“Oh happy birthday, Natalie!” Savannah squealed as she threw her arms around her neck, squeezing her into a tight hug.
“Umph, thank you,” Natalie managed to breathe out through her friend’s embrace. She eventually pulled back to smile at her. She excused herself for a little while she talked to some other people from school. After a while, Natalie looked around at everyone, already beginning to get exhausted from just talking.
It was at a hotel only a few streets away from Natalie’s home, and they allowed her to have her small celebration on the large outdoor recreation area near the ocean, complete with catering and a small dance floor. She told her parents she didn’t want anything big, and beings as her family was going to be at the party anyways, Natalie eventually settled on the idea of her parents’ age appropriate party.
Ugh, this really isn’t very exciting, Natalie thought after an hour of dancing and talking to her friends. She sat down at one of the tables, scanning her eyes over the familiar faces while she took a breather. But I guess that’s what you get when your parents throw the party.
I wonder if Bruno will make it tonight, Natalie pondered after another moment, suddenly realizing that he hadn’t arrived yet. Although she knew he had to go to the first part of a small show with his family, she figured he’d still end up coming sometime. Ugh why does it matter to you so much? Natalie asked herself, shaking her head as she glanced down at her hands on the table.
She let out a small sigh as she played with her hands, not really paying attention to anyone around her. But I’m sure he’ll come anyways… “Hey why are you looking so blue?” She heard Hadley ask as she walked up to the table, taking a seat next to Natalie.
“She’s just depressed her boyfriend couldn’t make it,” Savannah said with a small smile, walking up behind Hadley.
Natalie shot a small glare towards Savannah. “He’s not my boyfriend. And I’m just sitting…”
“Yeah well you’re just sitting when it’s your birthday. You should be all excited…or something…” Savannah replied with a small shrug.
“…or something,” Natalie repeated in a soft voice, glancing off into the distance.
“Oh my God, seriously Natalie,” Savannah said as she rolled her eyes, grabbing her arm to pull her up from the chair. “Let’s go mingle or something,” she added with a laugh.
“I think I’ve done enough mingling for a lifetime,” Natalie stated as she stood up, smiling back at Savannah.
“Oh don’t worry, we’ll find something to do. Jason said afterwards we could all go to his house,” Savannah said as they walked back over to the dance floor.
“I’ll see,” Natalie replied. “But I highly doubt my parents will let me go,” She stated as she glanced over to her mother who was talking to some other lady. “They think I’m going to run off and do drugs or something since I’m sixteen now,” She added while rolling her eyes, knowing how her parents overreacted about every little thing.
“Well then for now, you’ll enjoy it,” Savannah stated as she turned around to face Natalie, smiling and winking at her. “Come on, you’ve got lots of candles to blow out now.”
Natalie kicked off her medium-sized heels , tossing them beside one of the tables. She pulled her long hair back into a loose, low ponytail, happy to have it out of her eyes. She let out a small yawn as she glanced up, seeing most of everybody was already gone.
Small party lanterns lit up above the wooden dance floor, brightening the now, dark sky. Natalie walked over to one of the long tables that at one point held food, taking a water bottle.
“Hey Natalie, are you going to come?” Hadley half yelled out, glancing back at her as she and Savannah prepared to leave along with several of their classmates.
“Nah, I think I’m done for the night,” Natalie said with a shrug before taking a drink of her water. Everyone in their small group bid their goodbyes, giving her one last ‘happy birthday’.
When the finally left, Natalie looked around again, seeing there was no one left. She let out a sigh, not knowing where her parents were at the moment. I probably should wait for them anyways, Natalie thought as she walked barefoot across the dance floor, kicking an empty water bottle.
She walked across the wooden flooring until her toes touched the sand, feeling cool against her hot feet. Natalie walked over to the edge of the water, walking alongside the shoreline for a few feet as she stood in a few inches of the water.
“Having fun?” She heard a voice ask out after a few moments, momentarily startling her.
