Christine zipped up the skimpy red dress she bought over the weekend at Macy’s. It was Valentine’s Day and Jon was taking her out to Chez Pierre, a fancy restaurant that recently opened on the other side of town. Christine was so excited that she had butterflies in her stomach. This was the only time someone’s done anything this nice for her. It also gave her an excuse to buy something new that was fancy and slightly revealing.
The whole week, Christine had been dreading Valentine’s Day. It was the one time of the year that she was able to count how many admirers she had by how much candy and roses were delivered to her. She tried to prepare Jon for the event by dropping subtle hints so he wouldn’t get his feelings hurt. To her surprise though, she didn’t receive anything extravagant from anyone but Jon. Before school started, he brought over a vase of red roses.
“Oh Jon, they’re beautiful!” Christine exclaimed as he handed her the vase.
“Well, I know you usually get a lot of presents today but I was hoping that mine would be extra special to you. The roses are a measurement of my love for you. Only when the last rose dies will I stop loving you.” Christine couldn’t help but blush at Jon’s present. It was the sweetest thing she ever received from a guy. She bent her nose into the roses and took their scent in. Opening her eyes, she stared into the vase and noticed something funny about one rose in particular. It was darker than all the others in the vase, and the texture was thicker and a bit rougher as well. This is when Christine realized that one of the roses was a fake.
“You put a fake rose in here,” she pointed out, but all Jon did was smile.
He didn’t bother to explain anything, just reached out his hand and said, “Come on, we’re going to miss the bus.”
Christine knew now the point of the fake rose. It took her the majority of the day to figure it out and when she did she thought it was so sweet she almost cried, right in the middle of her English class. Jon said that when the last rose died he would stop loving her. One of the roses was fake so it could never die, meaning he would never stop loving her. Thinking about it again brought tears back to her eyes, but she quickly wiped them away so they would not mess up her freshly done make up. Even if she did receive any other presents from secret admirers this year, nothing would be able to top the roses. She was actually relieved when she received no presents, mostly because she didn’t want to hurt Jon’s feelings. It also meant that people finally believed that her and Jon were an official couple. For the first few weeks of their relationship Christine was continuously hit on by different guys, and she had to grit her teeth and decline them. She also wasn’t allowed to flirt with anyone, which was especially hard on her. But she knew that if after all her hard work she would get what she wanted it was all worth it.
Laughing a little, Christine remembered one conversation she had with a group of girls at lunch a week after her and Jon started dating. After she bought her lunch, and was walking to a table in the back of the cafeteria where she and Jon usually sat, she was stopped by two girls as she walked by their table. Samantha Gale and Rebecca Smith were two girls that disliked Christine the most, and who could blame them? Christine had persuaded both their boyfriends to cheat on them with her before, and she would gladly do it again. The two gossip queens deserved it for all the trouble they caused for Christine over the years.
“Hey Christine,” Samantha called out as she was passing by. Stopping, she turned and looked at the two girls who were smiling very widely as they looked from Christine to Jon, who was sitting all alone waiting for her.
“Can I help you?” Christine asked, trying to remain civil.
“We just wanted to find out something for certain. Are you and Jon Wilson actually a couple?”
Christine frowned at the two girls, feeling slightly annoyed that they had to get in her business at all, “Yes, we are.”
“So he isn’t just dating you because… well you know,” Rebecca piped up, leaning closer to Christine as if she was about to miss something important.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Christine was doing all she could to keep from dumping her food on top of them.
“You know… s-e-x,” Samantha continued, spelling out sex as if it was a forbidden word.
“No, he’s not in it for the sex,” Christine said loudly to embarrass the two girls. “If you must know we aren’t even having sex, so buzz off.” Before they could say any more to her, Christine turned from them and walked to the table Jon was waiting at. She didn’t even care that she was so rude to them. She knew that they were the reason everyone knew that her and Jon were a couple by now. They probably told everyone who would listen to them all about how Christine and Jon were an official couple, that, surprisingly, they weren’t having sex, and that all girls could know that Christine would not be a threat to them any longer.
