A Writer's Journey

February 11, 2013

Blurb: “Fairest of Them All”

Happy Valentine’s Day! Almost. To celebrate, I’m giving you a scene from my NaNoWriMo project. Enjoy!

Rockefeller Center attracted tourists all year round but the entire world visited during the holiday season. The famous tree was set up though it would not be lit up until after Thanksgiving. People still flocked to see it. Brendan and I weaved through the mass of bodies. He had let go of his arm but now held me by my waist. We were pressed so close together, I could smell his aftershave. It was its strength which me lightheaded, right?

As we got closer to the ice rink, golden angels heralded the season as people skated below. Brendan nudged me. “Ever ice skated before?”

I shook my head. “You?”

“Once as a boy. We were upstate and the lake had frozen over. The neighbors said it was safe so Dad taught me. It’s always been one of my favorite memories.”

“Sounds nice.” I squeezed his hand, though I couldn’t recall when we had started to hold hands.

Brendan tugged me along, leading me to the rental place. As we laced up our skates, I gave him a sideways glance. “You won’t let me fall, right?”

He flashed me a cocky grin. “That’s half the fun.”

“Of course it is.” Rolling my eyes, I tried to stand. I stuck out my arms to balance myself. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea.

Standing beside me, Brendan placed a steadying hand on my back. “You ready?”

I took a deep breath. “No.”

As a young girl, I imagined going ice skating—usually when I ought to be paying attention in class. I dreamed that I was a natural on the ice, gliding along the white surface and performing tricks like Michelle Kwan or Kristi Yamaguchi. People stopped to watch me in these fantasies, applauding every time I finished. Sometimes, they even threw roses at my feet.

Reality was very different. I glided at a snail’s pace across the ice. My arms were outstretched and I was bent over. While I wasn’t the only one in this position, I still felt silly. Especially next to Brendan, who was skating upright. I hoped he was ready to catch me.

“Why don’t you straighten up?” he suggested.

I shook my head. “I’m good. No need to fix it.”

He laughed and skated ahead of me. Seeing the front of his skates appear, I realized he was skating backwards. “Show off. I thought you haven’t skated since you were a boy.”

“Ice skated. But I am a master of inline skating. Similar concepts.”

“I hate you.”

Gloved hands appeared in my frame of vision. “Give me your hands.”

“No. I’ll fall.”

“You won’t, I promise. Please trust me.”

Though every fiber in my body protested, I took his hands. “Good,” he said. “Now straighten up.”

I followed his instructions, realizing how close we were—almost nose-to-nose. Only a few more inches and our lips would meet…Closing my eyes, I chased the thought away.

We continued to move forward as Brendan picked up our speed. I grasped his hands tighter, certain a fall was in my future.

“Okay, now move your legs. One foot in front of the other, like roller skating.”

Trusting him, I slid my left foot forward. Followed by my right. Left. Right. Brendan’s comparison to roller skating was spot on. Left. Right. My muscle memory kicked in as my legs adjusted to the movement. Left. Right.

Crisp air blew past me as I picked up speed. Brendan released one of my hands, swinging around so we were now skating side by side again. Laughter bubbled up and echoed on the wind as adrenaline pulsed through my veins. Tricks were out of the question, I knew, but I didn’t care. It was the closest I had ever come to flying and I relished every moment. Brendan was Peter Pan and I was his Wendy, soaring over the rooftops of London.

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