Valentine’s Day by C.A. Keith © 2017

“I’m coming. I’m getting dressed!” Sarah screamed. She was going to be late for work. Sarah’s husband’s brother Lloyd picked her up every morning to drive her to work. Sarah didn’t think she was that late, but still, in the background she could hear Lloyd talking on the phone to someone about her constant tardiness. Sarah checked her phone and realized that she forgot to set her alarm clock and it was 7:30.

Honk, honk, bang, bang, bang… she kept hearing the noise over and over. She jumped quickly out of the shower, grabbed a towel, and yelled out the bathroom window, “I said I’m coming. Come on in. I will be 5 minutes. Sorry the alarm didn’t go off,” she yelled to Lloyd.

Sarah sat straight up in her bed. Bang, bang, bang. She heard the banging again. She had to think for a minute. “Was she still dreaming? Where was she?” Bang,bang, bang. Sarah stood up and peeked out of the window and saw her husband’s vehicle in the drive. She realized it was 5:15 in the morning. “I must’ve been dreaming,” she realized. “What a weird dream. Isn’t it weird when you dream that someone is knocking on the door and there really is someone at the door?” she said to herself as she unbolted the door. Sarah scratched her head for a minute. Her husband wasn’t coming home from his ice fishing trip till tomorrow. Something must’ve happened if they came home a day early. Sarah’s stomach dropped and she instantly felt uneasy.

“I’ve been knocking for fifteen minutes now. How could you not hear my car horn?” Shaun said. “I left my house keys in Lloyd’s car. I tried knocking for 5 minutes and you didn’t answer so I honked. Holy cow you must’ve been right out. Hi honey. I’ve missed you. It was so cold up north. Fuck! Anyway, we caught lots of fish so we decided to come early. Let’s go back to bed!” Shaun reached over and hugged Sarah tightly breathing in her smell and smiled at her half drowsy appearance.

Sarah realized Shaun was shattered after the long drive home from his buddies cottage. His cottage was tucked away on a private lake about 5 hours away. Shaun’s friend Mike drove up the weekend before and got the ice hut set up. Sarah saw the cooler that Shaun left on the front porch. It was cold enough so it would be fine till she was more alert to put things away. She would throw it in the freezer after he prepared it. Thinking of gutting a fish made her stomach flip.

Sarah was glad Shaun came home early. Five men, small cottage, lots of testosterone, beer, and men stuff made a typical Man’s Weekend awesome.
He wanted to feel Sarah’s arms around him. He smiled at Sarah and brushed a stray strand of hair away from her eyes and bent down to kiss her forehead. “Let’s go to bed. I really need you honey,” he snickered deviously. Shaun’s stomach fluttered when his hands slipped through hers and he walked her to their bedroom.

Sarah tugged at her tee shirt and let her underwear slip down her legs. She dropped the tee shirt on the dresser and kicked her underwear towards the hamper. She watched Shaun quickly take off his clothes and walk across the room to the shower. She was glad because he wasn’t fresh smelling. Likely the boys didn’t shower for a few days while doing their man thing. Sarah shook her shoulders with a cringe as she thought of fishy smelly boys all in small cottage — “No thanks! Not her idea of a fun weekend!”

Sarah slid between her rumpled up covers and pulled the covers up to her chin. She watched as Shaun softly moved across the floor and to the bed. His blue eyes sparkled in the dawn lit bedroom. He tugged the covers back and slid himself close to his beautiful light haired wife. Sarah smiled and rolled to her side. She wrapped her arms around Shaun’s neck and her leg entwined his. Sarah’s lips grazed his cheek.

“Hope you’ll do better than that babe?” he chuckled.

“Well, I hardly know you. You just came to the door and looked a little bedraggled so I thought I’d be kind and let you come in. You smelled too, ew!” Sarah smirked.

There was a slight breeze blowing from the opened window. Even though it was winter and brisk, Sarah delighted in the fresh breeze blowing through the house. Shaun ran his fingers through her hair and leaned forward to kiss Sarah firmly.

