Courtney Valentine was ready for work. She felt like today was going to be a very good day. She was up a half an hour earlier than usual, which gave her time to get as dolled up as much as she wanted. Today was the day of her six-month review at her job. She was hoping to permanently get the Executive Assistant position that was open. After Linda Buxham quit three weeks ago, Mr. Schneider had asked her to fill in the spot until it could be filled. She was doing so well that he told her he'd put her in the running for the spot if they couldn't find anyone else.
She strutted into the 15 story glass office building wearing her signature color, aqua blue. Her aqua silk blouse and black skirt fit perfectly. She had also bought a new pair of shoes to match the shirt she loved so much. Her long dark hair was flowing in large curls. She was smiling because the earrings that matched her shoes were on sale just the other day, so she figured why not.
"Ms. Valentine" Mr. Schneider greeted her as he picked up his cup of hot coffee on his way to his office. "I'll be in my office in a conference call with Becket until eleven." He walked into the office and closed the door. Courtney took the note and made sure to put all his calls into voice mail.
Albert Becket was the president of the company she worked for, Becket Industries. They sold new items over the internet and through infomercials, especially late at night infomercials. They did all the hiring for the commercials, production of the products, and they even had an international market. It was a booming industry and a great place to work. They had a volleyball team and a gym with an Olympic sized pool on the 3rd and 4th floors of the office building for employees and their families. They also got to use a lot of the products at home to survey. It helped with keeping the employees involved.
The phone rang around 10AM and Courtney picked it up on the 3rd ring. "Becket Industries. Mr. Schneider's office." she said cheerily into the mouth piece of her headset.
"Hello gorgeous." a deep sexy familiar voice came over the phone. It was her boyfriend Ryan.
"Hello yourself" she smiled. "I can't talk long. Mr. Becket is coming into the office later today. I have to make like a million photo copies. What's up?" she said quickly but was happy to hear his voice.
"Just saying hello to my favorite person in the world." he said sweetly. "Let me know how it goes today. I know you will get the job."
"I'll call you once I know" she said.
"We will go out and celebrate later okay."
His bosses' voice interrupted their call. "Carter!" a male stern voice was heard in the background.
"I gotta go" he said giggling a little bit.
"Okay, bye" she hung up and laughed. He was always interrupted by his boss Mr. Fields.
Ryan Carter was the love of her life and she knew it. She met him her first year in Boston. She had been there a month. It was a big city and she was lost. It was a beautiful spring day in late April. She was at a coffee shop having a cup of hot cocoa when, while reaching for her train map, she spilled her hot cocoa all over the floor. When she looked down to wipe it up, a man with Sandy brown hair was wiping the mess up already.
He introduced himself as Ryan Carter. He ordered her another drink and let her know that it was 'on the house'. They ended up talking for over an hour. He helped her find her train and told her how easy it really was to navigate the city. He also slipped her his business card and told her to call him if she ever needed a tour.
There was just something about him. Maybe it was the way he made her laugh or his green eyes she liked. She couldn't get his smile out of her head and he couldn't get her laugh out of his.
Three days later they had their first date. He pretended to be her tour guide and took her all over the city. They did all the tourist things to do in Boston. They even had dinner that evening at a small romantic restaurant in Cambridge overlooking the Charles River. It was beautiful.
That was nearly three years ago. Ever since then they had become inseparable.
It also turned out that his Uncle owned the chain of coffee shops that they met in and he was learning the ropes of the business, from the bottom. Presently, he was the assistant to the CEO and it was a lot of work. His Uncle Martin treated him just like any other employer and was always on his case about personal phone calls. It was a running joke between the couple.
It was nearly noon when Mr. Schneider came out of his office. He had gotten lunch delivered and Courtney was starving by then. He usually offered her part of the lunch, but this was a big meeting with Mr. Becket and it was off limits for her to eat while he was in the building for a meeting and she knew that was the rules. She was to remain completely professional at all times.
"Nice to see you again Courtney" Mr. Becket said as she handed him his coat and cane. He smiled at her in a very friendly way.
Becket was a larger man with a long white mustache that curled up on each end. She always thought he looked like the guy on the Monopoly box. She smiled at him and chuckled to herself as he left the office. He wasn't a man of many words, but always had a very nice aura about him. She never heard him get loud. And he loved his business.
