Maybe a Chenford prompt with “a hug after not seeing someone for a long time” or “wiping away tears” or “peppering someone’s face with kisses”
Nonnie! This took longer to get to than I’d planned, but I’m slowly poking through all of my requests. This one is partially based on a true story from my trip to New York with my mom, but the ending is different. I had goldfish. Enjoy!
“So, we have the whole day ahead of us …" Lucy trails off, bouncing forward a couple of steps until she can turn around and face Tim on the sidewalk. He’s still holding her hand, their fingers twisted together in the air between them, when he smiles at her and responds.
“We do,” It’s like he can tell she’s got an idea. Lucy doesn’t think she’ll ever get tired of seeing him look at her like this, all affectionate smiles and quiet happiness.
It’s the first full day off they’ve shared in over a month, where neither of them have any plans with friends (usually Lucy, but sometimes both of them) or godchildren (Tim, when Angela forgets to hire a sitter and Wesley has to be in court, but Lucy likes to tag along when she can), and no one is likely to be called into work. Lucy’s been looking forward to this all week, a laid-back, easy day with her boyfriend.
As soon as their coffee cups were cleared and Kojo had been for his walk, they’d climbed into Tim’s truck and headed for the pier. He’s hardly let go of her hand since they left the driveway, other than just long enough to circle around to Lucy’s door after he’d parked.
“You know what we should do?”
"Mmm, are you looking for ideas?” Tim smirks, pulling Lucy closer to him and wrapping his free arm around her waist.
“Tim!” Lucy scolds, pushing his chest lightly, then drops her voice to a whisper. “Later. But first, we should eat dessert! Before lunch.”
“Before lunch? Dessert at 11 a.m.? Are you sure you’ll be able to handle that much rebellion?”
“I think I’ll be OK. Besides, we can always get a second dessert after lunch.” Lucy rolls up to her toes and kisses Tim softly. “Or, maybe a third.”
“Yeah? Which dessert do you want to start with?” Tim tightens his hold on Lucy’s waist, but she steps out of the grasp and pulls him forward a couple of steps. She looks back over her shoulder and giggles at the look on his face.
“There’s a gelato place somewhere around here that’s supposed to be fantastic. Oh! Or cookies! I heard there’s macarons, or a grandma’s-type bakery, or—no! You know what we should do?”
“What?” Lucy bounces on the balls of her feet, only encouraged by the way Tim is indulging her.
“We should get cupcakes! I mean, they’re the perfect morning dessert, since they’re so close to muffins. They're just … muffins that believed in themselves!”
“Muffins that …” Tim shakes his head. “You’re something else, you know that, Lucy?”
“Yeah, but you love me.”
“I do,” he nods, still following as Lucy pulls him down the sidewalk again.
“So … can we?”
“Go get dessert. Cupcakes. Miracle muffins.” Tim closes his eyes, pushing his brows up toward his hairline, then opens them to look at Lucy and smile.
“Sure, I’ll buy you a … miracle muffin.” He squeezes Lucy’s fingers and tugs her back until they’re walking side by side again. A moment later, he drops her hand, but only to tuck a couple fingers into the back pocket of her jeans. “Who knows, might even have one myself.”
She sways toward him, leaning against his chest as they walk. Tim has no idea how they stay upright without tripping, legs bumping together every few steps, but somehow they make it a few blocks until they’re standing underneath a bright pink and green awning. It’s casting brightly hued shadows across Lucy’s face as she untangles herself from his hold and wraps her hand around the handle to pull the door -
Except it doesn’t open. It jerks a little bit under the force of her second tug, but stays firmly closed. Tim steps forward and reaches for the other handle, but that door is locked too. He steps back and reads the sign taped in the window.
“12:30 to nine,” he reads, squeezing Lucy’s shoulder gently. “They’re not open yet.”
“Oh,” The sound falls out of Lucy’s mouth, but it’s not quite a word. Tim waits a moment, but she doesn’t turn around.
“Lucy?” She sniffles and takes a shuddery breath, but stares at the door until Tim nudges her shoulder and she turns willingly.
When she looks up at him, her eyes are brimming with tears.
“Hey,” he starts. “We’ll come back. It’s what, 90 minutes until they open?”
“I wanted a cupcake now, though.” Lucy hiccups and loses the battle against crying.
“Come here,” He pulls her closer, tucking her head against his chest. They’re blocking the door, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not like anyone is coming in or out anytime soon. “Hey now, c’mere.”
As soon as he’s holding her, Lucy starts sobbing harder. Her body shakes against his, and all Tim knows to do is run his hand soothingly up and down her back. There’s nothing he can say, at least not that he thinks would help her right now.
It’s a cupcake, and they can come back after lunch. He likes a good pastry as much as the next guy, loves them even, though he’d never admit it, but how big of a deal is this, really?
But for Lucy, clearly it is. And that means Tim is feeling the disappointment just as strongly, even if he’s perfectly happy to have his cupcake after lunch.
So they stand there together, until Lucy’s cried herself out enough to wrap her arms around Tim. She takes a shuddery breath and leans back far enough to see his face.
“Sorry … sorry about that.”
“Hey, it’s alright. Was this all about a cupcake?” He asks the question gently; the last thing he wants is for Lucy to think he’s making fun of her. He’s not, he’s just started to wonder if there’s something bigger going on.
“Not really, I-I guess.” Lucy toys with the hem of Tim’s T-shirt and drops her eyes to look at his chest. “It’s just … it’s been a long week, and it feels like we’ve hardly seen each other, then we get this whole day together, and it can’t even start with cupcakes!”
Tim waits for Lucy to have everything off her chest, then gently turns them around. He’s still holding her, but he’s got his back to the door now, looking over her head at the other shops on the boardwalk.
Shoe store, surf shop, Mexican food, used bookstore, Italian, a couple of storefronts that are too small to tell, but also too small to be what he’s looking for …
"It’s alright. Like you said, the whole day’s ahead of us. There’s plenty of time for cupcakes, I promise.” He brushes a piece of hair out of her face, tucking it behind her ear even though he knows he’ll redo her ponytail as soon as they step apart. His hand lands on her cheek, where the damp trails are hot against his skin. “Meanwhile, do you trust me?”
Lucy nods almost instantly, before Tim thinks she’s really heard what he said, and he makes himself ignore the way his chest goes tight with how readily she puts her life in his hands.
And her baked goods.
“Good,” he wipes his thumb across her face, carefully grazing the bottom of her eye and swiping the tears away. “And I mean it: we’ll come back. It might be after lunch, but you’ll get your cupcake.”
“OK,” Lucy takes a deep breath and says it again, with more conviction. “OK. What now?”
“Now, you trust me.” Tim says again. He wipes Lucy’s eyes one more time, then presses a soft kiss to her lips and steps back.
Sure enough, as soon as she lets go of his shirt, she reaches for her ponytail. Once it’s resituated, he grabs her hand again.
This time, it’s Tim’s turn to lead Lucy through the growing crowd. He pulls her across the street, kisses her again while they wait for the light to change. Then he’s holding the door and pushing her in front of him into a dimly lit bakery.
“Tim?” Lucy turns to look at him, and he squeezes her fingers as he walks them toward the counter.
“You’re not the only one who know where to get dessert around here. This place makes the best cookies I’ve ever had.” he watches the smile unfold across her face, then looks up at the cashier. “Two monster cookies, a peanut butter chocolate chunk, and …” Lucy elbows him and points at the case. He rolls his eyes lightly, but nods, knowing he’d give Lucy anything she asks for. “A gingersnap.”