Thinking back on that conversation, Christine frowned in the mirror as she began to place her long brown hair in a fancy bun. The fact that they weren’t having sex yet kind of bothered Christine. She knew it might take a while to get Jon to give in, but not this long. It was torture for her because she wanted nothing more than him to submit to her, but it didn’t seem to bother him at all. That’s what called for the slightly revealing dress for tonight. Christine figured that if there was a perfect time for anything to happen it would be tonight. It was Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year. Christine was positive with enough sex appeal she would be able to persuade Jon to say yes tonight.
Just as she was finishing up her hair the door bell rang. Taking one more, quick glance at her overall appearance, she slipped on a pair of sexy red high heeled shoes that she purchased to go perfectly with her dress. Then she rushed to the door, as fast as the red heels would allow her, before her mother could be bothered enough to get up and answer it. Like usual, Christine hadn’t told her mother anything that was going on in her life recently, and preferred that her mother be left in the dark when it came to her whereabouts. Lifting her jacket off the hanger by the door, she slipped out into the cold February air. Shoving her arms into her coat, she only looked up to see Jon blushing after she had zipped her coat up.
“You look beautiful,” he whispered, obviously taken by surprise by her appearance.
“You don’t look too bad yourself, handsome,” Christine replied, as she looked him up and down. He was in a suit, nothing too fancy but good enough for the restaurant they were going to.
Jon held out his hand, “Shall we?” Christine accepted it and he led her to his dad’s car, which was idling in front of her house.
“You drove to my house?” she giggled. “We could’ve just walked to the car from here.”
“But I wanted it to be all warmed up for you when you got in.” That was one thing about Jon that Christine liked above anything else, he was a true gentleman. After they were in the car and on their way to the restaurant, Jon explained to her how he persuaded his dad to let him drive the car tonight. “I told him that he didn’t feel like driving us around all night, and if he did we probably wouldn’t be back till later, which means he would have to leave the house again to pick us up. Plus, he has to start trusting me with the car eventually if I’m not getting a car any time soon. That is unless he wants to drive me around for the rest of my life.” Jon smirked as he recalled the conversation. He was obviously glad that he won the car battle over his dad and Christine was too. The last time she was able to rely on a parent before was when she was six, and after twelve years of doing everything herself she didn’t think she could flow back into it that easily.
They pulled up to the restaurant, Jon parking as close as possible so they wouldn’t have to walk far, and got out of the car. Walking, hand-in-hand, they entered the building in a matter of seconds, the wind pushing them through the doorway. Christine touched her hand to her head, making sure her hair wasn’t a complete mess. Jon strolled up to the hostess and announced that the Wilson party had arrived. He gave Christine a small smile and a wink as the hostess looked up their names in the reservation book.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “we don’t seem to have your name in here.”
Jon’s face fell. “What do you mean my reservation isn’t in there? I called it in last week!”
“I’m sorry sir, someone must have written it in on the wrong day.”
Jon ran his fingers through his neat hair, which made Christine grimace. Jon’s hair was never combed nicely, and she was glad that he was able to accomplish it tonight. Now it was sticking up slightly on the sides and in the front. “Well, is there a seat available?”
The hostess began looking through her reservation book but Christine knew it was no use. The restaurant was packed, and she knew there would be no open seats for hours. They were usually especially busy on Valentine’s Day. “I’m sorry sir. We don’t have any openings for two hours at least.” Jon groaned and looked at Christine, who gave a small encouraging smile.
“It’s okay, we can go somewhere else. It’s no big deal,” she whispered to him, even though going somewhere else was the last thing Jon wanted to do. He had planned this night for the past week and a half, and to see it ruined in one fell swoop was painful even to Christine. But she put on her best smile, which assured him everything would be perfect, even if they went somewhere else.
“Okay, let’s go,” Jon said stubbornly. Holding out her hand, Jon laced his fingers around hers, and they both walked back out into the windy night air. Rushing back to the car, they both hopped in, and Jon started it immediately. Christine blew into her hands, trying to warm them up a little faster. “I can’t believe they lost my reservation!” Jon yelled in frustration, slamming his hands down on the steering wheel.
