You wake up with your back in pain, it’s not an extreme pain, just an annoying pain. Why does it hurt? Any why does this not feel like your bed? You figure out you’re sleeping on a floor somewhere and decide not to question it and go back to sleep.
“It’s time for you to wake up!” Someone whispers in a strange and distorted accent as they gently poke your nose. You jump in surprise and force your eyes open to see beautiful blue eyes shining at you. It’s Kate. Her face is only inches from yours. She has a huge dimpled grin on her face. You close your eyes again.
“I thought we agreed on no accents in the morning?” You mumble.
“Come on, get up!” Kate shakes you.
“Why? What did you catch on fire?” You ask, not moving. You begin to recall last night when you fell asleep on Kate’s living room floor.
“Because it’s your birthday!”
“How’d you know? Never told you that.” You mumble.
“Les told me.” She says as she pulls you into a sitting position. You lean on her shoulder and take her hand in yours. You gently rub your thumb on her soft skin.
“Course she did. Never was good at keeping her mouth shut.”
“Get your ass up, bitch!” Leslie yells from the kitchen, startling you.
“Hi, Leslie.” You hum.
“Happy birthday, bitch!” Leslie yells. “I’m taking you shopping for your birthday.” You look at her, she’s wearing a party hat. So is Kate.
“I’m not wearing one of those.” You say.
“Whatever. Just get your ass ready.”
“Can Kate come?” You ask.
“No.” Leslie says flatly as she takes the hat off her head.
“But I want to spend the day with Kate!” You whine in the tone you know irritates Leslie. She glares at you. Sometimes, Leslie hated having her two closest friends dating sometimes, but at the same time she loved that both of you were happy.
“I have some work to get one today, you and Leslie go have fun and we’ll meet up later today. I’ve got a surprise planned for you.” She whispers seductively.
“Okay, gross.” Leslie mumbles. “Come on, it’s only an hour or so. I’ll bring you right back here.”
“Fine.” You fake a pout. “Let me put on my shoes.” You reluctantly let go of Kate’s hand and stand up. The pain in your back subsides and you walk towards the door where you left your shoes. “I totally didn’t plan crashing on your floor last night.” You say to Kate.
“I didn’t either, but I crashed on the couch during the movie marathon and woke up and almost stepped on you.”
“Almost or did?” You smile to her. She rolls her eyes lovingly as you tie your shoes.
“Alright, let’s go!” Leslie booms. She grabs you by the arm and tugs you out the door.
“See you later!” Kate beams to both of you. Leslie closes Kate’s apartment door and the two of you walk to Leslie’s car.
“Why’d you tell her it’s my birthday?” You ask Leslie when you reach the car.
“Why not? She was going to find out anyway.” She shrugged as the two of you get in and buckled.
“But I don’t want her to make a fuss over it. Birthdays aren’t important to me.” You say.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Kate loves making a fuss, let her make a fuss over you for the day. It’ll only happen once a year and your life is short.”
“Not as short as yours.” You mumble.
“Bitch, I will outlive you, especially if you don’t shut your damn mouth!”
“Go ahead, kill your best friend’s girlfriend. See where that lands ya.” You smile to her. She rolls her eyes. “Where are we going?”
“Where do you want to go?”
“How about the Disney Store?” You smile.
“Oh, my god.” Leslie mumbles. “I hate that place! Too many people, too many kids, and you take forever!”
“Please, Leslie!” You beg.
“Fine.” She says. Two of you sit in silence as she takes you to the Disney Store. When you two get there, you rush in, full of childlike excitement. “We are only going to be here for an hour! You got that?”
“Got it!” You smile. The store, like Leslie predicted, is full of people and children and noise. You ignore all of it as you head to the section of coffee mugs.
“Why are we looking at these? You have a whole collection already. It can’t be healthy to have that many Disney mugs.”
“They're cool and they last a long time.” You smile to her as you look at the shelves. Within half an hour, you have narrowed it down to two mugs.
“We’ve been here for half an hour, pick a damn mug!” She says to you.
“I don’t know if I want the Mary Poppins mug or if I want the Moana mug.” You say, trying to make a decision. Leslie wanders around the store for what feels like the millionth time. Finally, she finds you with a mug in your hands.
“Did you finally decide?” She asks.
“Yes.” You smile as you hold up the Mary Poppins mug.
“Good.” She rolls her eyes. You pay for the mug and walk out of the store with Leslie.
