Charlie hesitated. She simply glanced at all the faces leaning in with interest around the mysterious cardboard box, thinking this was probably another surprise treat from her friends to put the cherry on top, or, knowing their runaway imagination, an attempt to make her the butt of some after-party joke.
She may have hesitated too long, for Tara said, impatiently, “Alright, I’ll open it for you.”
Before Tara could reach for the box, Charlie began peeling the duct tape off, her fingernails straining to remove it because of its overdone and inelegant use.
She said, “If it’s a present, then it’ll be weird not to know who to thank.”
With the last piece of tape peeled off, Charlie opened the box, unsuspectingly.
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