The Crush: Valentina's Surprise

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She saw him across the room, he was about the same height as her, smart, on his own and seemed not to know anyone.

The party invite was odd, it had arrived by email but when she tried to reply it had bounced. She'd phoned the venue, The White Hart was a short taxi distance away, and there was no charge on the door but it was ticket only. The barman didn't know who had booked the room but it had been a long standing booking.

The party was Feb 13th, a Saturday, so she had all day to prepare. Of course, by the time she'd decided to go to the party it was already Thursday.

"Debbie, it's Sandy, I need your miracles on Saturday."

"A party?"

"Sure, can you fit me in?"

"The short answer is no."

"I don't go anywhere else, I don't trust anyone else."

"I know dear, but you should have called me last week, or even last month."

"Why?"

"What land are you living in, Sandy, it's Valentines Day."

"That's Sunday, the party's on Saturday."

"And I'm closed on Sundays. Look, I can do you at half seven on Saturday morning, that's my best offer."

"Okay, okay, I'll take it."

"Don't be too grateful! Bye."

Her manager had overheard the conversation and Sandy was certain to be chastised for wasting office time booking a hair appointment.

"Trouble?"

"You could say that, a party on Saturday that I may or may not attend, and a hair stylist who tells me when I can see her!"

"That's the way it works, honey. Where's the party?"

"The White Hart."

"I know it, that's the Valentina Surprise party."

"Yeah, how do you know?"

"I had an invite once, it seems you only get one if you're single."

"So it's a singles and no-hopers party?"

"If you carry an attitude like that it will be. Do you have a suitable frock?"

"No, not a party frock.

"We're quiet today, finish at four and do to Dress Heaven in the shopping centre, tell them where you work and you'll get ten percent off."

"How come we get a discount?"

"The store manager shags my boss."

Sandy risked a trip to the ladies to inspect her face before making her approach to the handsome man. His skin was so clean, his hair perfect.

"Hi, I'm Sandy."

"Hi Sandy, I'm Jules." His voice was pitched a little high, but had a nice note.

"Are you here with anyone?"

"No Sandy, but I thought it was a singles event?"

She giggled, badly.

"Nice frock by the way."

"Thanks, Jules, I got it for tonight, smart suit!"

"Err, yes, your glass is nearly empty, how about a refill?"

"I'm not drinking, Jules, I can't afford to lose control. It's soda water and lemon."

"Same here, but I'm driving."

"You drove to a party?"

"Until eleven this morning I wasn't even sure I would be here, by then you couldn't get a taxi anytime after six and forget about going home late in a cab. So I drove. I found the suit in M&S just before they closed."

"Why be here at all if that was the case?"

"In case I met someone, someone I felt comfortable with, someone who I could talk to."

"Wow, my first date criteria."

"And how many first dates have passed that test recently?"

"None, Jules, none, except you."

"Do you know anyone else here?"

"No."

"Look, why don't we drive back to mine. I have a bottle of white in the fridge and you could get the cab to pick you up there."

"Sure sounds a better plan."

Once they reached the car, Jules hesitated.

"I'm not a man, at least not fully yet, does that worry you?"

"No, but I'm all woman now, I had my surgery at Christmas, does that bother you?"

#FIN



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