before snow falls

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Gay and Lesbian  |  House: Booksie Classic
aimee is a nursing student and has been dating taylor for years. after a really hard day of clinical, taylor surprises aimee with a plane ticket to new york city for their anniversary. a love short story showing just how tender a love between two girls can be when you wait for the right person.

Submitted: August 01, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 01, 2016

A A A

A A A


Before Snow Falls

 

“Just stick her already!”

“I can’t do this. I’ll hurt her!”

“What are you talking about? She’s sedated! She won’t feel it!”

“Can’t she hear us? Hearing is the last sense to go. That’s what Professor Berkley said—“

“Who cares? Stop being a pussy and just give her the shot already! If you’re too scared, then I’ll do it. You’re wasting time!”

That’s Kara. The bitchy one, that is. She’s a practicing Licensed Practical Nurse and has given shots of Heparin thousands of times. Just because she’s an LPN, she treats the rest of us like we’re idiots. She forgets that she’s one of us, too, a senior nursing student. I personally don’t believe she’ll make a very good nurse. She has the skills down, alright, but she is lacking in the compassion department. Then there’s me. The pussy one, as she calls me. I have a tendency to over-think, over-compensate, over-achieve, over-anything really. I wasn’t ready to give subcutaneus injections yet because we had only gone over it once and I hadn’t seen it done before. But because the nursing program we were attending enjoyed throwing us to the sharks head on, there I was, needle in hand. I constantly feared hurting or harming the patient in any way. I didn’t like to be the cause of pain, which explained my previous timid and failed attempts at starting an IV in a patient, realizing too late that I was causing more pain than I was preventing it. But because I did not want to harm the patient with this new skill, I asked for help, like the responsible student should do. Unfortunately, only Kara was around and I had no other choice but to request her assistance, knowing I’ll regret it later.

Overall, I wasn’t the best nursing student when it came to clinical skills, but I surely wasn’t the worst either. I often daydreamed of being much like my late mother. She was an oncology nurse who, ironically, met her premature demise due to cancer when I was a little girl. She was the best practicing nurse in her hospital, and I wanted to be just as good to honor her memory.  My mother was a kind woman, with equally great interpersonal and clinical skills. It was a big shoe to fill and I was determined to fill it.

“Aimee!”

“What?” I jumped out of my thoughts at the hiss of Kara’s impatience.

“Are you going to give it or not?” She impatiently tapped her foot with her arms crossed.

“Yes!” I squeaked and hurried over to the sedated patient resting peacefully. “Sorry…” I cleansed an area on the side of the patient’s stomach, pinched the fat, and darted the needle into the patient’s flesh. My heart raced as I injected the hazardous liquid into the limp body.

“Good.” Kara’s exasperated voice came from behind me. “Secure the needle and let’s go.” I activated the safety on the needle and threw it into the sharps box, relieved to get out of the room. We walked down to the nurse’s station and sat down for the first time that day. I could feel the delicious relief crawling up my legs and sighed in satisfaction.

“MEDICAL RESPONSE TEAM. ROOM 315. MEDICAL RESPONSE TEAM. ROOM 315.” The operator’s voice boomed overhead.

“Isn’t that.. ? SHIT, THAT’S YOUR PATIENT!” Kara screamed at me. I jumped up from my chair and ran back to my patient’s room. Dread and fear consumed my body with every step I took. My heart shot up into my throat and pulsed rapidly. As I turned the corner, I saw glimpses of nurses and other clinical personnel race past me. By the time I got to the room, my patient was turning blue, oozing with blood out of her orifices. People swarmed around her. Seconds later, the operator’s voice came overhead again.

“CODE BLUE. ROOM 315. CODE BLUE. ROOM 315.”

I watched in terror against the wall as the scene unraveled in front of me. Moments later, the crash cart was wheeled into the room. Then all went dark.

 

“Baby? Can you hear me?”

“Yes..”

“Can you open your eyes for me?”

I awoke under the bright fluorescent lighting of the hospital’s emergency department and waited for my eyes to adjust. Looking over to my side, Taylor was peering down at me. Her concerned brown eyes met my unfocused and confused gaze.

