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Author Topic: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie **Complete**  (Read 1010 times)

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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie **Complete**
« on: December 24, 2017, 12:04:30 PM »

This was my last NaNoWriMo novel, and I love the cast, but I don't know if I should bother polishing it to the point I could attempt to publish it. So help me out and tell me what you think, and if I should scrap it or keep it.

Miles Verde has a bit more on his plate than the average fifteen-year-old, whether it be his grades and his (limited) friends, the more difficult tasks, like conquering the quadruple axel jump before his debut at the figure skating world championships, or dealing with his sudden interest in his childhood friend. No matter what's thrown at him, he's determined to make it all work, even if his methods aren't exactly conventional.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 10:43:09 PM by Effie Azzara »
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2017, 12:08:01 PM »
Chapter 1

“Hey, stranger.”

 Miles glanced over from where he’d been practicing his landings on the otherwise quiet rink, smiling a little as he set his eyes on the person who’d greeted him. “Hey. You shouldn’t be out here so early.”

“I could say the same about you,” Ray replied, as Miles skated over to lean on the boards where his best friend stood, his face unimpressed. “You’re going to exhaust yourself, Miles.”

“Or I could be good enough to win my first world championships,” He retorted, catching his breath and smiling at Ray, who shook his head in return, an unimpressed look in his eye. “Alright. Don’t come crying to me when you drop dead from lack of sleep.”

“Isn’t that your job as my childhood friend? To make sure that doesn’t happen?” He asked lightly, half-teasing. He could feel his heart flutter as Ray chuckled under his breath and he shamelessly envied how mature it sounded compared to his own barely-broken tenor. “I suppose it is. Are you going to follow your childhood friend’s advice and come off the ice?”

Miles blinked at Ray, who stared back at him in response, wondering when the cold, emotionally awkward boy had become so concerned about his health. Though it wasn’t that the Spanish boy had ever been… uncaring, he was blunt and tended to leave emotions to his other friends. Miles had always been the emotional one and Ray had always been there to ground him with his less-than-compassionate demeanour, a pleasant balance

Or, he had, until recently. Though it was true-Miles had gotten himself sick by working so hard once or twice-Ray still wasn’t the type to be so concerned.

Maybe it’s just because we’ve been friends for so long… And I kind of like this side of him anyway.

“I… Want to clear my head before school,” He finally replied, pushing blond bangs out of his face. “You really shouldn’t be here, Ray, it’s like five in the morning.”

“You’ve been here since five in the morning?”

“Why?” Miles cocked his head. “What time is it now?”

Ray raised an eyebrow, holding out his phone to him. “Nearly eight.”

“I…” He began, feeling a blush rise on his cheeks as his eyes alternated the phone screen, and Ray, who gave him a triumphant look, before realizing he had no retort. “I hate you.”

Ray cracked a smile, opening the gate off the ice. “All the same, Bubbles.”

“Shut up,” He huffed, though couldn’t help but smile. Freckled cheeks warmed as Ray placed his arm atop his head, leaning ever so casually on him. “And stop that. I’m not that short.”

“Yes you are,” Ray hummed simply, and though Miles knew he meant no harm, it still rubbed him the wrong way when someone brought up his small size, especially when he was compared to Ray’s near six feet of height and counting. “It makes you all the better of an armrest, though, I must admit.”

“Oh, go to hell...” The short blond huffed, pulling away from Ray’s arm to open the door to the changeroom, hearing Ray chuckle in amusement from behind him. “You’ve got more attitude than you do body mass, that’s for sure. Kind of like a Chihuahua.”

“You’re the actual worst!” Miles called over his shoulder as he slid into the changeroom, before falling back against the door. His smile slowly fell away as he ran fingers through his hair worriedly and did his best to ignore the embarrassed blush that had settled on his cheeks and he muttered to himself, “What the hell am I doing…”

He was Miles Verde. Going on fifteen. Reigning junior world champion and second-highest scoring ever in ice dancing. Part of a less than perfect family, whom he loved to death and back again.

Utterly and embarrassingly in love with his best friend…

I’m *censored*ing myself over with this stupid teenage crush.

He really didn’t have a lot of friends. He’d always been shy, and when his mother and Ray’s had bonded over the fact they were both single handedly raising two children, of course he’d been skeptical. In hindsight it was a blessing, really, for it was the only reason Miles, who became completely obsessed with skating within the year, and Ray, who was quiet and cared little about anything outside of his books and tinkering, could probably have ever become friends. And even while he had other friends (few of them, but they existed), none of them really understood the extent of his training and how much of a toll it took on him.

In other words, he was pretty low in relationships and wasn’t about to let a stupid little crush take away his most important one. The small blond forcefully pushed any thoughts related to Ray  out of his mind as he began to untie his skates.

“Thanks, Mira,” Miles nodded to the young woman who ran the neighbourhood skating rink, and let him use it before and after school when he needed-one of the benefits of living in the lazier part of the suburb, he supposed.Mira smiled at him. “Yeah. Come by after school if you feel like it.”

He nodded her way again, before leaving the building and nearly jumping out of his skin as he turned the corner to see Ray, leaning against the wall. “What the hell! You scared me!”

Ray shrugged, falling into step with him as they began to walk in step with each other. The autumn air nippy, especially as the wind lifted blond bangs off his forehead and rustled dying leaves that clung to the trees. “I think you’re overworking yourself, Miles.”

“I’m not,” Miles replied shortly. “Stop worrying. I already have a twin sister and mother for that. You never worried before.”

“You weren’t training seven days a week and eight hours a day before,” Ray retorted, his voice calm and level as usual, completely different from Miles’ own, emotion-filled, lilting voice-people had always said he wore his heart on his sleeve, and more often than not, they weren’t wrong. The shorter boy sighed, knowing they weren’t getting anywhere, deciding to change the subject instead. “Angela’s supposed to come home tomorrow.”

“Really?” Ray smiled a little, and Miles couldn’t help one of his own. Both of them cared for Angela like brothers, even if Miles was the only one related to her by blood. “She must be doing better, then.”

“Yeah…” He nodded, shifting the skating bag on his shoulder with a sigh. It had been the three of them since they were little-Ray, himself, and Angela, who had been diagnosed with systemic lupus some years before. And while she was usually okay, even if she was a little weaker than the average high school sophomore she had flare ups-flare ups that often ended up with her in the hospital.

“And your mom?”

“My…” The blond hesitated for a moment. “My mom… Is working at the hospital, like usual.”

Ray sighed, running fingers through his hair, looking over to him with obvious amusement. “And suddenly it all makes sense.”

“Hey!” Miles crossed his arms. “It isn’t like you’re much better!”

Ray shrugged, his tone becoming lighter, almost like a laugh, but not quite there. “I’m not the one exhausting myself by being a professional athlete and taking advantage of my mom never being home.”

“But you’re a total homebody who doesn’t know what a social life is!”

“Come on,” The raven-haired boy chuckled, giving him a look. “Do either of us have a normal social life? I’m a boy obsessed with making clockwork pieces and you’re the best junior figure skater in the world.” Miles bit his lip against a smile at how accurate the statement was as his friend continued, “What’s a social life?”

The shorter boy let out a chuckle as they came to the intersection. “Don’t ask me. I mean, I wouldn’t know.”

“Hey.” Ray nudged him as they waited for the light, and though he looked up to meet his best friend's’ eyes, he could feel his ears warming up at the proximity. “Do you have your stuff for school?”

“Oh, um…” Miles shook his head after the moment it took for his brain to catch up. “No, I have to go back. You can go ahead if you want.”

The light turned green, and Ray gave him a look as he turned to cross the street. “Don’t get distracted.”

“I won’t!” Miles replied, sounding awfully like a child whining to a parent, as he turned to walk in the opposite direction of Ray and slid his hands in the pockets of his navy hoodie. Though he did get distracted from time to time, he was generally pretty punctual, as long as it didn’t involve dragging him away from his skating or the minimal sleep he got. While Angela and his mother would sometimes wake him, both of them spent a lot of time at the hospital, with Angela being a regular patient and his mother a scrub nurse, so he’d been woken more than once by the handsome Spaniard who lived around the corner. And while he had to admit, he’d rather be on time when it came to school, Ray wasn’t a dawdler when it came to waking him up and was creative with his methods at that.

Both of them lived within a three-kilometre radius of both each other, the little skating rink and the high school-it was the advantage of living in the part of the suburb they lived in. It was fairly easy to get around, something Miles was grateful for as he unlocked the door. He didn’t bother taking off his shoes, rapidly swapping his skating bag for his school one and stuffing his binder and laptop into it, before zipping it up and slinging it over his shoulder. School started at a quarter past eight, and if he was quick, he’d make it right on time. He’d been late a few times already that year, and while it didn’t look good on a school record (he’d been a total of 19 times and he’d just started sophomore year), he really didn’t need a call to his already busy mother explaining how many times he’d been late again.

As he made it to the intersection, he could see the crossing signal flashing, and though any other day he probably would have just settled for waiting, Miles really wasn’t up to telling his homeroom teacher that he’d lost track of time at the rink for what felt like the twelfth time that year, and he sped up into a jog, keeping his eye on the light. He could make it. He would make it.


The blond boy gasped as he ran right into someone, someone who let out a loud squeak of surprise as he nearly toppled on top of them. He barely caught himself hard on his elbows as he fell to the sidewalk, the breath knocked out of him. The person he ran into, however-a short girl, he saw-wasn’t so lucky, sprawled out beneath him like a cheesy scene from a romcom. Biting his lip as he scrambled up, he stooped to hold out a hand to the girl. “Oh, I-I’m so, so sorry, I-I was in a rush…”

“I, um…” The girl accepted his hand, and he pulled her up as she pushed long, black curls out of her face, before blinking up at him. “I think I’m okay…”

“Are you sure?” Miles could feel his cheeks heating up in embarrassment. He’d never been good with people, and generally kept his head down… So his situation was nightmare fuel. The girl seemed nice, however, nodding as she smoothed down her clothing with a little smile at him. “Yeah. But you really should be more careful.”

“I-I know, I’m really sorry,” He apologized again, realizing after all his efforts, he’d missed the light and let out a sigh. “I should have been looking where I was going.”

“Where were you going in such a rush, anyway?”

“School,” He admitted with a bit of a laugh. “Aspen Ridge. I can’t afford to be late again…”

“Aspen Ridge Secondary?” Miles nodded, noting the odd accent in her voice as he did. She smiled a little at him, her brown eyes suddenly bright. “I-I’m headed there too, but I…” She rubbed her upper arm with a bit of an embarrassed little laugh. “I’m new around here, and I’m not exactly sure where I’m going…”

“Let me take you,” Miles offered in a chirp as the light changed, and he began to cross the street, the girl in step with him. “To make it up to you for knocking you over.”

“Thanks.” She smiled at him as they walked down the familiar streets, leaves fluttering down from nearby trees at the mercy of the wind as they went. “I’m Fiona, by the way.”

“Miles,” He returned, smiling at her too, getting a better look at her-she was shorter than his own 5’4, around Angela’s height-though unlike Angela, her curves were pronounced and unmistakable. Loose black curls fell just past her shoulders, and her skin was smooth and darker than his, or Ray’s Mediterranean hue for that matter (was she mixed, perhaps?) and large, dark brown eyes peered at him curiously.

In other words, she was adorable, and if he wasn’t so utterly and depressingly set on Ray, he’d be completely head over heels infatuated with her. Even with the crush on Ray, Miles felt the familiar tug of being attracted to someone pull stubbornly at him.

“Ah, you’re Miles Verde, aren’t you?” She realized, and he nodded, letting out a little laugh of amusement as she nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah, I know! I mean, I’m from Spain, so you aren’t as popular, but…”

“You’re from Spain?” Miles raised an eyebrow as the school came into view. “What are you doing here, then?”

“It’s… A bit of a long story,” She replied sheepishly, and though he was curious, Miles wasn’t one to pry, especially about the history of a girl he’d only met minutes before. “But I’m living with a family friend here now, on Balten Drive, which is why I’m walking to school.”

“Oh,” Miles nodded, suddenly more interested in the girl he’d knocked to the ground. “That’s the next street over from mine. What grade are you in?”


“And the coincidences continue,” The blond boy held the door for her as they entered the school. “So am I. Do you know where you’re going?”

“Um…” Fiona bit her lip, rolling up her oversized, knit sweater to reveal a scrawled name in blue pen on the back of her hand. “P… Popowycz… So in other words…no.”

“I’ve got to pass there on the way to my class,” He replied, smiling at the girl-she had an aura that pulled him in, though he wasn’t exactly sure why. “I can take you there.”

“Really?” She smiled at him too, shaking bangs out of her eyes. “Thank you.”

“No problem,” He replied simply, motioning for her to follow him, which she did with a smile. The hallways were mostly empty, other than the occasional student that was late like them-not that Miles really minded being late that particular day. He had an excuse, after all, and it wasn’t his usual skating one.

“Here we are,” He stopped in front of room 214, which was what he only could assume was Fiona’s homeroom. “I can introduce you if you like. I need a note to get out of being marked late anyway.”

“No, I can do that much myself,” She replied, her accented voice amused and her large eyes sparkling at him. Her smile was contagious, and he couldn’t help but return it as he raised a hand to knock on the door. “Alright. Suit yourself.”

Miles rapped on the door, opening it as the French teacher motioned for him to come in. He glanced over to Fiona, who nodded at him, before opening the door. “Ms Popowycz, I’ve got a student of yours.”

“A student?” She blinked at Fiona before realization dawned on her. “Oh, you’re Fiona! I heard you were staying with the Jacksons.”

Fiona nodded, her voice confident and casual, despite the fact she was at the front of a room full of strangers, all who had eyes on her. Miles couldn’t imagine what it was like to have that sort of confidence outside of his performances.

“I’m Fiona Apelchetta,” She introduced herself simply to the teacher. “From Spain. I’m staying in Mississauga awhile.”

“Well, I’m sure you’ll take up French easily then,” Ms Popowycz replied. “You can take a seat next to Leo.” Miles watched as Leo, who’d been somewhat fixated on the both of them, smiled at her, sending him a subtle look as he did, asking, ‘How the hell did you find this one?

“Ah, Miss,” Miles pulled his gaze away from Leo and Fiona to look back to his French teacher, his tone hesitant-all his teachers were accustomed to his habit of tardiness by then. “If you could write a note for Mr. Riske, explaining why I’m late…”

“My goodness, Miles, you’re insufferable,” She replied, grabbed a sticky note and scribbled something down on it, and Miles couldn’t suppress a smile as she handed it to him. “You best be on time for my class this afternoon.”

“Of course, Miss.” He replied, smiling over his shoulder as he left her class. “I don’t know why you’d think anything different.”

Morning classes-being history and math-went by with little activity out of the norm and Miles was starving when his lunch hour came around. He hadn’t eaten before leaving for the rink or after he’d gotten home, and he hadn’t had time to pack anything to eat either. Though he, Leo, Ray, Fabian, Angela and Lucia usually ate together, he and Ray had been assigned different lunch hours that year, Angela was often sick, Lucia had become a big part of student council and Fay… Well, Fay was every bit friendly and quirky as he was wild and unpredictable-in other words, he showed up a third of the time in lucky months. So as he left math to head to the front lobby of the school, he really wasn’t expecting to eat with anything else than his textbook.

“Hey! Miles!”

Miles jumped at his name. Though just about everyone knew who he was (it was hard not to, when he’d made such a name for himself in the small suburb around seventh grade) not a lot of people called him out. He was shy, people made him anxious, and it had been obvious after the anxiety attacks he’d suffered in his first year, with fans and curious students alike swarming him until Ray and Angela had made it obvious he hated it.

So he jumped, turning quickly when someone chirped his name over the bustle of the hallway. He wasn’t expecting the short Spanish girl to be the one to come up to him though. “Hey!”

“Hi, Fiona…” He began to walk towards his original destination again, Fiona in tow this time. “What’s up? Are you lost or something?”

“No, I’m on lunch, actually,” She replied, her voice content and her smile as bright and charming as ever, especially for someone who’d apparently just begun at a new school in a foreign country. “And yourself?”

“I am too,” He replied with a nod, shifting his bag on his shoulder. He didn’t much like going to his locker-it was on the second floor in the second music hall, which was somewhere he practically never went, considering his art class had always been dance. It wasn’t as if he really needed to anyway. “Do you want to come along? Or do you have plans?”

“If it’s okay with you, I’d like to come,” Fiona replied, pushing curls out of her face with a smile (it never really seemed to leave her face) and the sparkle in her eyes that Miles couldn’t quite identify. “Where are we going?”

“Well… I mean, until last year, I’d meet up with my friends,” He began with a little sigh. “Fay, Lucia, Ray, my sister Angela and Leo, who I guess you met in French, but… Things are different this year.”


“So we’ll probably only see one or two of them today,” He replied, ignoring the gnawing hunger at his stomach. “And I’m probably going to buy something from outside the school.”

“Sounds promising,” Fiona hummed lightly as they made it to the front lobby. He did a quick scan for Leo, who never failed to show up-even though Leo claimed he could always spot him in a crowd, Miles knew his friend’s tall stature and wild rust-coloured hair was superior to his own plain blond locks and petite frame.

He spotted Leo at what seemed like the same time he saw him, Fiona’s gaze following his as the redhead nudged through the crowd to meet them. “Hey. You’ve got the European cutie with you.”

“Why thank you,” Miles replied semi-sarcastically. He was half French, and it was no secret people thought he was cute, with his more Asian-looking facial features from his Filipino side on top of green eyes, messy, dirty-blond hair and a smattering of freckles. Perhaps he was cute… But it wasn’t the kind of cute that made people want to date him, or people flock to his side, to his dismay. A childish cute, rather than a high school crush cute.

“I… You’re…” Leo trailed off at a loss, giving him a look, though his tone was unmistakably amused with his reply. He looked over to Fiona. “Hello, other European cutie. Joining us for lunch?”

Fiona nodded with a smile. “I am. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Hey, the more the merrier with how small our group’s been getting…” Leo sighed, glancing back over to Miles. “Are you going out to grab something today? You look like you’re going to eat my face if you wait much longer.”

“I do not!” Miles huffed, though grabbed his wallet from his hoodie pocket. “But yes, I’m going to go buy something and ruin my athlete’s diet. Sue me.”

“And I guess that means I come along too,” Leo sighed, and Miles nodded, beginning to leave the school. “Well, that’s usually how we do things.”

“Hey. I’m not complaining.”

Fiona had an amused smile. “The students at this school are…”

“Interesting?” Leo supplied as they left the school grounds.

“Completely and utterly infuriating?” Miles suggested in a chirp, prying a laugh from the short Spaniard and an eye roll from Leo. “God, Miles, you’re something else.”

“All of the above, I guess,” She simply replied through her laughs, and the short blond couldn’t help but smile along with her. Despite it having only been less than a day, Miles was sure Fiona was going to brighten the school… One way or another.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 11:03:42 PM by Effie Azzara »
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2017, 12:08:43 PM »
Chapter 2

“A new girl, huh? Are you still trying to prove to Fabian and Lucia you're not gay?”

“I…!” Miles would have whacked his twin if she wasn’t still sitting in a hospital bed. “I’m not gay! I just haven’t had a girlfriend!”

Angela laughed lightly, her blue eyes gleaming with amusement. “Are you sure?”

“Yes!” Miles replied indignantly, though his already warm cheeks flushed as his brain flickered to Ray for a moment-I’m not gay, and my crush on Ray means nothing… Even though it’s been a good three or four months of it by now…

“Alright…” Angela replied, a laugh in her tone, and he crossed his arms. “Come on! You’ve never had a boyfriend! Are you gay?”

“I don’t know,” She teased. “Maybe I am.”

Miles rolled his eyes, finishing off the cookie on Angela’s tray. He’d gotten permission to get out of school around noon to help discharge her, and they were sharing her lunch. Though most people hated hospital food, when they’d practically grown up in the hospital, both of the twins were used to it.

“Anyway,” He continued. “She’s pretty adorable. I think you’d like her. She’s staying with the Jacksons.”

“That old European couple?”

Miles nodded, and Angela nodded back with a hum. “Huh. Maybe we should set her up with Ray. Both of them are Spanish, and he seemed kind of devastated when Isolda left.”

“I…” Miles trailed off. It was true, everything his sister had said-Ray would probably love Fiona, and vice versa. It had been nearly a year since Isolda, their ex-friend and Ray’s girlfriend had moved halfway across the world. And while all three of them stayed in touch, there had been a messy breakup, and Ray’s first romance had ended prematurely.

“I mean, it’s still kind of fresh…”

“It is not!” Angela huffed, polishing off the shared lunch. “I think you’re just jealous of how Ray’s getting girls and you aren’t.”

“The only reason I’m not is because of my skating,” he retorted, though he couldn’t help but flinch a little at his twin’s playful words. Though she hopefully didn’t know it (he wasn’t about to tell her) sometimes her teasing about his lack of romance hit him hard, especially when he was being compared to Ray. Between his height, his cute babyface, petite frame and shyness, the only reason he could think of anyone asking him out would be his status, and even then, the sport he loved wasn’t something as posh or respected as football or basketball. Compared to his best friend, who also got the exposure from being friends with an international athlete, and was the tall, dark mysterious type with a hidden sweet side…

Well, obviously I don’t have a girlfriend.

“Are you done and packed?”Angela nodded, and Miles stood up from where he’d been sitting next to her on the hospital bed. “C’mon, let’s go home. Mom signed the papers when she last came in.”

Angela nodded, and Miles offered to help her down-though she promptly refused. “I’m fine, Miles,” She huffed, leaning down to grab her duffel hospital bag. “I just had treatment. They didn’t operate.”

“Still,” He argued, though let her walk beside him without any aid, smiling to the familiar nurse as they left the room. “You’re…”

“Weak?” She filled in for his hesitant pause as they stepped into the elevator, her lips turning up to smile at him. “Ill? Could possibly die of multiple organ failure by exposing myself to the sunlight?”


“It’s okay, Miles.” She looked back at him kindly. “I’m still me. I promise. And I’m not dying, I’m living. Pretty happily, considering everything too.” She pulled him into a hug as the elevator stopped, which he returned tightly, nestling into her shoulder and inhaling her familiar smell as she mirrored his actions. “Stop worrying about me, and worry about your skating. Or even better,” She joked as they separated. “About getting a girlfriend. I know you need one.”

“Ha, you crack me up,” He deadpanned, rolling his eyes as they made their way out of the hospital, though the atmosphere was anything but unhappy as they rode the elevator in silence.

Though he insisted Angela rest the moment they were home and she’d settled back into her room, she had insisted she trail him for the rest of the day-which was only problematic because he’d planned on using his half day off to see if he could begin to whip up a routine before meeting with his coach later that night. Miles sighed as he tossed his water bottle and speaker into his skating bag. “Angela, you need rest.”

“Like hell I do!” Angela huffed, pulling on her high-tops behind him. “I’ve been stuck in the hospital for a week. I would like my freedom back, thank you very much!”

“Well, I would like my sister back,” Miles replied, his tone a little harsher than he liked speaking to, well… anyone. “And out of the hospital. For good.”

“Miles, you’re treating me like a child…” The short blonde bit her lip, her sweater sleeves falling back a little as she put her short hair up, revealing the purple bruise on her wrist from the IV. Miles swallowed, unsure what to say. He did treat her like she was much younger than him, but she was fragile. She was a sand rose, beautiful and created naturally through the hardships of her environment… And he wasn’t about to drop her and let her shatter.

“I’m not going to die the moment I step outside,” She crossed her arms, her nearly identical turquoise-blue eyes boring into his sea-green ones. “I’m not fragile, Miles. I’m as much of a high school student as you or Ray.”

The young skater took a shaky breath, knowing his battle had been lost, as usual. Angela won him over almost every time, and to her, perhaps it was worth every win, even if he was constantly asking her about her condition.

“Fine,” He mumbled, hooking his bag over his shoulder and grabbing his key. “Just be careful.”

He never much liked being watched, other than his time on the ice. He had awful anxiety, and every glance towards him at school felt judgemental, targeted, harsh… Perhaps it was why he enjoyed competitions so. He liked the cheers and the arena and the suspense of how he could mess up and not only humiliate but injure himself as well. He was good at skating, and it was the only thing he knew he was good at. And so being watched while he skated was something he didn’t mind in the slightest-if anything, it made him perform better.

Skating for Angela had always been especially fun. They were always seemingly connected by something other than blood, and he could feel it tingle beneath his skin as he caught the proud, genuinely interested sparkle in her bright cyan eyes. He knew in that moment what she was seeing, what he should be doing better, what routines Angela would have skated like if the money that was used for her practices hadn’t suddenly become money for medical bills. It was a sickly sweet, almost telepathic connection he’d never really had with anyone else-not even Ray, who he’d known and occasionally lived with for nearly a decade, or his mother, who was probably too busy for such a connection to occur.

“What are you planning?” Angela called out to him as he settle into a steady rhythm-something he wasn’t generally known for doing. He grinned over at her. “A quad!”


“Axel,” He replied, regulating his strokes and breathing. He had a number of bruises from failed quadruple axles-it was a difficult jump only one person had pulled off competitively, and he was determined to have it down by the world championships. He’d be a first-the youngest person in history to successfully pull of a quadruple axel.

The youngest to win a world championship…

Miles shook his head-he was getting ahead of himself. Qualifying for the world championships so young was good enough-pulling off some of the most difficult moves would be excellent.

“Miles, you can’t pull it off yet…” Angela mused, her voice genuinely worried, and Miles simply smiled at her-she was probably right, but he didn’t really care. He wasn’t going to get better without practice. “I’ll be fine! Stop worrying about me-I’m supposed to be worrying about you!”

“Miles…” Angela whined quietly as he took off, his form undeniably perfect as he spun. He’d done a triple axel a more than few times, but his momentum usually halted there, perhaps because he was so light. It took a great deal of energy to do an extra rotation-but he was feeling particularly powerful that day. The familiar exhilaration he got from skating came over him as he spun in midair, and Miles suddenly felt a wave of confidence wash over him. I can land this. Of course I can. I’m Miles *censored*ing Verde.

He was certainly glad he generally wore sweats or thick skating pants for his skating practices, because they provided a bit of padding for each of his falls-that one especially, as he wobbled on his way down, trying to catch himself with his toe pick, and failing. Miles blinked in surprise as he ended up on his hands and knees-he’d been sure he’d be able to land it fine. Carefully, he stood, ignoring the bruises probably blooming on his kneecaps. He glanced over to Angela, on the other side of the rink, leaning over the boards, her brow furrowed in anxiety. “You good?”

“Y-yeah,” Miles replied, clearing his throat to try and eliminate the shake in his voice-though he definitely wasn’t perfect, or anywhere near the big skaters of the generation, he wasn’t used to failing so many times, or on such a dangerous jump. He picked up on things fast, and pulled them off even faster-a natural-born, his coach, Ezra, called him. “I guess I can try again later.”

“Or you could wait until you’re older,” She protested as he fell into a steady rhythm again. “Miles, only one person has pulled off a quad axel competitively. You’re fourteen. You have time!”

“People are expecting me to start off in the senior competitions with a bang,” He replied simply, pushing blond bangs out of his eyes-his hair was getting long, and though Angela and Ezra had both suggested he tie it up, it wasn’t that long, or at least he didn’t think so. “And even if they aren’t,” He spoke before Angela could intervene. “Then I am. Angela, I’ve had to wait an entire extra competitive season to be able to do this because of our late birthday. So I’m going to do this right.”

“I…” Angela trailed off with a sigh as he did a flawless double axel, her voice bordering on amusement. “There’s no swaying you, is there?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Hey, you two are still here?”

Miles turned rapidly, his gaze landing on none other than Ray, who nodded to both him and Angela as he entered the rink,and joining the female half of the twins behind the boards. Angela smiled at him. “Hey! It’s been awhile, huh?”

“Indeed it has,” Ray replied as Miles skated over to lean on the boards. “You aren’t in the hospital anymore. Is Miles still keeping you under close wraps?”


“Hey!” Miles protested with a slightly offended huff. “I don’t have a lot of family, and I’d rather keep my twin from dying of multiple organ failure or something!”

“I’m not dying,” Angela reminded him with a playful poke. Ray nodded, a little teasing smirk playing on his lips. “She isn’t. Promise.”

“Come on!” The short blond boy crossed his arms, blinking up at his childhood friend stubbornly. “Ray, don’t you worry about your sister?”

“My sister is a boy-crazy slut with no boundaries,” Ray replied simply, and though his words were malicious, his tone wasn’t. His relationship with Mari was something Miles really couldn’t understand, even though it was probably a typical sibling relationship, considering how much the two seemed to fluctuate between hating each other to having each other’s backs. He cocked his head at Ray “So no?”


“Well, I guess that’s good to know.”

“Anyway,” The taller boy glanced down to Angela. “What are we doing?”

“Watching Miles have delusions about being able to do a quadruple axel.”

“It isn’t a delusion!” Miles whined, sounding remarkably childish, to his dismay. He met Ray’s steady gaze, pushing all his inappropriate thoughts away as well as he could. “I can do it, I swear! Just not… yet.”

Ray’s eyes flickered back and forth between him and Angela for a moment, before he replied with a bit of a laugh, “For the last time, I’m not a figure skater or a skating geek. I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.”

“Well, an axel is whe-”

“I can show you,” Miles offered without thinking, interrupting Angela, who gave him an unimpressed look as Ray’s eyes landed on him again. She rolled her eyes. “Miles, we just established that you can’t show him.”

“I can at least show him an axel,” The boy on the ice protested-he liked to skate for Ray too, even more so perhaps after his little crush had developed. Though he wasn’t good at much else, he could skate for days, and he wasn’t shy about showing it off. “Or a triple.”

Though Angela’s blue gaze was steely, Ray nodded. “Alright. Sounds interesting enough.”

Miles shot his sister’s disapproving look right back at her as he began to skate again, making a round to prepare before launching himself into another axel-this time hoping for a triple. He’d done it more than once, but it was a harder jump, especially for someone as light and… slim-figured as he was. Rather than think about his height or speed, he counted the quick turns--One and two and three and land. To his relief, it went off without a hitch, and he grinned back at his audience. “That’s a triple.”

“So basically, it’s that with another turn,” Angela explained, and Ray nodded. “That seems tough.”

“Only one person has ever pulled it off in competition,” Miles agreed as he returned to lean against the boards. “And I want to be the second.”

Though he wasn’t expecting an animated, encouraging reply, the blond also wasn’t expecting his childhood friend to so readily shoot him down. “It’s your first senior competition of many, Miles… You don’t need to push yourself so readily…”

Miles bit his lip, his excited look turning into an unhappy pout. “Why are you guys so against me doing this?”

“I’m not,” Ray replied, his tone sincere. “I think that if you really think you can do it, you probably can. He smiled-a real smile, even if it was small, and Miles felt his heart quiver and skip despite himself. “You’re a great skater, Miles, and I think you could definitely make the podium without a quadruple whatever.”

“Axel,” Miles filled in, but didn’t argue it further, opening the gate off the ice and simply saying, “Thanks.”

“So I guess we’re done?” Angela asked almost hesitantly, obviously able to sense his mood had dropped significantly. He nodded, but his tone was flatter than his usual pep. “Yeah. I’ll change and then we can go.”

Though Miles didn’t realize it, Ray seemed to sense it too, placing his arm atop the blond’s head again as they walked to the hallway with the changeroom-Miles wasn’t even sure he noticed he did it anymore, it happened so much. “Cheer up, Bubbles. You’re a better skater than anyone else in the junior tier. You’re going to do fine in the senior one.”

“Thanks,” Miles mumbled as the three of them halted in front of the changeroom, though irritation pricked his skin-both from his height being silently touched upon again and from how high-strung his nerves were with Ray so close. It was absolutely ridiculous-they’d slept in the same bed and shared the same clothes when they were little, and up until recently, it hadn’t been uncommon for Ray to grab either him or Angela (or both) and wrestle  with them, an uncharacteristically playful moment.

And I’m getting worked up over him barely touching the top of my head. What the hell is happening to me?

He changed quickly, and the three of them were on their way home in the chilly air as per usual. It felt as if a balance had been restored, with Angela out of the hospital. Despite the fact the quadruple axel still weighed on his mind, he was smiling as he walked between his sister and best friend, joking lightly as he did. He didn’t have a lot of family-or people close to him-for more than one reason he preferred to explain, and so Angela and Ray were about as important as they got when it came to people in his life. They kept him grounded, and even though he sometimes (well, almost always) needed their care rather than the other way around, he was overly eager to give when they asked.

“Oh, hey! Miles!”

Miles glanced up at his name, recognizing the voice, and the girl who stood on the sidewalk a little ways ahead of them. He smiled as they approached her. “Hi, Fiona.”

“Fiona?” Angela raised an eyebrow. “Is this her? That girl you were talking about?”

“He was talking about a girl?” Ray hummed curiously, almost sounding suspicious under his monotone. Miles shook his head. “N-no, not like that… Fiona’s the girl staying with the Jacksons, who I ran into yesterday.”

“Fiona Apelchetta,” The short Spaniard stuck out a hand with a smile. “Pleased to meet you.”

“Angela Verde,” Angela replied, her tone almost matching Fiona’s cheerful chirp as she shook her hand. “I’m Miles’ sister.” She then motioned to Ray. “And that’s Ray. Our… Childhood friend, I guess.”

“‘I guess’?” Ray raised an eyebrow at Angela, his tone amused, before greeting Fiona. “I’m Ray. And I really hope Miles hasn’t been secretly dating you behind our backs, because I think it would be a sin for one small, cute person to date another small, cute person.”

Fiona laughed, and Miles felt his face flush as he crossed his arms, whining (even though he really couldn’t say he minded it from the mouth of his best friend), “I’m not cute!”

“Please, you are.” Though he was expecting almost that exact line, it usually came from Angela, whereas it had come from Fiona, between giggles. The blond boy glanced over to his twin in mild surprise, just quickly enough so he could catch the glimmer in her blue orbs-something that usually never signified anything good for him. He put it out of his mind as quickly as he’d seen it.

“Anyway, I’m staying in the area for some time,” Fiona’s tone was light and friendly and reminded him vaguely of Leo’s. “Down the road from here, actually. And, no.” She grinned playfully at all three of them, her curls bouncing with every move. “I’m not dating Miles.”

“That’s a shame,” Angela’s tone was half-joking, and he elbowed her with a muttered protest as she spoke. “He really needs a girlfriend or something, in my opinion.”

“Angela, I’m a goddamn international professional athlete, I have all I need.”

“I know, I know. “ She smiled a little. “But it can’t be bad for you to have a girlfriend or something. Or a boyfriend, if it’s up to Fabian.”

“I’m not gay,” Miles huffed-their playful arguments got repetitive, especially when he was on the receiving end. “And I don’t need a girlfriend. I’m not interested.”

“Well, you three are obviously very close,” Fiona smiled, her voice amused. “I’m glad I got to meet you two-and Miles, of course.” She shifted her bag on her shoulders. “I should get going through. My great aunt and uncle are concerned I’m going to get lost or kidnapped or something else. Oh, but hey,” She pulled out a pen, stopping beside Miles and grabbing his hand before jotting something down on his pale skin. “There’s my number, so if you ever want to do something… Or, rather, if I ever get lost and need to know how to get to school.” The short Spanish girl smiled at both Angela and Ray as she passed. “Seeya!”

For a moment, the three of them stood in silence, before Angela laughed lightly. “She is very cute and cheerful. Even if you’re not up for dating, then Ray, maybe?”

“I’ve barely met the girl,” Ray seemed almost insulted at the idea as they began to walk again, and it was somewhat amusing. “Do you remember how long it took for me and Isolda to even consider dating?”

“Well, with that logic, you could just date me or Angela,” Miles replied without thinking, his cheeks heating up again even at the innocent suggestion. A little of the panic was lifted off his chest as Ray laughed, as musical and quirky as usual. “Well. That’s a little different, I think.” He smiled at both him and Angela, warm and unusually caring. “We’re a different type of friends than Isolda..”

Angela cocked her head a little. “Is that bad?”

“No, no.” Ray shook his head with a little chuckle, sliding his hands into his pockets lazily and effectively sending Miles’ brain into overdrive again. “There’s nothing wrong with us. Nothing in the slightest.”

The house was empty, as usual, when the twins arrived home, and Miles locked the door and tossed his keys in the bowl as usual, opening his mouth to ask Angela if she was hungry, or was going to make dinner when she practically shouted, “Oh my god, you like Ray!”

For a moment, he was completely and utterly taken aback, his cheeks flushing red, and his words stolen from where they usually resided on the tip of his tongue. He could only stare at his sister, completely dumbfounded as she laughed. “Oh my god, you so do! Miles, why didn’t you tell me? Ray is like, secretly the sweetest guy in the world, you know that! Just tell him!”

“I…I don’t,” Miles protested halfheartedly, even though he knew it was futile at that point-though neither of them were the best sleuths when it came to reading people, their connection allowed them to know the smallest things about each other… crushes included, apparently. Angela was trying to bite back her grin as she followed him into the kitchen. “You so do! Oh my god, that’s why you didn’t want him to date Fiona, isn’t it? That’s so cute, Miles, you should just tell him!”

“Even if I…” Miles shook his head, knowing he wasn’t going to get anywhere by denying himself to his sister. “It’s a stupid crush, Angela, I’ve had them before. And we both know Ray doesn’t swing that way, even if it was more than that.”

“I didn’t know you swung that way!” His twin exclaimed, nearly squealing as she began to take out what she needed to prepare what looked like some sort of soup. “And who knows, maybe he does! Aww, that would be so cute!”

“Angela!” Angela’s eyes widened in surprise as Miles rose his voice, his green gaze turned steely and harsh. “Shut up about it, would you? And if you love me, even a little, you’ll keep this to yourself.” In a quieter mutter, as he sat at the kitchen table, he said softly, “I don’t want any of my friendships to fall apart because of something as stupid and idiotic as this.”

There was a moment of silence as Angela slowly began preparing dinner again, and Miles felt a wave of guilt practically nauseate him-he rarely yelled at his mother or Angela, or anyone, really, but them in particular, he never shouted at. He knew it brought back memories of his father (whom he apparently looked remarkably like), and that happened to be a topic they did their best not to bring up.

“Can I ask something?”

“Yes,” Miles breathed, his tone quiet as he rested his head on the kitchen table. “One question.”

“You… You’re actually bi?”

“Yes,” He repeated, even quieter, his voice sounding very small, even though he didn’t want it to. “I think I am.”

“And you’re okay with that?”

“I said one question,” Miles mumbled, though, leaned into his sister as she hugged him from behind. “Miles, I’m serious. You aren’t going to hurt yourself or end up back in the psych ward because of this, are you?”

“I…” He internally flinched at the memories of his brief days spent in psychiatric care, after his anxiety and feeling of inferiority dropped to lows they’d never been at before. Even if pills could keep it under control when it got too bad, he wasn’t exactly fond of not being able to pass drug tests before competitions. “I’m fine, Angela. There’s nothing wrong with me liking guys. I’m not a homophobe. You know that.”

“Good.” She pressed her cheek to his firmly, before letting him go and continuing to prepare to cook. “You’re going to be okay. That’s all I wanted to know.”

The rest of the evening continued on smoothly, with Angela’s warm, cheery attitude back in the otherwise empty house. It was a joy to have her back-though he’d never met another pair of twins, he’d heard most of them were close, and they were no exception, almost like extensions of each other. Miles had said it dozens of times he didn’t feel quite complete without Angela somewhere nearby, and even though it was cheesy, it was true, and anyone who knew them knew it.

He finished his homework through the dinner of soup Angela had made, chatting absentmindedly with her as he did, until the question came up-”So I’m coming with you to your meeting with Ezra, right?”

Miles swallowed, glancing up as he finished writing the French paper (it was an extension of French being his first language, being able to write without glancing down to the sheet). “You’re going to get some sleep and finish the homework I brought for you.”

“What? Miles, please let me come!” Angela whined, looking up from her own work, her cheeks puffed up like a betta fish in irritation. “I’ve been stuck in the hospital for a week!” She gathered her school things hastily. “Come on, I’ll even bring my homework! I’ll be ready to go back to school tomorrow!”

“Angela…” Miles sighed, shaking his head-he had an itching feeling he wasn’t about to win an argument with her anytime soon. “Whatever. Just promise you’ll tell me and go home if you’re tired.”

“Aye aye!” She chirped, a little too enthusiastic for his taste. “When are we leaving?”

“Now,” He replied, stacking his school supplies and homework in a neat pile on the tiny kitchen table. “Ezra’s never liked how I’m always late.”

“No one has ever liked how you’re always late,” Angela corrected in amusement, and he rolled his eyes as they returned to the doorway, tugging on his shoes and grabbing his keys. “Well, I’m not always late.”

“Nearly every day, you’re late for at least one class.” Angela was laughing through her words as she shoved her homework in her shoulder bag, handing him his skating bag as well. “I think all your teachers would agree.”

Miles shoved her lightly as they left the house, though he was smiling all the same as he mumbled, “Shut up.”

Unless they were specifically not skating and only planning, he and Ezra generally met three or four times every week (sometimes five or six times, as competitions approached) at the rink. It was easier than almost anywhere else, and they obviously had the convenience of ice, which was a bonus. Sometimes, Angela would take her skates too. It wasn’t as often she’d get to skate, especially with how weak she was sometimes, and how complicated his performances were getting. Though he knew it would never happen in the reality he lived in, Miles sometimes wondered what his life would have been like if Angela had continued skating, if they’d had the chance to perform together.

