A/N: This is for TJ Sparkles. Her birthday was a couple days ago so give her some love. Happy belated birthday, Tina! :)
Disclaimer: I make no claims to owning one thing used in this story.
To an outsider, it appeared to be a regular, average day in lovely Detroit. Nothing suspicious lurked outside of the Shelley house. But what was inside was another story entirely.
"Tina, come on," one half of the Motor City Machine Guns, Alex Shelley, whined. "It's not like it's a big deal or anything. I just need to take ten thousand dollars out of my bank account."
With her hands up in the air, Tina just stared at her boyfriend in amazement. "You have got to be kidding me right now. You can't just go and take that much money out. What are you even going to do with that? 'Cause I swear, if you go and buy a hundred little puppies again, I'm leaving you."
Alex did not heed her warning. "Trust me, babe. You are never gonna leave me. And even if you do, I still have my heterosexual life mate. Chris is always gonna be with me."
"Yeah, maybe you two should date. I think you might be actually. You're with each other enough."
After letting out one of the girliest screeches imaginable, Chris pointed his finger at her. "Chris and I are not gay with each other…Well, I'm not gay with him. I like him, but I'm not in like with him. He might like me that way but-"
"Alex, just shut up. You're being an idiot," Tina clarified, stating the obvious. "And that's not what we're talking about anyway. What do you need all that money for?"
"Nothing…" Alex trailed off, trying to be blasé. His attempt, however, backfired, for Tina had a knack for seeing through him.
She nodded slowly. "So you're trying to tell me that you need ten thousand dollars for nothing? And you think that I'm not going to think that that's a little bit fishy?"
"How is that fishy at all? I'm telling you the truth," Alex defended.
"No, you're not. Tell me. What do you need it for?" Tina was in no mood for playing games with him.
Alex huffed and held his hands out in front of him. "I told you. I just want to take out the money. Why is that so hard to believe?"
"Because it's ten thousand dollars! I could deal, maybe, with a few hundred, but this…this makes no sense at all."
"Ugh. Tina, you know what I'm like. I just do whatever comes into my mind. I don't think about it," Alex explained. "It's just who I am. You should know by now not to question these things."
Tina gave him a baffled look. "Why wouldn't I question these things? They never have any rhyme or reason. If you don't want to hear my complaints, don't let me know about this stuff. Just do whatever with Chris."
"Yeah, but this kinda involves you, not Chris. Besides, he thinks my ideas are stupid," admitted Alex.
Making sure she heard him correctly, Tina said, "Wait, back up a second. Did you just say that this involves me?" With the response in the form of a nod from Alex, she continued. "Then why won't you tell me what you're doing?"
"Fine," Alex sighed, agitated. "I may or may not have a surprise for you."
Eyes widened in awe, Tina could only stare at him in absolute shock and amazement. "A surprise?" she finally managed to gasp out. "For what?"
"You have got to be kidding me right now. You know that your birthday is coming up right?"
Looking even more astonished than before, Tina exclaimed, "Oh! You're right. How is it even possible that I forgot my favorite day of the year?" She smacked her own forehead, then winced. "Ow. That was dumb."
"So can I get the money now?" Alex asked, feeling hopeful and a bit more confident.
"Yeah, yeah," Tina said. "Go do whatever it is that you need to."
A short while later, Alex had gone to the bank, hidden the money in a secret place, and went back to his house where his giddy girlfriend was waiting.
"So…" she began once he sat next to her on the couch. She put her right hand on his left and gazed lovingly up at him. "What are you getting me for my birthday?"
"Sorry, babe," Alex apologized. "Can't tell you."
Her good mood deteriorating, Tina withdrew her hand. "What do you mean you can't tell me? It's my present."
"Exactly. It's a present. One that is supposed to be a secret until further notice. So if I tell you, how would that be a surprise?"
For once, Alex's logic was making sense, and that scared Tina more than she liked. "Well," she began. "I guess you're right. But just 'cause I understand doesn't mean that I don't want to know what my present is."
"Oh, my god. Tina, would you like me to get Webster's Dictionary, look up the word 'surprise,' and tell you the exact definition?" snapped Alex. "'Cause I will gladly do that, just so you know what it means."
She rejected the offer. "Thanks but no thanks," she retorted. "I know what it means, jerk. I'm just telling you that I absolutely hate surprises. Especially when they're happening to me."
"Aw, come on. That's the best part of them." Alex didn't care to elaborate anymore on the subject, knowing that he would just upset his girlfriend even more. "Hey, you wanna go out to eat or something?"
Satisfied that the surprises were over, Tina smiled. "Yeah, sure. Let's go."
Tina's birthday had snuck up on her suddenly. She had been in a sweet serenity, having just gotten up from her slumber, and was feeling quite blissful.
Then, all of a sudden, she wasn't.
"Tina, Tina, Tina! Wake up, wake up, wake up!" Alex shouted, jumping on the bed like the man-child that he was. "Come on, come on, come on!"
