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An Icy Evening

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“Come on you two! The bell is about to ring!” Milo and Zack could barely hear Melissa from the other side of the hall as their shoes made strange noises from all of the mud, slime, and... other foreign substances. They had no clue what things they stepped in, but they thought that whatever it might’ve been was not supposed to be on a human shoe.

“Hang on Melissa! We’re almost th- WOAH!” Milo was cut off as he and Zack slipped on the water that they had no idea was there a second ago. The pair suddenly slipped all the way down the hall, and somehow managed to slide right into the classroom and land upside down in their chairs just as the bell rang.

“Wow! An A+ for the landing. Now sit correctly in your chairs or I’m giving you both extra homework.” Mrs. Murawski seemed on edge today, and all of the students could tell. “Yikes. Looks like someone is in a funk. Glad to see that you two made it on time though, as always.” After congratulating the two, Melissa reached behind her as she was handed a 20-dollar bill, and two packages of candy. “I’m happy to do business with ya Mr. Nicholson.”

“Hmph. Whatever. And it’s Bradley, not ‘Mr. Nicholson’ thank you very much.” He slumped back into his chair and crossed his arms while glaring at Melissa’s smug look. “Oh come ooon, I know you love iiit.” Melissa had gotten close to booping Bradley’s nose, but it was swatted away by his plant arm. “Don’t you dare boop me.” Melissa laughed as she repeatedly tried to boop him as he attempted to resist her boops. “Stop it! Mrs. Murawski! Melissa is pestering me!”

“Oh hush Bradley. I’m trying to enjoy my beautiful and stunning desk… such amazing wood….” The class sat in silence as they witnessed their teacher stroking the sides of her desk… again. As soon as she realized it had gotten quiet, she hurriedly composed herself and cleared her throat. 

“So, anyway, we’ll just… get started. Wait, I actually have an announcement for you all. Well, more of a flyer for each of you, but I’ll explain it anyway as I hand them out. So, there is going to be a fundraiser,” she began as she started walking around the classroom with the flyers, “and each of you are going to take part in an ice-skating competition. The main point of it is that any entry that anyone pays for that night will be going to charity, and whoever wins the competition gets a special prize. The person-or people if it’s a tie- who can skate the longest gets the grand prize.”

Everyone started whispering as soon as she finished her announcement. Meanwhile, Milo, Zack, and Melissa all looked at each other. When Melissa and Zack finally met each other's gaze, they both looked at Milo. Zack cleared his throat and asked Milo, “Heyyy, so… are you wanting to go Milo?”

“Hmm… well it seems like a great idea if the proceeds are going to charity… but Murphy’s Law might mess everything up. Hmm… I don’t know. Are you two thinking of going?” Melissa rubbed the back of her neck. “Well… I would love to go with, but my dad is taking me to this firefighter thing. I can give you two some more money that would’ve been my ticket, so you can donate it of course. No funny business with my money though, or else.” The two boys nodded and gulped as they said “Y-yes ma’am.” in unison. 