Natalie glanced up to see Bruno, giving her a curious look as he tried his best not to laugh. She stopped walking, giving him a shrug and a smile.
“Happy birthday,” he said as he walked up to her, grabbing both her hands with a smile.
“Thanks,” Natalie said as she glanced up from her toes. “I see you’ve showered for the occasion,” she said with a small laugh, referring to his still-damp curls.
Bruno shrugged his shoulders with a tiny smirk before he looked back at her. “I got you a presenttt,” he said in an almost singing voice.
“I said this wasn’t a present kind of a birthday,” Natalie said in response to him.
He shrugged his shoulders again, reaching his hand down to his pocket. “Well I figured I’d get you something anyways,” He said as he pulled out a small wooden box, handing it to her.
Natalie rolled her eyes at his offering, taking it from his hands. She opened the top of the box, finding a brown, leathered bracelet. She picked it up, turning it over in her hands to the side that had a small, flat piece of wood weaved into it.
“Mom said girls like things with meanings,” He said, glancing at the bracelet as she held it. “…and bracelets.” He added a small smile, knowing it really wasn’t an expensive gift. “Nakeli,” he said as Natalie glanced at the small lettering carved into it. “It means Natalie in Hawaiian.”
Natalie smiled up at him. “Oh God Bruno, you’re too adorable,” she said with a small laugh. “Oh and what’s the inside say?” She asked as she noticed a small phrase also carved on the inside of the bracelet.
“Hau`oli Momona ‘Umi Kumaono,” Bruno replied simply. “Happy sweet sixteen,” He said with a cheeky smile, scrunching his face up over dramatically. “I mean, I know how much you hate Hawaii,” he added sarcastically, referring to her freaking out over the move here back in September.
Natalie laughed, rolling her eyes as he laughed back at her. Oh gosh, he’s so cheesy. “Thank you, Bruno,” Natalie said as she reached out to hug him. “I still think it’s perfect.”
When Natalie leaned back from the hug, she felt Bruno lower his hand to her back, pulling her in back close to him as he hooked his free hand with hers. “Bruno, what are you doing?” Natalie asked with a small laugh, giving him a questioning look.
“Let’s dance,” he stated as he gently moved to the sound of the soft music that could still be heard from over by the recreation area. She didn’t object to him, but simply allowed him to gently sway with her body.
“So how about that June ninth?” Bruno asked after a long moment of silence. Natalie reached up to smack him on the chest as he laughed.
“Only you can turn a decent mood into something dirty…” She said, shaking her head at him.
“I’m sorry,” Bruno said with a small laugh, looking back at her. “I’ll help you with that,” he added as he glanced down to the bracelet she still held, taking it from her hand and tying it onto her wrist.
Natalie looked at it for a second before looking back up to Bruno. She reached her hands up, grasping both sides of his face, giving him a soft kiss on the lips. When she pulled back, she smiled brightly at him. “Thank you again,” she said, seeing his eyes light up.
He nodded his head, biting back his bottom lip. After staring at him for another few seconds, Natalie shook her head. “I don’t really want to leave,” she said, knowing that it was getting to be about that time.
“Then I’ll walk you home,” Bruno said, reaching down to grab her hand as he turned around to begin walking towards her house alongside the water.
When they were about halfway there, Natalie turned to Bruno, thinking again. “Hey Bruno?” She asked, giving him a curious look.
“Hmm?” He replied, turning to face her as well.
“Are we dating?” She asked, getting straight to the point, wondering what his take on everything was.
Bruno shrugged his shoulders. “What do you think?”
Natalie mirrored him, shrugging her own shoulders. “I don’t want to say the wrong thing…” she stated not knowing what Bruno really thought.
“Well I think we made it pretty obvious that night at the fire,” He replied, raising an eyebrow at her with a cheeky smile as he threw his arm over her shoulder, squeezing her into a sideways hug.
“So that’s a yes?” Natalie asked, turning her head to look back at him.
“I believe that is a yes,” Bruno replied, kissing her softly on the top of her head.