Valentine’s Day With Ryan & Rhodes


“This might be the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had.”

My husband grins at me from the other side of the table. “That so? Even better than the one last year when I woke you up with my mouth on your—”

I slam my hand over his mouth, cutting off whatever he’s about to say next because there’s no way it’s appropriate for the public.

He bounces his brows up and down a few times before licking my palm.

“Ew!” I yank it away, then wipe my wet hand on my thigh. “You’re gross.”

“You didn’t think I was so gross when I had my tongue on other parts of you just a few hours ago.”

My eyes widen, and I glance around to the tables next to us, then back at Rhodes.

“Stop it,” I hiss at him.

He smirks in return.

I want to be annoyed with him and tell him he’s insufferable, but I can’t find it in me. Not when he’s looking at me like I’m his whole world.

It’s the same look he’s been giving me since we slid these rings on our fingers. It makes me feel safe, seen, and loved.

He makes me feel those things.

“So, you’re not mad at me?”

“Why would I be mad?”

He waves his hand around, ice cream dripping down the spoon he’s holding. “This. I’m sure it’s not exactly what you had in mind for the most romantic day of the year.”

“First, that’s our anniversary, not Valentine’s Day. Second, I mean it, Adrian, this is perfect.”

He squints like he’s trying to read me, trying to find a crack or a lie, something to show him how I really feel.

But he won’t find anything because this is how I really feel.

“You mean it.”

I nod. “I do.”

He grins, obviously proud of himself. “I figured you would, but Collin had me worried it was too lame and wasn’t what you really wanted.”

“I say this with complete sincerity when I say that Collin is an idiot.”

My husband laughs. “That’s a fair assessment.”

“Besides, he’s not the one married to me. So he doesn’t know what I like. Harper and I might be best friends, but we’re total opposites, so he has no clue what I like. And this?” I look around, then back at him. “It’s perfect, Adrian.”

His smile widens. “I’m glad.”

He leans across the small table. “Does that mean I’m totally getting a blow job later?”

I glance at the table next to me, and thankfully, they aren’t paying any attention. Then, I look back to Rhodes.


“Yes!” He fist pumps the air.

I roll my eyes, only pretending to be annoyed by him.

It’s hard to be anything other than completely happy, especially when he planned the perfect day.

It started with donuts in bed—from Scout’s truck, naturally—then we walked Frodo. After that, well, we went at it like newlyweds, even though we aren’t anymore.

Now, we’re sitting in the middle of Costco, eating our weight in cheap hotdogs and ice cream while we people-watch.

It’s genuinely the perfect Valentine’s Day because my husband knows how much I love to people-watch.

A woman goes by with a cart brimming with miscellaneous items, a kid at her side, eyes wide as they take in the space around them. A dad passes, a kid in each arm, and another older one behind him, pushing the cart. An older man with a cane carries a box of tissues, his receipt in his hand, ready to hand to the worker at the door.

It’s fun to see what people buy, how they interact with their families, and how they carry themselves. It has my mind racing with ideas for my next pop-up exhibit.

“You’re plotting,” my husband comments.

I peek over at him to find him grinning at me. “How do you know?”

“Because I know you. You’re my wife.”

I melt at his words, and then even more when he sets his ice cream down and reaches across the table for me.

I slide my hand against his, loving how his palm fits with mine and how he rubs his finger over the simple band on my hand.

“I love you,” he says quietly, looking down at where our hands are joined. “I didn’t…” He swallows thickly. “I didn’t think I could ever feel this way or this loved. This lucky. But you…” He gives his head a slight shake before bringing his eyes to mine. “You’re the greatest thing to ever happen to me, Ryan, and I can’t thank you enough for loving me the way you do.”

“Adrian…” I whisper, feeling a tear run down my cheek, crying in the middle of Costco like a fool. “You make it so easy. Loving you… It’s the most natural thing in the world for me. You’re my person. I’m made for you, and you’re made for me. You’re my Beast, and I’m your Beauty. We make sense.”

He laughs lightly. “We don’t, but since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m going to let you believe that.”

I playfully narrow my eyes at him. “Smart man.”

He traces my ring again before muttering, “Hell of a happily ever after, huh?”

A smile plays on my lips. “It’s my favorite one.”

“Mine too. Let’s never let it end, yeah?”

“Not a chance,” I promise him. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Adrian.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day…wife.”

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