Copyright, February 2012. All rights reserved.©
“A message for you, Miss Kiel.”
“Mrs.,” Sandra automatically corrected looking up to see the pool attendant standing beside the chaise lounge she was stretched out on. She slipped her bookmark between the pages of the book she had been reading before reaching for the folded paper being held out to her. After unfolding the paper, a smile formed on her lips as she read— Meet me in the lounge at 7
“Would you like another iced tea?” the friendly pool attendant asked.
“No thank you, Paul,” Sandra responded to the tanned young man as she refolded the paper. She sat up and swung her legs over the side of the low, elongated chair then reached underneath it and pulled out her canvas bag. She rummaged around in the bag a few moments before finding and retrieving her watch. “Goodness, I didn’t realize how late it was getting to be,” she observed dropping her watch, book, and the message into her bag. “I better get back to my room and get changed,” she said standing up.
“Plans for a special evening, Mrs. Kiel?”
“I certainly hope so,” Sandra replied with a grin. She dug around in her bag for her wallet. “Thank you for keeping me in ice tea,” she said holding out a pair of folded bills.
Paul’s smile brightened. “My pleasure,” he said accepting the generous tip.
Sandra took a last look at the chaise lounge to ensure she hadn’t forgotten anything then turned and walked across the grass to a door on the far side of the pool.
Sandra swiped the key card then waited for the blinking light on top of the security box to change to green before turning the handle. Once through the door, she walked across the room tossing her bag on the bed. She paused to take a quick glance at the room’s clock before padding into the bathroom.
Humming softly, Sandra turned on the tub’s faucet and let the water run as she pulled off the t-shirt she wore over her bathing suit. Then she removed the still slightly damp suit and hung it on the hook at the back of the tub enclosure. She tested the temperature of the water before stepping into the tub and closing the shower curtain. After directing the water to the showerhead, she allowed herself the luxury of simply standing under the hot water for several minutes before giving her skin and hair a thorough scrubbing to free it of the pool’s chlorine. After rinsing the soap from her body and hair, she turned off the water and stepped out of the tub.
Pulling a towel free of the towel rack, Sandra wrapped her hair in it then freed another of the ultra thick towels. She was still rubbing the fluffy cloth against her skin when she walked out of the bathroom and crossed to the dresser where she had neatly placed bras and panties when she unpacked that morning.
Sandra then padded over to the closet and stood to consider her options. After a few moments, she reached for the sleeveless dress hanging with the other garments she had unpacked earlier. She nudged the closet door completely open to expose the full length mirror hanging on its inside and held the dress up in front of her. It wasn’t fancy, just a simple nylon/polyester dress with a scoop neck and straight skirt. But the cloth felt cool against her skin and she liked the way the purple-blue color of the dress seemed to stand out against her tanned skin. Her decision made, she carefully laid the dress out on the bed then retrieved her makeup bag and returned to the dressing area of the bathroom.
An hour later, Sandra was seated in the hotel’s lounge sipping from a glass. She had chosen a booth beside the wall of windows that overlooked the pool and was enjoying watching a family with young children playing in the water while she waited.
Sandra turned to find a woman wearing a slightly disheveled business suit of matching navy blue skirt and jacket standing beside her table. She looked into twinkling eyes and smiled. “Hi,” she greeted the woman warmly.
“Would you like some company?”
Sipping from her glass, Sandra studied the woman for a moment. “Well, I am supposed to be meeting someone but she seems to be a tad late. I suppose it’s possible I’ve been stood up.”
“Tsh, tsh,” the woman uttered wryly. “I can’t imagine anyone standing up someone as pretty as you. Perhaps you should dump her for another who is already here and willing.”
Sandra giggled. “That’s very flattering but I do think it’s only fair I give her a few more minutes.”
“Then would you allow me to sit with you until she arrives?” the woman asked hopefully.
Sandra nodded and gestured to the bench on the opposite side of the table for the woman to sit. She watched bemusedly as she, instead, slid onto the bench beside her. “Quite confident, aren’t you?” she asked teasingly.
“Quite,” the woman responded with a wide grin. “May I say again that you look gorgeous this evening? And that dress is beautiful. Is it new?”
Sandra looked surprised. “Julie, it’s been hanging in our closet forever.”
“It has? I don’t remember seeing it before.”
“I wore it to the opening of your brother’s restaurant.”
Julie brow creased as she thought back to the night in question. “It looks different… or maybe,” she grinned, “you looked so beautiful that I didn’t pay that much attention to the dress.”
“You are so sweet.”
The women leaned toward each other.
“May I get you a drink?”
Frowning, Julie glanced up at the waiter who had interrupted her much anticipated kiss. After a moment, she turned back to Sandra to ask, “What are you drinking?”
“That’s good,” Julie told the waiter. After he left, she shifted her attention back to Sandra and again leaned close to kiss her.
Sandra allowed her lips to be captured.
“Damn, I’ve missed you,” Julie said when the kiss ended.
“Honey, it’s only been the day.”
“Seems like forever. I’m sorry I’m late.”
Sandra patted her wife’s hand. “It’s okay. Was the flight delayed?”
“It shouldn’t have been.” Julie nodded her appreciation to the waiter as he set a glass down in front of her. “There was a problem with one of the passengers who wanted to bring on a dozen carry-ons,” she explained settling against the padded bench seat and lifting the glass to take a drink.
“It sure seemed like it… he had a couple of regular carry-ons then all kinds of bags and sacks. He wasn’t happy when the crew told him he had to check everything or he wouldn’t be allowed to board the plane. I wish that is what he had chosen to do because he spent the whole flight bitching about the poor service… and in a very loud voice.”
