I opened the door gingerly, cautiously peering around at my surroundings as I stepped into the shop. It was bright and colorful, and a little bulldog ran to greet me. I squatted down to give her pets. She reveled in the attention, making adorable bulldog snorts and pushing closer
“Can I help you?”
I jerked my gaze to the woman behind the counter. She was plump and pleasant, with a radiant smile and kind eyes.
“Er, yes.” I rose slowly from my crouch and cleared my throat. “I um…”
I trailed off not knowing what to say. But her smile was encouraging, so I took a deep breath. “I want to learn to knit.” I said it really fast, not knowing how she would take a man standing in her yarn shop and asking to learn.
“Wonderful! I’ll be happy to teach you. Do you have a project in mind? Or do you just want to learn the basics?”
In for a penny… “My boyfriend shaves his head. He needs a hat. And his birthday is in a couple of months so…” I let the sentence hang.
She came around the counter, her smile growing impossibly wider. “Excellent first project! Let’s get everything you need and we’ll get started!”
I liked her attitude. I returned her smile and trailed after her.
After eight weeks under Beth’a tutelage, I was a fairly proficient knitter. Well, I could knit and purl with the best of them anyway. Beth praised my tension and my progress. I’d had to run back to her and beg for help when it was time to decrease, but in the end I managed to make a hat.
Cole was getting suspicious. I could tell. He’d ask loaded question about what I was doing that I refused to answer. It had been difficult to hide my work in progress from him. I’d had to be very sneaky. But tonight it would pay off and I could put his mind to rest.
I was nervous. The hat was a deep, rich blue in a cashmere wool blend that felt awesome to the touch. It wasn’t perfect; a little uneven in places. But I hadn’t dropped any stitches and it was functional.
I shoved the gift bag in his hands the instant we sat down to dinner. I’d made his favorite meal, and I had a whole plan, but I couldn’t wait.
He eyed me warily as he opened the bag. Then he inspected the hat very carefully. I held my breath.
Finally he asked, his voice low, “Did you make this?”
I nodded fast. “Yes,” I croaked.
His grin was gorgeous as he pulled it on. It fit perfectly, even if I could see a mistake the instant the stitches stretched around his head.
“I love it,” he said reverently. Then he cocked his head to the side. “This is what you were hiding?”
He frowned. “Did you think I would judge you for learning to knit?”
“No!” I practically shouted, then blushed at my overly loud voice. Because I had worried about that a little. I shrugged and went with the rest if the truth. “just wanted to keep it a surprise.”
He took my hand. “It’s great. Thank you.”
“Happy birthday,” I said softly.
“Thank you,” he repeated. Then he grinned. “I want a matching scarf for Christmas.”
I grinned. If I started now, I’d be done by then. Learning to knit had been an awesome idea.