Carla woke up slowly and quietly. She slipped from the dream world into reality simply by opening her eyes revealing a deep emerald green. Early morning light was filtering in through the window directly across from her side of the bed casting the room in dipping shadows and golden rays of sunshine.
Carla smiled and stretched out her arms yawning deep while arching her back in a cat like stretch which made her moan softly in pleasure. Sinking back into the bed she snuggled under the covers wondering when her bed had become this comfortable before closing her eyes to sleep in. A moment later they sprang open. This was not her bed.
All the events of the past night came flooding back to her in a rush of emotion that left her slightly breathless and blushing. Very carefully and slowly she turned her head to look over her shoulder and was met with the image of Ridian’s back. He’d turned over in the night and his shoulders now rose up and down as he snored lightly still deep in sleep.
Carla sighed in relief, a blush still hot upon her cheeks. Embarrassment flowed through her in a steady stream causing her heart beat to speed up. I have to get out of here, she thought. I’ll call him later. I’m sure he’ll understand.
Very carefully and slower than a sloth Carla began to inch the cream colored covers off of her and slide her body towards the edge of the bed. She picked up his shirt and slipped it over her naked body, pulling back on the pair of discarded lace underwear at the foot of the bed. Right when she was at the edge of the bed a voice rang out from behind her.
“Good morning cupcake,“.
At the sound of her nickname annoyance rang through her and she spun around declaring hotly, “I told you not to call me that!” before crossing her arms in a pout.
When she realized what she’d just done she blushed a red that reached from her ears to her scalp, painting her face the color of a fresh tomato. Ridian was lying on his side propped up on his left elbow as he stared smirking at her.
His hair was ruffled and messy but still super cute. His shirt was gone somewhere on the floor and his six pack was fully visible, well defined and tanned to perfection. Carla’s eyes widened as she took it all in and thought about the circus train wreck she must look like having slept in her makeup.
“Hi,” she said shyly. “I’m going to go to the bathroom real quick,” and before Ridian could respond she leaped out of the bed and ran out the room, down the long hallway and into the bathroom shutting the door firmly behind her before locking it. Carla leaned her back against the door as she let out a sigh of relief at having avoided an awkward situation. Stepping in front of the mirror she gasped.
Her face looked like a rejected clown who’d just drowned in the river before being run over by its own car a few hundred times. Her hair was a birds nest that even birds would avoid and she was scared to touch the giant thing lest it come to life and attack her. She sniffed herself and immediately reared back eyes watering at the overpowering smell of sweat from dancing and alcohol from all the people who’d been drinking that still lingered on her.
This is fucking gross, she thought.
Immediately she set to work trying hard not to think about what Ridian had thought when he’d seen her. Thankfully she remembered that Sam had left her an emergency girls package under the sink in case she’d have to change clothes or something. She opened up the bag to find a change of clothes, honey vanilla body wash, strawberry shampoo and conditioner, a razor, a toothbrush, an underwear and push up bra and some socks as well as a brush and the base materials for a good makeup job.
Oh my smurfs thank you child the Lord Baby Jesus will grant you passage into heaven for the beautiful thing you have done today, she thought towards Sam with a smile on her face. Carla stripped as fast as she could and jumped into the shower scrubbing off the scent of last night and infusing her skin with the rich aroma of honey and vanilla.
She scrubbed her scalp till both her skin and her fingers were raw, making sure to set angle the tumbleweed-esque mess while it was lathered with conditioner. She stepped out the shower feeling like a new woman with a large grin plastered on her face.
Quickly drying off she changed into the high waisted black skinnies and beige sweat shirt crop top with lace covering the back that had been in the bag. After a little more digging she found a blow dryer and set to work with the brush blowing out her hair until it was softer than downy and smoother than cream as it lay lightly on her shoulders and over her back. She tucked one side behind her right ear showing off the piercings and began to apply makeup.
A little bit of mascara here, a little bit of gloss here, a touch of eyeliner and we are ready for business, she thought. She stepped back and observed her appearance. When did I get so into makeup? she thought. She shrugged stepping back and putting the supplies back into the bag.
