Somehow, for reasons unbeknownst to Rose, a woman who was typically unable to keep anything away from her boyfriend due to his powers of persuasion, the framework of her list of surprises for Ezra's birthday was kept under lock and key without any severe shaking. On Christmas, Ezra provided her with the exciting news that they would be spending a week in Montenegro, a vibrant and rich Balkan country in Europe with architecture and beaches that were to die for, a country neither of them have ever had the pleasure of making tracks on prior to this holiday. The week long trip had been pushed back and back, the birth of Rocco and the new challenges of parenthood keeping their hands full and busy, leaving them with little to no time to fill this trip into their day to day schedule. Now that Rocco was a little over two months old and they've come to be acquainted and familiar with the routine the best they could, Rose felt more comfortable attempting to integrate this getaway into her plans for his 32nd birthday, which originally consisted of them heading upstate to spend the weekend together and alone with a trail of activities and adventures waiting for them.
Although it was going to be difficult saying goodbye to Rocco for an entire week, she felt comfortable leaving their baby boy in the hands of his mother and father who happily agreed to spend time in the city with him and Vincent while they were gone. Rose contacted the Aman resort on the Sveti Stefan island and laid out her concerns, working with the hotel since it had already been paid for as a Christmas present. She arranged for them to stay five days; the longest they had ever been away from Rocco was two, proving already this would be their biggest act in separation anxiety yet, the same with Vincent. They were scheduled to spend five days there under the impression everything was going smoothly back home, and if it was, they could add on those extra two days at any given notice, like the Christmas present stated. It was all falling together in formation perfectly, the location booked and ready, the flights scheduled, spa packages and dinner reservations were in play, it was almost too easy to do over the phone. What Rose put the staff through for the actual date of his birthday, the 8th of April, was the true test.
On the evening of the 7th, the same day they would be arriving in Montenegro, Rose arranged for the room staff to slide a concealed envelope containing a map and written clue under their door at midnight. It would be her duty to ensure they were there and not out gallivanting when the knock at the door would be received. Arriving around two in the afternoon after an exhausting nine hour flight, chances were in her favour they wouldn't be trying to explore after such a long day, it would work out beautifully. Using the few set of skills she had in design, she worked with the hotel staff, sending them e-mails, nagging them to make sure this was all put together the way she envisioned it in her head. Never having been to the country before, she didn't know the land mass in the slightest, she didn't know how the island looked, so to conduct a proper scavenger hunt, which, yes, that was what she was going to be taking him on, she would need knowledge of the foreign land they would be entering, which is where the hotel staff came in.
The map was a printout of the resort they were staying at, stretching across the breathtaking island that was going to serve as their playground. The scavenger hunt would take the birthday boy in and out of the resort from midnight to midnight, a full day's worth of planning, with designated clues and time stamps providing him with his presents along the way. The only problem was that he would have to navigate and uncover clue by clue on his own with minimal help from his co-captain. Rose would be unable to help even though she was the one who would be aware of where each clue was located. Like Ezra, she was clueless, she had only see photos and a virtual tour of the resort online. This was going to be laborious for the two of them. While that brought on bouts of excitement for her, it also stressed an uneasy and nervous feeling sitting within her stomach, the thought of all of this appearing like a wonderful idea in theory, proving to her that it was better remaining that, an idea that was never meant to be put into practice.
For a pretty penny Rose was able to convince the staff to have everything prepared ahead of time for her. The staff was pleased and willing to help, thanks to the monetary incentive, her make this pipe dream of hers come alive. What she had planned was a series of riddles, or clues, if you will, that he would find at each location the clue would bring him to. She was doing the writing, trying her best to be cheeky, relating the rules to Ezra, his birthday, and a few that only he would understand being an insider in their relationship. It seemed simple enough, but doing all of the preparations and clues in the states, away from where they would be doing this with only a map and another voice on the end of the line, there were loopholes that would surely arise.
This was unlike anything she had ever done for, well, anyone. She had never gone to such great lengths for someone on their birthday, usually siding with the philosophy that less is more. After abiding by those roles last year, she wanted to do something different, to prove she had some spontaneity in her, testing the waters to see how something this extravagant would pan out. The plans were set, he was well informed they would be leaving at five in the morning on the seventh, but he didn't know what would be waiting for him once they arrived. Rose's anxiety was through the roof even thinking about how the scavenger hunt will turn out once midnight strikes and that knock at the door comes through. She was also excited to be able to do something for the man who took care of her. He would argue he didn't deserve something this elaborate and thought of, but even with their differences and the tension that would grow in heightened moments, she wanted to show him that he did.