14 Days of ValentinesbyV.Rich©
Maria loved teaching school and she loved her children. She had not given birth to them, but she was given the privilege of helping to raising them just the same.
Maria's students were all excited about the coming Valentine's Day holiday. Unlike the other holidays throughout the calendar year, Valentine's Day was special. It held no religious overtones for them. Any previous religious connotations or possible ancient beliefs were long lost in the passage of time.
What remained was a short, one day holiday often centered around schools and individuals in love and dedicated to the consumption of chocolate and roses and, incidentally, to love.
DAY 1 - Feb 1st
Maria went into her classroom on February 1st and immediately noticed the pretty, perfect red apple sitting on the edge of her desk. As she got closer she realized it was really an apple shaped candle, the stem a candlewick. When Maria lifted the 'apple' to her nose she realized is smelled like a sweet, spicy apple pie. Delicious.
Maria loved it, but wondered who had given it to her. Maybe a student left it from the last period of the day yesterday. Frowning, she did not recall anyone by her desk late in the day.
As the day progressed, no student came forward that day, with a secret smile on their face, asking if Mrs. Grant liked her apple. No secret grins on anyone's face actually. Maria was intrigued, to say the least.
DAY 2 - Feb 2nd
Maria had a wonderful art project planned for the day. The kids were to bring in their favorite magazines and stickers and what-nots to personally decorate their own Valentine mailboxes to have their valentines 'delivered' to by their friends and 'lovers'. It was an annual project that Maria participated in with her students. A project that Maria loved just as much as her students. It always gave her a secret insight into the heart and minds of her children.
Arriving at school, Maria hailed her favorite custodian Gabriel and asked him to bring in her big box of art supplies to her classroom for her.
"Sure thing, Mrs. Grant," he assured her, already grabbing her big cardboard box out of her car and, turning slightly, relieved her of her bookbag from her grasp, as well. "Hey, if you'll just grab me a cup of java, I'll meet you in your class," and he was already heading into the school.
"It's a deal," Maria laughed at his retreating back as he jogged up the school steps as if his load weighed nothing at all. Good Lord, what muscles he had across his back and shoulders Absolutely gorgeous.
"Hey, there Cream or sugar?" she yelled as he reached the top step. He glanced back and gave her a hot, smoldering look,"Oh, yeah," and kept on going through the double doors.
A little while later Maria met Gabriel at her classroom door and handed him his Café Grande as he existed past her. He trotted down the hall, his caffeine fix in his fist, without a backward glance. Maria smiled to herself before entering her class, he sure had a nice backside, too.
Maria listened with only half an ear as her students, both the boys and the girls, decorated their individual mailboxes with great enthusiasm. Maria, though was staring in amazement at her own Valentine mailbox. Not the one she had planned to decorate with the art supplies she had brought this morning.
No. Not that box.
This was a beautiful, romantic box fashioned with red velvet hearts of various sizes and lacy hearts with sentimental sayings that had been delivered by messenger to the school office around 11 am. Miss Blackmon, the secretary, had brought it down to her class immediately because it was 'just too pretty and too lovely for words'. That was exactly what she gushed at Maria before she left it with her.
The front of her gift was labeled "Miss Maria. The Most Beloved Teacher in School." It amazed Maria. It was pretty and thoughtful and obviously hand decorated. And Maria had no idea who had sent it.
Maria wondered who it could be. A particularly grateful parent, perhaps? A fellow teacher, maybe? Her husband, yeah.. right? Funny, how Harry was the last person she thought it could be who would send her something this romantic. She and Harry still got along, but they rarely talked anymore and they had not made love in months. Like the proverbial kiss of death, Harry had given her a brand new iron for her Christmas present. Bad Santa, Maria had thought at the time, bad, bad Santa. But maybe Harry wanted to turn over a new leaf? Maybe this was a turn-around in their relationship?
DAY 3 - Feb 3rd
Maria planned to get her Saturday chores done immediately. She saved most of her housework for the weekend. By the time she finished her shower and was dressed, Harry was already up and gone. His note left by the empty coffee pot told her that he would be going fishing with the boys today and was not expected back until late.
