This story is for the Weekly One-Shot Challenge: “Remember that your body is not just a temple – it`s an amusement park too“.
This is also a promo for the Home Sweet Home Contest as it takes place in Norway, my current home.
I want to thank Suki59 for being a very helpful beta on this and for running the one-shot challenge AND the HSH contest (the latter with yours truly). She has a story out for this one-shot challenge too. Make sure you read it 🙂
I own nothing. I hope Charlaine Harris will forgive me for taking her lovely characters and bringing them out in the snow.
I yelled out my disappointment, my butt in the snow and tears running down my cheeks. I`d been so promising, so good and now I couldn`t do anything. I`d thrown myself into the snow in deep frustration.
When I`d hung up the phone, the first thing on my mind had been to grab my skis and work myself even harder. I had to do something because my dream was slipping through my fingers and it was slipping fast.
I`d been thrown off the team.
I took a deep breath and felt myself begin to hyperventilate.
I`d been thrown off the national ski team of Norway.
I tried to get up, I needed to move, to get back on the cross country track, to go even faster than I had when I`d gotten my skis tangled in a tree root and fallen, but my legs wouldn`t move. My butt was getting cold and wet in the snow. One of the big ironies of modern ski sports was that ski suits weren`t made for winter temperatures.
Maybe I`ll get pneumonia. Instead of being scared like any athlete was when sickness was the topic, I welcomed the thought. Maybe I`ll freeze to death?
I lay back in the snow and looked up at the trees. It was dark but my headlight caught the beautiful structures of the pine tree branches. There was snow on top of the branches and for a short moment, I wondered if I should hit them with my ski pole so that I could be buried in snow – just to speed up freezing to death.
Tomorrow, when all the papers would report that the great Sookie Stackhouse was thrown off the team, I would love nothing more than to be in the hospital. Or the morgue?
Oh, I was getting gloomy.
I was about to chastise myself when I heard the tell tale sounds of another skier. The schwush, schwush, schwush of skis in the ski tracks and someone coming closer and closer. I quickly turned off my headlight. I would be in the darkness without it and the skier wouldn`t see me. I certainly didn`t need the newspapers to report that I was crawling around in the snow, wallowing in my self pity.
I held my breath when a tall guy with long blond hair schwushed by wearing a … what? … pinkspandex ski suit? Or condom suit as the very tight ski suits had been termed years ago.
I was probably delirious from the cold – they do say that you feel great when you die from hypothermia – because I couldn`t stop myself from giggling at the guy`s condom suit. It wasn`t just pink. It had some turquoise swirls going up and down the legs.
It would take huge balls for a guy to wear a suit like that. Not that one could see those balls now, even if the suit was tight. Cold weather would make any balls crawl into hiding.
I put my glove in my mouth to stop my laughter, but it was too late. The schwushes stopped. I held my breath and hoped they would start again. Please, please, let the guy schwush away.
I stared between the trees and groaned when I saw the headlight change direction.
“Shit,” I whispered and tried to get up.
My body was lean and I was all muscles. My biceps and triceps – not to mention the eight pack I carried instead of a stomach – had been the topic of much envy among my teammates. But now I couldn`t make them work. They wouldn`t obey all the commands I sent them.
Well, the last was wishful thinking. Very wishful thinking.
For the first time in ten years I wished I were home in my bed instead of out in the forest. I`d always focused on training, being good, working out, building muscles and stamina. But now I wanted to pull my duvet up to my ears and chew on a large plate of chocolate.
“Are you okay?” a voice asked. I had his headlight in my eyes and couldn`t see him, so I switched mine on too.
“Oh no,” I whispered to myself when I realized who it was. “I`m fine,” I shouted. “Just trying out a new kind of stretching. Snow yoga.”
I wasn`t fooling anyone and I could see it on the smile that curled his lips. Why, oh, why did it have to be freaking Eric Northman who found me covered in snow, tears and snot, way out in the deep forest?
Anyone – anything – would have been better.
I would gladly have been eaten by wolves or run down by moose. I would even have wrestled a bear before I chatted with Eric Northman in my current state of mess and despair.
I`d been thrown off the team and he was the reporter who would put it on the front page tomorrow. Well, it would be the desk that put it on the front page. But he would be writing the article. And he would be using all the words in the dictionary to tell me what I`d done wrong.
He would be the one writing about what a failure I was.
To prevent my brain from going into hysteria or depression – I wasn`t sure which would come first – I let my eyes roam Eric Northman`s body. It was a trick I`d learned years ago. If you`re about to panic in front of people, pretend they are naked.
With Eric Northman, I didn`t need much imagination to pretend anything. His suit was spray painted on his body.
Yes, his balls and all other parts of his personal equipment had gone into hiding. It was the first thing I checked because my potential panic was just that big.
Then I looked at his marvelous torso. Eric Northman did not have that beer belly most reporters carried around. But then, he`d been a ski-champion himself not so long ago. What was it, four or five years since he`d jumped out of the circus and into following his former competitors and writing about every breath they took and every race they won?
Apparently he`d been staying in shape. His muscular thighs, his strong arms. Oh, my panic was almost gone now.
“Have you finished undressing me now?” Eric Northman asked.
My eyes flew up to his face so fast I almost sprained my neck. “I wasn`t undressing you,” I lied.
“Oh really? Remember that you`re wearing a headlight. I had a spotlight on my groin for so long I was afraid it would catch fire. Not that I mind, of course. Sookie Stackhouse can undress me any day,” he smiled.
He didn`t add his signature wink or that eyebrow thing he was famous for but I groaned all the same. Here I was, my butt wet and freezing in the snow after having had the disappointment of my life and Eric Northman caught me staring at his groin. Every time I thought things couldn`t get worse, someone had to prove me wrong.
“Come on,” he said and stretched out his arm. “Let`s get you inside. You`ll get sick lying in the snow like that.”
When I didn`t move, he bent down, grabbed my hand and pulled me up. I yelled because it hurt in my joints. I`d been lying way too long.
“What the hell were you doing there?” he asked.
“So you can have something for tomorrow`s paper?” I taunted. No, I was not going to tell him.
“First of all, the deadline was four hours ago and second of all … ” He looked at me. “What kind of person do you think I am? I don`t report everything I see or hear.”
“No, but I can`t be sure, can I? You`re the one with a license to kill with your words and I`m not going to give you the headline.” It`ll be a headline soon enough, anyway.
He grinned. “Oh, so this is headline stuff? Do tell!”
“Stuff it and help me instead.” My body was stiff and I could hardly walk, let alone ski.
“Come one,” he said and I had his warm arm around my waist and he was pulling me forward. One wouldn`t think I`d been the national champion three years ago or won a couple of international competitions. I walked like an old lady. Or a little kid.
I pulled away. “I think I can manage now,” I said. Apparently I still had some pride, though it wasn`t much.
Eric Northman grabbed hold of me again. My swaying the few seconds I was standing alone could be the reason but I still resented it. I was Sookie Stackhouse. I could go 30 kilometers and not lose my breath. Of course, if I didn`t lose my breath it was because I hadn`t put enough pressure on myself, so that rarely happened.
“Stop fighting me,” he groaned and started pulling me forward. But I was stiff from the cold and just couldn’t get my arms and feet coordinated. He stopped. “Right. This is not working,” he said. Then he looked at me. “I`m going to do something I`ve only done with my nephews and nieces before.”
He pulled me in front of him, my skis between his, my back against his chest and his one arm around my waist. And then he started pushing me with his huge body. Eric Northman was tall and I could feel him breathe down on top of my head.
His body wasn`t just huge. It was warm too. I couldn`t help leaning back into his chest, trying to get as much of that lovely warmth as possible.
“You do realize that I`m fully capable of skiing on my own?” I asked after I`d gotten my warmth back.
“I think you should stay here a little longer, just in case,” he answered, pulling me closer. I could hear from the smile in his voice that he was fully aware of my improved state.
“Right.” I had to admit that I enjoyed not being the one working hard for once in my life. And Eric Northman had earned his wages on me and my fellow skiers` efforts for years. It was only fitting that he pulled the weight now. Or that was what I told myself so that I could lean into him a little while longer.
I was impressed with how well he handled the situation. It`s no small feat to push kids forward like this. Most Norwegian parents had the back pains to show for it. But pushing an adult, even a small woman like myself, that was hard work.
Eric Northman`s breath became more strained after a while and I pushed away with my skipoles to relieve him of my weight. I didn`t want to give the man a heart attack and I was perfectly fit to ski on my own again. I picked the other track so that we walked next to each other.
I kept making sure my skis were half a meter ahead of his, though. I couldn`t help myself. It was that winner instinct of mine. When he sped up, I did the same.
“Are we competing?” he asked.
“Are we?” I asked back.
“I`m stronger since I`m a guy but it`s been a long time since I competed professionally, whereas you`re an athlete,” he said.
“Don`t forget that my body temperature is probably below what it should be,” I said.
“And my pulse is higher than it should be.”
“I wasn`t that heavy,” I protested.
“No, you weren`t,” he smiled.
“But why …?” I looked at him. “Oh.”
Instead of following up on that innuendo, I started skiing faster. And faster. And faster. I could hear him behind me, his rhythm a bit slower than mine because of his long legs and arms. I could also see his headlight dancing on the snow next to me.
My body complained about being forced into top speed just after having cooled down in the snow. I felt all the muscle aches that had been troubling me this last year and they came back bringing friends.
But I was no quitter. I bit back the pain. After all, that`s the difference between a nobody and a winner – the ability to bite back pain. Unfortunately, I was on my way to become a big fat nobody in spite of my ability to bite back all pain in the world. I`d once entered a contest, knowing full well that three of my toes were broken and I`d never complained.
“How are you doing back there?” I taunted.
“Enjoying the view,” he teased and his headlight wasn`t next to me in the snow but on my butt. I could see the light in the snow around me.
That made me ski even faster and bite back even more pain. I knew I was on my last reserves but a great skier would always be able to push herself beyond those last reserves. Far beyond.
We came to a crossroad and I was about to go left when I heard his shouting behind me.
“My house is to the right.”
“So? My car is in the parking lot to the left.”
“Come home with me,” he said and there was something about the way he said it. Something more than just a reporter who wanted a story or even a guy who wanted to get laid. Something that made me think it was a good idea to go home with him.
I certainly didn`t want to go to my own place. The coach had promised he wouldn`t tell anyone the news about my being thrown off the team until the morning but one could never be sure he would keep that promise. I didn`t want to be home in case reporters came around to get their shots of me crying.
So you`re going home with a reporter instead? Good call!
Without saying anything, I turned my skis and picked the track that went to the right.
“How far is it to your house?”
“Not far,” he answered while staying behind me. I wasn`t sure if it was by choice or because I was going too fast so I chose to believe the latter.
He had been right. His house was just another five minute`s walk and I caught myself envying him the close distance to the place where I spent most of my time from the first snow in the autumn until the last snow in the spring. I always had to go by car when I wanted to work out.
He unlocked the door and invited me in, our skis and ski poles were left in his shed. While I sat down to take off my boots, he walked over to the fireplace and put some more logs onto the already burning fire. He then turned around and looked at me.
“Jesus Christ!” he said. I jumped in my seat, not knowing what had startled him like that. Then I saw that he was staring at me.
I still hadn`t managed to untie my bootlaces because my fingers were cold, especially now that my gloves were off, and my body hurt but surely it couldn`t be my lack of boot-untying ability that had him shocked like that.
“You`re freezing,” he said and ran to what I assumed was his bathroom because a few seconds later he came out with two towels.
Before I knew what was happening, he pushed my boots off and then he pulled off my clothes. When I was stripped down to my underwear, he started rubbing my body with the towels.
It felt so incredibly good that I didn`t think twice about my unclothed state. But then I was used to all kinds of coaches, medical personal, doping control and team members seeing me like this. Sometimes wearing even less. Being shy or modest as an athlete was just not an option.
He then kicked off his own boots and pushed me in the direction of the bathroom.
“You need a hot shower,” he said. “I would have said a hot bath if it didn`t take too long to run a full tub.”
He pushed me into the shower stall and walked in behind me, fully clothed. If a pink and turquoise slim fitting condom suit could be considered fully clothed.
He turned on the water and I had an almost religious experience when the hot water ran down my head and body. Eric Northman`s, no, Eric`s – you should be on a first name basis with a guy you`re in the shower with. Well, Eric`s hands turned me around and I could feel his loosening my braid and my hair cascading over my shoulders.
Then his hands moved down to my bra. “Do you mind?” he asked. “I mean, you can wear your bra now but it`ll be uncomfortable once you`re outside the shower.”
I nodded and felt his fingers unfasten my bra. Then they were down at my pantyline and stopped for a moment. I nodded and my panties disappeared down my legs.
Then he started rubbing me with a wash cloth with soap. And he was pretty rough about it.
“I would like to keep some of my skin,” I complained.
“I don`t think you realize how cold you are. I`m trying to get your blood circulation back.”
I let him work my skin for a while. Then it hit me. “Why are you being so nice?” Reporters were never nice.
“I couldn`t exactly let my bread and butter die from hypothermia, now could I?” He turned me around and when I looked up into his face, he gave me a warm smile.
“I won`t be your bread and butter anymore anyway,” I said before I could stop myself. “I`ve been kicked off the team.”
Eric stopped scrubbing. “I was afraid they would do that to you.”
“What?” I asked. “It doesn`t come as a surprise to you?”
He shrugged and his blue eyes pierced mine, forcing me to look down. But I quickly found that looking down wasn`t a good idea either. Hot showers brought things out of hiding and Eric`s condom suit was being strained. I looked up again.
“You`ve been out of shape this past year. 17th and 24th do not make headlines,” he explained. “And those were your best results.”
“Well, excuse me for not giving you enough bread and butter.” Why did he have to focus on my failures? “I`ve been injured and sick. I`ll get back on track.”
“How?” he asked as if it wasn`t obvious.
“I`m training so much more. Harder. And I`m minding my diet very closely … ” I was about to expand on how focused I was when I felt his fingers glide down between my breasts to my stomach.
“You`ve certainly been working out.” His fingers felt surprisingly good.
I hadn`t had any boyfriends or lovers in ages. How could I? They would only distract me from my big goal – winning the gold. I`d seen plenty of teammates fall in love and that was the last anyone saw of them. Suddenly, they were at home with three kids.
I nodded. Yes, I`d been working out. Best to focus on what he was saying, not what his fingers were doing.
Then his fingers left my stomach and both his hands held my head.
“You`re treating your body like a temple, Sookie,” he said, like it was a bad thing. Of course, I treated my body like a temple. It was my tool, what I lived off of. You wouldn`t see a violinist stand by and let her violin be ruined, would you?
“Yes,” I said to make him get to his point.
“Your body is an amusement park too.” And then he kissed me. Right there under the spray of water, me naked and him in a very wet condom suit, Eric Northman kissed me.
I pulled back. Not because he was a bad kisser. Not at all. Eric was a very good kisser. Not that I was the best of judges but he certainly had an effect on me.
“Is that some kind of pick up line? That my body is an amusement park? I suppose you`re all the rides, then?”
He kissed me again and this time I would have known that Eric was a perfect kisser even if I`d spent the last ten years in a convent. The way his tongue glided over my lips and snuck in between them. His grunt when it met my tongue. His fingers gliding up to my breast.
Yes, I know. Technically fingers aren`t part of a kiss. But it all added to the emotions I had twirling in my body. The disappointment, the fear, the … horniness.
I wanted Eric Northman in a way I couldn`t remember having wanted a man before. So I pushed at his chest to get away from him. This would lead straight to disaster.
“What`s wrong?” he asked and his husky voice revealed that he hadn`t been entirely unaffected by the kiss either.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked.
“Why am I kissing the hot, naked girl in my shower?” he grinned.
“Yes, that. I mean, we don`t know each other apart from your asking me questions and my answering them and seeing my answers completely changed in the next day`s paper.” I took a step back but the tiled wall stopped me from getting further away from Eric and the body I wanted to touch so badly.
“Ouch.” Eric smiled. “So you`re saying this is fraternizing with the enemy?”
I thought for a moment. Coach had pointed out time and time again that we should “make friends with the members of the press,” but I was pretty sure this wasn`t what he`d meant.
And he wasn`t my coach anymore, anyway. The realization hit me hard in the stomach.
“I`ve always just wanted to ski. The press, working with the sponsors, all those other things were always so … confusing,” I admitted after some time.
“Is this confusing?” Eric whispered and bent down to kiss my breast. Then he sucked on my nipple while both hands found my butt.
I leaned into him and my hands caressed his wet hair.
“It is a bit confusing standing in a shower with a guy who`s still wearing his condom suit,” I said because it was the first thing that came to mind when I looked at the pink clad body doubled over to do wonderful things to my left breast. And then to my right.
I hadn`t meant for him to take it off. Definitely not. Not on my mind at all.
But Eric took it as an invitation, of course. The silly man. Soon he was naked next to me in the shower and I got a firsthand look at what years of skiing would do to a man. Oh, he had great genes too.
Eric had a magnificent body and judging from his grin, my face was full of admiration. Or maybe it was the drool on my chin that gave me away.
“You`re not so bad yourself.” He flashed me one of those smiles that made my heart jump, turned the water off and stepped out of the shower. He pulled a towel from the closet, unfolded it, wrapped it around me and started drying my body and my hair.
He then took another towel and did the same to himself. I may have stared at the way the muscles on his back moved when he was bent over to dry his legs.
I took a deep breath. It was decision time and I couldn`t postpone it. This was heading in one direction, and one direction only, and if I didn`t cry uncle now I would probably be crying other words later. Eric`s name, for instance.
But then the most amazing thing happened. Instead of over-thinking this and being sensible and saying no to Eric, I walked closer and started kissing his shoulder. I pulled his hair away and nibbled on his neck and his earlobe.
That got me a reaction and it wasn`t one I objected to. Eric dropped his towel and lifted me up.
“Bedroom or fireplace?” he asked in a voice filled with … well, sex, really.
“You choose,” I said. I wanted fireplace but I would probably be sensible and pick the bedroom if I gave myself the choice.
Eric walked me into the bedroom first, but only to open the bedside drawer and pull out a couple of condoms and I grinned when he carried me back into the living room and sat me down in front of the fireplace. He pulled a throw down from his couch and spread it on the wooden floor.
Then he sat down and pulled me into his lap, facing him. My legs opened and I just wanted to glide down and feel him inside me.
“I think you need the condom now,” I whispered, my voice being lost somewhere between the bathroom and the living room.
“No, not yet. First I want to pay tribute at your temple.”
And with that he flipped me over on my back and moved slowly down my body, kissing important body parts on his way.
When he was between my legs, I sucked for air because Eric had started sucking on something else. Something very …
I moaned and was amazed with how far apart my legs could go. I wanted to make sure Eric had all the room he needed.
His tongue ran up and down, sometimes pointed and hard, sometimes soft and wet. He sucked and he licked and after a while I wasn`t sure which was which because I was spiraling into a world I couldn`t remember ever having seen before. At least not in technicolor.
I`d never been a religious person but if Eric was at my temple then I was definitely in paradise. A deep guttural sound started in my throat and came through my mouth. My body shook a little and then I came to the Sea of Tranquility.
It was a high I`d never gotten from even the toughest workout. I was left speechless.
Eric and I lay there for a few minutes. Then he started kissing my neck and my jawline.
“Do you want to try the new ride at the amusement park?” he whispered into my ear.
“Is it a good one?” I asked with a smile.
“You`ll just have to wait and see,” he grinned and then he grabbed a condom and rolled it on.
He sat back on his heels between my legs and pulled me closer. Then he bent forward and started kissing me. I situated my heels on his butt – this was a ride, wasn`t it? – and pulled him closer.
His hands were on my butt and he lifted me slightly off the ground and suddenly the ride began and Eric was deep inside me.
I didn`t scream like girls do on rollercoasters. The sounds coming out of my mouth were more struggled attempts at saying Eric`s name or praising him for feeling so good inside me or even curse words I would never have in my mouth if I hadn`t been enjoying the ride that much.
It was that good.
Afterwards, I was so exhausted like no workout had ever made me. And yet, I was energized too.
Eric was on his back and pulled me up to lie on his chest and I smiled and kissed his warm skin.
“That was quite a ride you offered there, Mr. Northman.”
“It was your amusement park and your ride,” he said, but I could hear the smugness in his voice. “And I`m looking forward to taking it again.”
“Oh, really?” I asked. “Do you have a ticket?” Yes, I was not above being silly. I was in that state.
“I think I do. Do you want to check it?”
And with that he showed me that stamina was not just something that won you gold medals.
The next morning I was alone in bed. The amazing feeling I`d had when I fell asleep the night before had vaporized like snow under hot sun.
Here I was, alone in Eric`s bed. I had no future and I knew I would be spending most of my day answering questions about my failure. And I didn`t even have any clothes to wear.
I groaned and pulled the duvet over my head. I did not want to face the world.
I didn`t even want to face Eric.
Unfortunately, this was very hard to avoid, as I was in his bed and the door to the bedroom was opened by him.
“Are you awake?” he asked.
“Mmmm,” I confirmed.
“Good. Come and get some breakfast, then.”
I turned on my side, trying to avoid the unavoidable. For the first time in years, I wanted to stay in bed. Suddenly the duvet was pulled away from my body.
I screamed and tried to cover myself – a silly reaction given what we`d been doing the night before. Eric threw a bathrobe to me and I pulled it on and followed him to the kitchen. He was wearing a pair of sweatpants and nothing else and I couldn`t keep my eyes from his muscular back or his butt in the pants.
When had I become a sex-crazed body-oggler?
Quietly, I sat down at his kitchen table and watched him put a bowl, cereal and milk in front of me. It wasn`t the cereal I had on my diet plan and after a moment of being slightly disturbed by that fact, I figured that I could eat what I wanted. I wasn`t on the team.
Then I remembered that I wanted to be back on the team and grabbed the cereal package to read the nutrition facts. Maybe I could still eat it? Eric wouldn`t be eating junk just because he wasn`t active anymore, would he?
When I looked up, I noticed Eric staring at me. And he kept staring until I poured some of the cereal and the milk into my bowl.
I started eating, feeling a little bad about it as I always did when I ate. You need as little weight as possible when you have to carry your body around for 30 kilometers and still beat the competition. Fat was out of the question. I had fairly large breasts and though I liked them, they were all the fat I needed on my body. My hips and butt were all bone and muscles. Mainly muscles. My body type didn`t allow for “skinny” – unfortunately – at least not without throwing up regularly like some of my competitors did, so I`d gone for “muscular”.
“You`re back in the temple, I notice,” Eric said when he sat down.
“Huh?” I said with food in my mouth. Then I swallowed and remembered to what he was referring. “I`m sure you ate burgers all day long when you were active.”
“I ate burgers,” he said. I waited for him to continue but he just started eating his cereal.
We ate quietly for a while. A sound by the door made Eric get up and walk to the corridor.
“Newspaper,” he mumbled. I could hear a door open and feel the freezing wind. Then the door closed again but Eric didn`t come back.
I finished my breakfast and walked out to him in the corridor. I wanted to read the cartoons. Or so I told myself. It was the sports section I really wanted to read.
But when I saw Eric, I knew something was wrong. I quickly grabbed the paper he was holding and felt a deep pain in my gut when I read the headline on the sports section.
“Sookie Stackhouse out in the cold,” was the not so funny headline.
Had Eric told them? I stared at him and he held up his hand and shook his head. No, how could he have? The deadline was before we`d met the night before.
“What are you going to do now?” he asked.
I was about to answer him when I realized that I had no idea what to say. What was I going to do? This wasn`t just my hobby and my life. It was my income too. The Ski Association had paid my wages and my sponsors had made fat contributions too. Now I would have no money coming in.
I did have some money in my bank account but how long would it last if I were going to pay for everything myself?
My nose started to clog up and I breathed heavier. I did not want to cry but I was on my way down Sobbing Avenue. And fast.
Eric`s arms pulled me into his chest and I dropped the paper. I didn`t want to read it anymore.
“You`ll be fine. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise?” he aske, his hands making circular movements on my back.
“And how is that?” My voice was sarcastic.
Instead of offering an explanation, his hand opened my bathrobe and I found myself naked in Eric`s corridor. His hand was on my breast and he leaned down to kiss my neck. Then he whispered into my ear.
“You have to get naked to get dressed,” he said and bent even further down to kiss my breast.
“I thought you worked as a sports reporter. Not on the advice column.”
Eric laughed. And then he lifted me up and carried me to his bedroom. “I want to try that amusement park again.”
We went through all the rides that day and I probably drove a few reporters crazy by never answering their calls. Or crying into the cameras. But I was enjoying myself and who can say that the day after they lose what they`d worked for all their life?
Two years later
Tears were running down my cheeks. I stood there with the gold medal dangling around my neck and our national anthem being played, out of tune and in a strange tempo.
I searched out that long blond hair I knew was there in the audience and found Eric, singing and smiling at me. I smiled back. My life had certainly taken a turn for the better since I`d met him that evening in the woods.
I`d taken the rest of the season off and had only trained for the fun of it. Well, first it hadn`t been fun at all but then I`d started working out with Eric and he`d always skied behind me so that I wasn`t tempted to compete.
I`d started to work. Eric had suggested that I`d take a job at his paper but I`d wanted to do something else. I`d called my sponsors in the hope that they would have something. I`d always treated them well and now they were being nice back. I`d started doing inspirational speeches for employees who were going to retire. “You Have to Get Naked to Get Dressed” I`d called my speech and it had become very popular.
Actually, so popular that I`d started getting calls from other companies – companies that weren`t my sponsors. They`d all needed me to inspire the people who would be facing great life changes.
It had been a tough job because some of the people I`d talked to really loved their jobs and didn`t want to leave. They felt much like I`d felt just a couple of months earlier.
I think I helped some. I hope I did, anyway.
I looked at Eric again.
We`d moved in together. He`d wanted us to get married – even tried to trick me into saying yes by involving Gran in his schemes, but I had managed to stop all his surprise engagement parties.
My hand glided over my stomach. I had recently changed my mind, though. I had my own little gold medal growing in my stomach and suddenly marriage didn`t sound too bad. Trust Eric to get his way.
He didn`t know it yet, though. My little gold medal had been my secret for now. But tonight … tonight I would tell him that that I would be taking another break from skiing.
My body had gone from temple to amusement park. And now it was a home for a tiny, itty bitty person.
My body was an incredible thing.
Thank you for reading this story. I hope you liked it.
Cross country skiing is a huge sport here in Norway and I was inspired by the Nordic Ski World Championship that just took place here in Oslo (Norway won more gold medals than any other country – YAY!). Hundreds of thousands of people went to see the various races and it was amazing to be there.
So many Norwegian kids dream of a future as a cross country skier and my nephew is one of them. He is very talented but unfortunately he made the same mistake Sookie did – worked too hard. His body reacted and he performed worse. So now he`s trying to take things easier in the hope that he`ll be back on track next winter.
I`ve never had that problem myself. I`ve treated my body as an amusement park all along 🙂