Today we have one of the authors of this paranormal young adult anthology, Stacey Wallace Benefiel! You will find one of the cutest Valentine's Day thoughts/memory that will leave you smiling...
The first boy to ever give me a Valentine’s Day present was Russell Potterfield. He was a senior when I was a junior. We weren’t dating and never did. Actually, we hardly knew each other. We had mutual friends and were around each other a lot in high school, but I think we talked one-on-one maybe three times in the two years we attended school together.
Still, every year as February 14th nears, I think about him.
He stopped me in the hall between classes the day before Valentine’s Day and said, “We should be anti-Valentine’s valentines.”
“Sure,” I said. “Which means what exactly?”
I should point out that I was prepared to agree with whatever he suggested being an anti-Valentine’s valentine was. He was tall and incredibly smart and had wavy blond hair – I’ve always been powerless against those traits.
“Let’s get each other something. All the people with boyfriends and girlfriends are sending stupid roses and Hershey’s kiss-o-grams during school. Let’s get each other something cool so we don’t feel left out.”
“Okay.” I remember wondering if he was trying to get back at the last girl he’d been dating or if someone had put him up to it. I wasn’t the most popular girl and I’d never had a boyfriend, but I did have a lot of good friends who I thought were maybe sick of always seeing me on the dating sidelines.
I decided I didn’t care what Russell’s motives were. He was nice and weird and I was going to get him something nice and weird. But I was going to play it cool and not make more out of it than it was.
After spending the night trying to come up with something, I got a flash of inspiration over breakfast. As I opened a fresh box of Frosted Flakes, I saw that there was a prize in the cereal – a mystery decoder ring. I knew my little sister would be mad that I’d taken it, but it was the perfect gift. I dumped all the cereal out into a Tupperware bowl and got the prize, pleased with myself.
Russell met me at my locker before school for the big exchange. He had a little cactus in his hand.
“Happy anti-Valentine’s Day,” he said handing me the prickly plant and a folded piece of pink paper.
“Happy anti-Valentine’s Day,” I replied, giving him the decoder ring, a nervous smile on my face. “I dumped out a whole box of cereal to get that.”
“Cool. Open up the paper.”
I still have that piece of pink paper.
Russell Potterfield wrote me a poem about TV Dinners. Complete with a drawing of a TV dinner done in crayon. I almost teared up when I read it. It was weird and awesome and the kind of gift I couldn’t picture him giving to anyone but me.
At the time, I had a little flash of panic that my gift wasn’t nearly as cool and thought out as his was, but he didn’t seem to care.
That’s why I think about Russ every Valentine’s Day. He was nicer to me than he had to be and more thoughtful at seventeen than most of the subsequent boyfriends I ever had had been. I don’t know if he realized what he was doing for me that day or if he even remembers our anti-Valentine’s valentine (I should ask him, we’re Facebook friends!) but to this day, it makes me smile.
And have a craving for Salisbury steak.
Death by Chocolate is the paranormal young adult romance anthology. Six authors, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Cheryl J. Carvajal, Nikki Jefford, Lucy Swing, Kira Saito and Suz Korb, bring you supernatural adventure stories, each with a cocoa twist. The stories are: Back in Time by Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Sweet Witchery by Cheryl J. Carvajal, Spellbound by Nikki Jefford, Bloody Valentine by Lucy Swing, Sweet Torture by Kira Saito and The Girl with Three Heads by Suz Korb. Time travel, witchcraft, terror, agony and light hearted comedy too. Combined with more than just a hint of enchantment, these stories are the ingredients for the Death by Chocolate recipe of romance.