Miller taps his fingers on the steering wheel as another pop song comes on the radio. I arch a brow at his questionable music choice, but he’s focused on the road. Actually, he’s looking at a billboard. I follow his gaze. It’s an advertisement for perfume boasting a half-naked chick in lingerie.
“Shit. Valentine’s Day is next week.”
He’s all smirky. “I’ve already taken care of Sunny’s present.”
“What’d you get her?”
“Something special.” His grin widens.
“Putting a bow on your dick doesn’t actually count, you know that, right Miller?”
“I leave dick costumes to Waters,” he mutters, flipping me the bird.
“Nothing. Never mind.” He stares straight ahead.
“You can’t say something like that and not tell me what the hell that means. Dick costumes?” Waters is one weird guy. “How would you even know what the hell Waters does with his dick?”
“Violet’s my sister, remember? And she likes to share. A lot.”
Most of the time Violet’s excessive sharing is funny. Sometimes it’s a little overboard. I’d never tell my sister the things Violet tells Miller. “So what’s the most recent accidental information dump?”
He gives me a shifty side eye. “You can’t tell anyone. Not even Lily.”
“This is gonna be good.”
“I’m serious, Balls, you can’t say anything.”
I hold my fingers up, like I’m giving him the Boy Scouts honor when really I’m giving him the shocker.
“Forget it. I’m not telling you. Violet was drunk. She probably didn’t mean to say anything.”
“Come on, bro. Seriously. I’ll keep my mouth shut.” I stop smiling and put my hand over my heart. “What weirdness do those two get up to in the bedroom?”
Miller grips the steering wheel and releases a few times. “You won’t tell Lily?”
“Swear on my nearly severed dick.”
His eyes widen and he nods, releasing a breath. Whatever it is it must be good.
“Remember the Play Doh dick sculpture from the cottage?”
“Huh?” I frown and then smirk remembering what happened with Lily that weekend. Not all of it was good at the time, but now we’re together and she’s living in Chicago. We have a lot of sleepovers. She pretty much stays with me all the time when I’m not away for games.
“The one on the dining room table that the girls took pictures of,” Miller prompts.
“Oh, yeah. You mean the one with the superhero cape?”
“Yeah. Apparently she’s actually done that.”
“Hold up.” I raise a hand, trying to understand what he’s telling me. “So she does what? Dresses up Waters’ dick? And he lets her?”
“I don’t think he lets her. I mean, from the story she told me, he was asleep when she pulled that on him, but apparently she made some sort of Christmas thing. I don’t even know.” He’s backpedaling now. “Anyway, she mentioned she had some sort of plan for Valentine’s Day.”
“Those two are seriously weird.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not dressing up my dick for Valentine’s Day and presenting it to Lily like its some kind of gift.”
“Hard to do when she already owns it, Balls.”
“Like you’re any better. Sunny carries your fuzzy balls around in her back pocket.”
He shrugs like it doesn’t matter that he’s totally whipped. And honestly, I don’t mean anything I’m saying. Lily and I haven’t been together all that long, but during the very short span of time when we “broke up” I knew I didn’t want to be without her.
“What do you think I should get Lily?” I ask. I’ve never done the Valentine’s Day gift thing before. In the past it would give the girl the wrong idea about what was going on. I don’t have to worry about that since Lily’s my girlfriend. What I do need to worry about is getting her a decent gift.
“What does she like? Other than sex and your beard.”
“Skating, ketchup chips, bacon,” I say.
“I don’t know. Can’t I just buy her chocolate and flowers? I bet that asshole ex of hers didn’t even do that.”
“Probably not and yeah, I guess you could do that, but it’s kind of a copout.”
“So you’re not getting Sunny flowers or chocolate?”
“She’s vegan, so regular chocolate is out and Sunny’s house is already filled with plants, she doesn’t need any more.”
He has a point. There’s a lot of live, green things in that house. I can’t even keep the one spider plant Lily brought to my place alive. “What about jewelry?”
“Does she like jewelry?”
