An Evening in a Poet's Library

An Evening in a Poet's Library

Your shoes tap against the polished wooden floors as you stroll through the stately manor. In the distance, a piano plays. You know not who plays it or where the sound is coming from, but when you pause and listen, you can almost imagine they are playing for you.
At the end of the hall, you push open a tall door to reveal the massive library. Shelves stretch towards the vaulted ceiling, sliding ladders giving access to the highest shelves. Overstuffed armchairs sit before a crackling fire, and a cup of tea rests on a side table, still steaming. You trail your fingers down the spines of the books on the nearest shelf, reading titles and admiring the leather binding. A book catches your eye, thinner than the rest, and you slip it out, your fingers tracing over the blue cloth cover. The title reads simply "Poetry" with no author ascribed.
Taking the book, you cross the room and settle into a chair. You eye the teacup, wondering if whoever left it there will return, and notice a card propped up against it. It simply says your name. Putting the book aside momentarily, you pick up the cup and hold it between your hands. The china is warm and the steam that wafts from it carries a rich, dark aroma. You hazard a sip, and while it is hot, it is not uncomfortably so. You smile. It's just how you like it.
Trading the cup for the book once more, you open it. Between the pages is pressed a single red rose, fragile but somehow still fragrant. How long has it been there?
"Are you enjoying your tea?" You look up as a woman in a wine-red gown enters the room and approaches you. In her hand, she carries a flickering candle. "I made it just for you."
She sits in the chair across from you, and her eyes light up when she sees the book in your hands. "Oh, that is my favorite. Would you like me to read it to you? I know the best ones."
You smile and hand her the book. As you listen to her read, the rain begins to fall, pattering against the glass of the library windows. You focus on the flame of the candle and the voice of the woman and drift into daydreams.