The snow was deep enough to go up to my knees. When Silas got to his house, he found me shivering and looking around. His house reminded me of ours. I didn't get a chance to talk to him about it, though, because he threw one of his coats over my shoulders and lit a fire. It had been strange being in his house alone with him. He didn't make any advances, though. All he did was ask me to go ice skating with him. When I told him I didn't know how, he assured me that I'd pick up on it quickly.
Four days after the storm, the snow had melted some. Silas knocked on the door and told Thomas where he was taking me.
"Ah, that's right," he said. "I had Bryant send Elvira's old pair of ice skates."
He handed them to me and I looked at them in uncertainty. They looked like regular boots but had a thin blade on the bottom right in the center.
"I don't know about this, Mr. McGregor," I said as we walked down to where everyone else was skating. "What if I fall?"
"Then I'll catch you," he said, smiling at me and I blushed.
People waved at us and we returned it when we got to the edge of the ice. I sat down and Silas showed me how to tie the laces up. I looked at them doubtfully still. Everyone was gliding gracefully.
"Are you ready?" Silas asked.
"No," I answered.
He grinned and pulled me onto the ice. I screamed when my feet went in different directions and grabbed onto him. He laughed, gliding on the ice easily.
"Well, first you need to stop panicking," he laughed and I took a deep breath. "Now, focus on getting your feet underneath you."
Still clinging onto him for dear life, I obeyed. I wobbled as he had me stand at arm's reach.
"There you go!" he said. "You've got it."
I rolled my eyes. "I'm just standing. I'm not even going anywhere."
He laughed. "Do you know how to skate?"
"Of course," I said. "Bryant bought me a pair of skates for my birthday when I turned 10."
"It's just like that."
"It is not," I argued. "When I skate, I have two wheels. I only have a thin blade here!"
He thought for a second then nodded.
"Okay. Close your eyes."
He held my hands. "Close your eyes."
"I don't know," I said slowly.
"Just trust me," he said.
I stared at him. Even though he was smiling, I could see the sincerity in his eyes. I looked down at the ice then back at him. Finally, I nodded and closed my eyes.
"All right," his voice said. "When you would go to the estate as a little girl, would you ever get in your stockings and rub your feet on it so fast that, when you touched someone, you shocked them?"
I giggled. "It was the best part about going to the estate!"
"Perfect. Pretending you're doing that without the shuffling part. Just slide your foot forward."
"Okay," I breathed.
After a few minutes, he cleared his throat.
"In order to slide, you actually have to do it," he said and I heard the smirk.
"Shut up," I blurted and groaned. "Sorry. Unladylike."
He scoffed. "No. It was honest. Now come on."
I took a deep breath and pulled on his hands as one of my legs slid forward. My eyes opened and I smiled.
"Now move your other foot," he said and I bit my lip as I did so.
He beamed as he skated backward. I kept a firm grip on his hands while I struggled to remain upright. I fell a couple times but that just made me more determined to try again.
Several of our other friends and neighbors came out to skate, Morgan and her brother included. When Ewan saw us, I looked at Silas to see if he wanted to let go of my hands. All he did was keep pulling me across the water.
"Ah, the joy of being burned by the heat of a spurned young man," he said and I laughed so hard my feet slid out from underneath me.
"Ow!" I groaned for the tenth time.
Silas was laughing at me and held his hand out to help me up again. Instead, I yanked him so he fell, too.
"Megan!" Morgan shouted. "Are you all right!?"
My eyes widened. "Slow down!" I said as she skated over. "Slow down, Morgan! If you don't you're going to-"
I grunted as her legs collided into mine and she fell on top of our legs. Silas grunted, too, and the three of us laughed.
"Are you okay, Morgan?" I asked as she got back to her feet easily.
Silas did, too, and the two of them helped me up.
"I'm fine," she said, waving her hand. "I've been skating since I was a little girl. Are you teaching her, Mr. McGregor?"
"Trying to," he nodded. "If she would just keep her eyes open for more that five seconds it would be easier."
I shoved him and he slid back a bit. That was a mistake. I slid back, too, and squealed in fear. I kept my arms outstretched and leaned back a little. To my surprise, I didn't fall over. Silas and Morgan clapped.
"Now skate back," Silas said.
I bit my lip. "Aren't you going to help me?"
"Nope," he said and put his hands into his pockets.
"Oh, you're wretched."
He laughed and I took a deep breath. My knees were still smarting from the last time I tried to skate forward and failed. I focused on Silas and slid my right foot forward then my left. In no time I had it under control and skated right at him. He beamed and caught me when I stumbled a bit.
"There you go," he said quietly.
I realized we were close and I swallowed. His eyes were gentle as he held my hands. For a moment, I forgot we were on the fjord ice skating. I forgot about Ewan Kinsley. I even forgot about Daniel March. Silas's eyes moved down to my lips and I knew he wanted to kiss me.
I nodded and he smiled, moving his face closer. Then he grunted and fell forward, sending us both crashing to the ice.
A little kid fell into the snow, giggling like mad. I groaned.
"That's enough for today," I said, resting my head on the ice. "Goodness. I'm going to be covered in bruises tomorrow."
"What do you say we get that punk kid back?" he asked and I grinned.
He got off of me and helped me to my feet. We skated back to our boots, him holding my hand in case I slipped. We quickly changed and I balled up some snow. I recognized the little boy and called his name. He was making a snowman and I threw the snowball at him. He laughed happily and pulled some of his friends in to join.
Soon we were all tossing snowballs at each other. Some of the adults hovered nearby, watching with nostalgic smiles on their faces. I picked up a snowball and threw it at the seamstress. Her jaw dropped as it hit her head. When she recovered, she laughed and threw a ball back at me then one to her neighbor.
I took a break and watched, panting, at the display in front of me. Everyone, children and adults, were throwing snowballs and building snowmen. I saw Thomas showing Elvira something at the forge and I gathered some snow, putting my finger to my lips.
"It's your funeral," Silas whispered but he was grinning.
I took aim and threw it as hard as I could. It got him right in the back and I dashed behind Silas.
"Silas McGregor," my brother said and Silas turned.
"No!" he said, pulling me back beside him. "Your rude sister."
I gasped. "I would never do such a thing!"
Two snowballs launched at us and I laughed happily, grabbing Thomas's hand and pulling him to the snow like when we were kids. I tackled him and he laughed, too, stuffing snow in my face. I couldn't stop laughing as I rolled onto my back and made a snow angel. Elvira flopped down beside Thomas and Silas beside me.
We were all panting and, as we caught our breath, Silas reached over to hold my hand.