Kate woke first and watched Dan sleep.
She woke him by ripping the bandage from his thigh. The wound was healing nicely, its red, gaping edges knitting themselves back together along the curve of his muscle. The scar would be faint, Kate thought as she kissed his leg. He gasped and jerked awake, reflexively pushing her away.
â€œIâ€™m sorry,â€ she laughed. â€œI didnâ€™t have the heart to wake you first.â€
Dan rubbed his hands over his face but didnâ€™t answer.
â€œLet me make it up to you,â€ she murmured, and drew her line of kisses upward slightly, setting about righting her wrong. While she played tricks with her lips and tongue, she ran her index finger lightly around the edges of his wound. After a while she quickened her pace and pressed harder with her fingers. When he cried out, Kate didnâ€™t know if it was from pleasure or pain.
Afterwards, she brought him a fresh bandage then picked up from the night before. The apartment wasnâ€™t quite trashed, but wine glasses and beer bottles still lay here and there. There was a small stain on the rug in the living room, and she laid a wet towel on top of it the way her mom used to do.Â When she had cleaned up the worst of the mess, she made a batch of blueberry pancakes.
â€œBreakfast, baby,â€ Kate called to Dan from the table. She heard him climb out of bed and pull on his boxers and t-shirt. He staggered out to the table and sat by his plate. She poured him some juice and ran her hand over his shadowy cheek. â€œHappy V-Day,â€ she smiled.
Dan scarfed down his pancakes, barely looking up while he ate. When he finished, he moved to the sofa and sank down into it, reaching for the remote. She ate more slowly, listening to the TV announcers enthusiastically discussing the menâ€™s Olympic half-pipe ski competition.
Dan slumped on the sofa, frowning. His bandage stuck out from under his boxers as if it were a gun escaping its holster. â€œIâ€™d love to feel some of that snow,â€ Kate said from the table, then, â€œItâ€™ll heal fine, you know,â€ she laughed, trying to break the tension. He didnâ€™t answer.
She cleared the table and cleaned up the kitchen. She returned to the bedroom and picked up the bandage wrapper from the bedside table, tossing it in the trash can. She made the bed and showered, slipping on a red sundress.
When Kate returned to the living room, her hair still wet from her shower, she found Dan slumped in the same position, exactly as she had left him except that he had changed the channel. Instead of ski jumpers he was watching two girls mess around on a large bed. She stood behind the sofa for several minutes and watched with him. He didnâ€™t say anything or acknowledge her in any way.
â€œBaby, I need your help in the garden,â€ she broke the silence.
Dan turned and glared at her. â€œYou are insane. Thatâ€™s how you hurt me in the first place,â€ he growled, then turned back to the hot girls.
Kate abandoned him in favor of pulling weeds and turning the soil with the very same pitchfork that she had accidentally stabbed him with the weekend before. Their fledgling garden was almost ready for seedlings. She occasionally paused to admire her boyfriendâ€™s view through the window.
A little story for Valentine’s Day, inspired by a tweet I saw this week.