Between: A Valentine's Short
Happy Valentine's Day! This was written for fun and is very, very lightly edited. Enjoy.
“Why?” Elle asked, flipping through the notes she’d taken during our meeting.
“This will be my first time in an actual relationship on Valentine’s Day in like fifteen years.”
Every year, whenever I hadn’t been single, my relationships fizzled right before the holiday so I was excited, yet nervous. I hadn’t even mentioned anything to Silas or even attempted to make plans because I was too afraid of jinxing it.
“Has he said anything to you about it?”
I ignored the hollow pain in my chest and shook my head. Silas had been good to me since we’d gotten together, and I didn’t want to push him into anything. But then again, this would be my first time celebrating with a man I’d given my whole heart to.
For once, I wanted to buy into the whole idea of Valentine’s Day. The flowers and chocolate, the romance and spending time with someone I… loved.
“What are your plans?” I asked Elle, needing to get my mind off my disappointment.
She looked up from her notebook, brows dipped in the middle. “Not a damn thing. I was meeting up with some guy I’d met online, but he cancelled because he had plans with his wife.”
“His wife,” she emphasized, “I was like, what wife? His damn profile said single. I’m so sick of this. Men ain’t shit. All of them.” I held up my finger to contradict her statement, but she rolled her eyes and continued before I could. “Except yours, hoe. You ended up with Mr. Perfect, everybody else out here ain’t worth a damn.”
I pursed my lips. “What about Miller?”
Her annoyed expression smoothed into a blank slate. “What about him?”
“He’s not like the men you’re talking about.”
“And he’s my best friend, which means he’s off limits. Besides, I don’t see him like that.”
She was lying through her teeth. But I didn’t have time to call her out on it because my baby walked in and stole my attention. His long, bowlegged stride brought a smile to my lips. Like always, he only had eyes for me, causing my heart to flutter when he crossed the room and kissed my lips. Seeing his face was the highlight of my day. I’d just been with him this morning before I’d rolled out of his bed and headed to the gym, but I’d missed him during those few hours apart.
I missed him every time he left the room, even if he was just down the hall.
He flashed a smile at Elle before he settled next to her in a leather chair, flipping through his notes, brows furrowed in concentration. I don’t even know why he had his own office, since getting together, he spent ninety-five percent of his time in mine.
Elle’s nails tapped against the desktop, bringing my attention back to her. She bucked her eyes, jerking her head towards Silas. I knew she wanted me to ask him about Valentine’s Day, but I refused, not wanting to put him on the spot. When she turned to face him, I bucked my eyes back at her and shook my head.
Ignoring me, she sucked her teeth and asked anyway, “Silas, what are your plans for this weekend?”
I wanted to kill her.
He glanced at me. “Not much. I honestly have nothing planned.” He tilted his head, then shrugged. “Might catch a game with Love or see what my brother’s up to. That’s it.”
“So, you have nothing planned? Nothing at all?”
I kicked her under the desk and she flinched. Silas eyed the two of us with a frown. “Why?” He asked, completely oblivious, “Y’all trying to hang out at Miller’s place again this weekend?”
This time, I couldn’t ignore the hurt in my chest. Here I was getting all worked up over a holiday he hadn’t thought twice about.
Elle sucked her teeth. “No, Silas. And Miller will be busy this weekend so find something else to do.” She pushed all of her notes back into her folder before rolling her eyes. “I’ll see you later, B.” I shook my head when she narrowed her lids. “Bye, Silas.”
We both watched her leave before he turned towards me with a confused frown. “What’s her problem?”
I averted my gaze, looking back at my computer screen so he couldn’t spot the hurt on my face.
“I don’t know. Just Elle being Elle.”
* * * * * *
Valentine’s Day was officially here.
Though today was Sunday, I didn’t have a date or any plans so I’d gone into work to get some things done.
It was a boring way to spend Valentine’s Day, but what the hell else was I supposed to do? I’d remained irritated with Silas after he failed to even mention the holiday, so I’d brought my ass home last night after work, feigning exhaustion when he’d asked to come over.
This morning, all I’d received was a good morning text. Since then? Radio silence. Not even a Happy Valentine’s Day text, which only spiked my aggravation.
As much as I hated to admit it, I was in my feelings. Big time. Maybe I was overreacting a bit, but we’ve been dating almost two months. I’d assumed that our first Valentine’s Day as a couple would be just as important to him as it was to me. Clearly I was wrong.
“Hey, Bliss.” I turned from my car, finding my neighbor coming down her front steps. I smiled and waved, admiring her always put together appearance. “Hey, Garryn.” I called back.
“Got any plans tonight?” I asked, meeting her at the edge of our properties.
She scoffed, hazel eyes rolling as she raked her nails through a shoulder-length, black bob that flattered her face. “Girl, I’m not doing a damn thing but being lonely as usual.” She shot back, making me laugh. “You know I’m married to my job.” That was one thing we had in common. “I’ll be spending the rest of tonight at State-of-the-Art doing inventory.” She paused, shifting her weight, manicured hands clenching around her black tote bag. “I might swing by and see my brother on my way home, but that’s about it.”
We’d been living next to one another for nearly six years, and I had no clue she’d had a brother. What I had learned was that she worked at State-of-the-Art, a prominent art gallery in Sienna Falls. She’d tried to explain to me exactly what she did, but it was so convoluted that I never really understood the full range of her job duties.
The most I’d been able to grasp was that she oversaw the day-to-day activities of the gallery as well as located and obtained rare and hard to find artifacts for wealthy, high-profile clients.
