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a thousand smiles

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“Nooo, g’way. I sleepy.” Tessa groans flapping her hands at Morgan's face in an attempt to make him go away. He’s been trying to wake her up for the past ten minutes, starting with soft kisses and having to resort to tickles, all of which Tessa has been determined to ignore and sleep through.

He chuckles at her as she grabs the duvet and pulls it over her head. The sun is fully out and Tessa knows she’s already slept in but she has no intentions of getting out of bed anytime soon.

“It’s your birthday!” he says excitedly, sitting on the bed beside her. “It’s gonna be so much fun but I kinda need you to be awake for it, love.”

She turns over and faces him with a huff. “But sleep.” she explains, with a dramatic frown.

“Sleep is better than birthdays?” he questions, gently moving the strand of hair stuck on her upper lip behind her ear. 

She smiles at him. “Yeah.” she says and turns back over. “I like sleep.”

Morgan sits beside her for a moment and watches as she takes small, even breathes, her chest rising and falling. He’s been faced with ‘sleepy Tessa’ before but usually, she gets up eventually knowing she has some kind of work to do. But with today being Sunday, and her birthday, it means her schedule is blissfully empty (a rare occurrence) and with nothing to do she’s more than happy to stay in bed, it seems, meaning if he wants to wake her he’ll have to pull out the big guns. He shuffles closer to her and whispers, “Does that mean I have to eat all the pain au chocolates myself?”

That gets her attention. She lifts her head from the pillow and looks right at him, albeit still half asleep. “Chocolate?” 

“Yep.” he grins, stretching out his hand for her to take. She takes it slowly and he helps her out of bed with a kiss. “I’ll be in the kitchen when you’re ready, okay?” he says, as she heads to the bathroom to freshen up. 

Once she’s done sorting out her bedhead she quickly puts on her fluffy slippers and heads downstairs in search of Morgan, not caring about her current state of dress (black underwear coupled with his oversized sweater). She’s greeted with a generous spread of food, pastries and fruit and eggs and coffee, and a smiling Morgan who looks very pleased with himself.

“Happy birthday, love.” He places a soft kiss on her forehead, then one on her cheek, followed by her nose and finally her lips. Tessa feels a swell of emotions and closes her eyes for a second trying to keep the tears at bay, she’s never woken up to something like this on her birthday before.  

She leans forward and gives Morgan another kiss, this one deeper and more passionate, trying to convey everything she feels and just how much she loves him. He looks down at her and smiles. “Come on.” he says pulling out a chair for her. “Let’s eat.”



“Ok so what do you wanna do?” Morgan asks clearing away breakfast. “We can do this crazy treasure hunt yard thing I saw on the internet or maybe like a luxurious spa day at home. Oh, I can set up a call with everyone and we can do a virtual party, it’ll be just like a real one. You decide.”

Tessa just shrugs her shoulders. “I don’t know. Any of that is fine.” she says slightly unenthusiastically, her elbows resting on the kitchen island.

“Did I do something wrong?” he says, shutting the fridge door and wiping his hands on his orange butterfly tea towel (a gift from his mom). Morgan looks over at Tessa who is staring off into space and probably had no idea what he just said. He walks over to her and wraps his arms around her shoulders from behind leading Tessa to instinctively place her small hands over his, which still makes his heart soar.

“Tess.” He says quietly, clearly aware that something is going on. “Is this too much? If I did something wrong—”

“No, no.” she interrupts quickly, shaking her head and spinning around on the stool. She takes his hand in hers, desperate to stay connected. “It was amazing, I promise. I loved it.” 

“Ok, so the frowny face…” he wonders, tracing the creases of her forehead.

She looks away, staring at the floor and sighs loudly. “I don’t usually make a big deal out of birthdays, most of the time we were touring or I was stuck doing work. So this is all pretty new for me.” she explains, still refusing to look at him. She doesn’t want to hurt his feelings but she’s just not that into birthdays the way he seems to be.

He squeezes her hand and urges her to continue. “I love that you did this for me, and I love you a lot but birthdays aren’t really my thing. I figured we’d just stay in and watch movies, maybe call my family and check in on them. Or we can just go back to bed and burn off all those breakfast calories.” she smirks, trying to lighten the mood.

His face matches hers as he realises what she’s suggesting. “Is that what you want?”

Her fingers trace up his arm and round his neck, her mood brightening at the thought of sex with him. “Yes. Do you think you can help me out with that?”

Morgan nods vigorously. “Absolutely. Are you free now or…?”

Tessa lets out a laugh, loving how easily he makes her feel relaxed and carefree and kisses his jaw. “I’m free now.” She kisses her way along his jaw and towards his lips when he pulls away slightly. 

He cups her face in both hands and strokes his thumb along her cheek. “Thank you for telling me how you feel. About the birthday thing. It means a lot.” Tessa blushes and leans into his touch. “Ok, that’s all. Let’s go have sex now.” he says, well aware that Tessa and feelings are a tricky path to navigate (he doesn’t want to push her) and her opening up is a gradual process but one that he is grateful to be a part of.   

“I love you.” she mumbles into his lips as he slips his hands under her ass and lifts her off the stool.

“I love you too.” he responds, carrying her to bed and kicking the door closed behind him.



They’re lying on the couch as the sun sets through the window, the TV on quietly in the background. Tessa’s head is lying on Morgan’s lap as he feeds her pieces of the chocolate cake, which he picked up from the store a few days ago, every so often.

“What did you wish for?” he asks breaking off a piece and eating it himself.

“If I tell you it might not come true.” 

“I guess, but if you don’t tell me how am I supposed to make it happen in time for next year?” he tells her, eager to make her next birthday just as good as this one.

Even although she’ll probably never be as passionate as him when it comes to birthdays, his enthusiasm for celebrating this milestone has grown on her throughout the day and she can’t help but be excited at his casual admission that he wants to spend her next birthday with her. The idea that he wants to make her it special and get whatever her wish was is incredible but she can’t help but feel a little surprised. “You’d get my wish for me?”

“Love.” Morgan whispers, putting the plate on the table beside him. “I’d do anything for you.”

She smiles again for what feels like the thousand time this day, her cheeks surely going to hurt tomorrow morning but with the way he’s looking at her, she really doesn’t mind. She sits up and hugs him tightly (again probably for about the thousand time today). “I asked for a puppy. You don’t have to get me one but that’s what I wished for.”

“Good to know.” he says, placing a soft kiss into her hair and running his hand down her back. “Just for the record, what kind of dog are we talking about here?”

They spend the next twenty minutes discussing puppies and dog toys and names and by the time she’s ready to climb into bed, Tessa realises that her wish isn’t just for a puppy but to get one with Morgan. For them to be able to get a little fur baby of their own to love and care for, to add to this little unit (read family, but she’s not quite ready to call them that yet) they have. She wants to spend next year cuddled up with their puppy, in their home surrounded by the people she loves, and for the first time she truly looking forward to celebrating her birthday.