11 PM One Friday Night
He ran his fingers through her hair, and wrapped a lock of it around one finger. He loved her hair – the soft darkness falling like silk through his fingers, the sweet fragrance of whatever it was she used on it.
She looked up at him with sleepy eyes, perfectly content for the moment, and smiled. "Don't forget to turn off the light," she said as she pulled the sheet up to her chin, then rolled over and snuggled her back into his warmth.
He brushed the hair off her neck, and brushed his lips across the pale skin where her neck joined her shoulder, then reached up and clicked off the lamp on the head board.
As he settled down, reaching around her slender body and letting his hand reach across her middle to draw her in closer, she muttered, "Did you set the alarm clock?"
"Hell no," he said, resting his cheek on the softness of her hair. "Tomorrow's Saturday, silly."
"Good," she replied, resting her hand on his. "I hate that thing."
He smiled in the darkness, listening to her breathing as she settled into sleep. After a while, content in the quiet, he joined her.
Once Upon a Winter's Afternoon
He watched the snow come down and dance in the wind as he stood there by the woodpile. The mountains beyond his house were veiled, unseeable in the grayness, and the spruce trees near the house were already beginning to wear white coats.
"I see the mountains have gone on vacation again," a soft, feminine voice said. "Wonder how long they'll be gone this time?"
He looked up from where he had bent down to add one more log to the wood he was carrying, and smiled at the woman who had walked up beside him. "Weatherman said the snow should lift by sometime tomorrow. They'll be back before you know it. What're you doing out here?"
"You forgot your hat," she said, clamping a bright red and beige knit cap on his head. She gave him a quick peck on the tip of his nose.
"Fine time to remember it. I'm nearly done," he said, standing up.
"That's cause I was busy. I made hot chocolate," she said as they walked back to the house.
"That sounds good," he said as she opened the door. "Hot chocolate and a hot fire on a snowy afternoon. Can't get better than that."
They stepped inside, and put the wood in its box and took off their coats. He poked the burning wood in the fireplace and added a fresh log, then sat down on the sofa to watch the fire. She handed him a hot, steaming cup, and curled up beside him.
"You sure it can't get better than this?" she asked, looking at him from over the cup of her own mug.
He raised an eyebrow as she let her hand drift towards the top of his leg."You got something in mind?"
"Only if you can get your hands warm," she replied. "You didn't only forget your hat this time. You forgot your gloves again. They feel like ice cubes."
He laughed, and took another sip of his chocolate, being sure to wrap his hands carefully around the hot cup.
"Why?" she asked, leaning her back against his chest as she looked out over the view.
"Why what?" he replied, wrapping his arms around her waist.
His breath tickled her ear and she shivered a little as she looked at the water below them. They were standing on a tree-shaded spar of land that jutted out into the lake, making a perfect picnic spot. In fact, their lunch was spread on a nearby table. Light danced on the water, and down below, on a rock-covered shoreline, an older man was fishing with a young boy who must have been his grandson. The water sparkled like a jewel where it lay surrounded by the mountains that encircled it. It was a cool, late spring day, and no boats pulling water skiers spoiled the tranquility. Overhead, an eagle flew, looking for fish.
She turned in his arms just enough to see his face. "Why'd you bring me here?"
His smile faded a little, his violet eyes questioning. "Don't you like it? You said you wanted to get out of town to somewhere different for the afternoon."
"It's lovely," she said, and kissed him on the chin to reassure him. "I just wondered why you picked this place."
His smile came back. "My dad used to bring me out here sometimes to go fishing. It was the prettiest place I could think of for a picnic. Later on in the year, it gets really busy, but in spring it's usually just you and the water and the mountains. Special, you know?" He leaned over and let his lips brush lightly across her cheek. "Like a certain woman I know."
She reached up her hand and cupped the side of his face, and tiptoeing up, she brought her lips to his. Suddenly their world shrank to the space they shared as their kiss depended, and neither of them noticed the boy pulling on his grandfather's sleeve.
The old man smiled, no doubt remembering a special day of his own, and distracting his grandson, cast his line out again in the diamond-studded waters.
He pulled into the snow-covered driveway. It was an incredibly bright night. The snow had stopped a couple of hours earlier, and the clouds had cleared off, and the full moon cascaded over the white landscape. He really didn't even need the front porch light that his wife had left burning.
The house, though, was very quiet as he walked inside. He could smell fresh coffee in the kitchen, and there was a cooling cup of it sitting on an end table in the living room. There was a fire burning in the fireplace, and the television was off, but the light on the patio was on.
He slid open the glass door, letting a bit of the night's cool into the house. A line of footprints led from the patio into the garden and he followed them. There was very little sound except for a barking dog in the distance and the muffled noise of his feet walking in the snow as he walked across their yard into the garden.
She stood there, silently, looking up at the sky, standing next to a lilac bush, all snow-trimmed bare branches, wrapped up in one of his old work jackets. The moonlight touched her dark hair with silver as she stood, and her breath fogged in front of her. As he neared, she pulled the jacket close to her and took a deep breath of the night air.
"Isn't it magical?" she said, well aware of his presence.
"What are you doing out here, woman? It's too cold for you," he chided, walking up to her and wrapping his arms around her.
"Watching the moon," she replied, turning to look at him. "Isn't it beautiful? If I look at the garden just right, it feels like it's just us here, and nobody else left in the world. All this magical night, all for us."
He rested his cheek against the side of her head. "That'd make a pretty lonely place."
Tiptoeing up, she gave him a quick kiss, and a playful look that promised a lot more. "But think of all the fun we could have enjoying it."
He lifted a hand to her cheek, and brushed his knuckles across it. "Silly woman. We can do that anyway."
"Yeah, but we have to be quiet. If it were just us, we could be as noisy as we wanted."
He just laughed, and led her back into the house.