"Do you want to go to a wine tasting with me?" Ellie asked, the words coming out in one long rush.
Laurie looked ostentatiously around the kitchen, under the table, and out the window.
"Oh, you were talking to me?" Laurie put a hand on her chest, took out her phone, and snapped a picture.
"What are you doing?" Ellie asked, teeth gritted.
"Just documenting this moment. Now, I'm turning on the video. Can you say that again, maybe with more pep?"
"Give me that!" Ellie grabbed for her phone. Laurie dropped it down her shirt.
"I'm not going in there!" Ellie said.
"Your loss," Laurie smirked.
"So you coming or what?"
"Don't you want to go with Jules?"
"It's tomorrow and she has plans with her 'husband'," Ellie said, putting air quotes around the word "husband."
"It's Valentine's Day. Don't you have plans with your husband?"
"Andy's proposal did not meet approval," Ellie said.
"Everyone loves an escape room!" Andy yelled from the other room.
"Oooh!" Laurie said. "An escape room! Let's do that."
Andy ran into the room. "They have a Valentine's Day theme! If you escape, you get two giant Hershey Kisses."
"Your appeal is rejected," Ellie said.
"Come on!" Andy said, and stomped out of the room.
"Anyway," Ellie said. "I booked a wine tasting for tomorrow and I figured you'd be free–" Laurie glared at her. "–you know, because you're such a strong independent woman and all."
"So you coming?"
Laurie sighed. "Fine."
"And how long have you been together?" the sommelier asked the next afternoon
"Oh we're not–" Laurie said, before being interrupted by Ellie throwing her arm around her neck.
"We just don't keep track anymore," Ellie said. "Isn't that right, darling?"
"Um," Laurie said.
Ellie squeezed her neck.
"I've never been happier?" Laurie said. The sommelier nodded and moved to the next couple.
"Is this a romantic thing?" Laurie hissed as soon as she was–more or less–out of earshot.
Ellie raised her eyebrows. "If you play your cards right."
"Fine, so maybe this is a wine tasting for couples!"
"And you couldn't bring Andy?"
Ellie rolled her eyes. "Inviting him to things like this gives him the wrong impression."
"Jules would play along!" Ellie said
"Remember," the sommelier said, "swirl each wine in your mouth for 10 seconds and then spit it in the buckets provided. This will ensure you can fully experience each wine on its own."
Laurie looked at the full glass in front of her. "Yeah, we're not doing that."
"Jellybean, they're encouraging us to spit in public. I thought that would be right up your alley."
"You want me to tell Jules you wasted all this wine?"
Two hours later, Ellie and Laurie's table was full of empty wine glasses and the sommelier was looking down at them in disapproval.
"Great wine tasting!" Laurie said. "The selections were excellent and I really liked the full body of, uh–Ellie, say some wine stuff!"
"I liked the red ones," Ellie said, her eyes nearly shut.
The sommelier picked up their spit bucket and turned it over. Nothing came out.
"Yeah," Laurie said. "We didn't need that."
The sommelier let out a heavy sigh. "There are room discounts for all of our participants."
"Should I call my husband?" Ellie asked.
"No husband!" Laurie said. "You're with me, remember?"
"Oh yeah," Ellie said. She reached over and began patting Laurie on the head. "My Jellybean."
"Ow," Laurie said, ducked out of reach, and fell off her chair. "OW."
The sommelier sighed even more loudly. "I'll get you a room key."
"There's only one bed!" Ellie said, and giggled, before tumbling onto it.
"That's because we're a happy couple, remember?" Laurie said. She took off her high heels, threw them across the room, and giggled.
Ellie sighed. "I miss Andy."
"Now I know you're drunk."
But–after several fumbling attempts–Laurie pulled out her phone and dialed Andy, who answered right away.
"Let me guess," he said. "You did not make proper use of the spit bucket."
"We're maybe staying here for the night, but on the plus side, I'm pretty sure you could get Ellie to agree to an escape room right now."
"Put her on!"
"What are you doing?" Ellie asked.
Laurie was in the process of pulling off her pants. "I don't sleep in pajamas. You think I'm going to sleep in the clothes I've been wearing all day?"
Ellie put her hands over her eyes. "No one wants to see that!"
"The women of the Zeta sorority would not agree with you." Laurie, now completely naked, moved towards the bed. "Besides, you really want to sleep in your clothes? They'll get all wrinkled and stuff."
"I'm not sleeping naked with you!"
Laurie stepped closer and said the magic words. "Jules would."
"Ugh," Laurie said, as the sunlight hit her eyes.
"Ugh," a voice agreed with her.
Laurie looked down to see Ellie's arms wrapped around her, her head on Laurie's chest.
"You're a cuddler!" Laurie said in delight.
"Am not!" Ellie opened her eyes and then immediately closed them. "I was hoping all of this was a bad dream."
Laurie patted Ellie's head. "Now why would you say a thing like that, sweetheart?"
Ellie pulled away and sat up, pulling the sheet around herself. "It's February 15th. This relationship is over."
Laurie sighed. "It's always a bad idea to sleep with someone on Valentine's Day."
"We didn't sleep together!"
"We're in bed right now!"
Ellie leaped out of bed and glared at Laurie. "So help me, Jellybean, if this becomes one of your little anecdotes you like to pull out and tell everyone–"
"You have literally nothing to threaten me with!"
"Jules wouldn't tell anyone?"
"Ha!" Laurie said. "Jules would be on the phone with everyone right now."
Ellie grabbed her clothes and stomped off into the bathroom.
"If you go to the escape room, I won't tell anyone!"
Ellie poked her head out of the bathroom. "Deal!"