Carla then slipped on the fresh socks, brushes her teeth till her breath sang of minty wonderland and then finally unlocked the door to the bathroom and padded down the hall back to Ridian’s room. Glancing at a clock on the wall she saw she’d been in the bathroom for exactly half an hour. Not bad, she thought. Considering the complete transformation I’ve made from clown reject to teenage girl.
Very slowly Carla inched Ridian’s bedroom door open peaking her head around the door frame causing her hair to fall of her shoulders and hang lightly by her ear. Ridian had his back to her and was making up the bed. He had changed while she was gone too.
He was now clad in dark blue jeans, a grey hoodie that had the logo for Um Hi’s new album printed across it and his weathered Timberlands. He’d brushed his hair so that his bangs were angled to the side and only a few strands in the back of his head curled up. At the sound of the door opening her turned around and gave her a warm smile.
“Hey,” he said. “That was pretty fast. I was afraid I’d grow a beard by the time you came back,“. Carla laughed lightly glad that there was no tension and stepped all the way into the room brushing her hair behind both her ears as she smiled up at him, happiness emanating from her jade colored eyes.
“Well I thought you’d be waiting so I tried to hurry up,“. Clearing her throat she glanced down at her striped socks and wiggled her toes nervously before looking back up again. “Sorry you had to see me in my morning monster stage. I try to keep that part of me hidden for the good of the world,“. She cracked a joke to make the topic less awkward and it seemed to work since Ridian just laughed at her. He walked over and took her hands in his.
“Babe, I’d give up anything to be able to wake up next to you like I did this morning. Monster or not you were a beautiful monster and it was a sight I could get used to seeing,“. Carla blushed furiously at this but she laughed anyways.
“So you didn’t deny that I was a monster eh?” she teased with one eye brow lifted as she jabbed a finger lightly at him.
“Well then you won’t be seeing much of this “monster” in the mornings anymore so don’t get used to it. It’s not a habit I want to form where I scare my boyfriend with my face every time he wakes up,” Carla had gotten so caught up in her teasing that she didn’t realize until a moment after she’d said it that she’d called Ridian her boyfriend. She ducked her head in embarrassment only to have him lift it back up softly by her chin with a delighted look on his face that she couldn’t help but return its joy.
Ridian’s eyes suddenly became focused on her mouth and he slowly lowered his head to hers while Carla shut her eyes and pursed her lips awaiting contact. But none came. She peeked one of her eyes open to see Ridian laughing at her and her face immediately heated up with mortification and she swatted at him mumbling about stupid hormonal, immature, butt faced, twisted, jaded teenage boys who should all be eaten by killer smurfs.
“Killer smurfs?” Ridian asked. Carla gave him a look and he shut his mouth a sharp pop and moved to hug her but she pushed him away arms crossed, still slightly humiliated. “Babe I’m sorry. I was just teasing you,” Ridian pleaded batting his eyes in a way that would shame newborn puppies and puckering his lips up slightly.
Carla’s brow eased slightly and she was just about to forgive him when he said, “But you should have seen your face! All puckered up and expectant it was seriously cute,” He snickered after the last part. Rolling her eyes Carla stalked out the room and down the stairs into the kitchen ignoring Ridian’s calls to come back.
Goddamn he is so immature, she thought to herself as she padded into the kitchen. She stopped for a moment in front of the fridge as a new thought came to her. But I guess it’s all just a part of his charm. She smiled a small smile and began to hum to herself as she opened the fridge searching for ingredients to make breakfast.
Soon after the lake house was filled with the rich and delicious smell of food Ridian raced down the stairs and into the kitchen.
“What are you making?” he asked hungrily. Carla could almost see him salivating and she laughed.
“Chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, a little hash and fruit salad. Sound good?” she asked. Ridian moaned in delight over the menu causing Carla to laugh again. “You look like a little kid on Christmas. Doesn’t your step mom cook for you guys in the morning?” Ridian shook his head sadly.
“Why do you think we have a personal chef? She’s a horrible cook. She’d be better cast as a poison making agent in the C.I.A. because what she makes is deadly-Ow!” Ridian exclaimed rubbing his arm. Carla had smacked him with the end of a wooden spoon.
