Peppermint Winter – Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of Peppermint Winter, my Owl City fanfiction. Last week, Arden, Ben, and the imaginary horse Sugar, trotted to the park. Read on to find out what happens as they sled down the hill!

“Sugar” galloped down the snowy hill with the bells on the sled jingling all the way. The wind whistled in my ears and cold snow pelted my face stinging my cheeks and forehead. This was a huge hill, the perfect height and incline for sledding. It was as if it had been created just for that purpose, except for the one small part slightly to the left of center. There was a big bump there, close to the bottom. And of course we were headed right toward it.

“This. Is. AWESOME!” cried Arden in front of me, throwing her hands up in the air as if she were on a rollercoaster.

I gripped the sides of the sled, tucked my head down, and prepared for impact. We hit the bump, the bells all jingled at once, and Arden and I flew out of the sled and tumbled into the snow. “Ow,” I moaned, after coming to a stop. “I think I’ve broken something.”

“That was great, wasn’t it?” giggled Arden, shaking her head from side to side, creating a mini snow shower around herself.

I struggled to my feet, wincing. “Yeah, just great, Arden.”

She didn’t notice my sarcasm as she giggled, “Ben! You should look at yourself. You look like a snowman!”

I felt like a snowman, cold and wet. I sniffed, and reached up to wipe my runny nose. “Arden. Can we go home? I have a runny nose and my frosty toes are getting cold,” I complained.

“But I feel so alive,” proclaimed Arden smiling wide. “Let’s do it again, Ben!”

Let’s do it again, Ben. Why do I think I’ll be hearing that a lot? I climbed back up the hill with a sigh, hoping we would have a less rough stop this time.

We sailed down the hill once again, hit the bump, went flying … and repeated the cycle again and again and again and again and again. Somewhere along the line I forgot my nose and toes. It really was a lot of fun. “Hey, Arden!” I called over to her, watching as she struggled up from our last ride down the hill and searched for the sled rope in the snow.

Arden looked up. “Yes?”

“Look, a snow angel!” I called, falling back in the snow and swishing my arms and legs back and forth. I carefully climbed out of my artwork and gestured for Arden to take a look.

She came over and admired my work, and then threw herself down and made her own. Getting up, she drew some hair on her angel with her finger, and sketched out a face. “I’m going to name her Adelaide! Doesn’t that seem like a great name for an angel? You should name your snow angel, too, Ben!”

“Haha! My little brother playing in the snow! You look like an idiot!” I heard a voice I knew all too well. It was my older brother, Trevor.

Arden walked right over to Trevor, who was taking the shortcut through the park on his way home, and introduced herself. “Hi! My name’s Arden. Who are you?” she asked in her ever cheerful manner.

This greeting stunned Trevor into semi-pleasantness. “Trevor,” he said with a little nod, brushing his hair out of his eyes.

“Nice to meet you!” Arden held out a gloved hand.

He didn’t take it and just stared at her. Trevor wasn’t big on manners.

Arden wasn’t deterred. “Are you Ben’s older brother?”

“Yeah,” he muttered.

“It must be awesome having Ben around all the time! Whenever he comes over, we always have such a blast!”

“You think my little brother is cool? Ha! He’s like so not cool.” Trevor glared over at me.

Oh, Arden. Please stop. Please, please, please, please, please stop. I mentally begged the girl. Unfortunately, she wasn’t telepathic (at least that I knew of) or if she was, she was ignoring my mental pleas.

Arden wasn’t the least bit discouraged by Trevor’s answer or my telepathic appeals. “Well, I think he’s really cool. Super cool, actually. Like -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit cool!” Arden’s answer came.

Trevor snorted, “-459.67 degrees cool?”

“That’s absolute zero. 0 K on the Kelvin scale. I’ll have to check with my mom, but I don’t think it’s possible that anything can be colder than that,” Arden informed us. “The coldest recorded natural temperature is 1 degree Kelvin, and that’s found in the Boomerang Nebula. So Ben is actually cooler than the nebula, and that’s pretty cool!”

