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The ashtray had been Robin’s Christmas gift to him.

It was a nice piece, heavy rectangular pewter, and looked vintage; he often found himself rubbing the diamond pattern cut around the side as he tapped out ashes. He liked it because it suited him. Practical, sturdy, not ostentatious but of good taste.

His fingers wore one side silver, where he touched it often. It made him think of Robin, her good sense, her optimism. When he felt stuck, or frustrated, or helpless, he’d trace the pattern, letting it soothe his mind, like a talisman.

If she noticed, she never said.