The hand-painted sign on the interior windowsill — right at ground level — still said Closed, but the note Raccoon clutched in her paw said “Come by around mid-afternoon for a sneak peek.” So at two o’clock sharp, Raccoon opened Rabbit’s front door, walked down several wide steps, and found herself in the tiniest, coziest, half-underground tea shop imaginable.
There were braided rugs on the dry dirt floor; fragrant candles on the two high windowsills; and bunches of drying herbs and flowers hanging, upside down, from the high rafters. Under each window sat a small round table with more candles, and two old wooden chairs. Opposite the door, a chocolate-brown velvet curtain hid the wide doorway to the rest of Rabbit’s burrow and in front of the curtain, nearly in the middle of the room, sat the large wooden work table that would serve as the counter.
Tucked in the space between the work table and the windows was a giant upholstered chair with its own reading lamp, an ottoman, and a side table just big enough for a single cup of tea. On the opposite wall was a set of shelves, filled with books, candles, antique teapots, and stacks of mismatched teacups Rabbit had inherited from her grandmother and her great-aunts.
And on the work table itself sat seven large glass jars filled with teas, and Rabbit’s latest creation: a large round trivet, with an equally large multi-wick candle set underneath it, for boiling a kettle of water.