By Gerry Anklewicz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted February 2001
Summary: In this sweet Valentine's Day vignette, Jonathan struggles to create the perfect Valentine's Day while following the rules.
This is total WAFF, but what can I say? It's Valentine's Day and I couldn't help myself. I'd like to thank my husband for being the inspiration for this story. Thanks to Sarah for editing and Kathy for putting up with my questions.
"Okay, here are this year's rules."
"Make sure that there are only a maximum of three. Two years ago you kept on adding rules."
"Don't worry. I've kept it very simple this year. I want a romantic evening. You can't spend any money on it. Those are the rules."
"Can't I even bring you a dozen roses?"
"No. Unless you have a rose garden of your own, forget it."
"Martha, that's not fair. You know that I'm not good at these things. You're the creative one, not me. I'm the farmer."
"I have faith in you. You can do this and I'm sure that it will be our best Valentine's Day ever."
"Martha, I'm a grandfather already. I'm getting too old for this."
"No, you're not. How can you be too old if I'm not?"
"Okay. We'll have a fire in the fireplace and we'll make love. That doesn't cost any money."
"No. Romance does not equal sex."
"Is that another rule?"
"No. It's a clarification. I want romance. It's Valentine's Day," she said as she pecked him on the cheek. "Although romance can lead to sex if you play your cards right."
"This isn't easy, Martha. I'm drawing a blank here."
"I'm sure you'll think of something."
Two weeks later with Valentine's Day only two days off, Jonathan still didn't have a clue how to make Valentine's Day romantic for Martha without spending money. That was really the hard part because he had to do something special and it couldn't be as simple as buying roses or a box of chocolate. He was really stumped and time was running out. He hadn't had that many problems in the past when there were innumerable but simple rules.
He loved Martha, that was for sure. Their love had grown over the forty-five years that they had been married. They'd gone through their ups and downs. The years before they found Clark had been extremely hard. Martha was depressed that she couldn't have children, but because she didn't want to upset him, she didn't confide in him. They began to move in different directions and for a time he was afraid that she would drift so far away that she would leave him. After they found Clark, they began to talk about Martha's fears of being childless in a child-oriented community and her fears that Jonathan was disappointed in her because she couldn't give him a child. Their talks helped lift the cloud over Martha's head and allowed them to become the strong family that they were now.
They had a rocky time again when he believed that Martha was having an affair with her art instructor. Thinking about that really embarrassed him. How could he have flown to Metropolis with that nude painting and actually shown it to his son? He smiled at Clark's reaction. "Mom?" was all his articulate son could say. Jonathan was so jealous that he didn't think how uncomfortable he made his son. He was also so jealous that he couldn't see clearly enough that all Martha wanted was some space. They talked about it and they made up. Holding her again was like coming home. He wouldn't let go of her so quickly again.
The peonies were a nice touch. He wondered if there were any available for picking at this time of year. He couldn't pay for them anyway, so what did it matter?
Even when he tried to do something romantic, it didn't turn out the way he planned. For one of their anniversaries, and Martha would be upset that he didn't remember exactly which one, he set up a whole chain of gifts. So what happened? They got kidnapped by Jason Mazik and the whole house of cards collapsed. In the end, Martha was pleased with the trip to Italy, but the total impact of the gift was lost. That had been the last time he tried anything creative. A simple gift was enough. Sitting in that prison wasn't so bad now that he was looking back. He knew that Martha wasn't angry at him for what he had said to her mother. Besides, he and Martha were able to be alone without any interruptions.
And then he knew what he was going to do for Martha.
On the morning of Valentine's Day, Martha came down to the kitchen surprised to smell fresh coffee brewing. Jonathan, on the other hand, was nowhere in sight. That didn't surprise her. She figured that he was out in the barn doing whatever he did out in the barn so that he wouldn't have to face her this morning. She knew that it would have been easier to put a price tag on the day and not put so much emphasis on the romantic part. Jonathan was such a good man; he just didn't say little endearing things or surprise her with little gifts. He wasn't stingy. She always bought what she or they needed. He showed her that he loved her over and over in his actions. He was always attentive. He was never interested in other women. He was a wonderful husband and a wonderful father. Clark was so lucky to have a man who put so much love and effort into raising his son. No wonder Clark was such a wonderful husband and father. The more she got to know Jonathan, even after forty-five years, the more she loved him. But, he wasn't romantic. So why was she torturing him like this?
She was sixty-five years old and she just wanted a little fun and a little romance.
In front of the coffee pot was a note addressed to her. It was from Jonathan.
Do whatever it is you do today and then when you come home, I'll take care of everything.
Well, maybe he is getting into this year's rules. Intrigued, Martha went about her daily chores until early afternoon when she went into Smallville for her weekly art class.
