Just a Break
by Liz Muller


The moon shone brightly, refeclting of the frozen lake. The night was
crystal clear and bitingly cold. Natalie shut off the engine and turned
to look at Nick. She sighed. He sat there with such a depressed look on
his face. She could also tell he was a million miles away. She leaned
over and poked him gently in the ribs. He started, and turned to look
at her, a puzzled expression on his face.

"What? What was that for?." he asked. "You were doing it again." she
answered with a smile. Nick hung his head, a faintly embarasses smile
on his lips. " Oh, sorry, Nat." Her smile widdened a bit. She opened
the door and got out. " Come on, I promised to try to cheer you up, so
lets go." Nick got out of the car and watched as she went around and
opened the trunk.

He turned and took a good look around. They were on the shore of a
small frozen lake. The banks of the lake were covered with snow, but
the ice itself was clear. It was beautiful, with the moonlight reflecting
of the snow and the ice. He heard the trunk slam and Natalie came to
stand next to him. He turned as Natalie came up next to him and slid
her arm through his. He noticed she had a fairly large bag in the other
hand.

"Whats that?" Nick asked, as Natalie began to tug him towards the
lake. "Its a surprise, now come on!" He chuckled at the look on her
face and followed her. "You're not taking me ice fishing are you?" he
asked, with a smile. Nat gave him a mock glare and as they got to the
edge of the lake, sat down.

"Nope, something a little more fun." Nat said as he sat down next to
her.As she rumaged around in the bag, Nick looked out over the lake, and
he let his mind drift. Suddenly, he was jerked sharply back into the
present by the impact of something soft, wet and cold on his face. A
snowball! Nat had hit him with a snowball!. "Why did you do that?" he
whined as he wiped the snow off his face.

Nick realized she wasn't sitting next to him anymore.He grimaced.
*Uh-oh* he thought *I did it again.* He looked up to see Nat standing
on the ice, grinning at him. "Put them on and come on!" she called. Nick
looked down and saw a pair of ice skates lying in the snow at his feet.
He stared at the for a moment. "Nat, I haven't gone ice skating in a
very long time." he called to her. "Then its time you did." she replied.

Nick sighed, and watched for a moment as Natalie started skating in
lazy circles on the ice. He reached down and quicly changed into the
skates. He made his way to the lake, and carefully stepped onto the ice.
He pushed off, and promtly fell flat on his face. He lay there for a
moment, listening to the sound of Nat's laugh. He smiled as a thought
began to take shape. "You think it's funny, huh?" He asked as he sat up.
Nat skated closer. "Yup." she replied between giggles.

Nick held out his hand and said, "Well, help me up!" Nat reached out
and took his hand.He pulled on her hand then sudden;y released it,
causing Nat to fall on her butt. The expression of surprise on her face
caused him to laugh. "You did that on purpose!" she yelled. "Yup!" he
answered, a grin on his face. "All right! thats it! watch out, buster,
I'm gonna get you!" Nat exclaimed as they got to their feet.

For the next hour, they laughed and giggled like children as they
chased each other around the lake. Nick skated up next to Natalie and
put his arms around her. "Thanks, Nat. This was fun. I needed this."
he said with a smile. She reached up and lightly touched his face. "I
had fun too, Nick." They stared into each others eyes for a moment,then
Nat shivered. "Cold?" Nick asked, concerned. "Yes, a little." Nat
replied.

Nick began to pull Nat back to the shore."Come on, lets get you warmed
up." They quickly changed into their shoes. As they walked back to
the car, Nick slid his arm around Nat's waist. Nat leaned into him, as
they walked, a comfortable silence surrounding them. Nick looked down
at her, tears in his eyes. *What did I ever do to deserve her?* He
thought as the got into the car, and drove back to the loft.

The End