''Happy birthday, love.''
I groan and I pull the blankets over my head. It felt like I barely slept and wasn't it still dark outside?
''All I asked for my birthday was to sleep in, Alexander! Was that really too much to ask?''
It stays quiet and reluctantly I sit up. The clock tells me it is just past midnight and then a flickering light draws my attention. It's a flame of a birthday candle and I shake my head in disbelieve.
Alexander is standing there with plate in his hand. A plate with a slice of apple pie and a scoop of ice cream. I stare at the candle that is shaped in the number eighteen. I'm eighteen! I actually made to my eighteenth birthday!
''Now close your eyes and make a wish,'' Alexanders says with a big smile on his face.
I do as he says and I blow out the candle.
''Can't believe that you did this for me. I already told you that his weekend was too much.''
Alexander chuckles and he hands me a spoon.
''We deserve a few days away and I was saving for a weekend in Golden Beach anyway.''
I let out a moan when I taste the apple pie. It is so good!
''We could have gone any other weekend, Alexander. You wanted to leave right after the graduation ceremony and you missed out on your last high school prom.''
Alexander licks the ice cream of his spoon and smiles.
''It wasn't a difficult decision to make, love. You all dressed up and looking breathtakingly beautiful for a night or four days with you only wearing a bikini? Also looking breathtakingly beautiful and I really like it when you simply decide to wear nothing.''
''Be serious, Alexander!'' I groan. ''You really think that you won't regret not going to prom?''
Alexander sighs and he shakes his head.
''I am serious, Samantha. Prom meant dressing up, having our picture taken, dance a little, drink cheap punch and eat some snacks. We would have been forced to make small talk with people who we both couldn't care less about if we ever saw them again.''
''We would probably left early and go to Burger Joe, before I took you home. That would have been prom and compare that to the day we had yesterday. You looked stunning in that white summer dress, but even more important. You looked relaxed and happy.''
''On top of that we had the best dinner at that little seafood restaurant and we got to dance at that beach party. We watched a beautiful sunset, before someone suggested we could go skinny dipping. That wasn't an option if we went to prom and we also wouldn't have ended up having sex on the kitchen counter.''
''Okay, I get the point!''
Alexander chuckles and he puts the empty plate on the nightstand, before he lays down next to me. I snuggle up against his chest and let out a satisfied sigh.
''Thank you for all of this, Alexander.''
''You are very welcome, love. Now go to sleep and I promise I will let you sleep in.''
I smile when Alexander gives me a kiss on my head. These are the moments that I'm going to miss the most when he is away for college. Laying in his arms. Feeling safe, happy and loved. Falling asleep, knowing that he would still be there when I woke up.
''Love you,'' I yawn.
''Love you too, Jones.''
Tyler laughs and he gives me a hug.
''Happy birthday, Sam!'' Mia yells and she already running around. ''This house is awesome, are we also staying here?''
''Happy birthday, dear!'' aunt Laurel says with a big smile. ''Can't believe that you, Tyler and Alexander are eighteen already. I can still remember all three of you crawling around in diapers, like it was yesterday!''
''Mom!'' Tyler groans!
''Happy birthday, kiddo,'' uncle Thomas cuts in. ''I'm so glad that we get to celebrate this day with you.''
''Me too!'' before I walk straight into my aunts arms for a hug.
Alexander surprising me with a long weekend away was already amazing. We have spend some incredible days together. Then he surprised me with that apple pie in the middle of the night and the necklace this morning, but this was still the best surprise.
Having my family here was the best present anyone could have given me.
Wrong, it got even better!
I stare at the papers in front of me. After my families arrival, there were some more unexpected visitors. Gabriel, Millie, Damian and Skylar also came to celebrate my birthday!
After an entire day at the beach, we came back to the beach house and got the barbecue started. It was the perfect way to end the day, but then they insisted that they wanted to do presents first.
Damian and Skylar got me new running shoes. Millie surprised me with tickets to Paris.
It was her last stop on her Europe adventure and she wanted to explore that city with me. The girls made a collage out of pictures for me, which was the cutest thing ever. Then Tyler handed me his gift and he looks very pleased with himself.
I laugh when I see it is an official Stanford University hoodie. Cardinal red and of course, his size and not mine! I then feel something hard inside the hoodie and to my surprise I pull a picture frame out of it.
It's the picture of Tyler and me wearing our Cookie Monster pyjamas, while we were covered in bruises from paintball!
''Awesome!'' I chuckle.
''Two more gifts to go, dear,'' aunt Laurel says and she hands me a big envelope.
Curiously I open it and start reading.
''Petition for adult adoption.''
I can't read the rest out loud and I just keep staring at the papers.
''The persons name after adoption shall be as follows: Samantha Elizabeth Reed.''
''You want to adopt me?'' I ask confused.
''We want to adopt the both of you, kiddo,'' uncle Thomas says while he wipes away my tears with a smile. I didn't even realise that I was crying.
''You and Emma belong with us. That will never change, but this will make that official. So what do you think?''
''You can say no, dear. It is completely your choice to make and we will respect your decision,'' aunt Laurel says reassuringly.
''You have to say yes, S,'' Gabriel snaps. ''Otherwise I have to change all of this again!''
Gabriel hands me some official looking documents and I shake my head in disbelieve. Gabriel gave me fifty percent ownership of his company and he apparently already knew about the adoption, because the name on the papers doesn't say Samantha Jones.
It says Samantha Reed and I bite my bottom lip.
''Emma, what do you think? Do you think we can get used to the name Reed?''
''Is that the only thing that will change?'' Emma ask bluntly and I try not to laugh.''
''A few little things will change, lovey. Instead of guardians we would have parents. You can say that uncle Thomas is your dad and that aunt Laurel is your mom. You also get to say that you have two sisters now and a brother.''
Emma looks at me with a confused expression on her face.
''I couldn't do all of those things before, Sammy?''
I smile before I pull Emma in for tight hug.
''Apparently we already decided that we are Reeds,'' I say with a grin.
The others clap and cheer. Then Damian offers to get the barbecue started and I just sit there with Emma on my lap. Still trying to convince myself that all of this was real.
I already said goodbye to Red and now I was going to say goodbye to Samantha Jones.
Samantha Elizabeth Reed.