Her lips curled into a grin when she stopped him leaning against the wall and patiently waiting for him. She shot a smile and a wave at him before making her way over. Without giving much thought, she squeezed him into an embrace.
His eyes widened with a bittersweet surprise. Although he was stunned, he was exuberant that she treated him as a friend enough to want to hug him when they caught up.
“I’m sorry,” she sheepishly apologised. “It's a habit acquired after my sojourn abroad. I hope I didn't take you aback.”
While they waited for their orders in a quiet cafe off-campus, she slid a package towards him. It contained his birthday present and souvenir in addition to a birthday letter. A glow shone on his face when he stole a glance at the contents of the paper bag. There were two individually wrapped items, which meant that she wanted to retain his suspense of receiving a secret gift. When she wrote that she desired to pass the birthday gifts, he never thought she’d keep to her words.
He was, however, more interested with the sealed envelope.
She nodded, reading his mind. “Feel free to open it, if you want.”
Her face flushed as red as a cherry tomato the moment he tore open the envelope and read the contents of the birthday card. Her internal temperature significantly rose, making her warmer and colouring her ears with a rosy hue. If she hadn’t known better, she’d have thought that she was running a temperature.
But she wasn’t.
There was nothing incriminating in the message or choice of gifts, so why was she fidgety and blushing brighter than the stars?
“Thanks for it, my friend!” His words penetrated her thoughts. “I really love it!”
“That's awesome!” She heaved a breath. “I was petrified that you wouldn't like it.”
“Not to worry! I trust your choice.”
Hours later, when they rose to their full height, he acknowledged his appreciation and thanks with a bear hug. He grabbed her with such intensity that her blood flow was constructed and strangling her.
“I’m … choking.” She croaked like a frog.
“Sorry!” Awkwardness twirled in his eyes as he released her. “I didn't mean to do so.”
“It's alright. I’d have preferred an advance warning.” She straightened her shirt. “I’ve to head off, so I’ll catch up with you later on Facebook?”
He watched as she scurried off, mentally cursing himself for such a move.