If anyone ever asked her, she would still vehemently deny the claim that her sudden trek through Mount Sina during winter was not a good idea. Maybe not the best, but a good idea anyway. Sure, it was pretty cold and it was snowing, but so what? Historia was tiny, and so she liked to live on the edge. Fuck what anyone else had to say.
In all honesty, she was driven into the icy wilderness by her family. They were relentless and she was nearing a breakdown, so she took the first bus out of the city and set up camp in the woods. She had no real destination and had decided to merely walk over the mountain until she ran out of food or rediscovered herself, or something.
What she didn’t expect, though, was a sudden snowstorm. It started in the early morning, when she was still slumbering quietly in her tent. The harsh wind slapping against her tent woke her first, then the howling next. She made the quick decision to pack up and make for the nearest town, which was an hour or so away from where she had stopped for the night. By the time the sun was up in the sky and she reached the highway, the storm became so bad that she could barely walk.
Historia’s face burnt from the harsh bite of the cold, and her hands were near frozen even though they were snug in her gloves. Her feet felt like blocks of ice and more than once she couldn’t even feel them, but she pushed herself to walk forward. If she didn’t get somewhere dry, warm and safe, she knew she would die out there, and suddenly her issues with her family back home didn’t seem so terrible anymore.
Her breaths came out in white puffs and she watched them, but the cold was making it harder to breathe. The panic was there, definitely, but she ignored it for as long as she could. If she started to panic, that was the end.
Thirty minutes only took Historia a few steps forward. The only way she knew that she was actually moving forward was the road, but other than that the snow howled through the air and she could barely see. Historia was so very cold and tired, so she collapsed in the deep snow and focused on breathing evenly and keeping her terror at bay. She sat there for what felt like hours, but was only minutes. She wasn’t sure what to do to get herself out of the sudden terrible situation.
In the murky horizon, Historia caught the sight of headlights. She didn’t even have the energy to stand, so she merely slowly waved a frozen arm, praying that the person inside of the car would notice her and stop. They didn’t—or they did—and sped by Historia while she screamed. She collapsed in the snow, breaths gushing out. She felt like crying, but didn’t. She didn’t want to die either. Some moments later she heard the roaring of another car engine and exhaled heavily in relief. She waved again and this time the car stopped for her. She forced herself onto her feet and wobbled over to the car. The window rolled down.
“Hi. Are you stuck alone in the storm?”
Historia fell against the car, nearly delirious with relief. “Y-yes,” she gasped out. “Was hiking,” she explained. “But the storm started.” She couldn’t yet see the person, but she was far past caring who it was. Anything was better than the freezing cold.
“Get in then, quickly.”
Historia did so. She chucked her bag and equipment in the back seat and then climbed in the front, immediately assaulted by warm air conditioning. She groaned out in pleasure and wrapped her arms around herself, shivering and no doubt red as hell.
“You look terrible,” the kind stranger said. Now with the cold out of her ears, Historia picked up on the husky timbre and the gentle tone. She finally turned to glance at her saviour, and felt her stomach roll. Beautiful clear blue eyes stared at her in worry, framed by a chiselled, attractive face. It was a woman. Her hair was short and a little messy—no doubt from the wind—and her lips were pink and smooth. They looked really warm and soft. Historia caught herself staring. “I’m Nanaba,” the woman introduced. “I’ve got a blanket in the boot.”
“I’m Historia,” she quickly responded. Nanaba paused and grinned at her.
“Well, Historia, you sit tight while I quickly grab that blanket for you.”
She hopped out of the car, and Historia sat still with her eyes closed. Slowly her muscles were relaxing and the sore stiffness melted away. When Nanaba returned, her teeth were chattering and her hair had flecks of snow in them that soon melted to water, leaving her hair slightly damp.
“Here,” she said, spreading the blanket over Historia’s small form and then tucking her in. “Better?”
Historia smiled. “Thank you, really. I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t kind enough to stop for me. Die, probably.”
Nanaba waved her off and put the car into first gear. “It’s my pleasure, really. I don’t usually do this, but I couldn’t ignore someone in need.”
“Thank you anyway.”
“You’re most welcome. Do you have any specific destination in mind?”
Historia tried to shake her head, but her muscles were still too stiff and she was cocooned quite snugly in the blanket. Huffing, she decided to rather speak. “No, not really. I was heading for the nearest place to wait out the storm.”
“That’s okay,” Nanaba answered, smiling. “I was heading there too. Do you have someone you can call to pick you up?”
Historia thought about her brothers and sisters and frowned. She supposed she could call Frieda, though she knew Frieda wouldn’t be impressed with her. No one really knew where she had disappeared to, only that she had done it of her own volition. She sighed. “I do.”
Nanaba nodded once and then pulled away onto the road. She was a very calm and cautious driver, though Historia was still too cold to really worry. They settled into warm, comfortable silence despite being complete strangers. Every few minutes Nanaba eyed her, either out of suspicion or worry, Historia wasn’t entirely sure. The warmth was slowly putting her to sleep, but before her eyes fully closed Nanaba released a soft curse and the car rolled to a stop.
“Don’t do this to me,” Nanaba muttered to herself, turning the key in the ignition. The engine sputtered, coughed and then died. She tried again but only got the same result. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Historia sat up a little straighter. “What’s wrong?”
