“Wh-What?” I stutter, confused. My heart is beating so hard I can hear it in my ears.
“I thought you and I could celebrate Valentine’s Day together. Just us.” When I don’t answer because, to be honest, I’m in pure shock, he jokes, “Unless you don’t like me anymore…”
I shake my head ‘no’ viciously.
He chuckles. “Good, then I want you to have a seat.” His left hand finds my back and he guides me over to the table, using his right hand to pull out one of the chairs.
When he turns away to get food or whatever, I quickly finger-comb my hair. When I said I’d come over to the shop, I had no idea I’d walk in on the most romantic date of my life. If I had, I would’ve at least picked out a shirt with no stains and ran a brush through my hair. My saving grace is that I showered before he invited me here.
“I’m hoping that how nice the room looks will make up for the dinner I made.”
“Hm?” I snap out of my own thoughts.
“Well, I couldn’t splurge on any ingredients, so I made you the best I could with what I have.” He picks up my plate, goes to the back, and returns with a pot roast doused in its own juices, small potatoes, and carrots surrounding it. Why am I doubting that he just had a pot roast lying around?
“That looks delicious.”
He smiles then disappears with his plate. I wait impatiently, wanting to take a gigantic bite of the food in front of me, but knowing that’d be rude. He returns, sits down, and checks over everything one more time. He’s so nervous and it’s so cute.
“Okay, well, dig in!”
I gladly do, using my knife to slice through the tender meat. My first bite is so good, I know that I could live off Scott’s cooking forever and never be unhappy. Of course, though, I’ve known that since I started going to Scott’s Scones. That’s probably one of the reasons I fell in love with him. “I could live off your cooking forever.”
His eyes look up and meet mine. “That’s the goal.”
I’m surprised my heart doesn’t just stop working right then and there because if that’s the goal, that means he would be with me forever, oh my god. He gives me that smile, that friggin’ smile, and I’m lost all over again.
I can’t stop eating. I want to talk to Scott about everything that brought him to do this wonderful gesture, but the food is so good I just can’t stop shoving it in my mouth.
“Do you like it?”
“Oh my god, yes. This is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.” And I mean it.
I think he blushes, but the room is dark and only candlelit, so I’m not sure. We go silent for a little while, and I find it a tad bit awkward, but I’m also reveling in what this night already is.
The moon, only slightly showing tonight, shines through the window. “Just so you know, Mitch,” he starts suddenly. “I think you are so beautiful.”
My eyes grow wide. “O-oh, thank you.” Is this a dream? I swear it could be. I’ve had similar ones to this before.
“So,” he clears his throat after a moment. “I brought you here to tell you something.”
I set down my fork because this seems important, plus I’m almost done anyway, so I focus all my attention on him. “Okay.”
He takes a big, anxious breath. I know it’s anxious because it’s a little shaky. “I want to date you. I just can’t right now.”
“Why?” I ask, even though I have an educated guess as to what he’ll say.
“Because you deserve all my attention, and you won’t get it if I date you now. I am so broke and distracted all the time. I would never be able to take you out without thinking about Christian. It’s only been three months. And I’ll get to the point where I can date you without feeling guilty, but that just isn’t right now.”
I nod slowly. He makes sense.
“But I want to make you a promise that I will ask you out as soon as I’m ready, considering you still like me.”
I give him a soft smile. “I have been in love with you for so long, I hardly think that will change.”
He looks incredibly relieved.
I reach over and cup his hand with my own. “Is that why you planned this date? To tell me that?”
“It was more to give you a taste of what dating me will be like.”
“Well, I’m excited then.” I take my last bite and push my plate away a little to stop myself from taking anymore. “Thank you so much.” I squeeze his hand.
He’s still staring at me. “Yeah, yeah, it’s nothing really.”
I scoff. “Yeah, right,” I gesture to the gorgeous room, “nothing.”
He shakes his head and smiles, then stands and re-grabs my hand. “Come with me.”
I don’t ask any questions because I don’t want to jinx anything. He leads me over to the couch and sits. “I need a break before we eat any dessert.”
I nod, agreeing, then lay my head on his shoulder. His arm snakes around so he’s holding me close to him. He brought his wine with him, so he sips at it, and I’m jealous because I forgot to bring mine.
“Can I ask you something?” I ask quietly.
“Why would you feel guilty if we dated now?”
“Well, because I don’t think Christian would like that very much, and sometimes, in my head, he’s still alive. It’s hard for me to overcome it all the time.”
“Okay. That makes sense.”
I can’t see his face, but I can tell he’s thinking because he seems a little tense. Finally, he speaks, and it’s in a matter-of-fact tone. “And I also think he knew I liked you when we were married. So to do anything more than kiss is showing him it’s true. I mean, kissing probably isn’t the best either, but....”
“I just--” He cuts himself off before he even finishes the sentence. “I think about kissing you a lot.”
I pick my head up and look at the profile of his face. Before I can comprehend what I'm doing, my hand is turning his head so I have easier access. I can feel the drumroll of my heart beating against his side. But I go for it anyway, pressing my lips to his. To my surprise and enjoyment, he reciprocates immediately.
I am in heaven.
Scott and I’s lips move in a rhythm, kiss after kiss after kiss, not taking a break. It’s gentle and it’s sweet and it reminds me how fragile we truly are. He lays me down like it's natural, like this is something we do all the time, and is hovering above me. There are fireworks on my lips, in my head, and in some regions I prefer not to discuss.
When it ends, we sit up, and Scott says, “I think I’m ready for dessert now.”
And I say, “I think I just had it.”
We both laugh, and I finally feel so happy, and I realize that all I needed was confirmation that Scott really has been planning on dating me at some point. It only reminds me that patience is key now. You can’t force anyone to get over their husband.
I know it will take a while, but something in me keeps telling me that if anyone is worth the wait, it’s most definitely Scott.