Feeling drowsy and groggy, Tina pushed Alex away. "Get out of my face before I slap you," she threatened. She sat up slowly, taking in her surroundings. Alex was sitting on the edge of the bed, bouncing up and down. "What is wrong with you?"
"I'm just so happy right now," he answered. When Tina gave him a skeptical look—something that was typical whenever he spoke—he smiled. "Babe, please tell me you know what today is."
As understanding washed over her face, Tina said, "Oh, yeah. It's my birthday, isn't it?"
"Yes," Alex replied, saying it like she was in kindergarten. "And we're gonna celebrate!"
Tina asked about the only thing that she was worrying over. "Does that mean I'll get my present now?"
"Well," Alex said in a tentative tone. "You can get part of it now." He waited patiently to get smacked upside the head.
Instead, Tina, to her surprise and Alex's, calmly said, "Okay, what is it?"
Alex took a crack at masking his shock but it was still pretty obvious. "Okay," he said slowly. "Follow me." He grabbed Tina's hand and led her into the kitchen. After rummaging through one of the drawers for a few minutes, he pulled out two tickets. "This is one part," he told her, placing one in her hand.
Tina looked at the ticket, inspecting it. "Wait," she said. "You're taking me to the Bahamas?"
"Yeah," Alex responded simply. "Why? Is there something wrong with that?"
"No, it's just…Why the Bahamas?"
Furrowing his brow in confusion, Alex was perplexed. "Why not? Is that a bad gift? I mean, I know it's not the Motor City or anything but I still think it's not that bad of a place."
"No, no," she assured. "It's not that. Won't you have to take a lot of time off from work? Dixie's been pretty strict lately, hasn't she?"
Alex let out a chortle. "Yeah, but that doesn't mean that she's completely emotionless. Sure, we've been working like crazy with Hulk and them and we have to be on our A game, but we're still able to have a vacation every now and then. Plus, Dixie's a woman," he added. "If she were in your shoes, she wouldn't want to spend her birthday alone. And neither would I. You might wanna remember that when my big day comes around."
"Like I wouldn't be with you on your birthday," Tina scoffed.
Alex shrugged. "You never know. I'm just giving you a little head's up. Anyway," he said while Tina got a drink from the fridge. "You better pack you things 'cause we're leaving tonight."
Since she was not expecting it to be that soon, Tina involuntarily spit out the milk that she had just drank all in Alex's face. Her disposition at the moment gave her the chance not to care. "Did you just say 'tonight'?"
To that, Alex nodded. "Yeah, I believe so."
"I can't just get ready to go in a few hours!" Tina was irate. How could Alex possibly expect her to be prepared to leave on such a short notice?
Looking at the clock on the microwave, Alex said, "Babe, you have, like, ten hours. How will you not be ready?"
Tina rolled her eyes. "Uh, I'm a girl. It takes us forever to get ready. If I should know that you do dumb things, you should know that I need time."
"Just pack your bags and get ready," Alex commanded.
"Don't I get a birthday breakfast?" Tina put on her best pout.
"Fine," he said, unable to resist. "I'll cook, you pack."
Hours were flying by and Alex soon noticed, after making what turned out to be an excellent breakfast of bacon and eggs, that Tina was taking much longer than anticipated. He marched into their bedroom and found her sitting in the closet. "What are you doing?"
She merely looked up at him. "I can't decide what to take and what not to take."
"It's just clothes," Alex exclaimed under his breath. Louder, he said, "Here, I'll help." He leaned down next to her. "Well, it's gonna be warm there so we want shorts, tank tops, stuff like that."
"No," Tina said with a roll of her eyes. "I was planning on bringing my collection of turtlenecks."
"Do I hint some sarcasm there?" Alex asked.
"Nope, none at all."
"All right. Just throw whatever you want in you suitcase." Then, Alex said one of the dumbest things he could have ever said. "Go case your suits, Tina."
"What I'm gonna do is case your head if you don't shut up."
With Alex's help, it only took about a half hour for Tina to get all of her stuff packed. As they were hauling everything into the car in the evening, Alex said, "See? That wasn't so hard." His reward for saying that was a punch in the arm. "Ow."
While they were in the car, on the way to the airport, Tina put the radio on. "Ooh, I love this song." She turned it up louder so she could hear every bit of it.
"What is that?" Alex wondered. It wasn't a song he fully recognized.
"It's 'Wonderwall.'" A puzzled look was shot her way. "It's by Oasis."
She wasn't getting through to him. "Who?"
"You know, they came out during the second British invasion. The one in the '90's. There are the two brothers, Liam and Noel." A look of wonderment was still on Alex's face. "I can't believe you don't know who they are. They just broke up a few months ago."
"Was 'Wonderwall' a big hit?"
"Yes! It was huge. They were, like, the biggest band in the world for a while. Biggest band in England at least." Tina refused to let this go. "Where were you in 1996?"
"Wherever I was, I apparently wasn't listening to Oasis," he replied in a rude tone.
"Then you had no life."
The couple began to delve into a large argument over who Oasis was and why they had such an impact on rock.
