I wrote this little ditty in honor of my friends over at Book Boyfriend Reviews, who interviewed Nathan Skye from Hedge Your Bets, my latest contemporary romance, about his plans for Valentine’s Day this year. (See it here!) This was the story that was inspired by that interview. I hope you enjoy! And if you are interested in reading about how this wonderful couple got together in the first place, head over to Amazon and grab a copy of Hedge Your Bets.
“Nate, that’s fine. If you just want to stay home and watch movies with some pizza and beer, than I’m game. We’ll avoid the crowds that way. God knows it’s an over the top holiday anyways. Commercial and all that.”
“Yeah, you know I love you, Jessi, but I am not one for any of that hearts and candy crap.”
“Right…yes. Well, look, I love you too. I’m just going to have a nice bath. I’ll see you when you get home. Don’t forget to pick up the beer. Something micro if you please.”
Nate hit the end button and looked over at Rebecca, Jessi’s assistant with a devilish grin. “She bought it, hook line and sinker, thinks we’re watching Rambo and Love Actually over pizza.” He tucked the phone into his back pocket. “And while she put on a good act, I know she’s not happy about it.”
Rebecca giggled. “No I wouldn’t imagine she is! She’s tried on at least thirty dresses sent over from various houses over the last few days. She thought you would at least surprise her with a nice steak dinner out. Little does she know!” She walked over towards one of the racks lining the walls of the small but airy fashion studio Jessi and Rebecca ran their fashion styling business out of, located on 7th Ave in Manhattan.
“Now then, this one was her favorite,’ Rebecca pulled out a lovely maroon satin dress that trailed on the floor with embroidered vines running down the side. ‘but, I have a feeling this will be more in keeping with what you’re planning, Nate.” She flourished a sassy denim and leather number, with a few strategically placed rhinestones. Rebecca smiled. “Classy, with just a touch of country trash, all in one little dress. It’s perfect for the evening ahead.”
Nate pictured Jessi’s soft body in the tight denim and her luscious curves piled high in the leather bustier. “Perfect indeed.” He grabbed the dress off the stand and walked with Rebecca towards the front of the studio.
“Now then, did you call the car company?” Nate picked up the flowers and champagne that were waiting at the receptionist desk.
“I did, although the dude thinks you’re crazy and I am apt to believe him. I mean really, it’s February in New York. You’ll freeze!”
“I am crazy. Crazy in love with my wife!” He kissed Rebecca’s cheek as she sighed. “I only wish someday I have someone as great as you Nate.”
“Well until that day comes, you can at least have a good time of it with a friend, drooling over that actor you both love, what’s his name?”
“Jameson Hendricks, oh sigh! Yes, Marie, my besty from Parson’s, is coming over to watch his newest film!” Rebecca giggled as she opened the front door for Nate.
“A film? Oh that’s never going to do. You two are going to go see him at the New Viceroy tonight for that snoozer Shakespeare play he’s in. The tickets are under your keyboard. Happy Valentine’s Day!” Nathan Skye smiled and ducked out of the office with ringing ears as Rebecca began to scream, running towards her computer. He figured she would also see the reservation for Bond 45 that night. The maroon dress would be a much better fit for that occasion than the one he was planning for Jessi.
Jessi pulled the plug on the bath tub in her small but cozy Dumbo Brooklyn apartment that she was sharing with Nate while his previous pad in Manhattan was being remodeled. She would miss this place, it had been her first big purchase when she had hit the big time but as the drain clogged yet again, she had to admit the 24-hour service call, and door man flat was sounding better and better.
She pulled her ratty kimono robe on, after wrapping her hair in a shocking pink towel, then grabbed up the Drain-o from under the sink as the tub made a hideous burping noise. What a glamorous Valentine’s Day this was turning out to be. Ha! She bent down over the tub and poured the liquid then placed the bottle on the toilet and watched the gel make its way to the drain, completely unaware of her husband sneaking up on her from behind.
