Sally hurried back out of the front door of her halls and almost didn’t stop as she bumped into Julian. “Hi!” she said breathlessly, gazing up at him adoringly.
“I’m glad you came back,” he laughed, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “I was worried for a moment that you’d changed your mind about coming out with me tonight.”
“Of course I came back,” she said, hugging him close for a moment. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world!” She wondered whether she was going to get a kiss hello. “You look very nice in your suit,” she added as she rested her cheek against his chest.
“Not as good as you look,” he replied easily as he wound his arms around her and gave her a squeeze.
“I haven’t got anything particularly special on,” she said lightly, lifting her face up, hoping for a kiss as she rubbed his back.
“But everything looks special on you,” he smiled, taking the hint and lowering his mouth to hers.
She kissed him back, feeling elated at his kiss. She pulled back after a moment and giggled. “You’re such a flatterer Ju,” she whispered. She pushed her hair out of her eyes and pulled back a little. “Shall we go?” she asked. “I don’t even know where we’re going. Are you going to tell me?”
“It’s supposed to be a surprise,” he grinned, offering her his arm.
“You know that phrase never fills me with confidence where you’re concerned,” Sally teased him as she took his arm and they began to walk away from halls, and towards the town.
“Have I ever given you a horrible surprise?” he asked, pretending to be hurt at the suggestion.
“No, but you have led me to a few,” she said with a giggle.
“I admit nothing,” he grinned.
“You’re very mysterious,” she said as they walked down South Street.
“Well I have to keep the ladies… my lady interested,” he said, quickly amending his sentence in case she took offence.
“Oh yes? Your ladies?” Sally asked, straight-faced.
“No, that was a silly mistake,” he said, going red. “You know you’re the only girl for me.”
“I should hope so,” she laughed.
Julian grinned and led her to MacGregor’s, a rather expensive restraint. He knew Anatoly had taken Darrell there on their first date and wowed her, and Sally had been very impressed.
“Are we really going to MacGregor’s Julian?” she asked as she looked up at the restaurant in front of them.
“Um, yes,” he said a little nervously. “I wanted to treat you.”
“Oh Julian,” she whispered, and flung her arms around him, squeezing him tightly.
He laughed a little. “I’m glad the idea seems to have gone down well. Shall we go in?”
She nodded eagerly. “You’re such a lovely man Julian. You really are,” she whispered before she kissed him gently. Julian smiled and opened the door for her, letting her go in first.
Sally gasped as she went into the restaurant, waiting for Julian to catch up with her. “It’s wonderful,” she said as he slid his arm around her waist.
“Table for Kirrin,” he said to the waitress who led them to a little table for two with a candle flickering in the middle.
Sally smiled at him as he pulled the chair out for her. “You’re such a gent,” she whispered as he sat himself down. “Have you planned the menu?” she added with a smile.
“Well, I checked to make sure there were things you would like,” he said as he took his own seat. “But I thought you would like to choose yourself.”
“You are kind,” she laughed a little. She took the menu she was handed and scanned it. “Oh I do like the sound of the salmon.”
Julian turned to the wines and perused the list. He gulped a little at the prices and selected one of the more affordable ones, asking the waitress for a bottle rather than two glasses.
Sally looked a little surprised. “Are you sure you want wine?” she queried, reaching for his hand.
“I thought about champagne but then we wouldn’t be able to afford to eat,” he quipped.
She smiled fondly at him. She wondered how he would pay for this evening, even if he would have any money left for the rest of the term. “Why won’t you let me buy the wine?” she offered. “I know its expensive in here, and it’s such a lovely thing for you to bring me here, but I can at least help with the bill, can’t I Ju?”
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m taking you out tonight and I won’t hear another word about it Sally Hope.”
“If you’re sure,” she said softly, smiling at him.
“Absolutely,” he said. He had received some money from his parents at Christmas and had been saving money each week from his allowance at university since the new term had started.
“You’re a darling,” she told him as the waitress came over with their wine.
Julian went through the process of tasting the wine before letting the waitress fill their glasses, glad he had eaten out with his parents often enough to know how to act in a restaurant like this one. “You can have a starter if you like,” he said to Sally.
She watched him admiringly as he dealt with everything in such a grown up manner that she had to shake herself out of her daze when he spoke to her. “Thank you, but no. A main will do for me,” she said with a smile. “Butterflies,” she admitted bashfully. “And maybe we can see about pudding?” she asked hopefully.
