Pairings/Characters: Mel/Johnny, Doris Rogers
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: Challenge, Holiday, Romance
Claim: For the 12_stories Challenge (Mel/Johnny)
Prompt: T 7; P 6: Truth
Prompt Count: (3/12)
Warnings: For Valentine's Day sappiness! ;)
Summary: Mel and Johnny enjoy a traditional Valentine’s Day dinner.
Date Of Completion: December 25, 2011
Date Of Posting: February 3, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1108
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Written for the 2012 Guns_Fedoras Public Enemies Fic/Art Valentine’s Day Challenge. Option 1: Traditional. Prompts: Red, White, Pink, Greeting Cards, Roses, Dinner, Chocolates, Jewelry.
Have their place,
A nice cover,
For Valentine lovers.
It seemed like the entire world was red and white with some pink thrown in. While the days remained gray and cold and the streets were filled with slush, it was the time for love.
The tradition of greeting cards that had begun by Esther Howland in Worcester, Massachusetts in the grand tradition of the British custom had become big business here in America. Not only cards were sent for the special day but flowers and candy as well. Jewelry and perfume were big, too. Men were expected to give their sweethearts these things, and women gave cards or made a special dinner or gave cufflinks or some other treasure.
Johnny looked at the Valentine’s Day displays in the storefront windows. Even kids got in on the act, giving each other Valentines in school. Johnny fondly remembered the practice when he went to school.
He decided that memories were fine but he wanted to make new ones, and he knew just whom he wanted to make them with. He looked at a window display and smiled.
Mel took a deep breath of the bouquet of yellow roses set in a cobalt-blue vase on his desk. His dark eyes shone as he regarded the fragrant flowers.
“They’re beautiful, Mel!” Doris entered his office and took a sniff. “Your beau is a man of taste.”
“Yes.” Mel regarded the roses with satisfaction. “I told him once they were my favorite flowers.”
“How thoughtful! He’s a real keeper.”
“Don’t I know it.” Mel glanced over her shoulder but saw no one in the corridor. “He’s invited me to dinner tonight.”
“Oh, Mel, how romantic!”
Mel blushed slightly. “I hope so.”
Doris laughed. “It’s good to be a romantic at heart.”
Mel smiled as Doris left his office and he put a rose in his buttonhole.
The restaurant was respectable but very out-of-the-way. Mel admired the brick façade with the white-painted windowboxes, empty now in the winter but he could imagine a profusion of flowers spilling out from them in the spring, summer, and fall. A tiny bell over the door jangled as he walked in, dim lighting giving off an aura of mystery, which pleased him.
“This way, sir,” said the portly maitre d’. He led Mel to a table in the back.
Mel smiled at the well-dressed gentleman already rested at the table. The maitre d’ set a menu down on Mel’s place setting. “Would you care for a drink, sir?” he asked.
“I’ll have what my friend’s having.”
“Very good, sir.” The man left and Johnny grinned.
“Glad you could make it, Sunshine.”
“How could I resist an invitation from such a fine gentleman?” Mel sat down.
Johnny reached out and covered Mel’s hand with his own. “I see a fine gentleman right here.” He squeezed Mel’s hand.
“You’re quite the charmer, darlin’.”
Johnny’s smile dazzled as he released Mel’s hand. “It’s all on me tonight, sweetheart.”
“That suits me just fine, suh.”
Johnny grinned. “Got a little somethin’ for ya, darlin’.” He took a red envelope out of his jacket pocket and handed it to Mel. “I see you’re wearin’ one of my roses.”
The rose-colored tablecloth held gleaming china and a small red jar candle, its light flickering over the envelope. Mel took it and opened it, withdrawing a card. He read it and smiled. “A lovely sentiment, John.” He traced his finger over the roses drown on the cover. “I surely am wearing it. It’s a lovely gift. Thank you.”
The maitre d’ brought a fresh glass and poured from a magnum of champagne chilling in a silver ice bucket next to the table. “Would you care to order, sir?”
Mel ordered steak, a baked potato with chives and butter, and a vegetable medley of green beans, carrots and corn. He took out a white envelope and handed it to Johnny when they were alone.
“Thank you, darlin’.” Johnny opened the envelope. “Beautiful. Just like you.”
Mel blushed. “You possess a silver tongue, suh.”
“The better to kiss you with, my dear.”
Mel laughed and sipped his champagne. “You spoil me.”
“I hope so. You deserve it.”
They talked of inconsequential things, just as lovers do sometimes, and enjoyed their dinners. They both ordered red velvet cake for dessert and as they savored coffee after their meal, Johnny smiled and produced a heart-shaped box.
Mel laughed. “Chocolates? Oh, Johnny!”
“Sweets for the sweet.” Johnny winked.
“I have a little something for you, too.” Mel handed Johnny a small box wrapped in red paper.
Johnny eagerly ripped off the wrapping and opened the box. “Sunshine,” he gasped. He lifted out little diamond cufflinks. “Honey, you’re too generous!”
“Nonsense, you deserve it. Happy Valentine’s Day, love.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Mel caressed the candy box. “You have made me very happy.”
“Always my intention, darlin’.” Johnny watched his cufflinks sparkle in the candlelight. “Open the box.”
Curious, Mel did and saw a small red box in the center slot. The rest were filled with chocolates. He picked up the box and opened it. “A diamond tieclip! Oh, thank you, Johnny!”
“You’re welcome. I wanted truth tonight.”
“Truth?” Mel cocked his head curiously as he fastened the tieclip to his pearl-gray tie.
"Yeah.” Johnny sipped his coffee. “You and I have to tell a lot of lies, Mel. It’s just the way of things to keep us safe. The world would not only look askance at a cop and robber fallin’ for each other, we’re two men, and the world isn’t too fond of that scenario, either.”
“No,” Mel admitted.
“I wanted us to be honest with each other. How we feel should be truth between us. No need for the subterfuge between us, the lies I have to tell to be a successful bank robber and the lies you have to tell your Bureau.”
Mel lowered his head, guilt flushing his cheeks. “I know,” he said quietly.
Johnny put his hand over Mel’s. “All these fancy trappings and traditional fripperies are to let you know how much I feel for you, and that it’s genuine. You’re more than I ever expected in this life.”
Mel looked up and turned his hand palm up, squeezing Johnny’s hand. “I feel the same way,” he said softly, a gentle smile on his face.
Johnny’s grin was incandescent. “Good.” His smile turned saucy. “How ‘bout I show you just how much in private?”
“I’d like that fine, Mr. Dillinger.”
The two lovers left the restaurant laden with gifts and with the truth shining between them.