“We don’t really have time to go anywhere else.” She says.
“I can’t wait to show this to Kate.” You smile.
“You and your stupid mugs.” Leslie smiles.
“They’re collectable and useful.” You defend yourself. “Plus, it was half price.”
“Whatever you say.” The two of you get in the car and drive back to Kate’s apartment.
“Hey, Leslie.” You say.
“Thanks.” You smile at her. She glances at you.
“For everything. For introducing me to Kate, for helping me out when I needed help, for this, for everything.”
“You’re welcome.” She says simply. The rest of the car ride is silent.
“I wonder what surprise Kate has planned.” You say as you and Leslie park in front of Kate’s apartment.
“I almost don’t want to know.” Leslie mumbles.
“You don’t know either?” You ask as you get out of the car.
“No, I don’t.” Leslie says as she does the same. The two of you walk up to the apartment. “You ready, baby?” Leslie calls when you reach Kate’s door.
“Just a sec!” She calls. You hear her rush to the door. She opens it. She’s covered in something pink with Nino, who is also covered in the same substance, in her arms. Both of them are wearing matching party hats. She hands one to Leslie and Leslie forces one onto your head.
“What did you two do?” You ask, trying to figure out what is in Kate and Nino’s hair.
“It’s a surprise. Go sit on the couch and Leslie and I will bring it out to you!” Kate grins as she sets Nino down. She hurries off to the kitchen and Leslie calmly follows. You sit on the couch and worry about what she has planned.
“Shhh! It’s a surprise, Leslie!” You hear Kate say. “Close your eyes!” She calls to you. You do as she asks. “Are they closed?”
“Yes, Kate.” You call. You can’t help but smile.
“Leslie, not now!” Kate says. She and Leslie are walking toward you. You hear them set something on the coffee table in front of you. “Open your eyes!” Kate says in excitement. You open your eyes to see a huge pink cake sitting in front of you. ‘happy birthday’ and your name are scrawled on the top layer of the cake. Kate is grinning in excitement and Leslie has a look of concern on her face. The sweet smell of strawberries hits your nose.
“Kate, did you make this?” You ask her. “It’s beautiful, better than any cake I’ve ever decorated!” You lie. You used to do cake decorating competitions and always got high marks. Kate’s cake kind of looked like a pink blob of bubblegum with candles on top.
“I did it all by myself. Whenever we go out to eat, you always ask about strawberries, so I thought you must love strawberries so I made you a strawberry cake with real strawberries in it!” She grinned, her dimples showing.
“Uh, Kate-“ Leslie started to say.
“Kate, babe, I can’t eat this.” You say. Her face falls and your heart breaks.
“W-why not?” She asks, trying not to cry. You could tell she worked incredibly hard on the cake.
“I’m allergic to strawberries. If I eat that cake, I’ll have to go to the emergency room.” You say to her. You stand up and reach out to her. She hugs herself and turns away from you.
“I-It’s okay. I should have p-paid more attention t-to what you were s-saying.” She says. You feel like you’re about to cry, seeing her cry.
“It’s okay. I just have some of this icing in my eye, I’ll be right back.” She says quickly. You feel the strength drain from your body. You sit back down on the couch, brokenhearted.
“Why did I have to be allergic to strawberries?” You say to Leslie and no one at the same time. “Why can’t I just eat the stupid cake and not die?” You force back tears that are threatening to spill.
“You can’t help it.” Leslie says. “I’m going to go talk to Kate. I thought I told her not to make a strawberry cake.” She says as she walks towards Kate’s room. You sit in silence, the smell of strawberries filling the room. You stand up and walk to Kate’s kitchen. You are caught off guard at the mess. There are globs of strawberry juice and cake batter and icing everywhere. It looked like Kate had put everything in a blender and forgot to put the lid on it. You avoid the mess and take a sticky note off the fridge and grab a pen from a drawer.
“I’ll be back soon.” You say as you write it out. You gently set it on top of the cake and quietly walk out of the apartment. You head out into the city, knowing there’s a store only a few blocks away. You walk towards the store with a plan to make Kate feel better.
“Hello, what can I do for you?” A man asks as you walk in the large store.
“Uh, I broke my girlfriend’s heart because I couldn’t eat a cake she made me.” You say, unsure of how to explain it. He cringes.
“Did she burn it?”
“No, I’m allergic to strawberries.”
“Hospitalization and possible death.”
“Oh. I don’t know how to help a girl in the girlfriend department.” He says apologetically.
