Valentine’s Day 9:00 AM
“Stop!” The loud, harsh voice of the store owner shouted as Cade pushed through the door. He sighed and turned back into the jewelry store. He’d been caught. He slugged up to the cash register where the owner stood, arms crossed, with a look of disapproval on his face.
“Alright, cough it up son.” The old man behind the counter said holding out his hand. At first, Cade debated whether or not he could still get away with it. The thought left as soon as it came,and he knew there was no way of getting out of this mess easy. Keeping his guilty gaze away from the owners eyes, Cade reached into his black over sized hoodie, grabbed the charmed necklace he’d snatched, and placed it on the counter. The owner picked it up and examined the small heart necklace from their Valentine Day line.
“Is this for a valentine of yours?” He asked lowering his harsh voice.
Cade nodded, still not making eye contact.
“Do you have the money to pay from this?” The owner asked. Cade just shook his head. The man sighed placing the necklace back on the counter.
“Look at me son,” the owner said. Cade looked up, feeling as thought the owner could see all of his secrets. “Don’t let this happen again.” His voice was stern but gentle. Cade nodded, and quickly rushed to the door.
“Wait!” The owner shouted. Cade rolled his eyes turning around.
The man held up the card. “You forgot your necklace.”
Cade walked up to the cash register, confused.
“But I don’t have any money.” Cade’s soft quiet voice murmured. The man behind the counter simply smiled at Cade.
“It’s on the house.” The he said handing it to Cade. Cade accepted the delicate necklace, though he was still unsure why the man was just giving it to him. He’d just been caught trying to steal it, and it wasn’t his first time being caught in his store. After thinking about it, Cade placed the jewelry back on the table.
“I accept this without payment.” His voice was still soft and gentle; Cade had never been the loud type of person. He’d always be silent, and if he had to talk, he’d say as little as possible.
The man behind the counter chuckled deeply. “You were willing to take it without payment a few moments ago.” Cade just looked at the ground and shrugged.
The man sighed. “I’ll tell ya what. You can take the necklace free of charge if you do a little favor for me.” Cade looked up curiously.
“I sort of forgot today was Valentine’s day,” The man started. “I was supposed to make reservations for my wife and I. All the restaurants in town are booked and I promised my wife a romantic dinner.” The man paused as if waiting for Cade to jump to the challenge, but he just stood there thinking What does this have to do with me?
“Well can you help me out son?” The man asked.
“What exactly are you asking me to do?” Cade asked.
“ Figure something out for dinner so my wife won’t give me the could shoulder for the next month and a half. Please?” The man’s attempt at a ‘please’ was quite pathetic, and unconvincing, but Cade decided he would do it anyways.
“Okay.” Cade simply murmured.
“Okay? Great! Here’s my card,” the man said after searching through his pocket to find one. “Call me once you get reservations.” The man’s voice was eager as he practically rushed Cade out of the store. “You can have your necklace once I get my dinner.” Cade nodded and turned away from the store. He took a deep breath in of the cold February air to think about what he should do first: Check all of the local restaurants. He figured he should just go home, get out a phone book and call of them.
Cade started making his way down the cracked sidewalk to his house, thinking about how Ash would respond when he gave her the necklace tonight. Ash was his best friend, they’d grown up together. They first met when they both entered the school’s spelling bee in 3rdgrade. At first Cade hated Ash because she ended up kicking his butt in the spelling bee, but they eventually became best friends. Ash’s parents had passed away when she was 17, and she wasn’t ready to go out into the real world yet, so Cade took her under his wing. He’d moved out 2 years ago, and he was doing pretty well so he figured the more the merrier.
And it was great, sure money was a bit more tight now, that’s why Cade tried to take the necklace in the first place. But they’d never been closer. Cade had fallen for her, hard. But the quiet shy being that Cade was, he didn’t know how to tell her. He couldn’t express how he had to catch his breath when ever she walked into the room, or how his stomach clenched every time she talked about other guys.
But the necklace… if he gave her the necklace for Valentine’s day, she might understand. And she would finally know his feelings.
He walked through the door of his small apartment flat, grabbing the phone and the phone book. Page by page, ring by ring, he called every single restaurant in town; they were all booked until about 11 that night, and that’d be too late. Trying not to get discouraged he tried calling each place again. Some places even three times. Finally, he placed the phone down and sighed, rubbing his eyes. There had to be one place open! He had to get that necklace.
He sat in his chair in silence trying to think of what to do. He needed that necklace. It’s the only way he could win Ash. He couldn’t go another day without telling her, he just couldn’t. It kept getting harder and harder each day.
