by Erik V. Wicks, Royal Oak

He hadn't seen her in years. She e-mailed, and called him "my friend," but whenever he wanted to see her, she demurred. She recycled old excuses; she gave every answer except "I don't want to." One day, he got good news.

"Something came up, something good, and you helped make it happen. I'd like to take you to dinner to thank you." She agreed, but cancelled. He tried again. "At least let me buy you lunch. Twelve-thirty, tomorrow."

As she was waiting for twelve-thirty, someone delivered sushi, her favorite chocolates, and a card that read: "I bought you lunch."

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