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CHAPTER 10: MY FUNNY VALENTINE
“Can’t you at least give me a hint where we’re going?” Aileen asked from the bedroom as Colin emerged from the bathroom wearing only a towel around his waist after taking a shower.
“Nope,” Colin said smiling mischievously. “All you need to know is to wear something nice, I have this whole evening planned out for us.” Colin called back to his mother then went to his old bed room to finish drying off and get dressed.
Colin had been planning this occasion for over a month. He wanted it to be as special as possible. This was the first Valentine’s Day he got to spend with his mother since they became lovers. He wanted it to have special meaning and for her to remember it always. It had all ready started off wonderful. They had woken up late and spent the remainder of the morning in bed making gentle love with each other.
After thoroughly drying himself Colin tossed aside his towel and pulled on his boxer shorts and a white tee shirt, he then went to work combing his russet hair trying to make it neat as possible. The suit he was going to wear tonight was laid out on the bed. It was his best suit, a navy blue pinstripe, and he was wearing his royal blue tie with it. Colin finished dressing and checked himself out in the mirror to make sure his tie was straight.
“My, don’t you look handsome.” Colin turned around to see his mother standing in the doorway and his jaw dropped. She was wearing a turquoise chiffon gown; it only had one strap going over her left shoulder holding up a bodice adorned with turquoise and silver beads and with a sheer insert at the top that allowed an enticing glimpse of her magnificent cleavage. The gown fell all the way to the floor and was form fitted to her curvaceous body. Not only that, her long scarlet hair hung in loose curls draped down her back and was pushed back over her ears to reveal silver earrings with turquoise stones that matched her dress. Her lips were rose red and there was the slightest hint of blush on her porcelain cheeks. She looked absolutely stunning.
“My God, you are beautiful!” Colin sputtered when he was finally able to speak.
“So this is nice enough for tonight?” Aileen asked with an impish grin.
“If it were any nicer I don’t think we’d make it out of the apartment,” Colin said. “Right now I’ve half a mind to scuttle the plans I made and spend the entire night here making love to you.”
“Hmmm, that doesn’t sound too bad,” Aileen said stepping up to Colin so her bosom was almost in contact with his chest and running her hand up and down his jacket sleeve.
“No, it doesn’t sound bad at all,” Colin said. “But tonight is your night to be shown off to the world and my night to be seen as the luckiest man in the world to have a woman like you.”
“Colin, you know once we leave this apartment we can’t act as a couple,” Aileen stated.
“I’ve taken care of that, you have to trust me,” Colin said.
“You know I trust you with all my heart,” Aileen said.
“I know,” Colin said smiling. “So let’s get going!” Colin said as he helped his mother on with her coat. “What’s wrong mom?” Colin asked as he noticed the frown on her face.
“Oh, I was just thinking about Sheryl, I feel bad for her,” Aileen said. “For Seth to have done what he did to her and on the day before Valentine’s Day! I didn’t think my opinion of him could get any lower. Now she’s going to be all alone.”
“She’s not going to be alone,” Colin said.
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve made arrangements for someone to take her to the school dance and keep her company tonight.” Colin said.
“How did you get someone to do that for you on such short notice?” Aileen asked.
“I have a friend who feels he owes me one…”
* * *
Colin led Aileen to the parking garage of their apartment building and to their Honda Civic. He opened the passenger door for her and once she was seated he closed the door and went around to the driver’s side and climbed in. It was roughly three-thirty in the afternoon when they began their journey.
Aileen stayed silent as Colin drove through the streets of Philadelphia, but he could tell she was burning with curiosity as to their destination. When it was apparent they were leaving the bounds of the city Aileen turned to her son like she wanted to say something but then decided to stay silent. When Colin merged onto the New Jersey Turnpike heading north it was clear where their destination was.
“We’re going to New York?” Aileen asked. Colin smiled and nodded. “What’s in New York?”
“You’ll see,” Colin said.
“Arghhhhh!” Aileen cried. “You know how infuriating you’re being?”
Colin took his mother’s hand and pressed the back of it to his lips. “But you love me anyway,” he said.
“Yes,” Aileen sighed exaggeratedly. “I love you no matter what…even though you are driving me crazy!” Aileen said and Colin laughed.