Ezra was already on the ice when they arrived, and he smiled a little at both of them. “Hey, I haven’t seen you in awhile, Angela. How’ve you been?”

“Alright,” Angela replied simply, though her tone was light and friendly as she took a seat behind the boards. “But I’ve got homework to do.”

“Well, we won’t bother you too much, then.” Ezra then nodded to Miles as he stepped onto the ice. “And you, Mr. World Championships?”

“Not too bad,” Miles shrugged, smiling back at his coach. He’d never really had a father figure (he’d lived with his dad for five years, and he couldn’t remember anything but fear and torture), and Ezra was the closest he’d ever gotten. He was a little bit older than a typical father to a teenager (though didn’t look like it)  would be, in his fifties or sixties, but acted as one all the same. Even though he really didn’t need to, Miles could recall more than a few times where his coach had provided money for plane tickets and uniforms and even meals on trips or hotel fees, and he typically didn’t charge them nearly enough, or didn’t at all. Though his mother always insisted he stop doing so much for them, they all knew that they needed all the help they could get when it came to the fees that came with his career.

“So, we really should get a world championship routine down before the month ends,” Ezra spoke, and Miles nodded in agreement. “Yeah. It’s getting close to the new year.”

“Is there anything in particular you want to include?”

“Uh…” Miles hesitated. He generally came up with his own routines anyway, but Ezra was not only helpful to bounce ideas off of, but to aid him in where he could begin and end trickier moves. “I want to do a quadruple axel.”

“A quadruple axel…?” Ezra’s usually encouraging tone was suddenly a curious murmur, and Miles felt his hope sink again. “Can you do one on its own?”

“He can’t,” Angela piped up, and Miles crossed his arms. “I can.”

“Really?” His coach’s next words were predictable. “Show me.”

The blond skater nodded, beginning a half lap around the rink to build up momentum. He could do it. He’d done one before, so he could do it again, and again, and again.

The youngest person to do a quadruple axel in competition. That would put my name in the books forever.

With the thought of his name being engraved in history, Miles took off with all the power he could muster, keeping his spin tight and his body straight as he gained air. He willed his body to keep compact as his third turn finished, and even though he could feel his muscles threatening to cramp, he kept himself as tight as possible.

Though he’d been telling himself he could to it, it was a surprise when he landed gracefully, a bit of a wobble in his knee, but otherwise almost perfect. A wave of exhilaration washed over him, and he grinned, first at Angela, then Ezra, gasping out, “See? I can do it fine.”

Ezra laughed a little, his dark brown eyes bright. “Well, you definitely can pull it off if I tell you to. But doing it in competition is something else, and you know that. Why are you so interested in this all of a sudden?”

“It’s my first senior competition,” Miles explained, still smiling from the jump he’d pulled off. “I’m going to be one of the youngest people to ever compete.”

For a moment, his coach’s face was slightly confused, before his eyes gleamed in understanding. “Oh, I see. You want to be the youngest to pull it off in competition.”

Miles nodded, excited by even the thought of it, and Ezra sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Well… You probably want the truth, right?”

He nodded. “Right.”

“Well, the truth is, I think it’s a terrible idea,” He replied, and the blond felt his heart drop, as well as his expression. “Well… You’re the coach…”

“But,” Ezra held up a hand, and Miles blinked. “I didn’t finish. I think that if you’re really set on doing this, then not only will you be able to pull it off, but you’ll be regretting it when someone else does it before you.”

Miles bit back a smile-he’d been disappointed by premature celebrations time and time again, and he wasn’t about to be over something so important. “So…?”

“So,” Ezra smiled back at him with a sigh. “I’m not going to stop you if you really want to do it.”

“Yes!” Miles jumped on his skates in excitement, his reaction as animated as they got. He heard Angela sigh in amusement from the boards, but ignored it, grinning broadly at his coach. “Thank you, Ezra!”

“Hey, but keep your head,” Ezra reminded him, even though he was smiling too. “Remember you aren’t in this to try and break records. You’re going in this to make a name for yourself-for your career. So don’t screw it up.”

“I won’t,” He promised, still grinning like an idiot. “Seriously. Thank you so much, Ezra.”

“You’re going to regret it!” Angela called over from the boards, but her tone was lighthearted-Miles could tell she was anything but irritated. Ezra chuckled. “I hope not. Miles, let’s lay down some basics for this routine, and then you’re practicing quad axles for the rest of your days.”

“Fair enough!” He replied, still happy just thinking about the idea. He began to skate again, grinning almost uncontrollably. Though he might have been young, less experienced than most of the seniors and barely able to pull off a quadruple axel, Miles was pretty confident he’d be just as good as any senior figure skater by the time the world championships came around-in fact, he would make sure of it.

I am going to put my name in the books. And no one can stop me.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 05:39:20 PM by Effie Azzara »
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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 12:56:54 AM »
Chapter 3

“So you’re actually going to do a quadruple axel. Whatever that means.”

“Yup!” Miles chirped, taking another bite of ice cream and ignoring the disapproving look Angela was giving him. Maybe it was because it was more dangerous if he couldn’t do it, but she still wasn’t on board. “I am going to be the youngest person in history to do something like this.”

“Ooh, that’s pretty neat,” Fiona hummed, and Miles nodded in agreement. He liked Fiona-he liked her a lot, and not in the same hormone-fuelled way the other boys in his group of friends seemed to. It had only been a week since her first day, and she fit in pretty easily. Her knowledge of figure skating also wasn’t half bad, which not only delighted him, but Angela as well.

“The hell is a quadruple whatever?” Leo asked, scraping the paper ice cream cup for the last bit of the sweet dessert. Lucia shrugged. “Sounds pretty fancy, don’t you think?”

“It’s the hardest jump in the book,” Angela explained simply, resting her elbows on the table of the diner. “Only one person has ever done it competitively. It takes a lot out of you if you do it wrong, and if you aren’t thin and muscular enough, you generally can’t pull it off.”

“It’s probably lucky you’re as small as you are, then,” Ray put in from his side, nudging him, and he subtly ducked his head away to hide the blush that threatened to spread down from from his ears. “Still sucks to be a freakin foot behind everyone.”

“Please,” Fiona smiled at him as she took her last bite of ice cream. “It’s very cute.”

Miles just shook his head, not even bothering with his usual comeback of ‘I’m not’, instead taking another bite of his ice cream. He much preferred to enjoy the odd time all five-now six, he supposed-could get together at lunch, even if it was just for ice cream.

“Anyway,” Leo’s eyes had a mischievous gleam in them. “How’s that little thing going with Dakota, Fay?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Fabian replied with a straight face that Miles couldn’t have dreamed about pulling off-his emotions ran wild, stomping all over him and leaving noticeable footprints in their wake. He smiled a little. “Really? Fay, we’re your friends.” Still grinning mischievously, he placed a playfully comforting hand on top of his friend’s. “You can tell us.”

Fabian chuckled, taking a swig of his milkshake. “Like *censored*ing hell I can.”

“Who’s Dakota?” Fiona asked, and though Miles opened his mouth to reply, Ray beat him to it, his voice tinted with amusement probably only him and Angela could detect. Ray wasn’t much of an emotional person after all, and without proper knowledge, he sounded like he was serious and deadpanning 24/7.

It’s kind of cute, actually, if you can classify Ray Escarra as cute…

“Dakota’s the freshman Fabian’s been buttering up for the past couple weeks,” Ray replied, and though his smile wasn’t obvious, it was there, and it was amused. “Probably for some sort of sex.”

“Ray!” Angela gasped, though her tone was only a little mortified and more of a laugh than anything else. Fabian, on the other hand, didn’t look impressed. “Hey, come on. I don’t do crap like that.”

“Right, I nearly forgot Tess was just a figment of my imagination,” Leo teased, which only prompted Fabian to flip him off through a mouthful of his milkshake. Fiona chuckled from Miles’ right. “These are your closest friends, huh?”

“Ah, well, Ray and Angela and I are…”

“Exclusive?” Ray added from his left quietly, his quiet, lightly accented voice suddenly sounding much closer than Miles remembered. He decided not to embarrass himself by turning, nodding instead. “That’s… One way to put it. But otherwise…” He glanced over to the other teens at the table, who were squabbling playfully (and loudly, as per usual) about Fabian’s rumoured sex life. Miles let out a little sigh. Ray chuckled lightly. “Remember when it was just the four of us?”

“Vaguely,” Miles joked. It seemed like a long time ago, when it was normal for him, Ray, Angela and Leo to act like the most childish of friends with each other, even if it had only been barely a year. Sometimes he missed the simple four-person friendship-childish things like wrestling with Ray and even miniature food fights with whipped cream with Angela were things that didn’t seem to exist anymore, which was probably for the best, if he thought about it. They couldn’t be children forever after all.

“Hey.” Leo stood, tossing his empty ice cream cup in the garbage as he did. “I should get back. I’ve got a geo test after lunch.”

“Right, that’s today…” Lucia sighed too, following Leo’s lead and pushing auburn curls out of her eyes. “I should go too. Too bad we didn’t get more time together. It’s been awhile.”

“We all should really get back…” Ray mused as Lucia and Leo left the diner, glancing over to Miles, who snapped out of his thoughts, nodding. “Yeah, go ahead. I’ll wait for Fiona. We’re in the same English class.”

Ray nodded silently, standing up from the diner booth too, slinging his bag over his shoulder. “Seeya.”

Fiona raised an eyebrow at him as she took what looked like her second last bite of ice cream, her full lips turned up into a tiny smile. “Man, you don’t have to wait for me.”

Miles shrugged-not only did he not want to have to deal with the nerves of the five or ten minute walk back to school alone with Ray, he really was coming to enjoy Fiona’s company, both during and outside of school. She was witty and smart, and had an eye for things Miles didn’t exactly understand.

“How do you know English if you’re from Spain?”

“Hmm?” Fiona took the last bite of her ice cream, glancing over to Angela as she did. “My parents taught me a few languages when I was little because my father travelled a lot. So I know Italian, Spanish and English almost equally well. And I learned French when I was in elementary school.”

“So you can speak four languages fluently?” Miles asked, suddenly curious. “Is your brain like, significantly bigger than ours or something?”

Fiona laughed, nudging him gently with her hip to slide out of the booth, which he did, her close behind. “Haha, I wish. I don’t think I’m much smarter than you or Angela, unfortunately… But it is helpful to know multiple languages.”

Ah, oui, c’est tres facile a parlé aux les autres,” Angela’s near-perfect French was something Miles only really heard when they were teasing each other, or saying something they didn’t really want another person to catch. Their natural accents were generally thick enough and they spoke quickly enough that most non native French speakers usually couldn’t catch onto their conversations, and it was a nice way to be able to communicate.

Fiona nodded with a little laugh. “So you two are French yourselves, then.”

Miles nodded as they left the dinner, the air getting more and more nippy with the day it seemed-it was November by then, and even if it was only the first week, it seemed much chillier than that. “Yeah. We were born there, so it’s more natural than English most of the time.”

“Well I guess we have one more thing in common, huh?” Fiona nudged him with her hip, her expression as light and playful as ever-it made him wonder if she’d somehow just escaped all the hardships life generally doled out, or if she even had a serious side. She seemed far to carefree and almost… Shiny for either of them to exist in her life, and like a moth to light, he knew both himself and his twin were undeniably drawn to her.

Which Miles had to admit, as the three of them. fell into natural, friendly conversation, wasn’t a bad thing at all.

Miles had never particularly enjoyed school-it wasn’t that he didn’t like learning, or he wasn’t good at it, considering he generally kept up a steady minimum of an 85% average, which was honour roll in Mississauga. He just preferred not to be surrounded by people, which was unavoidable in a high school of any kind, and if he did have to be with a group of people, he much preferred his friends over anyone else. Despite the fact he really didn’t much like being given exceptions because of his anxiety, whether it be with people or about himself, he had to admit, his sophomore year was going far better with someone he could shy away into the corner with in each of his classes.

Even if that person in his French happened to be Ray, who lit up his nerves and emotions more than his anxiety did lately. In which case, it proved much easier to ignore the lesson (he was a native French speaker anyway) and pop in his earbuds and not think about his fluctuating sexuality.


The blond jumped in his seat, taking out his earbuds quickly as Ray waved a hand in front of his face. He felt his cheeks flush red as he met Ray’s amused chocolate gaze. “Dude. The bell rang five minutes ago.”

“S-sorry,” Miles mumbled, clearing his throat and shoving his binder in his bag, slinging it over his shoulder. “I was, uh…”

“Fantasizing about fooling around with Fiona?” Ray suggested with a little smirk, waving briefly to their teacher as they left the class, and Miles punched his arm hard, knowing he was probably too small to do much damage to his friend, even if he had more muscle. “Get your head out of the gutter! I’m not a pervert, and I’m not into Fiona!”

“Really?” The Spanish boy raised an eyebrow as they made their way down the hallways, which were gradually emptying out. “Because you two seem pretty damn close, and it’s only been a week and a bit since she got here.”

“We aren’t,” Miles insisted, and despite himself, he felt his heart twist and squeeze at how oblivious his best friend was to his affection. “Seriously. You can have her.”

Ray cocked his head and crossed his arms as the short blond boy pushed open the doors to the school, smiling at Angela, who was waiting at the usual spot in front of the building with Fiona, who followed her quickly as she skipped over to join them. “That seems more than a little fishy, for you to be giving up such a cute girl so easily to me. Do you think you’ve finally overworked yourself to the point of madness?”

“Let’s not talk about this now, okay?” Miles muttered as Angela stopped in front of them, Fiona not far behind, her long curls windblown. He ignored Ray’s little chuckle, even though it made his heart jump, smiling at the girls. “So we’re keeping up with the thing where we wait for each other all through the year, huh?”

“Well, I mean, you’re kind of my brother, if you didn’t notice,” Angela teased, the butterfly-shaped rash that bloomed across her cheeks and nose when her lupus was bad having almost completely disappeared. With no hesitation, Fiona added lightly, “And I kind of live less than a street away from you, if you didn’t notice.”

“Ah, we’ve got a couple of sassy ones in our ranks,” Ray hummed with a little bit of a tease in his own voice. “I sense a couple troublemakers in the works.”

“Damn, you caught us!” Fiona’s gasp was over dramatic and her smile was contagious, and Miles bit his lip against a laugh as she pretended to faint into Angela’s arms. “Partners in crime we are! Right, Angela?”

Ah mais oui-vous avez nous découvrir!” Angela’s reaction was just as exaggerated, and Miles couldn’t help but laugh as she in turn feigned fainting into Ray’s arms, who was also smiling in amusement. “Oh la la la la! Qu'allons-nous faire maintenant? C’est une desastre!

Ray shook his head with a sigh, and even though his face was as straight as usual, his coffee-coloured eyes gleamed in obvious amusement as he glanced over to Miles. “Well, I think that we’ve perhaps made quite the mistake adding another girl to the equation, huh?”

The blond boy smiled. “I dunno… I think things just got a lot more interesting.”

“So… Your sister skates too?”

“I do,” Angela replied before he could as she laced her skates-unlike Miles, who preferred to completely change in the dressing room, skates included, she’d always hated walking in figure skates, and tended to limit that time to as little as possible. Ray nodded from where he stood beside Fiona, completely dwarfing her short form. “It’s a bit of a long story, and isn’t my place to tell it. But both of them can skate fairly well.”

“It’s more a matter of ‘will Miles let me on the ice today’,” The female side of the twins half-joked, joining Miles on the ice. He grabbed her hands as she did, spinning quickly with her and smiling-it had been a long time since they’d skated together, with school and Angela’s lupus, and she laughed joyfully. “Though it’s worth it if he does!”

“Aww, you two are cute,” Fiona crooned from the boards, and though Miles rolled his eyes, he didn’t complain, letting go of Angela instead and using their joined momentum to spin her across the ice. Despite the fact it had to have been at least three or four months since she’d been on the ice, her form was impeccable, and Miles clapped as she ended the spin with a flourish. He heard Fiona chirp, “Bravo! Bravissimo!”

“Haha,” Angela was smiling, her face brighter than Miles had seen in a long time. Maybe it was another one of their odd twin connections, or just the feeling of being on the ice with her again, but he felt his chest bloom into happiness even by just barely catching her eye as she glanced over to their friends at the outside of the rink. “I used to be much better, and a lot stronger, but yanno… Thanks.”

Miles had learned that Fiona was a good audience, and he enjoyed her accompanying them to the rink after school. She was more animated than Ray was naturally (not that Miles would change him in the slightest), and seemed to love to gush about how much she’d adored his junior performances, whether they be the good the bad or the ugly. She was an overly optimistic person all around, and he really had to wonder what demons she had hiding beneath her contagious smile sometimes, even if he was far too shy to ask.

Ray was a good audience too, Miles reminded himself as he did an easier jump, more working on his landing than anything. Ray was as good an audience as Fiona was, just in a different way. He was quieter, more dignified than Fiona’s loud cheers, but he was an expert at facial expressions and even communicating through looks and glances-but perhaps that was only apparent to someone who’d known him for as long as he did. Even if he wasn’t the best at keeping up with what was what when it came to figure skating, he knew what was good, and when Miles needed a pick me up, and the tiny smile he offered when the blond boy did need encouragement had always been enough, even before his little crush had developed.

“It feels good, huh?” Miles grinned at his sister as she skated past him, his expression mirrored on her face. “It feels like home for sure.”

“Hey, Fiona, can you skate?” Miles asked, his voice much lighter and carefree that it had been what felt like a long time. He saw the shorter Spaniard shake her head, her dark curls tied in twintails bouncing as she did. “I would have never had the chance.”

“We should ask Mira if you can borrow a pair of skates,” Angela suggested, obviously on the same page as Miles was. “We could teach you.”

“Ooh, that sounds fun!”

“Please, don’t let those two trick you,” Ray intervened, a tiny bit of a laugh in his otherwise serious voice. “I haven’t skated in four years, and I bet you can’t guess why.”

Fiona’s already-large brown eyes widened as Miles stopped to lean on the boards, Angela skating in beside him. “Damn, what exactly did you two do?”

“Nothing!’ Miles protested, though he was biting back a smile-he could remember teaching Ray how to skate when they were eight or nine, despite his obvious disdain towards the activity. Though it had lasted all of five times with Ray on the ice, Miles could vaguely remember himself being perhaps too excitable to get his best friend on the ice… And it had promptly left a bad impression on the young Spanish boy.

“I don’t like skating, in general, and never have,” Ray replied shortly, crossing his arms over his chest with a sigh. “But you can’t deny these two are very good at what they do.”

“Yes we are!” Angela agreed, skating back into the middle of the rink, her short, barely shoulder length blonde hair fluttering out behind her as she did a pattern of jumps and turns, the smile never leaving her face-or Miles’. He glanced up to Ray with a cheeky grin. “Sure you don’t want to join us?”

“Haha, no.” The handsome Spaniard bit back a smile, and Miles couldn’t help but reciprocate, more than he was already doing, at least. “I’m good, Bubbles. But I will watch.”

“Well, I guess that’s fair,” Miles replied, turning to join Angela on the large, empty rink as Ray made an amused sound, mumbling something Spanish under his breath. Miles didn’t quite understand, but was probably something about how ridiculously different they were, but he really couldn’t bring himself care about it as he and Angela began to skate circles around each other, Fiona cheering with every stunt they pulled off. And as he looked over to Ray, he could see the little smile on his face too, his dark eyes content as he watched the twins.

November was generally a month Miles liked. The temperature got cooler, the first snows would fall, the outdoor skating rinks would open, and it was one month closer to his and Angela’s birthday. There were usually competitions in November and December-competitions that often offered a hefty cash reward, which was heaven for his family, whether they liked to admit it or not-but Miles had his eyes on the prize that year. His only routine until March was the one he was preparing for the world championships, and though he knew that it would be difficult not to wish he was performing as the season began to pick up and the television stations began to broadcast the competitions, it was for the better. Especially with how far he was bumping up his difficulty, Miles knew it was important he focused on the big leagues-which is what he told himself as he sat at the coffee table, watching his old performances and trying to come up with his new one. He’d never really liked watching his old performances too much-he seemed like a whole different person on the ice. From the time he’d began skating competitively around nine or ten, he’d went from the shy and classical music to being, well… showy. Though he’d learned from about eleven forward that his showy performances didn’t always work out when he needed the points, he was known for his showy, over the top performances in the junior world-and there wasn’t really anyone like him in the senior world as of then. Ezra had compared him to Johnny Weir time and time again, and though he wasn’t sure how alike he and the American skater were when it came to personality (for one thing, he wasn’t known for being flamboyantly gay), he had to admit, sometimes he did look like Johnny Weir, and his music choices were getting increasingly similar to his-not that he minded. Being compared to any other successful skater gave him a sense of pride.

Miles sighed, watching his performance from the national championships the year before-he’d won silver with an unusual routine, even for a junior. He’d used the song ‘Mamma Mia’, following his trend of using 70s and 80s music, which had definitely amused most of the audience. At the time of planning that particular routine, it had seemed so easy to pick out music.

And one year later, here I am, struggling to do the same goddamn thing.

He loved how much freedom Ezra had always given him-though it had screwed him over a couple times before, his style had become obvious to anyone who’d seen more than a few of his performances. He liked old music with his young-looking style of performing, and he didn’t really like to sway from that.

Maybe I should do another 70s or 80s song. Keep up my little tradition…

With a sigh, Miles opened his playlist. Most of what he listened to was either rock (which seemed to surprise people) or 70s and 80s music, perhaps because he’d grown up with practically nothing else. Most of his performances reflected that, and he could still remember the surprise on Ezra’s face when he’d asked to skate to ‘Any Way You Want It’ for his first junior world championships. Still, it had made him memorable, and he’d placed bronze that year on top of it.

Any song he’d used once or twice before he took off his playlist-he wasn’t too much a fan of doing things multiple times. Biting his lip, he scrolled through-some of the songs he loved would be hell to choreograph, and he needed something that felt natural for such a massive competition, something that would give him the same memorable bang he had with ‘Any Way You Want It’.

As he scrolled through, the title of a song caught his eye-’Playing to Win’? I haven’t heard that in forever, but it sounds promising… Without another thought, he popped in his earbuds and pressed ‘play’.

“Hey Miles, are you-”

“Shush,” Miles interrupted, though motioned for his sister to join him on the floor of the living room, unplugging his earbuds and letting the song play aloud. Angela cocked her head. “Is this what you’re going to use for your program?”

He shrugged. “You tell me. Should I?”

“Ah…” Angela listened beside him in silence for a moment, before shrugging herself. “I can definitely see it working in your favour. But you’d have to do it right…”

“So yes or no?”

“Hmm…” She short blonde girl paused for a moment, and Miles raised an eyebrow. “So?”

“I think you should either do this, or do another ‘Any Way You Want It’ debut,” She suggested, standing up before he could reply and tapping him on the head. “And I made lunch. Just in case you were wondering.”

“You didn’t need to,” Miles called after her as she slipped back in the kitchen. As usual, his twin simply smiled at him, the smile that said, ‘I did, otherwise you would starve to death.

As his sister disappeared back into the kitchen, Miles sighed, pausing his music and leaning back against the couch, watching the interview after his latest junior world championships. He really did look like a completely different person during competitions, from his unwavering confidence to the light, almost undetectable makeup Angela had become so good at applying. Perhaps that was part of it-Angela had done her own makeup from the time they’d hit ten, and she’d liked it enough she’d learned to do his, and still did. Though he didn’t like how she added the subtle effects the other boys his age didn’t have when she’d started doing his makeup, he had to admit, as he watched himself laugh lightly about something the person interviewing him had said, that the ever-so-slight glitter on his eyelashes (which he’d heard time and time again were ridiculously long, and made him look even more like Angela) made his green eyes pop and the well-drawn snowflake near his left ear on his cheekbone had become something signature to only him. He looked young and he performed younger and he liked that. Miles smiled at Angela as she sat down on the couch behind him with a plate of what looked like spaghetti, and though he didn’t say it aloud, he couldn’t help but think about how lucky he was to have his twin sister playing such a big part in his life.

November also meant midterms, and midterms meant Miles had something to worry about on top of his career and Ray, Angela and his mother. He’d had his first midterm exams the year before, and he’d actually ended up missing two of them for his final competitions before he began preparing for the world championships. He already wasn’t the very best at school (the only reason he got past with a general 84% average was probably his time management, which was better than most teens) and it hadn’t been fun doing midterms after midterms had ended. Maybe it was a good thing that he wasn’t competing that November, because he had to note he felt good about his grades as the last of three exam days ended, and he, Fiona, Angela and Ray, plus Leo, who was taking the bus to the animal shelter from the stop near their house, walked home.

“So you think you did well?” Leo asked, his attitude as carefree as usual. Miles nodded, shifting his backpack on his shoulders as they walked, a chill running up his spine as a frosty wind blew-South Canadian winters generally ran from November to the end of March, or even sometimes mid-April, and it seemed that year was no different. He smiled a little as he felt Angela huddle closer into his side, letting his arm slide around her shoulders. “I think so.  I didn’t have a ton of hard classes this term.”

“Well, at least one of us is confident,” Leo replied, with a puff that clouded in front of him in the chilly air, and Fiona chuckled. “Not sounding to happy there, huh, Leo?”

“Please, little miss, you can’t be doing any better, with your Spanish background.”

“Gosh, I’m offended,” Fiona brought her hand to her chest with a mock gasp, her usual drama present. “I’ll have you know, I think I did quite well. My last year in Europe was composed of English classes.”

“I think I did pretty well too,” Angela piped up, clearing her throat-was she getting sick? “And assuming Ray hasn’t changed in twelve years, you’re the only one who’s in trouble here.”

“I don’t think it’s been twelve years…” Ray chuckled under his breath, before glancing over to Leo with a bit of a smirk. “But yes. I think you’re the only one who’s secretly having a panic attack, Leo.”

“I am not having a panic attack,” Leo protested, though his voice was confident. “I don’t know if you noticed, I’m not exactly on honour roll.”

Fiona chuckled. “Sounds accurate.”

Miles bit back a smile as Leo feigned a playful lunge at Fiona, who let out a squeak, pressing into his other side and nearly taking them both down. The blond laughed as he caught her tightly before either of them could fall. “Damn, Leo, I don’t need to kill the poor girl.”

“Also don’t need to molest her,” Ray muttered lowly under his breath, though there was a hint of something unusual in his voice, different from his usual wit and smarmy attitude. Miles decided to ignore it-Fiona and Leo didn’t seem to pick up on it, and Angela said nothing, though he would bet that she noticed as well.

“Anyway, I am confident in one thing,” Leo cleared his throat, speaking in a mock regal manner. “That all of you scored higher than me.”

“Speaking of confident, I heard people are betting on the highest and lowest scores for each grade and each class,” Fiona added, her voice toned down from the high-pitched mischievousness she usually had. “Is this a Canadian thing or something?”

“Uh…” Angela hesitated as they waited for the light to change, and Miles took the opportunity tin to fill in for her, with a bit of an awkward chuckle. ”It’s… More of just an ARS thing…”

“One of Aspen Ridge’s… More questionable traditions,” Ray added as they crossed the street, the wind whipping up again, nearly tugging Angela’s lavender beanie off her head. “I’m fairly sure the teachers are aware of it too.”

“And just let it happen?”

Leo shrugged, halting by the bus stop (Miles had almost forgotten he wasn’t continuing home with them, it had become such a habit). “ARS pride, right?”

“ARS pride,” Miles echoed with a little smile-Aspen Ridge was known for its high averages and good programs, but there were a number of traditions and acts that the students were known for, the exam bets being one of the biggest ones that were schoolwide. And while it seemed odd to freshmen and exchange students, it was normal to most of the students, even them, the new sophomores.

“Bring us back a puppy from the pound!” Angela chirped as Leo stepped into the bus shelter, and Miles elbowed her. “Don’t you encourage him.”

“Hey, where are we going, by the way?” Fiona asked as they continued down the sidewalk, approaching the crosswalk where the streets forked into their street and Fiona’s street. Before the last couple months, it had been routine for Miles and Angela to accompany Ray home, or vice versa, but it had been slightly disrupted by both Fiona’s arrival and Miles’ crush, which to his dismay, seemed to get closer to what Angela dubbed ‘puppy love’ by the day. Either way, though it had been established that Fiona was completely okay with being left out of their usual habits, or being included in them, Miles found he generally preferred her around. Not only was she a bit of a buffer between the one-sided tension between him and Ray, she was natural-feeling, and he liked her as a part of his small circle of friends.

“I’m going home,” Angela replied, stretching with a yawn. “I think I’m getting sick.”

“And I guess I am too, then,” Miles shrugged, nudging Fiona lightly. “You could go chill out with Ray though…”

“Ooh, how ‘bout it, Ray?” Fiona teased, in turn bumping Ray playfully with her hip, prying a laugh from Angela-though the tall Spaniard didn’t seem to react the same, the familiar amused sparkle in his eyes absent as he cleared his throat, shrugging to bring his bag higher on his shoulders. “I should clean up before my mom or Mari gets home. They don’t like when my stuff gets everywhere.”

“Aww, really?” Fiona’s face turned into a cute but undeniably faux pout as they stopped at the crosswalk-well, three of them, anyway. Ray continued walking for a couple steps, before turning to face them with a little sigh, replying in irritation, “Yes. I’ve got projects to work on.” He turned and began across the street. “I’ll catch you guys tomorrow.”

For a moment, the three of them were silent, before Angela stated sarcastically, “Well. He’s not acting odd in the slightest.”

“Indeed,” Fiona hummed, though her tone was more serious than Angela’s, and she glanced up to the taller of the twins. “Should we be worried?”

“Not… Yet…” Miles replied curiously-it had been a long time since he’d seen Ray close up so quickly, especially with people he was generally very comfortable with, but even if it hadn’t happened in awhile, Ray was still as introverted as he was shy… Even if all of them tended to forget it. It wouldn’t have been unheard of for him to need time of his own, working on those little clockwork pieces he seemed to love so much, and Miles typically liked to give him the benefit of the doubt when it came to such things.

“Well, if you’re sure,” Fiona replied, though her own voice didn’t sound completely sold. She smiled a little at both of them, shivering as the wind howled again. “Anyway, I’ve gotta get home. Don’t get any sicker, either of you, alright?”

“Can do!” Angela chirped, light and cheery as possible to the Spanish girl as she began down her street, waving back at them as she did. Miles smiled a little, sticking his own hands in the pockets of his sweater as he and his sister began across the street. “She’s…”

“Very cute?”

“Very mischievous,” Miles corrected, unable to keep the amusement out of his tone. “Much like someone else I know.”

Angela laughed a little. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Hey, do you really think Ray’s…”

“Normal?” Angela nodded as he fumbled for his key as they approached the house. The young skater hesitated, and then made a face. “I… Think that sometimes he just needs space.”

“Usually he, I don’t know… Tells us, though.” The female half of the twins sighed as they stepped up onto the porch of their house, glancing to him as he unlocked the door. “Maybe it’s because I was in the hospital, or because of your thing for Ray or because of Fiona, but things have gotten weird since the end of September.”

“Because of Fiona, or my thing for Ray?” Miles scoffed as he opened the door. “Nothing’s weird,” He lied through his teeth-the moment he admitted anything was up, things only tended to get worse. “And if it was, then it wouldn’t because of either of those things.”

“Alrighty then,” Angela hummed, sounding rather unconvinced as she dropped her school bag by the stairs by the door, before making her way to the kitchen-hopefully to take her meds and something for her cold. “Whatever you say, o brother of mine.”

Miles rolled his eyes as he locked the door behind him, dropping his bag next to his twin’s and falling into his usual routine, but couldn’t help wondering what exactly had changed-and when it was going to stop screwing with all of their heads.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 06:13:54 PM by Effie Azzara »
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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 12:59:33 AM »
Chapter 4

Miles took a breath, closing his eyes on the deep inhale, and letting them flutter open on the exhale. He wanted to get his routine (or at least a decent chunk of it) down, preferably before he had to leave to go to school that day. Though it wasn’t as if he couldn’t practice off the ice (Ezra often encouraged him to find his bearings in more everyday surroundings, as he wouldn’t always have the opportunity to practice on a rink, especially before competitions) he much preferred to, especially when he was picking up a new routine of such a high difficulty. Though he could pull off a lot without his skates (despite his smaller frame, he had a lot of hidden muscle to him), things like the quadruple axel he was so focused on could be hard to do in his room, or the school’s dance studio.

The blond took another deep breath, stalling a little, before pressing the ‘play’ button on his earbuds. Ezra didn’t particularly like him using earbuds over the speaker system of the rink because of the lag, but most of the time he couldn’t bring himself to care. He’d never had trouble with lag in the past, anyway.

He’d chosen ‘Any Way You Want It’, and even though he definitely could have chosen a better song for what he wanted to pull off, there was an irresistible sense of nostalgia he got from writing out and performing a whole new routine to the song he’d debuted with years before. Ezra had called it ‘a ballsy move’, though as usual, had agreed to let him perform it, as long as he could skate to it-which Miles found he not only could do with ease, but enjoyed doing as well, as chorus began and the challenge of both remembering the new routine and keeping up with the ridiculously fast pace really began. He loved it though, the feeling of mastering (or on the road to doing so, at least, he thought as he missed a turn completely) something new, something exciting, something he could show off with pride. Even his sloppy, sometimes under or over rotated jumps and awkward turns while he worked out kinks in the routine felt exhilarating to do, especially with something as fresh and exotic as his current pieces.

Though Ezra sometimes called him ‘young and foolish’, to put it simply, Miles preferred to skate to songs he knew and liked-something skaters generally had to grow out of, especially before the ban on skating to music with lyrics was lifted. Miles himself didn’t really see a problem with it-as long as the song was skateable to, then it made sense for a personal favourite to be something considered for the routine. Even though in the back of his mind, he couldn’t help but scold himself lightly for the mistakes he’d made in one of the first run-throughs, the blond was mouthing the words out of habit as he began to built up momentum for his biggest feat, which he’d become remarkably better at recently. His landings had gotten nicer, and it seemed at that point his biggest problems would be how much air he could gain within the time he needed, and how well he could continue the performance after he landed. Because of the height he needed, and the constant effect of gravity, even landing a quadruple anything could knock the air out of someone, and though it didn’t quite stun him, there was definitely a price to pay after pulling off such a stunt, and that time was no exception. Miles felt the familiar wobble in his knee as he landed, though continued through the last quarter of the song. From then on, he’d definitely wear his knee brace, no matter how much he disliked it.

Though it definitely wasn’t perfect, Miles finished the routine with a smile, even though he was out of breath. He closed his eyes with a little, joyful laugh. It’s been awhile… it’s been awhile for sure.

Suddenly, snapping him out of his adrenaline-fueled daze, the blond skater heard clapping, and turned quickly to see none other Ray and his sister standing behind the boards. Angela whooped, though her voice was still scratchy from the harsh cold she’d suffered-”All right! That’s coming along pretty well!”

“How long have you guys been there?” Miles breathed out as he made his way over to them. Ray shrugged. “Either you messed up, or we missed your quadruple axel.”

“I didn’t mess up,” Miles huffed, even though he knew it was a lie. “Not on that part at least.”

“I mean, it’s only been like a day and a half since you finished the routine, right?” He nodded in response to his sister's question. “I mean, it’s not going to be perfect yet.”

“I know,” He replied, tucking a loose lock of hair behind his ear-he’d decided to tie it back, at least while he was practicing, though how nice of a ponytail it was generally wasn’t at the top of his priority list. “I’m guessing you’re here to tell me to get off the ice and ready for school.”

“Only because it’s exam result day,” Angela smiled a little. “Did you bet?”

“Are you kidding? Skating doesn’t make a lot of money, you know, but the equipment is expensive.” He glanced to Ray. “Did you bet?”

“Ah… Yeah, but only in tenth grade French and music,” He replied, leaning on the boards. “Anyone who didn’t bet on you and Fabian is crazy. You two have been on top since middle school.”

“Ooh, yeah, I should’ve bet on music too,” Angela nodded, and Miles smiled a little-he was known to be at the top of the French classes, as well as his dance class. “Damn, you didn’t bet on me for dance too? I’m disappointed in you two.”

“Hey, you said yourself, we don’t have all the money in the world,” Ray replied, though was smiling all the same. “Come on, Bubbles, anyone who knows you knows you’re the best of the best when it comes to dancing.”

“Aww, why thank you,” Miles nodded as he stepped off the ice-even if he loved skating, he liked to see exam results, and as the cherry on top, the results of the bets placed. Even if he wasn’t one to really enjoy gambling, it was certainly amusing to watch.

“Did you run into Fiona?” The young skater asked as he made his to the changeroom-it had become habit for the four of them to walk to school. Angela shook her head. “No, we left pretty early. She probably knows where we are, though.”

“We’ll see her at school either way,” Ray shrugged as they paused by the changeroom doors. “She knows about the exam results.”

“I guess that’s true,” Miles admitted, beginning to push open the door. “But I like her walking with us. She’s practically one of us now.”

“I’ll keep an eye out for her while we wait,” Angela promised, smiling at him. “And if I do see her, tell her that you were looking ever so wistfully for her.”

He smiled back, shaking his head as he entered the changeroom. “Don’t do that. You’ll scare her off for sure.”

He heard Angela laugh as the changeroom door swung shut behind him, and Miles couldn't help but crack a little bit of a smile as he began to untie his skates and undress. Between Ray’s already naturally serious demeanor, and the heaviness that came with his own often problematic life, they needed something a little lighter every once in awhile, and Fiona’s personality definitely did exactly that. Miles preferred to keep such a bright light close in times of stress, such as midterms or the time leading up to the world championships. It was very nice, to say the least, and the blond skater smiled a little at the thought of the short, cheerful Spaniard.

It wasn’t a surprise Angela and Ray were waiting in the lobby of the rink (he nodded to Mira on the way past her), though the time that had passed while he’d changed was one. Miles hadn’t left the house that morning with the intent on leaving the rink early-exam results had slipped his mind completely. He was suddenly grateful, though, he’d brought his school bag along with him. Angela and Ray’s conversation halted as he stopped in front of them, and he cocked his head. “What? Are we gonna go or what?”

“You aren’t going to stop back at your house?” Ray asked as they began to walk out, Miles between him and his sister as per usual. He shrugged. “I want to see the exam results. I can bring my skating bag with me, it’s not like I haven’t before.”

Ray slid his hands in the pockets of his jacket (which looked remarkably good on him, Miles had to notice, whether he wanted to or not) with a nod. “Alright. Fair enough.”

Miles was surprised at the blast of cold air that hit his cheeks as they left the building-though it was usually colder when he left for the rink in the morning than when he left for school, he didn’t really wake up until he was on the ice-meaning he was very capable of not feeling the true temperature sometimes. He blinked rapidly. “Wow. It, um… Got cold.”

“November’s nearly over.” Angela sighed, her blue eyes tired. “I mean, at least the sun won’t be able to kill me anymore…”

“Your birthday is coming up, though,” Ray added, glancing to both of them. “Do you want anything in particular?”

You, perhaps, Miles couldn’t stop himself from thinking, his cheeks flushing even redder than they were from the cold. He coughed, rather than answering Ray’s question and possibly humiliating himself.

Angela, however, cocked her head to the left, pulling her beanie lower to cover her ears as the wind picked up again. “Uh… You really don’t have to do anything for us, Ray, we haven’t had a real celebration or anything in years. We’re used to it, you know.”

“I know.” Miles rolled his eyes as Ray placed his arm atop his head again. “But you two always do something for me, even if it’s small.”

Miles opened his mouth to reply (and possibly order Ray’s arm off his head), though hesitated as someone familiar approached them as they came to the intersection.

“Hey!” Angela chirped as Fiona joined them at the light. The short Spanish girl smiled at her. “Hey. I figured you were at the rink, so I decided to meet you somewhere along the way.” She nodded to both Miles and Ray. “Morning.”

“Morning.” Miles smiled at her, glancing over to Ray-though often seeming cold and harsh, he was generally polite. As usual, the Spanish boy gave a slight nod. “Good morning.”

“Excited for the midterm results?” Miles shrugged as they began across the street, sliding his own hands in the pocket of the hoodie that was far too large on his small frame. “I mean, I guess. I’m not expecting much.”

“Oh?” Fiona cocked her head a little, her ponytail dipping to the right. “You didn’t bet on anyone?”

He shook his head, motioning to Ray and Angela. “You’re asking the wrong person.”

“He doesn’t usually bet,” Angela explained with a bit of a shrug, but was smiling. “So I do for the both of us, I guess.”

“I still enjoy myself,” Miles smiled too, glancing up to the greying skies that hinted at snow-the first snows of the year not only brought on the Christmas season, but the season of outdoor skating, and his, Angela’s and Ray’s birthdays. It was a beautiful time of year, and even if Angela complained it was freezing and Ray often proclaimed it was miserable, they all liked wintertime.

“Do you think you did well?”

“Hmm?” The female half of the twins piped up as they walked into the school. “Both of us? Well, I know Miles did better than me and Ray did better than Miles almost for certain…”

Ray sighed, running hands through his thick black locks as they left the front lobby (which was unusually empty) and made their way through the school, to the French and arts hallway. “Well, I suppose we’ll find out in a moment.”

By the looks of how the crowd was dispersing into the rest of the hallways, they’d missed the initial announcement-not that Miles really minded. The results would be posted for the rest of the day, it was usually just a lot easier to fulfill bets on the spot. Angela nudged him as they approached the French hallway’s bulletin board through the crowd of people. “Let’s see if your record stands, huh?”

