You were trying not to care, trying to act cool about the fact you had to spend your birthday alone this year. Sometimes these things just happened, you'd rationalized in the mirror that morning. Your birthday just happened to be during a temporary work assignment on a planet you'd never been to before. And your clone boyfriend just happened to have been scheduled for a mission in another system. It's not like the galaxy was out to get you. It was all just a coincidence.
A really unfortunate, sad, miserable coincidence.
You'd never cared much about birthdays before. But then again, you'd never had to. Your family and friends and loved ones had always managed to make it a special day for you. This was the first time you realized how much you actually appreciated the effort. And the attention. And now that it wasn't there, the loneliness stung at you a bit more than all the other days you'd been here on your own. It wasn't just another day, it was your day, and you had to somehow make it special all by yourself.
Happy Birthday babe. Sorry I can't be there. We'll celebrate when I'm back.
You pulled up Crosshair's message from that morning for the dozenth time as you settled into your hotel bed with a tall glass of something dark and strong. He wasn't much of a texter. He'd told you before leaving exactly how he planned to make it up to you when you reunited (a thought you tried not to dwell on lest you go mad with impatience) and you'd thought that's all you'd hear from him during this time. So even such a short, straightforward message was unexpected enough to make you happy... or as happy as you could be.
Now it was well into the evening, a whole day wasted with meetings and work and getting lost in foreign streets, and you were trying not to care. Trying to hold on to the hope that some day soon, you'd be back with your family and your friends and your pets and your heart, and that this night was just any other night. You had your drink, you were swaddled in a nice robe, some random holo-show playing that was mildly interesting. This day would be over soon enough.
A sudden ping! came from the holopad in your lap. A new message from Crosshair. Another unexpected surprise from your man.
End up doing anything fun today?
Your heartbeat sped up a bit, thinking of how he was thinking about you, wherever he was. Gods you missed him.
Not really, just worked most of the day. Got lost and saw a loth cat though.
You waited a few agonizing minutes for his response.
I wish I was with you.
You didn't wait nearly as long to reply back.
I wish you were here, too.
There was no further response, which you figured since you hadn't said anything that prompted any kind of answer and Crosshair wasn't one to keep a conversation going otherwise. You set the holopad back down and tried watching the show for a while, downing your drink much sooner than you'd wanted.
And then came another ping! from the holopad.
What are you doing right now?
You found yourself frowning and smiling all at once, somehow. You abandoned what little interest you had in the show and snuggled down in the covers so the holopad was inches from your face.
Just thinking about you... And that special night you said you had planned for me when you get back...
His reply came much quicker now. Maybe he had needed to get somewhere more private.
So have I. Too bad we have to wait so long.
Yeah, you responded. Too bad there's nothing we can do but wait...
Surely that would get some kind of fun reaction out of him. Your boredom and the alcohol were starting to mix in quite a mischevious way.
Yes, such a bummer. Waiting is the worst.
You rolled your eyes. Crosshair was the epitome of patient. He could wait in the most uncomfortable position for hours if it meant he got a good shot. But you decided to play along anyway.
And on my birthday no less. It's rude to keep a girl waiting, you know.
You're right. Very rude of me. How could I ever make it up to you?
You grinned, liking where this conversation was going. Maybe you couldn't get the real thing tonight, but there was plenty that could hold you over in the meantime.
Well, I guess I'm having a hard time understanding what exactly I'm waiting for. Maybe you could walk me through it, step-by-step?
You could see him starting to type and then stopping a few times, which only made you all the more excited for what was coming. You repositioned yourself under the covers so that you were ready for anything.
Okay. Step one... open the door.
You reeled a bit in surprise. What did that mean? You laid there blinking at the screen, trying to decipher what he was referring to. Did he mean you'd be opening the door of your home when he returned?
Your confusion thankfully didn't last too long, as soon a knocking sound came from the door of your hotel room. You swore your heart stopped at the sound. No... it couldn't be....
Within seconds you'd jumped out of the bed and raced to the door, your robe barely hanging on to your frame in the commotion of movement. This was a coincidence right? Or maybe he'd arranged some kind of room service for you? There was no way Crosshair was here. Because sometimes things just happened... but things as lucky and wonderful as that didn't....
You opened the door with your breath held, not wanting to be disappointed by whatever lay on the other side. When you'd finally got it open far enough to peek out into the hall...
"Step two, jump into my arms."
It was. It really was him. Your brain short-circuited as you tried to process this surprise. Crosshair, as handsome as ever, dressed in civilian clothing for once, standing tall, holding his holopad with your messages on display, the cheekiest smirk plastered across his face... was here.
"Cross..." you laughed in amazement, your smile never as big as it was now. It only took you a second more to then remember what your next move was meant to be, and you then wasted no time leaping into him.
His arms wrapped around your frame while your legs wrapped around his. A quick but energetic kiss was shared between you as he walked you back into the room. He was smiling as well.
"Happy Birthday, doll," he crooned against your lips.
"I can't believe you're here," you breathed.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world, he said as he lowered you onto the bed. "Now... Ready for step three?"