A mild lavender aroma permeated the air. It mixed with the sweet smell of peppermint white chocolate mocha, leaving a delightful scent where Caroline sat on the sofa. She read her book while she waited for the mocha to cool. She had just finished the weekend chores around the house and wanted to spend the afternoon immersed in her books.
The doorbell rang to pause relaxation for Caroline as she looked over the sofa towards the front door with irritation. Had they come a few minutes earlier, they would have caught her before she sat down. Only typical for them to have waited until after.
With a long dramatic sigh, Caroline inched her way up until she finally stood. She shuffled over to the door, peering through the peephole to see who had impeccable timing. Yet, no one was there but a van pulling out of her driveway.
Caroline unlocked the three locks on her door, opening it up to look down at the small box sitting on her porch. Only one was there, to which she picked up and glanced at the address to verify it was meant for her. And it was.
Taking one more look around her cul-de-sac, seeing several kids laughing in the street while playing soccer, Caroline stepped back inside her house and shut the door, relocking the locks.
She took the package over to the coffee table, where her cooling mocha still sat. She left for the kitchen, returning with a knife in hand as she sat down on the sofa again. Pulling the package closer to her, Caroline cut the tape carefully to avoid damaging whatever was inside. She opened the lid and reached in to pull out a small black box.
Caroline looked at the box, realizing it was spray-painted thin cardboard with additional tape. She cut the tape with the same care and opened the box to see a gold necklace inside.
Caroline gasped at not just the beauty of the necklace, one with a small pendant showing a tiger lily, but that it was her necklace. The one she lost a couple of days ago that distressed her.
Caroline took it out and immediately put it on, brushing her finger over the pendent and feeling a wave of relief rush inside her. She looked back at the box to see a little piece of paper inside. Taking it out, Caroline unfolded it and revealed a note.
You may not remember me as we sit on entirely different sides of the office, but I found your necklace under your desk a few days ago. I stayed late and went to grab a coffee. When I looked over at your desk, I noticed a glint on the ground.
I’ve seen you wear the necklace around, so I knew it was yours. I’m sorry I didn’t give it back the next day, but I wanted to use this as an opportunity to talk to you. We usually don’t get to, and I’ll be honest… I’m shy.
I wanted to know if maybe you’d like to grab a coffee with me someday. There’s a nice place over on Third street that makes excellent lattes.
If not, it’s no worries. And I hope you can forgive me for holding onto this necklace for a few days to write this letter.
P.S. If you’re wondering how I got your address, I work in HR. Apologies if that was wrong of me to do.
The electronic doors slid open as Caroline walked into the lobby of the retirement home. A giant chandelier hung in the open area of the lobby where all the floors could overlook it. Various people were wandering the lobby on their way for food from the kitchen, listening to the live music by the large fireplace, or heading back to their apartments for the night.
Caroline had been here plenty of times, so she knew her way around. After signing in at the front desk, she moved towards the elevators and took them to the third floor. Hanging a left out of the elevator, Caroline only had to go a few apartments over to get to the one she was looking for.
The door had a welcome sign hanging on it with fake flowers dressing the frame. Caroline knocked a couple of times before the door opened for her to see her mother.
“Hi, mom,” she said to the elderly woman with a smile.
“Honey,” her mom replied as she embraced her daughter tightly.
“It’s good to see you again,” Caroline said, “I have news.”
“Oh, come in, come in,” her mother gestured and stepped aside.
Caroline walked into the living room to see the usual decorations. White sofas off to the side with a little fountain trickling water on the black coffee table. Plants were placed everywhere; some even hung up. Pictures dotted every wall with family members Caroline hadn’t seen a long while.
The living room turned into the kitchen off to Caroline’s right, where she put her bag from work as well as her jacket. She walked over to the sofa to sit with her mother, who eagerly waited to hear Caroline's words. But she didn’t have to wait for her words as the necklace revealed itself wrapped around Caroline’s neck.
“You found it!” exclaimed her mother, reaching out for the pendent to see it closer.
“Actually, I didn’t,” Caroline replied smiling, “Thomas did.”
Her mother looked up at Caroline with a slight smirk, “Is this the same Thomas you always talk about.” Caroline nodded. “What did he say?”
“He wants to get coffee sometime,” Caroline said, rubbing the back of her neck as a wave of butterflies fluttered around in her stomach.
“And… are you going to do it?” her mother asked with a raised eyebrow.
Caroline didn’t answer at first, staring off in the distance with blurred vision. She smiled again, giggling a little unintentionally. “Yeah. Yeah, I think I will.”
“About time,” her mother said.
Caroline looked at her mother with an open mouth, “Hey! You know how nervous I get about things like this.”
“Not all relationships are going to be bad, sweetheart. Sometimes you just have to go for it.”
“So… do you have the letter? Let me see!” her mother exclaimed.
Caroline laughed and went to fetch the letter she neatly folded back into its original box. The rest of the night, her mother and she enjoyed their conversations while they ate dinner, but Caroline’s mind continued to drift off to Thomas’s letter.
Maybe this was a chance for something better.