Birthday Gift

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Kirsten loves surprises. Unluckily, she hasn't receive one. Then came her 25th birthday and it totally blew her off.

Who wouldn't be? She's getting married next month with someone her parents has set for her. Surprisingly, her groom-to-be is Yeoj. Someone she has kept in her heart for years before she finally decided to let go and met James. Yeoj who has his wrong impressions about her, all along thought that she has conspired with his parents.


Would the bethrotal bring back the old sparks? Would Yeoj look at Kirsten differently this time around?

Submitted: June 23, 2008

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Submitted: June 23, 2008

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I always love surprises and d I’ve been praying for one on my birthdays. But I never had it. Then came my 25th birthday and it really blew me off.

When I reached 25, I received a platinum ring with diamond rose cut insert from my parents. I was puzzled coz I know it’s pricey. They knew also that I was never fond of jewelries. When I was in grade school I lost the emerald ring given by my grandma. I knew that it’s just a replica but it really disheartened me. Then in my teen years I came to believe that wearing a ring symbolize a great deal of commitment with someone. With all those thoughts coming up I quipped if it’s their signal that they are ready to give me out. I can’t help but laugh when I saw their reactions so I took it back and said it was just a prank. With the relief at their faces they told me it’s just a gift. I shrug my shoulders together with my thanks and just give them a hug as my appreciation. I was clueless on the truth that it meant more than that and it will give my life a 180 turns.

After two weeks I was surprised to know that a marriage has been arranged for me and the son of our family friend. They were a total stranger since I haven’t seen them in any of our family gatherings. I just learned that they were the best of friends back then. They just made a pact of marrying their children in the future. Unfortunately when they migrated to Germany , they lost communication. They accidentally met a month ago during one of my parents’ trip and agreed to carry out their plans before. I don’t like the idea of marrying a stranger. That’s too traditional. I came from a conservative family but I never thought that we will get up to this point. Another thing is I’m not ready to get married. This is just the time of my life where I enjoyed much of my independence in conformity with my father’s norms. I manage my own finances. I’m still allowed to use the extension cards for my shopping but now I have to pay the 50% of the bill. I can go on frequent travels and out of town trips only with my girlfriends. I can have guy friends and also allowed to date now on the condition that they knew them personally. I just can name a few who have balls for it. I can hang out with my friends as long as I’ll never get drank or engage in any other vices. The last thing I shouldn’t miss is my curfew which has varied as I aged. It started at 9:00 PM in college then it became 12:00AM and at present its 2:00 AM . I’m fine with this since they are just concerned with my safety and I don’t like them worrying about me. The set-up didn’t bother me at all but in my heart I wanted more. I wanted to go on my own like my friends do, to have the trust of my parents and to test my limit. I wish to experience things without the need to lie. I thought I would have that opportunity once they leave for US this June. When I heard that my sister’s petition for my parents has been approved I was happy rather disappointed. I will have my dreamed freedom since I will be left here coz I’m not a minor anymore. Unfortunately I won’t I’ll be stuck with this unknown man and marital responsibilities

I’m still wishing that James would see me as more than his friend. He is a friend from work. He always makes me feel special. He is nice and he loves his family. He is the only guy I let myself be closed to after Yeoj.

We argue on the issue but I’m so helpless since my father was determined with his decision. Seeing my parents fight made me agree and live what they have planned for me. I don’t like confrontations. More often, I forgo the things I like and my decisions for my family. I’m not perfect coz I have my own iniquity. I just want everyone around me to be happy. I just locked myself into the room and cried over it.

The next morning James noticed my gloominess. As always he is the first to notice everything about me He tried to jest but he is aware that I’m just doing him a favor then he dropped it. He hugged me and then the tears keep on falling .I want to tell him everything but I can’t.

