“Milk, lemon, sugar?” I ask.
“Oh, I’m fine, thanks,” says Simon Peter. “I like my tea black.”
“I’ll have a little milk,” says Edmund, holding out his cup. “That’s good,” he adds after I splash some in.
I sigh as I seat myself at the table. “I assume you know why I’ve asked you here today,” I say, a little resigned, a little awkwardly. “I wanted to have a traitors’ tea.”
They both look at me, surprised but not offended. The look on their faces is asking a curious, Why us?
Stuttering, I say, “Well, you know, I mean … Peter, you … denied that you even knew him, right? And Edmund, umm, you … sort of betrayed your family and him, didn’t you? I just … I thought maybe the three of us could … I’m sorry. This is uncomfortable.” I stare down at my tea.
But the two of them smile. “No, no, you’re right,” says Peter. “You’re absolutely right.”
“It’s true,” says Edmund. “It’s just been such a long time as I’ve thought of myself that way.”
“Me too,” agrees Simon Peter. “A long time.”
I’m ashamed. I am the only one who truly belongs at this traitors’ tea. I had thought I’d be in good company, but now I realize that I’m on my own.
They know what I’m thinking. Edmund shakes his head, just a little, just enough for me to see that he understands. Peter reaches out and takes my hand. “You do belong here,” he says, giving it a tiny squeeze. “This is a gathering of the redeemed.”