Happy Birthday, Riley!
When I woke up the next day it was to a beautiful bouquet of red roses, my birth flower, and a small, wrapped box. Axl sat with his legs straddled open so I could sit right in front of him as I opened the present. I gasped at the necklace: a silver chain with a single black pearl at the end, my birthstone. Axl helped me put it on, and once the clasp was closed I turned around and kissed him fully. We pulled apart and rested our foreheads together, sleepily looking into each other’s eyes.
“I love you,” I whispered.
“I love you.”
I kept telling Axl how much I wish he didn’t have to perform that night so he, the guys, and I could all just go out and have fun, but I knew that wouldn’t happen.
When Axl was talking to somebody else, I would cast furtive glances at my ring. It was so gorgeous, white gold that twisted into a Celtic knot around the vibrant red stone. I still couldn’t believe it was there, even though the weight of it was very real. Although the engagement hadn’t even been 48 hours ago, I was already thinking about what I should do for the wedding.
It’d be cool if I based the wedding around the ring. Everything could be white with red accents. That’d be pretty, right? Yeah, white vases filled with redder than red roses. My dress could have a little red sash around the waist. What about the bridesmaids? Their dresses have to be cute. I’m not putting my best friends in some gaudy Christmas dress. Who should be my bridesmaids anyway? Obviously Lita will be my maid of honor. Stephanie should be in there, too. I don’t know about the others. Maybe Joan? Oh, and what about the cake? Red velvet? Or is that too much red? What if it was marbled with vanilla and red velvet?
I snapped my head up. “Huh? What’d I miss?”
Axl rolled his eyes. “Ready to go?”
I looked up. Somehow, the bus taking us to Sacramento had pulled up in front of us without my notice. “Oh, uh… I guess so.”
We piled onto the bus, Axl and I squeezing between Duff and Izzy. Izzy and Axl talked most of the ride about the release of the new album and what they should do for the next one. Axl kept his hand on my knee, even though he wasn’t paying me any attention. I rested my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes, hoping to catch a few extra hours of sleep.
My left hand was picked up, the hand next to Duff. I opened my eyes drowsily and lolled my head over to my left shoulder. “What’re you doing?” I mumbled.
“I just wanted to get a better look at it.”
I smiled and admired the ring again. “It is pretty, isn’t it?”
Duff rolled his eyes. “You do realize who you’re talking to, right? ‘Pretty’ is a word I rarely use to describe anything.”
I waved the ring in front of him. “Is this one of those rare moments?”
He pushed my hand down and smiled lightly. “I guess so.”
Duff smirked. “I think your ring is pretty Riley.”
I scoffed. “You’re so gay. What straight man would use the word ‘pretty’ to describe an engagement ring?”
“Look, just because you’re Axl’s girl doesn’t mean I won’t kick your ass.
I laughed and stared at him wide-eyed. “Bring it on, Blondie!”
“As soon as we’re off this bus, your ass is mine.”
“Hate to break it to you babe, but my ass belongs to Axl,” I pointed out, patting Duff’s cheek.
“So you take it up the ass?”
I got the same stunned but amused look on my face I had adopted around Duff. “Oh, now it’s really on.” I punched Duff jokingly in the arm.
He laughed before draping an arm around my shoulders and pulling me into a hug. When my head hit his chest my heart began beating faster. I liked it there, a lot. It was comforting, and warm, and oh so nice…
And then Duff let go of me and the happy feeling evaporated.
I sighed and rested my head on Axl’s shoulder again. How the hell am I supposed to be a faithful wife if I can’t even keep myself in check when I’m on tour with him?