A Harley Valentine
Ride With Harley Short Story 3
To my readers who asked for a romantic story about Harley and the gang. May love see each person through all the ups and downs of your journey.
Harley, my angel, this ones for you wherever you might be in the heavens.
A Harley Valentine
The only time I celebrated Valentine’s Day was in grade school. Harley, on the other hand, acted like it was second only to Christmas. For weeks before the holiday, he pestered me about plans. He hinted around about dinner and kept asking
In 1976, Valentine’s Day fell on Saturday. I always worked that holiday so couples could have the night to celebrate.
“Hey, Karen,” I called out to my coworker.
“Yes?” She was a tiny slip of a girl with dark raven hair.
“Are you and Jeff going out Saturday?”
“I doubt it. We had a big fight and aren’t talking.”
“Can you trade days with me? I’ll work on Friday if I can have Saturday off.”
“You never ask for Valentine’s Day off. What gives?”
“I have a date. I’ll tell you all about it after work,” I said.
It was busy in Kmart ladies wear as we assisted clueless husbands in finding the perfect lingerie. Most of them had no idea about sizes.
“Sir,” I said, “just put your arms out about how you would hold her.” I demonstrated by placing my arms around a mannequin.
”That would be about a size 14. Now, do you want to get your wife a garment in the right size, or would she be flattered if she thought you saw her smaller?”
“Right size. I don’t want my wife to have to return it.” The husband looked perplexed. “She likes blue.”
“Okay, how about a silky blue gown?”
I handed him several garments, and he left the department with a grin. ”Don’t forget flowers,” I called after him.
“Wow!” Came the husky baritone purr of Harley’s sexy voice.
I whirled around. “What are you doing here?” I couldn’t help grinning as he pulled me into his arms for a quick hug and nuzzled my ear.
“Stopped by to see if you wanted a ride home.”
“I’d like one, but I promised I’d go over to Karen’s after work.”
“Okay,” he looked disappointed.
“It’s okay.” The look of dejection on his face made my heart ache. “I understand. I just wanted to spend a little time with you. I miss you when you aren’t around.”
“I miss you too.” The lump in my throat made me feel like I was going to cry.
He stood looking at me with longing for a few minutes as though he hoped I would cancel on Karen. With a deep sigh, he said, “see you tomorrow?”
“Absolutely.” Impulsively, I gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
“I guess, that’ll have to do. Good night Mari.” He shoved his hands into his pockets and walked away.
“Night. See you tomorrow.”
He lifted a hand in acknowledgment and continued walking toward the door.
“Who was that?” Karen gushed as she leaned forward and watched him walk. “Oh, my! He does have a sexy walk. He is one gorgeous hunk,” she sighed. “Wait a minute! Is he the reason you want Saturday off?”
“Girl, you are going to spill the beans tonight!” Karen cackled with glee. “Where have you been hiding him?”
“Under your nose,” I laughed. It felt odd having a friend mooning over my guy.
“I mean, really, Mari,” she grabbed a nightgown and folded it. “Where did you find him?”
“He found me at OSU.”
“Don’t tell me he’s one of those guys who think he’s God’s gift to women.”
“Far from it. I’ll tell you after work.”
“Looks like a bad boy to me. Leather jacket with chains, black jeans with studs. Ultimate biker.”
“If only you knew.”
The hours until 10 pm seemed to crawl. All my coworkers kept shooting me weird looks. I just knew they all wanted to know who the guy was since I never talked about dating or having a boyfriend.
Karen and I carpooled when we were both scheduled to work. We alternated driving. Tonight, was Karen’s turn. She drove an old tan colored Ford Fairlane. It was her grandmother’s car and in nearly mint condition.
When she drove, we always stopped at her place for hot chocolate and a chance to talk. Her apartment on Bellefontaine Avenue was four miles from my home on Harding Highway. She had a second-floor apartment. Entering the rental, you stepped into a small kitchen and dining area. Beyond that was the living room and to the left was the bed and bathroom. At best, it could be described as quaint.