“How are you feeling, baby?”

“My head hurts..”

“You hit your head pretty hard when you passed out.” I blinked up at her still thoroughly confused. Suddenly, I sat up quickly, felt a rush leave my head, and fell back against the pillow dizzy. “Whoa, there! Take it easy. You don’t want to hurt yourself again.”

“My patient!” I cried, grasping her hand. “What happened to my patient?” Suddenly, a knock was heard and a physician’s assistant walked into the room.

“Oh, good, you’re awake!” She exclaimed pleasantly with a smile. I stared at her, waiting to hear what she had to say. “We ran some tests and gave you some fluids. You’re going to be fine, dear.”

“What happened to my patient?” I asked her.

 She cocked her head to the side and smiled gravely. Taking my hand, she said, “The woman you were caring for in room 315 has passed.”

Tears welled up in my eyes and fear crept over my body. “I killed her? Is that what you’re saying?” Suddenly, the primary nurse I was shadowing walked in and saw my tears.

“So you heard the news about your patient?” She asked.

“I’m so sorry!” I exclaimed, tears flowing down my cheeks. “I thought I gave the Heparin injection correctly! I checked her labs before giving it and everything. Everything was okay!”

The PA stepped out of the room and the nurse took her place, rubbing my arm. “Hey.. Don’t worry about it. Don’t cry, sweetie. You didn’t induce her death.”

I looked up at her through my tears and gave her a small smile. “Get some rest and recharge during the holiday. Don’t worry about this, okay? Come see our chaplain if you need to debrief more on this situation. I know it can be difficult if it’s your first time. Okay?”

I nodded, embarrassed by my little outburst. The nurse smiled warmly and said, “I hope you have a good holiday. Merry Christmas, Aimee.” With a small squeeze of my hand, and a smile to Taylor, she went on her way.

Once the calm had taken effect over my body, I looked around at Taylor, realizing she was in her work clothes. “Did you just come from work?” I blinked at her attire. She smiled down at me, taking my hand.

“I came here as soon as I got a call from the nurse that you were in the ER.”

“Won’t you get in trouble for leaving early?”

“I took care of it, baby.” She kissed my fingers as I smiled up at her. “Let’s take you home now. I have a surprise for you tonight.”

 

 

“Can I come out of the bedroom now?” I called through the door.

“Not yet!” Taylor’s voice came from the other side. “Are you done getting dressed?”

“Yes!”

“Take longer!” She called through the door. I gave the door a puzzled look.

“But there’s nothing else I need to do to get ready!”

“Just give me another minute!”

I sighed. Walking over to my bookshelf, I had organized a shelf simply for our pictures. Taylor and I have been together for almost 5 years now. Taylor was a medical student at EVMS and worked at the Heart Hospital. Her dark hair and warm toned skin added to her seductive appearance that I was instantly drawn to. Her voice was like silk when she would whisper gently against my ear, making any girl’s panties wet with desire. 

I met her at a time when I was healing from my own personal turmoil and inner wars. She, too, was struggling to wade through some tough waters in her own life. We had become friends online, while she was across the world in Italy and I was living with my parents in Los Angeles. It was by coincidence, as she would say (I would say it’s fate), that she happened to move back to the States right when I had made plans to move back to Virginia, my home state. Months later, we met in person, fell in love, and the rest, as they say, is history. She became my best friend and lover. We had made plans to travel the world together, but we have decided to wait until I was done with school. I spend hours in clinical attempting to learn some, if not all, the clinical skills she performs every day as a nurse. Working in a clinic prior to the hospital units, she’s become highly skilled with needles. It is much more of an embarrassment for me to admit to her when I cannot start an IV or draw blood. I have my moments of delicious victory, but those moments are often, sadly, very short-lived. Not consistent, like in her experience. But regardless of my failed attempts or small victories, she has remained unconditionally supportive of me through school, especially during the periods that I yearned to drop out. I started nursing school with this woman, and I plan on finishing nursing school with her in my life, and then taking on whatever else Life has got in store for me next. 

Gazing at the shelf of our pictures, my mind wandered back to the moments during which each picture was taken and I could feel a smile forming across my lips.

