Two months later…
Charlie walked into her office and sat in her chair with a sigh. She hadn't been here in days and now she wasn't going to be able to leave all night with all the paperwork she had to do. On her birthday too. Not that it really meant anything to her, especially now. She'd been moved back to Virginia and away from her family and didn't have anyone in her life to share her personal times with. The CIA had gone to great lengths to make sure the only thing Charlie had in her life was her job, just like before. Except unlike before, the CIA rarely let her into this building anymore. They were always giving her work to do in the CIA hospital building where agents stayed when they needed medical attention due to their jobs. A regular hospital wouldn't cut it with all the confidentiality that had to be maintained. Not being a regular hospital though meant that although she had a few patients, she didn't have as much as she normally would and that gave her a lot of time to spend in her office. That was before. Now, since Charlie sitting in her office and doing paperwork meant she'd be close to Sands, the CIA gave her meaningless task after meaningless task to do in the medical wing. She was basically running the department on her own with nearly no help. Every patient had be seen to by her personally. She couldn't just do the surgeries she wanted, take the cases she found the most interesting and pass the boring stuff to the people under her, she had to do everything. She had to overlook every case, she had to be in on every surgery that she could, she had to work twice as much as some of the doctors she was the boss of.
And I have to do all the paperwork I usually give someone else.
I fucking hate this place.
Charlie opened her desk drawer to get some printer paper, frowning when she saw a little blue box in there with a small card attached. She would know that box anywhere.
She picked up the box and unwrapped the white ribbon and opened it, gasping when she saw the white gold link bracelet with a heart pendant attached. She inspected it more closely realising that those were in fact real diamonds surrounding the heart. She couldn't believe it. She placed the box on her desk and opened the envelope, unfolding the card.
Happy Birthday, sugar.
Charlie felt like her heart was being clenched by a fist. How did he know? And why make the effort when they weren't even allowed near each other? It must have been hard. Not to mention the money he must have spent on the bracelet, a few thousand at least. White gold and diamonds didn't come cheap. Not in Tiffany's.
Charlie was trying to wrap her head around this when she looked up at her computer and saw her screensaver, remembering him being proud of knowing her favourite movie. Suddenly the choice of store made much more sense and held much more sentimentality. He'd put more effort in than she originally thought and that just made the metaphorical fist wrapped around her heart squeeze that much tighter. Charlie picked up the bracelet out of the box and looked it over. She frowned when she saw some writing on the back of the 'Return to Tiffany' heart pendant.
I love you.
And she was done. The tears were flowing down her cheeks. She wanted to tell him she loved him too, so much. They may have been running for their lives at the time but being with him was when she'd been happiest and the fact that they were so near to each other all the time and couldn't do anything about it was torture.
She clasped the bracelet onto her wrist and placed the box and the card into her bag before going back to work. She couldn't let her emotions overrule her, especially not here.
Though the second it had clasped around her wrist, she never took the bracelet off.
Charlie was walking through the entrance to her new building and going to the elevators, wanting to fall into bed.
Charlie turned to see one of the night security guards calling her over. She walked over to him.
"This came for you a while ago." The security guard said, handing her a little brown, bulging jiffy envelope that had her address written on one side and 'Happy Birthday!' on the other. "Some delivery guy dropped it by a while ago."
"This late?" She frowned.
"Said it dropped between the seats of his delivery truck."
Charlie nodded. "Alright, thanks Ralph. Good night."
"Night, Doctor Macintosh. And happy birthday."
Charlie walked over to the elevators and stepped in, pushing her key into the slot so it would go up to the top floor. It made her feel safer to think no one could get up to her apartment without a key. She got out and opened the door to her new home, a penthouse loft that took up the whole floor that she'd really splashed out on but felt it necessary. With her life being in danger so much in the past few months and the CIA after making its threats, she felt the top floor of a tall building just felt safer. One where a key was needed to access her floor on the elevator and one where the door had four different locks and a big metal barricade in the middle that spanned across it so even if the door was kicked in, it couldn't be kicked past that. She was in the middle of locking all her security measurements when an excited Buster ran down to her, happy to finally see her home. When it became clear that the CIA was giving Sands the shittiest jobs that consisted of the longest missions in the worst countries, he realised he couldn't keep the dog since he'd never be around. The last interaction Sands and Charlie had was when he asked her to take Buster and take care of him. She obliged and Buster had lived with her ever since.
"Hey boy, sorry I'm late." She said. "Work is killing me. Hopefully just not literally."
She walked over to the couch and sat down, throwing the envelope onto the table. It was probably from one of her family or some cruel show of appreciation from the CIA. Whatever it was, she wasn't as interested in it as she was in the bracelet. She took out Sands' card, just looking at the word 'sugar', and in doing so, she forgot all about the package. It wasn't long before she decided to just go to bed and try and dream of a nicer existence than the one she was living. She got into her pyjamas and took off her make-up and crawled into bed, the bracelet never leaving her wrist.
It was the first thing she saw when she opened her eyes the next morning and it was one of the better mornings she'd had in the past two months.
"Look Buster, something to remind us of your real master." She said to the dog who was still sleeping at the end of her bed but now looking up at her lazily. "Okay, I guess it's more of a better present for me…"
She sighed and got up, getting ready for work. She was going to get her bag off the couch where she left it last night when she spotted the brown jiffy envelope.
"Oh yeah, should probably open it so I can call and thank whoever sent it." She said to the dog who still wasn't listening. She just got lonely sometimes and talking to Buster, even when he wasn't listening, helped that. She picked up the envelope and ripped it open. Her heart stopped when its contents fell into her hand.
A little velvet box.
A little velvet box she'd seen before. In the factory. Only how did it get out of the factory? How did it get to where she lived? She opened it and saw the diamond ring still inside.
She dropped it quickly and looked in the envelope for some explanation, hopefully this was the CIA just being cruel with her. Maybe they recovered it and were trying to remind her of all the trouble that had been caused because of her.
She found a card in the envelope that was very cheery and pink and bright. She opened it and read the contents. As she read the poem that she was pretty sure was written in blood, she was breathing very heavily and her hands were shaking, her own blood running cold.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'm still alive,
And coming for you!
Happy Birthday, babe.
See you soon. X.
To be continued...