"That'll be $10.84 please."
I hand her the credit card and sit back in my seat, letting the seatbelt slide back to its proper position.
Glancing at Cat, she's fiddling with her hands like she normally does when she's impatiently waiting for something.
Girl needs her coffee.
Just in the nick of time though comes our coffee.
"Here you go sir…" She said, handing me Cat's Venti Java Chino first.
I transfer it to Cat, who made a happy noise.
I then grabbed my tall latte.
"Thank you." I smiled at her.
She handed me my receipt and smiled back.
"Have a nice day!"
I pull forward to the exit, receipt in my hand pinned next to the steering wheel and wait for a opening.
Why is there a heart on the receipt?
I groan and take a better look.
Looks like the girl's name was Stacy.
I stuff it in the cup holder.
Cat wordlessly pulled it out and while sipping her drink, looked at it.
Please don't spew it…the leather still looks good.
Cleaned it over the weekend too…
Instead she rolled her eyes and put it to the side in the door compartment.
"Don't mean to block you, but you're taken." She joked.
"Sorry." She joked again.
"It's fine. Kind of annoys me that I get that now, when I'm with you rather than when I was single." I confess, pulling next to the light.
"Maybe you look more attractive? I think you do…" She said huskily, then kissed my cheek.
"Thanks. And why would she give me that with you right next to me?" I thought aloud.
"Maybe she thought I was just a friend."
"Well she was wrong." I quickly replied.
She happily smiled as I pulled into our normal parking spot.
"It feels so weird still to be back." I mumble, stepping out of the car.
"I know. I miss sleeping in." She frowned.
"But we've already been back a week."
"I miss it more though."
I smile, swing my backpack over my shoulder and start towards the front door. Within a few steps Cat locked hands with me and stayed that way the whole way to class.
"See you at lunch?" She asked.
"Of course. Where would I go?" I tease, causing her to giggle.
"Text me? Pleasey."
"I will." I said, pulling her into a hug and kissed her hair.
She apparently wasn't satisfied because she quickly kissed me then dashed into her class.
I turn back to the rest of the school.
But I'm not going to class.
I have a lot of stuff to do.
It's an important day. Very important, and it would be a waste of time just to sit in class.
I walk back out to my car and start driving.
"Did it start without a hitch?" –Mom
"Yeah, driving to party supply store now."
I have to buy balloons.
"Sweet. I'll pull the confetti cannon out of the garage."
"Where'd you get it?"
She BOUGHT it?
"You bought it?"
I pull onto the feeder to see it's bumper to bumper.
"Yeah! If nothing else we can use it with Alex's birthday coming up."
Geez I forgot.
I feel old.
"I guess you're right. Just seemed a bit drastic."
I should probably go surface instead of this bumper car crap.
Since I'm already in the right lane I just have to paitiently wait.
"Have your theater friends made signs? Jade called them your 'Minions'."
"Idk. I'll text a few of them." I reply.
I tap my screen a couple of times when gridlock has commenced.
Cindy and Haeley. They're the ones running this.
Or at least organizing the efforts.
"We ready?" I texted them.
"That'd be a major kink in the plans if they flaked out." –Mom
I flick on my turn signal, exit in sight.
Singe had more to do with it than Haeley. Sorry darling, but it's true.
"Yeah! You still need us for the balloons?" –Singe
"Yeah, still need help. Sikowitz said we could use the air machine right?"
I get onto the surface streets and get to the shop in about 10 minutes. I called ahead, so this shouldn't take long.
You kinda have to call ahead when you want 25 red balloons, 25 pink, 25 white and 25 black.
I bought 35 of each, just in case disaster strikes.
"Yeah. He even gave us passes for 6th so we can work with you then too." –Singe
"That's great Singe." I send off, walking up to the front desk of the shop.
"Hi, order for Shapiro?" I smile.
"Shapiro…balloons?" He asked.
"That would be me."
"I'll be right back." He ducked into the back.
I pull out my phone.
"Yep! See you then!"
I glance at the time.
Looks like I won't be able to stop back by home. Darn.
That'll make Mom sad.
The register guy comes back up with a box.
"Here you go sir."
