"And then I jump through the window with the cake in my hands -" Pretending like she was holding a cake, Ruby did a little roll on the ground and popped back to her feet. "And yell 'surprise!' with everyone else!"
Having explained her master plan in full, Ruby excitedly waited for Blake's response - but for a few seconds, Blake just stared. When she stopped staring, she opened her mouth to say something, then paused and shook her head.
She was speechless, which Ruby hoped was a good sign.
Blake sat back against the sofa, then sat forward and put her elbows on her knees - her eyes never leaving Ruby.
"You're going to jump through a window...while holding a cake?"
"Yeah! Wouldn't that be cool?"
"Sure…" Tapping her fingers on her leg, Blake opened and closed her mouth a couple times before speaking again.
"After the trained tiger delivers the gifts?"
"Yeah!" Ruby replied, beaming at Blake's remembrance of the elaborate plan she'd spilled over the past fifteen minutes.
It was going to be big. It was going to be epic. It was going to be the best party in the history of parties (at least, in the history of parties planned by Ruby).
"Do you think that maybe this is too...ambitious?" Blake finally asked. Her expression was gentle, like she was afraid of hurting Ruby's feelings, but Ruby didn't feel hurt at all!
"It is!" she agreed. "That's why I need your help - between the two of us, I'm sure we can do anything!"
"Well…" Leaning back, Blake looked both flattered and amused by Ruby's desperate request for help. "We can try. Honestly though, this seems like something Weiss should plan."
"But Weiss can't plan it! The party is for her!"
In just a few weeks, the second best day of the year would arrive - Weiss' birthday! Of course, Weiss didn't like to celebrate her birthday as much as she liked celebrating Ruby's, but that was going to change! This year, Ruby planned a super elaborate, awesome party for Weiss, so she could enjoy her birthday as much as Ruby always did.
"Ok, so without Weiss' organization and planning skills, social connections, or wallet, you want to plan this huge surprise party - and you want my help."
When Blake gave Ruby a look that requested a confirmation, she nodded.
"That's exactly it!"
Even though Blake chuckled and shook her head, Ruby knew that she would help - because Blake always agreed to help. Even if the problem was stupid or small, Blake would help Ruby fix it - which made her the best sister-in-law ever! Plus, a really great friend.
"Then we have a lot of work to do," Blake said, reaching out for the notebook that held Ruby's plans.
"Yes!" Pumping her fist and moving into 'birthday-planning' mode, Ruby paced the living room floor while Blake flipped through the ideas in the book. "Ok, so first we...we...what should we do first?"
Closing the notebook and setting it back on the table, Blake smiled.
"First, we need to teach you how to lie."
That response was not at all what Ruby expected, and her expression probably said as much.
"Even if we can find a trained tiger and a few trapeze artists," Blake explained, waving towards the notebook. "It won't matter if you can't keep this a secret from Weiss."
"I can keep it a secret!" When Blake gave Ruby a look of disbelief, Ruby raised both hands. "What? I totally can! I keep secrets from her all the time!"
"Do you really?" Blake asked, raising her brow.
Having been called on the bluff, Ruby immediately dropped the act.
"No...but I can if I need to!"
The response made Blake lean back on the sofa and laugh, looking more than a little entertained at the idea that Ruby could keep a secret from Weiss.
"I've watched you try," Blake added, leveling Ruby with a steady stare. "You get nervous, and she sees right through you."
Even though Ruby wanted to argue, she felt her nerves rising the longer Blake looked at her. And the more nervous she got, the more she wanted to spill all the thoughts running through her mind right now. So, instead of arguing, she averted her eyes and ran a hand through her hair.
"But then...how do I keep this a surprise?"
"You need to learn how to lie," Blake repeated, looking way too casual about using such a strong word.
"But I don't want to lie to Weiss!"
"Then what will you say when she asks you if you're planning a surprise party for her?"