“Ready?” Taylor called through the door. I blinked, breaking my reverie and turned around, walking back towards the door.

“Ready!”

“Okay. Close your eyes!” She ordered. I shut my eyes.

“They’re closed!” Suddenly, I heard the door creak open and could feel the air around me shift as Taylor moved closer to me. Her hands gently pressed against my eyelids.

“No peaking.” She whispered, brushing her lips against my ear. I smiled, feeling a wave of hunger for her wash over me.

“I’m not peaking.”

“You look beautiful, honey,” She said softly, nipping at my ear. I leaned my head into her lips, and could feel her body against my back as my knees started to slightly give out. “The door is open, walk forward, but keep your arms to your sides.” I did as I was told, taking 5 steps forward. “Ready?”

“Yes,” I breathed. She let down her hands from my eyes. Immediately, I gasped when I saw the sight of my living room and dining room before me. Candles of varying sizes and complimentary scents filled every hard surface of the room. Fake snow blanketed my hardwood surfaces and glittered snowflakes of various sizes hung from the ceiling, twinkling in the candlelight as they gently spun on their strings. Off to the corner, a fake Christmas tree illuminated the room with its soft glow. The roast she had cooked for dinner was wafting from the table, reminding me just how hungry I really am. Instrumental Christmas music filled the air and my eyes welled up with tears.

“What’s all this for?” I said turning around to smile at her.

“I wanted to do something special for you for our 58th monthsary,” She said, smiling at my excited expression.

“Babe, this is a wonderful surprise!” I exclaimed, hugging her. “Thank you so much.”

She laughed. “This isn’t the surprise, baby.” I looked at her with a curious expression. She put her hand in her pocket, pulled out a small box, and knelt down on one knee. For the second time that day, my heart jumped into my throat. Taylor smiled up at me as I gazed down at her in wide-eyed anxiety.

“Oh my God…”

“Aimee,” Taylor began. “I know you and I have been so busy lately. We’ve fought several times, but made up every time, making our relationship even stronger. I wanted to do something to show you how much I love you and how much you mean to me. Will you …”

My breath caught in my chest. No.. No.. We’re too young.. It hasn’t been enough time yet.. Are we ready? .. Oh my gosh.. Am I ready? .. Oh my gosh. What happened to waiting?!

“…be spontaneous and spend Christmas with me in New York this year?” She opened the little box. In it was a rolled up piece of paper. She unrolled it and revealed a round-trip ticket to New York dated for tomorrow morning, Christmas Eve. “I wanted to spend our actual day marking 58 months in one of the places we planned on travelling to together.”

I broke out laughing and hugged her. “Yes, yes!” I laughed. “I’m so excited!” Taylor smiled.

“Did you think I was going to propose to you?” She grinned playfully.

“I was a little nervous that you might have..”

Taylor laughed. “No, I already know how I’m going to propose to you. Years from now.”

“Yeah? How then?”

“Better than all this.” She winked, walked over to the table to pull out my chair for me, and smiled.

 

 

The next morning, I awoke to the sound of eggs frying in the kitchen, its aroma filling my nose. My left arm absentmindedly feeling behind me for another warm body, although I already knew the one I was searching for was in my kitchen. Taylor was an early bird. She had a morning weekend ritual of waking at 5:00 am, lacing up her running shoes to hit the gym, and then was back in time to wake me with the scent of breakfast food that appeared sinful, but was modified for better health benefits. She was very good at taking care of me. Being a nursing student, the lack of time to properly prepare a healthy meal pushed me into allowing my body to suffer at the hands of fast food. Having Taylor home was a blessing. Without her weekly visits, I would have a very high risk of dying from an over-indulgence of greasy food, if the slop that is served to America could even be considered “food” to begin with. 