Nanaba sent her a cautious smile. “Uh, car decided to break down. It’s probably from the cold. Hang on.” She reached over to the glove compartment and popped it open. So close, Historia could smell her cologne and it made her heart race. A little more feeling filled her body and she was grateful for it. Nanaba pulled a cellphone out, shut the glove box and then straightened in her seat. She tried to make a call, but cursed yet again. “No signal,” she announced.
Historia glanced out at the road. They were parked on the side, so they weren’t in danger of another car crashing into them. The wind was still pretty harsh, though. She could feel the car very lightly swaying against the force of the icy wind. The air conditioning had switched off too, so the cold was slowly seeping in.
“I suppose we’ll have to wait it out,” Nanaba finally said. “I’m sorry about this.”
Historia managed to shrug. “Hey, rather in a warm car with company than out there on my own.” She smiled. “I really appreciate it, by the way.”
Nanaba’s smile was beautiful. “Glad I arrived in time then.”
There really wasn’t much else to say, and Historia felt pretty tired, so she told Nanaba as much and then snuggled deeper in the blanket. She closed her eyes for just a second and dropped off into a light sleep. A little later on she woke softly, aware that her breaths came out misty and she was freezing again. She turned her head and noticed Nanaba slumbering as well, but she only had her jacket over her torso and she was shivering violently. Her face was creased in discomfort.
Historia swallowed. She was being quite rude, hogging the blanket the way she was. Decision made, she slowly unfurled herself and then leaned over and covered Nanaba with the blanket. Nanaba must have been very lightly asleep, because her eyes fluttered open when Historia tucked her in.
The cold was somehow making its way underneath her clothing, making Historia shiver again. “You looked really cold,” she explained sheepishly. “I felt bad for hogging the blanket.”
Nanaba sat up and pulled the blanket off. “No, I’m fine. You can keep it, really.”
Historia shook her head. “Your car, your blanket. It’s fine.”
Nanaba sighed and stared at her thoughtfully. “Okay, this won’t do.” She unclipped her seatbelt and then climbed into the back seat. “Come here.”
Historia lifted a brow but obeyed and climbed into the back as well. As soon as she was seated Nanaba draped the blanket over them both. It was a little too small, so Historia gathered her courage and scooted as close as she could. She was almost in Nanaba’s lap, but it at least allowed them to close the edges of the blanket and chase the cold off.
“This okay?” Nanaba asked softly.
Historia nodded, swallowing. If this was Nanaba trying to come onto her, Historia certainly wasn’t complaining. She gripped onto her own thighs with her hands, not sure exactly where to put them.
“So why were you hiking on your own?”
Historia clasped her hands together. “Running away from stuff, I guess.”
“Want to talk about it?”
Historia opened her mouth to say that no, she didn’t want to, but when she lifted her head Nanaba was staring right at her and those gorgeous eyes were too alluring to resist
“My father owns this huge business, and he’s expecting me to join the family in running it,” she found herself answering, “but I don’t want to be some overly paid CEO. We’ve been fighting for well over a year now. All my siblings work for the business, all but me.”
“And what do you want to do?”
“I… I want to make music.”
Nanaba lifted a brow. “You sing?”
“Play the piano, actually. Well, I can play a few instruments.”
“That’s really neat.”
“Yeah. But to my parents, music isn’t something our family was bred for.” She rolled her eyes.
Nanaba’s hand snuck over onto her knee, covering it in warmth. She gave it a squeeze, and there was nothing sexual in the gesture but Historia’s stomach still fluttered. “I know how that feels.”
Nanaba nodded. “I’m a writer,” she said. “And I’ve been working on a novel. My family don’t understand, and they always argue with me to get a ‘real’ job.”
“What is your book about?”
Nanaba smiled. She started going into great detail, and Historia found herself extremely interested. It wasn’t just the attractive way that Nanaba smiled or the smooth tone of her voice, but it was also the pure joy in her eyes as she spoke about her passion. Historia found herself asking more questions and answering ones from Nanaba in return. If they were going to be stuck there, they decided, they might as well get to know each other. They must have spoken for hours, because eventually night fell outside and they stopped talking, having run out of things to say.
“I’ve never spoken so much before,” Nanaba commented softly. “That was nice. Thank you for listening.”
Historia shrugged. She was fully leaning against Nanaba’s side, so she took a chance and felt around for Nanaba’s hand. She found it and slid fingers between Nanaba’s. “I enjoyed listening to you.”
Nanaba looked at her. Uncertainty flashed over her eyes, but there was something else, too. Something that made Historia swallow deeply and flush. “Historia?” she asked softly, voice so light and gentle.
Historia leaned in a little closer. “Yeah?”
Nanaba bent down slowly, their gazes locked. Historia’s breath caught in her throat, but she didn’t move away. Before their lips touched, Nanaba spoke again.
Historia’s heart fluttered wildly. Her stomach rolled and warmed and she tightened her hold on Nanaba’s hand, sure that her fingers were quivering. “I thought you’d never ask,” she responded breathlessly.
Nanaba smiled, and then she kissed her. Nanaba’s lips were as soft and warm as Historia had imagined. They kissed softly and gently, with no real destination in mind. Despite the fact that they had just met, Historia couldn’t help but feel like this was perfect. It felt right, like it was meant to be. When they pulled apart, they were warmed from the inside out. Nanaba’s cheeks dusted over with pink, and Historia had never seen a more precious sight.
“Say, when this storm is over, would you like to travel with me?”
Historia smiled. “I’d love to.”