While Blake waited for an answer, Ruby thought through her options. She wanted the party to be a surprise because that's part of what made them so much fun! Not expecting anything special, then surprise! Something special happens. To Ruby, it was an awesome moment when her friends and family jumped out of nowhere - with cakes and presents in hand. If she wanted Weiss to experience that feeling too, she needed to keep this a secret.
"I guess...it's not bad if it's for a good reason, right?"
"You don't have to outright lie," Blake replied. "Not that I think you could - but you can cause distractions -"
"Like by falling down and stuff?"
For a split second, Blake really looked like she wanted to say 'yes,' but she shook her head instead.
"No, not by falling down, but by changing the subject. When she asks what you're doing, you need to change the subject - convincingly."
"Easy. Reply to her question with a question of your own - but it needs to be somewhat related to the topic at hand."
Pausing for a second, Ruby tried to wrap her head around what Blake was teaching her.
"If she asks you what you're looking at cakes for, ask her when she last had an ice cream cake."
When the idea of ice cream cake made Ruby smile, Blake carried on. "You know what I mean - that was just an example."
"I think I get it!" Ruby replied with several nods. "And ice cream cake sounds like a great idea! I'm adding that to the list."
Grabbing the notebook and a pen, Ruby added 'ice cream cake' to her growing list of ideas. While she did that, she heard the unmistakable sound of a key in the front door - which meant Weiss just got home.
Ruby quickly closed the notebook and slid it under the sofa before waving her hands at Blake - who only looked amused by the gesture - and scrambling to think of a topic they could discuss with Weiss around.
"Have you heard about that new tree fungus?" Ruby asked, raising her voice so it would carry into the entryway. "That one covering all those trees in the park?"
When Blake didn't immediately reply, Ruby glanced her way - and then Blake shook her head.
"No, I haven't."
"Well it's super gross!" When Blake shook her head again - this time looking a bit incredulous - Ruby's attention went back to the entryway as Weiss walked inside and hung her bag by the door. As usual, just seeing Weiss made Ruby's heart do happy loops and spins in her chest. She loved when Weiss got home from work!
"Weiss!" Ruby called out, hurrying over and meeting Weiss just inside the doorway to the living room. She gave Weiss a kiss before stepping away with a smile that probably wouldn't leave for the rest of the night. "I missed you!"
"I missed you too," Weiss whispered before turning to acknowledge their company. "Hi Blake - were you two just discussing fungus?"
"Ruby's choice," Blake replied, smiling when Weiss shook her head and gave Ruby an affectionate smile.
"I would expect nothing else."
"We were just hanging out!" Ruby explained. The answer was technically true, but as soon as she remembered the pieces of information she was leaving out, her nerves appeared. "Talking and stuff," she added. "Just chilling."
She glanced at Blake to see how she was doing, but Blake was watching Weiss - and Weiss was looking at Ruby a little more curiously now.
"'Just chilling?'" Weiss repeated. She glanced at Blake - who shrugged and looked disinterested in the conversation - before turning back to Ruby. And then her brow creased with interest - a bad sign. A very bad sign.
"What else were you two talking about?" Weiss asked, moving closer to Ruby as she spoke. "Besides tree fungus, I mean."
The closer Weiss got, the more nervous Ruby became. On a good day, it was hard to function with Weiss nearby - she was really pretty and Ruby loved her so much! But today it was even harder to concentrate because she was hiding something, and - she needed to remember Blake's advice! Cause a distraction!
"U-uh, like...well, tigers," Ruby stuttered, not quite able to remember Blake's teachings. But Weiss smiled at the answer, and Ruby automatically smiled in return - maybe she was onto something here.
Then Weiss reached out and touched Ruby's elbow, and her nerves quadrupled, and she realized she was onto nothing. She couldn't think when Weiss touched her. Even if they were just holding hands! It was so distracting.
"Tigers?" Weiss repeated. "That sounds interesting."
"Yeah! And uh, and cake!" Ruby said when she remembered the most important part of any birthday party.