Mr. Schneider on the other hand was quite the opposite. He was tall and skinny and wore thin rimmed framed glasses. He had sandy blonde hair and was always wearing what she referred to as "Bill Cosby" type sweaters. He was in his late 40's and was always eating fruit. He was a happy man, but very loud. He spoke loud, laughed loud, and when he was mad he yelled loudly. He was very picky and hated things to be late. He rather things be five minutes early than on time. He certainly kept Courtney very busy and on her toes but she loved the job.
"I need to see you in here in five minutes Valentine" he said wiping his glasses off. She knew that that meant now and jumped up to her feet.
His office was very nice. He had a bay window in his office and it was on the corner of the building on the 12th floor. You could see the whole city from there. It overlooked the same river as the restaurant she went on her date with Ryan a year ago. The office was very modest. A nice dark brown oak bookcase in the corner, two comfy brown chairs facing his desk and his computer sat on the crescent shaped desk with a few photos of his family scattered around.
"You still want to work in my office?" He asked hardly letting her sit down. They stood face to face.
"I'd like to, if the position is still available." she gulped. She really liked this job. It was much better than the go-fer job she had for the infomercial lady that sold the food processor that let you make all kinds of juices on the 8th floor. That woman was a diva.
"Well, I notice that you get things done Valentine. You come in on time and you stay a little late on Thursdays when I need to take my late calls from Japan. I like you Valentine. You have a good personality."
She just nodded.
"I need you to make sure to keep this up if I give you this job. There would also be some work with Amelia on the 8th floor. She needs help on Mondays at 8am and I can let Barbra Lee fill in for you during that time. She knows you know the area and how to set up the set for the commercials and seat the audience. Can you do that?"
"Yes sir. " She said and hoped it wasn't too eagerly.
"Good. You will get new business cards starting Friday and a pay increase on your next check. We spoke about that before. Congratulations" he smiled and patted her on the shoulder. Lunch is on Mr. Becket. He says if I don't hire you I am a damn fool!"
"Thank you Mr. Schneider" she said and walked out of the office with pep in her step. She didn't really want to help Amelia but really, it would be 2 hours of her day at the most on Mondays and a break from her desk.
Barbara Lee would be thrilled. She worked as a prop girl downstairs and loved being in the big office. She was also one of Courtney's best friends. They met when Courtney was being orientated last year. Barbara Lee had been there three years and wanted to be working upstairs but it just hadn't been her time yet.
Courtney breezed out of the office and down the elevator to tell Barbara Lee. The women went to Legal Seafood for lunch and were very excited over the new position for each of them. This would be good for Barbara Lee too.
Ryan called during the lunch hour and told her he knew she'd get the job.
That night Ryan picked her up from work and they went to dinner on Newbury Street. During dinner Ryan asked her what she wanted for Valentine's Day. This was a running joke as he knew what she was going to say.
"You know I don't do Valentine's Day sweetheart. When your name is Courtney Valentine, it's just too much to live up to. Do you know how many people have asked me to be their Valentine?" she said half laughing.
Ryan rolled his eyes. This was something he tried every year a few days before Valentine's Day. And every year it was the same. She gave in and let him take her to the movies.
"You say that every year baby. I want you to know that it's not a "hokey" holiday." he took her hand and looked into her light brown eyes.
"I know, but if you don't really do much on it, or haven't really done anything, why should I make it a big deal. Now, Christmas, that's a holiday. Lights and Santa and snow-" She was getting all misty eyed. He loved how much she loved Christmas.
"Yeah, but I want to give you something different this year. How would you like flowers or something?" He kissed her hand.
"You can do whatever you want. We can go see that new release I've been dying to see and you can buy me whatever else you want. And I'll try to lighten up, but it really is a hokey thing. But I'll try..." she assured him and kissed him across the table on the cheek.
"Now, that's a different answer than last year. And the right one" he said satisfied.
Two days later Valentine's Day had arrived and Courtney was going to sleep in. It was good getting the new position but all the celebrating was draining on her.
