Forever Pucked(3)By: Helena Hunting
The beaver is holding a heart-shaped box. I pluck it from his paws while Charlene puts her arm around it and takes a selfie. I open the card; of course, it’s beaver-themed—a pair of cartoon beavers with little hearts above their heads. They’re in love, just like Alex and me.
I flip it open, expecting Alex’s usual hilarity, which is how it starts, but by the end I’m about to cry. He really is that damn sweet:
A year ago you agreed to go for coffee with me, and then your boobs agreed to go on a real date. You came into my life and turned it upside down in the best way. I’ll never look at Spiderman pajamas the same way, or Marvel Comic boxer briefs.
I love every inch of you, all your funny quirky ways, all the ridiculous things you say in your sleep—and when you’re awake. Your unending praise for the MC also doesn’t hurt.
I know you don’t buy the whole love at first sight thing, but I believe some people are destined to be together. Maybe we came together because of lust and Fielding, but we stayed together because of love.
You’re my forever,
I sigh and hold the card to my chest, absorbing his words into my heart. Not really. I’m actually considering checking Google to see if he copied this from some sappy love poem site and made a few modifications to fit us better. However, Alex was an English major in college, so it’s possible he came up with this all on his own.
I save the Google search for later and open the heart-shaped box. I expect to find chocolate inside, but I’m pleasantly surprised to discover it’s filled with those heavenly maple sugar candies I love so much. There’s also a bag of Swedish Fish.
“You two are the weirdest couple on the face of the earth. You know that, right?”
“I prefer the term quirky, but yeah, I know.”
Charlene nabs a maple candy before I can close the box. Granted, there are a lot of them. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say there’s a good hundred candies in there. I’ll be in a maple sugar coma by the end of the day for sure. I can’t stop once I’ve started.
I grab my phone from the top drawer of my desk, but before I can pull up Alex’s contact, Charlene snatches it out of my hand.
“What’re you doing?”
“You need to pose with the beaver so we can send Alex a picture,” she says, as if this should be obvious. Which really, it should be. I’m from the generation where everything we do gets posted online for bored people to see. Welcome to the wonderful world of well-documented bad decisions.
I shuffle the beaver around. It’s not easy since he’s huge, and my cubicle is small. I back my chair into a corner and move the beaver between my legs. I shove the beaver down so his head is at waist level, and Charlene snaps a few pics. Then we turn it over, giggling like idiots as I arrange my skirt over the top of its head so it looks like the beaver’s going to town on my beaver.
I strike several different poses, including a fake orgasm face, which is the exact moment my boss walks in on our little party.
“Mr. Stroker! Hey, hi!” I push the beaver away from my crotch, but it’s too late. He’s already seen me molesting it.
“Miss Hoar.” He glances at Charlene, then to me. “Miss Hall.” His arms are crossed over his chest, and his face remote. He’s giving away nothing. “You two look like you’re hard at work.”
We’re in so much trouble.
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Stroker. Alex sent me this for our anniversary—” I gesture to the gigantic beaver. “—and Charlene and I thought we’d send a picture so he knows I got it. We’re not sure if the team’s going to make it back tonight, because of the storm.” I wave my hand toward the windows. It’s snowing like crazy.
Not that it’s going to stop him from firing me.
“He sent you a stuffed woodchuck for your anniversary?”
“It’s not a woodchuck; it’s a beaver,” Charlene says.
He raises an eyebrow. “I’m not sure I want an explanation. Violet, I’d like to see you in my office.”
My stomach does a flip, but I stand and smooth out my wrinkled skirt, shooting Charlene a look of terror. She mouths sorry at me, but it’s not her fault. I would’ve done something equally as stupid with or without her help.