Ivan had been dreading today like it was an apocalypse. A day that was supposed to be happy, to be celebrated with lots of family and friends.
It was never like that anymore, though.
Ivan hated his birthday more than anything. He always thanked his 'friends' when they sent him a text or wished him a happy birthday through Facebook, but he never really meant it. If they really cared about his birthday, they'd be spending it with him.
So now, like every year, Ivan leaves his apartment and makes his way into town,
crisp white snow falling around him.
Christmas had been around a week ago, and couples and families were walking around late at night, having fun and celebrating.
Loneliness overwhelmed him as he remembered his time with his sisters, Natalia and Yekatarina, and his servants, Toris, Eduard and Raivis. Even though his servants hated him and his sister's were crazily in love with him, he felt happy with the company.
But now he was alone. He should have seen it coming, as all good things come to an end one day.
As he snuggled his face deeper into his scarf, his head turned for a quick second. He spotted a cake in a small bakery's window. It was in the shape of a sunflower, the 'leaves' painted the perfect summer yellow. It looked delicious, Ivan had to have it.
He pushed open the heavy door and stepped in, warm air hitting his face. He ordered the cake, a pretty baker giving it to him. After paying, he left for his favourite cafe.
When arriving, it looked like everyone in the town had the same idea as him. It was almost full.
A table next to the large windows was occupied by only one girl, so Ivan crept quietly over to her.
"Um...excuse me?" He muttered. The girl jumped, turning her head.
"Uh, yes?" She asked, smiling.
"Can I sit here?" He pointed to the seats opposite, "There's no where else". The girl nodded.
She spotted his bag, noticing the bakery logo.
"Ah, did you just buy a cake? I love that bakery, they make great desserts!" The girl cheered in a quiet voice. Ivan chuckled.
"Would you like to see?" He asked. She nodded.
He picked the box up out of the bag and placed it on the table, opening it.
The girl aww'd, admiring it.
"It's so cute! Sunflowers are my favourite flower, are they yours?".
Ivan nodded, looking at the girl properly as she stared at the cake.
She was small and delicate, her scarf wrapped tightly around her neck, fluffy mittens covering her hands. Her jumper was obviously to big for her, and she had only one bag.
She looked up and noticed Ivan staring.
He came back to reality, scratching his neck, awkwardly.
"I'm ________. Nice to meet you, Ivan. Your from Russia?"
Ivan nodded, again.
"Why'd you buy a cake? Celebrating with family, or something?" She asked, resting her chin in her hand. Ivan looked down at his lap, sadly shaking his head.
"Ah, I get it. I didn't have anyone to celebrate Christmas with, either".
Ivan looked up and smiled, shyly.
She shrugged, "I don't see my family that often. And I don't have a boyfriend or anything".
"Oh. I'm sorry to hear that" Ivan muttered, knowing exactly how she felt.
"So..the cake?" She began.
"Ah..it's my birthday..."
The girl grinned.
"Ahh! I should have guessed! How old'r you?"
Ivan grinned back, laughing a little.
"Twenty three. You?".
"Twenty two. I'll turn twenty three in November next year".
Ivan smiled, feeling strangely comfortable around this girl. He'd only just met her and now he was telling her about himself.
'This is probably what loneliness does to you'.
It was getting late, and even though Ivan hasn't bought anything from the cafe, he stood up.
"I better get going, ________. It was nice to meet you" Ivan began walking away, feeling exceedingly happy, when he heard movement behind him.
"Wait, Ivan!" _______ shouted, running over to him, "Lets walk together".
_________ and Ivan shared laughs and memories together as they walked to Ivan's apartment building. When they reached it, Ivan looked sad.
"You alright?" ________ asked. Ivan shrugged, then had an idea.
"_________? Wanna come eat some cake with me?" Ivan asked her, holding up the bag. ________ grinned, nodding her head rapidly.
When they reached Ivan's apartment, he looked the door behind them and placed the cake down on the kitchen countertop. He shrugged off his outerwear, hanging them up. ________ stood awkwardly near the door.
"You okay?" Ivan asked. She nodded.
"I've haven't been invited round someone's house for ages" She mumbled. Ivan smiled, sadly. He walked over to her and gently pulled off her coat and scarf hanging them up with his own. She kicked off her shoes and Ivan led her to the sofa.
"Nice place" She complimented. Ivan thanked her.
He took out a knife and cut the cake, carefully, making the pieces exactly the same size. He placed two on plates, took out the cutlery and walked over to ________, who was admiring the view of the city. Ivan was lucky in a way, that he had such an amazing view that he could see from his sofa.
Looking at the city at night had always been comforting for Ivan, and ________ too.
He handed her the cake and they began to eat in silence, both of them being hungry from the absence of food in the cafe. When finished, Ivan and ________ washed up the plates and sat back on the sofa. They had they're legs crossed while facing each other, continuing what they'd been talking about on the way here.
"So, Ivan? What time'd you turn twenty three?" She asked. Ivan looked over at the clock, and smiled.
"Now.." Ivan muttered. ________ giggled.
"Happy Birthday!" She cheered, in the exact way that Yekatarina did. His mind automatically filled with those memories once again, making tears fill his violet eyes and run down his face. ________ looked strangely at him.
"Ivan? Ivan! What's wrong?" She asked. Ivan leaned forward, placing his head in his hands.
"Thank you" he whispered, "Thank you for spending my birthday with me. Thank you so much".
Tears splashed onto the sofa, Ivan's sniffling and cries filling the room. ________ leaned forward and held him in her arms, rubbing his back. She'd never felt so happy, yet so sad, to be with a stranger before.
"Ivan...we can be friends. Then we won't be alone anymore".
Ivan nodded into her shoulder, holding on tightly to her clothes, scared that she'd leave.
"You'll never be alone anymore" She mumbled, tears spilling out her eyes as well.