“Good thing it was only an hour flight.”
“You can say that again. I don’t think I could have taken much more after the day I had at work.”
“Did you get your project finished?”
“Yes. Tied it up with a neat little bow and dropped it on McKenzie’s desk on my way out.”
“Do you think she’ll be calling you?”
“I refused to provide a number. And I told her not to bother calling my cell either because I would not be anywhere close to a tower.”
“You lied,” Sandra gasped in mock disbelief.
“Yes. It turns out the project that was so important I had to delay my vacation a whole day isn’t even due until the end of the month.”
“Then why did you have to work today?”
“It was just the old bat’s way of making sure I knew she was in charge,” Julie grumbled. She shifted to face her wife. “Now, no more talk about work. All I want to focus on for the next five days is us.”
“Hmmm, sounds wonderful.”
“So tell me what you did today while I was slaving away? And please don’t tell me you spent the whole day in the room pining for me.”
Sandra laughed. “Hardly. I actually put on my swimsuit and spent the day by the pool. I even took a swim,” she boasted. “Then I sat in that chaise lounge,” she pointed out the window, “to read and drink ice tea.”
“That explains the sun you got.” Julie kissed Sandra’s bare shoulder. “It looks good with this dress.”
“Honey, you look so gorgeous and I look like I just rolled out of bed. Why don’t you give me a few minutes and I’ll run up to the room and change? I really thought I’d have time for that before I came in here. But with the plane arriving late—”
Sandra placed a hand on Julie’s arm preventing her from leaving. “You’re beautiful just the way you are.”
“Not in these clothes, I’m not. Really, it will just take me a few minutes to take a quick shower and change into something decent.”
“I’m not looking at your clothes, sweetheart. So you stay right where you are. Besides, I’m famished and I have no intention of waiting any longer for this romantic dinner you promised.”
“Didn’t you eat lunch?”
“I hate to admit it but I was so engrossed in my book that I completely forgot about it.”
Julie smiled then slid to the edge of the booth. “Then come with me, my dear. I hear the restaurant here is better than first class.”
“Wait. Maybe we should order an appetizer. It’ll probably be a while before we can get a table.”
“Ah, ye of little faith.” Julie stood then held her hand out to Sandra. “I have reserved us a very nice table. And I even took the liberty to order dinner. All that is needed is for us to arrive and claim our trophy.”
“And they say gallantry is dead,” Sandra said sliding to the edge of the booth where she allowed Julie to assist her up.
Carrying their drinks, the couple walked hand-in-hand out of the lounge and down the short hall that led to the resort’s restaurant.
“Ah, Mrs. Kiel,” the maitre d’ greeted Julie. “Your table is waiting. Please follow me.” Then the tuxedo clad man spun about with a flourish and led the women across the restaurant to the front corner of the dining room. Their table overlooked the beach and bay and was surrounded by beautiful hand painted panels providing privacy from the other diners. The maitre d’ stepped to the side and waited for the women to pass through a gap between two of the panels. He then slipped in behind to assist them into their chairs. “I will notify your waiter of your arrival,” he stated haughtily before disappearing back through the opening.
“Oh, my goodness,” Sandra exclaimed gawking at a bouquet of red roses in the middle of the table and a single yellow rose in a vase in the middle of her place setting. “They’re so beautiful,” she told Julie.
“Beautiful roses for my beautiful girl. Red for the love of my life and yellow for the woman whose friendship I could not live without.”
Sandra smiled adoringly. “Oh my, you are you so romantic tonight.”
“It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m supposed to be romantic.”
Sandra lifted the smaller vase up to her nose. “Very nice,” she said then set the vase down beside the other roses. “Honey, one would have been plenty. Why so many?”
“A rose for each of the wonderful years we’ve had together.”
“One for each year? My gosh… Julie, that’s twenty five roses. These must have cost you a fortune.”
“A mere pittance compared to the wealth you have provided me.”
Sandra grinned. “You must have me confused with your other wife. I barely have enough in my bank account to cover this dinner.”
Julie reached for Sandra’s hand and lifted it to her lips. “Your love means more to me than all the money in the world,” she declared gazing lovingly into her wife’s eyes. “I love you.”
Sandra returned the smile and gaze. “I love you more.”
Before Julie could respond, their waiter arrived.
“Your salads,” the young man said as he set the plates down in front of them.
“Thank you,” Sandra told the waiter then watched him leave as quietly as he had arrived. She turned to Julie. “This has to be the best table in the restaurant,” she whispered in awe. “How did you arrange it?”
“Easy,” Julie responded off-handedly as she lifted a forkful of lettuce to her mouth. “I simply told the maitre d’ I wanted the best table for my girl; and nothing less would do.”
Sandra looked at her wife suspiciously. “And just how much greasing did his palm require?”
Julie grinned nervously. “My next bonus,” she admitted. “So you better enjoy dinner and this million dollar view.”
Sandra turned to look out the window. The table, located at the opposite end of the restaurant from the resort’s marina, provided an unobstructed view of the wide sandy beach, the crescent moon shaped bay, and the golden setting sun. “It certainly is beautiful,” she told her waiting wife. “And well worth the cost. It wasn’t really that much… was it?” she asked apprehensively.
Sandra sighed. “Wooo, you had me worried there for a minute. How about I show you how much I appreciate you going to all this trouble by splitting the cost of dinner with you— they do have a two-for-one offer, right?”
“You wish,” Julie said with a laugh. Then she raised her glass. “Happy Valentine’s Day, my love. And happy anniversary.”
Sandra raised her glass to clink it gently against Julie’s. “Happy Valentine’s Day and happy anniversary. And thank you for the best twenty five years of my life. My we share many, many more.”
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
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