Not what was promised this week (I can’t actually remember what was) but Stef and I had a sudden urge to write a Valentine’s day fic. As we’ve not shared any of what we’ve written later in these characters’ lives we’ve set it in the February after New Year’s Dip takes place.
This is part one anyway, and we’ll have more for you soon.
Julian bounced down to the breakfast hall on the fourteenth of February and smiled at David. “Morning David! How are you?” he asked. “Did you get those flowers ordered for Peter like you wanted?”
“Well aren’t you cheerful,” David groused, hands in his pockets. “I got it all arranged with the florist. They’re going to deliver them to her over at the riding stables this afternoon. Not half as good as being able to give her them myself, but at least she’ll know I’m thinking about her.”
“That’ll be nice,” Julian agreed. “I am a little. I’m all set to take Sally out tonight, and then for a walk,” He smiled. “What are you going to do tonight?”
“Sit and be miserable,” David joked as they walked down the corridor. “I’m kidding,” he added, before Julian could say anything. “I’ve got tickets to the cinema. Darrell and I are going to go, seeing as Toly said he wouldn’t be back tonight.”
Julian nodded. “No back row shenanigans now! Toly will be upset if you get up to anything with his girlfriend now, won’t he?” Julian chuckled. “What are you going to see?”
David gave Julian a thump. “As if I’d even think about sitting in the back row with her. Aside from the fact that Toly would kill me, Peter would never forgive me either! And we’re going to see Alice In Wonderland,” he added with a sigh. “Darrell doesn’t want to go see anything romantic. Or anything with spies in it.”
“Alice in Wonderland is a decent, if confusing, film to watch,” Julian agreed. “Well I hope you have fun.” He tucked into his porridge. “Aren’t you going to ask me where I’m taking Sally?”
“Do I have to?” David asked. “I’m not sure I want to hear you going on about your perfectly planned evening and how beautiful Sally will look.”
“Am I that bad?” He asked with a grin.
“You’re worse,” David said with an answering grin. “You go all soppy, you know.”
“No, I don’t! You go soppy about Peter as well!”
“It’s not like I get much chance to do that,” he grumbled. “I see you gazing lovingly at Sally every day, remember.”
“Not every day!” Julian groaned.
“Yes, every day,” David nodded. “And if you aren’t looking at her you’re talking about her. Or gazing soppily into the distance and thinking about her.”
“I don’t, honestly David. You are just making it up!” Julian protested.
“I’m not, you know,” David said. “You’re nearly as bad as Darrell when she’s mooning about, moping about Toly being off goodness knows where.”
“What are you so bitter about today?” Julian asked, surprised at his friend’s venom. “Cheer up anyway, and let’s get over to the main campus for the lecture.”
David looked uncomfortable and shifted in his seat. “I just miss Pete, that’s all. What I wouldn’t give to see her even just for five minutes.”
Julian patted his shoulder and smiled awkwardly. “I know, let’s go shall we?”
Sally beamed at Darrell as she came back into the room from the wash room. “I can’t wait for this evening! What will you do with yourself?”
“David’s taking me to the cinema,” Darrell replied without any real enthusiasm.
“That’s nice,” Sally said with a smile. “What are you seeing?”
“Alice in Wonderland,” Darrell answered. “It seemed like the best choice. It was that or something soppy and romantic and I can’t imagine sitting through something like that with David. It’s going to be awkward enough going out together on Valentine’s day, everyone will think we’re a couple!”
“No, I can imagine that would be a bit awkward,” Sally agreed. “I wish I could magic Anatoly back for you Darrell, I really do!”
Darrell sighed and gave her a weak smile. “At least it means David’s not on his own tonight, like he usually is.”
“That’s true,” Sally agreed. “Are you ready for classes now?”
Darrell ran a brush through her hair one last time and nodded. “Yes, let’s go,” she said, getting up and grabbing her bag.
Sally nodded and swung her bag onto her shoulder and followed Darrell out of the door.
Later that day, after classes, Sally ran up to her room and smiled at Darrell who was sitting at her desk. “Am I all right to get ready?” she asked breathlessly.
