"Laurie,'…I am sorry….I didn't know there was a nail in the tire….let me at least take you to dinner…" Rick tried to look sorrowful, but only succeeded in making his wife laugh.

"Darling…it's okay…it's not like you planned to get a flat….but your timing…" she shook her head. "You really didn't want to see the ice skating exhibition, did you?"

"Well..." Rick stalled, then decided to be truthful. "No…but you wanted to. I did want you to have a nice birthday…"

"Well, we will, maybe Robin will be on tonight." She brightened up, as Rick handed his keys to the car repair man, then arranged to have the pickup truck waiting for them at the
Heritage valet service.

As they entered the hotel, Rick tried not to laugh as Laurie saw a bouquet of balloons tied to a sign labeled "Princess Birthday Bash". It pointed down the corridor to the banquet rooms.

"Bash? That's sounds like one rowdy party!" she smiled, then grinned when Rick said, "I bet it is, wonder who it's for?"

"Probably a celebrity, oh, Rick, no…don't be so nosy!" she added, when Rick dropped her arm and went up the hall, then peeked into a door also labeled "Bash".

"Come here, darlin', you'll never guess who this is for."

"Who?" Laurie went up the corridor to see, then gasped with surprise as a loud "Happy Birthday, Laurie!" greeted her, echoing down the hall.

"Oh, you didn't ….Rick…I love you!" she exclaimed, turning and throwing her arms around his neck.

"I love you too, sweetheart. Happy Birthday to my princess!" Rick smiled, then escorted her into a small banquet room, where A.J., Linda, Robbie and Robin and their children waited. Along with Oscar and Rudy, Steve and Jaime Austin and Chrystal were there, and the rest of their friends. Everyone was wearing crowns of silver plastic, which broke Laurie up. "A princess party…I love it!" Abby Johnson came over to greet her, then "crowned" her with a bejeweled tiara. "Happy Birthday, buddy!"

"I hope Robin got a picture of your face, honey…it was priceless!" Cecilia exclaimed, rushing to hug the birthday girl. Behind her, Oscar was beaming, as A.J. teased, "And you wanted to see a skating show? Isn't this better?"

"Yes, little brother…it is..but the song and dance your brother did…" Laurie giggled, as Rick seated her at the head table. He immediately stuck his chest out with pride.

"It's true, I am good!" he smirked, earning groans from his family and laughter from the kids.

As soon as everyone was in their places, Robin rang a bell, and a full prime rib and chicken dinner was served, with lemon meringue cake as dessert. As the lighted pastry was brought over to her, Rick wiped a happy tear from his wife's cheek and murmured, "Make a wish, darlin'….anything for you…"

"I already have everything I want…in you." She said, kissing his hand, then took a deep breath and blew out all the candles on the top layer, as their grandkids finished off the rest.

"Yea, Grandma!" Davey and Katie cheered, as Lala asked "what did you wish for, Grandma?"

"Don't tell her, then it won't come true!" Petey objected, frowning at his cousin.

"Now, now…don't worry, Petey…all my wishes come true every time I get to spend time with you…" Laurie told them, hugging each of the candle blowers. At once a table filled with presents was wheeled over, and she was taken aback.

"Oh…you shouldn't have…this party was present enough…."

"Nope…my girl doesn't have a birthday every day, so dig in!" Oscar said. As she waded through the scarves and knickknacks and homemade crafts their grandchildren and nieces and nephews presented to them, Rick got nervous as she reached the large box that remained to be opened.

"I hope you like it, sweetheart, you've been wanting one for a while." He explained, watching as she tore off the wrapping paper, then paused as she saw what was inside.

"A computer? Rick, darling…you bought me a computer?"

"Uh, you've been wanting one, and since we now have a service tech at our end of the valley…" he began, only to be interrupted by Laurie's throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him.

"Thank you, love…Oh thank you! I know you didn't want to get one before…..but this is so great…and it'll save me so much time when I write stories…."

Moved, Rick returned her embrace and kiss, then replied, "Anything for my sweet girl….this way you'll have more time for us and your hands won't get so tired when you type things out."

"Well, thank you, love….and Dad…now I know why you gave me all these supplies…" Laurie patted one of the large gift bags, which contained extra paper, ink cartridges, card stock, etc.

"This way you can start using it right away……." The former OSI chief grinned, then raised his glass. "A toast, to my favorite daughter…and princess. I hope your days are all as happy as today!"

"Oh, Dad…thank you…" Now Laurie was teary as she got up and embraced her adopted father, then told everyone, "And thank you, for being my family and always making me feel young….and for this special day. And…" she turned to Rick, who was trying not to choke up. "to my darling Rick…for being the reason every day is like my birthday…"

"Thank you, darlin'." He managed, embracing her, causing loud sniffles to erupt from Cecilia and Linda. Only the boisterous "Grammy, does that mean everyday you get a cake?" from Davey halted the threat of tears from the others, as everyone laughed.

"No, but today I do!" she grinned, as Robin signaled for the cake to be served.

As the party wound down, Laurie saw whispering going on between Rick and her daughter, and asked, "Is there something else I should know?"

"Well…." Rick pretended to think, then chuckled as she leaned over and kissed his neck, "Okay, I guess now's as good a time as any to go…"

"Go where, darling…"

Getting up from his seat, Rick scooped Laurie up from her chair, then told her, "we have the royal suite for tonight, sweetheart….Robin and Robbie got it for us…."

"What a wonderful gift, thank you, children…." Laurie reached her arms out and hugged their children. "You're welcome, Mama…." Robin embraced her first, then Robbie.

Waving good night to their family and friends, Laurie giggled as Rick carried her out of the room and down to the elevators. Suddenly she thought of something.

"Rick, what about my presents, we'll have to take them to the car…"

"No we don't…A.J. and Linda are taking them to the ranch for us…." Rick smiled. As they reached their room, he put her down long enough to open the door, then carried her over the threshold.

"Happy Birthday, my princess." He said, kissing her. At once Laurie reciprocated, then rested her face against his.

"Thank you, my prince…I hope I can give you a night to remember." She whispered softly.

Rick's only answer was to smile, then kick the suite room door closed behind them.

Fin