I’ve been thinking a lot recently. About feelings, more specifically, my feelings.
Aaron brings out a feeling I could only describe as love. But what i’m thinking about is if it is love. I feel love, but am I in love?
Sure I love my family, they’re great. I’ve been with Natasha more, my dad is still as silly as ever and my mom is the kindest person i’ve met. But nothing can compare to Aaron. Is it love? I just don’t know. I’ve never romantically loved before, what is it supposed to feel like? What are the signs?
I don’t even know if Aaron loves me. He may like me but love is internal, a personal feeling and I don’t know what to look for.
It’s these thoughts that keep me up early in the morning. Glancing at the clock, it’s almost six thirty.
Making up my mind, I decide it’s fine to get up.
I roll out of bed and put on a hoodie. Its my favorite clothing choice. And then some jeggings because I don’t like jeans. No one has to know.
With everyone sleeping, everything sounds louder. So turning on the faucet in the bathroom sounds like a whole freaking waterfall.
I brush my teeth and very quietly and slowly brush my hair. Brushing my hair already sounds loud because the sounds are so close to my ear so with each brush of my hair I pause and listen for unlikely footsteps ready to jump in my bed and pretend to sleep.
I don’t know why I’m so paranoid. I suppose it’s a perk of being me. Paranoia. My favorite.
Grabbing my bag I rush downstairs to get breakfast and leave, however, when I turn the corner in the kitchen I’m met with all sister, and the parents. All standing with creepily wide grins.
I then pull my gaze away from the creeps and look around the kitchen. Balloons and streamers and hats and cupcakes and those obnoxious noise makers.
My gaze follows back to my family and suddenly Natasha pulls a cake from behind her decorated beautifully and says my name on it adorned with candles of all colors.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” they all yell
I’m confused for a second. Then I remember today is my birthday. I’m so forgetful.
“Aww! You guys! Thank you!” I gush happily “this is gorgeous!” I point at my dad “you didn’t make it” I point at Natasha “you didn’t make it” then I point at my mom “thanks mom”
“Hey! I put the candles on!” dad complains
“Oh! And I did some of the flowers!” I look a little closer and there are indeed a few flowers that are very Natasha style. Messy. “Thank you Natasha” I smile at them all.
“I also got mom to let us have cake for breakfast!” she cheers but is automatically shut down by my mom “I said Rowan could have cake. Its her birthday, you have to wait for the party when Rowans friends come over”
Cake forgotten, Natasha questions “Rowans having a party? That’s new.”
“Yup! And then much to my reluctance, she’s having a sleepover with that boy” dad says bitterly.
Natasha is first to speak up. My birthday and i’ve hardly said anything. “He’s her boyfriend. Dad, they’re bound to sleep over together at some point. I mean, they have to get used to it for when they move in together”
Dad and I both start choking on our coughs. I feel myself blush, the topic of my boyfriend slightly uncomfortable.
Mom clears her throat and changes the topic thankfully. “Well, let’s eat! I’ve gotten cereal for you two” she points at dad and Natasha and they groan tilting their heads back while I take a spoon and start scooping out the cake.
“What are you doing!?” Natasha yells looking at me. I pause with my cake half way in the air. “Eating?” I question
“You’re just going to spoon it out like ice cream? You know it’s not an icecream cake right?”
I shrug and continue eating
“That’s just wrong” she shakes her head and pours her cereal with a glum expression.
I sigh and take a spoon and scoop some and nudge Natashas shoulder. And look down trying to convey the message to look under the table where i’m holding the cake. “What?”
I look down again but she just doesn’t get it.
I nudge her shoulder again “What do you want?” she says slightly agitated. Maybe she wouldn’t be so mad if she had cake. Come on Natasha, you’re a smart girl.
I nudge her once more “Quit it!”
All heads turn to me. Mom sighs and looks at me. I point at myself in question. She nods “i know it’s your birthday Rowan, but theres no need to bother Natasha”
I huff and bring the cake filled spoon and smack it right on Natashas nose. She shrieks and pauses for a moment before glaring at me “what was that for?!”
I shrug and she, surprisingly calmly, wipes her nose off with a napkin. I feel slightly guilty because it’s now a slight shade of blue but she doesn’t have to know that.
Before I leave for school, I put the boxed cupcakes into my bag, each with a frosted 18 on top. That may be slightly confusing for the recipients but no matter, cupcakes are cupcakes.
Dad sees me off with a large hug “happy birthday kiddo. You’re an adult now. My little girl is all gr-”
“Alright alright no need for the sentimental stuff” Natasha cuts dad out and pulls me to her in a hug “happy b-day girl. Proud of you”
I didn’t really have to do anything but compliments are accepted
The mom pulls me in and starts crying.
