawing of us on the wall. "It sounds like a splendid idea."
If you are wondering where I got the inspiration for this story, you should first head to my last post where I spoke about finding inspiration! There are several tips and tricks in there.
But for this story, I first thought of the idea to pick teas from a box because it's what I do every morning for my roommate. She received a large box of teas for Christmas and every morning I pick out which one she will drink for the day. It's something fun to start the morning off!
I was also inspired by my artist friend, Kinzie. I've been trying to get her to show her work in coffee shops around town for years. This last year, she wasn't able to paint as often but now she's getting back into the swing of things and will be looking for places to hang her art. So between these two ideas I created the story above.
I hope you liked reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you are curious about my other work Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss is now available on Amazon!