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Cupid: a (super short) romance

cartoon redhead cupid

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Back in 2010 and 2011, I wrote impromptu short stories based on a word or phrase for this blog every week. It became too time consuming to do regularly, so now I just write them for my romance newsletter, but here’s a quick one I penned about 6 years ago. I hope you like my version of Cupid. ♥

Cupid

Randi looked at the two bills and change in her hand. That wasn’t right. “Excuse me,” she said to the grocery clerk. “I gave you a ten, not a five.”

The cashier with the flame red hair—his name tag read Cupid, how lame—smiled sweetly and said, “I’m sorry.”

Thank goodness. Randi sagged in relief and smiled back. She hated confrontation.

He put his hands on the counter and peered at her. “Apparently you mistook me for someone who cares.”

Randi glanced behind her at the empty checkout lane. “Excuse me?” Her face heated. What could she say to that?

The cashier just laughed and turned away to chat with the girl at the neighboring register, giving Randi a view of the wings painted on the back of his shirt. He was taking this Cupid thing too seriously.

All she’d wanted was some cookie dough. Hey, give a girl a break, it was tough being lonely.

“You should talk to the manager,” a deep voice said from behind her.

Randi spun and looked into the handsome face of her neighbor, Eric. Oh, God. He would see her like this. Sweatpants, hair in a bun, buying cookie dough, and not an assertive bone in her body. And alone on Valentine’s Day.

Although, so was he.

“Hi, Eric,” she said, her voice high and thin. She grimaced and could feel the blush creeping up her neck. Just kill her now. “No, it’s okay. Maybe I did give him a five.” She hadn’t, but it wasn’t worth the trouble.

He glanced at the tube of dough in the plastic shopping bag and grinned. “Looks like we both had a craving for something sweet.” He held up his bag and showed off his tub of ice cream. “Wanna share?”

Randi glanced back at the cashier. He grinned, winked, and mimed shooting an arrow. She blinked and he turned away again. Nah.

Eric took her hand and she smiled. On their way out the door, she snuck one more look at the cashier, but he was gone. She frowned. “Did you see…”

“What?” Eric asked.

She shook her head. “Never mind.”

He leaned forward and gave her a quick kiss. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Randi.”

Oh, yes. Yes, it was.

Love in Arizona

Happy Arizona Statehood Day! The unique southwestern State turns 100 today. It’s fitting that I honor it here because Arizona is where I met, fell in love with, and married The Engineer.

This is our 19th Valentine’s/Statehood Day as a couple, and though I can’t believe it’s gone so fast, I wouldn’t want to be here in 2012 with anyone else.

Regardless of your romantic status today, find someone you love, be it a friend, family member, or pet, and show them how much you care. It doesn’t take flowers or candy or jewelry, just a little time and attention will do.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo credit: By Factsofphotos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Sunday Squirrel: Valentine’s Day

My ideal Valentine’s Day. Macie sighed and stared at the keyboard. Hardly anyone even read her pathetic little blog anyway. Just a few anonymous readers who never commented.

But somehow, putting her private thoughts out into the universe—anonymously, of course—made her feel like someone cared.

A long walk on the beach. Then we—she never named the mystery man in the blog, but in her mind it was always her roommate, Hunter—would collect driftwood and build a fire to keep us warm as the ocean breeze chilled and the sun set.

A light picnic, a nice wine, and a warm blanket…

She stopped there. She didn’t write everything she imagined. Her blog was PG after all.

Happy Valentine’s Day. She clicked PUBLISH and sank back against her headboard, not quite ready to face the database project her client wanted by next week.

A sharp knock broke the silence and Hunter opened the door, a grin on his handsome face. “Hey, I gotta run. You have any plans tonight?”

She held back an unladylike snort. “I have a hot date.” As if.

His face sobered. “You do?” He looked surprised. “With who?”

“The DVD I got in the mail yesterday. What about you?”

Relief flared in his bright green eyes and he smiled. “Yeah. I have big plans.”

Great. Did he expect her to help? She’d never seen him so jumpy, and her gut burned with jealousy. When the lease was up, she needed to move out because living under the same roof with this man was going to kill her. “Good luck,” she managed to choke out as he left.

Two mind-numbing hours of programming later, the front door opened. “Macie?”

She met Hunter in the kitchen where he’d plopped down four canvas grocery bags. “What happened?”

“Nothing. I just needed some stuff for my date.”

Her heart sank. “Are you bringing her here?”

“Yeah. In fact, I have a favor to ask. Can you go check on Old Bob’s dog for me? I promised to feed him tonight.”

“Sure.” She could check on Rex while Hunter prepared for his hot date. In fact, she’d probably end up spending the night with Rex while that inconsiderate jerk romanced his new girlfriend.

When she returned after feeding and loving up the aging German Shepherd, Hunter met her at he door with a sheepish look.

“Now what?” she snapped, no longer caring if he realized how much he hurt her with his indifference.

“I have another favor to ask.”

Of course he did.

“Grab a sweater and come with me.” The gleam in his eye made her nervous. If he tried to set her up with one of his old fraternity brothers again, she’d kick him out.

He took her hand, and her traitorous tummy fluttered as he led her to the stairs.

“Where are we going?” she asked, following him up and out onto the roof. The setting sun painted orange streaks across the indigo sky and reflected off the tall buildings of nearby downtown.

A cool breeze ruffled her hair as Hunter took her hands and faced her. “It’s not the beach…but maybe next year when I have more time to plan.”

Her heart kicked and she stepped back. “What?” She bumped into a chair and turned, noticing for the first time a large blanket spread beside a raised fire pit, a picnic basket and a bottle of wine resting on the fringe.

For a few seconds, she stared in disbelief. Then she spun to face him. “How did you know?”

“I didn’t at first. I saw the blog name over your shoulder when you were working at the dining table a few weeks ago.”

“And you didn’t have a date for tonight so you thought, ‘Hey, let’s find out what happens after wine and a warm blanket. She hasn’t been with a guy in ages, she’s probably desperate.’”

“Macie, it’s not like that.”

Disgusted, she stepped around him toward the stairs. She’d poured her heart out, believing her thoughts were safe and anonymous, and he’d let her continue writing, never letting on that he knew about it.

“I was scared,” he said, as she reached for the door.

She stilled. Hunter was the most confident man she knew. Nothing fazed him.

He moved in behind her, gently holding her shoulders. “I’ve loved you for so long, but I didn’t think you felt the same way. And then I read your blog and finally realized you were talking about me.”

“But you let me keep writing.”

“I’m sorry. I wanted our first date to be perfect, and I didn’t know how to tell you. But when I saw your post today… Well, at the time it seemed like a good idea.”

She faced him. It might have been the red glow from the sun, but she could have sworn he was blushing.

He lifted his hand and gently stroked her cheek. “I’m sorry. I should have told you I knew. I never meant to hurt you.” His voice vibrated with sincerity and his green eyes gazed at her with adoration that she’d never noticed before.

She took a deep breath and smiled. “Did I hear you say something about love?”

The tension eased from his shoulders and he pulled her tight against him. “I love you, Macie. If you want, I’ll announce it on your blog for all the world to see.”

“I’m done putting my thoughts online.”

He gave a mock frown. “Then how will I know what you’re thinking?”

She threaded her fingers through his dark hair as she’d dreamed of doing so many times. “Come here and I’ll show you.”

And she kissed him.