Takeout, Wine, And Bubble Baths
by Katrina McDonnell

She nearly walked into her office door. Her closed office door which she was sure had been open when she left twenty minutes ago.


But Carol's work day had finished twenty-one minutes ago, her last act informing CJ that Josh needed to see her urgently.

Josh had spent sixteen minutes trying to find the file and another minute informing her of the contents. She used the remaining time to berate him for wasting her time on an issue that he'd briefed her on last week.

She'd planned on leaving early, grabbing some Chinese takeout and a bottle of red on the way home, and spending what remained of her birthday enjoying nice food and soaking in a bubble bath.

She glanced at her watch as she opened the door. Four hours and fifty-two minutes left. She could already smell the sweet and sour--

Her desk was covered in a white linen cloth and set with twin candlesticks, wine glasses, and covered containers. A wine bucket, complete with stand and wine bottle, stood to the left side of the desk.

She noted there was two of everything as she investigated the containers...all her favourite Chinese dishes. And chocolate mousse, strawberries and cream.

"Happy birthday, CJ."

"I'm going to have to apologise to Josh, aren't I?" She turned with her lips caught somewhere between a grimace and a smile.

Danny stepped forward and took the folder from her hands, throwing it onto the coffee table. "Would make my life easier."

"And why would I want to do that?"

"I don't know," he whispered, as he reached out and brushed a lock of hair away from her eyes.

She pulled back in slight embarrassment. "So, are you staying for dinner?"

"That's up to you."

"Pour the wine, I'll get the door."


CJ laughed as she grabbed the last strawberry from the dish on the coffee table. Leaning back against the cushions, she replied, "You'd better not let Leo hear that impersonation!"

"You don't think he'd appreciate it?" Danny grinned at her, his chin resting on his hand with his elbow propped against the top of the couch.

"Most likely not." The intimacy of their proximity, the way he was looking at her and... well, the entire night, suddenly hit her. She swallowed and glanced at her watch. "It's getting late."

"Yeah. And we have to work tomorrow," he agreed reluctantly.

"Yeah." She pointed to her desk. "Thank you for dinner. It was really lovely."

"My pleasure."

He shifted towards her and she stood abruptly. Picking up the dish, she took it over to the desk and started to clean up.

"Leave it, CJ. Just go home."

She didn't stop until he touched her arm. "Okay." She slid her arms into her coat as he held it out for her. "Thanks."

"Sleep well."

Finding some courage, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you."

"Wait a minute." He held up his finger and retrieved his own coat, searching in the pocket. "Here."

"Danny, you--"

"Just take it."

She smiled as she accepted the cylindrical gift and unwrapped it. "Bubble bath."

"The woman in the shop said that lavender is good for relaxation."

She quickly reassured him. "It is. I'd been planning on a bubble bath tonight."

"I must be psychic!"

"Among other things."

They smiled shyly, neither moving, neither quite meeting the other's eyes.

Danny broke first. "I'd better clean this up."

"And I'd better go home."

"Yeah." He busied himself with the plates and containers.

She stopped with her hand on the door handle, realising she really didn't want to go home alone tonight. "Danny?"


"You had much experience in running bubble baths?"

"I'm a little rusty," he replied, confusion evident in his voice.

She couldn't lose her nerve now. "Would you object to smelling a little flowery?"

He tilted his head, pleasure and wariness battling for supremacy on his face. "Depends. Would you be smelling flowery too?"

"I've got a big bath."


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