"They were just one of those British freaks," Alex said. "Nothing that special."
"They are that special," Tina argued. "The sooner you learn that, the better."
A larger squabble erupted and Alex was not paying attention to where he was going. The two were practically yelling at each other when they realized that they had passed the airport.
"Crap!" Alex yelled. "We gotta turn around."
"Great," Tina said. "You missed the airport. Good job. Now, we're not gonna make our flight."
"Babe, just chill. We're gonna make it there. Don't worry," he tried reassuring but he, himself, was sweating like crazy. "Just don't talk about Oasis, 'kay? It's distracting."
"Fine," she grumbled.
Not long after that, they were in the parking lot of the airport. "Wait here," Alex said before getting out of the car. "I'm going to see if we missed our flight. I'll tell you when I know." Right after that, he ran into the building, leaving Tina to fiddle with the radio.
When Alex came back, "Raining On Sunday" by Keith Urban was playing. Before she saw the look on Alex's face, Tina quipped, "You do know who Keith Urban is, right?"
"Yeah, he's married to Nicole Kidman, right?" Alex wondered. "Whatever. Doesn't matter. We, uh…we kinda missed our plane."
"Can you repeat that?"
Alex swallowed hard. "Our plane already left a few minutes ago. We seriously just missed it."
"Why does this have to happen to me?" complained Tina. "Why did I have to get stuck with you?"
"'Cause you love me?" Alex guessed.
"Just take me home," she snapped.
The car ride was silent. There was no bickering about music, no teasing…Absolutely nothing. Tina had expected this to be a good birthday, fairly decent, at least. Though she would never tell Alex for it would boost his already massive ego, she thought that this trip could have been the best present she had ever gotten. Instead, everything went haywire because Alex didn't know who Oasis was.
When they arrived home, Tina stormed into the house, not bothering to grab her luggage from the trunk. Alex followed behind her, never so quiet in his life.
"Honey, I'm so sorry," he said, finally breaking the awkward silence. "I really wanted this to be perfect. Tell me how to make this up to you. I promise I'll do it."
"No. It's fine," she responded with a small shrug. "It's no big deal. Things happen." Inside, even though it was just a birthday, Tina's heart was breaking. She didn't know why. Alex had done stupid things before but this one hurt her like no other. At the moment, she couldn't even bear to look at him. She went straight into their bedroom.
Alex stood alone in the kitchen. "This was all my fault," he muttered to himself. "She deserves so much better." Then, an idea came to him suddenly and surprisingly, just like all of his ideas did. "Got it." If he had wasted so much money on a plan that didn't play out, he was going to make sure that his new plan was foolproof.
Meanwhile, Tina took quite some time forcing herself to forgive Alex for all of the misgivings. "It's not his fault," she kept telling herself. "Distractions and him just don't mix."
Right after the thought formed in her head and made its way out of her mouth, Alex called to her. "Tina, get downstairs."
Slowly making her way down the steps, she was stunned when she approached the dining room. "Wha…" she began breathlessly. "What is this?"
Before her, the room was dark, only dimly lit by candles placed on the middle of the table. Also on the table were two plates, one on each end. Beside the plates, which played home to a slab of steak and some potatoes, were a couple glasses of wine. Everything looked absolutely perfect.
"Alex," Tina was barely able to get out.
"You like it?" Alex asked with an optimistic look.
A nod was the only response Tina was able to give him. She was far too overwhelmed with the welcomed good emotions to give a coherent answer.
With a wink, Alex pulled out Tina's chair for her. Once she was seated, he whispered in her ear, "Happy birthday, babe."
Finally able to speak, Tina said in awe, "You just did all this? Like, out of nowhere?"
"Yep," Alex said. Then the frown lines came. "Why are you so surprised?"
"Well—" she hedged, only to be interrupted.
"Never mind," Alex interjected. "I don't think I want to know. I just didn't want to leave your big day the way it was. It had to end on a good note. Hold on; I'll be right back." Before Tina could say a word, Alex was gone in one second and back the next. "There's something I've wanted to ask you for a while."
His expression was nervous and Tina ached to calm his anxiety. "Alex, you okay?"
"Never been better," he said, trying to shake off the nerves. He cleared his throat and then continued. "Tina…you know how much I love you. I'm pretty sure you love me, too." He pulled something out of his back pocket. It was a small satin box. Opening it slowly, Alex proceeded. "Will you marry me?"
A ring. A silver banded ring. A ring with diamonds in the center. A ring that would ultimately have the most profound meaning. An engagement ring.
Tina was still staring at the ring when she saw Alex pull the box away. "If you don't want to, you don't have to," he mumbled.
"No," she said, grabbing the box. "Trust me. I want to. Yes, Alex. I will marry you."
His eyes shining with so much joy, Alex put the ring on Tina's left ring finger and said, "The other part of your present." Then, he lifted her chin and kissed her with more passion and fire than either one of them had ever felt.
I feel that I messed some of that up. I did quite enjoy writing this though. Go tell me what you think, good or bad.