We went to the house of their friend to finally meet them. At the dinner table I was surprised to see Yeoj but I didn’t let my parents be aware that I knew this guy. That’s the reason why the pictures looked familiar. Then the past keeps on flashing back. I met Yeoj at Diane’s 18th bday party (one of my college barkada). I would have mistaken him as Miko Palanca in his short hair if ever he existed at our time. He is dashing in his jeans and blue polo.His eyes spark as he smiles. I can’t help but stare at him

He is one of Diane’s friends. He is the only guy who showed interest in talking to me at that party. His being nice and his wits caught my eye right then and there. But then I learned that he liked Jessica. I cannot blame him coz Jessica is the prettiest and most fashionable in our barkada. Most of the guys wanted her. That time, I’m nothing compared to her coz I’m shy old-fashioned girl in ponytail. After 2 years, during in one of our project sleepovers I got his number at Diane’s mobile and pretended that I accidentally sent a message to him. I told him everything about me except the way I got his number. I even told him that I‘m present at Diane’s debut. He thought that maybe we’ve seen each other and he just can’t remember my face. I didn’t tell him that we talked that night coz I don’t want him to be aware that I scripted all this stuff. When he said goodnight I never expected that he will text me again the next morning. Sometimes he would just send forwarded messages in a row or we talked about books, movies, foods, rain and anything under the sun or what we felt or thinking at that moment. We became friends through mobile without Diane knowing it. I’ve got the chance to know him more through our frequent conversations. He is humble, kindhearted man who loves to paint and he liked more College than highschool. Since Diane is very chatty, I can easily get information about him without even asking her I learned that he is intelligent, a sweet friend and a responsible man. He is also a very good son especially to his mother and a loving brother. His messages made my days. It lasted for years. Then it came to my friends’ knowledge when he finally asked Diane about me. One time they met at a friend’s party. They told him that I like him. Though I’m not there and I haven’t seen him for sometime, I felt so ashamed. Now he has the idea that I lied to him. Then suddenly he ignored my messages. I didn’t try at all since it’s my fault. I understood him. Then I heard from Diane that he got already a girlfriend, Roxanne. She is pretty, an artist also and they got the same taste in everything. For him, she is the one. I let go of my feelings and ask God to make him well and happy. I moved on with my life but it took me years. I never change my mobile number because I still look forward to on the day that he will send me a message and be friends. He is the first man I imagined myself to be with one day.

That night I just can’t concentrate with my food though it seems that He didn’t recognize me. Maybe because I look very different compared to seven years ago or maybe he can’t remember me at all. When I decided to move on with my life Five years ago I decided to try new things, dress up and be more ladylike. I look smarter and stylish but I’m still the naïve girl back then. Those things made me happy and confident of myself. My friends would always tease that I change a lot and they like it much. When his parents started asking things about me, he was awed that I’m the same girl way back but he remained still. Maybe he didn’t want our parents to learn that we knew each other.

Since our parents were too busy catching up and talking about the details of the wedding I sneaked into the garden. This is too much for a surprise and I couldn’t take it anymore. I called Kaie, my closest friend. She knows everything about me and even about Yeoj. I saw him going to my direction so I hang up. He talked to me with sarcasm. I couldn’t look at him in the eye. He hated me much that I can feel it in his touch. Maybe he remembered what happened before and now he is thinking that I conspired with my parents to push through this wedding. I tried to be strong though I can’t stand it anymore. When he left, tears came rolling down. Marrying him would not be a good idea at all.

