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Author Topic: Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie  (Read 99 times)

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Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie
« on: December 24, 2017, 12:04:30 PM »
Well, this is the first draft of a novel I decided to finish for NaNoWriMo this year. I'm in the process of rewriting and could use some advice.

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.

“Hey, stranger.”

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

“I could say the same about you,” Ray replied, as Miles skated around 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 amused sparkle 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, though he could feel his heart flutter as Ray chuckled under his breath, envying 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 peered back at him in reply, wondering when the cold, emotionally awkward boy had become so concerned about his health. Though it wasn’t that Ray had ever been… uncaring, he was blunt and tended to leave emotions to, well, Miles himself. Miles had always been the emotional one, to his dismay, but Ray had always been there to ground him with his almost less-than-compassionate demeanor.

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

Perhaps it’s just because we’ve been friends for so long… And I really don’t hate this side of him anyway.

“I… Want to clear my head before school,” He 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?”

“What?” 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 face 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 at this, opening the gate off the ice. “All the same, Bubbles.”

“Shut up,” He huffed, though couldn’t help but smile, his cheeks warm 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 replied 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. “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 falling away, running fingers through his hair, feeling his face heat up in embarrassment, muttering under his breath, “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, from 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 been shy as a child, when he’d moved to Mississauga, and his mother and Ray’s had bonded over the fact they were both single mothers,-probably a blessing, if he thought about it, 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 on friends and wasn’t about to let a stupid little crush take away his most important one. The small blond pushed any thoughts even related to it 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. The auburn-haired woman smiled at him. “Yeah. Come by after school if you feel like it.”

He nodded her way again, before leaving the building, 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, 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 fifteen-year-old, she had flare ups-flare ups that often ended up with her in the hospital, to his dismay.

“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, glancing at him with an amused smile. “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. “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 too, at how accurate the statement was. “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, forcing his gaze to meet Ray’s instead of wandering. “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, sliding his hands in the pockets of his navy hoodie. Though perhaps 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 to living in the part of the suburb they lived in. It was fairly easy to get around, even to the places a little farther away like the hospital, which was a ten-minute bus ride from the stop near the school anyway, and it was definitely convenient on days like that when he tried to squeeze in as much skating as he possibly could.

Miles unlocked the door and didn’t bother taking off his shoes, rapidly swapping his skating bag for his schoolbag 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.


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, barely catching himself. The person he ran into, however-a short girl, he saw-wasn’t so lucky. Biting his lip, 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 somewhat of a nightmare.

The girl seemed nice, however, nodding as she smoothed down her clothing with a little smile at him. “Yes. 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-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 for 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, gracefully, smiling all the same.

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 to get a note to get out of being marked late anyway.”

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

Miles knocked 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, perhaps 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. So as he left math to head to the front lobby of the school, he really wasn’t expecting much.

“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 around seventh grade) not a lot of people called him out. He was shy, and 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 run 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 charming as ever. “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. “A-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.

“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. 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.

NOTE: Plot convenience runs strong in this right now, and a lot of situations are romanticized, just so I could get a first draft over with. I'm working on it. Promise.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 01:25:00 PM by EffulgentFirefly »

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2017, 12:08:01 PM »
“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 basically 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 good friend and Ray’s girlfriend had moved halfway across the world. And while all three of them stayed in touch, they’d broken up, 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 (and 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, young-looking face, 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 soccer. 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…

Even if he did like me like that, we’re socially on two different levels, so stop thinking you deserve such a thing.

“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 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 smiled back at him. “I’m still me. I promise. And I’m not dying, I’m living.” 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 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 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, whom he’d known and occasionally lived with for nearly a decade, or his mother, who was perhaps 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 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.

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-if only I could just snap my fingers and double this-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, stepping into place beside the female half of the twins. 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 bit of a 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 from under long eyelashes. “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. “So no.”

“No indeed, I guess.”

“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 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 a 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 disobedient heart quiver and skip. “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. “Yeah. I’ll change and then we can go.”

Though he 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.

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-of 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 needed.

“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. “Hey, Fiona.”

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

“He was talking about a girl?” Ray hummed curiously. 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 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 an adorably short person to date another adorably short person.”

Fiona laughed, and Miles felt his face flush undeniably 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.

“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, jotting something down on his pale skin lightly. “There’s my number, so if you ever want to do something… Or, rather, if I ever get lost.” 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 playful suggestion-though 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 us and Isolda were.”

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 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 *censored*ing 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, and 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 replied, even though he knew it was futile at that point-though neither of them were the absolute best sleuths when it came to reading people, they had some sort of connection that 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 *censored*ing 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 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 while Angela had escaped abuse while they’d lived with him in France, his mother and him hadn’t been so lucky.

“Can I ask something?”

“Yes,” Miles breathed, his tone quiet. “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 flinched internally 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, and 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.”

“Good.” She pressed her cheek to his firmly, before letting him go and continuing to prepare to cook. “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 go to 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-though obviously not that night-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 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, I hope we won’t bother you too much, then.” Ezra then nodded to him as he stepped onto the ice. “And you?”

“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 power, 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. “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, ruffling his hair. “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 going 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, doing a regular axel jump as he began to skate absentmindedly again. 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.

Offline EffulgentFirefly

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Re: Shaved Ice-A crappy little novel by Effie
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2017, 12:08:43 PM »
And I'll stop at 3 for now
“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-perhaps 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 when it came to 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 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 actually 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. “Probably for some sort of sex.”

“Ray!” Angela gasped, though her tone was only a little mortified, and was more of a laugh than anything else, accompanied by Lucia’s own chuckle. 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 low, quiet voice suddenly sounding much closer than Miles remembered. He decided not to embarrass himself by turning, decided to nod 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, letting out a little sigh. Ray chuckled lightly. “Remember when it was just the three of us?”

“Vaguely,” Miles joked-it seemed like a long time ago, when it was normal for them 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 three-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 didn’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, whom perhaps 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 randomly 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 screwing 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 bony to do much damage to his larger 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 abused 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 overdramatic 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 interesting mistake adding another girl to the equation.”

“So… Your sister skates too?”

“I do indeed,” 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, instead letting go of Angela, 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 simple axel. He heard Fiona chirp, “Bravo! Bravissimo!”

“Haha,” Angela was smiling, her face brighter than Miles had seen in a long time, and perhaps 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 seemed to be an overly optimistic person all around, and he really wondered 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 a double lutz lazily, 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 (which were tied into twin pigtails that fell over her shoulders) 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-something Miles didn’t quite understand, but was probably something about how ridiculously different they were. Miles really couldn’t bring himself care about it, though, 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 world championships the year before-he’d won gold 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. 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 practically 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 young too-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 83% 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 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 unless you actually attended the school, then 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 shelter!” 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. “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 simply, “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, making 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.

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 »
Sum more chapters
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 rotating 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 liked 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.

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 goddamn equipment is.” 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-and 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. 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 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’d earned a decent amount out of the bets on himself.

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. 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. “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 even 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 call, 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.”

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 whined in pain. “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 certainly 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, I think.”

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. “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 a 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 push himself backwards into a series of three handsprings, which he barely landed, but 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.

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 »
Criticism is accepted here. This is a first draft after all.
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 the winter constellations and a little bit more, 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 my disobedient heart into disarray…

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, letting out a 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 5’4. “At least I’ve got motivation.”

“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 on 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. 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 with a bit of a playful smile. “Of course you do, you stubborn girl.”

“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 nudge 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 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. “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 station. 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 straight face 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’m too 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 curiosity in mystery, 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 simply, 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 food.

“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 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!”

“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 light and 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.”

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.

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.