'Why the hell did I walk?' Mike cursed as he pulled his coat tighter around him. The snow whipped through the air around him and crunched under his boots. It had gotten much later since he left his mother's, darkness was creeping over the town and with it a deeper biting cold. He shivered as he tried to pull his coat around tighter but it didn't matter, he was already freezing. 'Damn I should have left earlier' he cursed some more as he trudged along the snow covered sidewalk.

The streets were deserted; his only company was the cold wind and falling snow. It was about another mile to his sister's house where he could spend the night, since driving back to his place was out of the question he had left his car in the lot behind him. Driving on these roads would be one of the more idiotic things he could do. He pulled his hood down trying to keep the snow off his face even though he couldn't feel it much anymore.

He walked over the snow and sleet trying to keep his head down, but that makes it harder to see. It's not easy to walk on snow, it gets harder when the snow has fallen over sheets of ice already on the ground, so when Mike stepped on a sheet of hidden ice, the snow didn't help much with traction and his feet started running from under him. He stumbled and tried to lean with it so he would slide on only to fall forward in his failed attempt. He brought his arms up to break his fall but his elbows hit first and even the cold had not numbed him enough to block out the pain completely. The ice still under him, he slipped further across the snow covered concrete sliding hard into the curb.

His teeth were grit tightly in pain as he sucked in the cold air. He managed to roll onto his back and cradled his right arm. Both hurt like hell now but the cold was helping to numb It all at least a little. Part of him enjoyed actually laying down, even if it was just in the cold snow on a sheet of ice and it was tempting for a second to just lay there. As he rolled over and started to push himself up he heard something besides the sound of the wind.

"Are you okay?" She asked. Mike pulled himself up and looked up at the women in front of him, bundled up in her own coat.

"I'm fine thanks." He said he raised his head and gave a quick smile to her.

"Mike?" the girl asked. He paused and looked closer at the girl. She had a scarf covering the lower half of her face but her voice was familiar.

"Shay? Is that you in there?" he chuckled.

Shay pulled the scarf down to reveal the rest of her face and smiled back, though her smile faded in a second. "What are you doing out here? Are you okay?"

"Yeah just a little tumble. I'm on my way back to my sister's house." He gave a huge shudder as the wind kicked up nearly knocking him and Shay over.

"You look like your freezing to death. My place is right here, come in and warm up."

"No, I'll be fine, honestly." He said trying to walk on.

"How far away is your sister's?" she asked, turning so he could walk on but she was right behind.

He gave it some thought and decided to low ball it so she wouldn't worry. "Less than half a mile."

Her hand clasped firmly around his arm. He turned and gave her a surprised look. It wasn't like Shay to be forceful . . . at all. She was too timid to even speak up above a quiet little whisper. "Come on. You'll freeze. Just come in until you warm up. Look your clothes are already soaked through. Please? I don't wanna worry about you."

He looked at her for a long moment. 'Why did she pull the scarf down?' he asked himself. He could never deny Shay when she looked him in the eyes; she was too cute when she was pleading like that. "Alright. Thanks." He said with a grin that made his lips crack. "You're probably right."

She didn't say anything just gave him a huge smile and pulled her scarf back. Taking him by the hand she led them through the snow down a few houses back the way he came and up a set of stairs. Shay pulled out her keys and started fumbling through them while Mike stood there. The wind picked up with a sudden kick making Mike chill again. The keys were jingling like bells and Mike saw why, Shay had taken her gloves off to find the right one and her hands were violently shaking. It was kinda cute, her hands were only in the cold air a few seconds and she was already that cold. And she was worried about him?

Mike stepped to her side and put his back between her and the new snow filled wind. His shadow didn't do much to help her pick out the key but at least the wind and snow weren't biting her hands anymore. He thought he heard her mumble a thank you, but between her low voice and the scarf he couldn't be sure.

Finally she pulled the door open and stepped in holding it open for him till he took hold and put his first foot in the doorway. He had been to shay's before but not in a long time and he could see she had changed a lot of stuff. Shay stopped in and quickly removed her scarf and hat casting them aside on a sofa chair, but Mike hesitated in the door way. "Come on in, it's okay."

"Let me at least get my boots off first. I don't wanna make a mess." He said as he started to try and pull the first boot off with his other foot, holding the door open with his hand.

"No it's fine come on your going to freeze if you stay out there anymore."

