Best Movie Dates and a Valentine’s Day Writing Challenge!

As it’s Valentine’s Day – and we of course love love – we’re doing a Valentine’s Day themed writing challenge!

The challenge: In a 3-5 paragraph scene describe your hero and heroine’s dream Valentine’s Day date, and show us their sparks flying!

To get you inspired, some of the Harlequin team have reflected on of our favourite movie dates…

“That scene from Crazy, Stupid, Love where Emma Stone challenges Ryan Gosling to pull out his ‘big move’, aka the lift from Dirty Dancing. The dynamic and dialogue between them is brilliant! Hilarious AND sexy.”

– Nic Caws, Associate Editor

“Omg one of the cutest dates ever is in A Walk to Remember (book by Nicholas Sparks, movie starring Mandy Moore and Shane West). She’s got a bucket list and on their first date he ticks off loads of things for her, like she wants to be in two places at once so he takes her to the state line and gets her to straddle it so she’s in two places at once, and she wants a tattoo so he gets her a fake rub on one… lots of little cute stuff like that.

It’s a proper tear jerker movie, but so romantic and adorable too.”

– Laurie Johnson, Associate Editor

“My favourite movie date is also in A Walk to Remember, when Landon orchestrates the ultimate date to help Jamie tackle her bucket list. Landon declares his love for Jamie that night, and she also gets her tattoo, and achieves her dream of being in two places at once! * ugly cries * ”

– Katie Gowrie, Editorial Assistant

“I love Tom and Summer’s IKEA trip in 500 Days of Summer! They make a trip to IKEA super sweet (and let’s face it, who doesn’t love IKEA??), and end up playing house in the show rooms. They way they interact with each other here is so cute thatI can’t help but root for them (I’m just going to ignore how it goes South…)!”

– Sara Jafari, Editorial Assistant

Post your scene in the comments below any time between now and Sunday, February 17, 2019, and we’ll check back with you on Monday!

11 replies on “Best Movie Dates and a Valentine’s Day Writing Challenge!”

A mere day

They put their sweet princess down for the evening and went into the kitchen to make themselves some supper. A late supper to be sure, a baby kept them busy enough. Michael looked at his wife. He remembered the day they met at the Student Union building. They were both tour guides, although she was much better at it. She was much better at everything. His heart clutched with the love he felt for her. To him she glowed. “Well we are alone at last,” he smiled as he touched her cheek adoringly.
“Yes well for at least 15 minutes until she wakes up again.” They both laughed albeit gently.
“Come, I’ve epic plans for our Valentine’s Day,” she said beaming as she took his hand. He beamed. They really did have epic plans until the baby became sick and they didn’t want to leave her. So the red dress went back in the closet and the movie tickets remained unused. They sat down at the kitchen table. The place where so many miracles already happened. Where she told him about the pregnancy. Two becoming three. A magic number. Where the heart shaped package of chocolates still lay on the table.
“Unwrap it,” he said excitedly.
“I wonder what it is,” she said feigning surprise.
“You won’t know until you open it.”
She peeled off the wrapping paper.
“White chocolate hearts! Where did you get these! My favourite!”
“You can buy anything on Amazon these days.”
“Michael I love you,” she said in such an intimate way he had to catch his breath. My wife loves white chocolate of all things and I love her, would do anything for her.
“ Whaddya say we grab some hot buttered popcorn and break into these on the chesterfield? There’s a Harlequin movie marathon right now,” she said with as much sexy as she could muster with baby puke on her sweater.
“I’d say that’s a plan.” He waited a beat and remarked, “After you change.” They laughed again, an easy laugh, an enviable one.
Michael and Kate got up from the kitchen table and began to make the popcorn together, the mundane becoming the most sacred and elevated moment ever. You see a hot date had taken on a whole new meaning and they were completely happy about it.

This is such a sweet moment you’ve captured, Cheryl! I’m sure many readers will relate to it, too. Nicely done!

When Paul promised her the best Valentine’s date of her life, Leah immediately started planning her outfit, a tiny black dress to complement her sexy new fire-engine-red boots. Then he told her to wear practical shoes, because there would be hiking involved. Practical shoes? Hiking? He may as well have been speaking a foreign language. “Trust me,” he’d said.

