On Valentine’s Day, an unexpected box arrives for Seth—unexpected because there’s no way he’d open it at the kitchen island otherwise. He pulls a dark blue scarf from the package and pinches his face into a pouty frown. “I didn’t order this.”
I check the packaging while he runs his fingers over the silky stitches, but there are no clues on the printed label.
I rub the scarf between my fingers. “So soft. And it matches your eyes.”
“Very funny.” Seth stares at the small card in his other hand, his expression blank. “That’s what the note says.”
I laugh. “Somebody has a secret admirer.”
“Shut up.” He pulls the scarf over his head. “I don’t have anyone.”
“Looks perfect,” I say.
“Yeah, it’s all stitched, so I don’t have to knot it myself, but…”
“Well, obviously someone’s been watching me,” he says. “This is exactly how I wear my scarf.”
“That thing you wear is not a scarf. It’s a bunch of holes sewn together with stubbornness and nostalgia.”
“Two words,” he says, one eyebrow arched high. “Your. Coat.”
“I’m getting rid of it. Tomorrow.”
He’s still rubbing the soft scarf around his neck. “Don’t you think it’s creepy though? They must know I need a replacement, and I reiterate, because they’ve been watching me.”
“Yeah, and they printed the label, so you wouldn’t recognise their handwriting.”
He frowns. “The note’s handwritten.”
“Let me see.”
He hands it over and says, “I don’t recognise the writing.”
It looks vaguely familiar, but all I can see behind my eyes are the many and varied handwritten pages of [SPOILER], and they never settled on a handwriting style in their whole life. It’s also unlikely they sent Seth a valentine scarf from beyond the grave.
He’s rubbing the thing on his cheek now, but he stops to sniff the air. “Are you baking?”
He says baking like it should be criminalised.
“Just a baguette,” I tell him.
“I shouldn’t wear it,” he says, but his eyes are already in love with his new scarf. “I don’t want to encourage… Oh god, what if it’s a woman?”
“You really don’t know who sent it? Like, no clue at all?”
He shakes his head, then gets a faraway look in his eyes like he’s mulling over possibilities.
Archer comes in while I’m assembling my valentine treat to myself. I try not to think of [SPOILER] or the new batch of tea I found stuffed in the pocket of that ridiculous coat. I didn’t even feel them put it there.
“What the hell are you doing to that baguette?” Archer demands.
“Getting it ready for a romantic night out,” I say.
He leans over my shoulder. “What are you making?”
I nudge him away. “Hash brown baguette.”
“You want fries with that?”
“Shut up, funny boy.”
“No, really. I’m not sure there’s enough carbs in it.”
I laugh. “Just find me some hot sauce.”
“Not even sriracha can save that abomination,” he says, slamming the red bottle onto the worktop. “Where did that come from?”
I turn around to figure out what Archer is talking about, but he’s looking at Seth.
“There’s no label,” Seth says. “Must be handmade.”
“Seth has an admirer,” I say, then sink my teeth into my abomination baguette.
“Probably the postman,” Archer says.
We both turn to stare at him. “What?”
“Yeah, the postman is totally into you.”