"Thank you." I take it, turn around and walk back to my car.
I already paid online.
Traffic was good going back towards home.
I'll take that chance. Maybe I can dash back by home.
I zoom onto the highway, essentially the only one on the whole thing.
I go 80 the whole way to my exit.
Thank you traffic.
I get to go home after all.
Smiling to myself, I pull into the driveway and hop out.
Cosmos comes darting out at me a moment later, doing his normal leap to me.
"Oh great, you're here." Mom said sarcastically, voice coming from above.
I look up with Cosmos and see Mom with a spatula in her hand with a smile.
"Hey mommy." I smile as Cosmos licked my cheek.
"Hey honey. Got the balloons?"
"Yep. In the car." I said, taking the stairs 3 at a time and putting Cosmos down.
She quickly hugged me. "Everything set?"
"Yep, just gotta get the flowers."
"That's great…I'm making another cake." She smiled, leading me inside.
Cosmos dashed off somewhere.
"Great, she loved the last one." I say, moving to the lemonade and grabbing a glass.
"Please make sure you get a piece this time." She chided me.
"I will. I didn't know Cat would devour it that fast."
She shrugged and grabbed her cup of tea. "You know a woman's true love."
"Food." I say.
I sip my lemonade. I have about 5 minutes before I have to go back to school so Cat won't notice I'm gone.
Can't have that.
Suddenly she was hugging me again.
"I'm so proud of you…coming up with this all on your own. She's going to love it."
"I think she will." I smile.
"Just because you're doing all this grown up stuff doesn't mean you aren't my baby." She teased, pinching my cheek.
"I know mom."
"You better get back. Can't have her catch on to your plan." She smiled, squeezing me one more hug out of me.
"I know. Cosmos!" I call out.
He came bounding up from the basement.
"I'll be back later ok? With a happy girlfriend hopefully."
He tried to climb on me but I petted him then stood up.
"Good luck sweetie." Mom kissed my cheek.
I smile at her and start to the door, but then remember my dirty glass.
"Go. I got it." She jumped in.
I open my mouth to say it'll only take a second but Mom jumped in before me.
He then flew into action, barking at me.
I only look at mom, confused.
"I don't know either. He hates the word."
"But he loves me. Why is he barking at me." I ask.
"His momma said there was a kitty. That's why."
I shake my head.
"Good luck! Love you!"
"Cosmos!" Mom called.
No more barks after that. Scary how she turned him against me like that.
The drive to school is flawless and I park just in time to see Cat walk up to the Grub Truck and wait in line.
My phone buzzed right as I stepped onto the premises.
I know that's her.
I check anyway.
"Where are you?"
I take two or three more steps and arrive behind her just as she begins to order.
"Hello Kitty Cat. How can I help you today?"
"Can I get a fruit salad? And a yogurt." She asked Festus.
I kiss the top of her head then add on "And a lemonade too please."
"Hello Mr. Robbie. Didn't see you there." Festus smiled, then walking out of sight.
Cat turned around, smiling. "Hey you."
"How's my gorgeous girlfriend?" I asked.
"Happy. Got to play cards in math. Teacher was out sick."
"Those are always the best math days." I smile as Festus handed Cat her food and our drinks.
Cat usually gets water, so she didn't say anything. Festus just knew.
He's a little odd, but he's not stupid. He notices.
I hand him a 10 and he smiled. Cat and I then walk to our table.
The lunch conversation was a exhibition in character acting. Everybody else except Cat played around the fact that she has a surprise waiting for her in the middle of 7th period, but we escaped unscathed.
I kissed her one more time, then watched her bounce back to class with the promise that I'd see her in 7th.
As soon as she went inside, I pulled my car around to the black box, where Sikowitz was chilling by the door.
"Hey there Mr. Man. Those the balloons?" He greeted me.
I couldn't do all this without his help.
"Yep. Thank you again for all your help." I smiled at him.
"Of course Robbie, nothing better in life than true love. I'll put these next to the air tanks." He replied, dashing off.
Next stop for me was the flower shop. Again, I had called ahead and it took about 60 seconds total for me to get the roses and get back on the road to school.
The pieces are all here. Now we just have to put together the puzzle.
