February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

hold on:
do note this is a 'special' Valentine's Day episode, and not part of the official Season 4 continuity, although it is canonical. this one story takes place about 6 years ago, during Evie and Rafar's first year of marriage. perhaps it shows what it was like before.

hope you like it


- Edwan

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Six Years Ago

Evie Nadia roused from slumber when she felt the soft touch of lips on her cheek, and the slight tickle of hair on her skin. She slowly opened her eyes, and squeezed the gum out of them and yawned. She looked up to see Rafar's face above her, a short, subtle smile on his lips. Evie lay down, her face a bit dazed from sleep. Rafar was sitting beside her on the bed.

"Good morning," he said. Then he bent down and kissed her lips. Evie raised her arms and put them around his neck, beckoning him to kiss her again. He laughed.

"Oit. That will have to wait, I have to go to work now."

Evie frowned. "Already? What time is it?"

"It's seven o'clock Sayang. I have to be on site in forty-five minutes."

He kissed her on the forehead and left the room, presumably to get his stuff. He had a photoshoot today, and it would probably take him all day long, maybe until after dusk. Evie wished she could come with him, but she knew she'd probably get in his way of work. Anyway, the shoot was likely to be long, boring and hot.

But she was slightly upset about something. Today was the fourteenth of February. Ever since they dated they would go out on the fourteenth of February. Dinner, movie, walk in the park. Something, anyway. They've done that for the past five years. It was sort of ironic that, now, in their first year of marriage, Rafar had to work today.

Evie stretched her limbs and got off the bed. She was dressed in a pink baby-tee and boxer shorts; his boxer shorts. She went to the living room where Rafar was already putting on his shoes.

"I can't believe you have to work today," Evie said, and she stuck out her lower lip.

"Well," Rafar said while tying his laces. "Don't feel too bad. Anyway, I'm your husband, isn't it my responsibility to work so I can provide?"

"But on Valentine's Day!"

"Haha, yes, on Valentine's Day as well. Come rain or high-water, haha. Now come here," he said as he stood up. Evie walked towards him and he put his hands on her waist. In turn, she hung her hands around his neck. Rafar kissed her.

"If all goes well, I'll be finished before Maghrib. Maybe we can go out later, if I'm not too tired, hm? Okay?"

Evie feigned disinterest. She looked aside. Rafar tried again.

"Dinner? Movie?"

This time she looked back at him and grinned. "Heee.."

"Right, so that's settled. Look, I gotta go," he said. He gave her a quick peck on the cheek, gathered his stuff and went down the stairs of their apartment building. "I'll call you before I come back okay?"

Evie nodded and waved her husband goodbye. For a moment she stood there, leaning in the doorway. Then she closed the door and took a long shower before making breakfast and reading the newspapers. She skimmed through the headlines, and eventually settled in the 'About Town' section. Of course, she looked through hundreds of promotions for Valentine's Day. Sushi, 3-course dinner, Table For Two, etcetera.

Evie grabbed a pen and circled some restaurants. Later she'd try calling, though she knew that all those places were likely fully booked. The only reason she had not booked a place was because she knew Rafar had to work today. They had known it for weeks beforehand. Still, she could always try her luck.

After breakfast Evie wanted to watch some television but all the shows were boring, so in the end she made herself a cup of hot chocolate with those tiny white marshmallows and sat on the sofa listening to music. Outside, the cacophany of noises that signaled another day for Kuala Lumpur had already begun; blaring horns, engines, shouts, the occasional police siren.

As she sipped her chocolate she thought of her life. She was so happy. Ever since they had started dating five years ago, Evie knew she would end up with Rafar as his wife. She had counted on it, and had bet her entire life to get where she is right now. When Rafar's family had come to her house asking for her hand in marriage, she felt like she wanted to scream and cry in delight at the same time. And of course her family had said yes because she had said yes.

They had gotten engaged, and about a year after that they got married. The journey was not all smooth sailing; at first they tended to disagree about minor details, and sometimes the things they wanted to do encountered set-backs. For instance, Evie had originally wanted to give guests small boxes containing chocolate truffles with Rafar and her names on them, but somehow the caterer had misplaced her initial order and only managed to deliver less than a quarter of her desired amount so she ended up giving regular sweets, and about two nights prior to the ceremony, the pelamin at her venue collapsed after someone had dropped a televison (yes! a televison!) on it.

But Rafar and her had waded through the often stressful process of planning the wedding; in fact, a year earlier they had pooled their savings together to purchase this apartment they were now living in. And the wedding, of course, had gone beautifully. She truly did feel like a queen during the ceremonies.

Without realizing it, Evie was smiling by herself. Her heart was filled, almost overflowing with her love for Rafar. Sweet, lovely Rafar. She knew they would be together forever. She felt it in her blood, and saw it in his eyes.

At about quarter past ten, Evie began calling the places she had picked out from the newspapers. Much to her (albeit expected) disappointment, most of them were fully booked, or could only offer her a table at a time when Rafar and herself could not make it. When she finally hung up on the last place she had picked, Evie sighed, her shoulders slumping. She blew a strand of hair that had fallen on her forehead and pushed her glasses up her nose.

