The challenge set forth to our authors for today's post: a writing prompt. The instructions: Writing prompts should be no more than 4-5 paragraphs (you'll find we count funny sometimes); use the following setting, the POV is up to you; keep the sensuality levels within our guidelines; on a ski slope, just as the snow is starting to fall.
On a ski slope, just as snow is beginning to fall,
And stars are twinkling bright.
Two lovers are meeting outside the Inn
Beneath a yellow street light.
The gentle glow reveals on their faces
A love so tender and true
A world that’s made oh so special
By a love that’s shared just by two.
On a sky slope, just as the snow was beginning to fall, Jill surveyed the world from a high peak. She placed her sunglasses on her nose, and pushed off, aiming for a gentle ride down, rather than a speedy race.
At the bottom, Gary was waiting for her. "Nice run," he said.
She smiled at his patience. He reached out an arm, and she leaned into his embrace. After so many years alone, it was so nice to have someone who accepted her, unconditionally, with all of her quirks.
"How about some hot chocolate?" he asked. Jill nodded and kicked off her skis, as they headed to the lodge.
Charlene gazed up at the slate grey clouds as the fat, fluffy snowflakes fell on her head and shoulders. They coated the ski slope with a fine white powder any skier would kill for…any skier but her. At the moment, all Charli wanted was a cup of cocoa and a blazing fire.
"Hey, you in there?"
She turned to see the object of her discontent staring at her. How did he sneek up like that? His heavy brows knit together beneath the brim of his ski hat as they stood in silence. It was the same hat she had made for him last Christmas. The same hat she’d love to shove down his ungrateful throat.
"I’m here," she murmured before turning her back to him and the painful mix of memories his presence set lose. "But not for long." Charli dug her poles into the snow and pushed off, ignoring the sound of his voice as the whistling wind filled her ears.
It was sunset now. A light snow was beginning to fall but I was determined to make it down the slope. I’d chickened out last time but I was resolved to see it through tonight. At the moment there were only a few skiers enjoying the hill. It was the perfect time to finally succeed at this skiing thing. I had to do this. How could I face Erik tomorrow if I didn’t? Admit I was a chicken?
Bending my knees, I tried to work myself up into sending myself down the side of a cliff. This was crazy! Why would someone want to do something like this to themselves? I had just about convinced myself to turn around when I heard my name called out.
I shifted my skis to the side, trying to see who it was but I was pretty sure I knew.
"Erik…" Before I could stop myself I began to slide down the hill sideways. My heart was beating hard in my chest and despite the cold weather beads of sweat covered my face. I screamed and began to imagine my life as a paraplegic.
The poles in my hands were useless as they flailed hither and yon and did nothing to stop my descent. And then all of a sudden my floundering stature gained support. Erik was next to me. By some act of God, he was able to straighten me so that I was facing forward.
I tried to remember what I’d learned at ski school about poles and angles of the skis. Then Erik’s voice purred in my ear. "Just relax. You’re doing just fine." And he was right. I was fine. I was skiing!
The clouds let loose their load, slowly at first, but with growing intensity as skiers made their last run down the slopes. Oh, to be one of the holiday-makers, rather than one of the ski resort employees. Trish poured out the final cup of coffee and fixed the lid over the top.
"Here you go, sir. You shouldn’t linger too long. This storm’s going to shut the mountain down for the rest of the afternoon."
"What about you?" He asked, waving a gloved hand around the now deserted café.
"I’ll be fine. Cozy, in fact. Thank you for your concern." Lord love him, he had dimples. And, he’d been flirting with her every day now for a week. She wished it were permissible to get to know him better, but the resort had strict rules about consorting with the clientele.
The wind howled through the trees that flanked the slope. Trish glanced out the window, wishing she hadn’t. White-out conditions. The radio crackled, and the owner’s voice demanded to know if she knew the whereabouts of one Michael Casey. Her customer nodded ruefully at her.
"Word has it we’re good and stuck," Trish told him, like he hadn’t heard the exchange for himself.
"Good. I’ve been wanting to get stuck with you."
The crisp, cold air ruffled the trim on her parka hood, which made the fur undulate in a wild ripple, much the way her stomach felt just about now. A few flecks of snow caused her to blink as it obscured her view and made her blood race faster and her cold knees shake harder. On a ski slope, just as the snow is beginning to fall was not the best place for a new skier to panic. Especially not with Derrick Payton at her side.