“Do you want me out of your way?” Darrell asked, sliding a bookmark into the crease of her open textbook. “I’m not going to bother dolling myself up for the cinema. I’ll probably just change my blouse.”
“No, of course I don’t!” Sally insisted. “I just thought I would warn you! How were your lectures?”
“They were good, but I’ve got yet another essay to write now,” Darrell said with a roll of her eyes.
“What are you going to wear tonight? And are you doing anything with your hair?” she asked, trying to be happy for her friend.
“I was just going to put my blue dress on, and have my hair in a small ponytail, with some down, simple like,” Sally said with a smile. “What time are you meeting David for the film?”
“That sounds nice,” she said wistfully, glancing at her wardrobe where she knew there happened to be a pretty green dress she had been looking forward to wearing. “He said he’d stop by here around seven.”
Sally nodded. “Why don’t you dress up a bit? It would make you feel better about Anatoly not being here,” she encouraged her friend.
Darrell shook her head. “I’m not really in the mood,” she said. “And it would be wasted on David, anyway,” she added wryly.
“Balderdash, David would appreciate it, I’m sure,” Sally coaxed as she brought out her best blue dress.
“I’m not Peter,” Darrell pointed out, abandoning her studying to watch Sally get ready. “He’s only got eyes for her you know.”
“I know, and you only have eyes for Anatoly,” Sally said, glancing at her as she applied her makeup. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice time together at the flicks.”
Darrell groaned and let her head drop down onto her book. “Why couldn’t his job have been next week?” she asked uselessly. “My first Valentine’s day with a boyfriend and he’s probably not even in the country.”
Sally moved over to her friend and rubbed her shoulders. “I know darling, it’s horrible for you, I can see that. I wish there was something I could do to help!”
“You just worry about going out and having a good time with Julian,” Darrell said. “One of us should have a wonderful night.”
“I wish I could make it happen for you as well,” Sally whispered, hugging her friend before heading back to her dressing table. She finished applying her make up, and doing her hair before she got into her dress. “Is this too much?” She asked Darrell as she looked down at herself.
“You look lovely,” Darrell said. “Julian is very lucky.”
“I hope he realises that,” Sally said nervously, fluffing her hair.
“He’d be an absolute idiot if he didn’t,” Darrell said firmly. “You look stunning. An absolute knock out.”
Sally swished her dress dreamily, wishing she could believe her friend. She couldn’t stop thinking about herself as being particularly plain, but she smiled at Darrell. “Thank you for saying so, Darrell,” She murmured as she moved to sort out her bag and coat. She checked her little wrist watch and clucked her tongue. “I’m a little keen,” She said. “I’ve got about ten minutes to wait.”
Darrell laughed. “I bet you anything Ju’s already standing downstairs like a lemon, waiting for you.”
“Do you really think so?” Sally asked eagerly, jumping to her feet from where she had sat on her bed and almost flying to the window. She flung back the sash and leant out, and looked down to the front door of the building. “Hie! Julian!” she called when she saw him, and waved like a mad girl. “I’ll be down in a moment!” She added before withdrawing and grabbing at her purse and things, her fingers too shaky to do the latch on the window properly. “Will you be all right tonight? With David for company?” she asked Darrell as she pulled on her coat again. “I don’t suppose I shall be back late from dinner!”
“I’m sure I’ll survive,” Darrell said. “David isn’t that bad. Have fun tonight. And don’t do anything I wouldn’t!”
“All right, and I shouldn’t dream of being anything less than proper,” Sally said with a smile. “Bye for now,” she added as she ran to the door, her coat flying behind her as she flew out of the room.
Darrell gave a sigh and glanced at the clock. She would have time for a quick bite to eat in the canteen before David arrived, she decided and slammed her heavy textbook shut.
Before Darrell could go anywhere however, Sally came tumbling back into the room. “And don’t forget to wear your green dress,” she insisted as she rushed over to her dresser, apparently looking for something. “Aha!” she said triumphantly. “Please do Darrell! It’ll make going out feel nicer! Off again! Bye!” she added as she flew out of the door again, like a mini hurricane.
