Valentine Blues – Chapter Nine

Click here to read the previous chapter: Valentine Blues – Chapter OneValentine Blues – Chapter TwoValentine Blues – Chapter ThreeValentine Blues – Chapter FourValentine Blues – Chapter FiveValentine Blues – Chapter SixValentine Blues – Chapter SevenValentine Blues – Chapter Eight 

CHAPTER NINE

*****

Darren stares at the mirror as he buttons his shirt, he pauses and wonders if he was too dressed for a causal evening? He pulls the shirt and then picks another.

He tucks it into his jeans and then  shakes his head after staring at the mirror. He looked gay with a tucked in shirt in his jean. His shirt was made of flower multicolored strips and said ”Kiss me Anthony”. He sighs after picking up the 9th shirt and changed his jeans as well.

His phone rings, he reaches for it. ”Hey Tom?” He answers placing the phone to his ear and using his right shoulders to wedge it as he tries on another shirt.

”Hey dude, have you left already?”

”Well, not yet.” He chuckles” I gatto ask, wearing a suit is too formal for a date right?”

”It depends, where you taking her to?”

”Well” Darren says as he puts his phone on loud speakers and placing it on the table next to him. He is turning from one side to the other, staring at himself. He places a finger to his jaw  ”I was thinking of taking her to the Charlies-”.

”No, don’t dude, don’t do that bro!”

”Do what?” Darren pulls the green shirt  he had put on and eventually settles for wearing a white shirt,  blue pants trouser and blue loafers. He combs his hair, dabs cologne and then carries his watch. He  places  his wallet in his pocket and then grabs his keys.

”Do not take her to places you have been with Natalia”

”But I love the Charlies!” He chuckles leaving his house and locking it, waving to a neighbor who waves back.

”No, she loved the Charlies, you just loved everything she loved, there is a difference”

”She might like the charlies too!”

”Well, maybe when you take her to a different place today you can then get to talking about your favorite things. Just don’t take her to places you have been with the ex, it may bring memories you wouldn’t want”

”But I am over Natalia”

”Yeah I know but, still! Or just imagine you walk in and the attendants goes… oh how is Natalia or the girlfriend and bla bla bla, that would be awkward.”

”You have got a point!”

”Reason why I am smart bro”

”Fine! I won’t take her to Charlies, would think of another on the way” he is inside his car.

”What are you wearing?”

Darren laughs ”You do know that I am a grown ass man and I have gone on dates before and stuff. You sound like a parent whose son is going out on his first date”

”Well you is my boy, plus you have been off the market for a bit. You dated Natalia for a while so maybe you have gotten rusty on how to dress and maybe to talk during a date, I am willing to help you in anyway.  Why? One because she is hot, two because I refuse to let you embarrass the boys and three because… the first date has got to be awesome enough to lead to seconds and thirds and even tenth dates. What are you wearing ?”

”White shirt, blue pants and then loafers”

”Causal, nice. ”

”Ask him if he got some clean boxers on, or preferable a new one.?” Tonia’s voice is heard at the background. Darren laughs so did Tom.

”You heard her Darren, you need to be perfect inside and out, just incase it leads to erm… you know” Tom laughs.

Darren shakes his head ”Yes mother, is there anything else?”

”When you come back, I want juicy report of what went down” She bellows.

”Aye capt!” Darren laughs ”I always wonder how  you cope with her Tom, she is a handful”

”I am not!” Tonia bellows again snickering.

”I do not have a choice in the matter. And you are too wife, but I love you”

”Me too.” Darren adds raising his voice so she hears.

”Aww look at you boys making me feel beautiful. Mwahhh nwahhhh.” He could envision her blowing kisses dramatically,” Have a good time darlyne and my regards to Anna”

”Sure thing, thanks babe. And Tom, you don’t think I am way over my head and stuff-” he trails off lowering his voice.

”Why would you think so?”

”Well, because, we slept together and we ran into each other, there might be nothing there or maybe, this is just the aftermath of… lingering needs?”

”You like her?”

”I don’t know!” He answers truthfully.

”You stuttered when you saw her and couldn’t exactly keep your eyes off her during the party”

”That obvious?”

