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St. Valentine's Day, 1997

by Hymar


She was sitting impatiently at a table for two that rainy Valentine evening in February '97. Vincent's running like thirty minutes late. She sat there, trying(and partially succeeding) not to steam. She knew the kind of bitch she was when she got mad. She stared at her Blackberry lying on the table, its pink casing contrasting with the green tablecloth. There was no point trying his line. His phone battery's dead. Or switched off. What am i, she wondered, a human waiting machine? All that jazz about making today her best Valentine ever. Right now, she felt like she could strangle someone. After three years of dating, when will Vincent ever learn? She had told him a zillion times that Nora Obi is her name and waitressing isn't her game! Boys, she sighed, they never listen. Around her, coming and going, couples and trios dressed in red, green and blue, the colours of the day, with fingers interlocked and arms draped over shoulders and waists, ordering salads, cakes, pies and the ever prominent ice-cream. Laughter drifted from the other tables as she sat alone. Three tables away, a girl shrieked with unabashed glee as she stared at the contents of a gift-wrapped package her smug looking boyfriend seated across had handed her. She did her best not to stare. While, inwardly, she boiled with resentment. She seethed with rage. Her control slipped. She wanted to overturn the table. She wanted to burst into tears of frustration at his insensitivity on such a precious day in her life. Instead, she sat with a face she tried to give off as passive. She tried to give herself off as just another single, pretty woman with no grief with the world. " Is this seat taken?" She looked up. At six-foot five. At a smiling face. At a simple blue-stripped shirt. " Seat," she addressed the chair in front of her," are you taken?" She stared at him with a challenge in her gaze. Her face telling him to piss off. That she was running on a short fuse. To move it before she turned the table into the scene of a crime that would make Jack the Ripper go green with envy. He met her eyes. She could read amusement in them. She pasted a scowl on her face and he met it with a sinister tightening of his lips. She watched incredulously as he bent till his face was nearly touching the top of the chair. He held it there for some seconds, then she watched his eyes brighten and he rose to his full height, gave her a thumbs up, pulled the chair out and sat down. " What's that?" she demanded with irritation, her hand reaching for her Blackberry. Screw Vincent, she's getting out. " The seat said, 'sit down,mate , I am itching to kiss your ass.' " Her hand had reached the Blackberry and she was picking it when the laughter that suddenly enveloped her jerked the phone from her hand back onto the table. She tried to hold herself back, but it was a lost cause. The anger that had been simmering deep inside her chest had finally erupted. But, instead of a volcanic eruption, burning everything on its path, it erupted as a waterfall, a beautiful shower of laughter that degenerated into a fit of coughing which brought a look of alarm on his face and sent him hurrying towards the counter for bottled water. When he returned, the had calmed down but he could still see the glimmers of laughter shining in her eyes. " That was scary," he said. " That was funny," she replied. He smiled and offered the water. She took it and their fingers touched. Nothing. No electric spark. No Harlequin romance novel warmth. Just a simply there contact. " Isaiah." She sipped the water in small draws.

" Nora."

" Lonely day?"

" Asshole boyfriend." He smiled. " And his battery's 'dead', I presume? "

" Lol, yeah."

"Or his landlord gave him a four hour quit notice."

" Or he got arrested for killing a man."

" Very funny," he laughed. She gave a shrugg.

" I was actually here to fulfil a promise," he gestured at the ice-cream counter. " my sisters," he added after a pause. " Big Brother Valentino," she joked and he smiled. They were silent for a few minutes, staring at everything and everyone but themselves. He excused himself and she watched him walk to the counter. He returned with two trays of chocolate ice-cream and a roll of pie which she thought looked like a teenager's erection. " I know I should have asked," he said,"but you owe me for that sour look earlier." She smiled. God, this guy has a mouth on him. " Ha yham so Sorreeeeeeeyyyy," she said in a mock mournful drawl. He loved it." Do it again." She made a sad face and repeated, " ha yham so Sorreeeeeeeyyyy." " Accepted," he said with a chuckle. " Nice act. Mercy Johnson would be jealous." " Thanks," she said with her mouth full of ice cream. It tasted chocolicious. She gave him a thumbs up to show her approval. Somehow, at the snap of a finger, the blink of an eye, her Valentine had been resurrected from the ashes of an imminent letdown. Vincent's face floated across her face. It hovered above Isaiah's head. She blinked. It was gone. In the drizzling evening of February 1997, she had one of her best impromptu dates since Christmas with Nwota in 1994. She learnt Isaiah was a student of the University of Benin on break for his uncle's funeral( 'oh my,' she said, ' I am gonna throw you a sorry party.' And he actually laughed.) he wanted to be a writer because his sisters loved reading, and his biggest secret he never told anyone was he can't recite 2 x multiplication table !('olodo,' she teased.)