Martha came home late from her class and found the house dimly lit. She entered into the front hallway and heard an old favorite Glenn Miller album playing in the background. As soon as she closed the door, Jonathan, in a tuxedo, appeared. He took her coat and hat, purse and package. As he hung up her coat, he sent her up to the bedroom to find something more appropriate for the evening. She found one of her favourite evening dresses lying on the bed with the matching shoes on the floor beside it. She quickly washed up, dressed and went downstairs to see what else Jonathan had in store for her.
Good smells were coming from the kitchen, but Jonathan, who was waiting at the bottom of the stairs, gently escorted her into the candle lit dining room. The music played softly in the background, and Jonathan placed his arm around Martha's waist and pulled her in closer to him. They began to sway rhythmically to the music.
"How'm I doin' so far?" he asked.
"Wonderfully," Martha laughed as Jonathan turned her around and then dipped her.
When the music ended, Jonathan escorted Martha to her chair at the table, and then he went into the kitchen. Dinner was a simple affair. Home baked bread and beef stew that she had put in the freezer a while back and a fresh tossed salad, but Martha appreciated it because she didn't have to plan it or prepare it.
"Looks like dessert also came out of my freezer," Martha laughed as she saw the generous portions of blueberry pie topped with vanilla ice cream.
"I did make the coffee from scratch, and it's decaf the way you like it."
"Everything is perfect." And it was, Martha realized. They hadn't talked about Clark or Lois or the children. They hadn't talked about the farm or the weather or money. They hadn't talked about their friends. For the first time in many years they allowed themselves to talk about themselves, about their marriage, the good times and the bad times, but mostly about the good. And they talked about the years that passed and the years they had to look forward to and how they would spend that time together.
At the end of dinner, Martha and Jonathan cleared the table together.
"Jonathan, these flowers are really beautiful. But you weren't supposed to spend any money."
"So where did these flowers come from?
"I'm not quite sure exactly where they came from, but I know that I didn't pay for them."
"Did anyone else?"
"No. I don't cheat at the rules, Martha. You see, I was thinking of getting you peonies, but I knew that would be against the rules because they don't grown in our garden in February. So, I called Clark and asked him if he could find peonies anywhere, but he couldn't pay for them because I couldn't pay him back. Clark called back and said that he couldn't find any, but if I wanted he would find some really nice flowers for me. So, I said yes. These are the flowers. He picked them in the rainforest somewhere. I think Lois ended up with a similar bouquet."
"Not as beautiful as you are, Martha."
Martha leaned over and kissed Jonathan on the cheek. "You're getting better at this romantic stuff, Jonathan. I told you that you could do it."
Jonathan moved closer to Martha and kissed her lips. She wrapped her arms around him and drew him closer.
"Wanna huggy dance some more?"
"Not yet, I've got some more planned. Next part of the evening is a nice wintry walk."
"I wanna huggy dance inside. It's cold outside."
"Come on. Let's get our warm woollies on."
Bundled up, the two walked out of the house to the oak tree overlooking the barn. It was a special place where they used to go to be alone. When they were first married, Jonathan had put up a swing for Martha. Later it was used by Clark and now when the grandchildren visited, they played on it. Martha sat on the swing as they once more talked about the years that had passed.
"Come here. I have to show you something." Jonathan said.
As Martha got closer to the back of the tree, she saw that Jonathan had inscribed their initials inside a heart. JK & MK
Martha leaned into Jonathan once more and kissed him.
"Come on. It's really getting cold out here; let's go inside. I'll put some more logs on the fire," he suggested.
In the living room, Martha sat cuddled up to Jonathan.
"So, how did I do?"
"Mmmm," Martha murmured, "You did really well. You can be romantic if you want to." Martha nuzzled up to his neck. "This was hard for you, wasn't it?"
"In the beginning, it was. I panicked because I really didn't know what to do to make the evening romantic. And then I started thinking about the good times and the rough times we had. I realized that the best times happened when we were together, just by ourselves without any of the daily chores and worries to interrupt us. Being locked in Mazik's cell was nice when we didn't worry about Clark. We had time to talk about moments in our lives that we shared."
"I was really scared then."
"Me too, but at least we were together." Jonathan began placing gentle kisses on Martha's forehead, on her nose, her cheeks until he reached her lips.
"I love you, Martha. I don't need Valentine's Day to know that. And I should know at this point, that I don't need Valentine's Day to tell you." His lips lingered over hers lightly brushing against them until she drew him closer to her and they deepened the kiss.
Martha's hands moved slowly from Jonathan's face to his neck and she began to fumble with his bow tie. "You do know how to romance a girl, Jonathan.
As she began to undo his tie, she whispered seductively, "And sometimes, romance can lead to sex."
Happy Valentine's Day
"What about all those people reading about us?"
"Tell them to go away. This isn't nfic and we'd like our privacy."