chapter 42.

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Nine Days Later

I turn fifteen today and I was woken up by my very excited sister jumping onto my bed. "Happy birthday, Lexie!" She squeals, crawling into my lap. I rub my eyes and yawn before wrapping my arms around her little body. "Thank you, Rosie. I love you."
"I love you too, sissy. Now hurry up and come downstairs, Mommy and Colin got you presents!" She speaks enthusiastically.

"Okay, I'm coming. Give me a minute," I giggle, lifting her off my lap so I can stretch my body. Rose starts counting to sixty, quite literally. "Really?" I laugh, causing her to laugh too.

"Piggy back?" She asks, standing up on my bed and holding her arms out. I get up, and turn my back to her, looking over my shoulder "come on then."
"Yay!" She walks across my bed and jumps onto my back.

I carry her all the way downstairs and into the living room where we walk in to seeing Mom and Colin kissing. "Ew, gross," I groan. "Lexie, cover my eyeballs!" Rose pleads, making us all chuckle.

"Happy birthday, Lex," Colin sends me a warm smile to which I thank him. "Happy birthday, my sweet girl," Mom gets up from the couch to give me a kiss on my cheek. I put Rose down so that I can give her a cuddle.

"Open your presents, Lexie," Rose orders, holding one of two presents out to me. "Okay, okay," I giggle, taking it from her and walking around to the couch.

After unwrapping a new pair of Uggs, a few of those recyclable film cameras and a Taylor Swift vinyl, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. It's been a few years since I last celebrated my birthday and to be surrounded by a family, my family's that brings me so much joy and makes me feel so loved almost feels almost surreal.

The next twenty minutes consist of lots of cuddles before Colin starts on making some pancakes and Mom tended to Cosmo before bringing him downstairs.

Mom let me have the day off of school considering the fact that it is my birthday, and my sister ended up convincing her to stay home too so we didn't have to worry about getting ready anytime soon.

Instead, we turned on Gilmore Girls on the living room tv but five minutes into the episode, the doorbell rang. "Pause it?" Mom asks, getting up to answer whoever's here at seven-thirty in the morning.

"Lexie, it's Addy!" She calls out, walking back into the living room. I immediately smile, jumping up from the couch, and practically running to the door. I wasn't expecting to see her until tonight, so it's definitely a nice surprise.

"Hi," I say, embracing her in a hug as I tuck my head into the crook of her neck. "Hey, happy birthday!" She squeals, lifting me up from the ground slightly. She's at least half a foot taller than me so it makes it easy to do so.

"Thank you," I mumble. "What are you doing here?"
"Convinced Mom to drop by on the way to school, I wanted to give you your present before tonight," she explains, putting me back down on my feet and pulling away from our cuddle.

I feel blood rushing to my cheeks as she picks up the gift bag and passes it to me. "Thank you," I kiss her cheek, "can I open it now?"
"Duh," she jokes, rolling her eyes.

My eyes narrow before I take a few steps over to the staircase and sit down. "You don't have to stay at the door, you can come in," I giggle, inviting her to sit next to me.

"I didn't really have much money but I hope you like it," she says sheepishly, fiddling with her fingers as she takes a seat.

I pull out the framed glass with a photo of us that I apparently didn't know was taken. It was the night we were at Annie's and I got scared watching the conjuring, so I cuddled up next to her.
On the bottom there's a Spotify link imprinted on the glass. "If you scan that link on your phone, it's a playlist of songs that remind me of you."

I turn to look at her with a huge smile, trying to also hold back my tears at the same time. "This is so sweet, Addy. I love it. Thank you," I say, wrapping my arms around her shoulders.
"There's one more thing," she mentions.

This time I pull out a copy of one of the very many books she's mentioned before. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
"I remember you saying you wanted to get back into reading, so I thought you might like this book and I annotated moments that remind me of us. And just random moments I love too," she tells me with a slightly nervous giggle.

I gently place my hand on her cheek before pressing my lips against hers.

"I take it you like it then?" She giggles, our foreheads resting together. "I love it. Thank you," I admit, pecking her lips again.

Addy's Mom beeps the car horn which makes us both jump slightly. "I should go, but I will see you later," she speaks, standing up. "Okay. I'll see you soon."

"Bye Lex. I hope you have a good day," she smiles. "You too."

I watch her get into the car before I close the front door and walk back into the living room. My Mom immediately starts teasing me by making kissing sounds. "Be quiet." I place Addy's gift down on the coffee table and throw a pillow at the her.

She then throws the pillow back at me before launching at me and ticking my stomach. I try to squirm away, but soon enough Rose joins in too, obviously taking Mom's side. "Stop it!" I giggle. "Two against one isn't fair!"

Eventually they do stop, or at least Mom does. Rose tries to keep tickling me until she's pulled away.


After breakfast, Colin had to go to work as he has SNL tomorrow night so Mom, Rose and I had spent the rest of the morning watching Gilmore Girls together before finally getting ready for the day.

Mom had to go out and get a few groceries for tonight. I didn't want a party, but Lizzie and Chris E are going to come around in the evening for a couple of drinks. Annie, Willow and of course Addy are going to come as well for dinner.

Whilst Mom was out, Rose and I sat in my bedroom. She was focused on watching Frozen on my laptop whilst I had already started on reading the book. I sped through the first sixty pages within an hour and have already become obsessed.


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