“I told you its okay Jon. Let’s just pick somewhere close by to eat at.”
They sat in the car in compete silence for a few minutes, while Jon let out the rest of his anger, and Christine tried to remember what was around the area that was a good place to eat. Jon sighed, “The closest place to here that has decent food is Friendly’s.”
“Well then, let’s go,” Christine said. She was becoming hungrier by the minute, which was making her irritated. Jon looked at her as if she had two heads.
“You want to go to Friendly’s?” he asked in disbelief.
Christine shrugged, “Why not?”
After he stared at her curiously for several minutes, Jon sighed as he went to back the car out of the parking space, “Alright, if that’s what you want.”
The drive to Friendly’s didn’t take very long because it was only two blocks away. After parking, they rushed from the car and into the building to avoid the blistering wind. A warm, welcoming breeze came from the doorway as soon as Jon opened the door, and Christine shivered from the quick change of temperature. Luckily for them, the restaurant was nearly empty and they were seated immediately.
Taking off her jacket the first time since she left the house, Christine realized how over dressed she was for the restaurant. She would’ve kept her jacket on but it was so warm in the building that she knew it would me her hot and uncomfortable. Looking across the table she caught Jon staring at her before he quickly averted his eyes. Christine blushed, knowing how inappropriate her attire was for a kids’ restaurant, but she didn’t have a choice. Coming here was better than not eating at all.
“Welcome to Friendly’s can I get you two something to drink?” the waitress asked when she reached their table. The waitress wasn’t a pretty girl, Christine noticed, but that could be the uniforms fault, or the fact that she looked bored to death. Even the smallest smile would’ve brightened her face and made her at least a little more attractive.
“I’ll have water,” Christine said with a faint smile.
“And I’ll have a coke,” Jon said, looking from the menu up at the waitress. Their eyes and the waitress froze, her pen stopping mid-word.
“Jon Wilson?” she asked and Christine looked from the waitress to Jon and back again. How did she know him?
Jon looked just as surprised as Christine did, “Yes?”
“It’s me! Michelle McMichael, remember? We went to summer camp together when we were younger.”
Suddenly recognition exploded all over Jon’s face. “Oh yeah! Hey! How are you? What have you been up to?”
“Not much, what about you?”
“Same,” Jon replied, smiling at her. Christine politely cleared her throat when it seemed Jon wasn’t going to introduce her on his own. “Michelle, this is my girlfriend Christine.”
It was Michelle’s turn to have a surprised look, “You have a girlfriend? Jon Wilson has a girlfriend! Wow, times have changed. You were such a nerd when I knew you, adorable, but such a nerd that no girl could even stand talking to you for more than five minutes. Except for me, of course, that’s how we became friends. ”
Jon blushed at her story, “Yeah, well, I’m still a nerd.” It was the first time Christine heard Jon actually admit that he was a nerd, and it felt kind of weird. She was used to the only one commenting on his being a nerd to his face, and not that some other girl was doing it she felt that her territory was being invaded. Christine tried her hardest not to become defensive, and she didn’t know why she even cared. Jon was her friend, even if they were going out there was nothing there besides friendship for her.
Michelle sighed, “I still can’t believe you have a girlfriend. I had quite the crush on you when we were in camp together, remember?” Michelle turned and looked at Christine, “Well you take good care of him. He’s a sweet guy. I’ll be right back with your drinks,” and she walked away, looking more beautiful than she did five minutes before hand.
“Man, I can’t believe it. Michelle McMichael, what a small world it is,” Jon said, looking back down at the menu still a little shocked. Christine opened up her menu too, but suddenly found that she didn’t have an appetite any more.
Jon pulled up outside his house around nine o’clock. “Want to come in?” he asked. Christine wasn’t in the best mood. Jon’s friend Michelle had been an over helpful waitress, stopping at their table any chance she got, which was a lot since the restaurant wasn’t busy at all that night.