Against her better judgement, she had. Now she was trudging beside him in a dank cave, with only the tiny beam of a flashlight guiding the way. She grunted as he pulled her over a boulder, a noise that should be reserved for moments of pleasure, thank you very much. Not for spelunking. Spelunking! How could he have missed the mark by so much?

The darkness seemed to press against her as a wave of claustrophobia washed over her. Was something moving behind them? She felt eyes on her back. Bear? Serial killer? Evil faerie? Paul switched off the flashlight. She squealed her vehement objection and was annoyed by the throaty chuckle that answered.

“What are you doing?” she hissed.

“See the light up ahead?” he said. “It’s moonlight. We’re almost there.”

She squinted ahead in the darkness, gripping his hand tightly as he led her out of the cave and onto a ridge overlooking the valley below. It was beautiful, even at night, but it was the view above that took her breath away. Emerging from the darkness, the stars dazzled like jewels. They’d never looked so bright. He pulled her down and she realized that he’d planned ahead. There was a blanket beneath them. He sat behind her, his legs and arms wrapping around her protectively. She felt his breath in her ear. “You’re my whole world, Leah. So, I wanted to give you the moon. Do you like it?”

She leaned against him, her heart swelling. “I love it.”

“Good.” His lips trailed her neck. “Because I couldn’t get a reservation at Brasserie Provence until tomorrow. You can wear your sexy shoes for me then.”

She would never admit it, but Jane was waiting for Johnny to show up. There were two hours left in Valentine’s Day and counting.
Johnny was six foot two inches, rail thin, and he had a smile that got to her every time. They met when he stopped to buy caramels wrapped in paper at her shop on Water Street. It was an old building and you had to go down a couple of steps to reach the door. She had a habit of pretending not to notice him so that she could see his face when he saw her.
“You know he’s an architect, don’t you?” her friend Sally had said.
“Mm,” she said.
Things had gone alright between them. He tinkered with things and so did she. You couldn’t make someone do this kind of work or stop doing it. She liked that he could cook.
Once he made a model of a house out of candy and showed it to her. She ran her fingertip along her own heart shaped candies that made up the floor tiles. In the kitchen was a figure of a man holding the hand of a woman with the barest outline of a bump which made her blush.
“Dreaming?” she asked.
“Candy kisses,” he said smiling and put the house on a high shelf.
“See you at eight on the 14th of February,” he told her.
That was two months ago. She counted her inventory again until she saw him walking down the street, nobody looked like Johnny.
“I’ve something to show you,” he said, “for Valentine’s Day!”
Jane was tired, and if it came down to it, she was angry that he showed up late.
“After two months?”
The clock on the wall nailed him because it was way after eight.
“Please,” he said, touching her cheek. “Just come and see it.”
“See what?” she demanded. “I don’t want a doll house on Valentine Day,” she said, remembering that last day.
He looked quizzical, almost desperate. “The house, I designed, I built it, it’s finished.”
She wanted to yell words that would cut him down to size.
“Big man walks away, just when I fall in love with you,” she said, tears starting.
He took her in his arms and kissed her but she was still mad. She could see the emotion in him, but she couldn’t stop herself.
“Do I have to propose to you in the slush?” he yelled, “the kitchen tiles were difficult.”
Vancouver in February is hardly pretty. The rain had fallen into the snow making everything grey and sopping.
It was all Jane could do not to gape at him with her mouth open at the single emerald in his hand.
He was down on one knee looking up at her. “Marry me Jane; I built the house for you and our children, if you want them.”
“Oh Johnny,” she said laughing and pulling him up. “I need to see it before I can answer.”
“Candy Kisses in the kitchen,” he murmured, “the sweetest I have ever known.

Dear Kathryn, There is something so sweet in the details of this scene: the model house, the fact that he’s an architect, that he built a home for her. It would be an interesting longer story because I want to know why he kept her in suspense for two months. And yet, the surprise at the end, that he built the house for her and wants to marry her, really wraps up the whole Valentine scene in sweetness. I would melt if that happened to me. 🙂 Nicely done. –Patience

Thank you Patience for your comments. They are much appreciated. I have the architect and the confectioner love story in progress right now. I wanted to end it with the house ready for a marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day.

