Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate, all the hop stop hosts are posting a love scene from an Evernight story. I thought I’d give you a brand new short story about a pair of my favorite Evernight lovers–Kristy and Blake from “Slave Driver” in the HIS anthology.
The couple knew each other in high school but their flirtation fizzled out due to a misunderstanding. Blake may be her lover now, but he’s also her personal trainer, and he takes his job seriously. So seriously, Kristy has good reason to fret that he might be a little too hard core for her at times, and perhaps not quite as romantic as she’d like.
Continuing their love story several months later, here is a flash fiction short story called:
“I should have fired you right after you got into my pants!” Kristy exclaimed as she adjusted her grip on the cold, black kettlebell. Her personal trainer and boyfriend, Blake, had upped the weight from twelve to sixteen kilograms and was demanding she do her usual number of reps.
“Just swing the damn thing and stop your belly-aching.” Blake flipped the page in Kristy’s training log, and jotted down her stats. “No shortcuts. I want fifty good swings to chest level at a steady pace. None of that floaty shit.”
“Fine!” The first swing barely reached the level of her hips.
“You’re going to have to do a lot better than that.”
On the second swing she made it to chest height. Swings three through ten she executed perfectly as well. She just needed a little push…as usual. “Good. Good. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Only thirty-seven more.”
So far neither of them had mentioned the date—Valentines Day, the day for lovers. He hadn’t forgotten, though he’d allowed to her believe he had. All good things in time.
“Oh hush,” Kristy growled. Her foul mood had grown as her hints about the day went unacknowledged or artfully dodged. He hadn’t sent her flowers or candy or even given her a card. “You are a mean…sonova…bitch!” Each word came at the top of the swing arc.
Blake set aside his log and moved to stand in front of her, careful to keep a safe distance from the sixteen kilo kettlebell a lost grip could accidentally hurtle his way. “You like it when I’m mean, admit it.” Taunting her might not have been the best idea, but an offensive strategy offered the best smokescreen for his own nervous energy.
“Twenty. Twenty-one. Twenty-two—”
“You skipped nineteen. Now you’re at twenty-two.”
“I’m going to spank it if you don’t stop being such a brat. Thirty. Only twenty more.”
“Shut up! Thirty-one. Thirty-two. You aren’t…getting…anywhere…near.my.ass…forty.”
“Thirty-eight. That’s not what you said last night.” He gave her an exaggerated wink. “Forty-one.”
Kristy growled her way through swings forty-two through fifty, practically dropping the bell on the downward arc of her last swing. “Uncle. You can spank me if you like, but I’m not touching another bell or weight or cardio machine tonight. I’m done, done, done!” She threw up her hands and stomped off toward the locker room. He probably deserved her anger, but hoped it would be short-lived by the time his plan fully played out.
“How about we go to McMenamin’s and watch a movie in one of the dinner theaters instead? Kill two birds with one stone. They got a new microbrew I’ve been wanting to try.” Blake cast a quick glance her way as he drove.
“Yeah. Sure. That’s fine,” Kristy said glumly, barely able to keep her disappointment in check.
Blake had claimed fatigue—hers and his—and originally suggested a quick sub and a movie. Maybe she could at least get him to take her to see a romantic comedy, perhaps spring for some chocolate to go with her popcorn. Some men just weren’t romantic. Didn’t mean he didn’t love her. But honestly, how could he have forgotten Valentine’s Day? He remembered last year.
She’d kept hoping all day at work for a flower delivery, a box of chocolates, a singing telegram or whatever they were called, but so far, nothing. Not even a lousy card or a sit down dinner. Instead she had pizza, beer and a second run movie to look forward to. Yay. She’d have to give him his card soon, and then he’d realize his error and grovel a bit, but the day would definitely be ruined if that happened. Men!
On the other hand, he might just shrug it off, claim they’d been dating long enough to have moved past overpriced and garish displays of romance. Then what would she do? Read more into it? Explain how hurt she was?
She wouldn’t be able to not tell him. They’d agreed early in their relationship to be upfront and brave with each other, no matter how uncomfortable or difficult the message. After both of them had been too cool, too insecure to ask for what they wanted in their youth, they’d had to wait sixteen years for another shot. Bravery was a critical ingredient to the success of their romance. She couldn’t risk another sixteen passing, because she loved him. She loved the clueless, bossy jerk. God help her, she did.