Oh no. I’m not good at this stuff. “Love you mom”
She cries harder. I look to Natasha for help with a panicked look on my face. She gets the message this time and places a hand on mom’s shoulder “come on mom, lets have some cake”
She’s guided away and dad follows her, completely lovesick. For both mom and the cake.
The second I’m on school grounds I’m pulled into a hug. My arms are pinned to my sides so all I can do is stand there awkwardly.
Whoever this is pulls me away with their hands on my shoulder. “Oh cheery! Happy birthday!” hunter examines me “you’re all grown up now, I just can’t bel-”
He pulled away from me and I’m then surrounded by everyone in a hug. I get a chorus of happy birthdays and when I’m finally released, I remember the cupcakes. “I brought you all cupcakes” suddenly I’m surrounded again, everyone with curious eyes.
Reaching into my bag I take out the ‘18!’ cupcakes and hand then out the group jokingly saying happy birthday to each person. Then a chorus of thank yous.
When the bell rings Alex questions . “We’ll see you for the party yeah?”
“Yeah, of course” I nod my head, actually eager to have my first birthday party.
I have yet to see the one person constantly infiltrating my thoughts. Hopefully Aaron will be in english.
I sit at our usual spot and just like always, I put my bag on the desk next to me waiting for him
My bag sits there until the class starts.
Then through the class
And when the bell rings for my next class.
With deflated spirits, I continue to my classes, constantly looking through the sea of people for the one person not here.
He’s not in any of my classes, and I never see him in the halls. I kinda thought that I may see him at lunch, as unlikely as that was, I still kept my hopes up.
That was a bad thing.
I didn’t see him for the rest of the day.
I was at my locker getting my things and as I closed it, surprisingly Alex, Alex with the rainbow hair, was standing there. “Um, hi Alex. Whats up? Another movie?”
Alex, Amy and all have been going to movies frequently, each of us rotating movie choices. I’ve actually stopped watching romances because nothing can compare to mine in real life
I’m just not sure where to find my partner in crime.
“Yeah, you wanna come? It’s your turn anyway” she shrugs. Luckily she remembered who it is. I totally lost track.
“Of course! Will Amy be there?”
She nods “yeah, Amy will come and pick you up after your party. Happy eighteen by the way”
She then walks off and I’m happy to have plans for after the party before I go to Aaron’s house
If I go to Aaron’s house.
As I walk outside and turn to go to my house I hear frantic footsteps coming my way. For a second I think I’m about to get kidnapped. Then murdered. Happy freaking birthday.
I pause, thinking of any self-defense moves I know. I don’t know any self-defense moves.
Once they are close enough I whip myself around and punch in front me hoping to get them in the face.
My eyes are closed but my fist hits something. Both myself and the murderer groan. My hand hurts and I hold it while looking up to see the unfortunate victim.
“Damn girl, you sure can pack a punch” Hunter laughs with a pained face
I let out an angry breath “Hunter! What are you doing? I could have broken your nose!”
He laughs and stands upright, his nose slightly red “yeah..i don’t think so”
“Well, whatever, what do you want?”
He shrugs and starts walking in the direction I was going in “just wanted to walk with a friend. I also need your address. I lost the card I got with the information. It was beautiful by the way”
“Alright fine” I walk alongside him and I direct him down the streets while he hums a sort of song.
Unlike Hunter’s usual portrayed personality, he’s being surprisingly calm. It’s a nice walk, we don’t talk much and the soft melodies leave me to my thoughts and I needed this. Someone’s presence to help me think and not be alone. I believe Hunter understands this.
I’m terribly sad I haven’t seen Aaron today. I thought he would have at least called me. And yet, I’ve got no word from him.
I can feel a familiar pressure on my chest and my eyebrows furrow as my eyes water.
I really don’t want to be upset by this, he may be at the party, I’m sure he remembered.
I don’t want to cry on my birthday. I can’t ruin it for others.
As much as I try, I can’t keep the tears at bay. They fall down my cheeks one after another.
The sniffles and the wiping of my eyes caught hunters attention. He looks over and automatically his eyes soften considerably. He pauses his movements and pulls me close with his arms wrapped around me in a comforting embrace.
He simply holds me for the next few minutes before the tears slow and I pull away.
“Would you feel better if you talked about it?” He asks gently
I sigh and my fists grip onto my sweater “I just, I just miss him I wish he was here I wish he at least texted but no. I don’t know if he forgot or if something came up and I feel selfish for that but it’s my first time celebrating and I just really really hope he’ll be at the party”
As we get to my street, Hunter examines me and before I walk the rest of the distance he says “Hold on to that hope Rowan”
I smile and wave bye “thanks”
He nods and then turns away while I walk past the neighbor’s house, still curious of the mystery family who lives there. Getting to my House. I freeze in place at the bottom of the steps. My heart feels as though it’s beating faster and stopping at the same time.
