Prompt: Guy/Nat, snow day
What started as a simple morning walk around the square had turned into a boys-versus-girls snowball fight.
It was all Guy’s doing; he’d admit that. But he couldn’t help himself. As Natalia walked in front of him, her hips swaying back and forth, her perky round backside made the perfect target.
She was in the middle of saying something, as she usually was, when he stooped down and scooped up a handful of snow. He formed the snow into loose ball, gave it a gentle toss, and watched it splatter across her royal posterior.
Immediately she whirled around to face him, hands on hips, indignant. “How dare you assault my person?”
“Luke did it.” Even if she were foolish enough to believe that, his grin gave him away.
“Nice try,” she replied, and prepared to retaliate with a snowball of her own. However, Guy could duck faster than Natalia could throw, and Luke ended up with something wet and cold in his face.
“Hey!” Luke barely got the word out before a second snowball hit him smack in the nose. “Anise, what the hell?”
Anise shrugged. “It looked like fun,” she said, “and I didn’t want to be left out.”
This was all the cue Florian needed. His aim wasn’t as good as Anise’s, or maybe it was the best of all, because his snowball landed right above Tear’s left breast.
Tear let out a surprised gasp, but Luke was laughing. “Good shot, kid!” Florian beamed proudly as Luke gave him a high-five. Which earned Luke another snowball to the face. “Seriously, what the hell? I’m the only one who hasn’t thrown one.”
“Then bring it,” Anise said, “if you think you can.”
Guy stood between Luke and Florian, one eyebrow raised with amused defiance. “Is that a formal declaration of war?”
Likewise Natalia was standing between Tear and Anise, her arms folded and her chin high. “It is indeed,” the princess answered with all the authority and severity her position afforded.
And so it began.
The girls took the first advantage, joining hands and running toward the nearest hedge. It offered the time and coverage they needed to amass a small arsenal, and soon a barrage of snowballs was flying.
Exposed, the boys were left to dodge and contemplate their few options. There was low stone wall across the square, and while they weren’t thrilled to admit they were beaten to this strategy by women, it wasn’t the time for chauvinistic pride. Luke put Florian in charge of making snowballs as fast as he could, leaving Guy and Luke to focus on power and aim.
It was an evenly matched battle—though Luke took more snowballs to the face than anyone—and Guy knew that if they were to win, another tack was necessary.
Almost halfway between their base and the girls’ hedge was a large tree, which offered an excellent sniper-style spot for the person who reached it first.
“Cover me, men,” Guy said. “I’m going closer.”
He sidled up to the tree in record time, then made a rookie error and took his eyes off the prize, instead choosing to look back at his teammates and give them a thumbs up. Behind him came a soft yet slushy tread, and he turned around just in time for Natalia to shove a handful of cold, wet snow down the front of his shirt.
He yelped a very unmanly yelp, and she ran away, her laughter ringing in the winter air.
Again he was faster than she was, but just as he caught up to her, she slipped on an exposed patch of ice. Without thinking, he looped his arms around her waist and pulled her backward, taking the brunt of the fall himself. The snow offered enough cushion to make their tumble awkward but relatively painless.
She was still giggling as she rolled away from him. “I brought you down!” she declared, her eyes dancing with victory. “Do you surrender?”
For the first time, his silver tongue failed him. It was tangled up, the cleverness knocked out of him. No quick lines came to his lips; no charming rejoinders were locked and loaded. No jokes, nothing easy or familiar.
All he could do was look at her.
Her eyes were shining with amusement, and her smile rivaled the morning sun in brightness and warmth. Her cheeks were flushed from exertion and the cold and maybe from falling on top of him. Snowflakes sparkled like diamonds in her eyelashes and glittered in the golden waves of her hair.
She was like a winter fairy. A snow princess.
That she was beautiful was not a new revelation. It was an objective, observable fact. He’d known her too many years to pretend he’d never noticed before, and wouldn’t indulge in clichés like he was seeing her for the first time.
What was new was this reaction to her, this sudden impulse to kiss her.
It came out of nowhere, and now it was everywhere, refusing to shut up, making his heart pound and his mouth dry, making it hard to breathe.
One word fought its way through the tangle. “Natalia.”
“Guy.” She mimicked his serious tone, drawing out his name in that slightly impatient way she had. But then her giggles subsided, her smile faded, and she was looking back at him, curious and questioning.
There were too many variables. What if it was terrible? She couldn’t be, but he might be really bad at it. It might ruin their friendship, and he couldn’t risk that. Besides, if he tried, would she even let him? If he did so much as lean forward, would she meet him in the middle?
The possibility of it all hung unspoken in that still, silent space between them.
And, somehow, the space was shrinking.
“Natalia, help!” Anise’s voice was as shrill as an alarm clock. “We’re getting creamed! Where are you?”
Natalia jumped up like she had a spring beneath her. “I’m coming,” she called back, brushing snow from her skirt, “and I’ve got a prisoner!”
The moment was gone, the spell broken, and Guy’s tongue finally unknotted. “No, I caught you,” he said. Bringing back the joke and the game made their teasing natural and comfortable again, and restored the illusion that their superficial type of flirting wasn’t indicative of anything deeper. “So that makes you my prisoner.”
She seemed stunned by this, and presented her back to him with a haughty toss of her hair. “I don’t recall that at all.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I did,” he answered, a slow grin spreading across his face. “Do you surrender?”
She huffed, but when she glanced at him over her shoulder, her eyes flashed, burning a hole through that illusion once more. “Never.”
Totally unrelated, I told D I wanted one of these tomorrow:
"Okay, so far, our ideal party consists of beer, fights to the death, cupcakes, blood pudding, blood, touch football, mating, charades, and yes, horse hunting."