Violet had been inside with him
when it was closed at least a handful of times.
Watching him unlock the door and flip on the lights still made her feel
special. He didn’t let just anyone
in. He unlocked the office as well.
“You can start making a plan while
I wrestle the tree,” he said.
She said, “Okay,” and went inside
to the cabinet of decorations. She
identified the box with the tree ornaments – it was labeled so it wasn’t
difficult – and picked it up intending to bring it out front near where the
tree would go. She’d only made it back
to the office door when she heard the creaking of a stepladder unfolding. She set the box down to investigate.
Ryan had placed it between two prep tables and was about to ascend. He seemed to read on her face that she didn’t have a question. “You want to watch me get it down?”
“I’m curious.” She answered with a shrug. “You were kind of mysterious about it last year. Like, you wait here so you don’t see me getting the tree from its super-secret hiding place.”
He let out a short laugh, then talked as he moved up the ladder. “I’m sure I never called it a super secret, but I was probably vague on purpose.”