One pair of walking boots, two pairs of thick socks plus a pair of trainer socks, jogging bottoms – a pair of jeans on top of these – tucked into my socks, a t-shirt, a long sleeved jumper, a big hoody, a waterproof coat, two pairs of gloves, a hat and finally, the hood of my coat.
I was ready.
What? It's fucking cold outside.
Me and my sister were outside, in the dark, in the middle of a field having a snowball fight.
Because we're cool.
Don't worry, I assure you our mummy knows where we are and are quite confident in the fact that we're safe, since we're actually eighteen and not eight. Though who has to act it?
My parents had taken us away to the country for Christmas and me and crazyface were winding them up by being so hyper so they basically shoved us out the door and we went to amuse ourselves.
We were staying in a gorgeous little house in an equally stunning quaint village in the country. Surrounded by fields and farmhouses, nice little B'n'Bs and cosy pubs. We'd already been for a good ten mile walk today, but I was becoming restless again, itching to be outside. In the snow. Come on! I'm eighteen and snow is still the best thing after chocolate.
I love snow.
We'd already exhausted ourselves from lugging the other around on the sledge – especially me since Clare insisted I should be the one pulling her along. Which is crap because she's chuffing stronger than I am!
This was more of an attack on me than a fight since I suck.
I'd got a couple of hits in but the only time I'd managed to get her good was before we started when I shoved a load down the back of her jacket…oops?
Playing fairs good and all, but lets face it; I cheat and still suck.
We were stood on opposite sides of the road now, each armed with our balls of snow.
"You know, that last one could have ht me…it did land where I was stood…like five minutes ago." She grinned.
"I swear I'm about five seconds away from poking rocks into your snowballs."
"Then they'd be heavier and would land even further away from me."
I glared…but she is right. I know that I sound like I'm feeding the stereotypes right now since I'm gay and suck a sports but she's on a rounders team and so has a…professional advantage…whereas I have a professional status at bullshitting myself as I'm sure you've realised.
She threw another death ball at me that I somehow managed to dodge and I tried to throw one back which she also dodged.
"You know," she taunted, "you should aim for something next to me, then you'd have a better chance at it actually hitting me!"
"Fuck you fat ass."
"You should really stop talking to yourself."
My equally weak stream of both snowballs and insults continued for about fifteen more minutes. I was becoming tired and Clare was still full of it – she was racing around, and I was chasing her with my snowballs when it happened. Running low on snow I followed Clare who was racing round the field, her back turned I threw my arm back, thrust it forward, let go and watched it soar…right into the side of an unsuspecting passerbys face.
I'm going to get punched in the face.
How the frigging hell did I not see him?
The dude flinched terribly and wiped the snow from his face, he shivered and then looked me over, he was really, really annoyed.
"I am so sorry!" I slid across to him really hoping he wasn't going to beat the shit out of me since there was a witness present. "Are, are you okay?"
"Fine." He grunted.
"good! That means I can laugh then!" and Clare collapsed in hysterics. Fuck me getting myself punched in the face – its going to be her fault! The dude just kind of stood there awkwardly, probably trying to decide whether it was him or me she was taking the piss out of, even though its always me, when she turned to him and said, "Justin will buy you a drink, will that make up for it? He's buying me one anyway."
"News to me, but yeah. I didn't do it on purpose so…"
"Cool thanks. I'm Tom. There's a little pub just over the side of this field, wanna go there?"
The dude smiled and consented and lead the way to wherever it was he wanted to go for a drink and I wanted to murder Clare for inviting a stranger out with us. He could have a gun or a knife or something hidden under his clothes! She's got no common sense.
Apparently though he was thinking the same about us, because he admitted he'd instinctively thought I'd thrown the snowball at him on purpose and had classed us as the little berks most people actually are nowadays. I know, I know I sound about sixty but people are idiots!
Sure enough like two minutes away we arrive at a cosy little pub. It's a good job we both brought our ID out with us since we had no ideas what we were going to do. I fork out for a hot chocolate for us all.
"Why do pubs sell hot chocolate here anyway?"
"Its walker friendly, so there's a good choice of hot drinks too."
"Oh I see."
"How long you on holiday for?"