Lily wears tiny hoop earrings that she never takes out, and she has a total of two necklaces. “Maybe she just doesn’t have anything she likes?” Or it’s always been too frivolous of an expense. Lily’s never had an excess supply of money, so she’s had to be careful with it. Sometimes it makes it difficult for her to accept gifts.
“Maybe,” Miller agrees.
“I could ask her.”
“Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? It should be a surprise.”
“Right, yeah.” Seems like Valentine’s Day is a lot more complicated than I anticipated.
I spend the next couple of days trying to decide what I want to do for Valentine’s Day. Lily’s like a damn fortress of information though, and I can’t get anything out of her. I try to casually bring it up while we’re watching TV the night before I have two away games. We’re in our usual position, with Lily tucked into the corner of the couch, her legs thrown over my lap. She’s wearing pajama shorts and a long sleeved shirt. There’s no bra under the shirt. I can see her nipples poking through it.
She’s eating maple bacon popcorn. It’s her new obsession. She doesn’t even bother with a bowl, just eats it right out of the bag.
“Valentine’s Day is coming up,” I say.
She shoves a handful of popcorn in her mouth and makes an affirmative noise.
“We should go out to dinner.”
She swallows the popcorn and glances at me. “If you want.”
“Well yeah, I mean, it’s like, a special day, right?”
She shrugs. “I guess.”
I know exactly what that means. The ex asshole probably didn’t do anything for her for Valentine’s Day. Ever. Now I really wish I would’ve kicked his ass at Waters’ cottage when I had the chance.
I’m about to go on a fishing expedition using my classic Ballistic charm. Of all the traits I inherited from my dickhead dad, my ability to smooth talk is one I don’t mind having. It gets me what I want a lot of the time. I run a hand up her bare shin, to her knee and knead the spot there. She sighs and slides down a little lower. I adjust with her movement so my hand doesn’t go any higher, like I’m sure she wants it to.
“You don’t want to do anything for Valentine’s Day?”
She stops shoveling popcorn into her mouth and sets the bag down. She regards me carefully.
“You think you’re so charming don’t you?”
I grin. “Uh huh.”
Lily rolls her eyes. “How many women have fallen for that look?”
“Only one that matters.” I walk my fingers a little higher.
I don’t get any farther with the Valentine’s Day conversation. I get distracted when she takes her shirt off and we start making out. We end up having sex on the couch, then on the floor, then in bed. Getting more information out of her is unnecessary anyway. Her reaction, or lack thereof, provides answers words may not.
Lily needs to be treated like the delicate flower she sometimes is. And I’m going to make that happen.
Five days before Valentine’s Day and just before I get on the plane, I call Lily’s favorite restaurant. She’s spent most of her life not having enough, or sacrificing herself for the sake of other people, so I want to give her the luxuries she’s never been able to afford.
I discover that Valentine’s Day is a kind of a big damn deal, especially when it falls on a weekend, so getting a table ends up being a huge fucking hassle. I have contacts, though, so I manage to work it out. It’ll be a late dinner, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I secure us an excellent table, order flowers, lilies of course, that will be delivered first thing in the morning to my place, since she stays with me when I’m home. A box of chocolates is scheduled to arrive around lunch time, because Lily loves chocolate almost as much as she loves sex. Then I shop online for jewelry because I don’t have time to go to an actual store having left this so late. I also call Sunny and get the name of the spa they go to, confer with Miller, and we set up appointments for both of them.
There’s a fine line with extravagance where Lily’s concerned. If it’s too expensive she gets antsy about it. I’m learning where her lines are, and slowly erasing them. She’s going to have to deal with the excess at some point, because I want to give her everything.
Lily may be independent, but she likes pretty things, and while she might not say it outright, I see how she gets when I buy her stuff. I’m sly about it. I don’t shower her with gifts. She doesn’t like that. Instead I play it off like I just saw something and liked it and thought she should have it. I’ll hang it up with the things that have found a home in my closet or my dresser like it’s been there the whole time.
Her eyes light up every time I bring her a present, or she finds something new hanging in the closet. And I like it. I like taking care of her like that. But I would never say that out loud to her face. I know better.
The only thing I tell Lily about Valentine’s Day is that we have dinner plans. Everything else is going to be a surprise. Thankfully I have the day off and no practice or workout because we flew in late last night.
