"I'm smiling because you're my daughter. I'm laughing because there's nothing you can do about it." (Anon)
I wake up feeling excited. It's my fifteenth birthday today, and although I'm a little old to get excited about growing up, it makes me feel special anyway. Grabbing some casual jeans and a blouse, I shower and then head downstairs, singing at the top of my voice.
"SURPRISE!" yells a whole group of people in the living room, scaring me out of my wits.
"Oh my God," I say, looking at them all. I'm surprised to see Sheryl and Joseph there along with our nosy neighbour Mrs Gardiner and Luke, looking extremely handsome (as always).
They all start singing Happy Birthday to me and I stand there turning pink under all the attention. When it's finally over, there are party poppers and a huge cake along with plenty of food to enjoy.
Mum comes over with Chaz and gives me a big hug, before walking into the kitchen to lie out the plates for ice cream.
I wander over to Sheryl and ask her, "How did you get here?"
"Well, your Mum invited me over, so I brought Joseph along, knowing I couldn't afford to miss your birthday," she grins at me.
I look at Joseph and laugh to myself, noticing how he looks considerably happier than the last time I saw him.
"So, are you two together?" I ask them, trying to look innocent.
"Yes," Joseph answers, and I hide a smirk.
"I'm happy for you. Probably been going on a lot of walks then, huh?" I say under my breath, then ask, "So when's the wedding?"
Sheryl smacks my arm and rolls her eyes, before asking pointedly, "How's your boyfriend? Is that him?"
I look over my shoulder and see Luke chatting animatedly to Mrs Gardiner who seems to have taken an instant liking to him.
"Yup, that's him," I reply with a grin.
Just then Chaz and Mum walk over and they all start helping themselves to ice cream.
I sit down on the sofa and take in the scene before me, feeling happier than I've ever felt before.
Luke comes to sit next to me and takes my hand in his.
"Happy Birthday," he says softly and kisses my cheek.
I smile at him, feeling my heart pounding in my chest. "Thanks."
He pulls me close to him and I lean on his shoulder, remembering all that the people in this room have been through… what Luke has been through, what Sheryl has been through, what Mum and Chaz have been through.
I remember Mum and Chaz getting married… then me being invited to Luke's house by his new foster parents on his birthday… then moving to another school where I could start afresh. So much has happened since Dad died.
And then I remember what Sheryl said to me a while back:
"I believe what is meant to happen, will happen, and when it happens, we just have to prepare ourselves for it and get ourselves through it. After all, that's all that we can do."
A/N: This is the end of this story! Thank you to everyone who has reviewed or read it. Please do criticise constructively. I also need suggestions for a title, since I don't want to keep it 'The search/perfect heaven on earth'. Now, I'll be going back to edit it a little bit - any advice? Take care everyone, and thanks :