"Honestly I don't wanna make a mess on your floor; it'll just be a minute. . . "His sentence faded when he pulled the first foot from his boot. Right as his foot was freed, the wind shifted outside. Without any warning the door he was holding with his hand pushed against him so hard his hand slipped and the door swung back hitting him in the back. It wasn't a very bad hit, but it was enough to knock him forward off his feet and land face first on the carpet before he could catch himself. His jaw hurt like hell now and his head was throbbing. "Fuck that hurt." He groaned.

He rolled over and quickly removed his other boot and turned around to see Shay looking at him with a concerned look. "See. Are you okay?"

"I-I-I'm fine." He said, getting a little annoyed. "Honestly, I'm tougher than you think a little fall won't h-hurt me." 'Had it gotten colder?'

She gave a sigh somewhere between frustrated and relived as she offered her hand to help him up. "Fine. Come on at least get your jacket off it's soaked." She stood from where she had been kneeling and turned away. Mike shrugged off his jacket and only then became aware of how cold he really was. Snow had gotten into his clothes and his skin was red and numb but the warmth of the house was making his skin start to sting. He was shivering as he laid his jacket on top of shay's scarf and hat was.

'Okay. Maybe I am in bad shape.' He thought the idea followed by a sneeze. 'God why is it still so cold?' He looked up in time to see Shay coming back into the main room from a back hallway. She had lost her bulky jacket across the back of the couch nearest to her and was holding a large blanket in her arms. Her face has most of its color back now but she gasped when she look at him. "Oh god. Come on, sit down you look terrible."

Mike was about to tell her again how fine he was when he stumbled on the first step. His legs were shaking too bad for him to walk easily. He stumbled and fell to the large coffee table set in the middle of the room and used it to make his way to the other couch against the right wall. Shay was there the moment he stumbled and helped him to sit down. He was shaking terribly and wrapped his arms around himself to try and warm up. Shay threw the blanket over him and pulled it tightly around him. "Oh I'm so sorry. This is the only blanket have here and your freezing." She looked around the room in some mild fit of panic. "Oh why is it so cold in here?"

Mike watched her auburn hair bounce as he flung herself around the room and gathered a few throw pillows she laid at the end of the couch. "Lie down and warm up, please." She said.

He smiled to himself. She was back to herself again, the same shy little girl he had known for years. "Thanks Shay." He said lying down. He was in no position to argue with her anymore, not after nearly freezing himself solid without even noticing. 'God how did I not notice how messed up I was?'

Shay gave a warming smile as he lay down. "I'll get us some hot chocolate." She said and walked away into a door at the far end of the room. Mike pulled the blanket tightly around himself. He wasn't as cold as he had been when he came in, but the house was still not hot enough to thaw him out quickly. He sat there quietly and just looked around while he heard Shay in the next room.

The room had a large TV set in front of him and two couches, the one he was on and a smaller love seat set at a right angle to his right. The hall and apparently the kitchen were next to that. The coffee table in the middle was huge and made a small path in front of the couches and the TV in front of it. The walls were dotted with all kinds of pictures of Shay, her family and friends. There were a few that had Mike in them. Some as a group but there was even one on a little end table that was just the two of them.

He remembered that one. He was standing with his arm around her shoulders and she had put a great big hat on his head right before the picture was taken so they were both laughing. 'I can't believe she framed that.'

He smiled even as his whole face quivered from another cold shudder. His vision was dominated by a large mug and he looked up to see Shay had come back offering him a steaming mug. He reached from under the blanket and sat up to take the mug. "Thanks. You're the best ya know."

She laughed and walked away hiding her face in her hair. "Yeah I'm sure." She said quietly. She sat on the other couch and took a sip of her own drink. Mike did the same and felt the warmth of the chocolate spread quickly from his core to his fingers. It felt very odd given how he still felt so numb but it was good all the same. "Wanna watch some TV?" Shay asked from the other couch.

Mike gave a shrug. "It's your house; I'd say that's up to you." He smiled. She turned away and turned the TV on.

"House?" She asked, flipping the TV to one of their favorite shows. He smiled in spite of it all.