From what I gathered, she loved her job and found it interesting. I was more analytical than creative minded so I didn’t see the appeal, but I was happy to see a young, black woman thriving in an industry where it was hard to find people who looked like us.
“What about you?” She asked, tilting her head.
I sucked my teeth, feeling the annoyance with my boyfriend resurface. “Nope, no plans. I just got back from work myself. Probably gonna go in, shower, watch movies, and drink wine to wind down.”
Her lips lifted in a knowing smirk. “Um hmm, I don’t know about that. Enjoy your night, girl.”
I watched in confusion as she turned, crossing the yard and climbing into her car.
I frowned, waving away her weird parting statement before moving towards my own front door. I hesitated on the top step when I heard music coming from inside. Before I left this morning, I knew I had left nothing on and Elle had found someone else to go on a date with so I knew she wouldn’t be here.
None of my family lived close enough for random pop-up. Besides, most of them were married or coupled up, so I was sure they had their own Valentine’s Day plans.
I quickly grabbed my pepper spray from my purse and pushed the door open, freezing with my hand in the air, nozzle aimed at Silas’ grinning face.
“Damn, baby. Don’t blind me.”
I lowered the can, dropping it back into my purse before sucking my teeth. “What are you doing here?”
It wasn’t until I locked the door and faced him that I noticed he wore a suit. He’d obviously gotten a haircut and trimmed his beard because he appeared much more groomed than yesterday.
He looked damned good.
I took my time in admiring him, allowing my gaze to drink in the full effect of him standing in my living room looking like a whole snack.
Once I’d drunk my fill, I stepped further inside. My eyes widened at the lit tea candles strategically set up around the room. My chest grew tight when I glimpsed the rose petals lining the floor, leading to the balloons, giant stuffed white teddy bears, flowers, and other thoughtful, romantic gifts I’d always wanted to receive on this day.
“What’s all this?”
“You really thought I’d let our first Valentine’s Day go by without celebrating with the woman I loved?”
I was glad I’d turned my back before he made his declaration. My eyes watered as my hands writhed nervously in front of my waist.
He couldn’t love me, could he? We’d been dating less than two months.
As if he could sense my reservations, his soothing voice reached across the distance, wrapping me in a loving embrace. “I know that sounds crazy, but I don’t need an acceptable timeline by society’s standards. Not when it comes to this. I don’t need to spend months analyzing my feelings to understand that what I feel for you isn’t temporary. What I feel for you is forever. I knew it from the moment your lips touched mine the first time.”
I sucked in a shaky breath, trying not to burst into tears and ruin the moment.
“I love you on your good days,” he uttered, sounding as sure as I’d ever heard him, “I love you on your bad days and everything in between. I love the way one smile from you lights up my entire world.” A humorless chuckle shot from his lips as I heard a rustle of fabric behind me. “I could honestly spend the next three days telling you why it was so easy for me to love you.”
“Don’t you think it’s too soon?” I’d tried to convince myself that I was crazy to have fallen for him this fast. It had taken me two years to tell an ex I’d loved him. And that had been more out of pressure rather than truly experiencing the emotion.
He didn’t touch me as he walked up, choosing instead to hover mere inches away from my back. “I don’t need months and years to know what I want. Every time I see your face, I see what it’s taken me thirty-one years to find. My forever.”
My hands trembled as tears poured over my cheeks. God, I hadn’t known this was possible, especially in such a short time. A love that ran this deep, this true, this intense should a long time to find. Yet, here we were, standing in the middle of it.
“Can you turn around and look at me, baby?”
I wiped my cheeks, taking a fortifying breath before facing him, nearly losing my balance when I found him down on one knee. He held open a black velvet box, revealing the most beautiful ring I’d ever laid eyes on. It wasn’t big or flashy, a simple round-cut diamond, but was perfect.
“I’m down here to let you know just how serious this is to me. To let you know how much you mean to me. I bought this ring three weeks ago because even after only a month, I just knew.” He paused, reaching up to swipe at my tears with his thumb. “Stop crying, baby. You’re killing me.”
“I’m sorry,” I blubbered, knowing I probably looked a hot ass, racoon-eyed mess. But the adoration in his gaze never wavered. The gentle smile he wore remained as he continued, “I’ve never loved anybody the way I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life showing you just how much. I know this all happened fast and if you’re not ready, I can wait. I’ll wait as long as you need me to beca-“
“Yes,” I said, cutting him off.
He paused, head tilted as he studied me. “Yes, what?”
I smile through my tears, thrusting my left hand in his face. “I love you too, Silas. And my answer is yes.”
The box slammed closed when he pushed to his full height, pulling me into his arms, pressing a hard kiss against my lips. I moaned when he sucked on my tongue, getting my body ready for whatever was coming next.
But first things first…
I pulled away, dodging his lips when he tried to continue the kiss. “Can I get my ring first?”
“Shit. My bad, baby.” We both chuckled as he held my shaky hand still long enough to slip my engagement ring on my finger.
It was the perfect fit.
I held it up, admiring it in the candlelight before smiling up at him.
It felt so good seeing his love for me brimming in his eyes. It calmed the worries inside of me, took away my fears and made me feel a sense of security I hadn’t realized I’d needed. “Thank you, baby.”
His dimple flashed as he smiled before he placed another kiss against my lips. “For what?”
I rested my cheek against his chest, allowing the rhythm of his heartbeat to soothe me. “For making our first Valentine’s Day the best one yet.”