“Okay everyone, settle down. You can all talk more later. Now’s the time for science.” Some of the class groaned, and many were heard shuffling in their seats as they turned to the teacher. “You two can go on without me,” Melissa whispered, “I don’t think the prize will be worth it anyway. It’ll probably be a lame gift card or something.” With that said, Milo and Zack looked at each other before turning to face the teacher once more. “Guess it’ll just be us then.” Zack said with a shrug.

~~~~~~~~

Zack stood up off the curb as he saw Milo arrive in his mom’s car. “Be careful Milo! Don’t hurt yourself too much!” Milo reassured her that he would try his best not to, and after a quick hug from her she drove off. Zack wandered over to where he was and smiled a bit.

“Are you ready?” After fixing his clothes up a bit, Milo smiled as he answered. “As I’ll ever be!” The two then walked inside and walked up to the counter. “Hello there boys! What may I do for ya?” Milo grabbed the flyer from earlier out of his backpack and set it on the counter. “Hi! We’re here for a school event. Do we pay here?”

“Of course! I’m happy to be of service to ya both. Is it just you two?” Zack nodded, and reached into his pocket. “Yeah, it’ll just be us two. Our friend wanted to donate as well though if that’s cool? She couldn’t make it today, but we promised to give her money to whatever charity this event is donating towards.” 

“Aww, she sounds like a lovely young lady to still want to donate… of course we can take her money as well! Just hand the cash over and I’ll be happy to give you both some ice skates!” The lady held out her hand as the two boys handed her some change and the 10-dollar bill Melissa gave them. “Alright then! What sizes do the both of you need?”

Milo perked up as soon as he heard “ice skates”. “Oh, right. I hope you don’t mind, but I brought my own. Is that okay ma’am?” “Why of course! People do it all the time, and it’s not always the simplest thing for us to have ice skates that fit everyone.” The lady turned her head over to Zack to see him holding up his fingers. “I guess I’ll just bring yours then! Coming right up sonny.”

While the two waited, they looked around at their surroundings. They knew ice rinks are supposed to be big, but this one was huge now that they were looking. There were lots of people currently skating, and this place even had a small dining area. They could smell some of the food, but weren’t tempted by it since they both ate before coming. “Alright kid, here are your skates. Have fun and try not to fall!”

Milo laughed nervously as Zack patted him on the back. “Hey, don’t worry too much. I’m pretty good at ice skating actually, so you’ll be fine. I’ll catch you if you start to fall.” Milo blushed lightly at Zack’s words. “Oh, thanks Zack! I’m okay at ice skating, but I haven’t done it in a while… it’s not too much different from skating though right?” Zack scratched the back of his head. “Well… it is harder to catch your balance sometimes with the blades instead of the four wheels on a regular skate… maybe you should just stick near me for the rest of the night.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me. I have a few things in my backpack too, and two other pairs of skates. I think a blade will end up breaking off soon now that I mention it.” Someone yells and falls down, and they look to see that two more people trip as they avoid the person that just fell. “I think we better move away from the rink while we’re waiting.” Already reaching for Milo’s arm, Zack hurriedly says, “Agreed.” Zack grabs tightly onto his friend’s arm as they start moving as far away from the skaters as possible.

They sit down on a bench in the corner, and Zack puts his shoes in a small locker nearby. “Do you want me to put yours in here?” Milo looks around at all of the people and then looks down at the shoes in his hand. “I think I’ll just… put these in my backpack.” Zack pushes the small locker door closed and secures the latch. “Good call. I think they’re about to start soon, so let’s hurry up.”

They quickly put on their ice skates and immediately hear the loud speaker click on as soon as they finished tying their laces. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for this year’s ice-skating competition! This year all of the funds we raise through ticket sales and donations will be going to charity! We thank each and every one of you for coming, and to the people competing… make your way to the ice rink!”

With the end of the announcement, Zack and Milo took deep breaths and looked at each other. “Are you ready, Milo?” Looking to the ice rink, and the back to Zack. “As long as you’re near me, I think I’m quite ready. Let’s do this thing!” Zack smiles at Milo’s comment, and takes his hand. “Well come on then! They’re gonna start without us.”

Milo blushes at the action, but Zack doesn’t see a thing as he grips onto the handrail nearby that leads to the rink. Zack feels slightly disheartened as he has to let go of Milo’s hand to let him grab onto the handrail as well. The way his best friend’s hand had fit so perfectly into his own lingered in his mind. He thought about the warmth his hand had felt as they made it to the edge of the rink, and they finally entered onto the ice.

