She scrapes the dried chocolate off of the menu with a dishwasher-spotted butter knife. She’s reasonably sure the same stain was there last time. At this same table. In this same tired, old diner. Same people. Same stories. Same sounds.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, babe!” he says, briefly looking up from his phone.
“Yeah. Happy Valentine’s Day,” she replies.
She has the third worst poker face in the history of faces. But he’s not even paying attention. This annoys her even more. She realizes he didn’t shave. She stares at his face. HE DIDN’T EVEN SHAVE. Each individual whisker is like a slap in her face. She feels her annoyance growing, but keeps it in for as long as she can.
“You didn’t shave?” she asks, two seconds later.
“Naw. I shaved yesterday. I don’t like shaving daily. You know that.”
“Couldn’t make an exception for tonight?” she asks, adjusting her gorgeous, cleavage-hinting dress.
“Naw. It would throw off my schedule. Besides it gives me a bit of a Don Johnson from Miami Vice look. Don’t you think?”
“Your outfit also look like it has been around since the Miami Vice era.”
“Thanks!” he says excitedly.
“Not from the movie from a few years ago. I mean the TV show from a few decades ago.”
“I was hoping!” he says, still excitedly.
She wonders if there is anything on the menu that is seasoned with blood pressure meds. He happily replies to emails.
A waitress stops at their table. She’s new at least. Mid-to-late 20s. Face like a 1940s movie star. A smile that would make you run off the road. A dorky t-shirt she bought at 2 am after seeing it on a website sidebar, that is just a little bit too tight.
“Are y’all ready to order?” the waitress asks in a voice made for a phone sex operator. The high class kind who is only doing it to raise money so the local high school can get new lab equipment.
“Two burgers, the works, and fries please,” he orders for both of them, while checking sports scores.
“Anything to drink?”
“Two cokes, please.
“Alright. It’ll be about ten minutes.”
The waitress walks over to the next table to earn her tip, and is barely out of earshot.
“Y’all?” she asks him. “Y’all? Is she from the south? I don’t think she’s from the south?”
“Maybe she’s from the south in her soul,” he offers.
“What does that mean? What does it even mean??”
The burgers look decent. But the same. ALWAYS the same, she thinks. He removes his top bun and waits. She sighs as she takes the pickles off of her burger and puts them on his. He passes her his little container of coleslaw.
They are eating in two different silences when he looks up.
“Babe?” he says.
“Yeah?” she asks hopefully.
“I friggin’ love these french fries.
She grrrrrrrrrrs. On the inside. Mostly.
“I got you a present,” he says with a mouthful.
“What is it?”
He pulls a folded envelope out of his jeans pocket and passes it to her. She excitedly opens it and finds…
Her phone bill.
“My phone bill?”
“I paid it for the next year.”
“Oh. Well. That’s… nice.”
“I know how you gals like to chat… about your stories and whatnot.”
She glares at him.
The waitress walks by carrying a couple of desserts.
“Mmmm. I wouldn’t mind taking that home for later,” he says.
She slaps him hard on the hand.
“What??” he asks.
“She can hear you!”
“Don’t. Embarrass. ME.”
“Babe, I was talking about the Boston Creme Pie she was carrying.”
She pushes him aside as he opens the car door for her. She gets in, puts her seatbelt on, and stares forward. He gets in the drivers seat, obliviously starts the car, and turns up the radio volume.
Because 14 is an even number, he gets to pick the satellite radio channel today. He picks The 80s. Always the fucking 80s.
He peels out a little as he leaves the parking lot, singing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” Loudly. She’d find it charming if she wasn’t so annoyed with him. Well, almost charming.
She goes straight to their bedroom without a word. She takes out her earrings, as she wonders who she is going to complain to first about him. Maybe she’ll tweet it. That’ll annoy him. She is reaching back to unzip her dress when she feels his hands land on her hips.
“What are you–?”
He kisses her smooth, freckled shoulder.
“I’m not in the moo–” she says, as his lips reach her neck.
Her annoyance is doing battle with the tingles for control as his mouth finds her ear.
One nibble. Two nibbles. Hot breath in ear.
She turns around and he kisses her.
Like he means it.
He pulls the zipper of her dress down. He spins her around to face the full-length mirror. He kisses one shoulder strap off. Then the other. The dress falls gently to the floor. They both admire her in the navy push-up bra and thong set. He kisses her right shoulder. Then her upper arm. Forearm. He kisses her hand, then pulls something from his pocket. He lays a very sparkly diamond tennis bracelet on her wrist.
“Oh. Wow,” she whispers.
“Did you really think that was Valentine’s Day, love?” he asks, fastening the bracelet.
She turns around and kisses him. They make out as he unhooks her bra and removes it. He spins her around to the mirror so she can watch him slide his hands down her hips, inside her underwear, pulling them down, down to the floor.
He stands up again. Behind her. Teasing. Teasing. Teasing.
She throws her head back. He kisses her neck. She reaches back and grabs his hair.
Teasing. Teasing. Teasing.
She holds her breath.
They spoon in tangled sheets and moonlight.
He runs his hand through her hair.
“Yeah?” she asks in a whisper.
“I really was talking about taking the waitress home.”
SLAP on the ass.