Episode 66: A Star's Birthday

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Del and I slept in today. We woke up around 10:30. I felt so good. I wasn't sure the last time I had slept so well. Honey licked my cheek in greeting.

I laughed. "Good morning to you, too, girl."

Del pulled me into a tight squeeze. "Happy nineteenth birthday, little brother."

I relaxed into his hold. "Love you, big bro."

"I love you, too, Star."

I changed into some baggy clothes. These were mine for once. Most of the time, if I wanted to wear baggy clothes, I had to wear some of En's old clothes. I forgot I had these clothes. I liked them.

Cyan had breakfast waiting for us when we came into the kitchen. She had made us Vi's breakfast. My mouth watered when I saw it. It was exactly what I wanted this morning.

"Bon Appetit, boys."

Del was just excited as I was. Seeing him made me laugh. It was a glimpse of the Del who had brought me home nearly nine years earlier.

After that, Del and I went back into room. We were going to spend the day watching our kids' movie. I wanted to cuddle with Honey, too. I felt good when she got on top of me.

Before we got our marathon started, Leah turned herself on.

"Hannah has left you two new messages, my master. Would you like me to read them to you?"

I smiled. "Please do."

"Happy birthday, Alastair. I hope it turns to be the best one yet. I'd hug you tight right now if I could."

Del gave me another tight squeeze. That was more than enough for Hannah not being able to be here.

"Happy birthday, buddy. Make the most of it. Hope to see my favorite brothers again soon. En."

I hoped so, too. I missed En. I hadn't gotten to see him in so long.

Anyway, Del and I started watching our favorite movie after that. We did that well into the afternoon.

Around six or so, there was a knock on our door. It was Cyan.

"Dinner's ready. Come eat."

We both jumped up and followed her out. Honey jumped off the bed and skidded after us, tail wagging.

That was when I saw what she made. "No way! How?"

They were holding hands. "Happy birthday, buddy."

I couldn't believe it. Cyan had made fat noodles. That wasn't something I expected to have until I returned home. Del talked me into eating it our Christmas my first year with them, and I couldn't get enough since. Every year, we could eat whatever we wanted for our birthday, and year after year, I asked for this. It was like Kayleigh herself made it.

Cole nodded. "It took a bit of doing, but we think Cy got it to work."

It wasn't like I cared about that then. I had it back. That was all that mattered.

We all sat at the table and ate. Cyan had set out Honey's dinner before we came into the room, so she was enjoying herself in the meantime.

When we were done, Cyan fiddled with her terminal. "We got a few other things, too." Her mossy green eyes glistened like emeralds. "I bet you weren't expecting anything else."

I wasn't.

Cyan grabbed the plate and set a pair of envelopes in front of me. "Don't be shy." She winked. "Have at it."

I opened the envelope to find a hand drawn card. It had a lion's pride on the front. They were all in front of a watering hole. When I opened it, I found something that looked like a sticky note or post-it note.

It read: "Happy birthday, Wyatt. A little chef gave us the news. It probably doesn't feel much different turning nineteen, does it? It didn't for me, at least. I hope they make it a special day for you. ~Jamie"

It didn't feel much different, but I knew it was. Cyan seemed to think of everything. It was amazing.

The next card had to be from Cyan. Wouldn't be surprised if Cole's name was there, too. Ever since I woke up from my evolution, I'd noticed he spent a lot of time around her, not that I was complaining.

They shared their card but wrote separate messages on each side. Both said, "happy birthday", but they personalized it afterward.

Cyan's caught my eye first, because it was underneath the printed words, "Happy nineteenth". Anyway. "I'm glad I met you, Alastair. You've given me a roof to sleep under and kept me on my toes. I couldn't ask for more."

"Enjoy your day, bud." Cole had shaky handwriting, compared to Cyan's flowery penmanship, but I just drank in the comfort it gave me. "You and Honey caught my eye then drew me to Cy. Thanks for helping me meet the girl I love."

My cheeks reddened. What made him say that? It wasn't like I did anything. He winked then turned away. He must've really wanted to see my face at those words.

Ame slipped in through the sliding glass door. She had what looked like a wrapped box in her hands. "I come baring gifts!"

Cole rolled his eyes then turned back around.

She set that and the bag on the table. "Take your pick."

Smiling, I dumped the contents of the bag onto the table. I knew they'd put their cards in it, and that was what I wanted to see.

The card that drew my attention was in a soft purple envelope. From that alone I knew who's card it would be. When I scanned for the signature, I found out I was right: Noah.

Happy birthday, Big Brother Star. I fought the urge to laugh. En probably told him about that. I wish you could be with us, but I know you went to do a really important job.

Anyway, I found myself smiling at each of the messages. One even came from my sister and her Soulmate who didn't live on Earth.

Then came another message from Enji.

Happy birthday, man. We're throwing a little party of our own for Noah and the others. Hannah and I know they'll love it. Keep going. We'll be here when you get back.

These guys really knew how to make me laugh. If I were by myself, I would've burst out laughing already. I could imagine Enji setting up by himself. It was probably a nightmare.

And finally, it was time to open Hannah's.

I'm so proud of you, Alastair. It wasn't sure how you'd react when I told you about Nachima, but I seems my doubt was senseless. It's been rough, but you've held out up to now. You're not that little ten-year-old kid, En, Ranny, and I came to take home. You've grown into a wonderful young man. Through it all, you're still our Star, though.

P.S., Amethyst gave you a box, right? You should open it now, if you haven't already.

And so, I did.

It was a shirt I'd completely forgotten about. I think I'd shown it to Cole once before. The rip was mended now.

"I know what you're thinking, bud. I didn't say a word about it to the girls."

"You didn't have to." Ame turned her back to us. "I do watch. He always seems to wear his brother's clothes when he has a bad day. Or it happens to be an Earth holiday that means no work."

I felt electricity pool in my cheeks. I didn't do that! Since arriving on Nachima, I hardly paid attention to Earth holidays.

Anyway, Ame left after that and we ate black forest cake. Once we finished, Cyan and Cole went to her room and Honey followed me and Del to ours. I spent the rest of the night cuddling with my puppy. It was one of the best on Nachima.


***


And Star is 19 now! Thoughts on it? The things the other characters did for him? Theories? Predictions?

~Shino out!

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