Sarah closed her eyes, melted by his gentle kisses. Her spine tingled, his fingers gliding slowly up her back. Every hair on her body became erect with each touch of his fingertips.
Her moans excited him. Making his kisses deeper, harder, more sensual and seductive. His lips felt like silk, gliding effortlessly across her own.
Sarah uncontrollably arched upwards as she felt his fingernails scratch the length of her back. She moaned. His kisses firm, a frenzied wolf who needed to feast. She was exploding with the desire pent inside. They clawed each other; their bodies joined together in toe-curling passion.

They collapsed out of breath and drifted off to sleep. Their needs were met and they felt sated. Their love for each other blossomed intimately. For hours they slept wrapped in each others arms. Sarah woke up and smirked.

“Not bad stranger. So glad you happened to show up at my door. Can we do this again sometime?” Sarah giggled playfully.

“If you play your cards right. Can I call you babe or… I really didn’t catch your name?” Shaun replied. They often pretended they were strangers meeting for the first time as if by chance and they bantered playfully. They laughed until tears rolled down their face.

Sarah was lulled sleepily as his finger tips glided over her arms. His caress tickled and made her lightly shiver.

“I love you Sarah! Never forget how much I love you. You’ve changed my life and wish I could stay right here, just like this forever and ever!” Shaun whispered in her ear softly.

Sarah smiled and drifted in an out of a light sleep.

There was a storm brewing. The winds howled and whistled through the open windows. Lightning cursed at the dull bleak skies. Sarah scurried to the other rooms to close the windows before too much rain came billowing through. The rain came down so hard and her shirt dampened from the spray coming though the window. She walked back to the bedroom.

“Where are you honey? Come back to bed,” said Sarah scanning the room looking for Shaun. “Shaun? Shaun?” Sarah went to the bathroom, then to the kitchen. She looked for Shaun’s car and it wasn’t in the driveway. She looked on the porch; no cooler. She darted back to the bedroom and there was no clothes on the floor, no trace of Shaun.

“Wow! What a dream that was!” Sarah said out loud and shook her head aimlessly. Sarah looked down at her cell phone and saw 3 texts awaiting her reply.

“Hi Babe! Hope you have a good sleep!”
“Brr! It is fucking cold here. Got lots of fish for the freezer though.”

“Three of us out at the ice hut tonight! Sarah, remember I love you
with all my heart. I wish I were there with you now. Cuddled up to
you. I will see you in a couple of days. I miss you. I will never forget
how much you mean to me! Love you xoxo”

Sarah’s heart fluttered. “What a dream? She could have sworn that he was with her. He could smell her. She felt him near. What a vivid dream?”

“Hi honey bunches! Wow did I have a great dream about us. I swore you
came home early and I dreamt that you did. Can’t wait to see you.
Happy, smelly, boys ice fishing. Drive safe. xoxo love you too!”

Sarah sighed and walked glumly to the bathroom. She dropped her robe on the floor in a heap. She reached in and turned on the shower, adjusting the temperature as it slowly warmed up. Using her wrist she tested the water temperature and stepped in. She could smell Shaun. She took a slow deep breath in. “I can smell your cologne babe,” Sarah said to herself out loud. “Fuck, I could have sworn that wasn’t a dream!”

Sarah took her time and let the shower bead down her back. It was delightfully hot but felt good. She sat down on the bench in the shower and shampooed her hair. The hot water felt great as it trickled with bubbles down her shoulders. The soap glided over her soft skin. Sarah didn’t want to leave the shower, she felt disappointed that Shaun wasn’t home but felt a flutter when she recalled the stimulating erotic nature of their love making. She shuddered. “It felt so real. I swear it was real. Your smell is lingering,” she sighed.

Sarah’s feet dragged heavily across the wood floor and she crawled back to bed. It was funny because she could still faintly smell him as if he was here. She tucked the blankets up to her chin and fell back to sleep. Her sleep was restless and she tossed and turned unknowingly. Finally, Sarah sat up in her bed with frustration and threw the covers across the bed.

Sarah went about her day. She picked up her phone, still no message. She checked her phone every few minutes, with frustration and disappointment.

“Hi babe, you must be sleeping after a long night. Call me when you get
up. Love you xoxo.”

“Hi babe, me again. Everything OK. I’m surprised I haven’t heard from
you. Please call me when you get up, before you leave for home. Miss
you. xoxo.”