Julian smirked, just a little. “All right. Main and a pudding it is.”
Sally beamed at him and waited for the waitress to come over and take the orders. “It’s nice in here,” she added when the order was taken. She looked around and sighed. “So glamorous!”
“Well, I wanted tonight to be a little bit special,” he admitted. “Not just pie and chips in a cafe.”
“Well, it’s nice to know that you think I’m worth more than pie and chips,” she teased.
“Well, on special occasions at least,” he teased her back.
“Cheeky!” she shot back.
“I rather thought I was charming, actually,” he smiled.
“Only sometimes,” she giggled.
“Well, that’s better than never,” he smiled, stroking her fingers as their hands touched on the table.
She smiled and laced her fingers through his. “I do adore you,” she said softly.
“I feel quite the same,” he replied, giving her hand a little squeeze. “You are a very special girl.”
She blushed. “Thank you,” she whispered.
Julian smiled, too busy gazing at Sally to notice the waitress had reappeared with their main courses.
She jumped a little when she saw the plates. She smiled at Julian. “Whoops,”she giggled and took a sip of wine while the waitress put the plates down.
Julian thanked the waitress and reached for his own wine. Sally smiled at him over the glass and thanked the waitress quietly. “This looks lovely!” She said to Julian.
“Well, tuck in,” he said with a smile. “I bet it tastes good, too.”
“So does yours,” she smiled, nodding at his chicken as she dug into her salmon. “Mmmm,” she said after her first mouthful.
Julian smiled and spread his napkin over his legs before he tucked in, concentrating on eating carefully and not spilling anything.
Sally watched him as they ate. “You’re eating so neatly,” she said softly. “Most proper.”
He chewed, swallowed and dabbed his mouth with his napkin. “I don’t want to embarrass myself,” he admitted. “This isn’t the sort of place you want to dribble gravy down yourself.”
“True,” she said softly. “Still its grand to see your good manners!”
“I’m always well mannered,” he protested.
She giggled. “Not always,” she smiled. She took a few more mouthfuls. “It’s lovely here.”
“Well I’m glad you like it,” he said. “I was a bit nervous about making a reservation in case you suddenly decided your favourite place to go was somewhere else.”
“As if,” she smiled. “Its nice to come here.”
“Well, I hope you shan’t be too disappointed if we can‘t come here very often,” he said carefully.
“No that’s fine,” she promised. “Once is enough. Maybe we could get our parents to bring us at graduation or something?” she suggested.
“That’s a long way off,” he reminded her with a grin. “We‘ve not even finished our first year yet! Anyway, there’s always next Valentine’s day. Or your birthday,” he added. “Assuming you’re still putting up with me by then.”
“I can‘t imagine not putting up with you,” she said, flushing and emboldened by the wine.
“Well that’s good to know,” he smiled. “You don’t think you’ll get sick of me then?”
“I hope not,” she smiled.
“So do I, very much,” he said seriously.
She smiled and moved to kiss him, before sitting down in her chair again. “You’re very sweet,” she said with a grin and started on her food again.
Julian relaxed a little and they talked as they finished their first courses. The waitress was quick to remove their plates and offer them the dessert menu.
“Everything looks so lovely,” Sally cooed happily. “What do you think you might like Ju?”
“Well,” he said, considering the menu. “The ice-cream sundae sounds appealing.”
“I was looking at the lemon tart,” she said gently.
“Hmm so you don’t want to share then?” he teased her.
“Well, I don’t know. Do they do a sharing sundae?” she asked.
“I can ask,” he smiled. “Would you like chocolate, strawberry or just vanilla?”
“Strawberry please!” Sally grinned.
Julian grinned back and looked around for their waitress. She appeared quickly when she saw him looking and listened to his request, giving him a nod. “Of course sir,” she said, deftly relieving them of their menus.
Sally beamed. “Did you just order a strawberry sundae to share?” she giggled.
“I might have done,” he grinned.
“It looks like you did,” she added as she saw the waitress came out with the dessert.
“Drat, she‘s spoiled my mysterious surprise,” he chuckled.
“Well I heard you!” she laughed.
He gave a sigh. “I can‘t sneak anything past you, can I?” he laughed as the waitress placed an extra-large sundae in front of them, complete with two long handled spoons.
“Definitely not,” she smiled. “You’re very kind,” she added, catching his hand and kissing it.
