I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day but this year it actually meant something.
|I was sitting in a small booth in the far corner of this deranged coffee shop that also liked to sell things like Turkish Delight, jelly beans, and buckeyes. It seemed more of a place to take your kids to if you felt like living in Hell for the day rather than a place to relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee. But the coffee was damn good and I wasn't about to let four screaming children ruin it.
I noticed the parents were completely oblivious to the antics of their demon spawn as they nuzzled together in the booth, drinking from each others tea and nibbling on little sweets. It perplexed me to see them so inexplicably happy. I've seen the mother in this place before. She always looked tired and angry. Sometimes she'd be arguing on the phone with the father. I learned this after I caught her making the statement "Well, they're your kids, David."
That's when another couple came into the shop; the girl was holding onto a couple of helium heart balloons, which she had received by her boyfriend no doubt. They were much younger than the married couple, but they seemed to be just as doe-eyed as the parents. The man barely took notice of the screaming until the girl looked up at him and murmured something into his ear. A grin spread across his face as he murmured back to her. Her eyes said it all. They wanted little demons of their own. I felt the sudden urge to gag at the bitter taste of coffee in my mouth.
It should have been just like any other day. I know everyone gets caught up in the spirit of Valentine's Day with all their romantic ideas and creations, but I've never seen the point. If you love someone, it shouldn't have to be just celebrated on that one day. You should celebrate it everyday. Why save all the over the top romance for Valentine's Day? That's what I liked about Andrew. He wasn't like that. In fact, he wasn't romantic at all.
As if he had received my telepathic S.O.S., Andrew lit up on my cell phone's screen. The obnoxious ring tone chimed in to let me know he was calling. I took the call and slipped it close to my ear.
"Jesus, these people are driving me insane. Where the hell have you been?"
"Oh, nowhere really, I was just picking up a few things for later tonight," Andrew mumbled. I could hear him fiddling with something, as if he were trying to put something together.
"Please tell me you didn't break that entertainment set I just put together for you. I know you're incapable of mechanics, but I really don't feel like putting it back together again," I commented.
"Don't be ridiculous."
"Then what are you wrestling with over there? A bear?"
I rolled my eyes and took another gulp of my coffee. The screaming children had migrated over to the opposite side of my booth to pick out more sugar packed foods.
"Where are you?"
"Currently in a coffee shop with some little brats tossing candy around like confetti."
"Ah, I see. Do you want to come over?"
"I don't know. I'll have to check my schedule. Seeing as it's a Saturday and everyone is too preoccupied with getting their faces sucked off by their loved one's mouth."
"Like you haven't enjoyed a good sucking yourself."
I could feel patches of red rise to the surface of my skin as I choked on my words. All I could do was make a nervous laugh to disregard the direct comment. "I'll be there soon."
"Thought that would entice you." With that, Andrew disconnected from the phone call.
I looked over at the child who was still trying to pick out his candy. The other three had already blasted through to some other area of the shop, leaving him to decide for himself. Being left to make a decision on his own did not seem like the wisest idea. He kept going back and forth. I went up to the display and asked the little pixie of a woman for a batch of peanut butter fudge squares. As I picked up my things and exited the shop, I could hear the boy asking for the peanut butter fudge.
I'd managed to skip up the three concrete steps in front of his door before knocking on it several times. I heard the heavy thud of something hitting the floor before a scuffling of footsteps. I peeked in through the side window to see if I could catch anything but Andrew had blocked the window with his coat rack. There was more thudding and scrambling behind the door.
"What the hell are you doing? Trying to hide a body? Answer the door," I shouted through the oak door.
After a few moments, I could hear Andrew approaching the front door. When it pushed open, I could see his looming figure hanging on the door frame. He huffed out, his dark hair disheveled and sweat beading up at his temples.
"What did you do?"
"Nothing," he stated.
His face lacked any kind of indication of emotion. I couldn't tell if he was irritated or being mischievous. He had this knack for secrecy, I'll give him that much. I shoved him inside as I crossed the threshold and walked into the living room. I stopped, my jaw dropping open.
Teacup candles were hanging from fishing lines in a dozen different areas of the ceiling. Dark red candles glowed on the floor surrounding a plaid blanket, which had been thrown loosely over the floor. Two wine glasses rested beside the blanket with a couple dishes of grilled chicken and steamed vegetables, covered in a tangy looking sauce. I smelled the wood burning before I heard it crackle in the fireplace beside me.
"I know you're not into this kind of crap, or at least you pretend you aren't, but it's worth a shot anyway. These are for you," he said as he extended his hand out to me, holding a bouquet of over-sized white lilies.
“Andrew…” They weren’t roses. The man knew me, I’ll give him that much. I smiled at him as I took the lilies from him. “They’re lovely.”
“Of course they are. They wouldn’t be your favorite if they weren’t,” he cracked a smile and adjusted his eyes to the blanket.
I could see his nerves starting to show despite his effort to hide it. I felt myself grin so wide that the muscles in my cheeks began to ache. I threw myself at him and tackled him to the floor. “Let’s have it, honey! Wine and dine me.”