Day 9: Hannah
Hannah rubbed her gloved hands together. She hopped from one foot onto the other. A tiny, misty cloud rose up in the air every time she blew out a breath.
Behind her, Christmas music was blaring out of cheap speakers. The sound of skates hitting the ice filled the air. Children screamed and laughed.
Hannah finally spotted Milly in the distance. She stuck her hand into the air. Milly waved back as she jogged down the path to the skating rink. Hannah adjusted her wool hat.
“Hey, sorry I’m late,” Milly said.
“No problem, it’s nice out here,” Hannah joked, bouncing on her toes.
Milly touched the tip of Hannah’s nose affectionately. “You look like Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer”
Hannah covered her nose and mouth with a glove. “I have no interest in a new career.”
Milly laughed and pulled Hannah into her arms. Her cheek was even colder than Hannah’s. Hannah buried her face in Milly’s scarf. It smelled of her perfume.
“Before we go ice skating, I have to tell you something,” Milly sighed, close to Hannah’s ear. “I didn’t want to ruin our evening last night.”
Hannah leaned back, meeting Milly’s gaze. “Oh? What’s up?”
Milly’s shoulders dropped. “Susan is sick and they asked me to step in on New Year’s Eve.”
It took a second for Hannah to process what Milly was saying. Alarm bells started ringing in her ears. She had important plans on New Year’s Eve. Extremely important plans.
“I know,” Milly said, fidgeting with Hannah’s scarf. “We’ve waited for our time off together for so long.”
“Oh no,” Hannah thought, “I booked the private room at the restaurant. And the carriage ride. And the strings ensemble!”
“Shit, I’m sorry,” Milly whispered. “I shouldn’t even have asked.” She brushed some of Hannah’s hair to the side. “Forget I said anything. I’ll tell Carol to find someone else.”
“Wait,” Hannah said slowly. “It’s okay. You just took me by surprise, I guess.”
“No, you have that look on your face,” Milly replied, rubbing the deep frown above Hannah’s eyes with her thumb. “I can tell it’s not okay.”
Hannah’s mind was racing. It was just one night. It only happened to be the night she had planned to propose. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t be bothered by this at all.
Hannah made a conscious effort to smile. “I really do understand. The New Year’s concert is a pretty big deal, isn’t it?”
Milly wrinkled her nose. “Yes, it is.”
Hannah pursed her lips. It wouldn’t hurt to postpone her proposal for a while, would it? And this concert would be great for Milly’s career. The only thing that really did bother her was that Milly had been afraid to tell her.
“Hey, next time, tell me straight away?” Hannah asked. “Why did you feel like you couldn’t tell me?”
“I don’t know,” Milly squeaked. “I’m sorry! I know should have told you last night. I just didn’t want to ruin the evening. You were waiting with take-out and a movie and it was just so wonderful. I promise I’ll make it up to you!”
“Does that mean I get VIP tickets for the New Year’s Eve concert?” Hannah said with a grin.
Milly’s smile reached her eyes. “You always do, silly.”
“True enough. But I also want a meet & greet with the star of the evening.” Hannah teased. “I hear she’s gorgeous.”
Milly giggled and pulled Hannah’s hat over her eyes. “Yes, I’ll make sure you get a backstage tour.”
Hannah didn’t readjust her hat. “Does that include a tour of the dressing room?”
“Oh, yes,” Milly said in a low voice. She brushed her lips against Hannah’s. “And I’d be happy to be your guide.”
Hannah finally pulled back the hat and wiggled her eyebrows. “Alright, you have a deal.”