The drive from Philadelphia to New York City takes a little less than two güvenilir bahis hours if traffic isn’t too heavy. For the most part, the traffic seemed to be very forgiving for Colin and Aileen as they made good time. About a quarter after five, Manhattan came into view. The sun was setting behind the buildings giving a glowing halo to that magnificent skyline.
“It’s so beautiful,” Aileen remarked.
“Yes, it is,” Colin had to agree. “But the most beautiful thing in the world is sitting right next to me.” Aileen turned to him and gave him a radiant smile. “I love you,” Colin said.
Aileen smiled and replied, “I love you too.” Then she was thoughtful for a moment before she said, “You love me enough to tell me what you have planned now?”
“Yes, but I love you even more that I want to keep it a surprise.”
When Colin and Aileen got to the Lincoln Tunnel, their luck with traffic ran out. It was bumper to bumper at the tunnel entrance. It seemed everyone had someplace to go in the city for Valentine’s Day. At a snail’s pace they made it to the other side of the tunnel. Colin looked at the clock on the dash board and saw it was a quarter to six and began to get nervous.
Slowly they made their way up Dyer Avenue, then across West 42nd Street, then up 8th Avenue. Colin gave a sigh of relief when they turned onto West 52nd Street. “Are we running late for wherever we’re supposed to be?” Aileen asked. Colin looked at the clock and saw it was five fifty-five.
“Reservations are for six, we’ll be there on time, at the most we’ll be five minutes late.” Colin said.
“Reservations for what?” Aileen asked. Colin stayed tightlipped. “I know…’It’s a surprise!'” Aileen said in exasperation.
They pulled into a garage on West 52nd Street, the attendant asked if they had reservations for dinner, when Colin informed them they did and gave his name the attendant nodded and said that they could go inside and they had six hours of complimentary parking.
Colin found a parking space and looked at his watch, it was six o’clock exactly. “C’mon, we need to hurry.” Colin said. They hustled out of the garage and over to the building next door.
“The Twenty-One Club? You’re taking me for dinner here?” Aileen asked with a glow in her eyes as she saw the building they were heading into.
“Yep,” Colin said with a big grin. He leaned over and whispered in her ear, “We’re far enough away from home, tonight we can be out in public and act like the couple we are.” Aileen let out a squeal of excitement and hugged Colin.
Aileen then sobered and a look of realization came over her face. “But Colin, you’re only eighteen!” She said.
“I won’t tell them if you won’t,” Colin said still grinning. He didn’t mention that on a recent trip to Atlantic City he acquired a fake I.D. in case the question of his age came up. “Aileen,” Colin said and held out his hand for his mother to take. She nodded and took it with a loving smile. He would have to get used to calling her by her given name tonight, he didn’t want to slip up and call her “mom” when they were supposed to be a couple.
Hand in hand, they walked under a canopy and entered the building through double doors made of brass and glass. Once inside Colin wasn’t even carded. They checked their coats and Aileen wrapped her arms around Colin’s arm as they approached the hostess station. “Martin, party of two,” Colin said to the hostess. She nodded and said their table was ready.
The club was impressive with four stories of dining rooms, bars, and lounges and that wasn’t even including the famous cellar room. As they were led to the main dining room Colin couldn’t help but notice the stares his mother was receiving from other patrons in the restaurant – men and women – Aileen looked beautiful no matter what but in that dress she looked incredible.
The hostess sat them at a table for two; Colin pulled out a chair for Aileen and made sure she was seated comfortably then he took his seat. Right away the wine steward came over and handed Colin a wine list while a bus boy filled glasses on their table with water. The wine list was as thick as a novel, Colin couldn’t believe how many wines they had; it looked like they had bottles from every vineyard in the world. Then Colin noticed the prices and he had to control himself to keep his eyes from bugging out. He saw 1995 listed next to one of the bottles of Burgundy and thought that was the year the wine was made then when he realized that that was the price he thought a blood vessel was going to burst in his head. That wasn’t the most expensive bottle either, they had a 1985 (that was the year this time, he checked) bottle of Burgundy called Romanée-Conti Domaine de la Romanée Conti and it was going for eight thousand dollars. Nineteen eighty-five must have been a good year for Roman-whatever-you-call-it! He thought.