”Dude, you have been that obvious since your first girlfriend. Everyone knows immediately when you are taken with a girl and it’s not because you guys went on a roller coaster on V’s day. Look, before the wife, I know how many girls I have.. you know.. but, I see them and then I don’t feel the need to want to take it further. It happened, we had fun and that’s it. We see and we catch up and that’s it. if it happens again it doesn’t translate into anything. It’s just sex right. But then again, I met Tonia, the sex was great and stuff and–”

”Aahhh too much information” Daren  cuts him as he rubs his temple, Tom laughs.

”Hey, work with me, I am getting somewhere with this. It was great and all, but you see, every time I saw her, my heart did a double take, I literally went weak. I always wanted her with me, by my side and all. I mean, I spoke to her everyday, wanted to love her up every day and days we didn’t do the do, I loved her in my arms just cuddling. I think when you finally find the girl you like or love, sex isn’t the priority. Even if you guys have done, it wouldn’t be the basis of what your relationship would be on, it would be that you both are in sync and that you find pleasures with each other without it being intimate and shit. So, yes you guys screwed … yet, ever since then, you always find a way to chip in ”I wonder where she is, what she is doing…and stuff”

”I was curious”

”Exactly! So maybe, you guys clicked, but it’s not all about the intimacy. But what do I know? It might be your boy messing up with your mind because you want some loving and shit”

Darren laughs ”No! She seemed nice for real and before it happened, we had mad fun, talking, laughing. It was nice ”

”So, there might be something there, you may find out today.”

”And if there is?”

”You take it one step at a time, you do not want to lose yourself to someone who would end up leaving you again just like the capital N for some chick”

Darren sighs putting his car on drive after checking his time, ”Yeah, I do not want to hurt like that anymore.”

”Yeah, I feel you bro. Hey call me just in case you freeze” Tom teases laughing.

”Get out of here man, talk later” Darren chuckles.

He cuts the call. He checks the address she had texted to him. if he cuts at the intersection, he would get there in fifteen minutes.

Should he call her and let her know he was on his way? He told her he would be there by 6: 00pm, this was 4: 00 pm.

He shakes his head laughing,

Oh Darren, you are one messed up nigga! Who gets ready for a date two hours early?

****

Annalisa removes the rollers from her hair and then uses her fingers to run it through her hair to comb it out. She smacks her lips to make sure her red lipstick is spread evenly over her full lips. Grabbing the mascara she added an extra lifter to her lashes then she stands up.

She turns to look at herself. The cream knee length dress is fitted as it accentuates her curve, allowing spaces for her bosom to breath. It was cut as a  v-neck at her chest, and a short sleeve hugging her  shoulders.. picking up dangling earrings she fits it into her ear-lope and then stands away.

She was biting her lips..

”Stop that!”

She turns to look at Lucy who isn’t even looking at her but flipping through a magazine.

”Hey, you did not even see me, how do you know what  [email protected] was doing?”

”How long have we been friends for?”

”Over 20 years”

”And you think [email protected] do not know your habits?” She raises up her head.

”Well..” Annalisa shrugs  looking back at the mirror.

”Exactly. Come, let me see you”

Annalisa turns to her

”You look beautiful”

”I think I look like a stuffed doll in a tight dress”

”You mean to say you look too hot for a first date?” Lucy corrects standing up and looking at her.

Annalisa nods her head.

”You are just silly, wouldn’t you want to blow him the hell away?”

”Not the hell away but… I should go for the jeans and a top.  That’s more causal”

”Nope. This is fine. You look great . Hey, relax. You acting like you haven’t been around this guy for a whole day.”

”We aren’t still talking about the Valentine day are we again?”

”No… well yes but I just like making reference to it. Point is, he isn’t someone who you haven’t bore it all to before. But, right now you are going to be like this beautiful present all packaged up and trust me, it would be like he is seeing you for the first time and hey, you look beautiful and nothing wrong in looking this amazing for a first official date.”

Annalisa turns away ”Okay” she checks her time. 5: 59 pm. You think I should call him?”

