Chapter Thirty Three
AVA woke up to familiar lips smothering loving kisses on every part of her face. She squirmed on the comfortable mattress, enveloped in her thick sheets. A deep chuckle was heard, making her more aware of the arm around her waist.
She whined a little, before rolling over and stuffing her face into her pillow to get away from the annoying kisses that woke her up. They left tingles all over her face and goosebumps on her body. They were annoying yet she loved them anyway.
"Happy birthday, babygirl." Lucas softly murmured into her skin as he started kissing her exposed shoulder.
"It's not my birthday." She replied into her pillow grumpily. Now more awake, she groggily climbed on top of her boyfriend. Ava lay flat on his body and tried to get back to sleep.
"Yes it is." He said with confusion. His wove his hand underneath her cotton pyjama top to touch her bare skin and wrapped his arms around her little body with his head nuzzled into her neck.
She was a little distracted when he started rubbing up and down her back, raising the top higher and higher. She wasn't wearing a bra and Lucas wasn't wearing anything apart from his boxers. Luckily, she was wearing shorts, admittedly very short shorts, but nevertheless, the fact that she could feel his hard six pack on her stomach didn't help her female hormones.
"If it was my birthday, you wouldn't be trying to wake me up to early." She grumbled eventually. "Come back next year."
"I'm sorry baby but you have to wake up. And plus, it's nearly noon."
Ava let out a range of incoherent words of protest that she, herself, had no idea what she said. She was completely relaxed with Lucas' soothing hands and his chest rising and falling underneath her. Sleep was getting closer and closer until her pillow moved to sit up.
"Don't fall asleep on me now." He moved her legs on either side of him so she straddled his lap, her head still on his chest. "C'mon, baby. People are waiting for the birthday girl. You don't want to sleep through your special day do you?"
Ava reluctantly shook her head into his chest but didn't move from her position.
"I've made you breakfast." He said in a sing-song voice.
A little more awake at the sound of breakfast and more at the idea that her Lucas made it, she managed to mumble out the word, "where?"
"Right on the nightstand next to me."
She sighed and decided to 'wake up'. Ava looked up and pouted her lips, waiting for her mate's lips to meet her in a good morning kiss, which as expected, he did.
"Morning Lu Lu. Happy my birthday." She smiled.
He laughed. "Good morning. Happy your birthday to you too."
"Breakfast?" She asked, poking his cheek.
He went to move so she scrambled off his lap and sat cross legged next to him in anticipation of his creation. Lucas grabbed the large tray on the table and carefully brought it in front of her.
"Ta da!" He said, his voice breaking with nerves.
She was in awe of what lay in front of her and wondered how she hadn't seen it in the room, but then again, she was awfully tired. There was a large selection of perfectly ripe fruit and oddly shaped pancakes with a pot of syrup next to it. The tray also held two toasted croissant sandwiches with runny egg and ham inside of it. Hot, steaming tea was held in their favourite large mugs.
Her hands covered her grinning mouth in shock. It was so beautiful and she couldn't believe he took the time and effort to do all of that for her. "Lucas." She breathed out in awe. "It's amazing."
"I tried to shape the pancakes into hearts. See." He said, nervously gesturing towards the pancakes. "It kind of looks like a butt but the lady in the video said I did a great job."
"I love them and it's smells delicious." She giggled happily at the faint blush in his cheeks.
"Oh I mustn't forget these." He reached behind him and pulled out a beautiful bouquet of pink roses. Her mouth hung open at the size of it as it was too big to hold in just one hand.
"These are so... wow. You did all this? For me?" She asked in disbelief. It was all so unbelievable. He always did something spectacular on her birthday or any other occasion but every year it would be just as special as the last.
He smiled sheepishly and ran a hand through his hair. His mouth opened to say something, when Ava gasped as she saw the burn marks on his arms. "Oh my gosh what happened?!" She shrieked and put the flowers beside her to grab his arm with both hands and look over the injured area.
"It's nothing. The egg just kind of exploded." Lucas must've saw the worried look on her face because he quickly added, "but look I'm fine! It's already healing."
"I don't think you should cook again." She mumbled as she softly stroked the skin around the burn.
"It's worth it, baby. Just to see this." His eyes looked down at her mouth, cupping her face and rubbing his thumb on her lips that quickly went from a small frown to a large unmoving smile.
Ava glanced down at the food again, eager to eat it, whilst her stomach threatened to ruin the moment by making loud monstrous noises. She suddenly gasped and jumped out of the bed, though also careful not to knock anything over. "I'm going to brush my teeth." She told him as she ran to their en suite.
The girl brushed her teeth fast yet made sure to do it efficiently and quickly walked back to Lucas. Although, he wasn't there but as soon as she came out of the bathroom, he walked into their room now clad in some pyjama pants that hung low on his hips with two glasses of orange juice.