Karen busied herself making hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and cinnamon while I got out the cups.
“So, what happened between you and Jeff?”
“Oh, you know, more of the same,” she wrinkled her nose. “Always wanting to spend our dates playing pinball games. Just once I’d like Jeff to take me out to dinner at a real restaurant, not a game room. Now, tell me about the hunk.” Karen plopped a handful of marshmallows into the cups and handed one to me. She sat on the floor and curled one foot under her.
“What’s to tell?” I shrugged and joined her on the floor.
“How’d you meet?”
“We met on the Commons at OSU.” I crossed my legs. “And he asked me out. He was irresistibly persistent.”
“Where’d you go?”
“He took me to Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. We spent Friday and Saturday seeing the sights and came back Sunday.”
“You spent a weekend together? Did you, you know?” She flushed a brilliant shade of red. “I mean, a guy as gorgeously sexy as he is, well, you know?” She stammered.
I lifted an eyebrow at her. “No, I don’t know,” I said slowly.
“Did you have sex with him? Did you guys sleep together?”
“Karen!” I gasped.
“Well, did you?”
“Nope. He was the perfect gentleman. I even had my own room.”
”Huh!” She huffed in disbelief. “Nobody is that perfect, especially these days. All guys want is sex. You don’t do it, and they drop you.”
“Harley isn’t like that. He’s all about being a gentleman, treating people with respect, and helping the less fortunate. He even fed an out of work Vietnam veteran and hired him.”
“What’d you mean hired him?”
“Harley has his own business.”
“What? Motorcycles? What’s with his name anyway? What kind of name is Harley?”
“Yes, motorcycles. Harley customizes them and builds accessories. His name comes from his family’s love of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles.” I found myself feeling a bit irritated with Karens view of men.
“What’s with the separate rooms bit?”
“As I said, Harley believes in proper behavior. One of those is women and men don’t sleep together unless they are married to each other. He called it the law of chastity.”
“Sounds old-fashioned to me.”
“It is. I find it charming.” I yawned. “I better get home. I have an eight o’clock lab.”
“Okay. If you ever dump Harley let me know. I wouldn’t mind a chance at him.”
Fat chance, I thought. “That’s not going to happen. Nope, nada, she was not going to get her claws into him. I was amazed at the jealous feelings welling up. I always considered Karen to be lovely, while I was merely average. The thought she might want him for herself left me feeling cold.
Saturday came quickly. I wasn’t prepared for celebrating Valentine’s Day. I nervously looked through my wardrobe and realized I only had one dress that might be suitable for such an occasion. It was a simple blue garment that I called a Granny dress, and no teenage or college girl would be caught dead in it. My mother had selected it for my high school graduation the previous May.
I sighed, got out a slip to wear under the dress, pulled out neutral pantyhose and prepared myself for the evening. I wore the pink heart necklace even though it didn’t match. I’d worn that piece of jewelry every day since he gave it to me. Sometimes it was under my shirt where I felt he was close to my heart, other times I showed it off.
“I’m off,” I shouted down the hall.
“Where are you going?” Mom asked. She came into the living room wiping her hands on a dish towel.
“Out with a friend,” I pulled on my shoes. While they weren’t exactly heels, they did have a little height and matched my dress.
“Don’t be out too late.”
“I won’t,” I sighed when I was safely ensconced in my car. I was still reluctant to tell Mom about Harley. It was probably his bad boy biker image. Mom would never approve of me dating a guy who rode a motorcycle regardless of his financial and moral background. Mom thought every person who rode a bike was in a gang like the Hells Angels. She wouldn’t understand that Harley was nothing like those types of men; he was a true gentleman.
I pulled into the semi-circular drive and killed the engine. I sat looking at the enormous colonial-style mansion. Every window in the place was ablaze with light. I could only imagine how much electricity it took and the cost.
