Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1707037-A-Memorable-Birthday
by Jeff
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Drama · #1707037
Sr. Mod 10th Birthday Contest - Round 10 - Most memorable birthday
Lena's most memorable birthday was also her most recent. She had never been one for big parties with friends and family, but this year was definitely a change of pace. Magnus insisted that she come home and spend time with him for her birthday. Never one to deny her great grandfather any request, she made plans to be home with her family for her birthday. The flight was uneventful, but Lena spent most of the time worrying about seeing everyone other than Magnus. Her parents would probably offer their unrestricted criticism over her career and life choices, and the whole thing would probably be a stuffy, aristocratic affair.

Imagine her surprise when the cab dropped her off at the family estate and there were balloons and streamers and posters everywhere. Inside, there were dozens of people waiting in the foyer; and not her parents' boring upper-crust friends; her actual friends, from college to colleagues, and everywhere in between. Magnus was pretty sure that he wouldn't be around to see another one, so he had made sure that he'd get to see Lena for this birthday, and that it would be the kind of thing she would enjoy. He wanted to see how she had turned out, and make sure that she had made the right decisions for herself.

Magnus' real gift, however, was Wendell. Lena's great grandfather had tracked him down halfway around the world, and made the necessary arrangements for him to be at her party. Lena was overjoyed, bursting into tears of awe and joy at Magnus' thoughtfulness.

"Grandpa, thank you," Lena told him as they stole a few minutes away from the party.

"Anything to see you happy," he replied with a smile. "You are happy, aren't you?"

A knock at the door interrupted them. Wendell blushed a little when he realized he caught them in the middle of a conversation.

"Sorry to interrupt," Wendell apologized.

"No need to apologize, young man." Magnus said. "I'll give you two some time to catch up. It's been a while since you've seen each other."

Magnus excused himself from the room, leaving Wendell and Lena alone.

"So," Wendell began, awkwardly.

"I've missed you," Lena blurted out.

"Seeing the world isn't nearly as exciting without you there with me."

Lena couldn't believe she was being this honest and this open with Wendell, only moments after seeing him again.

"I think I made a mistake not going with you," she admitted.

"I think I made a mistake going without you," he replied softly, stepping in to grab her in an embrace. He kissed her, and she melted into his arms.

Even though there was a party in full swing outside, all Lena wanted to do was disappear with Wendell and spend the rest of her birthday weekend alone with him. She had a feeling that there would be some significant changes by the end of the weekend, although she wasn't sure if that meant her going with him, or him coming back to her. Either way, both she and Wendell knew that they didn't want to be without one another anymore.

Reluctantly, they made their way back to the party, where the biggest surprise of all was waiting for Lena. Her parents were there, and they raised their champagne glasses for a toast. Lena was expecting something polite and dull, and instead got this:

"We'd like to thank everyone for being here today. We haven't always seen eye to eye with Lena, or understood some of the decisions she's made, but seeing all of her friends and colleagues here, getting to know them, and understanding just what an impressive, accomplished woman our daughter is ... and how wrong we were to try and deter her from doing what she was truly meant to do with her life."

Lena was speechless. This birthday had completely surpassed all of her expectations. Between seeing her great grandfather, reuniting with Magnus, and hearing her parents admit they were proud of her for making the right decision, she wasn't sure if she was really having a birthday weekend back home, or living in some kind of fantasy dream world. But the feel of Wendell's arms around her, and the pride in her parents' eyes was undeniable, and affirmed the fact that all of this was really happening.

For the first time since she had moved away from home, Lena could honestly say that she would be sad to say goodbye to her family and head back home.

It had been a long road, but Lena Sorensen had finally made her way from conflicted child, to ambitious young adult, to a real adult with a successful, happy life.

(780 words)
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