I ended up going with this picture as my inspiration:
When we left off, Dean had just texted Kacey that he wanted her to come to Ohio over Valentine's weekend. So let's see what happens when she's up there....
I will never tire of how Dean's fingers feel laced through mine. Which means I'm really a fifteen year old girl at heart whose childhood consisted of too many Hallmark movies. But whatever. I squeeze his hand a little now and he squeezes back, like our own little flirty Morse code.
"Thanks for dinner," I tell him.
He cuts me a wry glance. Poor guy. Because of course his plans for a fancy dinner fell through when the overpriced steakhouse lost his reservation. I've never seen anyone look so flustered. After being told it'd be a two hour wait, I spotted a pizza place across the street. So we dined at Frankie's Pies with teenagers too cheap to take their dates somewhere nice.
"I mean it," I tell him, bumping his shoulder as we walk back to his apartment. "That was good pizza. And the company was pretty stellar."
He smiles and drops my hand, wrapping his arm around my waist. It feels good there, and not just because February in Ohio is freezing and we made the dumb choice to walk to dinner and back. I wasn't sure what to expect when Dean flew me up here this weekend. I've visited him once already. But this time he paid to fly me up, and it's Valentines, which in the eyes of a woman means "Huge Expectations." Or at least, it's supposed to. But pizza and Dr. Pepper with Dean is wonderful. And enough. I'm not expecting a declaration of love or anything.
We amble up to the front of Dean's building. He drops his hand from my waist and reaches for his pocket. "Oh gosh."
Dean sags his shoulders. "I can't believe I did this." He leans his head against the door, defeat washing over him.
"I forgot my key card that gets me in the front door." Dean pulls on the door. Nothing. He sighs. "I bet it's still in the pocket of my other coat." He pounds on the door, but the loud raps are met with nothing but silence.
Icy wind blows up my denim skirt.
"Come on." Dean grabs my hand and leads me around the back of the building. There's a courtyard in the back, surrounded by a tall brick wall, a wrought iron gate wedged in between. Quaint, but also insurmountable. I glance at the fancy card swipe box thing beside the gate, then at Dean. "What are you going to do, break a window?"
Dean tugs on the gate then glances at the six foot high brick wall. "I have my apartment key, just not the card that gets me inside the building. But I know for a fact, the door from the courtyard is never locked." He stands back, and a prickle of unease shoots through me. Surely he's not....
But, yeah, he is. I watch, half in amazement, half in horror as Dean plants a sneaker on one of the old bricks and hoists himself up, using the iron bars of the gate to hold on to. The bricks are old and uneven, a blessing for those trying to scale them in the dead of night. Dean straddles over the top and grins at me. "That was easier than I thought." Then he swings a leg over and drops to the other side, one foot giving out as he lands. He winces and hops forward a few steps.
I press my face to the gate. "You all right?"
Dean stands. "Yep. You coming?"
Is he nuts? I shake my head. "I'm not going over that."
"Dean, I'm in a skirt."
He brushes the dirt off his hands. "Oh yeah. Can't put my girl in a compromising situation." He heads toward the side door, as if I am a damsel in distress or one of those whiny girls I always make fun of. "Wait." I put a boot on the first brick and heave myself up. Thank goodness for all those extra evenings I've been putting in at the gym. And the fact that my denim pencil skirt has a bit of stretch to it.
Ok, so it's not terribly hard. I throw my leg over the top, and now the brick wall seems higher than it did at first. Much, much higher. "Oh, gosh."
Dean reaches his arms out. "You can do it. It's not that far."
"Says the man who nearly broke his ankle jumping down."
"I was going to come around and get you. Why'd you climb up?"
"To prove to my boyfriend that I'm actually Super Woman."
Dean smiles. "I already think that."
My insides melt while my backside continues to freeze sitting on this cold brick. Gosh, you wuss. Just do it. I fling myself off the wall and collide with Dean, sending him and me both flying to the ground.
Laughter bubbles out of me, as if joy is something corked inside me that Dean unleashes.
"You all right?" he asks.
"My pride is wounded."
Dean laughs and brushes a piece of hair out of my face. I stare down at him. "Did I hurt you?"
"You will when you leave tomorrow."
His words are a fist, squeezing my heart.
He brushes his fingers against my cheek. "I miss you so much, Kace." He leans up and presses his lips to mine.
I sink into him and kiss him back, not minding the grass sticking to my tights or the way his elbow is jamming into my rib cage. Here we are two adults making out in the grass courtyard of his apartment. No fancy dinner and adult conversation for us. Instead we eat pizza and scale brick walls. And I think that's what makes me think I could be with Dean forever. Because whatever happens, we'll just roll with it. And I'd rather have disaster with him than perfection with anyone else.
A feeling that terrifies me.
I pull back and stare down at him lying in the grass. Then I trace my finger across his forehead and down his cheek to his chin, trying to memorize every detail of his face to take with me back to Georgia. "Happy Valentine's Day," I tell him.
He pulls me down beside him and points to the sky, chock full of blinking stars. "Make a wish," he tells me.
He doesn't know I already have, a million times over. And my wish came true, and is laying right beside me.
Pain sears through my heart. Tomorrow I'll be on a plane, bound for home and my life in Georgia. I have a life with Dean and a life apart from him. And it'd be so easy to doubt the future and wonder and worry.
But tonight I have Dean, and a sky full of stars.
And that's enough.