He grinned. “I also love sundaes,” he said, grabbing a spoon with his free hand. “So you’d better tuck in before I eat it all.”
“Even you could not eat all of this!” she teased.
“Oh I could give it a very good attempt,” he promised.
She laughed as she began to tuck into the extra-large sundae, and picked the whole strawberry off the top. “Can I have this one?”
“You’re not going to share it?” he asked, pouting a little.
“Halves?” she offered.
Julian grinned and plucked it from her fingers. He dipped it in the cream that had been layered on top of the ice cream and then held it up to her mouth. She smiled and gently moved to bite down on the strawberry. Julian laughed quietly and tried not to get cream on her face before he took a bite of the strawberry himself.
She smiled. “You have cream on your nose!”
Julian blushed and wiped at his face with his napkin. “Is that better?”
She nodded. “Much.”
Julian smiled and stuck his spoon into the large sundae.
Soon the pudding was all gone, every last trace of strawberry sauce scraped from the sides. “That was lovely,” Sally said with a smile, as she sat back. “Thank you for a lovely evening.”
“It’s not over already, is it?” he asked with a charming smile. “I had hoped you would accompany me on a walk?”
“I could manage a walk,” she said. “After all that food actually I think it would be best.”
“Yes, we should try and work some of it off,” he grinned. “Would you like another drink before I ask for the bill?”
She shook her head. “No,thank you Ju.”
“All right,” he nodded, indicating to the waitress that he would like the bill.
Sally stood up. “I’ll be right back. I need to powder my nose,” she said.
Julian nodded and accepted the paper bill from the waitress. He winced a little as he saw the total and reached for his wallet. He knew Sally was worth every penny but it was an expensive meal.
Sally came back after she had tidied herself up and smiled at him. “Ready to go?”
“Yes I’m ready,” he smiled, helping her into her coat.
“Was everything all right with the bill?” She asked tentatively as she shook her hair out.
“Yes, it’s all taken care of,” he said, shrugging his own coat on.
She smiled. “You’re so sweet,” she said as she slipped an arm through his and he helped her out of the restaurant.
“Where shall we walk?” he asked when they got outside, hoping Sally wouldn’t be too cold.
“Down the scores to the cathedral and along the pier?” she said promptly.
He chuckled. “As the lady wishes.”
She smiled and slipped her arm through his again. “It’s been a wonderful night Ju. Thank you so much for dinner. I do appreciate it!”
“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” he smiled.
“Very much so,” she murmured appreciatively. She wandered in step with him and paused when they reached the castle, and the ladies beach. “How about a paddle?” she challenged.
Julian barked a laugh. “It’s freezing tonight Sally! You’ll catch your death of cold.”
“Well, all right,” she said bashfully. “Lets get on to the pier then?”
“Just as long as you promise to be careful and not be blown away?” he asked.
“I have you to hold on to, so I don’t think that will happen!” she laughed.
He took hold of her hand where it was against his arm. “I shall hold on for dear life.”
“And don’t push me in!” she teased as the wind blew her hair away from her face.
“As if I would!” he said.
She smiled and kissed his cheek as they made their way to the end of the pier. Sally looked at the iron ladder that would get them up to the next level. “You go up first Ju, then you can help me up,” she said with a smile.
Julian knew that in this situation ‘ladies first‘ wouldn’t be the right thing so he grabbed a hold of the freezing iron bars and heaved himself up.
Sally waited until he was at the top and started to climb after him. She reached out a hand when she was near the top and let him help her up to her feet. She went to stand, leaning on the iron railings at the end of the pier and smiled.
“We’re lucky it’s a clear night,” he murmured as he moved to stand behind her, his hands lightly on her waist.
She lent back against him and smiled. “Yes, we are. All the stars look like they’re shining very brightly up there,” she added with a smile. “And St Andrews looks like a Christmas card, all lit up at night.”
“It is a lovely sight,” he agreed, though he was looking at Sally and not the view.
She looked up at him and smiled fondly. “You know, I don’t even think you’re looking,” she teased quietly.
“I’m looking,” he smiled down at her, winding one arm around her waist and using his other hand to tip her face up so he could kiss her.
She felt herself shift onto tip toe so she could kiss him back better.
“Oh Sally,” he whispered, feeling like he must be the luckiest man in the world.
