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Let Me Lead

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Birthdays had never been a big deal for Kirsten. When you can’t perceive time, no day is more special than the last. They’re all the same. But after Kirsten stitched into Cameron and cure her Temporal Dysplasia, suddenly time had meaning. Even still, she didn’t think much of it when she awoke on the morning of June 13th. 

She rolled over on the bed not surprised to find the place where Cameron slept empty. He was a notorious early-riser, preferring to get up and cook an elaborate breakfast each morning while Kirsten was more the grab-a-handful-of-cereal-on-the-way-out-the-door kind of girl herself. She took a deep breath inhaling the delicious smells wafting in from the kitchen, which prompted her to crawl out of bed and follow the smell. 

Cameron had just plated their food when she emerged, and upon seeing her, he broke into a wide grin and indicated for her to sit at the table. He set the plate of food in front of her.  Two large, fluffy waffles drizzled with maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar filled the plate. Cameron set a bowl of fresh strawberries on the table between them along with two coffees and a jar of hazelnut spread with two spoons for dipping. Kirsten surveyed the spread.

“You fixed all my favorites,” She said, a little dumbfounded. 

“Only the best for the Birthday Girl.” Cameron grinned, a twinkle in his eye as he reached for his silverware. “Don’t forget your napkin. I know how messy you can be.” He pointed with his fork to the cloth he’d set by her plate. 

Kirsten squinted her eyes. “How dare you. I’m the Birthday Girl,” Kirsten said, trying to repress a smile, but failing miserably before cutting into her waffle and stuffing an oversized bite into her mouth. 

“So, what would you like to do today, Stretch?” Cameron asked eagerly. 

“Something tells me you’ve already made plans,” Kirsten said.

“What makes you say that?” Cameron teased.

“You’re cute when you’re being coy,” was her only response. 

 

After finishing their breakfast, Kirsten and Cameron headed out into the LA sunshine in Cam’s Volvo with the top down, the warm wind blowing gently around them. 

“Are you gonna tell me where we’re going?” Kirsten asked.

“Now that I can actually surprise you, just let me lead.” Cameron said mischievously before turning up the radio, effectively bringing an end to the conversation. That, of course, didn’t stop Kirsten from raising her voice to talk above the music. She never was one to follow rules. Even implied social ones. 

Cameron pulled off the interstate and turned toward the beach. He parked the car and grabbed Kirsten’s hand, leading her down to the Santa Monica Pier. 

“We almost died here.” She stated matter-of-factly. 

“Yeah, I know. I was feeling sentimental.” Cameron swung their hands between them. “C’mon, let’s go on some rides.”

“Only if you’ll buy me ice cream after.” 

They broke out into a sprint, running towards the end of the pier. They bought their tickets then got in line for the roller-coaster. Though the coaster wasn’t very big, Cameron squealed and held onto Kirsten’s arm for dear life. She just giggled. When the ride was over and Cameron collected himself, Kirsten turned to him and said, “I didn’t know you were such a scared little girl about rides.”

“Oh being held a gunpoint here last time was much less scary,” Cameron conceded. 

“Well c’mon, ‘Fraidy Cat, we’re going on the Ferris Wheel.” Kirsten dragged Cameron along through the throngs of tourists towards the lumbering ride. 

 

They sat in the sand licking their ice cream cones in the midday sun. 

“Thank you, Cameron.” 

“For what?”

“For making this day special.”

“Oh we’re nowhere near close to finished, Cupcake,” Cameron said. 

“What’s next?” Kirsten asked, taking a bite out of the cone and dripping pink ice cream down her chin. 

Cameron reached up and gently wiped the ice cream off with his thumb. “Beautiful,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. He stared at her a moment before shaking himself free of her piercing gaze and saying, “Next, we have lunch and a movie.” 

 

They got take-out from Kirsten’s favorite Chinese restaurant, and then they drove to a small drive-in theater not far outside of LA where a Star Wars marathon was playing. They got there just in time for Empire Strikes Back. 

“I still can’t believe you’ve never seen the whole original Star Wars trilogy before,” Cameron said. “How am I attracted to you? Doesn’t matter, I am.” 

“Did you just quote Brooklyn Nine-Nine to me?”

“You know it.” 

Kirsten set the empty take-out carton at her feet and settled into Cameron’s side, resting her head in the crook of his neck. He slid his arm around her shoulders and rested his head atop hers. 

 

“So, what did you think?” Cameron asked as they drove back into Hollywood. 

“It was pretty good,” Kirsten said.

“Pretty good? Pretty good?! Star Wars is better than pretty good,” Cameron scoffed.

“Then why did you ask me?” Kirsten turned to face him. 

Cameron sighed and shook his head, but he smiled nonetheless as he said, “I don’t know why I even bother.”

By the time they arrived back in LA it was nearly sunset. Instead of pestering Cameron with questions about the next part of their adventure, Kirsten sat there in silence lost in thought about the events of the day that had already transpired. Laughing on the Ferris Wheel. Sharing ice cream on the beach. Throwing popcorn at the annoying couple in front of them at the movie. It had already been a perfect day.

“What’re you thinking, Stretch?”

“Nothing,” she said with a smile. 

Cameron pulled up to the Griffith Observatory and pulled Kirsten to the lookout to watch the sunset. 

“It’s beautiful.” 

“Hey, mind if we join ya?” Kirsten heard Camille say from behind her. Kirsten turned around to see Camille with Linus, Fisher, and Maggie standing there with pizza and drinks and a blanket. 

“A picnic under the stars,” Cameron explained with a shrug. 

The group sat there laughing and talking for hours. Cameron and Kirsten returned home exhausted but content. 

 

They had barely made it through the threshold before Kirsten turned and wrapped her arms around Cameron’s neck whispering into his ear, “Today was perfect. Thank you.” She pulled back and stared deeply into his eyes.

 

And then she kissed him, deep and soft.