I step through the door into an open courtyard. There's a pathway that leads around an expanse of grass. In the center of the lawn is a large willow tree. At the base of the tree I can see lights floating around. Those floating lights illuminate what looks to be some sort of basket sitting at the base of the tree.
I carefully step over the decorative border and carefully walk toward the lights. I see movement on the other side of the lawn and I stop. It's Abe. I run through the lights and into his open arms. His kiss feels as good as I remember. I could stay like this forever.
"OW!" I yell. I grab the back of my head and look around. "Something just pulled my hair."
"There's no one here but us," Abe says softly into my ear.
"I wouldn't be so sure of that, if I were you, love," I reply.
I take a step toward the floating lights only to have one of them dart toward me. I hold my hand out and the light lands in my hand. Abe looks over my shoulder to get a better look at the glowing miniature human like creature with tiny gossamer wings standing on my hand.
"I'd love to know where Guillermo got his hands on fairies," I quietly chuckle.
The fairy takes off and starts circling the basket I had seen earlier. It's joined by others a moment later. It's a picnic basket. I finally notice that it's sitting on a large red and white checkered blanket. My stomach growls and I head toward the basket.
"You know, this isn't exactly what I had in mind when I told Uncle I wanted to surprise you," I say.
I shrug off my jacket, pull off my boots and toss them off to the side. Hitching up the front of my skirt a little, I kneel down on the blanket and open the basket. When Abe doesn't join me, I turn and look back up at him.
"You wanted to surprise me," he says, not quite making it a question.
"Yes," I reply.
I'm looking at him quizzically as he kneels down beside me. He's quietly chuckling.
"What's so funny?" I ask.
"I wanted to surprise you, too," he answers. "I asked Guillermo for help."
I start laughing. The fairies start zipping about, startled by my laughter. I pull the five envelopes from my pocket and hold them up. He shows me his.
"I guess Uncle surprised both of us," I say smiling.
"I guess so," he replies. "What's for dinner?"
"Let's see," I answer.
I look back into the basket.
"Sushi," I say. I look at a ceramic bottle tucked into the basket. "My Japanese is pretty much non-existent, but I'm guessing this is saki. Have you ever had saki?"
"No, I haven't," he answers.
"Well, there's a first for everything," I tell him. I look back in the basket and pull out a couple of plates and cups. "I don't see any utensils."
He pulls out several thin sticks that are about six inches long.
"Either those are really fat toothpicks or they're chop sticks," I answer. "Do you know how to use chop sticks?"
"No," he replies.
"Great," I say as I gleefully toss them back into the basket. "That makes two of us. There's nothing wrong with using fingers."
I proceed in serving out our dinner and pouring the drinks. I hand Abe his drink and dinner and then I sit down at the base of the tree, smoothing out my skirt. Abe nestles down beside me. He holds his cup toward me and I raise mine in kind.
"Happy Valentine's Day," he whispers.
"Happy Valentine's Day, my love," I respond.
We briefly kiss, touch cups and then take a sip. The taste causes shivers to run down my spine. After I finally manage to shake off the effects of the saki, I turn and look at Abe. The nictitating membranes are rapidly crossing his eyes.
"If that doesn't cause your scales to stand on end, I'm not sure what will," I tease him.
"I don't think I particularly like saki," he says.
"Good," I tell him. I take his cup from him and put both cups off to the side. "I was never a big fan of it either."
"And you didn't warn me?" he asks.
"Hey, who's the mind reader here?" I counter. "Besides, you like rotten eggs. Who's to say whether or not you'd like saki?"
"Point taken," he replies. He looks at his plate. "What about this stuff?"
"Well, I like sushi," I answer. I hold up a piece. "Here, try this one."
He opens his mouth and takes the piece into his mouth, catching my fingers in his mouth in the process. I gasp as goose bumps run up my arm. I quickly pull my hand back before he can try anything else. I'm not sure if the one sip of saki or the fact that I haven't eaten yet is the reason I'm feeling light headed, but I think eating right now might be the more prudent thing to do. It wouldn't do to pass out tonight.
"It's different," he whispers in my ear. More goose bumps. "But I think I could get used to it."
I quickly eat a piece to stop myself from doing anything. I can hear him chuckling beside me. The beast knows how he's affecting me, and he thinks it's funny. I settle back against the tree and keep eating, ignoring him.
