After circling the date on her calendar, Skye grabbed her coffee and plopped down a chair to visualise how she’d be spending her birthday with Baron. She recently moved in to his city and already had a mental list of places to visit. Of course, the amusement park was on top. Roller coasters, or extreme rides in general, make her stomach churn. And, strangely enough, she enjoys that feeling more than anything in the world. Just the thought of it made her drift into daydreaming.
Meanwhile, the light to his basement room continued to flicker as Baron cleaned his mechanical suit. I need to replace that soon. Before he could plan that, his phone rang on the other side of the room. The custom ringtone informed him of a welcome distraction.
“Hey baby. So I was thinking. How about the amusement park?” Skye sounded lively as always and this automatically made him smile.
“It’s kinda dangerous…” But it’s not really, as much as he made it sound to be. He knew how much she loves to go extreme. And he always tried to keep up. And, although she said amusement park, she only really wanted to ride the roller coaster. What she didn’t know was how he would suffocate at the sight of it and might even faint. Of course, he couldn’t say this out loud to the woman he wanted to impress. Hence, his exaggeration. And, as if fate was on his side, his doorbell suddenly rang.
“Someone’s at the door baby, I gotta get that. Let’s talk later?”
Skye bid him goodbye but not withholding the disappointment in her voice. Does he not want to plan it with me? She shook the thought away as she put the phone down. And, abruptly regaining her energy, started searching the internet. The thought of finding other options effectively lifted her spirits. How about a giant swing? I’m sure they have one somewhere…
The next day, Baron was reading through the description of a particular lightbulb in his hand when his phone rang a familiar tone again.
“Morning,” he greeted into it as her yawn was clearly heard through the speakers.
“Baby, I can’t believe this city has no giant swing.” She pouted even though he couldn’t see it, making her boyfriend chuckle in return.
“Hm, I’m sure there are other places we can book,” like a nice little restaurant… on the ground. He shuddered when a fleeting thought of dinner on the rooftop of a high tower entered his mind.
Sure, it would be ultra romantic, but he shook his head knowing Skye. A normal date just wouldn’t satisfy this woman. He heard the click of a tongue from the other line before he remembered he was still on the phone.
“Earth to Baron,” she sighed out in both frustration and annoyance.
“Sorry, sorry, I was just thinking of other things…” he couldn’t really tell her where his thoughts took him.
The silence that followed made him swallow audibly until he heard her cut the call. She held back the tears threatening to fall. I’m overreacting, maybe he is busy. She repeated this to herself, her emotional wellbeing depending on it, she thought. But, it’s the day after tomorrow and they still haven’t decided where to go. Maybe he doesn’t want to go? The tears fell and she buried her head under the pillows. Laying there unmoving for what seemed to her, were hours, she stayed inside her head. One more chance, she told him without him hearing. I give you one more chance.
Baron took the trash out, like he always did in the mornings. Only, it’s not morning anymore. It’s 4pm, the day before his girlfriend’s birthday and he still hasn’t decided where to take her. He sighed, for the hundredth time since waking up. I’m the worst… he berated himself for being unable to, for the life of him, ride a roller coaster. Forming a picture of her smiling face, in his mind, when she’s up in the air and her hair all over her face, he found himself in a trance.
Inevitably, he sighed in defeat. He realised he’d do anything to see that smile again. He rushed to his room to find his phone and dialled her favourite contact. One… two… three rings and she was supposed to pick up. Instead, the phone continued to ring. Hm? She hadn’t called or texted him since yesterday at the lighting shop. This made him wonder but he decided to get his plans ready and call her again later.
He found tickets for the amusement park but it didn’t feel good enough. He wanted to make it up to her for not coming up with anything until the last minute. His eyes glowed as he clicked through one of the search results. This is perfect… perfect for my death too…
Baron called her again in the evening. And, again, no one picked up. I guess she’s mad. It’s to be expected and he consoled himself. But he instantly got excited at the thought of how she’d react when she finds out his plan. And so he continued to dial her number. To his frustration, though, she never picked up.
He started to worry and got ready to leave when he suddenly received her text. “It’s too late. I don’t want to talk to you.” His heart fell. Overcome by guilt for neglecting what she must’ve felt the last few days, he got to thinking. I need to fix things. After a moment’s deliberation, he texted her and went to sleep. “Wait for me, tomorrow.”
Morning came and Skye, who couldn’t wait for this day, continued to lay in bed staring at the ceiling. Her swollen eyes, devoid of their usual shine, were fixated on her little chandelier. I waited all day yesterday, her tears threatened to fall again. He really doesn’t care, does he? I waited and waited. Now, he asks me to wait, again? As her anger rose from the pit of her stomach, she heard a knock on the door. Could he be…? She shook her head, refusing to give herself false hopes as she walked over. She opened it up to see her landlord’s friendly face. I knew it.
