Once they laid their eyes on the rink ahead, they squealed with excitement. After parking in the parking lot, you led them to the front desk. There you paid for the skates, and then went to another desk for skate sizes. You helped your brother and sister strap their skates on before leaning over to strap your own.
You stalled, although it was inevitable going into that ice rink alongside them; you were their legal guardian, and they couldn't enter without you. The thought of taking one step and falling flat on your butt in front of everyone in the rink mortified you. Holding their hands as you stepped toward the rink entrance reassured you; maybe their grip would help you balance.
As soon as the three of you slid into the rink, they let go, and drifted off on their own together. You panicked. Your legs wobbled as you began to lose your-
Onlookers gasped as you winced in pain. Your head took a hit, but it was your butt that got the worst of the fall. You sat up slowly in pure and utter defeat.
"Are you okay?" One onlooker decided to stop beside you. He was a rather tall fellow, layered in a gray pullover and a black coat, with a black beanie resting atop his head. His green eyes bore into yours as he waited for an answer.
"Um, I think. I'm going to be sore later, though, that's for sure."
"Here," He held out his hand, and you took it gladly.
You winced in pain again, "Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it."
"No problem," He smiled shyly. "I know ice skating takes some time to get the hang of. It took me a while to get my balance together too."
"Yeah, well, my little brother and sister could prove you otherwise. They just up and left me."
"Oh, you brought your siblings? Where are-"
Instantaneously, he was pushed into you by two snickering children. They cracked jokes about your new 'boyfriend' as they darted around the rink.
The impact sent you hurling backwards, ready to collide with the ice once again, however, he caught you just in time. His arms were wrapped protectively around your frame, almost pressing you into his broad chest.
A feint blush appeared on his cheeks as he joked, "Almost lost you there."
You shook your head, "Oh no, no, I'm sorry about that. They can be little brats sometimes!"
His arms slowly released you, "Don't worry, I'm fine."
And then you realized that although his arms were no longer around you, his gloved hangs held yours in a protective gesture. You were thankful, for you knew if he let you go entirely, you'd end up falling again.
"My name's Bertholdt, by the way."
"Bertholdt? Nice to meet you," You smiled genuinely. "And thank you for helping me."
Upon seeing you smile, he smiled as well, "No problem, but do you want more help? Like I could teach you how to skate and stuff."
You physically pondered the idea, although mentally you were more than willing to allow him to teach you. After you nodded, his grip around your hands tightened.
"You gotta trust me, alright? I won't let you fall."
You nodded again, "Okay."
He started to skate backwards at a slow speed, allowing you to move forwards. A few times, you wobbled, but his firm grasp kept you steady.
During his teachings, your siblings swung by again, this time singing, "...sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes love, then comes marriage...." Their voices trailed off as they continued in the distance.
"Damn kids," You muttered under your breath. Bertholdt thought it was kind of cute.
After a few more practices, Bertholdt thought it best to let you go.
"Alright, but just remember I'm right here. I won't let you fall."
His kind words sent butterflies through your stomach. Bertholdt's grip disappeared, and you were left gliding across the ice on your own. Your legs wobbled, and one of Bertholdt's hands found the small of your back.
"You're doing great," He smiled.
Blushing, you laughed lightly, "Thanks, Bertholdt."
And then suddenly, as if the world decided it would be funny to see you suffer yet again, the tip of your skate caught in the ice, causing you to stumble over and-
-fall into Bertholdt's arms. Just like before, his arms were protective, except this time you were pressured into his body. His eyes were half-lidded as he stared into yours, and it felt as if there was an invisible force that was bringing your faces closer, and closer....
You were interrupted by a single snowflake falling onto your nose.
The two of you, like the rest of the skaters, averted your attention towards the cloudy sky. Snow gently fell from above, causing all to stare in awe.
"Oh, um, sorry," Bertholdt backed away, his arms falling to his sides. "I really shouldn't be, you know, holding you like that....we just met and all...."
You shook your head, reaching for his hands, "No, no, don't apologize. I actually kind of liked it."
You watched as a snowflake landed on his nose, and although it was a rather risky move, you leaned against him and stretched to press your lips against the tip of his nose.
"You're a kind guy, Bertholdt."
He nodded, his cheeks now a dark shade of pink, "Oh, thank you."