When Lightning Strikes

Reads: 22512  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 767

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 20 (v.1)

Submitted: May 11, 2012

Reads: 616

Comments: 20

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 11, 2012

A A A

A A A

The two most important girls in my life avoided me for pretty much the entire week. Aubrey claimed that she didn’t know what I was talking about and Ruby chewed anxiously on her lip, trying to keep her mouth shut.

No new possibilities had come up in my head which frustrated me immensely. I had even talked to Jason about it and he had chuckled, saying, “It doesn’t have to be bad, Gracie. Who knows, it may be the opposite.”

What could possibly be great at a time like this?

Before I knew it, my birthday had crept up on me. I was officially twenty-one but I didn’t feel like celebrating at all. Aubrey though, had insisted on bringing me shopping tomorrow, just us sisters.

The morning of my birthday consisted of my door being nearly knocked off its hinges at six in the morning. My family then streamed into my room singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and I half groaned, half laughed. I sat up in bed and dad kissed my head.

“I can’t believe it’s been twenty one years since you came into this world!”

I rolled my eyes playfully. “I can’t believe I’m getting closer to my death!”

Mom’s mouth dropped open and she chided, “Gracie, don’t say that!”

“You know I was kidding, mom.”

Aubrey put down a breakfast tray on my nightstand and gave me a hug. I cringed because she was being so nice and I still felt like the world’s worst sister.

“We have breakfast in bed for you!” she exclaimed, pointing to all the food. “There’s an omelette and French toast, cinnamon rolls, eggs benedict, peaches with cream …”

Mom gave me a worried look. “If you want anything else, tell me. Do you want some honey on your fruits? Or any dips …?”

“This is enough!” I protested, feeling spoiled already. I didn’t even deserve this. “Thank you guys.”

Aubrey gave me a mysterious smile. “Oh we’re not even finished yet.”

I gulped. Now I was in trouble. I didn’t even want anything spectacular.

“Enjoy eating honey,” mom chirped, before kissing my cheek and sailing out of the room. Everyone left me to my breakfast and I sighed, digging in. This left me to contemplate about my day. I wondered if I would see Jason today. Would he give me a birthday hug? A present?

Gasping, I remembered when I had first met him. I had just turned nineteen and Aubrey had brought him home to introduce him to the whole family. He had handed me a small box and inside laid a glowing pearl bracelet. Smiling to myself, I bounded out of bed and rushed over to my jewellery drawer. I sorted through various boxes and pouches before I found the emerald green one. I took a breath before opening it. This was my first gift from Jason. I clasped the bracelet on my wrist and admired it in the light. It was beautiful.

There was a knock on my door before it opened. “Gracie?” My sister walked in and frowned upon seeing my rarely touched breakfast. “Aren’t you hungry?”

I spun around, startled. “No, I am! I was just … I was just going to …”

“Oh! That’s the birthday present from Jason isn’t it?!’ Aubrey suddenly exclaimed, cutting me off from whatever I was going to say. I felt uneasy. Was it right to wear it?

I nodded. “Um yeah it is.”

“He always does buy the best gifts.” She smiled fondly and fingered the pearls. “I’m incredibly lucky to have him, aren’t I?”

I stared at her. Even though she wasn’t aware of it, whenever she talked of Jason, it ripped my heart.

“You’re right. You are,” I whispered, feeling myself starting to choke up. “Treasure him, Aubrey.”

She looked up at me and her dark lips curved into a smile. “I will.” Before leaving, she told me to change out of my pyjamas, so I chucked on a pair of tights and an off-the-shoulder beige jumper and then headed downstairs.

“Good, you’re ready,” my sister said once I entered he living room. “Let’s go!”

I frowned as I watched her slipping into a white pea coat. “Does anyone want to tell me what’s happening today?”

Mom looked at me excitedly while bouncing on her heels. “I wish I could tell you but I’m sworn to secrecy!”

“Don’t worry, you’ll love it,” dad hollered from the kitchen.

Around half an hour later, the car was parked in front of a bright beauty salon. If I needed to be beautified, it meant that there was a big event. I told Aubrey my theory.

“What if my reason is to make you feel beautiful? Lately you’ve been feeling so … down, and don’t think I haven’t noticed.”