She told him about her little brother. The prodigal soldier who had ran off to join the army at nineteen and had been KIA a few years ago, during the September '95 Bayawe Alley Gundown. Of her days at the University of Lagos where she was queen of the notorious Daughters of Jezebel fraternity.( His mouth gaped at that and he said, 'fear dey catch me o'

She was telling him why she thinks the University is a waste of an individual's life when she saw him look past her with arched brows. She smelt him before she saw him.

Vincent stood behind her with an apologetic smile on his face. Her irritation at being interrupted melted as she stared at his remarkably handsome face, that ever-smiling face that slithered in and out of her dreams at night. The face with the boyish dimples she just couldn't stay mad at for long. " Baby, I am sorry I am late," he said. She rose and hugged him.

He held her with the assurance of one who knew where he stood. She trembled as she felt his tongue slither in and out of her earlobe. A spot he knew she was vulnerable at. Now this is a man who knew how to spin her wheels. " This is a nice dress," he said, looking her over, " can I talk you out of it?"

She felt her face growing hot. She jabbed him playfully and he sold the move like he had taken a bullet to the chest.

She turned to Isaiah who sat and stared with an expression that gave nothing away. " This is Vincent,"she said as casually as she could manage.

"Obviously," Isaiah made a yeah-right gesture with his palms out and spread apart. " A good friend of mine," she introduced him to Vincent.

Isaiah made an of-course face and shook the hand Vincent offered. " Was just keeping her company while you do your last minute shopping," he paused for effect,gestured briefly at the rose Vincent had been trying to hide behind his back and said, " for flowers." Vincent gave him a dark look and Nora hid a smile at the split second look of disdain that crossed Isaiah's face before he smiled as if he had't just been malicious.

Vincent finally found his voice," thanks,"he actually spat the word out. Before Isaiah could reply, he turned to Nora and said," baby, let us get out for here. I got someplace nice in mind. You will love it," " I bet I will," she smiled sweetly as she picked her BB from the table. "Bye, Isaiah," she offered him her hand." Tell your sister to take her chances."

He was starting to frown in confusion when he felt the paper pressing on his palm as they shook hands. He smiled in understanding. " Oh, she definitely will. I will see to that" And then she did something the stunned him.

She deliberately dropped the paper on the table, right under Vincent's gaze and as Vincent's eyes widened, she picked it and with the most disdainful tone he had ever heard, she flashed the paper at him and said," What nonsense is this? Do I like like I am interested in someone as boring as you when I have got someone like him?" She gestured at Vincent who was now smirking with a pitying look on his face. She spoke low and with such vehemence that he was rooted in a mixture of embarrassment and cold fury. He was opening his mouth to ask her if she was Judas Iscariot's sister when she flung the paper at him and turned away with her still smirking boyfriend who put his arm around her and discreetly shot Isaiah his middle finger as they walked away. He picked the paper which had fallen on his tray. On it was her Blackberry pin and her phone number. There was a heart scrawled at the bottom of the paper with a smiling face in its center. He started to laugh as it hit him. " What a woman," he chuckled as he rose and walked to the ice-cream counter, humming 'You Just Can't Win'.


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3746 Reviews


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Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:23 am
Snoink wrote a review...



Ugh. What a woman is right. She’s kind of evil and I dislike her greatly. I mean. Yeah, Vincent knows her sensitive spots. But, he kind of uses her and tries to soften his rudeness with this kind of sensual contact. And Nora’s really no better. They’re very much alike.

…Uh huh. I don’t like those two. :P

I do like Isaiah though! He actually seems normal and down to earth! Funny and nice and a whole bunch of other things! Too bad he got stuck with a creature like her for Valentine’s Day, who cares more for Harlequin romances than an actual relationship. Ugh.

Anyway! I already know that there were some formatting issues, so I won’t comment on that… after all, I fixed the weirdness that existed before! Still, you should be aware t hat there are things that need to be separated into paragraphs, and you might want to work with that!

Another little thing? She says, “Lol” at one point. I don’t think she should say that. It’s just… so odd. Wouldn’t she just laugh? It’s really weird!

For the major thing, I think you should really have us see what Isaiah and Nora talk about. Not a text excerpt of what they talked about… I think it would be best for you to write out their actual conversation and how they act with each other as they converse. That way, we have a better understanding for both of their characters.