Just as I was about to step out of my car, Garrett came rushing through the front doors. “I’m glad you’re here Miss Mari. Quickly now, I have to get back inside and attempt to avert a kitchen catastrophe.”
We stepped into the foyer. Steppenwolf’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ blasted through hidden speakers. I curiously looked around. The entry flooring was Italian marble with inlaid faux gold and silver etchings. Glass framed watercolors of nature painted by local artists adorned the walls. The foyer was elegant and yet tastefully simple.
Garrett grasped my shoulders and removed my coat. He was hanging it in the coat closet when a sonic boom came from the back of the house. An equally loud howl followed suit.
“Oh, dear,” Garrett moaned. “I’m afraid I’m too late. Excuse me. I must attempt to rescue the house from Master Harley’s culinary expertise.” He hurried toward the rear.
I followed Garrett slowly as I peeked inside rooms and looked at the family portraits hanging on the walls lining the hall. Most of them looked stuffy in their starched shirts or Sunday school dresses. Only Harley was casual in his leather jacket. I could not imagine anyone on that wall other than Harley riding a motorcycle. They just didn’t fit the biker mold, yet Harley once said he was named after the famous Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
“Master Harley!” Garrett’s voice came stridently from the rear of the house. “I wish you had let me cook,” he scolded. “Shall I call out for pizza or Chinese?”
“I wanted to make a memorable dinner,” Harley said humbly.
“I assure you, that it will be. Look at this mess.” Garrett tsked. “Oh, Master Harley, don’t look so glum. Miss Mari will be fine with anything served. The important thing is the two of you spend this special evening together.”
“Thank you, Garrett. I sure hope Mari will be okay with take-out food. As for this mess, I’ll clean it up. Don’t worry about it. Make it Chinese, please.” Harley sounded sad I wanted to rush in and comfort him. I didn’t because I didn’t want him to know I had heard their conversation.
I felt like a peeping tom listening to them talk in the kitchen. ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ had given way to ‘Disappointment Number,’ ‘Lost and Found by Trial and Error,’ and ‘Hodge Podge Strained Through a Leslie.’ I could hear Garrett talking on the telephone.
He had to repeat the order twice and the address with directions three times. “They need better English-speaking workers to take orders.”
“Has Mari arrived yet?” Harley sounded forlorn. “I so wanted tonight to be perfect. And now its a complete disaster. I typically make a mean spaghetti and fresh vegetable sauce. I even make decent meatballs, and a wicked black pepper squash with stuffed mushroom caps.”
“Oh, Master Harley,” Garrett sounded bemused. “It’s not your cooking ability. You are nervous. Trust me; Mari is going to have a perfect evening with you.”
“Do you think so?”
“I do,” I stepped into the kitchen and gawked.
Harley looked up from the counter and broke into a broad grin. “Quite a mess, huh?”
“I’ll say,” I giggled as I looked around the room.
“Bet you didn’t expect to spend Valentine’s Day helping us scrub my kitchen.”
“You got that right. Do you have anything I can wear for cleanup detail?”
Harley looked me up and down much like other guys would glance at a beautiful woman. “I believe, I do.”
I felt myself turning beet red. “Mom picked out the dress. I think I look frumpy in it.”
He let out a low wolf whistle, “Not at all, Mari. You look stunningly lovely.”
“I’ll get the garment,” Garrett said. He left the room and returned shortly with a pair of overalls.
To say the kitchen was a mess was putting it politely. It resembled a war zone with noodles hanging from light fixtures, on cabinet door handles, sliding down walls, and even plastered to windows. The red sauce splattered the walls, counters, table, stove, freezer, and the sink. The line of tomato paste clung to the oven, stove, refrigerator, tile flooring, ceiling, and dripped down from the top of Harley’s head to his shirt and pants. I couldn’t help but laugh at the scene before me.
