Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Winter has been Erin and Jack's favourite time of year since they first saw snow when they were four years old. Twelve years on, a sudden snowfall on Christmas Eve starts off the best Christmas either of them could hope for.

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2. Twelve Years On

 

  “Erin, slow down!”

  “Oh come on, Jack, the snow isn’t going to last forever!”

  “I think it’ll wait long enough for me to catch up with you!”

  Erin laughed and turned around to wait for him. The walk to the field dubbed “the Big Dipper” by the locals was fairly short but it was a little steep, and walking through the thick snow was making it harder – at least, it was for Jack. Erin was too full of excitement at the snow to let it slow her progress up the hill. Snowflakes caught in her long blonde hair, and her normally pale cheeks blazed red in the cold. It probably also helped that Jack was the one pulling the sledges, not her.

  “Come on, Jack, don’t you want to go ploughing down the hill before everyone else?”

  He sighed and stopped, but smiled. “You know, I’m not so sure I do at the moment.”

  It was Erin’s turn to sigh. She plodded back down towards him and took the sledges from him. “There, no excuse now. Hurry up already!” she said.

  They set off again, Erin going a little slower this time. They walked along, joking and pushing each other occasionally, perfectly comfortable in each other’s company. They had been the best of friends ever since they had met in their first snowfall nearly twelve years ago. And since then, it had become their tradition to go to that same field every time it snowed and go tobogganing.

  This year was different to most years. Normally it snowed in January or February, even March one year, but this year it was going to be a white Christmas. It was Christmas Eve. Snow was falling heavily, and it was showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. And it was early in the evening, so Erin had decided to give her family friend’s party a miss and head out with the sledge.

  Erin was secretly pleased that the snow had come today. Jack’s family had planned to travel up to Yorkshire to see his aunt and uncle for Christmas, but the snow had come just in time to stop their trip. Erin knew she shouldn’t be happy, but she was so glad he was going to be at home for Christmas she couldn’t help but smile.

  They finally reached the top of the Big Dipper field and squeezed through the gap in the hedge to their little field. A little out of breath from the walk, they threw themselves down onto the snow and Jack pulled a flask out of his backpack.

  “Fancy some hot chocolate?” he said, smiling cheekily at her, his eyes twinkling beneath his dark hair. He knew exactly what her answer would be. Her love of hot chocolate was so well known to everyone who knew her that someone had put a sign on top of the hot drinks machine in school saying, “PROPERTY OF ERIN GREY”.

  She laughed and grabbed the flask from him, closing her eyes in bliss as she breathed in the steam curling out of it. They sat together like that for a while, huddled together slightly against the cold, Erin sipping away at the hot chocolate.

  “I’m so glad it snowed today,” she said with a little contented sigh.

  “You’re always glad when it snows,” Jack laughed.

  “Yeah, but it’s pretty good timing this year.”

  Jack shot her a look, frowning slightly at her. “What do you mean, ‘good timing’? I’ve had to miss out on a four hour drive up to Yorkshire because of this!”

  Erin laughed, but didn’t answer. She went to take another sip of hot chocolate, but frowned at the flask in confusion. She tipped it up but nothing came out, and Jack laughed at her. “Oh my god, you’ve finished it already!” he said with an incredulous laugh.

  She chucked the empty flask at him, and said “Oh, shut up, don’t pretend you’re surprised.”

  She got up and hopped onto her sledge. “Come on, Jack, I’ll race you to the bottom!” she called, pushing herself towards the edge of the slope.

  He pushed himself up and ran over to his sledge. “Hey, you don’t get a head start!” he said.

  She turned to him with a grin, and said, “I don’t need one!”

  “Oooh, it’s on now Erin,” Jack said, wearing an expression of mock seriousness. “On the count of three: one, two, three!”

  They pushed themselves over the edge and tore down the hill, the wind whipping their hair in their faces and blowing Erin’s hat off her head. They got faster and faster – they had perfected their tobogganing with years of practise – and they hurtled towards the bottom of the hill. Their sledges were creeping closer and closer together but Erin’s screech of “We’re going to crash!” came too late, and they collided with a crash and went rolling down the hill together, Jack landing sprawled across Erin at the foot of the hill.

  They were both laughing too hard to speak or even move. Erin tried to get up but couldn’t with Jack on top of her and she fell back into the snow laughing. She looked up at Jack, expecting to see him laughing with her, but he had a strange look on his face and her laugh trailed off.

  “You alright?” she asked tentatively.

  He stayed still for a moment, then seemed to shake himself out of whatever trance he had been in. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” he said with a smile, but it was a different smile to his usual one. It wasn’t a smile filled with laughter, but something about it made her heart skip a beat. She opened her mouth to say something – she wasn’t really sure what, she just felt like she should break the silence – but in that moment Jack lowered his head slightly towards hers, and she suddenly found herself kissing him.

  It wasn’t some slow, drawn-out kiss like in a film, but it was sweet and warm. They pulled away from each other at the same time, and just looked at each other. Then Jack laughed a little and smiled shyly at her.

  “Merry Christmas, Erin.”

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