“Would you like to go for a walk?” Dushan asked Chioma.
It was Valentine’s Day and they were at his flat. They had just finished having dinner. As promised he made Bryndzové Halušky, dumplings with sheep’s cheese but instead of bacon he used Shitake Mushrooms. “My mother substituted the bacon with chicken or turkey because Jews don’t eat pork, bacon or ham,” he explained.
“I don’t eat those either,” Chioma told him. “The dumplings smell wonderful. I can’t wait to taste it.”
He smiled. “First, we’ll have Česnečka which is a Garlic soup.”
Dinner was very delicious. Chioma couldn’t help marveling over it which pleased Dushan. He had never cooked for anyone before. He had been a bit nervous about it but was relieved that it had been a success. He couldn’t wait to make dinner for her again. The next time he would make Mäsové Guľky, a dish of meatballs and potatoes and another Slovak favorite. For dessert, he served Laskonky, traditional Slovak cookies with hot tea.
Afterwards, they went into the living-room. Chioma stood at the window looking out at the flickering lights in the distance. Dushan watched her. He was tempted to walk up to her and pull her against him. He knew that if he did that, he wouldn’t be able to resist kissing her on the side of her neck before turning her around so that he could kiss her on the mouth. He dragged his fingers through his hair as he felt himself become hard. Going for a walk seemed like the sensible thing to do at that moment.
She turned to face him now. “I’d much rather stay here where it’s nice and warm.”
“All right,” he said. He didn’t go over to the sofa where they usually sat but he sat down on the Ottoman, facing her and leaning against the wall. Best to keep his distance, he thought as his mind went back to what had happened earlier.
Earlier, they had exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts. She gave him a keepsake photo album with many of photos of them together. He was very pleased with it. “This is great,” he said. “I’ll enjoy looking at these. Thank you.”
“There are blank pages for more photos,” she said.
He had set the photo album aside, planning to go through it again later and watched as she opened the large wrapped box he had given her. When she removed the lid and saw the luxury rose bear inside, she had laughed in delight. It was made of faux red roses and was holding a pink rose. “It’s beautiful,” she exclaimed. Then, she hurried over to him and reaching up, she had pulled his head down so that she could kiss him.
He had put his arms around her waist and held her tightly against him while he hungrily responded to her kiss. His body was throbbing with desire and he ached to be inside her, buried deep inside her warmth. The wild and passionate kisses continued for several minutes later and then, with supreme effort, he raised his head and released her. His breath was harsh and unsteady and the desire that was raging inside him was burning in her eyes when she opened them to look up at him. “We’d better eat now when everything is still hot,” he muttered.
She nodded and he had led the way to the dining-room where the table was already set, with candles. For a while, it had been hard for him to concentrate on what he was doing when he was tempted beyond belief to pick her up and take her to his bedroom.
“Why are you sitting over there?” she asked now, interrupting his thoughts.
“It’s safer over here.”
She stared at him in surprise. “Safer? What do you mean?”
“Earlier when we were kissing, I wanted so badly to make love to you.”
Chioma swallowed hard. “Oh,” she said. “A part of me wanted you to.”
“Yes, but I have to respect the other part of you which wants to wait until you’re married.”
“Thank you, Dushan. I know how hard it is for you and I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry, Chioma. I know how hard it is for you too. Let’s take our minds off it by playing a game of Chess.”
She smiled. “All right. This time, I’m going to beat you.”
He smiled as he got up from the Ottoman. “You can try,” he replied teasingly.
They spent the rest of the evening playing Chess and talking about all sorts of things. It was after eleven when he took her home. It was the best Valentine’s Day he had ever spent in his life.
He had never exchanged gifts with Evelyn. Instead, they had gone out for dinner or to a concert. He had never exchanged gifts with Ruth either and had always discouraged her from giving him any. He didn’t want any Valentine’s gifts from her because he didn’t love her. With Chioma, it was different, of course. She was the love of his life and he delighted in buying her that teddy bear and making dinner for her. He looked forward to spending many more wonderful evenings with her and making dinner for her.