Eddie Latekka was grinning as he drove to his girlfriend's house. "Girlfriend." He couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that he had a girlfriend and that was a good thing. He, the man who is known for never having a relationship that lasted longer than two weeks had a girlfriend. When the two week mark came he didn't want to end things so their relationship continued and is still continuing and he, for the first time in his adult life, could not be happier and it was all because of one amazing woman.
During Eddie's past dating experiences he always made sure that he never took a girl out on Valentines Day because it would imply that he was looking for something serious when he wasn't so every Valentines Day since High school has been spent with his Ikey, Phil and sometimes Owen watching some action flick. As far as Eddie was concerned that was the perfect way to spend Valentines Day until this year that is. For the first time in his life he was actually excited about Valentines day so like the good boyfriend he was he went ahead and made plans for the two of them even though Janet never mentioned the upcoming holiday so finally a few days before he brought the subject up to her.
"So is there anything special you want to do on Valentines Day?" The two of them were cuddling on the couch.
"I'm working." Janet answered nonchalantly.
"Just the day shift. You are off in the evening."
"What did you do? Memorize my schedule?"
"Every week." Eddie grinned at her and Janet smiled back. "So anyways…what would you like to do?"
"Every place is going to be packed so we don't have to do anything."
"Okay. That is very un-girl like."
"I thought all girls planned and made a big deal out of Valentines day."
"Not this girl. I hate Valentines Day." Eddie began to panic. His girlfriend hated Valentines Day and he only learned this fact after he had already made plans.
"Why do you hate it?"
"You don't want to know."
"I asked didn't I?"
"Please feel free to stop me anytime."
"I feel that Valentines Day is just a Hallmark holiday. Girls can't stand the thought of being alone on Valentines Day and they go to extreme measures to make sure that it won't happen. It's pathetic. This "holiday" makes people be romantic one day a year when it should be happening all year. A girl shouldn't get flowers just because it's Valentines Day. She should get flowers just because she has a man that loves her and the same should go for men. Women should show their men how they feel every day not just one day and…" Eddie could tell that Janet felt very strongly about Valentines Day and he couldn't help but grin.
"Do you want me to stop?"
"No please, continue."
"This time of year every time you turn around, you see flowers, chocolate, teddy bears stupid impersonal Valentines that kids give each other, and cheesy cards declaring love that should be declared everyday everywhere you look and it makes the single people feel like crap because they are single. You know, it's bad enough to be single every other day of the year but it sucks a lot more on Valentines Day." Janet sighed as she finished sharing her feelings and Eddie was silent. "I said too much didn't I?" She never planned on telling him any of that and now that she had, she was embarrassed. She started to get up but Eddie grabbed her arm and pulled her back down next to him.
"Janet?" He said after a few minutes.
"Yeah?" She answered without looking up so Eddie reached out and gently turned her head so he could look into those blue eyes that he loved.
"Have you ever had your own Valentine date?" Now she was even more embarrassed. She was going to have to admit to Eddie how pathetic she was and he would think she was a loser. "Have you?" He asked again. Tears filled her eyes and she shook her head
"You must think that I am pathetic." She whispered softly.
"No Janet. I don't think that you are pathetic. I've never had my own Valentine date."
"You are so full of crap Latekka."
"I'm dead serious Janet. Sure, in High School, I did the whole Valentines Day crap with Rory."
"I remember the giant bear that was as big as she was that she carried around all day our senior year." Eddie grinned.
"Yep but that was the thing to do when I seventeen but as an adult I steered clear of women on Valentines Day because if I would take a girl out on the most romantic night of the year she would expect more from me and I didn't want to give more."
"Well since we both aren't big fans of Valentines Day then we should just hang out here and watch movies." Eddie shook his head.
"I don't think so Janet. You and I are going to have our very first Valentines Day date and you are going to love it."
"Aren't you worried that I will want more?"
"I hope you do because I want to give you more."
Never before had Eddie been excited about Valentines Day before but as he drove to Janet's he was really looking forward to spending this Valentines Day with his girl. If everything went according to plan, Janet would always remember this night.
"This is ridiculous." Janet mumbled as she struggled to open her front door while holding a vase full of flowers, a heart shaped box of chocolate candy, and a giant monkey that was almost a tall as she was holding a heart that said "Be Mine" with a heart shaped balloon tied to his wrist. Finally the key slipped into the lock, she turned it and she kicked the door opened and Janet breathed a sigh of relief.
Janet couldn't help but smile as she emptied her arms. Apparently, Eddie had decided to shower her with every, cheesy and expected Valentines Day gift. When Janet got out of bed and went to the bathroom she found one of those impersonal children's Valentines Day card on the bathroom sink. On the back Eddie simply filled out the to line with her name and from line with his name. As she went through her morning routine she found more cards in places that were part of her routine like in her underwear drawer, next to the coffee pot, in her makeup case, in her purse and in her jeep. Eddie had gotten up before Janet and distributed the cards throughout the house before she woke up. Along with the card in her jeep was a brown paper lunch bag with her name written on it with a black sharpie and a crude heart cut out of newspaper; pure Eddie. There was a not attached telling her to hang on to the bag because she was going to need it.