 I’ve had an embarrassing history of ex-girlfriends before her, ranging from the crazy clingy to the insufferably self-absorbed. Hardly knowing much about her, I took the leap outside of my comfort zone and into the unknown to chase after Taylor, desperately hoping she would be better than the rest. She turned out to be all of my ex-girlfriends blended evenly into one nice cocktail. She was neither too clingy nor too self-absorbed. She was clingy enough to show me that she was serious about her monogamy, but confident enough in our relationship to let me do as I pleased. She was self-absorbed enough to religiously take care of her own physical health, but selfless enough to keep my happiness always above her own. Romance was never an issue with us. I’ve often been the sympathetic shoulder others would lean on when a relationship lacked romantic gestures. It was difficult to be empathetic for another when Taylor fulfilled all of my sensual and intimate needs. But being the Libra that I am, I stretched myself thin for those in need of my help, lacking the ability to harden my heart to a tearful plea. Overall, Taylor was the complete package for me. She had everything a girl could need in a relationship and I often wonder to myself how I came to be so lucky. Quite like the song goes in The Sound of Music between Maria and the Captain, “for here you are, standing there, loving me, whether or not you should, somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”

I rolled over to look at her pillow, running the back of my hand against the spot she had laid her head. A smile played across my lips as I thought of what she did for me the night before.

“Hey there, sleepyhead.”

I looked over at the door and my gaze fell upon Taylor, walking up next to the bed still in her workout clothes. I smiled as she laid herself on top of me, her arms sliding easily underneath me, hugging me. “Time to get up, baby,” she said, kissing my forehead. “Breakfast is ready.”

I groaned. “Let’s sleep a little bit more. Please?”

“But I made you some pancakes and eggs,” she said, nestling her nose into my neck. “There’s also coffee,” she added, luring me in. I love coffee. I can never stay in bed if it’s on the table. I sighed.

“Okay,” I gave in. “Let’s go eat.”

Taylor smiled and gave my neck two quick kisses before getting off me, taking my hand, and leading me to the dining room with a nicely set table and a disastrous result in the kitchen. I groaned as soon as I saw the mess. “So, you make me a nice breakfast, and then force me to clean up your mess after? Very kind of you, dear.”

Taylor smiled. “Think of it as a way of thanking me for cooking you breakfast.” I glowered at her. “I’m just kidding, baby. You know I’ll help you clean the dishes.” I perked right up and started nibbling on a piece of my pancakes. Taylor chuckled. “Good morning, baby,” she said, kissing the top of my head, and then taking her seat. Breakfast was wonderful, as it always was with her home. It was always so difficult to start our day off early and actually leave the apartment before 9:00am. We always ended up back in bed after breakfast to enjoy each other even more.

“So, what time is our flight again?” I asked, starting to ease into my planning mode for the day.

“1:00pm,” she said nonchalantly.

I dropped my fork. “WHAT?” I exclaimed, panic rising in me. “Babe, its 8:00am! I still haven’t packed yet! Oh, my gosh!” Immediately, I ran from the table to the bedroom closet in search of my luggage. “We have to leave for the airport at least 3 hours before our flight!”

“Three hours? You really only need to be there two hours before—“

“THREE HOURS,” I yelled from my closet, frantically rummaging through storage searching for my luggage. “Daddy always taught me to be there three hours beforehand!”

Taylor appeared at the door of my closet and leaned against the frame. “Baby, what are you looking for?”

“My luggage!” I said, beginning to feel the stress rising. “I can’t find it! I need to pack! I don’t have anything to wear! Did I do laundry? Crap. I don’t think I did! Babe, I have nothing to wear to New York! Where the hell are all my clothes?”

“Baby—“

“Oh, no! I never picked up my pea coat from the dry cleaners! I don’t have a jacket to wear in New York now! Crap. I can’t find my boots! Where are my scarves? Shit! I don’t have time to pack!”

“Baby..”

“Do you think I have time to do laundry? We have to be at the airport at 10:00am! That’s in two hours! I can’t pack properly in two hours! Shit! Why didn’t you tell me sooner? I have nothing to wear!”

“AIMEE!” Taylor bellowed in my small walk-in closet, gripping my shoulders so that I would stop flailing about in my closet. I stared at her with big bright eyes, startled at the loudness of her voice. Her face softened. “Baby.. If you had only just stopped for a minute to listen to me, you would have saved yourself so much of this stress and panic--,” she kicked the door open wider and nodded her head over to the far corner of my bedroom near the window. “--knowing that I had already taken the liberty of packing for you yesterday while you were at clinical.” I could feel my body beginning to relax due to the relief. “All the items you were looking for in your closet are all packed away. I picked up your dry cleaning and it’s in the coat closet next to the front door.” 

