Janna jerked her hand back and turned to face Mark as he backed into the room. He turned towards her and lay the tray in his hands on the coffee table. Janna was amazed to see it laden with an earthenware teapot, a matching pitcher of milk and sugar bowl, two cups and small plates, a covered dish and a plate of biscuit-looking things.
"I brought some tea along with the ice. I thought you might could use something hot to drink." He laughed a little. "My granny used to say that there was nothing a "cupan tae" wouldn't cure. It was her answer for everything."
"Sounds wonderful," Janna said, moving to the couch and sitting down. She reached for the bag of ice which Mark had wrapped in a linen dishtowel and placed it on her elbow.
"Here, rest your arm on this pillow." Mark hurriedly grabbed a corduroy pillow from the leather chair by the sofa and placed it gently under Janna's arm. "That way, you won't have to hold the ice. It would make it difficult to drink a cup of tea while holding that ice."
Mark's grin when he said that sent Janna's senses reeling. Where was the pudgy boy with glasses and bad skin she remembered from high school? The one who always had a calculator stuck in his back pocket and had been known to bring a slide rule to school?
"And," Mark continued, as he walked back over to the chair and sat down. "I'm afraid Gran also made sure I developed the habit of 'elevenses.' It really works out well, since I normally don't eat breakfast. Shall I be mother?"
Without waiting for Janna to reply, he poured milk into a cup, added the fragrant black tea, and handed it to her.
"There's sugar in the bowl," he said. "Gran always said that a lot of sugar would help with shock."
Janna added a couple of spoons of sugar, stirred it and took a sip.
"It's... stronger than I expected."
"Gran always said it needed to be strong enough for a mouse to trot on. I guess it takes some getting used to. Can I get you anything else?"
Janna smiled at him. "No, this is fine. Now, tell me how I should eat these biscuits."
"I'll have you know these are good Irish scones!" Mark grinned at her again. "Properly, we should have some clotted cream, but it's not that easy to find around here. So, I've brought some jam." He pushed the dish close to her.
She took one bite of the scone with a spoon of jam on it and closed her eyes as she chewed.
"Mmmmm. This is heaven. What kind of jam is it? I've never tasted anything like this."
"It's called bramble jam."
"Bramble? As in thorns?" Janna carefully sat the scone back on her plate.