As the sun rose, casting a pale gray sheen over the tangled sheets of a slept-in bed, Race woke up and found himself alone. Apparently, Spot had already gotten up. It was too cold without him, so Race got up as well. He really had no reason to stay in bed without Spot.

Still half asleep, he trudged into the kitchen. Spot was not there either, but he obviously had been, since the coffee had been made. Race poured a cup. Then, mug in hand, he slid the door open and stepped outside.


The thaw had come only recently. Tiny buds of the light green you only get in early spring dusted the trees. Spot stood at the edge of the garden, silently gazing at the plants. His face bore a thoughtful expression that seemed somewhat out of place on his usually fierce features.

Race walked over to him and put his free hand over Spot's.

"Hey," Race said.

"Hi," Spot replied, gripping Race's hand. His eyes were still on the plants, and he stood silently for a few seconds before speaking again.

"Roses haven't bloomed yet." He said.


"Let's have breakfast."


They walked back inside.


Later, around noon, a delivery person trudged up the driveway, package in hand. He paused and rang the doorbell a few times. When no reply seemed imminent, he set the package down and left.

The unobtrusive box that rested on the doorstep could have been anything, really. The cardboard it was made of was no more remarkable than its generic shape and size. It looked like the sort of thing you'd get from EBay, or from a small company that couldn't afford personalized packaging.

Neither Spot nor Race was there to see the box delivered, but one of them knew about it anyway.


Just before dusk, Spot almost tripped over the plain brown box in the threshold of the front door. Raising an eyebrow, he picked it up and took it inside with him. It was addressed to him, but the label in the upper left-hand corner came from a florist.

Inside, Spot slit open the packing tape with a kitchen knife. When he saw the contents, he smiled slightly and went to get a vase.


When Race got home, the door was already unlocked, so he opened it and stepped inside. He was not entirely sure of how his gesture would have been received, spontaneous as it had been. He was greeted by the sight of Spot standing next to a bouquet of white roses in a glass vase.

If it had been anyone else, the image would have seemed sweet. But Spot was incapable of smiling without looking smug, so the effect was kind of ruined. Not that Race cared.

Race slid his coat off and took a step toward where Spot stood. His slight smirk was still in place. Race grinned back.

"Thanks," Spot said.

"Anytime," Race replied, and they kissed, surrounded by the scent of roses