“Don’t pretend you didn’t mean it,” I said, wiping tears with a tissue. “You return after ten years and expect—”
“I don’t have a Valentine,” Sara said, closing the distance between us, pulling a fistful of my shirt with her soft hand as though she hated the mention of being single. “Not this Valentine’s Day, that is. Could we forget about the past for one day?”
I turned around, observing the romantic red lights and wine bottle fit in a bucket of ice. “Don’t pretend a candlelight dinner will fix things.”
“I needed space from this small town. It wasn’t—”
“I got it.” I gestured like a person angry with themselves for giving in to an old flame’s request to meet. “You despise the past and me.”
Sara palmed her forehead. “That’s not what I meant at all.”
“Didn’t work out in New York?” I raised an I told you so brow. “I told you it—”
“You were right,” Sara said, hugging me. I didn’t return her embrace. “I couldn’t have been more wrong.”
“How long have you been single?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I’ve been single for five years.” I winked. “Your turn.”
Sara sighed. “I was chatting with this guy on a dating app.”
I folded my lips under my teeth, and my eyes traveled down and away.
Sara nudged me. “Hey. I was hard up, alright?” She chuckled.
I motioned. “So, what came of the guy?”
“Your guess is as good as mine. Eric, that was his name deleted his account. We’d been talking for six months.”
“I have a confession.”
Sara pulled her long, dark bangs back behind her ear and gave me an alluring gaze. “I love confessions.”
“Good one.” Sara laughed. My neutral smile drained the blood from her face.
I stood to my feet and reached for my coat. “Maybe I should—”
“No. Please stay.”
“You’re not upset?”
“I have a confession of my own.”
I folded my arms, giving her a slack-jaw stare. “I’m listening.”
“You were the girl I was talking to last year on Tinder?”
“Yikes.” Sara gave a nervous shrug.
We both laughed until we couldn’t.
“So you’ll be my Valentine then?”
“We deserve each other,” I said, returning her embrace.
(© 2022 AC)