The Unexpected Gift
The ring of the doorbell lifted me from my book, my brow lifting. I checked the time, seeing it was too early. What was that about? I closed my book, setting it on the coffee table.
Standing, I walked to open the door, finding a small, brown package resting on my doormat. There was no return address or shipping label. Huh. Where did this come from?
I picked the paper box up, feeling it was pretty light. Whatever was inside wasn't heavy or big. What could it be? I didn't recall ordering anything online.
Walking back inside, I placed it on the kitchen table, tapping my chin with my index as I paced by the paper box.
I wasn't sure if I should open it. People didn't just give gifts around here. We weren't a tight-knit community or very close geographically. I didn't even know my closest neighbor.
Maybe it was a prank from the neighbor kids. Yeah, that was probably it. They were always pulling schemes similar.
Sitting back down in my chair, I continued to read my book, doing my best to push the package out of my mind and lose myself in the pages and words.
That turned out to be harder than I thought.
Every time I focused on the pages, some flashed in the corner of my vision, but when I looked, it was just the box.
This was becoming frustrating.
I decided to place it in my coat closet by the front door. Now I wouldn't be able to see it and go about the rest of my day, cleaning and preparing for my dinner date.
We'd worked in the same building for years, him being a representative for one of the companies and me working in the cafe in the main lobby. He always ordered the same coffee and bagel from me, giving a big tip.
And after months of asking me out, I finally said yes to going out with him, and while we had only been a few dates, things were going smooth and easy.
Putting dinner in the oven, I went upstairs to my room, opening my closet. What was I going to wear? I scanned each article of clothing until I spotted my lavender summer dress.
Laying it on the bed, I took a quick shower, putting on a light amount of makeup. I didn't care that we would be eating dinner at my house. I still wanted to look good.
Slipping on the dress, I heard a knock at the door, grinning as I went back downstairs to open it. "Hey, you."
My date smiled back, holding a bouquet of lilies, my favorite flower. "Hi, you look great."
I blushed, playing with the hem of my dress, "So do you."
Aaron had a proud expression on his handsome face. "May I come in?"
"Of course," I took the lilies, inhaling the lovely scent as I grabbed a vase to put them in, filling it with water.
"What smells so good?"
"Dinner," I gave a mischievous grin, "It's a surprise."
Aaron grinned back. "Oh, I see how it is." He hung his coat in the closet, "What's this?" He held the package.
"I don't know. It came by earlier today."
"Why haven't you opened it?" Aaron raised a brow, "Isn't that beautiful brain of yours itching to know?"
"I'm conflicted." I hugged my torso. "I have the feeling it's a prank."
"You're always so suspicious," he teased, "What am I going to do with you?"
I stuck my tongue out at him, checking on the casserole. That one earned me a good laugh. Although he found my childish responses amusing.
I returned to the living, sitting next to Aaron on the couch. "Dinner won't be for a while yet."
Aaron shrugged, "Just means we have more time to talk."
I first went through my fairly uneventful day off from work, the exception being the package and our date.
He told me about his day at work and how he was the hero for spotting a mistake in an important report on the company's performance before the bosses read it.
I smiled, not understanding the technical aspects. "You definitely are a hero."
"Well, thank you." Aaron peered over my shoulder, "Would you please open that box?"
"Because I wanna know what's inside." Standing, he walked over to it. "If you don't, I will."
My eyes narrowed, "You wouldn't dare."
"Watch me." Grinning, he held the package in his hands, pulling at the tape.
I bolted over, trying to snatch it from him. "Fine, I'll open it, but not because I want to."
"Keep telling yourself that." Aaron gave it back to me.
I carefully pried the packing tape from the cardboard, preparing for a face full of paint or for it to burst into flames.
When I opened the box, I found brown paper wrapped around something. I pulled to free, blinking when I saw what was inside.
It was a silver, round music box with a white ballerina in a pink tutu standing on top.
A flood of early childhood memories washed through me. I wound it back, my eyes stinging as I heard the delicate music fill the room, setting the music box on the table.
"What's wrong?" Aaron cupped my face.
"Nothing, I thought I lost it." I giggled, "I used to play every day when I was a child, but after we moved, I couldn't find it, and I was devastated."
"Oh wow, who could've sent it here?"
"I don't know, but it doesn't matter," I smiled widely. "Thanks for making me open the package."
I wound it up again, hearing the oven timer going off. I skipped to the kitchen, pulling the casserole out to cool on the counter.
I felt him watching me as I got the plates and silverware out and on the kitchen table. "Like what you see?"
Aaron wrapped his arms around my waist, kissing my cheek, "Oh, definitely."
"Good." I enjoyed the embrace for a moment, then went to set dinner on the table. "Time to eat."
We began to eat, my food tasting delicious. Pasta dishes were always a good choice. I kind of wished I made a couple of side dishes, though. Oh well. I was too happy to care, and Aaron didn't seem to care either.
When we finished, Aaron stood and held out his hand, "Care for a dance, my lady?"
"Why not." I grabbed his hand, and he led me back into the living room.
He played some soft music from his phone, pulling me close. I laid my head on his chest, feeling his heartbeat as we swayed together.
I glanced at the music box, my mouth curving up again. Today was the best I had in a long time. Everything was perfect, and I wished for more days like this.
About the Creator
Writer and editor who writes anything from fiction to personal stories. You can also find me on Substack for exclusive content!
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