My Valentine Girl
My Valentine Girl
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, my short story is a little more romantic than usual. But, also, a little sad. I hope you find it uplifting though, rather than sad.
He didn’t notice the patch of ice on the pavement outside the office block, and fell heavily. It was late—about ten pm—and he wanted to get home, out of the cold, for dinner, and perhaps watch a game on the TV. The boss had insisted he had the report the following day, otherwise he would have gone hours ago.
Lying on the ground, he groaned a little, from both the pain in his butt and the humiliation of falling in the street. Fortunately, there were few people around. A woman stood over him.
“Are you okay? Can I help?”
He blinked at her. He knew her face vaguely, but wasn’t certain from where?
“Thanks, I’m fine.”
He pulled himself up, thankful that his briefcase hadn’t opened, scattering his papers around. The woman smiled, nervously. Clearly, she found speaking to a stranger a bit of an ordeal. He remembered her as the girl who worked in the post room, alone and barely noticed. She was one of those people that are largely invisible to the rest of the world. He couldn’t even remember talking to her, other than an occasional please and thank you.
“You’re here late,” he said to her; forgetting that he was too.
“I have a part-time job in the evening, washing dishes in the café over there.”
Her voice was so quiet, it was hard to hear her. She didn’t look directly at his as she spoke, and seemed to find conversation an ordeal. She must be chronically shy, he thought.
They both walked to the bus stop together. He usually took the bus to Charing Cross, and the train to his home in the suburbs.
“Where do you live?”
He didn’t particularly want a conversation, but it seemed rude, somehow, not to talk to her, after she had been so concerned about his welfare.
“Battersea. I have a bedsit.”
“I had a bedsit when I first came to London. Flats are so expensive, aren’t they? It was five years before I was able to buy a house.”
She didn’t respond, and all went quiet as they waited for the bus. Climbing on, it seemed natural that they should sit together, although the girl looked a little nervous at being in such close proximity to him. Looking at her face, he noticed how pretty her eyes were, but they looked almost lifeless. There was no emotion in her face.
At the station, and feeling hungry, he decided to eat in the restaurant there.
“Would you like to join me? My treat, of course.”
He wasn’t sure why the invitation suddenly popped from his mouth. She wasn’t the type of girl he would normally ask out for dinner. But then, this wasn’t a date, of course. She looked hesitant at first, but then agreed.
In the restaurant, which was quiet, she slipped off her mac, and he saw her body was quite thin. He hoped she wasn’t an anorexic. He’s once had a girlfriend like that. They went for meals; then she went into the bathroom and threw it all up. Still, that was up to her. None of his business.
Slowly he managed to pry some conversation from her; although it was hard work. He noticed how sad she looked sometimes too. If she took her hair back from her face, and tidied herself up a little, he decided she would be quite pretty.
“You seem very shy. Have you always been like that?”
“I suppose so. I find it hard to talk to people; especially after…”
She stopped and looked away. He hoped she would continue, but she didn’t, so he changed the subject to more general matters.
An hour passed. He had topped up their glasses with wine a couple of times, and a slight glow came to her pale face. Her eyes looked more alive too. Yes, there was definitely a pretty girl beneath the disguise she obviously felt more comfortable wearing. She began to talk a little more.
“I don’t know many people in London. This is the first time someone has invited me to dinner.”
“Really, that’s sad. A pretty girl like you should be wined and dined on a regular basis.”
It was said slightly in jest; yet he meant what he said too. She blushed slightly—clearly not used to receiving compliments. Yet, to be honest, he too had been lacking in the romance department lately. Working late, as he often did, and commuting some distance, made it difficult to build relationships. Often, exhausted by the time he went to bed, a favourite porn site and his right hand, were all he could manage. No conversation required there, he thought, grimly. Perhaps he would invite Jessica out for another meal in the near future.
That was how their friendship began. Two nights per week, when she wasn’t working at the café, he took her for a meal. Slowly, the shyness began to fade, and she smiled more; although her eyes still looked sad at times. He tried to pry information from her, and eventually she told him that she had a serious medical condition; but wouldn’t give him details.
“What about your family? Do they help you? Are you close?”
Her eyes turned sad once again, and her smile faded.
“No, I don’t have any contact with my family.”
She ceased talking, and the conversation became stilted for a few moments. He decided to let the matter drop. Perhaps, in time, she would come to trust him.
It was on their third date that they first kissed. As they said goodbye at the railway station, he had leaned forward and gently kissed her on the lips. She seemed startled and ill-at-ease at first; but looking him in the eyes, she seemed reassured.
By the next date, on Friday night, she appeared to have made a decision. Looking at him at the station, she took the initiative and kissed him first—softly at first; but then more passionately. Drawing back, there was a question on her face, and she swallowed hard before she voiced the question. Her voice was barely more than a whisper,
“Do you want to come to my place for the night?”
His voice was more resolute.
“Yes…yes, I would love to.”
Her room was simple and plain, but clean and neat. On the wall were a couple of unframed paintings.
“Yours?” he asked.
“Yes. I love painting.”
There was only a single armchair, so they sat side by side on the bed. She seemed to want to say something, so he sat patiently and waited for her to speak. Her voice, when she did, was quiet and nervous.
“I’ve never done this before. You must be patient with me.”
He thought she meant that she had never invited a man back to her room before—but she meant more than that. He assured her they could take all the time she needed. Gradually, as she spoke, he realised that what she meant was that she was a virgin; something that he had never considered. She explained a little more.
“My father…I had a bad time when I was young. I have never wanted to make love until now. But you are kind and caring, and I want to experience it now…before…”
She stopped talking, and he saw a tear in the corner of her eye. He kissed her gently.