”No. He would and should call. And he gets a bonus of he gets here by 6 sharp. Most guys fail that. They think because they asked you out and fixed a date the girl should be calling and stuff. No. He should arrive on time as the guy or call to say I am here. Guys should be punctual. Girls love that. ”

”Oh. right, and what should we girls do? ”

”Get ready on time, look pretty and know how to make him enjoy himself with you. Come, let me help you adjust your dress”

Annalisa goes to her.

*****

Darren who had been parked outside her house since 4:20 pm alights from his car, walks to the door and then knocks.

His watch says 6:00 pm.

*****

They stare at each other..

”Wow, he gets 10 points up for me. You wait here while I go get the door and you my dear would make a grand entrance coming down the staircase. You know how it’s been done in the movies yeah? I want to see his mouth drop to the floor.” she giggles rushing out the room, down the stairs, putting up a straight face  before she wings the open.  She frowning.

”Yes, who are you?”

Darren is taken aback ”Hi..”

”Who are you?’

”Erm… Darren Bloom, remember me?”

Lucy shakes her head frowning deeply ” Am I supposed to know a Darren Bloom? Please step away from my porch before I call the police?”

”Wait… Lucy its Darren, Annalisa’s date and-?”

”Back away from the door before I scream my lungs out and have…–” then she bursts out laughing ”Oh you need to see your face. ” she laughs pulling  him in. ”I am crazy. You should get used to me, She would be right down any second now”

Darren shakes his head smiling “You are definitely a nut case and whooaaaa!” he looks up to see her coming down the stairs slowly, she tucks a hair behind her ear as she walks down.

”I told you so Anna!!” she mouths to Anna who smiles coming to stand in front of them.

”Wow, you look amazing and I look like a duck going to causal PTA meeting” He smiles at her staring down at himself. ”Good thing, I came with a Jacket so, you don’t win me on this one” he winks.

”You look good too.” she laughs ” and I think I do look over-dressed”

”Nonsense. You look perfect !”

”Nonsense!!” Lucy repeats  after Darren ”You kids have fun. ”

Darren gives her his hand as she links hers in his. They walk out, he opens his car door for her and then closes it as she slips in. Waving to Lucy they away.

*****

He eventually takes her to the Le Meridain. A high class restaurant where they had dinner. An hour later they are driving down back into town when she sighted the coldstone shop.

”You want ice-scream?” He asks as he sees her eyes glow

She smiles ”Bad habit! ” She confessed.

”It’s fine!” He rolls the car to a stop and they make their way to it,

”Three scoops for the lady, that is Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate” He tells the man who asked them what their order was.

Annalisa smiles

”I thought you were drunk that night, how come you remember my favorite flavors?” She asks him as they both turn away leaving the ice-scream stand.

”Nah. I just remembered there was something that looked like white, pink and then dark brown in your cup so I figured that was it. Do you want cherries or cookies?”

”Both!”

He went back to get it and then places it on her scoop for her.

”You didn’t get for you?”

”Not really a fan of it..”

”Why, it’s amazing!!” She scoops a spoon into her mouth ”Heavenly amazing”

He shakes his head ”Just not a fan”

”Maybe you haven’t tasted it as you should that’s why.”

They are walking down the park and they take a seat floating from two iron edges. ”Here, try this with this?” she places the cherries on the scoop and takes it to his lips. He shakes his head.

”Come on! I won’t kill you. Place it in your mouth, close your eyes and savour the taste.”’

He opens his mouth and he takes it, doing as told, he smiles nodding ”Not bad.”

”It never was.”

She feds him some more with it.

”You know, when I was little, mama used to tell me that in order to stop me from whining, she used this to do the trick” She began

”Oh, how so?” He turns to her.

They talked about a lot of things, about work, family and then all things randoms,

Four hours later, they had gone to three other places, and then finally walked into the cinema to watch a Blockbuster movie just premiered.

Its about 11 pm he parks in front of her house and they alight.

Walking her to her door, he waits while she opens it, turning to him ”Thank you Darren, I had an amazing time”

”That makes two of us”

They stare at each other.

He really did have an amazing time. she was warm, funny, a streak of crazy. He smiles. She was beautiful. And she was… content being herself. He didn’t know much girls like her.  But he knew he would want to take her out again. 

”Can we do this again sometime in the nearest future?”

She laughs ”I didn’t bore you yet?”

He shakes his head ‘Not yet. I hope not at all.”

