Elaina grinned up at her mother, who even now was lost in her memories. “Mama, did the Tess-lady ever be nice?” she sleepily asked.
Mitchie looked down at her daughter and smiled. “Yes, sweetie, she did. She found someone to love her, and she created a family of her own, and she’s very happy.”
At Shane’s chuckle, Mitchie turned her gaze to her husband, giving him a questioning look. “We really need to call her and see if Alexandra wants to come over and play soon,” he suggested.
Alexandra was Tess’ seven year old daughter, who was one of Elaina’s best friends and an absolute joy to have around. “Elaina’d probably like that.”
“More story, Mama,” Elaina yawned.
Frustration on one’s birthday was not pleasant. It had been warring inside her with the curiosity of Ella’s surprise gift, the one she was currently scouring her closet for clothes for. Her friend had told her to be ready to go by eight, for another birthday surprise, this one from Jason and Nate. She couldn’t possibly understand how they’d managed to keep something like this a secret from her. In the few years she’d known them, she’d learned to wrap the two of them around her finger and get out of them things they probably would have wished she hadn’t. As their honorary little sister, she was honor bound to drive them nuts, only this time, it was working in reverse.
‘Wear something sexy!’ Ella had yelled as she’d fled Mitchie and Shane’s house, having relayed the need to make sure the last minute details for the surprise were taken care of.
She didn’t want to wear sexy, not with Shane being nowhere in sight. Sexy meant drawing unwanted attention, and without her boyfriend around, she had no one to fend off the men she seemed to attract. She had blossomed in her three years since meeting Shane at Camp Rock. Gone was the shy, timid, friendless girl; in her stead was a confident, mature, beautiful woman. With a huge sigh, she stared at her choices. Most everything she owned was little black dresses, and the few that weren’t, they were a deep, forest green – Shane’s favorite color.
Closing her eyes, she plucked one of the dresses from her closet and spun on her heel, heading for the bathroom. It was just after three. If she was going to be ready in time, and looking ‘sexy’ as Ella wanted, she needed time to prep and primp.
At approximately seven forty five, just as she was coming down the stairs, the doorbell rang. Taking a deep breath, she crossed the foyer in seconds, opening the door to the suited gentleman outside. “Can I help you?” she asked, then smiled. “Hi Reggie!”
Reggie Carbon was Connect 3’s limo driver whenever they were in Los Angeles and doing press and guest appearances. “Hi Ms. Torres. Ready?”
“Huh?” Mitchie asked, perplexed.
“Ms. Lopez asked me to pick you up for your surprise,” he grinned. “By the way, happy birthday.”
Mitchie just laughed. “Thanks Reggie. Let me grab my purse and we’re ready to roll.” She raced back into the kitchen, grabbing her little black purse and her house keys before dashing outside to the waiting limo. “Say, Reggie, where are we going?”
Mitchie’s eyes widened when a half hour later the limo pulled up on Sunset Boulevard right in front of the famed Whisky A GO GO nightclub. “Reggie?”
“Have a lovely night, I’ll be here to drive you home at closing, okay?” he grinned to her, helping her out of the car. There were crowds lined up around the side of the building, mostly girls about her age and just a bit older, all looking ready to rock. “Would you like me to escort you in?”
“Um…” Mitchie breathed, nodding as he grinned. He held out his arm for her and led her to the entrance.
“This is Ms. Torres, she’s here to see Ms. Lopez,” Reggie explained to the doorman.
“ID please.” Mitchie dug into her purse, handed the guy her ID, then stuffed it back in when he smiled at her. “Happy Birthday, Ms. Torres. Head on in, your party’s waiting for you near the entrance.”
“Thanks Reggie,” Mitchie waved before she headed into the club.
“Mama!” Elaina protested, even though she was almost asleep.
Mitchie gave her daughter a stern look before leaning down to kiss the top of her head. “Go to sleep my baby, I’ll finish the story another time,” she promised, watching her child slid into sleep. Waiting a few minutes, she crept from the room, Shane right behind her.
They silently made their way to their bedroom, where they curled together on their bed, taking advantage of their daughter’s nap. “You had a great birthday that year, didn’t you?” Shane mumbled as he started to fall asleep.
“It was one of the best birthdays ever,” she assured him as she too fell asleep, her mind floating back into the memories of her birthday.
She entered to the throbbing sounds of Leona Lewis’ song Bleeding Love and a sea of people on the dance floor. One shapely eyebrow shot up as she looked around, wondering exactly what Ella, Jason and Nate had gotten her into. When she looked to her right, she caught sight of a huge banner that read ‘Happy Birthday Mitchie’ and was surrounded by green and silver balloons.
“HEY BIRTHDAY GIRL!” Ella’s voice could barely be heard over the roar of the music. Mitchie smiled, rolled her eyes, and headed for her friend.
“Good frigging lord, Ella!” she laughed, hugging her friend. Ella’s dark hair was pulled up into an intricate French-twist with springy curls framing her face. She wore a short mini dress in metallic red that sparkled each time she moved and the lights caught it just right and a pair of stilettos in the same vibrant red.
Ella didn’t get to say anything before a tall figured approached the two. Dressed in tight black slacks and a yellow and black halter, her hair curling around her luminous face, Caitlyn Gellar looked dressed to impress and ready to kill any man who so much as looked at her wrong. “Cait?” Mitchie uttered, then threw her arms around her best friend.
“Oh please, you think I’d let the day pass and not be here?” Caitlyn laughed and hugged her close. “Welcome to adulthood!”
“I’m soooo happy to see you!” Mitchie gushed, blinking back tears. Her birthday hadn’t been the greatest, but it was ending on a positive note. “When did you get in?”