“Let me show you what making love is all about. We can stop anytime you feel uncomfortable—I promise you that. Let’s make it a night to remember.”
He looked around and saw a radio, and tuned it to a classical music programme, turned down low. He switched off the main light, and left just the bedside lamp on, before removing his jacket and shoes, to be comfortable.
Turning to her, he slowly began to undress her; pausing at intervals to kiss the skin beneath as it was unbared. Every few moments he paused to kiss her on the lips, and whisper sweet words—checking her expression for any sign of panic. Her eyes were closed, but she seemed calm.
He unfastened her bra and slowly kissed her breasts. He heard her suck in her breath, and paused for a moment, in case she was panicking. But she was calm.
“It’s alright. Keep going. I love what you are doing.”
Lying her down on the bed, he lay next to her, having removed his shirt and pants. He pulled her warm body towards his, and softly ran his hands over her soft skin. He was already sexually aroused, and hoped that the feeling of his hardness, pressed against her body, wouldn’t frighten her.
Taking longer than he normally would, he covered her body with lips, tongue and fingers—touching every part of her upper body. She seemed relaxed, so he decided to venture further. He began to pull her panties down from the waist, but detected a slight stiffening of her body, and paused. After a moment, he began again; and this time there was no resistance. A moment later she was naked; as he became when he removed his underwear too.
Now there was just bare flesh against bare flesh. He wanted reassurance before he went further.
“Are you okay? Not frightened?”
“No,” she whispered, “I want you to carry on.”
His fingers began to explore the lower half of her body; sweeping them over her belly, and down her thighs, which she opened slightly—perhaps instinctively. He took this as an invitation and gently slid his fingers between her thighs. Virgin or not, she seemed to be aroused, judging by the slicks of moisture on her skin. Encouraged, he slowly entered her with one finger, his senses alert in case she panicked. He kissed her tenderly and whispered to her.
“I want to make you forget all that has gone before. Just remember the here and now. You are a beautiful young woman, and deserve to be treated as precious and wanted. Let me take you to a place you will remember forever.”
She nodded, and a tear rolled from her eye.
“I want you to make me feel desired and wanted. I want to know what it’s like.”
His finger gently probed her. It was obvious that someone had been there before him, but he didn’t want to know the circumstances and the details. He had a good idea, though, and he hated such a man, with venom. Who would treat his own daughter in such a fashion?
He began to rotate his finger, while tenderly kissing her and whispering into her ears. Even if he didn’t gain any personal satisfaction tonight, he was determined that Jessica would have a night to remember. She moaned a little.
“Jessica, I want to go down and use my lips and tongue down there. Is that alright?”
Her eyes opened, and looked a little nervous, but she nodded her assent. He slithered down her body; stopping briefly to kiss her breasts on the way, and settled between her opened thighs. He began to kiss her, and search for her clit with his tongue. He knew he had found it when she gasped.
His tongue began to move at speed, as a finger probed her within, and it wasn’t long before body began to respond. She rotated her hips and he pressed a little harder.
She seemed beyond words by now. These exclamations were the only expressions of which she was now capable. Faster and firmer he went, with both tongue and finger, until he felt her spasm into orgasm. Her groans became deeper, as she lost herself in the wonder of sexual pleasure—a place she had never been before.
He wanted to enter her, but was unsure whether this might cause any pain. Jessica answered that unspoken question by whispering hoarsely.
“Please…please…I want you to…”
He moved upwards, lying on top of her fragile body, but using his arms to support himself, and slowly entered her. She groaned as she felt him within her. He looked down at her face, and saw she was smiling. She looked quite beautiful to him at that moment.
Afterwards, as they lay entwined—slightly breathless and sweaty—he asked her if she was alright.
“I’m more than alright. I feel wonderful. I never knew it could be like this. Thank you for being patient with me. I have such a wonderful feeling inside me.”
“This is how it should always be, Jessica. Whatever may have happened in your life before, you are worthy of love and respect. Don’t ever settle for anything less.”
They parted on Saturday morning, agreeing to see each other at work on Monday. He kissed her tenderly as they said goodbye, and hoped this was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. But when Monday rolled around, Jessica wasn’t in her usual place at work. No one knew where she was. That evening he walked down to her bedsit and knocked on the door, but there was no reply. A woman came out of the next-door room.
“You looking for Jessica?”
“She wasn’t well on Sunday night. Someone called an ambulance for her. I don’t know where they took her.”
He was troubled, but without knowing where she was, and not being a relation, there was little he could do. Perhaps the office would be informed.
Another day passed. The office received no notification. But he did. A letter, addressed to him, arrived in the company mail. He had a sense of foreboding, and left the office to read it; walking down the short distance to the river, where he sat on one of the benches. He tore open the envelope. The date on the letter was February 14, Valentine’s Day.
My dearest friend,
If you are reading this, I’m afraid that I have gone. I knew that my time was limited, and that my condition was terminal, but I didn’t want to spoil things between us by telling you this. I didn’t want pity. I wanted love. And you gave it to me in abundance. Nothing you did hastened my end. It was coming anyway. I sensed that. I am so happy that you accepted my invitation to come home with me.
You showed me, in just a short time, how beautiful love between a man and a woman can be. You took away all the pain I have suffered during my life, and wiped the slate clean. For that, I can’t thank you enough. You are wonderful man, and I hope you soon find someone to love who will appreciate what you have to give.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
All my love,
I sat on the bench for a long time, staring at the river, tears running down my cheeks, but so glad that I had met this girl just a few weeks ago. The thought that her life might have ended, lonely and unloved, was almost unbearable, but thankfully we did meet, and I was able to show her the love she deserved.
I will remember her, always.
Rachel de Vine, February 12, 2021