They could hear the speaker more clearly as he announced, “Now that everyone is here… ready… set… GO! Skate, skate, skate! ” Zack took off right as he was sure he had grabbed Milo’s hand once more. He just had to make sure they won this thing.

Milo on the other hand was worried as he tried his best to keep his balance on the slick ice. This was the perfect place for him to fall, but he had trust in Zack as he was pulled along. They managed to gain a sort of rhythm as they both pushed off each foot at the same time, and soon enough they were near first place.

Zack could feel his heart racing the longer he held onto Milo’s hand, and was tempted to look back to see how he was doing before the person in front of him tripped and skidded straight into their path. “Oh no you don’t!” Zack pushed himself off of the ice as he jumped over the person that had just fallen. He quickly realized that he had let go of Milo’s hand when he jumped, and he hurriedly skated around the bend to see where he was. The sight he turned around to see was hard not to laugh at.

Milo was spinning in circles and was trying his best to stay up, while the people behind him that were going too fast had started piling up little by little. The domino effect was making it harder to avoid it, but soon enough people were going slow enough to go around the heap of people.

Milo had gained his balance though and managed to catch up to Zack’s slightly slower speed. “Golly, that was a close one! I can’t believe I didn’t fall down! Maybe we should stop though… Murphy’s Law already caused all of those people to fall.” Zack looked at Milo’s face and then looked at all of the people who had just now started to get up. “Well, are you sure? We’re in first place now and…” Zack trailed off the end of his sentence as he thought about it more.

He looked up at Milo again. “Actually, I think you’re right.” Zack sighed as Milo patted him on the back. “Hmm… how about we go get some ice cream instead? We already have an ice theme going on, so why not make it tasty? Ice cream is obviously better than any ol’ medal or trophy anyway.” Milo smiled at Zack as he thought about it. “You know what? Let’s do it! I don’t even know why I wanted to win this thing anyway. It was pretty nice skating with you though, Milo.”

Milo blushed a bit as they both skated to the exit. “Woah!” Zack quickly looked behind him as he saw Milo sliding heading straight for him. Next thing they both knew, Milo had slammed right into Zack, and now they were both rolling through exit and landing outside of the rink. Zack groaned as he opened his eyes. “Ow, my head… oh uhhh… hi.” He realized that he had landed right on top of his friend, and was now looking straight into his eyes. He quickly scrambled off of him as he tried to stand up.

He held out his hand to Milo to help him up. “Um… sorry about that.” “Oh, it’s fine. I had tripped anyway…” They both avoided eye contact as Zack rubbed the back of his neck. “So… ice cream, right?” 

“Yeah! Right. That. Onwards to put our shoes on.” Milo quickly scurried over to the handrail as Zack followed him. They both stayed silent as the two had sat down to put on their shoes, and while Zack had turned his skates back in.

They grew into a comfortable silence as they walked out of the building and headed to the ice cream shop. As they were about to walk in, they paused to look at each other. “Wait, do you have any money?” Zack asked. “Umm… I should… give me a moment.” Milo quickly dug around in his backpack. “Well, that’s surprising. I guess I forgot to replenish my spare change. I guess we should’ve thought about that before walking all this way.” Milo laughed a bit at the lapse in judgement.

“Well, it has been fun. I guess we can’t do anything else tonight then. Um… I guess we can say bye here? My house is close.” Zack looked at his phone and sent a quick text to his dad. “Nah, it’s cool. I just asked my dad to pick me up at your house, so I can walk with you.” Milo perked up a bit at Zack’s quick thinking. “Great! I did kind of want to walk with you anyway.” He smiled and Zack felt his face warm up.

The walk was only ten minutes away from the shop, so it wouldn’t be taking them much longer to get there. They walked as a strange silence fell between them. Milo kept on walking, but suddenly tripped for a second time that night. "Woah!" He was about to hit the hard concrete when he felt a hand catch him and stop him from falling. "Phew, thanks Zack! That was close..." He looked down at their hands and saw that they were still holding each other's.

"Oh." Neither of them made a single movement. Zack started turning away suddenly, but didn't try to let go of his friend's hand. Milo turned away as well, and soon they were standing there both facing forward. Milo started walking once more, and they traveled the rest of the walk while still holding hands. Turns out they both ended up winning the grand prize after all.