Colin was prepared to spend some money this evening but he wasn’t planning on taking out a loan to pay for dinner. türkçe bahis Fortunately he saw that they did have some relatively reasonably priced wines and ended up ordering a forty-five dollar bottle of Zinfandel when the wine steward returned. Just like at the door, Colin wasn’t even asked to show any identification. It must be Aileen, Colin thought, together as a couple they balanced each other out. Being with Aileen made Colin appear more mature and Colin being with Aileen made her appear to be younger. Colin looked at his mother; she was radiating a youthful exuberance. He loved it when she let that side of herself show, no one could ever believe she was thirty-seven; she looked like she was still in her twenties.
“You are so incredibly beautiful,” Colin said reaching out to hold her hand. Aileen blushed. “And I don’t mean just tonight, you look gorgeous tonight, but you always look beautiful to me. I can’t believe that you are mine; my heart feels so full of love for you it actually hurts. I’m the happiest man in the world because of you.”
“Colin you’ve made me happier than I’ve ever been in my life, I owe all my happiness, all the joy I’ve ever known, to you.” Aileen said.
“I want to spend the rest of my life together with you, like this. No matter what anyone says I know we are meant for each other there is no one I’d rather be with than you.” Colin said.
“You come first in my life, before everything, even myself. There is no one I love more than you and there never will be. As long as you want me, I’m yours.” Aileen said, her eyes sparkling.
Just then their waiter appeared and asked them if they would like to hear the selections they could have for dinner. Colin indicated in the affirmative. When Colin had made the reservations for tonight he had chosen what they called a “prix fixe” menu. Their meals were set at a fixed price and they would have limited yet first-rate selections from the menu. As much as Colin would have loved to spoil Aileen to the hilt, he was on a budget and being able to plan out the price of the meal ahead of time was a great benefit. He had chosen a meal that would cost him thirty-eight dollars per person, considering where they were eating, it was a good deal and also the recommended menu for the after dinner plans he had made.
The waiter went on to describe the three choices they could have as an appetizer and then their three entrée choices. Colin went with the lobster bisque for his appetizer and Aileen decided on the Caesar salad. For their entrées, Colin went with the pork tenderloin with espresso barbecue sauce and poached kumquats, whatever the hell kumquats are, thought Colin, but if I’m serious about becoming a chef it’s good I should know what these foods are. Aileen decided on the roasted guinea hen with wild rice.
Colin and Aileen fell into intimate conversation which ranged from whimsical to amorous. Colin felt immeasurable pride being out in public with this gorgeous woman and have people see she was with him. It seemed to thrill Aileen as well, Colin swore she was glowing. Before they knew it the appetizers had arrived. Aileen said her Caesar salad was very good and Colin felt he could become addicted to the lobster bisque. More engaging conversation ensued between the courses and the bottle of zinfandel became more depleted.
The entrées arrived and Colin took note of their presentation, very artistic he was almost ashamed to eat it. But eat it he did and found the dish quite good. The meat was succulent and he was surprised how good the espresso barbecue sauce tasted. Kumquats he came to find out were little citrus fruits and the taste blended well with the pork.
“How does yours taste Aileen?” Colin asked.
“Tastes like chicken,” she replied and they both laughed at the old joke. “But very good chicken.” She added. “How’s yours?”
“Pretty good,” Colin said and then they both sampled each other’s dishes.
After the main course it was time for dessert. Colin had the crème brûlée and Aileen said she was going to indulge her sweet tooth and she had the semi-sweet double chocolate pecan turtle. She was only able to eat half her dessert saying it was delicious but too rich. Colin had no trouble finishing off her dessert and agreed with her, it was delicious.
When their dessert plates had been taken away and they were left at the table with an empty bottle of zinfandel and sipping on cups of coffee, Aileen sighed and said, “Colin this has been the best Valentine’s Day I ever had thank you so much.”
“It’s been the best for me too because I’m with the woman I love,” Colin said. “Any day I get to be with you is special to me, but when I get to lavish you with the luxuries you deserve it makes me all the more happy.”
“You’re so good to me, I don’t deserve you,” Aileen said, her eyes getting misty.
“Well, you’re stuck with me so you might as well enjoy it!” Colin said and they both laughed. Colin’s face turned sober and he said, “I want you forever Aileen, güvenilir bahis siteleri that’s never going to change.”
“Then I’m yours forever,” Aileen replied.
“Prove it,” Colin said.