“You truly are the best,” I breathed and hugged her. “What about my make-up and bathroom stuff?”

“You’re on your own there,” she quickly said, letting go of the hug and walking back to her food.

 

At the airport, I began to feel myself relax after we had gone through the chaos of checking in, going through security, finding our gate, and then boarding the plane. It was Christmas Eve and the terminals were full of travelers bustling about trying to get from their point A’s to the next plane to lead them to their respective point B’s somewhere in the world.  Every now and then, Taylor and I witnessed an unsatisfied flyer with loud opinions, a disruptive child, or an angry, overwhelmed parent during the course of our travel experience on the way to NYC. There was always at least one of the three on every flight. Always.

Once we landed in the city, checking into our hotel in Manhattan was first on our agenda. Hand-in-hand and our luggage in the other, we walked through the busy sidewalks of New York City. After fifteen blustery minutes, we arrived on foot to Hotel Le Bleu with red ears and pink cheeks. This was part of my surprise according to Taylor. As we walked in, my eyes were greeted with a bright palate of blue glass hues and dark wood with bright modern light fixtures. The lobby in its entirety was a work of art itself and I was mesmerized by the explosion of my most adored color. Our room was just as beautiful in its modern theme. We unloaded ourselves of jackets and luggage while admiring the room.

“Ah, a bathroom with glass walls,” Taylor pointed out, seductively wrapping her arms around me from behind and trailing small, hot kisses from my right shoulder up my neck. “I could get used to that.”

“I’m sure you could,” I replied, enjoying the feel of her warm lips against my chilled skin from the winter wind. “How did you book a room this nice in Manhattan so close to Christmas, anyway?”

I could feel my jeans come undone as she slid her hand beneath them. “I actually booked it months ago,” she said, continuing her trail of kisses to my ear. I smiled.

“Not interested in sight-seeing right now, are you?” I asked, giving into her. She chuckled.

“Just trying to warm up my hands the best way I know how,” she said as her other hand slid underneath my shirt and snaked up my front. The contrasting sensations of her cold fingertips against my warmed skin sent a wave of electricity to run through me as she knowingly grazed over all of my weak points. “Besides, we’ve got some time to kill before our date tonight begins.”

I laughed and turned around to face her, dislodging her sexually eager hands to her dismay. “What are we doing tonight? I don’t want to miss out on New York!”

“It’s a surprise,” she said, tugging at my jeans to pull me back in. “Remember?” I giggled at her persistency.

“Well, in that case…” I pushed her down on the bed and climbed on top of her. “I’ll take advantage of this then.”

 

 

That evening, I awoke to soft fingers tracing down the length of my side. Smiling, I rolled over to see Taylor, propped up on her elbow, watching me sleep. Tangled in a mess of sheets, I managed to snuggle into her comfortably.

“We have to start getting dressed now, baby,” she said, kissing the top of my head. I groaned.

“But I’m all comfy and warm,” I whined, my face buried into her bare chest. Her body vibrated with a light laugh against my face.

“This is why we hardly would get much out of where we travel,” she joked. “We can never get out of bed once we get in it!”

I rolled onto my back and stared up at the ceiling for a moment. With a sigh, I sat up and looked back at her. “Let’s go then. We’re in New York for goodness sake!”

Half an hour later, I emerged from the bathroom wearing a navy blue dress, tights, and heels. “Would heels be practical to wear tonight? Are we going to be walking around a lot? I’m not sure what we’re doing, so I’m not sure if I should wear them. I saw that you packed some of my flats; I could wear those.”

Taylor walked over to me and silenced my worries with a gentle kiss. “You look beautiful, baby.” I smiled.

“… But the shoes,” I began again, looking around for my flats. “Should I wear the other ones?” Taylor sighed.

“Baby,” she said, holding my hands. “Don’t worry about your shoes. The heels are great.”

“Okay,” I said, with a small smile.

