This story was inspired by a card I saw the other day in the grocery store. I had to write it to get it out of my mind.

The Card
By Judith Freudenthal
2000

Natalie arrived at work, set her full coffee mug on the desk, took off her coat and dropped her purse into the bottom drawer of her desk. She sat down at her desk to deal with the stack of folders. She sipped at her coffee. As she gave the stack a good look she noticed an envelope on her desk.

She picked it up and opened it. Taking another sip as she started to read it.

"I want to bite your neck." The stereotypical vampire on the cover said. Natalie figured it was a joke card by Grace or one of her other friends. Maybe even Schanke had left it behind. After all Halloween was two days away. Natalie took a sip before setting down her mug so she could open the card.

Natalie gasped, choking on her coffee as she read the inside of the card, spewing coffee all over the files. The card read "and keep kissing all the way to your toes."

 

Grace heard choking sounds as she entered. She saw Natalie try to hide something.

"You okay?" Grace asked concerned.

"I'm fine. I was just startled."

"Who sent you the card?" Grace asked, suspecting it was Nick. She knew that was the only reason Nat would try to hide it?"

"Nick. It's just a joke," Natalie said, trying to convince Grace, while she hoped he meant what he said.

Nick entered the morgue, causing Grace to give him an amused look. Grace decided to leave them alone.

"What was that about?" Nick asked.

"I read your card as I was drinking my coffee and choked. She happened to come in then. I hid the card, but not fast enough."

"Did you like it?"

"Yes," Natalie studied him for a moment. "Did you mean it?"

"Every word of it."

Grace popped back into the room. "I forgot to give you this," she said as she handed Natalie a file. "If you want to sneak out early, I'll cover for you."

"Thanks, Grace," Natalie said as she looked at Nick. She knew she'd better take him up on his offer before he changed his mind. "I think I'll take you up on the offer."

"Have a wonderful night you two," Grace said teasingly.

Nick pulled out his cell phone and asked Schanke if he minded if he booked off a little early. Schanke had a hunch what was happening and said it was no problem, and to have a nice night. His partner had used the same teasing tone as Grace had.

Natalie started to leave, but went back to her desk and grabbed the card, much to Grace's disappointment.

The end

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