She woke up to her text message ring tone. "Happy Valentine's Day!" it read. It was a photo text with a red rose and text underneath the photo. She smiled and rolled her eyes. Of course it was from Ryan. She text him back "Thank you and Happy Valentines day to you too!"
When she went into her kitchen she saw a dozen red roses on the dinning room table. Larry, the doorman must have let Ryan in. They were beautiful. With the bouquet were a teddy bear and a cup of coca from their coffee shop and a note that read "Go to Jillian's Dress Shop at noon and give your name." She made a puzzled face and read it three times to be sure of what it said. There was no signature. It surely had to be from Ryan. She watched the morning television shows and soon got ready to go to Jillian's dress shop.
When she reached Jillian's dress shop, her favorite dress store, she met Melanie at counter. "Oh you are here for your dress huh?" She smiled.
"I guess so." Courtney was so dumbfounded.
Melanie returned from the back of the store with a box wrapped in a pink bow. She smiled at Courtney and handed her a note.
"What's this?" Courtney asked.
"I'm just supposed to hand you that, girl. Have a good day" Melanie smiled in an over friendly smile and went to help out another customer.
Courtney went outside and sat on a chair outside the ice cream shop. People were everywhere getting Valentine gift things. She enjoyed watching the men rushing around getting flowers and candy for their loved ones. Courtney opened the card. It was Ryan's handwriting. "Don't put this on just yet. Go to Barbara Lee's house."
On her way to her friend's house, Courtney got a call from her mother. She talked to her and said she'd see her next weekend like she promised. She sent a text to Ryan to thank him for the dress, but got no reply.
"What is he up to?" she thought. He was generally very romantic, but not usually so mysterious. She had no idea what was going on and couldn't wait to tell Barbara Lee all about it. But when she got there Barbara Lee had a surprise all her own.
"Hello!" She exclaimed hugging her friend. She grabbed Courtney's dress and put it inside on the couch and rushed her friend out the doorway.
"Wait I came to see you. See I got this note and-" Courtney stammered.
"Girl, I know. Listen we're going to be late for the movie. Now let's go." Barbara was already hailing a cab for the two women.
"What do you mean? What movie?" Courtney pulled back as the cab neared the curb.
"We're going to see that new release you've been dying to see, remember? Come on. We've been waiting for this movie a long time. Let's go." Barbara Lee shoved her friend into the cab.
Once inside Courtney's head was reeling. Had she planned to see a movie today? "Did you get tickets online or something Barb, because I thought this thing was sold out."
"I did too. But, yesterday I got two tickets from Mr. Haskell. He said he heard us talking about it and he didn't want them." She smiled at her friend.
The two ladies enjoyed the movie and had a wonderful time. They had lunch at their favorite spot and went back to Barbara Lee's house. There had been no word from Ryan. She wondered if she should be worried. When they arrived at the house, Barbara Lee handed Courtney her dress and a Valentine's Day Card.
They didn't normally exchange Valentine's Day things. "What was this all about?" Courtney wondered to herself.
"Uh... Thank you?" Courtney said.
"Oh it's not from me." Barbara Lee said. "In fact, I've got to get ready for my date with Jason so I'll see you tomorrow lady."
"Oh you go on ahead then." Courtney cheered her friend on. Barbara had been dating Jason one of the directors of the TV shows for over four months. They were a great couple and they liked to go out and have a good time at the local night clubs. "Call me tomorrow" she said leaving the apartment.
Once she was in the taxi on the way home she read the card.
Courtney,Unable to speak a tear came to her eyes. What a wonderful person she had found. She leapt out of the cab and flew into her apartment. She placed the box and card on the counter in the kitchen and took a deep breath. She opened the box that had the dress inside. It was beautiful. It was a beautiful canary yellow dress. It was a halter and fit her in every place. The skirt was above the knee and tasteful. Also were shoes to match. She spun around in it after trying it on several times. This was just too much.
By now I hope that you know that the little things are from me.
I hope you like the pretty flowers I had sent. I hope the cocoa was just as tasty as it was the day I met you. I hope you had a good time with your friend Barb today at the cinema. Yes, I had to get a little help from her on that one, but I got the tickets because I know you and her have been dying to see the movie. I am clever I know.