Darrell shook her head and went down to the canteen, eating a quick meal before she went up to the room to change. She opened her wardrobe to choose a blouse and eyed the green dress. She debated with herself for a minute before dragging it out and putting it on, adding just a tiny bit of makeup and quickly pinning her hair on one side. She looked nice, she decided. She hadn’t put too much effort in, but it was enough seeing as she was only going out with David.
David arrived outside the girls halls just before seven and whistled up at the girls’ window. “Darrell?” he called, seeing the window was slightly open, and wondering if she was waiting for him to give a signal that he was there.
Darrell pushed the window open and stuck her head out. There was no flutterings in her stomach tonight, and no dry mouth though. “Hallo, I’ll be right down,” she called before she disappeared, locking the window and grabbing her bag and coat to hurry downstairs.
David nodded and put his hands back into his pockets. While he waited for Darrell, he whistled a tune, a little happier now some things had been sorted. He had spoken to Peter, who had received her flowers, luckily enough. He was still upset that he couldn’t be with her, but it was nice to spend the evening with somebody, even if they would rather he was someone else. He spotted Darrell coming down the stairs of her halls and went to open the door for her. “Evening Miss Rivers,” he said in a gentlemanly manner.
“Evening Mr Morton,” she said with a laugh, taking the arm he offered her. “I know I will never compare with your Peter but I hope I’ll do for tonight.”
“You look utterly splendid,” David said with a grin. “Anatoly is a lucky man,” he said as they began to walk up towards North Street towards the New Picture House Cinema. “Would you like a drink and some popcorn? Or sweets maybe, for the film?” he offered.
“Well you’re looking quite dapper yourself tonight,” she smiled. “I shouldn’t mind some popcorn, tonight. I always think there’s something more special about that because you don’t eat it anywhere else. Is that silly?”
“No, not at all,” David smiled. “I’m the same, I don’t have popcorn anywhere else if not at the flicks. Peter isn’t too fond of it, so we always have to get her some sweets,” he grinned as he talked about Peter.
“Toly can eat a whole bag himself if he’s given the chance,” Darrell said fondly. “If I get caught up in the film and forget about it for a while it’s all gone by the time I reach for it.”
“Well now, that is a talent,” David whistled as they reached the cinema. He produced the tickets and handed them over to the man at the door and held open the door to let Darrell through. “Shall we get a small box of popcorn each?” he asked her with a smile. “So neither one of us eats the all the popcorn?”
Darrell laughed. “That might be wise. Your habits might be worse than Toly’s, I wouldn’t know.”
“Trust me, I would never eat all the popcorn,” He promised going to the concessions stand and ordering two boxes of popcorn.
“Such a gentleman,” she teased him.
“That’s me,” he said with a mock bow, before paying for the popcorn and handing one box to her. “Shall we go and find our seats?” he suggested, checking the time on his watch.
Darrell nodded and let him lead her into the screen-room. They found their seats which were thankfully not too near the back and sat down with their popcorn. Soon the lights dimmed and a short feature began, making them laugh.
In the break between the feature and the main picture, when the lights were down as low as they would go, David lent over and whispered to Darrell. “I’ll be back in a moment, sorry should have gone before we got in here.”
“That’s ok,” she whispered back. “I’ll not eat any of your popcorn while you’re gone,” she added with a grin. David chuckled, and eased himself up and out of the chair.
As the feature started Darrell got distracted and in a way forgot about David. So when the seat was filled once more, she wordlessly handed the box of popcorn over to the chair and didn’t say a word. She wasn’t going to spoil the film for the others by talking.
“Is that the only greeting I get?” her date asked, leaning in close to whisper in her ear.
“David, I don’t know what you’re playing at but I’ve said hello to you already this evening,” Darrell whispered before turning to look at him a little sternly for interrupting the movie. She gasped when she saw the face looking back at her in the light of the movie. “Toly,” she breathed, her eyes wide and her heart thumping. “What are you doing here?”
“Shhh!” said a person behind them.