“Prove you will be mine forever.”
“I don’t understand; how can I prove it in any other way that I haven’t done? You have my love always, you know that.” Aileen said.
“Yes, I do know that, but I want something else,” Colin said.
“What do you want?”
Colin put his hand in his jacket pocket and pulled something out. It was a small velvet box. He slid it across the table to Aileen. “I want you to wear my ring,” he said.
Aileen opened the box and inside she saw the diamond engagement ring. Tears immediately started to form in her eyes. “Oh Colin,” she said as if the wind had been knocked out of her. “It’s beautiful!” she spent a minute or so just looking at the ring then said, “Oh honey, it would make me deliriously happy to wear this ring, but it’s an engagement ring. How would we explain it?”
Colin got out of his seat and kneeled in front of Aileen and took her hand. “In a few months we’ll be living somewhere where we won’t need to explain it, and who do we need to explain anything to tonight? Here we are just a regular couple to everyone. A couple that is madly in love with each other,” Colin paused for a moment and took a deep breath. “Aileen, I feel married to you in my heart, I just wanted to give to you a token that shows how serious I mean that. Tonight you can wear this ring and we can show the world we belong to each other. All I’m asking for is tonight, this one night, wear my ring.”
“Oh Colin of course I’ll wear your ring!” Aileen said with tear drops running down her cheeks. Colin slid the ring on her finger and she hugged him tight. There was applause from the people at surrounding tables believing they were a couple that just got engaged, which wasn’t too far from the truth. “I feel we are married in our hearts too and whether I am wearing a ring or not that is how I will feel.” She said as she hugged him even tighter in an almost desperate embrace. “I love you so much I know I would die without you!” Her hot breath whispered fiercely in his ear.
“I love you too!”
They parted and Aileen dabbed at her eyes with her napkin. She studied the ring on her finger as a dreamy smile appeared on her face. Then she asked, “How could you ever afford this Colin?”
“That’s my secret,” Colin said with a smirk. He wasn’t about to tell her that he had driven to Atlantic City and bought the ring in a pawn shop, but that was the only way he could afford it. That was the same trip where he acquired the fake I.D. as well.
“You seem to be full of secrets and surprises tonight,” Aileen said.
“What can I say? I’m a man of mystery,” Colin said.
Aileen smiled and said, “Well I have a few surprises up my sleeve as well. I believe it is time I gave you your gift.”
“Here in public?” Colin said as he got back in his seat. “I didn’t know you were an exhibitionist!”
“You wish,” Aileen said as she retrieved her purse and took out a white rectangular box with a red bow on it. The bow looked brand new but the box seemed slightly beat up in places and had a look as if it had been kept around for a while. “Before I give this to you I need to explain something. I’ve had this for a while, in fact, I’ve had this since before I divorced your father. I had saved and scrounged up money for months so I could get this. It was going to be his Valentine’s Day gift from me. However, about a week before Valentine’s Day we got into a fight and he hit me hard and gave me a black eye. I realized then that this gift wasn’t meant for Fred, especially with what I had inscribed on it. I never gave it to him and that turned out to be our last Valentine’s Day together.
“I kept the gift all these years not really knowing what for, but I guess deep down I knew that someday I would have the right person to give it to. So please believe me when I tell you, it doesn’t matter when I got this, it was always meant for you.” Aileen handed over the box.
Colin opened his gift and inside wrapped in tissue paper was a magnificent gold watch. He turned it over and on the back was inscribed:
To my one true love, I am forever yours. – Aileen
Colin was speechless for a moment. Finally when he found words to say he managed to croak out, “It’s beautiful, I love it and I love you.”
“I love you too baby,” Aileen said, her eyes sparkling. “So you believe me? That you’re the only one I could give that watch to?”
“Of course I believe you, and you don’t know how much this means to me. I will treasure it always.”
“Just be careful where you wear it for now,” Aileen said. “Don’t let anyone see the engraving. Ugh! I hate that we have to be so secretive about our relationship!”
“It won’t be forever Aileen,” Colin said and reached over to squeeze her hand, “and tonight we don’t need to be worried at all.” He took off his Timex to replace it with his new watch. He looked at the Timex to make sure the other watch had the correct time. When he saw what time it was his eyes widened. “Uh-oh it’s past seven-thirty! We need to get going!”
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