My gaze falls over my porch. Every inch covered in purple and red roses and rose petals.
-Red: Red roses are the most traditional Valentine’s Day flower, and with good reason. This color represents romance, love, beauty and perfection. It is sometimes said that dark red roses represent humility or unconscious beauty.
-Lavender: In the language of flowers, lavender roses are used to tell someone that you’re enchanted by them. They also represent desire and love at first sight.
I’m stunned. I walk just a bit closer, almost afraid if I make any sudden movements they’ll disappear.
I get to the base of the steps and for once, there’s a card. It’s white and my name is written in gold pen. On the inside is written
Happy birthday Rowan. I felt like you should get the whole ‘Taylor Swift experience’ you’re my song.
No, I will not cry again. I will not
I hold the card reading it over and over. It’s so sweet and thoughtful. Now I’m more curious than ever to know who this is. I’m also scared, I have Aaron, and this secret admirer may be better being a secret.
I pick up the roses, leaving the petals and with one last glance at the porch, I go inside with a happy smile on my face.
Of course my whole family asked about the roses. My only answer was a secret admirer. One who knows me well. It was so long ago when I said this. I suppose if I wanted I could marry them now.
“Remember that one part in Taylor swifts ‘our song’ music video where she’s surrounded by roses? Yeah. I demand that before any sort of marriage”
All my friends came to the party. I invited most everyone I knew. Alex, Alexander, Oliver, Hunter, Owen, Archer, Brayden, Reece, Amy, Jackson, I invited Evan but he couldn’t come, he wished me a happy birthday though, and Aaron.
He didn’t come.
To distract myself from the terrible feeling I felt I focused on all the happy birthdays I got. I talked to as many people as I could and stuffed my mouth with my cake.
I’m sure they could all see through my facade. But I kept it up as much as I could.
Presets were not needed and I said that many times but these people were so stubborn I couldn’t say no.
From Hunter and Archer, they both chipped in to get me a bow and arrow. I laughed hard at that.
Brayden got me a bracelet that seemed familiar.. I cringed. Wilmas shop. The one I was so rudely pressured into buying
Jackson got me a sweater. He knows my love for sweaters. He knows. I grinned at the ‘arrow’ logo on the front. He knows me too well.
Alex got me a horror movie ticket. I thanked her before shoving it in my pocket quickly.
Amy got me microwave popcorn. Strange. She let me know it would be good for sneaking into movie theaters. I reminded her that we need to microwave it. Her eyes widened before switching her answer that it would be good for home movies too.
Alexander let me know my present wasn’t here yet so I moved on to Oliver who gave me a joint present with Owen. Opening it, it was a picture of me. Surrounding the frame and written around me were terms of endearment. Cutie, beautiful, sweetheart.
And then Reece. He ran inside when it was his turn. When he came back out, he held a giant blue raspberry slushie. It was huge. My eyes widened and then I ran up to drink it.
To go with that, Alexander’s present came soon after. Pizza. He said it was for the pizza I didn’t get when we went to the pizza place.
I loved the party. It was a wonderful birthday. Last on the agenda, the movie with Amy and Alex. I doubt Aaron will have me sleepover. He has yet to talk to me. It’s four in the afternoon. My hope is barely there. But like Hunter said, hold onto it.
I think that’s a mistake.
Everyone left about an hour ago and I have just a few minutes until Amy comes to pick me up for the movie. She said there were no romance movies that looked good so I just let her pick. I was still feeling down so I didn’t really care.
I just pulled up my sweatpants when the doorbell rang.
Taking a ten dollar bill, I ran down the stairs and before my dad could give me the ‘be safe’ speech I left to Amy’s car.
“Are you excited?” She asked as I got into the passenger seat. Alex wasn’t here, I guess she’s already there. My mind wouldn’t stray away from Aaron. I wasn’t really in the mood for anything but I said yes anyway to be polite.
He was the only one I really wanted to be with. But I guess that’s not happening.
I got out when we arrived and Amy was very eager for the movie. She pulled me along and I couldn’t help but wonder what the movie was.
The movie lobby always smells like popcorn and I’m automatically enticed by it.
I hum in acknowledgment but my eyes are at the popcorn stand.
Amy giggles at me and offers for me to get popcorn while she gets tickets. Of course I agreed.
I walked over to the stand and looked at my ten dollar bill. Going over my options in my head. I’m soon interrupted by the concession guy “how can I help you?”
I guess a small popcorn and a drink? Yeah okay that’ll do.
I’m about to give my answer but he interrupts with wide eyes “oh! Are you Rowan?”