Eliza filled the fridge with treats; Scarlett’s cooking made the apartment smell delicious. It brought a host of neighbours knocking on their door. Eliza had hoped to keep this as a family event since Charlotte and Caleb wanted to be present for Milly’s big day. Eliza wondered how time had disappeared. It seemed not too long ago she was moving in, and life was changing for them both. Scarlett almost dropped the stew as Milly ran into the kitchen, screaming. Vicky’s presence in the art community had a positive influence on Milly. She applied and accepted a position with San Myshuno Art Gallery as an apprentice Artist. Milly hesitated, feeling coy, a realisation, she had not checked with Eliza. She assumed she could remain living with her until she got a proper position. Eliza teased, but this place was her home too.
Well-wishers and two hungry children saw the prepared food devoured. Eliza was too slow to stop them from indulging in the birthday cake. She busied herself in the kitchen with a second, leaving Scarlett to play host, topping up the drinks. Milly had found a distraction in the form of Hunter. His jade-green eyes focused on her. A gentle touch of her chin or cheek if she looked down or away from him. Milly spoke of her excitement, about staying in the city to create art. Her dream is to own a gallery to showcase her work. She also hoped to teach the next generation, as her mother taught her.
Interrupting Milly and Hunter was difficult. There were candles to blow, and the twins had already sung happy birthday until they were hoarse. The latter, Eliza believed, was an excuse to indulge in more of the alcohol-free punch. Full of sugar, Patrick hoped the girls would fall asleep in the apartment. He begged Eliza to keep them so he and Leticia could sneak off until the morning. Eliza had an uneasy feeling watching Hunter. He had ignored Milly, at times dismissive of her presence. On her eighteenth birthday, Milly appeared not to notice his sudden change. She felt heated under his gaze, her finger touched his arm when they spoke, and he did not reject. Eliza cleared her throat louder, glaring at Milly. As they headed to the kitchen, Hunter took Milly’s hand, pulling her closer to him. Butterflies danced in her stomach, and eager not to miss the chance, Milly decided to make her move. She wet her lip, her mouth feeling dry. Standing on tiptoes, Milly pressed her lips to Hunters. They were thin and unresponsive as he took a surprising side step. Milly lost her balance, toppling to the sofa. Her cheeks burned, unable to meet his gaze. With a foolish notion and a messy first kiss, Milly was no longer in the birthday mood. Hunter did not say anything. As she cut the cake, he made his exit.
Milly wished the world could swallow her; eyes stung, she ran into her bedroom as the guests departed. Burying herself into the lavender-scented covers, Milly sobbed. Eliza began using the scent when Milly first moved to the city. The sweet floral helped soothe her, lull her into slumber. She hugged the pillow hoping it would offer comfort in her embarrassment. How could she be so foolish? Hunter had shown interest, curious about her future. The magazine she read told her signs to look for in a man. Milly had been stupid, making a mental note and seeing them where there was nothing to find. How could she remain in the apartment, knowing he lived across the hall? She would never be able to show her face again.
Hunter and Milly picture https://www.patreon.com/posts/tv-dont-harass-59551665