Throughout the day the impersonal children's Valentines Day cards showed up in random places at the bar and by the end of the day, the bag Eddie had made for her was pretty full. Along with the cards that showed up the florist delivered two dozen red and pink carnations and a couple of times when she left the bar for one reason or another when she returned she found the heart shaped box of chocolates one time and the giant monkey holding the heart the second time. Eddie was really going all out and even though she didn't want to admit it, she loved it.
Eddie was sitting on the couch, watching Sports Center when Janet came out of her bedroom showered and ready to go."Happy Valentines Day Janet." Eddie stood and greeted his girlfriend with a kiss.
"Happy Valentines Day to you too."
"You got your gifts I see?"
"You are ridiculous. You know that right?"
"What am I going to with a giant monkey?"
"I'm sure you'll find something."
"Thank you for everything." Janet said seriously.
"You are very, very welcome." The two kissed again. "Now one more thing before we go." Eddie went over to the couch, leaned over and pulled out a dozen long stemmed red roses. "These are for you."
"Eddie you shouldn't have. You all ready bought me flowers."
"Yeah but not roses. Roses are a part of Valentines Day."
"They are beautiful. I'm going to go put them in water." Janet walked into the kitchen and pulled the roses out of the green tissue paper.
"Ow." Eddie heard Janet's "Ow" from the living room.
"Are you okay?" He called.
"Yeah I'm fine. I just…ow…" Concerned, Eddie went into the kitchen.
"What is going…"
"Dammit." Eddie walked into the kitchen just as Janet was sticking her finger in her mouth.
"The thorns. I pricked my fingers with the thorns."
"Let me put them in water and you go take care of your fingers."
Five minutes later, Janet returned with band aids on three of her fingers just as Eddie put the last of the roses in the vase and his fingers were fine. Janet complemented the flower arrangement; Eddie kissed her injured fingers and then wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Are you ready for our first Valentines Day date?" He asked nuzzling her neck.
"We could just stay in and continue this." She suggested.
"As good as that sounds, we are going out for the perfect Valentines Day date and then we will come back here and continue this. "
"Perfect date huh?"
"I am going to blow your mind."
"I can hardly wait."
"What is that?" They had been driving for about twenty minutes when Janet's jeep began to shake. Eddie pulled it over to the shoulder.
"I think we have a flat."
"A flat? How did that happen?"
"Coulda ran over a nail. Stay put and I'll check it out." After a car had passed, Eddie jumped out and went to the back of the jeep. A minute later he was knocking on the window. "Yep. We gotta a flat. Do you have a doughnut?"
"In the back." Janet opened her door and got out.
"What are you doing?"
"It's cold out here."
"Exactly so we can work twice as fast together. Now let's get this done." Eddie sighed but he knew there was no point in arguing with her. The two of them worked together to change the tire until another car came speeding along and before Janet could get out of the way, Janet was splashed. "You have got to be kidding me." She grumbled.
"Go get in the car and warm up. I am almost done here." This time Janet didn't argue. She returned to the jeep followed by Eddie a few minutes later. "Are you okay?" Janet had the heat on full blast and was shivering.
"I'm f…fine." She answered through chattering teeth.
"We need to get you out of those pants. "
"I just …rem…remembered…the b…backseat."
"I have a bag of clean clothes…in the back."
"I'm not even going to ask." Eddie leaned over and found the bag Janet was talking about. He reached in and pulled out a pair of jeans and handed them to her.
"Th…Thank you." Janet pushed the seat all the way back and changed her jeans.
"Feel better?" He asked once she had her coat back on.
"Much." Eddie put the jeep in gear and pulled off of the shoulder.
"Okay I have changed my mind. Why do you have a bag of clothes in your car? Are you planning on running away?"
"I keep them in here in case I stay at your house on the spur of the moment so that way I don't have to leave any earlier than necessary to go home and get dressed because I will already have clothes with me."
"Have you used this bag before?"
"What do you think?" Janet answered with a wink.
A few minutes later Eddie saw flashing lights in the rearview mirror. He glanced at the speedometer and saw he was going ten miles over the speed limit. "Great." He mumbled as he pulled over.
They made it to the restaurant twenty minutes after their reservation and they had to
wait another twenty minutes before they were seated and that was because Eddie called and told them they were running late. The restaurant was known for their Valentines Day special so they ordered it and when it was brought out to them Janet rolled her eyes. The shrimp was arranged in multiple hearts as well as the crab legs. It was so ridiculous it was funny and the two of them laughed through most of the meal mainly because Eddie was making the shrimp do things that a shrimp should never do.
After dinner Eddie had planned on a romantic chick flick but because of the flat tire and the speeding ticket they missed the movie so he improvised and decided to stop at a coffee shop about ten minutes outside of town for dessert and coffee. It wasn't as romantic as he wanted but it would work.
