"I know you didn't just say that, Justin. First, you aren't stupid. Second, you aren't suicidal. Third, you know it's not true."
"I don't know any such thing, Monica. You have been distant with Will ever since you got back from the convention," Justin replied earnestly.
"In what way have I been distant? You know I love him, I have since the moment I set eyes on him," Monica replied defensively.
"Then why haven't you taken him out of his cage once since you've been back? You didn't even bring back a new toy like you always do," said Will, frowning.
"It's only been two days, and I've been on the run constantly. The pet store in Firseburge didn't have anything nice, so I ordered him a new type of treat toy online by the way," huffed Monica.
She walked over to the impressive structure which graced a good portion of the living room. Rising from the floor to only inches below the ceiling, the ornate cage was seven feet tall, six feet long, and three feet wide. It dwarfed its sole occupant, a colorful but exceptionally tiny parakeet.
"Don't listen to Daddy, you know you'll always be the only birdie for me," the woman cooed sweetly.
Like a blue and yellow blur of lightning, Will was instantly on the perch closest to her. "Pretty bird. Will pretty bird," he announced proudly.
"Yes you are, now let's get you out of there for some fun," Monica said gently, opening the door.
"I'm sorry Honey, but what was I supposed to think? You went halfway across the country to a convention for the care of exotic birds, then suddenly didn't have time for him? I thought maybe a new species attracted your attention. Or that you might have even seen another bird that captured your heart," explained Justin ashamedly.
"You should know I could never do that to Will. He's been with me since I was twelve," replied Monica, blinking rapidly.
"I know, and I'm sorry. Not sure what came over me," he tried again.
"Well it's over now. Let's just enjoy the rest of the day," she suggested. As if in reply, Will left the spot where he had been looking under the crack of the door to the spare bedroom, and landed on top of her head. He began to sing "Don't Worry, Be Happy" at the top of his lungs.
Laughing, the young couple sat down, and after the short song was over, turned on the TV.
"You know, even if I had brought another bird home, it wouldn't have changed anything with Will and I," she mused.
"What? Of course it would, he's been the only one since you got him," replied Will, surprised.
"It wouldn't matter. Our bond is strong, and it's not like he would get less attention, she replied.
"I'm just glad we don't have to find out," said Justin, suddenly wanting to avoid the subject.
"Honestly I had never considered getting another bird for myself," she said, pressing on.
"I'll never doubt you again," he replied, suddenly nervous about where this might be heading.
"Thank you, Dear. It would be a shame if I spent your birthday at my mother's," she said with a smile.
"I almost forgot that I turn 33 tomorrow. Funny how we don't usually look forward to them after we get a few under our belts," he chuckled.
"I didn't forget. And your present came the other day by the way," she said, somewhat reluctantly.
"I'll admit that I'm curious, but I guess I can wait until tomorrow," he replied in mock disappointment.
"No, it's better if I give your present to you now," she sighed.
"Only if you want to," he replied, suddenly very curious.
With Will on her shoulder, she went into a spare bedroom, and emerged with a small birdcage, night cover still on.
"I got her for you. You've never had a pet, and as much as you love Will, he's bonded to me. I didn't get her for me, I wanted you to have what I have with Will," she said, as if confessing to a sin.
"Wow, I'm sorry I doubted you, Honey. I knew something was going on, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it," he said.
"I've been taking her out for a little exercise while you were gone, and Will already loves her. Every time I turned him loose without bringing her out, he kept flying to the door. I knew if I had him out he'd spoil the surprise," she explained.
"Well let's see her then," Justin insisted eagerly.
Monica carefully lifted the cover, and he gasped in surprise.
"She's lovely, I've never seen one with such vivid feathers," he whispered.
"I got her right after I came back. But I picked her out weeks ago, she's from a special line of parakeets, and she's young too," said Monica, eager to tell him everything.
"She's perfect! I love her already," beamed Justin as he gently took the young bird out of the cage.
Cover image made in Canva using their gallery