Cicada Valentine Short Story
A gust of wind blew through the door and fluttered across the paper lace hearts that dangled from the tiled ceiling of Mom’s bakery, Sprinkles. Everett pushed the door open, carrying a huge red foil candy heart, and his jeans pocket got caught on the bells that dangled from the door handle, freeing them from where they had hung for the past three years, and sent them jingling across the shiny tile floor.
Everett paused and pushed his glasses up his nose, “Well, that was bound to happen sooner or later,” he stated matter-of-factly. He looked around at the scattered bells and shrugged.
“What’s that you have?” I couldn’t help but giggle as he plopped the slightly rumpled giant red candy heart on the counter by the cash register. I reached across the counter and pulled the five-pound monstrosity toward me. The thing was absurd! It had first been wrapped in foil, then surrounded with red opaque cellophane, and then decorated with enough red lace ruffles to choke a goat. And right in the middle of the mound of ruffles was a velvet rose.
“It’s a Valentine, of course!” Everett answered, his eyes wide behind the thick lenses of his glasses.
“Who’s it for?” I decided to tease him a bit. “Oh! Is it for that girl who follows you around the cafeteria at lunch?” I bit my lip to keep from giggling. “You know… the one with the knee socks?”
“Psh! No!” he rolled his eyes. “It’s for you!”
“For me?” I heaved the enormous, crinkling heart into my arms. “That’s really thoughtful, Everett. Thank you. It’s my first Valentine ever!” And I really was ecstatic over the humongous thing, and I knew exactly where I would hide it once all the chocolate was gone. It would slide perfectly under my bed, and I would be able to hide all sorts of things inside it. Letters, pictures, and cards. Little did I know that sometime in the near future I would hide a key in there…a key that would lead me to something that would save my life.
“Well, open it then!” Everett smiled a giant goofy smile.
“You get the first piece!” I ripped the cellophane away and pulled the lid off. All of the chocolates inside were shaped like bugs. Not ugly bugs, mind you. The pretty ones. There were different types of butterflies with slivered nuts decorating their wings. There were dragonflies dusted with edible gold and silver glitter. There were lacewings dipped in light green sprinkles and ladybugs dusted with red sugar. Right in the middle was a giant firefly wrapped in foil painted to look as if it were glowing. “These are gorgeous! Too pretty to eat!”
“Nonsense!” Everett said as he popped a ladybug in his mouth. “Try one. They taste even better than they look!”
And they did. I tried one of the sparkling dragonflies, and it melted on my tongue. The edible glitter was sweet and crunchy against my teeth and all I could say was, “mmm…”
“Do you like it?” Everett asked, a blush rising across his cheeks and nose.
“I love it, Everett,” I said. Without even thinking, I grabbed him by his shirt collar and kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you very much. This is the best Valentine’s Day ever.” I smiled brightly because I meant it. It was the best one ever. The past year and a half had been torture with trying to cope with the loss of Dad and Aaron. Everett had always been there, and there was a growing warm place in my heart for him.
“I’m glad you like it,” he smiled. “So, I’ll see you at the movies tonight? We’re all still going, right?”
“Absolutely! I’ll see you when Andrew and I pick you up,” I couldn’t hide the huge smile that still crossed my face. “David and Natalie are meeting us at The Grand.”
“See you then,” Everett said while walking backward toward the door, that broad goofy smile on his face. He slipped on one of the bells, which caused him to stumble over a chair and knock a small table over on its side. He quickly stood up, straightened the table and chairs, and pulled his shirt down. “I better get out of here before I burn the place down or something!” He snorted.
I watched him cross the street and head back toward Kroger where he worked after school and on weekends. Although there was a glowing warm feeling in my heart, there was a dark, looming feeling somewhere in the back of my mind. I tried to pinpoint what it was that was bothering me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. One thing was for certain, when the wind blew through the door earlier, it blew in a feeling that things were about to change. I bit my lip and wondered what the next few months would bring.