What should I do? Today should be special!

She tossed aside the newspaper and switched on the television again. She settled on a cooking show, and that's when it dawned on her: I should make a Valentine's dinner; if we can't go, then we'll let dinner come to us! Besides, I have all day long!

Suddenly excited at the prospect, she went to get her laptop and began searching for recipes that were not too difficult to make, and ones where she could easily get ingredients. She surfed for about an hour or so, taking notes and bookmarking pages. Finally she settled on three-course meal that seemed easy enough; she listed the ingredients and printed the recipes, and got dressed to go out shopping.

Evie had decided to make gazpacho soup, steak with vegetables, and strawberry and chocolate mousse. She even made a note to herself to purchase a bottle of that non-alcoholic, sparkling grape juice. With her list of ingredients and a determined mind, Evie went to KLCC to go to the Cold Storage supermarket there.

She never was the domestic type, so she did feel a little embarassed when she somehow got 'lost' in the supermarket, looking for stuff. But eventually she managed to purchase all of the things on her list. Feeling rather pleased with herself, Evie decided to stroll around Suria KLCC before going back home. Maybe I should get a gift? she thought. So she went into Isetan and various shops, looking for something to get for Rafar.

Chocolates? No, he doesn't like sweets. A card? That's kinda lame.

Then she stopped in front of a La Senza lingerie outlet. She stood for a few minutes in front of the shop. They had some sort of Valentine's Day sale. Hmmmm, Evie thought. Maybe...

Half an hour later she walked out, slight grin on her face, and a La Senza bag in one hand.

As soon as she got home she placed the dinner ingredients at the kitchen. Then she decided to spruce up the house a moment, cleaning and decorating it with romantic stuff she ransacked from her collection of knick-knacks. Evie prepared the table, draping a pink chiffon band over it, and placed scented candles and a plastic flower (that wasn't pretty enough for her, but it was all she had).

After that was done she went to the room to try on her new lingerie, and was satisfied with what she saw, and hoped Rafar was going to love it as well. She changed back into her regular clothes and glanced at a clock. Hm, I have plenty of time before dinner, she thought.

She made herself a light lunch and a drink and watched television to pass the time. Evie had already planned this out in her head: she had a rough plan of when to start cooking, to lay out the table, and when to get dressed to surprise Rafar. She thought she would wear a nice, cherry red knee length evening dress tonight. She had even loaded the hi-fi with a cd to play later on, full of their favorite love songs.

Evie yawned and again glanced at the clock. Plenty of time, I need a nap. As she laid herself down on the sofa for a quick nap, she had a smile on her face. Tonight will be the best Valentine's ever.

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She woke up when the telephone rang; a bit dazed, she fumbled for the handset and dropped it. She cursed quietly and picked it up.

"Hello?"

"Hi Evie." It was Rafar. "You're napping yea? Sorry. But I'll be home in about an hour, then we can go out."

"An hour?" she asked, confused. Was the shoot over?

"Yeah. We're wrapping up here. See you back home alright? Love you," Rafar said and hung up. Evie looked oddly at the handset. An hour? Then she glanced at the clock and saw it was already quarter to seven o'clock.

Crap! I overslept! Oh my God!

She rushed to the kitchen and suddenly forgot her recipes so she rushed back to the living room and grabbed them. Evie cursed herself for not setting an alarm of some sorts, and she felt spears of panic piercing her heart. She only had an hour or so to cook! How was she going to surprise Rafar! She moved quickly in the kitchen, but had to pause often to glance at the recipes. Finally annoyed she just chucked them aside and just followed her intuition. She blanched the tomatoes for the soup, and at the same time tried to make the chocolate and strawberry mousse. At one point she spilled a quart of cream that she had already measured out and she felt like screaming.

As she was peeling the blanched tomatoes she smelled something burning and saw the pan she intended to use to cook the steaks was smoking. She yelled "No! No!" and threw the pan into the sink, where it sizzled upon touching cold water. She put on a fresh pan and decided to cut some vegetables to go with the steaks; but wait, what about the mousse? Have I washed and cut the strawberries? Is my blender ready? Do the steaks need marinade? How should I cook the vegetables? And the soup? Shouldn't gazpacho be served cold? And the sparkling juice was warm because it was standing beside the stove! Wait, the table was set but what about the plates? Cutlery?

No! Evie screamed in her head. No! No! No!

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One Hour Fifteen Minutes Later...

"Assalamualaikum," Rafar said as he opened the door and stepped in. He was shouldering a bag, heavy with lenses and cameras. He closed the door behind him. "Evie? You there? I'm home Sayang."

The house was quite silent. Where was she? Rafar thought.

He placed the camera bag on the floor and pulled off his socks. He peered around.

"Evie? Evie, honey?"

Rafar saw the dinner table; it was decorated with adorable motifs. He particularly liked the chiffon band across the table. But nothing was laid on there. From the kitchen he heard the ting-ting of cutlery on glass, and he smelled a mixture of aromas: herbs, spices, chocolate, fruit.

