People in the office were gathered in groups. The ‘cliques’ in the office were showing as everyone retreated to their group of friends to discuss what had just happened. It was the annual office Secret Santa game. They drew names earlier in the last quarter of the year and then put gifts under the office Christmas tree. One could let you know that they were gifting you, but most times, people didn’t leave cards. Since they’d pick the gifts after work on a specific date, the office would be filled with chatter as they tried to guess who had gifted them and discussed the presents.
“Let’s see what’s inside, Sheila,” said one of her colleagues.
“It looks bigger than everyone else’s. I’m curious too,” said Sheila as she unwrapped her gift.
“Eish! Sheila, I want to get your Secret Santa next year. They went over and beyond. You don’t want to know what mine got me,” said the guy who sat next to Sheila at work.
“Please don’t say it’s socks again,” said Sheila.
“You guessed it. It’s yet another pair of happy socks. I glad she didn’t leave a name,” said the colleague.
“Well, it could be worse. I saw someone complaining on social media that their office secret Santa got them two bars of bathing soap,” Sheila replied. They all laughed.
Sheila finally managed to open her gift. It was a nutribullet and a gift voucher for a famous nutrition company. The gift card had a note written, “Dear Sheila, every so often we need help to achieve our goals — even Batman had Robin. Consider this your sidekick to help you on your healthy lifestyle journey. Best, Dylan.”
Sheila’s eyes simmered as tears swelled up, revealing the emotions surging within. The guy with the happy socks looked amused. The other two girls who were with them screamed. Everybody in the office turned to them. Realizing the attention they were courting, they started talking in whispers.
“Oh my God! Shy Dylan has a crush on you Sheila,” one of the girls told her.
“Shhhh, you’re blowing it out of proportion. He is probably just a good gifter,” replied Sheila.
“I’ve never seen you guys talk, how does he know you’re struggling with adopting a healthy lifestyle?” The other girl asked.
“Guys, I don’t know. We have never spoken beyond the usual greetings,” Sheila told them.
“He’s definitely into you,” the male colleague said.
“He is just being nice,” said Sheila.
“Girl, nice is the happy socks,” said one of the girls in reference to the male colleague’s gift.
“Spoken like a girl who gifts socks and boxers,” the male colleague joked. They all laughed.
“Well, no use guessing. Go over to the chap and thank him. We’ll be waiting for the tea, “ the other girl told Sheila.
Sheila went to Dylan’s office. Although they worked in the same department, Dylan had an office because they ran out of space. It worked well for him because he was introverted. Dylan saw Sheila coming towards his office, and he became a bit tense.
“Hey Dylan. Thank you so much for the gift. I really love it,” said Sheila.
“I’m glad you do. You’re welcome,” said Dylan.
“Just out of curiosity, how did you know I needed something like this? I liked the Batman-Robin touch too,” said Sheila.
“I have heard you talk about it a couple of times and your phone cover has Batman, I figured you must like him a lot,” responded Dylan.
“He’s my favourite superhero. You’re quite attentive,” said Sheila.
“I’m headed out, would you like to grab dinner or something?” Dylan asked impulsively.
“On the condition that it is my treat,” said Sheila with a broad smile.
Minutes later, they were in Dylan’s car, headed for dinner. During the drive to the restaurant, Sheila realized that she didn’t know much about Dylan. At that particular point, she wondered how he managed to drive an Audi, given their pay grade. However, she decided that asking him would probably make the moment awkward, so she saved it for later if the opportunity presented itself.
Sheila suggested a popular restaurant that she liked, and that was where they went. The food was fantastic, and the conversation went better than any of them had imagined. Dylan surprised Sheila with his stories. She got the impression that in addition to being attentive, he was also intelligent and focused, which explained his car. On the other hand, Dylan was pleased to find out that Sheila fit the idea of her that he had. She was sweet, caring, a good listener and bubbly.
Dylan had liked Sheila since she landed in that office. Although she was popular with both male and female colleagues, she never had that ‘main character’ energy. She treated everyone kindly. He thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and was surprised when she overheard her telling some colleagues that she was struggling with weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Many times, he wanted to tell her, “You are perfect the way you are,” but he knew better than to sound dismissive of her concerns. Dylan was shy and thought Sheila was above his league, but he couldn’t shake off his crush on her. When he drew her name for Secret Santa, he saw it as his opportunity to make his move.
It worked better than he imagined. That dinner was the first of many moments they would share. They became inseparable. Dylan offered to be Sheila’s partner in the healthy lifestyle change. They held each other accountable for workouts and tried out new recipes together. A thoughtful gift was the genesis of a beautiful relationship.
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