Nate slid his hands onto her lower back, then almost fell over as Jessi reared up with a shout, reaching for the plunger in a desperate attempt to defend herself.
Nate jumped back from the swinging toilet implement and quickly spit out, “Hello to you too!”
Jessi clutched at the robe, looking as though her heart was going to explode right out of her chest, before she dropped the plunger. She glared at her husband who was currently sizing up his darling wife in her old robe, day glow pink towel, and panda slippers she made him swear to secrecy on, knowing her carefully constructed public persona in the fashion world.
A piece of her hair had fallen from the towel to stick to the side of her face which was still red and blotchy from the hot water, while her eyes were wider than a giraffe spotting a lion on the Serengeti. A few drops of bath water trailed down her chin then dropped onto the floor and Nate wondered how he had gotten so lucky. He had the most adorable, lovable wife he could ever ask for.
“You look stunning.” With that he stepped over the plunger, which was now stuck to a tile on the floor and pulled her, soaking and all, into his arms. She stayed stiff for only a moment before she melted into him and wrapped her arms around his back before squeezing tight.
“Happy Valentine’s Day Jessi.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day, you big clod.” She smacked him on his tush then pulled back and gave him a full kiss right on the smacker.
Nate instantly warmed to the thought of how this kiss could end up, especially with Jessi in such an easy access robe, then remembered they just didn’t have enough time. Not even for a repeat of that morning’s quick bout on the dryer during the spin cycle. She had particularly enjoyed that, which meant that he obviously enjoyed it as well.
“Well hello there.’ Jessie said as she broke off the kiss, looking down between them. ‘We’re you thinking about that nice load of laundry we got done earlier? Because I do have another load of whites that might need some attention.” She winked at him and Nate laughed then flipped her around to march her out of the bathroom. He headed towards the tiny washing closet, before reluctantly continuing on towards the front of the house, where the kitchen was situated.
“I was thinking about that, and while that sounds fabulous, I have something a little better in mind.” His voice dipped low and seductive, leading a shiver to trail up the back of
“Really? Because I highly doubt Silvester Stallone shooting people is quite as titillating as a few naked house hold chores. Although Colin Firth in that Christmas movie sounds very nice. Oh! Naked movies on the couch, we could pretend we were teenagers again and make out, hickies and all!” She giggled and wiggled her butt back into him, causing him to be ready to ride just when he was calming down.
“Yet another brilliant idea from my genius wife. We should certainly put that thought away for another day. For right now I have a few other things in mind.” He rounded the corner to the white roses, two red ones in the middle, filling a vase on the table with the bottle of champagne and two glasses ready and waiting.
“Oh!” Jessi stopped and put her hands to her mouth, not expecting this from her ‘no nonsense’ husband. “I love them, but I thought you weren’t a flowers and hearts kind of guy, Nate.” She smiled and pulled away from him to smell the bouquet.
He smiled at her sigh and silly little grin, delighted she took such pleasure from such a tiny gesture. Just wait until she saw what he had in store for the rest of the evening.
“Well, I don’t mind a romantic gesture now and then, as long as it’s got my own spin on it. You know I have to do things ‘My Way.’” Nate was a fan of the great Frank Sinatra and it reflected in his suit for that day, which was very dapper and Mad Men in its styling. He even sported a skinny red tie.
“Speaking of Frankie darling, were did you get the duds? You certainly weren’t wearing them this morning, when you left.”
“Well, you always said that the suit on a man was like lingerie on a woman, I just wanted to do a little something special for you in the wardrobe department today, especially as that is your specialty, Miss Stylist.” He smiled and Jessi walked over to run her hands down his tie.
“You always dress nice, Nate, those jeans of yours this morning were looking quite nice indeed. Although, I’ve got no problems with this outfit either. I’m just wondering if that suit is going to wrinkle when I take it off you?” He laughed then and pulled her hands from his chest to kiss both of them.