I get back to school in between the passing period of 5 and 6. I leave the roses in the car next to the black box on the off chance that I see Cat.
I go inside the regular doors and immediately spot her talking to Tori.
Why don't I surprise her?
I creep over, quietly enough to allow the others to see me but not tip her off, then lift her into the air.
"Aaaahhh!" She yelped.
"Hi to you too…geez." I tease, as the others smile at me.
"Nice job." Beck high fived me.
"Where's your backpack?" Cat asked, hugging me.
"In class. I dashed to my car to get my phone charger."
"Oh." Cat frowned.
The warning bell rang and everybody scattered except Jade.
"Good luck." She whispered, hugging me then too disappearing.
I then walked happily to Sikowitz's, knowing that it was all my guys.
"There he is!" Sikowitz called out, as the class let out a cheer and Singe came to hug me.
"Hey. How's it?" I asked.
"Just about to begin."
"Let's do it!" I said, causing everybody to jump up and head to the black box.
They loyally got to work on the umbrellas and uncovering the signs as I excused myself to get "Something from my car.", with Haeley holding the door.
The moment I closed the door and looked back, I saw that her jaw was on the floor.
"Roses?" She said weakly.
"She is my girlfriend…gotta bribe her somehow." I joked.
All the other girls had the same reaction as Haeley. Jaws hit the floor.
But it was Andrew who picked up on the real surprise.
"What's in the bag?"
Immediately Singe looked at me. "You didn't add a proposal at the end did you?"
I laughed. "No, good idea though. Just a thank you from me to you guys for all the hard work." I say, grabbing the bag.
$50 pearTunes gift cards anyone?
After the hug and thank you barrage they went to work double time. We got everything outside as planned right before the 7th passing period.
Before I was comfortable with it, it was showtime.
"We all know the plan?" I called out.
"Yeah!" They chanted back.
My phone vibrated.
"Card people, know your places?"
"Yep!" More chants back.
"Keith? You know where to go and how to guide her?"
"Ok…you know the cue right?" I asked the group at large.
They gave me the two fingered peace sign in reply.
"Sweet. Thank you all again."
Then Singe piped up. "No problem. Check you're phone. Surely she knows something's up."
I shake my head.
"Where are you? Class has started?" –Cat
"You're right." I say, muttering, pulling up Tori's text conversation.
Tori will cue Sikowitz, who then will tell Cat to come out to the Asphalt Café.
Then she'll text me that Cat left the room.
"In the oven."
Andrew will be positioned in the hall where he can see Keith and text me again.
Keith will direct her out here, cueing the peace sign to me.
Cat comes walking out to a empty courtyard.
"Hello?" She called out.
I start the countdown from 5 for them to spring out.
"Hello?" She called out agin, stepping out further.
"SURPRISE!" They leap out, causing her to jump out of the skin.
Ballon sculptures emerge, signs they made up.
Then the confetti cannon causes her to jump and scream again.
"I…what's all this for?" She asked.
"Oh come on, you don't know what day it is?" I say behind her, causing her to jump again.
"No…why should I?" She asked, as I ignored the smirks of everybody else.
I then pulled out the flowers.
"Oh my gosh…" She gasped, covering her mouth.
"It's our anniversary. One year ago today was Prome." I smile at her.
Immediately she started crying. Not profusely, but a few tears leaked out.
"So…I was wondering if you wanted to go to Prome with me?" I smiled.
She leaped into my arms and kissed me, sending the scene into a frenzy.
Somebody had the wisdom to set off the cannon again, causing the girls except Cat to scream.
We both jumped.
I turn to look back at the cannon to see Beck and Andre grinning deviously.
"WE DIDN"T DO IT!"
"SURE YA DIDN"T!" Cat and I yell back, seeing Tori and Jade looking thrilled.
I shake my head and turn back to Cat.
"So…what do you say?" I whisper.
"Of course I'll go to Prome with you Robbie."
This time, everybody let out a cheer. Including me.
(A/N: Thanks to everybody who stuck with this saga from Chapter 1. Even if you didn't start right when I started in June, I appreciate every reader, review and kind word about this story. Thank you as always. –James)