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Finding My Seventh Heaven

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Chapter 1

*TWO YEARS PRIOR TO THE PRESENT DAY*


“You didn’t have cake today? Oh come on, we’ve got ten minutes more before it strikes midnight. If we don’t run now, we won’t make it and I won’t let a pretty girl like you spend your birthday without having cake”. The stranger I had met only almost three hours earlier said as he took my hand and we ran to the nearest gas station to get me a cheap cupcake.

It was weirdly pleasant and amusing at the same time to see someone whom I barely knew be more excited than me to make it memorable for me. At the time, little did I know this memory he was trying to create, was going to be the beginning of a blissful love that would turn to heartbreak.

A few of hours earlier

“Hey, Dahlia, I’m bringing over a friend of mine. Hope you don’t mind if I do”, my sister’s boyfriend, Aaron told me over the phone.

It was my nineteenth birthday and all of my friends except Aaron were out of town for summer solstice so it was just us both for dinner. The first person I could think of when Aaron said that was Tony. Tony was my very first boyfriend who I dated on and off. I honestly thought he was about to surprise me. But the surprise I got that night, was far better than anything Tony could have ever given me.

I didn’t keep my hopes too high considering the toxicity of our entire relationship. It wasn’t Tony who stood in front of a Burger King which looked like it was infested with humans and I wasn’t too disappointed. With Aaron was this beautiful boy with floppy raven black hair and amber brown eyes. The most beautiful set of eyes I have ever laid mine on. He wasn’t tall, neither short. Walking towards them, I quickly glanced at his arms which hinted the arms of a swimmer or an athlete because of the muscles. Something inside my belly fluttered and I urged myself to stop showing too much interest in him.

“Dahls, Happy birthday” Aaron wished, hugging me tight as I peep toed to hug him. “This is my friend, Ian”

“Hey. What a day to meet, eh? Happy birthday.” He said, showing a set of perfect white teeth.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Dahlia. Thank you”, I chuckled and I’m so sure he would’ve seen the teeth at the back of my mouth.

We sat down at a table for three and Aaron started telling Ian more about me.

“Ian, you know whose girl this is? Tony’s”

Ian laughed “Hahaha, oooh is that so. The famous Tony”, pushing some fries into his double cheese burger, he smirked.

Tony and Aaron knew each other from high school but I wasn’t aware Ian knew him too.

Bummer, I thought.

“Was, I was his girl” I said awkwardly, emphasizing on the ‘was’.

Sitting across him against my will, I began to observe Ian discreetly as Aaron and he chatted their boy talk away. He closed his eyes as he took a big, satisfying bite out of his burger, leaving behind a bit of ketchup on the right corner of his upper lip. The neckline of his baby blue shirt moved in correspondence to the bite and revealed a part of a tattoo.

When we were done with our food, Ian asked me if I had had cake today.

It was weirdly pleasant and amusing at the same time to see someone whom I barely knew be more excited than me to make it memorable for me. At the time, little did I know this memory he was trying to create, was going to be the beginning of a blissful love that would turn to heartbreak.

“You didn’t have cake today?! Oh come on, we’ve got ten minutes more before it strikes midnight. If we don’t run now, we won’t make it and I won’t let a pretty girl like you spend your birthday without having cake” The stranger I had met only almost three hours earlier said as he took my hand and we ran to the nearest gas station to get me a cheap cupcake.

The trees whizzed by us as we sprinted. The stars beamed on the dark velvet sky. It was as if the world had stopped for us because my thoughts and worries had been stolen from my mind.

“Four more minutes, guys!” Ian exclaimed. It was clear his excitement was more than mine which somehow brought me satisfaction.

There weren’t any candles in my apartment except two tea light candles. Placing it on either sides of the cake, he and Aaron sang to me as I dug into the chocolate cake in its palm sized heart shaped plastic tub. As I grinned with chocolate in my teeth, out of true delight, his eyes gleamed. It could have been the candle light or it could have been something else. I was too young to know.

That night, I went to bed feeling a lot more content than I had felt in a while because a random stranger decided that I should celebrate no matter how little the crowd is. I had always celebrated my birthday with friends and family but somehow it didn’t feel any less that day. The quiet empty apartment added to the change in birthday traditions but it didn’t itch me enough to make a difference. The events of that day left my spirit elevated. Happiness flowed through me like the warmth of the early summer sun. With my eyes closed and flashing back to the moment he took his my hand in his and ran through the breezy night to the gas station, I went to bed with a grin as radiant as the stars on that beautiful night as I closed my eyes and flashed back to the moment he took my hand in his, and ran to the gas station. And that was how I met the man who swept me off my feet in no time but slayed my heart just as fast.

Oh, naïve little me.

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