Snowflakes pressed against Sara’s face as she walked arm in arm with Jason. He turned toward her and held her face in his hands.
“You’re beautiful. Do you know that? You’ve got the most delicate face I’ve ever seen.” He smiled. “And the bluest eyes.” He ran his fingers through her long silky brown hair that fell past her shoulders. “Not only do you have an amazing body, but you’re extremely smart and talented. You’ve got the whole package.”
“And how do you know I have an amazing body, sir?”
“I’ve got a great memory,” he laughed. “You may be standing there in a long black down coat, but I can still see those long slender legs, tiny waist, heart shaped bottom and beautiful breasts.”
Sara blushed and looked away. “How come you’re being so nice to me?” she laughed.
“I’m always nice to you. You’re just noticing it now,” he said.
“Well, I’d say I did pretty well myself. Tall, dark, handsome and smart, too,” said Sara.
Jason pulled her in for a hug. She took it in and then turned to survey the park.
“Lake Michigan is so beautiful in early December… especially after the first snow,” she said. “And the smell is so clean and fresh.” She shoved her mittened hands into her coat pockets and snuggled close to Jason. Over six feet of man at my fingertips, she thought. Well, maybe 5’10,” but that makes him two inches closer to me. Ooooh! And that thick, dark brown hair, blue green eyes that glisten, and a smile that sweeps me away.
Jason smiled, held her close, but said nothing.
“Life is so good,” she said smiling. She ran her tongue over her crimson lips to taste each snowflake, which disappeared on contact. She turned, pressing her hands on Jason’s chest and lifted up on her toes to do the same for him.
Jason took her hands and wrapped her arms around him. Holding her close, he blocked the cold lake breeze and looked down into her eyes. He placed his left hand under her collar and his right at the middle of her back.
Sara stared up at him. So handsome, so cute, and all mine, she thought.
“You’re right, life is good…know why?” said Jason. “Because we’re together?” asked Sara.
“Yes, because of you. I’m so proud of you. First, a national commercial, then a sharp shooter, and now an international runway extravaganza …at Windsor Castle in London, no less. What did you say it was called?”
“Kind of a play on words…they named it ‘The Catwalk’,” said Sara. “Some people consider the runway a catwalk anyway, but they named it that because it’s being sponsored by an endangered species group. That’s why we’re all gonna be dressed up like cats. It should be fun and it’s really nice that the money’s going toward helping them.”
“Yes, it is.”
Sara nudged him with her shoulder. “Aren’t you gonna ask which cat I’m gonna be?”
Jason looked her up and down playfully. “Hmmm, I’d guess a Snow Leopard,” he said, lifting the left corner of his mouth.
Sara’s jaw dropped. “How did you know that?” “You talk in your sleep, silly.”
Sara gasped. “Really?”
“Just kidding. I saw it on the envelope they sent you.”
She smiled and smacked his arm. “You had me worried. Who knows what I’d be saying in my sleep.” She giggled and twirled in front of Jason. “I’m so glad you’ll be able to come for a little while.”
“I wish I could be there for the whole two weeks, but…” said Jason. He pressed his lips to hers and she purred.
Sara let the kiss linger on her lips, and then pulled back. “I know two weeks is a lot, but we’ll at least have a week together in London. We’ll be able to see the sights, have a little romance, you know…”
“Oh I think I do, and it sounds like every man’s dream,” said Jason.
“Speaking of the sights…beat ya to the Bean?” she said, tagging his arm.
“You’re gonna need a head start,” laughed Jason.
Sara took off, high stepping through the fresh fallen snow. I love it when it’s fluffy snow, she thought. Easier to run through and everything smells so clean. She sprinted past the benches and toward the Pritzker Pavilion. She stopped and pointed in front of her.
“Jason, look at the Chicago skyline. It looks so beautiful just before the sun goes down…don’t ya think? And all the beautiful Christmas lights.”
Sara didn’t wait for a response. Glancing back, she saw Jason closing in on her and she took off. Circling the Pritzker Pavilion, she left a pathway of footprints to beneath the center of the huge chrome Bean that sat yards off of Michigan Avenue. She turned back, put her hand on her side, bent over, and gasped for breath between laughing intervals.
Jason was right behind her. One step to her every two steps. “How could you run that far…gasp…and not…gasp …be out of breath?” gasped Sara.
“I’ve got longer legs than you,” he said, extending a foot into the air. “And bigger feet,” he smiled.
“Well, you know what they say about men with big feet?” smiled Sara.
“Yeah! They have to buy big shoes.”
Laughing, Sara jumped up in an attempt to wrap her legs around Jason, but her coat was slippery and they tumbled to the ground. The Bean loomed directly overhead.
Jason placed his hands on Sara’s face and pulled her toward him. “I love so many things about you, Sara.” He looked deep into her eyes. “I especially love your strength. That’s one of my favorite characteristics. And, of course, your ability to think fast on your feet…and off.” He smiled. “You’re beautiful, intelligent, and best of all, you’re mine. You know, even when I’m not with you, I’ll still be right there with you. I’m gonna be with you forever.”
“Wow! I think this walk was a good idea,” she giggled. Sara quickly moved close and kissed him hard. “I love you too, and yes, you’d better be with me forever.”
