Eliot hands me my present from him. It’s a drawing of Eliot and I stealing ice cream from our kitchen, ice cream is something we both love and we often go out for ice cream together, it’s kind of our thing. I try cuddling with him and thanking him for the drawing, but Eliot just quickly pulls away.
My parents and grandparents all chipped in to get me a new laptop for when I go to university in two weeks, I am over the moon as I hug and kiss all of them, making sure to give my Nan’s hand a little pinch to let her know that I do sincerely love the gift. My Granddad says something to me which I completely miss, Eliot is standing closest to me at that point and I pleadingly look at him.
“Granddad said that you’re a smart girl and that he knows you’ll do well in school.” Eliot signs to. I smile as I turn back to my Granddad and slowly sign “Thank you. I’ll try my hardest.” I can tell he doesn’t fully understand me, but he smiles nonetheless, knowing that I’m grateful for the gift and that I was at least able to understand him.
Just as things are about to get awkward Lynn gets up and hands me her present. As I open it I see that it’s my favourite book from my favourite writer. The story is about a girl called Grace who is born with a timer without numbers which causes her to feel very lost, she tries to love people, tries to find someone who would stay with her. She refuses to believe that she doesn’t have a soulmate and never stops dreaming of having one. At the end of the book, on Grace’s fortieth birthday, her timer suddenly starts ticking, but when they finally meet, her soulmate turns out to be married to a woman whose soulmate died before they met. A mix-up caused Grace and her soulmate to not show numbers, which is why her soulmate decided to marry someone else. Even after dreaming about this moment for 40 years; Grace walks away, she doesn’t want to rip two people apart who so obviously have a beautiful life together with their children and in the future maybe even grandchildren, so she walks away. She leaves her soulmate and lives her life to the fullest. It’s an understatement to say that Grace is by far the strongest and most inspiring character I’ve ever read about.
I look at Lynn in confusion. “Lynn, you know I already have this book and have read it a hundred times, right?”
“Oh, I know, I just figured you might be interested in this specific copy.” She signs after which she opens the book to the first page.
My heart could burst with happiness as I see an autograph on the first page and a message written in black marker:
Happy Birthday! I hope you have an amazing day!
I’ll leave you with the most valuable life lesson:
No matter how old you get; never stop dreaming.
No matter how accomplished you feel; never stop learning.
No matter how content you feel with life; never stop fighting for more.
And no matter how broken you feel; never stop loving.
“Lynn! Oh my god! How did you…?” I’m at a complete loss of signs as I stare at her.
“It’s okay to be speechless.” She signs. “I’m pretty amazing.” She laughs as she pulls me into a hug.
I hold the book close to my chest and I just can’t believe it. My attention gets drawn to Ashton who signs “I got you something too. I don’t know if you’ll like it. It’s not as amazing as an autographed book.” As he hands me a square, thin present, very poorly wrapped. “Oh yeah and I’m sorry for the w-r-a-p-p-i-n-g.”
I let out a small laugh as I unwrap the present and to my surprise it’s a CD, to be specific: the CD of 5 Seconds of Summer.
“Ash,” I slowly begin to sign. “You know I can’t hear the music, right?”
“That’s why I also have these for you.”
I silently unwrap the other present, wondering what he has planned, but as I pull out two speakers from the wrapping that look to be made up almost entirely out of glass boxes, I am still highly confused.
“Hold on, I’ll show you.” Ashton signs before he pulls out his phone and connects it to the speakers, he presses some buttons and soon there’s water being shot through the glass containers, colour changing lights illuminating the tiny fountains.
“You asked me a few times what my music sounds like and I can’t explain it to you, but now you can see what it looks like. I hope you like it.” He nervously signs.
“Oh, I love it. Thank you so much, it’s perfect, Ash. It really is.” I tell him which causes him to relax.
“It looks really beautiful, Ash.” I tell him as I look at the water pumping through the speakers.
“Thank you, I was nervous you wouldn’t like it.”
“Of course I would, idiot. I’ve seen you drum, you look so happy doing it and you wouldn’t have that many fans if you were shit. Trust me, Ash.”
A devilish smile spreads across his face as he asks me if I’m ready for my second present.
“Second? It’s not even my birthday anymore.” I protest.
“Yes, it is. It’s 11.35 pm it’s still your birthday.” He retorts while looking for something on his phone. “Here you go, happy birthday babe.”
Ashton hands me his phone and I look down on it to see it’s set on Ashton’s twitter page, I frown and click the video seeing Ashton sign and judging by his lip patterns he’s speaking too: “Hi guys, I want to do something for a special person’s birthday. Please all record yourself doing these signs: ‘Happy Birthday Beth’ and use the h-a-s-h-t-a-g please! Please help, I’ll f-o-l-l-o-w the people that have! Love you guys, bye!”
I look up to face him. “Ash, what did you do?”
“Remember when you said that no one ever signs to you, no one has ever made an effort to sign to you?” He excitedly signs to which I slowly nod. Yes, I remember all those times all too well, not even my own Grandparents sign to me. Ashton doesn’t waste another second and clicks the hashtag in the tweet which takes me to a tons of tweets of fans wishing me a happy birthday and the majority of them are done using signed videos of themselves.
I keep clicking videos and I can’t help but get a little emotional. Everyone is signing to me, it may not be that many people but to me it means the world. Even having one person learn some signs for me is amazing, but this goes beyond everything.
“Ashton,” I reply with tears in my eyes. “You made them sign.”
“I’m sorry, I know it’s not an amazing gift, but-”
“It’s perfect, thank you so much.” I interrupt him while pulling him in for a kiss.
When Ashton finally pulls away he signs to me: “So, all I had to do to get you to kiss me was send out a tweet?”
“Oh, shut up.” I laugh and plant a kiss on his cheek of which Ashton quickly snaps a picture. “What was that for?”
“I needed a picture of us to thank them.” Ashton tells me as he sends out a tweet saying ‘She loved it, thank you guys!’.
As Ashton scrolls through all the reactions from the fans I look at the profile of his face, wondering how it’s possible for me to have gotten such an amazing boyfriend. It almost seems too good to be true.
“Ash,” I interrupt his twitter stalking. “I like you.”
A smile spreads across his face “Good or else this would’ve been really a-w-k-w-a-r-d.”
hi guys if you wanna know what Ashton's present to Beth is: go to google images and search for "speakers with water and lights" and they should pop right up.
Thanks for reading guys.
Thoughts, questions, advice, tips, ideas, whatever you want to share: it's all welcome.