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A Perfect Bloom 28 – Alex Ankarr
On the Thursday, it’s music.
Cory would be lying if he claimed that he isn’t on the alert, looking for anything that might be in disguise, that might be another – well – courtship gift is the phrase that springs to mind, when he gets in to work. It has to be admitted that he even walks a circuitous route through the company grounds, on his way in and up to his office suite. But he doesn’t spot anything of interest on the way – neither Sam, nor anything that might be lurking pertaining to Sam, destined for Cory.
Nothing. Can Cory be blamed if, by the time he shoves open his office door, his shoulders are slumped, and he’s wondering if this day will present him with any delightful and alarming surprises, or if it’s just going to be, well, another working day. (He never used to mind a day being just another working day. Not before this last Monday).
But he tenses up a bit, as he pushes the door open, because you never know. Perhaps he’s not being so very foolish after all. Monday a rose – Tuesday, candy – Wednesday, a poem. If you take it as a pattern, then… it doesn’t mean a thing. Maybe Sam was just having a bit of fun, whatever Linnet thinks. This is what he reminds himself.
But Cory feels stupidly glad, when he sees the small gift-wrapped parcel, residing like a set jewel in a ring, in the middle of his desk. Pretty bows and everything, it has, the works.
And if he hurries his step, rushes over to the middle of the room, in fact, then well, it’s not as if he has anyone to witness it. (Yet. Linnet is due in very shortly indeed.)
In fact, she’s due in quicker than he realises. Or at least, damn her, she’s conscientious – or curious – enough, to be a little bit early, almost as early as he is himself. (So he was eager to get into work this morning. Sue him! He has reasons.) She’s early enough that she catches him opening up the parcel. And he’s too intent upon it to hear her stealthy entry into the office, is too focused upon carefully undoing the knots and curls and ribbons, sliding open the gift paper without tearing it. It’s ridiculous, how careful he is. The boy he was two decades back, who would have ripped open the paper on any present and discarded the box as he grabbed at the gift, wouldn’t have believed this, if he could have seen it.
Inside the gift box, it’s a little stick-drive. And Cory picks it up and looks at it thoughtfully. He’s longing to just plug it into his computer and find out what message Sam has for him. Surely it’s from Sam, though there was no tag attached, no note. But Linnet right there with him, clapping her hands and, God, yes, squealing – that’s a bit of an inhibition. And also, his own IT department would have his hide, if he used a bit of hardware on the system that hasn’t been swept clean for bugs and viruses before use. With good reason, and yet…
© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014
No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.
Photo credit: Bonita Suraputra (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/in/photolist-6dZ9wX-6e1HhW) via a Creative Commons licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode), book cover modifications made.