Slippery Slope

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Apres-Ski – The bar party after a fun day spent on the slopes.

Brent pulled his snow mobile out onto the road. The entire squad was buzzing with the news that Derrick had been seen with a woman and two young children, one of whom looked exactly like him. In addition, Kristy had been seen speaking with him and then hadn’t been seen since. She wasn’t picking up her phone or returning texts or emails. Asher got someone to cover Brent’s shift and sent him out to make sure she was okay. He hoped she was. He didn’t get this whole situation. That Derrick could just waltz back into town with a woman and kids in tow and act like everything was normal was just beyond his comprehension. Kristy deserved better. She was a good person. Hell, she was a human being and you just didn’t do these things to people. Really, at this point, he was disgusted by the thought of Derrick.

Brent drove along the snowy streets. It was quiet despite being the height of the season. There was too much snow to drive a car or even most trucks. Townies and lifers, if they didn’t have garages, just left their cars in the snow till Spring and relied on those able to get out. The town was small enough to walk or snowshoe most places and everyone kept an eye on each other. That and the mountain had kept him here.

Kristy’s place was dark. Brent knocked on the door and tried the doorknob. It was unlocked and he got a bad feeling in the bottom of his stomach.

He called out, “Kristy, you here?”

There was no answer. Brent pulled his head back out of her apartment to consider where he should look. A hand fell on his shoulder.

It was Tanya, Kristy’s next door neighbor.

“Hey, Brent. How are you?” she asked.

“Good, good. Have you seen Kristy?”

“Yeah, earlier.”

“You don’t know where she went, do you?”

“Yeah. I thought she said she was meeting you at Somewhere’s. She didn’t seem like talking. Is everything okay?”

“Everything’s good. I’m running a little late is all. Thanks for the info.”

“Sure thing, Brent.”

Brent took the stairs back down to the street two at a time. Somewhere’s was a local bar but Kristy wasn’t one to drink.

Brent decided to walk over and left the mobile. He didn’t have a second helmet with him and if Kristy was drunk he wanted to stay with her to make sure she got home.

As he neared the entrance to Somewhere’s he could see a commotion going on out front. There was a fight and two men were being pulled off of each other. To the side of the small group, doubled over laughing, was Kristy. Brent recognized one of the men as a medical tech from the ambulance they had dispatched the other day.

When Kristy looked up and saw Brent she immediately headed toward him, stumbling over the snow, the beer in her hand sloshing around.

“Kristy, are you okay?” Brent asked catching her by her arm. Her hair, normally pulled back in two neat braids, whipped wildly around her face. She was wearing a short skirt, leather boots, a long sleeved-tee and suede vest. He could feel her shivering.

“I’m great. Great!” she yelled into his face.

“Kristy, where the hell is your jacket? It’s freezing out here.”

“Is it? I feel fine. Great!” she repeated.

There were exclamations from the little crowd as the two men went for each other again and were again separated. Kristy laughed.

“What happened here, Kris?” Brent asked.

“Oh my god, Brent. It’s so funny. They’re so drunk and they’re having a fight over a woman. Guess who, Brent. Guess. C’mon, guess!”

“Okay, I’ll guess. You?”

“Damn right, me,” she said. With that declaration she moved her mug of beer toward her chest, splashing herself. She froze for a second before bursting out laughing again.

“Wow, okay,” Brent said. “Let’s go get your jacket and get you home. You’re soaked.”

“Oh, c’mon, Brenty,” Kristy said.

“It’s not that bad. C’mon inside and I’ll buy you a drink. C’mon!” she commanded and stumbled back to the door pushing her way through the little crowd.

Once inside she walked over to a barstool and sat down. Brent took the seat next to her.

“You may want to watch your back, Brent,” Kristy said, “Those guys have the hots for me and if they see you with me they are going to be pissed.”

“I’ll take my chances, Kristy,” Brent replied but kept his eyes on the door.

“Can’t I take you home now?”

Kristy turned and looked at him, draining the last ounce from her beer glass. There were empty shot glasses all across the bar. Her shirt was still soaking wet and her hair was matted to her forehead. He could not believe they had continued to serve her. She was completely wasted.

“Damn, this place is such a dive,” Brent murmured.

“Let me just have one more drink and then we can go,” Kristy said.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Kristy. Why don’t we just leave?” Brent asked. He picked up her jacket from off the ground and put it over her shoulders. Kirsty shrugged it off.

“Uh-uh. Not yet,” she said.

“You have to do a shot. Barkeep!” she called out while she scrambled up on to the bar and lay down.

“Kristy – what the hell?” Brent asked but he laughed. The bartender walked over.

“This is what started all the trouble in the first place,” the bartender said, shaking her head.

“No worries. Just fill up the old belly button,” Kristy said as she lifted her shirt.

Brent pulled her up by her shoulders, “Okay. Come on, Kristy. Get down.”

Giggling, Kristy complied but would not leave till he did a whisky shot, which he agreed to do when she finally agreed he didn't have to do it off her body. Eager to get her out of there, he downed the shot and they headed out into the snow.

The entire way back to her apartment she sang “We Are Young,” badly, and just the only two verses she knew over and over.

By the time they got there, the walk seemed to have sobered her up, a little. Brent sat on the floor outside her bathroom door as she showered in case she fell or, he didn’t know what, but he didn’t want to leave her alone. He had known her for eight years and had never seen her like this. When she finally opened the door she had changed into a long t-shirt and had her hair piled up under a towel. Without a word, she stepped gingerly over him and shuffled to her bedroom, got in bed, and pulled the sheets up to her chin. He followed her in and sat on the edge of the bed next to her.

“Are you going to be all right?” he asked. She nodded and removed the towel from her head and threw it to the floor. She ran her hands through her hair.

“Thank you, Brent,” she said. She put her arms up and laced her fingers around his neck, pulling his face close to hers.

Her hair smelled of coconut and her breath, which had smelled of whisky and beer, now smelled minty-orange. He put his hand to her cheek and caressed it. Her skin was hot and soft. Kristy stared into his eyes, pulled him closer and began to kiss him. Little light kisses on his lips that became more urgent. She darted her tongue into his mouth, tugged on his lips with her teeth, and moved her hands to his chest, under his shirt.

Brent took a deep breath and pulled away. He put his hands over hers and placed her hands back on her chest.

“Brent,” she murmured, “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Kristy.”

“You do?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said pushing her hair out of her eyes, “More than you know.”

“Really?” she asked.

“Really,” he said and stopped. He took another deep breath.

“Kristy, I’ve loved you since the moment I first saw you.”

“Brent, you’re so great,” she replied.

“Derrick sucks,” she then said. And there it was. The reason for all this.

“I know,” he answered.

“Get some sleep, Kristy. I’ll be here in the morning.”

“Brent, you’re the best.”

“Thanks, Kristy,” and while a small part of him hoped she remembered the conversation the rest of him knew it would be best if she didn’t.

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