Anyway, fix up the formatting and run a spell check through, and add more dialogue, and I think this really has the potential to have a very strong piece. :)




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Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:22 am
Hannah wrote a review...



Right away, the first thing that needs attention is tenses. You switch tenses between the first and second and it happens again a little later. Choose past or choose present, and stick to one unless you go into flash backs or something. Also, please proofread and make sure you've used proper capitalization (capitalize all I's) and punctuation (spaces before opening parentheses, etc.).

Next, I'mma make comments as I read through.

She had told him a zillion times that Nora Obi is her name and waitressing isn't her game!


Is she ten? She sounds ten in this line, but she's definitely not ten by the way she uses bitch and has a phone, etc. This is something a ten year old would say, though. This is not how real people think or talk, especially not when they're angry. This is joking.

as she stared at the contents of a gift-wrapped package her smug looking boyfriend seated across had handed her.


Way way way clunky. First, what is the present? Can't you choose something? Otherwise it sounds vague and disconnects the moment from reality, like we're aware you're writing and can just call it "a present" when in reality we'd look and see exactly what it was. Second, "stared" at the contents seems weird compared to the enthusiasm she has about screaming about it. Lastly, smug-looking really clashes with gift-wrapped, and that rhythm is annoying. Plus, do we really need to characterize this boyfriend? You are PILING on the anger and bitterness with this character. I think you can lay off it here.

Her control slipped.


When? She doesn't do anything.

Her face telling him to piss off.


Okay, her face can tell her far more mature things than she actually says? I don't like this character, haha.

the laughter that suddenly enveloped her jerked the phone from her hand back onto the table.


The laughter is not a physical thing. It cannot jerk her phone out of her hand. Describe it as it happened. Plus, it is way too weird for her to laugh at something that is not funny at all. o_o

she thought looked like a teenager's erection.


What? Like, WHAT? I guess I believe it. She's so childish, though. I don't feel any sympathy for her, so that makes me not want to read or find out what happens in the end. I have no desire to find out what happens, really. D: That's kind of a problem for your reader.

It tasted choco-licious.


Okay, no, I think this is an actual issue. Are you in your character's head in the narration, or are you not? If you are, you need to keep her voice and her narration in the third person writing through the whole piece, because otherwise, these bits and pieces that come out of her head seem random and jarring and bothersome the whole time. I think it would be a good move to stick close with her, but you have to give her more depth than, "I'm angry and vindictive and immature". haha.



Oof. Okay, so let me tell you. You hit your stride when you bring in cultural references that actually build out the reality of this piece. And after that there's actually action happening so we get to see how much of a jerk this girl is instead of just hear her whining. I feel like you majorly need to cut down the first part and get to the moment where they are talking and starting to be friends. I'd like, in reference to that, to see them actually talking, maybe see if they have chemistry in gesture as well as in commonality. Because that would make it easier to see if this was really a big betrayal or if she was just passing the time. I wasn't quite sure of that.

Lastly, ugh~ Maybe it's just personal preference, but would she really act like that at the end? Would this new guy not take any offense to his pride at all?

He started to laugh as it hit him. " What a woman," he chuckled as he rose and walked to the ice-cream counter, humming 'You Just Can't Win'.


Like really, he'd say "what a woman" about that? And laugh? I don't even. What connection would he have that would make him dismiss her trespasses like that? That's what I think we need to see more of the conversation for, too, so we know if he found his connection with her or whatnot.

I really admire that you left this open ended, 'cause that's how life is when you randomly meet someone, right? And it lets the reader think on their own how they'd WANT it to end, which is hard because they can't root for the good guy, 'cause he's bad for him and all that, but is she just acting and needs a guy to take care of her in a good way? Lots of inner conflict for the reader if you leave it unresolved, so yay!

Well, after a very rough start, I'm glad to see you can write real life. I doubt some of it, but I think with a little more consideration, you'll clean it up to be solid.

PM me if you have any questions, please.

Good luck and keep writing!




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Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:11 pm
StoneHeart says...



Whoah whoah whaoh. Maybe it's just my computer but this seems wrong.

I don't mind scrolling up and down when reading a book, but having to scroll sideways is a pain.

Might wanna fix that.
It's very difficult to read.




Hymar says...


Scrolling sideways? FTW!!!





The writing's goin off the screen on my end. Ouch.



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Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:05 pm
Hymar says...



Oops, my spacing headache continues. Somebody please get that sorted.




Snoink says...


I tried to fix it? Not sure if I succeeded. You'll have to fix the linebreaks. I tried to fix the paragraphs, but I am not entirely sure where your paragraphs are...




It always seems impossible until it's done.
— Nelson Mandela