I should have stayed home with the Food Network and Snickerdoodle, thought Leah. Her cat never disappointed her because their relationship consisted of little more than cordial proximity, punctuated by an occasional back scratch. But Leah had told her friends and anyone who’d listen that she wanted more: more closeness; more love; and more warmth in her life. So, she’d agreed to a good old-fashioned setup. That’s where Jack, the lumpen high-school baseball coach in the driver’s seat of his old Nissan Sentra., came in. He looked like he was stuffed into his blue button-down shirt and strangled by his off-center navy tie for good measure. His raw, weathered hands gripped the steering wheel, oddly-matched appendages to the rest of him—which still hinted at the sinewy college center fielder that he’d been just 10 years ago. Great, a formerly hot frat boy, she thought to herself as the car rattled through the rose-gold sunset towards a continental French restaurant that promised rich food and exorbitant prices, even for early birds like them.

What was left of Leah’s heart went out to this “Jack” person, however. The guy was trying hard, nervously clearing his throat and smiling over at her every 10 seconds or so.
“I’m sorry I don’t have a better coat,” he said. “I realize a puffer jacket’s probably not quite right for Le Chien Bleu, but hey, at least I dug up a tie that wasn’t six inches too short!”

“It’s fine,” she said wanly, continuing to look out the window. The golden hour would be passing soon. Leah fervently wished she could turn back time to October, when she spent late afternoons taking pictures of the turning leaves in this soft, red-hued light and looking forward to Thanksgiving and the winter holidays–while still holding out hope for online dating. Now that Christmas was over, online dating wasn’t panning out for her and icy snow glistened on the fields they drove past, there was little warmth or light to sustain Leah’s good cheer. Valentine’s day was for amateurs, and this attempted date was just proof positive of the same.

Jack turned off the road and guided his car through the entrance to Prospect Park, snapping her out of her gloomy reverie. “Look, Leah, I know scheduling a blind date for Valentine’s Day probably wasn’t the swiftest thing we could’ve done, and it’s been kind of awkward,” he began. “We can still make our reservation, but I’m not sure you’re into dinner with me, anyway. I don’t ask for much when I’m getting to know someone, but preferring my company to a root canal is a prerequisite. I’m guessing that our friends thought we might get along for a reason. I think we may be missing out on something if we don’t at least try to have a good time.”

Leah’s cheeks grew hot ad her stomach fell. She didn’t feel creeped out or scared by Jack’s sudden detour—just remorseful. “I’m sorry I made you feel that way,” she said quietly. “The truth is, I don’t really care about going to dinner at Le Chien Bleu. Is there any way we could start this whole date over?”

“You could help me make a sled,” Jack replied. His eyes crinkled as he smiled.

“What?” she snort-laughed. “But we’re not dressed for sledding!”

“Just a little sledding! Then we can get takeout or something. I have some trash bags and moving boxes in my trunk. Let’s throw a sled together and take a few runs. I frankly have no interest in Le Chien Bleu, either: I was just trying to impress you.”

Leah laughed again as Jack produced a flat moving box and a large trash bag from his trunk and handed her one end of the cardboard. “Let’s cover it as best we can,” he said, smoothing the bag down over the cardboard. Jack took her by the hand to the edge of a long, slick-looking hill that sloped down to the ball fields. Carefully setting down the plastic-wrapped box, he lowered himself onto it. He patted the small space behind him and Leah sat down, still disbelieving the crazy turn this date was taking. He scooted up as far as he could and loosely tucked her extended legs underneath his elbows. She leaned into his back slightly. Upon closer inspection, he was not lumpen after all, but solid.

They were off! As their homemade sled scraped roughly down the hill, Leah shielded herself from any flying snow behind Jack’s broad back. This Valentine’s Day “dream date” had started as anything but in her mind. It had been a meeting marked by less than zero expectations—and accumulated disappointments–on her part. And yet here she was, meeting somebody fun, who believed in second chances and in changing things up. A squeal of glee escaped her now-smiling lips. Maybe the emptiness she’d been feeling had been necessary to make room for new, unexpected dreams to take its place.

