They had finally come to terms with being back home, though they had spent the weeks in between looking at colleges. She wanted to get another degree; one in film and animation. He was looking to further his education by getting his Masters in Fine Arts. They searched all the schools in the country for ones that had what they both needed, ending up with twelve choices. They knew they would eventually narrow it down a bit but as for now they would have to buckle down and create at least 15 art pieces each for their portfolio submissions. It was exciting for them to have somewhat of a plan for the future. She liked her job at the school but it wasn’t paying the bills the way it needed to. Money was tight but they somehow made it work month-by-month.
On Friday night, he texted her at work, telling her that she should go home after instead of meet up with him at his art building desk monitor job. There they would usually talk about art or life, maybe watch Netflix to pass the time. Not this Friday. He wanted her to be home and dressed nice-casual at seven when his shift ended. From there, he’d texted “I’m gonna plan something for us to do. I’ll come get you when I get off.” She quickly raced home to shower and ready herself for a surprise evening. This wasn’t a common occurrence in their relationship, since they usually just stayed in to save money.
At seven, the door swung wide as he stood in the doorway already in nice attire. “Are you ready to go?” He asked looking her up and down, admiring the dark jeans and dress shirt she wore for him. She didn’t have to answer to respond but a mere smile and nod sent them out the door into the evening.
In the car they discussed the contents of their day breifly as she attempted to guess where they were headed. To her the surprise was that he was surprising her in the first place. Things like this didn’t happen often, so she was appreiciating every moment of it.
He pulled into the driveway of a brewery/restaurant that they had only been to once for a quick beer. “I am ordering us some bacon cheese fries.” He announced, having looked at the menu online before picking her up. They ordered the appetizer and some beers as they looked through the menu for their main course. Hamburgers just seemed to fit the meal as they ordered two different types. He played a game with her, asking which he would choose befre he ordered. Her first guess was the one he went for, since she had been right; he did, in fact, love bleu cheese the most on a burger and although there was peanut butter on it as well, she knew he liked to try anything once.
When the meals came, she was feeling a slight buzz since she hadn’t remembered to bring lunch to work that day and was feeling a bit starved. They scarfed down the fries practically forgetting about the hamburgers they ordered. He ate majority of his though she couldn’t bare to touch hers after all the fries and beer. “What else do you want to do tonight?” He asked her.
“I don’t know. I kind of want to drink more.” He smiled and told her to text one of their mutual friends, D. He had known him longer than she had but this friend was one they had in common and both liked. D had agreed to meet them at one of the campus bars for a drink or two. A few months prior they had come to this same bar. D had ordered one of every martini on the menu which had been around twelve that he shared with the table. This night, he and she got their own selected drinks and left it at that. It was fun to hang out with D for an hour or so, though they left him early knowing they had to wake-up early for a surprise party in her home town.
The next morning they headed out a tad late. He was going to pick up a planer that he found on eBay though she insisted they get to the party first and retrieve the new equiptment after. As they pulled up to her aunt’s house, she noticed her stepdad’s car. He parked behind it. She walked to the nearest house, certain it was her aunt’s. Since she had only been there once before, she couldn’t be too sure. As she rang the doorbell, a man she did not recognize stepped out. She asked him if her aunt lived there but all she got was a confused, “No…?” It was at this moment that she realized the number on the house across the street was her aunt’s. He stood back and laughed as they moseyed across the street. The cars had been parked down the way so that her grandmother wouldn’t see.
“It’s about time!” Her mother exclaimed as they all exchanged hugs. The party was going even though her grandmother had not yet arrived. It wasn’t for another 15 minutes that her grandmother arrived, inching her way up to the door as her family and he hid behind walls and furniture. What felt like several minutes of hiding later, the familiar sound of her grandma’s voice reached across her aunt’s house. Just as the footsteps grew closer, everyone leapt from their hiding spots, “Surprise!”
“Oh my God.” Her grandma exclaimed with a wide grin. She was happy to be able to come and spend a few hours with her mother’s side of the family. After some food, conversation, and cake, he and she left to pick up the planer for his studio and headed back three and a half hours home.