Well, so much for romance, thought Maria, as she made herself a pot of coffee. Harry had made no mention the night before about going fishing and no mention of the mailbox, either. Maria knew he would arrive late, dirty and smelly, and probably a little drunk off a 6-pack of Coors he invariably bought himself.
Maria went about her chores and brought the mail in at 2pm, sorting through the usual pile of bills and ads. In the middle of the pile was a pink stationary envelope and inside was the cutest little valentine. Nothing special really. Just a standard, mass produced child's size Valentine in that great big envelope. While the front of the card said Be My Valentine, the back was hand written in a strong, masculine script and said "Please be mine, dear lovely lady. Yours forever, T."
'T'? Maria wondered confused, but more elated by the day. Who could her secret valentine be?
DAY 4- Feb 4th
Sunday morning dawned sunny and cold. Maria was up and off to 10 o'clock Mass; leaving Harry to sleep off his day fishing. He had rolled in at 9pm, as she had predicted, slightly drunk, but perfectly happy. He had dropped his tackle box just inside the door, dropped his flak jacket in the hallway, yelled over his shoulder that she didn't need to make him any dinner (she hadn't anyway) because he had gone with the boys to the Loveless Café had their famous Southern fried chicken.
Maria enjoyed the sermon at church but took a pass on the family picnic planned afterwards (it was hard to be a family of one) telling the ladies who invited her that she had papers to grade and she had to update her homework website as the school district expected her to do before Monday.
Maria picked up hamburgers and tatter tots at the Sonic, ice tea for her and a root beer for Harry and headed home. She turned on the computer, and ate her lunch while she graded papers and started e-mailing the children's scores to their parent's e-mail addresses. Harry ate his lunch, sitting with her by the computer, telling her all about the fishing trip, who caught what, then got up and went back to bed for the afternoon.
Maria completed updating all the reading assignments and the homework expected of her students this week. She now took a few minutes for herself, going over her own e-mails she had received on her school account.
One was from BootBoy111 're: Teacher Valentine'. Maria opened that one, smiling to herself, hoping it might a special one.
The message was "T" has sent you a singing valentine." Tinny music started playing and a big fat red heart grew in the middle of the screen and little legs sprouted on the heart and it began to dance across her screen, to and fro. The heart was singing The Beatle's tune " Love, Love Love, You got to have Love ."
Maria nearly laughed herself right onto the floor
Below was a personalized message: My Darling, Querida, my heart is with you today. I dreamt of you last night. Holding you in my arms would be my greatest joy. T"
Again, a single initial. The letter T. But another Valentine. Maria smiled to herself, a warm spot growing in her heart.
DAY 5 - Feb 5th
Monday morning found Maria back in her classroom and looking forward to the day as she had not looked forward to it in ages. She hoped her secret admirer would present himself to her soon.
Maria set her pocketbook down and sat at her desk organizing her thoughts before all the kids came in. But also thinking about her latest valentine message, a computer delivery this time. Of course anyone at the school would know her school e-mail, but Maria thought is was more than just anybody. She thought about Ted Killen the computer tech teacher. He worked at the other end of the school but they had chatted here and there? Could it be him?? "T" for Ted?? I seemed almost too easy.
As she looked back down at her desk, Maria realized that Harry's picture was no longer sitting in it usual place beside her pencil can. Instead there was a leather picture frame and the long, lean body of a professional cowboy wearing dusty chaps walking toward the camera; big silver championship belt buckle riding low on his belly. A big Stetson pulled over his eyes and thus leaving his face in shadow.
My God, Maria thought, this must be him
Maria turned the frame over and read the dedication "To You, My Love" "Amarillo 2001
And that was it No name. Not even an initial. Maria frowned slightly, than she smiled. She smiled a lot lately.
DAY 6 - Feb 6th
All day Tuesday, Maria waited for her Valentine to deliver something special to her. But nothing appeared on her desk. She ran into the computer teacher Ted and he asked her to have lunch with him Wednesday. He seemed to be flirting with her when he asked if she had gotten his e-mail Sunday, so Maria said yes to lunch.
She was a little disappointed to realize that he was her admirer, because there seemed to be no sparks between them. But his first initial was T for Ted. Maria was a married woman, and she would just have to remind him of that. Ted would not be a temptation to her honor.