“Shush,” Miles silenced her as the results came into the view of his less-than-perfect vision. Ray’s finger slid up to the top of the list, letting out a sigh and smiling over at him. “Miles Verde, with a score of 99.7%, followed by Cassius Clay with 96.3%, Haley Keele at 96% and Angela Verde with 95%. They do it again.”

“Wow, nice!” Fiona’s voice was genuinely impressed, and Miles couldn’t help but smile a little-though Haley was new, him, Angela and Cas had always been tied at the top of the class with French, even in middle school. And though Ray occasionally broke the top five, it wasn’t nearly as often as Miles beat out the rest of the grade.

“Well, seems like nothing’s changed, huh?” Ray sighed, though he seemed quite content. “Do we even need to check the dance and music boards?”

“I want to! I gotta see if Miles is as good as he claims now.” The blonde twins both laughed at Fiona’s optimism, and Angela checked her phone. “Why not? We have fifteen minutes until class starts.” She nudged Miles lightly. “And Miles’ ego could probably use another boost, eh?”

Miles chuckled a little as they turned to continue down to the arts hallway, glancing back to Ray, who still stood in front of the board. “Hey. You coming?”

“Hmm?” Ray blinked at him, and the blond smiled a little, cocking his head. The handsome Spaniard nodded after a moment, falling into step with him. “Yes. Of course, I’m coming.”

Predictably, Miles had also come out on top in dance-though it was a shock when Fabian had fallen into second for the tenth grade music program, and Miles was glad he’d decided not to take his chances. Ray and Angela were also predictably bitter about it, even if they hadn't lost much.

Miles glanced back to the dance list-his name at the top with a 97%-and decided to go down the list, which he hadn’t done before. He recognized the first few names, people he generally knew pretty well, or who practically begged him to teach them his ways. He halted at number nine, however, making sure he’d read the name properly-Fiona Apelchetta? I didn’t even know Fiona took dance…

Angela seemed to notice at the same time as he did, pointing to her name. “Fiona, you take dance?”

“Huh?” The cute mixed girl blinked, peering closer at the bulletin board. “Yeah, I… I did hip-hop and gymnastics until I left Europe… Oh, well, I wasn’t  expecting to be so high up in my marks though.”

“Damn, really?” Miles couldn’t help but grin at her-though he knew most of the dancers at Aspen Ridge, he didn’t have a lot of friends who danced. Angela could, but not nearly as well as she could when they were younger, and though every so often, and he kept in touch with some of the better skaters his age (not that many of them were moving on to the level he was), Miles wished he had friends who could skate or dance as well.

“Maybe we should dance together sometime,” Miles suggested lightheartedly, his eyes lighting up with the possibility. “Or I could teach you to skate with me. I’d bet you’d be pretty cool.”

“Ooh, sounds promising!” Fiona’s face mirrored his and, the blond skater couldn’t help the elated feeling-it had been a long time since he’d had a good friend interested in the same things he was, and loving to pursue such a passion.

“Hey, Miles, it’s five to,” Ray’s voice snapped him away from his moment with Fiona, and he glanced up to his friend. “So?”

“Science is on the other side of the school.” The Spanish boy cocked his head, a smirk playing on his lips-lips Miles couldn’t deny he’d wondered about on a whim. “You’ve been late nearly every day this term, Bubbles.”

“I…” The blond crossed his arms-he didn’t really have an argument, and he should have been on his way minutes ago, along with Angela, who was also in his science class. His twin nudged him. “Yeah, we really should be on our way, huh…”

“Oh, well…” Fiona smiled at both of them. “I guess I’ll see both of you at lunch.” She nodded towards Miles, her dark curls bobbing. “Think about teaching me to skate, alright?”

Miles nodded back as he and Angela turned to leave. “Yeah, definitely.” He gave Ray a little smile, and though it was greatly delayed, his childhood friend gave a petite smile, nodding back.

“You were in a real rush to get to science.”

“Shush.” Angela’s pace was quick, and though Miles could easily fall into step with her (they were twins, after all), it wasn’t usually so fast-paced. “I think I’ve figured out what happened.”

Miles cocked his head, pushing bangs out of his green eyes. “What happened...?”

“Remember, you were saying something weird was happening?” She reminded him, and he nodded, replying hesitantly, “Yeah, I said something had changed, but-”

“Shut up and listen, will you?” The male half of the twins couldn’t help but crack a smile at how obviously irritating he was being towards his sister, but listened all the same. Angela tended to have a better eye for picking things up when it came to people, and he trusted most of her observations.

“It’s not you or me or Fiona,” She breathed, as if she herself was realizing it as well-which Miles realized was completely possible, considering how fast she’d pulled him away from Ray and Fiona. She stopped him before they entered their science classroom, her eyes more serious than usual. “It’s Ray.”


Though it shouldn’t have been his first thought, Miles couldn’t stop the words from spilling out. “Does he know? Did you…”

“No!” Angela crossed her arms, looking somewhat insulted as her brow furrowed. “What the hell, I said I wouldn’t say anything, and I haven’t! We haven’t even talked about it since!” She shook her head with a huff, her blue eyes rolling. “I haven’t said anything, and I’m assuming you haven’t either, so I don’t think this can be related to it.”

Miles’ heart skipped a beat-he couldn’t bear to think about the consequences of not only the student body realizing he’d fallen for his male childhood friend, but it would be absolutely devastating to lose Ray over a stupid crush. “You don’t think?”

“Wait, just hear me out.” The skater crossed his arms right back at his sister, trying to breathe through the rapid, erratic beating of his heart as he patiently listened to his sister. Angela nodded at him. “Okay. He’s jealous. Ray’s jealous.”

For a moment, Miles was unsure what to say-not only did the possibility of Ray of all people being jealous seemed ridiculously low (he’d gone on and on in the past about how little he cared for people’s opinions, or for relationships outside the ones he had) but if he was jealous…

Well, then all my minute chances with him are down the drain…

The latter thought made his chest tighten, though he ignored it as the bell rang and he and Angela stepped into the classroom, their usual silent agreement of putting the more insignificant problems away until after class in effect-though Miles muttered under his breath as he slung his bag over the back of his chair, “Ray doesn’t get jealous.”

Angela didn’t even look over at him. “Shut up, focus on school, and trust me on this one.”

He rolled his eyes, but decided to take his sister’s advice, taking out his notebook as the teacher began to take roll, trying to put the idea of his best friend doting on a girl out of his mind.

“I still don’t believe Ray’s jealous.”

“Ray’s jealous?” Fiona asked through a bite of something, and Miles shook his head, replying with a ‘no’ over Angela’s firm ‘yes’. Angela gave him a look. “Miles, he totally is, come on!”

“Of who?”

“Ray doesn’t get jealous,” Miles argued, though he wasn’t sure at that point what was truth and what he wanted to be truth. “Even when Isolda was here, he didn’t get jealous, so why would he now?”

“Of who?” Fiona repeated, louder this time, and both him and Angela glanced over to first her, then to each other. Angela bit her lip. “I’m not sure…but I think you and Miles. He wasn't like this before you showed up.”

There was another quiet moment while both Miles and Fiona seemed to let the possibility sink in, and though Miles had to admit, being jealous of how close Fiona was to him was better than a different girl, it still wasn’t ideal, and perhaps made it a little bit worse. Miles bit his lip, his gaze falling away from Angela’s eyes. He didn’t need to say anything-Angela knew she’d hit a nerve.

There was silence, other than the chilly wind that blew through the mostly empty courtyard, before Fiona leaned forward a little. “Alright, what the hell am I missing here?”

“Miles has a crush on Ray.”

“Angela!” Miles didn’t hesitate in shoving his sister nearly off the courtyard’s bench, hard enough she squealed in protest. “What the hell was that?”

“I’m sorry!” His twin whined, her tone practically begging for forgiveness-and for him not to hurt her any more physically. “I’m sorry. I really needed to tell someone, okay, and Fiona’s trustworthy!”

“That’s still no reason for you to…” Miles trailed off, taking a deep breath-arguing with Angela never really got either of them anywhere. She’d done the deed, and it wasn’t about to reverse itself. Instead, clearing his voice to try and shake the obvious anger in tone, he glanced over to Fiona. “Well, I really hope you’re better at keeping secrets than my sister.”

“That was a secret?” Fiona’s large brown eyes were surprised. “I… Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t say anything…”

“You knew?” The blond skater raised an eyebrow, though the Spanish girl just shrugged. “I mean… I guess I just have an eye for things or something. I found it pretty obvious myself…”

“Right?” Angela agreed with a bit of a laugh, and Miles crossed his arms. “It’s not.”

“Well, as your sister, it is,” She leaned into him with a sigh. “But I didn’t think Fiona would pick it up. It isn’t that obvious, I don’t think.”

“Yeah.” Fiona nodded, swallowing. “I just have a good eye for things. Don't think about it too much.”

Miles sighed, deciding to keep quiet. Outside of his performances, he was a private person-he preferred his space, and that applied to his feelings too. Not only that, but he was determined to keep his ridiculous little crush from Ray, and preserve their friendship.

“Hey, so if Ray’s jealous of Miles and you, but Miles also has a thing for Ray…” Angela cocked her head to the left. “That's kind of the most cliche love triangle in the book. Doesn’t it make sense to just tell him at this point? Avoid any other needless confusion?”

“Oh, she does make a point.”

“No.” His answer was bitter and short. “Ray doesn’t get jealous. And I’m not losing a friend over something so trivial.” Miles stood up as another chilled breeze blew through the courtyard, slinging his bag over his shoulder. “I’m gonna get going. I’ve gotta keep on top of my schoolwork.”

“Miles…” Angela called after him unhappily, but he decided against looking back. He wasn’t particularly upset with either of the girls… But he wasn’t up to discussing his crushes or his sexuality at the moment. The blond let out a sigh, sliding his hands in his pockets as he opened the door and left the courtyard.

“Hey, Miles.”

Miles jumped at his name, slipping on the smooth, wooden floor of the dance studio and barely catching himself before he fell flat on his back. He turned towards the door after he caught his breath to see Fiona standing in the doorway, arms crossed over her ample chest and an amused smile on her face. “Your balance is pretty bad for a figure skater.”

“Oh shut up,” He muttered, picking himself up off the ground and sliding back into his shoes. “Like you could do much better.”

Fiona placed a hand on her cocked hip, raising an eyebrow. Do you really want to do that?”

Miles smiled right back at her. “There’s a reason I’m competing in the world championships and you aren’t.”

The mixed girl (Miles had learned her mother was black and her father was pure Spanish over the past few weeks) made an amused noise, dropping her backpack on the floor and shrugging off her jacket, before she easily (and undeniably impressively) bent back into a handstand, her form near perfect as she walked on her hands to finish face to face with him. She cocked her head with a smirk. “Just because I can’t skate doesn’t mean I can’t be a badass, Miles Verde.”

Though he was surprised-he knew Fiona was flexible, and was a pretty great dancer, but he’d had yet to see her gymnastics skills, something he didn’t have as much of. Even so, Fiona was fun to both compete with and against, and he smiled right back, cracking his shoulders. “I’m sorry, but badassery is my speciality.” Though he really should have taken a step back and let Fiona take her place as the best of the gymnasts, especially considering his arms weren’t considered the strongest part of his body, Miles couldn’t help but chase the competition and pushed himself backwards into a series of three handsprings, which he barely landed. He looked back to Fiona. “I can do more than skate.”

Fiona laughed, grabbing her jacket and bag as she did. “I don’t doubt it, but I’m still better at gymnastics than you.” She sighed, smoothing her clothing back into place, continuing to speak before he could argue. “Miles, I get that you’re probably not the happiest with Angela and me, but you should get home.”

“I’m not pissed at you,” Miles muttered, grabbing his hoodie (he wasn’t the best at reading the weather, even as the months passed and December approached) and pulling it over his head. “I’m just trying to forget the fact that I…” He trailed off-it didn’t even feel right to say he was… interested in Ray, they’d been friends for so long. He shook his head, slinging his bag over his shoulder. “Fiona, I could be interested in any other person, boy or girl alike, I don’t really care… But Ray?” He swallowed, his voice becoming strained and hushed as he spoke. “You haven’t been here for very long, but Ray’s… He’s almost like an older brother to me. It would completely change all my friendships if this got out.”

“I understand.” Fiona smiled at him a little, her eyes warm and different from her usual mischievous look. “I won’t say a thing, alright? And I won’t talk to you about it if you don’t want me to.”

“I…” Miles scanned Fiona’s expression for a long moment, biting down on his bottom lip. Though he couldn’t really find any reason not to trust her… He also couldn’t find a plentiful stash of reasons she was trustworthy anywhere either.

“Let’s get going,” Miles decided on after a long pause, beginning to walk out of the studio, glancing back to see Fiona out and flick off the light. She simply nodded, to his relief, though her expression conveyed her understanding of their unspoken words well enough, and the young skater felt a little bit of the heaviness on his chest lift as their usual, lighthearted conversation picked up again.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 09:50:47 PM by Effie Azzara »
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 05:38:09 AM »
Hey. I’ll bite. A synopsis would have been nice to see if you story gets to the point. Expect a review by the end of the day. It’s 4:37 AM where I live.

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2018, 06:04:22 PM »
Chap 5 of draft 1.5. There's a part in the middle I might edit out later, but for now it stays.

December was upon them quickly-faster than anyone realized it seemed, as Miles watched the snow fall outside the living room’s window. It had only been a little under a week since midterm results had come in, and the weather had rapidly shifted from mildly chilly to full-out Canadian winter snowy-not that he minded. Perhaps it was because of the sport he did, or because of the time of his birthday, but Miles had an affinity for the cold, for the snow, for the clear winter nights when Ray would let him use the telescope the Escarras had owned for generations and help him point out the constellations. Though the blond was sure he’d go crazy with how his emotions had been over the past few months, he genuinely enjoyed sitting in Ray’s backyard with the telescope, the astronomy book and usually something to eat when they had the time. He’d come to be able to recognize astral bodies here and there, from the iconic Orion to being able to spot the coming and going of the zodiac constellations, including his own sign, Sagittarius, to his fascination with the bubble nebula near Cassiopeia, the origin of his nickname.

And the thought of that now sends me into a panic.

It was all too true, and Miles forcibly shook the thoughts of him and Ray under the blanket of winter stars as he heard Angela ask him something he couldn’t catch. He glanced up to her from his usual spot knelt in front of the coffee table, blinking and pushing his red reading glasses up his nose. “What? Sorry.”

Angela sighed, though her face was still bright as she held up a familiar decoration from a box of ornaments. “Do you want to put your ornaments on the tree?”

Though he preoccupied with finishing his homework before the weekend-he, Angela, Ray and occasionally Mari and Leo liked to go skating the first day the rink in downtown Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square opened, and the first day was that Saturday-he smiled, standing up to take the miniature, ceramic pair of skates from his sister’s hand. Decorating the fake Christmas tree was something they did as a family (even if they didn’t get a chance to do it all together anymore), and even though Angela generally took the role of most of the decorating, all three of them (plus Ray and Mari, who had spent ample Christmases at the Verde’s and vice versa) had ornaments that belonged only to them, that had become tradition for only them to hang them on the tree.

“I wish we had a real tree,” Miles sighed as he stood on tiptoe to hang the skates as high as he could reach-him and Angela had competed for years as children to see who could reach the highest, and it seemed the contest was prematurely decided, as both of them had stopped growing very early. “Ray’s family likes to do real trees. They smell good.”

“We could always ask to spend Christmas there,” Angela suggested teasingly, bumping him lightly with her hip as he grabbed another ornament from the box, and he gave her a look. “We aren’t doing that, for more reason than the one you’re thinking of.”

“Christmas means mistletoe,” She pushed playfully, grabbing a fake sprig and holding it over her head while she made a kissy face. She let out an unamused squeak as he smacked her over the head with a rolled-up page of a newspaper that was used for packing the ornament box. “Ow!”

“You’re the one who needs a lover,” Miles huffed, pulling a chair over to stand on to reach the second half of the tree-it was full-sized, and he was still only barely reaching 5’4. “Then you’d be out of my hair.”

“Hey, I could get a boyfriend!” Angela crossed her arms as he turned to her to ask for another ornament. “I have reasons just like you do, Miles, only mine are life-threatening.”

“I don’t think we should be competing on who has the sadder love life,” The blond skater stood on tiptoe to hang another spherical ornament on the top branches of the tree. “Mostly because I would win.”

“No you wouldn’t!”

“Please,” Miles hesitated for a moment-his mother was home, and she didn’t really need to know. “I accidentally swung gay for my best friend, who has the hots for the cute girl I recently befriended. That’s pretty sad.”

Angela opened her mouth to argue, and he looked down at her as she tried to find something valid to counter him with. Instead, after a long moment, she let out a laugh, shaking her head and handing him a couple strands of tinsel. “Wow. Hearing you say it like that makes it really sad.”

Miles glared half-heartedly at her, continuing to decorate the tree. He couldn’t deny it though-he was a truthful person, almost 100% of the time, and even with his debilitating shyness, he couldn’t remember a time where he’d had such a strong attraction to someone and hadn’t told them, or it hadn’t passed before he had the chance. And while he was turned down nearly 100% of the time, he much preferred the truth to the uncomfortable feeling of keeping a secret-something neither him or Angela were good at doing.

Well, I have to make myself good at it, because I’d rather lie than scare Ray away.

“Aww, remember this?” Miles blinked out of his daze as Angela held up another delicate-looking ornament-a glass, frosted and undeniably detailed snowflake, the inspiration for the mark his sister would draw on his cheek before every competition. He smiled, taking it in his hand. “Haha, yeah… This was from mom, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, when we were nine, I think.” He felt a wave of nostalgia as his sister pulled out a similar-looking glass ring of icicles. “This was mine…”

For a long moment, the twins stood in silence, eyes on the ornaments. Though some would argue she was never around, their mother did a lot to try and make them happy and healthy, and Miles couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“We should do something for her this year.”

“Yeah…” Miles nodded-as per usual, he and Angela were on the same page. “Maybe we should buy her something nice… I have leftover winnings from earlier this season.”

“Miles, she’d kill you if she knew you were using prize money for a present for her,” Angela pointed out as he stepped off the chair-he’d leave the rest for his mother and sister. The young skater shrugged. “So? She doesn’t have to know. And it’s not like I don’t have enough, I’ve been pulling in wins left and right this season.”

“I…” Angela trailed off with a shake of her head and a sigh. “I guess so. But don’t buy anything too outrageous, okay?”

“I won’t.” He imitated the playful hip bump she did as he passed her. “That’s why I’ll have you with me.”

The outdoor rink at Nathan Phillips Square usually opened in unison with the Cavalcade of Lights, the event that generally kicked off the Christmas season. Though it had been opened for the night of the festival, it had been closed soon after for temperatures being too warm and rescheduled to open December 5th, which happened to be that Saturday. Miles sighed as he felt Angela’s head droop onto his right shoulder, and though Fiona was on his left, she was glued to the window of the train. Ray and Leo were across from him, with Lucia in tow. It wasn’t often six of them went downtown together (it wasn’t often any of them went downtown together) but Miles didn’t exactly mind. Even if he did prefer to be alone most of the time, he liked the city, more than Angela or Ray did, even if he wasn’t as fond of the commute there.


Miles looked up from where he’d been focused on his knees to meet Ray’s dark eyes. “Thanks for kicking me.”

Ray’s straight-faced gaze stayed steady. “Why do you insist on going downtown if you get motion sick?”

“I…” Miles swallowed the nausea on the tip of his tongue-though he’d never actually thrown up on the bus or train, the heaviness in his head and stomach was never pleasant. “I like being downtown.”

“The only time I’ve been to Toronto was when I flew in…” Fiona’s voice was excited and childish-not too different from her usual tone, really. “I didn’t get to see it in daylight, but I’ve wanted to forever…”

“It’s not as majestic and impressive as Miles makes it out to be,” Lucia shrugged. “Ray gives a better example.”

“Please, both their opinions are completely skewed!” Leo crossed his arms, his green eyes lit up in amusement. “Ray thinks anywhere where you can’t get a quiet moment or see the stars is an awful place, and Miles thinks every time we go to the city it’s basically a vacation.” The redhead grinned at Fiona. “Now, if you will, little miss, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the best, balanced opinion on the city.”

“Really?” Lucia raised an eyebrow, leaning forward a bit to look at Leo from the other side of Ray. “I still agree with Ray.”

“And Fiona’s still probably going to agree with Miles.” Leo shrugged, pushing red curls out of his eyes. “I don’t care, because I’m still going to agree with me, that sometimes the city sucks, but it’s usually okay as long as you don’t get hit with a car.”

For a moment, the six of them fell silent, before Angela laughed sleepily from where Miles had assumed she’d been dozing on his shoulder. “I think I’ve gotta agree with Leo on this one.”

Miles rolled his eyes, nudging her. “Of course you do.”

“Hey, your birthday is coming up, right?” Fiona finally tore her gaze away from the window to look at him, and he tried to focus on her face rather than the fact they were only twenty minutes through an hour long ride. He nodded. “Yeah, me and Angela’s is the seventeenth.”

“Oh yeah!” Leo nudged him with his foot this time, definitely not helping his motion sickness in the least. “What do you two want for your birthday?”

“Nothing.” Though one voice was significantly sleepier, Miles spoke in time with his twin sister, evoking a bit of a chuckle from Fiona. Leo shook his head stubbornly. “Come on, you two have said that every year since we met. You have to want something.”

“Lucia, your birthday’s in a month or so, right?”

“Stop trying to change the subject!” Miles couldn’t help but laugh as Fiona shoved him lightly, almost falling over onto Angela. “Alright, alright! I seriously can’t think of anything I want, except maybe a new pair of skating pants, but not only does Ezra get me those, most of you don’t even know what those are!”

“I do!” The Spanish girl nudged him again, and he had to bite back his grin at her irritated look. “Miles! I can buy you a present!”

“Well, you shouldn’t, because I don’t need it.” Miles briefly met Ray’s piercing, silent gaze, before he quickly averted his eyes, feeling his ears begin to heat up stubbornly. “All of you, I don’t really need presents.”

“He really isn’t about to let up,” Ray put in, his voice as flat-sounding as ever, though there was a definite undertone of amusement somewhere laced in it. “I don’t think I’ve ever bought him a present he hasn’t tried to reject. Angela’s a little easier though.”

“Girls are easier to buy for anyway, though.” Lucia put in, and Miles had to agree-it could be a lot harder to pin down what a guy liked compared to the much bigger pool of possible gifts girls had to offer.

“Well, miss Angie-pants.” Leo’s bright green gaze settled on Angela. “What do you want then?”

“Nothing, Leo.” Angela sighed, nestling into Miles’ shoulder again. “We really don’t want anything.”

“Except maybe a few hours of skating.” The blond skater couldn’t bite back a chuckle at the unimpressed look on Ray’s face. “We don’t need money spent on us.”

“Stubborn, stubborn twins…” Lucia tutted shaking her head. “I don’t know how you deal with such stubborn friends, Ray.”

“Hey, Ray’s just as stubborn as I am.” Miles ignored the wave of nausea that came over him-sometimes Lucia’s comments rubbed him the wrong way, though he couldn’t always put a finger on why. “Do you know how damn hard he tries to get me out of bed and off the ice?”

“Ooh, yeah, I think Ray’s way more stubborn than either of us.” Angela hummed in agreement, the sound vibrating on Miles’ shoulder, comforting as his stomach did somersaults. He glanced up to see Ray looking generally unamused, opening a book-though he didn’t look upset in the least, perhaps the opposite. “I’m not stubborn. Bubbles is the most stubborn person you’ll ever come across.”

“I’m not.” Miles felt his stomach lurch as the train eased into a left turn. Fiona nudged him gently. “Where does the nickname ‘Bubbles’ come from? It’s cute.”

The French boy saw Ray open his mouth to speak, but he beat him to it-”Ray came up with it.”

“Aww, really?” Angela clasped her hands together with a girlish squeal. “I never knew that! That’s so cute!”

“It’s not really like that.” Ray glanced up from his book with a sigh. “When we were eleven or twelve, Miles was completely obsessed with this nebula that was dubbed the ‘bubble nebula’. Case closed.”

“Still, you seem to use it very affectionately.” Miles suddenly realized where both the girls were trying to direct the conversation, and he felt no remorse as he let his nimble fingers dig into Fiona and Angela’s ribs, both of them letting out shrieks as he did. Under his breath, he mumbled. “Shut the *censored* up, both of you.”

“It’s a nickname,” Ray replied simply, looking back to his chapter book-either he hadn’t noticed the girls’ giggling or he was simply ignoring them. With every ounce of his aloof attitude, he continued, “It’s something that’s generally used affectionately, right?”

“Well, yes, but…”

There was a moment of silence on the train, while Miles focused on anything but his pounding head and furious stomach, before Leo let out a little laugh. “Damn, Ray, I don’t think you even realize how cold you are sometimes.”

The station downtown-Union Station-was crowded, which wasn’t a surprise, considering it was a Saturday morning, though Miles could feel his heart leap into his throat by the amount of people he was suddenly surrounded by as they walked through the building. He heard Ray mumble to him, too tall to be right beside his ear, “Don’t get lost, because it’ll be like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Miles blinked up at him, raising an eyebrow as he was jostled by the crowd. “Is this some sort of joke about my height again?”

Ray’s lips turned up into a petite, charming grin. “Maybe.”

“Well, if we’re being honest-”

“Which we obviously are.”

If we’re being honest,” Miles repeated with a tiny bit of a huff as they and their four friends wove through the people in the station, wondering how he’d fallen for someone as cocky and blunt as Ray Escarra. “I think that you’re just too tall.”

The handsome Spanish boy raised an eyebrow, an amused glimmer in his dark brown eyes as they exited the station, the chilly air hitting his cheeks and nipping a his ears the moment they stepped outside. “I’m too tall.”

Miles crossed his arms over his chest. “Yes.”

Ray’s usually calm tone bordered on laughs as the other four of the group stopped for a moment to discuss something the blond wasn’t focusing on, and though he wanted to keep a straight face, the skater could feel not only his steady look breaking into a smile but blood rushing to his face at the unusual side of Ray he tended to be able to bring out. “I’mtoo tall. I measure barely 6 feet and you’re like 5’2 and I’m too tall, not the other way around.”

Miles cleared his throat, trying to stifle his smile. “Yes. Exactly.”

The tall tinkering boy said nothing, instead shaking his head with a chuckle and a click of his tongue, hummed under his breath. “Stubborn, stubborn, you’re so goddamn stubborn…”

“Look who’s talking,” Miles mumbled as he fell into step with Angela, not looking back to see Ray’s reaction-before he’d even began crushing on his best friend, the blond had learned he’d have to play coy to get Ray to pursue any further interaction with him. Men were simple creatures, no matter how different they were, and if their eye caught something shiny, they were going to go after it. And while Miles’ ‘shiny object instinct’ was different from Ray’s, the moment his weakness was found, the blond skater knew that he’d be more interested in his handsome best friend than he probably could handle.

It wasn’t a pleasant thought, and Miles pushed the possibility out of his mind immediately, deciding to focus on the task at hand.

He had mixed feelings about public skates, especially at Nathan Phillips Square. He loved skating, wherever he was, whenever there was time, and he lacked his usual shyness and anxiety the moment the blades of his skates touched the ice-but public skates were a bit of a different story. There were hundreds of people sometimes, and not only was there not a lot of room to practice anything worthwhile, but it did make him nervous to be in a place with so many people at the same time. Miles crossed his arms as he stood in front of Ray. “You really aren’t going to skate?”

“I don’t like skating,” Ray replied dryly, for what seemed like the twelve-thousandth time, his gaze as straight as ever, though it was far from unkind, which was something relieving-Miles couldn’t count the number of times he’d wondered how much Ray really cared for his presence, up until their last two or three years as friends. The young Spaniard was hard to read, and it had taken the Verde twins nearly a decade to even come close to understanding how to do it.

“I’ll stay with him.” Miles blinked as Lucia leaned casually against his childhood friend, and though he knew he was being ridiculous, the pang of jealousy that hit him was real. Lucia smiled at him. “Don’t worry about him.”

Miles’ seafoam eyes flicked back to Ray, who nodded at him, the usual tiny, almost unidentifiable smile crossing his face. “Miles, you know very well I prefer to watch, so why are you trying to convince me otherwise?”

“I can teach you, you know.”

“I’ll take a hard pass.” Ray cocked his head at him, his dark waves falling in messy layers as he did, which definitely didn’t help Miles trying his best to ignore his affections. “Miles, go enjoy yourself, alright?”

The blond sighed, but nodded. “Fine. I’m going.” With that, Miles skated to Angela’s side, deciding to help Fiona gain confidence on the skates rather than think about how utterly charming his best friend had become.

The six of them (rather, Leo and Angela) had decided they should get a bite to eat before heading home-it was very rare they were all together on a day off, and even rarer they ate a meal together, Both Leo and Angela also seemed to have bottomless stomachs, quite contradictory to Ray’s ability to somehow completely forget to eat, and Miles’ birdlike tendencies when it came to food. Lucia was hard to pin down, though Fiona seemed to be much like Leo and Angela when it came to mealtimes-a large appetite for someone so petite. It was why when they did eat out together, the diner by the school was so convenient-cheap, with massive portions to share between them all.

Unfortunately, (for Miles, at least), the food downtown was generally expensive and large-portioned, and as per usual, he was stuck eating a few bites of Angela’s and Ray’s large portions of pierogis (mostly Ray’s, considering the Spaniard’s very specific stomach capacity). Angela nudged him as she finished her last bite. “You need to calm down.”

“I’m calm,” He replied, though suddenly realized how tense he was in the small booth of the pierogi restaurant, his narrow frame warm between his best friend to his left and sister to his right. Miles took a breath, trying to force himself to relax as he glanced up to look at Fiona, across the table from him. “Did you like Toronto?”

“It was loud,” She admitted as she swallowed a bite of food. “And I nearly got lost. But otherwise, I liked it.”

“That’s good,” Leo nodded, dropping his fork on his empty plate. “Maybe you can help convince Ray to come along next time, because he usually doesn’t sway this easy.”

Miles nodded in agreement, glancing over to Ray as he nudged him, offering the last couple bites of his food, which the blond happily took, partially because he really could use the extra food and partially out of habit after so many years of sharing meals.

“So how’s your routine coming along?”

Miles blinked up at Fiona, pausing halfway through raising the fork to his mouth and biting his lip. “It’s… I mean, I’ll be ready for the world championships, I think.”

“It’s coming along,” Angela explained for him in a chirp as he took the second last bite of Ray’s dish, nodding in agreement. “He’s got most of it down cold. No pun intended.”

“Do you two… Do you two usually go see his performances?” Fiona asked, her tone genuinely curious, and though Ray and Angela hesitated, Miles shook his head as he swallowed. “Sometimes to the world championships… But even if my coach pitches in, my family isn’t rich, and Ray’s family isn’t rich, and we’re all still high school students.”

“I’d like to go to to Vancouver, though, if you’re offering.” Ray elbowed him, and he rolled his eyes. “Do you even understand how figure skating competitions work?”

The handsome Spaniard smiled a little. “Vaguely.”

Angela’s eyes rolled, and with a sigh, she spoke, “I usually get to go, because I do his makeup and hair… But it’s been awhile since all three of us have gone together to anything outside of, well, the GTA…”

The six of them fell silent for a moment, Miles trying to do the math in his head as he finished off the last bite, before clearing his throat. “I could probably… I could probably cover flight and hotel fees for mom… And your family too, Ray, if you wanted.”

There was a long, stunned moment, before Angela elbowed him sharply in the ribs. “What the hell, Miles!”

“What?” The blond raised his arms defensively, his voice bordering on a whine as he leaned into Ray to avoid the wrath of his sister, who smacked his shoulder lightly. “How much money do you have saved up?”

“I…” Miles hesitated-figure skaters generally made very little living money, and even though Ezra only coached him and one other person, and didn’t ask him for much payment, between his skates, his clothing and costumes, as well as the travel expenses Ezra would let him pay and the prize money that went to helping his family get by…

Well, to put it simply, he didn’t usually have a ton of prize money left over, and what there was after the mandatory payments were fulfilled… usually wasn’t a lot. He’d become a master at saving cash, though, and had been for at least a few years, mostly for university for him and Angela, and to make a better life for his mother after him and Angela graduated-though it would be worth a few thousand of his longtime savings to bring his family and childhood friend along to his debut in the senior class competition, right?

“How much money are you making, Miles?” Leo’s voice had lost its usual playful tone, it having fallen away to dye his words a more curious hue, even when Fiona elbowed him, muttering something about financial talk being rude. Miles laughed a little, pushing a long blond lock of hair out of his eyes and resting his elbow on the table. “I don’t really mind him asking, Fiona… Um, I don’t make a lot, really, I just save a lot.”

“How long have you been saving?” Angela still seemed in shock, and he gently pushed her off him with a sigh. “None of your business. I shouldn’t have brought it up, but I…” Miles took a deep breath, following Ray as he stood from the booth in the pierogi shop. “But I think that mom and Ray and Mari if she wanted-”

“Hell no, we aren’t letting Mari come.”

“If you wanted,” Miles huffed as they left the warm shop, a chill running up his spine as the cold December air hit his cheeks. “The world championships fall on March Break this year too… so we’d only miss a day of school, maximum, even if I made the podium… And if I did make the podium, it wouldn’t be like I wouldn’t have won some of the money back.”

“Still, that’s a lot of money, Bubbles…” Ray hummed, running fingers through his thick black locks, and Miles felt the oddest mix of irritation and affection he’d ever experienced as he replied stubbornly, “I know, and I have enough.”

“Alright.” The handsome Spaniard smiled down at him, his eyes glittering with amusement, and the blond sunk his teeth into his bottom lip, biting back his irritation-Ray treated him like a kid sometimes, and both of them knew it. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“I’d really like to see you perform live too,” Leo put in, and though Miles saw Angela open her mouth to dispute, most likely over their financial situation, the redhead held up a hand. “But I’d come of my own accord. I have a job, you know, and I have money saved up myself, despite what you guys seem to think.”

“So you want to convince your parents to let you fly out to Vancouver for a few days of March break,” Angela began with a raised eyebrow as they waited for the light, closer together than they usually walked to avoid losing the shorter half of the group. “After you somehow make enough money to afford a flight, a ticket in the same section as us and either share a room with Ray or Miles or pay for your own?” She nodded a little. “Sounds legit.”

“Hey, I could definitely do that!”

Please, Leo, your parents are the epitome of sheltered families.”

“Guys.” The small blond skater glanced to both Angela and Leo to his right, his head cocked. “You don’t need to come see me, really. Figure skating really isn’t all that interesting unless you’re a skater, and it’s literally on the other side of the country.” He looked over to his other side, with Ray, Fiona and Lucia (who his argument probably didn’t apply to anyway), as they approached Union Station. “That goes for you guys too. The Escarras haven’t gotten to see a world championship yet, which is why I offered, but seriously.” He smiled a little at all of them, lightly joking, “Figure skating isn’t all that interesting unless you’re a skater.”

“I must agree on that point,” Lucia hummed, though Fiona shook her head as they entered the warm station. “No, Miles, it makes sense for us to see you live!”

Ray nudged him lightly as well. “Even if I don’t really think figure skating is the most interesting thing in the world, you’re a good skater, Miles, and it’s the least we can do for you.”

“I…” Miles trailed off, his common sense melting at Ray’s little smile, rapidly trying to collect his thoughts as he fished out his train ticket. He cleared his throat, managing to speak with his words mostly devoid of a stutter. “I don’t think I’m really getting anywhere with this convincing thing I’m trying to do here…”

“Haha, I think I’ve got to agree with you on that one.” Ray placed an arm atop his head again, his tone friendly and light as they showed their ticket to the ticket agent to get to the train platform. “You don’t need to convince us of anything, Miles, really. It’s natural for us to want to support you, we’re your friends.”

“Well, I…” Miles simply sighed as the six of them stopped on the train platform, deciding to stop arguing and smile at his childhood friend. “Alright. Fine, you win. Friendship is magic and all that.”

The Spanish boy made a little sound of amusement as the six of them waited for the train, and as Fiona tugged on his sleeve with a cheerful chirp, Miles had to note that for the first time in a very long while, he felt more at home off the ice than he did with his skates.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 10:56:26 PM »
Chap. 6. I'm gonna have to take some of this down and repost them later on, but for now here we go.

“Wow, you’re at the rink not skating. You good?”

“Hmm?” Miles blinked up from where he had one earbud in and a pen in his hand, sitting behind the boards. He smiled a little as Ray peered over his shoulder. “Oh, yeah… Ezra’s having me write up a routine for the exhibition of champions in case I make the podium, which seems like a total waste of time.”

“You don’t think you’ll make the podium?”

“I…” Miles hesitated-he was good and he knew he was good, but he’d set his goals far too high for himself before, and it had led to unfavourable results. Was it really such a big stretch to believe he could make the podium his first time competing? He didn’t know, and when he was in doubt, it was smarter to retreat with tact rather than push himself to do something that could ruin his shaky self-confidence.

“I think it’s something an optimist would aim for,” He finished, glancing up from under his red glasses and blond bangs to meet Ray’s dark brown eyes, which glittered with amusement. With a little smile, the Spanish boy asked, “Aren’t you an optimist?”

The short skater couldn’t bite back his own smile, focusing his gaze back down on his paper as his ears warmed considerably. “Unfortunately. I really just don’t want to write another program. The quadruple axel is still kicking my ass.”

“Really now,” Ray leaned against the boards so they were facing each other, even though Miles was much shorter than him sitting. “Because you seem to be landing it fine.”

“Mhm, I guess I am…” Miles trailed off as he ran his pen over the lines of the routine-it really was more of a dance than a skate, which he didn’t mind. If he wasn’t being scored, he was going to have fun with the routine. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not kicking my ass into next Tuesday.”

“Do tell.”

“Well, I…” Miles sighed, putting down his notepad beside him, bringing up his left leg to rest on his right and rolling up his sweatpants to his thigh to reveal his knee brace. “I wasn’t wearing this before I started practicing this new routine, to put it simply.” He tugged the warm, familiar pants into place. “The force of landing a quadruple axel is like if I was landing on legs and ankles the size of mine with twice or three times my entire weight… And a failed one is more than that."

“Well that seems like a pain.” Ray shook his head with with a sigh. “I don’t really understand why people play sports sometimes.”

“What? But you play volleyball!”

“For the school, yeah.” He smiled a little, his eyes showing far more emotion than his face as per usual. “And only because it makes me look like a well-rounded student and I can get out of class time to time. But otherwise, I’m not exactly a sporty person, if you haven’t realized.”

“Oh, trust me, I have…”

“Hey, I…” Ray cleared his throat, running fingers through his hair, something Miles had come to realize meant he was either uncomfortable or nervous, or on rare occasions, thinking his words through an extra time. His adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “Happy birthday.”

“Happy birthd…” Miles trailed off for a moment, cocking his head and furrowing his brow in confusion. “It’s… It’s not my birthday… Is it?”

“Uh, yeah.” Ray’s lips curled into a full smile, his voice bordering on a laugh. “It kind of is.”

For a moment, the small blond skater sat in silence, his seafoam eyes wide in surprise as he searched for words that seemed to have been snatched away. I forgot Angela’s birthday…

“Anyway, I thought I’d say it now, so I don’t forget later.” Ray’s voice snapped him back to reality, and he nodded, clearing his throat. “Yeah. Thanks. It’s a good thing you told me, because I would’ve forgotten about Angela too…”

“You really forgot about your own birthday, huh…” Ray shook his head with a chuckle. “You’re working too hard, Miles.”

“I didn’t ask you,” Miles mumbled, restarting his music and trying to figure out what he should do for the rest of his routine. “And no I’m not.”

“You’re sitting at the ice rink at seven in the morning on a Saturday that also happens to be your fifteenth birthday wracking your brain over a new routine instead of sleeping in and looking forward to a day that is literally celebrating your birth.” Ray nudged his shin with a foot, and he looked back up to him, blowing hair out of his eyes. “You’re working too damn hard, Bubbles, just admit it.”

Miles sighed, pausing his music-he wasn’t getting anything done with Ray hovering over him. With a huff, he closed his notebook, carefully pushing himself up to stand on his skates. “Do you want to see my exhibition of champions routine?”

Ray smiled at him. “Are you telling or asking?”

“A bit of both,” The shorter boy admitted, pulling his earbuds out of his phone and taking out his little speaker-though he did prefer his earbuds, if he was performing it only made sense to use the bluetooth or surround speaker. As he stepped onto the ice, he handed his phone to Ray, muttering his usual ‘press play when I’m ready’. Skating out into the middle of the rink, Miles couldn’t deny he felt just a little nervous-not only was he performing a routine he hadn’t quite finished, but it was far more of a real dance than any of his other performances. Fewer jumps, more turns and more body expression, and any of his emotions could easily leak into that.

With a puff, he motioned slightly to Ray, who as usual, was right on cue, and the music started. Though his face definitely would have brought down his score and performance (it was focused and lacked his usual energy) Miles made sure to use what he wasn’t using for his expression for his exaggerated movements. As usual, he found himself mouthing the worlds-even if it wasn’t exactly his usual 80s or 90s pick, he liked the song ‘Love Runs Out’, though he probably would have preferred it more if he had the voice to go along with his dances. Unlike Angela, who could sing, dance, skate and probably would have become a popstar under other circumstances, he was limited to his skating when it came to the arts.

