A slim box, gift-wrapped in silver paper and topped with a matching bow was on her desk when she walked in the next morning. No card. She glanced around the empty office, looking for Cade. But the lights in the break room were off, and his trench coat wasn’t draped over the back of his chair.
It was easy to guess the contents, but she let herself wonder nonetheless as she slit the clear tape with her fingernail. She couldn’t remember the last time she received a present for no reason, and the anonymity of the giver made it all the more intriguing, though she was sure that Cade was behind this.
The note was inside, neatly tucked underneath a red Waterman fountain pen. Her breath caught at the sight of the pen; she’d admired it some time ago when they’d stopped into Chase & Baum’s Gifts to pick up new ink cartridges for Cade’s own fountain pen. His was identical to the one she now held, save that it was blue.
I understand that your birthday is coming up, and I’m scheduled to be out of town. I’m not here today, but that’s so you won’t be able to protest that this is too much. You did a great job on Julie’s article, so consider this a dual gift, congrats and happy birthday, if it makes you feel better. Now quit shaking your head, don’t waste your breath protesting, and get to work on that novel of yours. I’ll see you Monday.
He knew her well. Were he there, she would have protested vehemently; would have told him it was too much and unnecessary. Pondering the intimacy of such a gift, Rory uncapped it, studying the nib, thinking about how elegant it looked. Pretentious. That was the word she often used to describe Cade when he wrote longhand with his. Showing off for the masses who preferred their ballpoints, she’d tease.
She could be pretentious now, too. The idea made her smile as she moved one plant from the line-up between their desks and off to the side.