“Yeah, sure,” she muttered as she got out of the car and headed for the house, while Jon followed her silently. Christine waltzed through the front door, passed through the living room, and headed straight for his bed room. Slipping out of her jacket, she threw it on the bed and collapsed in the rotating computer chair. Jon came in a few seconds later, removing his jacket and hanging it in his closet.
“Are you okay?” he asked her sounding concerned as he stared at her from his closet.
“Yeah, peachy,” Christine replied, feigning a smile, but Jon saw right through her.
“I know when something’s wrong, so what is it?” Christine stared down at her feet, which were killing her from her shoes. She didn’t want to admit what she was thinking because even in her own head she knew it sounded terrible, so she kept quiet. “Was it Michelle?” Jon asked, and Christine looked up at him. Since it was partially the truth, Christine nodded and kept the rest to herself. Jon crossed the room and kneeled down in front of her, “There’s nothing you need to worry about. She’s just a friend, and if any of her stories scared you, you don’t have to worry about them either. I’m completely different now than I was all those years ago. I was a child then and now-“ but Christine cut him off by kissing him hard and passionately. She wrapped her arms around his neck to make sure he wouldn’t pull away. Sliding off the chair, she fell gracefully onto his lap, straddling him. They kissed this way for several minutes, Jon wrapping his arms around her waist and rubbing his hands up and down her back. Suddenly Christine heard Jon gasp and the next thing she knew she was sitting on the floor and Jon stood above her, grabbing her coat off his bed and shoving it into her hands.
“It’s getting pretty late, you should go,” he said as he tried to get her off the floor and rush her out the door, but Christine stood her ground.
“What’s up with you?” she demanded. She was not about to be kicked out without an explanation.
“Nothing, I’m fine, I just realized how late it is and figured-“
“Late!” Christine exclaimed. “Jon, it’s not even ten o’clock! What’s going on?”
Jon stood with his hand on the doorknob to his bedroom, staring at her for quite some time before answering her. Closing the door again, he didn’t face her when he said, “I can’t do it. I can’t give into you.”
Christine stood with her mouth agape. Her brain couldn’t comprehend what he meant by that. “What are you talking about,” she whispered.
Jon turned and glared angrily at her, “Oh, come on Christine! You, of all people, should know by now that I am not stupid. I’ve known what you’ve been doing this whole time! I only agreed to go out with you to try and change you, but obviously that didn’t work. I knew I couldn’t make you feel the way I felt about you, but I was hoping I could try. If I give in to you now, it’ll all be over. I’ll wake up tomorrow and you will be out of my life forever. I can’t stand to even think that it hurts so much!” Jon sank down onto his bed and placed his head in his hands, grinding his palms against his forehead in frustration.
Christine walked over and sat down on the bed next to him. Now was the time she was dreading. True, she knew that Jon wasn’t stupid, but since the beginning of their relationship she hoped he would be boring enough that she could avoid any feelings that passed friendship. Unfortunately, her hopes were destroyed since the first day they hung out. “It seems that you’re the one who got me all wrong,” Christine replied, which made Jon look at her.
“What do you mean?” he asked looking confused.
“It’s true that in the beginning I was in it for the usual, but after hanging out with you and getting to know you all over again, I can’t ignore my own feelings any more no matter how hard I try.” Christine took a breath, hesitating, making sure she was positive she wanted to say these next words. “Jon,” she finally breathed out, “I…. I love you.” Jon sat there, stunned. The several times that he had said those words to her, she never said them back. She didn’t want to get too involved with him and tried to keep her personal feelings out of their relationship so it could be a clean break. In the end, after everything that happened tonight, she just couldn’t ignore those feelings any longer. Christine could feel the tears swimming to the surface and tried to push them down. “Well,” she said, breaking the silence, “say something.”
“I love you too,” Jon replied, a smile spreading across his face. Leaning over, he wrapped his arms around her, keeping her in a tight embrace. Bending his head down, Jon kissed her lightly on the lips, and Christine held onto his lips for as long as she could.