"I just forgot these - freshly squeezed orange juice in champagne glasses so we can feel extra fancy." He said, holding them up.
She giggled and replied, "I love it. I love all of it. Thank you so much."
Her wonderful mate climbed onto the bed with her and kissed her lovingly. "You're welcome, my love." A kiss was placed on her forehead. "Let's eat."
"It's my birthday!!" Squealed Ava as she skipped through the hallway on their way to the stairs. It hadn't sunk in until then that it was that exact day that a little mini Ava popped out of her awful mother's area.
She ran her fingers through the soft material of the cute white dress Lucas had given her the night before as a pre-birthday gift. It was something she had her eye on for a while but it was too expensive and never thought she'd actual own it. She'd always assumed it was just one of those things she'd admire from a far.
Ava felt giddy at the fact he noticed more than the fact he actually bought it.
"C'mon slow..." she reached over and poked him in the stomach as she said, "POKE." She giggled and rubbed the tip of her finger, cursing herself for forgetting his stomach was a pack of hard abs and not a soft tummy, unlike herself.
"That hurt, baby girl." He said in mock hurt, lifting up his t-shirt. "Kiss it better?"
Ava only responded with a nervous laugh, her face as red as a tomato, and grabbed his hand to drag him along the hallway and down the stairs. As soon as they reached the lower floor, she saw the plethora of balloons and banners all over the large room. Her eyes led her to the people she loved and were fond of, chatting to one another.
The sound of Lucas clearing his threat dramatically instantly brought all their attention to the birthday girl on the stairs. A chorus of happy birthdays echoed across the room.
"Good morning everyone!" She chirped loudly, running down the last few steps.
Lucas' father and hers walked to her, both with large smiles on their faces. "Happy birthday, sweet pea." John said, holding his arms out for a hug. She hugged him tightly and felt him kiss her forehead.
Ava mumbled a shy thank you to the man who practically raised her. She felt a little guilty thinking of him as her father figure whilst her actual birth father stood closely, twiddling his thumbs as he waited for his turn.
Ava looked at him and wrapped her arms around his torso for a hug, which he graciously accepted. "Look at you, my princess all grown up. You look beautiful." He said with tears threatening to leak out of his eyes. Chris was one of those people that when they got emotional, it would be obvious from his face turning into a bright red colour. Must be inherited.
"Thanks, dad." She frowned slightly and added, "please don't cry."
He sniffled and let out a small laugh but then his eyebrows raised as if he remembered something. "Your present!" Chris rushed behind the small group of people, all smiling at Ava.
Her friends, Mason, Ryan, Jackson and Connor walked up to her, seeing as she wasn't occupied. They said Leo and Sabrina were going to come later. "How does it feel to be one year closer to death, Ava?" Mason asked curiously, whilst the rest rolled their eyes at his question.
"Erm. I don't feel any different than I did yesterday." Her eyebrows creased in confusion and slight worry. Was life really going that quickly?
"Oh good." He patted her arm with sympathy. "Hang in there."
This time Ryan stepped in and said, "ok let's not talk about death right now." Just as he finished, Eddie walked up to them.
"Hey! Happy birthday, Ava." He said, ignoring the burning glare that Lucas shot him. She had given him a hug and thanked him when her father came back with a small box in his hand.
He smiled at her and outstretched his arm with the pretty box laid on the top of his palm. "Here you are, princess."
Ava tentatively took it, feeling shy about receiving gifts in front of people. "You didn't have to get me anything."
"I've got twelve years of birthdays to catch up on, I'm not missing this one. Just open it." He insisted, making Ava eagerly untie the little gold bow and open the lid of the box slowly. Her eyes widened as soon as she saw it. It was a beautiful gold necklace with a small dainty moon on it. "It was my mother's, your grandmothers, and it was apparently a family heirloom. I never gave it to your mo- Adeline because... well I don't know. I guess it's a good thing that I didn't."
She launched herself at him and gave him the largest hug she had probably given anyone. "I really really love this. Thank you." She hadn't had a biological family for as long as she could remember and now she suddenly had a father and a heirloom. It was all so unbelievable and she was afraid she'd start bawling there and then. "Put it on for me?" She asked and turning around, not giving him a chance to say no.
A bright flash and the sound of a camera made her look up in shock after the necklace was put around her neck. Jackson stood there with a Polaroid camera, the photo now moving out of the top.
"What? It's for the scrap book?" He said in response to all the bewildered eyes.
They spent the rest of the afternoon giving her presents, eating food and just catching up. Ava had hardly talked to Lucas all day but he stayed close by, the hand on her lower back reminding her he was there.
Joe had closed the ice cream shop for the day so he was able to spend time with Ava. "How's business, Joe?" Lucas asked him.