He stood in the middle of cooking chaos holding a wooden spatula in his hand and grinning wildly. A mess of noodles and sauce was on his head and drizzled down his face. He looked like a mischievous five-year-old.
“I am so glad you’re here. Please excuse the mess. I’m usually immaculate when cooking.” He looked around and then up when another glob of spaghetti dropped from the ceiling onto his head.
“Garrett has ordered Chinese for us. If we hurry, the kitchen might be presentable by the time the food gets here.”
We danced to ‘Hey Lawdy Mama’ while cleaning the spaghetti bombed kitchen. Harley had a turntable that held five albums at a time. I wiped down the table as the doorbell chimed.
“Dinner is here,” Garrett announced.
“I’ll just clean up a bit,” I said and headed back down the hall to a bathroom I had seen on my way to the kitchen.
Harley followed me out of the kitchen and turned left. When I came out of the bathroom, he was leaning against the wall with his thumbs hooked into his black dress pants. He had on a black pinstripe shirt and a ribbon tie.
“You clean up nice,” I murmured as my heart started pounding. Was there ever a time when Harley didn’t look handsome?
“Come this way, my lady,” he bowed and with a sweep of his left hand directed me to a room next to the kitchen.
The room was a formal dining area. In the center were a mahogany table and eight chairs. A sideboard adorned the interior wall. Directly across were floor to ceiling windows and a glass door. There was a splendid view of landscaped gardens and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. In the middle of the gardens were a pagoda and fish pond. The setting sun cast a warm rosy glow making the entire yard look like a Thomas Kinkade painting.
“Wow!” I walked to the windows and stared at the beauty of his place.
“I hoped you’d like the view.” He stepped behind me and put his hands on my shoulders. He kissed the top of my head. “Ready for dinner?” His voice grew husky.
“I think so,” I whispered, reluctant to end the fantasy. “Will Garrett be joining us?”
“If you don’t mind. I hate thinking of Garrett eating alone in the breakfast nook or kitchen.”
“I don’t mind.” I thought it was sweet of Harley to want to include Garrett.
“But, first I want to give you a gift.”
I turned to face him. He somehow got a bouquet of red and white roses in his hands during the few minutes I stared at his yard. They nestled into an elegant vase that vaguely looked Oriental in design.
“Roses for my Lady to show her my fondest, most honorable adoration for her.”
He reached over to the table and picked up a box. “The finest chocolates from Europe to tell her she is the sweetest person in my life. I will forever cherish our time together because true love means never saying goodbye.”
I felt dampness on my cheeks. I am normally not a crier, but his heartfelt words made me choke with emotion.
“Did I do something wrong? Is it the present or the flowers?” Dismay filled his voice. “I am a sap.”
“No,” I shook my head. “I love your gifts. Your words have made me the happiest girl in the world.” I tenderly stroked his face. “I love them, Harley.”
He hugged me. The next thing I knew, he was swinging me around. “I am so happy!”
“Ah, hem, Master Harley,” Garrett poked his head into the room. “Shall I serve dinner now?”
“Absolutely! Just bring it in and join us.” Harley went to a counter and pulled out an additional place setting.
“Sir?” Garrett looked back and forth between Harley and me. “I don’t…”
“Please join us,” I pleaded.
“Miss Mari, it is Valentine’s Day. You and Master Harley should have alone time.”
“Oh, nonsense. I insist you join us.”
“Garrett, please bring in the food and do as my lady requested.” Harley carefully laid out the extra plates and silverware.
“As you wish, Sir.”
“I’m never going to break you of calling me Sir or Master Harley, am I?”
“I’m afraid not, Sir.”
Garrett brought in plates of Mutton Stew or yáng ròu pào mó. It is made with unleavened bread and served with chili and garlic. It was one of Harley’s favorite entrees. My preference was the second dish, Spinach Noodles known as bō cài miàn. It’s a savory dish made with spinach noodles in a spicy tomato sauce topped with egg, potato, beef, and chili. The final dish was a mouthwatering fried pork dumpling with plum sauce. Steamed rice accompanied each dish. Dessert included coconut bars and egg custard tarts.