“So, I made reservations at a restaurant I think you will like. I know how much you like the skyline--“ Taylor began to say as she walked over to the mirror, and then stopped as she looked back at me, catching me in the act of stuffing my flats into a purse.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry!” I explained as I forced the shoes into my relatively smaller purse. Taylor walked over to me with her crooked smile.

“You’re such a dork, baby,” she said, followed by a kiss. “I love you.”

Smiling, I zipped up my purse and said, “Now I’m ready to go!”

Manhattan by nightfall was illuminated by the bright lights of advertisements, building signs, and Christmas décor. Towering Christmas trees inhabited every other block. Its sidewalks were full of travelers with excited faces who mingled among the usual New Yorkers who donned their smart suits and branded coats. The scene seemed to spin around me with the fast-paced city-dwellers surrounding my personal space in Times Square. I turned my gaze upward to the navy blue hues that blanketed the sky and felt a small twinge in my chest for the visual absence of the stars that were impossible to see under the bright lights of the city that never sleeps. If it not were for Taylor taking my hand to guide me through the sea of people, I would have been lost in the bustle. My inner curiosity consumed me, causing my eyes to soak up as much of the concrete jungle as they could as we maneuvered through the streets. Taylor waved down a cab and we drove into Brooklyn. Finally, we arrived in front of a cozy restaurant with dark green French doors. The sign above them read The River Café. The trees on either side of the entrance twinkled against the night sky with soft blue Christmas lights. Taylor walked right up to the host and whispered something to him that I could not hear.

“Certainly,” he said and winked at me. I blinked at him puzzled. “Right this way, ladies.” We followed him onto the second floor of the restaurant and were seated in front of vast windows that lined 3 of the 4 walls from floor to ceiling. I stared in awe of the glittering Manhattan view as we got to our table, unaware of the fact that Taylor had pulled out my chair for me. Blushing at my moment of amazement, I took my seat and Taylor sat across from me.

“What do you think, baby?” She asked, taking my hand across the table. A small candle flame fluttered between us on top of the marble table. I was speechless. There were no words that came to my mind that could justify the beauty of New York’s skyline lit up. To see it in person was one of the things I promised myself to do before I died. Taylor had a clever tendency for being the one to give me the opportunity to check things off of my life-long “must-do-before-I-die” list. The dim lighting and the atmosphere began to get to me. I started to tear up.

“Baby,” Taylor began, concerned. “What’s the matter? You don’t like it?”

 I shook my head furiously, smiling and laughing at myself. “No! This is incredible. I don’t think I could be happier right now!” She flashed a smile at me and gave my hand a squeeze.

“I think you could.”

I cocked my head to the side, unsure of what she meant.

“Our trip just started, remember?” She winked at me, making my heart flutter. The waiter took our drink order of our usual, boring waters, and gave us a minute to peruse the menus. I glanced at the prices. $85.00… $100.00… $135.00… I looked up at Taylor.

“Babe, this is too expensive! Too much!”

She took my hand again and said, “I got it, baby. Don’t worry. I want you to be able to relax and enjoy tonight.” Smiling, she went back to her menu.

“Are you sure?”

She looked back up at me, smiling, and winked. My worries still did not subside. Looking out at the Manhattan view, I began to calm my nerves, not wanting to spoil a perfectly good evening. I ordered the organic chicken breast and she ordered the prime New York strip steak. A few minutes later, steaming plates headed our way. Set before me was a pan roasted Amish chicken with American prosciutto, corn bread and confit giblet stuffing, sautéed spinach leaves and Madeira wine reduction.  Heavenly scents wafted from my food. I looked over at Taylor’s plate and wanted her food, too. She was served 1lb of dry aged, charcoal grilled steak, red wine mushroom marmalade, russet and sweet potato gratin with bleu cheese fondue. She looked over at me, taking my hand.

“Happy 58 months, Aimee.”

I smiled so big. “Happy 58 months, Taylor. This is unbelievable!”

“I hope this makes up for me working all the time.”

I took a bite of my chicken and died. “BEST. CHRISTMAS EVE. EVER.” I managed to say with the partially chewed chicken in my mouth. Taylor laughed. She took a bite of her steak and did the same thing. I laughed at our silliness. “Okay, we should stop. We’re in a fancy restaurant. We have to be fancy!”

