Chapter 1: Lonely Days, Lonely Nights
It's Valentine's Day in Gotham City.
Singles Awareness Day for some.
Barbara is finishing up her shift at the library.
She was planning to get some take-home food for dinner, open a bottle of wine and watch some movies on Netflix.
Or maybe be brave enough to take herself out to dinner and a movie.
Just another reminder that her recent fling with him seemed to be already forgotten, especially tonight. Just another throwaway girl.
Maybe being alone isn't that bad, is it?
Babs had a few quiet moments at work and browsed through the daily newspaper, there was something classic about the feel of a real newspaper.
Newspapers just felt so much more tangible than scrolling through a cellphone app.
Inside there was a featured article on being single in Gotham at Valentine's Day that caught her attention.
Hmm, there were plenty of listings of events, concerts, movies, late night museum tours, and bars with special cocktails.
Gotham always had an abundance of culture available.
She turned the page to the movie section, it's been a long time since she'd gone out to a night out at a movie theater, it was usually just Netflix and takeout food.
She could seriously get into an action or adventure movie today.
Anything but a love story, anything but that!
She still hadn't heard anything from him socially in a while, only summonses to a crime scene, and that wasn't exactly a romantic night out. Not with him.
Hmm, Alita Battle Angel; Spider-man, Into the Spider-verse; Ralph Breaks the Internet... oh, Bohemian Rhapsody was still playing at the midnight movies over in Bludhaven!
She hadn't seen that one yet, and she really could get into some classic Queen music.
Okay, she figured that sounded like a plan, she checked online to see if tickets were available, and yes they were, this night was beginning to turn out better and was going to be fun. She reserved a ticket at the box office.
Well it's not like she wasn't safe out there alone at night? Barbara could still kick ass anywhere and anytime.
But Bruce's ass would make a good target right now!
Now to find where she could enjoy a dinner near the theater.
She found there was an Indian restaurant a few blocks east that had its own parking lot.
That sounded like a good idea, and they had dinner reservations open, she chose an early hour, leaving her plenty of time to catch the movie.
'Now I think I've got some solid plans for tonight, dinner and a movie,' she thought.
She wondered what she should wear, but as long as it was fun and sharp looking it didn't matter that much.
Not like she had to impress anyone but herself.
Bludhaven was like Greenwich Village, anything goes there.
Her apartment was walking distance from work, and she could get home in plenty of time for a quick shower and still have time left to change her outfit before heading out for the evening.
That was a solid plan, leaving her no extra time to think about her latest over too soon love 'em and leave 'em night with mister tall, dark, and broody.
The hell with him, all that money he has still couldn't buy him a heart.
With her keys in hand, Barbara was about to shut the lights and lock the doors as a late customer appears at the front steps of the library as she's getting ready to leave for the night.
Damn it, she just wanted to get the hell out of here and celebrate Singles Awareness Day all on her own.
She'll need to politely explain they're closing, good bye, and have a good night.
Whoops, that one snuck out. Maybe a short nap in case she gets another late night call that she's needed.
Again. Damn him!
To be continued---
Chapter 2: Pizza, Indian, Sushi?
As she was locking up she was lost in her own thoughts while making plans for later.
She didn't need a man just because it was Valentine's Day, which was so absurdly commercialized already.
It was ridiculous to think of needing a date like some poor schlub.
Who needs the emotional bullshit anyway?
All that remained was turning off the lights and securing the front door.
She wasn't a teenager who pined over finding a match just for the night, she was comfortable with herself for company tonight.
She took her bag and jacket over her arm while holding a heavy ring of keys, and was turning the key in the lock and it clicked shut as she heard something.
Someone was quickly climbing up the steps to the front door, so without bothering to turn around to see who it was, she announced,
"I'm sorry, I'm just locking up for the evening, the library will be open again at nine in the morning, have a nice Valentine's."
A deeply familiar male baritone replied, his voice vibrating through her body with electric sparks and shudders of pleasure.
"I'm sorry, but that's much too late for us to celebrate the holiday, let's have dinner together instead, hmm?" His voice was intoxicating.
