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Birthday Surprises

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Rachel gracefully flops onto her bed in her hotel room and stares up at the ceiling with a tired and happy grin. She is now twelve years old. Sighing, she closes her eyes.

Today she and Jeremy had filmed the fairy dance and argument between Peter and Wendy. They had done the argument many times, and Rachel had been exhausted when P.J. was happy with the last take.

It had been hard for her to fully concentrate on today's shooting. Yesterday her dad and brother had flown in to surprise her. And after shooting wrapped up for the day, she was going to have a quiet birthday celebration with her family.

She had been completely stunned when, after P.J. called, "Check the gate," everyone on set burst out singing "Happy Birthday" to her. The place had filled with other cast members – Olivia, James, Freddie, Harry, Carsen, Theodore, Rupert, George, Patrick, Lachlan, Ludivine – and there had been a party with a huge cake and presents. "I don't believe it!" Rachel had kept repeating, astonished, to Jeremy's vast amusement.

It was late when Rachel finally changed out of her costume and left the set to go out with her family. She had wondered at first if she would be able to fit everything in the trunk of the rental car…

The girl's eyes open and she sits up with a sudden burst of energy and recollection. She reaches for her bag at the foot of her bed and rummages through it. It is here. She remembers slipping it in… Ah.

The small gift is wrapped in light blue paper. The bow on it is wrinkled slightly. Rachel studies it for a moment.


"Rach, wait up!"

Rachel considers ignoring the caller for one moment. Her family is already late to dinner because of the party earlier; she doesn't want to keep them waiting any longer. And she is looking forward to spending time with her dad and brother whom she hasn't seen for a few months.


The girl stops following her mom to the rental car and turns around to discover Jeremy jogging towards her. He has changed into baggy jeans and a grey T-shirt.

"What, Jeremy?" she asks once he reaches her.

He runs a hand through his hair and shifts his weight from one foot to the other, having trouble meeting her eyes. Feeling a little impatient she glances over her shoulder; her mom is at the car.

"Um, here," Jeremy mumbles, pulling a present from his pocket and quickly hands it to her.

Surprised, Rachel gazes down at the package. "Happy Birthday, Rachel," the words tickle her ear before a light kiss is pressed to her cheek. Eyes wide, the girl looks up and stares at Jeremy's rapidly retreating back.


Unconsciously Rachel touches her cheek and blushes at the memory. Shaking her head, she turns to attention back to the present.

Carefully, she tears off the wrapping paper and lifts the lid of the box. Gasping, she gently lifts up the necklace. The tiny silver dolphin precedent on the chain flashes in the light. A slow smile spreads across the girl's face.

"How beautiful!"


The next day Rachel runs into Jeremy on her way to the trailer she shares with Harry and Freddie.

"Good morning."


Despite the awkwardness and shyness in the air, Rachel bravely says, "Thank you very much, Jeremy, for your present."

The boy then notices the dolphin necklace she wears and pleasure and relief fills his face. He gives her a perfect cocky smile and mock bow. The girl smiles in return before she continues on her way.

The smiles do not leave their faces for a long time.