Chapter 08: You Say It's Your Birthday

December 31st dawned and Maris woke up to a chilly morning covered in snow. A fresh coat had fallen the night before, accumulating to about two feet deep. Maris was quite literally up to her knees in snow.

The last day of the old year also marked her first day as a true adult. She was eighteen that day. Eighteen years before, Amaris Taylor was born. And eighteen years later, she was opening a new door, learning to love the life that she'd been given.

She had friends; she had true family. She was having a great time in the process of finding these, having developed numerous inside jokes with Rhoda within the mere three months that she'd known her.

There was Sonny and Cher, and pedophiles and LA Woman and The Graduate. There was Trent pining and Drew pining and confessed secrets.

Maris couldn't believe herself when she confessed to Rhoda that she had strong feelings for Trent, much farther beyond friendship than she'd ever imagined she'd feel. But then Rhoda had confessed that she liked Drew. And then the two laughed because they'd already known this because both made it obvious, either by stuttering or flirting or blushing or beaming.

But on this sunny morning, she'd gone out to eat breakfast where a neatly wrapped tiny box lay on the counter. She'd unwrapped it and grinned wildly. It was a claudagh ring, silver and neatly carved. She slipped it on her finger. It fit perfectly. The note next to the box read "Happy birthday! Eighteen wow! I'll see you tonight at the Block party. Check the coat hook. - Uncle Jim"

The coat hook? Maris wandered into their living room and she saw a plastic-enclosed dress on the hook. Maris rushed over and pulled the plastic off. It was perfect… Dark green and long, with tiny straps and a plunging neckline. There was another note attached to the dress.

"Hair and nail appointment at Gigi's at 4:00 sharp. Don't be late. Be on front steps at 11 and dress warmly. - Jim & Rhoda"

Maris glanced at the clock. Quarter of. She pulled the plastic over the dress again and hung it back on the coat hook.

Fifteen minutes later, she sat on the steps in her usual get-up, a green sweater, blue pleated skirt with black knee socks and her Mary Jane's. A limousine pulled up to the curve and Trent stepped out of the drivers seat. Maris' jaw dropped. He was in a fancy suit and was even wearing the little hat that she thought made limo drivers so cute.

"W-What?" She stammered as Trent walked up to her.

"Happy birthday, Maris." He grinned and held out his hand. "Ready to go?"

"I - uh - I…" Maris couldn't think of anything to say, but took Trent's hand and allowed him to pull her up. He opened the door for her and helped her slide in. She was barely in there before long skinny arms were thrown around her neck.

"Happy birthday!" Rhoda cried. "Like it so far?"

"I'm stunned!" Maris still couldn't believe it all. The ring, the dress, the limo, Trent…

"It's only going to get better."

"So, where are you taking me?"

"You'll see…"

Ten minutes later, they pulled up to a big hill, covered in glistening white snow. Trent hopped out and hurried to open the door for Rhoda and Maris. Rhoda immediately went around to the back and opened the trunk, pulling out three sleds.

"I haven't been sledding since I was little," Maris said wistfully as Rhoda passed her a sled.

"I know. So now you're going sledding."

Maris grinned and ran towards the slope, almost giggling. She threw herself onto the sled and slid down through the fresh snow to the bottom.

This was the most fun she'd had in awhile. When she was seven, her mother and her boyfriend had taken her to Cape Cod and they'd gone sledding in the sparse snow and then taken a walk along the beach. It was freezing, but she'd had fun. It was one of her better memories of her mother.

An hour later and they were soaking wet and wrapped in blankets at a fancy Italian restaurant.

"This is great, you guys. Thanks so much." Maris shivered and took a swig of her hot cocoa.

"Hey, it's your birthday," Trent said, taking a sip of coffee. "It's no problem for us."

"That's right," Rhoda agreed, her mouth full of bread. "You guys, try the bread. It's great."

Maris took a bite of the bread. "Mmm… You're right." They all chewed in silence for a couple minutes before Maris spoke again. "Rhoda, how did my uncle know what size dress to get me? And how did he know that I like green? And how did he know my ring size?"

"Ok, ok. I picked out the dress for you. But the ring was all Jim. He just asked what size and I had no clue. So he guessed. How does it fit, by the way?"

Maris smiled. "Quite well. I love claudagh rings. I've never had one before and I've always wanted one."

"Can I see?" Trent asked. Maris showed him and he laughed. "Still single?"

"Yes, and proud of it."

"How did you know, Trent?" Rhoda asked, grabbing Maris' hand to look.

"The crown was pointing towards her. Therefore she's single."

"I see… So Maris, what do you think you'll order?"

"Hmm…" Maris ran her finger down the menu. "I'm eyeing this chicken parmesan, but it's so expensive…"

"Nuh uh," Trent waggled his finger in front of her face. "No talk about money. We're the spoiled rich kids here who are treating you to lunch."

"Well, if that's the case, then that's what I'll get."

"Me too."

"Me three."

"Well, I've started a trend, haven't I?"

After lunch, they dropped Maris at Gigi's where she proceeded to have her hair set in tight curlers and her nails and toes were painted dark metallic green. When the curlers were taken out, her hair was beautifully curly, with large ringlets sticking out just right. It was perfect. She had an hour left before the party when Trent came and picked her up in the limo to take her home.

