tagRomanceThe 11th: Train

The 11th: Train


I couldn't begin to guess what it would be that year. And, as usual, the excitement left me feeling sort of breathless and giddy. All day, I had a hard time keeping my focus on work. (It's never really easy. Working at home and telecommuting my graphic design suggestions through a PC leaves me with plenty of room for distractions. Now that both of the kids are in daycare, I can blast the radio and work in the nude if I want! But, I usually get my assignments completed by deadline and I love my work for the first time in my life.) Nevertheless, I was itching to get the evening started because it was 'his' year. What do I mean by that? Well, each year we celebrate Valentine’s Day in a different way and we alternate years for who gets to come up with the evening's plan. That year, our 11th together, it was his turn and I wasn't just surprised; your brother, the 'stiff', was following my riverboat cruise with dinner and dancing, and, in our honeymoon suite at the local Hilton, a private strip show! He had a lot to try to top and he 'rose to the occasion'!! Let me tell you…

* * * * *

"Hello?" I answered the phone while still entering the latest corrections to a draft. In fact, when the phone rings during the day I never stop because it's usually one of those damned solicitors.

"Hi, honey. Did I catch you at a bad moment?" David asked.

"No babe and I was just thinking about you. What's for dinner tonight?"

"Very funny, Juliet! You know it's your night to cook!" he teased. But David is so staid and direct; I had the slightest twinge of fear that he may have forgotten. His job as a sales rep for a huge musical software company is capable of overwhelming him sometimes. Oh, please, don't let it be that - not today!

But Dave had tricked me and he laughed, "Come on, babe! It's my year and I'm not going to give it up after the 'special' you pulled off last year! I'm going to be home around 5:30 PM so be prepared for a fancy dinner date and, for the rest, you'll have to wait until later!"

"Mystery man, this will have to be great to beat last year!" and we said our goodbyes. I had a picture of a catered dinner in the park (and with our unseasonably warm weather, that was a very real possibility) but that's not his style. Hmmm, I may just be surprised this time...

I put on a mid-length, pale blue chiffon dress with a simple black lace collar, my best black pumps with straps above the ankles, a pair of nude nylons (complete with an old garter belt!), a thin black leather belt, a small diamond necklace, and my blue-faced diamond watch with black leather band. The easy part was my hair; I have a knack for being able to re-style it quickly. I pulled all the curls out and gently shaped it into a Jennifer Aniston look-alike. The mirror told me that something was missing so I found a pair of rarely worn, very old, small hoop earrings. They were ones my mother had loved to wear with daddy when they went out on special occasions. Consulting the mirror now, I knew he'd be surprised.

Did I say surprised? David actually lost his grip on his briefcase coming in the door and I was rewarded with a look of shock that made 2½ hours of lost work completely worthwhile. When he got his jaw off of the floor, he kissed me (a little longer than usual?) and went to shower and dress for dinner.

And, I was duly impressed when he came out! He's usually a 'no nonsense' dresser. Tonight, he wore a tie I had never seen before, a pale pink shirt (with cufflinks, no less!), and the dark gray suit was offset by a handkerchief, which matched his tie! This man is so colourblind, he needs me to buy his clothes for him. And, David simply hates to shave at night. I usually overlook that and I’ve gotten used to his 'rustic evening look'. Today, he was the vision of the man I met and married 11 years ago. I was almost crying as he embraced me and we left the house.

"Oh, it's good ol’ Old Sacramento tonight", I said as we turned into the parking lot off "J" Street. He rarely speaks when he's got little to say and now he just smiled a small, strange smile. Fine, damn it. I will wait and see.

We climbed the stairs from the lower parking level to the street and he stopped, not near the crosswalk (and, he always uses the crosswalk), and waited. I decided to play along and not even look at him as we stood there about 30 seconds: the small, covered, horse-drawn carriage stopped right in front of us. The driver got down, removed a step from somewhere under his seat, and I offered him my hand as he helped me up and onto the ancient passenger seat. David nodded to him and took his place beside me, and the driver boarded and took the reins. I had planned to act as though nothing was unusual but I started to smile, then giggle, finally laughing as we rode through every cobblestone street and alley of Old Sac. David was grinning but never said a word to the driver or me.

After about 20 minutes, the romantic ride ended in front of a restaurant where our driver climbed down and promptly went inside - alone. I started to say something like, 'What's up with this?' but, in moments, he returned followed by two young men in tuxedos carrying a roll of bright red carpet with dark bronze trim and fringe at both ends. They lay the carpet from the open restaurant door to the edge of my side of the carriage where the driver replaced the step and again reached for my hand.

