LXXI. Momentary Happiness
I bit my inner cheeks and nod. If I talk now, I may squeal out of excitement.
One step after another, the raging beats continuously increase. The hallway is empty. Everyone must be inside. When Crystal finds out about the party, she asks if she can plan it. Crystal had never disappointed when it came to parties. So, I said yes.
When I took a step into the room, there was an explosion in my brain...the good one. The type that carries a rush of positive adrenaline that made every part of my body tingles.
I tighten my grip around Josh’s arm when everyone twirls their heads towards us. There were some unfamiliar faces. Some of the people I invited must have brought friends.
“HayHay!” Crystal rushes towards us. She held my hands. “Happy?”
I look around, from the massive gifts to all my favorite food, and nod. “Super happy.”
Crystal squeals, “Told you, I can do it.” She puffed up her chest and gave Josh a smug smile.
Josh rolled his eyes, “Yes. Yes. You’re the best.”
Crystal evaluates me. “You’re beautiful, HayHay.” She hugs me.
The whole party went well. There weren’t a lot of people, just the way I like it. Everyone was dressed up as their favorite character, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Little Mermaid, Cinderella, and the lovely character. Some wore casual clothes, and it was alright since dressing up was optional.
Josh smiled, “Do you remember when we did a Pixar party?”
I smile and nod, “I remember because a certain someone came as Mike Wazowski and puked because he had too much cake.”
“You were the one who wanted to taste a bit of every cake!”
“You didn’t have to follow me!”
“I had to follow you! My parents forced me to, or else you would fall asleep somewhere random with cake all over your body. The party can’t end when the birthday girl is lost!”
“Well, thank you,” I said. “I had a good time eating cake with you.”
“I like the costume. I get to match with the birthday girl.” I was also Mike Wazowski for my birthday. The whole time everyone would tease us about the matching costumes. I cried. He yelled. Then, I retaliated. We got closer because of that.
“So, which guy is it?” That question caught me off-guard.
His ocean blues fade slightly when he smiles, “Which guy is it? I mean, I thought I would know at this party.” He looks around the ballroom. “But, I never knew you knew so many black-haired blue eyes guys who live in the Golden Dormitory.”
Yup. I invited every single black-haired blue eyes guy who lives in the Golden Dormitory. I can’t let Josh be the only one with that physical feature on my birthday.
When I look back, I notice how close his face was to mine. He smiles, “If I knew any better, I would say you have a preference for guys with black hair and blue eyes.”
“Cake time!” Crystal announces.
I tried not to run away, but my legs were dying to escape. I sat in the center, and everyone surrounded me. The lights dimmed as Josh brought out the two-layer cake.
“Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday Dear Hailey
Happy Birthday to You.
From good friends and true,
From old friends and new,
May good luck go with you,
And happiness too.”
My happiness meter was at an all-time high. I clasped my hands together and made my wish.
I wish for everyone to be happy and healthy together.
Then, I blew the candle. Everyone cheered before I cut the first piece of cake. After the cake, it was time.
“Ready?” Josh whispers.
My eyes slowly went towards Josh. I forgot. Tonight is the night we announce our fake relationship. “Y-Yeah.”
“We don’t have to do this,” he said.
I chew on my inner cheek. Josh is right. We don’t have to do this, announce our fake relationship. After all, there isn’t really a guy I’m trying to get jealous. I blinked a few times and fought against the internal conflict.
My eyes flicker towards the background. Then, it meets hers, Jasmine. She noticed my sight was set on hers and raised her glass, mouthing: “Happy Birthday.”
I couldn’t stop concentrating on her lips.
Josh held my hand. “Hailey?”
I look back towards Josh.
The ones that attach to Josh’s lips.
I tighten my grip, “Let’s do this.”
He exhales softly and leads me towards the stage. The moment we stepped beside the microphone, Josh called for everyone’s attention. My confidence flew out of the window. What in the world am I doing? Am I really allowing Josh to announce a fake relationship with him to make him jealous?
“I have two announcements today,” Josh said.
The lights dim, and a spotlight sparkles against the door. Tyson opens the door, and Ahmend steps inside the room. I didn’t even notice they were gone. My eyes widen at the sparkly item in his hand, and with each step he takes, my heart seemingly increases.
He stops in front of us.
I cannot believe this is happening.
Josh grabs the tiara and smiles, “Happy Birthday, Princess.” He places the tiara on my head.
I was too shocked to respond.
The only sound I can hear is the roaring heartbeat. The only thing I can see is the young man in front of me. He actually did it. Even when I only said it as a joke. He actually did it.
Josh rests his hands against my cheeks. “This wasn’t meant to make you cry,” he said.
Am I crying?
He swipes off the water from my face. The mascara follows. Gently, Josh presses his chest against my face to cover me from the crowd.
“My second announcement,” he said into the microphone. I dig my face deeper into his face, a side view towards the audience. “My little HayBug and I decided to become an official couple.”
Even though it’s all fake, I couldn’t stop the blood towards my face. I closed my eyes and attempted to de-escalate the embarrassment.
“How do we know she wasn’t forced to be with you?” That’s Ahmend’s voice from across the room.
Everyone burst into a peal of laughter.
“She doesn’t,” Josh replied calmly.
“Yeah! Sure she doesn’t! She likes you so much that she’s crying!” I know he’s teasing us. It’s what Ahmend does.
Josh exhales, probably tired of Ahmend’s behavior. “Hailey,” he calls for me. I looked up and took several blinks to clear up my vision. “Would you grant me the pleasure to be yours?”
I remember it.
When Josh and I were younger, before he moved to New York, we would hang out in the forest nearby the park. All the kids play around there. Of course, with guardians.
We would often reenact different types of roles. One of them would be prince charming and the princess. Among the girls, I never got picked to be the princess. I was always the ugly witch, but I was fine with it since I get to play with everyone.
Josh would always get picked to be the prince.
The reason is quite apparent.
One day, he rewrote the whole storyline and chose me instead of the princess. He said: “All because I’m a prince, why do I have to end up with a princess? Which law says that? Bring me the law!”
When no one replied, he would look at me. A small plump girl covered in dirt and said: “Would you grant me the pleasure to be yours, beautiful witch?”
And so, the prince ends up with the witch.
No matter how many times the other kids told him to play the game properly. He never does. He would always pick me - the witch.
“That means she doesn’t want to!” Ahmend screams.
“Please verbalize that so the idiot can understand.”
“What? Idio- ow! Why did you hit me?” Crystal was the one who hit Ahmend.
I smile, “I would love to be your girlfriend.” Josh grasped me by the waist and spun me around. I lower myself and wrap my arms around his neck. It feels good. Even if this is all fake, this is fine with me—this momentary happiness.
When Josh places me on the ground, my eyes meet with Jasmine. She stood there behind Madison with a smile on her face. With a glance, one would believe she’s happy for Josh and me. But, the longer you look, the more you can pin the anger.
What surprised me the most tonight wasn’t Jasmine’s anger or the diamond tiara, but the smile. The undeniable taunting smirk on my face.