I bit my lip. I had hoped that it wasn’t obvious.

Upon entering, ladies flocked to us and asked what we wanted. Aubrey took charge and announced that everything was for me. We stayed there for a few hours in total having fun.

We were taken upstairs first because we had been booked in for a Goddess body ritual. The room had cherry wood shelves lined with products and cucumber scented candles on little glass plates. I was able to relax during my aromatherapy message with hot stones and the eye mask facial I was given. After that, we were able to sink into a lovely hot tub of a special milk and honey body treatment. Soothing nature music played from a CD player in the corner of the room and dark red rose petals floated across the surface. Our hair had been wrapped up to avoid it getting wet so I sunk deeper into the water.

“This is heaven,” Aubrey said from across me.

“Definitely,” I agreed, sighing a little. “I hope this spa treatment is the only thing on the agenda today.”

Aubrey sat up a little. “You have to embrace that it’s your birthday, Gracie. It’s time to celebrate. Of course I have more up my sleeve!”

By the end of the trip, my skin was baby smooth and my French nails were gleaming. Usually now, I just painted them in a light coat of clear nail varnish. Aubrey had ordered the make-up artist to give me a fresh, dazzling look. The apples of my cheeks were peachy and my lips were candy pink. My eyelids had been painted a copper-gold colour and they were lined in brown. Last of all was my hair. The hairstyle made me feel so elegant, like a princess. My blonde hair had been simply gathered and twisted upwards so my hair rose slightly above my head. A strand of hair had been left down and slightly curled outwards to frame my heart-shaped face.

I couldn’t help but love my look. I had no idea what my sister was planning but I liked it.

“You look beautiful,” my sister told me.

I smiled gently at her. It was still hard to look her in the eye. “Thank you.”

“No need to thank me yet.” She then grabbed a large white box off the table and handed it to me. “Go and try them on. The dressing room is around the corner.”

My eyes widened in surprise. I bet they had made some sort of party for me. Either that or I was attending a fabulous event.

When I opened the box, I gaped. A strapless glittering dress was wrapped in soft tissue. It was simply stunning. Now I was really curious about what was going to happen today.

The dress was made of soft white chiffon. Silver Swarovski gems lined the bust line and the front fell down to light tiers. It came above the knee, much like a mini dress, but the best part was that it had a train.

I looked further into the box and to my embarrassment; there was even a silicon strapless bra. Aubrey was smart.

As I pushed myself into it, I felt like crying of gratefulness. Aubrey was so kind to me. This was her way of showing she loved me. I just knew that whatever was going on today was all paid by her.

I also found a pair of matching shiny silver pumps in the box and pulled them on too. They weren’t too high but just enough so that I could walk.

“Gracie? Are you finished? Come out so I can see you!” As I pulled the curtain back, my eyes widened. Most of the ladies working in the salon were crowded around my sister, waiting to see what I looked like. Aubrey beamed proudly as she examined me. “Oh, you definitely look like the birthday girl!”

I chewed on my lip, not used to the attention. They exclaimed over my final look and praised Aubrey’s vision. She had basically had the look in her head and told them to create it.

“So what are we doing now?” I asked, looking around. “Actually, where are we going?”

“I am not telling. No way. Don’t use that look on me.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Well if I’m all dressed up, then why aren’t you?”

Aubrey’s lips twisted into a mischievous smile and she tightened her hold on her coat. “Under this, I’m wearing a killer dress.”

I laughed because it reminded me of those girls who walked around in some sexy outfit underneath their trench coat. Luckily, Aubrey was not like that. I hoped.

After my sister swiped her credit card to pay for the beauty treatment, we headed outside and into her silver Lexus. We ended up going to a photography studio, which made me frown.

“Why are we here?” I asked, looking around in wonder. There were a few studios in the whole building and we were taken into one which had a beautiful backdrop of waterfall grey. The soft white carpet had a small black and gold settee sitting in the middle for us to sit on as well.

Aubrey smiled widely and told me, “I thought that we could take a few photos together!”