Somewhere right before the chorus, Miles lost count, something that didn’t happen often, but the show had to go on. It was a skill to be able to improvise until he could find the tempo again, an art form he hadn’t learned how to master until he was twelve or so. By then, though he was good at it, and deciding to have a little fun with his obviously unfinished routine, he glanced up to meet Ray’s eyes, lip syncing the words to the chorus and practically singing to his friend as his carefully plotted choreography fell away into something the kind of dancing him and Angela would do in the empty house with the music at full volume, something better than the usual teen’s dancing, but not nearly as good as Miles should have been. Despite his usual shyness outside of his planned routines, as Ray lost usual his composure, grinning at him and obviously stifling laughter, Miles couldn’t help but continue his silly improvisation. Ezra would have certainly bashed it, between the uncoordinated shake of his hips and the stupidly exaggerated turns, but he was having too much fun badly mimicking a popstar to care. He continued halfway into the second verse before breaking down in laughter himself and waving for Ray to stop the music as he tried to catch his breath. “God… Oh my god, that was so bad…”

“You certainly looked like you were enjoying yourself,” Ray remarked, though his usually serious deadpan sounded more like a childish laugh than anything else, and it only sent Miles,who was already nearly doubled over as he leaned against the boards, into another fit of giggles. In between gasps of laughter, he managed to get out, “You did too!”

“It was certainly something.” The tall Spanish boy was biting his lip against what the blond could only assume were laughs of his own as the skater stepped off the ice, his stomach cramped with the bout of hysterics he was recovering from. “I didn’t know you could sing.”

“I can’t sing, and you know that!” He elbowed Ray, who gently shoved him off, the mood having turned suddenly to something light and airy-something Miles much preferred than their usual push and pull friendship. “I sound like a dying bird!”

“Please, you always sound like a dying bird.” If his tone hadn’t been so cheerful and light, Miles might’ve wondered if he should have taken offense to the statement, but he instead let out a cross between a laugh and a shout of protest as his elbow aimed at Ray was intercepted was lifted off his feet from behind. Calloused fingers dug into his ribs and sensitive abdomen, abusing how ticklish he was. “Oh my god, Ray! St-stop, stop it!”

“Well, I think Ezra would agree that last performance of yours deserves punishment.” Miles let out high-pitched shriek , squirming to try and get out of his friend’s strong grasp as he was tickled mercilessly, just far enough off the ground he couldn’t get away.

“Damn, did I interrupt something?”

All of a sudden, Ray halted, and Miles craned his neck to see Fiona walking along the boards to them, feeling his face flush at how tightly he was being held, and how close he realized Ray was. Though the skater had no words, Ray’s unusually light voice replied, “Haha, you wish.”

“Is this another weird ritual around here?” The Spanish girl was obviously joking, her lips turned up in a grin as she stopped in front of them, crossing her arms over her long, violet coat. “For birthdays or something? Because as strong as I am, I don’t think I can lift Miles like that.”

“No, no.” Though he was grateful to be set down gently and calm his restless thoughts, Miles felt a pang of disappointment as the body contact was lost-though pushed it out of his head almost immediately. “Miles was just making a fool of himself, and I…”

“I wasn’t!” Miles protested-though he really wasn’t, his little improv dance had been much more light and obviously unprofessional, something no one was really used to seeing when it came to his skating. Fiona simply laughed. “Well, I would’ve liked to see that, but I guess I’ll survive. Hey, uh, Happy birthday.” Miles was slightly surprised when Fiona stepped forward to hug him, though he happily accepted. “You’re finally normal aged.”

“Wow, thanks.”

“Seriously, though.” She smiled at him as she stepped back. “Happy birthday. I got something for you, but I’m assuming Ray or Leo has something planned to do.”

“Not really…” Ray replied with a little hum. “You don’t really like big celebrations, right?” Miles shook his head, sitting on bench behind the boards to begin to untie his skates. “I don’t really need anything. My mom always does something for us, and that’s really it…”

“Well, we should go somewhere for you two to open your presents!” Fiona suggested in a chirp, and Miles laughed a little, putting his hands up defensively. “You really didn’t need to get us anything, Fiona.” He glanced up to his best friend before he could argue. “You too, Ray.”

“Well, it’s a bit late, isn’t it?”

“Ha, yeah, I guess…” As he finished with his skates, Miles glanced up to his friends. “You guys can come over later if you’re really adamant about the presents though.”

“I am,” Ray insisted. “My present this year is good. Trust me.”

“Well, then come by in the afternoon, I guess.” Fiona nodded, grinning at him. “I have a pretty good present too, if I do say so myself!”

“Prove it later on,” Miles replied, slinging his skates over his shoulder as they began out of the rink. “I’m going to take Ray’s advice and relax.”

After Miles changed, they’d headed to their respective homes, deciding to go their separate ways for the time being-it wasn’t as if they weren’t meeting up later. It was odd when Miles stepped into his warm house and he was greeted from the kitchen down the hall-”Hey, happy birthday, honey!”

The blond boy smiled as he made his way into the kitchen, hugging his mother tightly. “Hi, mom. Is Angela up yet?”

“Not yet, but I’m not about to wake her.” Miles peered over to the stove as his mother stepped back to finish whatever she was preparing-mmm, pancakes sound good. “Did you get any practice in?”

“A…” He hesitated, feeling his cheeks begin to flush red as he thought back to the slice of time he’d had with Ray, before clearing his throat and continuing, “A little. Ray and Fiona caught me though, and said I shouldn’t be working so hard, so…”

“Well, we both know Ray’s a little more logical than you sometimes…” His mother glanced over her shoulder with a little smile, and he rolled his eyes as he sat down at the table, dropping his skating bag by his feet. “I definitely appreciate the thought, but skating is fun for me.”

“I know, hun, but I’ve gotta side with Ray on this one.” She flipped the pancakes onto the fluffy stack on the table. “I understand how much you love skating, but you’ve gotta break every so often.” He smiled as his mother pressed a quick kiss to his cheek on her way out of the kitchen. “So you do that today, alright? And eat something!”

“Alright, alright.” Miles stretched, rolling his shoulders with a bit of a yawn-though he didn’t really care for his birthday (other than celebrating Angela’s birthday), he had to admit he felt a little more special than usual on December 17th each year, with celebrations or without. His mother had always done a good job of making both him and Angela feel special, even with her being a divorced and previously abused teen mother with no family, and sometimes Miles felt that their birthday should celebrate not their birth, but how well their mother had taken care of them. It was already difficult enough to raise teenage twins, and Miles was incredibly proud of his mother, and he knew she was proud of him.

Humming lightly, Miles stood up, grabbing a plate, as well as a fork and knife from the drying rack in the sink and took a couple pancakes. Though he really didn’t eat much (two pancakes would fill him up until at least late afternoon), the Verde’s pancakes were the best, in his opinion, even though Ray would claim his were better. Standing on tiptoe to open the cabinet (the blond had never understood why they stored things in the higher cabinets, considering the tallest of them was their mother, who only reached 5’5 or so), he grabbed the bottle of maple syrup-though he nearly dropped it as someone’s head nestled into his shoulder. “Happy birthday…”

“Geez, Angela!” He huffed, regaining his composure and turning to face his twin sister. “Could you have scared me any worse?”

“Probably.” Angela’s voice was sleepy, and she was still clad in her grey nightgown, her feet bare. She pushed his glasses up his nose from where they'd been slipping off. “We’re fifteen now. Isn’t that weird?”

“Finally.” He decided not to mention the fact he’d forgotten it was the beginning of their sixteenth year until Ray had reminded him-though sixteen was usually the big year for teenagers (and it would be big, of course), fifteen had been the birthday he’d been looking forward to. The age when he’d graduate from only competing in junior competitions and have the rare window of opportunity to seniors as well. Though he wasn’t planning on competing in the junior world championships that year, he’d qualified for them far before the senior events, and if he was really feeling adventurous, he could enter-though it didn’t look like it would be happening. While the senior event was being held in Vancouver, the junior world championships were being hosted in Taipei, and between his determination to start off his senior career with a bang, the cost of flights, hotels, a new costume and the having to catch up on school both for the trip and extra training… Miles couldn’t see it happening.

“So I heard you woke up early,” Angela remarked as she grabbed her own plate of food-her meal being double that of Miles’-and sat down across from him at the table. “Any particular reason why?”

Miles shrugged in reply, swallowing before saying, “Working on the champion’s gala thing. Ray and Fiona caught me at the rink and practically shoved me back home.”

Angela nodded, mumbling through a bite of food (a very unladylike habit she’d developed from eating so fast), “Did you check your phone?”

The small blond skater shook his head-between the other skaters he’d befriended over the years to the people he knew here and there around school, he generally got more than a few ‘happy birthdays’ through text or otherwise. And while some of them were welcome (Leo, Fay and obviously Ray, as well as some of the nicer people he’d befriended on the ice) he was still shy, and he still generally prefered for his birthday not to be treated like a big celebration.

Angela got a plethora of messages wishing her well too, and she’d always made it known-from their closest figure skating friends, the Finnish/American siblings Clem and Cole to the other beauticians she’d befriended behind the scenes of the show, she’d always been more friendly and outgoing than him, and so it wasn’t surprising that her list of messages she read off the screen of the laptop they shared was much longer than his.

“Hey, Clem and Cole want us to skype them today,” Angela mused, and Miles nodded as he finished off the last of his breakfast-he didn’t make a lot of close friends that also skated, but Clem, who was a couple years younger than them and Cole, who was a year older had stuck, and they were very close. “We should probably do that soon, right? They’re seven hours ahead.”

“I can’t be wearing pajamas!” Angela seemed appalled by even the thought, and Miles couldn’t help but bite back a little smile-it was no secret she and Cole seemed to have a liking for each other, though the only people who couldn’t figure it out were the two themselves. Even so, some part of the blond skater secretly wished that they would profess their obvious attraction for each other sometime in the near future, because if there was anyone he’d want to give his sister away to, Cole would be the ideal choice.

Not that I want to give her away in the first place.

“Lemme go shower!” Angela was up and down the hall with a bounce in her step, quick like a rabbit, and Miles had to wonder just how dense his usually attentive sister was when it came to her own love life.

Perhaps our entire family just isn’t good when it comes to romance… There was mom, and I’m here with Ray, and Angela’s practically dating a boy halfway across the world without even knowing it… Maybe we should all just do ourselves a favour and swear off love.

“Why did Angela run off upstairs again?” Miles turned as his mother returned to the kitchen, shrugging. “Something about wanting to look put together for Clem and Cole, I think.”

“I still haven’t met those two…” The short Filipino woman sighed, taking his dishes (he began to protest about doing it himself, but she didn’t give him a chance) to the sink. “Both of them seem like fine skaters through.”

“Yeah,” He nodded in agreement. “Cole beat me a couple years back, and bumped me down to third. It was pretty disappointing, but at least it was him and not some douchebag.”  The small blond shook his head with a hum. “It’s too bad we don’t get to see them often.”

“Is Cole competing in the world championships this year?” Miles nodded with a little smile. “Yeah. I’m gonna blow him out of the water.”

“Well, I hope you do, hun.” She kissed the top of his head on her way out of the kitchen. “If your friends want to celebrate here, make sure to bring them by after one, okay?” He ducked away as his hair was affectionately tousled. “I gotta go get your cake around noon.”

“Aw, mom, we really don’t need one…”

“That’s ridiculous!” Miles watched as she grabbed a folder from the shelf in the hallway-paperwork, probably-and turned back to him. “You two are getting a cake, alright?”

“Alright,” Miles agreed, knowing his word against his mother’s was pointless. As she disappeared up the stairs, probably to work some more (and he was the one who worked too hard in their family), he decided to check his phone, which he’d muted-he really didn’t care for most of the messages. With a sigh, he dismissed one after another-messages he could get to later. He appreciated them, but he definitely could do without them.

There isn’t much I want… but what I want is what I can’t have…

Miles sighed, letting himself have a moment alone with his thoughts-his emotions were known to readily show in his face and his tone unless he was careful, and he didn’t need his mother or Angela wonder why he was suddenly looking like a lovesick puppy. With a deep breath, he let himself relax.

I’ve got a thing for Ray.

And that’s okay. Or, rather, it should be, in theory.

In theory’. In theory, it should have been fine. It wasn’t as if Ray was the first boy he’d ever found attractive, he was just the first he’d found… romantically appealing, and it wasn’t as if he wasn’t already used to homophobic jokes and comments, and even slurs on the occasion he ran his mouth and pissed someone off. Angela was the most accepting person he’d ever known, his mother didn’t care as long as he was safe and happy, and as far as he knew, his friends had no problem with the gay or bi population of the school. Being bisexual wasn’t the problem, even though in theory, it should have been.

So then what is it?

It took Miles a long moment to realize he didn’t know himself. With a sigh, he decided to focus on anything but how he’d abruptly gone gay for his best friend.

Most of the next couple hours consisted of lazing around-no matter how much he wanted to practice his new routine, he had a feeling no one was going to let him. Though he prefered sweats and a hoodie, Angela had indeed made herself much more than presentable, which Miles found amusing-not that he would have told her that. Soon after he’d finished off what little homework he had, he’d called out, “Hey, Angela, want to try Clem and Cole?”

“Clem and Cole?” Angela popped around the corner from where she’d been in the room over, doing something Miles wasn’t exactly sure of (perhaps practicing her makeup skills?). “Yeah, alright. Give me a couple minutes.”

“Mhm.” Miles sighed, placing the laptop on the coffee table and clicking on skype-though he did like to get to speak to Clem and Cole, Angela and Cole tended to have the ability completely dominate their conversations. Either way, it would be nice to see both of the siblings again.

As the call rung, Angela took her spot kneeling next to him, and he nudged her playfully. “You look very nice.”

“Shut up,” She huffed, obviously catching on to what he was hinting and pushing her hair (which was about its original length before the lupus struck at that point) into place. “But thank you.”


Miles blinked at the screen as the call went through, his face immediately breaking into a grin as the Finnish siblings appeared on the screen. “Hey, it’s been awhile!”

“Happy birthday!” Clem chirped, her light brown eyes bright and cheerful. Cole nodded, his own expression content as well. “Happy birthday, you two. How’s fifteen going?”

“Well, I was dragged off the ice this morning by Ray, and everyone insists on getting me things I don’t need, but otherwise…” He couldn’t help but smile, even though he was trying to express his distaste about being banned from skating too much for the day. Cole laughed. “What? That sounds great! Why are you complaining?”

“That’s a good question without a good answer,” Angela replied, resting her elbow on the coffee table. Miles saw Cole’s stormy grey gaze soften as he greeted her. “And yourself, enkeli, how’s your birthday going?”

“Not bad,” Angela’s usually enthusiastic voice was shyer, and Miles had to notice how she sounded remarkably like him for a moment-shy, introverted and generally terrified when it came to people. “We got pancakes, and Ray and our other friends are coming by later.”

“Well, I wish you a very happy birthday, enkeli.” Cole smiled warmly at her, and Miles rolled his eyes, but kept silent, as Clem asked, in her much more apparent Finnish accent (though near-perfect English),  “So howzit been?”

“Not bad at all,” Miles admitted. “Practicing for the world championships and dealing with Fiona. You?”

“Practically the same, really,” The blond girl sighed, tapping her fingers on what Miles could only assume was the table that the computer was resting on. “I’m really jealous you two are in the senior leagues now! I’m gonna be so lonely!”

“Oh, come on, Clem, both of us are still doing junior competitions.” The Finnish boy glanced Miles. “You are, right?”

“We don’t really have the money this year,” Miles hummed lightly, ignoring the pang of regret he had just saying the words-he really did love performing, and it was a real shame that he could only focus on the world championships for the sake of time and money. “But after the world championships, I should be fine.” He smiled at Clem. “I’ll still be around so you can watch me kick your brother’s ass. Don’t worry.”

“Hey! I’ll be doing the ass-kicking this year!”

The short blond grinned at his Finnish friend, the heat of competition flickering in his eyes. “You wish, Cole.”

Cole grinned back. “We’ll see, Verde, we’ll see.”

The rest of the day went fairly well, and slowly-Miles really wasn’t used to a lack of work and an abundance of time, which seemed to be what the case was that Saturday. Though he also didn’t really like having people over, when Fiona and Ray arrived together, a rush of relief filled his rather bored brain. Fiona practically (and nearly literally) knocked him over with another hug the moment she’d put down the packages she’d been holding. “Happy birthday!”

“Thanks… Fiona.” The blond boy laughed as she repeated the same thing on Angela, who was quite literally knocked back onto the armchair in the hallway with a squeak. “Fiona!”

“You too!” Fiona simply chirped. “Happy birthday to both of you!”

“Did you two walk together?” Miles cocked his head curiously at Ray, who shook his head. “No, we just happened to meet up. I know I already said it, but, uh…” Miles made a face as his friend playfully tousled his too-long blond locks. “Happy birthday, Bubbles.”

Miles opened his mouth to thank him when Angela sprung up from where she’d been knocked over. “Hey! I exist too!”

Ray’s usually cynical, thoughtful gaze turned warm-he tended to look at Angela with the same eyes Miles did, which Miles found sweet, and if he dared say, even more attractive. He hugged her lightly. “Happy fifteenth, Angie.”

“Why thank you.” The female side of the twins smiled right back at him, before her eyes drifted to the small packages that had been left by the armchair. “You guys brought presents.”

“Well, yes.” Ray reached down to grab the slightly larger package, holding it out to the short French girl, who took it politely. “That’s generally what you do for people on their birthday.”

“You really didn’t have to,” Miles repeated what he’d said on his birthday for the last three years again as they walked down the hall to the kitchen, where the cake that had been bought sat on the table. “I tell you this every year, Ray…”

“And every year I get you a present,” Ray countered, handing him the other cubelike parcel that he’d brought, which was wrapped quite nicely in brown craft paper, “So take it. It’s rude not to, you know.”

“I…” Miles sighed, glancing over to Angela, whose fingernail had already nudged under the wrapping. With a roll of his eyes, he carefully began to remove the paper-the opposite of Angela’s ripping that got the paper off in a faster, messier way.

“Aww!” Miles glanced over to where the box that had been inside the wrapping was opened to reveal a small creation-a music box with a snowflake on it, created from gold and silver cogs and gears, by the looks of it. Angela was beaming as she hopped up to hug Ray. “Thank you! That’s so sweet!”

Ray smiled back, just a little. “You’re welcome. Just be careful when you turn it, I haven’t made a lot of music boxes, so it’s a little flimsy.”

“What does it play?” Angela asked as Miles carefully finished unwrapping his own gift to reveal a similar, plain-looking box. Ray replied simply, “'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head'. It’s a little cheesy, but…”

“No, I love it!” Angela’s voice was genuinely overjoyed, and she nudged Miles as he carefully removed the lid of the box. “What did he do for you?”

“A…” Miles trailed off as he pulled out something else obviously clockwork. “A snow globe…”

It was indeed a snow globe-though much smaller than the average one, with a base of intentionally exposed gears and mechanical pieces and a scene inside of what looked like an ice rink. Though all the pieces were bronze or gold, the ice rink inside the globe shone with a silver gleam, and when he gently turned it upside down before placing it on the table, snow indeed fell slowly to the bottom, floating peacefully in the liquid. A windup key was placed on the side-did it play too? Miles felt a smile cross his face. “Wow… That’s… Impressive, Ray.”

“Wow…” Fiona’s finger ran over the globe, which despite its definite abstract nature, looked incredibly professional for a sixteen-year-old. “Damn, you really are a tinkerer, aren’t you?” WIth a sheepish laugh, Ray nodded, and the short Spanish girl shook her head with a low whistle. “I think you’ve won the race for best present before it’s even started.”

“What?” Angela smiled at her. “Come on, Fiona, I’ll love whatever you give me too. It’s just been awhile since we’ve seen Ray’s stuff. How long have you been working on these?”

“Eh, I guess I started in October… Right around when Fiona showed up.” The handsome Spaniard shrugged, his voice far from its usual confidence. “It’s really not a big deal. I like big projects, but I can’t keep all of them, and you two…” Ray shook his head, his face reddening unusually after his rare bout of rambling. “Just take the damn presents, okay?” He rested a hand on either of the twin’s heads, his voice turning affectionate for a moment more as he finished, “And happy fifteenth birthday, to the both of you.”

“Wow, I…” Miles felt his heart flutter as he turned to race his friend, sure he was grinning like an idiot, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. “Thanks, really. You seriously shouldn’t have, Ray…”

“Yeah, thanks Ray!” Angela’s tone was much more cheerful, though that was who she tended to be-while Miles tended to turn very quiet when he was moved or excited, Angela was the opposite.

“Hey, don’t forget about me!” Playfully, Fiona bumped her with her hip. “You’ve got another present to open!”

“And mine, of course.” Miles turned to see his mother enter the kitchen as well, with a couple of larger bags that she placed on the table. She smiled at all of them. “Hello, Fiona, Ray. How’re you this fine Saturday?”

“Not bad,” Ray replied with a smile. Fiona nodded. “Not bad at all, Ms. Verde. And yourself?”

“Just reminiscing about that time I had to somehow birth twins fifteen years ago,” She replied, though her voice was light and joking as well. She turned to Angela and Miles, who had both ended up sitting at the table. “Now, let’s get to the celebration, shall we? You’ll only have one fifteenth birthday!”

Fiona had indeed bought him a pair of skating pants, with a light, ice blue design running down the outside each leg, which he greatly appreciated, almost as much as a skating costume, and from his mother, he’d received a pair of skates (his current ones were getting worn down) that coincidentally matched his new pants. He’d been too shocked to accept them for a long moment, considering how expensive they must have been, and how little money was leftover after medical fees and basic living needs, but his mother insisted. She’d also gifted him with a bag of saltwater taffy as a counterpart to the chocolate Angela always got, considering he’d never much liked chocolate or milk-based things. And of course, him and Angela always bought presents for each other, Angela’s for him being a petite, fluffy white fox he could fit in his skating bag or even velcro around the strap, along with a matching Christmas ornament, one of his personal favourites. While Miles always spent a little more money that he’d prefer was spent on him, it was worth it to see Angela’s face light up as she opened the box with a new pair of nude skates and a beautiful, violet skating costume. Though she’d definitely been upset he’d spent so much money (even though they generally considered their birthday presents to also be Christmas presents), she was practically on cloud nine, with both his gift, the music box and the European-based makeup from Fiona (that she’d insisted on trying on him later, despite his hesitation).

That wasn’t to say Miles wasn’t happy too, as he finished lacing his new skates. Though he wouldn’t use them until his other ones were completely unusable, his skating pants the same, they’d both need time to adjust to the shape of his form, and it couldn’t hurt to try them out. Miles turned to the side, looking in the mirror to get a good idea of what his new apparel looked like. The new skates and pants fit him to a T, by the looks of it, and matched his practice costume shirt nicely as well. The blond let out a little hum. “I don’t look half bad.”

“You’re a solid 12,” Angela agreed from where she was putting her hair up in the mirror above the sink in the changeroom, and Miles glanced over to see her, clad in her beautiful violet skating costume and nude skates. It was short and sleeveless, the dark violet hue becoming a pretty fuchsia it reached out to the bottom of the layered costume. Between the colour and the curving pattern of rhinestones, as well as the ability to make his sister look older than nine, it was a good purchase. “But I’m a 15 at least. God, Miles… I can’t believe you spent this much on me.”

“Are you kidding?” Miles turned to her, his hands on his hips. “You look incredible in it and you obviously feel like it too.” He smiled at her as she turned, her blonde hair pulled back into a nice bun. “Angela, I know how devastated you were when you couldn’t skate competitively anymore, and this is the least I can do.” He stepped forward to hug her, feeling her nestle into his shoulder. “I miss skating with you… And even if we can’t do it together in competition, we can here.”

“I…” Angela’s voice was quiet as they pulled away, just enough to be holding hands while they faced each other, their nearly identical eyes locked together. She finally smiled after a moment, squeezing his hands. “Thank you. And happy birthday.”

“Happy birthday,” Miles echoed, tucking a loose lock of hair out of her face as they completely separated. “Now come on. Let’s go show them what we can do together, eh?”

“Damn do you sound Canadian,” Angela teased, nudging him as they left the changeroom side by side, and he nudged right back. “You’re not to be talking.”

“Tell me if it was over a hundred bucks?”

“Angela!” He grinned as they stepped onto the ice, elbowing her. “Stop asking!”

“Okay, okay!” She giggled, looking across the ice to where Fiona, Ray and their mother were behind the boards. “Hey, uh… Whenever you’re ready to start the music.”

Fiona nodded, and Angela glanced over to him, muttering under her breath, “Can you still do lifts and throws?”

He raised an eyebrow with a bit of a smile, grabbing her hand in their usual starting position as the song started. “Are you really underestimating me?”

Angela simply shook her head as they begun the routine they’d memorized several times over. Miles felt all his worries and concerns slip away as he and his other half did what they were best at, finally at peace together, even if it was just for a moment.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2018, 07:50:17 PM »
Chapter 7. None of this is up to date but I'm too lazy to deal with it.

“Hey, happy belated birthday, you two!”

“Aw, thanks!” Angela replied in her usual cheerful chirp, while Miles simply nodded with a smile as their good friend fell into step with them. “Thanks, Fay.”

“Ah, Leo got you two a little something from the both of us, but you’ll see him at lunch,” He slid his hands in the pockets of his pants as they made their way down the school hallway. “Did you guys have a good birthday?”

“Yeah!” Angela’s tone was much more enthusiastic than his, even though they replied in nearly the exact same voice. “Even though I should kill him for it, Miles bought me this beautiful skating costume…”

“Oh yeah, you used to skate, right?”

“Not used to!” Angela huffed-though she wouldn’t usually be so miffed when people forgot she skated too, Miles had probably woken some sensitive thoughts with their little skating spree on the weekend. “I still do! I was never as into it as Miles, but…”

“Well, I’d love to see it sometime, shortcake.” Miles rolled his eyes as Fay turned to go into the music room with a smile towards Angela-he could never tell when Fay’s flirting was serious or not, though it felt odd when he was teasing Angela either way. “Make sure to say hi to Leo for me!”

“Yeah, of course.” Miles replied as he and Angela continued through the art hallway to where the tech and science one began, though the female side of the twins let out a huff under her breath. “Shortcake? Fay’s getting out of practice, don’t you think?”

“Either that, or he’s finally got no need to flirt because he found a girlfriend,” Miles replied, eliciting a laugh from his sister as they entered the science room. “Ha, he wishes.”

Though it was known after the scene Ray and Angela had caused back in ninth grade that Miles really preferred to be left alone outside of his friends, his birthday seemed to be an exception-to everyone else, at least. Though he still didn't really enjoy the attention, at least people wishing him a happy birthday were better than being harassed about his career. Even so, he was slightly relieved when he, Ray, Angela, Leo and Fiona were at the diner which only had one other table occupied. It generally wasn't a popular place because of how shady it could seem from the outside, but that made Miles like it more-it was almost always empty.

“Happy birthday, Verdes.” Leo enthusiastically pushed a couple colourful bags across the table towards them. “It's something from all of us, even though it was mostly me and Fay picked it out.”

“Aww, thanks, Leo!” As usual, Angela was a gracious receiver of gifts, and practically tore open her present. Miles nodded with a smile. “You guys didn’t have to, you know-”

“Miles.” Ray cut him off, his dark chocolate eyes serious from across the table. “If you say that one more time, I will *censored*ing hurt you. Accept your damn gifts.”

Miles let out a huff of feigned irritation, bringing his hand to his chest as if he was insulted as he began to unwrap Leo’s gift. “Well! They are my presents, and it is my birthday, I’ll have you know!”

Dark brown eyes glittered in amusement as the tall Spanish boy chuckled, “Not anymore it isn’t, but I see your point.”

“Wow, Leo!” Miles glanced to his left to see Angela had opened a small box containing a pair of earrings and a matching necklace, both resembling icicles.. “Aww, that’s so cute! Thanks!”

“Fiona basically told us what a girl like you might like as a gift so we weren’t wildly off par, but otherwise…” The redheaded boy shrugged. “So I did a good job then?”

“A great job, yeah!” Carefully, Angela took the earrings from their place next to the necklace, sliding them in her pierced ears, and though they looked stunning on her, especially with her hair being a little shorter than the average teen girl’s, Miles couldn’t help but feel an unexpected pang of jealousy. He’d wanted a piercing since around the time Angela had gotten hers, when she’d been diagnosed with lupus after a long year of confusion, but Ezra had stepped in, saying something along the lines of it being ‘a waste of time and money’ and ‘could mess with his young media image in the future as a child performer’. Though he could understand the latter point, Miles still longed to have a bit more of a… less cute appearance sometimes, even though it was generally what he was known for on the ice.

“Hey, Miles, open yours.”

“Hmm?” Miles blinked, being pulled from his thoughts by Leo’s enthusiastic voice. “Oh, yeah. Sorry.” Clearing his throat, Miles pulled the tissue paper out of the bag to reveal his gift.

“Aww!” Fiona leaned over his shoulder as he pulled out a small plush gecko, in the same style as the fox Angela had gifted him with, able to attach to his skating bag. “That’s so cute! Do you really like such cute things, Miles?”

“I…” The short blond skater felt his cheeks flush as he answered in a stutter, “I don’t… I don’t mind them…”

“He’s very cute, isn’t he?” Angela agreed, and he elbowed her, feeling his face light up even brighter. “Shut up, would you?”

“Very much so,” Ray teased, cocking his head ever so slightly to give himself a more innocent look that was undeniably fake, and Miles kicked his best friend’s shin, cracking a bit of a smile at the his protest.

“Fay said you like cute things,” Leo shrugged, smiling a little. “And you’re always skating, so we thought you could strap it to your skating bag or something.”

“You and Angela definitely coordinated your gifts, right?”

“Hmm?” The redhead cocked his head, popping the last of the french fries they were sharing in his mouth. “No, we didn’t. Why?”

“She…” The small blond skater smiled a little at the thought of the little plush currently hooked onto his bag. “She bought me practically the same thing… Only a fox…”

“Aww!” Fiona nudged him again. “It’s gotta be true if two people bought you something so similar!”

Miles simply rolled his eyes, deciding to just leave the topic be, changing the topic with a huff. “The holiday dance is in a few days.”

“Ooh, yeah, that is this Friday, isn’t it?” Fiona hummed, resting her elbows on the table. “Are we taking any special someones?”


“I wish.”


“Not exactly,” Miles finished off the string of remarks from his friends at the table. Fiona laughed a little. “Wow, all of you are a little more than pathetic when it comes to love, huh?”

“Pathetic?” Miles raised an eyebrow, a tiny smirk playing on his lips as he leaned to his right to face Fiona. “Are you kidding? I could definitely get a date if I wanted.”

“Could you?” Fiona teased, though there was a hint of competition in her tone. Miles nodded, crossing his arms. “Yeah, and I could make it worth her time too!”

The short Spanish girl raised an eyebrow. “Really now?”

“Really!” Miles insisted, the competition in both his voice and Fiona’s increasing.

“Prove it!”

“Fine. Come to the dance with me on Friday!”



For a moment, the five teens at the table were silent, before Leo spoke, total confusion in his tone. “What the hell just happened?”

“I just got a date to the dance on Friday,” Miles replied simply, even though he was barely sure what had just happened himself-he’d gotten a date for the dance on Friday? He followed Angela out of the booth of the diner, sliding on his jacket and grabbing the present Leo had given him as he did. “And all of you suckers have nothing.”

“Are you sure about this?” Angela murmured in his ear as they walked out of the diner. Miles took a deep breath, letting it out to cloud in the chilled, snowy air. “Nope.”

Despite himself, Miles couldn’t help but bring the little gecko to the rink with him that night, fastening it to the shoulder strap of his duffel skating bag. Both it at the fox watched from the sidelines of the chilly rink as he prepared himself to do his routine. Though he loved skating, his usual, easygoing smile was nowhere to be found as he took his starting position. Figure skating might have been a longtime love of his, but it was also his career, something people tended to forget. It was more than just a passion, and he needed to treat it like that. He cracked his neck, rolled his shoulders back and started the music.

Miles loved to skate to old music, and despite the fact he was completely serious, he felt himself smiling as the song began in time with his showy routine. It was challenging, just enough to make him think, to make him work, and he loved all of it, the feel of the chilly air in the rink, the ice shavings, the weightless sensation when he caught air, and, of course, his dizzying spins. It was a wonder he was so prone to motion sickness and was perfectly fine spinning so fast, he thought through the upright spins in his performance, but it didn’t matter. As long as he was pulling it off, he couldn’t bring himself to care too much.

The majority of his performance wasn’t as difficult as his main feat-a little harder than most of his junior performances, but nothing ridiculously impossible or dangerous-until the quadruple axel came up, of course. It was the beginning of the end of the performance, and the first of his more difficult feats, including his consecutive triple jumps very soon after his axel. He’d done consecutive triple jumps before, and Ezra had suggested it might get him a couple extra points-extra points that could mean everything in such a massive competition. So naturally, he’d written it into the routine, even if Angela had argued he’d need more time to recover from his quad axel. As he built up the momentum he needed for the largest jump of his routine, Miles had to hope he’d land the jump and his speed would carry through the rest of his performance-otherwise, he was screwed.

The small blond took a deep breath as he began the longer, more powerful strokes. It probably wasn’t doing him much good to think about it so much.

He hated axels, the thought snuck into his mind as he took off, keeping his body tight and his momentum going. With his small size, any jumps that took off backwards tended to give him more power, and the axel just happened to have a forward jumping position. As a child, it had been more than irritating, especially considering Angela’s more graceful moves had been easier and she’d easily surpassed him in difficulty level. Axels were one of his worst enemies, and it made him even more determined each time he landed the one in his routine. Despite the fact he wasn’t done with the song, a wave of exhilaration came over him as he successfully landed the jump, even if it took some of the air out of him. Maybe he got a little too excited, because Miles let out a surprised yelp as his knee buckled and he fell forward, barely able to catch himself on his elbow. Breathing heavy, he paused his music and let himself take a moment on the ice.

Why can’t I get this right? And what the hell is wrong with my knee?

His knee. It had always caused problems, but it was bothering him more as usual, probably because of the weight he was putting on it with the quadruple jump. Ezra insisted he wear a brace almost constantly, but it irritated his skin, and it felt uncomfortable. As long as his knee was alright the majority of the time, he was going to keep his brace in its package, and push himself to the limit. With a grunt, Miles rewinded his music and pushed himself up off the ice. He had a couple months to perfect what people were telling him was impossible. He had no time to waste.

The rest of the week went fairly smoothly, and between his usual schoolwork and practicing both routines (as well as practicing his pair skating with Angela which she seemed to be enjoying again, even though she was significantly weaker than she’d been before the lupus), Miles couldn’t help but wonder about what the dance would be like. It had been awhile since he’d gone to a dance (he, Ray and Angela would go together every so often before Miles had developed a crush on the eldest of them), and it had been even longer since he’d been to a dance with a date. Though he knew Fiona meant well (or at least, Miles assumed she meant well, in her odd way of doing things) and they were going ‘as friends’, it could easily backfire on him, in one way or another. Angela had assured him not to worry about it too much. Fiona was sweet, even if she was cheeky and mischievous, and it seemed unlikely she’d pull anything dirty on him, and so trying to obey his sister, Miles decided to try his best not to worry about it.

Christmas approaching also meant the house would be decorated nicely. As the 23rd came close, Miles had to admit that every room of the house was looking festive, from the obvious Christmas tree in the living room to the fairy lights wrapped around the banister of the staircase to the precious snow globe from his birthday on his desk. Even though they didn’t do much for Christmas (they weren’t really religious, and considering on how close their birthdays were to the holiday, they also generally didn’t get many gifts) the feeling of late December was a good one. It was the evening of the 23rd, Miles was suddenly wondering what in the world he should do with his hair that was nearly as long as Angela’s, he couldn’t help but feel a certain giddiness bubbling inside him.

“Hey, Miles, you know Fiona’s stopping by soon, right?”

“Yeah.” The blond boy grumbled from where he was upside-down on the couch in the living room, his video game console in hand and a mirror on the floor. Though he was too short for his head to actually be touching the floor, his hair nearly did, and he looked away from the screen of the small device for a moment to stare at his unruly blond locks. “My hair is so freaking long.”

“It’s cute!” His eyes flickered up from his own reflection to see Angela standing in the hallway. Her own outfit stuck to her usual fashion sense, which always seemed to be better than his, and consisted of mostly retro-looking clothing, something she hadn’t swayed from (and quite frankly, managed to pull off quite well). Her makeup, however, was as bold and, well, pretty, and silently, he complimented her, though aloud, he smirked at her. “You look like you’re out of an 80s show.”

“You look like a girl with no tits.”

Miles felt his grin fall away into an unimpressed look, crossing his arms while he was still upside-down. “Touché, ma soeur. Now that we’ve gotten our insults out, can you tell me what the hell I should do with my hair?”

“Tie it back,” Angela suggested, taking the bright blue hairband from her wrist and sitting beside him, motioning for him to sit up, which he did with a sigh. With a quick precision he’d never mastered, she pulled his just past chin-length hair into a low ponytail, leaving a single lock of blond to hang down by his ear. He turned to her with an eyebrow raised. “Was that intentional?”

“You look adorable,” Angela simply replied, completely ignoring his question and tapping him lightly on the nose with a smile as she stood. “All the girls are gonna wish they were Fiona tonight.”

As Miles went to stand, the doorbell rang, and he exchanged a look with Angela. “Speak of the devil.”

His twin sister laughed a little as she practically skipped down the hallway-yet another completely opposite opinion the two of them had was the one on dances, and while Miles obviously wasn’t a fan, Angela liked social gatherings, and was good at interacting at them too.

Miles stood up with a sigh, catching a glance of himself in the mirror in the hallway as he followed his twin to the door (he really didn’t look too bad, with his thin, light blue hoodie rolled up to his elbows and a darker pair of jeans than he usually preferred, as well as Angela’s seemingly magical touch when it came to his hair). He smiled a little as Fiona stepped inside. “Hey, Fiona.”

“Hi.” Fiona smiled right back at him and Angela, her set of large brown eyes bright. “You two look pretty good!”

“I could say the same about you,” Miles replied, admiring her jacket. Though her outfits changed a lot (much more than his own usual style of sweats or jeans and a hoodie), her signature piece of clothing was the blue leather jacket that she’d begun to wear soon after her arrival at Aspen Ridge. It was apparently from her parents, a present to her before she’d left Spain, and the colour was just as striking as her personality was. Though the jacket was obviously the accent of her outfit, a black shirt with a fairly low neckline that featured a pattern of stars and form-fitting blue jeans and black, knee-high boots made for a statement, and though it certainly was fit for a casual school dance, it reminded Miles how stunning she was all the same-something he felt like they forgot sometimes.

“Aw, well thank you!” The short Spanish girl rocked on her heels as she smiled at him, before turning to Angela. “You look pretty great yourself, too.” Fiona’s hands slipped in her pockets as she took on a much more comfortable position resembling a bit of a slouch. “Your makeup is always so good, girl!”

“Well, you know,” Miles found it amusing how bashful usually peppy, sociable Angela could become from a mere compliment-something neither of them had ever been good at receiving. “I’ve been doing Miles’ makeup for the past few years, and you pick up a thing or two when you’re constantly working with it…”

“Well it’s definitely a statement,” Fiona’s tone was that of approval as she nodded. “You’ll have to teach me sometime. But right now, we have somewhere to be, don’t we?”

“Of course!” The female of the twins chirped, grabbing her coat from where it had been hanging by the door. Miles sighed, rolling his shoulders, feeling almost as if he was preparing for a quest or great challenge of some sort. “I guess so.”

“C’mon, Miles!” Fiona bumped him lightly with her hip, grinning up at him. “You’ve gotta be at least a little excited! You’ve got one thing going for you going into this already, and it’s having me as your date!”

Though his tone was condescending, the amused look on his face certainly wasn’t. “You are aware we’re going as friends, right?”

“So what?” The short Spanish girl crossed her arms over her chest-which Miles felt he could see just a little too much of with how low her shirt was, not that he was really complaining about it. “I am going to get you to lighten up about being in crowds tonight! Just watch me!”

“Ha, have fun trying to do that.” Angela tied the belt of her long, red coat around her hips and pulled on her own Vans. She tossed the keys to Miles with great aim. “He’s not fond of too many people, and I’m pretty sure you know that by now.”

“Well, even if you’re a little uncomfortable.” The mixed girl smiled up at him with both her optimistic face and bright eyes, and the blond couldn’t help but smile back, just a little, even if it was out of sheer amusement. “You should have a little fun. So try, alright? Forget all about everything worrisome and dance with us instead!”

“Alright, alright,” Miles chuckled, caving to the girls as they continued down the dark, serene streets of the suburb, the snowy, frost-laced wind nipping at his cheeks. “You win. I’ll try and have some fun tonight.”

Despite the fact some of the other areas of the school’s activities were seriously lacking, Aspen Ridge generally had good school dances, and good dance committees working on them. Though he didn’t have a lot of time because of his skating, Miles could have imagined himself on the dance committee in a different life, under different circumstances. It definitely seemed like it could be fun.

