Me: Hi, guys!
(mumbles from everyone)
Me: Let's try that again. Hi, guys!
All: (staggered) Hi, Laura.
Me: Better. We'll work on that. Well, as you know, Valentines Day is right around the corner, so I thought I'd take a minute to ask you guys what your ideal Valentines Day would look like. Okay? Cicely, let's start with you.
Cicely: Me? I have to go first? Um, okay... Well, I'll be honest, I'm not a huge V-day fan.
Emmie: You did not just say you don't like Valentines Day! Hush your mouth!
Cicely: Well, it's not like I'm a hater or anything, it's just that it seems sort of designed to make people feel left out – like, worried that they didn't get a Valentine or that they won't be asked to the dance or whatever. Like at school, the drama club always had this fundraiser where they sold carnations and you could order red for someone if you were going out, or pink if you were crushing on them or whatever, or white for friends, and you sent them with a note…
Luke: Ah! The Victorian language of flowers!
Emmie: I loved those little carnations! It was hard to carry them all home, though.
Cicely: Yeah, for you! You and Lyla Jansen and your crowd always had these huge bouquets of carnations, and there's Zoe and me with the little white ones we sent each other...
Ander: I would totally have sent you a carnation, by the way. Except I was -
Cicely: Absent. I remember.
Ander: And also I forgot.
Cicely: It's okay. I don't want to be down on V-day, it's just wasn't it sort of invented by popular people? And, you know, Hallmark?
Luke: On the contrary, Valentines Day has been celebrated for centuries.
Me: Cicely, there must be something you like about it, right?
Cicely: Well, my mom always had plenty of work around Valentines because there were always parties that needed pink cupcakes or heart-shaped cakes or whatever, and there was usually at least one Valentines Day wedding to bake for...
Emmie: Oh my gosh, that would be so romantic.
Cicely: So that meant I spent a lot of time helping her, but it also meant that we ate a lot of cupcakes.
Ander: Best. Cupcakes. Ever.
Cicely: And my mom really loves Valentines Day, so she was really into it, and we'd usually have a treat when it was over, like a we-survived-the-valentines-rush out to dinner or something, which was great. But generally I think, if you love someone, you should show them every day. You shouldn't need some big commercial holiday as an excuse. Am I being a downer?
Me: No, I can understand that. But if you were to do something special for Valentines, what would you do?
Cicely: (thinks, biting lip) Well... I guess I would want to do something very normal. Or, you know, as normal as we get. Go to a movie, go out to dinner, that sort of thing. I've never been on a really normal date, so I guess that would be sort of... refreshing, I guess, after all the weird. And I would definitely wear red.
Ander: You pretty much always wear your red hoodie.
Cicely: See? I am totally in the spirit.
Me: Okay, thanks, Cicely. Now how about -
Emmie: (waving hand wildly) Oh! Me! I'll go next!
Me: Okay, Emmie, since you’re so enthusiastic, what would your ideal Valentines Day look like?
Emmie: I love Valentines Day! It’s my second favorite V word!
Me: What’s your –
Emmie: “Vampire”! And here I thought you knew me! (laughs) But I love "valentines," too. I love all the chocolate and the flowers and those little hearts with the text messages on ‘em. I think a guy should make a real romantic gesture, like he should buy his girl two dozen red roses, or write her name in rose petals or – no! even better! He should write “I love you” in lighter fluid on the snow and then set it on fire and then when the neighbors call the cops and she hears the sirens and looks out her window, she’ll know that he truly burns for her, you know?
Naomi: Isn’t that a little…dangerous?
Emmie: But so sweet! Or – oh! Oh! He could plan a flash mob!
Luke: Does that involve lighter fluid?
Emmie: No, silly, you know, a flash mob? Like (starts dancing and sings) “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger –”
Me: Okay, so a big romantic gesture. Anything else?
Emmie: Well, I think a guy should give a girl presents – somethin’ shiny, or maybe chocolate covered strawberries, or chocolate covered cherries – pretty much any kind of chocolate fruit. Except mangos. Because that could be disgusting…
Me: Emmie, focus.
Emmie: Right. And he should take her out someplace nice. He should pick her up in a nice car, like a limousine or a Mustang or a really clean truck, and he should bring her to a restaurant, his treat – like, a real restaurant, with waiters and everything.
Luke: There are restaurants without waiters?
Emmie: And then he should take her out dancing some place fun and get the band to play her favorite song and just dance until dawn, and then she should let him bite her goodnight.
Ander: You mean kiss her goodnight.
Emmie: To each their own.