“God I love you, little girl.” Her eyes lit up hearing her pet name, and his heart grew a few more sizes, if such a thing were possible. He heard a beep from down below that pulled him out of the moment to remind him of their schedule. “I’m going to need to take a rain check on that de-suiting. For now I need you to get dressed quickly, we are going to be late.”
Jessi reared back in surprise. “What? How can we be late for Rambo? I’m pretty sure he’s just sitting there on that DVD waiting for us.”
“And he can continue to wait, as we have reservations.” She gave him a happy surprised look and Nate twirled her around once before he gave her a push towards the bedroom. “Now, go and get dressed. Your dress is on the bed. I’ll open this champagne up while you do so. And find that pile of fur you like to wear every once in a while, you are going to need it tonight.” Jessi jumped up in excitement then hustled into the bedroom as Nate reached for the bottle.
Approximately twenty minutes and one broken hair dryer later, the couple spilled out onto the street from the warehouse entrance of her loft to find a classic, shiny, purple(!) Buick Convertible, complete with the top down and a driver that in short could be described as ‘old-skool-pimp.’
“What!?” Jessi shouted out, taking in the whole scene. It was the middle of winter in New York City and yet the top was down while the driver was accessorized with a large red floppy hat, and gold grills? She laughed out loud and tucked her head into Nate’s chest, suddenly understanding his comment about her Siberian fur coat he normally made fun of.
“Yes, well, I was trying to find the closest match to Gramps old Buick you and I ran around in when we were kids. This was it.’ Nate pulled her into his side and walked her towards the car and the smiling driver. ‘Darling, this is Hoppy B., our driver for the evening and this is his car, Delilah. Usually he rents it out for bachelor parties, birthdays, that sort of thing, but hey, it’ll do. ” Jessi could only laugh in surprise, then waved shyly as Mr. B. opened the car door for her, his red leather glove keeping out the cold. He nodded at her with a big golden grin as she stepped into the car.
“Sister, that coat is out of sight!” She just giggled, before cuddling in close to Nate as the car began to move forward with the top still down. Nate pulled his arm around her and felt himself grow warm with the love for this great gal.
Twenty minutes later, and more than a few funny stares, the unlikely trio pulled up in front of a flashy looking, bright yellow building called ‘The Lonely Cow Poke,’ just on the south side of Houston street. It was Soho’s most famous gay country bar, known not only for their amazingly talented, singing cow girl drag queens but also for their strong margaritas and giant beef burritos.
Nate wasn’t sure if the last attraction was a pun or not, and he wasn’t about to ask. He looked over, a bit worried about what his normally somewhat uptight wife was thinking, but she was all smiles and shivers as she just shook her head at him.
“Well, I never said I wanted to marry a normal man.” She kissed him on his nose then accepted Mr. B’s hand as she stepped out onto the cold pavement right in front of a green flashing cactus. “I wanted a man who was going to be an adventure. An adventure as fun as the ones we had when we were younger. I suppose you’ll do just fine, Mr. Skye.” With that the happy couple stepped into the restaurant.
“Honey, please let me buy you another drink. That suit is absolutely darling. And your lady isn’t bad either.”
“Are you kidding, I love her dress, but if she isn’t careful I’ll bash her over the head with my faux Prada purse to get that coat.”
“I’ll think you’ll have to wait in line behind our driver for that piece of clothing ladies!” Jessi was living it up with the wait staff, who fawned over the couple as though they were royalty.
Nathan wasn’t sure who was having more fun, the “ladies” or his wife. He had never thought she would be this outgoing with the restaurant’s performers, or that they would be so loving back. Of course he wasn’t minding the attention either as he hadn’t paid for a drink all night. He hadn’t even tipped, yet.
“I don’t get it. You are always so perfectly in control with your public persona; I figured you’d be blushing against my shoulder all night long!”
“Nate!? I’m in fashion! How many straight men do you think I work with darling?” Jessie tossed back another tequila shot to the cheers of the queens around her before biting into the lime slice he held out for her. “Besides, I used to live in Soho; the girls I worked with and I would go to places like this for fun after the day was over. I even had a neighbor for a few months who lived above me that was a queen. She got kicked out for all her pacing in heels on wood floors, thank God, but otherwise we got along famously. She’d come over to watch 80’s teen movies and Kylie Minogue videos with my roommates and I.”