“Hope you’re up for Braveheart,” Blake announced as they parked, a huge grin on his face.
“Great. A girl can never get enough Mel Gibson in blue-face and a mullet. Or the Sophie Marceau continuity gaffes that always gall the living piss out of me. Love those.” Sarcasm dripped from every syllable, but did Blake notice? Oh hell no. Worst. Valentine’s. Day. Ever.
He opened her door for her and led her into the old school house the McMenamin brothers had re-purposed into a microbrewery and dinner theater.
“Go on in and get us a comfy place to sit. I’ll order us some grub and beer. Your usual?” Blake asked.
“Sounds good.” She heaved a sigh and headed toward the theater. Pushing aside the velvet curtain, she peered inside. “Looks like we have the place to ourselves. Of course we do,” she muttered to herself.
A velvet loveseat front and center seemed the best choice. A coffee table in front to put their food and later their feet upon sealed the deal. She made herself cozy and fiddled with her smart phone. No one to complain about the glow in an otherwise empty theater.
The cinema screen flickered and the previews began.
What was taking Blake so long?
A trivia game came next. She kept tapping away at her phone until she heard her name announced. Glancing up to the screen she saw…her own face. And Blake’s. It was the shot they’d had a stranger take of them at Seaside last summer. Another photo flashed by of a sweaty Kristy giving Blake the finger in his gym. More photos—some funny, some sentimental—scrolled through one by one.
What on earth was going on?
Text appeared on the screen. Kristy? was all it said.
More photos and video clips of them followed. A smile had dug its way in so deep she’d have to sandblast that puppy off. If this was his idea of a Valentine’s Day gift, well…she loved it!
Will you… scrolled by between photos.
Her smile dropped, replaced by a soft gasp that left her mouth hanging open.
Footsteps in the rear of the theater momentarily distracted her. Not Blake but a group of late arrivals. She quickly blocked them out and turned back around to watch the screen.
Make me... rolled by more slowly.
“Make me what?” she said aloud.
The floated down from the top of the screen and bounced around like a ping pong ball. Stupid cheesy Powerpoint graphic effects. She loved them!
Kristy stood. She couldn’t contain the adrenaline rushing through her. “Will you make me the? Make me the what?” she said loudly, clasping her hands together.
Blake’s handsome face appeared on the screen. The camera zoomed out and he was on one knee holding a bouquet of flowers and a heart-shaped box of candy.
Blake faded to black and more words popped on the screen. Happiest Man Alive sparkled in a strobe of special effects. Kristy giggled.
And be my… replaced the text on the screen, pulsating like a heartbeat. She knew the next word and jumped up and down with anticipation.
“Valentine!” she shouted, clapping her hands. Oh, she loved him, she loved him, she loved him! Best Valentine’s Day ever!
“No. Not valentine,” came a deep male voice somewhere nearby.
She tore her eyes away from the screen to see Blake on bended knee, just like in the photo, holding flowers in one hand and a heart-shaped box of candy tucked under his arm.
“I’d prefer wife,” he said with a slight quaver.
The words Marry Me? slowly came into focus in massive red letters, filling the entire screen.
The people in the theater cheered and moved in closer to surround them, not strangers at all, but her sister, her co-workers, other members from the gym, Phyllissa-T and her girlfriend, June, Blake’s best friend, Carl—all their dearest friends.
“Marry me, Kristy,” Blake said. “Please?” He extended his other arm, a sparkly engagement ring presented between his thumb and index finger.
“Oh my God. I only got you a card,” she exclaimed, choking on words that had swelled to ten times their normal size. She nodded her head furiously before finally squeaking out, “Yes. I will!”
The final slide of the show flashed on the screen: Braveheart, starring Blake Smith and Kristy Kreem. Forever.
If you liked this short story, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of HIS and read how their story began.
Now…on with the hop!
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To enter, please leave a comment about your favorite Valentine’s Day and why. Make sure I have your email address somewhere so I can contact you if you win!
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