“So, you feel like you’ll be able to take on Ms Parata’s devil test tomorrow?” Ben asks, stretched out on the sofa in the Duke’s living room. Books and notes are scattered all over the table, and Bea sits hunched over a paper, cramming in the final knowledge.
“Yeah,” she sighs, “I just hope it doesn’t all go away tonight during my sleep.”
“Naaw, you’ll do fine!” Ben yawns as he burrows his head down on his pillow, trying to find the perfect spot. “You’re brilliant; you’ll pass with flying colours.” Bea smiles at her boyfriend, and lies down next to him. He wraps his arm around her, and for a while, they’re just snuggling on the sofa.
“This is nice,” Bea comments after a while. Ben murmurs his agreement, and interweaves his fingers with hers. For once, they are not talking endlessly, finding comfort in silence instead. After a few more minutes though, their true natures cannot fight the spell of love any more, and the chatting resumes.
“What do you want to do for your birthday? It’s only three weeks away, so you should probably start planning if you want to mark the occasion,” Bea reminds Ben. Ben, who’s a firm believer in procrastination, hasn’t really thought too much about it, but decides it’s perfect to talk about it with Bea, since she’ll most likely take all his rough ideas and polish them into perfect birthday plans.
“I don’t really know. I guess something with the parents is mandatory, and it’d be great to have, like, a party or something with the group, or maybe a few more.” Bea nods.
“Yeah, that sounds like it could turn out to be a good birthday. Do you know how much your parents will want to celebrate you? You are turning eighteen, you know,” she smirks at him, “it’s an important milestone. You’ll be working towards your pension before you know it.” Ben’s only response is to tickle her sides. As answer, it lacks finesse, but it is excellent payback. Instantly, Bea is writhing on the sofa, trying to escape Ben’s fingers, and a few seconds later, they fall off the sofa, onto the floor, giggling like mad. The tickle fight ends rather abruptly with that, since both of them are howling with laughter. Ben reaches up to grab the pillow from the sofa, and they resume their snuggle position on the rug.
“You know,” Ben says after a while, his fingers stroking Bea’s arm lazily, “even if my birthday celebrations include both something with my mum and dad, and a party with our friends, there’s something I’d like to do…” Bea quirks her eyebrow at him. Ben continues, smiling bashfully. “To celebrate somewhere away from everyone else, just you and me. Is that something you’d be interested in?” And even though he wants to shout to himself to stop there, he can’t really stop his mouth from running away with him. “It’s totally cool if you don’t want to; I just thought I’d raise the question. And I don’t want you to feel obligated to do this either, you know, like if I’d asked for it for my birthday to guilt you into saying yes. I just thought it might be really nice, but it’s really dependent on you thinking it might be nice as well! And it doesn’t have to be something fancy or grand or anything; we could just play Super Smash Bros for a few hours if that’s what you wanted, and—“
Shutting each other up with a kiss is really becoming a favourite with Ben, and he indulges in the sensation of her lips moving against his for a few moments before she pulls away, and then her head is back on his shoulder and her hand is laced through his, and he feel like he’s swelling from happiness.
“I’d love to celebrate your birthday just the two of us, Dickface,” Bea says, squeezing his hand to emphasize her point. “So the plan’s like this, then? Stuffy boring dinner with parents, wild party with friends, something awesome with your brilliant girlfriend?”
Ben feels his mouth stretch into a grin so wide he’s almost worry it will split his entire head in half. “Sounds about right,” he replies, and presses a kiss to her forehead. “And with you in the planning committee, it will undoubtedly become the great social event of the season!”
Bea snorts. “At least it can’t be any worse than the last party I planned. I believe I can promise I won’t accuse you of cheating in front of all our friends, and cameras, though, so there’s that!” She smirks mischievously. “I’d corner you in private, and rip out your heart before removing half your name!” Ben flinches slightly, but concedes her point in a ‘You’d be entitled to’ nod. The realisation that Bea has agreed to celebrate his birthday in private begins to sink in, and somehow, he feels like it’ll be the landmark of an important step in their relationship. They will form their own unit, apart from friends or family; a unit that one day may evolve into more permanent phases filled with commitment and other scary things he’d rather not think about right now.
“What’re your plans for the weekend?” Bea mumbles next to him, slurring her words a bit. It’s getting late, and he really should leave, but it’s so nice to just lie here, feeling Bea almost falling asleep next to him.
“Nothing big. We’ve got football practice on Saturday, and we might hang out a bit after that. Balth said he’d join in if we do. I’ll probably catch up on a few shows as well. What about you?” He nudges Bea. “What’ve you got planned for your weekend of fun with the girls?”
“Dunno,” Bea mumbles into his shoulder. “We split the time, everyone chooses th’activity for their time. ‘M on Friday afternoon, Urs’s Saturday morning, Hero is Saturday afternoon, and Meg Sunday morning.” Her eyes stay closed, not bothering to look at her conversation partner.
“Sounds like a good plan,” Ben comments, grinning. A sleepy, relaxed Bea is an adorable Bea. “What are you planning for tomorrow then?”
“Beach” is all the reply he gets. After nudging her a bit, she fills in with “picnic” “skipping stones” “sun without melting heat” as well.
“Seems like a nice afternoon,” Ben agrees. A soft snore is all he gets. After a bit of coaxing, Bea is convinced to walk up the stairs, and sleep in her bed instead of on the floor. Ben lets himself out, and spends the entire drive home with a silly smile on his face. “I’d love to celebrate your birthday just the two of us” runs through his head, and it makes him feel so alive he almost wishes he could just run home instead of driving. Forget football practise or hanging with the guys, the weekend will be spent coming up with different plans on how to celebrate his birthday with just the Bea-and-Ben unit!