"You don't know what it is yet."
"It doesn't matter. I love it already."
He gritted his teeth behind his smile. Christ's sake! Open it!
Sara unwrapped the foil and held up Elise's silver hairbrush. "Where did you get this?"
"An antique shop. I thought of you when I saw it."
She she ran her fingers across the handle, as he had done countless times. "It's exquisite. How old is it?"
His mind whirred. "1923." He spat out the random date. "That's what the guy who sold it to me said. But he didn't say it with conviction. We should confirm that."
"Oh, I don't care. I adore it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I'll keep it on the dresser."
Sara set the brush on her white dresser with gold filagree.
He glanced at his watch. He had to finish Apartment Girl before more than the Scion led to him. "Oh, crap!"
"What's the matter?" she asked.
He snapped his fingers. "I forgot my syllabus at the hospital. We're starting a new anatomy class tomorrow, and I need to review some notes beforehand. Can I borrow the car?"
"Sure. Why don't we go together? We'll get dinner on the way back."
"Nah. Why don't you take a shower? Meanwhile, I'll retrieve the syllabus. Traffic isn't bad. I'll be back soon. Then we can make a real night of it. How about Casanova's, that Italian place on Main?"
He kissed her on the lips, his own, dry, and uninspired. "See you, later."
Sara yanked him by his hand, and pulled him closer. "Hurry back," she said softly in his ear.
Craig patted her back with stiff strokes, his strained gesture, automatic. Her shoulders heaved with a sigh. She probably expected a bit more of him.
Sex with Sara had grown increasingly perfunctory. He explained he had a lot on his mind, with the grind of keeping at the top in medical school, and all. The "all" being the planning and execution of his compulsion. He'd quit trying to control the urges. He slept better that way, and the ultimate conquests, with their adrenaline kick, sharpened his mind. He did his best studying afterwards.
He gently kissed her forehead and tapped her nose. She giggled with heady satisfaction. It was a nice thing to do. The smallest gesture made her happy. Raw warmth spread from deep inside his belly in a contagion that surfaced to his skin. Sweet, naive Sara loved him, unconditionally. He caressed her cheek. He'd protect her from that part of him that would break her. She didn't deserve it.
"I'll be ready when you get back."
He grinned. "So will I."
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