“OK, you guys are worrying me. I’ve called you and Lloyd and either
you’re ice fishing maniacs or you are a big sleepy head. Please call
soon. Love you xoxo.”

Sarah shuffled food around in the fridge, decided on a fried egg sandwich. She picked up the phone thinking that she might have missed Shaun’s call – nothing. She sighed heavily. Noisily she pulled the fry pan out and plopped it on the stove. She cracked the eggs and let them sizzle in the frying pan. Each noise seemed louder today. In a daze, Sarah put a piece of paper towel down on the work surface, she pulled the bread out, slopped a pile of butter, squirted ketchup, and with a flop, the egg fell from the spatula and onto the bread. Staring off in space and still in a semi-conscious state she swallowed bite after bite and dropped the paper towel in the bin, turned on the kettle, got the tea bag and honey in the cup. The kettle clicked off and she poured water and milk in her cup and plopped herself on the couch and turned on the TV. Every task was done as if she was looking down at herself and watching herself perform them.

Sarah had a funny feeling. Something was amiss, she could feel it. She couldn’t put her finger on it. Shaun should have called by now. She tried to text Shaun’s brother Lloyd and he didn’t reply back either. “They probably woke back up and went out one more time or maybe they were driving and couldn’t answer. But if one was driving, wouldn’t the other respond? Something didn’t add up.” Sarah tried phoning and left a message. She giggled when she heard his silly voice message.

By nine, Sarah was getting worried. It was the middle of the night before that he last text. He was an over-texter and that’s why something didn’t sit right. Sarah glazed over the TV. She wasn’t really watching but the TV was on and she stared at it. Ding Dong.

The doorbell rang and Sarah jumped off the couch, startled. Every hair on her body stood up and her stomach fell. It was dark and she could see someone standing at the door. She opened the door slowly and her heart pounded with a loud thud and it momentarily skipped a beat.

“Excuse me ma’am. Are you Sarah Ghent?” said one of the two officers holding their hats in their hands in front of their chest.

Sarah stood dumbfounded. When a police officer comes to your door you know that it is not good news. “Yes, come in,” Sarah’s eyes welled and silently prayed for good news. “Can I get you a drink?” she instinctively asked.

The officers declined and they took a seat in the living room. “Anyone else here with you?” they inquired and she replied she was alone. “Mrs. Ghent, Sarah, I’m afraid we have bad news about your husband Shaun. There was an accident last night and we were sent to have a word with you.

Sarah gasped and struggled to breathe. The officer sitting beside her gently held her shoulder and rubbed her back encouraging her to take deep breaths. Sarah coughed and swallowed fluid that was inching up her throat. She was seconds from expelling the contents of her stomach. Words came from the officers mouth and she heard them but the words sounded like low, slow motion, video.

“I’m dreaming! This is a dream right? This didn’t happen right?” she choked and screamed until she couldn’t let another sound out. The officer held her tight as the tears flowed.

“There were three men in the ice hut. Your husband, his brother Lloyd and Bob, the other gentlemen were in the cottage. According to Bob, he fell and went to get changed. As he got to shore, he heard a loud thud and crash, the ice cracked and your husband and Lloyd fell through the ice. It was a terrible accident. Nothing could be done. It took all night for emergency to come to get to them safely. The bodies were retrieved, ma’am. I’m very sorry. Bob is in the hospital in shock. He was devastated that they couldn’t save Shaun and Lloyd. They were best friends I hear. I’m truly sorry. Is there anyone we can call for you? Someone should be here with you,” they suggested.

Finally when Sarah caught a few breaths, she handed her phone to the one officer and dialled the number of her best friend Alexia. Within minutes Alexia was over with her overnight bag and the officers filled her in and went back to work.

“I’m so sorry Sarah. Oh my God, come here,” Alexia sat beside Sarah and tucked her in close. She let Sarah cry and let her rest her head on her lap. Alexia’s fingers ran softly through Sarah’s hair. She tucked a blanket around her and sleep took her quickly. Sarah was restlessly stirring.

Alexia’s heart was heavy. She had been Sarah’s best friend for a number of years. They shared every secret and was there for each other through thick and thin. They weren’t together every minute, as life happened. However, when time mattered they were always together. They shared good times and bad, went out dancing, so many stories, she smiled to herself.

