by Cailin Briste
Her usual small table in the corner had been taken, so she’d had to sit in a booth near the register. The early evening buzz was a little louder and busier than usual, but then it was Valentine’s Day. Not that Sammy’s was a hot spot for young couples on a hot date. No, romance was in the air, but it was more of the we’ve-been-married-twenty-years variety. Middle-aged couples were taking time out of their busy work and family schedules. Older couples were treating themselves to a night away from the routine of supper, easy chairs, and television. All partaking in the annual tribute to love.
Love. Kevin wondered how you got from where he was single and alone, to the happily ever after of decades he saw tonight. Passion wasn’t on display. Maybe it was there, but it wasn’t apparent. He wanted passion, but ultimately he wanted love. He wanted something that was deep and abiding, that would survive the travails of life and make the heights that much higher.
Tonight was the night. He’d decided if she came in tonight, alone as usual, he was going to do something. The valentine sugar cookie he’d reserved was already waiting on a plate as he removed his apron and went to punch the time clock. He smoothed his hair back working to calm his nerves.
“Big date tonight, Kev?” Charlene, the assistant manager, asked.
“No, not really.” he responded hand nervously twitching at his side. He picked up the plate with the cookie.
“Oh, I see…you look quite handsome. Best of luck.” She smiled and gave him a wink.
Damn. Was it that obvious he wondered? No matter. He straightened his shoulders and walked out into the restaurant’s dining area. She was seated so that the light over the booth struck the top of her head making golden highlights glisten in her hair. He’d never noticed that before. The sweetness of her smile and the shy way she had of flicking her eyes down when ever he’d had the chance to speak with her had captivated him. Her hair had always been nice, but now it was beautiful.
“Moment of truth,” he muttered under his breath. He relaxed his shoulders and smiled as he crossed the remaining space that separated them.
“Hi. I’m Kevin. I just got off work here and was hoping you’d be my date tonight.” She looked up at him and blinked. “My dessert date.” He held the plate with the cookie out to her.
Her eyes flicked down as a blush bloomed across her cheeks. Looking up again, she took the plate, smiled, and said, “Sure.”
Kevin slid into the booth across from her his smile broadening. “I’ve been wanting to spend time with you for a while now.” His heart beat a little faster when she smiled back.