Famous, as much for his world-class romances as his world class skiing, a former high school sweetheart like her needed all the calm she could muster. Especially when he continued to look at her with enough warmth in his expression to melt the polar ice caps.
“I’m not one of your little ‘snow flakes’ as the press calls your groupies, Derrick, so don’t look at me like that. Just get me down off this mountain in one piece and I’ll be happy.” Kara hated the tremble she heard in her voice, put there by the strength of feelings for Derrick that hadn’t dimmed for her over the years.
“Well, I won’t be happy, Kara. You aren’t a single insignificant ‘snow flake’ to me. You’re an entire blizzard. I’ve been bidding my time until you were ready to understand that. So, do you?”
Kara’s heart thumped in her chest until she thought she might cause an avalanche. The sparkle that lit her eyes had nothing to do with the crystal carpet of snow around them and everything to do with the ring he slid onto her finger. “I do and I will.”
"Don’t look now," Terri Roland said to her friend. "But I think Michael is in the lift behind us."
Jessica Bailey stiffened, "That’s about the last person I want to see right now."
Terri took Jessica’s gloved hand and gave it a squeeze.
"I’ll be here. You won’t have to face him alone."
The lift started its steep upward ascent to the top slope on Mount Keagan and Jessica stole a look behind her. Terri was right. It was Michael - and his new girlfriend.
"I need this trip to clear my head," Jessica said, wiping a snowflake from the tip of her nose. "I can’t face him right now. I’m not yet ready."
The lift pulled to a stop at the top of the ridge and the girls got off. Jessica had been looking forward to the trip for weeks. She needed time away from home, time away from everything that reminded her of Michael and their wedding that had been planned for the spring.
The two friends moved off to the top of the slope and Jessica again stole a look Michael’s way. His lift had slowed at the drop-off point and he jumped down and walked around to help his girlfriend. As he lifted her off the car, she bent forward and kissed him.
Jessica looked away and fresh tears stung her lids. Terri saw the exchange and curled her fingers around Jessica’s hand.
"Let’s hit that slope," she said. "Then we can go to the lodge for hot chocolate and marshmallows. It’s freezing out here and there’s a storm on the way."
Jessica nodded. Anything to get away from the pain Michael Shelton had branded on her heart, forever.
They’d said it would be a milk run. One strafing pass to suppress anti-aircraft fire, put the bombs on the Jerry gun emplacements, and beat it back to Foggia. No sweat.
Only that’s not the way it was.
He’d taken hits in both engines before he ever lined up on his first pass. The cockpit had filled with smoke and flame immediately, and there was no doubt in his mind he would have to bail out.
He’d banked away to the northeast and watched the blurry mountains of northern Italy flick past beneath his wing as he forced the canopy open. The wind literally ripped him from the cockpit when he pushed himself erect in the pilot’s seat, and he didn’t bother counting to ten.
He came down on an unused ski slope just as the snow was beginning to fall, wrapped the white chute around his shoulders for as much camouflage as he could get, and stared in dismay at the little village below him. There were Jerries down there, he was sure of that, and they’d be hunting him within minutes. If he moved he’d leave tracks, yet he had to get down off this slope.
Maybe if he stayed in the trees ...
Alex made sure the skis were secure. Why was he doing this? Because you love Claire, and you promised her a ski trip.
He wiped his brow.
"The snow is beginning to fall again," Claire said smiling. "Fresh snow. Are you ready, love?"
Not really. "Sure am."
"You appear a bit nervous."
"No, really this is my wedding gift to you. I told you if I got on the ski slope, I would definitely ski with you. Shall we?" Before I really lose the nerve.
"Last one down is a rotten egg," Claire said.
The drifts of perfect snow began to thicken and Robbie was still fiddling with the zipper on his ski jacket pocket.
"C’mon Rob. We’d better catch that chairlift if we want to get right up there with the others," Serena urged.
"Serena wait!" His lashes were clogged with flakes and she could see the frustrated lines etched around his brows. "Oh dash. Some romantic proposal! I wanted this to be special, romantic…on the slopes at dusk. But the ring’s in my pocket and the zipper’s snagged. I’ve come all the way to Switzerland to propose, waited for this moment and stuffed it up…"
She put down her skis. Then pushed her face to his, wiped away the flakes and pressed her lips home. "I do. It is perfect – complete with frosting. Just kiss me."
Why was it that ski runs always looked so benign from the bottom? A gentle fall of white, groomed snow flanked on either side by dark green fir trees and dotted with skiers in colorful togs gracefully swishing along. The snow had just begun to fall, creating a magical, postcard-perfect picture.