Suddenly, the idea came to him. He reached into his pocket grabbing the business card of the man at the jewelry store. He dialed the number quickly waiting eagerly for him to answer.
“Hello?” The man’s voice was low and sounded bored.
“It’s me, I found a place for your dinner tonight.”
Valentine’s Day 6:00 pm
Cade stood outside the door of his apartment with his arm at a 90 degree angle with a kitchen cloth placed gently over it. He wore a tight black suit, from years ago, which was way to small on him. His long brown hair which he usually let just fall down in curls was combed back. He stood tall as the black car pulled up and the owner of the store got out of the car, then opened the door for his wife. Well here goes nothing Cade thought walking up to them.
“Good evening, My name is Cade, and I will be your server and cook tonight. Your table is just this way.” He said politely and led them to the small candle lit table for two he’d set up in the front yard of the apartments Though it was just in the front lawn, it was on a hill overlooking all of the small town.
“Oh Harold this is just lovely!” the man’s wife said to him. “Just look at all of those people waiting to be seated at those crowded restaurants!” Cade smiled at how much the woman loved the view. “Oh and just look at the sunset!” He heard her say as he went back inside to get their drinks. He wasn’t 21 yet, so he didn’t have and fancy wines for them, so he just poured some ice water into some wine glasses and hoped they’d be fine with it. He walked out and gave them their waters. The wife was still talking about the view.
“The pot roast and pasta will be out in just a few minutes.” Cade said and walked back into the kitchen taking it out of the oven. It’d been cooking for 3 hours and Cade spent quite a lot of time preparing it. He slowly cut it in half and the rush of sents made its way to his nose. He smiled being proud of his meal. After gathering some meat and pasta onto 2 plates, he made his way back outside to serve them. They were both enthusiastic about the meal as they started devouring it. After serving them, Cade once again made his way into the kitchen. He looked at the leftover food. Should I eat it? No, I should wait for Ash. She always loves when I cook.He thought to himself. Speaking of, where was she? He looked at his watch. It was 7 o’clock now, and she got off work at 6:30. He brushed the thought away as he sat waiting for the couple to finish eating, which didn’t take long.
He strolled out bringing out some cheesecake he bought at the grocery store. He swapped plates with them, and took the dishes. He took the plates back inside and started washing them. While scrubbing each plate, he couldn’t help but smile thinking about how much Ash would love the necklace. He could almost imagine her smile, the smile he’d die to see any day.
Cade looked out at the couple he’d been serving for the night. They looked happy. Sure the guy forgot to make reservations for dinner, but Cade could tell he really loved her by the way he looked at her while she admired the view (again). He looked at his watch. 8:30. Where was Ash?
About an hour later, after the couple had finished their chat fest, they both stood up from the table, and Cade rushed outside. The man looked to his wife.
“Give us a minute dear?” He said sweetly.
She nodded and smiled at Cade. “This was absolutely fabulous, thank you.”
“It was nothing.” Cade said as she went to get in the car. As he looked back the man grabbed the necklace out of his pocket and held it out.
“Thanks again.” He said handing him the necklace. “And if you try stealing from my store again, I’ll call the police.” He said half serious half joking.
“It won’t happen again.” Cade said. “Thanks for letting me keep the necklace.” The man just smiled and nodded as he turned to his car. Cade stood out in the lawn until the car slowly drove away in the darkening night. Cade sat in one of the chairs at the table to wait for Ash. He wanted to surprise her with the necklace right when she got home. So he waited. And waited.
Finally, around 11:30 Ash’s car pulled into the drive way. Cade quickly stood up, neck lace in hand, and smiled when he saw her get out of the car. She smiled too when she saw him. But his smile quickly deteriorated, as Cade saw the other figure step out of the passenger seat. He was tall, dressed well, and practically looked like every girl’s prince charming. Cade stood confused, as they both walked up to him.
“What are you doing up this late?” Ash asked surprised. “And in a suit?”
“It’s a long story,” Cade said quietly, paying more attention to the guy beside her. “Who’s this?”
“Oh I’m sorry! Cade, this is David. David this is my roommate Cade.” She said.
Cade sighed silently as he figured it out.
“Well since we’re all up, let’s all go inside and have something to eat!” Ash said enthusiastically.
Cade tried to keep his smile as she invited him in. As David walked into the house, Ash turned to Cade whispering to him quietly.
“Be nice,” Her voice was quiet and sweet. “I really like him and think I have a chance.” Cade just nodded as he slowly slid the delicate necklace back into his pocket.