“I’ll help you out.” A woman says from behind you. She looks about your age. “I’ve had plenty of fights with my girlfriends before.”
“Oh, uh, thanks.” You say.
“No problem. Follow me.” She smiles sweetly. Her eyes are a shade of emerald. She’s wearing a backless, form fitting red dress, red lipstick, and her long, flowing hair has been colored to resemble fire.
“She looks super cool.” You think to yourself as you follow her around the store.
“So, what’s your girlfriend like?” She asks you.
“Kate is just amazing. We’ve only been together a little while, but we’re pretty happy together. We have an age gap, but it’s good.”
“Except for right now?”
“Yeah, but it’s my fault.” You look away from the stranger.
“Darling, it’s never your fault.” She says as she stops in her tracks. She turns around and gives you a shocked look. “If you were my girl, I’d treat you like the queen you are.” She purrs into your ear. A chill goes down your back, but not the good kind.
“Oh, um, thanks.” You mumble. The stranger smiles seductively to you and continues to walk.
“So, what happened?” She smiles to you.
“It’s my birthday today, and Kate made me a cake from scratch and everything but she put strawberries in it and I’m allergic to them and when I told her I couldn’t eat the cake it broke her heart and I feel just awful for it, but I can’t help it.” You say meekly.
“I think you should leave the bimbo, whore, slut, whatever she is. You need a woman who can treat you like the woman you are and who will remember what you are allergic to.” The stranger gently pushes you against one of the freezers. She places a hand on your hip. “You need someone your own age, not some grandma who can’t give you nothing.” She whispers as her lips get closer to yours.
“Fuck off, bitch!” You yell loudly. She jumps and takes a step back, eyes wide. You quickly step away from the freezers. “I have a girlfriend and I love her! I love Kate and I’m happy with Kate. She didn’t make that cake on purpose and just because we had one fight doesn’t mean I want to fucking cheat on her! Kate is not a whore or a bimbo or a slut! She’s an amazing woman who loves everyone and she’s kind and caring and thoughtful and playful and cute and beautiful and gorgeous and soft and sweet and she loves me and respects me and she’s fucking perfect! Don’t you ever insult my girlfriend like that again or I’ll blow your empty head off!” You feel a hand on your shoulder. You jump and spin around to see Leslie behind you.
“You need to go away. You can do it quietly and no one will get hurt, or you can make a scene and I’ll knock all of your pretty little teeth out.” Leslie says in a frightening tone. The woman looks at the two of you and storms off, muttering something under her breath.
“Leslie!” You breathe. You’re shaking and your hands are bawled into tight fists. You can still feel the woman’s hand on your hip and shudder.
“We thought you might be here.” She smiles to you.
“W-we?” You ask, feeling like you’re going to cry. Kate steps to the side to reveal herself. She had been hidden by Leslie’s large frame. “K-Kate!” You whisper as you feel a smile creep on your face. You immediately hug her. “I’m sorry, I’m so, so, so, so sorry!” You sob as you hold her tightly. She wraps her arms around you.
“You have nothing to be sorry for. I heard everything.”
“Yes, everything. You’re wonderful!” Kate whispers in your ear. “I messed up, it’s my fault, not yours.”
“No, you’re wonderful. And it’s my fault, I should have told you beforehand.”
“No, it’s my fault.”
“Okay, it’s neither of your faults. Let’s go home!” Leslie said in irritation.
“Can we get a chocolate cake and some ice cream?” I smile to her.
“Can we, Les?” Kate asks. She reminds you of a small child. Her eyes are still puffy from crying earlier and it just seems to enhance the blue, making it a deeper and more beautiful shade.
“Fine, but only if I can eat the strawberry mess at home.” Leslie rolls her eyes. You and Kate get a huge chocolate cake, even though it’s only for the two of you, and a pint of ice cream for each of you.
“I’m not a big fan of birthdays, but this has to be the best birthday ever.” You smile as the three of you walk to Kate’s apartment.
“Definitely.” Leslie says.
“By the way, you’re helping me clean my kitchen.” Kate smiles to you.
“Can we just burn it down and rebuild? That seems a lot easier.” You smile to her.
“No, dork.” She smiles to you as she pulls you closer to her by your waist. “Don’t ever let another woman touch you like this again.” She winks as her smile gets bigger to reveal dimples.
“I won’t, I promise.” You smile as you lean into her, enjoying her sweet smell.