Last we had heard from Jan and Alex:
~“I have a surprise for you.”
“You didn’t have to buy me anything. All I want is you, Alex.”
“Yeah, but you’re going to love this. I got two tickets to Mars. I have some time–“
“What? You did? That’s fantastic. When do we leave?” she shrieked jumping back from the small wooden table. She began yelling and hopping around the small kitchenette until Alex closed in on her encircling his arms around her thin frame.
“In a few weeks. I’d like to have some R and R at home with you and friends first.”
“You bet. Oh, thank you Alex. Look I left Frank down in the car, do you want to go home or…”
Jan stood up and reached out to take his hands in hers.
Alex rose out of his chair and they both strolled toward the bedroom.~
What's this?" Alice asked grasping the small box from Mike.
"Open it," he said as he stood watching her unwrap the tissue.
Inside was polished black rock enclasped by a silver setting that had been molded into a bracelet.
In the box was a card telling her the stone was from the surface of Mars.
"Oh, it's beautiful," Alice exclaimed and proceeded to clamp the armlet on her right wrist.
"Happy Valentine, Alice."
"And back at you," she said rising from her chair to wrap her arms around his chest.
"And for you, Jennifer," Robert said holding out a long white box for her to take.
"You didn't have to get me anything," she replied.
"Yes, I did. Special flower for a special lady."
Jennifer opened the thin box and unfolded the white tissue. At first she thought the flower was artificial until she felt the stem's thorns. Gasping, she pulled the single red rose from the box.
Robert reached for a vase of water.
"How did you-?"
"Hydroponics helped me out," he replied.
She encircled her arms around her husband and he gave her a passionate kiss upon her full lips.
Penda placed on the table a potted plant with red flowers and a box of ahman approved chocolate sweets.
"What are these for?" Rica asked.
"According to the humans, it's a day of love appreciating your partner," Penda replied.
Penda tasted the candy. "Oh, these are good, thank you Penda."
"Do you feel like conjoining?" the alien asked.
"Hmm, let's move to the sleeping room." Rica said encircling one arm around Penda's waist.
All these characters and more will be revisited in my next novel, untitled as yet.