After twenty minutes of waiting in line, paying for their skates, and putting away their shoes, Rick and Miley were finally stepping onto the ice. He had never skated in his life and judging by the tight grip Miley had of his arm, neither had she.
“This looks easy.” She said with apprehension, her eyes following the rest of the skaters as they breezed past them. One was even twirling desperately fast in the center of the rink, while another one was skating backwards with his hands to his sides, as if ready to perform a jump.
“Yes. Very easy.” He answered, far from reassured.
They wobbled together to the center of the rink. After what felt like centuries, they reached the other side of the rink, and held on to the barrier, while Miley lifted her stare. Her face brightened at the sight of the tree above them.
“It looks even more lovely from down here.”
“It does.” Only he wasn’t paying attention to the tree but to her. Her hair as it blowed gently around her face, the knitted scarf wrapped around her neck, her cherry red cheeks and the side of that mouth that was starting to get under his skin and was begging to be kissed.
“Ready to go again?” Miley’s voice pulled his lingering stare from her lips to her expectant eyes. The golden in them was soft and so pure, the scene around him impressed him less than those eyes waiting for his answer.
“We have to get to the other side at some point.”
“And to think it looks so easy when they skate on ESPN.”
They let go together of the railing. Rick’s body lost balance after a few steps, and before he knew it, he had gone down and had taken Miley with him. She lay, her body shaking with laughter on top of him, while he tried to sit up and prevent any other skater from tripping because of them.
“And that would’ve earned us the bronze medal, I believe. We’re useless.” Miley chuckled.
“And about to get killed. Let’s get up.”
Miley was the first one to get off the ice. Rick joined her after almost falling down again when one of his skates wobbled on the ice. It took three more falls, accompanied by Miley’s amused laughter and several curses from other skaters who almost collided against them, before they called it quits and exited the rink.
They found a coffee shop a few blocks away and indulged in two mugs of hot chocolate and one huge slice of apple pie. All the while, Rick knew he not only liked Miley, he realized with a jolt to his senses, that he was falling in love with her.
They were outside her apartment door. Her hands shook nervously as they fiddled with the lock. When the door finally opened, Miley expected this night to end like the first one of the function. A polite good night and hopefully plans to see each other tomorrow.
“I had a great time.”
“So did I.”
Even though she was dying to kiss him, she didn’t want to act desperate nor scare him away. She held back her need and said, before going inside.
“Goodnight, Miley. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“I’d love that.”
Go inside now, go inside now before you do something embarrassing like ask for a goodnight kiss.
She didn’t even get to turn around. Both his hands took her shoulders and he whispered, both need and desire tinting his words.
“I can’t go on another night without kissing you.”
Oh dear God. His head was descending on hers until she could all but jump into those pools of green before she felt his mouth on hers and all she was able to do was hold to him for support.
The kiss started tentatively, as if Rick expected her to draw back. When she continued to lean against him, he added more power to it, his tongue doing sinful things to hers, his hands pressing lightly against her back while she lost herself in the elixir of his taste.
He broke the kiss, his stare lingering on Miley’s parted lips, on the rush of color rising on her cheeks, on the eyes that shone like melted gold. Before he could say goodbye though, Miley blurted over her excited and loud heartbeat.
“Miley, I swear if I cross that door is because I am going to take off those clothes and make love to you. Are you sure?”
That undid her. She pulled his hand, shut the door behind them and didn’t stop until they were in her bedroom. Words weren’t necessary, only the silence around them that spoke volumes about what both wanted to happen.
Rick peeled off her coat, then her dress, while he did the same as each piece of clothing she was wearing fell with a whisper to the floor. When it was only the cover of darkness wrapped around her skin, Rick took her to her bed, and made all of her wildest dreams come true. Dreams that made her moan and move under him, dreams that had them both panting and ready for each other, as he covered her body with his arms.
And as they continued to make love, Miley glanced to the window in her bedroom, and discovered it was snowing. The white flakes tapping against her window and she imagined, covering the street like frosting.
The best ending to the best date of her life.
It was the 23rd, just one more day to go before families gathered to celebrate Christmas. Before lovers rejoiced in spending that special night with their significant others. When there was this hope lingering in the air, a hope that allowed you to forget your problems, your grievances even if it was for just one night and enjoy the simple things in life like the streets covered in snow, bundling together with your family in front of a fire, and conversation that wrapped around you like a fine blanket of ease.