After that, we spent a long time taking all sorts of photos: regal, silly, happy, dramatic … it was just so fun. Lately, Jason, work or the wedding had always been her top priority and I loved that I could spend some time with her sister. I looked back on the slightly rude comments about Aubrey from other people and realised that I still loved her, because around me she was herself. She was bright and carefree and I would do anything to keep it that way. That was why I hated myself for what I was soon going to be doing to her. Telling her everything would shatter our relationship. There was a slight chance that she might be angry at me for ages and so, I decided to make most of this day.

By the time we finished, it was nearing five o’ clock. My sister was driving slightly faster than usual, which meant we were running a bit late. I could tell when we were nearing our destination when Aubrey pulled over and turned to me, apologising.

“I’m sorry, but you have to close your eyes to get the full impact. Please?”

Grudgingly, I agreed, although I did feel nervously eager. When the car stopped, I squeezed my eyes even more to make sure I wouldn’t accidentally open them. The breeze against my face felt calming as I stepped out of the car. My eyes picked up the sound of waves crashing and I became excited. We were definitely near the sea.

“Ready?” Aubrey asked. I could feel her excitement. “I can’t wait to see your reaction!”

I nodded and fluttered open my eyes. I was standing on a dock with a small cruise ship in front of me. There was a large banner with the words ‘Gracie’s 21st birthday!’, clearly showing where the party was at.

“Oh my god.” I couldn’t believe it. I had my own cruise ship for the night! “You didn’t …”

Aubrey grinned and tugged on my arm, pulling me forward. “Oh, I did!”

We managed to step on and when we opened the small arched door, everyone I loved stepped out and screamed, “Happy birthday!

Ruby came barrelling over to me first. “So now you know what I’ve been hiding!”

I stared at her, flabbergasted. This was what they had been keeping from me?! I had spent days worrying over … this? Now I felt silly.

Aubrey nodded as if she knew what I was thinking. “We were working together to make this party come to being, but of course we couldn’t tell you seeing as how you’re the birthday girl.”

This was definitely a surprise. I had expected the secret to be something to do with Jason, but it wasn’t. Speaking of him, the devil materialised by my sister’s side, looking gorgeous in his dark tailored pants and maroon button-up.

“Happy birthday Gracie.”

I smiled gently. “Thank you Jason.”

His eyes sparkled as they skimmed over my figure and I fought the urge to grin like a fool. Having him here definitely was the highlight of today. He could even be considered as a birthday present. His company was something that I craved daily.

For the rest of the party, I walked around the room to mingle with all the guests. A carefully put together playlist of music was playing through the small speakers in the corners of the room. Leather benches ran on the sides of the ship under the windows and there was a long table full of food – canapés of pork and fennel sausage rolls, mini quiches, corn frittatas, skewers, baked ricotta, pasties … the list continued.

I was so grateful to Aubrey and Ruby because they had invited most of my college friends and decorated the place. Sparkling lanterns and gold streamers hung over our heads, and on the far side of the room sat a small round table with the birthday cake, surrounded by a huge pile of brightly wrapped presents. My tiered butter cake was a vanilla bean flavour with a satin strawberry icing. It was simply adorable.

After a lot of chatting, dancing and karaoke, it was announced that it was time to cut the cake. Aubrey had timed it so that I was cutting the cake when the sun went down and that when someone took a photo, the sunset was in the background.

I felt incredibly awkward as everyone started to slowly sing the birthday song. What were you supposed to do when everyone’s attention was fixed on you?

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Gracie … happy birthday to you!”

I leant down, ready to blow out the candle, when Ruby cried out, “Don’t forget to make a wish!”

What did I want to wish for? I wasn’t a little girl anymore, where I used to wish for a tree-house or a pony. I was older now and I had found that over the years, it became harder to choose.

As I took in everyone’s smiling faces around me, I realised that I wanted to imprint this memory in my mind forever. I wished that everyone I loved could find true, blissful happiness.

* * *

After everyone was handed a piece of cake, I had unwrapped all the presents in front of everyone. Aubrey had brought a huge bag so that they could all fit in there once I opened them. I loved every single one of them, from thoughtful ones such as a creative scrapbook my cousin had made for me to the gorgeous Gucci leather tote from Lorelei. Secretly though, I cherished Jason’s gift most of all. The first package was a beautiful statue of the Arc de Triomphe in France. When pulled into the power point, it lit up in different colours. The second was some CD’s we had looked at when we had first gone shopping together for the engagement party. It seemed so long ago as I grinned at the titles of the songs. Jason winked at me as I did, making my heart flutter. A vintage necklace of a gold swan was the last and on the back was an inscription: For you, I will.