”Sure why not”

”I get off work say four, maybe I can pick you up from work, if you do not mind”

”Er….” she hesitates

He stares at her ”I am sorry, I did not ask the most important question… are you seeing someone? is that why the hesitating?” he crosses his fingers behind his back. Please say no please say no.

”No!”‘

Yes!! He jumps mentally and does the moonwalk dance.

”Then why the hesitation?”

”I kinda have a thing tomorrow.”

”What kinda thing?”

”Need to volunteer at the motherless baby homes tomorrow. It’s kind like a thing I have to do after work so..”

”If it’s not a problem I can come with?”

She looks at him and then cocks her head to the side  ”It’s not something a guy would want to jump at. Like crying babies poop, lots of singing and then story telling and tantrums.”

He shrugs ”If you can do it I can do it. I just want to see you, so..if i have to go through that torture, fine”

”You might regret that decision”

”Nope”

”Okay, tomorrow then, 4:30 at the st martins cathedral. I would leave immediately from work so you can meet me there”

”Got it.”

”Goodnight Darren”

”Goodnight Annalisa!” He watches her go in and waits till he hears a lock to her door before he leaves, driving home.

”Dude, how did your day go?” He saw the text from Tom.

”It was an amazing day” he replies the text from Tom.

*****

”He really is a sweet guy. he offered to volunteer with me tomorrow” Annalisa sends a text to Lucy.

Lucy picks up her phone and then reads the text which  she laughs  to ”He gonna regret that decision. LOL” she sends back to Anna.

”I told him so. LOL. Goodnight Luce” Annalsa replies as she slips into her bed after taking a shower. She thinks about the events of the day and then smiles.  He really was a sweet guy.

*****

The Next day, in the Cathedral….

”AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” The little boy of about 5 years old has been crying his lungs out. There were a lot of them, about a dozen.

Darren stood tall amongst them. His shirt already ruined with food and he had pen colors with drawings of snake on his jeans.

Annalisa had left him for 30 minutes to go attend to a child who had fallen and broken a teeth. she took him to the clinic center across the hall and has been trying to calm the child down, the last thing she told him was..

”Just be calm and relax, talk to them sweetly and they would behave” then she was off after he told her that he got it.

Oh, he wished he didn’t offer.

Less than five minutes and each child either wanted something, food, crayons, books, or even climbed the chairs or shelve, fallen and balled their lungs out, fighting and then roaring like animals.

Soon, they are all on him when they realized that his white shirt was cleaner than the board and used different colours of crayons to design it. He telling them to stop and moving  them carefully away didn’t stop when they were like a dozen. He puts them one after the other on their chair far away from him and then below he blinks, they are already back to climbing him and then painting his face. Once he manages to place them back in their chair, they come for him with renewed energy or soiling themselves.

He had fallen stepping on banana peel. He had been spat on while a child was coughing and the slime shoot out of their throat and to his face. He had wiped catarrh from one’s nose only to have the child sneeze and .. yuckiness all over his shirt.

Yes… this was hell. it was!

He stood watching them, wondering what other thing they intend to do to him when Annalisa walks in and then after seeing the mess and he, she bursts out laughing, she quickly grabs her phone and to take a picture.

”Don’t you dare Annalisa” he frowns

”Too late, aww look at what they did to you” she laughs taking two more shots and then hiding her phone. She goes to him and plucks the child away from his arms. ”Dear lord Darren, they did a number on you” she laughs.

”Sadly so” He looks down at himself, the kids giggle. He makes a face at them and they make one back

”Oh you little rascals” he sneers shaking his head .

”Okay Kids, now, we are going to do some exercise okay. There is the wash basin, each and everyone of you is going to go wash your hands, empty the bowl to put water for the next persosn, wipe them and go back to your seat. yes?”

They nod ”Yes, and after then what do we do?”

”Stories!”

”Okay, now go go go, ”

They nod rushing to the wash basin ”No, one line please one line ”

He watches her frowning ”See how do they listen to you, me? I felt they were intimating me as I spoke and they kept  screaming and attacking me”

She laughs coming to him ”Kids! You should know how to handle them if not they would handle you. You need to speak to them with understanding, be tolerant and patient. I didn’t learn this in a day, trust me. My first day was hell. I nearly threw in the towel but when I realized  that kids are special beings, in a world of their own and all, I had to speak their language and viola, it worked like magic” She says picking up toys , books and other littered items on the floor. He helps her with it.”

