John had wandered off to take pictures and visit with some friends, leaving Sarah to her own devices.
Robin was still talking to that guy and his blue-haired girlfriend.
Raven walked around the room like a restless waiter.
Father Landover was busy talking to the little girl who’d dropped the flower petals in the church.
And Ambrose hadn’t come back yet.
Sarah kept glancing at the door, but the door stayed shut. And Ambrose wasn’t there.
She slid down in her seat and stared woefully at the bouquet of roses in the middle of the table. She tilted her head as she noticed the pink gift box next to the vase.
She leaned forward and picked it up. It was a beautiful box. Someone had somehow cut a rose pattern into the cardboard. A smooth white ribbon kept it closed. Something weighted its insides and sparkled through the rose pattern.
She set the box down and carefully untied it.
What was it?
What could be inside? Maybe it was nothing. Maybe the box wasn’t supposed to be opened. Maybe the thing inside was just a pretty stone that someone put in there as a weird joke.
She opened the box and looked inside.
Her mouth dropped open in a soundless gasp.
The thing was not a rock at all. It was a swan…no. Two swans! Their foreheads and breasts were melded together. The space in between their arched necks created a heart shape.
Sarah carefully removed it from the box. She loved the cool, clean feel of the figurine. It made her think of new ice.
She held it up to the light. She had no idea what the swans were made out of. Maybe very expensive glass? But oh! How they sparkled in the light.
She returned it to its home and stroked the top of the box.
She couldn’t wait to show Ambrose her wonderful prize. He would love it. Of course he would. After all, how could he hate something that pretty?
“Hey, Sammy. Give me your phone number.” Robin hadn’t meant to put it that bluntly, but the words just escaped on him.
“Because when I finally get ‘sellta outta Henspence, I’m gonna be so excited I’ll wanna call ev’ryone I know.”
“Yeah. So, you gonna give it to me or what?”
Sammy smiled blandly. “I would, but I don’t have a pen and paper.”
“Oh.” Robin glanced around as if he’d find a spare pen and a scratch of paper just lying on the floor.
Deliosa squeezed Sammy’s arm. “Don’t tease him like that. Give him your number.”
“Lee, I’d rather not do it here in public. People will see. They’ll wonder. They’ll guess. They’ll know.”
Robin sat up. “Huh? Know ’bout what?”
Sammy shook his head. “Nothing.”
“Samer, it’s just a small magic. No one will notice. Trust me on this.”
Robin could see Sammy’s defenses melt away.
Huh. He really does have it bad for her.
“All right, I’ll do it.”
“It’ll be okay. Don’t worry.”
Sammy spread his hands on the linen tablecloth and closed his eyes.
Robin startled as Sammy’s sandalwood and incense scent intensified. “Darnation! What the—”
The bouquet of flowers disappeared. A clipboard with rose scented paper lay in its place. A pen with gold filigreed roses lay next to it.
“—holy blessed heck?”
Deliosa smiled at Robin. “It’s magic.”
“Like, duh! I knew that. I ain’t all that stupid. I just…” He scratched the back of his head as Sammy wrote down his phone number. “Darn. I ain’t had no idea Sammy was that flamboyant.”