‘Shanee-a,’ the ebony skinned Shania Twain look alike, that happened to be 6’2,” grabbed up Jessie’s hand to gush over her ring right then and Jessie told the girls the story of the ring, causing everyone in the house to erupt in awws and oohs while slapping Nate on the back.
“Did I mention they would purchase any accessory we got our hands on as interns at the various fashion houses? Great customers for that sort of thing, especially the shoes as most of those skinny models you see in the magazines are around a size ten, almost the same size as these gals, and let me tell you, no one knows how to squeeze a foot into the shoe like a Queen!”
“True that baby doll!” Shanee-a shouted as she kicked up a leg to show off her bright pink Jimmy Choos that must have been at least three sizes too small. “No pain, no gain I always say, and honey, I got everything to gain with these heels!” The girls erupted and placed a shot in front of Nate, insisting it was his turn. As he was being cheered on by at least five women, who was he to argue?
“And now, the Lonely Cow Poke is proud to present, all the way from Brandon, Missouri, that hussy of the hooters, the temptress of Tetons, the first lady of the lumps, the number one hoochie of the honkers, they woman with the winning WMD’s…our very own Dolly Pardon!!!”
The crowd began to whistle and cheer as a huge “gal” with a beehive taller than Marge Simpson’s and a perfectly trimmed goatee stepped onto the stage, looking as though she was going to fall over from the top heavy load she was carrying in the front of her dress. The violet jumpsuit was a sight to behold in itself, completely covered in rhinestones that depicted a pink Cadillac among cowboys and heifers, and was that Elvis in the background, wrangling a coyote?
“Well hey there Ya’ll!” Dolly cooed to the crowd in a surprisingly soft and feminine voice. “I’m just so darn excited to be here tonight! And with all you lovely lovers on the big couple’s holiday! St. Patrick’s Day!” She got the crowd laughing before jumping into a surprisingly wonderful rendition of ‘9-5.’
Nate watched as Jessie clapped along and sang her heart out, seeming to enjoy every minute of it. Perhaps it was the shots but Nathan was sure she was enjoying this more than she would have enjoyed some fancy dinner at a high priced see and be seen steak house. Certainly she enjoyed this more than Rambo and pepperoni at home. He couldn’t help but smile as he watched her, wondering how he could continue to fall farther in love with the woman of his dreams.
Dolly then began a rather stirring rendition of ‘Jolene’ that had the house going very quiet and serious, until a Queen Jolene, complete with bright green contacts and a bright red wig began to sashay through the crowd, flirting with all the men, Nate included, as she grabbed his tie to play with it before moving on to the next table.
Jessie laughed and clapped, before grabbing Nathan up in a big kiss that had started out a bit silly but ended up quite urgent and full of longing. Perhaps they would take a rain check on the desert he’d ordered, two cupcakes with sparkling frosting and their initials in hearts etched on top. Over the top and ridiculous? Absolutely. Completely him and her? Heck yes! Could he let them melt as he snuck his wife out of there and back to their little love nest in Brooklyn? Hell yes!
But right as he stood up to help her put on her coat, the crowd erupted, cheering for the last song while Dolly pointed at them and a spot light hit the young couple, bathing them in an incriminating light.
“Now ya’ll weren’t thinking about missing my grand finale, were you?”
The crowd booed while Nathan and Jessi just shrugged good naturedly and blushed about being caught.
“Well, I guess you can be forgiven, if you two take to that floor right there and be my first couple to start the dancing off.” Everyone clapped then and Nate looked over at Jessi, who had only grown redder. He had promised he would stop the theatrics once they were married and certainly he’d let go of the illegal ones, but sometimes a guy just couldn’t catch a break.