Usually after a few days away, Lily and I have a lot of sex, but I want to hold out until tomorrow for that, so we only go a couple of rounds before bed, and I don’t wake her up in the middle of the night like I normally would. Then I get up early and make her breakfast. Okay, I don’t exactly make breakfast on my own, but I pour the batter into the waffle iron and hull the strawberries, so it counts in my mind.
I get everything ready, put it on a tray and bring it to the bedroom. She’s migrated to my side of the bed and curled herself around my pillow. Her hair’s all fucked up in the back from the sex last night.
I stroke her cheek. “Luscious Lily, time to get up.”
She makes a little noise and burrows deeper into my pillow. She’s totally awake. I get up on the bed, straddle her and rub my nose and beard against her cheek. I feel her grin as she squirms to get away.
“I’m sleeping,” she mumbles.
“I made you breakfast in bed.”
She stops squirming and rolls over on her back. The covers fall away from her chest exposing her little pink nipples. I resist the urge to kiss them. For now.
She blinks. “Really?”
“Uh huh.” I gesture to the tray on the dresser.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Her smile tells me I did the right thing.
“I know. I wanted to. Hungry?”
She nods, so I bring the tray over and we eat until we’re full, and her eyes get heavy like she’s ready for a nap.
After I take the leftovers to the kitchen, I get the present I ordered online from its hiding place. It came pre-wrapped. I keep it behind my back and climb back into bed with her, ready for a lazy day of indulgence, lots of sex and possibly a nap, if required. “I have something for you.”
Her eyes light up. “Really?”
“What is it?”
I hold out my hand. The box fits in my palm. “Open it and find out.”
Lily blinks and looks at the box, then at me, then at the box. Her eyes are wide. “Randy.”
“It’s just something small.” Literally, it’s tiny. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t expensive.
Since she hasn’t taken the box from me, I set it on her lap and wait. I’m nervous. Maybe she won’t like it. Maybe I guessed wrong.
Her hands are a little shaky as she pulls the red ribbon and the bow unfurls. I have to clasp my hands together so I don’t start biting my thumb nail, which is a leftover nervous habit from when I was a kid and my parents used to fight.
Lily takes the long satin ribbon and wraps it around her neck. “Wanna tie that back up for me?”
I’m instantly hard. A few weeks ago Lily surprised me after an away game by answering my door with nothing but a ribbon tied around her throat. Lance was with me, which was not awesome. But he’s smart enough not to have commented on it, ever.
Maybe it was the ribbon, or my irrational, but somewhat justified anger over Lance seeing her naked, or coming home to her after a long stretch away, or the combination of all three, but I’ve been fantasizing about that damn scenario a lot since then. I skim the column of her throat and tie it nice and loose. “You better hurry up and open that, or you’re not gonna get to see what’s inside for at least another hour.”
She bites her lip and grins, but lifts the lid. “Oh, wow.”
“Is it too cheesy? It’s too cheesy.” I’m second guessing my choice based on her expression.
She shakes her head. “It’s not cheesy. It’s beautiful. ” She lifts the tiny skate shaped earrings out of the box. One’s a figure skate, one’s a hockey skate, mismatched on purpose.
“They’re supposed to be charms and I know they’re different, but I kind of like that it’s you and me and they’re different, but if you’d rather they be the same . . .”
“Or if you’d rather wear them as a necklace we can put them on a chain—”
I stop. “Yeah?”
“I love them.”
“Yeah?” I pull her into my lap, she’s naked, I’m in boxers. It won’t take much to make us match. “Guess what I love?”
Her eyes are soft and warm. “What do you love, Randy?”
I trace the edge of the ribbon around her throat, watching goose bumps rise along her skin. The words I’ve felt but haven’t spoken hang heavy in the space between us. “You. I love you.”
There’s no surprise. Just acceptance and reciprocation. “Just like I love you,” she whispers.
And then I show her how much, because words are only as deep as the actions we take to make them meaningful.
I have more special scenes and outtakes coming hopefully soon!
Thanks so much for reading!
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