Trevor and I just blinked. We had no clue what she had just said to us.

“Do you think you’re a scientist or something?” Trevor retorted, trying to make a smart comeback.

“My mom’s an astrophysicist. She was just discussing absolute zero and the Boomerang Nebula at dinner last night,” Arden shrugged.

Well, that explains the straight A’s she gets in science, I thought as I remembered catching a glimpse of her last test score.

“Well…eh…” Trevor stumbled over his words, obviously still feeling a bit shocked.  He finished lamely, “I guess that’s pretty cool.”

Arden nodded enthusiastically. “It really is! Want to go sledding with us?”

“Arden!” I tried to stop her. My brother wasn’t the nicest person to hang out with. Normally, I tried avoiding any contact with him.

“What, bro? Don’t want me to go sledding?” Trevor mocked.

Arden waved him over, “Come on.”

To my shock and horror and surprise, Trevor jogged over, and joined us. “So, where’s this sled?”

Arden pointed to the red sled.

“Bells?” he derisively kicked one.

“Yep! It’s to make it look like a sleigh,” Arden explained.

I was waiting for a nasty reply from my brother, but got nothing but, “Smart.”

Arden grabbed the rope and started running up the hill, looking over her shoulder and calling, “Come on, slowpokes!”

At the top, Trevor climbed in, and Arden gave the sled a kick, “Bon voyage!”

I’d never seen my brother smile except when he was teasing me, but he sure did when he hit the bump and went flying. “That was pretty sweet,” he smiled at Arden after climbing back to the top.

It was Arden’s turn. She climbed in the sled, and I gave her a push. I watched her sail away down the hill. It was so peaceful here, almost like a dream, especially with my brother acting like a normal human being. The moon had come out and the hill glistened and glowed with its light. The snowflakes started falling again, and I could feel myself start to float away in the moment. Suddenly, something cold and wet that felt disturbingly like absolute zero slid down my coat. I clenched my shoulders and danced around, trying to free my back from the freezing cold snow my mean older brother had just stuffed down it. So much for the dream.

“What are you doing?” asked Arden, as she appeared over the summit of the hill, curious as I continued my little dance.

Trevor was laughing maniacally in the background.

“Cold, cold, cold, COLD!” I screeched. With a couple more dance-like moves, I was finally able to remove the snow from my back.

Arden looked to Trevor, and then to me. I glared at Trevor, “That was cold!”

“Yeah, moron. It’s SNOW,” he reminded me. His know-it-all smirk suddenly change, though, to a look of horror. “COLD!” he danced around, just like I had done a few moments before.

I heard a giggle I knew well. “Gotcha!”

She filled her hands with snow and was about to pitch it at me, when I heard a cheerful ring from her pocket. Arden tossed the snow, and then dug in her pocket for her cell phone. She slid her finger across the screen and typed on it for a moment, before locking the screen again. “I have to go home for dinner,” she sighed, disappointed.  Arden grabbed the sled rope and started dragging it away, before turning to me and saying, “Hey, Ben?”

I looked back, “Yeah?”

“Tomorrow? I know it’s Christmas, but I thought you could come over for a bit so I can give you your present.”

I hadn’t thought of getting a present for Arden, but I agreed anyway. “Sure.”

As Trevor and I started to walk back to our house, Trevor turned to me and said, “You know, your friend … she’s kinda cool.”

I stumbled over my words, surprised, “You think Arden is cool?”

“Yeah. She’s pretty cool. I didn’t know all that stuff about absolute zero.” He scowled at me and muttered, “That doesn’t make you cool though. You’re still … anti-cool.” Trevor kicked the snow off his boots, jammed his hands in his pockets, and started down the street. I stared after him for a moment, and my thoughts drifted back to Arden. I wondered what she could have bought me for Christmas. Knowing Arden, it wouldn’t be a normal kind of gift.

Come back next week to celebrate an Arden and Ben Christmas! 🙂

~ Kayla


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