Snow, Hot Chocolate and you.
By Pat Winterburn
This is a short Christmas story for the solstice contest. It involves my good friend, Detective Amanda Ellis from Missy's bubblewrap fic contest.
There's two squirrels, a shooting and two women in a loving relationship. Hey, it is Christmas after all.
So, if you're too young or looking for Ozzie and Harriet. Change the channel.
"Anyone got a shotgun? I'm gonna blow those damn squirrels that are up on the housetop to tartarus and beyond." Detective Amanda Ellis growled in conversation at her best friend and the small group that had gathered around fireplace at the ski lodge.
"Housetop, you mean the roof don't you?" asked a cute little blonde who just happened to be walking past carrying a gift all wrapped in pretty paper and a big red bow attached.
"No sweet thing, I mean the housetop. No one can see the roof for all that damn snow up there. Even the two old silver bells are covered and it will be until March before we will ever get out of here." The grumpy detective was still growling at the thought of not being able to get back to San Diego and be home for the holidays.
"Why did I agree to this ski trip with you anyway Sandy?" Amanda turned to her old friend and couldn't help but see the mischief brewing in her eyes.
"Because I'm your oldest and dearest friend, you love me and no one else would put up with your bullshit the way I do. So quit whining and pass me some more of that egg nog with the brandy in it. I'm going to need it if I have to hear you complain one more time." Sandy gave the detective a light punch on the shoulder and started to giggle.
"Your face is already blotchy, you look like Rudolph , the Red Nosed Reindeer every time you drink." The detective gave her friend a little punch back and started laughing as well.
As the two friends started to hug, Amanda looked up and seen the two black squirrels racing across the window sill. "There's those two little bastards, she pointed, where's my revolver?"
Sandy gave her friend a smack on the arm and a reminder that this is a vacation and squirrels do not qualify as target practice.
As the pair sat before the fire with their hot chocolate and shared quilt, Sandy let out a soft sigh and a warm laugh.
"What's so funny? Asked the detective. You seemed lost in a fog there for a moment."
Sandy looked over at her friend and gave her a look that would melt the coldest day. With a devilish grin she asked the question that Amanda hoped had been forgotten.
"Do you remember the last time we took a skiing vacation?"
Amanda's face turned beet red and she summoned up enough courage to find the appropriate answer for the woman who was now curled up beside her, stealing most of the quilt.
"Yes, I remember. It was our second year of college and we had only been dating for 3 weeks. The second night at the lodge, the power went out and we shared the one bed to keep warm."
The detective sat silent for a moment, remembering that night. She wrapped Sandy a little tighter in her arms and with a soft whisper she said. "That night was the first time we made love."
They both snuggled a little closer and quietly let their thoughts turn back 15 years ago to that night.
The party was in full swing with everyone having a good time. They had been out skiing all day and between the wind burn, sun burn and the fresh air, it didn't take too many drinks for the group to get a little drunk. At one point in the evening Bobby Tompkins, who was on the college ski team, stripped off his clothes, jumped up on the table and started singing Here comes Santa Claus wearing nothing but his ski socks.
However, 2 young women were sitting in front of the fire only aware of one thing. Each other.
Amanda's hair was much longer back then. Sandy's fingers were busy playing with the ends ,talking about their day skiing and making plans for tomorrow.
Amanda just listened to her friend chatter on, she was just happy to sit here forever and let the world pass them by.
It was then the lights went out in the lodge and the party got broken up.
The lodge staff carried flashlights and made sure that everyone got safely to their rooms. They told everyone to dress warmly and keep a candle or flashlight by the bed, in case they needed to get up in the night to use the washroom. The generators would only keep the lodge warm enough, so the pipes wouldn't freeze. It was going to be a cold night.
Sandy didn't know which was worse. She was cold and scared. Not necessarily in that order.
Amanda sensing her friends discomfort, offered to share her bed and body warmth.
Sandy wasn't going to argue. She jumped out of her bed and into Amanda's, bringing the extra blankets with her.
It didn't take the two women long to start complaining about each others cold feet and the fact the twin bed was too small for both of them to lie on their backs. So, they each rolled over on their sides, face to face and wrapped their arms around each other. Making sure Sandy was comfortable, Amanda leaned in and gave her friend a light kiss on the lips and tried to say goodnight. Upon feeling Amanda's lips on hers, Sandy had other ideas. Although they had only been dating a short while, Sandy wanted to feel Amanda's naked body next to hers. She had never been with a woman before, but that didn't matter. In her heart she knew Amanda was the right one and she wanted to be with her.
As Amanda started to pull away from the kiss, Sandy held her in place and kissed her back. She then looked into Amanda's eyes. A look that was asking for more and wondering if it was alright. Amanda smiled back and kissed her again. Only this time it wasn't a good night kiss. It was very loving and passionate. Amanda's hands moved up under Sandy's night shirt and began to caress her friends breasts.
"Is this what you want?" asked Amanda. Sandy just moaned in Amanda's ear, not really knowing how to answer the question and at that moment, not really caring.
The only coherent thought she had was how to get herself and Amanda naked without falling out of bed.
Both women were jarred out of their thoughts by a snap and crackle of the big log in the fireplace. It had been a pleasant memory for both of them in a time when they had been young and carefree. But reality had soon set in for both of them. Sandy had to go back east, to medical school, while Amanda had stayed on the west coast and entered the police academy. They had always remained good friends, even when it just meant sending e-mails back and forth. This was only the second time in fifteen years they had seen other. The first time, was at Amanda's sister's wedding, 7 years ago.