My parents threw a despedida party for me. They invited my friends and officemates. They are surprised to know that I’m getting married coz they know all along that I have no bf. James is more than shock. He finally admitted that he loves me when we got sometime alone. He said he is planning to make a move for sometime. I didn’t know what to say. He hugged me and we both end up crying. At that moment I’m happy to know that he feels the same way towards me and sad that we could never be. Before I could tell him how I feel I heard my name was called for the program. And I saw Kaie and Micah (close friend from work) standing right there and staring at me. Probably they unintentionally heard everything while they looked for me. More than the hugs I appreciate that they don’t ask me at all. Micah and James talked as I left with Kaie. The program went on with singing, dancing wishes, advices, remembering the old times and the funny moments. As James sang "Through the Years" I felt teary eyed as I remembered what we’ve through and what I have known earlier. From nowhere, there came Yeoj. He held my hands and smiled as he secretly wiped the tears. I didn’t expect those gestures from him. I finally introduced Yeoj as my fiancé. I felt that I’ve hurt him even more. Then he left without saying goodbye. Yeoj had arrived earlier than I thought and he also unintentionally saw us.

The wedding took place. Our families were both hands-on in the preparation and excited about the wedding except the two of us. While standing at the aisle, the thought that I once dreamed of marrying this guy made me smile. Suddenly it was tainted when I saw him at the altar smiling. I remembered the incident on the night that we met at their house. That thought frightened me, that‘s why I was so anxious to step forward. Kaie’s (maid of honor) hugs and encouragement brought me back to the present. I held back my feelings, walked down with a smile for every guest. There is no need for them to know that this is just an arranged marriage. Pitying me wouldn’t take me out of this situation. My hands get colder as my father handed me over to him. But the warmth of his hands as he rubbed it against mine didn’t help me to relax. At the end of the ceremony, he fondly placed a kiss on my lips. I thought it was just it. My eyes widened in shock when he started to press his lips against mine. It was passionate but gentle enough to be carried away. As shivers came down through my spine, my heart kept on throbbing and my knees weakened. His reflex was really fast that he gently tugged me up, held me closer and tighter and we were lost again at the moment. Everyone cheered and applauded. When we let go we were both speechless and our faces turned red every time we looked at each other and heard our guests’ comments. That was my very first kiss and I must admit it was an incredible one.

My parents moved abroad afterwards. Unlike any other newlyweds we didn’t have our honeymoon. For our parents the kiss would be the start of something good between us but for us it’s the end of what we have started. We live under one roof but stay in different rooms. We barely talked and opted to keep away from each other. He took cared all the household expenses. His parents were so nice to me that they sent a helper for the household chores. I took a week away from the office to think about my life and to avoid James.

One day Micah called telling that James is in the hospital because of some car accident. Since Yeoj got the message he volunteered to accompany me in the hospital. As soon as we get to the hospital I hurriedly got off the car and went to his room to check if his okay. I hugged him and in between sobs I told him how disappointed I am for being such a coward. If ever he has the bone to take the risk maybe we end up together. I admitted also that I love him. That long I have waited those words from him. But now we are in a different situation wherein we just can never be. I already made a promise to God and to my family. I said sorry and made him promise to get on with his life. We did kiss and hug our first and maybe our last. I left the room in tears. I just called back that I was with Yeoj when I bumped with him at the doorway. He hugged me and I care less. I needed someone to understand me and a shoulder to cry on. He probably knew everything now. I feel so hurt for me to be ashamed of what I did.

After what happened I stayed most of the time in the room so that we won’t see each other more. I felt a little guilt inside for what I did at the hospital. I shun him away and decided to go back to the office. Everyday I will go out early and went home early since he went home late. Sometimes I woke up late just to make sure we won’t bump with each other. During weekends, I stayed at our house in San Juan or played with my nephews at Makati . He spent most of his time in the office and with his business trips. We choose not to care about each other. I explained everything about the wedding to Micah.

James and I talked when he returned to work. I already told him the truth about the wedding and he promised that he’ll wait for me. After that we went out and spent our free time together. We became closer but not like to the point of becoming us. I’m happy yet afraid of what other people will say. Then he became officious. His mood changes every time he sees our wedding ring. The wedding ring is the same ring given to me by my parents on my birthday. They were just to tell me about the planned wedding but they deferred it for awhile so that they won’t spoil my day. He wished to take it off, but I didn’t feel doing so. Although it gave a hasty change in my life I feel incomplete without it. It became an issue from time to time.