Taylor sat up straighter in her chair, took her cloth napkin, and dotted the corners of her mouth with it. Giving me a sleazy smile, she said, in her I’m-better-than-you-voice, “Shall we enjoy a bottle of the 1787 Chateau Yquem or some Royal DeMaria?” I giggled as she continued to pretend to be snooty, knowing fully well that these wine selections were much more than we could afford.

After dinner, we walked the Brooklyn Bridge and admired the sights, gloved hand-in-gloved hand. Once we reached the glittery island of Manhattan, we sought out a coffee shop, ordered some hot chocolate, and continued on our way to view the city. As the evening progressed and the night air got colder, Taylor waved down a cab and we headed back to Hotel Le Bleu. That evening, after she showed me just how much she loved me, I slept better than I had for a long time during the school semester.

 

The next morning, I awoke to some vanilla chai tea, sweetened with a drizzle of honey, sitting on the night stand next me with a note propped up next to it. I stretched on the bed and looked at the time. 9:00 AM. Sitting up in bed, I picked up the note.

Good morning gorgeous, here’s something warm to start your day. Once you’re dressed, meet me downstairs. – T

I sipped on the tea. She certainly remembers just how I like it, I thought to myself.  Once I dressed myself, I headed downstairs in search of Taylor, wondering why she woke up so early. I found her sitting at a table with breakfast foods picked out in front of her. I walked up behind her and bent down to kiss her neck. “Good morning,” I breathed against her neck. As if by reflex, her hand tangled itself gently in my hair and, turning her head to face me, she kissed me.

“Good morning,” she smiled. “Did you get my note?”

“Clearly,” I said, taking a seat across from her. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have known to meet you here. Thank you for the tea. It was delicious!” I looked around at the food on the table. There was our usual when we travel – eggs, fruit, and waffles. “So how come you woke up so early?”

“I wanted to go to the gym after eating all that steak last night,” she said, her health-nut-self emerging. I rolled my eyes. Of course. “And I wanted to get breakfast ready for you.”

“You spoil me.” I said, biting into a piece of fruit.

“Because I love you. I want to give you everything.” She said, flashing her crooked smile at me. My heart fluttered again. “Eat up, we have a long day ahead of us!”

“What time are we checking out?”

“Noon,” she said. “But I have a surprise for you in the room.”

“Where? I just left it.”

“You’ll see,” she said and began to eat. “We have to be at the airport tonight by 6pm. That’s when our plane departs.”

“Definitely will be a long day!” I sighed and started demolishing a waffle.

After breakfast, we headed back to the room. Upon opening the door, my eyes fell upon an elaborately wrapped gift with bright red and gold wrapping paper, sitting on top of our freshly made bed. I glanced back at Taylor, who wrapped her arms around my waist from behind me. “Merry Christmas, baby.”

I could feel my excitement growing inside me. “What is it?”

“Open it, silly!”

I hopped onto the bed and began unwrapping the gift. Underneath the layer of wrapping paper was a white box that had an envelope taped to it. Open me, it read. I peered inside the envelope and screamed with joy. Tucked neatly away inside were two tickets to see Les Miserables live on Broadway today at 2:00 PM. “Oh, baby! This is amazing! Thank you so much!” I said, hugging her and jumping up and down.

Taylor smiled at my excitement. “Don’t forget the box.” I let go of her and turned back towards the bed.

“Oh, yeah!” Opening the top revealed two items. The first item was a small Tiffany’s box. Within the box was a shiny silver locket with a beautiful chain to match. A picture of her was placed inside. The tag tethered to the box by a string, read:

Wear me close to your heart

and know that I am always with you

regardless of where I am in the world.

I love you.

The second item was a folded blue blanket, one side of fleece, the other side of soft white fur, with a thick gray bow tied around it. A note stuck out from beneath the bow.

To keep you warm on the nights that we are apart

until I can replace it with my own arms

 when we see each other again.

My eyes began to well up with tears knowing that she was about to move out of the States again within the next few months after she was done with school. I slid off the bed and hugged her. “I love you.”

