The best gift after the worst day.
Your shift at work did a number on you today. With puffy eyes, pink cheeks, and severe case of the sniffles, you trudge through the front door ready to fall apart in your bed until Monday morning when you're forced to return to your dreadful station. Both of your shoes smack into the wall when you kick them off and the thump of your bag hitting the floor echoes through the hallway, along with the scream you've been holding in since the lunch time fiasco with your manager. Every single day in corporate hell sucks the soul out of you but this particular Friday had you swearing up and down that you can't go back, even though you absolutely will show up on Monday morning to begin the stupid cycle all over again.
They poke their head out of the kitchen to check on you, watching your moody face to gauge how bad it is this time before they say a word, already pouring boiled water into two enormous mugs before scouring the cupboards for their best comfort food.
"Don't bother," your voice breaks, "I don't want anything."
"Is that so?"
When they place the warm mug into your hands and tuck you under their arm, you melt into a fresh wave of tears and spill everything into their t-shirt until you're all dried up and their chin rests on top of your head for as long as you need to dry your eyes again.
"Not even head boops will help?"
Several soft kisses planted in the middle of your forehead are all the remedy you need to feel at home and to make the last week feel like a fever dream.
"I might be mistaken but you look like you could do with a whole lot of cheering up. How does a surprise sound?"
Their words make you look around the room, then rummage through their empty pockets, then look towards the kitchen, but you find nothing other than their cheeky grin.
"Oh, so you do want something? In that case, my little crybaby ought to ask nicely, dry that pretty pink face, and go wait on the bed for me."
"Please may I have the thingy please?"
On any other day, you'd be in hot water for that poor attempt at correct manners but their soft streak lets it fly and they send you off to bed with another forehead kiss for the journey.
Upstairs, you ditch your stuffy outfit in favour of fresh pyjamas and fluffy white socks, the hair bobble slides out of your ponytail and your hair covers the pillow when you flop down onto the bed listening to their footsteps approach.
"Get your ass over here."
Pulling you in front of them, they place your hands over your eyes with a stern reminder not to peek until they instruct. A cold flat rectangle rests across your thighs, their arms rest on your shoulders, and a smile rests on your face. They drag out the moment longer than necessary.
Your eyes land on a white gift box tied with a thin red rope in place of a ribbon that your fingers pull apart to free the prize inside. Wrapped in ruffles of red tissue paper, you find a soft white leather strap fastened by a silver clasp and embellished with a silver heart charm.
"...Are you sure?"
You look up at them in awe with starry eyes and utter disbelief that today is the day.
"Am I ready?"
"You tell me."
You don't touch it. The present stays in the box while you gather all of your hair in your hands and pile it on top of your head, exposing your neck for them to dress in your brand new collar.