One Saturday, I got a surprise visit from Mommy Carmen, his mother. Yeoj is in one of his business trips. She is checking if we are doing well though at the back of her mind she’s thinking that we’re having a hard time living together coz both of us didn’t want it. She pleads that I be more patient and open-minded to his mood swings. I learned from his mother that his girlfriend for 3 years broke up with him for another guy. Maybe it’s the reason why he agreed to marry me, so he can take revenge with Roxanne. I learned also that there’s no agreement wayback between our fathers. They did it to save both of us. For Yeoj so he can easily forget Roxanne and for me so there will be someone to look for me since they are migrating already. I hated their thought that I can’t take care of myself so I decided not to talk to them for sometime.

Then Kaie and I got some serious talk on the phone. She has been looking out for me since wedding day. I always got a call or a visit from her just to make sure I’m doing well. She didn’t even approve my closeness with James. She encouraged me to accept my situation and forget James though how hard it is because it’s the right thing to do. She explained that the moment I walked on that aisle means I accepted it all for I have the chance to call it off and married James instead. She also reminded me that I have once fallen for the guy that I married. She also told that she wouldn’t exchange passionate kisses with someone if she hasn’t had feelings for the person. I was wordless and it really gave some shivers.

I thought over what his mom told me and what Kaie said. I felt pity for him. Maybe that’s another reason why he acted like that in our first meeting at their house. But I kept myself away from the idea that I have feelings again for him.

Since his arrival is late in the afternoon, I decided to cook dinner with all his favorite foods. His mom gave me her recipes and Kaie helped me in the preparation. He was impressed and thankful for the dinner. Actually that was our very first meal together in that house. I took that time to apologize for what happened seven years ago. We also agreed that night to become friends. I suggested having our freedom as single individual. I wanted it to come from me so he won’t think that I’ll be taking advantage on the situation. We can still go out with whoever we like granting that we won’t go beyond since we are still "married". I also suggested to annul our marriage after 5 years, maybe by then our parents will understand. The next morning, there is an awkward feeling but as days passed we learn to talk, joke and have meals together.

James was delighted to hear about our agreement. It lessen his resentment. But not until Sam came into our lives. Sam is Yeoj’s favorite niece. She is cute and intelligent. Her parents are away and no one is available to take care of her. I always love kids and I gladly welcome her presence but Sam didnt like me at first. She just wanted to be with her uncle so I took extra effort. I took a leave from work so that I can attend to her needs and I can send her to school. It wasn’t hard at all since she has her nanny and Yeoj has been very helpful. She is a sweet girl. She is very observant at her young age. Sam even asked if we are fighting coz we don’t share the same room. She even told our parents about it in one of our weekend dinners at their residence. His parents finally learned that after 6 months of being together we are still not living a normal married life. To avoid Sam’s questions and our parents’ sermon we decided to sleep together. We redecorated my room to be Sam’s room. We both felt awkward during the first night and we both couldn’t sleep. He chose the couch to make me feel comfortable. I felt I was being unfair to think only about myself so I ask him to sleep beside me. Besides it is his room, the bed is huge and there are lots of pillows. There were times that Sam would want to sleep with us and I’m happier about that. Then we became used to it. One day we found ourselves doing our duties as husband and wife except getting intimate. Sam really brought us together. We spent most of our time with her. She became our first priority. I felt very hapy every time I looked at Yeoj and Sam. I felt contentment as I and the others picture us as one happy family. We did things together like going to church, malls, out of town activities, attending school occasions and friendly gatherings or just staying at home. We became comfortable with each other and our closeness grew deeper that we don’t have to pretend sweet around everybody. Malice is out of the picture.

finally decided to talk to James after office. He admitted that the reason why he rarely talk to me during our flight black to manila is he feels that he is loosing me. He was hurt then and he was more hurt now because I confirmed it. He is still hoping that we will end up together and have a family. I hated to see him cry. I just give him a squeeze, a kiss and left the hotel in tears. Breaking up with him wasn’t easy at all coz I’ll definitely hurt him. I did love him but not as much as I love Yeoj.

