Eric and Annika are in a long-time relationship, they moved to a modern open concept apartment a while ago.
They are celebrating their eighth year as a couple this day.
The 28-year-old man is sitting in the living room watching tv, his phone goes off with a notification, he takes it to read on the lock screen that the shipping of his order is an hour delayed.
He had to think fast. He scratches his chin and lets out a heavy sigh. He desperately needs a distraction since he previously promised his girlfriend that her gift would be in her hands before they go out to dinner.
Eric quickly glances at the bathroom and walks closer toward the door to hear the sound of the water. Annika is still taking a shower.
The gift she gave to him is resting on the coffee table, giving him a dirty look, and judging him since he didn’t plan better, what he selected for her wasn’t here.
He walks to his side of the bed and opens the first drawer of the nightstand to take out a metal box, from there he takes a smaller box, and he opens it to reveal a pair of white gold earrings that had small diamonds surrounding each hoop. These earrings were one of his mom’s most cherished possessions, now it was Annika’s turn to wear them. Eric was supposed to keep the earrings since they belonged to his recently deceased mother but he thinks that they are too pretty to keep in a drawer, and Annika would flaunt them a lot better.
With the earring box in his hand, he walks straight to Annika’s bookshelf with a memorable idea, he grabs one of her favorite mystery novels and opens it at the half to start passing pages and sees a quote highlighted with black ink.
Carrying five books, he takes a seat at his desk and starts writing the quotes he selected on his laptop.
To give it a nice touch, he changed the font into a cute but legible cursive. Happy with the result, he turns on the printer.
Then, he takes the sheet of paper with the freshly printed words on it and cuts it into five long rectangles, he folds it once and places the quote in the middle of the three respective books.
Eric opens a drawer and finds a package of white-colored small organza bags; he rolls the paper that contains the first quote to place it inside a bag.
Afterward, he hides the box of earrings in the spot that occurred to him and sits down to wait for Annika to come out of the bathroom.
26-year-old Annika walks out as she’s trying to get rid of the knots in her wet hair with her fingers, Eric walks to her to intercept her before she enters their room to do her makeup.
– I have something for you – he calls to get her attention
– You do?
Eric nods and takes the organza bag out of his pocket to offer it to her.
– What is it? – she takes the bag, dubious
– A preview of your present
– Yes. You just have to find it to make things interesting
She shrugs and takes the piece of paper out of the bag.
– Let’s do it your way – she smiles, excited, and unveils the first quote –. Her name, sharp and jagged like a star cut from cardboard with pointed scissors – she reads out loud and gazes at Eric with an arched eyebrow
– Go ahead. The two of us know you already figured out who wrote that, and which book it belongs to
Mama knows her books! Annika says confidently to herself and turns to her bookshelf to take her copy of The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and shakes the book until a piece of paper falls to the floor.
She then clears her throat to read the next quote.
– Music and beauty are salt in my sadness – she turns to Eric –. It’s from The Time Traveler’s Wife, am I right?
She looks at him and he smiles.
– I’ll never forget that movie. It’s pretty traumatic – he avoids her question skillfully
– I prefer the book
– Of course you do, you’re such a bookworm
Eric shakes his head as he sees she’s taking out the right book. His left leg trembles, a nervous trait he never could overcome. She’s nearly finished, and his gift isn’t here yet, also the time of their dinner is closer.
– And I’m proud of being a bookworm, thanks a lot – she sticks her tongue out at him and lowers her eyes –. You have a great talent for observation. Ears, eyes, and heart, all at once – she looks at her boyfriend –. You didn’t forget it’s my favorite
– Of course, I wouldn’t be able to forget it, I even remember that you cried and then you made me cry
Annika reads the next quote and purses her lips.
– Which book is this quote from?
– You’re supposed to find that out yourself, my love
– Books are better than tv – she repeats, searchy
Eric’s hands start to sweat, he unlocks his phone once again to find out how much time it will take before he receives his order.
Even as he reads that the delivery man is near, he can’t help but start biting a nail.
Eric looks up to see that Annika is taking out the book that contains the last quote. He makes a face, nervous about what is going to happen next.
Annika unfolds the paper and reads quickly.
– Really nice eyes to draw – she repeats
– Yours aren’t just really nice – he couldn’t help but give her a tiny clue, she’s been doing such a great job playing along and it was a special day, he ended up helping her despite his thoughts of letting her look for the quote in every single book of her bookshelf or whatever that could give him more time
Eric loved her eyes and liked to remind her every time he could. The windows of her soul were so ravishing.
Annika smiles widely and walks closer to the living room’s sofa, in the wall where the back of the couch is placed, there is a painting of a pair of gray eyes, as deep as hers.
She looks closely and sees there is an unusual bump in the upper left corner of the black frame.
The doorbell rings and Eric runs to receive the package whilst Annika is focused on taking off her flip-flops to be able to reach what was there.
Eric closes the door and opens the package in the kitchen, hurriedly. Inside the cardboard box, he finds a red gift bag with a red bow that has a white heart print. He sighs relieved after reviewing his order is correct and made it the way it was supposed to.
Eric looks up to see Annika putting the earrings on, he smiles and walks to where she is with the bag in his hands to then sit next to her.