I hear a click and a hiss. I look over at Abe and watch as he carefully removes his respirator. After he's removes the final piece, he leans against the tree next to me and wraps an arm around me. He starts to eat his dinner and we sit there in comfortable silence. When I'm done, I sit and watch the fairies chasing each other around, making dizzying designs in the air. As I watch them, I realize something.
"Why aren't I cold?" I ask. "I'm sitting in a garden in the middle of February, and I'm not freezing. For that matter, where's the snow?"
"There's a skylight over us," he answers. "That way the atrium can be used all year round."
"Smart," I reply.
I feel him take my plate off of my lap. He puts them off to the side and pulls me closer. I look up at him as he brings his lips to mine. I breathe in the smell of him. I can taste the salty flavor of soy sauce on his lips. I lick it off and the tip of his tongue touches mine. My mind goes blank.
"OW!" I yell.
Rubbing the back of my head, I turn and look at the little culprits who yanked my hair again. They're flying around the basket again. I pull the basket over to us and look in.
"There's something on the bottom," I say.
I pull out a couple of gold boxes tied up with gold ribbon. I look at the tags on the top and hand one to Abe. I open the one addressed to me. Inside is a heart shaped box made of dark chocolate. I open the chocolate box and find mini truffles nestled inside. I can feel my salivary glands go into overdrive.
I look over at Abe. He has a chocolate heart made of white chocolate in his hands. He takes the lid off and inside are little green eggs. He picks one up.
"They're made of chocolate," he says, bemused.
"Chocolate rotten eggs," I quietly laugh.
He pops one into his mouth. He tilts his head to one side.
"They don't taste like rotten eggs," he tells me.
"I certainly hope not," I laugh.
He picks one of the truffles out of my box and holds it up for me. I open my mouth and he puts it in. I close my lips before his fingers can escape. I can hear a deep rumbling in his chest as I start to suck on my captives. I barely even notice the chocolate one my tongue.
He finally pulls his fingers free. He puts his dessert down to the side. Taking mine from me, he puts it down next to his. Then he gets up and moves the basket off of the blanket. I know what's coming and I'm shaking with anticipation.
He sits further from the tree and holds his arms out to me. I move closer. I feel him pull my skirt higher. His hand gets underneath it and starts to caress my thigh. My breathing becomes a bit erratic as I start to unbuckle his top.
A short time later, it's off of him. He grabs the bottom of my sweater and pulls it off. He slowly traces by bra strap from the shoulder down my front with his finger tips. I'm trembling so hard that I'm surprised when I manage to get his shorts unzipped. I try removing them, but they just won't come off. I hear him chuckle in my ear as he continues to play with the lace of my bra.
"You have to peel them off," he breathes into my ear.
I grab the waist band and start putting action to words. I get the shorts half way down his hips. Suddenly, my bra is gone and I'm on my back. He's partially pinning me down, kissing me, and running his hand over my chest. I moan with desire as I touch his gills. His hand is up my skirt and trying to pull off my nylons. When he fails to have any luck, he stops the kissing and looks at me. It's my turn to chuckle.
"You have to peel them off," I whisper.
Both of his hands are under my skirt and grabbing the top of my nylons when I hear the hissing. I get all of a second to wonder what the hissing is about before we're hit with the water from the sprinklers.
"AAAHHHH!" I coherently scream.
Before I know it, Abe is putting me down on the path that goes around the lawn. I 'm naked from the waist up and now I'm wet and cold. I start to shiver as Abe goes and retrieves first my clothes, then the basket, blanket and food, and finally his gear.
I start putting my damp clothes back on as soon as I get them. I finish as Abe returns from his last trip. I notice his shorts are zipped back up, so much for all my work. He steps up to me and takes me into his arms again. He's wet, but since he's kissing me again, I don't care.
"So, now what?" he asks as he starts to nibble on my ear.
"I know where there's an empty office," I gasp.
Just then the door across the atrium bangs open. I jump and do a quick "check."
"John," Abe and I mutter at the same time.
Johns spots us and comes hurrying over.
"Abe, a red alert has been called," John starts without preamble. "Manning's about to blow a gasket wondering where you are."
"That man needs a hobby," I growl.
Abe chuckles as he hands me my box of chocolates.
"Happy Valentine's Day, my love," he says as he kisses me goodbye.
"Happy Valentine's Day," I respond.
A moment later, he and John disappear through the door John came through. As I'm about to exit, I turn and take one last look. The fairies are up in the willow tree making it look like stars have landed in the branches. A truly magical scene.