I returned back to Yeoj and I was upset not to see him. He just left a note about his business trip. It feels so strange that he didn’t bother to say goodbye unlike before. When he returned home, he rarely talks. He stays more in the office, went home late and we can’t even spend time together. It’s like we are back to the days when we’re just starting. Something is wrong with us but I can’t confront him coz he is avoiding me. He didn’t want to talk about it.

I decided to go back to my old room coz it hurts me when I feel that he doesn’t care. I felt that I’m too late to take my chance and I hated the thought that I fell on his trap and he just fooled around for two years.

Yeoj confided the things I didn’t know to Red. Yeoj saw James and I went out of the office so he followed us at the hotel where we talked. I even texted him that time that I’ll be late coz I have something to settle. He was so upset to see us. I lied to him for the third time not knowing I’m breaking up with him. That time he was about to give me a surprise out of town trip so that I can take a rest. He already brought my things so I wouldn’t have a hard time packing. He was so upset because he feels that I’m not noticing all his efforts. He wished to be James. He didn’t want me to go away coz he has already fallen for me.

Yeoj listened to Red’s advice of going to the old Yeoj I knew. He also told Yeoj that he has the great advantage since we spent a lot of time together and the fact that we are married. He encouraged him to try winning me by exerting extra effort to show his love if he can’t say it.

Yeoj went home with a boquet of white roses and hug me. Our hugs said how much we miss each other. He also apologized for his actions the past days. He even jest that my snore is a lullaby song to him and my laughter is music to his ear. We both laugh and end up teasing each other.

The days were going okay. We are so happy spending time together. We don’t talk about our feelings but it feels that we have a mutual understanding about it. We don’t need to say we just have to feel it.

When things are running smoothly just fine I receive a letter from US approving my application. It’s almost two years, I almost forgot about it. Early part of our marriage, I did that application in order to escape my situation. A part of me is excited to see my family but I didn’t want to leave Yeoj either. I’m contented with my life but I didn’t want to pass this opportunity. I didnt know how to tell Yeoj.

I saw sadness in his eyes when he heard the news but still supportive. He encouraged me that it would be best that I do things on my own. It hurts me because I was hoping that he won’t let me. Now I’m not sure where I stood in his life. A week before my flight I decided to go back to our home to lessen the pain of separation.
The night before that we slept beside each other. When he hold me close from behind I didn’t resist instead I hold him tight. That’s the best feeling ever, I feel so safe that time that got me teary eyed, I will surely miss him. Unknowingly he is silently crying too. He went along with me to our house then hugged me goodbye. He didn’t say anything about us. At that moment I felt that our story ends there. Tears flowed as I watch him leave and the thought that we have our freedom back.

 

He didnt show up the day I left for US. I felt so bad. I cried during the trip. I’m happy to see my family but my heart is breaking. My mom is worried about me. I spent my time studying and working just to forget him. BUt I can’t. Everytime I look at our wedding ring, it makes me smile. It has flashbacked our story. I’m happy that I had good memories with him though w e didn’t end up together. But then, there’s a part of me saying that as long as I have the ring I’ m close with him. We didn’t have any communication for almost 2 years.Then my bday came.I really have no plans celebrating my bday coz it feels like last year, it reminds me that I just get older. Another thing is it reminds me of our agreement way back to annul our marriage after its 5th year. And it’s our 5th year next month. It saddens me more. Since my family is cooking up a surprise. Rita convinced me to go out since she needed a day off. We went to church. I asked God for another chance to be with Him, though I have no right to ask for it coz I already blew off my chance before. I saw him as I went outside. I run to him but I wasn’t able to get near him. Maybe it’s not him, it’s only my illusion. When Rita asked me what happened I just told her that I thought I saw an old friend. Then we went shopping and eat out just to fill in time. When we went back home, I was surprised to see Yeoj’s parents and Sam. Then the exchange of hugs and how are you’s followed. Then Yeoj came out and handed me a bouquet of roses. He is as handsome as ever. My heart keeps throbbing when he hugged me. I wanted to cry but I controlled myself to keep the tears from falling. My face went red when they started teasing us and he just smiled.I’m happy to see him and sadden by the thought that he is here to ask about our annulment. During dinner, we seated right next to each other but still I remained quiet.

