11:00 am – continued
“He’s a nice guy. I met him on the train and he kept me entertained.”
Valentine didn’t elaborate, but Sabrina was clearly hoping for more details since she didn’t say anything either for a few seconds.
“Well?” Sabrina finally asked when her sister still remained silent.
“Well what?” Valentine asked innocently as she stopped to smell some of Mrs. Nell’s creamy white roses. The bushes hadn’t been trimmed lately; they were overgrowing from the other side of the simple wooden fence and poking out over the sidewalk.
“Who is he? Are you going to see him again? Oh, are you going to go to that party tonight with him? You totally should! I bet he’s hot. And you should totally spend the last night with a hot guy. I would, too, if I could find one.”
Valentine smiled and backed away from the roses. Her sister always was desperate for a boyfriend, but their mother’s rules said no one could date until their junior year of high school. Sabrina had waited not so patiently for the first two years of high school, building up a list of guys she wanted to date and who wanted to date her. She’d even put them in order and had darn near driven her older sister crazy with all her boy talk. As soon as Sabrina had started her junior year, she had a boyfriend on her arm for all of two months before tiring of him and moving onto boy number two. That had gone on and on and Valentine had lost track of what number boy her sister was on now.
“What happened to your list?” Valentine asked as they turned the corner, passing by a couple of small cafés and a novelty shop, all three of which were now closed and boarded up.
Sabrina gave a one shoulder shrug. “Oh, I wasn’t interested in the guys on the list anymore, so I stopped. For the past couple of months, I’ve been looking for just the right guy. He’s got to be really cute and really nice. A total gentleman, you know, like Daddy.”
Valentine nodded as they stopped at one of the windows to the first café and peered in. “I don’t know if you’re going to find one of those in the next few hours.”
Sabrina shrugged again. “You never know. Maybe that guy you were with has a brother.”
“Nope, sorry. He’s got two sisters. He has a male cousin, but he’s gay and just got married. But come with me to the party tonight. Maybe Cooper and I can see if we can help you find that perfect guy.”
“So his name’s Cooper, is it?”
“Darn!” Valentine cried out, slapping herself on the forehead.
Sabrina laughed. “You’re really bad with secrets, Val.”
Valentine glared at her younger sister before sighing and shaking her head. “Yeah. His name’s Cooper. He’s older than me. He’s really nice and his family sounds great. We were living in the same city, but didn’t know it until we were both on that train headed here. I wish we’d met earlier. He’s a really great guy. I can’t wait to see him later.”
“Ooh, Valentine’s got a crush,” Sabrina sang out as she skipped alongside her sister as they meandered down the street.
“Not a crush, Sabrina. He likes me, too.”
“I’m so jealous, Val. You have to help me find someone like that, okay? Please?”
“Anywhere. I don’t care. I just want to find the perfect guy. Call Mom and tell her we’re going boy hunting.”
“I really don’t know about that, Sabrina,” Valentine said dubiously. She looked around at the deserted street. “Everything’s closed. There’s no one around. These cafés used to be full of people. Now everything’s boarded up and it looks kind of dusty inside.”
“Valentine! It’s the last day. I don’t have tomorrow. And I really want that perfect guy. Please, Valentine.” Sabrina stopped in front of her sister and clasped her hands together pleadingly. “Pretty please?”
Valentine sighed and dug out her phone. She knew that if she didn’t give in to Sabrina, her younger sister would never leave her alone. And that was the last thing she wanted today. “Okay. Fine. But just for an hour, okay? Didn’t you say you were going out with some friends later?”
“Yeah. They can help me, too. Come on, Val. Hurry up.”
Valentine started dialing her mother’s number and muttered, “I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying.”