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He had promised that he would be home on the 25th of January. After being gone for a month and a half, he would be in my arms again.
Today was Valentine’s Day and he still wasn’t home.
Jules worked as an Unspeakable in the Department of Mysteries. His work was classified, so I never knew exactly what was going on. However, this mission had been dangerous and uncertain, far more than anything experienced before. This time his work had taken him halfway around the world to explore an uncharted source of magical energy. I couldn’t fully understand it but I knew it was dangerous, he could be transported (over space and time), transfigured, cursed, injured or even killed, but that was unlikely. Or so I told myself.
I hadn’t been worried back then; I had thought that we would be back soon enough. But after all this time, I was starting to worry that I kissed him for the last time.
Our home was a lonely one. We lived in my parents’ old home, “Shell Cottage,” on the beach. After mama had given birth to Louis, we had bought a bigger home and turned this place into a summer cottage, which Jules and I now lived in. It was a beautiful place, but everything seemed to stretch on for miles, something that didn’t help me forget how far away he was.
For Valentine’s Day though, I was determined to have him close.
So tonight, I set the table for two instead of one. I dressed in a stunning blue dress that floated lightly around my legs. My favourite picture of him was placed on his spot. His eyes and smiles widened in the magical photograph. The table was set in our finest china and I gathered shells, rocks and sand and put them in a mason jar with some of the long beach grass, an oceanic centerpiece.
I knew this was way out of proportion. If he had been home, the day wouldn’t have been such a fuss. I could just imagine what he would have said if I had suggested something so extravagant.
“Dommy, dearest, why are you doing?
“Setting the table for dinner.”
“With the china my parents gave us?” He knew how much I hated that set.
I would blush. “I’m trying to get some use out of it.”
He would come hug me from behind. “You know my mother won’t notice. She was probably trying to get rid of it after her and my dad’s marriage. By the way, you look beautiful in anything.” He might have tugged at my dress or twirled my hair. Even though he had been gone for so long, I could still feel his arms around me.
We would have gone outside and laid on the beach, watching the sun disappear over the horizon. After dark, we might have just fallen asleep on the couch, too comfortable to go up the stairs to bed.
Neither of us was into the grand gestures. That’s why the fancy dinner felt so outrageous. But when you’re cold, you don’t turn the heat up degree by degree. You turn it up until the room is boiling, just so that you can feel the warmth. And baby, the room was on fire.
I didn’t go too far though. The only things I ate were a salad and a glass of water. It was eleven by the time I finally turned the lights out and went upstairs. Even Jules' picture was sleeping, untouched since I had put it there earlier in the evening.
The bed was warm and inviting. I climbed in and closed my eyes. In my dreams, Jules was back beside me. There, he held onto me, never letting me out of his arms. Here, I waited for my love to come home, so that I could never let him out of mine.
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