Because of the reputation the school had when it came to dances, there were also generally a lot of people that showed up, both from Aspen Ridge and other schools, considering how many people had friends at other schools in the area. From the moment he’d stepped into the gym, Miles had felt the familiar anxious flutter in his chest, and even as Angela, Fiona and surprisingly, even Leo (who really wasn’t much of a school dance person to begin with) tried to drag him into dancing, he was definitely more of a standoffish, disappear into the crowd type when it came to so many people. He didn’t really mind, as long as there was the feeling he was practically invisible-he liked to be on the watching side of things for once. And so, he watched, genuinely curious in all the people around him and what he missed while he was on the ice. Though he’d scanned the crowd a few times, he hadn’t seen even anyone that looked vaguely familiar to Ray-not that it was too surprising. Ray predictably wasn’t much of a school dance person either, and had probably only come in the past because the three of them were used to being together.

“Hey, Miles! I didn’t expect to see you here!”

Miles jumped at the familiar yet unidentifiable voice, turning to see someone he’d known for almost as long as he could remember, though hadn’t seen in awhile. “Mari! Wow, it’s been forever, huh?”

“Yeah, guess it has.” Miles couldn’t help but smile, even though he knew Ray had a million problems when it came to his sister. He liked Mari, and even though she came off as nothing more but overly seductive eye candy for the older grades, she was smart and clever all the same. Even so, he wouldn’t befriend her, given the chance-they were too different and Ray would kill him. “You’re usually the life of the party. What’s up?”

“Eh, my date was a junior jackass and ditched.” She shrugged, as if the sentence was second nature to her, and Miles decided not to question everything he could find wrong with it as she continued, “Why are you over here? I heard from Ray you had a hot date.”

“Uh… Something like that…” He trailed off, unsure how to reply, instead asking a little too eagerly for his liking, “Is Ray here?”

“No.” The beautiful Spanish girl shook her head, her flawless ringlets bouncing over her shoulders and chest. “He said he might come by later if he’s feeling for it. I was really surprised to hear you and Angela and that new girl Fiona were going and he wasn’t though. Are you two fighting or something?”

“Not… Exactly,” Miles replied after a moment, suddenly unsure what to say. “Or I don’t think we are. Why? Did he say something?”

Mari shook her head again with a laugh. “Man, you two really are *censored*ed when it comes to communication right now, huh? Sorry, Blondie, I’m not a page to anyone, so you’re going to have to ask him yourself. I mean, you two are best friends, right?”

Though he opened his mouth to answer, the blond skater didn’t get a chance to say anything as Fiona grabbed his arm, making him jump once again. “Hey, Miles, you should come and-oh, hi.” She seemed to realize Mari, who was still standing with her hands on her hips and that infuriatingly amused, and slightly degrading smile on her face. “Who’s this?”

“Oh, you must be the hot date.” Mari stuck out a hand, though her usual holier-than-thou tone was present, and nearly sounded mocking. “Mari. I’m Ray’s younger, and undeniably more attractive sibling.”

“Oh, you’re Mari!” Fiona shook her hand, and though her cheerful exterior remained, Miles felt something in the air around them shift from warm and light to chilly and tense. “Damn, we’ve heard a lot about you!”

“Really?” Mari cocked her head with a little amused sound. “All good things, I assume.”

“Of course!” Though her tone was convincingly cheery as usual, Fiona’s undertones were cold and unamused, and sent a bit of a chill down Miles’ spine-so she isn’t just an optimist who thinks everyone is good and pure… Good to know.

“Well, considering it’s been a long while since my brother’s best friend has had a date of any kind, I guess I should let you two do whatever dates do.” She turned to walk away, into the dance, though smiled over her shoulder at Miles, her wink semi-playful. “Though if it doesn’t work out by the end of the night, Blondie, you know where to find me!”

For a very brief moment, Miles stood in silence with Fiona’s light grip on his arm still present, before she muttered, “Well, I definitely loved her to bits.”

Miles chuckled, glancing over to her and biting back an amused grin. “A hundred percent.”

Fiona sighed, shaking her head and turning to face him completely. “She’s really Ray’s sister? They’re completely different!”

“Not completely,” Miles corrected with a little sigh of his own. “They have the same dry wit and charm over people. Ray could definitely be the male version of Mari if he wanted to be.”

“Luckily, though…”

“Luckily,” He echoed, smiling at Fiona. “Alright, I’m assuming you didn’t come over here to talk to Mari after that, so what’s up? Are you having fun?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty great!” The Spanish girl’s cheerful charm reappeared-though after such a serious performance and conversation that had followed, Miles wasn’t sure if it was completely legitimate anymore. “Angela’s off with some of her friends from geography, so I thought I’d come find you!”

“And…” The blond boy hesitated, unsure if he wanted to know the answer to his own question. “And do what, exactly?”

“Dance, of course!” She tugged on his sleeve stubbornly, though she was grinning all the same. “You’re a dancer, I’m a dancer, we’re each other’s dates, so shouldn’t we be dancing at a dance?”

The short blond boy had to crack a smile at her enthusiasm, deciding it probably wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if he caved, just for that moment. “Fine,” He sighed, though he was smiling at her as she pulled in into the midst of the dance, letting his concerns about Ray (and similarly, Mari) fall away. “Let’s dance, Fiona.”

Even though Miles had to admit, it hadn’t been as bad as he’d thought it might go, and he seriously enjoyed his time with Fiona (her energy was contagious), Miles could only take so much before his social anxiety picked up again, and the adrenaline and endorphins wore off to the point where he wasn’t blindly hanging out with Fiona again. He wasn’t expecting her to, but Fiona seemed to understand, or at least try to as they stepped out together, leaning against the wall in the hallway near the back door of the gym in a comfortable silence as Miles collected his thoughts.

“You’re a good dancer,” Fiona said quietly after a long moment, snapping the short blond out of his thoughts. He cleared his throat. “Thanks, you aren’t bad yourself.”

There was another moment of silence, as Miles both tried to sort out his thoughts about Ray, and about how many times he could have publicly humiliated himself by accident in the dance, no matter how irrational it seemed.

“Hey, Miles?”

Miles cocked his head, glancing over the girl beside him. “Yeah? What is it?”

“I, um…” The usually confident, vivacious girl’s voice was suddenly small, and Miles raised an eyebrow. “Well…?”

“Look, do I…” She took a deep breath, before finally saying in a single puff of air, “Do I make you anxious? Or trigger your anxiety or something?”

For a moment, they stood in silence, on the outskirts of the dance, their gazes locked while Miles struggled for words, suddenly unsure what to say. “Fiona, I…”

“Tell me the truth, okay?” She stepped right in front of him, her beautiful eyes serious and her arms crossed over her chest (which definitely wasn’t helping a certain blond focus on her question whatsoever). “I can take it… I can change what I’m like around you if you want.”

“No, no!” Miles shook his head, before letting out a sigh. He let a hand rest on Fiona’s shoulder, keeping eye contact as he spoke with a little smile. “Fiona, I like being around you just as you are. You’re pretty awesome, you know.” He saw her own lips turn up into a bit of a smile at the compliment, and continued, “You just… Put me into situations that make me anxious, I guess.”

“I haven’t known you very long,” She replied, cocking her head with a smile at him. “But I know that you don’t want to be stuck in your comfort zone, Miles, and you should learn how to get out of the security bubble mindset sooner than later.”

Miles made an amused sound. “You’re trying to help me grow up.”

“I’m trying to help you grow in general,” She replied, her voice no longer as small and shy, but unusually mature and calm-not that Miles hated it. “And hopefully, you do.”

The blond skater laughed a little, leaning back against the wall. “Well, I hope I do too, because it isn’t always fun on the safe side of the fence. Was that really all you were worried about?”

Fiona’s usual, lighthearted smile returned as she shrugged, a bit of a laugh in her voice. “Yeah, pretty much.”

“Well, stop worrying,” He replied, smiling at the comfortable atmosphere between them as Fiona leaned back against the wall next to him. “That’s supposed to be my job.”

Fiona laughed lightly, nudging him as she did. “Don’t you go and start worrying either. It’s not good for you.”

“Hey!” Miles turned to the west back door (which wasn’t used a lot) as it opened, smiling at Angela as she practically skipped over to them, teasing, “Ooh, did I interrupt something?”

“No,” The blond rolled his eyes, though smiled at his sister too. “We just stepped out for a sec. We can go back now, if you want.”

“You don’t have to.” Angela’s voice was sincere-she wasn’t teasing, despite the fact she definitely could have in the situation. “I was just wondering if you two had ditched me…. For one reason or another.”

Miles caught onto her poking fun at the both of them near the end of her sentence, and whacked her gently. “Angela!”

“What?” She grinned cheekily at both him and Fiona (who had a gleam that was most amused in her eyes). “I don’t care if you have literally gone gay for your childhood friend or Fiona’s only been here for a month or two, you’re still an attractive guy and she’s still an attractive girl…”

“Get your mind out of the gutter,” Miles huffed, feeling colour rise in his face as he crossed his arms. “And keep quiet about that, would you?”

“Sorry, sorry,” His twin apologized with a sheepish grin as she turned to Fiona. “So, what were you two doing out here, anyway?”

“I, uh…” Fiona’s gaze flicked back to him lightning fast, before she replied with her usual confidence, “It was getting pretty loud and hot… So we decided to just step out for a minute or two.” She stretched, smiling at Angela. “We really can go back in, Angela, I don’t mind.”

“Well, as long as you two are sure…” Miles nodded, and his sister smiled at them, turning to reenter the dance. “Well come on then! Let’s finish the year at school with a bang, yeah?”

The three of them had stayed at the dance for only a little longer than he, Ray and Angela generally did-or had, Miles supposed-and though he’d been sure he’d be alight with anxiety and nerves for more than even the first time he’d stepped out, with Fiona, Miles found that he was smiling as they began to leave the school, halting momentarily in the doorway before the chilly night.

“So I’m guessing you two had fun, then, right?” Angela chirped, and he and Fiona nodded in unison as the Spanish girl replied happily, “Yeah, it was pretty sweet.”

“Yeah, it was fun,” Miles admitted with a smile, leaning against one of the door frames. “I don’t know if I could or would do it again, but it was definitely fun.”

The shorter of the blondes grinned at them as she nodded. “Good, good! Well, I’m glad you had a successful first school dance in Canada, Fiona.”

Fiona smiled right back, obviously content with how the night had gone. “Me too. It was pretty fun.”

“Well, I’m glad you feel that way going into this,” Angela’s tone suddenly shifted, and Miles saw a familiar mischievous gleam in his twin sister’s sea-blue eyes. “Because this will either make it better or tap it down a notch…”

Miles raised an eyebrow, cocking his head and crossing his arms over his chest. “Angela, what are you getting at?”

The short French girl opened her mouth to reply, hesitated, and then after a long moment, motioned upwards. “I swear, I did not set this up.”

Biting his lip, Miles glanced upwards, catching the mistletoe in the corner of his eye before slowly returning his unimpressed gaze to his sister. “You definitely did.”

“Nope.” Angela raised her hands defensively, though she was definitely hiding a smirk behind her innocence. “Not this time.”

“Well, I…” He shook his head with a sigh, deciding to stop arguing with his sister and face Fiona, who was standing on the other side of the doorframe, her large brown eyes curious as he half-joked, “You definitely would have had better luck with Angela. I’m not a very good kisser.”

Fiona raised an eyebrow. “You’re fine with this, even with your, um… complicated love life?”

“I have no love life,” Miles corrected with a little smile. “And even if I did it couldn’t be as complicated as my friendship with him right now. Why, are you not fine with this?”

The short Spanish girl shrugged, and before either of them had a word out of their mouth, took a half a step forward , her hand pressing to his chest for leverage as she gently kissed him, short and sweet-something he had absolutely not been expecting from someone like Fiona. As she stepped back, just as quickly as she’d kissed him, she replied teasingly, “No. Definitely, not fine with kissing you. That would be ridiculous.”

“That was a low move,” Miles muttered, leaning forward to return it-though decided he didn’t need two kisses with someone he wasn’t exactly interested in dating that night, opting to kiss her cheek and follow his sister out of the school. Fiona laughed as she followed them after a heartbeat. “You couldn’t even return the favour! You coward!”

Miles rolled his eyes, sliding his hands in his hoodie as they began to walk home, their light, playful chatter filling the stillness of the night air. Even though he really couldn’t deny he felt incredibly light and at ease, he also couldn’t help but feel something was missing (or rather, someone) and how odd it felt without his longtime best friend by his side as well.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2018, 01:15:10 AM »
8. Fun fact: When I wrote this, I was mourning how much time it was getting and how little my fantasy story got as a result.

The night of the dance had ended well, and Christmas came and went as usual, and though neither Miles nor Angela received a gift from their mother, as usual when she spent a little more money on their birthday presents, they were both surprised (or at least Miles was) when they were opening more than their presents for each other on Christmas morning. Between the usual presents and the ones from Fiona, Leo, and surprisingly, Mari, and the usual activities that happened on Christmas (mostly baking, decorating and having a good time without stressing about skating or school), Miles had decided it had been one of the best Christmases they’d celebrated, and he knew that Angela probably agreed with him.

It was also remarkably nice to have a break from school, and though he knew Ray would have killed him if they had been talking as much as they usually did (which they weren’t for reasons Miles was unaware of), he was taking advantage of no one scolding him for being on the ice so long.

In other words, both of the twins enjoyed winter break, whether it be because of the skating, the holidays or the video game battles that Miles almost always won, and it was nice to have New Year’s to end the upward curve of the break. Though the Escarra and Verde children usually spent it together, save for the few years the Escarra’s had travelled West to their Irish family, as New Year’s Eve rolled around again, Miles found he was completely unsure what he and Angela were going to do that night. He and Ray had some sort of silent falling out along the lines of the weeks leading up to his birthday and Christmas, and though it didn’t seem like they were exactly upset with each other, they obviously weren’t as comfortable with each other as they usually were.

Miles missed him, he realized that morning as he was debating texting his childhood friend about that year’s New Year’s, and he missed him a lot, perhaps because of the crush that didn’t seem to be fading away anytime soon, or perhaps because he’d known Ray practically his entire life. Ray was much quieter than him, and while Miles often wished that the handsome Spanish boy was more vocal with his needs and his wants, he never was, which was usually what caused their occasional silence.

In other words, Ray wasn’t about to speak up, and it seemed it was up to Miles, who got twinges of anxiety from texting his sister, to do so. With a deep breath, the blond boy typed something asking about that night quickly, before turning off his phone with a sigh. I’m acting like a lovesick teenage girl, and it’s disgusting.

They always invited Leo along as well, and Fiona that year too, though it was rare Leo could convince his strict parents to let him bus basically back to school on New Year’s Eve to spend with them rather than the family. It was worth asking anyway, because on the rare occasion he came, it was definitely more enjoyable. Miles was surprised to get texts back from both Leo and Fiona (who had come to the rink with them early that afternoon anyway) confirming they could come to celebrate with them.

“So it’s just Ray, then,” Angela replied after he’d read out Leo and Fiona’s texts in the changeroom, where they’d both changed into their practice skating attire-they were skating more together as a pair, even if it was more recreational and for the sake of building up Angela’s stamina again. Miles nodded, rolling his shoulders back and motioning for her to come closer to practice a throw jump-something both of them had lost most of their skills to do. Though they hadn’t tried to do it on ice, they’d been practicing diligently, and Miles had a feeling their pair skating would be up to par sooner rather than later. As he tossed her up with enough height to pull off the jump well, he hummed, “I wonder what’s going on with him…”

“He really could just be working on some new project, Miles,” Angela sighed, wobbling on the landing of the throw jump-they weren’t ready to do it on the ice, in other words. “You know how he gets.”

“I really hope it’s as simple as that,” The blond boy replied, though his tone hinted at unhappiness as they made their way out of the changeroom to the ice, where Fiona was waiting. “Because I really don’t want to get into drama with Ray of all people right now…”

“Please, no one ever wants to get into drama with Ray,” Angela chuckled and cleared her throat as they stepped onto the ice, and he smiled a little-it was true, Ray preferred not to be involved with the drama that generally came with high school either, only he was quite adept at shooting down the other parties. If it came down to it, then Miles was sure that he wouldn’t hesitate on defending himself just as stubbornly against him and Angela.

As he and Angela fell into their usual starting position, Fiona started the music (she and Ray were becoming very good at starting and stopping it on time), and he and Angela began their memorized childhood pair routine, Miles couldn’t help but wonder what exactly was going through his childhood friend’s head. He and Ray had been friends for nearly a decade, and though he always thought he understood the Spanish boy, he’d suddenly disappear or do something completely unexpected, leaving Miles in the dark once again, The blond didn’t even know why he thought he understood his friend sometimes, because obviously, he didn’t.

“Hey, Miles pay attention!”

Miles blinked in surprise as his sister’s low hiss snapped him out of his thoughts and his focus returned to the skating. “Sorry.”

They separated briefly into their own dance counterparts, before coming back together to the point where the throw jump would have been, and Angela gave him a look. “We aren’t doing it?”

“Your stamina isn’t good enough yet,” Miles replied simply, stopping to speak and motioning for Fiona to pause the music. Angela came to a halt in front of him, arguing through a cough-probably from the cold going around. “What? Yes it is!”

“Angela…” He bit his lip-he could understand how desperate his sister was to get back on the ice, to return to her former glory, but he also understood that he’d rather have a sister that was alive and well rather than one that was sick, though could have skated a single routine. Sympathetically, he pointed out, “You’re out of breath and we’re nowhere done the routine. I don’t want you to fall, especially after I’m the one who threw you.”

“I’m fine!” Angela whined breathlessly, though there was something off in her voice, and Miles felt a pang of panic, even before his twin sister fainted halfway through another protest. Speechless, Miles barely had time to fall hard to his knees and catch her to prevent her from hitting her head. He heard Fiona scream Angela’s name, though for a very long moment, he was took shocked, too numb to say anything, to move… To breathe…

Angela… Why the hell wouldn’t you tell me you were sick?

The next hour was a blur of things Miles hoped he would never have to see again. Between the ambulance and waiting in numbly in the emergency room, with Fiona and Ray who arrived soon after to his mother rushing in, still in scrubs. The four of them were allowed into the room after a fair amount of time, and the doctor explained exactly what went wrong, why she’d suddenly passed out, but time and words weren’t getting through to him. All he could wonder was how he’d been so blind to her obviously being sick… And how much of the disaster was his fault.


The blond jumped, his breath catching as he was shaken roughly. He blinked back into reality, his seafoam-green eyes looking up into worried dark brown ones-right, Ray is here too. Blankly, still unsure what he could say (or should say), he stared, the beeps of monitors white noise in the haze. Ray blinked down at him, his gaze more concerned than it had been in a long time. “Miles. She’s okay. Angela’s going to be okay, alright? But she’s going to need you there when she wakes up. Miles!” The blond blinked at the harshness in the Spanish boy’s voice-though it shook as he continued, “Miles, you need to hold it together here.”

“Stop that!” Fiona shoved Ray out of the way, and Miles had to adjust where his blank gaze fell as the much shorter girl grabbed his hands. “Miles, he’s being harsh, but he’s right. You have to be able to pull it together.” The short girl tugged on his hands, though he was feeling remarkably like a rag doll. “Miles, she’s going to be fine. She had a bout of pneumonia, she’ll survive.”

It took a very long moment for his brain to catch up to all the words spoken to him, and after it did, Miles finally felt something-something he knew he wasn’t going to enjoy as he shook his head, quickly leaving the room and emptying the contents of his stomach into the nearest garbage can.

“This isn’t your fault.”

“Shut up,” Was all Miles could mutter, his entire body still shaking with the impact of the idea his sister had been sick, and he hadn’t noticed. “Your lungs should rest.”

“I did this,” Angela continued weakly, sounding nothing like herself. Every scratchy word felt like a stab to his heart, and he swallowed his nausea. He’d thrown up more than once that day, and at that point, he’d be dry heaving.

“Miles, you can’t blame yourself for this.”

“Shut it, would you?” Though his words were harsh, his tone was nearly as weak as Angela’s, and definitely wasn’t convincing. “You’re going to make yourself sicker like this.”

Angela sighed, laying back in the bed obediently, letting the room fall back into silence. Ray and Fiona had stepped out for one reason or another, and their mother had been called into surgery, leaving the twins alone in the hospital room-which in retrospect, probably wasn’t such a good idea. Miles sighed too, his hand sliding up to lock his fingers with Angela’s on the edge of the hospital bed. Why didn’t I catch this? Was I working so hard I forgot to care about my twin sister? Did I really hospitalize her? Did I somehow give her this?

Angela let out a feeble cough, and Miles felt all his nerves light up in panic, squeezing her hand. Her brow furrowed, and with her other hand, she reached out to his face. “Stop crying. I’m okay.”

“I’m not…” The blond boy trailed off as he touched his cheek and his fingers came away wet. Quickly, he wiped away his tears. “I’m okay too.”

“No…” The blonde girl took a deep breath, before continuing, and Miles flinched at how weak she looked. “No you aren’t… Miles, this isn’t your fault. No one’s blaming you except you.”

He opened his mouth to reply when there was a knock at the open door. Both the twins turned to see Fiona and Ray together, Fiona giving a little smile. “Hey, Angela… Feeling any better?”

“Yeah, a little bit,” Angela smiled too, as much as she seemed to be able to as Fiona sat on the edge of her bed. She glanced up to Ray. “Hey, can me and Fiona talk for a bit? You and Miles probably need to catch up anyway.”

Though Miles opened his mouth to protest, he was cut off by Ray’s quicker answer. “Yeah. Sure, just call if you need.” He nudged Miles, who reluctantly stood up, glancing back to his twin. “Rest your lungs, at least a little.”

Though she nodded, her blue gaze focused on Ray as they began to leave the room. “Make sure he eats something, alright?”

“Will do,” Ray replied as they left the hospital room, though Miles said nothing, still unsure of how much food he could actually keep down with his sister still stuck in a hospital bed with oxygen being delivered to her lungs.

Though Miles and Angela didn’t mind hospital food because of how often they were there, Ray did, and rather than eat something from the cafeteria, Ray insisted they get real food. So they sat in one of the hospital’s two Tim Hortons’, Ray sipping a cup of tea and Miles with his usual order of a small black coffee and a vanilla-dipped donut-both of which hadn’t been touched. The Spanish boy across from him set down his half-finished tea. “You need to eat, Miles.”

“I’m fine.”

“No you aren’t.” Ray grabbed his wrist to force him to focus on their conversation rather than pull away, and though his words were caring, his tone was hard and serious. “Miles, you’re obviously not okay, and Fiona and me are worried about you.” Miles tried to pull away, but Ray was physically much larger, and his one hand could wrap around the blond’s entire wrist easily. “And if we’re worried about you, then you know that Angela’s even more worried about you, Miles.”

For a moment, Miles contemplated whether he should twist away and leave his friend-and perhaps the hospital entirely-or not, though he couldn’t hear much over the constant, guilt echoing in his head.  I did this, I definitely could have done this to her, it’s my fault…

“Miles… You’re…”

Ray’s grip on him loosened sympathetically, and Miles took the opportunity to yank his hand away, shaking at both his touch and the realization tears were running freely down his face and dripping into his lap. Though he knew it was completely futile at that point, and obviously a lie, he stammered out, his voice hoarse with tears, “I’m fine, Ray, I’m f-fine…”

“What the hell, you’re obviously not!” Miles gasped in total surprise as Ray stood up, pulling him up too and into his arms, hugging him slightly too tight for his liking (not that he was complaining) as he began to break down in sobs in the empty Tim Horton's, clutching the front of his best friend’s sweater as he did. He hated to cry in front of Ray, whom he’d never seen cry, even as children, but he couldn’t help it, his crying only becoming more broken and embarrassingly hysterical as Ray sighed, one of his hands sliding up his back to place a hand atop his head, threading through his messy blond locks. “Miles… You’re always telling me I need to open up more… But you need to tell someone about your worries too.”

“I… I…” Miles choked out through his sobs, his mind far too scrambled to care he was having a breakdown in public-not that it wasn’t too uncommon in the hospital, but for someone constantly concerned about his appearance to other people, he’d usually be worried. “I did this… Ray, I…”

“What?” Ray pulled away to look at him, and though Miles wanted to bury his face back into his friend’s chest and hide his tearstained face away, he didn’t have nearly enough strength to even try. Ray’s eyes were concerned and confused as he spoke softly, “Miles… You didn’t do anything wrong. Angela has lupus, you know what that’s like. It’s practically random, Miles.” Ray let him go, and quickly, he turned away and wiped the tears from his face, even as Ray kept speaking, his voice unusually quiet and sympathetic, in a whole different way than he usually was. “You need to stop acting like you and Angela are a single person, because you aren’t,” The Spanish boy picked up his tea and nudged Miles until he picked up his own untouched food, still choking on his tears. “Miles, you need to stop blaming yourself for everything, because not everything is your fault. Lupus isn’t something you can control, and neither is Angela’s health.” He placed a hand on the blond skater’s shoulder as they began to leave, Miles still stifling tears as best as he could-he wouldn’t let Angela see him cry, or anyone else for that reason. “You need to learn how to not take on the world alone, Miles, because there are people around you that are good to you.”

Though he was still crying, much quieter at that point, and he definitely embarrassed, Miles was also exhausted and he needed a hug more than ever, so he leaned into Ray as they walked through the hospital. He heard his childhood friend sigh,  just a little bit, but he squeezed him tightly around the shoulders. “Good, okay? Now eat your donut, and remember that everything is going to be alright.”

“Well, this is definitely a Verde New Year’s Eve if I ever saw one.”

Miles smiled, just a little at Leo’s comment as the redhead walked in. He huddled closer into his sister’s side, being very careful not to pull on anything or any wires attached to her as they greeted him. He’d recovered from his breakdown that morning, from seeing his sister half-dead, and most of the self-doubt that he’d thrust upon himself was gone, probably because he was too tired to care. It was getting pretty close to midnight, and Leo was the last of them (them being Angela, Ray, Fiona, Mari, Ms. Verde, of course Leo and then, of course, Miles himself) to arrive in the small pediatric hospital room, the tv at almost full volume of the New York New Year’s broadcast and a few small bowls of chips and candies scattered about. Fiona waved him in. “Hey! You’re a little late, you know.”

“Just a little,” Leo joked, greeting Ray and the twin’s mother as he took a seat next to the short Spanish girl on the floor. “So this is what we’re doing now?”

“We couldn’t just not celebrate New Year’s,” Miles replied, his voice still raspy from all the tears he’d shed. “But Angela’s going to be here awhile, and so was our mom, so…”

“You brought the New Year’s to the hospital,” Leo remarked with a little laugh and Ray nodded with a chuckle, grabbing a handful of the candies in the bowl, tapping his fingers on the bed from his spot on the floor, centimetres away from Miles’ shin. The blond resisted the urge to grab his childhood friend’s hand-not only would it probably raise a red flag in Ray’s mind, but he’d have other eyes on him as well. It was very, very rare for Ray to ever be as sympathetic and caring as he’d been that morning, and based on previous interactions with his best friend, Miles could only assume that the Spanish boy wasn’t exactly up for multiple sappy, empathetic moments in one day.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m so in love with such a cold, distant guy when I’m the exact opposite.

Knowing Miles, and his embarrassingly romantic mind, that was probably why he liked Ray so much.

“Anyway, sorry about me being late,” Leo apologized with a sigh. “You know, my younger brother and sister have an early New Year’s because of their age, and my dad made me help out before I left because my mom’s performing with the band tonight. But I’m here now.”

“Good thing too, we were getting ridiculously outnumbered guys to girls here,” Ray hummed, his fingers still tapping aimlessly on the bed sheets. Even as Miles averted his eyes, all he could feel was the vibrations of his best friend’s digits tapping near his leg, and he tried to focus on Angela beside him instead. Perhaps because they’d been incredibly close since infancy, or perhaps because they were twins, there was a certain feeling Miles got as they connected over something insignificant, and he felt the familiar chill of when it happened as his twin sister took his hand gently, squeezing with all of her weakened strength she had. He shared a little smile with her, squeezing back and letting her nuzzle closer to him as the group in the room settled back into a calm chatter.

“So what are you wishing for in the New Year?” Angela mused, her voice still off-he could practically picture her weakened lungs half drowning in fluid, but the small blond boy decided not to focus on it that night. He made a shrugging movement-it was hard to actually shrug while laying down next to someone in a hospital bed. “You know what I want, Angie. How about you?”

“Not to get sick as much,” She replied through a petite yawn. “To skate more. To get to do your makeup for the exhibition of champions. The usual.” She craned her neck to see the others in the room. “You, Fiona? Ray, Leo, Mari, mum?”

“Uh…” Ray let out a sigh, his musical voice dropping an octave as he hummed thoughtfully. “It would be nice if Isolda got over herself and we could go back to how things were before, but I don’t really think that’s happening, so…” The Spanish boy peered up at both Miles and Angela, smiling a little. “I guess I’d like to go along to Vancouver with you two if I get the chance. And, god, my grades, of course, maybe get a job if I can stop making things for awhile.” He looked over to the twin’s mother. “Do you have anything in particular, Ms. Verde?”

“Well, Miles and Angela’s health and happiness, of course,” She glanced over to Miles and Angela, who smiled at her. “Aww, mum, thank you!”

“I’m hoping for a job too,” Mari smacked her lips as she sucked on the lollipop she had brought along with her. “I need some money. And yourself, Fiona?”

“Ah, another good semester in Canada, I suppose.” She shrugged, looking to Leo next to her. “Not really much. Leo, you’re turn.”

“Well, my turn, alright then.” Leo crossed his arms, leaning against the bedside table and shaking reddish curls out of his eyes. “I dunno. A girlfriend would be nice.”

“Leo!” Angela reached out to smack him playfully over the head, and he chuckled lightly. “Alright, alright, let me get all poetic here. I want grades, sports and for my younger sister to grow up to the point where she doesn’t want to play dress-up tea parties with me.”

“Well… We’ve certainly got a… unique range of wishes,” Ray stated after a moment, and Miles let out an amused sound, his eyes on the countdown clock-half a minute until the new year…

“Well, by the looks of it, we all survived this year,” Angela joked, though the male half of the twins nudged her with a bit of a huff. “You’re still connected to oxygen and having medicine pumped into your bloodstream. Don’t go jinxing yourself.”

“Hey, both of you be quiet,” Mari knocked on the frame of the bed to silence them as the clock on the small television mounted on the wall hit thirteen seconds. “It’s time to ring in the new year.”

Smiling along with the rest of his friends and family, Miles counted down the last ten seconds of the new year in unison with all the people in the room. He could hear the nurses and the other pediatric rooms doing the same, but he didn’t really care, glancing over to Angela as the last few seconds were upon them, her face still happy despite its obvious lack of colour and the oxygen tube still in her nose. Though he locked eyes with Ray as the last second finally passed, Miles squeezed his sister’s hand as their room, as well as much of the pediatric floor cheered, “Happy New Year!” in a bright unison that so many people rarely shared together, feeling more optimistic about the year ahead than he had in a long time.

Angela was to be in the hospital for most of the winter break, and though if it had been up to him, Miles would have stayed every moment with her, between his skating and the fact that his mother, plus Ray and Fiona wouldn’t let him stay more than a single consecutive night at the hospital, it obviously wasn’t his choice if he was constantly by his sister’s side. It really wasn’t like Angela was ever alone, considering their mother practically lived at the hospital and she knew most of the nurses and even some of the chronic pediatric patients, and despite popular belief, she actually quite liked being alone every so often. Miles knew that it really wasn’t necessary for them to be attached at the hip all the time, but he didn’t quite feel whole without her by his side… And he knew from past experience that Angela felt exactly the same. Though it was biologically impossible they came from the same egg, sometimes that was how it felt, and as Miles sighed as he finished with his exhibition of champions routine, glancing over to where Angela was usually watching and cheering him on from behind the boards. Maybe some would call it a warped form of separation anxiety, but he felt empty and unnerved knowing that his twin sister was sitting in an empty hospital room, hooked up to monitors, antibodies and oxygen.

It was very odd to think it was January already, and that there were only a few days before they’d be back at school-and that time was running short when it came to the world championships. In two months, he’d be preparing to be on the world’s stage of the most talented skaters.

In two months, Ray will be sixteen… He’ll be able to drive and drink out with his family… And legally have sex with anyone…

Miles felt his cheeks heat up at the thought of Ray having sex-whether it was with or without him, it was an odd thought, and something he’d rather not picture, for one reason or another. It also didn’t help in the short blond’s desperate attempt to forget that he was almost a year younger than his best friend.

I’m nearly a whole goddamn year behind Ray, physically and mentally, it seems like sometimes…

Physically speaking, Miles had never been sure if his petite form and even tinier height was a blessing or a curse, especially as he practiced just the quadruple axel part of his performance. When it came to skating, it was a massive asset and had helped him out more than once or twice (it had also been a plus he’d stopped growing very early on and didn’t have to deal with massive fluctuating sizes through his adolescence). And though as a younger child, he’d enjoyed being called cute, the effect had worn off with every year he gained, especially as Ray began to grow (and probably still had another inch or two to go by the looks of it). He looked like a child compared to Ray, who was often mistaken for a senior or a university student. The blond boy knew that Angela had similar issues about her appearance as well, though hers being her lack of curves and generally flat chest, especially considering their mother was particularly lucky when it came to feminine genes.

You’re here to skate, not to wish you looked different, so skate.

It took nothing more to snap Miles out of his negative daze, and he prepared himself to begin the main routine with his usual habit-cracking his neck, rolling his shoulders back and two taps on the ice with his right toe pick. Ezra called it a fidgety, unprofessional habit. He simply called it his lucky little start, something that helped him perform better. Whether it actually helped or not, he didn’t know, but the blond knew that it only felt right to begin after he’d done his little routine beforehand. Only after the toe pick had stirred up the ice for the second time did Miles start the music on his phone and begin his performance piece.

His skating was getting better every day it felt like, especially over the break. Even without Angela around, or unfortunately Ray, sometimes even Miles needed a break from the people he cared for, just a moment with him, the music and his skates. The first part of his ‘Anyway You Want It’ performance was near flawless at that point, consisting of the more fun, dance-like part of his routine. No massive jumps, no spins or whirls that were too difficult, just the artistic element of his performance. It wasn’t until just before the quadruple axel did things get difficult, starting with the build of momentum. His body was beginning to memorize the motions bit by bit, and as he launched himself up, Miles decided to rely on muscle memory, just to see how far he’d come. Ezra had said something once about nothing being near enough to perfect until he could perform half asleep, and though Miles wasn’t sure how much of the statement was true, he knew that he did much better when he didn’t have to think about his every move..

Unfortunately, he didn’t quite seem to be there yet, and the small skater hissed in both irritation and pain as he fell hard from a spin that wasn’t quite compact enough. His fingers, elbows and knees had become bruised over the past months due to the unusual amount of falls he was having, and every touch, even the brush of fingers over his skin, was sensitive and painful. Shaking his head with a sigh, Miles stood up on the ice, brushing shavings off his sweats. He needed to be better. There was no way he could perform at the world championships with a fall from such a large jump. It would put him out of commission for the rest of the competition, and he needed his name on the radar that year. Miles practically yanked out his earbuds, wishing he had Angela or Ray or even Fiona cheering him on at the sidelines. Though he was facing away from the boards, everything seemed too quiet and empty without them.

“Hey, you are here.”

“Huh?” As if on cue, Miles jumped at the familiar voice, turning to the boards to see Mari leaning on the boards, her face unamused and intimidating as usual. Miles had to admit, she had quite the attractive body, she had a very rock-punk like style and a popular girl mindset, something that attracted more than one clique and more than one type of boy. As usual, she had a sucker in her mouth as she smirked at him. “Hey, Blondie, what’s cracking?”

“Mari… Why are you here?” Miles sighed, skating to the boards to face her, his arms crossed over his chest. The Spanish girl shrugged, grinning cheekily at him, and unlike him, Angela, Ray and Fiona, she cut straight to the point-”So why are you and Ray suddenly not attached at the hip anymore?”

“I…” Miles was taken aback, and though he could feel the tips of his ears heating up, tried to suppress it and stutter out, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Please, Blondie.” Mari took the lollipop from her mouth, pointing it at him lazily. “I love you, and you’re *censored*ing adorable, but you aren’t a good liar, especially when it comes to me.”

The small blond skater hesitated, contemplating playing the innocent card again-it was hard to lie to Mari, perhaps even more so than Fiona (who seemed to be a mindreader). With an unimpressed sigh, he replied, “It’s just something Angela and Fiona think, but other than that, I have no idea.”

“Alrighty, we’re getting somewhere,” Mari encouraged, though she sounded somewhat condescending as usual. Miles decided to ignore it as she asked, “Are you going to tell me what exactly what Angela and Fiona think?”

“Mari, please tell me why in the world you care.”

The rocker girl grinned at him. “No. So please, go on.”

Miles rolled his eyes, tapping his toe pick on the ice but replied flatly, “They think Ray’s jealous of me and Fiona, though I’d much prefer if you didn’t go around telling people.”

Mari blinked in surprise, her long eyelashes batting, though Miles couldn’t tell if it was intentional or not and decided it was another thing about her he wasn’t about to question. With a hum, she replied curiously, “Damn, it hasn’t been very long after Isolda, has it? And Fiona…” She shook her head with a smile. “Well, I guess that’s something new to think about, huh? I never knew Ray got jealous.”

“Exactly!” The short blond skater agreed with a huff. “I don’t believe it for a second.”

“Well, I guess I won’t rule it out for now, but wow.” She let out a whistle, shaking her head with a little smirk. “Anyway, I’m on my way to the bus stop, so tell Ray if he comes by, ‘aight?” Miles nodded, even though he was sure Ray would notice his little sister before he came to the rink or the Verde’s. “See you, Blondie, and thanks for the info!” She practically sang over her shoulder as she left the rink, and the French boy rolled his eyes-he really had never understood Mari in the slightest, even less than he understood Ray. Both of them were mysterious, though in their completely different ways, and though Miles had never met their father (whom he made sure not to ask about too much), he always wondered if the Spanish side of the family was as confusing as they were.

Why can’t all my friends just be normal? It would make things so much easier...

With a sigh, Miles shook his head, slipping in his earbuds again as he skated out into the middle of the ice to perfect his technique and clear his head.

The break was boring, other than his skating, and he found himself back at the rink before the week had ended. Miles could skate for hours-hell, he would skate for hours, even if it was just laps around the rink. He’d always felt more comfortable in his skates rather than off the ice, and as he did another round of the familiar, homey rink, his earbuds amped up to full volume and an extra step or hop to the beat every so often, he yawned. His legs hurt, and he was simply waiting out the ache so he could begin to practice again. He needed his routine to be nearing perfect, and he needed it soon, even if it meant skating alone for hours on end. It was nice to be free of the constant pestering of his friends too, and there was a sense of freedom that came with being alone at the rink.

A freedom that disappeared as soon as it had hit him as his eyes landed on Ray standing at the boards. Miles jumped, nearly falling backwards in surprise as he took out his earbuds. “What the hell, you scared me!”

“How long have you been here?” Ray ignored his statement, his voice unimpressed. “Forget that, you’re obviously tired. Take a goddamn break, Miles, it won’t kill you.”

Miles crossed his arms over his chest-he was tired of dealing with Ray trying to work his way into his career. He was the skater, and he was the one performing. Stubbornly, he shook his head. “No. My routine needs work.”

“Work tomorrow,” Ray persisted, though his voice was infuriatingly flat-sometimes the blond wondered if he ever got through to his old friend. “Miles. You’re going to hurt yourself with how hard you’re working.”

“No, I’m going to win.” He argued, feeling tension lace his words. “You don’t compete Ray, you can’t get this.”

“I can understand the gist of it,” The taller teen replied, his voice unreadable, but his expression was obviously unamused. “And I know how sports work. You aren’t Superman. And you don’t need to win so bad that you hurt yourself. It’s your first championships.”

“Yes I do!” Miles could feel the emotion in his voice become thicker as the volume rose. “You don’t get it, Ray, I need this win. My mom and my sister need this win!”

Ray stared at him for a moment, before shaking his head with a sigh and turning to leave. “You’re so stubborn. Do you know where Fiona is?”

“Obviously not here.”

“I get it. You’re pissed, sorry I got your goddamn panties in a twist.” Ray’s voice wasn’t exactly… upset, but it was bordering on anger, something Miles hadn’t heard in a long time. With a grumble, the short skater replied, “I shouldn’t have shouted. But I’m right, Ray. This win is a must.”

“You stand by your opinion, I’ll stand by mine.” The Spanish boy said simply as he began to leave. “But if you push yourself much harder you’ll hurt yourself.” Without another word, Ray exited the rink, a thick, tense atmosphere left behind him. For a moment, Miles stood in place, his arms still crossed over his chest. He wanted the win. He needed the win. He could do it, and he was going to do it. With a crack of his neck, a backwards roll of his shoulders and a couple quick taps of his toe pick, Miles pressed the ‘play’ button on his earbuds and began to practice again.
I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2018, 08:46:32 PM »
Might as well get this over with. 9. I'll work on bringing it up to date when I post the last chapter

January meant two things-New Year’s and exams, and the grand majority of the high school population only ever looked forward to one, Miles, Ray and Angela included. But while the first month of the year was generally depressing, February was a much more interesting month, to Miles at least. Between Valentine’s Day (which was only interesting to watch for the short blond, but was entertaining nevertheless) and exam results near the end of the month that generally drew in a much bigger crowd and gamble than the midterms, it was definitely a more lighthearted month. Miles chuckled as Fiona dumped a stash of heart-shaped candies on the table in the cafeteria. “Enjoying yourself, Fiona?”

