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The Sunday Squirrel: spoon (encore)

Kayla opened the box as soon as she stepped in the door. Brad had written her name, in the bold slashes that passed for handwriting, with a thick green Sharpie marker. Nestled among the wadded newspaper pages was a…spoon?

“What the hell?” She dumped the contents onto the table and smoothed every sheet of print, but that was it. A spoon.

It took every ounce of self-control she had not to call him to ask the question directly, but she’d see him in thirty minutes. She could wait. In the eight months since they’d met at a book signing for motivational guru Ed Godwin, Kayla had grown used to Brad’s little surprises. Like the flowers he’d sent her when she had to work on Christmas Eve, the box of chewing gum for her road trip to North Carolina to see her parents, the tub of ice cream—and some fun ways to use it—when she didn’t get the promotion she wanted.

But he’d never given her a spoon before. Maybe he had a special dessert in mind. She warmed at the thought, and quickly changed into a flirty skirt, matching top, and sandals before freshening her hair and makeup.

When she opened the door to him, he grinned and gave her a long kiss. “You look great. Ready to go?” he asked.

“Yep. Let me grab my purse.”

“Don’t forget the spoon,” he called from the doorway.

She returned and held it out. “What is this for, anyway?”

“Uh-uh.” He shook his head. “You’ll find out later.”

Dinner was torture. Every minute she expected some kind of surprise related to the odd gift burning a hole in her purse, but nothing happened. She ate and chatted distractedly. When they were done, he declined dessert or coffee, paid the bill and squeezed her hand.

“Let’s go,” he said.

“Where?”

“My place.”

Exasperating man. “Is that where I get to use the spoon?” she asked, trying to hide her irritation. Patience had never been her strong suit.

He gave her a quick kiss and smiled. “Yes.”

Jeez, finally.

Ten minutes later, he had her seated at the breakfast bar with her spoon, which had been washed and now lay on a napkin. He set out a bowl and filled it with her favorite ice cream. “There you go.”

She couldn’t help the sense of disappointment that settled over her like a layer of snow. He’d built up the suspense so much that she’d expected something…more. But he watched her expectantly, so she took a bite, the cold lump going down hard.

Brad leaned across the counter, his face serious. “Kayla? You know I love you right?”

Why did that not sound good? She met his gaze, her heart pounding, and nodded. “I love you too,” she said.

“Well, I bought the spoon so we could share it. It’s not from my drawer, and it’s not from yours. It’s something new that’s just for us.”

“O-kay.” What the hell was he talking about? It’s just a freaking eating utensil.

He grinned, probably at the look of consternation she could feel on her face. “I was hoping it would be the start of a whole set of silverware and other things that we could buy,” he took her hands in his, “to fill our new home. That is, if you’ll marry me.” He set a velvet box on the table and opened it to face her. Inside, an ornate gold ring twinkled with diamonds.

He was proposing? Her jaw dropped. He was proposing! She smiled at him, barely able to squeak out an answer. “Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you.”

In a flash, he was around the counter and sliding the ring on her finger before pulling her to her feet and into his arms. “I love you so much.”

In between kisses, she managed to whisper in his ear. “Best surprise ever.”

Originally published 11/21/10.

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