She noticed the old man was getting more stressed and unhappy recently. Working with him, he'd sigh loudly and rub his head before putting on a large fake smile to greet guests. It was clear he was over worked and getting a little too old to run the shop. It wasn't at all good for his health.
"As good as it can be I suppose. But that is what I wanted to talk to you about, Ava." He said with a warm smile.
"You're not giving up the shop are you?" A worried look was on her face. She loved that place and couldn't bare to see it run by someone who wasn't Joe. It was practically her childhood. Although, maybe it would be best considering his health. It didn't mean she was thrilled about the idea though.
He rapidly shook his head. "Oh no no." But then reluctantly nodded and sighed, "well, yeah."
"Huh?" Ava's eyebrows furrowed in confusion and looked up at Lucas to see him do the same.
"I am giving up the shop. I'm giving it to you!" He tried to say enthusiastically as he dangled a set of keys in front of her.
"W-what?" She spluttered.
Joe took Ava's hand and put the keys in it, forcefully closing her hand around it. "I'm retiring. I need a break. And I thought, who better to give it to than my best worker and best employee. Happy birthday."
"But I've only worked there for less than a week!"
"Shh. Accept the gift, my sweet. Accept the gift." And then he slowly walked away to the food table.
She looked at the keys with a face full of surprise and then looked at Lucas. "I've got an ice cream shop." She whispered and then in a much louder scream, "I've got an ice cream shop!"
Ava ran off to Joe to thank him more than a couple of times, before running off the tell everyone in a class vicinity. She was overjoyed and it wasn't even the end of the day. After, Lucas went to her and grabbed her hand, telling her to follow him.
"What are we doing?" She asked him as they walked further and further away from the house and the group of people celebrating her birthday with him. "Shouldn't we tell them we left?"
"They know." He said softly. "We're going to your birthday present."
Her mouth formed an 'O' shape, feeling excitement bubble in her chest. The anticipation was torture as the light from the house disappeared and the Sun began to set. She shuffled closer to Lucas and hugged his arm to her chest, hoping there wasn't anything dangerous in the woods.
"Ok. Now close your eyes." He told her, putting some cloth over her eyes.
"B-but-" she started to protest with her grip on his arm tightening.
They continued walking as he interrupted, "no buts. We're almost there."
She had seen this happen too many times in horror films. A walk in the woods at night would always lead to someone being murdered. Especially, the one in the blindfold. "You're n-not going to k-kill me right?" She asked, fearfully. Sure, they were in love and she knew he would never hurt her the reassurance would been nice.
"Surprise!!" He yelled and took the blindfold off her. It took a while for her eyes to adjust but when it did, she was speechless.
Multiple fairy lights surrounded the couple and in front of them were a large tree with a ladder hanging off it. Her eyes followed the ladder and met a beautiful wooden tree house. It was perfect.
She felt Lucas' warm chest hit her back as he hugged her from behind and placed his chin on the top of her head. "D'you like it? I tried to make it for our first date but that sort of got cancelled so I spent the extra time making it better. Erm. So you like it? You've not said anything. Ava?"
She turned around to stare up at him with unblinking eyes and poked his cheek. "You're real?" She whispered to herself in awe.
He laughed and nodded his head. Ava's eyes welled up with tears at the love she felt for him. She couldn't believe how lucky she was. "I don't know what to say." She breathed out. "I love you." Ava said, kissing him deeply on the lips.
"Mmm. Let's show you the inside." He mumbled against her lips but brushing his nose against hers in an Eskimo kiss.
She climbed up the ladder first, of course only after making Lucas promise not to look up her dress. Inside was just as beautifully decorated. There were a few candles carefully placed around the room and a large cozy sofa at the back of the large room. In the centre was a small table that held some plates, cups and cutlery.
"I've got you're favourite Chinese take away. I hope that's ok." He said, holding up some plastic bags he hadn't noticed him carrying. She cursed herself for being so unobservant once again.
After dinner, they spent the rest of the day there, cuddling together on the couch and underneath the blankets. They had nothing to say so both just stayed in a comfortable silence until Ava let out series of continuous yawns.
"Baby, we should probably go back." He said softly.
"Nooo." She buried her face further into his chest, not wanting the night to end.
"You should get some sleep. We have an early day tomorrow."
That spiked her interest so she turned her head to look at him. "Why? What are we doing tomorrow?"
He stayed silent, creating suspense, making Ava more eager to know the answer as she could tell he was hiding a smile.
"We're going to Disneyland."
Thank you for reading!
A fantastic cover was sent by @Nikolai_Watson!
Thanks for sticking with me through the really long waits between updates.
Riddle: What goes up but never goes down?
WORD COUNT: 3057
Much love <3