“Being flirted with constantly?” She short Spanish girl replied, offering a small tin of candy hearts to Miles, who slid over a couple chocolates he’d received-though he didn’t get as much as Ray, Leo or Angela when it came to Valentine’s Day sweets, he got a lot of chocolate from the freshmen and seniors he knew through dance, which he still didn’t like very much. The blond offered the rest of the chocolate to Ray, who took a couple. “I don’t really like it, but free candy, so whatever.” She offered him a couple lollipops that he eagerly took as he popped a couple of the hard candies in his mouth-why couldn’t the freshmen give me these? They’re so much better than chocolate!-and he happily accepted, pocketing them. Fiona glanced to Ray, who’d finished his lunch far before either of them. “Do you get a lot of stuff, Ray?”

Ray shrugged, taking a bite of the milk chocolate heart. “I take all of Miles’ chocolate ‘cause he doesn’t like it.”

“In other words, he does,” Miles replied simply-either Ray was completely oblivious to how many admirers he had, or he was far too humble for his own good, and considering on how intelligent the young Spaniard was, the blond had to bet on the latter. “But he usually takes all my chocolate anyway.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” Fiona held out a hand, raising an eyebrow and cocking her head, her dark curls bobbing as she did. “Miles, you don’t like chocolate? What the hell? How?”

While Ray simply shrugged, finishing off the chocolate Miles had given him, the blond boy himself laughed a little, smiling at the Spanish girl. “What? How do you not know this about me? I hate chocolate!”

What?” Fiona’s voice was more shocked than Miles had ever heard it, and he laughed even more as Ray shrugged again, opening another chocolate, agreeing, “I have no idea. Chocolate’s the best.”

“You… You just look like you’d love chocolate!” The Spanish girl’s voice was still shocked, Miles had to bite back chuckles as he popped another couple of the candy hearts in his mouth, savouring the taste of candy over the smell of chocolate from beside him. He shrugged. “I get that a lot. Angela loves chocolate, though.”

“Speaking of which,” Ray hummed, his dark brown eyes free of bangs (he’d gotten a haircut over the exam days, and though Miles had liked his signature messy hair long, it didn’t look half bad). “Where is Angela?”

“I actually think she might be on the phone with Cole,” Miles replied with a hum. “They’ve been talking a lot lately.”

“Who’s Cole?” Fiona asked, taking unwrapping one of the chocolates the blond boy had given her (Miles could feel his nose being assaulted by the smell), and Ray shrugged again. “I’m not exactly sure, actually. Miles and Angela’s figure skating friends, I think.”

Miles nodded, crunching another candy happily between his teeth-he’d recently run out of saltwater taffy from his birthday, and he’d missed the constant sugar he’d had from the sweets. “Finnish American kids. Clem’s fourteen and Cole is sixteen, and I’m pretty sure that him and Angela have some serious sexual tension going on, even though Fay seems kind of weirdly into her too.”

“Ooh, another love triangle, I see?”

Another love triangle?” Ray asked, raising an eyebrow, and though Miles felt a sudden rush of panic, Fiona simply waved it off. “It’s not important. But this Cole guy… That sounds much more important than any of our petty drama!”

“It isn’t really… drama,” The blond boy corrected, pressing another candy to his lips as he spoke-he was running out pretty quickly. “Especially considering no one really knows who Cole is… Or that Angela’s probably got a thing for him. Speaking of which,” He popped the last small hard candy in his mouth as he spoke. “I’d probably opt into not bringing it up with her. For my sake, of course.”

“Of course, I almost forgot that you’re the plot-protected protagonist that we constantly have to be on the side of,” Ray said sarcastically, licking his lips as he finished the last of his sweets too, before nudging him gently. “I’ll keep quiet if you give me more chocolate, though.”

“Ooh, me too,” Fiona added, holding out a hand. “I’d like some more chocolate too, and you want me to keep my mouth shut, so…”

“Whatever, you guys,” The blond boy sighed, tossing the rest of his chocolate on the table and biting back a laugh as Fiona practically pounced on it. “I don’t like chocolate, so it’s kind of a win-win.”

“Thank you, Miles!” Fiona chirped cheerfully, and Miles found he couldn’t hold his amusement back, smiling back. Ray nudged him again, asking quietly, “Hey, are you looking to do anything for Valentine’s Day?”

“Huh?” Though logically Miles knew  Ray definitely wasn’t asking him out, his brain sure as hell could try and believe it. Clearing his throat, he shook his head. “No. I don’t know if you noticed Ray, not only am I single and barely five feet tall, but I’m also competing in the world championships in a month, and that generally takes priority over my nonexistent love life.”

“Well,” Ray was smiling in amusement as he took another bite of chocolate. “That was a wordy sentence. I was just asking. No need to get your feathers all ruffled.

“My feathers are not ruffled.”

“His feathers are definitely ruffled,” Fiona replied with a bit of a laugh in her voice, and Miles shot a look her way. Her hands flew up defensively, though she was obviously biting back giggles. “Okay! Okay, okay, I’m sorry, please don’t take my chocolate!”

“I’m not going to take your chocolate, trust me,” Miles replied as he stood up, grabbing his bag and jacket from the back of his chair, plucking another tin of candy hearts from in front of Fiona as he passed by, ignoring her squeak of protest. “But I’ll have that, thank you-and see you in math.”

February was a fast-paced month, perhaps because everything decided to be a little easier on the students in the area, and perhaps for Miles personally because it meant that the figure skating season was coming to its climax, to the peak… To the most important moments of the performer’s lives. Though it had been the sixteenth when him, Ray and Fiona had gotten together at lunch to trade off candies and chocolates, it had been just short of a week when Miles realized that exam results were coming in again the next day, and that the month was nearly over. As he stretched on the living room floor, feeling his back and shoulders crack in satisfaction as he pressed his chest to the floor without moving his bottom half (he didn’t stretch enough, and both he and Ezra knew it), he remarked, “Ray’s birthday is coming up.”

“Oh, yeah, it is, isn’t it?” Angela mused, and though he couldn’t see her, he definitely felt her as she gently pushed on his back, wincing a little at the extra weight. “Lower. Your ribs need to almost touch the floor.”

“Ow, Angela…”

“If it hurts, you aren’t stretching nearly enough, and you know that,” She replied simply, pressing on his back for another few seconds before letting him straighten up, rolling his shoulders back. “He did something really nice for us, so we should probably do the same for him, right?”

“Yeah,” Angela nodded as he brought his hands to reach to the side, parallel with his right leg as he touched his toes, letting out an unamused grunt as his twin sister grabbed his hands, pulling him a little farther than he already was. “But Ray’s… He doesn’t like the same things we do.”

“Mhm.” Miles hummed in agreement-not only was he constantly nervous that his best friend wouldn’t like a particular gift or celebration, but Ray was hard to pin down, and definitely wasn’t as open as he and Angela were.

“Doesn’t his birthday fall right before the championships this year?” Angela asked as he switched sides, pushing down on his shoulder to force him to stretch a little more, and he rolled his eyes. “Don’t you have something to do? Homework or something before tomorrow?”

She laughed. “No. But when do the championships start and finish again?”

“The fifteenth of March to the nintee…” Miles trailed off, suddenly realizing Angela was right-his birthday was literally the day before the championships started, and while Miles knew they wouldn’t be leaving until the fifteenth, considering the men’s performances were taking place on the eighteenth, it was undeniably close. “Well, that could be a problem.”

“We could bring him along to Vancouver,” Angela suggested, letting him rise up again. He shrugged, bringing his arm up over his head to stretch out his shoulders. “I mean, I was gonna pay for that myself anyway, so that could seem super cheap…”

“I think that you’re worrying about it too much,” Angela teased, mussing his hair as she stood up. “But it’s very cute you’re so concerned.”

Miles rolled his eyes, but said nothing, continuing to stretch as his twin sister left the room. Life was about to get a lot more complicated, and he was going to be as ready for it as he could.

“Are you excited for exam results?”

“Eh,” Leo shrugged as they walked into the school, which was warm compared to the chilly December snow outside. “On one hand, I get a crappy mark. On the other, I get money. So I dunno, you tell me.”

“I think I did fairly well,” Fiona’s tone was cheerful, or at least trying to be-Miles could detect a hint of worry in her voice. “But I think Ray’s probably going to still beat out all of us by a landslide.”

“No, Miles and Angela are still far better in French than I am,” Ray replied with a sigh as they headed to their usual places-art and foreign language. “If he doesn’t come out on top I’ll be a little disappointed, I think.”

“Me too,” Miles half-joked, though he knew, in reality, he’d probably lose an ounce or so of his limited self-esteem if he dropped down to second or third in French. Anxiety swam in his gut just thinking about the possibility, and though he knew he was setting his expectations ridiculously high, he couldn’t help it. He wasn’t good at much other than his skating, but he could always count on his French to be there.

“Well, assuming we betted on the same people…” Leo hummed as the edged their way through the people in front of the art bulletin board. Miles strained to see over the two people in front of him, cursing his short genes. “It looks like Fabian just had an off day at midterms, because he came out on top, and-wow, what an upset for dance!”

“Let me see!” Miles whined, pushing past Leo to see for himself, reading aloud as he put his finger to the page. “From the top three up, Kylie Nivins, Fiona Apelchetta and Miles Verde, with 89%, 93% and 97%, respectively.” The blond boy glanced back to Fiona, who stood next to Angela. “Wow, you really are a good dancer, aren’t you?”

“Damn straight I am!” Fiona’s accented chirp was proud, and Miles laughed a little. Leo hummed his approval from behind him. “Well. That’s impressive, but we’ve gotta check French too,” The redhead nudged him, and Miles turned away. “I’ve got a bet or two to win.”

Predictably, Miles had come out on top when it came to French too, though Angela had dropped a place or two, to her dismay. Cas had come very close his score of 98%, with a 97.2% score of his own, and though at another time, it would have triggered some sort of anxiety within him, he was confident he’d be on top for the next year or so. Ray had actually beaten out Angela for the first time since they’d entered high school, and though the short blonde girl had congratulated him, Miles could sense she was a little more than disappointed with the result. Nothing else had exactly been a surprise-for the first term, it was generally the same kids who came out on top. Though as usual, Miles hadn’t made any bets, Angela and Ray had won all of their carefully placed ones, and it was fun to watch them celebrate with the little bit of pocket change they’d made. Overall, Miles’ grade had been about an 91%, which wasn’t half bad, even if Ray’s average had been a good percentage or two above his. Leo hadn’t done too badly either (for his standards at least), and despite the fact she was very obviously disappointed, Angela had maintained her low ‘A’ average too. Fiona had come out below Angela but far above Leo, with dance being her highest mark, though she seemed happy about it. In other words, it was a good exam result day, something that Miles knew didn’t happen every time, and the small blond boy found he was smiling in the chilly winter air as he and his friends walked home.

“You seem in good spirits, Miles,” Fiona remarked, and though he was quite obviously smiling broadly, Miles nodded, pushing long hair out of his eyes. “Yeah, I guess I am. It’s been a good month, you know? A nice calm before the storm.”

“The storm?” The short Spanish girl cocked her head, leaning into Miles ever so slightly as a frosty wind blew, picking up the powdery snow that coated the ground and whipping it about. “What storm?”

“It’s an idiom,” Ray replied, his tone as serious and laced with hidden emotion as usual-sometimes Miles wished he would show a little more of it rather than keep everything locked away. “February is what we consider the easy month… After that school gets harder again, my birthday comes up and the world championships happen… Though I guess it’s even more important this year.”

“Yeah, March is generally a pretty hectic month,” Angela agreed as they crossed the intersection. “And this year it’s a little more so because of the Vancouver trip.”

“Hey, about that.” Fiona glanced up to Miles, her dark eyes inquisitive. “Can I come with you?”

“Can you…” For a moment, Miles fell silent-he hadn’t been expecting that in the least. He glanced over to Angela, who shrugged, before back to Spanish girl beside him. “Fiona…”

“I can pay for it myself!” She added, obviously enthusiastic about the idea. “My parents gave me a little bit of money to spend before I left, and I had a job in Spain… I have money saved up, I can pay!”

“Hey, while we’re on the topic, I’d like a trip to Vancouver too,” Ray added, and though the Spanish boy was half-joking, Miles could very easily detect some unidentifiable emotion in his voice-was Ray jealous? Either way, Miles answered a little sheepishly, “I was going to have you come with us and that be my present to you… But I didn’t know if…”

“Are you kidding? A trip to Vancouver sounds great.” Ray smiled a little at him. “If you’re offering, that sounds like a great birthday present.”

“Well, I…” Miles hesitated for a moment, before letting out a little laugh. “I’ve got to ask Ezra, because he books plane tickets and hotel rooms for me, but…” He glanced down to Angela, who shared his disbelieving amused expression. “I guess we’re all going to Vancouver then!”

“Yay!” Both Angela and Fiona cheered, their enthusiastic voices sounding incredibly childish-not that Miles minded terribly. He glanced over to Ray. “You should tell your mom before it’s like the day before we leave.”

Ray smiled a little. “No promises. Hey, thanks, Miles, you really shouldn’t have.”

“‘Shut up and accept your damn gift’” The short blond skater mimicked, and Ray chuckled lightly, replying with his musical voice dripping with sarcasm, “You’re freaking hilarious, Bubbles.”

Miles grinned right back at his best friend, putting his stupid crush out of his head and deciding to enjoy the moment. “I know.”

“Wow, you’re going to have quite the entourage, Miles.”

“Guess I am,” He replied, though the thought made him smile-he really did care for his friends, and it was good to know that they were willing to fly to the other side of the country to see him skate, especially considering figure skating wasn’t the most exciting of sports. “Is that okay?”

“Yeah, it’s probably good for you to know you have friends in the audience,” Ezra replied, jotting down things on his notepad. “It’s awfully nice of you to pay for Ray and your mother to come, though.”

“I have the money,” Miles shrugged, launching himself into a triple axel. “And it’s Ray’s sixteenth birthday. Sixteen is an important one.”

“So is fifteen,” Ezra reminded him as he landed, nodding in approval. “Especially for skaters. I’m assuming you and Ray are sharing a room, then, right?”

Though he nodded out of habit-it wasn’t the first time Ray had come along-he hesitated. Though he and Ray had slept in the same room (hell, they’d slept in the same bed as children), it had been a while- since before Miles’ crush on him had developed.

“Yes? Miles, I gotta plan this now.”

“Y-yes!” Miles replied, his voice cracking-not that it made too much difference considering how young and high it was already compared to Leo and Ray’s. “Yeah. And I guess Fiona and Angela can share too…”

“That leaves your mother,” Ezra hummed lightly, replying to himself before the small French skater got a chance. “Well, I can talk to her on what she’d like. Now, about you.” The kind man glanced up to Miles with a little smile. “How about you, Miles? Are you excited? Three weeks or so until you’re on the ice… Time sure flies, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah…” Miles mused-time had gone by incredibly fast. It seemed like Fiona had arrived and he’d crashed into her mere days before, but also like she’d been around forever. His birthday also seemed like that happened just the week before, when in reality, both him and Angela were fifteen years and two months.

“I guess I’m pretty nervous,” He admitted with a sigh, adjusting his sweats. “I really want to do this right.”

“Well, since you’re so worried,” Ezra put down the pen and pad of paper on the boards and grabbed the small bluetooth speaker. “I guess we can practice your routine one more time, alright?” Miles nodded enthusiastically, but his coach held out a hand to stop him from speaking as he stepped behind the boards and off the ice. “I mean it, Miles, the moment you’re done with this, you get changed, go home, eat and sleep.” He leaned against the boards as the small blond boy rolled his eyes, taking on his starting position. “None of this ridiculous overworking bull I’ve been hearing from Ray and your sister, alright?”

Miles opened mouth to reply, though scowled as Ezra started the song, intentionally cutting him off as he began to skate. “Smile!” His coach shouted over the beat from the boards, and though he wished he could disobey, he forced a smile-a smile that to his dismay, turned from an obviously forced one to a real, relaxed one as he glided across the ice, feeling his a calm content feeling come over him as he skated to the beat of the music.

I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2018, 09:09:25 PM »
Ch. 10. Hopefully my formatting's ok.

The week before March break usually dragged on when it came to high school students, and Miles was usually no exception-though that year in particular, it had gone in the blink of an eye for him. His nerves were high as the school week finished, and even the first few days of the spring break were a fast haze of double checking everything from plane tickets to costumes and practicing for hours on end (even though Ezra had insisted he focus more on sleep and his diet). Angela was also having him run through his routines with different styles of makeup and hair, to see what stuck (literally and figuratively) and what didn’t, and Ezra was making him work out the tiny, almost unidentifiable kinks in his routines as well. Though Miles was undeniably stressed and nervous, he really couldn’t deny that he was excited. What he’d been preparing for for months was finally coming, and he was tingling with nerves as he tossed things in his suitcase on the fifteenth of that month. As he reached for the clothes that Angela had folded on his bed (though he did a fair share of the household chores, she tended to the laundry) he hesitated as he caught a glimpse of his phone under the pile. For a moment, he bit his lip, wondering if Ray really would have appreciated a call for his birthday, considering he had to have been packing for the next day as well, though before he could decide, he realized he had the phone between his ear and his shoulder, ringing as he waited for his best friend to pick up. He continued to pack, though felt his heart flutter and skip as Ray picked up, clearing his throat before musing, “Hey.”

“H-hey!” Miles replied, cursing the stutter in his voice as he placed his clothing in the suitcase. “What’s up?”

“Oh. Nothing really.”

“I-I know that we agreed we could celebrate in Vancouver, but today is still your birthday, so, I…” He felt his face heating up rapidly-Ray was already quiet and introverted enough, and though he was wordy, and definitely liked to talk when it fancied him, their conversations often fell flat. “Happy birthday, Ray.”

“Aww, well thank you.” Ray’s voice was light and a lot less serious than it usually was, and the musicality in his tone was beautiful, none of which was helping Miles’ weak heart from melting into a puddle. “You didn’t need to.”

“I…” It took a moment of silence, before Miles replied, with a little bit of a huff, “Are you mocking me?”

“Yes, at least a little bit,” He laughed, his voice and demeanor much freer than usual, which wasn’t uncommon on the phone-plus it was still his birthday after all. “I couldn’t help it. But I really do mean it. You must be swamped with things to do tonight.”

“Well, yeah,” Miles replied, shoving the rest of his clothing in the bag and grabbing a couple books, as well as his video game console and the charger. Angela would have the laptop (and despite the fact he’d argued he wasn’t a child anymore, Ezra had insisted he take Miles’ costumes, even though Angela was very much allowed to carry all his makeup, hair products and accessories), and his mother would have both of their legal papers. He was responsible for everything else, plus making sure Fiona and Ray would be out of the house in time.

“It’s still your sixteenth birthday, Ray,” He replied, sitting on the floor against his bed and running fingers through his hair with his free hand. “You’re sixteen now! What are you gonna do?”

“What am I gonna do…?” He hummed, his voice still friendly and soft-Miles couldn’t help but wonder if Ray could secretly sing, based on how beautiful and lyrical his voice was. It was such a nice change to have him so… open and more carefree. “Well… I guess I could sell some of my spare crap now… And I’m allowed to drink at restaurants and sleep around if I feel the need…” Miles felt his heart clench at the thought of his best friend in bed with a girl, even as the Spanish boy laughed lightly over the phone. “I really don’t think I’ll be doing much of any of that. I guess the only thing I’m really looking forward to is getting my license as soon as the snow melts.”

“Yeah…” Miles sighed-Ray was nearly a year older than him and Angela, and there was no way around it.

“Anyway, I really should get around to packing.”

“What?” The blond boy laughed a little. “You haven’t started?”

“I think I’ll use the power of today being my birthday and decide not to answer that question and go back to my packing, that may or may not have been started,” Ray replied, his voice amused, and the French skater nodded with a smile. “Fine. Do that, I want to be on time for the flight tomorrow.”

“Okay, I’m going.” There was a hesitation from the teen on the other side of the phone, before he murmured quietly, “Thanks again, Miles.”

“Of course,” Miles was smiling, even through his excessive blushing, and though he knew Ray couldn’t see it, apparently it was easy to hear his expressions in his voice. “We are best friends, you know.”

Ray chuckled, probably at how cheesy he’d suddenly gotten, but replied simply, “I know. Bye.”

“Seeya.” The blond boy let out a big breath as he hung up, his heart all over the place and his brain utterly scrambled. It had been a long time since they’d been alone together, whether it be over the phone or otherwise, and it had taken all of his willpower to keep his idiotic feelings quiet and resist blurting out his affections towards Ray. Obviously, his little crush had grown a little out of control, and even though he really did enjoy his time with Ray, it was tearing him apart inside.

How am I going to survive five hours on a plane with him and a hotel room for half a week?

“Hey, Miles, do you have the-wow.” Miles turned towards the door of his room at Angela’s voice, biting her lip at her smirk and glittering blue eyes. “Damn, did I interrupt you or something? You’re bright red!” She put her hands on her hips, stepping to the side as he threw a paperback book at her. “Close your door if you’re going to-”

“Don’t even try and accuse me,” Miles huffed a little harsher than usual because of the stress. The implication didn’t help his bright red cheeks and ears settle either. “I was on the phone with Ray. What do you need, Angela?”

“Hey, you…” Angela’s face turned concerned, and she sat in front of him on the floor, taking his face in her hands and pressing their foreheads together, something they’d to as children especially when they’d still lived in France with their tyrant of a father, or when the male half of them would have anxiety attacks-something that seemed to be on the horizon with all the stress. Miles felt a certain calmness come over him as he put his own hands on top of hers, the tips of their noses brushing. He let out a sigh, as they sat in complete silence for a moment or two, the familiar, warm, fuzzy feeling of being together washing over them both.

After a calming silence, Angela pulled away, just a little bit, and Miles opened his eyes in unison with his twin sister, their nearly identical blue-green eyes locked on each other. She smiled a little bit at him. “Miles. You’re going to be alright.”

He smiled back at her, small but caring, echoing, “I’m going to be alright.”

“Good.” She leaned forward to hug him tightly, and he imitated her actions, nestling deep into her shoulder, the smell of her tangerine shampoo lingering in her hair and the scent of the hospital no longer clinging to her. Though people were both envious and more often than not completely weirded out by how close they were, Miles found it perfectly normal how much time they spent together… How much undeniable love they had for each other, to put it in his mother’s words. Though there was a stark difference between his puppy love for Ray and his brotherly love for Angela, both of them existed, even if people made incest jokes or teased them about it all being an act, and Miles had another grateful moment as he realized what a good sister he’d scored.

“Pack up,” Angela stood up, squeezing his hand once more as she began to leave his room. “Mom made dinner, and you should eat before you go to bed-early, remember?”

“Hey, you too!” Miles reminded her, and she laughed a little, nodding. “Alright, alright, I promise. Hurry up, brother of mine.”

“Hey, Angela?”

His twin sister turned, her reassuring smile still present. “Yes?”

“What was the thing you wanted?”

“Oh, right!” She clapped her hands together, as if she was remembering something very important. “The face paint! I think I left it in here yesterday when I was practicing, and I’m nearly all packed and didn’t want to forget it.”

“Oh, uh…” Miles bit his lip, standing up to take a look at his messy desk, which was littered with school papers and old routines-the face paint (which wasn’t used very often) was perhaps his most defining feature when it came to competitions, the snowflake on his jawbone under his left ear something he’d skated with since his second junior championships. Though it hadn’t originally been done by Angela, she’d taught herself well, and he’d want no one but his sister doing his makeup for the world championships. The face paint, however, was essential to Angela’s usual makeup routine, and it would be a waste of both time and money if they forgot the kit at home and had to buy another expensive set of professional face paint in Vancouver.

“Here!” The blond skater pulled the face paint kit out from under a few old versions of the routines he’d been perfecting. Carefully, he placed it in his sister’s hands, knowing how delicate it was. She grinned at him. “Thanks! Hurry up so we can eat dinner together, okay?”

“Alright,” He promised, turning to finish packing as she left his room. “You hurry up too! We need to wake up early tomorrow.”

“I get it, I get it!” Miles chuckled at the blonde girl’s exasperated reply from down the hallway, kneeling to finish packing his suitcase, feeling a hell of a lot better about the next day.

Though Ray was a great cook, from experience Miles knew that the women in his family were better, even if it was only by a fraction. Angela had obviously inherited his mother’s knack for cooking anything to perfection, and though he did enjoy his sister’s cooking, The blond skater knew that both him and his sister preferred their mother’s cooking over anything else. Though she could cook some Filipino dishes from her childhood, they generally preferred fried fish or seafood that their mother had become so good at cooking-like the salmon that night. There was mostly silence as the three of them ate, both of the twins scarfing down food ravenously, Angela’s usual appetite unchanged and Miles having eaten nothing all day because of the stress. Their mother made a small noise of amusement as she finished her own, smaller dinner. “You guys are pretty hungry.”

“Gotta be ready to fly out tomorrow,” Angela replied simply as she finished her own plate (Miles was shocked, considering he’d sworn he was eating just as fast as her, and a smaller portion on top of it). She was smiling happily. “Are you excited, mom? Miles is performing in the world championships in a few days!”

“Well, of course!” The Filipino woman’s warm gaze fell on her son as he slowly chewed another bite of delicious lemon pepper fish. “You two are my babies! You two have finally made it, you know?”

“Aww, mum, we couldn’t have gotten this far without such a great mother, you know,” Angela replied, looking remarkably like their mother for a wild moment, despite the obvious physical differences. “I’m really glad you can come to Vancouver with us.”

“Yeah,” Miles agreed as he lifted one of the last bites of his meal to his lips, nodding. “It really means everything to know you’ll be watching mom.”

“Well, I’m glad you two are happy,” She hugged them both around the shoulders tightly as she took their empty plates to wash in the sink-though Angela immediately sprung up. “Oh, no mum, I really can wash the dishes, you should get some sleep before tomorrow morning.”

“No, Angela, I think you should get some sleep,” She laughed lightly, turning on the tap and grabbing the sponge to begin to wash the plates. Miles stood up too, opening his own mouth to protest, but he was beaten to it, his mother not even looking up as she continued, “You too, Miles. You’re gonna be stressed out for the next few days and we’re going to be going to a whole different timezone,” She pointed out, pushing her beautiful dark brown hair out of her face as she washed the dishes. “You’re going to need all the sleep you can get, hun, so you go do that.” She smiled over at both of them, standing side by side. “Don’t wait up for me. And both of you look like you’re going to be up with nerves all night, so sleep together if you want-but don’t get into any trouble, okay?” Both the twins nodded, somewhat reluctantly, moving in almost perfect unison to hug their mother. Miles sighed, stifling a yawn-he’d been up for a good thirteen or fourteen hours by then, and had been stressed throughout the entire thing up until his call with Ray. “Goodnight, mom.”

“Goodnight.” She dried her hands to momentarily halt her washing and hug them both tight. “I love you both.”

“Love you too, mum!” Angela chirped as they left the kitchen to walk down the hall to the staircase. Angela blinked at him as they began to climb the stairs, cocking her head. “Are we sleeping in one room?”

Miles shrugged-even if it brought back a feeling of protection and childhood (they’d slept in the same bed until they were eight because of their previous life in France), they were getting older, and though he knew neither him nor Angela particularly minded sleeping together, he knew that it was frowned upon, even by each other sometimes. “If you want to. I don’t mind.”

“I think you’ll wake up with an anxiety attack or something, or you won’t sleep at all,” Angela replied as they reached the top of the stairs, where the hall branched into their rooms. “So go get changed and come sleep in my room where I can keep an eye on you.”

“Well, fine then,” He replied, going into his room to change into pajamas, though he was smiling. He missed spending time with Angela, and it had been cut even shorter with the haste in preparing both for Ray’s birthday, and the world championships. With a sigh, he plugged in his phone, checked his skating bag, suitcase and carry on bag one more time (they were leaving quite early) before stripping down to change into sleeping wear. He caught a glance of himself in the mirror in the hallway as he passed by the upstairs bathroom, deciding to put it up-it was ridiculously long at that point, and he was beginning to look a lot like Angela-a lot like any short blond girl, really. He shook his head and sighed as he did, knocking on Angela’s open door as he did. “Hey, we need sleep, Angela, it’s going on half past eight…”

“Hmm?” Angela glanced up from where she was perched on the edge of her bed, phone in hand. She herself was clad in an oversized t-shirt and girl’s boxer shorts, her hair tied into cute pigtails. “Yeah, yeah… Uh, Cole’s… Cole Clem and their coach are staying at the Harbour Hotel too… They just arrived.”

“Seriously?” Miles sat next to her, leaning over her shoulder-sure enough Cole’s texts didn’t lie, and according to them, he and the younger Finnish girl had arrived in the same hotel they were staying in less than ten minutes before. He blinked, suddenly feeling extra protective of his twin sister, though rather than voicing his concerns, pointed to a few of the previous texts. “Winky faces and eggplants. You two seem to be getting close.”

“Shut up!” Angela was blushing as she whacked his arm, turning off her phone and putting it on the bedside table. She shoved him on the side of the bed closest to the wall as she began to snuggle under the covers. “And put on a goddamn shirt, would you? We aren’t five anymore, and it’s weird!”

“I’ll put on a shirt when you put on some pants,” The short blond boy replied semi-playfully. “That’s just as weird, you know.”

“Oh, whatever,” His twin sister huffed, reaching out to flip on her alarm and turn off the light, turning so their backs were pressed against each other-they’d used to sleep in the fetal position, face to face with their fingers interlocked, though as they grew older (Angela had breasts, no matter how small, and Miles more often than not didn’t wear a shirt to bed from around the time he’d turned twelve), it had become far more comfortable, both physically and emotionally to sleep back to back, even if they sometimes turned back into their face to face position by the time morning came around.

“Hey. Miles.”


“Um…” Angela’s voice was soft and sleepy from his left, and Miles stifled a yawn as well-their sleepiness seemed to rub off on each other. “Don’t worry about anything, alright? I’m sure Vancouver will go great… And you’ll do fine.”

“I hope I will,” Miles replied quietly in the darkness, smiling a little as he closed his eyes, calm despite the approaching storm that could swing either way-in their favour, or not. “Good night, Angela.”

“Sweet dreams, Miles.”

The small, blond boy woke up from a deep, dreamless sleep to a blaring alarm that assaulted his ears mercilessly. His seafoam green eyes blinking open blearily, he groaned, glancing to his side-somehow, somehow, his sister was fast asleep beside him, her face serene and peaceful. Rolling his eyes, and asking himself ‘how the *censored*ing hell is she sleeping through this?’, Miles leaned over her to smack the snooze button on the alarm and check the time-two thirty two. My god, it’s early… With a massive yawn, he grabbed Angela’s arm, shaking her, hard enough for her to notice it while she was still sleeping. “Angela. Angela, we gotta get up… We’ve gotta leave for the airport in twenty minutes.

“Ugh…” Angela let out a long groan, stretching her arms and legs and nearly smacking him in the face as she yawned, looking quite catlike as she did. “Alright… Okay, I’m… I’m up…” Miles rolled his eyes, a little bit of a smile playing on his lips as Angela sleepily tried to snuggle back into her pillow, letting out a petite sigh. Trying to keep the amusement out of his sleepy voice as he climbed over his twin sister, intentionally digging his fingers and knees into her stomach and hearing her squeal in protest as he landed on the floor, switching off the alarm clock before it could go off again. “Up you get! We’ve got a flight to catch, you know, and a Ray and a Fiona to deal with in ten.”

“Alright, alright,” Angela whined, sitting up obediently, rubbing sleep from her eyes. “Get out of my room. I’ve gotta get dressed as much as you do. Shoo, shoo!”

Miles rolled his eyes again as the door to his sister’s room was shut behind him, making his way into the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. The short blond let out a little bit of a laugh at how messy his ponytail had become, pulling out the elastic as he grabbed his toothbrush. As he brushed his teeth, Miles met his own bright gaze in the mirror.

Today, it all begins. And today, it’s decided if it goes our way-or the other way.

He was dressed, packed and had eaten something small before his mother and sister were ready, and so when the doorbell rang around two forty-five, it only made sense that he answered it. Ray, Fiona and the Escarra sibling’s mother, the beautiful, redheaded descendant of Irish royalty, Alannah were at the door, in the below freezing temperatures, their luggage in tow. The short blond skater smiled broadly at all of them, opening the door wider. “Hi! Fiona, Ray, Ms. Escarra, come in.” He locked eyes with Ray momentarily, thanking his lucky stars that his face stayed at a normal temperature as he cleared his throat, smiling at his best friend. “Happy birthday, Ray… Me and Angela picked up something for you, but we can give it to you at the airport or the hotel.”

“Oh, Alannah!” Miles turned as his mother came down the hallway, hugging Ray’s mother and smiling at Fiona and Ray. “All of you look exhausted. Would you like a cup of tea or coffee, Alannah-or any of you, really?”

“There’s no need, it’s okay,” Ms. Escarra insisted with a smile. “I just came to make sure these to made it over okay. It looks like they’ll be fine, so I’ll be going back to my bed now.” She hugged Ray tightly, and though the Spanish boy obviously wasn’t too much of an affectionate person, there was love in the hug he gave his mother. “I love you. Don’t get into too much trouble, mister!”

“Of course, mama, I know,” Ray replied, yawning as he grabbed his bags again, and Alannah turned to Fiona, giving her a hug as well. “You too! Don’t go getting into any trouble over there, alright? And keep an eye on my boy.”

“Will do, Ms. Escarra,” Fiona nodded, her long ringlets bobbing in their long ponytails that fell over her shoulders, and the Irish woman laughed, her gaze finding Miles’ own green one last. “And you! Where’s the other one of you?”

“I’m here!” Angela chirped from the upstairs landing as she skipped down to meet the crowd at the front door, unusually cheery for such an early morning. “Hello, Fiona, Ray, Ms. Escarra. And happy sixteenth birthday, Ray.”

“Thanks, Angela.”

Ms. Escarra smiled at both of them, her freckled dimples-the same dimples Ray had and very rarely showed, Miles realized. “Miles, Angela. I wish all the best luck to you. Make sure Ray doesn’t get into too much trouble, and do your best out there, alright?”

“Ma,” Ray’s tone was amused, despite the fact his voice had raised a little from its usual quiet monotone. “Trust me, of all of us, I’m not the one to be running around and getting in trouble.”

“He really isn’t,” Angela piped up, her own voice bordering on a laugh. “But I will keep an eye on him, I promise.”

“Thank you,” Ms’ Escarra’s warm gaze was on all of them and Miles couldn’t help but return it, wondering for what seemed like the millionth time how such a warm person had produced such a cold, distant, detached  child. “All of you. I know all of you are very kind already, but I know how much this must have cost, both in the case of time and money…”

“It’s really no problem, Alannah,” The Verde twin’s mother reassured her with a warm smile of her own. “Miles and Angela really wanted to give him a good birthday present, and the world championships happened to cross over…”

“Well, thank you even still.” She nodded to both Miles and Angela, who was standing straight beside him, her excitement rubbing off on him, and probably Fiona too. Ms. Escarra gave her son a kiss on the cheek, and hugged Fiona around the shoulders one more time before she turned to leave. “Alright, have fun, all of you! Make sure you call, Ray-and Fiona too, the Jacksons will be worried for you!”

“Alright, thanks Ms. Escarra!” Fiona chirped after Ray and Mari’s mother, while Ray nodded, with a smile. “Bye, Ma.”

Angela waved as she closed the door behind their old friend’s mother, before turning to Ray and Fiona with a grin. “It’s happening! We’re going to Vancouver!”

The next fifteen minutes were hectic as the six of them attempted to get everything they needed in order-Angela’s medication, Miles’ skating bag and costumes, money for all of them, food before they left. Chargers, electronics, notepads, schoolwork they’d be missing after they came back on the second day after March break, plane tickets, show tickets, passports just in case, the list went on, and though there was an excited flutter somewhere in Miles’ chest, most of it was nerves, both for the flight, for arriving at the hotel, staying in a room with Ray, and, of course, his performance. He suddenly felt that deciding to meet Ezra at the airport had been a better idea than having him meet up at the Verde’s instead-not only would they not be able to fit in a standard cab, but it would have been one more person to worry about. Though the six of them were ready five minutes later than they would have liked, they were all out the door and in a taxi van (considering they had significant luggage and five people) by three ten, which by Miles’ standards and past experience with flying, wasn’t too bad at all. The airport wasn’t ridiculously far from their house, either, and it was a bit of a daze as they entered the airport, the five of them chatting aimlessly to stay awake, checked in and went through security (something obviously no one had ever liked, but Miles seemed to hate just a little more than the average person). By the time they were seated and waiting for their flight, it was nearly four, and their flight was scheduled to leave around five thirty.

“Hey.” Angela nudged him from where she sat on his left, her large blue eyes still sleepy. “Want to drop by a Tim Hortons or something and get a coffee with me? We definitely have time.”

“Ah… Yeah, sure.” He glanced over to his right, where Ray, Fiona and his mother sat. “Hey, Me and Angela are going to grab a coffee, so do you guys want anything from Tim Hortons?”

“Wow, Miles, you’re offering?” His mother teased, though replied, “A small mocha, then. Thanks, hun.”

“A black tea,” Ray responded with a bit of a yawn in his voice, not looking up from his novel. “The usual. Nothing added.”

“A French vanilla latte, if you please,” Fiona smiled up at both of them with a wink. “And a donut, if you’re feeling particularly grateful.”

Miles nodded as he stood up, leaving his bag by his seat. “Alright. We’ll be back in a little while.”

“Hey, Miles.”

“Hmm?” Miles glanced over to his twin as she tugged on the sleeve of his jacket like she’d done when they were children, his focus being distracted from how ridiculously long the line for the airport Tim Horton’s was. “What is it?”

“I’ve kept your secret about Ray for months now,” She began, her voice small and hesitant, and suddenly, the French boy was far more interested in her thoughts than the long line they were waiting in. Slowly, he nodded. “Alright… You have.”

“And I plan on keeping it, because, well, that’s what we do, you know?” She smiled a little, though it was still nervous. Miles was wracking his mind as he nodded, trying to come up with something that could switch her usual self (who should have been even more excited about the plane they were about to take) to the shy, nervous girl in front of him.

“So… I think it’s time you returned the favour.”

He blinked at Angela for a moment, surprised-whatever he would have come up with wouldn’t have been that. Again, he nodded slowly. “Okay. I’m listening.”

“I…” Angela’s voice was even more hushed, and Miles had to strain his ears to hear it over the low music and chatter around them. “You can’t tell a soul, alright?”

“Angela, I promise.” He raised an eyebrow at her. “I completely owe you for mostly keeping your mouth shut.”

The female twin nodded as they moved up a couple places in the line. “Alright… Here goes nothing… I…” Angela hesitated again, before taking a deep breath, and letting it out in a string of words he barely caught-”I really, really like Cole Lopez.”

For a moment, Miles was silent, staring blankly at his sister-Cole Lopez? As in the Clem and Cole Lopez, our friends who we’re probably going to be seeing in a few hours?

“Miles! Say something!”

“I…” Miles began, though held up a finger to tell her to wait as they reached the front of the line, smiling a little at the pout on her face as the cashier asked for his order, and he recited all five off the top of his head, taking out a twenty dollar bill to pay for it. He pressed his finger to his sister’s lips as she opened her mouth to speak and he was handed the receipt-though he did like to chat with his sister, he also preferred not to be interrupted. As they walked over to the waiting area, he took his finger away, continuing, “I kind of already figured.”

“What?” Angela whined, crossing her arms over her chest, her own cheeks heating up for once. “Is it that obvious?”

Miles raised an eyebrow at her with a little smile and a nod. “Uh, yeah, to anyone who’s ever seen you two together. I was kind of just waiting for you to come out and say it… Or for Cole to, considering he definitely likes you too.”

“What? He does not!” Angela’s voice was  half a whine, half nerves-something Miles could remember from his own confession to her back before the New Year, and he nodded, amused. “I think he definitely does, but whatever you want to believe. I guess we’ll find out sooner or later, huh?”

Angela simply turned away from him with a huff, and Miles shook his head with an amused chuckle as they fell into a comfortable silence waiting at the Tim Hortons.

They sat through another sleepy hour of waiting after coming back from getting coffee, Miles nearly falling asleep on Angela’s shoulder, and he had just been drifting off when she shook him awake. “Miles. Miles, we’re boarding…”

“Hmm?” Miles mumbled with a yawn, stretching his shoulders and fumbling for his plane ticket-good, I still have it. He blinked up at the rest of his entourage, who was already standing, save Fiona, who the blond boy nudged with a chuckle. “Fiona. We’ve got to catch our flight.”

“Alright, okay,” She held out a sleepy hand, and Miles took it to pull her up out of the chair. “Let’s go then, shall we?”

In their lifetime, Miles knew that he and Angela had been on countless flights. Between the one that had begun their life in Canada to the ones that took them to the larger skating competitions all over the world, it wasn’t uncommon for them to to fly.

With three other people, however…

“It’s been a really long time since I’ve been on a plane,” Ray muttered from beside him after they had settled into their seats, and were taking off, Miles between the Spanish boy and the window and Ray on the aisle-something they both preferred. The blond glanced over to his friend. “Do you get airsick?”

“No,” Ray replied, shaking his head. “I don’t mind flying. Especially for my birthday.”

“Alright, I get it, you’re sixteen now,” Miles joked with a yawn. “You’re special. You can go drive and whatever.”