But he gave her no valentine in person, so Maria was a little disappointed in him, but also a little disconcerted. Was he shy?
At 3:45 Maria found her Valentine. A perfect red rose clipped under her windshield wiper on her car. She picked it up to smell it's scent, just as several students walked by. They saw her with the rose, but they did not say anything to her. The little tag attached had a single letter "T" on it.
DAY 7 - Feb 7th
Late in the day Maria stopped at the drink machine in the staff lounge and got a cup of coffee. Gabe was standing there, his hip leaned up against the counter having himself a late afternoon coffee, so Maria told him and Gloria (who had wondered in) about the red rose found on her windshield the day before.
"Did either of you see anyone by my car? Maybe sometime yesterday afternoon?" Maria asked, but they both shrugged their shoulders. Na da.
Maria went home, slightly disappointed that no valentine had been delivered today. Since Harry was not home yet, she checked her e-mails.
There is was.
From BootBoy111, no subject.
"My Darling Maria I have been watching you for sometime now. You have my complete attention. I dream about you in a beautiful red blouse I know that you would wonderful in red As it caresses your smooth skin, the contrast would be so intoxicating Your long dark hair would look wonderful on your red blouse I promise to take you in my arms, kissing your lips. Whispering love to you, and waking in the morning to love you again. Your secret admirer, your lover, T"
DAY 8 - Feb 8th
The next day, during a school break, Harry calls to tell Maria he is done being mad and he will be home for dinner. Maria wonders who he is mad at?? He has not even seen her perfect little rose from yesterday? He does not know about her sexy e-mail Valentine.
Strangest of all, Maria had not even noticed that he had not been home last night. How often did she fail to notice Harry, one way or the other. Apathy. Maria knew it was a real bad sign, worse than anger.
Maria looked forward to her lunch with Ted. Especially about the e-mails he told her he'd sent her. Ted did not seem like the sexy type, but who knew? Maybe he was a tiger at the keyboard.
But as lunch progressed, with Ted telling her all about a new, extracurricular venture he was now involved with, which he wanted to share: retirement investments. Maria listened, but with only her ears, her mind had completely wondered off. Maria had probably erased Ted's e-mail as junk. Why wouldn't she? They were junk After lunch Gabriel brought a new package to Maria from the front office. Her children were taking reading test, so Maria whispers to Gabe. When was this delivered? She asked him, did you see what delivery company service it was? Gabe just shrugged. Maria knew such things would not be important to him. He probably thought it was a gift from her husband, as anyone would. Maria knew there was very little chance of that. It looks like a jewelry box, Gabe offered, absently, maybe it's an engagement ring?
Engagement ring? Maria gasped at him, why would someone send me an engagement ring? Maria stared at him. Men were so crazy. She was married but wouldn't any man who wanted to give a ring want to give it to her in person? Well, Gabe leaned over her desk, he whispered to her 'It's not like you already have one'. He left her with that zinger and left the room.
"Are you going to open it," Mandy in the first row asked. "We all know you have a secret Valentine. John saw the rose on your car."
"Please open it," Tommy asked.
Maria thought momentarily of the ultra sexy e-mail she had opened the day before. What if this gift was meant to be private, not for viewing by children.
No. Maria knew that whoever this was he knew if he delivered it to school than children and possibly other teachers would see it. No. It would be personal, but totally respectable.
She tore off the gold foil and opened the little black velvet jeweler's box and gasped, her eyes widened, thinking he could not have amazed her more. Nestled in purple velvet was exquisite gold cross. The children's "ohs" and "ahs" and Maria sighs. In response to their begging she put it on immediately. And it looked lovely.
DAY 9 - Feb 9th
Friday was less eventful. Maria received a box of chocolate hearts and a note that she could share these with her students and friends.. The note on them read "Querida, think of me as you pass these about to those you like and are your friends. I too am generous, but soon I would like to have you all to myself. T"
DAY 10 - Feb 10th
Maria woke on Saturday at her usual time, but excitement buzzed through her veins. What would her Valentine send to her today?
When 2pm rolled around and nothing special was delivered by the Post Office, Maria turned on her computer and perused her e-mail. Six e-mails from Ted the new investment entrepreneur, one from the Sisters of Charity, and two from her sisters. Nothing from her BootBoy, Mr. "T." She swore silently to herself.
