Valentine’s Day, a Real Life Hero, and Happily Ever After

A string of bad relationships leaves our heroine bitter and disillusioned. When her long-time boyfriend reveals their relationship has been a lie and he’s been using her to throw off the private investigators hired by his fiancee’s NOW ex-husband, she does what any reasonable human being would do…she gives up on relationships and throws herself into serial dating.

Meanwhile…

A twenty-two year Navy career has taken its toll on our hero’s marriage. After spending half of his life at sea, our Gulf War vet is ready to settle down to a quiet, suburban, landlocked life as a high school history teacher with his wife and daughter. When an unexpected illness leaves him widowed, he and his teenage daughter are shattered and struggle to find a new normal in their lives.

Months later, his friends decide he’s grieved long enough and doesn’t need to be alone. Knowing their determination to fix him up, he proactively places an ad on Yahoo! Personals, if only to keep from suffering an endless stream of well-intentioned blind dates. He comes across an ad from a fiesty, dark-haired lady with a twinkle in her eyes and a flair for words. Captivated, he messages her.

She agrees to meet him at a book store coffee shop. She warns him that she’s got plans that afternoon and their meeting will be over when her friend arrives. She is as wounded and wary as a doe in hunting season. But our hero, an experienced hunter, recognizes that only a patient, consistent, and honest man will be able to win her trust and eventually, her heart.

Over the next few months, he vies for her attention among the myriad other men she is casually seeing. She makes no secret of the fact that she’s not interested in an exclusive relationship. He doesn’t pressure her, but he gently courts her, becoming the one constant in her life.

Thanksgiving rolls around, the first major holiday since losing his wife. Deciding it’s time to nudge his intended into realizing that she loves him, he angles for an invitation to join her family for dinner, playing on her sympathy and letting drop that if he has nowhere to go, and one of his friends has invited him to join her so she can introduce him to a very nice lady.

His ploy works. Seeing the ease with which he interacts with her family makes her realize how he’s managed to settle so easily into her life. At his heartfelt admission of love, she realizes with some amazement that he’s wormed his way into her heart.

He gives her a month to get used to the idea of being in love, this time with the right man. For Christmas, he gives her an engagement ring.

Of course this sappy romance would have a Valentine’s Day wedding.

And they lived Happily Ever After.

How can I be sure? Easy.

Fast forward ten years, three children and four grandchildren to Valentine’s Day 2013. Our heroine is now a novelist and stay-at-home-mom. Our hero is still teaching high school history. They are more in love with each other than they were ten years ago on the day they married.

On their tenth anniversary, he snuggled up to her, wrapped his arms around her, woke her with a tender kiss and wished her happy anniversary. Then he told her that if she made Valentine’s pancakes, it would make a little boy very happy, but if she wanted to stay in the warm bed and snuggle, it would make a big boy very happy.

Somehow, everyone managed to leave the house happy this morning.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I wish you all the love and contentment that you deserve.

And to my real life hero, Happy Anniversary, my love.

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