“Finnley,” I laughed as he tugged me by the hand down the streets of Burlington, Vermont. For our first Valentine’s day together, we took off for the weekend. Completely out of the blue, Finn called me up, told me to pack a bag of warm clothes, and we hopped on a quick flight North. And now here we were, walking down this yellow glowing street from the black street lamps that lined the cobblestone road. It was magical as little flakes of snow fluttered around us.
“Let me,” he said as he grabbed onto my shoulders and positioned me outside some store, making us stop walking. I turned to look over my shoulder to see where we were, but he caught my chin and refused me. I stuck my tongue out at him, teasing him with a whine, and he kissed me, shutting me right up.
“Tell me what’s going on!” I squealed, eager to know what Finn had up his sleeve. He was crazy. The man came up with extravagant ideas in a not so extravagant way. Take our proposal for example. Flawless in every damn way, and yet it was just the two of us on the best night of my life. He knows me, and that was what made me love him more than I ever thought imaginable.
“So, you’re always talking about looking for new clothes and new styles and how the City offers a lot, but you want that little bit extra?” He squinted, tilting his head to the side like he needed my confirmation. He was right so I nodded. “You have an hour to pick shit out. I’ll meet you here after, okay?”
“An hour, hockey girl.” He took my hands and kissed me hard on the lips, leaving his mark no doubt. When he pulled back, he smiled wide and let me go. I whimpered. “Love you!” And then he turned and began walking down the street away from me, disappearing into some store on the left.
I didn’t even know if I had money for clothes. I checked my pockets since I didn’t bring a purse and sure enough, a little black card was nestled inside. Damn. He really did think of everything. I put the card back in my pocket and went into the store I was in front of, wondering how Finnley knew me so well.
It was funny how you didn’t realize what you needed until you were shoved into it. I’d been searching for a month now for something new in the boxes that would differentiate us from all the other subscription boxes that had popped up. I wanted unique and exclusive and just wasn’t finding anything that hit those marks.
And yet somehow, Finnley brought me to a place that was perfect. After speaking to a woman in the second store I entered, I ordered a hundred and fifty pairs of gloves they had made in the back of the store with the fingers cut off and in different designs. It was perfect for next month’s box. I knew nowhere else would have them since they were handmade and the fact that the quality was immaculate just added to their charm.
I left exactly one hour after Finn left and found him sitting across the street on a little iron bench, cast in the dark glow from the streetlamps. The slowly falling snow created a picturesque frame around him. Just seeing him from far away made my stomach roll with anticipation. He hadn’t noticed me yet so with each step towards him, I simply admired my man.
A stubble coated his sharp jaw, and he looked tired. We’d been traveling so much lately for his games and I knew it took a toll on him. Not to mention we were in the heart of his season. His body was always sore and no matter how many ice baths or massages, he ached just to walk to bed.
He looked over at me, just noticing me now, and smiled his signature sideways grin that I craved. Any traces of tiredness or unease flew away when he looked at me. I ran the final amount of space between us and wrapped my arms around his neck, kissing the spot right behind his ear that was softest as I sat beside him.
“Missed you,” he whispered in my hair.
“I was gone only an hour,” I laughed, still holding onto him because the truth was, I missed him, too. Sure, I had fun shopping. But it never compared to the time Finn and I were together. Nothing did.
“Ready for part two?” he asked, rubbing his hand down my hair. My body woke with shivers and I leaned back into his arms.
“Sure.” I’d learned by now to just accept Finn when he had these elaborate ideas. Instead of asking questions and trying to figure it out, I went with the flow. I let Finn lead me down the street. The were a few people milling about but most were in the stores and restaurants, getting warm beside fires and filling themselves with good food and lively company.
We turned left at the end of the street and as we walked towards a large dome building, I knew exactly what Finn’s plans were. I smiled to myself, but this was exactly something Finn would think of. It was a perfect mix of the two of us in one perfect night in a place we could be completely alone--no team or family to get in the way.
“It’s so late, how are we going to get in?” I asked as he started to jog. I laughed as I caught up while he remained silent. Instead of going to the front door, he walked around the side to a metal door with a latch underneath, partially hidden behind tall evergreens. Finally, he let go of my hand.
