The girls in the office whispered in conspiratorial tones over lunch about their evening’s plans for Valentine’s Day. Several had boyfriends and were heading out for dinner. A few debated the pros and cons of commercial romanticism. Two had already received bouquets of roses. One of the girls had a fiancé and kept twirling the diamond around her finger. Helen listened in as the married woman of the group, smiling at their exuberance. She felt a little embarrassed by their open conversation. Elise was mid-sentence describing the new lingerie she had bought and how she had sent her boyfriend a picture via her phone whilst wearing it.
“A tease of things to come,” Elise said.
Helen blushed as the giggles and faux indignation rippled around the group. It sounded daring and risqué. She wondered if she would have the courage to do it. Standing she returned to her office while the girls’ conversation kept going.
On her way back to the office car park after work, Helen rummaged in her handbag for the car keys with bags of groceries weighing down her other hand. The sudden feeling of weightlessness made her look to the ground as oranges scattered under the car. Cursing Helen recovered the lost fruit throwing them onto the back seat before plonking into the driver’s chair.
Sitting in the car Helen ran through the family’s evening timetable of who was going where and when.
“Dance and karate don’t stop for romance,” she muttered to herself.
Checking her phone she saw a text from her husband. Hi sweetheart. Hope you’ve had a good day. I love you. Your other man, David 🙂 She smiled at David’s joke remembering George Clooney was her “first” preference.
About to replace the phone into her handbag Helen hesitated. Elise’s story pricked at her like a thorn. Glancing around the office car park she saw no one and hurriedly unbuttoned her blouse. She cursed the plain bra before squeezing her arms together to enhance her cleavage and took a photo. With her heart racing she turned the phone around. In the frame was the unmistakable vision of her cleavage. Fiddling with menus she located David’s mobile number and inserted the picture. Do you like what you see? she typed and hit ‘send.’
The blush rushed to her cheeks as she fiddled with the car keys and set off to collect the kids.
The kids were slumped onto the couch as Helen began preparing dinner. Keys sounded at the front door and David’s voice sounded in the lounge room.
“Hey kids, how you doing?”
The couch potatoes grunted and raised hands in gestures akin to a wave.
David ploughed on through to the kitchen, a bouquet of roses in his hand and a grin plastered over his face. Helen blushed as she guessed his mind. He embraced her firmly before letting his hand slide down to squeeze her buttock.
“Hello sweetheart, happy Valentine’s Day. That picture almost got me into trouble at work today,” David said. “I was at my desk with a fresh coffee when it came through. I sprayed coffee all over my laptop and half a report I was working on. Everyone wanted to know what had happened. I made up some lame excuse about choking on my drink.”
A giggle caught in Helen’s throat. “Sorry about that.”
“Is there an offer going with that picture? It is Valentine’s Day. We could slip away for a quick one.”
“Tempting, but there’s dinner to make, Jack needs to get to karate by seven-thirty and Katie has dance. I’ll be too tired after we get home and I’ve had a shocker of a day.”
Helen pushed away and returned to preparing dinner.
“It can wait,” David said sidling up behind her. He ran his fingertips down the line of her neck, brushing aside her hair to kiss beneath her ear.
“Goosebumps,” she said, indicating her forearms.
“We’ve got time between now and when we have to take the kids out.” He slipped his hands under her arms and cupped her breasts. Helen batted his hands away.
“But what about dinner?” she asked.
“We can get some takeaway or eat later.”
“What are we going to do about the kids? It’ll be coitus interruptus if the kids walk in.”
David laughed and shrugged.
“Seriously, we can’t just skive off without telling the kids,” Helen countered. “They are old enough to know what we’re up to.”
“I’ll think of something,” said David.
An argument erupted in the lounge room. David looked in to see Katie and Jack wrestling for possession of the remote control.
“That’s it. Both of you, go to your rooms for time out. I have been over this time and time again about the remote. If you can’t get along you will lose privileges.”
Protestations began in open mouths before they were cut down.
“Don’t argue,” said David. “Off you go and do your homework, something constructive before you have to go out to karate and dance. You’re lucky you’re even going.”
Two pairs of feet shuffled past David accompanied by sour looks and muttered curses about justice and fairness.
“And you’ll stay there until it is time to go,” David said with a flourish.
Two bedroom doors slammed shut. Helen looked at David who simply grinned in return.
“What?” she asked.
“I’ve just made some alone time for us. Come on.” David reached out for Helen’s hand and pulled her out of the kitchen. They tiptoed passed the kids’ bedrooms like skulking teenagers. David closed the door to their bedroom with quiet precision until the latch clicked.
Abandoning decorum and caution Helen and David loosed buckles, undid buttons and unclasped lingerie. Half clothed they tried to remain as quiet as possible.
“Remember the bed head hits the wall if you get too enthusiastic,” said Helen.
Lying together in a tangle of clothes and bed sheets they let their heart rates come to rest. “I am so using time out as an excuse in the future,” said Helen as she slapped David’s bare bum. She turned her head to spy the time on the bedside clock radio.
“Better get these kids off to where they need to be.”