“It’s not nice to talk about her cooking that way!” Ridian looked down grumbling to himself and Carla relented. As she turned back to the eggs she spoke, “But if it’s really that bad then you can count on me to make all your lunches from now on. Sound good?” She turned to face Ridian but was instead met with his lips.
Carla gasped slightly against his mouth in surprise before returning it with full passion. He tasted like mint and smelled like citrus. It was intoxicating. After a moment they broke apart and Ridian leaned his forehead against Carla’s, smirking when he took in her flushed face and shortness of breath.
“Thanks babe. I would love that,” he said softly. It was all Carla could do to nod her head meekly and give him a small smile. Still grinning Ridian backed up and sat back down at the table pulling out his phone nonchalantly as if nothing had happened.
That boy is going to give me a heart attack, Carla thought to herself with one hand over her heart to steady the beat as she turned back to the now slightly overcooked eggs to finish them up. As she ladled all the food onto plates and set the table she couldn’t help but think that she wouldn’t mind. At last with the final dish on the table they both dug in.
Carla stared with wide eyes chewing slowly as Ridian wolfed down his food and went back for seconds and then then thirds. She was sure that he was going to lick the plate when he was through and he almost did if not for catching the upraised eyebrow of disapproval that Carla was giving him.
She bursted into giggles as she cleared the now scraped clean plates off the table and loaded them into the dishwasher. “Someone was hungry wasn’t he?” she asked in an amused tone as she looked over her shoulder to the now slightly blushing face of Ridian as he scratched the back of his head in embarrassment.
“It was really good food,” he said. “And plus it was a labor of love from my girlfriend so how could I not eat it?” he questioned her with an upturned eyebrow his mischievous grin plastered back on his face. Now it was Carla’s turn to blush.
“Anyways,” she began as she tried to change the subject. “What do you want to do today? It being Sunday and all,” she wiggled her eyebrows at Ridian as she said the last part making him laugh lightly at her. He sighed thoughtfully tapping the index finger of his right hand on his chin and staring off into space his eyes unfocused. Suddenly they sharpened an excited glint shone in them. Ridian sat up straight.
“Let’s go ice skating,” Ridian exclaimed excitedly. He’d subconsciously leaned forward in his seat his body language showing all signs of eagerness. Carla hadn’t been ice skating in years but she remembered it was fun; when you weren’t busting your ass on cold, frozen water.
“Why not?” she responded smiling at Ridian. He immediately shot up from his chair pumping one fist in the air and whooping as he did a little victory jig causing Carla to laugh at his silliness. Half an hour later they were changed and ready to go.
Carla now had on thermal leggings and knee high socks underneath her purple skates. They were really Sam’s but she was just borrowing them for now. Up top she was bundled into her north face jacket with a grey beanie on her head, a cream scarf wrapped around her neck and white fingerless gloves on her hands.
Ridian was dressed similarly with black thermal pants of his own, a pair of fuzzy socks and two giant blue skates laced up on his feet. On his upper torso he rocked a puffy black coat, red scarf, black beanie and white fingerless that looked just like Carla’s. When Ridian had explained to her that they would be ice skating on the lake she became even more excited. There would be no crowds and loud noises and packed rinks like there were in the city. Here it would be blissful solitude only for the two of them.
They hopped into Ridian’s car and drove the short trip up to the lake house. When they parked Ridian changed back into his skates having taken them off to drive. As the couple carefully exited the car, teetering slightly on their blades Carla was once again awed by the great natural beauty of the lake.
In the daylight the clear ice in the middle glinted and shone in the sunlight while the white ice parts glowed a piercingly pure white that hurt when looked at for too long. To Carla’s surprise all the flowers along the bank were closed up and leaning towards the ground, their night time brilliance seeming like a dream. Carla made a mental note to ask Ridian about it later.
Ridian immediately skated out smoothly on the ice making figure eights and large smooth circles. Carla watched him wearily. She used to be a pretty fantastic skater but she hadn’t stepped on the ice in over five years and she was worried her body had forgotten everything. Ridian stopped skating and looked over to where she stood nervously by the lake’s side and he skated over laughing at her.