“Hell yes I can,” Ray replied, his own voice amused. “Are you going to sleep? We have at least five hours.”

“Do you mind?”

The handsome Spanish boy shook his head. “No, I might get some extra sleep too. Just no snoring.”

“Hey!” Miles felt his ears heat up. “I don’t snore!”

“Mhm.” Ray’s quiet voice was teasing. “Of course not, Bubbles.”

Perhaps it was because some of the stress had been lifted from his chest because they’d all gotten on the plane in time, or simply because he was tired, but Miles drifted off quickly and easily, the sounds in the airplane all becoming white noise as peacefully, he lost consciousness.

“Don’t you worry your father will use your fame to come find you sometimes?”

It was a familiar question-something that had been asked to him once by someone he couldn’t remember. Of course, Miles had replied ‘no’, considering he wasn’t exactly famous, and he had to trust that his father would let them be. Even so, he could hear the question echoing in his ears as he walked through the darkened hotel hallways. Something seemed off, though he couldn’t exactly put his finger on what as he came to his room, the door already ajar. With an odd feeling in his chest that squeezed the air from his lungs, he pushed it open, just a little more, then paused.


“You ruined my life!” There was a somewhat familiar man standing over his mother and Angela, who were backed against a wall, shouting-screaming-in fury “Cherry, you promised! You said we’d live together, with our children.”

Miles could only watch as his mother said something-something he couldn’t exactly catch, which only earned her a slap from the blond man in front of her. The boy physically flinched, wondering how he could unfreeze himself-or if he should, remembering the scars from the cigar burns and belt lashes he’d endured. Angela cowered behind their mother, who, despite the tears running down her face and the bruises on her skin had her arms wide out to protect her daughter as the man continued yelling-not that Miles caught a lot of it, dazed from the situation in front of him, flinching painfully with every strike his mother was given, with every shout Angela let out.

“You lied, Cherry, you’re just one big *censored*ing liar bitch,” His father’s voice was calmer, though it was even more unnerving than his shouts had been. With little hesitation, he reached inside his coat, and though Miles knew what was coming, he felt his chest clench again as his mother and sister were trapped between the wall and the mouth of a handgun. There was no shake in the French man’s voice as he spat, with more venom than Miles could have even imagined existed in someone, “You deserve to die.”

The bullet went right through his mother’s head, hitting Angela-though not enough to kill the female twin, and so another shot was fired, this one through Angela’s chest, clean and simple Trying not to cry out, to lose all the contents of his stomach as blood quickly seeped into the carpet, Miles stumbled back, grabbing the wall with white knuckles at the dark chuckle his father let out. “And you, mon chéri, you deserve a bullet to the head more than anyone else.” The blond skater was frozen, clutching the doorframe as his father turned around, their identical eyes locking as he shook in utter terror, trying to stammer out a plea as the Frenchman continued, “Your mother-your poor, stupid, ignorant little bitch of a mother-tried ever so hard to save herself, you and your sister, and get rid of me-like I’d never existed. And look at her now!” Miles couldn’t stop his gaze from flickering down to his mother, whose eyes were empty and skin was pale. “She’s dead, and so is your sister! This is all your fault, you know, mon chéri. Parading around on ice in front of the entire world? Did you think I wouldn’t find you, you idiotic little boy?” Miles’ eyes returned to his father’s. His stomach was beginning to hurt from how violently he was shaking. “You killed these two. You killed your own mother and sister!” His father let out a laugh. “How great is that, right? You should be glad I have the heart to kill you too, instead of leaving you here to suffer.”

‘Wait,’ he wanted to say, but his vocal cords had stopped working. ‘Wait, I just want to talk to you. Please don’t shoot me.’

“It was absolutely delightful knowing you while I did, mon chéri.” His father simply smiled at him as the barrel of the gun was casually pressed to his forehead. Miles saw the trigger pulled, and the last thing he heard before the gunshot ringing through the hotel was, “Now die.”

Miles woke up with a start, the sound of the gunshot still ringing in his ears and every breath ragged. His heart was going a million miles per minute, and bringing his hands to his face, he realized tears were streaming down his cheeks, and he was shaking violently. He didn’t have nightmares often.

What… What the hell was…


Finally, he realized Ray had been speaking to him, and eyes still wide and terrified, the blond boy looked over to his friend, watching his face become washed in concern. “Are you okay? What happened?”

“I… I…” The blond boy cleared his throat, even though his voice still shook and was quite obviously full of tears afterwards. “I had a dream… About my dad…”

“About your…” Ray trailed off, his own voice soft and sympathizing. “Oh… Miles…”

“I-I’ll…” Miles swallowed, hoping he could try and make his shaken tone sound a little more convincing. “I’ll be fine Really.”

For a moment, Ray scanned his expression, his brow furrowed in concern and his eyes obviously unconvinced, though he nodded. “Alright… Fine. We’re only thirty minutes out or so anyway.”

Wiping his tears away, Miles nodded, deciding to look out the window and try to focus on the upcoming excitement rather than the bloody, disturbing dream.

I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2018, 09:36:44 PM »
I'm just going to get this all up and then forget about it lol. Chapter 11.

The Harbour Hotel was nice and comfortable, and despite the fact he was still shaken by the nightmare and slightly unnerved by the idea of sleeping in the same room as Ray, the feeling of a nice bed was warmly welcomed as he dropped his things in the hotel room and flopped back into its comfort. “Ah… Well. we’re finally here…”

“The more expensive this trip gets, the more I remember that you paid for me and your mom to come,” Ray mused as he sat on the edge of his own bed, cracking his knuckles, a bad habit that Miles had come to notice. “You really didn’t have to do this, Miles.”

“Well, maybe I wanted to,” Miles replied simply, groaning as his phone began to ring from where he’d dropped it on the carpeted floor. Lethargically, he rolled onto his stomach, reaching down to grab it and pick up the call. “Hello.”

“Hey, Miles.” The blond blinked at the familiar voice-Cole? He’s staying in this hotel, right? “I guess you’re in Vancouver if you’re picking up.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Miles yawned a little bit-it was still early in Vancouver, so maybe he could get some sleep before they did anything. “We just checked into the hotel. Why?”

“I dunno,” The older boy’s voice was lighthearted-had he already adjusted to the time zone difference, or had he just been sleeping erratically? “I thought it might be nice to see you and Angela again before the competition, but you sound tired. If you want to wait, then-”

“No, no,” Miles assured him-though he could tell his voice was still tired over the phone. “We’re just getting organized anyway, and I’m sure Ray and Fiona would like to meet you. Ezra wants me to go see him first, but afterwards, I don’t mind.”

“Alright then. We can get lunch if you want, if your body isn’t too messed up by the time zone change,” Cole suggested, a bit of his Finnish accent slipping out here and there, and Miles nodded, stifling another yawn and glancing over to Ray, who was watching him curiously. “No, I think we’ll be fine. None of us have really eaten anyway.”

“Cool.” Cole was smiling, Miles could tell, even from over the phone. “I’ll meet you guys in the lobby. Say hi to Ezra for me.”

“Say hi to Jonas for me,” The small blond replied-both of them knew each other’s coaches equally well, and Jonas was younger than Ezra, though just as talented and as good a coach in his opinion.

“Who called?” Ray asked as he hung back from where he lay facing the ceiling on his bed. Miles shrugged as he plugged his phone in, placing it on the bedside table. “Cole. He wants to have lunch with us around thr-noon,” The blond corrected himself-they were three hours behind their usual time, and he had to remember that. “You’re okay, with that, right?”

“Yeah,” Ray nodded, stretching. “I guess it’s probably a good idea to meet them, right?”

Miles nodded as he took out the most important things of his, placing them in the top drawer of the bedside table before pulling himself up and off the oh-so-comfortable bed. “I’ve gotta check in with Ezra down the hall, and I should probably tell Angela and Fiona and my mom that we’re going to meet up with Cole and Clem for lunch.”

“Wake me up when that happens,” Ray replied in a tired mumble. “I didn’t get a lot of sleep.”

“Can do,” Miles replied as he went to leave the room, glancing back ever so quickly to catch another look at his best friend, letting out a sigh as his face began to flush and he closed the door behind him. What am I going to do for these next few days…?

After a long near forty minutes of Ezra making sure his costumes fit and were the right ones, and making sure everything else was going well (he really was like a father sometimes, not that that word sat very well with the blond skater at the moment), Miles, Ray, Fiona and Angela decided to head down to the lobby. The Verde twin’s mother had decided to rest up while she could (though it was a little bit of a work vacation for all of them, especially with Ray’s birthday in the mix, it was more a true vacation for the hardworking Cherry Verde), so it was the four of them for the time being. As they waited for the elevator at the end of the hallway a few minutes before noon, Miles nudged his sister playfully. “You look nice today, despite the fact we were just on a plane for five hours and have already been awake for twelve.”

Angela shot him an unimpressed look, crossing her arms over her chest. “Oh shut up, Mr. I-have-hearts in my goddamn eyes-”

“Okay, now you need to shut your mouth.”

“What the hell is going on?” Ray’s voice interrupted, and though it was louder than usual, it was still generally flat, especially compared to the twins. In unison, both of them shot him a look. “Nothing!”

As Miles met his sister’s gaze again, opening his mouth to snap at her again, the ‘ding’ of the elevator arriving cut him off. Angela gave him a look as the four of them stepped onto the empty elevator. Miles heard Ray sigh as he pushed the button for the ground floor. “You guys are something else sometimes…”

“Right?” Fiona replied. “I don’t get them…”

“We are right here,” Angela replied, though her tone was a little sharper than her usual teasing, probably due to the lack of sleep and the fact that Miles had very intentionally hit a nerve. He nudged her. “You should probably smile for the friends we barely see and are usually halfway across the world.”

Angela’s eyes rolled, but as they walked out the elevator in the pretty hotel lobby. It wasn’t huge, but it was decked out in blues, greens, golds and silvers, imitating the sea and waves, with a small cafe near the side and even a seating area, and quietly, Miles scanned the mostly empty foyer, before his eyes landed on a tall brunette and a somewhat shorter blonde. He nudged Fiona. “That’s them.”

“The brown-haired boy?”

“And the basically white-haired girl,” The blond skater nodded as they made their way over and the Finnish siblings looked up, both of them lighting up at the sight of them. Though both of them were obviously happy, Miles couldn’t believe his eyes as Cole stepped forward, grabbing the shorter of the Verde twins around the waist and pulling her into a kiss, a long, passionate kiss that he’d only seen in the occasional movie. Though he heard Clem gasp in delight and Ray mutter something under his breath, he was way too taken aback to actually understand it.

Finally, after a long moment (or perhaps Miles was just in complete shock at his sister’s first kiss being stolen away by one of his greatest rivals right in front of him) Cole pulled away a little, his grey eyes still focused on Angela as he smiled, greeting her breathily, “Hi, enkeli.”

“H-hi.” Angela’s voice was shaky, though obviously happy as she clutched his shoulder, having literally been swept off her feet. “Um.”

“I can do it again, if you’d prefer that to talking,” Cole offered, and though he could see that his sister was quite obviously entranced, Miles wasn’t up to watching her innocence being stolen away in the lobby of a hotel. Sounding remarkably like Ray fed up with Mari, he huffed, “Cole. Don’t you dare.”

“Huh?” The older Finnish skater finally seemed to realize that there were other people in the lobby, and he laughed a little, releasing Angela and turning to them. “Sorry. Hey, Verde, what’s new? Who’s this?”

“Uh,” Miles took a deep breath, still trying to comprehend what had just happened-Angela just kissed freaking Cole Lopez. Cole *censored*ing Lopez just kissed my sister, right in front of me. “Ray and Fiona. Respectively, of course. Are we just going to ignore the fact you just kissed my twin sister?”

“Um…” The Finnish boy’s cheeks were suddenly dusted pink, though he replied with a sheepish smile. “Yes? Also, good to meet you.” Cole stepped forward to shake both Ray and Fiona’s hands. “I’m Cole Lopez, if you didn’t catch on, and that’s my little sister Clem.”

“I’m Fiona.” Fiona smiled at him, and Ray nodded. “Ray Escarra. Nice to finally meet you.”

“Ray, huh? Is it short for something regal? Sure sounds like it.”

“I-I…” Miles cringed at the question, and how it left Ray so speechless. Though he didn’t ask much about his best friend’s past-it was a bit of an unspoken rule they had, and it went both ways-he knew that even if his given name was Raymond, it was scarcely used, for reasons no one knew other than the Escarras. Though Miles had dozens of fears after his family had been broken, Ray seemed to have more unhappiness in his past, and his name seemed to be something he’d like to forget for some reason

“Sorry, sorry, suppose we just met.” Cole glanced back to Miles, who was still in shock-though he’d kissed people before, Angela had not. Something about saving her first for when she was well and happy, for the right person, if he could remember.

Cole… Cole is the right person?

“Miles, I…” Angela took his hands, her blue eyes giddy and innocent. “I really like Cole,” She spoke in hushed excitement. “I want to give this a chance, Miles, this really won’t change much… I promise.”

“Are… Are you really going to be happy being with someone halfway around the world?” Miles squeezed her hands, worried for much more than his sister dating a boy living in  Finland, but unsure what to say. “Are you going to be happy dating at all?”

“Miles, I’ve never been kissed before that,” She insisted, their voices still hushed. “But all I want to do is ask for another one. And I promise you, we’ll still all be friends. Didn’t you say he liked me anyway?”

“Yeah, but I didn’t mean you should go around dating him!”

“Miles, I really want this, and I don’t get the chance to date a lot between the lupus and your skating.” She glanced back to Ray, who had begun speaking with Fiona and Clem, her voice dropping even quieter. “And I’m sure you’ll get your own love story sooner or later, whether it’s with Ray or n-”

“That’s not the problem here.” Miles shook his head, knowing at that even if he did get his own little love story, he’d still be yearning for Ray. “I… Just don’t… I don’t want us to grow apart. For you to stop telling me things about what you’re doing…” He smiled a little at her. “You’re my little sister, Angela, I’m giving you away.”

“Hey, I get you guys are close and all, but is your little twin powwow over?”

Miles turned to Clem momentarily, before Angela’s voice grabbed him back. “I promise, Miles, this isn’t going to change our relationship, okay?” She hugged him moment, before stepping back completely. “Stop worrying. It’s not good for you.”

Miles nodded, unable to find the words to say to her as he turned to Clem, greeting her lightly and deciding they could talk about it later, when they didn’t have plans.

They ate at a nearby sandwich place, and though Miles had to admit that it was fun to catch up with both Clem and Cole, he couldn’t help be thinking about just how he’d missed the fact his rival and his sister had been getting so close. Though he missed Angela on his left like usual, he didn’t exactly mind her sitting so close to Cole as they ate… But he was very quiet as they spoke lightheartedly in the shop.


“Hmm?” Miles jumped as Ray nudged him from where Angela usually sat beside him. “Yeah? S-sorry…”

“You’ll get used to it,” Ray simply mused, not even looking his way as he took a swig of his water. “Trust me, even if it seems like you’ll just be in shock forever, you will get used to it.”

“Seriously?” Miles glanced over. “Angela isn’t Mari, though, she doesn’t…”

“Get around?” The blond nodded, and Ray sighed, just a little. “Angela’s like my sister too, you know. We’ll deal.”

Miles nodded back, and even though he was still unsure if he’d ever get used to his sister dating anyone, it was a little more reassuring to hear someone say it aloud. With a little sigh of his own, he glanced up at Cole and his sister, who were obviously happy, almost flirty, before stealing another glance at Ray, whose overgrown bangs shaded his eyes quite handsomely, and as he took another bite of his sandwich, he had to wonder how his sister had found love before him.

Their meetup with the Lopez siblings hadn’t been long, considering him, Ray, Angela and Fiona (well, at least him, Ray and Angela) were tired, and Miles could feel his energy being sapped away until the moment he was back into the hotel room-and if he  was feeling like that, he knew Ray, who was very introverted must have been feeling it more. With a puff of air, Miles let himself fall back on the bed farthest from the door. “So… Cole’s dating my sister.”

“He seems nice enough,” Ray replied as he grabbed a book from his bag-it was the other hobby the Spaniard had, and considering it was difficult to bring his tinkering to the other side of the country, he’d brought his books, which consisted of anything from crime to fantasy. “But it’s pretty odd to see her…”

“Kissing?” Ray chuckled nodding as he settled against the headboard, opening his book. “Yeah, I suppose so. We all still seem so young… You two in particular.”

“I…” Miles hesitated, deciding against arguing the point about him and Angela being young. “It’s not like we’re completely inexperienced with, uh… normal teenage stuff, I guess.”

“If we’re talking about love and social lives, we might as well be.” Ray glanced up to meet his eyes, his expression amused. “I had Isolda, which didn’t end very well. And Angela just had the first kiss of both of you, at the biggest figure skating competition of the year. We aren’t exactly the normal high school sophomores, Bubbles.”

“You and Isolda…” Miles trailed off, deciding not to bring up his thoughts on Isolda. He knew better by then-she was a bit of a controversial topic between them. “I’ve been kissed before.”

Ray made an amused noise. “Really now?”


“What? Give me a time and a person!” Ray set down his book, his face suddenly interested. “Someone we know, preferably, so I can ask them.”

“Uh…” Miles went through his limited memories of anything remotely like kissing. He definitely hadn’t been kissed a lot, and he couldn’t remember one that had meant much. “Remember me, you, Angela, Isolda, Yvette and Leo had a celebration after eighth grade grad and we were at Leo’s until like two in the morning?”

“Yes,” Ray nodded. “I was there, and I think I’d remember if anyone was kissed there.”

“No, no, you and Isolda went to get something or other,” Miles replied-he could remember the jokes they’d made about the two sneaking off to do the deed, though he’d had a feeling it had been a lot less interesting than that. “You weren’t in the basement when this happened. And it was like one or two in the morning, so I don’t remember a lot of it and we were all stupidly loopy…”

“Miles!” Ray was smiling a little. “Get to the point!”

“Okay, okay!” The blond laughed a little, his cheeks already heating up. “Ack, this was probably a bad idea. So Yvette somehow convinced me and Leo into gay chicken.”

“Wait, wait,” Ray leaned forward on the bed a little bit, raising an eyebrow as Miles turned away to hide his flushed face and unpack the rest of his important things-oh, my glasses, those are probably important. “You played gay chicken with Leo? Oh, that’s gold. Please, go on.”

“Shut up!” Miles tossed a pillow at his best friend, biting back a laugh himself. “That one shouldn't even count! We barely kissed!”

“That’s *censored*ing treasure, you don’t even know, Bubbles.” The Spanish boy was laughing too, even though his laughs were quieter than the blond’s. “I’m definitely asking Leo about that. But that just proves my point. You’ve never been kissed for real.”

“I have!” He huffed, cleaning his glasses on the edge of his shirt before placing them on his nose. “I… Fiona kissed me at the dance before Christmas.”

For a very brief moment, there was complete silence, while Ray seemed to let his words sink in and Miles suddenly remembered Angela and Fiona’s assumptions about his friend’s jealousy. The Spanish boy nodded, but leaned back against the headrest, grabbing his book again. “So you two are…”

“Wait, no, no, no.” Miles cocked his head. “They had mistletoe around the doorways, and Angela pointed it out…” He smiled at his old friend. “I’m not dating Fiona, I promise.”

“You two seem pretty close. I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“I’m no…” Miles trailed off with a sigh-Ray was stubborn, perhaps even more so than he was, and he probably wasn’t going to be convinced, especially if Angela was right about him being jealous. He felt his fingers brush over a small package in his bag. “Oh, hey, your present. Here.”

“Huh?” Ray caught the package Miles tossed his way, beginning to unwrap the light blue paper to reveal a miniature kit of tools, as well as a sci-fi book the blond had picked up for him. “Oh, thanks. I appreciate it, really.”

“Tell Angela what you think of the book,” The blond added as he lay back on the bed, suppressing a yawn-he was thinking of taking a nap. “She wants to read it later on.”

“Yeah, I will.” He settled back into his reading position, and Miles let his glasses slip up his nose as he snuggled into the pillow. “Do you want me to wake you up?”

“Uh…” He yawned, mumbling, “I guess… If I’m not breathing. Or if there’s a fire or something.”

He heard Ray chuckle as his eyes closed. “I’ll make sure that if a hurricane hits I’ll let you sleep.”

The rest of the day was lazy, much more so than it usually was before any of Miles’ skating competitions, and the five of them (considering Ezra tended to do his own thing) had finished it off with an early dinner, before the four teens had decided to regroup in Miles and Ray’s room, plus Cole and Clem-which Miles didn’t have too much of a problem with. Or so he thought, because he felt his heart twist as Cole pressed a kiss to his sister’s cheek from where he sat in an armchair chair, Angela on his lap, her face blooming into a bright rose red.

“Hey, Miles, do you think Leo would pick up if I called?”

“Huh?” Miles glanced up and away from his sister to Ray on his own bed (Clem beside him for whatever reason). “Yeah, I guess. It’s only like… Nine there, right?”

“Yup.” Ray pulled out his phone, and Miles heard the familiar sound of it dialing, and leaned forward a little. “Wait, you're not actually-”

“Hey.” Leo’s familiar voice came through the phone’s speaker, as well as what sounded like a shooter game in the background. “Ray. What’s up? How’s Vancouver? And the European cuties?”

“Fine, fine.” Ray glanced up to him, an amused sparkle in his eye, and Miles could already feel his ears heating up. “Angela has a secret European boyfriend now. But that’s not the point-”

“Wait, Angela has a boyfriend?” Fabian’s voice was a little more distant, though disappointed (not that Miles could tell when he was joking or not). “What the hell is that, she was totally mine!”

“Well, now she’s my brother’s!” Clem practically sang, and Ray rolled his eyes, speaking into the microphone. “She was never yours, but cool optimism.”

“Who was that?” Leo’s voice was confused, and bordering on a laugh. “She sounds cute. Am I on speaker? Do we have another European cutie pie?”

“Clementine Lopez.” Clem introduced herself. “I’ve heard about you. I’m the sister of Angela’s, uh, boyfriend.”

“Ooh, we’ve heard of you!” Fabian replied from his spot obviously further from the phone. “Hey, hello! You’re Finnish, right? That’s Europe, that’s at least halfway there.”

“I’m very cute too, I’ll have you know.” Miles smiled a little at his friend’s reply, glancing over as Angela sat down next to him, Cole opting to sit on the other bed. Miles nudged her. “Decided it’s time to stop making out in my hotel room?”

“Shut up!” She whined quietly. “I really like him, and we only have a few days together.”

“Hey, Leo,” Ray continued. “Miles was telling me about the times he was kissed today.”

“He w-oh my god, Miles, you didn’t tell him!”

“I definitely did,” Miles admitted, his cheeks flushing in embarrassment. “Sorry. He challenged me.”

“So I was just calling to hear your side of the story.” Miles internally groaned as Ray glanced up to smirk at him. “So please. Do tell what happened.”

“Oh god… Okay, this doesn’t leave whatever room you’re in, but…” The redheaded boy trailed off and let out a whoop as Fabian groaned, “Oh, go *censored* yourself with a jackhammer…”

“Leo!” Fiona complained. “Keep going!”

“Right, right.” The sounds of the video game in the background subsided momentarily, before starting up again. “Alright, so, it was that after middle school grad thing, and it was super late and you and Isolda like went upstairs to have sex or something, I don’t remember-”

“Wait a hot second!” Fabian’s voice was loud and surprised again. “Ray was getting girls in bed in eighth grade?”

“I did not sex Isolda,” Ray replied, his deadpan returning. “We went upstairs because you guys were getting rowdy and the stars were pretty. Keep talking.”

“Geez, alright, alright.” Leo continued with a grunt as he presumably stretched on the other side of the phone. “Anyway, you remember Yvette, right? Probably for the best she moved to Toronto, that girl was trouble in a whole different way than Angela and Fiona.” He whistled lowly. “Anyway, somehow she took advantage of how tired and loopy we were and was teasing about how one of us was way more masculine than the other… Details, details.” Miles could imagine him waving his hands like he usually did (they teased him about his Italian background a lot). “So it turned into gay chicken. Somehow. And Miles being probably secretly gay-”

“For the last time, I’m not gay,” The blond boy huffed. “We’ve had this discussion..”

“Hey, whatever, not the point.” Leo yawned as Fabian let out another irritated noise. “So for probably the same reason as me, that being I was insanely tired, we kind of took it way too far because we’re both competitive assholes.”

“You kissed Leo?” Fiona’s voice was hushed, as if she’d suddenly found a great secret, and Miles looked at her with a sigh and his red face, seemingly getting his message across as Leo asked, his voice becoming equally embarrassed, “Didn’t you hear this earlier from Miles?

“Nope,” Ray replied, obviously amused as Miles flopped over to hide his face as well as he could with his head on Fiona’s lap, who giggled as she rested a hand atop his head. “Please, do go on. This is pretty great.”

“If you don’t, I will,” Angela added, her fingers tapping on Miles’ shin and her own voice bordering on giggles. “So go on, Leo.”

“Yeah, keep going,” Fabian added from what Miles as assuming was the other side of Leo’s couch in the basement. “This is interesting.”

“Geez… All of you are the worst.” Leo sighed, his usually confident voice sounding more like Miles by the moment. “We kissed. That’s it. Gay chicken gone wrong, and as far as I knew, neither of us are gay.”

Though Miles was satisfied with Leo’s answer, he cringed as Angela piped up enthusiastically, “That was not just a kiss! You two practically made out on the floor of Leo’s basement!”

“We did not!” Miles argued in time with Leo’s more irritated protest. It wasn’t entirely true-they’d passed the line of a simple kiss due to their awful competitive streaks, but it hadn’t been some sort of hot and heavy make out session from what he could remember.

I probably should have just kept my goddamn mouth shut…

“Now that that’s out in the open, let’s promise to never talk about that ever again,” Leo stated. “Is that really all you called for?”


“You’re a real son of a bitch, you know?”

Ray laughed a little. “I know. I’ll let you get to your game. Night, Leo, Fay.”

“Oh, yeah, have fun on the other side of the country you guys,” Leo replied. “And seriously, wipe your mind of this conversation.”

“Night, all of you.” Ray went to hang up, when Fabian added, “Oh, wait, wait! Hey, boyfriend or lover or whatever Angela calls you. Be good to her,” He sighed, almost inaudible from where he was from the phone. “She’s a good girl. So don’t screw it up.”

“I, uh…” Cole hesitated in surprise, and Miles suddenly wondered if Fay really did have a thing for Angela-he was certainly acting like it. “I’ll do my absolute best to make her happy.”

“You’d better,” Fay muttered, before his usual voice returned. “Anyway, night, all of you.”

A chorus of ‘good nights’ and ‘byes’ sounded as all of the teens in the room replied and Ray hung up the call. Miles groaned, facepalming as Fiona casually ran fingers through his long hair. Grumpily, he huffed, “I hate you so much right now. You too, Angela.”

“What?” Angela whined, crossing her arms. “It was true! You and Leo were so going at it!”

“Okay, I don’t know about you two, but I’d gladly wipe my brain of that entire conversation,” Ray replied, his voice amused. “I also can practically see Fiona and Clem falling asleep. So I don’t want to be a killjoy, but it’s the end of our first day of four and it’s probably a stupid idea to stay up forever on the first night.”

“Aww, Ray…” Fiona complained with a yawn, definitely not helping her argument. “It isn’t that late…”

“Nope, it’s not,” The Spanish boy agreed. “But you and Angela are probably going to stay up for another two hours because you’re teenage girls. And I’m tired. So if you will…”

“Fine…” Miles stretched as Fiona hopped up from the bed, propping his head up to watch as they left, adding, “Hey, Fiona, make sure she comes back to the room with you, alright?” He glanced over to Angela, who had somehow ended up in Cole’s muscled arms again. “You’ve lost enough to him today.”

“Miles!” Angela scolded him, though Cole laughed, his usually competitive voice much lighter than usual. “Verde, I promise I won’t try anything with your sister. I do plan on taking good care of her, and I wouldn’t want to ruin any pre existing relationships.” He smiled a little, letting go of Angela almost completely. “Look, me an’ Clem will even leave before her. Come on, Clemmy.” He motioned to Clem, who smiled at both Ray and Miles as she got up, before the older skater pressed a gentle kiss to Angela’s cheek. “Sweet dreams, enkeli.”

“Y-you too…” Angela’s voice was laughably smitten, and even though he didn’t know how to feel about her relationship with Cole, Miles had to admit it was pretty adorable how she acted around him. He nodded to the Finnish twins as they left, stretching his arms again. He was getting tired, despite his nap.

“We should go too,” Fiona yawned, stretching too and nudging Angela. “This was very entertaining, but I really want to enjoy my time in Vancouver, so…”

“Yeah.” Ray nodded, placing his phone on the bedside table and swapping it for his book. “Get some sleep.”

“Night!” Fiona chirped through another yawn-Miles could feel his own starting to come on. He smiled a little at the two as they began their way out. “Good night… Angela?”

“Hmm?” Angela turned with her hand on the doorknob. He gave her a look, something he knew she’d understand. “Don’t do anything stupid, alright? I really need you to be here the next few days.”

She smiled back, her look mirroring his. “I’ll try my very best, Miles. Don’t worry.”

I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2018, 10:02:44 PM »
2nd last chapter not including the epilogue.

Miles woke up early, and not because of the time zone change (or another terrifying nightmare, thank god). He had one day until his performance, and even though he knew his friends wanted to explore the city, the whole reason they were there was still for him to compete in the world championships, and it was all he could think about as he stretched on the spot in front of his bed. With a sigh, he leaned forward over crossed legs and pressed his forehead to the carpeted floor. As his back popped pleasantly into place and the tension disappeared, he let out a groan. I should stretch more… It feels so good…

“Should I even ask what the hell you’re doing at five in the morning?”

Miles sighed at the sound of Ray’s voice, crackling with sleepiness but attractive nevertheless. He didn’t even bother looking up, counting the seconds he’d been stretching in his head as he replied simply, “No. Probably not.”

“Well, I’m about to anyway.” Miles blatantly blushed as he rose to bring his arm over and behind his head, his green eyes landing on Ray’s bare abdomen as he did. It wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen before, but damn, Ray was incredibly physically attractive, with or without his shirt, and the blond boy bit his lip as he stole another second or two of his best friend’s bare torso, before quickly looking away guiltily. “What are you doing at five in the morning?”

“Stretching,” He replied, shaking long blond hair over his face to try and hide his flaming cheeks. “What does it look like?”

“Hey, it’s five in the morning.” Ray yawned, and Miles heard him crack something-probably his shoulders or his knuckles, both of which apparently got very tight after hours of being hunched over a desk with tiny mechanical pieces. “Who knows what you could be doing before I wake up.”

“Ha ha.” The blond let out a satisfied hum as he switched to the other arm, which slid into position pleasantly. “I’m performing tomorrow. Sue me for being nervous.”

“Are you ready?” Ray asked as he went through what sounded like clothing and MIles continued to stare at the wall with a shrug as he let himself breathe for a moment, before bringing his arm across his chest. “I mean… As much as I guess I’ll ever be. Are you ready to sit in a stadium forever until I actually perform and then sit some more until the results come back? And then wait a little more until the media is done with everyone?”

“Well that sounds like it’ll be fun.” Ray yawned again, and Miles switched positions, doing a split (which apparently, was difficult for people who hadn’t been in a very flexible sport since childhood) and bending backwards to touch his toes. Though he couldn’t see his friend’s expression as he stared at the hotel ceiling, his startled voice said it all-”Whoa, whoa, I didn’t know you could do that.”

The blond simply laughed lightly as he switched to lean forward to come almost parallel to his other leg-it was another skill he was gifted with, his size probably also helpful. “Well now you do. You can go back to sleep, Ray.”

“After seeing that little act, I think I’m up.” Miles glanced back up to see Ray clad in sweats, a black shirt and denim jacket, rubbing sleep out of his eyes. “But you should probably sleep too.”

“I think I’m good,” He replied-he woke up early anyway, and it wasn’t really a problem for him. Turning away from the boy on the other side of the hotel room, he stood up-he was still shirtless, and even though he knew he was in much better shape than Ray, whose only physical activity was volleyball training at school and the occasional run, he looked younger, less mature… Definitely paler than the Spaniard’s darker, Mediterranean skin. With a hum, he begun to get dressed himself. “Hey, want to see what this hotel has in store? Maybe they have a studio or something I can use.”

There was a slight moment while Miles pulled on his hoodie and Ray seemed to think about the idea. “Yeah, okay. Do you want to see if the girls want to come?”

“Sure, text them to see if they’re up, because I kind of doubt it,” He replied, checking his phone-nearly six. Fiona might be up…

Sure enough a few moments later, Ray replied, “Fiona’s ready, but Angela’s still sleeping.”

“Well, let’s go then!” Miles grabbed his room key and phone, slipping on his shoes-he was excited and nervous, and he wanted to be moving, even if he couldn’t do it on the ice like usual. Ray seemed to pick up on it with an amused sound as he followed him out the door. “And there’s the Bubbles I know.”

Though he was hesitant to leave Angela (he was still wary about how far Cole would go with her, especially without him or Ray looking over them), Miles was smiling as Fiona led the way through the hotel, beginning from the highest floor (which had beautiful windows that peered out into the harbour) and all the way down to the first, as well as the basement, which had an expansive rec room, apparently. They were on the fourth floor when Ray had realized he’d forgotten his phone and decided to run back up for it-not that Miles particularly minded. He sighed, stretching as he stood near the elevator with Fiona beside him. “Did you sleep well?”

“Not bad,” Fiona smiled a little. “Angela’s a very good person to share a bed with, but I guess you’d know that.” He nodded as she went on. “And yourself?”

“Uh…” Despite the fact his brain had been running wild with thoughts about Ray, his sleep hadn’t been too bad, devoid of the nightmares he’d been fearing. “It was alright. Ray’s pretty quiet…”

“Does he sleep in pajamas?” Fiona’s tone was suddenly curious, and Miles realized despite the fact Ray was jealous of his relationship with the girl, he’d never asked if she reciprocated. Nevertheless, he replied, “Pajama bottoms. Shirtless, usually, but I mean, it’s been awhile since we’ve slept in the same room…” He cocked his head, glancing over to the small Spanish girl. “Why?”

“Hey, a girl can have a fantasy or two,” Fiona’s eyes gleamed, and Miles felt his heart drop and his face flush as she nudged him lightly. “Come on, you know more than anyone, Ray is really hot.”

“I…” Miles could feel the blush on his face intensifying-he’d never spoken about his attraction for Ray, considering how strange it seemed to be coming from his mouth. “He’s…”

“Sorry, I guess it’s a bit of a sensitive topic,” She apologized with a sheepish smile. “But he’s mighty attractive, having that tall, dark and mysterious thing going on. Whoever lands him next is going to be a lucky one.”

“He's good at keeping the dreamer types grounded too,” Miles sighed, pressing the back his hand to his cheek to try and stop his blushing-talking about what he found attractive in his old friend was embarrassing to say the least.

Fiona either didn't notice or ignored it and nodded in agreement. “Yeah, he's good at that with you and Angela. Someone's going to be glad to have him.”

“If you like it so much, why don’t you ask him out?”

“Huh?” It was Fiona’s turn to be surprised, and she laughed-a real laugh, not one to cover up embarrassment, waving her hands in front of her. “No, no, I wouldn’t! Trust me, I’m a-”

The ‘ding’ of the elevator arriving cut her off, and both of them fell silent as Ray stepped off. He raised an eyebrow.“What? Did I interrupt something?”

“No!” Both Miles and Fiona spoke in a hurried unison, and though the Spanish boy gave them both a look, he nodded, holding the elevator open and pressing the next button down. “Okay… Well, we can continue then, right?”

Both him and Fiona nodded, though Fiona’s was much more enthusiastic, as they stepped onto the elevator. Though her reply had been genuine, Miles couldn’t help but wonder if he was about to witness a heartbreaking relationship form between his childhood friend and the cute Spanish girl.

There was an open dance studio on the second floor that Miles had decided they could come back to later-he was breaking as much as he could, and that meant not overworking himself. Instead, they opted to go to the rec room in the basement, which opened at eight-and it was eight fifty when Ray and Fiona had set up a game of pool, Miles fiddling with the radio as they did. He’d never learned how to play pool-why would he?-but Ray apparently was very good, after years of his father teaching him when he visited, which was already very rare. He left the channel on the throwbacks and 90s, smiling as Ray glanced over to him with an amused look. “You were raised on old music, I was raised on pool and cooking. Fair enough.”

“Who’s winning?” Miles leaned against a pillar, watching as Fiona took her turn, and though the cue was nearly her height, she expertly sunk another striped ball. With a smile, she straightened back up. “Me!”

“You still can’t play pool, right?” Miles shook his head as Fiona finished searching for another good angle. She looked up at him. “What? You don’t know how to play pool?” He shook his head, and the cute Spanish girl motioned him over to where she was standing on the other side of the table. “Come here! I’ll teach you!”

Hesitantly, Miles obeyed, taking the pool cue and letting Fiona guide him into holding it, pressing herself against him ever so casually (though he had virtually no interest in her, he also didn’t appreciate how flustered he was getting from her ample chest pressed firmly to his back). As she mused instructions in his ear, the blond boy could feel Ray’s eyes on him, but didn’t dare look up and see if there was true jealousy in his gaze, especially as Fiona gently led him through the motions of hitting the ball. Though he missed the pocket completely, Fiona clapped as they both straightened up. “Not bad! You’ll be up on mine and Ray’s level in no time!”

“Can I take my turn now?” Both of them glanced over to Ray’s less-than-impressed voice. Fiona nodded. “Yeah, go ahead. Sorry, Ray…”

The Spanish boy nodded as he lined up his shot, and though Miles knew that he was far more athletic than his friend, he liked to watch Ray’s hidden muscles flex and twitch, whether it be during volleyball practice or during a pool game. Though his face was straight, a smirk glittered in his eye as he sunk the ball, lining himself up for another, more difficult shot. Fiona nudged him gently, musing under her breath, “You’re staring…”

“So are you,” He countered, not that it made him feel much better. She simply giggled as Ray took yet another near-perfect shot, sinking one ball and nearly another one as well, catching him up to Fiona. “Not for the same reasons you are, though.”

He tore his gaze away from Ray to look over to the short Spaniard. “Attractiveness?”

“We’re being attracted to different things, Miles,” She replied simply and sincerely-though he wasn’t exactly sure if she was right, or how honest she was being. He opened his mouth to reply when Ray spoke up. “Hey. Your go, Fiona.”

Fiona nodded, stepping away from Miles to set up her shot-though she looked back at him knowingly as she did, not that the blond was aware of what exactly he was supposed to know. He decided to let it go though, leaning back against the stone support again and watching Fiona take her best shot.

It was halfway through Ray and Fiona’s third match-a tiebreaker-that someone joined them in-three someones, in fact. Miles turned to see both his sister, and the Finnish siblings come out of the elevator. Angela smiled. “Hey! I wondered where you guys were…”

“Ray and Fiona found out that neither of them are better than each other at pool,” Miles replied as Angela fell into place beside him. “So they’re having me score their tiebreaker.”

“Did you see the dance studio?” Clem asked as she walked around the table to peer over Fiona’s shoulder. Miles nodded. “That’s where I was planning on going, but…”

“Hey, hey, we’re almost done here!” Fiona sunk a striped ball. “I’m about to kick Ray’s ass.”

“Oh, take your shot and shut your mouth.” Ray’s tone was unusually competitive, though Fiona grinned up at him as she took another shot, though she missed. “Aww, no need to be a sore loser, Ray-Ray.”

Angela laughed at the teasing nickname. “That’s something we haven’t called him before.”

Miles saw his childhood friend’s eyes roll as he lined up his own shot-he was trailing by a couple to Fiona-before expertly tapping the red ball into the far pocket.

“I met yours and Angela’s mother,” Clem stated, and the French boy raised an eyebrow. “Both of you?”

“Oh, yeah, we did.” Cole nodded as Ray sunk another ball, suddenly on par with Fiona. The yellow 1 ball, the striped blue 10 ball and the black 8 ball were left, all in particularly difficult shots from Miles’ point of view. “Your mother is very kind. I liked her.”

“Does she know about…?” Miles trailed off to give his sister a look, and though her cheeks flushed light pink (it was nice for him not to be the one blushing over a love interest), she shook her head. “N-no, there was no need for me to give her a heart attack at seven in the morning…”

“She’s going to have to know, Angela.”

“Does she really?” Angela turned to him, her arms crossed and her tone irritated, which was something that very rarely happened. “I don’t see why she does. No harm is coming out of it.”

Miles opened his mouth to argue when Ray spoke from his spot at the pool table. “Hey, I won.”

“Barely,” Fiona added as she placed the pool cue back against the wall. “You got lucky. Hey, weren’t we going to that dance studio you found?”

“Uh… Yeah…” Miles glanced over to Cole, who was showing Clem how to properly hold a pool cue. “But I…”

“Hmm?” Cole, as usual, seemed to realize there were eyes on him, and glanced over. “Oh, you probably don’t want me to see your routine, right?” Sheepishly, the blond boy nodded, and Cole, smiled a little. “No, I get it. We’re rivals here, not friends. I’ll catch up with you guys later on.” Miles sighed as he motioned Angela over, giving her a quick squeeze. “I’ll see you.”

“Yup.” Angela’s voice was smaller and shyer than usual-not like her usual tough side that had developed after her lupus had hit. “Bye.”

