Chapter 45

Chapter 45

Siana and Alan donned themselves in scarves, gloves and coats and hoped these would withstand the cold while they spent time in the snow for a while.  When they met Primo in the corridor, Siana was flustered. She thought he would object but he only told them to be safe and have a good time and saw them to the door.

The view from the bedroom had been marvelous, but it was nothing compared to the real thing outside their home. Siana stepped onto the snow eagerly and sniffed the wintery air. The cold invaded her nostrils, but she didn’t mind. Snow crunched underneath her boots leaving imprints behind as she walked into it.

It was so exciting that Siana stomped the rest of the way to leave even more footprints behind. She looked back to see if Alan was following. He was standing at the end of her footprints with a smile on his face. Siana bent down and scooped some snow in her hands. She moulded them into a ball and threw it towards Alan. The snowball scattered at his feet with a thud.

Alan stared down at his feet with a mischievous light in his eyes. “Really now?” he said, “Do you want to have a snowball fight?”

Siana laughed. “Yes!”

“Think again,” he said, “You will regret it. I am a pro.”

“Yeah?” she said, “Show me then!” She scooped a handful of snow making them into a ball and threw it at him again.

This ball of snow landed on Alan’s leg which made a thick, white, powdery mess on his boot. Alan smiled at the declaration of war and scooped up some snow. Siana plopped down on the ground to gather even more snow to make snowballs.

She scooped her snowball and ran away as Alan walked close. Alan ran after her and the distance between them decreased with each of his step. Her feet kept getting stuck in the snow. Alan caught up with her and grabbed her arm.

“Gotcha—” he said but her foot found one particularly slippery spot and she slipped. Alan, trying to hold her aloft, slipped as well. They tumbled down to the ground. Alan pulled her close and tried to do a half-spin, putting his body between her and the ground to take the impact from the inevitable fall.

Alan landed on his back and Siana on top of him. Siana could guess it had been a hard fall from the sound alone. She raised her head at Alan’s groan. Alan had taken the fall and it had been painful.

“Alan!” she exclaimed, “Are you alright?” She leaned over him trying to see if he was injured.

“That hurt,” said Alan and grimaced.

“I am so sorry,” he said. She was checking him to figure out the extent of the injury when he grabbed her hand and pulled her close. Siana was pressed onto his chest. She looked up.

“Alan…,” she said.

“Kiss me,” he said.

“W-what? Now?” she asked. “You are injured.”

“Hm,” he said and smiled, “Then I deserve that kiss.”

He leaned down and whispered in her ears, “I want to do it here.” The blue eyes made her blush. She hesitated. They had done it in the bedroom with each other so many times. But this felt different. This felt exposed. She had never ever thought to do it outside. She looked around. They could be seen! No one was around but it still felt shameless.

“Must we do it here?” she asked, blushing, “Can’t we go back to our rooms?”

“Ah!” said Alan, “My back hurts.”

“Okay, okay!” said Siana.

Siana knew that Alan was faking it. His smirk was testament to that. But since it was her fault that they had fallen in the first place, she thought it was only fair. She hesitated, then swept her hair back and stretched up to Alan, ready for a kiss.

Just then, something icy touched her back. “Ow!” she scowled, “That’s cold!”

Alan had thrown a flurry of snow over her. He was laughing. It was all seeping into her clothes and making her cold.

“I did say you would regret it,” he said, still laughing.

“Seriously?” she said, laughing with him, “This is your revenge for the snowball earlier?”

“There’s more where that came from,” he said, scooping up more snow.

Siana was almost up and running when his hand grabbed her and pulled her down. His gloved hands took her face in his hand. Siana felt the rough fabric of his gloves against her cheeks. He placed a kiss on her forehead. “What was that?”

“Your punishment for being careless in front of me,” he said.

He placed a kiss on her forehead again. “And this is just because I want to.”

“You are a cheat and a vile man,” said Siana teasingly.

“Is that so?” he said, “Do you hate it then?”

“No, I don’t dislike it, but…”

Siana wanted to punch him somewhere. His laughing face at her expense was so handsome that she wanted to stroke it and punch him at the same time. Why does he have to be so handsome all the time?

It was always like that with Alan, from when they were children. She used to feel very resentful towards him because she didn’t feel she was pretty. In the end, she let out a low groan and got off him. Her dress was powdered with the snow in which they had fallen. She brushed it off and crouched down to make a snowman. She was trying to pile up snow to make the snowman when Alan embraced her from behind.

“Are you going to throw that at me again?” he whispered. His hot breath tickled her ears.

“No,” she said, “I am doing what we came here to do in the first place. I am trying to make a snowman.”

She wriggled out of his grip and gathered more snow. Snowball fight was childish, but it was bittersweet that they couldn’t continue with it like when they were children, without a care in the world. It felt nostalgic. But they could at least make a snowman together.

Siana gathered the snow and rolled them on the ground to make a huge ball of snow. The snowball, which was the size of her fist at first, became so huge that it came up to her knees. Alan, too, piled the snow and rolled it into a ball. Alan’s was much bigger than Siana’s.

Alan’s snowman looked quite huge and formidable when the last ball was set on the top to be the head. He went in search of fallen branched and stones, or even fruits to serve as hands, eyes, or nose. A maid brought them some sandwiches for lunch.

They sat down on the snow and nibbled at their sandwiches. They stayed out and didn’t return home till late in the evening.

“Whew,” said Siana, “I am so cold.” She took off her coat and gloves as soon as they were in their bedroom. It had been so much fun outside that she had forgotten everything and only now was the cold palpable. Her hands and feet felt frozen.

Siana sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed at her feet. She was hoping they would warm up. Alan took off his coat and hung them on the back of the chair to dry.

“Should I massage your feet?” he asked, crouching down.

“What? No!” she said, “Why all of a sudden? I am fine.”

“Let me,” he said, “They will warm up fast if I do it.”

“No!” she said, “That’s alright. I am fine. I will just soak them in hot water. Plus, they are dirty from being out all day.”

“Then sit here,” he said, “I will bring some water to wash them.”

“What? Alan, no,” she protested, “It’s alright.”

“Just wait here a moment,” he said and walked to the bathroom.

Is he really going to wash them for me? Siana felt embarrassed and didn’t want to let him do it. But he came out of the bathroom with a bucket of water. She had thought he was going to call her to the bathroom, but he was here holding a bucket.

“Alan,” she said, bewildered, “It’s alright. No need. I will do it myself.”

“It’s alright,” he said, and rolled up his sleeves.

The steam floated on top of the bucket of water, and a pleasant fragrance of essential oil emanated from it. The fragrance lingered in the room. Alan crouched down and placed the bucket by her feet.

“Put your feet in,” he said.

“I… Are you sure?” she asked.

“Have I ever lied to you?” he said, “Of course, I am sure.”

“I mean…,” Siana trailed off.

The situation felt so unusual to her. This was completely unnecessary. Siana was confused and embarrassed but Alan was unfazed like this was completely normal for him. She sighed. I am going to soak them just a bit and take them out, she decided. She slid her feet into the bucket. The water splashed from the sides of the bucket.

Alan took her feet. It sent shivers down her back. It felt so ticklish and strange for her feet to be touched by someone else.

“Your feet are so small,” he said, “It’s adorable.”

Siana blushed at the compliment. She was much shorter than women her age. She was petite. But she had never thought about her feet as ‘adorable’. Her heart raced from hearing it from Alan.



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