"Janet are you okay?" Eddie asked. The instant they stepped into the light of the coffee shop he saw her face was covered in hives and her lips were swollen.
"I feel a little weird and I'm itchy but it's probably my sweater why?"
"You should go look in the bathroom."
"Is something on my face?"
"You could say that." Janet rushed away from him and into the bathroom. She returned a few minutes later and her lips were even more swollen then when she went in.
"Something is wrong. I am covered in hives."
"Are you allergic seafood?"
"I don't think so. This has never happened before." She couldn't stop itching and tears filled her eyes.
"Do you…maybe we should go to the emergency room." She nodded.
"My throat is starting to hurt."
By the time they got to the emergency room Janet was having a hard time breathing. They rushed her right back and since Eddie wasn't family he had to wait in the waiting room. Janet was scared and didn't want to be alone. Finally since she wouldn't stop crying and the crying wasn't helping her situation, they relented and let Eddie come back.
"Are you okay?" He asked as he sat beside her on the bed. He wiped her tears and pulled her to his chest.
"They said that I had an allergic reaction to the seafood we ate. By the time I got here my throat was starting to close. They gave me a shot to open my airway and another shot for the hives and swelling."
"I'm so sorry Janet. I'm sorry that I took you to a seafood restaurant when you are allergic to it."
"You didn't know. I didn't know Eddie. It's not your fault."
"I still feel bad. If I hadn't insisted that we have this whole Valentines…" Janet placed a finger up to his lips.
"Stop it. You kept me calm. I wasn't scared until you weren't with me. Thank you for keeping me brave."
"It's the least I could do." He told her with a wink.
Janet was released a little after midnight and the two of them went back to her house. Eddie had planned on staying the night and making love but that was out of the question since Janet was exhausted and still covered in hives. Even though they couldn't make love he still wanted to be with her and hold her and besides he still had one surprise up his sleeve.
"Do you need anything?" Eddie asked after they both changed their clothes.
"Just you with me."
"I can do that." Eddie sat on the couch and Janet scooted up next to him. "I'm sorry that this night was a disaster." Between the pricks on Janet's fingers, the flat tire, Janet's wet clothes, Eddie's speeding ticket, and Janet's allergic reaction the evening didn't really go as planned.
"It just proves my point. Maybe everything went wrong because it was Valentines Day but it meant so much to me that you put so much effort into making this day special for me. No one has ever put forth so much for me."
"Well it didn't go anything like I had planned." They both laughed. "I'm promising you right now, that as long as we are together that I'm going to make everyday Valentines Day for you."
"Impersonal cards? Flowers? Giant stuffed monkey's every day?" She asked with a grin.
"No not that. What I meant is I am going to show you how I feel about you every day, not just one day a year."
"And I will do the same."
"Now I have just one more cheesy card for you."
"Me too." Janet grabbed her purse off the table and pulled out the card she bought for him. Nervously, she handed it to him. It was a your typical Hallmark card that told the reader how much he or she meant to the receiver but what made Janet so nervous was she signed the card "I love you." She hadn't told him those three words yet and what better day to tell him than on the Hallmark day of love. When he was done reading he didn't say anything. He just set the card on the coffee table, reached beside the couch and pulled out a huge card.
"This is for you." Janet tried to put aside the hurt that she was feeling that he didn't respond to her card.
"Really? This is a little extreme isn't it?"
"I always go above and beyond." Janet opened up the card. There were no words on the front; just a giant heart with a cartoon couple kissing. Janet opened the card to read the inside and Eddie's voice came from inside the card. "Happy Valentines Day; our first of many. I love you Janet." Eddie had bought one of those cards that allow the giver to record their own message and Janet couldn't believe what she had heard. She closed and then opened the card to hear it again. She went to do it a third time but Eddie stopped her. "You don't have to keep opening the card to hear it. I love you Janet."
"I…I love you too."
"Yes I know. You wrote it in the card." He tucked her hair behind her ear. "Happy Valentines Day. I love you my sweet, sweet Janet." He leaned forward and kissed her swollen lips softly.
"I think that I may have changed my mind about this holiday." Janet admitted when they broke apart.
"Nah. You're right. It's such a Hallmark holiday. People should show their love to each other every day. I think that we should forgo any Valentines Day celebration in the future since tonight was such a bust."
"It wasn't a bust. You showed me what it is like to be loved and I want to remember that every year."
"I'll make sure you never forget it."
"And besides, you did so much for me so next year it's my turn to do for you."
"I don't think you can top what I did but you are welcome to try."
"Oh it's on Latekka."
"Bring it Meadows." Janet's smile grew serious.
"Thank you for everything. It was perfect."
"Far from perfect. You are swollen and covered in hives."
"I'm in your arms. It can't get more perfect than that. Happy Valentines Day. I love you."
"Same to you sweetheart." Eddie whispered lovingly. "I love you."