Sally sighed gently, and cuddled into him. “Dear Julian, you’ve been so wonderful to me tonight. I couldn’t be luckier to have you in my life.”
“You deserve someone to be wonderful to you,” he said bashfully.
“I’ve got you, that’s all the matters,” she said with smile. “Thank you for a wonderful Valentines.”
“Happy Valentines, sweetheart,” he smiled. “I um, got you a little gift,” he added, reaching into his coat pocket.
“You did?” she asked, her eyes wide. “I didn’t get you anything Ju! You took me out, you didn’t need to get me anything!”
“It’s just a little something,” he said hurriedly. “I felt it was traditional, to get a gift seeing as I didn’t get flowers or chocolates.”
“Oh Julian, you really didn’t have to! I don’t mean to be ungrateful but I wouldn’t have minded not having a present, being with you was present enough!” she said gently.
“Should I take it back then?” he asked uncertainly.
“No!” she said quickly. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you, I got got flustered at how lovely you’re being to me,” she said, flushing.
Julian smiled a little and pulled the small paper wrapped package out of his pocket. He tapped her lightly on the nose with it and then handed it to her. “Honestly it’s just a little thing.”
She bit her lip as she took it. “You’re too sweet,” she murmured as she unwrapped the present with trembling fingers. She pulled away the brown paper to find a lovely leather notebook with the St Andrews crest on the front. “Oh Julian!” she whispered and flung her arms around him.
For all your history notes,” he said with a bashful smile.
Oh its too lovely for school work,” she blushed. “More like a diary!”
“You keep a diary?” he inquired curiously.
She nodded with a smile. “I do, and I think this will be something a bit more special. All my times with you, perhaps,” she said quietly, with a blush on her cheeks.
“Well, there’s still a little in the pot I think,” she said kindly. “And the fire’s still warm. Come in and warm up a little while I tidy up.”
“We don’t want to put you to any trouble,” Sally said quickly, looking grateful yet worried about intruding in the woman’s evening.
“You won’t as I know you’ll behave,” she said, beckoning them in. “Lock the door behind you please,” she added to Julian.
“Thank you,” Sally said as Julian locked the door. “Its very kind of you to do this!” she said with a smile.
“I’ll pour you some cocoa,” she said, bustling off. “You two sit by the fire.”
“Thank you,” Julian said, smiling charmingly at her.
“There are a few left-over buns if you’d like them?” she called from behind the counter.
“Yes please,” Julian called as Sally nodded shyly.
The woman came over presently with a tray of cocoa and the buns. “I shan’t charge,” she said firmly before Julian could say anything. “It’s all left-overs.”
“But you’re being so kind to us, can we not do something for you?” asked Sally before Julian could insist.
“You’re amongst my best customers with how often you’re in here,” she chuckled. “That’s enough.”
“Well you do make the best cakes in town!” Julian said taking one of the cakes from the plate she had given them.
“Oh I don’t know about that,” she said. “But you’re kind to say it. Now I had better get my cleaning and tidying all finished so do excuse me.”
Sally smiled and Julian grinned. “Shes a wonderful,” he said, brushing crumbs from his jacket. “Cake?” he offered her.
“Don’t mind if I do,” she smiled, helping herself.He smiled and poured the cocoa, and handed Sally the first cup.
“I don’t know how I’m managing to eat again, after our big dinner,” she laughed.
“Fresh sea air,” Julian smiled as they cuddled up together on the sofa next to the fire.
“Is that your excuse, is it?” she teased as he reached for a second bun.
She laughed. “I shall remember that then.”
They sat together quite happily for a little while, the fire warning them nicely as the woman bustled around with her mop.
“This has been a lovely evening,” Sally murmured, resting her head on his shoulder.
“One of the best,” Julian agreed with a smile. He kissed the top of her head. “Shall we make a move now, we have finished after all!”
“Yes,” she said regretfully. “We had better let her get closed up finally.”
Julian smiled and left a pound note on the table and thanked the woman profusely before they left.
“Ju,” Sally giggled as they left. “She’s going to be very cross when she sees you left her money.”
“But its only fair. What else am I supposed to do?” He asked with a smile. “And its only to show my appreciation!”
“I know,” she smiled. “But she seems the sort of person who would be cross that you’d paid for a gift.”
“Well she can box my ears next time we go in there then,” he laughed.
“I shall enjoy seeing that,” Sally laughed.