“I love you too, baby.” She whispered in my ear. “Do you like your gifts?”

I pulled back to smile at her. “More than you could possibly understand. Thank you so much!” After giving her an affectionate kiss, I released myself from her warm arms and knelt down beside the bed. Taylor looked at me, bewildered.  I pulled out a gift bag lying on its side, tissue paper bursting from its opening. I smiled up at her. “We certainly think alike,” I said, handing it to her.

“What do you mean?”

“Open it,” I said. She sat down on the bed and pulled out the tissue paper. Tangled within the sheets, she revealed my old red fleece blanket and a wallet sized picture of me on top of it. “It’s for all the same reasons you gave me,” I explained, sitting next to her.

“I’ll keep this in my breast pocket,” she said to me, holding the picture. “And keep it with me always.” She kissed me and thanked me for the gifts.

“I’m sorry it’s not super extravagant,” I said softly staring at my hands. Taylor lifted my face with her finger.

“That doesn’t matter to me, you know that,” She said. “Knowing that this blanket is owned by you, that you’ve used it, and had it around you… that means more to me than anything you could have bought me from a store that you barely touched and has no real value to you.” I blushed. “It’s the perfect gift, baby. Thank you so much for giving me your blanket. I know it’s your favorite one.”

Taylor always knew how to make me feel good about my efforts—a feeling that I often did not feel growing up. She has been working with me to reverse those effects on my mental health and I owed her the world for being so patient with me.

“Merry Christmas, babe,” I said, smiling at her. “This has been the best one by far!”

She smiled at my happiness and kissed my forehead. “I’m glad I get to spend it here in New York with you.”

“Me too,” I said, lying down on the bed. “Can we take a nap now?”

Taylor laughed, “I knew that was coming.” She climbed into bed with me and we lounged until it was time to check out.

Noon came by fast. We left our luggage at the hotel with a service member for the afternoon and went on our way to tour the city by foot once more. We bought some lunch at a small deli joint and ate our sandwiches on a bench in Central Park. Then, we were on our way to see Les Miserables live. The show lasted about 3 hours. Being in New York, seeing a Broadway musical, and holding hands with the girl I was in love with on Christmas Day made my life feel complete. Perfectly content, I enjoyed the show and wished the moment would never end.

By the time it was done, it was 5:00 PM. We raced back to the hotel, grabbed our luggage, and we were off to the airport. Thanking the good Lord for online check-ins and making it just in time through security and boarding, we sat in our overly-cozy seats in coach. The flight home was quick and we arrived back in Norfolk by 8:00 PM. After grabbing our luggage, we headed out of the airport.

“Thank you for a wonderfully spontaneous trip, baby,” I said, happily rolling my bag. Taylor took my hand and walked me over to the side near a grand window. “Where are we going?”

Wrapping her arm around my waist and pulling me in to her, she said, “I just wanted to tell you that I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, honey. That’s all I wanted this Christmas, to make you really happy.” She kissed my forehead and I smiled.

“Did you do this for all your other girlfriends? Whisk them away from their busy lives to a big city for a spontaneous mini-trip?” I sarcastically asked. Taylor smiled at me.

“No,” she said, smiling. “You are the first I’ve done this for. The only one I want to do things like this for.” My heart began to race at the sincerity of her words.  “I’m ready to spend the rest of my life with you. Sometimes an image of me singing to you at our wedding reception comes to mind when I sing you to sleep. I want to give you everything that your heart desires. I want nothing but the best for you and I would rather it be from me.”

 Fixing a stray strand of my hair, she continued, “I’m selfish with you. The thought of a random person being intimate with you boils the blood under my skin. When you kiss me, I have a hard time breathing because my heart aches from missing you while we were apart. Having you by my side is one of the best things I could ever ask for.”

 I was speechless. Here was this girl, so selfless in loving me, and I couldn’t get enough of her.
“Thank you for agreeing to go on this little adventure with me.” Suddenly, she knelt down on one knee, and reaching into her pocket, she said, “Will you go on another one with me?” Once again, she pulled out a small box.

Smiling down at her, I said, “I’ll go anywhere with you.”
 

 

 

 


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