awkward symbols of affection.
baby wallabies and pocket protectors go out to:
they make me smile. a lot.
17: g i f t h o r s e
Sitting on my bunk, I glanced up from the neatly wrapped box in front of me, and looked at my watch.
It had been exactly one week since Andy and I had our falling out, and we still hadn't said a word to each other.
"Why are you up so late?" Vicky asked, taking a seat next to me.
"Can't sleep," I simply replied.
"Does it have to do something with that?" she asked, pointing to the box.
"Yeah..." I picked it up and set it on my lap.
"Mind if I ask what it is?"
"A birthday present..." I trailed off. "...For Andy."
She looked at me questioningly, but remained silent.
"I bought it a few weeks ago, before-- before everything happened." I said, absentmindedly tracing over creases in the gift wrap. "Tomorrow's his birthday and after everything that went down, I still can't find the heart to throw it out." I looked up at her and sighed. "What do you think I should do?"
"It's not really my place to say, but I think you should give it to him."
Sighing once again, I looked down at the object.
"I don't think I'm ready to talk to him yet," I quietly said. "And I doubt that I'll be welcome to the party..."
"What's the big whoop?" I asked as Brendon led Pete, Dirty and I down the hallway.
"Yeah, we were in the middle of a ping pong tournament!" Pete exclaimed.
"This better be damn good..."
"Trust me, you guys need to see this," he said, stopping in front of his hotel room.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" everyone shouted as we walked in.
Mylar balloons covered the ceiling and streamers covered the walls.
While Patrick and Joe held a giant cake in front of us, the rest of Panic, and most of Cobra Starship started singing in the background.
For they are jolly good fellows
For they are jolly good fellows
For they are jolly good fellows that nobody can deny.
"Since your birthdays are all clustered together, we thought it would make more sense to collaborate."
For a few seconds we stood there in shock, just watching the 80 or so candles as they burned.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Spencer said. "Make your wishes."
Closing my eyes, I pretended to make a wish-- if what I truly wanted became a reality, Cobra Starship would need a new lead singer.
The three of us leaned over the edible fire hazard and blew out the candles.
Applause followed as Joe and Patrick set the cake down. Ryan and Jon picked stumps of wax out of the frosting, then Nate cut it into slices.
"Where are you off to?" Ryland asked as I attempted to leave the party unnoticed.
So much for being stealth...
"Um..." Think, Dirty, Think. "Dylan left me a voicemail and I can't hear it over the music."
He nodded and I continued out the door. Thankful for my ability to think on my feet, I made my way to the hotel elevators. Pressing the number 5, I hummed along to the lite jazz playing in the background.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an elderly woman staring at me. Every time I'd look in her direction she'd turn away and pretend to read the elevator capacity sign. Really weird.
With a ding! the steel doors swung open and I gladly stepped out.
Now where's 502?
After wandering around in the hallway for a few minutes, I managed to find the room. Realizing that I didn't have a keycard, I knocked.
The door opened, and I was engulfed in a hug. "DIRTY!"
"What are you doing here?" Soap asked, pulling away. "Aren't you supposed to be at the party?"
I walked past her and took a seat on the couch.
"I felt like stopping by for a visit." She took a seat next to me and smiled. "It's not much of a party without you, anyways."
"Psh, I'm sure it was kick ass," she said, taking a seat next to me.
"Well there was a huge flaming cake." She laughed.
“I almost forgot!" Soap said. I could practically see a light bulb go off above her head. "Wait here."
She hopped over the back of the couch and started digging through a pile of stuff in the corner of the room. After grabbing three neatly wrapped boxes, she made her way back to the couch and handed one of them to me.
"What's this?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Your birthday present, duh."
"Soap, you didn't have to get me anything."
"But I did. So hurry up and open it," she said, pushing it towards me.
I set the box down on my lap and tore through the shiny gift wrap.
It was a brand new Simpsons chess set. Speechless, I opened the box and examined the pieces.
"I know how amazing you are at chess, and I saw you eyeing it when we went to Gamer's Paradise..." she trailed off. "I hope you like it."
"Like it?! Of course I like it! THANKS SOPHIE!" I said, wrapping her into a hug.
"Haha, this is so cool." Little known fact: I, Dirty, am a chess nerd.
"…Would you mind doing me a favor?" Sophie asked as I put the pieces back into the box.
"What is it?"
"Could you give the other two boxes to Andy and Pete? I mean, I know it'll be kind of awkward, but I bought them a few weeks ago and it would be a waste if I just threw them out..."
"No problem, Delivery Boy Dirty is at your service."
All of a sudden, the Mexican hat dance started playing. Sophie laughed while I grabbed my cell phone from my pocket.
"Dirty, where are you?" Patrick asked.
"I'm out. Hunting. Rabid squirrels?" I said, sounding more like a question than a statement.
Sophie rolled her eyes at my shitty alibi.
"Okayyy, well get your ass back here. They're gonna open presents soon and Pete's already trying to switch tags."
"Haha, I'm on my way."
"Rabid squirrels? That's the best you could think of?" She chuckled.
"Shut up," I said, putting my cell back into my pocket.
I picked up my chess set and Sophie handed the other boxes to me.
"I feel like a shithead for leaving you here alone."
"Don't worry about it. Gabe will be back in a few. He just went out to get us some ice cream."
"Dirty, are you going soft?" she asked, poking me.
"No," I said defensively. "I just miss having your sarcastic ass around." She chuckled.
"You may be a fuckface, but you really do deserve a happy birthday."
I gave her a half hug then made my way out the door.
"See you around, Soap."
"Look who's back from squirrel hunting!" Alex said as I walked though the door.
"Huh? Oh yeah. Squirrel hunting ." Wow, that excuse really was lame.
"Ooh! More presents!" Pete said, rushing to my side. "Who are they from?"
"Sophie," I responded as he examined them.
"Oh, okay," he said. "Which one's mine?"
"Here." I handed him the big rectangular one. Like a five-year old, he ripped off the paper covering. His eyes went wide as he realized what it was.
"SWEET! A LIGHTSABER!"
"Andy, this one's for you," Dirty said, handing me the other box.
"Is there another Andy in here? Of course it's for you."
I cautiously took the small rectangular box. Sophie was the master of pranks, and with how we left things, I wouldn't be surprised if she rigged it with a stink bomb... or a real bomb.
After getting past the gift wrap, I didn't know what to say.
Pinky and the Brain: Vol 1-3
"What are you watching?" I asked Sophie as she sat curled up on the couch.
"Pinky and the Brain."
"You've never watched Pinky and the Brain?"
"Nope." She turned to me with a shocked expression.
"You need to watch this."
I took a seat next to her and she passed the bowl of popcorn to me.
"So what's it about?"
"Well the main characters are both lab mice. The short one with a big head is Brain. He's an evil mastermind who's trying to take over the world. The tall, skinny one is Pinky. He's Brain's goofy but lovable sidekick."
/"Haha, sounds like us-- you're the short, evil mastermind--"
"And you're the skinny, lovable sidekick."
Are Andy and Soap really over?
Is Gabe hoping to be more than friends?
Will there be any more Hello Kitty toast?
REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW and you might find out.
Not enough drama for you? Check out my other fic, Here Is Your Verse.