When we had sometime alone, he started talking about our agreement way back and his future plans. It crushed my heart though I know he will ask about it. I cut him to lessen the pain and told him that I’m okay to annul our marriage. I was astonished to see disappointment in him. Then he said it’s not okay because he has come here to pick up where we left off. He was already proposing when I cut him. He told me that he has been talking with my parents and my sisters since the day I came here.

It’s been such a long time of separation and he cannot afford to wait and waste another year. Right then and there he got down with his knees and asked me to marry him again. That’s the reason why his parents and Sam were here. The tears keep on falling and I wouldn’t say no of course. They were all very happy for both of us.

When the family went to rest we decided to stay at the family room for some talk. He held my hands and he stroke my hair as we sat on the couch. we spent the night updating on what has been between us. He confessed also the things I didn’t know before. He was mad when he learned that his gf left him for another guy. He promised himself that he’ll make his ex regret what she had done. Out of revenge, he agreed to go with the wedding the moment his parents ask him about it At first he didn’t recognize me the night we showed up at their house. But when he finally learned about it he felt that he was fooled twice. I’m the least person he expected to see. He thought that I conspired with our parents and he hated me more for that. As my prize, He planned to make my life complicated. Then he unintentionally heard us talking at my despedida party. He was awed by James confession and intrigued on his crying. He learned that I have nothing to do with our parents plan. He was wordless that night for I’ve shown exceptional courage to gladly face my vistors when in fact I’m hurting inside. That explains his gestures that night. After that he was thinking of calling off the wedding for my sake but there’s a part of him saying that he may regret it if he did. Out of curiosity he came to know me.

For him, I was stunning in my white dress on our wedding day. It’s the time I saw him smiling at the altar. He was nervous too during the ceremony. He played with my hands to switch his attention, unfortunately it didn’t work. He was enthralled that the ring fit well with me. He shopped for it alone with the belief that his pinky finger matched the ring finger of the girl he is destined to be with. . Though he never expected that the kiss would be that passionate, it is something he would never be sorry. Inside, He was happy that he did it. I pinched his side for his fooilishness.
He also told me that I taught him to believe in love again and not to be bitter on every bad situation

 

After that incident in the hospital he intended to make things easy for me. But it hurts him to catch me holding our (James and I) photo as I sleep and be indifferent to him when he is trying to be closed to me. He also thanked Sam for bringing us together and made me spend less time with James. He was happy that I was annoyed with Roxanne in Davao and he cried the last night we held close.

Then he asked me about what I’ve been praying earlier that I wasnt able to notice him kneeling right next to me at the church. He said that he wanted to touch me but he controlled himself so he won’t spoil the surprise. So it’s true that I saw him. I told him that I’ve been praying for him. I’m asking God for another chance to be with him. I told him also that I followed him but he was so fast that I lost sight.
Then he held me closer and when our eyes met we kissed as passionate as what we had on our wedding. day .We were so caught up that we didn’t notice that we did it right there.I care less and its something i wouldnt regret. we both end up laughing and teasing each other.

The wedding took place on our old wedding date. It was just a simple renewal of vows and attended by our close friends and relatives We were both teary eyed during the ceremony. Finally we have each other. Waking up every morning with him and our son makes me smile. I’m grateful with our parents, that they set us up.i'm that i become a good daughter and obbedient to my parents and thankful to God that He brought us together.


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