After they returned home from New York, they found ways to be together. She went running every morning so they could have breakfast. They found at least twice a week to spend together. It wasn’t all sexual. They just spent time together, talking and really getting to know each other and the most intricate details about each other.
Then came Valentine’s Day, the day for lovers. Megan had left on a two day field trip with her British Lit class to see a Shakespeare play. Paul left that morning while she was gone, for a principal’s conference away from the school.
It was later that evening, when she retuned to school. She noticed a note on the board saying she had a package. Megan picked it up and took the package up to her room. Quickly, she ripped the paper off.
Inside was a note.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Megan. I love you.
Short and simple. It said it all. She smiled at the card. Under it was a wrapped little jewelry box. She opened it and found a white gold bracelet with a simple white gold heart charm on it. It was the most beautiful thing Megan had ever seen. Then she noticed the cell phone at the bottom. On it was a note: Press 1 and send.
She did as she was instructed. It rang twice and then he answered. “Hi, gorgeous. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Thank you. I love the bracelet.”
“But why the phone?”
“I figured a prepaid cell phone would be better for us to talk on and no one could find out about it. I couldn’t let today go by without talking to you.”
She smiled. “Did you find your present?”
“Look in the zipper flap in your suitcase.”
Megan could hear him start going through the suitcase. “What is it?”
Paul tore open the envelope. “Two tickets to the Cubs!” He was surprised and happy.
“I thought a baseball game over spring break would be nice. It’s only a preseason game. But since they are your favorite team I didn’t think you would mind.”
“I like the idea. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. How is the conference?”
“Good and I’ve gotten a lot of information to use.”
“I missed you today.” She said softly into the phone.
“I miss you too. Just remember, I’ll be home Saturday.”
“I know, but it’s not the same.” She frowned at the phone.
“How did you do on your Shakespeare test?”
She rolled her eyes at the phone. ‘Always the teacher’ she thought. “I got an A. Why?”
“Doubt that the stars are fire, Doubt that the moon does move, Doubt truth to be a liar, but…” He paused, waiting on her to answer.
“Never doubt that I love.” She laughed. “It’s from Hamlet.”
“Correct. At least Mr. Prescott is still doing his job.” Paul was happy to know this information.
“Will you call me when you get back?”
“I will call you every night at 10 until I get back.” He smiled at that thought. “How would you like to spend the night Saturday?”
“But I have to be back here by midnight.”
“I’ll take care of that.”
“How?” She couldn’t understand this.
Editing a line from History of the World Part I, “It’s good to be the Headmaster.”
Friday morning, Megan was called into the secretary’s office. “You wanted to see me, Mrs. Ladd?” She came in meekly and looked at the woman with question.
“Yes. The headmaster called from his conference. He forgot to sign your off campus pass for Saturday night.”
She looked apprehensive. “Does that mean I can’t go?”
“No. You’ll still be able to see your cousin when she comes to Millersville Saturday and Sunday.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Ladd.”
“Thank the headmaster. He never even told me your parents had called about it.”
“I will.” Megan thought of the many ways she could thank him over the weekend as she returned to Latin class. She almost skipped back to her class and had to control herself when she arrived.
Saturday night, Paul arrived at the house later than he had planned on. It was 10:30 and he was still fuming about the traffic. He wished he had gotten back sooner. When he opened the door it was quiet, so he went into the bedroom. Paul felt his breath catch as he looked at her on the bed.
Megan was wearing a white silky night gown. Her hair was pinned up and being smashed by the way she was laying on the bed. She was dead asleep.
He put his bags down by the door and let her sleep. He headed to the other bathroom to freshen up and then eat. That’s when he noticed the sandwich fixed and covered on the table.
“She really is a doll.” He whispered. Paul got cleaned up in the guest bathroom and then came out to eat the turkey and tomato sandwich. It was really good. “She is right. She really can make a good sandwich.”
After the sandwich, he headed back to the bedroom. Paul stripped down to his boxer shorts and then crawled on the bed with her. She looked so peaceful that he wanted to let her sleep. Then he realized the two of them didn’t have much time.
Paul put his hand on her arm. She didn’t stir, so he leaned in and kissed her lips softly. Megan began to stir a bit and then began to return the kiss. She smiled at him. “Hi.”
“I made dinner.”
“I saw. It was delicious.”
“I told you I could make a good sandwich.” She was still groggy sounding, but very proud of herself.
“You did an excellent job.” He planted a kiss on Megan’s nose, which made her giggle. “Are you still sleeping?”
“Oh, okay.” He kissed her on the forehead. “Then I’ll just let you sleep.”
This statement woke her up. “No.” She sat up a bit. “How was your trip home?”
“Long. I thought I’d be back sooner. How long have you been here?”
“Well Mrs. Ladd thought I had to leave by four. I snuck back here about six.” Megan did not look too upset about this.
“It’s okay. I went through your photo albums and scrapbooks.” She smiled. “You were a really cute kid.”
“Well if I had known you were waiting here, looking like this, I might have run back.”
“I bought this sometime back. I’ve had no reason to wear it before tonight.”
Paul kissed her shoulder. “You look beautiful.”
“You’re not too bad yourself,” She ran her finger across his bare chest. There was a hint of seduction in her voice.
“I wanted to make this romantic to make up for Valentine’s Day.”
“Then romance me.” She threw her arms around his neck. “Tell me more Shakespeare.”
“Really?” He asked cautiously.
“No. I am sick of Shakespeare.” The brunette laughed.