I stood at the top of the nearly vertical run and took a deep breath of warm, wet-wool-laced air in an attempt to dispel the jittery feeling in my stomach. I adjusted my goggles against the blowing snow, uncovering one ear. Gloves off, goggles off, adjust hat, goggles on, gloves on. Okay. I can do this. I just have to wait until no one is around.
The lift disgorged a group of teenagers with boards who wasted no time in hurling themselves down the run. Now it was my turn. I pointed the tips of my skis downhill and talked myself through the first few turns. Gaining confidence, I gathered some speed and got into a rhythm: open skis, shift weight, close skis. Over a small rise, maintaining speed and confidence, I hit a patch of ice. My skis took opposite directions and, as I overbalanced, confidence and I tumbled and slid into a snowboarder who’d been standing at the edge of the run, holding his board in one hand.
We came down with an "ooof" in a tangle of arms, poles, skis and legs. He reached out, pulled my goggles up and looked down at me with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. The corners crinkled before the grin reached his mouth. "Fancy running into you here."
Picking herself up and brushing the light dusting of snow from her goggles, Janice caught sight of Sophie whizzing past and stifled a sigh. She shouldn’t have come. Skiing! Why, she barely knew one end of a ski from another, and boy did it show.
‘You’ll be fine,’ her sister had airily reassured. ‘Everyone has to start somewhere. Why, give it a few days on the nursery slopes, and you’ll be up to scratch in no time. Trust me.’
Famous last words, Janice decided, digging in her poles and propelling herself downwards, her three minute run almost ending in disaster as she slithered to a halt and promptly overbalanced.
‘Trust you to end up in plaster,’ Sophie scorned when Janice arrived back at their hotel, her arm neatly cradled in a sling.
‘Every cloud has a silver lining,’ Janice countered brightly. Because if she hadn’t tumbled and broken her wrist, she wouldn’t have met that hunk of a paramedic who was taking her out to dinner later.
"Okay, kids, make sure you all stay together. If you get a little separated just remember that everybody in our group has a green flag tied to one of their ski poles."
Anthea watched the children gingerly start to scoot across the fresh powder. It was the first day of the school ski trip and she was the only one who wasn’t excited about getting out on to the slopes. A sigh billowed out from above her scarf, misting the fresh air with its warmth.
"Penny for them?" Jane, who taught French, slid expertly up to Anthea and prodded her gently with her elbow.
"I’m fine. Really I am," she insisted, when Jane raised an eyebrow. Anthea looked up as a few snowflakes began to drift down from the heavens. "Okay. You’re right. I’m not fine. It’s… it’s Matt. We broke up just before I boarded the flight to come here."
Jane frowned. "Really? But isn’t that Matt over there, getting off the ski lift and boarding towards us as we speak?"
As the first few snowflakes floated gently onto her face, Halina pulled the snow-lined hood of the heavy jacket over her head. Perspiration was already dripping a steady path down the bridge of her nose. She just knew she was going to collapse from heat exhaustion. She also knew she looked like a total idiot, kitted out in ski gear from top to toe under the scorching summer sky.
People were staring from cars as they passed. There were also a couple of interested onlookers peering through the window of the house opposite where that rather gorgeous looking doctor had just opened his surgery.
"Hurry up!" She glared at her nephew who, having taken forever to position her against the white wall of the house, was now perched on the front fence, camera at the ready. "Or better still, wait until you grow up and can afford an air-conditioned studio."
"Can’t." Michael squinted at the image. "This assignment’s due tomorrow. Come on, Hal, you’re on a ski slope in Switzerland, it’s starting to snow - keep the snow coming, Andy."
From a branch of the tree above Andrea obediently leaned out to scatter more cut up pieces of paper from an ice cream carton. She leaned too far, falling with a piercing shriek.
On a ski slope, just as the snow is beginning to fall a man stands beside a pine tree, head bowed in prayer. Opening his eyes, he looked up at the sky. Would he never forget the accident? It had been four years, and still the loss of his son in a snowboarding accident seemed fresh as yesterday. Dan came to the sight of the accident every year, to say a prayer, even though he knew that Danny was in a better place.
"Dan," the voice whispered beside him.
He turned, startled, as he hadn’t even heard Janice come up beside him. Putting an arm around her, he pulled her close, burying his nose in her hair.
"Let’s go home," she said and placed a single white rose near the tree, just as she did every year.
Dan took her hand and they walked away in silence.