Chapter Two

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"Darby," Aaron whispered softly as he gently stroked my head. I opened my eyes and squinted at the time on the alarm clock. 4:23 a.m.

"Wake up sleepy head," Aaron grinned, kissing the top of my head. I flipped from my stomach to my side and pushed myself up. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and pulled myself toward his body.

"Have you showered?" I asked.

"Not yet," he breathed, his nose touching mine.

"Care to join me? For good luck before my race?" I kissed his lips playfully, teasing him.

"Only because it's good luck," he murmured, picking me up and carrying me to the bathroom, my legs wrapped around his waist, my night shirt catching on his bare chest.

Aaron reached down and pulled his boxers off, then, absentmindedly turning the water on in the shower, steam filling the room. I lifted my shirt off above my head, giggling when it got stuck halfway off. Aaron laughed and pulled it off the rest of the way, kissing my lips passionately, before pulling me fully into the shower.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Nervous?" Aaron asked, glancing over at me from the drivers seat as we pulled up to a stop light.

"After your good luck wishes this morning? Not at all," I smiled at him and we started moving again as the light turned green.

The rest of the car ride we sat in silence. It was one of the first qualifying meets for to get to the Olympic Qualifiers, which meant the pressure was on to do well.

My phone rang began vibrating from inside my jacket pocket, and I pulled it out. Claire's name popped up on the screen, and I swiped to answer the call from my best friend and teammate.

"I just got here, and it's snowing really hard," Claire said, skipping the hello as always. I bit my lip to keep from laughing at her.

"We'll be there in about five minutes," I told her. We braked hard again as the car in front of us slammed to a halt at the yellow light.

"Make that ten since the person in front of us hasn't learned that yellow means speed up," I sighed, and it was Claire's turn to laugh.

"I tried to explain that to the police officer that gave me my first and only ticket for running a yellow light, but he didn't think that was how it worked," she giggled, and I grinned. Claire had gotten that ticket in sophomore year of high school, and still has not let it go.

A light snow had begun to fall as we drove further and further up the mountain, and Aaron slowed down to go around a blind curve.

"So, did you just call me to complain about a traffic ticket you got five years ago, or...?" I teased.

"Oh! Yeah I was going to ask if I could borrow your skiis. I was warming up, and I hit a rock on the course. A FREAKING ROCK! It snapped my ski, and I don't have time to get my other pair from home, and these were my back up skiis. Coach is not happy, but she told me to figure it out quick because my first run is in an hour," Claire said in almost one large breath.

"A rock on the course? That's not safe, I hope you told someone so they move it so it doesn't cause an accident," I said, frowning. Aaron turned at me and raised an eyebrow, and I held a finger up to tell him to give me a second, and then I'd explain.

"Yeah, we're going to be there in a few and I'll let you use my skiis, no problem. What happened to your other pair?"

"Ugh, I lent them to Wendy and she keeps 'forgetting' them at home. Like, what the heck?"

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