"That doesn't surprise me," Weiss said with a soft laugh. Withdrawing her arm from Ruby's, she nearly turned away.
But she didn't. Mid-turn, she froze and then looked back at Ruby.
"The different types of cake she enjoys," Blake added, coming to Ruby's aid with a plausible explanation. "I think you decided chocolate was your favorite?"
"Yeah!" Grasping onto the lifeline, Ruby tried to pull herself out of the whirlpool that was Weiss' proximity. "Chocolate's my favorite. For now, at least."
"So nothing's changed," Weiss replied, sending a quick look at Blake.
Ruby could tell - she could just tell that Weiss knew something was up. She was too smart not to notice when things were weird - and she knew Ruby way too well. It was only a matter of time before...
"You wouldn't be talking about cake for any other reason, would you?" Weiss finally came right out and asked, carefully watching Ruby for her answer.
This was it - this was Ruby's opportunity to throw Weiss off the trail. All she needed was a question…
"Think we can get cake tonight?" she asked with a nervous laugh, subtly wiping her sweaty palms on her pants.
For the longest time, Weiss studied Ruby - their eyes locked together while the room got really, really hot - until she finally relaxed into a smile.
"Sure. If that will make you happy."
With that smile set in place, Weiss looked at Blake - who smiled at both of them.
And Ruby felt horrible. She just lied to Weiss! And Weiss believed her! Not only that, but Weiss was going to get her cake for dinner - cake that she didn't deserve. How could she possibly eat it when it was all of Weiss' kind and thoughtful feelings baked into a delicious chocolate form? And Ruby lied to get it.
"I'm planning a surprise party for you!" Ruby confessed, unable to bear the guilt any longer.
The room stood still for a second while the words hung in the air. Then Weiss turned around - her eyes wide.
"I'm planning a surprise party for you," Ruby repeated, holding Weiss' gaze and silently begging forgiveness for her dishonesty. "I asked Blake to help me, that's why she came over."
For what felt like an eternity, Weiss stared at Ruby - confusion and surprise in her eyes - but they both turned to the side when Blake abruptly stood from the sofa.
"Looks like I'm not needed anymore," she said, giving them both a smile before walking towards the front door. "I'll let myself out. Good luck, Ruby."
"Sorry, Blake!" Ruby called after the girl, who merely waved over her shoulder before heading outside. Left alone, Ruby turned back to Weiss - who still looked...well, now she looked kind of smug.
"A surprise party, huh?" she asked, folding her arms over her chest.
"It's your birthday soon," Ruby explained. "I wanted to make it special - like how you always plan a big party for me!"
With a soft sigh, Weiss unfolded her arms and reached up to brush several strands of hair out of Ruby's eyes.
"That's very sweet of you," she whispered before leaning forward and giving Ruby a kiss. "Why does it have to be a surprise though?"
"Well it's not anymore…." Feeling immensely better now that she was back to being honest, Ruby shrugged. "I just thought it'd be more special that way."
"The fact that you're planning something for me is special enough," Weiss replied, smiling as she reached out to hold both of Ruby's hands. "Why don't you tell me your plans, and I'll help you put it together?"
Ruby's dreams of an awesome party for Weiss had been slipping away, but Weiss brought them back to life with that single question.
"Really?" Ruby asked, bouncing on her toes while her excitement returned.
"Yes. You know I love organizing events. This way, the planning process will be part of my present."
Squeezing Weiss' hands, Ruby leaned forward and kissed her again. This was why she ran all her ideas by Weiss first - so Weiss could make them even better!
"Then we can plan your birthday party together?" Ruby asked, hopping excitedly when Weiss nodded. "That sounds like so much fun! Ok first - how do you feel about tigers?"
"Pretty sure I'm allergic to them - why?"
Her eyes widening at the answer, Ruby shook her head and thanked the stars they were planning this together.
"N-no reason! Just a random question!"