Rolling to her back, she looked up. “This park is so magical. Look at all the Christmas lights lighting up the city,” she said, spreading her arms out above her.
“If you look carefully,” said Jason. “You can see in every direction from this thing. If you look there,” he pointed to the right. “You can see the two of us and if you look over there...” He pointed to the left, “you can see us from the other side.”
Sara pointed overhead, waving from left to right at the Bean’s slick shining chrome surface that acted as a mirror. “You’re right. I can see us lying together from every angle.”
“Yep, I like seeing you from every angle,” smiled Jason. “A curve here, a curve there, and of course that infamous smile.”
“You’re so-o-o-o cute,” said Sara. “Look,” she laughed. “We look like twins, both in long black winter coats and headbands.”
“You’re the cuter twin.”
Sara continued. “And look at the difference in size. You’re a good four inches taller than me. And you definitely have bigger hands and feet than I do.” Sara lifted her arms and legs to prove the point.
“The better to catch you with, my dear,” replied Jason.
“Look!” said Sara. “On that side I can see a little boy in a red jacket with orange mittens…see. Oh, that’s so cute…he’s wearing a Santa hat.” She extended her hand up and to the right and pointed her index finger, as best she could through her red mittens, toward another section of the Bean. “And over there an older man in a black, full-length coat.” Then her left hand shot up and she pointed again. “And over there, a woman in a white ski jacket and jeans. You can see people on all sides of the park in this thing,” smiled Sara.
“You’re the only one I’m interested in,” said Jason.
Snuggling up to Jason, she kissed his cheek and rolled away quickly. As she pushed up, off the bed of snow, she grabbed a handful of cold wet fun and packed it tightly.
“What are you up to?” said Jason. He rose quickly.
Sara spun around bringing her arm back and let loose the first snowball. It hit Jason square in the chest.
“Why you little vixen-we’ll see about that.” Jason packed a lighter snowball and pretending to wind up tightly, he tossed it at Sara, hitting her in the arm. Sara threw two more, hitting Jason in the head and in the leg. He returned her attack, firing three snowballs, one after the other, until Sara fell to the ground out of breath laughing. She heard Jason laughing as well, but then he stopped. She sat up and looked at him. He was staring at her.
“What?” she said. “C’mere.”
“Is this a trick?”
“No-o-o.” He extended his index finger and bent it toward him. “C’mere,” he said softly.
Sara stood and walked tentatively toward Jason, watching his hands as he slipped them snug into his pockets. As she got close, Jason kissed the tip of her nose, slipped his hands out and cupped her face once again.
“Sara, I love you. I want you to know that just like London, I’ll be with you even when it seems like I’m not, and no matter where I am I’ll always be thinkin’ about you.”
“I know that,” said Sara.
Jason leaned in and his hot breath wafted down her ear canal.
“I need you to know that’s the truth.” He emphasized the word, “know.”
Sara tilted her head to the left. “Okay! Are you alright?” “Of course. I’m just gonna miss you is all.”
“You’ll be with me for the second week,” said Sara.
“I know. Just getting sentimental. Must be the wine.” He kissed her passionately, reached in his pocket and pulled out a digital camera. “Wanna get a picture of us under the Bean?”
Wow! I’m usually the one that has to force him to take a picture, thought Sara.
“Sure! Then we can make snow angels and take a picture of that, too.”
“Sure, snow angels it is,” said Jason, as he handed her the camera and a tiny little tripod about six inches tall to screw into it.
“Let’s face the lake,” said Jason.
Sara ran ten feet away, packed a foot of snow, screwed the tripod into the camera, and anchored it in the mound she’d built. Tilting the camera up slightly, she knelt down behind it to be sure he was in the picture,
“Okay, don’t move. I’m gonna run over next to you,” yelled Sara. She pressed the timer and depressed the button to take the picture, and ran for Jason. Wrapping her right arm around his left, she smiled and Jason gripped her hand tightly.
There was a flash, a pop, and Jason fell back into the snow.
Sara went back with him. “You’re such a goof. Snow angels together, I like it,” beamed Sara, as she began fanning her left arm out to the side.
“Hey you, you have to fan your right arm to make a double snow angel.”
Jason didn’t respond.
Sara pushed herself up and turned toward Jason. His eyes were only slightly open and his coat looked wet.
“Hey you,” she said again as she placed one hand on his chest and one hand on his arm and pulled him toward her. A drop, then a stream of red, stained the snow between them.
“Oh my God! No! No! No! Jason, Jason,” she screamed.
Sara’s head whipped around from side to side. She extended her arms in front of Jason to protect him while scanning the park. She checked every person she could see. They’re the same people I saw in the Bean. No one suspicious. No one out of the ordinary. What was ordinary anyway? she thought.
Sara then glanced up at the rooftops and windows of the highest buildings around. Trump International, the Tribune Building, and the Willis Tower. Maybe someone’s up there with a rifle, shooting people for no reason.
Sara slipped her hand in her pocket, retrieved her cell phone, dialed 911, put it on speaker and placed it on the ground next to Jason.
“Hold on Jason, hold on. It’s gonna be okay. I’m getting help.” “911, what’s your emergency?” asked the voice on the other end.