She moved the scarf at her mouth enough so he'd hear her. She wasn't sure why he was being so nice to her, considering she ran away from him. She wasn't going to complain, though. No one else was volunteering to take her out into the snow. Apparently, she was the only one who realized she'd never seen snow before.
You'd think spending the holidays in New York would be great. And while she had seen and done some things that were fun, it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. Peter and Nathan were heavy on everyone's minds. And Christmas just wasn't the same surrounded by people she barely knew, related to them or not.
"Aren't you going to help?" she asked, rolling the snowball along so it would get bigger and bigger.
"Do you wish my assistance?"
"Well, yeah, you brought me out here. You should join in."
"You look like you're doing well enough without me."
She wasn't really. The ball that she was trying to roll wasn't very symmetrical.
"But I've never actually done this before."
That was an understatement.
"No. We don't get much snow in Texas."
"I suppose not," he said with a slight smile.
She stooped down, gathering some snow in her gloved hands and stood, tossing the loose snowball at him. She hadn't made too much progress on her snowman. She had the one ball of snow that was big enough to be a head. Maybe. It shouldn't be that hard to roll snow up into a ball to make a snowman, but it was more difficult than it looked. Maybe the snow wasn't deep enough to make a snowman?
"What was that for?"
"To get you to play too."
"Are you sure that is what you wish?"
She gave a soft giggle, gathering another snowball into her hands. This one, she packed a little more tightly, cocking her arm back as if she was going to throw it.
"For a snowball fight or to help with your snowman?"
"Are you going to get back at me for the first one?"
He smirked. "I think I can excuse once."
"Are you going to play with me?"
He took a step toward her. He was faster than he seemed, because suddenly he was there in front of her. The offending arm no longer cocked back to fire an assault on him. Instead, he had it in a vice-like grip behind her back.
"Are you sure you want to play with me, Claire Bennet?"
"What did you have in mind?"
"Nothing that involves snowball fights."
He slid one hand to her face, pushing her scarf out of the way so it barely covered her chin. She saw the puff of breath leave his mouth just as her eyes fluttered closed in expectation. Her breath still caught when his lips touched hers. It was exciting and scary at the same time. And for the moment she didn't feel the cold.
The snowball slipped out of her hand as his lips parted, deepening the kiss. His grip on her wrist eased up when she parted hers in response. She slid her arms around his neck, gasping a little when she tried to catch her breath.
"Is that why you brought me here?" she whispered.
"No," he murmured, brushing her cheek with his lips. "I brought you here because I knew you needed some time away from everything to have fun."
"You are welcome. Were you ready for some hot chocolate?"
"You have some?"
"Yes. Did you not notice the thermos?"
"I guess I wasn't paying attention, but I'd love some." She scrunched her nose. "Do you have marshmallows."
"I'm sorry, I do not. I will know for next time to bring some."
They sat on the bench near where she was working on the snowman and he poured them each a cup of hot chocolate.
"It's very good."
"I did not make it, but thank you."
"You're welcome." She glanced at her feeble attempt at rolling part of the snowman. "Pretty pathetic."
He chuckled. "It is a rather poor attempt."
"You didn't have to agree with me."
"After we've finished I will help you."
"Have you ever built a snowman?"
"No, but how difficult can it be?"
"That's what I thought!"
"I see. Well, we can always destroy the evidence when we're done if it's truly awful."
He leaned in and kissed her. "You had some on your lip."
She wiped her lips with her fingertips before kissing him back.
"So did you."
They finished their cups of hot chocolate and worked on the snowman. They took their time. She wasn't sure if it was the hot chocolate or just his company, but she didn't feel so cold anymore. Maybe it had really gotten warmer. She doubted that, though. Stopping periodically to kiss might have helped keep the cold at bay, too.
They were on the bench again, drinking more hot chocolate.
"It's not so bad."
"It's missing something," she said.
"I think not. You have the pipe, buttons, and coal."
She stood then, setting her hat on top of the snowman. And then she slid her scarf out from around her neck, draping it around the snowman's 'neck'.
"There," she said, stepping back. "That's better."
"You will get cold now."
"Well, he's done so we can go now."
"Or we can sit here a little longer and I'll find ways to keep you warm."
"You have any in mind?" she asked, taking the last sip of her hot chocolate.
"One or two."
"Well, let's see if they work."
"Happy to," he said. "You have to come closer, though," he murmured, gathering her to him for another kiss.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com