Nonlinear Companions: Dawn: Part Five
Westron looked at his feet. I had clearly touched a nerve of some kind, but I needed to know what was really going on. I didn’t want to upset him though, he had after all, brought me on the trip of a lifetime.
I was about to tell him, not to worry and that I was silly for even asking, when he cleared his throat and spoke.
"Well, I guess I ought to tell you the whole truth, you deserve to know. But I'd really like it if we could wait until the end of the trip, I'd like to show you all the wonderful things there are to do up here. Then I promise, I'll explain everything."
Silence fell between us, and you could have sliced the atmosphere with a knife. The only sound was the crackling of the fire.
"I think we should both get some sleep." he muttered, he stood up and headed off to his room, closing the door behind him.
I sat stunned, staring into the flickering fire. What had I done? I'd ruined our trip on the very first night. I wanted to tell him, I was sorry. That it didn’t matter to me. But that would have been a lie. And I don’t believe in lying to your friends. So I stood up, put out the fire, and went to bed myself.
I woke with a start, it appeared the covers had fallen off me during the night and I was shivering from the cold. I reached down and pulled up the covers. Just in time. My room door flew open and Westron came in with a tray in hand.
He sat down beside me on the bed, "I'm sorry for being that way with you last night." he apologised.
"It's fine," I replied, "You tell me when you're ready."
"Cool," he said, "I made you breakfast."
He passed over the tray, on it was a large pot of coffee (thank Fyora), and some buttered crumpets. There was also a side plate of slightly burnt looking bacon. "Thanks!" I said.
Westron watched me intently as I ate, "Good?" He asked.
"Mmmmmm, delicious," I responded.
"Great," he said, "I'm going to take a shower and get ready to go ice skating."
I sat there on the bed eating the crumpets and bacon, and sipping my coffee. I was glad he hadn't held the events of the previous evening against me. I had been plagued by bad dreams that night, dreams in which I had awoken to find myself abandoned in this place, with no way of getting home.
When I had finished eating, I took the tray into the kitchen, Westron was sitting at the breakfast bar, with a mug of coffee and a brochure for the Ice Caves. He looked up when I walked in.
"Drake will be here in about twenty minutes," he said, "You better get dressed."
The snow that had fallen the night before had left a thin layer over the path that Drake had dug for us the day before. It was too thin to need to be dug up, so I got to walk across it. I grinned at the crunching sound it made under my boots.
Drake was standing by the sled holding out a hand to help me onto the back. The same white bika was there to pull us back down the mountain.
I was so excited I could barely contain myself. I held Drake's hand as I ascended the icy steps to the back of the sled. I took my seat, and waited for Westron to join me.
The ride down the mountain was pretty exciting, when we hit the precipice of the slope downwards, the bika leapt into Drake's lap and we went over the edge. The sled moved so fast, all around us neopians making their way down the mountain by foot became a colourful blur. In what felt like seconds we glided into Happy Valley. As we hit the bottom of the slope, the sled came to a halt, the bika leapt out of Drake's lap and pulled us the rest of the way to the ice rink.
The ice rink was sparsely populated by neopets, all wrapped up in their winter clothes. Westron led the way to a log cabin at the rear of the rink, he gave in our tickets to the little ice korbat who was manning the desk.
"Good Morning, Sir, Miss," he addressed us. "Lovely, I see you have the upgraded ice rink tickets, therefore if you'd like to follow Plink here," he gestured towards a maractite techo in the corner. "He'll take you to the premium arena."
We followed the bizarrely named techo into another log cabin, which had benches running down the sides, he asked which sizes of skates we needed.
After bringing us the correct sizes he showed us the way onto a giant ice rink adjacent to a smaller one, the two were separated by a wooden fence. The premium arena lived up to its name, it was at least twice the size of the normal ice rink and had half as many neopets on it.
We put on our skates and headed out onto the rink. Westron held my hand as we skated around, I was nervous at first but, I soon got the hang of it enough that I didn’t need to hold his hand for long.
As soon as I let go of his hand and assured Westron, that I was okay to go around on my own. Well, that’s when Westron really came into his own. He started gliding around the ice as though he'd been born with skates for feet, he skated backwards, did fancy things with his feet like crossing them over as he moved. He even did a flying leap and a pirouette. I stood at the sidelines clapping.
"Very impressive," I called to him.
It appeared that a group of young neopets on the normal ice rink thought the same, as they had gathered by the fence to watch him. When he caught sight of his audience, well, that’s when he began to really show off. I might have been a bit cross at him for leaving me there, standing like an idiot, if it weren't for the fact that what he was doing was so very impressive, coupled with the fact that I had already told him I was fine on my own. He was, after all entitled to have fun on the ice.
After about an hour of skating, I began to feel thirsty, I called over to Westron.
"Hey, Westron! Do you wanna stop and grab a drink?"
He skated over casually.
"Sure thing." he replied. There was a general sound of disappointment from the crowd by the fence.
"That was some pretty serious skating." I noted.
"Yeah, I've been coming here for so long, I guess I've just had a lot of practice. You were doing pretty well yourself." He said.
"Ha!" I scoffed.
He looked at me and shrugged, "I thought you did really well for a first timer," he said kindly, "You were pretty fast to let go of my hand and go solo. Much faster than I was. I don’t think I went solo on the ice until at least my second time."
I smiled, I don’t know if there was any truth in what he said, but it did make me feel better. We sat down on the benches in the log cabin, removed our skates and headed back to the front desk.
We spent the remainder of the morning on the ice rink. It was lunchtime and I was sitting at a table in the ice rink's diner, thinking about how blessed I was to be here. I was jolted suddenly from my thoughts by Westron's return.
"Hello-o?" He said, waving a hand in front of my face, to lift me from my thoughts. "Did you say you wanted fries or salad with your burger?"
"Oh, sorry I was miles away." I apologised, "Uh, salad, please."
Westron grinned and went back to join the queue at the bar.
This was such a marvelous place, I had never experienced anything like it, Happy Valley was well named. The locals all seemed to have constant smiles on their face, as though they were all in on some private joke. It was infectious. I smiled to myself.
"Whatchu smiling about?" Westron was back, he had in his hand a tall thin wooden bruce with the number 8 painted on it. He set it down in the centre of the table. He looked at me, face cocked to one side, smiling.
"Well are you gonna let me in on the big smiley secret?"
"Oh, I was just..." I couldn’t tell him the reason, I was smiling was because everyone else was smiling.
"It's fine," he laughed, "So, what do you wanna do after lunch?"
"I'm not sure," I replied, "I'm pretty tired from all this skating, maybe we could do something a little less active?"
"How about we go round the Ice Caves?" He proffered. "I was looking at the brochure this morning, there seems to be more stuff to do there now, than when I used to come before."
I really didn’t mind what we got up to, everything was wonderful as far as I was concerned. I wanted to do everything, and nothing all at the same time. I wanted to see everything Terror Mountain had to offer, but at the same time, I would have been perfectly happy to laze around in the cabin and watch the snow fall outside. And it was falling.
To be continued…