A little fic for the Talking Twolips group, with the following prompts:
Mahalia Levey At a ice skating pond a couple go on a date…sharing a cup of hot cocoa from a street vendor would be sweet somewhere in there
Kalisto In the snowy woods he lurks
AKM Miles invigorating and redolent
Winnie Jerome “Australopithecus, “supernova”
Kathryn Scannell Cooperative
Our breath made plumes in the night air, showing white in the spotlights that lit the ice. Wapiti Lake froze over sometime in mid-November and stayed that way until spring. The resort didn’t miss a trick when it came to the winter experience; benches, a snack stand, and a skate rental kiosk lined the banks of what was more a pond to this Michigan boy. If not for the electric lights and the modern clothing, it could have been a Currier and Ives picture, right down to the full moon in the star-sprinkled sky.
Currier probably talked Ives out of drawing people sprawled flat on their faces on the ice, where Kurt lay at the moment.
“I thought you said you played some hockey.” I skated over to give him a hand up. Kurt was a highly competent guy, so watching him fall flat, literally, was a bit of a shock.
“I certainly did. In hockey skates.” He let me pull him off the ice. “These rental things are figure skates.”
“Toe pick!” I didn’t get to outshine Kurt all that often, and he’d hauled me up off the snow a few times today.
He pushed off carefully, trying to avoid fouling the serrated blade tips on the ice again. Trudging more than gliding, he wobbled while trying to maintain a more flat-footed approach than he was used to. I skated nonchalantly beside him, carefully not commenting and only offering a little coaching. The role reversal was totally weird – it was usually him teaching me something.
“Okay, I’ll bite, Jake. You said you played hockey, too.” He glanced over at me and caught the toe pick again.
“I did. I also have a sister who dreamed of being Jamie Salé and drafted me to be her David Pelletier. It was probably the most cooperative thing we ever did.” He refused my hand up this time, getting to his feet with a determined jut of the jaw. I knew that look – those skates were going to be pwned by the end of the night.
“Just call me Australopithecus,” Kurt informed me later. “Since I’ve managed to stay off my knuckles for a while.”
“You’re doing good.” I’d abandoned him for a few solo turns around the ice when he’d glared at me, taking the opportunity to see if I remembered how to do any spins or jumps. I’d popped off a single toe loop and decided not to push my luck further, no matter how invigorating it was to find an old skill hadn’t vanished completely with non-use. The ice was a little too crowded to risk it again.
“Ready to try dance position?” He held up his hands to my shoulder and waist, grinning slyly. “I’ll bottom tonight if you’ll skate backwards for me.”
The little circle I skated around him was a bit sarcastic. “You’ll bottom tonight ‘cause you love it.”
“True.” He put his hands down and pushed off, noticeably more graceful than when we’d started. I watched him get nearly a quarter of the way around the pond before making up my mind, but I caught up to him, spun around to skate a few strokes backwards and facing him, before flipping beside him.
“We don’t try any lifts until you’re steadier,” I told him, slipping my hand into his.
“Sure, Coach.” He squeezed my fingers, and let me have my hand back before we got all the way back to the benches.
“Tourist prices for some hot chocolate, or shall we head home and find those last few cocoa packets your folks sent?” Kurt asked, unlacing his skates and eyeing the toe picks with disfavor.
“Home.” Call me a tightwad, but tuition only went up, and I was saving my pennies. “The shuttle won’t be here for another twenty minutes. Want to walk?”
There was a path through the pines back to the Wapiti Creek employee housing, and enough light from the moon to make us willing to take it without flashlights. It was still damned dark, and the trampled snow was our best guide for getting back to the apartment. We had about a quarter mile hike ahead of us.
The trees thinned out about two thirds of the way there, letting the moon shine down into the snowy woods where no one lurked but us. We were totally alone in the forest in a way that we hadn’t been since we’d put our ranger green utilities aside for the winter. The air was redolent of pine; that and the moon brought memories of nights in the Uncomphagre National Forest last summer when Kurt and I learned to be lovers. I pulled him into my arms and crushed my mouth against his.
His lips parted under mine, his tongue meeting my demanding invasion with equal need. His kiss didn’t promise the moon and the stars – no, it promised supernovas, and when we broke apart, we ran the rest of the way home.