Valentine’s Day. The day of romance… Great if you’re in a relationship. Often just a painful or awkward reminder for those who aren’t. Charlie¹ sort of feels that pain himself, as you will see…
“Yes, sir, that’s my baby now…” Charlie sang, plopping Rose on the sofa. “Really, man,” he said, turning to Harold, “it’s a sin that this woman does not dance more. You need to learn. Here, let me show you.”
He grabbed Harold’s hand and started out once more across the room, this time waggling his hips as if he were the girl while he shouted out the steps. “Left, tap, right, tap. Left, tap, right, tap.” They charleston-ed about the room, Harold gaining confidence as they went.
When they passed the sofa, Charlie grabbed the scarf draped from Rose’s neck, tying it around his head. “Oh, Harold,” he giggled in a high falsetto, “you’re sooo handsome!”
Harold laughed, pulling his hand from Charlie’s. “If you don’t mind, I prefer holding hands with real girls.” He bowed to Rose, “If the lady would care to dance, that is?” She rose and they made their own pass around the room, Harold stutter-stepping every now and again but eventually working into a rhythm.
While Charlie watched, he poured another glass of champagne for each of them—his gift to celebrate Valentine’s Day. He really ought to leave and let them enjoy the rest of the evening alone, despite Rose’s earlier protests.
When the song ended, he handed each of them a glass. “To good friends, fast music, and french champagne,” he toasted. “And true love; may it last forever!”
They all clinked glasses, then he handed Harold what remained of the bottle. “Now, if you two will excuse me, it’s time for all third wheels to retire. No. No argument. Three’s a crowd and all that.”
He put down his glass and walked out toward the barn. Perhaps Lady A would be good company, at the very least a warm body to keep him company. And she didn’t say much. Just an occasional “Moo.”
¹Charlie is the third main character of the novel. Harold and Rose rescued him from near death and now he helps around the farm.