Chapter 16: Best Day of My Life - American Authors
Having Izzie in Listonenia was everything I thought it would be. Even with my mother and grandmother keeping their scrutinizing eyes on us, our inside jokes and random adventures ensued. Izzie was able to meet a mini horse. His name wasn’t Butternut Sprinkles; it was Humphrey, but she temporarily renamed him for the sake of the picture. She literally cried when she saw him. The biggest smile graced her face the entire time she was in his presence. I took plenty of pictures and a few videos of her dream coming true.
She fully recovered from her hit on the head. She wasn’t traumatized by it in the slightest. We sailed quite often during her visit. We didn’t talk about what we were doing after graduation. I sort of liked that – living in the now, instead of trying to predict the future. She auditioned for the Listonenian Royal Ballet Company, but she also received offers from companies in the US and Europe. She had yet to get back with any of them with a definitive answer.
I knew what I was doing the following year. I was to attend Brimmington University, the most prestigious school in Listonenia. My acceptance was most definitely accredited to my title. All of the De Lucas had attended for many generations. I was following in my father’s footsteps, whether I wanted to or not.
My birthday was a day that belonged to my family, not me. It was more of a formality than a celebration. I knew my 18th one would be no different, even though I had Iz by my side. We’d be in our own little world for the most part, but we had so many people trying to snap us out of it with nastiness and passive-aggression. She was one of three highlights in my life – the supportive members of my family and our friends were the others. I did what I could to focus on them, instead of the negativity.
“Princey, you’ve got to wake up.” I woke up to Iz stroking my hair.
“Why?” I grumbled, keeping my eyes closed.
She gently pushed me onto my back. She climbed on top of me, straddling my waist. The covers separated our bodies.
“What do you think?” She leaned down and started kissing my neck, slowly and sensually.
I opened my eyes. “Seriously?” A crooked smile crept onto my face.
“No. I’m here because it’s your birthday. You’re excited about it too.” I could hear the smirk she was wearing as she ground herself against me.
I groaned. “It is the morning and you are not helping.” I placed my hands on her thighs when she sat up.
“I was running out of options.” She tucked her hair behind her ear.
“This is one of the meanest things you have ever done to me.” I remained on my back.
“You refused to grace me with your presence.”
“But this early?”
She reached over to retrieve my glasses from my nightstand. She put them on me, allowing me to keep my hands on her.
“You’re the big 1-8. I want the day you came into this world to be special.” She poked out her bottom lip and looked at me with her irresistible big brown eyes.
“What do you have in mind?” I warded off a smile.
“It’s a surprise, but I will say that our relationship’s kind of creepy now. You’re an adult dating a minor. I’ll do my best not to hold it against you, Old Man. For now, I still love you. I’ll even push your wheelchair.” A crooked little smile crept onto her face.
“I’m not old.”
“What if I say I love older men?”
“Fine, I’m old, but I’m going to have an electric wheelchair with a basket. Instead of pushing me, you are going to ride around on my lap.” I compromised.
“It’s bad that I can imagine us doing that.” She giggled.
“Why are you dressed up? We don’t have anything scheduled until tonight.”
I was able to trace patterns on her legs because of her sundress.
“I wanted to look nice for my boyfriend’s birthday. That’s why I had to wake him up as soon as possible.”
“What are you planning?”
“Nothing. We’re simply going to eat breakfast downstairs.” Her wide smile told a different story.
“You’re not going to make me crack! I promised not to tell!” She hopped off of me.
“Whom did you promise?” I sat up.
“Your dad! I’ve said too much. Shower, now!” She pointed to the bathroom.
“I think I am going to sit right here until you tell me.” I kept my eyes locked on her.
She placed her hands on her hips. “If you don’t cooperate now, I’m not going to let you touch me later.”
“What is the definition of ‘touch’?” I fired back immediately with a small smirk.
“Handshakes, hugs, kissing, and making love – everything across the intimacy spectrum will be forbidden.”
“You are so mean to me.” I pouted, climbing out of bed.
“I love you. Happy birthday!” She called after me.
I showered rather quickly, not wanting to keep her waiting for a long time. I dried off and slid on a pair of boxers. I took care of everything I need to do in the bathroom and exited to go to my closet.
“Here’s your outfit.” She patted the t-shirt and jeans she was sitting next to.
The jeans were basic dark ones I wore all the time. I had never seen the shirt before. It was white with thin navy stripes. It had a pocket on the left chest with a small teal anchor embroidered on it. A pair of sneakers were on the floor in front of my bed. The brand logo matched the anchor on my shirt.
“This was approved? I actually want to wear it.” I studied it in disbelief.
She nodded. “The shirt is a gift from me. The stylists took care of everything else.”
I smiled widely. “I love it. Thank you, Beautiful.”
“It’s not much, but --”
“It is perfect. I love it and you.” I leaned down to kiss her.
“It’s very nautical.” She smiled against my lips.
I chuckled lightly and kissed her once more. I stood up. “You just love me on that boat.” I picked up my gift.
“The shirt will help you keep my interest when your boat’s not around.”
I laughed and pulled it on. “How does it look?”
“I might not have to leave you for someone my own age after all, Grandpa.” She tried to remain serious, but ended up smiling uncontrollably.
“You’re silly.” I stole a quick kiss.
After I finished getting dressed, the two of us headed downstairs for breakfast. When we walked into the dining room, my eyes widened in shock and my jaw dropped. My friends were seated at the table, casually eating breakfast as if they did it every day.
Iz smiled up at me cheekily. “Surprise.”
“Oh, hey, Miles. Great pancakes.” Ryan pointed to his plate with his fork.
“Agreed.” Sami chimed in.
“Coffee’s top notch too.” Finn lifted his mug.
“Love the shirt.” Elle smiled at me.
“The original plan was to wait until you got here to eat, but Sami was hungry. –”Morgan attempted to explain.
“Say no more. It was a safety hazard.” I smiled to put her at ease.
“It was Ryan’s idea to be overtly casual to own our decision to eat without you.” Nick informed me.
Elle nodded in agreement. “Style points.”
“And consistent. You and Iz are always late to weekend brunch.” Ry elaborated.
I smiled. “There’s no denying that.” I sat beside him. Iz was on the other side of me.
“How did you get here?” I asked as my plate was placed in front of me.
“Iz and your dad called us. It was a pleasant surprise on more than one front. He has a nice voice. Then I ran an internet search, I’m totally happy I did. He’s very handsome. ” Elle replied.
“And suave, like on James Bond’s level.” Morgan contributed.
“Yes, exactly! I’ve been trying to think of that for weeks now!” Iz cried with exuberance.
“But his mom, though –“ Ryan smirked.
“Yes, air-five.” Sami raised her hand. They pretended to high-five from opposite sides of the table.
“What is with you guys and my parents?” I cried in exasperation.
“They made you.” Morgan offered me a warm smile.
“—very pretty.” Sami added.
They all started laughing.
“No, I’m not.” I cried in my defense, trying hard not to smile.
“Honey, you are and I love that about you.” Izzie kissed my cheek.
I rolled my eyes. We talked in our usual manner all throughout breakfast. A cake was brought out after we finished. They all sang happy birthday to me. I looked around at all of them, smiling uncontrollably.
“Make a wish!” Iz cheered.
I blew out candles without bothering to think up something I wanted. I had it all.