I love how this blind date turns out, Kristine! You’ve written some lovely details into this scene, and an impromptu sledding session on Valentine’s Day is sweet and lots of fun. 🙂

“Valentine’s day is so overrated. Whitney said to herself as she open drawers to the filing cabinet putting the manilla folders in each one.
“It may be overrated like Christmas but there is something magical about it too. Jared chimed in. Whitney was a little surprised anyone had heard her much less him. Jared flashes his cheeky smile and “magically pulls out two tickets from behind her ear. Annoyed Whitney turns her back to him to finish filling. Jared wasn’t about to take her brushing him off standing up so he litterally got down on his knees holding the tickets out to her asking her to join him. If their co-workers had been around she would have been so embarrassed but they were the only ones in the basement filing papers. Trying to be nice Whitney clears her throat and asked why he wanted to go out with her.
“Because you need someone to show you love. “Jared replied. I know you been hurt before. It’s no easy feat.
“What do you know? Whitney grumbled walking away. People over fantasize when it comes to Valentine’s day and I’m just being real. Don’t fall for the hype. Like every couple is going to stay together for life. Really? She scoffs annoyed. And stand up. You’re embarrassing me.
“We’re the only two down here. Jared spoke softly. Go out with me and if you don’t see us going anywhere in this relationship than I’ll leave you alone.
Whitney stares at him contemplating on what to do. “We don’t have a relationship.she said.
“Then let’s start one. Jared replied.
Jared is handsome and very funny. She did like the trick he did with the tickets even though he wasn’t exactly successful in pulling them out but she was a bit frustrated from the start. Several years ago her heart broke and she’d been trying to mend it. Jared had been pursuing her over the past several months but she just hosed him down each time and now that the two of them are alone in the creepy basement she kind of felt that maybe she should just go on one date with him.
“If you’ll stop chasing me I will go with you. And how did you know I wanted to go to see this movie?
Jared smiled as he finally stood up taking her hands in his. Whitney had to look away this time. There is something different about him and it made her heart beat fast. She felt warmer even as he pulled her close to him. Jared took a chance cause last time he attempted this she slapped the taste out his mouth and now his face was safe from those stinging small hands of hers.
“You know I like you and I can see you like me too.” Jared said making her look up at him.
“You sound so cheesy right now. Like some third grade boy asking do you like me? Check yes or no on a piece of paper. Whitney chuckled.
“I do anything to see you smile again. Jared replied, even if it means embarrassing myself in front of everyone. I would for you.
“What you say? Go out with me? Dinner and a movie.
Whitney shrugs her shoulders. Why not? She figured.
Jared smiled and put the tickets in his shirt pocket and then adds, just bring your bathing suit. We’re going to the beach tonight.
Wha- what! Whitney stammers. The beach? She had no words really. She always wanted to go to the beach but never been. It’s like Jared can read her mind. All he did was smile.
“You can shop for clothes when we get there first thing in the morning but for tonight I just want you. To enjoy yourself.
Whitney didn’t know what to say. So taken aback she kissed him on the cheek.
“Is that all I get ? Jared teased softly.
Whitney kissed his other cheek. Jared grunts tapping his lips with finger.
“Ooh. Whitney giggled, I guess I can do that since you did go through the trouble of breaking down the walls to get me here.”
So she kissed him. Once. But that was not enough. “Kiss me. Jared insisted breathing a little hard. Like this.
Jared took control of her mouth and Whitney was a little hesitant but found herself molding into him. Finally he released her.
“Tonight will be special for you. For us. Jared said, this Valentine’s will be magical whipping out a single yellow rose handing it to her. The sand. You and me on my private beach. You’re the only one who will see my house. Hopefully before the night is over it will be our beach house.
“I’m sure it will be magical. Whitney whispered holding the rose close to her chest. A date at the beach is just what the doctor ordered and with the most handsome and funniest man around. Valentine’s day might not be so overrated after all.

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