So he looked over at her and held his hand out while Jessi shook her head no. The crowd booed again while he clutched at his chest as though his heart was breaking, then he got down on his knees, while Dolly shouted at Jessi to “Go on! Stand by your man!”
Jessi turned right then and looked at Dolly with her hands on her hips.
“Excuse me Miss Pardon, but that was Tammy, thank you very much.” The crowd erupted in laughter as Jessi pulled Nate off the floor and folded herself into his arms, surrendering to a big kiss, while the crowd once again chorused with cheers.
Dolly of course, launched into ‘I Will Always Love You,’ while Nate began to move them around the dance floor in a soft slow dance that quickly had everyone else spilling out into the crowd as couples, to dance with the ones they loved. Gay or straight, man, woman, or both, anyone could enjoy and canoodle to one of the most famous love songs ever written.
Nate pulled his wife close to breathe in her scent before kissing her on her soft, black hair. “You are my everything, you know and I thank you for coming on this adventure with me.”
She giggled before putting her hand on his chest, closing her eyes from the flashing lights and glittering disco ball. “And adventure is a good word for tonight, my husband.”
He laughed then taking her hand in his at his chest, slowly turning them around in a tight circle. “Well yes, tonight has been a bit of a wacky adventure, but I’m talking about the adventure that is going to be our life. I know you didn’t marry a boring man, a usual man, I only hope you never regret it.”
Jessi opened her beautiful yellow eyes to his then, as he watched them sparkle with the reflections of crystals and sequins. “I’ll never regret it, Nathan. You might not be a normal guy, but I am anything but the normal kind of girl. We are perfect for each other, and that is why I love you so much.” She took his face in her hands and kissed him while the crowd began to cheer for the ending song, Dolly curtsying daintily for all of her six plus feet of height.
A scream flew up from the back of the room, shattering the happy atmosphere, and Nate and Jessi both went on guard, wondering what could have happened when they noticed it had come from Shanee-a, who held her hands against her chest, a look of utter disbelief on her face.
The crowd quickly parted to show a tiny Asian man in a natty suit on his knees in front of the tall drag queen, a tiny ring held up in his hands.
“My darling Shane, aka Shanee-a Twain, I know it’s not a big fabulous diamond worthy of such a big, bold jewel such as yourself, but I promise to love you and keep you happy in all our days together. Will you marry me, my wonderful woman and main man?”
“Harold, you darling man! I love you with both of my sides more than any one else! Of course I will! And I love this ring baby, you picked it out for me!” Shania pulled the tiny man up off the floor and grabbed him up in a big hug that had his feet dangling in the air as everyone cheered and Jessi looked over at Nate with a huge grin on her face.
He had proposed to her in a similar public fashion not so long ago. They joined in on the cheering then Nate called for some champagne, this called for a fabulous celebration!
That night, as they headed back over the Brooklyn bridge, this time with the top up in the purple pimp mobile, Jessi and Nate cuddled up close, the world slightly spinning with the combination of a few too many drinks and that wonderful feeling of love that made the world feel perfect. Tonight love was in charge, whether it was with two young lovers reunited, a drag queen and her prince, or two fan girls and their favorite actor. The lights on the bridge seemed to twinkle a little brighter as Jessi looked out the window to notice that it was a full moon. It seemed to put a perfect cap on the bizarre and wonderful evening.
“So, what do you think about that earlier idea of getting naked on the couch there, cowboy?”
Nate looked over at her and raised both his eyebrows, giving her a lazy, seductive smile that had her snoozing nerve endings suddenly lighting back on fire. “You mean just like two teenagers, hoping their parents don’t get home too soon?”
“Then I say count me in.” He chuckled and pulled her closer to his side before shouting out over the jazz music blasting from the questionable stereo of Delilah, “An extra $20 if you can get us home in the next five minutes!”
“Right on, brother!” The old purple Buick’s engine revved and began to eat the few blocks towards home. Their home that would always be a base for all their adventures, whatever came along.
Once more now kids, If you would like to read Nate and Jessi’s story head on over to Amazon to pick up your own copy!