“I have an idea.” He got up and turned on the radio. Paul pulled her up off the bed. “Dance with me.” The newest Celine Dion song came on and they danced slowly around the bedroom. She fell securely into his arms. He held her close and wrapped his hand like he had on New Years. They moved slowly with the song.
“Yes?” She had her eyes closed and was resting on his shoulder.
“I missed you so much.”
“I missed you too.” She took her left arm and jingled it. “I love the bracelet. Thank you. Everyone has commented on it.”
“It took me two weeks to find time to get away to Millersville to buy it. But you are worth it.”
“It was too much though.”
“Do you like it?”
“Then it’s not too much.” He kissed the top of her head. The song ended and he let her go. “I brought you something else.”
Paul went to his suitcase and opened it. There was a package wrapped, lying on top. He brought it to her.
“What it is?” Megan asked like an excited child.
She ripped off the paper and found the painting “The kiss” by Gustav
Klimt. “Paul, it is beautiful.”
“You said it was your favorite. I found it in the hotel gift shop.” He looked at it. “But I have a question.”
“Why is it turned wrong?” He stared intently at it.
“I am holding it right.”
“No, she looks like she should be like this.” He turned the picture to put the young woman in the picture on her back.
“Pervert. Is that all you think about?”
“No.” Paul held his hands up innocently. “I am not the art historian. That’s why I asked.”
“Some say that it was Klimt and his beloved Emilie Floge who modeled for it.”
“You do know art history.”
She leaned up and kissed him. “It’s wonderful. Thank you.” Megan laid it aside. “I think I am getting tired.”
“So am I.” He pulled her off the bed gently. “Let’s go to sleep.”
He pulled back the sheets and they got in. Both of them were content to fall asleep in each other’s arms that night. It felt so normal for them to be there. Just the two of them.
The next morning, Paul awoke to the smoke detector going off. He smelled smoke and jumped up. He dashed into the kitchen, where he found Megan trying to cook breakfast. Unfortunately, the bacon she was fixing was on fire. He grabbed a pot holder, pulled it into the sink and doused it with flour.
“What in the world?”
“I was trying to cook you breakfast.”
He looked down at her, annoyed. “Let’s make a deal. Until you take a cooking class you are not allowed to cook in my kitchen.” He turned on the stove vent. “I think I need to make all of the female students at Anderson take a home ec course.” Then he made sure to turn off the stove.
Megan crossed her arms, “Or only the ones you plan to sleep with?”
He turned around and took her hand. “No.” Then Paul kissed it. “I shouldn’t have said that. It was a nice gesture.”
They returned to the bedroom to let the smoke clear. Paul pulled her into his arms and kissed her lips. “Good morning.”
“Good morning.” She was still looking down at the floor.
“What is it?”
“I’m not Donna Reed.”
“Okay, you’re not Donna Reed.”
She huffed a bit. “Donna Reed could do it all. She was better than June Cleaver. I can’t even boil water.”
He laughed and that made her scowl at him. “I’m sorry, Meg. But think about it. She didn’t work, she just stayed at home. And no offense that doesn’t sound like you.”
“I don’t know. At some point I could be.”
He began to run his fingers through her hair. Paul looked at her very intensely, “What is with all this Donna Reed stuff?”
“Isn’t that the kind of woman you want?”
“But I saw the inscription in your yearbook.”
“My senior yearbook?” She nodded her head. Paul laughed. “That was a joke. That’s what my pals called my girlfriend. But I don’t want a little housewife. I want someone who is my equal. Someone who will cook with me, not for me. Someone who will do things I like and I do things that she likes.
“Thank God.” She wrapped her arms around him.
“You don’t want to live up to her?”
Both of them knew what she was implying but neither of them ventured further in to the discussion. Instead they made love.
Before she had to leave, Paul made her lunch. When she appeared at the doorway of the bedroom she was in jeans and a sweater. Any time she was out of uniform, she took his breath away.
“It’s called delicious chicken. It was my aunt’s recipe.”
He served it up and placed it in front of her. Then he sat down at the table across from him.
“Can I ask you a question?” She looked down at the food.
She bit her lip. “What did you go away?”
“You mean the trip?” Meg nodded her head slowly. “I had it planned before we started seeing each other. I told you that. Anyways you had your field trip.”
She still had not touched her food. “I just wondered.”
Paul reached across the table and made her look at him. “Meg, I love you. Believe me when I say I love you. But I also love Anderson. I believe in Anderson. Going to the conference was for the betterment of Anderson.”
She had tears in the corners of her eyes. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I missed you so much. I wanted to play sick and come home. But I couldn’t do that. Anderson is my responsibility.” He smiled at her. She smiled back and started eating her lunch. When she was done, she went on back to the dorm and started studying.
Right before dinner time, as it was getting dark, her cell phone rang. “Hello?”
“You sound like you don’t know who it is.”
“I gave my other boyfriend this number.”
“Oh, well get him to buy more minutes.” He laughed.
“Why are you calling?” She asked coyly.
“Because I love you.”
She smiled. Then Megan walked over to her window. She looked out and strained her eyes. “Paul, are you outside my window?” She whispered.
“Yep. I wanted to see you one more time before the end of the day.” He was standing in the tree line.
“You are such a girl.” Meg teased him.
“No, you are. That’s why I like you.”
“I’ll be right down.” She turned to leave the window.
“No. Stay there. I just wanted to lay eyes on you. I can see you from there.”
“Amo te.” She whispered.
“Your Latin is getting better.” He smiled up at her. “I love you, too. Goodnight, Gorgeous.”
“Goodnight.” Megan hung up and then watched him fade back into the trees and take their private path back to his house.