She hadn't expected him, Barbara knew that voice deep down in her soul.
The sound made her tingle.
What the hell was he playing at?
She thought they'd broken up by now after a week of relative silence, after all, Bruce only does flings, no emotional involvement for him, right?
She turned to face him asking,
" Bruce, um, what? What are you doing here?"
He pulled her close to him and gently kissed her cheek.
"I thought I'd take you out for a night on the town, that is if you'd like some company tonight. Please don't say you'll turn me down, Barbara?" he pleaded sounding hopeful.
He knew he hadn't left things on good terms with her since last time.
He wasn't good at expressing his emotions at all.
Barbara wasn't going to make it too easy for him though, he had broken her heart again, so she was going to let him suffer a while.
"Well, I don't know about that, Bruce, I've already made plans for dinner and a movie tonight, and I'm not sure they can be broken," she replied.
"I'm not sure I want to break them either, this is really late of you to ask me," she explained.
"I'd have to make a few calls and offer an excuse; besides, you didn't even bother to call or text about a night out, you just showed up all cocky. You could have called and asked first, you know, a few days or a week earlier."
It was kind of hard keeping a straight face around him since he was being so oddly nice and spur of the moment, which was unlike him.
"And I wasn't sure if we were still together, I hadn't heard from you recently for anything close to having a date," she added avoiding looking him in the eyes.
"I imagine you're right, should I just desist and leave now?"
He still had his arms around her as he stared into her eyes, Barbara thought she would melt just from the way he gazed at her and didn't think that she could keep up this deception much longer.
She felt her cheeks burning under his stare.
God, why was he so damn sexy, anyway?
She tried to keep a straight face, but a smirk was fighting hard to escape from the corner of her mouth.
"Well, let me check my schedule first," she took out her phone and opened her calendar.
"Oh, shoot, I can't tonight Bruce! I have patrol duty scheduled for later, I can't disappoint the boss, you know how he grunts and glares when he doesn't get his way, he seriously loathes being disappointed."
"I can put in a good word with your manager, we're on extremely favorable terms. Let me make a call."
He took out his cell and pretended to dial,
"Hello, yes this is Bruce Wayne speaking, I'd like to request a night out with one of your staff, a beautiful woman by the name of Barbara Gordon...
...Yes, I see,
...Well, what if we both came in late tomorrow night and also take off the entire day?
...You do say?
...You insist, eh?
...Well, in that case, I see that I have no choice, do I?"
"Barbara, he insists that I wine and dine you impressively tonight and keep you in busy in bed all day tomorrow, in fact, the boss demands it, so what do you say? Oh, and this little gift is for you."
He took a long pink velvet box out of his coat pocket and opened it, inside was a jeweled bracelet with red ruby hearts interspersed with rectangular pale pink stones that looked like diamonds, well, knowing Bruce, of course, they were real, weren't they?
They glowed even in the evening gloom. They appeared to cost a pretty penny.
Barbara finally wavered and she dropped the teasing, as a smile brightened her face.
"Wow, oh my God, this is gorgeous Bruce! You didn't have to rob the Taj Mahal just for a night out with me, thank you," she glowed.
"Let me put it on you, hold out your hand for me, please."
He opened the clasp and wrapped it around her wrist, it fit her slender arm flawlessly.
A small tear of joy appeared at the corner of her eye as she realized what this meant. It was to show the world that he was hers, and she was his girlfriend.
"It looks perfect on you, I had to get one specially made for your small wrist. So -- how about tonight?" he murmured.
"Well, since you negotiated with the boss, I suppose I can cancel my earlier plans just this once," she grinned.
"Hmm, how about a kiss to seal the arrangement?" he insisted, putting his fingers beneath her chin and raising her face to him kissing her thoroughly.
God, that raised her temperature to red hot, whew, that man certainly could kiss!
He walked her arm in arm to the red Maserati parked downstairs.
Barbara supposed that Valentine's Day didn't always suck.
Happy Valentine's Day,
Happy Singles Awareness Day.