I was too stunned to move so David actually got out on his side and carried me down! I was so startled, he had to grasp my arm to lead me into the restaurant. Again, no words were spoken; I never saw him pay anyone anything and nobody even seemed to notice except me.

We were led through the main floor's dining area by a maitre'd (who neglected to ask who we were yet seemed to know us intimately) and down a flight of stairs to a beautiful patio. The walls were of the original brick from the times before the flooding, when Sacramento was built one story lower. Paintings on these walls were intermingled with ivy and potted plants. The lighting was candles and small fire bowls. A large fountain occupied the centre of the patio with its cool water gently flowing into a pool filled with brightly coloured fish. We were seated at a table with white linens, gold flatware, thick ornate china and crystal goblets. Solely the warm and intimate light of eleven long white candles in a small candelabrum lighted it. And, though there was obviously room for 15 or 20 more tables, none were here save ours - no one else was here.

We were left alone (again, without a word) and I started to cry. I don't know why and neither of us cared. He came to me and held me while on one knee beside my chair until it passed.

Soon the maitre’d returned with a bottle of champagne which he promptly poured into two tall crystal glasses while a waiter brought a heart-shaped box of chocolates with my name embossed in gold calligraphy on the top! Grinning like a kid at the look of wonder on my face, Dave returned to his chair as the first course of dinner arrived - without being ordered! I gasped and started to say something again but restrained myself with a chuckle and started enjoying my favorite salad.

Needless to say, the rest of dinner was served in formal silence and the mood between David and I was pure ecstasy. The maitre’d was always there just as our glasses reached half full but he was never in sight until that moment. Dave took off a shoe and caressed mine under the table with his stocking foot; I reached across and fed him the (gasp!) best part of my prime rib; he stopped and gently stroked my face while putting his wineglass to my lips. Dessert was served but we were both slightly intoxicated and too busy playing with each other like kids. I almost mooshed my chocolate mousse in his face when he dripped wine down from above me, aiming for my mouth, hitting my nose! And just as we were completing our playful repast, another waiter brought a bouquet of eleven red roses in a heavy stained glass vase, putting them by my side. Looking into David’s eyes, I could see he knew just what I was thinking. Words were needless now.

The waiter returned and reached for my hand. I gave it to him and he helped me from my chair. As my now 'bubbly hubby' joined me, we were escorted back through the restaurant with the other waiter in tow carrying both the candies and the bouquet. We were led to the front door through a now crowded restaurant while eyes followed us with looks ranging from mild surprise to envy and (surprise!) to the red carpet and our awaiting carriage. A bow, a curtsy and we were again driven through all the streets of Old Sacramento. David and I barely noticed as we kissed and giggled like kids on a first date.

This time, we ended up near the railroad tracks and some displayed train cars. Once he'd helped me down again, the driver nodded to Dave who handed him his keys and departed with the flowers and the candies still on the back seat of the carriage. Now, with a big silly grin, David led me to a very old, dark passenger rail car and helped me up and into the open-air seating. With a small giggle, he seated me near the middle of the car and began kissing me. I was certainly fine with that and even the gentle, light petting as our passion arose. But, I was resisting when he started removing my nylons (What is he doing?), my garter (Oh, my God!), my jewelry, my dress (If some high school boy brings a girl up here to 'make out' and sees this...!), my bra (OK, fine. I guess I'm fully committed now, right?), and finally my panties. (I'm dying out here!!! Thank goodness for this unusually warm weather!) But, I was also so darned hot I had a very hard time stripping him as slowly and carefully as he did for me. In the end, I nearly ripped his damned clothes off! We sat there a moment, nude, and then made love, each of us doing all the things the other loves and taking just as much pleasure. Our eleven years of experience together clearly showed in all we did.

We dressed slowly, sensually, and walked back to the car. David pulled a spare key from his pocket and opened the car to the wondrous scent of the roses, which were placed in the back seat next to the heart-shaped box. He sat beside me in the parking lot and we just gazed into each other's eyes. I don't know who spoke first, but we ended up talking all over each other about the carriage rides, the dinner, the lovemaking. And, we were laughing and smiling all the way home, where we held hands as he led me to the bedroom.

* * * * *

I'm thinking next year, perhaps dinner (or something else?) in the park may be just the right thing…

* * * * *

AUTHOR’S NOTE: All of the places described in this story are real (though some are composites) and the cobblestone streets of Old Sacramento are shared by pedestrians, cars and many horse-drawn carriages and wagons. The railroad museum is world famous and the railcar where this couple shared their passion is parked just outside.

As with all my stories, the characters are fictitious and should not be confused with anyone living or dead. Although I do, at times, get requests to put specific names into various pieces, nobody I know has ever participated in any of my stories to date. Thanks for reading! :-)

Lenny, February 6th, 2002

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