We ate until stuffed. The conversation was light and filled with stories about Garrett and Harley.
Garrett came from a small Scottish coastal town and dreamed of moving to America. He arrived on Ellis Island when he was twenty. He spent five years working his way down the eastern seaboard until he wound up in Pennsylvania and started employment with Harley’s family.
I learned Garrett began working for the family the day Harley was born. His first task was to get his mother to the hospital when she was in labor with him. Garrett found himself growing attached to the baby. When the family hired a Nanny, Harley cried non-stop until Garrett picked him up. He found bruises on the infant and vowed never to leave Harley alone. He presented his findings, and the Nanny was promptly sent away. After that, Garrett became Harley’s Nanny, teacher, and mentor. Essentially, Garrett raised Harley to be a generous gentleman.
Harley’s second hospital trip was on his fifth birthday. While the other children were engrossed in a magic show, Harley was climbing a brick fence. He misjudged the distance between a low hanging branch and the top of his head. The subsequent collision sent him flying off the wall six feet to the concrete walkway below.
After dinner, Garrett gathered the plates to put into the dishwasher. He returned moments later with a platter filled with pastries. “I made a pot of herbal tea and heres a plate of scones.”
“Thank you, Garrett. Would you care to join us?” Harley asked as he reached for a blueberry scone.
“Thank you, Sir, but I think I’ll head off to bed unless you need me.” Garrett smiled indulgently at Harley and bowed. He looked like a proud father, not a servant.
“Good night, Garrett,” both Harley and I said as he headed out of the room.
We enjoyed sipping the tea and munching on the scones in the living room while listening to Steppenwolf’s ‘Just for Tonight,’ and the rest of the ‘Hour of the Wolf’ album. All too soon the night came to an end.
“I guess you need to get home.” Harley stuffed his hands into his pants pocket.
At that moment something about him reminded me of Robert Redford in the film The Way We Were, a movie I adored.
“Yeah,” I paused, not wanting the night to end. “I have to work tomorrow. I know Mom is waiting up for me.” I sighed.
Why did dates with Harley always seem perfect? Was it because he knew how to treat a girl? He spent time finding out what I might enjoy and took great pains to make it happen. He retrieved my coat, then grabbed my gifts.
“I’ll see you to your car.”
“Harley,” I turned to face him. I took his hand in mine and brought it to my lips for a sweet kiss. “Tonight, was perfect. I enjoyed it. I love my gifts. Most importantly I love being with you.”
He smiled shyly, “and someday you’ll say you love me.”
“Oh, I do, Harley, Remember I told you after the Steppenwolf concert?” I whispered. “I do love you, very much.”
He gathered me in his arms and kissed my breath away. He held the car door open for me. I slid into the seat. As I was about to pull the door closed, he leaned forward for another kiss. His hand lightly brushed a stray locket of hair from my face. He smiled tenderly and planted a final kiss on my lips. Releasing me, he shut the door.
I started the engine and turned down the drive. As I headed toward the street something made me glance into the rear-view mirror. Harley was standing in the driveway. He had tucked his hands back into his pockets. The lights from the house cast him in shadow.
The way he stood staring at the back end of my car reminded me of Gatsby standing all alone while his life unraveled in the movie classic, The Great Gatsby.
All the music mentioned in this short story may be purchased at https://steppenwolf.com or on Amazon.
Copyright © Cassandra Parker 2018 All rights reserved.
The right of Cassandra Parker to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988 First published by Cassandra Parker US E-book Edition.
Parker, Cassandra (2018-11-13). A Harley Valentine. Cassandra Parker.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author/publisher.
A Harley Valentine is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. All locations except known towns, cities, and those listed at the back of this book are fictitious.
Any errors are entirely made by the author.
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