"Ya know me too well." He chuckled. They both settled in with their cups and watched the first few minutes of the episode in silence. Mike had seen this one already; of course he had seen almost all of them so that was no surprise. He looked over at Shay after a few minutes. She was curled up on the loveseat with her jacket over her shoulders and her mug in her hands. "It's been a while Shay. You've changed a lot about this place." He said

"Yeah, my parents helped me. They gave me their own furniture after they renovated their house last month. I'll be going to the collage later so they wanted me to be more comfortable here. They didn't need it so . . Yeah." She said quietly looking at the hot chocolate the whole time. "What . . . well . . . how have you been?" She asked glancing at him from under her hair.

He made a stupid grin back. "I'm back in town till the next semester. After that I'll be going back south to school." This time it was his turn to stare at the mug. "Sorry."

She looked at him confused. "Why?"

"We haven't seen each other in a long time and the first time I see you, you have to drag my sorry ass in from the cold before I freeze." He scratched the back of his head. "Guess I feel like a jerk."

"Oh don't feel bad please. It's fine. I don't mind helping, honest." She said shaking her head. Her face graced another smile as she looked at him. "It is nice to see you again. Even if it is as an icicle."

Mike laughed at her weak joke. "I'm sure it is." He smiled back and she turned away. Was she blushing or was it the cold? He pushed the idea from his mind. The episode was getting good and they soon settled in watching it. Mike enjoyed it; it was better just knowing he was watching it with Shay. But he had seen it all before, it didn't hold, his interest, and he was still cold, and sore, and so tired.

. . .

The first thing he noticed as that it was really quiet, no more TV. The second thing that became clear was that it had gotten a lot colder. He shivered and pulled the blanket tighter around him. He opened his eyes and saw it had gotten darker as well. While it had already been late in the evening before, now the lights inside the house were off as well. A sudden noise made him shift in place. He glanced over and saw it was Shay shuddering. She was asleep on the other couch curled up with her jacket draped over her like a blanket but was shaking every few seconds, her teeth chattering a bit.

He couldn't understand why, the house's AC must have gone out because it was much much colder than when he had fallen asleep. He gave it a quick moment's thought and slowly removed the blanket from himself. The air was colder now that he had taken off his comfort, and even the carpeted floor was stinging cold to his feet, socks or no socks it was enough to make him pull his feet back hesitantly. He stepped up and walked over to the other couch and threw the blanket over Shay.

She didn't stop shivering or chattering and it was clear she was freezing. He started to tuck the blanket around her when he looked at her face. He froze as he watched her sleep, her breathing even and steady with her hair hanging over her face. She was . . . pretty. He had always thought so, even told her once but he had never actually looked at her, especially when she was sleeping. He kept staring at her for what might have been a minute or longer when she shivered again, making him look away instantly.

'God I'm a creep.' He thought. But a second later he looked back her. She was cold, and so was he. Was it a good idea? What if she got mad? What. . . . Before he could finish he realized his body had moved without his own thought and found himself pulling the blanket over the both of them. 'What the hell am I doing?' he asked. His doubts were stripped away a second later when he pulled the blanket around the two of them. He lay next to her, his back against the back cushion of the couch and he wrapped his arms around her, circling her arms and pulling her against his chest. She was cold now, her skin chilly to the touch.

His head was screaming. Why are you doing this? She's going to freak! You're a creep! Stop it now! This isn't right! Keep going! You know why you're doing it!

The voice was silenced a moment later when a soft sigh came from Shay. Her hands wrapped around his as she pushed back against him in her sleep. He let himself have a goofy grin, even if he knew it was just her trying to get warm in her sleep, it was nice. He must have laid there teetering on the edge of sleep for several minutes before his head starting crawling with red flags again.

He was enjoying himself, no lying about that. It was nice to just lie there, plus it was real warm, but he knew the longer he stayed the more of a bad idea it was. He was worried how she might react if she woke up and found him like this. He tried to work out a way to pull away from her and from under the blanket. He started to pull his arms from hers and scoot his way down but her hands tightened around his. She mumbled something but he couldn't make it out.

He tried again to pull away but she pushed against him again and whispered quietly. "Please don't go." She murmured. Mike froze in place and stared at her back. She didn't give any other signs she was awake and He leaned up and looked over her. Her eyes were still closed and she was still breathing calmly.

'Is she dreaming?' he thought, but decided he didn't care. He settled back again, laying down with her and hugging her tightly to him. She was warm now made only more so by the blanket draped over them. He took a deep breath and her scent, something a mix of sweet and almost like lavender. Kinda odd since she was just sleeping, is that what she always smelled like?

