She wondered what to buy him. The plush toys sat there with their big eyes, and they held red hearts or roses. Next to them bunches of real flowers. Five dollars for an extra-large Toblerone. It’s all she could do to mark the occasion. 

Food on the table for her three children came before romance. She hoped he’d appreciate the gesture. 

“Now be nice to Doug. He doesn’t usually come on a weeknight. He’s probably tired after work.”

“Yeah, yeah, Mum. Do you want us to disappear?” snapped Georgie, her oldest.
“I didn’t want it to sound like that. Do I look alright, Georgie?”
“You scrub up well, Mum,” Georgie gave her mum a squeeze, realising she was nervous before her date.

“Luke, Amy, please help Georgie set the table.”

Long suffering sighs and complaints followed.

“Favourite meal tonight: Mexican. Faster you set the table the faster you can eat!”

A quick reaction of feet running to the kitchen resulted.

A knock came, and as Debbie went to open the front door she thought that maybe tonight might go smoothly.

“Hi Doug, how stunning!”

He was holding a huge bunch of red and pink roses.

“Wow! I mean hi! Happy Valentines!”

They had a brief embrace but yelling had started.

“Stop being bossy, Georgie!”

“We know what to do just as much as you!”

As usual, her twins were arguing with Georgie.

“I could just ignore them,” Debbie smiled, feeling defeated.

“Or I could say hello,” Doug answered.

“Hey, guys! I just hugged your mum. Reckon you’d give me a squeeze too?” he said with a broad smile, holding his arms out and lunging forward. The twins scampered with uproarious laughter, and he jokingly chased after them.

Debbie came into the room and set the box of flowers on the dining table.

“Who’s trying to impress Mum, then?” scoffed Luke.

“Me and I don’t care who knows it,” retorted Doug with a significant smile at Debbie.

“OK, dinner is served,” she said.

“I’ll pass the plates round,” said Doug.

Doug took Debbie’s hand and said in a mock superior tone “To recognise the significance of the occasion of the evening, can I take the lady to her seat?”

Answering in kind, Debbie said:

“Oh, dear Sir, you may,”

The kids chortled.

“You two are old dorks,” Amy said.

“Not so much of the old, my girl,” Debbie laughed back.

“I don’t think I’d admit to being a dork either,” said Doug.

It was going smoothly, after all. This was a “family” Valentine’s dinner – she couldn’t afford a babysitter – and it was going swimmingly. She only hoped he wasn’t pretending, but he really seemed to be enjoying himself.

After dinner, Doug volunteered himself and the kids to wash up, dry and put away. Debbie stayed in the kitchen chatting with the others.

After this, the younger kids had a shower and got ready for bed and would read to themselves for a while. Georgie retreated to her bedroom.

Doug and Debbie had some time alone.

“This is your Valentine’s gift,” She held out the chocolate wrapped with a bow.

“Oh, yum! I’ll enjoy sharing that with you and the kids!”

“No, it’s for you. Not a present for us. It’s for you.”

“Where’s the fun in that?”

“Are you serious?”

“I am serious.”

He placed his arm around her shoulder.

“I always enjoy the time I spend with you and the little folks.”

“You seem to. I hardly know why!”

“You love each other. You welcome me and I enjoy your company.”

“I was nervous you’d want us to be alone tonight. I can’t do that.”

“Look, I suppose everyone has selfish points. But I loved tonight, the kids are great. And I miss you when you’re not around. What you say we go official about it all?”

“Move in together?”

“No. I want you to say “yes”.”

“Yes?”

Yes.”

“Oh.”

“Too big a step? Think about it.”

“Surprise. Yes! Yes! Yes!”

“When will you tell the kids?”

We can tell the kids after a great big romantic kiss!”

This story was written as part of Daily Word Prompt. For 12 February 2017 the prompt word was chocolate. The daily prompt word can be used for a poem, story, photograph, art, song lyrics, letters and you could even use it to tell us a little more about yourself.

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