Happy early Valentine's Day!
Oh, Valentine's Day. A day where everyone does elaborate things for those they love or passively aggressively discusses their hate for Valentine's Day.
I celebrate Valentine's Day by amusing myself watching people scramble to figure something to do for their significant other the morning of, and buying Valentine's Day chocolates on February 15th, because nothing says love like pink, red, and white M&Ms.
When Tamsen and Rebecca approached me about being part of a blog hop celebrating Valentine's Day, I was super excited, mostly because I get to write more Hayley & Nate and Olivia & Thierry. (In related news, I miss the Beats girls SO MUCH. *sob*)
And so, as a Valentine's Day gift from me to you, (and because I cannot send all of you chocolate on the 15th) here's a little Twelve Beats Valentine's Day.
(NOTE: said little Valentine's Day gift takes place a year after THIS MUCH SPACE)
If you ever wondered what it would look like if cupid threw up all over somewhere, the bakery is a good example, I think as I stretch the kinks out of my neck. This much homework and no patience to do it means I'm in the bakery, where Megan can glare at me from across the counter if she caught me procrastinating. And someone who wasn't me had made my coffee. And I get to watch Megan snipe at Ian, which continues to be one of my favorite things to do.
"I'm working, I swear," I protest.
"I'm going to text Thierry and tell him he's not allowed to come here if you don't get some work done," Megan says.
"Well, that's harsh," Hayley says, carrying out a tray of eclairs. "You, standing in the way of true love?"
"Megan would never," I say, heavy with sarcasm.
"Is Megan like the Grinch of Valentine's Day?" Nate asks.
And yes. Nate is here. He surprised Hayley, and is here for the weekend. He's just as wonderful and charming as she's described him, and when he looks at her it hurts, it's so beautiful.
"Nathaniel, you're lucky Hayley loves you," Megan says.
He grins, and Hayley dashes over, drops a kiss on his lips, and tries to dash back to the kitchen. Nate's got reflexes for days, and manages to catch her before she can escape. He kisses her noisily. "You taste like chocolate," he says, grinning at her.
"Of course I do," Hayley says, wriggling out of his arms. She dashes back toward the kitchen, letting in the sound of Regina singing about Summer Lovin', rather loudly. Ever since they announced the live version of Grease aired, she's sang nothing but Grease, which was okay for the first week or so, and now it's just ridiculous.
"I used to think I liked Grease," Ian muses. "But if I have to hear about anyone being lousy with virginity again I may have to do something rather unladylike."
Megan flips him off, and mutters about 'being ladylike' can fuck off, which makes me laugh until I snort.
The other upside about doing homework in the bakery is that instead of procrastinating by doing random crap, I get to watch Megan and Ian flirt. Well, their version of flirting, though they both deny that it's flirting.
"You're not doing any homework, Olivia," says Ian, peering onto my screen. "I mean, unless Etsy is considered homework?"
"Snitch," I hiss, clicking out of Etsy and reopening my homework. Ian grins, especially when Megan reminds me that she'll call Thierry. Her threats don't really pan out, especially since said handsome boyfriend of mine walks into the bakery.
He drops into the seat next to mine and rests his head on my shoulder. "Hi, handsome," I say, running a hand through his hair. "How was your afternoon?"
He sighs. "Long. But better now."
"Sap," I say, laughing a little. Therapy takes a lot out of Thierry, and, as always, some days are better than others. "FYI, Megan tried to blackmail me into doing homework by saying she'd ban you from seeing me."
Thierry laughs. "Has that threat ever worked?"
I think back. "Not so much, no."
"I'll just up my game," calls Megan from behind the counter.
"I'd like to see you try," I say.
"Don't tempt the beast," Ian says, and ducks when Megan throws an empty coffee cup at him.
I shove my laptop back into my bag, and stand up to stretch the kinks out of my back. It's a surprisingly warm evening, and considering the amount of snow we've had, I'm enjoying every second of it. "Just wanna drop this off in my room first," I say, swinging it over my shoulder.
"Sounds good," Thierry says, and follows me out the door after saying goodbyes.
We walk back to campus because when the weather's this gorgeous, you kinda have to. We're almost by campus when we pass the tree. Thierry turns to me. "Remember this tree?"
"Very much so," I say. I shamelessly flutter my eyelashes, because it makes both of us laugh. "Wanna do a reenactment?"
"With or without the Civil War era guns?" he asks.