“Would you really let me have my ears boxed Sally?” he chuckled as they strode quickly towards her halls, even thought he would have liked to dawdle with her. However it was very cold and he didn’t want her to catch a chill.
“It might knock some sense into you!” she said with a laugh.
“I doubt it,” Julian smiled and stopped as they reached the front of the halls. “Well this is where I leave you darling Sally. I’ve had a wonderful evening. I hope you have too!”
“I have,” she nodded, “it has been truly wonderful!”
“I’m glad,” he whispered, moving to kiss her. “I have tried to make it perfect for you!”
“I was with you,” she said soppily. “So it was always going to be perfect.”
He smiled and kissed her again. “Go on,” he whispered. “Keep talking like that, and my head will be too big to go through the door to my halls,” he teased.
“David and Anatoly would have a field day,” she giggled. “I shall see you tomorrow then, I suppose.”
“Tomorrow, for lunch?” He suggested with a smile.
“It’s a date,” she said softly.
He nodded, kissed her once more and let her go to the door. “Sleep well Sally,” He said fondly, and waved at her as she headed inside.
Sally waved back and then headed up to her room. Inside she shrugged off her coat and scarf, hanging them on the back of her desk chair before she lay back on her bed, a smile on her face as she replayed the evening in her head.
A quarter hour later Darrell practically floated into her room.
“So?” Sally grinned, sitting up to look at her. “Did you have a nice time?”
Darrell dropped onto her bed. “I had the best time,” she said dreamily.
Sally smiled secretively, knowing fine well Darrell hadn’t been out with David, but didn’t say anything. “Well so did I,” she said as Darrell got up to scrub her makeup off and put on pyjamas.
“That’s good,” Darrell said absently.
“Aren’t you going to tell me what you got up to then?” Sally asked, wanting to talk about her date but knowing that Darrell wouldn’t ask until she had asked about her date.
“Well, David and I went to the cinema,” Darrell said, practically bursting to share her news. “But after the cartoon he disappeared off and all of a sudden Toly sat down next to me. Can you believe it?”
Sally giggled. “Yes, I can! I ran into him before I went on my date with Julian,” she said with smirk.
“You did what?” Darrell shrieked, turning to face her with her hairbrush still caught in her hair.
“I saw him when he came to see you first! I told him where you were going and to freshen up! That’s when I darted back here to tell you to make sure you dressed up!”
“Sally Hope,” Darrell replied, pulling the brush free. “You’re awful! I can’t believe you didn’t tell me!”
“I wanted you to be utterly surprised darling,” she said bashfully.
“Well I was!” she said. “I got the fright of my life when I turned around and David had morphed into Toly.”
“But it was a nice fright though,” Sally insisted.
“Well yes,” Darrell allowed. “And we had a lovely evening. He even brought me a card!”
“How sweet,” Sally said with a smile. “Julian got me a present,” she said bashfully.
“Ooh really?” she asked, propping her card on her desk where she could see it. “What did he get you? And how was your meal?”
Sally nodded and then showed Darrell her present and told her what the meal was like. She blushed a little when she mentioned the cafe, feeling like it was a big secret.
“Sounds like you had fun,” Darrell remarked. “I thought you would be impressed by MacGregor’s,” she added, letting slip that she had known the plan all along.
“You knew?!” Sally exclaimed.
“Well, Julian might have asked my advice a few weeks ago,” Darrell admitted.
“You kept that one quiet!” Sally laughed. “Well well! How long has he been planning this?”
“Oh… ever since he met you?” Darrell laughed. “No, just a few weeks I think.”
“Oh, all right,” Sally smiled. “Anyway, it sounds like we both had a special night! I hope David didn’t feel too left out!”
“We did. And I know, poor David. I don’t know what he did after he left the cinema.”
“Maybe they swapped seats, we can find out tomorrow,” Sally said as she got ready for bed. “Well I think we both had wonderful Valentine’s days, don’t you?”
“It couldn’t have been better,” Darrell agreed, flopping onto her bed with a happy sigh. “We have two wonderful boys, don’t we?”
“We do,” agreed Sally. “Not that we would tell them that!”
“No,” Darrell laughed. “At least, not too often,” she amended. “We should never hear the end of it otherwise.”
“Never ever,” Sally said cosying down into her bed and yawning. “Never ever!”
Darrell smiled to herself and flicked out the light. She and Sally were very lucky, she knew.