"Rhoda says that I'm to be your date tonight," Trent informed her as she leaned through the window to talk to him. "But I was going to ask you anyway. So, what do you say? Will you be my date?"

Maris openly grinned, something he'd never seen her do. "I'd love to be your date," She told him. "By the way, where is Rhoda?"

"At your house."


"You'll see."

Rhoda had laid out the dress on the dining room table and brought all her make-up and laid it out on the kitchen table. There was a pair of size 6 dark green high heels next to the dress.

Trent politely waiting in the living room, watching TV as Maris got ready. It only took about ten minutes, but when Rhoda finished with the make-up, Maris shined. The dress fit her perfectly, accentuating every all the essential curves. The color fit her skin perfectly.

Trent couldn't help but gape as Maris and Rhoda stepped out of the kitchen. Rhoda had already been ready when they'd gotten there, but in a slinky black dress, she couldn't help but look gorgeous. And Maris… His date, Maris, looked stunning. So he told her so.

Maris blushed. "Really?"

"Of course," Trent breathed.

"Thanks. You look nice too."

"I want a picture!" Rhoda chirped, grabbing her camera. "Ok, go stand by the door. Ok, Trent, put your arm around Maris' waist. Maris, smile sweetie. Trent, I said smile, not smirk. Oh, put your finger down, Jim's going to want this picture. Ok, stay…" Click! "One more." Click! "Ok, just one more…" Click! "Ok, maybe one more…"

"Rhoda," Maris said testily.

"Ok, fine. I guess we'll just have to do with three. Let's go!"

Rhoda had met Drew at the party and they had immediately started dancing. Maris and Trent laughed at each other's attempts, and then had some wine, and then danced some more. Before they knew it, it was quarter of twelve and the band was playing a slow song.

Trent spun Maris and Maris attempted to spin Trent, although he had to duck a little and she had to stand on tiptoes.

"You look so pretty," He whispered, pulling her close.

"Trent, you know I don't take compliments well," Maris blushed, self-concious of the way his hands rested possessively on her trim waist.

"Just say thank you."


"C'mon, say it."

"Ok, um, thanks."

"That was good."

Maris leaned her head against his chest and smiled. What a perfect day… It might even be the best day she ever had. Best birthday, definitely. Rhoda and Jim and Trent… This proved that they cared about her. Her mother may have merely tolerated her, but Rhoda and Jim and Trent… They cared about her. It was special.

The slow song ended and there was a fast one and another fast one. And then there were ten seconds till midnight.


"Maris, I still haven't given you your present yet."


"Trent, yes you have. This whole day has been perfect."


"But I myself haven't given you one yet."


"Ok, what is it?"


"You'll see."


"Trent, c'mon, what is it?"


"Almost time."


"Almost time for what?"


"You'll see."


And then he kissed her. A true kiss, the kind that sent shivers down her spine. His lips were gentle, yet urgent and Maris accepted the kiss graciously. They pulled apart and stared into each others eyes, Maris' green, Trent's brown. Trent smiled.

"Happy birthday," He whispered.

Maris grinned and Trent picked her up around her waist and held her tightly to him as his lips crushed hers in an achingly sweet kiss the released all the sexual tension they'd ever felt around each other. Maris' hands wrapped around his neck and she clung to him as their lips sought out each other hungrily.

And as everyone else partied and shouted and cheered around them, Trent and Maris kissed. Rhoda and Drew smiled at them, before Drew bent down and kissed Rhoda's lips. Rhoda looked at him shocked before grabbing his ponytail and crushing his face to hers. Maris was right. Ponytails did come in useful when you were in the throes of passion. Although she wasn't exactly in the throes of passion, kissing Drew was like an orgasmic experience all on its own.

With the New Year, came new beginnings. Everything was perfect.

See, I told you parts would come a little more infrequently. It's just because of this damn homework. But once I finish you might start getting parts once a day again. But until then, enjoy! And White Tigress, notice how I added the part about Trent picking Maris up to kiss her? I just loved that idea! I had to use it.

Next Part: Trent and Maris work out a couple of issues. Mainly age difference. Although she is eighteen now. But he's still five years older. Rhoda sings Fiona Apple.

I'm in such a good mood. I've never gotten this many reviews on a story I've written before. So I love you all! Remember that! And if you review, I'll make you famous! ::grin::

Punkish Freak: Hehe. You're so cool. Thanks for the review!

Leilani: You reviewed twice! Awesome! I just love the song Every Breath You Take so I just had to include it. Why is Maris feeling weird? Actually, I haven't even figured that out yet. I will soon because it will be important, just not for a couple chapters.

QTpiez: I have a great sense of humor? Really? Well that's something new… It seems that my sense of humor goes on overdrive when I'm stressed. Especially late at night when this is mostly written. So I'm becoming funnier. Which is good. Maybe I should be stressed all the time…

tramps-like-us: I don't know why they don't make guys like Trent in real life. I want a Trent of my own. But I can't have one so I make one up. Like him? Homework sucks! Hear me? Homework sucks! I'm getting through it slowly but surely, though. Hopefully I will have it finished by Thursday. Hopefully…