How long did he lay there? Did he fall asleep again? It felt like he did but he couldn't be sure. If it was still cold he couldn't tell since he was too involved in just enjoying the warmth under the blanket. Shay was pressed against him her arms wrapped over his wrists and hands that encircled her chest. Her legs brushed his as she shifted in her sleep making him shiver even though he was warm as he could be.

Her hands started stroking his but he could tell she was still asleep. He just smiled and rubbed back, gently brushing her fingers. Warning bells were going off again, telling him to get up, to make sure she didn't know he was there. But he couldn't bring himself to do it. Maybe part of him wanted to be caught, wanted to let it play out. Maybe he just didn't care, or maybe he even thought that she wanted him there. There was too much in his head to sort out.

Suddenly she shifted, much more than the little movements from before. She twisted in his arms and rolled to face him. The next thing he knew she opened her eyes and looked into his. He had been watching her sleep so there was no hiding that he was looking at her. She looked at him; her eyes still dim from just awaking from sleep. His arms still wrapped around her with the blanket covering them below their necks. She didn't say anything, just stared at him for a minute.

Without warning she leaned closer to him, her eyes slowly fell closed and pressed her lips to his. Mike didn't pull away, didn't try to stop her like he knew he should. He just accepted, letting himself melt into her as they kissed.

People say that when you kiss someone, there are fireworks in your head. That wasn't true, at least not to Mike. All he felt was . . . peace. Simple, pure, bliss. Like the rest of the world was gone and they were all that was left, together in a place with no noise. Just, peace.

Without any kind of warning she suddenly broke off the kiss and rolled away, falling off the couch as though Mike had caught fire and she had to get away from him. "I'm Sorry!" she yelled. Mike sat up straighter and looked at her as she pulled herself up and turned away, walking to the other side of the table. "I-I-I'm sorry. I-I-I didn't mean it, really!" She said as if she was defending herself from a murder accusation.

"Shay, it's alright." He said stepping up to comfort her but she pulled away as he drew near.

"No no no no! It's my fault. I-I-I thought. . . .I thought, I mean, maybe, no!" She stammered on. Her face was hung in her hands now as she stood away from him. "Please don't be mad." She said from behind her hands.

"Why would I be mad?" he asked, trying to step closer.

She didn't pull away again but didn't raise her face from her hands either. "I'm sorry." She repeated. "I- I thought I was dreaming! Please I'm sorry I didn't mean to kiss you. I just thought it was a dream. Please don't be mad!"

He stepped closer and managed to put his arms around her. "I'm not mad honest." He said. He could hear her beginning to cry a little into his chest. "You don't have to worry."

"Yes I do! I kissed you! I didn't ask, I- I just –Just . . . god I'm sorry! Just please don't be mad, please don't be mad at me!" She bawled.

Exactly what possessed him to do it, Mike couldn't tell, maybe the same thing that made him climb onto the couch next to her under the blanket, but Mike reached down, pulled her hands away and gently took hold of her chin. He pulled her chin up so she faced him and without hesitating a moment bent over and kissed her on the lips.

Shay's cries were silenced with a muffled sound of surprise. For a second she started to pull away but stopped almost as soon as she had started. She melted into him and pressed back against the kiss. It didn't last as long as the first one did, but he could feel her trembling slowly cease. Mike pulled away a moment later and looked down at Shay, her eyes were red and puffy, staring back, bursting with questions.

Mike smiled down at her and gave a small peck on her forehead. "I said its okay. Promise." She didn't say anything but her eyes fell down, refusing to meet his gaze. "I should be the one who's apologizing; I'm the one who just crept under the blanket with you. I'm sorry."

"No. it was nice. You kept me warm." She murmured. "Don't apologize." She was quiet for a second. "Can we . . . sit down?"

He nodded and let her go from his embrace. He became aware of the cold again as it bit at his feet. Surly she was just as cold if not worse. She moved back to the loveseat and looked back at him. The same voice as before came back telling him to stop, that he shouldn't sit next to her. He promptly ignored it again and sat next to her, pulling the blanket from the floor and pulling it over them.

Shay was the first to move this time, and laid her head against his chest. Mike did what came natural and wrapped his arms around her pulling her tight against him, feeling warm again already. They didn't speak for a while, Mike had no clue what to say but he knew something needed to be said.

"You're. . . "Shay began quietly. "Not mad, right?" she asked without looking at him.

"Of course I'm not mad." He said, stroking her hair.