After a silent night with the other skiers, Amanda and Sandy decided it was time for bed. Tomorrow was going to be a big day of skiing and the two friends wanted to get an early start.
"Don't hog the covers and get your cold feet off of me you pig!" Sandy was cursing at Amanda, while the other woman just laughed at her.
"Hey, this is your fault not mine. Amanda laughed. You lured me up here with promises of skiing , hot chocolate and good looking women, only failed to mention we got the last room that had only one bed. So suck it up, baby and endure the cold feet."
The two old friends wrestled for the extra blanket, until a truce to share was called. They soon fell asleep, snuggled together for warmth.
As the cold wind whipped around the lodge during the night, their peaceful trip was about to be shattered.
It came upon a midnight clear, meaning in the morning the snow had stopped for now and it gave everyone a chance to head out to the ski lift after good warm breakfast of coffee, oatmeal and raisin toast. The two friends were in the ski lift when the detective noticed something down below them. Nudging her friend and pointing down, Sandy soon spotted what had caught Amanda's eye.
"It looks like a body down there by the bushes. Sandy said. Lets ski down there when we get off the lift and check it out. The body isn't moving, this doesn't look good."
As they exited the ski lift, Amanda informed the attendant to radio down to the ski patrol and send up help. Sandy was an ER doctor, but without her medical bag, she couldn't do much. When the two friends finally made their way down to the body, it didn't take long for either one of them to see the blood and recognize the body. It was the little blonde from last night. Sandy felt for a pulse, but there was none. The body was almost frozen, which meant she had been out there for hours. There was a bullet hole in the right hand side of her head at the temple. The nicely wrapped box from last night was still clutched tightly in her hands. The tag read to Derek, love Ellen. All the detective could think of was, I guess mommy won't be kissing Santa Claus this year, she'll be crying instead.
"Great, Amanda sighed, on the twelfth day of Christmas , I've got a homicide case on my hands."
Upon hearing the jingle bells of the ski patrols sled, Amanda stopped them from coming any closer. She figured it wasn't fair for the two college kids to see this and had them again radio the lodge for the sheriffs office.
As the blonde's body was taken away, the Sheriff headed back down the slope to the lodge. It was going to be a long afternoon of interviewing the guests and staff, with only himself and one deputy.
Amanda had offered to help, showing her police ID to the Sheriff, but in his arrogance, he declined.
"We don't need some city slicker telling us how to do our jobs. He stated. But you can write out your statement and leave it with me before you go."
"Asshole, Amanda muttered. Wouldn't know how to solve this murder, if it jumped up and bit him in the ass. All he's gonna do is find out who Derek is and arrest him. Case solved as far as he'll be concerned."
Sandy leaned over and whispered in her friends ear. "Shut up , you're talking to yourself and making me crazy."
"I'm not talking to myself, the detective snapped back. If you heard me, then I was talking to you."
Sandy just rolled her eyes and growled back at her friend. "If you were a guy there would be chestnuts roasting on an open fire right now, so be nice."
Amanda's face looked over in horror at the thought and squirmed while adjusting her ski pants. "I thought you were nasty in college, but you've gotten worse." Amanda choked out.
"No, spoke Sandy, I'm a doctor now and know how to operate better." A pair of eyebrows waggled in a sinister grin.
At the end of the week, their vacation over with, it was time to drive back home.
With a little prodding from Sandy, Amanda had again offered her services to help with the investigation of the little blondes murder. The sheriff had once more declined and the detective was uneasy with this man's attitude. She decided to make a few phone calls when she got back home. " I will solve her murder, she thought. Be damned some backassed sheriff who's got a bad attitude." She could still picture the blonde's face as they had discussed roof vs. housetop. It would be the last Christmas present the blonde would ever have. Peace.
"I don't want to go back. Let's stay here." Sandy pouted.
"Thought you were fed up with my cold feet?" Amanda snickered.
Sandy laughed and replied, "I'd put up with your cold feet for another week, just to be with you. It's been too long."
Amanda looked into Sandy's eyes and realized her friend was talking about them getting back together again.
"I still love you. Sandy said hopefully. That's why I transferred hospitals and moved back here to the west coast."
The detective stood up bringing her friend with her. Putting her arms around the doctor, she kissed her, holding her tightly.
Pulling away for only a moment Amanda asked. "Do you hear what I hear?"
Sandy stood there not really knowing what to say. "The squirrels again?"
"No. All I want for Christmas is you."
That night it began to snow again. The roads were closed, but the two women paid no attention. They sat by the fire, drinking their hot chocolate and realized they had met two beautiful women on this vacation.
Two chubby black squirrels sat outside the window ledge, watching the two women kiss and hold each other tightly.
"Took them long enough, didn't it? Said the smaller of the two. I was beginning to think they'd never get together."
The larger squirrel sat back eating her peanut with a big grin on her face.
"They weren't suppose to get a double bed were they? You changed the reservation didn't you?" The smaller squirrel reached over and took half of her mates peanut. "How did you do that?"
The larger black squirrel reached over and took another peanut from the ledge. Breaking it in half and sharing it with her mate she smiled and simply said.
"I have many skills."
Merry Christmas everyone.
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