Caitlyn rolled her eyes and the three girls moved back to the table piled high with presents. “Earlier this morning. Took the first flight out of JFK.”
“Wow, where did all these come from?” Mitchie asked, gesturing to the presents.
“The boys,” Ella laughed. “Not to mention all your friends at work, who are here, by the way, and the guys’ road crew.”
Mitchie just shook her head and smiled. The in house lights suddenly went down and a gentleman stepped onto the stage. “Thank you all for coming tonight, and without further ado, our performers for this evening.”
Applause broke out when the lights went out and then suddenly the strains of a very familiar song started. Tears welled in Mitchie’s eyes when the guitar entrance started and the lights came up, and the first part of the song spilled forth…
How's it going?
I hear it's wonderful in California
I've been missing you
I'm gonna fly
I'm gonna fly
'Cause I could come across the world,
And see everything
And never be satisfied
If I couldn't see those eyes
Her eyes locked onto Shane’s as he stood at the microphone, his hands cupped around the mic, lips moving as he sang to her. Every cell in her body burned with the knowledge that he was here, that he was singing to her, that he’d made it for her birthday.
Even as he sang, she murmured the words along with him, knowing each chord, bar, word and tone of the song by heart. This had been their song during their first separation and then their first reunion after their summer at Camp Rock.
She knew each time he sang it, he thought of her, and every time she heard it on the radio or on a c.d., she closed her eyes and pictured him sitting on a stool in front of a mic, singing his heart out before Nate and Jase joined him.
When the song finally came to an end, the room erupted into applause before Shane took the mic again. “Thank you everyone, for coming out. That song, we wanted to dedicate to three very special ladies in the house tonight – Ella, Caitlyn, and tonight’s birthday girl, Mitchie. Before we get started on the next song, we want to take a minute and wish Mitchie a happy birthday, so everyone sing along with me!”
Tears spilled down her cheeks as the entire club burst into an off key rendition of happy birthday, which saw Shane stepping off stage and joining her on the dance floor. When they were done, he handed his mic back to one of the roadies and reached up to cup her face. “Happy Birthday, Mitchie,” he whispered before he took her mouth in a sweet, love filled, emotion laden kiss.
They pulled apart a moment later and Shane reached for his side, switching on his portable microphone just as Nate and Jason started up the next song. The chords burst forth, a rich hue of electric and bass guitars before the drums began. She smiled when she realized what song it was, and unconsciously began singing along with the words…
If the heart is always searching,
Can you ever find a home?
I've been looking for that someone,
I'll never make it on my own
Dreams can't take the place of loving you,
There's gotta be a million reasons why it's true.
As the boys belted out the chorus, Shane drew her into his arms and began turning circles with her, his hands resting at her slim hips, his body rubbing against hers every so often. As the words tumbled out of his mouth, she smiled even brighter, knowing he meant them with all his heart. Just as the song was ending, he brought her hand to his lips and pecked a quick kiss to the soft skin before he turned and headed back to the stage to finish with his band mates.
Mitchie reached out and grabbed both Caitlyn and Ella’s hands as the song came to a close and applause rose up around them. “Come on, they’re only doing one more song tonight then they’re done,” Caitlyn whispered as the three girls headed back to their table.
They couldn’t make out the words of the song that was blaring out of the speakers, but it had a great bass line and made for good dancing, so the three of them were doing just that – standing in a circle, dancing amongst the rest of the crowd on the floor. The boys’ three song set had ended a few minutes before, and they were now in the back changing before coming out.
Eyes closed, Mitchie gave herself over to the pounding pulse of the music. Her hips swayed back and forth to the beat, arms thrown above her head, and her head thrown back. She made an alluring picture dressed in a frothy forest green concoction that barely left anything to the imagination. Her legs were encased in fishnet stockings and thigh high, black leather boots that looked liked the ones straight out of the movie Pretty Woman. She knew there were men watching her, they’d had their eyes on her the entire night, despite Shane’s very open display of affection during the guys’ set.
She was so lost to the music that she didn’t realize what was going on around her until a pair of warm hands slid across her hips, fingers digging into the front of her pelvis, drawing her back against a hard, hot body. Her eyes snapped open and she made to shove away from the body until a pair of warm, silky smooth lips touched the side of her neck in a caress all too familiar. “Are you trying to kill me in that outfit?” a much beloved voice hissed in her ear seconds before a pair of teeth scarped her earlobe.
Her voice remained silent as she chose instead to let her actions speak for her. Grinning wickedly, she leaned forward in his embrace and began to grind her butt into his body, making sure to keep constant contact with the part of him that was rapidly swelling against the restraining denim of his jeans. He let out a groan of appreciation and frustration that had her spinning around in his arms, their mouths meeting the instant she was facing him.
In that instant, the entire world ceased to exist. There was only the two of them, together at last, after months of separation. So hungry for each other were they that they forgot where they were and almost let their embrace head into the danger zone. “GET A ROOM!” Caitlyn’s voice cut through the music.
“Kiss my ass,” Shane’s disgruntled voice sent all five of the others into a fit of laughter. He shot glares at Jason and Nate before turning his attention back to his girlfriend. “What a welcome home.”
“I’ll give you a better one when we actually do get home,” she whispered in his ear, causing him to groan and pull her body tighter to his. Just as she could feel his arousal against her stomach, he could feel the twin tight points of her breasts digging into his chest through her very thin dress and his cotton shirt. “Thank you,” she murmured, looking up into his eyes, her hands brushing his long locks out of his face.
“A spectacular birthday,” she grinned. “I got what I wanted the most.”
He smiled down at her, nipping her nose and then her lips before pulling back. “And what was that?”
“You, home, with me. And later, you’re gonna make love to me until neither of us can walk straight, understood?”
Shane’s loud groan was all the acknowledgement she needed.