I stare at him, taken aback. "How'd you know?"
He looked at my many layers scattered about where we're sat after I peeled them off from being in the warm and smirks. "Lucky guess."
"I don't know what you mean," I laugh. Usually, I'm naff with new people and to be fair, I should be feeling a little uneasy right now – just me and my sister sitting with some guy we've never met before. But I'm not.
He smiles and despite my many layers due to the intense cold, I melt. I am such a girl.
"Have you lived here all your life?"
"Wow. I'm quite jealous to be honest. I love the country."
"I guess you appreciate it more when you're not here permanently, I love it but whenever I'm in the city, I love that too, I guess it's the same kind of holiday feeling you must have right now."
I smile stupidly and slurp hot chocolate down myself, Clare cackles and chides "do that and you might be entitled to a refund on your degree." I smack her in the arm. I notice Tom staring at me and I blush, and I swear he does too. The moment, if you can call it that, was broken by Clare's outburst of "ew ew ew eeeeeew." She stands up.
"Where are you going? It's dark you're not walking back by yourself."
"I'm ringing mum and dad dumbass and telling them about this pub, they'll come for a drink and mum can look at your new boytoy. I don't want to sit around and watch you score. Gross."
Okay now I know I'm blushing. Lets try and salvage the situation…"she's crazy…"
"Really? I was kind of hoping she was implying you were in to me." Great. More hot chocolate all over myself. Of course I'm into him. He's gorgeous. He's wearing a snug black jumper, and a smallish hat that lets his brown hair peek out. His eyes are icy blue and his teeth are bright white. Yum. He grins, I think my smooth reaction is enough to confirm that yes, I'm interested. "So. Enough of this general introduction crap, I'm going to start flirting with you soon, do you have a problem with that?"
I do a double take. "That was forward…"
"I have to be, I mean two weeks spent getting to know you and you're back off home. It doesn't matter if you shoot me down."
"I don't have a problem with that."
"Well I hope you're just as agreeable to other things…"
"You weren't kidding were you?"
We lay off the flirting and just talk until my parents arrive to steal Clare away.
"Nice find son." Dad grinned looking around the pub.
"Nice find son." Mum echoed. Looking at Tom. He smiles and waves and I blush again. She is right though. Very nice find indeed.
It's weird meeting someone on holiday, I've never done it before, never made a friend – and defiantly nothing more, whilst away and with my parents, but Tom's so easy to talk to, be with and look at. I know that soon I'll be hundreds of miles away from him but it doesn't stop me trying to get closer to him. I think he feels the same.
We're walking around a gorgeous little waterfall a couple of miles away from the village, the water's still flowing but the water round the edge is beginning to freeze, no-one else is here. It's perfect.
He's brought a blanket with a plastic underside and we're sat on that talking about random shit and trying to pretend that we're not cold and thus don't need to start heading back.
There was nothing obvious about the moment that made me realise it was coming, but it was amazing. He leant over and kissed me, his gloveless hands and running through my hair and I can feel myself grinning like I haven't done in a long time. Suddenly warmth sweeps through me and I feel like I could swim under that waterfall as though it were summer. Before I know it he's on top of me and he's grinning just as much as I am. He leans down and nips my ear lobe and I let out a sound I didn't even know I could make. He whispers, "it's snowing" and I realise he's right.
"We should probably go…"
But we don't. He's on top of me anyway so I'm not getting snowed on!
We're walking back, hand in hand I realise that we've had the entire day together because mum and dad know I'll miss him and we're going home tomorrow.
Home. To big concrete masses, rain, pollution, pavements and boys that don't send a tingle down my spine with something as stupid as a wink.
"Listen I'm not usually big into long distance relationships, especially ones as big as this. But if you want we can try. Either way I'll see you again and we can decide how we feel then. I'll ring you and write to you and I will never forget these two weeks, it's been amazing. While you're at home do something for me though…work on your aim a bit?"
I reach up laughing and wipe snow off his cheeks, kissing them gently. "I'll never forget either. I'd stay here if I could. Something in this country airs doing me wonders…"
He grins and dips down to bite my bottom lip, our lips millimetres away from each other. "I think a visit the city's in order."