Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happy birthday’ filtered through Rose’s bedroom door and a small smile played on her lips. She clipped her favourite necklace on. A simple silver chain with a heart shaped locket on the end. Placed inside was a twelve year old family picture. I really need to update that, she thought to herself. The reflex in her arms went to pull her hair up into her usual ponytail but something stopped her. She was an adult now. Maybe she should make a change, something to show that she’s grown up. Her hair was the easiest thing so she let her hands fall. Her wavy blonde hair fell to her shoulders and tickled the back of her neck. A sigh escaped as she focused on her reflection in the mirror. An adult. Jesus. The childish excitement that she used to feel on the run up to her birthday had ebbed away a few years ago so she didn’t expect this realisation to hit her as hard. An adult.
“Are you coming down for your dinner or should we just start without you?” her father’s voice sounded from downstairs and she heard her mother’s giggle in response. It confused her everyday how her mother could find her father funny. He really wasn’t. Unless he was so not funny it was funny. She had met a few people like that before who did succeed in making her laugh. But no, her father just was not funny.
Making her way downstairs Rose was consumed by the decorations. If she didn’t already know she was at home she wouldn’t have been able to recognise her own living room. There were countless amounts of balloons placed along each wall, all saying “18 today!” Streamers fell down from the ceiling but what really caught Rose’s eye was the three story chocolate fudge cake sitting in the centre of table.
“Oh no, not until after dinner,” her mother said. “You may technically be an adult now but that does not mean you can throw all your manners out the window!”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Rose replied. “Now what are we eating?”
“The better question is, what aren’t we eating!” her father joked.
Rose had never seen so much food in all her eighteen years. There was pasta, pizza, pies, all her favourite foods in one place. It must have taken her mother ages and a sudden wash of love came over her. She really was a lucky girl. She ate as much as she could while still leaving room for the cake that had been eyeing her up all evening. She was just about to take her first bite when the phone rang.
“I’m coming round in ten. You will be dressed and you will be leaving the house with me. It’s your birthday and I refuse to let you sit in all night.” Wow Beth could be stubborn. Rose barely had time to respond before the click of the phone signified that Beth had already hung up.
“Mum, Dad, I’m going out!” she called out as she ran upstairs to find something to wear. Sliding on the first dress she could find she looked at her reflection. Not one for making a large amount of effort she put a little bit of mascara on and then ran back downstairs to cake that was still waiting for her.
“Oh you look lovely darling,” her mother had to hold back the tears in her eyes. Which was something else that constantly confused Rose. She just didn’t understand why parents felt the need to cry at every single occasion. It wasn’t like she was getting married after all, it was only her birthday.
“Thanks mum” she replied. “For everything, I mean that.”
“I hope you’re not planning on going out dressed like that young lady. It is far too inappropriate, you’re going to have boys pawing after you and I won’t allow it!” her father joked. She looked down at her little black dress, which in hindsight was littler then she thought. She didn’t have time to go and get changed if she wanted to eat that cake before Beth turned up though.
Her fork was just about to enter her mouth when there was a knock on the door. Damn, she’s early. Regretfully Rose placed the fork back on the plate and made her way slowly to the door. She was fully prepared to kick up a fuss about her lack of birthday cake and to drag Beth into the house to make her sit and wait until she had finished it. Her hand was already out stretched as she swung the door open but it fell down as soon as she saw that it wasn’t her best friend standing there. That could have been embarrassing. Instead, what she found was a very tall man in what must have been a very expensive suit. He removed his hat and grinned at her.
“Ah, Rose. It’s about time I introduced myself.”