Rafar entered the kitchen and raised his eyebrows. The sink was full of dishes; on the stove were a few pans and a pot that had something which looked like tomato soup. The counter-tops were littered with various foods: there was a plate of very dry looking meat, a colander of strawberries, a chopping board with half-cut French beans and carrots, a jar of sugar, a jar of salt, a pepper grinder, some potatoes, a bowl of egg whites and a loaf of Ciabatta bread.

Evie was sitting cross-legged on the floor, her back leaning on the cabinet. She was in a white t-shirt and shorts, stained with tomatoes, chocolate, oil. A bowl of melted chocolate was in one hand, and in the other a metal spoon. Her hands were stained, and she had a sour expression on her face. She had a faint chocolate stain on her cheek, and her lips were covered in the gooey melted cocoa. Beside her, he could see the green leaves from several strawberries. She looked up to him.

"I wanted to surprise you with a romantic, home-made dinner," she said flatly. "But I fell asleep and did not have enough time to prepare everything before you got home."

Rafar tucked his hands into his pockets. He wanted to laugh but knew it would upset her. "So," he said, raising his eyebrows. "What's for dinner?"

"If you like steak that tastes like charcoal and feels like rubber, it's on the counter top above me. Soup that looks like tomato but tastes like water is on the stove. But I'm sorry, no dessert. There's not enough chocolate because I've been eating it. With strawberries." She belched, gently, onto the back of her hand. "Now I sudah kembung."

Rafar whistled, looking at the mess. "Well..."

Suddenly Evie cried. Rafar sat down on the floor beside her, and put an arm around her shoulders.

"What's wrong Sayang?" he asked.

"Everything! This was supposed to be the best Valentine's!" Evie said through tears. Rafar could not help but smile, but Evie did not see it. When she looked up towards him, he wiped the chocolate stain off her cheek and wiped aside the tears.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I just wanted this year's Valentine's to be special. It is our first V-day as a married couple, you know."

Rafar nodded, smiling. "Well," he said. "It already is special."

Evie wiped her eyes. "How? I messed up!"

"Like you said: it's our first one as a married couple. It's not just this one day that we need to be extra romantic and loving and special. Things are beautiful everyday now that I'm with you. And it will always be beautiful. And even if the steaks look like coal and feel like rubber, I love you anyway."

Evie laughed, a sudden, clear and clean sound through her sobs. "Really?"

"Of course!" he said. "Now come, let's go out to dinner. We can clean up when we get back."

"I already called the nice places. They're fully booked."

Rafar nodded thoughtfully. "So how about McDonalds? Burgers, fries and chocolate shakes and looking at the stars?"

Evie wiped her cheeks and smiled. "That sounds like the best, nicest, most romantic dinner ever, Rafar."

"I love you," Rafar said and kissed her on the lips, deeply. Her lips tasted like chocolate. "Now have a shower and we can go out, okay?"

They got up and Evie went for a shower. Rafar laughed as he looked at the messy kitchen. Still, in his heart, he felt deeply flattered and touched. He went to their bedroom to change clothes. He opened the door to their wardrobe and saw something that piqued his interest.

Well, this is nice, he thought.

As Evie showered she washed off the chocolate stains that had somehow got in her hair. She was still upset things did not go according to how she wanted to, but at least Rafar was okay with it. And she managed to laugh at herself a bit when she thought of how silly she must have looked, sitting on the floor, eating melted chocolate. Then she heard Rafar call her name, his voice a bit muffled through the bathroom door.

"Yes?" she said, raising her voice a little. Rafar said something but she couldn't hear properly. So she opened the door just a bit and poked her head out. "Yes?"

"Are you really hungry right now? McDonald's has a 24-hour drive thru right?" Rafar said. He was standing behind the door of their shared wardrobe, partially obscured from Evie's view.

"Yes, they do," Evie said, wiping water off her face. "Why? Do you have something else you want to do first?"

Rafar closed the wardrobe door and held out the new lingerie set Evie had purchased earlier. She had almost forgotten about it. Rafar eyed the lacy garments curiously.

"Yeah," Rafar said, smiling. There was a naughty look in his eyes. "I do."

Evie blushed.

Maybe tonight was going to be perfect after all.



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The best plans of Men and Mice often go astray.


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Happy 14/2 to all who celebrate

:)


- Muhammad Edwan Shaharir

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4 comments:

Mardhiah said...

As sweet as delicious as strawberry and chocolate mouse

Happy V day, Twaay characters :)

(sorry kena delete earlier comment coz termiss a few words)

oh, and happy V day to the author too!

nuraainaa said...

yeay for rafar.

;)

nurdini izni said...

"With you, everyday is a special day. It's not just this one day that we need to be extra romantic and loving and special. Things are beautiful everyday now that I'm with you. And it will always be beautiful. And even if the steaks look like coal and feel like rubber, I love you anyway."

aaaahh. sweet sangat sangat! :D

...///*the remedy*///... said...

that's sweet...
clumsy and goofy evie...
but everything end up so nicely!!!
sweeeeeeeeeet!!!!