Not Her Cup of Tea – Part 13

“You’re kidding!” The ginger-haired friend of Katherine’s exclaimed, along with Katherine outside of the cafe by the building.

“No, I’m not!” Katherine replied, screwing on the lid of her flask before putting it into her bag, “I really did make Edmund drink it.”

Ginny shook her head, still laughing at the thought of Katherine’s husband, who was not a fan of tea, downing a cup. “Oh, God. I wish I was there to see his reaction,” she said and raised her hand to call the waiter over. “Could I have a bagel to-go, please?”

The waiter nodded, turned to head back to the counter when he noticed a disposable cup on the table, still filled with tea. “Um, no outside drinks or food here, ma’am.”
Ginny widened her eyes at Katherine, who didn’t hesitate one bit as she took the cup and downed the tea in one gulp. “What outside drink?” She said, crushing the empty cup in her hand. Ginny tries hiding her laughter, and Katherine was holding back a grin.

“So, okay,” The girls continued their conversation when the waiter had left with Katherine’s order. “Let me sum it up for you – Ken’s better, Edmund actually drank tea, and you have a what now?” Ginny asked.

Katherine pulled up her sleeve, exposing her left elbow. The small lumps had visibly decreased in size, however, the redness remained. Luckily for her, the disease, or whatever it was, hadn’t spread to the rest of her arms yet. So Katherine was still free from clothing limitations. A majority of the clothes in her closet were sleeveless dresses and tops, but she had a couple of three-quarter sleeved tops as well. “Goodness,” Ginny remarked as Katherine pulled her sleeve down. “What did the doctor say?”

“He didn’t say anything.” Katherine lied. It isn’t much of a lie, she thought to herself. But it wasn’t exactly the whole truth, either.

The doctor didn’t say anything about her skin simply because she hadn’t gone to the doctor. She didn’t feel that it was necessary, especially with the results she’d been getting with the green tea. Matcha.

Results are still results,” Dr McCallum would say.

She remembered her doubts a few weeks ago when the thought of giving the matcha lifestyle a try first came across her mind. Her elbows hadn’t shown signs of healing then, and she had considered visiting a doctor. Curiosity kills the cat, they say. But in this case, curiosity might’ve just been the answer for her.

Besides the cooling cream and hydrocortisone cream she had been applying religiously on her elbows, the green tea must have had some effect on her skin. And it showed results in only a matter of days. So, there really hadn’t been a need to see a doctor, Katherine thought.

“Oh, alright then. I suppose it isn’t anything serious. Just, you know, don’t scratch them. Or touch them. Germs can spread.” Ginny blurted out, without a pause. When Katherine gave her a confused look, she added. “Might get infected.”

“So, how are your new members coming along?” Katherine asked, remembering the bit about the new employees at the company Ginny was working for. They had recently hired three new graduate students to work with them, and so far Ginny hadn’t complained a single bit about “these young interns”.

“They’re great!” She replied, almost knocking over the cup of coffee that the waiter was bringing over. “Oh, sorry!”

“No harm done.” The waiter replied with a smile, putting the cup gently on the table before leaving the two girls.

A few droplets of the coffee landed on Katherine’s wallet, and she was desperately trying to wipe it off with a napkin.

“Oh, here, let me.” Ginny offered. “It was my fault anyway, sorry about that.” She pulled out a small packet of wet tissues from her bag and took one out.

From where she was sitting, Katherine could make out the small words on the tissue packet. In a small but clear font, the words read “Caffeine Matcha Wipes”. 
“Hey, where’d you get that from?” She asked.

The tension was building in the office of Nihon’s Teas. Katashi still had his hand in his pocket, while the other hand laid atop on a thin stack of paper, presumably containing information on Isabelle Jenkins, Nihon’s Teas’ supposed new brand manager.

The daylight was sufficient in lighting up the room, highlighting every corner of the office. A thin layer of dust had settled on the books that sat in the place of Akira’s favourite bonsai plant, and the blue porcelain vase that sat in the middle of the shelf by the books still had the small black stain.

Akira remembered turning the vase around to that exact position to try and hide the stain. The vase itself cost him nearly $8,000, and the stain came from a pen Akira had tried to fix one day because its top came off. The ink had left black ugly splatters all over his shirt, and in a rage, he threw the pen across the room.

It nearly hit the vase, though. Akira recalled the relief he felt when the pen missed it, all 12-inches of it. But it left an ink mark on the side of the vase, which Akira could not bring
himself to clean. He was worried that the ink might spread, thus, he left it be.

Otosan… she’s a good person. I promise.” Katashi reasoned with his father. Akira stood fuming opposite of him, facing the doorway.