“Have fun, enkeli.” The short blond glanced over to Ray as they began to leave the rec room, and though he could see his friend was obviously also not used to the new side of Angela, he smiled a little. “You’ll get used to it. I promise.”

“My ass,” Miles mumbled as Angela caught up with them, pressing the button for the elevator. No matter who it was, or how long it would be for, Miles was sure he’d never get used to his twin sister dating.

The studio was a little smaller than the one he usually used at school-not that Miles really minded. It wasn’t as if he was practicing along the entire length most of them time anyway-it was more just a space for him to make sure any little kinks were worked out before a performance and work on the more physical elements of performing.

“Hey, Miles, let’s do a throw jump!”

Miles blinked in surprise, looking over at his sister and hesitating, before shaking his head ever so slightly. “I don’t think… I don’t think we should…”

“What?” Angela crossed her arms. “Miles, I’m stronger now! I haven’t been sick in months!”

“We also haven’t practiced for months,” He replied with a sigh. “What if I mess up? A broken ankle usually isn’t a great way to finish off March break.”

“We’ll be fine!” She slid off her shoes and walked over to stand firmly in front of him on the hardwood floor. “Miles, we’ve done this dozens of times before!”

“When we were younger,” He huffed. It wasn’t like he’d never dropped her, or she’d never slipped and fallen either, and though there hadn’t been a mishap that had ever led to a serious injury, it was still scary, if not to Angela, then to him. “I don’t know if we can do it anymore, Angela.”

“Miles…” The determined gleam in his sister’s eyes faded away and she sighed. “Why won’t you even try anymore? I won’t break, really…”

“Give her a chance, Miles.” Ray’s voice was unexpected and different than his usual monotone. “You can’t judge without seeing.”

“I…” The short blond skater trailed off, his gaze returning to Angela’s disappointed blue eyes as he thought for a moment. “Angela… It’s not my fault if you get hurt, then.”

“Really?” Miles nodded, and though he was still wary, he couldn’t help but smile at the delight that lit up his sister’s face as she did a little bounce in place. “Yes! I want to do a triple!”

“No.” As she turned her back so he could help her get into position, he replied stubbornly, “Double or nothing. And don’t even try a triple, because I’m not going to throw you near high enough for that.”

“Fine, fine.” She straightened her spine as he placed his hands on her hips, trying to calm his nerves-if he managed to somehow hurt her, he knew how guilty he’d be for the rest of the trip and beyond. Quietly, Miles counted, almost silently, “One, two, three.”

In perfect harmony, he threw her just high enough for a double rotation (he’d been very serious about not letting her even think about a triple), watching as he spun tightly, her arms close to her abdomen-her spins had always been better than his, probably because of the sex differences when it came to training. Though she over rotated ever so slightly, she still landed the jump nicely, especially for how hard the floor was in socks. Angela grinned at both him and Ray and Fiona. “Ta-da! A throw jump!”

“Bravo!” Fiona clapped enthusiastically, while Ray let out a single whistle. “Not bad, you two. You’ve still got it, I think.”

“Thank you, thank you!” While Angela playfully curtsied with the end of her sweater, Miles let himself dip into an exaggerated bow. “Thank you ladies and gentlemen, for the one time only show that will never air again!”

“Miles!” The blond boy couldn’t help but laugh a little as Angela whacked his arm. “We can do it again!”

“Well, we shouldn’t,” He replied, starting over to where he’d placed his shoes. “It’s hard on your ankles, and I’m not the highest thrower.”

“Can you teach me?”

All three of them fell silent at Fiona’s question, whether it was out of shock or something completely different, Miles didn’t know. After a long pause, he hesitantly replied, “Fiona… You can barely skate…”

“Come on, what does skating have to do with doing a throw jump thing in a studio?” She removed her boots and sweater, leaving Ray on the outskirts of the studio to join them in the center. “I’m a dancer and was a gymnast! I can figure this out!”

“You should let her try one,” Angela suggested, backing up to give him space. “She could be really good! Maybe you could find a new skating partner!”

“I don’t want a new partner,” Miles insisted-no one could replace Angela, and how in sync they’d been. “And she’s not trained, Angela.”

“I know dance and gymnastics training.” She stood right in front of him this time, her petite form adorable as her brow furrowed and she put her hands on her hips. “That’s enough! And that looks like fun! I want to try!”

The blond boy glanced over to Angela for help-which wasn’t given, as she shrugged instead. “It might not be a bad idea.”

“One of you is going to get hurt…” With a sigh, Miles nodded. “But sure. Why not.” He motioned for her to turn around, which she did, and he gently placed his hands on her hips. “I think you know what to do, right?”

“Yup!” Fiona’s voice was far too cheerful and energetic for his liking, especially considering how easy she could get hurt. “Let’s do it!”

“Alright…” WIth a deep breath, Miles counted aloud, louder than he generally did with Angela, partially for Fiona-but also for himself. Dropping his sister was one thing, dropping Fiona was another. As he hit three, he tossed Fiona up, propelling her already powerful jump, and he watched as she did an impressive spin for someone out of training. Miles saw her falter, ever so slightly but enough to mess with her landing, and biting his lip, he had to move quickly to catch her on the way down. “Geez! I told you to be careful…”

“What? I would’ve been fine!” She insisted, turning in his hold to grin at him and push dark curls out of her eyes. “That was good, right?”

“I…” The short blond shook his head with a little smile. “Sure, I guess. It wasn’t awful.”

“Yeah!” Fiona chirped enthusiastically as he let her go. “I could be a figure skater!”

Angela laughed as Fiona pulled her into a dance, and Miles watched with his own little smile, slipping his shoes back on next to Ray. He glanced up to his childhood friend. “She’s pretty good, huh?”

“Yeah.” Ray’s eyes refused to meet his, even though he agreed. “She’s not bad.”

The blond sighed almost inaudibly-though there had been very momentary breaks in the obvious tension between them, (mostly with his momentary lapses in judgement or stability), but whether Ray was jealous or Fiona had just disrupted the balance they’d finally found after Isolda he didn’t know, but he knew very well that their friendship had changed. And even if he was undeniably head over heels for the handsome Spaniard at that point, Miles had to admit that he was hating their relationship at the moment, more than their usual arguments and disputes with each other.

After a light breakfast and a simplified run through of Miles’ routine, Cole and Clem had decided to show them around the city, which, despite the fact it was still winter, was much warmer than Ontario, and though he was still stressing over his friendships and the competition the next day, Miles had to admit he had fun as the Finnish kids took them to the little shops and boardwalks near the hotel. And while Miles was saving after his grand world championships stunt, Cole had picked up a cute little hair accessory for Angela, and Ray had surprisingly bought a music box-probably for parts, in hindsight. The blond boy had to admit he’d had a decent time as they stopped for a late lunch in a mostly empty cafe and he nibbled on a donut across from Ray, who was predictably, fiddling with the music box with the tiny kit of tools him and Angela had gifted him.

“Oh, hey look, it’s the pair performances.”

“Hmm?” All four of the skaters looked up to the small tv in the cafe, Miles included, to see the highlights of the previous pair-Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, he immediately recognized, watching a most impressive death spiral. He heard Angela sigh. “I wish we could do that…”

“I don’t know how well that’d work,” Miles replied with a sigh-he loathed the feeling that he could let his sister fall through the cracks, and in skating, the repercussions would be physical rather than mental. “Maybe when we get older…”

“Maybe…” She replied, though her tone was much more wistful than his. Sometimes Miles had to wonder what their lives would have been like if Angela and him had continued skating together, or even if Angela had continued skating competitively in general. It was something that would probably never be answered, yet it took up so much of his thoughts sometimes.

“Are you ready for tomorrow?” Cole asked casually, and though he was feeling pretty hesitant, the blond boy nodded-he wasn’t about to show his competition weakness. “Yup. I think I’m going to kick your ass into next year.”

“Please, Verde.” Their usual competition-based talk had returned once again, though if anyone minded, no one said anything. “I’ve had experience in this competition before. I think I have a bit of an upper hand here.”

“I mean, I can’t give anything away,” Fiona piped up, licking her fingers clean of powdered sugar. “But I’m gonna have to put my money on Bubbles. He’s got a pretty sweet performance lined up.”

“Oh, yeah, I’ve kind of got to side with my brother,” Angela agreed, letting out a little laugh at the look Cole gave her. “What? We’re rivals when it comes to skating, remember?”

“Well, I guess we’ll find out tomorrow, huh?” Clem stepped in, probably to halt any further arguments about who was better at what. Miles nodded in agreement, meeting Cole’s eyes with a little smile. “May the best man win, right?”
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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy novel by Effie
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2018, 10:33:04 PM »
Chapter 13. I'm almost done now. Finally...

“You slept a long time.”

“Ezra wanted both me and Angela to sleep in,” Miles replied, aware of the shake of anticipation in his voice as he stretched once again in the hotel room. “Something about me performing better when I’ve slept longer. But I get sloppy if I sleep too long too, so…”

“You sound nervous.”

“I’m not,” He lied to Ray, who probably immediately detected it. “I’m going to perform fine.”

Ray chuckled sleepily from behind him. “Alright. Whatever you say.”

Miles rolled his eyes, deciding to keep quiet rather than argue as he rolled his ankles, glancing at the clock-nearly nine. Ezra wanted to leave at ten at the latest to check into the stadium… This is happening today.

He was going to put his name in the books. He was going to be the youngest person to pull off a quadruple axel in competition, he was going to enter the senior’s competitions with a bang.

It was absolutely nerve-wracking. Miles could feel his body alight with anxiety. Even though his routine was as good as he could ever get it, he'd spent the majority of his life in the last few months practicing and he knew how much he changed the moment he was on the ice, it was scary, and he hadn’t really considered the fact he could get so nervous before a competition. Before that day, he’d been the best in his league… And suddenly, he was the smallest fish in a massive pond.

It’ll be fine. It’s gotta be fine.

There was a knock at the door, though before Miles could turn to answer it, the person on the other side opened it herself-he’d forgotten that the extra key had gone to Angela, Fiona and his mother. His twin smiled a little. “Hey! You getting ready?”

“Just about to…” He glanced over to Ray, who was laying on his stomach, the book him and Angela had gotten him open, still in pajamas. “Hey, Ray, you can go back to sleep, you know.”

“I’ll pass, Bubbles..”

“Suit yourself.” Angela dumped her own bag on Miles’ bed-even if he was the skater, she had her own things she had to bring, for both his hair and his looks. Her role was just as important as his, even if she worked exclusively behind the scenes. “It’s raining. I’m probably going to have to blow-dry your hair… And your face…” She shook her head as she took out what was already in her bag, probably just so Miles could check it over. “Oh, rain is such a pain in the butt when it comes to performing!”

“Chill, Angela, we’ll have time before I perform to get me dry.” The blond boy pulled out his own bag from under the bed, his skating bag, which had his usual assortment of random things other than his skates-from water bottles and granola bars to things other people had added in case he needed them (he was pretty sure he had a condom or two ironically from Angela as well). He of course had the fox and gecko attached to the strap, which he was quite fond of, despite the fact it probably didn’t help him hold onto what little masculinity he had. Ezra had his costume, and insisted on carrying it, considering Miles tended to be very hard on his skating outfits. Miles himself had the pass though, something he was holding onto very tightly.

“I’m really nervous, Miles!” Angela’s voice was hushed, though obviously excited. “What if I mess up your makeup?”

“Well, that’d be a little inconvenient,” He replied simply, grabbing his sweats. “I’ve still got to shower. “Make sure you have everything, alright?”

Angela nodded as he slipped into the connected bathroom, and with a little nod and a deep breath of his own, Miles closed the door to begin getting ready for the most important day of his career.

The three of them were out of the hotel fairly quickly, with everything they would need for the competition in Ezra’s silver Sedan, which had been transported by train earlier, before the trip. Miles knew where the stadium was-the Pacific Coliseum had been home to many of the winter olympic events some years before-though he was slightly surprised when Ezra drove right past it. “Hey, Ezra, where are we going?”

“Breakfast,” His coach replied, infuriatingly calm, his eyes not leaving the road for a moment. “I’m not letting you compete in your first senior world championships without something good in your stomach.” He glanced back momentarily to Angela, who sat in the backseat. “You too, Angela. Both of you need to be at your best today.”

“But… I mean, where are you taking us?” He asked again as they turned down an unfamiliar street. A little smile came over his coach’s face as Miles glanced over to him. “I know a place that you’ll probably like.”

The place Ezra had taken them to was a small, rustic cafe with a massive assortment of pastries and foods, hidden behind a plaza, and he’d been right-Miles could feel pleasure wash over his body as he bit into the masterfully created scone. “Mmm… This is worth being a little late, I think.”

“Eat the sandwich too,” Ezra reminded him. “You’ll need all the energy you can get today. This could definitely make or break you, kiddo.”

“Wow, thanks for that inspiring statement.” He spoke through a mouthful-though he couldn’t bring himself to care, it was so delicious. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Alright, both of you, I’m sure you know this, but this is our last ‘calm before the storm moment’, or whatever you two call it.” Ezra’s usual easygoing tone became serious, and both the twins nodded. “You know how this works by now, but I feel obligated to say it again. Stay calm. Don’t get too friendly with your competition. Pay attention. Make sure you read the schedule right. Stretch.” He looked pointedly at Miles, and the blond nodded as he bit into the breakfast sandwich. “And I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, but Miles.” The short blond skater blinked at his coach. “If you feel like your knee is going to give out, or you don’t have enough momentum or anything along those lines, replace the quad with quite literally anything else. Okay?”

He nodded again, taking a swig of the ginseng to wash down the bite. “Got it. But I’m doing the quadruple axel.”

Angela giggled, and Ezra rolled his eyes, looking to her. “Does he actually listen to me anymore, Angela?” She shook her head as she finished off one of her own pair of chocolate donuts, and the retired skater chuckled lightly. “Ah, I miss when you were a student. You were so good. Unlike your brother over here with his fancy-ass quads and 80s music and unconventional everything…” Ezra shook his head, and though Miles knew he was mostly joking, it was true-he didn’t exactly follow the normal rules other skaters did, though perhaps it was because of the generation he was born into. Then again, Angela was the epitome of female figure skaters-elegant, simple and beautiful on ice. Sometimes he wondered where they'd gone their separate ways with the sport.

“Anyway, do your best, both of you.” He turned serious again. “Both of you have worked your asses off to get this far together, and everyone’s going to be proud of you no matter how you do.”

Both of them nodded again, as Miles polished off his sandwich and Angela started into her second donut. With a full stomach and Ezra’s usual ‘calm before the storm’ speech, the small blond boy felt a little bit better, and he took another sip of tea, feeling the butterflies in his stomach cease, just a little.

Ezra had always told him nerves were healthy and helpful, but as they entered the backstage of the senior men’s world championships, Miles felt his insides clench and his seafoam-green eyes widen. Angela practically squealed next to him. “Oh my god, Miles, look at all the celebrities!” She motioned with her chin to where a most familiar man was speaking with someone practicing spins in an exercise room. “That’s literally Patrick Chan! He was the best of the best when we were little!”

“He's a judge this year. Pretty nerve-wracking.”

Miles jumped at the voice, and so did Angela-but in a whole different way, considering she practically leapt into Cole’s arms. “Cole! Hi, are you nervous?”

“Psh, I don’t get nervous.” The Finnish boy nodded at Miles. “Verde. When are you performing?”

“Uh…” Miles glanced down to the schedule in his hand, scanning through the names. “Last, actually… Damn, I wonder why? We’re going to be waiting forever…”

“It could be worse,” Cole shrugged. “Remember that year in the juniors where they completely forgot Clem’s performance and had to squeeze her in?”

“I guess it definitely could be something like that,” He agreed, remembering how unhappy Clem had been with the mixup. His rival nodded. “They tend to put the first and second-timers near the end now. See, I’m pretty far down too.” He pointed to his name on the list-ten or so performances before Miles’ finishing act at number 37, one of the only two Finnish athletes. Miles raised an eyebrow. “There’s only two of you?”

“Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what happened this year.” Cole laughed a little sheepishly. “Usually we have three, but this time there’s only me and Justin Haans, who’s pretty well above me skillswise…”

“What, I bet you’re great, Cole!” Angela encouraged, and Miles rolled his eyes. Cole smiled in amusement, however. “You’re cheering for the wrong side, enkeli, your brother’s going to need all the help he can get.”

“You’re definitely getting ahead of yourself,” Miles replied with a huff. “But I guess we’ll see when we perform, right?”

The Finnish boy nodded. “Indeed we will.” He glanced up to Ezra with a little smile. “I’ll let you get them situated.” He hugged Angela around the shoulders once, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “Do your best, enkeli. I’d like to beat your brother at his finest.”

As the twins and Ezra continued into the backstage of the arena, the coach glanced over to Angela with an eyebrow raised. “Are you dating the competition?”

Angela smiled sheepishly. “Just a little.”

“Just a little?” Ezra shook his head with a chuckle. “Of course you are, you're a Verde. And you’re okay with this, Miles?”

Miles hesitated, trying to find the right words as he met Ezra’s eyes. His coach eventually just laughed-Ezra knew him too well. “I see. So no. Well, as long as your career isn’t being damaged, I don’t care what your teenage hormones decide to do.”

The short blond boy smiled in amusement, and even though there were people he’d never dreamed of competing against left and right, Miles felt his nerves settle a little at how familiar the air of the competition was. It was about time he got his performer’s confidence back.

Angela was fretting again. It was natural for her, second nature, especially when it came to her brother. She heard Miles whine as she brushed his ponytail to perfection. “Angela…”

“Shush!” She smiled a little at him in the mirror, watching his green eyes roll as he crossed his arms. “You said yourself you wanted to go into the senior league with a bang. You’ve gotta look good!”

“I look fine,” He grumbled, as whiny and uncooperative as usual. Sometimes Angela wondered why she was considered the younger twin, because Miles was far more emotionally inclined, and almost childishly stubborn. It was no wonder him and Ray butted heads sometimes.

“Ooh, nice work, enkeli.”

Angela felt her heart skip and heard Miles whine again as she accidentally tugged too hard and she turned to meet Cole’s eyes. “Hey! Your performance was so good!”

“Aww, why thank you.” The small sandy-blonde felt her skin tingle as Cole cupped her face gently, his thumb stroking over her cheek. “I didn’t exactly make podium though. The competition’s tough this year.” His beautiful grey eyes rose up to meet Miles’ seafoam ones in the mirror. “I guess it’s up to you now, Verde. You’ve got me and Clem on your side now.”

“Thanks,” Miles nodded at him in the mirror, his lips turning up in a bit of a smile. “It’s appreciated. And your performance was good. The competition is stiff this year.”

“It doesn’t look like any of the rookies except that Canadian Logan kid are going to break the top five,” Cole mused, glancing out from where Angela had been working on her brother’s looks. “Jasper Reid-Evans just finished in eighth.”

Angela bit her lip-Reid-Evans was somewhat older than them, and was incredibly talented. She could remember back when both her brother and Jasper were in the junior competitions, he’d beaten them twice. If he was barely in the top ten…

“Well, I’ll let you get back to work.” Cole’s sweet, accented voice snapped her away from her worries as he pressed a soft kiss to her cheek. “You’ve got a lot of people backing you.”

Miles nodded, and so did she with a smile as the Finnish skater walked deeper into the backstage area. “Well, I guess this will really make or break it, huh?”

“Yup.” Despite the fact he was acting incredibly calm and cool, Angela could detect the anxiety in his tone and in the way he sat, and though he was usually somewhat nervous before a show, it was different, though she couldn’t put her finger on why. Shaking her head slightly to clear the dark clouds of worry away, she went back to work on her brother’s appearance. Both of them had a role to play in winning, and it was her time to shine.

“It’s a long show.”

“It’s worth it to see Miles perform, isn’t it?” Fiona smiled at Ray, who sat to her right. She could tell with a single glance that he wasn’t as much of a figure skating fan as the twins were, or even she was-why had he been so eager to come then? She had a good idea, and though a massive part of her wanted to come out and say it, Fiona knew how to use her gift of reading people for good, and it wouldn’t do any of her friends good she pushed things forward too quickly.

“Yeah.” Ray nodded, his usual monotone unchanging, though he was smiling as he spoke about the Verdes. “It is.”

“Oh hey!” She nudged him, real excitement in her tone, even though she knew she had to put some if it in forcefully so she could get Ray into the performance as well. Fiona had a plan (really, she’d had one since early November, but it had taken longer than she thought) and she wasn’t about to let it fall through the cracks, no matter how self-destructive Miles could be, or how out of tune with himself Ray was. No, she was going to get it right, and enjoy the performance too. “Finally, the last performance! Miles is performing!”

Fiona leaned forward a little to lean on the railing in front of them-their seats were the first row overlooking the ground floor seats, which really wasn’t too bad a spot. Though she had her peripheral vision set on Ray, she couldn’t deny that Miles really was like a different person, the moment he was introduced on ice. Angela also had outdone herself, and Fiona could indeed see the signature blue snowflake just by his ear, which glittered in the light. He was smiling, his face brighter than Fiona had ever seen it. If anything was obvious from the half a minute Miles took to get his footing and wave to the crowd before taking his starting position, it was that the ice was indeed his home.

Finally the stadium fell silent, and though she knew that she really should have had her eyes on Miles, considering it was not only his first world senior performance, but she was there to support him as a friend, (it still floored her that he happened to live in the same neighbourhood she was staying in) Fiona was determined to bring two and two together, and that meant egging Ray on, even if it was just a little bit.

Fiona could practically feel the surprise emanating off most of the crowd and the coaches as Miles’ routine began-a fifteen-year-old skating to an 80s song was already something practically unheard of, but for a world championships… Well, most 80s music didn’t exactly fit what most skaters were looking for. Even so, the small Spanish girl couldn’t hold back a smile as she watched her friend glide over the ice. Even though they were fairly far away, and his costume was a flashy light blue (something common among the younger skaters), she could see his smile as he executed every move with precision. Quietly, just so Ray could hear her, she mused, “He looks so happy…”

“He’s a whole different person out there,” He agreed, though his eyes didn’t leave the small skater. Looking over for just a second, Fiona could see he was smiling, unrestrained and delicate, something Fiona had never seen before. With a little laugh to herself, she looked back to Miles, who was skating his heart out.

“Ah… Here comes that quadruple axel…” Fiona glanced over to the twin’s mother as she tutted nervously. “I really hope he doesn’t push himself too hard for this…”

Fiona fell silent-she wasn’t a skater, but her dancing and brief gymnastics had taught her that a fall from such a powerful jump would hurt, and the tempo of the song was quick. Even if Miles didn’t mess it up, it was a difficult feat to continue another half a song afterwards. Quietly, under her breath, she counted the beats as he gained momentum, holding her breath as he took off, his spin tight and in time. She counted each quick rotation without breathing. Come on Miles, you’ve trained so hard for this…

The cheer from the crowd that followed his perfect landing was louder than any of the ones Fiona had experienced earlier that afternoon, and she rose out of her seat with a jump and a shout of her own. “Hell yes Miles!”

Ray laughed at her reaction a little, though he was obviously happy about the landing too, and as Fiona sat down she saw the warmth in his eyes, despite the chilly stadium. Even if Ray didn’t like figure skating, it was evident he liked watching Miles his best.

Miles continued, and though she obviously couldn’t see all his facial expressions, Fiona thought that his moves were suddenly more confident. He was the youngest person to pull of a quadruple axel in competition, and from what she could remember, had also executed it much better than the person before him.

“He has two consecutive jumps too,” Ray mused below the music. “He used to complain about them before the quadruple thing… I wonder if those still bother him.”

Fiona opened her mouth to answer when Miles did indeed perform his consecutive jumps, the first of which was near perfect, though Fiona could see his falter as he came down from the second, his leg giving out momentarily, sending him toppling hard onto his knees. Though he expertly picked himself back up and continued from where he’d fallen to the ice, Fiona could see his shaken confidence through his next couple maneuvers. The mixed girl heard Ms. Verde beside her gasp. “Oh, I hope his shins are alright… He’s going to be so disappointed.”

“His knee…” Ray shook his head with a sigh as Miles began the last piece of the performance. “Geez. He didn’t wear his knee brace, and I said he should. Twice…” Even though Ray’s voice was irritated, there was worry in his tone as Miles finished the performance with a triple lutz and a spin with a flourish. She rose to her feet for the standing ovation as the stadium erupted in cheers, and even though he wasn’t the type, so did Ray. Though he was visibly breathing heavy, Miles was grinning as he waved to the crowd, and he made a point to look their way. Fiona couldn’t help calling out to him-she might have been small, but her voice certainly carried, and he pointed at her with a grin, his performer’s confidence doing his personality well.

Both her and Ray took their seats as Miles left the ice to wait for his results, the highlights of his performance being replayed on the jumbotron in the stadium. She turned to Ray, and though she knew her entire purpose for going to the event was more important than her enjoying the show, she could feel her eyes alight with excitement as she chirped, “That was awesome! He was so good!”

“He definitely was,” Ray agreed, his voice more animated than Fiona had probably ever heard as he brushed bangs from his face. “He’s come a long way, that’s for sure. Hey, Fiona, I-”

Ray was cut off by the crowd cheering again, and Fiona glanced up to the large suspended screen again-the results had come in. She leaned forward a bit to see them better-though Ms. Verde beat her to it- “Second? He came in second!”

“That’s silver.” Ray’s tone was just as impressed, even if it wasn’t as excited. “Well, Bubbles just won himself a silver medal. That’s pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.”

“That’s amazing!” Fiona knew she was gushing, it was in her nature-she couldn’t really help it, especially when it was someone she knew personally. It couldn’t have helped Ms. Verde hear whoever she was speaking excitedly on the phone to. “He won silver with a fall! Think of what he could do without!”

“Hey, Fiona.” The Spanish boy’s tone dropped to a much quieter one than their jubilant celebration, and though her eyes were on Miles and Angela on the screen, wrapped in a tight hug, she nodded. “Yeah. Listening.”

“I… Look at me.” Obediently, she turned, and even though she was almost positive what was coming, and that she was going to do exactly what she’d planned on doing, she cocked her head in mock interest-she’d become quite adept at acting girly and unaware since the late months of the year before. “Yeah?”

“I… I think I...” The Spanish boy’s cheeks were dusted pink, and though Fiona could tell he was suddenly feeling self-conscious, and he thought he was being completely legitimate, there was a false undertone in his words, a massive hesitation-something she knew from months of watching him signified a lack of passion for the topic. “ Goddammit, I'm not good at these things… But I think I really like yo-”

“Nope.” She cut him off with a finger to his lips and a little smile-her natural smile, rather than the one she picked up off Angela. It was a catty grin, according to Apollo, an old friend of hers, and it tended to give away how much she truly knew. Ray’s face was utterly shocked as she continued. “You don’t get to confess to me, mister. That’s not allowed here.”

The bewilderment on Ray’s face was priceless, especially considering he was usually so collected and knowledgeable. With more of a serious voice, she went on, taking advantage of his silence and Ms. Verde’s phone call. “You’re lying.”

“Wait, no, I’m… I’m serio-”

“No.” She shook her head, almost a hundred percent confident in her actions. “You're completely fine after I just turned you down; you’re lying. But not about having feelings.” She gave him her mischievous little smile. “Not for me, at least.”

Ray was trying to find the words to refute her, but he either agreed, or was too dumbfounded to say anything, and so Fiona continued, placing a hand on his larger one. “Ray… You need to stop assuming you’re immune to things that make you uncomfortable, because you aren’t.” The small Spanish girl smiled at him, a real, soft one this time-she was feeling a little bad for startling him so badly. “So get uncomfortable. New things aren’t always toxic, promise.”

Though it looked like Ray had understood about as much of her little speech as a baby would have, he nodded, and she nodded back, turning back to the rink with a smile as the awards ceremony began. Even if he didn’t get it right at that moment, Fiona had pushed people into good things before. She had faith in her skills, even if people would call them somewhat unconventional. Of course, she would be the winner in the end, even if she lost a battle or two. It was how it always worked out.

“I won silver!”

“You certainly won silver,” Ray agreed as he closed the door of the room. Miles dropped his skating bag, tossed the key to the little table by the door and found himself grinning as he ran his fingers over the medal around his neck. “I won silver! I’m the second best skater in the world!”

Though he was still far more detached than him, Fiona, Angela and even Ezra and his mother had been, Ray was smiling too, his eyes bright as he slid off his jacket, hanging it on the back of the door. “You could easily beat out America next year. It was close for sure.”

“I won silver!” Though everyone else seemed to very easily accept that yes, he was among the top three best skaters in the world, even with his failed jump, he was still in shock, and it was evident as he finally stopped fidgeting to meet Ray’s eyes. “Hey, I…” Surprising both himself and Ray, he stood on tiptoe to hug his best friend gratefully. “Thank you. For coming to see me perform, and coming to the rink and everything… I know you don’t really like figure skating.”

“You’re good at what you do, Bubbles.” Though it was light and very hesitant, even more than usual for him, Ray hugged him too, a breath of a touch. “It’s not all that bad.”

Miles lingered for a moment too long, and he knew it as Ray began to pull back from his already hesitant hug. Though the blond boy knew that if he lingered a moment longer, or did anything but pull away at that moment it would raise questions-but he was hopped up on adrenaline, he’d just become a silver medalist in the world championships, and between that, and the flutters in his chest, logic seemed like a ridiculous idea. His chances were slim, and he was tired of waiting. With little hesitation, and more confidence than he’d ever had off the ice, he reached up as far as he could with his petite height and pressed a kiss to his childhood friend’s lips. And though it took a moment, Ray cupped his face with a single hand and hesitantly kissed back.

And Miles was completely and utterly taken aback.

As quickly as he’d acted, the blond jumped back, his face bright red and his breathing short. “Wait! What the hell, Ray?”

“Wait, what?” Ray seemed just as startled as he was, but for completely different reasons. “What did I do?”

“Y-you…” His tone was shaking, unsure what to think as he tried to catch his breath. “You kissed back… Why did you kiss back?” He could feel his anxiety rising in his stomach and his voice-he’d been expecting Ray to cuss at him, yell at him… Almost anything would have been better than him kissing back with no warning. “Are you messing with me? A-are you toying with me or something?”

“Miles, I…” Ray’s voice was quieter, but utterly baffled. “You kissed me, and you’re freaking out because I kissed back?”

“Yes!” He was backed against the wall at that point, his heart all over the place. “You… You aren’t supposed to be…”

“Attracted to you in any way other than our childhood friendship?” Miles flinched away as Ray cocked his head, hitting the problem spot on. “Miles… You should know by now I wouldn’t mess with you like that. I know what makes you tick, and I wouldn’t mess with your head like that.”

“So why did you…” The blond boy took a deep breath. “Ray. You *censored*ing kissed me. Can you at least explain yourself?”

“Actually, you kissed m-”

“I’m serious!” His usual lighthearted tone was completely gone, and his voice was shaking. Ray sighed, running hands through his hair-he was obviously stressed, and he stuttered through his words. “Alright, alright, alright. Okay, uh… First things first. You… You obviously like me, uh… romantically enough to kiss me out of nowhere. Yes?”

Though he hesitated, Miles realized it really couldn’t get any worse at that point-his friendship was ruined, one way or another, he was sure of it. So he nodded, his face seemingly getting redder. “I… I think I really… really like you.”

“So yes.”

“Do I really have to say it?” Miles crossed his arms over his chest with a huff. “What about you?”

Ray nodded slowly, a bright, rare blush filling in his cheeks. He bit his lip, but there was a small, shy smile dancing on his face. “Well, if I’m going to be completely honest, maybe I’ve developed a bit of a crush on you too, Bubbles.”

For a moment, they stood in silence, Ray’s brown gaze hesitant and seemingly unable to focus. Miles swallowed almost painfully. “Y-you… You’ve got to be lying.”

“Do you really reckon me a liar, Miles?” He cocked his head to the side. “When have I ever lied to you?”

“Just now!” He crossed his arms. “You’re obviously after Fiona! I’ve seen how you look at her when she’s around!”

The Spanish boy laughed sheepishly at the statement, running his fingers through his hair again. “Ah… About that… Fiona and I… Never mind that right now.” Ray shook his head with a sigh. “ I can explain that later… I think. Look, trust me, I… I’m not into Fiona. Or I… I don’t think I am.” He leaned down so they were face to face. “I’m not the best with emotions, you know that, Miles, but I’m really trying here, alright? I’m… I’m opening up to you, and… And you know how difficult that is for me."

Miles stared at his best friend for a moment longer, before letting his defenses fall and leaning back against the wall with a shaky sigh. “I hate you.”

“Haha.” Ray smiled at him, cupping his face gently with a hand. “All the same, Bubbles.”

The rest of the day was a whirlwind, for one reason or another-between having to rehearse the group exhibition of champions performance, the media, the congratulations and the idea of him being a silver medalist, and then him and Ray deciding how exactly they were going to proceed (though he’d been wishing for it for so long, Miles had no idea that transitioning from one relationship to another would be so complicated). Though he was more than disappointed about his fall, he didn’t have the time to think about it as the rest of the day played out, which was probably for the better. By the time he crashed at nearly midnight, after a celebratory dinner hosted by the Lopez siblings (who were undeniably proud of him, though had a massive tendency to extend parties), Miles was absolutely exhausted, and he fell onto his bed with a groan. “That was tiring and I don’t want do do it every again.”

“Really?” Ray replied through a yawn-even though their relationship was undetermined, the tension between them had finally eased, and they’d fallen back into their usual habits for the most part, teasing included. “Even the kissing?”

Stop bringing that up,” The blond whined, feeling his cheeks heat up again. “It was embarrassing! I get it, I’m not a good kisser!”

The Spaniard hummed in amusement again, though silence fell between them as Miles rolled over to plug in his phone and take off his medal, which gleamed in the light. With a smile, he mused, “I won silver.”

“You won silver,” Ray echoed as he changed into sleepwear on the other side of the room “Not bad at all, Bubbles.”

There was another silence, and though it was sleepy and peaceful, there was an undeniable question that hung above them heavily, making the air thick. Miles swallowed, wondering who would bring it up first-he certainly didn’t want to.

“Okay, obviously neither of us want to say it.” Ray seemed to read his thoughts and the blond turned to his voice. “But where are we proceeding to after this? Boyfriends, back to childhood friends, *censored* buddies?”

Not the last one!” Even though it obviously wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, Miles could feel his face heating up at just the thought, pushing any imagery in his mind away as Ray chuckled at his reaction. With a deep breath to compose himself, Miles replied in a small voice, “I don’t know. What… What do you…”

“What do I want?” Ray finished, and he nodded frantically, wishing for nothing more than the relief of a relationship label above their heads-hovering between old friends and boyfriends was a place he’d quickly come to hate. The Spanish boy got a familiar gleam in his eye. “Well, to be very blunt, I’d like to kiss you again, considering our last one didn’t go exactly to plan.”

“I…” Miles bit his lip, suddenly very lost for words, even more so than usual, his heart skipping at even the thought. Ray cocked his head, his words casual even if his tone was wracked with nerves, asking, “Are you against the idea?”

Almost immediately and a little too enthusiastically for his liking, Miles shook his head, blushing as the handsome Spaniard stood up to cross the space between them. WIth a curious look, he leaned down so they were face to face and tipped his chin up just a little, probably a habit from Isolda. “Uh…”

The Spanish boy’s lips parted, as if there were words dancing on his tongue, but he seemed to change his mind about saying them, pressing a gentle kiss to Miles’ lips, something calm and sweet and lacking Ray’s usual coldness. Despite the fact he was nervous, and obviously not the best kisser, the blond couldn’t help but melt into the touch, one of his hands drifting up to clutch his friend’s bare arm for support as both of them lingered, probably a bit too long for something so new and innocent-not that Miles could really bring himself to care after months of wishing for practically nothing else.

“Hey, Miles, I-oh geez, sorry!”

At the familiar voice, Miles almost fell backwards onto the bed, nearly taking Ray down with him (luckily he was the lighter of the two). He craned his neck to see Angela standing in the doorway of the hotel room, a hand over her mouth, though she was obviously grinning. Ray let out a sigh, and it seemed like it was his turn to be embarrassed as Angela quite literally shouted. “Yes! Hell yes, Fiona, get in here!”

Though Miles really would have preferred if the Spanish girl hadn’t come in, she predictably did, her face lighting up. “Sweet! It only took half a year!”

“What?” Ray’s confusion was legitimate, and he crossed his arms over his bare chest to face the girls. “You two knew?”

“Well, yes!” Angela replied. “He’s been in love with you for months, goddammit!”

“I…” Ray’s eyes landed on Fiona, who was looking incredibly mischievous, different from her usual sweetness. “You set this up! You wanted me to get worked up over this! You wanted me to confess to you!”

“You confessed to her?”

Fiona simply shrugged with a catty grin. “I mean, it all worked out, right? And I’m kind of aromantic anyway, so it doesn’t exactly add up.” She laughed, completely ignoring the surprise on both of the boy’s faces. “But anyway, congrats! You two are together now, right?”

“I…” Miles blinked at Ray, who gave a little ‘I don’t know’ motion. “I guess we are.”

“Aww, finally!” Angela’s voice was practically a squeal. “I’m excited! This is going to be so cute!”

Though the small blond boy laughed, Ray rolled his eyes, beginning to shoo the girls out. “Out! The both of you. It’s midnight, you’re loud and whether I’m dating or not, I’m not a show you get to watch.”

“Alright, fine.” Fiona turned in the doorway, her mischievous smile still present. “But you’ll be thanking me one day! Trust me!”

Ray rolled his eyes as he closed the door and leaning back against it with an amused smile. “Well then.”

“You confessed to Fiona?” Miles couldn’t help but ask again with a bit of an uncharacteristic giggle, unsure if he was hurt or just surprised, or maybe delirious from how tired he was and how late it was getting. The Spanish boy raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms. “You’re seriously asking me that, after she just said she’s aromantic and I just willingly kissed you? Does it seem like that really matters right now?”

“Uh, just a little,” He joked. “But seriously, um…” He felt his cheeks begin to heat up for what seemed like the millionth time that day. “Are we… Are we dating now?”

“Do you want to date me?” Ray asked, shaking hair out of his face, and though he was entirely aware he’d fallen for the boy in front of him for his personality over looks, it really didn’t hurt he was so attractive, even if it physically pained the blond to remember how different their appearances were. With as much confidence as he could muster at midnight after a such a hectic day, he replied, “Yes! I… I mean yes, if you’re willing… ”

“Did you get the impression I wasn’t willing when I kissed you twice today?”

“No, I just…” Miles sighed-the Spanish boy was definitely teasing him, as usual. “I mean… I don’t believe you’re suddenly… Gay after breaking up with your cute first love…”

Ray seemed to think about the possibility for a moment as he sat back down on the bed and Miles began to change, suddenly more self-conscious than usual. “I don’t… I don’t think I’m gay… I’m not really into guys…” He brushed fingers through his messy hair again with a sigh, seemingly unsure about the entire situation. “I think it’s very dependent… On the person, considering…” He shook his head after a moment, his loss for words a little amusing, considering how good he usually was with them. “But what about you? Have you actually been gay this whole time?”

“No!” He crossed his arms over his chest as he changed into the black tank top that hung loosely off his thin torso. “I’m not gay! I’ve… I’ve liked girls before-I’ve kissed girls before!”

“So you’re bi.”

“I’m bi!” He announced, watching Ray’s expression become painted over with amusement. “So no more gay jokes!”

“Well, I might make one here and there, but…” Ray laughed as he was hit in the chest with a softcover book. “Hey! Okay, okay, stop! I get it. No more calling you gay.” Obviously, both of them were tired, and Miles stretched with a yawn, watching was Ray rolled over to lay on his back under the sheets. The blond cleared his throat nervously. “So we’re a thing now.”

Ray raised an eyebrow at him, his face just as surprised as Miles’ had been after winning the medal. “I guess so, Bubbles. I didn’t think I’d come back from Vancouver with a boyfriend… That’s for sure.”

“Are you really hating that?” The blond asked quietly, halting from where he had been about to turn of the lamp-though he was somewhat overjoyed that yes, he was doing the impossible, dating Ray, he wasn’t about to push his friend into something he didn’t want. Ray shook his head. “No, no, I…I just… Well, you’ve got to give me a chance to get used to the idea of dating you…”

“And I’ve got to get used to the fact that you… You..” Miles trailed off, leaving Ray to fill the space with his amused voice, “That I might be a little bit in love with you?” The blond boy nodded, feeling his heart flutter and a giddy feeling overcome him, suddenly understanding his sister’s reactions a little better. “We both have a few things to think about, huh.”

There was a still moment of silence between them, tense and awkward.

“Hey, Ray.”

The Spanish boy paused mid-yawn, blinking at him. “Yeah. Make it quick, we both need sleep.”

“I…”  The shorter of the two swallowed nervously, biting his lip and forcing his words out as Ray motioned for him to continue. “Ray… Even if this doesn’t work out, are we still going to be friends?”

“Hmm?” The question seemed to be ridiculous to the handsome Mediterranean boy, and he smiled a little. “Well, yeah. We’ve gone through some serious *censored*, Miles. Something like this isn’t going to change the fact you’re… you’ll still be Bubbles to me in one way or another, I promise.” Miles felt a weight taken off his chest as Ray stretched and yawned. “Now turn off the damn light and stop worrying. Good night, Bubbles.”

The silver medalist smiled a little, just to himself, as he turned off the lamp. “Good night, Ray.”

I'm too shy to initiate... But I'm open to anyone else doing it. Just tell me if you need to say something :D