The days following were a blur. Alexia helped with calling people. Lloyd and Shaun’s mother Shelley, had just retired. His dad had passed away a few years ago, a month after retiring. They had been planning a European cruise for the following year. Sarah’s mother-in-law had lost all her family and she was falling apart. She moved in with her sister a few months after losing her husband. She was under a lot of stress. Shaun was her rock. Lloyd was her baby. He was five years younger than Shaun; a very unexpected gift she always bragged. Her mother-in-law loved her boys, they were her world.

It was a Friday. One of the days that Sarah, says she would remember but not remember for the rest of her life. Shaun and her had been married for a few years. They were thinking of starting a family next year. He would be better off financially with his new promotion and she had just took a new job. Life would be grand. They talked about having 2 kids maybe 3. Sarah wanted 4 but Shaun agreed that a boy and a girl would be a perfect family; or whichever as long as everyone was healthy. Sarah spent days going over in her head about all that she had lost.-Shaun, a family, perhaps a couple of puppies, they were going to redecorate the guest room as a nursery in a few months, it would be a lovely surprise for his mom, they were going to have a family, she had lost everything, how would she carry on without him. These thoughts swirled in her head like falling through a rabbit hole.

Sarah’s heart sank and she cried again.

By that Friday, there was not a tear left. Her eyes were empty. Her Alexia guided her to where she needed to be. Sarah was like an empty shell, blinded to the fact that she was at her husband’s funeral. She was going through the motions very unaware of her surroundings. Alexia didn’t leave her side.

Sarah was an only child. Her parents adopted her when she was six months old. Her parents were in their 50’s when they adopted her. They couldn’t have children and they adored their Sarah. Alexia loved her parents. They doted on Sarah. It was a shame when her dad died of a heart attack. Her mother pined and died a week later. Sarah had nobody but Alexia. Alexia was always there for her. Sarah had very little family as her parents siblings lived a great distance away and saw them infrequently.

It was a bad time for a funeral. No time was a good time but it was put off a few days because of the holidays. It was the day after New Year’s Day. It was a terrible way to start a new year, with a death of a loved one.

Christmas Day they had a wonderful supper together and Lloyd and Shaun left the following morning to go up north. He was supposed to be home the day before New Year’s Eve. These memories would haunt Sarah forever. Every Christmas and New Years to come she would remember what she had lost. “How would she ever come to love another again?”

Sarah sat next to Bob’s hospital bed. Bob stared unblinking across the room. His eyes bloodshot and puffy. He was unrecognizable to Sarah and they’d been friends for years. Stray tears stained his red cheeks. Sarah pulled up his blanket and tucked it up under his sheets. She pulled a stuffed bear from out of her bag and tucked it under his sheets. With a tear trickling down her cheek she repeated, “It’s not your fault Bobby! It’s not your fault!”

Bob’s sobs were inconsolable, his shoulders shuddering with each wail. “I shouldn’t have left them. When we heard that noise I should have forced them to come with me. I shouldn’t have left them. If we’d all gone back to the house, they’d be here with you and me,” Bob said barely audible.

Sarah bent forward and hugged Bob closely. They both sobbed for some time.

“Visiting hours are over. Sorry Miss but we will have to ask you to leave,” the nurse stated firmly.

“But his best friend just died, my husband just died… and… Just a few more…,” she said in sobs.
“Sorry. I don’t make the rules. You will have to leave. I’m sorry about your loss but others need to sleep,” she said and patted Sarah on the back.

“It’s not your fault Bob!” Sarah turned to look at her husband’s best friend. He looked like a frail old man. Sarah had never seen Bob look so worn down before.

Alexia stood up when she saw Sarah leave Bob’s room. She looped her arms in Sarah’s and led her back to the car. Sarah’s feet shuffled slowly through the quiet hospital hallway. Every step echoed and bounced noisily through the dimly lit hospital wing. Sarah felt faint and nauseous. As soon as she hit the biting winter air, she heaved. The remains of coffee in her stomach was expelled on the side grass near the car parking lot. Sarah’s sobs were unconsolable. “Why did he have to die? What is going to happen to me? What will I do? Where will I live? How will I live without Shaun? I loved him Alexia! I loved him so much! Why?” she screamed angrily.

