I woke up all warm and snuggly, but decidedly lonely. I stretched and yawned, forcing my eyes up to peer at the other side of the bed. It was empty, as I’d already gleaned. Nor were there any dogs on the bed.
Had Geir taken them out?
Early on a Sunday morning?
That did not sound like him. We always slept in on Sundays. It was our holy day—a day where neither of us ever worked, where no one could interrupt us. It was a day for just us. Occasionally also family dinners, but mostly just the two of us and our dogs. Our own little family.
The floorboards creaked as I walked over them.
Our home was old, but we’d renovated the whole house after we bought it a few years ago. It still kept some of its old charm though, even if it was more modern now than it had been back then.
I headed across the hall to the bathroom, where I only bothered brushing my teeth. I wore a T-shirt and pyjama bottoms, and damn if I was going to change out of that anytime soon. It was Sunday, after all.
There was still no sight of Geir or the dogs as I left the bathroom, but I could hear sounds coming from our open-floor living room and kitchen.
True enough, Geir was at the kitchen counter. The dogs sat in a half-circle around him, intent on whatever it was he was doing.
“You’re up early,” I commented drily. I’d looked forward to cuddling with him in bed before we started our day.
He looked over his shoulder at me, smiling widely. “I’m just making food for these guys. They were quite insistent.” He told all four dogs to stay, then went to put their bowls down at their appropriate please. “Here you go,” he said then, giving them permission, and the four of them moved at the same time, diving over their bowls. “Now for you.”
“For me?” I frowned as I moved closer.
“Happy birthday!” He held out a plate with a big chocolate cake, covered in thick, brown frosting and Happy 29th written out in gel on top of it in Geir’s elegant handwriting. There were also lights around the edges—and I didn’t have to count them to know there were exactly twenty-nine of them. “I know you’re not normally a cake-person, but you do like Charlotte’s chocolate cake, so I asked her for the recipe. It turned out pretty well, I think.”
It certainly looked good—but everything he made did, be it drawings or paintings or food. He was the creative type, after all. “Thanks.” I smiled at him, yet taken aback because I’d sort of… forgotten it was my birthday today.
He cocked his head as he sat the plate back on the counter. “You totally forgot.”
“Kinda did, yeah.” My smile turned sheepish. “I’m not much for birthdays, you know.”
“I know.” He stepped in close to me, arms going around my waist to hug me. “But I thought your twenty-ninth should be celebrated appropriately. Next year you’ll be thirty.”
I chuckled. “You saying I’m getting old?”
He burst out laughing. “No. But people always make such a big fuzz about the thirtieth birthday. I figure, as it’s your last year in your twenties, that should be made an even bigger fuzz out of.”
“I sure hope no one’s expecting a big party next year, because that’s never going to happen.” I hugged him back. He was still only in his pyjamas too, so he clearly had the same thoughts I did. “But thanks for this. I do like Charlotte’s chocolate cake. And I know you’re not all that fond of baking, so… thank you.” I kissed him to show him how much I appreciated it.
He was sweet. He always had been. Way back when we’d first met and he’d only been sixteen… Now he was twenty-three and all grown up. And what a fine young man he was. We’d been living together for five years now—and it never got old.
“Is there anything special you want to do for your birthday?” he asked then, pulling away and turning back to the cake. He already had two plates ready on the counter and he cut two pieces and divided them up on each their plate.
“I wanted to cuddle in bed, but you weren’t there,” I pointed out.
He gave me a lewd look. “Just cuddle, or…?”
Well, I hadn’t had anything else but cuddles on my mind. Only now he brought it up… “Or.”
He laughed and thrust the plate at me. “Let’s eat and then we can go back to bed and cuddle… or.”
I used the fork to cut off the tip of the triangle, then stuffed it in my mouth. It almost melted on my tongue. “This is better than Charlotte’s,” I said and I meant it.
He snorted. “I followed her recipe, so that’s not even possible.”
I didn’t bother to argue. It was true though, it was better. Probably because he’d made it himself just for me. Even after five years living together, and roughly seven years together—give or take a few months—I still wasn’t used to him doing simple stuff like this just for me.
“It’s a complicated recipe though,” he was saying as he ate his own piece. “Not just chocolate, but there’s coffee in it, and a faint aroma of rum—”
“I love you,” I interrupted, the words slipping without me really meaning to say them.
His somewhat nervous rambling forgotten, he smiled widely and happily. “I love you too.”
I stepped in close to him, bumping our foreheads together. Seven years… Five years properly together… and I still found myself wondering how I could’ve ever been so lucky. I still found myself floored he wanted to be with me, wanted to stay with me, even with all the difficulties I still faced due to my past and my PTSD.
I met him when I was twenty-two and so crippled by my past it was a wonder I even managed to function back then. Now here we were, still together, happy and content and doing well.
“Are you done?” he asked, then took my empty plate out of my hand and put it on the counter with his own. His arms snaked around my waist again, inching my T-shirt up so he could get to the naked skin underneath. “Because I’m ready to head back to bed. If you are?”
“Oh, I am.”
We left the dogs in the kitchen—though they’d likely find their way to our bed soon enough too—and tangled our fingers together as we headed to the bedroom.
As soon as we were inside, and with the door almost shut, I kissed him.
“Gonna make this the best birthday you’ve ever had,” he murmured.
“Every birthday with you is a good one.” Knowing I had him… nothing beat that. Birthdays weren’t anymore special than every other day in the year. I was always grateful to be with him.
“Sweet talker.” He pulled my tee up, and I lifted my arms so he could get it off completely.
I sought his lips again and that was that. No more talking. Just the two of us, back in bed, naked and enjoying each other. I would’ve been more than happy simply cuddling with our clothes on—but I definitely wasn’t going to complain about the way our morning had gone.