“Don’t be so afraid. It’s easy, I’ll teach you,” he said holding out a hand while grinning from ear to ear. Carla simply stuck her tongue out and refused his hand cautiously putting one foot on the ice. Ridian leaned back putting his hand in his pocket and watched her an amused expression on his face. Carla lifted her other foot and set it softly against the ice so that she was now standing upright completely on the ice at the very edge of the lake, facing away from the house.
“There you go!” Ridian exclaimed clapping for her. He skated over and held out his hand again. “We’ll take it nice and slow until you get it,“. Carla was ignoring him. Instead she had closed her eyes and let her body relax and the instant it did she knew that it still remembered everything. The thought made her smile and she opened her eyes grinning wide at a slightly confused Ridian who still held out his right hand for her to take.
“Thanks but no thanks. I think I got it,” she said her smile now more of a smirk. She still hadn’t moved from her spot. Ridian blinked slowly before a smile of his own appeared on his face and he stuck his hand back in his pocket and skated backwards a little ways away from her.
“Don’t blame me if you fall!” he called out to her. “Remember that I offered,“. Carla only smiled at him before taking a deep breath. And then she was off. She skated a wide circle before executing perfect figure eight and when she got to the middle of the pond leaped into the air twisting her body in a double lux before landing elegantly on her left foot and gliding out. If she had been looking at Ridian she would have laughed at his dumbfounded expression, jaw hanging wide open.
She stuck her leg out in an arabesque and threw her arms out wide like she was flying. She began to laugh, oh she had sincerely missed skating. She’d only quit after her father had died. He had been the one to take her to all her practices and competitions. He was always the one in the stands cheering her on and helping her piece together damaged costumes. Her mom had always been to busy to help with such things and didn’t approve of her skating anyways.
A small tear snaked its way out of Carla’s eye and down her left cheek but she quickly wiped it away with the corner of her coat sleeve and quickly whipped her body into a fast spin so her body was a fast moving blur. She slowly moved her hands upward and then brought her body down extending one leg never breaking the spin or losing speed until at last she spun out on her right foot and skated off.
After a good fifteen minutes of exercises and going through her old routines she finally skated up to Ridian slightly out of breath but flushed and happy.
“How was that?” she asked.
“Absolutely amazing,” he replied smiling adoringly at her before tucking a strand of loose hair back under her ear. The small action of affection cause her to blush and look down a little. “Where did you learn to skate like that?“Ridian asked, respect evident in the tone of his voice and the look in his eyes.
Carla grinned. “I used to be a skater girl in junior high. I won quite a few competitions if I do say so myself,” she said cockily but in a teasing tone of voice. Ridian skated slowly around her nodding his head in understanding.
“So why’d you stop?” he asked curiously. The smile slowly faded from Carla’s face and her fists clenched and unclenched. She turned her head to the side and hugged her arms before answering.
“My father was the one who got me started in it. When he died,” she paused and took a breath. “It just didn’t feel the same,” she finished in a whisper. Warmth suddenly enveloped her as Ridian hugged her from behind. He said nothing but his presence was more than enough and Carla sighed in content resting one of her hands on his arms. After a moment she broke away and skated towards the middle of lake.
“Watch this!” she called out. “I think I can still do a triple lux!” Ridian looked at her nervously a worried look on his face as she got farther and farther from him and closer and closer towards the middle where the ice was thinner.
“Be careful!” he shouted out. Carla gave him a reassuring smile. She slowly began her wind up with a large and elegant figure eight. So focused on her move she didn’t hear the ice slowly began to crack slightly under her weight. When she reached the pinnacle of her move the ice below cracked deeply but her body was already airborne and twisting around like a gymnast mid move.
“Carla!” a voice screamed. It wasn’t Ridian’s voice but it sounded deathly familiar. Twisting her head around as gravity began to bring her back down to earth she made out a figure in the distance. He was waving fanatically in their direction and as Carla focused her gaze she made out two piercing aqua blue eyes that shimmered with familiar flecks of grey.
Danny? Carla thought in muddled confusion.
And then she was back on the ground. But instead of landing on the ice smoothly her blade cut through the already weakened foundation and her body followed suit. The last thing she saw was the figure running towards her, fierce blue eyes locked on her vibrant green ones before the inky blue waters closed over her head and all she saw was black.