Anatoly’s eyes sparkled as he grinned at her. “As if I would miss this,” he whispered as quietly as he could, putting a finger over her lips to keep her from replying, giving a tiny nod at the people behind them.
She couldn’t keep her eyes on the film after that. She refused to look away from Anatoly in case he should disappear as suddenly as he had appeared. It wasn’t until the intermission that she could ask her million or so questions.
“What are you doing here?” she demanded of him, after a hello kiss. “You told me you were busy?”
“I am watching an extraordinarily queer film with you,” he said smartly. “Should I go away again?” he asked her teasingly, enjoying having her so bemused. “I am sure David would not mind watching the rest of this with you.”
“No!” she said quickly. “You’re not going anywhere,” she added moving to kiss him. “But why did you tell me you were busy when you’re here now? And why didn’t you come and see me earlier?”
“I was busy,” he replied. “But I managed to get away. I got back just in time to catch Julian leaving to take Sally out and he told me you had plans with David. I desperately needed to shower and sort myself out before I went anywhere else as I had rather rushed back,” he explained. “So David came to meet you and I thought I would surprise you.”
“But didn’t David know you were back?” Darrell asked. “Or did you just pounce on him in the lobby when he went out?”
“So many questions,” he grinned. “David knew I was coming to the cinema but he obviously did not know when and did not want to spoil the surprise. He came out to look for me at the interval.”
“You wait until I get my hands on him,” Darrell said with a roll of her eyes. She glanced at the ice cream seller. “Are you going to buy me some ice cream then?” she prompted Anatoly with a smile. “And then we can enjoy the rest of the film?”
“I suppose I could treat you,” he smiled, handing her the almost empty popcorn carton and getting up with a slight wince.
She watched him with concern as he limped down to the seller and back again. “Does it hurt a lot?” she asked softly as he sat back down with a grunt.
“Only a little,” he lied. “It is nothing,” he added as he handed her some ice cream.
She didn’t believe him but didn’t press the issue as she took the ice cream.
He smiled and slid an arm around her shoulders as the lights dimmed again, and they resumed watching the odd film that Darrell had chosen.
Darrell cosied up to him and was glad to smell his spicy scent as she finished her ice cream.
After the movie they walked to their favourite fish and chip shop. “So do I get a happy Valentine’s Day kiss?” Darrell asked him as they walked, his arm around her shoulders.
Anatoly turned her to him and gave her the kiss she wanted. “Schastlivym Den’ svyatogo Valentina,” he whispered, pulling a slightly battered envelope out of his pocket. “I am sorry that I did not have time to find a gift,” he said awkwardly.
“That’s all right,” she said breathlessly as she took the card and almost ripped it open in her haste. “Oh Toly,” she whispered when she saw it. “Thank you.”
He blushed a little, the only card he had been able to find was rather soppy. “I am starving,” he said honestly. “Let us get those chips we decided on?”
She nodded and wound her arm around his waist. She beamed to herself and turned to him as they walked, “This has to be the best Valentine’s Day ever,” she said as they reached the shop. “And you’re the best gift.”
“Oh dorogoy,” he chucked fondly. “You are sweet!” He ordered two pokes of chips, as they were known in Scotland, and limped out of the shop with her to eat them in the frigid breeze. They laughed as they stood looking out at the dark sea and fed each other hot, greasy chips between kisses. “I am so glad I was able to get back almost in time for tonight,” he said as he crumpled up the chip papers and crammed them into a bin. “But I think I shall have to get you back to your dorm now, as you are half-frozen it would seem.”
“A little, I wasn’t planning on being outside much,” she laughed. They turned and Anatoly walked her back to her dorms. She turned to him on the step and kissed him. “I’ve had a wonderful evening, thank you Anatoly,” she whispered as she hugged him. “I’ll see you in the morning,” she added, kissing him once more. “Happy Valentine’s, my love.”
“Happy Valentine’s, lyubov,” he murmured before giving her a last kiss. “Sweet dreams.”
She turned and headed upstairs to her room, the biggest smile on her face. She knew she would have very sweet dreams tonight indeed.