Then, before her eyes, it popped up, she the double ding and "You're got Mail."
BootBoy111 "re: my 10th Valentine, te amo"
"My Dearest Darling Maria, In a not to far off day I will make wild, passionate love to you, such as you have never had before.
Not only the love that my body can give to you, but the love of my heart. The love of a man who loves you above all others. A man who belongs to you alone, Querida.
I will kiss your lips so tenderly that lust will fly through every inch of your body, then I will kiss every inch of your luscious body until you are moaning my name and begging for the exquisite release. Then I will hold you tenderly in my arms, all the night through, kissing your cheeks, your neck, and your beautify dark tipped breasts. And as the sun comes up, I will renew my pledge to love you every moment of the day My Darling, I am thinking of you and wanting with my body and my heart.
DAY 11 - Feb 11th
Sunday, Harry came in early. Maria was not really sure where he had been but the first thing he did was finish her chocolates. Harry told he has decided that even though he knows Valentines Day is coming up they have been married long enough and he does not want to celebrate Valentine's day this year.
Maria is confused about what Valentine's Day had to do with their marriage, but actually she has not picked him up anything, either.
" Well, maybe we just forget it then, OK? "
"I guess," Maria agrees.
Not really sure why he should bother with cards about love when she knew he had never been demonstrative. Even dating he had never bothered with candy or flowers after the first date, and even then he had given her a foil-wrapped chocolate rose chuckling that he had managed to kill two birds with one stone.
Maria had misunderstood back then. She had been thinking this proved that Harry had a sense of humor. It took Maria awhile to realize it meant Harry was cheap, or maybe that Harry didn't think she was worth any more bother than a combined chocolate rose. Maria just knew it was the last of either gift that she had seen in years.
"T" had managed to give her both, in the same week. Maria looked at Harry and wondered silently what she was doing with this jerk
" Well, I am glad we got that settled," Harry told her with a smile, "do you want to go with me to my folk's for dinner? Then you won't have to cook anything."
Harry always acted like taking her to his mother's was the same as treating her to dinner in a fine restaurant. A restaurant where the other diners treated her like she was invisible, until it was time to clear the table and wash the dishes and straighten up the kitchen.
" Hah, I'll pass, if you don't mind. Go ahead without me."
"Yeah, whatever," Harry said over his shoulder, already going out the door.
"Hey " Harry shouted from the outside step. " One of your rugrats left a basket on the stoop with a teddy bear in it. Don't you teach 'em anything? This is Valentine's Day coming up, not Easter. What dummies you must have this year. Sheesh." Maria got up and retrieved her basket from the stoop. She sat clutching her soft teddy bear while she reopened her delicious e-mail from "T." She never even noticed Harry's car pull down the driveway.
DAY 12 - Feb 12th
Everyone at school was so excited.. Sugar buzz. Her day flowed at breakneck speed, her school day over almost before it began. Maria was a bundle of excitement as she rushed home.
Maria's gift was delivered by UPS to her back door almost as soon as she arrived. It was a wooden hat rack, some assembly required. Maria saw no note nor message on the box when she opened and removed the wooden pieces. Harry stopped by on his way out the door. Harry, of course, ridiculed such a weird purchase. But "hell, if you think you need one" he said, shaking up the box (knocking styro-popcorn all over the place) and perusing the packing slip. The dedication was strange. "A place to hang my hat at the end of a long day," Harry read off, frowning. " Are you gonna start wearin' hats, now? Shit, Maria, don't you have enough stuff in that closet? Now yer gonna be hanging stuff out here, too?"
Maria just smiled to herself as Harry went out the front door. She had missed that. What did it mean? No, SHE did not have many hats and didn't really intend on getting any. She figured "T" would just bring his own.
DAY 13 - Feb 13th
The day before Valentine's Day Martina had a big party at her house. It was her traditional annual event. And Maria was really looking forward to it.
Just before leaving school Maria received her official Valentine from her husband Harry. An officer from the sheriff's department handed her notice to appear in court for the disillusionment of her marriage.
Divorce. Maria could say that she knew it would happen some day, but she did not know it would be today. Yes, she shed a tear, vastly disappointed that she had made such a damned poor choice in a mate.