– I love them. Thank you
– I’m glad – he smiles and cups her face in his hands as she cut the distance to kiss his lips –. Happy anniversary
Once they pull over, he gives her the gift bag.
She looks up at him as soon as she sees the ring, he tries to swallow the lump in his throat.
– Will you marry me? – he asks as he takes her hands in his.
Re-imagined number 1:
Annika curled up with her latest novel on the couch in their living room. She was engrossed in the pages, hardly noticing when Eric approached.
"Happy anniversary, love," he whispered, pressing a soft kiss to the top of her head.
Annika set her book on her lap and smiled up at him. “Happy anniversary," she said, feeling warmth spread through her chest.
"I have something special planned for us today," Eric said, a mischievous glint in his eyes. "I hope you're ready for a bit of adventure."
Annika's heart fluttered in her chest. She loved surprises and she loved spending time with Eric.
"What is it?" she asked excitedly.
Eric reached into his pocket and pulled out a small piece of paper. "This is your first clue," he said, handing her the scrap.
Annika unfolded it and read the message scrawled in Eric's neat handwriting.
"To find the next clue in our treasure hunt, look no further than your favorite childhood book. Page 42 holds the key."
Annika grinned as she leaped up from the couch, eager to start the search. She dashed to her bookshelf and pulled out her hardcover copy of "Heidi." She flipped to page 42 and tucked between the words, was another clue.
The treasure hunt took them all over town, following a trail of book quotes and sweet memories from their years together. Annika laughed and chatted with Eric as they explored, feeling so grateful for this wonderful day.
As they reached the end of the treasure hunt, Eric led Annika to a secluded spot in the park. He rummaged in his pocket once again, then grimaced.
"I have a confession to make," he said, looking a bit sheepish. "I ordered your ring online, and it's going to be delayed a bit longer than I thought."
Annika only shrugged, smiling contentedly. "That's okay," she said. "I don't need a ring to know how much you love me."
Eric's eyes shone with happiness as he reached for her hand. "Annika, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to read books beside you, explore the world with you, and love you always. Will you marry me?"
Annika's breath caught in her throat as she gazed into Eric's eyes. Without hesitation, she threw her arms around his neck and exclaimed, "Yes! A thousand times yes!"
They embraced, laughing and crying tears of joy as the sun set behind them. Together, they knew, their love was a treasure beyond measure.
Re-imagined number 2 :
Annika woke up to a beautiful bouquet of red roses sitting on the living room bookshelf. She smiled, feeling incredibly lucky to have Eric in her life. Today was their third anniversary, and she couldn't believe how fast the time had flown by.
As she reached for her newest book to resume her reading, she noticed a small note between the pages. She flipped through the pages, finding a quote that Eric had highlighted. The note read, "Anniversary celebrations are nothing without a little adventure. Are you ready for a treasure hunt?"
Annika felt a spark of excitement. Eric knew her so well. She loved puzzles, games, and scavenger hunts. She quickly put on her shoes and followed his clues around their apartment, collecting quotes and clues from her most beloved novels.
As she pieced together the quotes, she found herself standing in front of a locked treasure box. Eric had bought this treasure box for her last year, and she loved the way it looked. She tried all sorts of combinations to open the lock, her birthday, his birthday, the day they met, the day their relationship began, the day they moved in together but none of them worked.
As she was about to give up, Eric arrived back at their apartment, sweating from running errands. He explained that he had bought her anniversary gift online, but it had been delayed, and he had to pick it up from the store. He suggested they go out for a walk to distract her and enjoy the sunny afternoon.
Annika agreed, but the excitement of the treasure hunt was still at the back of her mind. As they walked, Eric talked about the first time they met, how she looked so beautiful in her book club meeting, and how he fell in love with her smile. With every word he said, Annika's heart skipped a beat.
As they walked, Eric suddenly stopped, turned to Annika, and took her hands in his. He told her that he loved her and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Annika's eyes filled with tears as Eric pulled out a small box from his pocket, revealing a ring.
Annika was overwhelmed with emotion, and she happily accepted his proposal. She couldn't believe how Eric had planned and orchestrated the proposal. She had been so focused on the treasure hunt that she had not even realized what was going on.
The couple hugged, kissed, and celebrated their special day. As they walked back to their apartment, Eric unlocked the treasure box. Inside was a beautiful new hardcover edition of Annika's favorite book, along with a note that said, "Annika, you are the treasure I was looking for."
Annika was thrilled. She knew that the rest of her life was going to be filled with love, adventure, and treasure hunts with Eric.
Note: This short story was once a script for school, I ended up writing something else for the final, and I didn’t want to keep this for myself since I find it pretty sweet.
The quotes I incorporated into the story are from novels I have on my bookshelf, I’m a bookworm, just like Annika.
Look them up, I swear they’re masterpieces:
* The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: “Her name, Ivory, sharp and jagged like a star cut from cardboard with pointed scissors. Her name as a weapon.”
* The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: “Music and beauty are salt in my sadness.”
* The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton: “You have a great talent for observation. Ears, eyes, and heart, all at once.”
* The Bookworm Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts: “There are these inventions called books. I’ve heard they’re even better than TV.”
* Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis: “They’re really nice eyes. I mean, to, like, draw.”
Let me know which one was your favorite!
I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you for reading!
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