“I used to come here during winter break in high school, remember?” I nodded as he began to fiddle with the door. “One on one time with the ice is my favorite and this rink used to be packed. At least a couple hundred people were skating during the sticks and pucks and free skates. So one of the managers showed me this side door. It doesn’t lock, but you have to hip check it while holding the handle and it should...just…”
The door opened effortlessly, flashing us in the face with a wiff of cool air from inside. He held the door for me to go in and then shut it behind us, leaving us in complete pitch blackness. I reached behind me and found his chest. I clung to him. He moved, walking towards something and then with a click, all the fluorescent lights flickered on.
“Wow,” I muttered in awe. “This place is huge!” As I said it, my voice echoed in the high ceilings. I yelped just to see how many times it would repeat. Seven. Finn leaned towards me and kissed me on the cheek as he spun around, his wide eyes roaming the large arena.
“Come on.” He ran forward and opened the swinging door to get on the ice. I wrapped my coat higher around my neck and followed him. He stepped on the ice with his regular shoes and waited for me at center ice. I met him and wrapped my arms around his neck, clinging to him because I felt like I might fall over. It was so slippery, and while my balance was great from years of ballet, it was still ice and I was still in Sorels.
“The ice is all I know,” he said with a shrug as he began to sway along with me, dancing to a silent song. I laid my head on his chest and let him lead, shuffling along with his steps. His arms wrapped around my waist as he held me against him. His heart was racing. His fingers played in my hair and trailed down my back each time he made a step.
I hummed to the beat his feet played, not even knowing if I was singing a song or not. It just felt right to move together. I wasn’t sure how long we danced at center ice or if a song actually started to play. We were in our own little bubble together, without a single care in the entire world.
Somehow we ended up laying on the ice, looking up at the beamed ceiling. Finnley was to my left, but he was looking at me, not the ceiling. My face heat at his undivided attention. I held his hand between us and smiled to myself.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
“I’m just really happy.”
“No, I’m totally kidding.” I shook my head and rolled my eyes.
“Jerk,” he muttered as he shoved my shoulder with his. “If it matters, I’m really happy, too, Linds.”
I turned my head and caught his brown eyes with mine. He puckered his lips and blew me a kiss, making me laugh out loud. I caught it in my mouth and chewed the kiss, scrunching my nose for dramatic effect.
This was what live was about--the small moments where you knew with absolute certainty that you were with your soul mate. Finnley was my forever kind of romance and each passing day made me fall deeper and deeper in love with him. It was a crazy life, full of a love that was constantly changing. But I’d never trade it for anything.
We had something other couples dreamed of. Our kind of love was something some humans never achieved. As I stared at Finnley, I promised myself to never take him for granted. It wasn’t about some elaborate Valentine’s day or anniversary or birthday or how big my diamond was. It was about Finn and me. Us. Who we were when we were together. And we were pretty amazing together.
© Taylor Lavati 2017
What Readers Have to Say...
"An absolutely heart wrenching read that shows us that at times no matter how much we hope, darkness will find its way to win. "
-Blogger's From Down Under for A Reliant Love
"So this book is the ultimate love story. I like how two ordinary people who is so different and still so alike in so many ways can overcome everything together."
-Angelica Berglund for For The Love of Hockey
"I never thought I would read a "zombie book", much less love one. The Last Legacy really surprised me. Even with the whole people-eating-people thing, it was a fantastic book"
-Melannie S for The Last Legacy
"I could not wait to start book two. If this book was as good as book one, then I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. It wasn't as good as book one...it was better. "
-Keely Retchloff for Finding Sam
"The powers, the love, the excitement, the drama kept me so enthralled. If you are looking for a GREAT series about true love and mythology, look no further... I wish I could rate 10 stars! Definitely recommend this whole series to all my book loving friends!"
-The Book Blog for A Curse Books Trilogy
"For the Love of Ash" by Taylor Lavati was a rare 5-star read for me. I honestly find many typical romances rather dull and predictable. This was not the case at all here; there was nothing average about the romance, overall storyline, and the long list of supporting characters."
-Summer's Book Blog for For The Love of Ash
"Wingless isn't what I would normally pick up and read, but thought I'd try it out and I am so glad I did. The characters and "worlds" she creates are done so well that you can actually picture them and feel like you are there right along with the characters."
-JLH for Wingless
For The Love of Hockey | January 2016
The Price of Love | 2017