“Happy birthday, earth fighter!” She was greeted by the chirpy voice of Petal as she handed her a bag of sunbeam.
“Just call me up if you want more. My pets help me gather them, everyday.” Petal glowed as she bounced her way back downstairs. “Oh and someone’s here to see you.”
Skye followed her with her eyes until the form of a man came into view. Omg!? A hundred things could have taken over her thoughts but it was the fact that she hasn’t washed her face or brushed her teeth that made her panic at the sight of her boyfriend. She ran back inside but not before Baron grabbed hold of her arm, “Wait. Please.”
She saw the pleading in his eyes and couldn’t get herself to refuse. But, remembering her present situation, she hurriedly stared at her feet before pointing to a sofa outside. “I need a few minutes.” He nodded even if she didn’t see, and set himself down to wait.
She quickly went back inside and closed the door behind her. Leaning against it, she felt her chest with her palm as if that gesture could slow her breathing down. He really did come. A smile escaped her lips. Whether it’s from seeing him or from the possibility that he actually did care, she didn’t know but she needed to calm herself down. Inhale. Exhale.
With a renewed determination, she dashed to the bathroom to freshen up. The thoughts still weighed on her mind, however. What took him so long? Is it because I got mad that now he’s trying to make up? The last thought made her frown. If he came to apologise, what should I do? What if he takes me out to some fancy restaurant? Should I forgive him then? But, she soon realised that thinking like this wouldn’t give her answers and decided to hear what he has to say.
Baron could feel his palms sweating. As he sat there, anxiously waiting, he thought back to how swollen her eyes were. It’s my fault. Had he just been honest with her, they didn’t have to go through this trouble. But he knew there was no point in that now. He has this chance and he would make it right.
Just then, Skye opened the door, looking fresh and ready. What a beauty. He sighed before faking a cough. He didn’t plan this far ahead. Realising that a little bit too late, he stood there with his mouth open but unable to form words. To make matters worse, her eyes started growing more inquisitive every second.
Oh! He grabbed something out of his pocket as he regained his calm and handed it to her. To her shock, she was holding a pair of tickets to a helicopter ride. Wait, what? She took a moment to stare back and forth between him and her palms. Was he going for a surprise and I just didn’t know? She couldn’t help but wonder and almost smacked herself for causing him to worry. I was so stupid. She looked up at him with a huge grin and jump-hugged him causing him to stumble for a bit.
“Let’s go!” She hurriedly dragged him away, all her emotional stress evaporating at the thought of spending a fun day with him.
They arrived at the entrance where she started bouncing up and down. Just witnessing this side of her gave him a warm sensation inside. However, as he shifted his attention to the chopper, he unconsciously gulped. This didn’t go unnoticed by the birthday girl and she started to observe him. A wave of nausea washed over him causing him to lose balance and his grip on her tightened.
“What’s wrong?” Alarmed, she wiped the large drops of sweat off his face with her handkerchief and felt his temperature.
“I’m fine…” he wanted to lie but her swollen eyes reminded him of the cost of hiding the truth.
“I’m not fine, baby.” Baron started with a soft sigh. “Honestly, I… I’m terrified of heights. And I’ve been trying to find a place where you can enjoy without me being a problem.”
She stopped moving and looked at him with an unreadable expression causing him to panic a bit.
“I… I got myself some meds so you don’t have to worry. I’ll be okay today.” He explained hurriedly but her tears were already falling.
To his surprise, she embraced him and cried on his chest. “Why didn’t you tell me, you baka.” She half-screamed in frustration while he tried to calm her down and pat her head awkwardly.
Although she broke down in tears, she felt relieved to hear him confess this before they got into the ride. This idiot could’ve gotten himself into trouble going this far for me. This self-talk only made her cry more though. Realisation hit her as she recalled the recent events and she lightly punched him as a result.
Baron, not knowing anything better for the situation, waited for her to calm down. Taking a deep breath in, she pushed herself back and looked straight into his eyes. This guy. He really loves me. Fully convinced of that, she took him by the hand and led him out of the waiting area.
“You’re so silly. I’m not riding that chopper just to see you suffer.” She started to nag before he could interrupt.
“There’s another place and it doesn’t involve flying.” She gave him a peck on the cheek before he could ask further.
“Thank you. Really. It means a lot to me, that you would go that far.” She smiled tearfully. “I realise, now, how it was for you.”
Baron couldn’t take his eyes off her. But he found himself unable to argue. So he planted a soft kiss on her forehead. “I would do anything for you, you know. Happy birthday.”
They stand still, for a moment, enjoying each other’s warmth until Baron breaks the silence. “What’s this other place?”
“It’s an extreme bike riding adventure called…” Trying to remember the name, she looked above and unconsciously wrapped her arms around his neck. “Ride or die?”