Bob, Shaun and Lloyd had been out at the hut for a few hours. Kevin and Mike went in to cook some food as they hadn’t eaten supper and it was nearing midnight. The guys had been drinking since the day before. Bob, Shaun and Lloyd were feeling no pain and were carrying on with silliness.

“Pass me another beer, Knucklehead!” Lloyd yelled to Bob. He leaned over his chair, reached into the crate beside him, picked up the beer, shook it and tossed it towards Lloyd. Lloyd caught it awkwardly with his gloved hands.

“You bastard! What are you like? You wait! You’re dead. I would sleep with one eye open tonight!” Lloyd chuckled and slowly pulled the tab to let the air ooze out. He held the can towards Bob and opened it quickly and beer shot out towards Bob.

“Bloody hell! You jack ass!” he yelled Bob had foamy beer across his reddened icy face. His jacket soaked through to his skin like a sponge. Bob eyed the state of himself and his laughter reverberated through the little man-made hut. He snorted and his bench wobbled. Lloyd and Shaun laughed hysterically and threw another beer at Bob.

“Chug! Chug! Chug!” Bob taunted. The three tipped their tins at each other being careful not to disturb the fishing hole. “Bottoms up!” Bob stated firmly. The three chugged their beer and tossed the tins in the make-shift bin in the corner.

“One more you babies!” Bob taunted.

Bob stood up, pulled the tab, and the three cackled and chugged the next one. Bob weaved and fell heavily on his wooden bench. “Whoa!” he gurgled and slipped off the seat. Bob fell heavily and the bench broke into two. There was a huge bang, thud, splash as his foot hit the ice hole and his buttocks hit the ground heavy.

“Don’t go breaking all the good furniture you bloody ox!” said Lloyd. They helped their drunk friend back to his feet. A crack near the ice hole was unnoticed.

“Look at the state of me!” Bob blubbered.

“Go on in and get changed. We will tidy up and come on in. Tell Kev and Mike our dinner better be ready or there’ll be hell to pay!” chuckled Shaun as he guided Bob out of the ice hut and towards the cabin.

Shaun pulled in the empty lines and placed them on the shelf made of planks and stacked bricks. Lloyd grabbed the extra tins and walked to the opening of the ice hut. Shaun trailed him. They heard a huge crack and saw the crack by the broken bench.

Bob got to shore and heard the crack and stopped dead.

“Move slowly to the left Shaun!” Lloyd whispered carefully.

“Get on your bellies! Slowly move away from the crack on your bellies! I will get Kev and Mike!” Bob screamed fearfully. He couldn’t look away. “Help! Help! Kev! Mike! Help” he yelled unheard by the guys in the cabin, music blaring from inside.

Shaun slowly moved away from the slowly opening crack and moved to his belly. Lloyd got to his belly and slowly pulled himself away from the crack. Lloyd made it outside the hut and looked back at Shaun. A thunderous roar from the splitting of the crack from the ice hole reverberated across the bay.

“No!” wailed Bob and echoed by Lloyd. He turned to reach his brother but it was too late he had already gone through the widened hole. He screamed felt for his brother. The ground beneath him continued to creak and crack. Lloyd turned to try to inch towards shore and away from the crack but his efforts were futile. He sunk before he got turned around.

“Noooooo!” Bob howled as tears seared his reddened cheeks. Kevin and Mike ran out when they heard Bob screech. They stood there, eyes blazoned to the wreck in front of them. Bob stood motionless and collapsed on the icy ground.

Tears stained his face. The scene replayed over and over again like a film on repeat. The nurse came to check her patients blood pressure. His pulse was up and down and it bleeped in her station. He was set to high risk. He was in coming out of shock and still in trauma serious condition.

“Bob. I’m Lisa. I’m your charge nurse. How are you feeling? I know you’ve been in shock. You’re in the hospital. You are in good hands,” she spoke softly and calmly. The nurse busied herself checked his blood pressure and tucking in his blankets. She smiled down at the inconsolable shell of a man.

Bob stared with empty eyes. “Why didn’t they take me instead? Why did they take Shaun? It’s all my fault. I am so sorry Sarah!” he muttered and mumbled.