Go home and get dressed up. The car will pick you up at 8pm.
Happy Valentine's Day, Valentine.
P.S. I love you!
Soon after she was ready downstairs lobby assistance called to let her know that her ride had arrived. She went downstairs and as she walked outside a chauffer greeted her. "Good evening Ms. Valentine. He spoke softly and opened the door for her. She stepped into the car and to her surprise Ryan was sitting inside smiling at her with his arms opened wide.
"Are you having a good day?" he said greeting her with a kiss.
"I am indeed" she said.
"Well that's good, because the night time is just beginning." He held her in his arms stroking her skin from time to time. She told him about her day and how sweet he'd been.
As they were approaching their location the driver pulled the window between the front and back seat down and handed Ryan a box. Ryan received the box and rested back into their cozy position. "Oh, this is for you." he tried to sound like he had forgotten to give it to her.
"Ryan, you've done enough already". She said.
It was a small rectangular box. "Well open it!" he said excitedly.
Inside the box was a beautiful diamond necklace and earrings to match. The earrings were tear drop shaped dangly earrings. Not too big, and not too small. They fit perfectly. The necklace was a single diamond teardrop as well that just accented the dress. "Oh, Ryan, it's beautiful. Thank you so much." She kissed him long this time.
"I'm glad you like them." he smiled to himself and kissed her again.
As they got outside she thought they would be at a restraint as she was not paying attention to where they were going. In fact, she wasn't sure where they were.
A gentleman met them outside. He seemed to know Ryan and asked were they ready to go. Ryan put his arm around his girlfriend and they followed the man. She could not believe it! It was a helicopter.
"You ready to fly?" Ryan asked and gave her a wink.
"Ryan!" she squealed. She'd been on many planes, but never a helicopter ride.
They got inside and buckled up. As they lifted off of the ground she noticed herself becoming surprisingly nervous. He took her hand and it made her feel warm and safe. It was dark outside, but the city lights below them made everything seem magical.
They'd been in the air about fifteen minutes when she said "It's beautiful"
"So are you" he said. It was hard to hear over the propellers, but she could read his lips without a problem, which helped her make out his muffled "I love you." He said smiling at her.
"I love you too." She said and they kissed.
"Can you hear me loud enough if I was to ask you to marry me?" He said.
"What?" she said not sure she heard him clearly. Her eyes crinkled up. He loved when she did that.
"I said. WILL YOU MARRY ME COURTNEY VALENTINE?" He pulled out the small ring box. He had had it in his pocket the whole time.
"OH MY GOD!" she screamed.
"Uh, I kind of need an answer here." His hands were shaking holding the box.
"Oh... Oh yes... I mean... Of course I will" she laughed and he laughed. He placed the beautiful ring on her finger. It complimented her other jewelry she had recently received.
"I am so glad you said yes, because we're going to New York for dinner and it would have been a hard ride home." he joked.
They had dinner at one of the most exclusive restaurants in New York City. They had a wonderful time that night. Ryan had rented a private room in the restaurant. It was filled with beautiful red and white candles and they had a man playing the piano. They were overlooking the Hudson eating a very fancy meal.
"So, is this what you meant by giving me something special for Valentine's Day this year?" she asked him smiling. She loved the way he looked in candle light. Flawless.
"I wanted to make sure you remembered this day forever," he said. "So I planned everything as well as I could".
"So that's why you sent me on this crazy scavenger hunt?" She said eating her dessert.
"Yeah, I thought it would be different. Besides it's not a scavenger hunt, it was a treasure hunt."
"Oh, really? Are you the treasure?" she playfully asked.
"No, our love is though." he leaned over to kiss her.
"But, I didn't get you anything." she said feeling a little guilty.
"Oh yeah, you did." he took her hand. "So, do you think that Valentine's Day is still 'hokey'?" He made a funny face mocking her.
"Well..." she squirmed.
"You love it!" he said.
"I love you!" she said matter of factly. "But yeah, it's an alright day."
"I love you too." he said.
They spent the night in a romantic hotel in New York and when they returned home it was time to get down to planning a wedding, which they decided would be in late April, four years after they met. And yes, coffee would be provided by the very place she went and met Ryan.