When she went home that evening, she began in earnest looking for patterns and gift ideas. A scarf was out of the question due to size alone. Gloves were out of the question because they were gloves. Socks were out for similar reasons. When you haven’t been knitting for very long, the vastness of the options available to you are not as apparent. With time, her mind started to drift to thoughts of Angela, and since that was technically still on topic, she allowed it.
She thought about how Angela liked to wear her hair cropped just above her chin. Heather wore her hair long, she always needed to be able to tie it back. She thought about how Angela’s hair was curly and how she always wore it down. It liked to bounce and float and then Heather knew what she wanted to make her. It could still be a relatively simple gift to make but Heather rarely went the simple route where Angela was concerned.
“Happy Valentine’s Day!” Angela was grinning as she handed Heather a gift bag.
“You didn’t have to get me anything.”
“Yes I did. I drew your name for the exchange, open it.”
Angela had made Heather a hat, a beret. It was soft and purple. She had felted it, it was so mooth and beautiful. Heather wouldn’t have been able to make an item of this quality, not for a while anyway. She sheepishly placed it on her head and finally decided that it WAS more of a sign than a curse.
“I got your name too. Here.”
It was a hair bow, a relatively large one, the yarn was soft and small, giving the bow a delicate touch. Heather had needed to buy new needles to make it, all the ones she’d had were too large. The bow had a simple cable pattern going across and she’d sewn alligator clips to the back so it could be worn easily or attached to a headband. Heather had to start over four seperate times due to mistakes and missed stitches. She went through two all nighters. But there was no doubt in her mind that it was worth it when she saw the look on Angela’s face.
“This is so beautiful. Oh my goodness, thank you so much. No wonder pot holders were out of the question, if I had these kind of ideas rolling around in my head, I’d nix pot holders too.” She put on the bow and smiled that brilliant smile. “All right. Shall I start the tea?”
“Yes but I need to tell you something. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do this, and then you gave me this and it’s so much better than anything I could have done-”
“No. It’s better. You’re so much better than me at this and you’ve been wonderful, I mean, you’re always wonderful but this, what you’ve done for me… my gratitude is immeasureable. Which is part of why I’m so nervous.
Because even before any of this… well, what I mean is this has gotten ridiculous.”
“It’s ridiculous. Farcical even. Are you aware of how unneccessarily difficult I’ve made things for myself? Everytime I try to steer clear of a difficulty, you need only be mentioned, and I dive head first into complicated territory. I try to quit the knitting circle, but not only do I not quit but I agree to biweekly workshops of intensive study. I want to make you potholders but you don’t use an oven so I guess I better make a hair ornament with a cable pattern of all things, with a gauge of yarn I’ve never used before, and new needles, because hey! Why not?”
“I mean… I do still use potholders… dishes out of the microwave can be hot.”
“And you said as much last week! That just proves my point! Now, I am not a lazy person but I have to face the fact that I dance a line of preposterous complication where you’re concerned.”
“I don’t mean to complicate your life, Heather.”
“YOU’RE not. I am. And I need to stop it. Right now. I like you. A lot. And since we’re already spending the day together, I wanted to know if you’d like to continue spending it with me, in a romantic fashion.”
“You’re asking me out because it’s simpler?”
“Simpler than knitting, yes.
“Well, what should we do?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re asking me out on a date right? For today? What should we do on the date?”
Heather had sincerely not thought that far ahead. She had been so focused on asking her out on a date, the planning of the potential date itself had completely left her mind.
“I never figured that part out. I have no idea, to be honest.”
“Well, we can discuss it over tea.”
The tea was a Lady Londonderry tea, the subtle taste of fruit intermingled well with the honey. Angela smiled at her cup before she burst out laughing.
“I guess we can finally quit the knitting circle now. This last one worked out okay but those gift exchanges would have gotten tedious.”
“I thought you loved the knitting circle, that’s why we went through all this.”
“Not really. To tell you the truth, I only stayed because you were there. I was so worried when you said you’d leave, I went a bit overboard. I thought I might be too obvious. I mean, I did ask you out on Valentine’s Day.”
“YOU asked ME out?”
“I was not very good at it, but yeah that is what I was trying to do.”
“All of this. All the books, the hours of instruction, the purl stitch muscle memory exercise, all of it was pretense so you could hang out with me?”
“Partially, yes. But that was all legit, I stand by my methods, and stand by my belief that you’re better at this than you think. It’s just, how’d you put it? I tend to dance a line of preposterous complication where you’re concerned.”
They drank their tea and by the third cup had still not figured out what to do for their first date, but it was of little consequence, the tea was delicious.
This short story was originally written for the Wattpad account RomanceSparks’ Valentine Anthology.