“You need to calm down honey. It was nobody’s fault. It was an accident,” she reassured but he disregarded her argument.

The next several weeks Sarah walked aimlessly through the house. Food revolted Sarah. She picked up a piece of toast and forced herself to get a few bites down. She couldn’t keep food down the past few weeks as her stomach churned. She was so saddened with her deep loss that everything turned into a chore. Sarah was numb. Her skin ached and her stomach wrenched.

Alexia finally persuaded Sarah to go to the Doctor. Sarah hadn’t been eating, she wasn’t sleeping, she was pale and looked unwell. Sarah had her usual blood work done. The doctor told Sarah her iron was likely low as she’d had trouble in the past with low iron. Sarah wasn’t eating well and her nutrient levels were likely unbalanced. He encouraged Sarah to eat a little more, smoothies, even if it was a banana or a piece of toast, she needed food as she’d lost quite a bit of weight in a month.

Alexia moved out of her apartment and moved in with Sarah. Alexia had a new roommate that she clashed with. Moving in with Sarah was a win-win for the both of them. Sarah needed her and there was no where else that Alexia would rather be. It was a big house for only one person and they both needed the company. Alexia started to get Sarah to eat a little bit more.

Valentine’s Day was the next day. They decided that they would watch a movie by the fire, have some wine, and a light dinner together. Sarah still was not ready to be out in a social gathering and Alexia was fine with that too. Valentine’s is over-rated and expensive. It was going to be a hard day for Sarah. Alexia would try to keep it low key.

The door bell rang and Sarah answered the door with in-trepidation. Her stomach jumped every time she heard the doorbell and someone she didn’t know was there. “Sarah?” the voice said.

Sarah nodded and the gentleman handed her a bouquet and left. Alexia came to Sarah. “Ah, that’s nice. Who’s it from? Maybe it’s from your mother-in-law?” Alexia smiled.

Sarah opened the beautiful flowers and put them in a vase. It was her favourite flowers; daisies, with a bird of paradise, and baby’s breath, a beautiful fragrant bouquet of flowers. Sarah’s mouth gaped. It was beautiful. Someone must know her well as these were some of her favourite types of flowers. Sarah stood against the counter and opened the card.

“Happy Valentines Babe! Remember when I said I did something special
at Christmas. I told you one day you would see. Well surprise…
I got you flowers of the month. So now every month you can think of me
so you never forget how much I love you. Stan the florist will be here
the 14th of every month. Remember we got married on the 14th?
I want you never to forget me! I will plan something great for tonight.
Congratulations by the way! We are going to start a family soon.
Let’s start tonight, at least we can practice!!!!
I want a baby this year.
I love you xoxoxo”

Sarah dropped the card and Alexia caught her as she nearly fell. Sarah paled and held onto the counter for balance.

Alexia read the card, “Oh Sarah, I have no idea what to say. There’s no way he could have known that there would have been an accident. He did love you will all his heart though. Everyone knew it. You were envied by all of us. He doted on you. Even at parties we would see the way he would look at you when you weren’t looking and he smiled your way. When he caught your eye, we would see him winking at you. He did love you, you know.”

“I know. It’s just hard!” Sarah sobbed.

The phone rang and Alexia reached to answer it and handed it to Sarah.

“Yes, it’s Sarah. Oh hi. Yes, what, really, you sure? Wait, what? Uh huh. Ok. Ok, Good bye. Thank you,” Sarah stood there holding the phone to her ear and her mouth agape.

“Well what? What is it? You OK?” Alexia said with worry.

“Um, that was the doctor. My blood work came back. I’m pregnant. I’m having a baby. Can you believe I’m having a baby? We’re having a baby. How is it possible that I just read that letter and the doctor phoned to tell me I’m having a baby?” Sarah said staring into the flowers as if they could talk.

A wind blew the door open and both girls jumped and their heart skipped a beat. Alexia closed the door. Likely the door wasn’t shut tight. Sarah lifted her nose to the air and breathed deep. “Can you smell that? It’s him. It’s his cologne. Can you smell it? That’s Shaun’s cologne. He wore Polo!” Sarah exclaimed.