Me: Sounds like you’ve got it all planned out, Emmie. Have you been on this dream date yet?
Emmie: No. I’ve always had to work Valentines Day, which is okay I guess because the bar is pretty fun on a holiday, and we always do two shows, one with the newer songs for the younger set, and one that’s all standards for the vamps who like to kick it old school. Everyone else always wants to do the new stuff, but I love the classics, so I get my pick of the old stuff and I get to do two, three songs a show, like (sings)
"My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art…”
Luke: That was lovely.
Emmie: Why, thank you!
Me: Yes, very nice, Emmie. Now, Ander, how about you? How would you celebrate Valentines Day?
Ander: Well, it wouldn’t be at the Nightlife, that’s for sure.
Me: Where would it be?
Ander: I’m gonna agree with Cicely that I’d want to do something normal, because we haven’t had a lot of normal, so I’d just like to go out to the Heyday Café – Zoe’s dad’s place – and get a burger and talk and hang out, maybe go to the school dance if it wasn’t going to be lame, maybe go to a movie, something good that ends in a shoot out.
(Cicely smacks him)
Ander: I mean that ends in a kiss. Because, you know, it’s Valentines Day.
Me: What about flowers? Candy? Presents?
Ander: I don’t do the flower thing. I think it’s kind of depressing to watch them just sit in a vase and wilt, you know? What’s the point? And I’m not the best with words, as far as writing a card goes. But food is always good, like Cicely’s mom’s cupcakes or chocolates or whatever. Danny used to always bring Michael dinner in bed on Valentines.
Me: You mean breakfast in bed.
Ander: Nope, dinner. Nocturnal, remember?
Me: Oh, right.
Ander: Well, I always thought that was nice. Or, actually, I always thought it was sort of embarrassing, but now I think it was kind of nice.
Me: Anything else?
Ander: I don’t know. (pauses to think) I guess when you have spent enough time with your life in danger like we have, and you’ve seen people make real sacrifices for love, the gestures start to sort of pale in comparison, you know? I’m cool with cards and all, but it’s what a person does when it comes right down to it that shows how they really feel about you.
Me: I can respect that. Thanks, Ander. Naomi, you’ve been very quiet. What would your ideal Valentine’s Day look like?
Naomi: Well, I guess I identify with what Cicely and Emmie were saying about Valentines being a working holiday. It’s a prime time for spells to call love into your life and for contacting loved ones who have passed on, so I’ve usually spent Valentines helping my grandmother do ritual. But I guess if I were to celebrate, I’d maybe want to walk in the woods or go riding on the beach if it was warm enough. Maybe have an evening at home with a fire going in the fireplace. I love flowers, but I’m not one for expensive presents. I like home-made things best. Although… this is going to sound silly…
Naomi: I wouldn’t mind if someone rescued a little kitten from a shelter for me, or a puppy.
Ander: Like you don’t have enough pets!
Naomi: I know, dumb, right? But there are so many that need homes! And you could name it Valentine or Sweetheart or something like that…
Me: I think that would be adorable. Anything else?
Naomi: I love poetry. If someone wrote a poem or a song for me, I think I would be speechless, I’d be so happy. I have a book of poems that I bought for someone special, but I never got the chance to give them to him. If I were to be with him on Valentines Day, there’s one in particular I would want him to read.
Me: That’s extremely romantic, Naomi. Thank you. Luke? What do you have to say for yourself on the subject of Valentines Day?
Luke: I am in favor of it.
Me: And how would you celebrate?
Luke: Well, traditionally on Valentines it is the acceptable for a man to court a woman more openly, yes? A romantic get away, perhaps, to some place warm where the couple can be alone? And yes, flowers are in order. Roses, or whatever the lady prefers. And couples traditionally exchange tokens of affection. A locket or a ring, a lock of hair…
Cicely: A lock of hair?
Luke: Do they not do that any more? It was quite popular at the end of the 1800’s.
Cicely: Now, not so much.
Luke: Bien. Perhaps not hair. But at the very least a kiss. Every girl deserves to be kissed passionately on Valentines Day, to be kissed in a way she can feel hasta lo mas profundo de su
Emmie: Now that’s an answer.
Ander: I thought that, you know, kissing the soul thing went without saying.
Cicely: Yeah, no.
Ander: Show off.
Me: Well, I think that about sums it up. Thanks, you guys, for chatting with me. I hope you all get the Valentines Day of your dreams. Now let’s say Happy Valentines Day and try to say it in unison this time, okay? One, two, three…
All: Happy Valentines Day!
Luke: Feliz Dia de San Valentin!
Me: Much better.