"It's just. . . I didn't know it was you. I . . . thought I was dreaming. But that doesn't make it any better does it?" She tried to explain.

"I already told you, I'm not mad." He chuckled.

With his laugh she turned in his arms so she was facing him. "I'm not dreaming now. I know, cause it's just too w-warm." She said as she leaned closer to him her face nearing his again, but so agonizingly slow. The voice came back, he heard it clear this time, and knew it was right.

Right as her lips reached his face he turned away letting her lips brush his cheek. She pulled back immediately and looked at him hurt and afraid. "I'm sorry." She apologized again, why did she have to be so cute? "Did I do something wrong?"

Mike steeled himself. It was the right thing he told himself again before he looked at her. "No you didn't do anything wrong, but. . ." He paused. He didn't want to go on. "Look shay, you don't want to get involved with me."

She looked at him confused for a few seconds. "What. . . What do you mean?"

"You don't want to bother with me, really. I've done a lot in the past and I-I'll just end up hurting you worse than you deserve." He said. His voice was firm and resolute as he looked away from her. If he stared at her his resolve would crumble. 'It was the best thing.' He told himself again. 'Best for you and best for her.'

"No. I know you Mike. You're nice, you'd never hurt me." She said. She was facing him full on, her hands grabbing at his shirt.

"I would never hurt you on purpose, but really you don't want to bother with me. I'm . . . I'm not worth you Shay. I'm not worth someone as great as you." He finally turned and looked her in the eyes, making sure he wasn't showing anything he didn't want to; even in the dark she would be able to make out if he was crying. "You're so beautiful and sweet, I'm . . . I'm just more pain than I'm worth. Don't waste yourself on me."

"No. No!" she said defiantly, pulling at his chest more. "Mike, your sweet, your kind, you're always there to help people, you've never hurt me. I know you never would." She was starting to cry now, her eyes blurring behind the tears. "Your strong, you've always been there. I don't care if you think you're not worth it, I know you are. If anything I'm not worth you!"

"Stop shay." He said firmly. "Don't act like that, you . . . You don't know. People change."

"Yes I do. Mike, I Love you!" She said through now falling tears. "I know I love you, I'm sorry if you're mad but I've loved you for a long time. I've always been afraid you would hate me if I told you but I love you." She buried her head in his chest. "Don't say you're going to hurt me. If you feel the same you can't hurt me." She cried.

Mike's own face shook as tears welled in his eyes but he pushed them back. He had to stop this. Yeah he loved her too, to know she felt the same was the greatest thing he ever heard, but nothing he had said was a lie. He wasn't a good person, He had done plenty of bad in his life, his wasn't good looking, and he knew that if they were together he would hurt her. It's just what people like him do.

He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her from his chest forcefully. "Shay, you have to understand, I'm doing this. . ." Whatever the reason was lost when she lunged forward pressing her lips to his. Mike was taken completely surprise by the suddenness of the move. He tried to push her back but she didn't budge. After his first futile and halfhearted attempt his arms moved from her waist pushing to pull her closer to him. He sunk into the kiss, which somehow remained as soft and peaceful as the one from before. Her lips were so soft as she pressed against him, her hair falling around their faces, shielding them from the night around them. He pressed on her back, supporting her into him. In that moment, the worries he had faded. There was just the two of them, and that was all there was.

Shay finally pulled away; now straddling his lap she sat up and looked down on him, something that would have been ironic if not for their current situation. Her hands brushed his face before she fell forward and wrapped him in a hug, her head resting on his shoulder.

"Shay. . ."

"Don't." She cut him off. "I don't care if you think you'll hurt me." Her breath brushed his ear sending shivers up his spine. "Please. I love you, that's all I care about."

He didn't think. He just wrapped his arms around her back and put his head next to her ear. "I Love you shay." He whispered. Her grip tightened when he said it and he could hear her crying on his shoulder, but he wasn't worried. He couldn't make sense of it, but he knew she was happy. He let her cry there, His love, in his arms. That felt nice to say. His love.

The two remained under the warmth of the blanket wrapped in each other's arms. Maybe he was right and he was going to hurt her, but to Shay it didn't matter. She loved Mike, he loved her, and they were together. It didn't matter if the whole world froze that night. She would be warm in the arms of her love.

That felt nice to say. Her love.

Okay, so that's the first romance story I ever wrote. I'm actually happy with it. But I love reviews so please tell me what you think and how I can improve.