"Okay, that kiss definitely blew my head off my shoulders, but I don't remember any Civil War era weapons," I muse. "Unless that's some sort of euphemism. Like, is that just a Civil War era gun in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?"
"I'm never going to be able to look my American Lit professor in the face ever again," Thierry groans, which only makes me laugh. "I'm just going to spend all of his classes thinking of innuendos based on historical facts."
"Your text messages are going to be X-rated," Thierry says, slowly pushing me against the tree. "But they're gonna be educational and X-rated."
"You can send me dirty texts about 1800's America, but just know that I may not actually find them sexy," I say as he starts nipping at my ear.
"You wanna bet?" he whispers into my ear.
"Maybe?" I can't think straight when he does that with his fingers. "You play dirty, Thierry Acosta."
"Of course I do," he says, dropping a kiss on my forehead. "How else would we have gotten here without me playing dirty?"
"Well, I walked, I don't know how that involves you playing dirty," I say between kisses.
"Smart ass," he says, and kisses me.
A lot has changed since that first kiss against this tree, but kissing Thierry is just as magical now as it was then. If anything, there's more magic now. There's more love in it, there's more of us in it.
Thierry pulls away a little and looks down at me. "What happened?" he asks, brushing a tear off my cheek.
"I'm happy," I say, burying my head into the crook of his neck. "And sentimental today."
His arms tighten around me. "I love you, Olivia."
"You better," I joke. "Because I love you, too."
We stand there like that, reveling in memories of the past year, marveling how far we've come as individuals, and how far we've come as a couple. Thierry still has his good days and bad days, and sometimes the bad days get pretty bad. But we still draw butterflies, and still cocoon if we need to.
Life isn't perfect, but it's never going to be. Life doesn't work like that.
But recently, life has proven itself to be a pretty wonderful place to be.
"If hypothetically someone arranged a romantic something for this evening as an early Valentine's Day celebratory type of thing, because I know you have a Beats thing on actual Valentine's Day, how much time would you need to get ready for it?"
And this is one of the many reasons I adore Thierry. He knows that I like to be dressed appropriately for wherever we're going, and so his version of surprise outings is him telling me in advance. Maybe not specifically where we're going, but what kind of place it is. Always. Even if we're going to the grocery store.
"You little sneak," I say, drilling a finger into his chest. He grins. "What sort of romantic something would it be?"
"A surprise type," he says.
"A sort that involves driving to a certain favorite eating establishment? And sitting on the second floor of said eating establishment?"
Every time I think he can't do something more thoughtful and wonderful, he does. "I love you, you wonderful sap."
"I love you too," he says. "And, just by the way, it's not a Civil War era gun in my pants."
Curious who Thierry and Olivia are, and what happened at the tree? Make sure to check out THIS MUCH SPACE, book two of the Twelve Beats In A Bar series.
Olivia is Anna Wintour’s worst nightmare, and she doesn’t give a shit. She’s wanted to go into fashion design her whole life, and nothing is going to stop her fabulous plus sized self. Not even her boss from hell, or the fact that she’s the fat Cinderella of the most exclusive lingerie store in Bushwick, Ohio. She’s sworn off dating, because she is focused, dammit, and will not get distracted by anyone in college. She has shit to do and places to go, be it on her own with the clothing she makes, or with the girls in Twelve Beats In A Bar, the all-female a cappella group she’s part of.
Why do group projects always have to ruin everything?
Thierry Acosta has it all. Shortstop on Bushwick University’s baseball team, amazing grades in college, everything he could want. When he gets paired with Olivia for a group project, things are only getting better. And then his dad loses his job, and Thierry’s life falls apart. He can’t manage to get himself to practice, to class… anywhere. He’s got the scars on his wrists to prove that this has happened before, but he thought he was better. He thought he could deal with something like this. The cuts on his thighs say otherwise.
Before they know it, Olivia and Thierry's relationship has gone from casual project partners to not-so-casual more-than-friends. But when things take a turn for the worse, can they face the growing reality of a relationship that's become much more serious than either of them expected- or wanted?
BUY ON AMAZON
***And just when I thought Thierry and Olivia couldn't get any more adorable, they do. The next stop on the hop is the everly wonderful Rebecca Paula (see what I did there? See?)! Be sure to comment on each story to be eligible for the massive giveaway at the end.
Thanks for joining us for #ValentinesRewind! ♥
Happy Happy Thursday!