Originally posted at ACFW Virginia Blog
Cassidy Taylor hated Valentine’s Day. It was nothing more than a commercialized way for couples to flaunt their happily-ever-after status in her face. Why she agreed to go to the Church’s singles’ mixer was beyond her.
Well, she knew why. Felicity had roped her into it. After rambling incessantly about the mixer, she had agreed to be her “plus one” out of self-preservation.
She buttoned her black-and-white checkered peacoat, stepped in front of the mirror and smiled. She looked casual yet stylish. It would have to work, because she refused to change her outfit one more time.
She grabbed her purse and keys and left. She had agreed to pick up Felicity since her friend hated driving in the dark. The sweet strands of Adele greeted her ears as she backed up. “Hello” would never be considered a Valentine’s song, but it fit her mood. She had so many regrets and it was only the second month of the new year.
Her one regret: not asking the handsome guy at Starbucks out. She saw him every day on her way into work. No matter what time she arrived, he always came in right after her. She remembered the first time she saw him.
She looked up from her smartphone as a flash of movement entered her peripheral vision. The guy standing next to her looked like he had just come from a magazine shoot. His bald head shined. His goatee was perfectly groomed. His double-breasted suit screamed class.
He dipped his head when he caught her gaze. She felt her cheeks heat up. Embarrassed, she turned her gaze to her phone but couldn’t make out the words. Should she say something? Before her thought could solidify, he grabbed his coffee and left.
She sighed as she turned onto Felicity’s street. She’d seen Miles—she couldn’t help but notice his name on the cup—every day for the past month and couldn’t put two letters together to say hi. It was no wonder she was alone this holiday.
She parked at the curb and honked. Felicity came out, waving excitedly. She shook her head at her exuberant friend. She had a feeling the girl would talk all the way to church, which meant it was going to be a long night.
“Thanks for picking me up, Cass.”
“I’m so excited. This is the first time our church has done this. They wanted to get everyone together, but take the pressure off of having a date. That’s why I asked you to be my plus one. Definitely takes away the pressure, don’t you think?”
Not if she didn’t know anyone else at this thing. “Sure, Felicity. What are they planning to do anyway?”
“They’re having a catered dinner, games, you know your ice breakers and what not. I don’t remember what else they said. I just thought it would be better than staying home and moping around. People like that are kind of depressing, don’t you think?”
She glanced at Felicity, her blue eyes shining with hope and sunshine. How the two of them ever became friends, she wasn’t sure. Maybe because deep down she really needed to hope instead of sitting at home, sad and alone, and Felicity helped her do that. “You’re probably right.”
Felicity picked up her conversation, happily chatting along the way. Cassidy tried to interject the appropriate amount of mmm-hmms, but she wasn’t paying attention to a thing she said.
How had she become so cynical? She used to love all holidays. But four years of not having a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day had soured her. One by one, her other friends had hooked up and then entered wedded bliss. Felicity was her last remaining single friend. Was there something wrong with her?
Do you ever think there’s something wrong with us? I mean, because we’re still single.”
“No! God just hasn’t given us our mates yet.”
She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “Do you really believe that?”
Felicity’s baby blues widened. “Of course, I do. Why else am I still single?”
Cassidy snorted. “Maybe because you haven’t found the right guy.”
“Because, God hasn’t sent him yet,” Felicity replied in a sing-song voice. “Cass, when you decide to let God handle it, you won’t stress so much about a man. Just enjoy tonight and have fun. There’s supposed to be over a hundred of us in attendance tonight. There can’t be that many people with some horribly, fatal flaw.”
She turned into the church parking lot. “Wow, I guess you’re right.”
It was packed.
Maybe tonight wouldn’t be as bad as she thought. Too bad she hadn’t taken the chance and asked Miles to be her plus one.
Felicity jumped out of the car and she followed, albeit more slowly. They headed for the entrance, following a couple of other parking-lot stragglers.
Lord, I’m going to take Felicity’s advice. Please help me leave my bad mood at the door and just have fun. I’ll wait for You to send the right guy. Amen.
They walked in and immediately, she felt light-hearted. The church hall had been decked out in every shade of red, pink, and white. People were smiling as music played overhead. She couldn’t help but smile too.
Felicity leaned in close “See, I told you we’d have fun.”
“Thanks for the invite, Felicity.”
Someone called Felicity’s name and she turned their way to greet them. Suddenly, Cassidy felt awkward. She glanced around and saw the refreshment table. She headed there, thankful she’d soon have something in her hand to occupy her. She picked up a small container of fruit.
“How many times do I have to walk past you to make you fall for me?”
She froze. Even at church, people still had horrible pick-up lines! She turned around, ready to give the man an earful, but words failed as she stood face-to-face with Miles.
“A month’s worth apparently,” she replied cheekily.
Copyright © 2016 Toni Shiloh