This came about because of a box of tea my roommate just showed me. 😉
It helps to know that Mike is Mike VanderLinden, whose original use-name is Linden-Flower.
Shira is Professor Pelletier; Maureen is Lady Maureen Foxglove. All three are staff at Addergoole.
It had started as a dirty joke between Shira and Maureen, shared over their third or fourth beer one late night in Mau’s Tavern.
“Well,” Shira had been laughing, “if all else fails, there’s Linden Flower tea for what ails you.”
“Unless it’s lindens that ail you, of course.” Maureen had smirked over her beer and they had moved on to more tree metaphors.
Shira had forgotten the whole thing until Christmastime, when a box of linden-flower tea had shown up under her tree. Once that had been done, though, the gauntlet had been thrown and it was on.
Linden scented oil. Linden sachets. Little linden-leaf-embroidered towels. “Good for what ails you.”
“Unless the lindens are ailing you.” Not that Mike was ever what actually ailed them, Maureen and Shira. They had their weaknesses, neither would deny it, but vain and vapid Daeva were not on either’s list.
After a while, it creeped into Shira’s everyday vocabulary. She had a student who was having some issues with body image, and, in speaking to Caitrin, suggested the boy might want some linden-flower tea for what ailed him. Another year, she suggested it to Laurel, when she and Wysteria were having a falling-out in their invisible relationship. Once, she even said it to a student.
“I don’t know. It’s just the whole idea is a little nerve-wracking. I get all the urges, but then I start getting scared and over-thinking everything…”
“Have you considered some linden-flower tea?” In Shira’s defense, it had been a long week. She covered it quickly, segueing into something else before coming back to the suggestion more directly.
But in all those years, it never occurred to her – and possibly not to Maureen, either – that the target of their joke was aware of it.
Until she found a box of tea under her tree again that Christmas, with a note attached:
Don’t bother with the infusion, come straight to the solution. ~M~
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