Alexia could smell something but argued that the wind blew and the flowers were fragrant. Sarah knew. It was too much of a coincidence that the flowers arrived, the doctors phoned, the door blew open and the smell of Polo lingered in her very sensitive nose.

Sarah sat on the couch milling over in her head the last few times they were together. She smiled when she recalled the dream she had of the two of them in bed. Coincidentally, that was the time the ice hut was supposed to have collapsed in the water. Shaun came to see her one last time. Sarah knew it. She couldn’t tell Alexia that story. No one would believe her. She felt him and smelled him. She could smell him in the shower when she finally realized it was all a dream. She knew he was there. She would hold that in her heart forever. She counted her cycle and looked at the calendar. She was very fertile those few days. Likely got pregnant on Christmas Day before he left. No way it would be possible to be pregnant by a ghost. It would just be silly talk.

A couple of days later Sarah and Alexia went for her ultrasound appointment to see how far along Sarah was. At first the attendant thought Alexia and Sarah were a couple. “Sperm donor?” she wrongly asked.

“No, my husband died recently,” and the Ultrasound technician was sorrowfully quiet. “Well, hmm. Just one minute. Another lady came in. Congratulations it’s twins,” the lady said.

“What twins? Are you sure?” Sarah said with glee and a smile that beamed from one side of her face to the other. The first time Alexia saw colour to Sarah’s face. She squeezed her hand and said she couldn’t wait to be Aunti Lexi.

The technician said, “24 September is your approximate due date but because you are having twins, you will likely be scheduled for the 14 September.”
Sarah jumped again. “Wasn’t that your wedding anniversary?” Alexia said and smiled.

Sarah couldn’t believe all the coincidences. “Based on the information about your last menstrual cycle, we may guess that you conceived around the 29th of December and that you are 8 weeks now. Congratulations. If you want to know the sex of the twins you will have to wait about 8-10 weeks. We will schedule another ultrasound for that time to be sure all is progressing well.” Sarah’s mouth dropped.

Alexia helped Sarah get dressed. They drove home in silence. When Sarah got home she stepped into a warm bubble bath. She needed to unwind. The events of the past few months had caught up to her. She reread the card several times. She wondered if sub-consciously Shaun knew that something would happen. Maybe fate prepared him in advance. As the wind blew through the bathroom window, the wind chimes tinkled and Sarah smiled. That faint smell of Polo wafted delicately through the air.

“Hi Shaun. I love you too honey. Thank you for the gift. We are having twins!” she smiled. Every hair stood up on her body. She rested her arm on the side of the bed. “Hold my hand baby. I want to feel you. I know you came to me the night of your death. I don’t blame you. It was an accident. I will never forget you and my babies will know all about their beautiful daddy. I do love you Shaun and I will never ever forget you!”

Sarah’s hair stood erect and she shook. Sarah felt wind touch her face and graze her lips. She reached up to feel him near. Sarah felt her belly flutter and a warmth of her belly. Sarah could feel Shaun’s hand touching her belly. As quickly as the feeling of his closeness was there, the wind chimes rang again.

Shaun was gone for now but she knew he would be close to her for now as her babies grew inside of her.

Sarah smiled and knew she had the best Valentine’s present ever. She sighed and wished Shaun could be there with her to watch his babies grow. The ones he so badly yearned for.

Sarah drove to see Shaun’s Mom. They were having a cup of tea. Shelley’s face was paled and the life was drained from her.
“Shelley? I have some news for you. Before Shaun left we had talked for a while about having children. Well, I didn’t know till today but,” she paused, “I’m having twins.” Sarah said and a tear trickled down her cheek.

Shelley’s eyes welled and she broke into a sob. “Are you serious? Are you sure?” Shelley said with hope. Her eyes brightened and hugged Sarah and her hand touched Sarah’s belly. “Really we are having a baby?” she cried. Sarah nodded and they both cried together.

“Yes, Shaun left us the best present ever!” Sarah cried and knew that life wouldn’t be the same but they finally had hope. Their love for a man they both treasured would live through his two beautiful children, forever.

by C.A. Keith

Find this story in Ghostly Writes Valentines Anthology 2017                                                   by Plaisted Publishing House                                                                                                                      Short ghost stories written by talented authors across the globe.

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