Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Alex bounced down the stairs and into the kitchen just in time to see the final seconds tick off the oven's timer. Hair and make-up were complete, but she still wore her old fuzzy bathrobe. She'd get dressed as soon as the meal preparations were complete rather than risk a spill on her new outfit. Whistling, she donned the oven mitts and extracted the Bundt pan, carefully lowering it into a shallow bowl of cold water. It hissed momentarily as the change in temperature halted the baking process, and Alex jerked her head to the side to avoid the rising steam.
"It's astounding. Time is fleeting," she sang.
Dan would be home in about an hour, and she still had much to do. Their third anniversary celebration was going to be extra special: traditional, yet new and exciting.
As Alex began to prepare the cake's black icing, the Rocky Horror DVD on the kitchen table caught her eye. Pity that none of the nearby cinemas were playing the classic film at midnight. She recalled the first time she'd laid eyes on Dan as he did the Time Warp in the aisle of the old Warner Theater downtown. Perhaps "love at first sight" was a bit cliché, but in Dan's case, she believed it. Seven years later, her feelings for him had only deepened.
He'd had to extricate himself from his first marriage before they could be together openly, and that took considerable time and energy. It wasn't easy on either of them. Fortunately, the ex-Mrs. Goody-Two-Shoes, Beth, didn't make much of a fuss. Alex despised her graciousness while at the same time appreciating the qualities that made her such a sweet little doormat.
"Madness...takes its toll."
Halloween became "their" holiday. So much so, that they even married at the stroke of midnight on November first after a night of revelry, with the reception preceding, rather than following, the ceremony. Friends loved it. Family thought it way weird. Neither Alex nor Dan cared.
This year, rather than pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters then hit a rowdy costume party, Alex planned a much quieter anniversary celebration at home. A shiver passed through her as she anticipated Dan's surprise. Her outfit alone would shock him to the core. The third was traditionally the leather anniversary, after all.
"But listen closely...not for very much longer..."
Alex spread the thick, black icing over the cake and topped it with a few dozen orange candied spiders. Setting the dessert aside, she turned her attention to the rest of the meal. Nothing fancy, just their favorites. Once everything was ready, she dashed up the stairs to finish her preparations, still singing.
The black leather corset and miniskirt cost a small fortune, but Alex splurged anyway. They'd only ever have one leather anniversary, and she wanted to make sure Dan never forgot it. Even her lace undergarments were trimmed in leather, although red rather than black. She was nothing if not thorough. The matching fingerless opera gloves topped her ensemble, and Alex paused before the mirror only long enough to make sure her décolletage was evenly overflowing.
"I've got to...keep control."
Descending the stairs—slower this time due to the spike-heeled Morgan black Victoriana lace-up leather boots—she saw the splash of headlights across the window as Dan's car pulled into the driveway. With a grin, she lit the black pillar candles on the dining room table and dimmed the lights. She waited until she heard him come in the side door and put his briefcase on the counter before moving toward the kitchen.