Soon the room is neat and every child is seated on their chair.  Waiting,

She turns to him ”There is a convenience down the hall. You can use it. But you shirt cannot be saved ” she stares at him apologetically.

”I would just take it off, and wear my jacket in the car.”

”Okay. sorry” she smiles.

”Yeah!”.

He leaves her. He comes back a few minutes later and watches her from the door. She was reading them a story, and demonstrates while they follow her. She turns at that moment and sees him standing there outside the door, she smiles, He waves, she nods and then turns away.

There was something calm and soothing about this picture. He muses.

****

”Thank you for today” she tells him at the door of her house, he had walked her to it again.

”It’s no problem.’

”I guess you won’t be offering to volunteer in the nearest future?” she teased.

”Absolutely not!”  Darren exclaims which causes them they laugh.

”Goodnight Darren”

”Goodnight Annalisa” He watches her lock up then he leaves.

*

Several dates later…

Lucy looks up from her desk when someone knocks on her table ”Hi dories, whats up?”

”Hi Luce, there is this cute looking man waiting at the reception, he said he is looking for Annalisa, but she isn’t on seat. He came bearing gifts”

”Who?”

”We didn’t get a name but he got all the ladies swooning and peeking stylishly form their work”

”Okay, thanks. Annalisa would be back, she went to drop some docs with the boss.”

”Okay, just in case she don’t fancy the fellow or tire of him, we are happy to take him off her hands. He is way hotter than the Ex. ”

”Get out of here Doris” Lucy stands walking to the reception area, she sights him and then smiles, turning she went back.

Annalisa comes down dropping into her seat ”So, good news, my story ”My Girl” is up and running. But she said to tell you to come up wit some fashion tips for Saturday flow by COB today”

Lucy nods, ”Gotcha!!”  she is smiling.

”Why a are you smiling?” Annalisa frowns at her, then she suddenly realized everyone is looking at her and muttering  ”Why is everyone looking at me funny?’

”Well because some sexy hunk from Asgard is waiting in the reception, with flowers and a box of chocolates. It’s for you, obviously”

”Me? Someone came looking for me with flowers and chocolates?”

Lucy nods .

”Who?” She exclaims.

”Oh I think we know a certain dude who is obviously taken with you, with so many dates, who can blame the guy …” she winks.

”Darren? Darren is here?” She seats up.

”Yep, and the ladies about to claw him with their eyes, you go get your man, It’s break time now so, get out of here”

Annalisa blushes ”he isn’t my man  Luce”

”Yet! you never know.”

Annalisa picks her bag and then dashes out. When she gets to the reception she slows down and then walks to him. All eyes were on them as he stands up.

”I really don’t want to be a bother but I was around the corner and you told me you worked here so I figured I take a limb out on this one, and I didn’t know if it was appropriate to  just drop by and see you so I brought a little bribe, if you don’t mind” he pushes them to her, she takes it smiling.

”You didn’t have to, but, these  are nice. Thank you”

”When is your break, I can take you out for lunch?”

”Now!!”

His smile broaden ”Perfect. ” he gives her his hands, she links hers to his

”You go girl!” a few colleagues chants, Annalisa blushes, Darren hides a smile.

*****

”So, I want to ask you a question” He leans closer to her. They are seated opposite each other while the waitress clears their plates.

”Sure, go ahead ”

”You know, we’v  hunged out for a while now and I must confess, I do enjoy your company and your craziness”

She laughs ”That’s  a sad thing”

”No, it’s a great thing. I like you Annalisa Penelope Bruce. You are like a breathe of fresh air. I look forward to every day I want to see you and I do not have to pretend about anything being with you”

”You are great company too.” She admits.

”And I think. No I know that, I do not want to stop seeing you and stuff.”

”I do enjoy seeing you too”

He nods reaching for her hand and then drawing circles on her palm with his finger. ”Annalisa, will you be my girlfriend?”

He says looking into her eyes.

*****

TO BE CONTINUED.

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