But to Miley, today felt as magical and special as that day waiting around the corner. He was lying next to her, his slow breathing on her neck, their legs tangled together, and their bodies still warm from holding each other for the entire night.
She snuggled closer to him, and he moaned in contentment.
“Good morning, beautiful.”
“What time is it?”
Miley didn’t want to even know the time, but she figured he probably had to get to work. Oh, if only they could stay like this, tucked in bed, while the city wrapped itself in a white blanket of snow, for it continued to fall outside her window.
“Time to go back to bed.” She turned around and pressed her face against his chest.
“That would be ideal if I didn’t have a meeting across town.”
When he didn’t make a move to get up, Miley glanced up at him. He was watching her with those eyes that had made love to her as well, by simply taking in her body. She shivered and snuggled even closer to him.
“Miley, I want to see you again.”
“I want to see you, too. I’m off today. We could do lunch.”
“That sounds like a plan. Can you meet me at the office? There’s something I want to show you.”
“Show me? What?”
“It’s a surprise.” He bent his head and kissed her nose, and got out of bed. He spoke as he started getting dressed in yesterday’s clothes.
“I leave on the twenty-fourth for China on business. So, I think we should have our own Christmas celebration tonight.”
Her heart filled but went to him at the same time. She remembered their conversation two nights ago.
“Can I ask you a personal question?”
The request seemed to amuse him for he said.
“I think after last night, it’s a given. What do you want to know?”
“Why didn’t you get along with your parents?”
For a moment, Miley thought the question had bothered him and he wasn’t going to answer. He finished getting dressed and walked over to the window, the tension visible on his shoulder blades and on the way he cracked his knuckles while staring outside.
Immediately, she regretted poking her nose in his private business with his family.
“I’m sorry, it’s none of my business. I shouldn’t have asked. Please, just forget I said anything.” Miley sat on the bed, waiting for Rick to look at her and know he wasn’t upset.
“You caught that, didn’t you? That we didn’t get along.”
“Yes. But I didn’t mean to pry.”
When he gave his back to the window, his lips curved in a bitter smile, the hurt naked in his hardened eyes.
“My parents weren’t the type to make hand made Christmas decorations with their son. Hell, they weren’t the type of parents to spend time with their son. When they weren’t busy giving parties, they were busy traveling. Especially during the holidays. They would go away and leave me with the nanny. There was never Christmas dinner, or presents under the tree, or even a goddamned tree to start with.”
“I had privileges that came with money but not the one thing that didn’t cost a dime, my parents’ affection. I was just the next generation of Hudsons who would continue to make the company grow.”
It made her sad. That a son could say he wasn’t more than a tool, and not something expected and loved for who he was as a person. No wonder the idea of celebrating Christmas was so foreign to him, he had never been used to it.
“Eventually, I went away to college and came back to take over my dad’s company. They had already gone to Paris. When I got the call about their accident, I felt ashamed because I couldn’t bring myself to feel sad.”
Miley pulled the bed sheet to her and wrapped it around her body. She went to him and circled her arms around him, her head leaning on his chest, offering him the silence of her understanding. His chin rested on her head and his arms circled around her as well.
“We don’t have to do the whole Christmas thing, you know. It wasn’t a happy time of the year for you.”
She let go of him and took a couple of steps back. To her surprise, the sorrow had melted against the warmth of the smile that shone from his eyes and brightened his face.
“I’m so glad I left that credit card.”
Wings sprouted on each side of her heart and lifted it to the sky.
“Me, too.” She replied, breathless.
“And you’re right. It wasn’t a very happy season for me. But that’s because I didn’t know it could be. You showed me that Miley and I want to share it with you.”
Okay, now she could see her hand shooting up to catch her soaring heart. Not only her heart, but her very soul wanted to fly out the window and show everyone just how stupidly happy she felt right at this moment. Yes, Christmas was the perfect time to forget about your problems. Though hers were like dark clouds threatening to rain down on her any minute.
Both happiness and that sour taste of forlorn swelled and clogged her throat, so Miley only managed to nod and go back into his arms.