A great date with the one she loves
| John sat in the recliner by the fire cozied in a warm velour blanket. He napped intermittently. His graying beard poked into his chest waking him when his mouth fell agape in mid-snore. A late night out followed by a long day of work had tired the man. He had fallen asleep praying there were no family commitments for the evening. John was long overdue for a restful evening at home.
Startled by the sudden intrusion of the front door opening, the man almost fell out of the chair. After taking a moment to regain his composure, he greeted his spouse of thirty years.
"Hey, you got home quick. Didn't expect you so early."
"I see that! Why are you sleeping already?"
"Just resting my eyes. I was hoping for an hour of uninterrupted Z's."
"Well there isn't any time for that. We have to be at the restaurant by six."
"For what?" the man grumbled his thought in the form of a question
"Dinner with Nick and Tori. Does it ring a bell?"
"Please call and tell them we can't make it. Tell them I have the flu. I just want to sleep in my chair. We have been out every day this week. Ben's chorus concert on Monday, movie with Nick on Tuesday, and Jamie's play on Wednesday and Thursday. I love our kids dearly, but they are more work now than when they were little. I just want my Friday!"
"Do you want me to get the violin out? Come on we need to live while we can. I'll let you sleep late tomorrow and even serve you breakfast in bed. Hurry or we'll be late" she said as she rushed towards the bedroom.
"Making me stay out until eleven last night and getting me up at six today isn't conducive to a happy marriage,." he yelled at the shadow of the woman receding down the hall.
John knew it was a useless argument and that he would lose the battle. He actually loved the active and busy lifestyle they shared. With the kids grown and involved in numerous pursuits of their own, he was proud that they included them in their plans. To him, it meant that they hadn't screwed up too badly, as parents. He was tired but would survive through the weekend and claim his breakfast in bed. It was a plan, now he just had to motivate himself to move out of the comfy chair. Before he could manage his objective, Laurel was back in the living room fully dressed.
"Wow, you look great! But why are you so dressed up?" he said as he admired his mate's stunning appearance.
"It's a five-star restaurant. Suit and tie required. And thank you."
John started to open his mouth for further argument but thought better of it. Instead, he shook his head from side to side swinging it low against his chest, as if commiserating his plight and propelled himself from the chair.
"Suit, tie, got it!"
"Need to trim the beard a little... and hack off that weirdly wild nose garden of yours."
"Love you too." he yelled over his shoulder.
She giggled at the man as she put the finishing touches to her attire. There was the pearl necklace John had given to her on their first anniversary, her diamond engagement ring, wedding band, and the antique silver broach of her grandmother's. John had failed to notice that the cream brocaded suit Laurel wore was new. She tucked a pale blue handkerchief embroidered with little bluebirds into her pocket. Turning to glance in the mirror, she groomed the wild hairs back into place with an ornate silver comb borrowed from her friend and pushed it gently behind her ear to hold the strays in place.
"Hurry dear," Laurel called out, hoping to prod the man into action as she had for so many years.
"I'm here and ready," he announced, startling Laurel in the process. His hands held wide open with palms up sought approval of his appearance by his wife.
Laurel smiled big and applauded her approval.
"You clean up very nicely, sir. I hoped you would wear that suit. And so quick too. You might just get the whole day off tomorrow."
"I know when I'm licked. I figured I might as well put some gumption into the process. What's the occasion for such fanciness? Do we know where this restaurant is at?"
"No occasion and yes, the restaurant is attached to the Brinker's hotel. It shouldn't take long to get there."
"Well if they treat us right tonight and the food is good, maybe I'll treat them to another helping of us next week on our anniversary. But only the best for my girl! You look great, hon."
"You remembered? Aren't you the tricky one? All this time, I thought it was the furthest thing from your mind."
Soon they arrived at the hotel in the grandest of ballrooms. A look of surprise and confusion took over John's face when the family priest opened the door for him and his bride. The room was filled with acquaintances both old and new. Friends and family were gathered at the front of the room. It took just a moment for John to understand that it was a party of sorts. He had yet to study the decorations and capture the meaning, before Laurel bent down on one knee in front of him.
"John, my love, will you marry once again?" she asked.
There were tears in the man's eyes. He was touched not only that she had planned such a romantic event without his knowledge but that so many people had given up the their evening to celebrate with the couple.
He turned to his wife giving her the answer she waited for, "Yes, now, tomorrow and forever. I would marry you any day of the week."
It was the best date night they had ever shared besides their first wedding.
Word Count 999