Tea by: Raye

*written as a post-episode fic for the Pilot Episode*

"This is tea?" Larimer Finch lifted the cup into the light and stared in dismay at the large clumps of vegetation that bobbed in the sallow colored liquid.

A quick examination of the placid air directly over the cup proved his next fear to be correct. There was a complete absence of steam rising from the cup.

"Lukewarm as well, eh?"

He let out a long pent-up sigh. Surely, there was some establishment in town that offered a decent cup of tea.

Picking up his hat and coat he left his hotel room behind. He tipped his hat in greeting to each passerby and headed to the door of the hotel.

"Mr. Finch!"

The softly spoken words cut through the ambient noise about him and turned his head. "Ms. Chang. How delightful to see you again."

She bowed her head with an elegance that he couldn't help but admire. "You, as well, Mr. Finch."

"Might I inquire how you and your son are getting along?"

"We are both well, Mr. Finch. My thanks for your concern." She smiled prettily, her short lashes brushing against her cheek further shielded her soft chestnut colored eyes from his gaze.

It hurt to look at her porcelain perfection, totally untouchable and absolutely entrancing. "I am gratified to hear that you are well."

There was an odd silence between them. The two, standing a few feet away from each other could do nothing more than stare at the wood beneath their feet.

Her hands fluttered in his vision. A graceful turn of pale fingers seemed to clutch at his heart. "I did not mean to delay you."

His laughter tumbled from his lips. "No,.. no bother, really." He indicated the door with his free hand, the other held his hat against his middle. "I was merely going in search of a decent spot of tea."

A smile like the shining quarter moon graced her lips. "You are most welcome, Mr. Finch, to join me at my residence any time that is convenient."

He should refuse. He couldn't accept. Latimer opened his mouth and looked down with an apologetic smile. "Thank you, Miss Chang, but..." her gaze tugged at emotions he had no name for, and how could he hurt her with so simple an offer, "I would be delighted."

She nodded. Bowing her head she looked up at him from the corner of her eye. "Then I shall expect you. Good day, Mr. Finch."

Moving past him with silence steps, she exited the hotel through the front door, ducking he gaze to avoid the curious looks of the townsfolk as she walked into the blazing noonday sunlight.

He watched her cross the street, the hem of her skirt sweeping through the dust with the gentle sway of her feminine gait. Tea... with her.

"It will be my distinct pleasure."