Musuko. I told you, I have found someone who can help us. Why are you making this difficult?” Akira pleaded. “We are sticking with Katherine Chan and Green City. They are good people, son. And they were halfway through with our marketing plan when your friend’s recommendation walked into the building!”

“What building?” Katashi asked, unaware of Isabelle’s confrontation with Katherine.

“Katashi, your new brand manager had been terribly unprofessional in making a simple handover request,” Akira explained, “What makes you think that she can handle this company and keep our best interests in mind?”

He knew his father was right – they couldn’t take the risk of putting the fate of their company in another brand manager’s hands, especially one who would do such a thing.

Katashi looked over to the stack of papers on his desk, contemplating to give them to his father.

Prior to his arrival at the Nihon’s Teas office, Akira had requested his former assistant – who was now Katashi’s assistant – to “prepare any and all information at hand about one Isabelle Jenkins”. The assistant adored Akira when he was still manager of Nihon’s Teas, and did everything he asked.

Luckily for Katashi, he caught her putting out the stack by his table, for Akira to pick up. He assumed that he was to call before he came by, but he didn’t expect Akira’s early arrival.
And without a warning, too.

He wanted to agree with his father. It wasn’t as though he didn’t love the company; he did. He just had to find out more about the “marketing plan” that his father claimed they had.
“I told you, Katashi, they can help us.” His father persuaded.

A loud ring interrupted their conversation. Emitted from the breast pocket of Katashi’s blazer, he excused himself and walked out the door without looking at the screen of his
phone. Akira remained in the room, glancing at the papers that Katashi had kept under the safety of his fingers.

He walked towards the windows, and saw the trees outside, their branches swaying in the wind.

Hmm, nice strong wind today. It wouldn’t hurt to open the windows a little bit, he wondered. And let the pieces – or papers – fall where they may.

“Mr. Ito? Hi, it’s Isabelle Jenkins. I’ll be arriving in 7 hours’ time!” The woman on the line practically screamed.
“Isabelle? Why are you yelling?”
“Oh, my apologies, Mr. Ito-”
Katashi cut her off. “It’s Mr. Katashi. Mr. Ito’s my father.”
“Of course, Mr. Katashi. As I was saying, I’m on my way to you.”
“There is no need. We can discuss over email.” Katashi said curtly. Hanging up the phone, he shook his head.

His eyes landed on the door to his office, imagining his father in the room, impatiently pacing back and forth. What was he going to tell Akira?

Shrugging, he opened the door to his office, only to reveal his father bending over scattered papers all over the floor. The window behind his desk was left slightly open, and Katashi hurried to close it shut. Otosan! What happened-” He started, when he noticed that the papers containing Isabelle’s information had disappeared from his desk. Quickly, he looked over to where his father was bending over a piece of paper with a photograph.

Of Isabelle Jenkins.

Ginny was still wiping down her wallet when Katherine snatched the tissue away from her. She brought the tissue to her nose and caught of whiff of caffeine and something else.
It smelled like herbs.

“What is this?” Katherine asked, holding up the tissue. “And, can I have my wallet back, please?”

Ginny laughed. “Relax. It’s just wet tissues. Wouldn’t harm your wallet.”

“No, I mean, what’s it made of?” Katherine pointed at the packet. Her friend looked down on her lap, and it dawned on her.

“Ohh. That. It’s something new I picked up; they’re makeup wipes!” She showed Katherine the packet, and true enough, the words on the packet said, “Caffeine Matcha
Wipes”. “It’s weird, though, caffeine and matcha, but I guess if a matcha latte’s good, then anything’s good.”

Katherine paid no attention to Ginny’s chatter, her eyes were fixated on the description on the packet. “Matcha protects the skin from environmental aggressors.” It said.

“Wow,” Katherine breathed. “I didn’t know that there were other uses for matcha. I only thought they were meant to be consumed!”

“They are.” A familiar voice popped out from behind her. “Hey, Kat. Didn’t know you ate here.”

A man dressed in bright-coloured cycling gear got down from his bicycle and was approaching them. He removed his cap, and his soft brown hair swayed in the cool breeze. His eyes resembled the seas, as blue as the bluest ocean.

And his jawline looks like I could get a papercut. Ginny thought, gaping at the man in front of her. 
“Hi.” He smiled at the ladies. Katherine looked at Ginny, and she stood up to introduce them.

“Julien, this is Ginny, my old friend. Ginny, this is Julien.”

Ginny’s elbow rested on the table, and she put her chin on her hand, admiring the beautiful man. “ Julien. That’s… sexy.”

Relax, Ginny. He prefers guys. Also, he’s my yoga instructor.”

Continue Reading Not Her Cup of Tea – Part 14