My heart had soared. Seeing that had made me open my eyes to how much Jason cared for me. If only I could tell him the same – that I would do anything for him as well.

Aubrey had exclaimed over the piece of jewellery and told me to put it on, so now, I was wearing two of Jason’s gifts. I wondered why my sister didn’t mind. Then again, she thought we were just friends and she hadn’t seen the engraving.

When the party started to dim down around night-time, I headed outside to the front of the ship for some fresh air. The cool breeze was a nice change from the crowded room inside. I looked up at the night sky and gazed at the moon peeking out from some light clouds. As I leant against the rail, I toyed with my necklace. I wondered how Jason picked my presents. Was there a special meaning in any of them or was I just looking in too much?

“What are you doing out here, birthday girl?”

I spun around to find myself face-to-face with none other than Jason. He casually strolled over to where I stood as if this meeting was just between friends, while I stood immobile. His deep blue eyes once again raked over my figure, making me cross my arms over my chest. I wasn’t used to such an intense gaze.

“I was just out here to get some air.” I looked down. “What about you?”

I held in my breath as he leant against the rail beside me, letting his warm body heat wrap around me like a cocoon. The guy really had no idea of the effect he had on me. “I saw you come out here and I felt like joining you.”

“More like following,” I replied, smirking slightly, although inside I was giddy.

Jason chuckled. “I’m not a stalker, really.”

Our conversation dimmed down as we quietly stared at the serene night view around us. His presence felt rather comforting. While I was thinking about my time at the Levine’s, Jason turned to me and showed off his adorable dimple.

“You must really like the necklace.”

I laughed nervously, fiddling with the swan. Was it that obvious? How embarrassing. “What? Why would you think that?”

He took the swan from my fingers and stared at it. “You just keep touching it, that’s all,” he observed. Jason slowly let go of his gift before looking down at my arms. A wide smile was now on his face. “And you’re wearing my first present to you.”

I quickly looked down and saw that he meant the bracelet. My cheeks rose in temperature and I looked away. “Oh yeah, I found it this morning and decided to wear it …”

Jason chuckled. “You’re too cute and I love it.”

I smiled abashedly and couldn’t describe the shot of happiness which went through me. To hear something like that from Jason made me feel like I was floating on a cloud.

“Are you curious as to why I chose a swan?”

My eyebrows furrowed. Now that I thought about it … why did he pick it? Was the swan of significance?

I bit my lip. “Honestly, I didn’t think of it until now, but I’d like to know.”

Deep laughter erupted from Jason’s throat. “To me, you’re a swan. You’re graceful and pure beauty.” His eyes took in my appearance and I noticed the blues and greys of his eyes were churning. “Just look at you tonight – you’re breathtaking.”

I could feel the staccato beat of my heart in the night and hoped Jason could hear it too. It was so obvious how much I wanted him and it seemed to be the same vice versa. I loved moments like these, where I could stare into his eyes without feeling insecure. Being alone with him really made me believe in his feelings for me.

“Jason?”

Slightly sour, I turned around to see who had dampened my mood. My face fell as I realised the wine red dress in the dim nightfall belonged to a familiar brunette.

“Aubrey!” Jason exclaimed, hastily striding over to her. “What are you doing out here?”

She wrapped her arm around his waist and gazed into his eyes. “I just wanted to be with you … unless I was interrupting something?”

My sister turned her face to me to confirm. “Of course not,” I replied, feeling a fake smile appear on my face. I doubted that she could tell though. “Go and have fun.”

Jason dropped what seemed like a loving kiss on her forehead. I watched, pitying myself as Aubrey sighed contently and walked back inside with the man I was slowly starting to fall in love with.

GRACIE'S GOOOOORGEOUS DRESS! - http://winterwhispersxo.tumblr.com/post/22872926370


© Copyright 2019 vanessaxoxo. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar
avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply