1. Auburn Ski Camp: Snowflake and The Lion

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Thank god they put a Starbucks mini-café in the canteen. I swear to god that Snowflake had me up most the night. Not that I didn’t mind parts of it, but he came in so unexpectedly late and BOY was he horny! He didn’t even bother taking my nightgown off. He just basically stripped and was on top of me in seconds. We must have done it 4 times last night!

Only, it’s like he wasn’t there at all. I, kind of, felt like I was playing Switch with a machine with mee topping two times, him topping twice . . . you know how it goes. But, it was all physical. I didn’t get any feeling of emotion from it. It was stale and, er, kind of antiseptic? Can that be a word to even describe fucking?

Mmmm! Chocolate raspberry Macchiato! Tall, of course. I don’t know if they even have this flavor anywhere else. I think our barista, his name is Jun, just concocted it himself. Anyway, it’s my favorite. A billion calories, but fuck it. I probably won’t have time to eat much today anyway.

It snowed last night pretty hard. The snow rollers and plows are hard at it already. As soon as the snow reports come in the Bay area and Suck-ramento will empty out and we’ll be inundated with customers. I’m glad I work on commission sometimes, but after being Snow-plowed myself last night I wish that the drought had lasted just a day longer.

Honest to Pete Burns, Snowflake forgets not everyone is an Olympic level athlete! I’m having a hard time walking in my heels today. I almost got the pumps out, but they’re ugly on me. They make me look like I’m wearing nun’s shoes! My feet are still too big for them. Oh well, maybe Dr. Segal can do something with them. Yuck! Man Feet!

But, consider poor Brian Chesney yesterday! Good fucking lord, Snowflake! Brian is a weekender! He’s not gonna want to be an Olympian? He’s in his mid-twenties. That’s ANCIENT in competitive skiing years! At least for Olympic-level training! He’ll be 30 before he can even make tryouts! They’ll KILL him!

I sometimes think my big ol’ hunk of a Finnish Wet Dream has got more screws loose than a bucket of bolts. I mean, he’s crazy as a bedbug, but, usually, it’s fun crazy and not, well, crazy crazy. If that even makes any sense.

Wait . . .

Is that crying I’m hearing? Uh-oh! It sounds like somebody woke up in a compromising position last night. Albert pours those drinks pretty stiff if you ask me. I seem to spend half my time consoling boys and girls who’ve just woken up naked next to a complete stranger! That usually does not end well.

O-Kay! I’m not seeing this right now.

Why is he sitting on the floor in the hallway crying his eyes out? What could possibly do that to him? Did somebody die? Oh geez! I hope his Ma didn’t pass and he got the usual terse message from his weird family!

I’m at his side and on the floor next to him pawing his arm before he can blink!

“Snowflake? Honey? What’s the matter?”

He’s got his hands all clamped to his eyes like they might fall out! He’s really sobbing! I’ll be honest, it’s scaring me! I’ve never seen him like this! I knew he was going to pop a rivet one day . . . awww, but not like this!

“Mmmph. N-no. You should not see! Olen ruma. Älä katso minua! Olen hirviö!” He jerks away from me trying to hide his face.

Oh, Christ! I know when he forgets English we’re in trouble!

“Snowflake, Sweetie! I can’t understand. What’s going on, Baby? Is it your Ma?” Now, I’m starting to get upset myself! This is really concerning me.

“Decent people should not have to look at me! They become pl-peloissaan! Er . . . Afr-raid!” Snowflake trills pathetically.

I pull that sweet head to my bosom and cradle it! He lets me. I gently push his hands down away from that gorgeous beautiful face and hold them.

“My gorgeous beautiful Jusse! Why on earth would anyone be afraid to look at you? Women come from all over the world just so you’ll put their snowshoes on for them!” I’m looking at this face now. It’s so red and his eyes are so wet as well as his nose. I’ve never seen him this upset before! Boy, do we need some Kleenex over here!

“I am a freak, Sabrina! You know I am. No one looks like me. No one! I sometimes do not think that I am a human being!” Snowflake groans as he tries to avoid my eyes.

“Oh, bullshit, Babe! Nobody looks like anybody. We’re all different. Look at me, huh?” I handle that lovely face to get those crystal eyes back looking at me.

“I look. What am I to see?” Snowflake whimpers. God his silver eyes are pleading! It breaks my heart!

“Here . . .” I force his hand to cup my last remaining vestige of the physical joke God played on me at birth: my package!

By reflex he cups me gently, kind of, looking down at things. He looks back up and that sad face brightens and then smiles. It’s like sunshine breaking out of a snowstorm for me! I can’t help but smile back. I kiss his forehead leaving a lipstick mark.

“You are hirviö too?” He asks almost like a little boy discovering something new.

“Well, whatever that is, and I’ll kick your little ass if I find out its something I don’t like, I’m glad if it makes you smile.” I can’t help but smirk, but I know what it means . . .

Monster!

But, I know it’s a tease and that my Snowflake has come back from whatever hellish place he goes to sometimes. This has been the worst episode yet by far, though!

I help him to his feet. I’m always surprised at how light and easy it is to lift Snowflake. He is almost as light as his nickname. It must be a virtue of his conditioning. He’s got to weigh in at 200 lbs!

I don’t ask what brought this on. I learned long ago not to pry too much. Snowflake is a man seen through blinds. You can catch glimpses, but only glimpses, of what’s behind there. The rest is hidden.

“Come on, Blanco, let’s get your bubble butt over to the canteen for some coffee after we clean you up a bit.” I take his arm and firmly escort him to the employee bathroom. The concierge desk won’t need to be officially opened for another hour.

We spend a few minutes getting him back into some kind of shape that is recognizable as Snowflake. I notice he’s having a long staring contest with himself as we clean up. So, to avoid any more weirdness, I usher him along outside and on to the canteen.

“I am sorry I was so, er, insistent last night. I do not know what came over me!” Snowflake says to me.

“Who cares! We had fun, right?” I try not to hobble too much as we’re walking in the new snow.

At that, he stops, turns, and kisses me so deeply that my breath is taken from my lungs!

Releasing me with a soft smack he looks adoringly back into my eyes and says: “Yes. We had fun you and I. It was very good.”

I shake my head at him and sigh. His understatements tickle me sometimes.

“He-y! Hiyya, Snowflake! What brings ya in here this morning? Need something to defrost ya? Quite a storm last night. Pretty cold! A cup of something hot always helps. What’ll be your poison?” Jun greets us with his usual chipper self.

Snowflake turns to me and then back to Jun and then back to me. He looks at the board behind Jun and then looks at me utterly lost.

I forget he never comes to Starbucks. He doesn’t know a Venti from a Slurpy.

“Get him a Tall double-shot Mochaccino, lingonberry syrup, half-froth,” I order.

Snowflake just nods at Jun like a bobblehead. I pay before Snowflake can find his ass in his empty pockets.

He turns to me: “I understood the lingonberry part . . . but none of the rest?” He seems concerned.

“Trust me, Blanco. You’ll like it just fine.” I assure. He’s had it before. He just can’t remember. I also order a pair of blueberry muffins and grab our seats.

Unlike other Starbucks, Jun provides real service. He brings Snowflake his drink and our muffins right to our table. He even refreshes my Raspberry Macchiato. I make a kissy face at him which makes Jun blush. Little does he know, poor soul, I’m a ‘hirviö’.

Daintily Snowflake peels his muffin and then starts looking around for something. I love watching him. He gets the cutest expressions on his face when he gets befuddled. I cross my hands under my chin and rest there watching Snowflake. His face goes from hunting to concerned, to constipated in the span of thirteen seconds.

“What’s up, Blanco?” He wakes up and snaps those silver-blue peepers over at me. He kind of shrugs with one shoulder.

“Does not Starbucks have proper eating utensils? A very strange bistro is this!” Snowflake’s rather sour expression just makes me giggle.

“I said something funny?” He cocks his head at me as he asks. That makes me snort. He looks like he’s about to get mad. His pretty pale skin betrays everything and I can see some heat flood his cheeks and his lips. God, I could fuck him silly on this table right here . . . muffins and all.

“Well, did you look in that dispenser over there? The one next to the straws?” I drolly point so he doesn’t have to work anymore. He’s liable either to start crying again or go off in one of his wild Nordic huffs.

He rises with the slow grace of a stag waking from his rest. Oh boy! I could look at his ass forever! He’s wearing the black tights today. The ones with the white stripe going down the outside legs. His flexing rump looks good enough to eat. Somebody had the good taste to put a white Nike logo on the side of the right cheek just under the hip. It just draws your attention to those two rolling glutes.

He rapidly analyzes the dispenser and flicks out a plastic fork and then finds the plastic knives. His face, as he returns, is priceless! A wide beautiful smile filled with victory! I can hardly see the red rings that were around his eyes from before.

It’s eating me up that I can’t ask what set him off, but that’s part of our agreement between Snowflake and me. We’ve got a deal that neither of us pries. That seems very important to him. I think it’s kind of a Finnish thing. They don’t like to volunteer anything personal and they try not to pry into another’s personal shit. In other words, anything that could lead to gossip, and unnecessary misunderstandings are to be avoided. A smart philosophy if a frustrating one for me. I’ve always been a Nosey Nelly. I’m not sure, it might just be a Snowflake thing, however.

He proceeds to cut his muffin like a steak and, with the utmost delicacy, eats the morsels off the end of his fork. I just shake my head and tear a chunk off of my own and put it in my mouth like normal people.

“So. What’s on the agenda today? Training that Mr. Chesney downstairs? Does he get his assessment first?” I mean it as just an entry into the conversation. His reaction is not what I was hoping for.

He becomes quiet and kind of squirms into his seat. He puts down his utensils gently and sips at his coffee for the first time. He gets a surprised yet approving look as he stares at his Mochaccino.

“You know, this is pretty good! I can taste the lingonberries! Jun is a genius pairing lingonberries with chocolate and coffee!” He turns to Jun who looks up from cleaning the frappé mixer and smiles. Snowflake gives him a thumbs up.

Hmm . . .

Ok, my little eye spies a big fat fly. Snowflake totally evaded a very simple business-related question that usually gets him rolling with obscenely detailed technicalities of his patented training regimen. A system that is, for him, his finest achievement. Better by far even than all his gold medals, trophies, and cups put together. He usually puts me near to sleep with what he plans to put a client through; particularly one he sees as talented. I saw him connect with Brian right off while they were talking. I’d never seen Snowflake bond with anyone that fast! Not even me! He obviously saw something in Brian that piqued his interest.

Now, with the episode this morning and the fact that I know Jimmy had run off last night to find Brian’s scent like a horny dog, I begin to see the fog lift a little. I gather a little clarity and see something emerging.

The realization hits me painfully and I suddenly find that my beloved Macchiato has lost all its flavor. I also can’t seem to swallow any more of my muffin due to the growing lump in my throat.

Sure Snowflake connected with Brian quickly. It was an instant crush. Snowflake’s interest in Mr. Chesney goes far beyond the professional. Dammit!

He must have caught Brian and Jimmy in the midst of doing stuff and it broke the crush. Except . . .

Naw.

I know Snowflake better than that. He’s very, um, ‘progressive’ in his attitudes about sex. He sees it as more of a deal like having a nice meal or having a stiff drink at the bar. It’s something fun that two people should do together if they want to. Love is a different matter entirely. So, what did Brian do to make Snowflake cry?

“Oh, jö. Mr. Chesney and I will be training together today, jö. It is good. He needs an assessment most assuredly. It is part of the system, of course.” Snowflake says quietly and absently. He is also staring down into his coffee and stirring it ceaselessly with his knife. He looks for all the world like a fortune teller trying to read tea leaves.

“Well, that’s good. You know, you might want to do some stretches and a deep tissue massage on his right calf. He hurt it trying to catch up to you yesterday.” I mention . . . insidiously.

I get the response I was hoping I would not get. Snowflake’s eyes fix on me with sudden intensity! I’m a bit taken aback by it in all honesty. It only confirms my sad realization.

“He is injured?” Snowflake snaps.

“Uh . . . yeah, Blanco. You forget your own strength sometimes and you totally misread Mr. Chesney’s determination factor. I had to work a charley horse out of his leg yesterday evening when he came back in. He was limping. I sent him to the saunas which is probably where Jimmy went too after his shift was over.” I explain.

Snowflake rubs his head like he has a sudden headache and then covers his mouth with his hand. He looks worried and guilty all at once. This is not like him! He usually has a perfect poker face, that is when he isn’t crying in a loony-tune moment. I’m reading him like a book right now!

“Oh fuck! I am sorry! I should have doubled back to check on him! I just went off. I suggested he get a massage from Jimmy since he has training. I only thought he was tired and sore! He may have torn a ligament! It can happen easily if you are not conditioned to race or haven not done it in a while!” Snowflake is now rubbing his thighs under the table. It’s something he does unconsciously when he’s really worried about something.

He also just apologized for something! It’s not something Snowflake is big on.

“I should, um. . .” Snowflake stands and looks toward the lodge uneasily. “It would be a good idea if the medic examines him before we proceed with any assessments today!” Snowflake swallows and I can see his Adam’s apple move.

“Yeah. Might be a good idea, though, after my feeble work-over, Brian was feeling better. His limp was barely noticeable. I think it might just have been a cramp.” I try to reassure Snowflake.

“Jö, but these things are sneaky! It can feel like a cramp but then pop! You know?” Snowflake swigs the last of his coffee without tasting it.

“I will go to Dr. Malone’s office and see if he can send the medic around. I will then be in the gym getting ready if the medic clears Brian.” Snowflake is all business now. The mask is back in place.

“Ok, yeah. I should be in setting up the concierge desk by now too. Jimmy will probably be there already wondering where I am.” I just agree that we need to call our little breakfast meeting adjourned.

“Jö. Good! Will see you at lunch . . .” Snowflake says as he strides out the door quicker than necessary.

Out the door. Out of my life. Out of my heart. There goes my little Snowflake . . . fluttering away to land on someone else’s tongue.

Why do I suddenly feel so cold?

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Back at the concierge desk, I see a glum Jimmy moving in slow motion. He’s pale and broken looking. I can see red around his bloodshot eyes just like I could see it in Snowflake’s. In fact, his eyes are still a little watery.

I mustn’t look much better because when Jimmy sees me he gets a worried look. I smile so as not to add any more misery to his morning.

” . . . ha-ay” Jimmy greets me softly. He looks back down at the scheduling app on the screen that he’d been playing around with.

I rub one of his shoulders and ask, “You look a little worse for wear. Are you catching something?” It’s an opening to let Jimmy slip out of any uneasiness he might be having this morning. I already know pretty much what’s going on now.

“No-o. Just . . . stuff. That’s all.” He shrugs and pats my hand still resting on his shoulder.

“Did you see Snowflake come through?” I wondered.

“Ye-eah. He was almost jogging! Went downstairs.” Jimmy explained distantly.

“Oh . . .” Doctor Malone is on this floor toward the back past the dining/ballroom. I wonder why Snowflake went downstairs first?

Oh well . . .

The resort then opens for business with a small tone from the computer. Both Jimmy and I straighten up and act professionally cheerful again just like we are trained to do. Little do the folks that come in know that there is so much more that goes on behind that act when they interact with us at registration. Some appreciate it. Most don’t.

Happy little robots: that’s Jimmy and me. Especially today when we’re both harboring broken hearts.

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Snowflake

I am hurrying, running now.

Elevator! Hurry! Kiirehtiä!

I do not know how I know, but I know Brian is down there right now working off his irritation from earlier. He will hurt himself if he has a weakened ligament! He might hurt himself permanently!

Kiirehtiä! Hurry you blasted elevator! Why did they not put stairs down to the training centre? I could have been down there in seconds!

Blast!

The doors are parting! At last!

Oh no . . .

I hear the slalom machine! He would pick the worst of the lot for ligaments!

I am dashing! I am jumping over benches! I am twisting and turning around equipment! Ouch! I just hit my fucking funny bone! Paska!

I dash in and come to a screeching halt and take in what I am seeing. It is an inspiration!

Brian pushes himself from one side of the slalom machine to the other. His legs twist at the hips at a 35-degree angle at each rep. It works side to side, just as a slalom skier does when going downhill. He is shirtless and wearing support tights and his ski boots. I am so impressed by his form and his preparation that I forget, initially, what I am there for! Brian really HAS done this before!

But, he is setting the clock on a time-bomb!

“Ei! Ei! Brian! No! Stop that! Stop that at once!” I yell over the crunch-crunch of the slalom machine.

He has seen me. But, oh good lord, what a glare! His blue eyes look almost yellow and worse, he does not stop his slaloming but he just starts going faster!

I run up to the side of his machine and yell at him so he can hear me better: “Brian! You must stop! You are injured! You can make it worse!” I plead!

He actually growls at me and continues!

I’m beside myself! What am I to do?

There are no plugs to pull or switches to throw. This machine is totally mechanical. Like an elliptical, it generates power for its readouts from the user’s own efforts.

Brian is doing about 120 reps per minute . . . so moderate speed. Usually, it would be just a nice warm-up, but not with a tearing ligament!

I don’t know what else to do and Brian has me frantic. I huff and make a growl of my own. I manage to jump up behind Brian and place my feet next to his on the machine’s simulated ski platforms. I counter his leg thrusts to stop the motion of the machine as I grab on to the ski handles just above his hands.

It takes all my strength to stop him!

Frustrated and angry, Brian bucks his back and butt into me to knock me off so he can continue, but I hold on.

“What in the FUCK are you doing? Can’t you leave me alone for a second?” He roars!

I wrap my arms around his waist from behind to isolate him. He tries to wriggle free but it is no use. I am too strong and have better leverage.

“Let me the fuck go! What the hell IS this?” Brian exclaims with petulant anger.

“You need to stop and you need to calm yourself!” I don’t feel calm, but my voice is calm. At least it makes him stop wriggling.

“Why?” He asks but in a more subdued tone.

“I heard about your injury from Sabrina. She said you came in here limping and needed some restorative treatment in the baths.” I begin to explain, but do not get far.

“Well, I’m all better now so get the fuck off of me and let me finish!” Brian starts to wriggle again, but with less effort or conviction.

“Please, Brian! Listen to me! The way you hurt. It sounds like strained ligaments in your knee and calf! Charley horses do not come from effort. They come from electrolyte imbalance!” He stops wriggling and seems to listen.

“We need to have the medic look you over before we proceed with assessment and conditioning!” I must sound earnest . . . because I am!

“But, I don’t fucking hurt right now! That is, I didn’t until you started to play grab-ass with me on here! Now, I can feel the soreness coming back!” Brian grouses.

“That is what I was afraid of!” I sigh. I hate it when I am right!

“Afraid of what?” He asks in a more human tone if a bit scared by my sudden concern.

“The soreness is your ligaments is telling you that they are strained to their limit. If they rupture you will not be able to walk much less ski!” I explain.

“Well . . .” Brian’s shoulders slump and he lets go of the handles of the slalom machine. I help him step down off it. He is wincing as he limps. I hope I am not too late!

“Put your arm over my shoulder. I’ll keep you stable while we reach the Lobby.” He complies and then looks up at me rather sheepishly.

When our eyes connect . . . it is all over!

Our lips meet like magnets drawn to each other. Brian’s arm hooks around my neck and pulls me closer to him which allows for the kiss to deepen!

When we part I am in a total daze! It was so spontaneous! So electric!

Brian looks away and blushes. He manages to push himself out of my grip as he touches his lip with the back of his hand.

I simply stand there, stunned, looking at him. That rose tinge to his flushed body is so inviting. He looks the color of blushing peaches and I would taste him if I could!

“Um . . .” Brian utters with confusion.

“I apologize! I do not know what came over me!” I say for the second time in one day. My voice sounds distant in my own ears. I feel the blush rush to my own cheeks now and I feel little pinpricks in them.

“Uh . . . it’s ok. Er . . . don’t be. You know I like guys now, so . . .” Brian stutters a bit, still looking at the floor.

“I am really sorry about busting into your room like that this morning. I do not know what I was thinking or even if I was thinking.” I step closer to him. He does not back away, but I see his blue eyes turn up at me with that sharp look again. It is like the look of an angry lion!

“Yeah? well, I think you and I gotta have a chat about stuff! Things are going too fast! You practically pounced on me the minute I got into this place! Sure, I wanna learn how to cross country better, but I don’t know what I agreed to yesterday! Not really. It’s like you hypnotized me or some shit!” He looks up at me with a little suspicion.

It is true. All of this has been so sudden. It is like we have lived a lifetime of feelings in a matter of hours! It is unexplainable. I wonder if the old Norse legends are true about the Norns who tie the fates of men together with their loom of threads. They seem to have been working overtime with us!

I chuckle and rub the back of my neck in embarrassment. “Oh. Jö, I am sorry about that too, Brian. I got so, er, excited about having someone serious to train with. I could tell by your, uh . . . ” and I pause to take in, almost for the first time, what a beautiful body Brian has,” . . . bearing that you had done some serious skiing.”

My eyes and expression must betray me because Brian just straightens up and smirks at me while staring me right in the eyes. “‘Bearing,’ huh? You like my bearing, huh? I bet you like it a lot!”

Now, it is I who am hypnotized! His beautiful ocean blue eyes just seem to hold me in place. I feel stiff and, yes, I mean down there as well!

“It’s gonna take me a while to forgive you for Jimmy. He needed me this morning and you blew that right out of the water, Mr. Snowplow! But . . .” he speaks quietly to me with his nose just inches from mine. I can smell his morning breath. He has that smell men get when they are hungry and a little dehydrated. A musty smell. Suddenly, I feel his hand on my wrist, and then my hand on his ass. I gulp!

He then throws his arm around my shoulders and I find I’m supporting him again.

“But, let’s go see that medic. Things are starting to feel a little worse. I’m glad you stopped me when you did.” Brian makes a strained sound in his throat as he tries to put weight on his foot.

I feel so bad about this! I really have been careless. My poor Brian.

My Brian?

We slowly make our way out of the training floor and up to Dr. Malone’s office. It is funny, but in that short walk together I very much enjoy holding Brian so close to me.

He is so very warm!

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