Chapter Seven: Wake Up and Ride/Set in Stone
"Go away, Anna!"
Cold beads of sweat trailed down Anna's face as she snapped up from her laying position on the bed. Confused thoughts raced through her head as she adjusted to her surroundings. She clamped her eyes shut and shook her head furiously, trying to anchor herself back into reality. Quietly, she turned her head to glance at the clock on the side table.
Well, if there was one thing she had to thank her nightmares for, it was the fact that she wouldn't be late to work, for once. She slowly lifted herself from the bed and took a moment to assess herself in the mirror. Bed head, as usual, but that wasn't much of a surprise. She picked up the brush from the vanity, attempting to tame the beast of hair that stood up in a mess of red. It didn't take long to comb out the chaos and tangle it into her signature braids. She took her time putting on her uniform, a green and black dress that she didn't mind wearing at all. It suited her, and was pretty enough to compliment her features. Green was her favorite color, after all. She would have to remember to thank Oaken for his great taste in fashion. It was just one of the many areas he was talented in.
By the time she was done getting ready for the day, she still had twenty minutes to spare. It wasn't normal for her to be so early to work, but she supposed it wasn't a bad thing to get an early start.
She exited her room, walking down the short hallway to the lobby.
"What do you mean the car broke down?! I have to be at hair and makeup in twenty minutes! I can't very well walk, now can I?"
An icy voice erupted from the lobby, causing Anna to hide behind a wall, not wanting to be seen by the source.
'When did she get so mean?'
It was a passing thought. Nothing more than a simple observation.
She heard an exasperated sigh, followed by a more gentle tone. "Look, I promised Kristoff I'd get there early today. He…he did me a favor and I'd really like to at least get there on time to thank him. Is there any other way I could get there? Send someone from the set, maybe?"
It pained Anna to hear the actress sound so desperate. Her begging plea to whoever was on the other line was genuine and soft. She was being sincere, her ice queen persona put to the side, if only just for a moment. The redhead bit her lip in contemplation, shifting her weight from foot to foot as she made a decision she would rather not make at all.
"I can take you." She said as she appeared out of hiding.
Elsa's head snapped up, her eyes locking onto Anna's before she averted her gaze to the ground for a moment to think. She was silent, not knowing quite what to say. "I've got a ride. I'll be there soon." She hurriedly hung up the phone and bit her lip before looking up to meet the barmaid's gaze.
The air was tense, though not unpleasant. Neither of them made a move, time suddenly becoming irrelevant.
They didn't seem to notice they were being observed by a big burly man with a distinct green hat on his head. From his place behind the lobby's desk, Oaken quirked a brow, watching the interaction between the two. There was something odd about this, and he knew it.
Anna cleared her throat before breaking the silence. "I can give you a ride. If you want, I mean. Cause if you don't that's totally fine. But if you're really that desperate, I can get you there."
"I'd love that, if you could. I kind of need it…"
'Why is she being so nice to me?'
Elsa pushed the thought to the back of her head.
Oaken's face contorted into contemplative realization. These two were no strangers to each other. He was not a stupid man, and seeing their interaction confirmed his sudden suspicions. Something was off about this situation.
"One second." Anna rushed to her room, coming out with two helmets. Elsa looked at them curiously, but didn't think twice as she was handed one and signaled to follow the redhead out the door.
They walked to the back of the building, turning the corner to be met with what looked to be a very well cared for green motorcycle. She didn't know much about bikes, but this one looked fast. She watched as Anna approached it, and mounted the vehicle.
"How can you afford this?" Elsa asked in curious shock.
The blonde's words struck Anna harshly. Sure, there was a time when money was something that was very hard for her to come by, but being asked such a forward question hit her hard.
"I was unfortunate enough to run into some cash." She said, scowling deeply. "Do you want a ride, or not?"
Elsa nodded, walking towards the bike. Silently, she wondered how the redhead was able to ride in a dress. She secured her helmet onto her head, and swung a leg onto the back of the motorcycle. A warm feeling of heat crept onto her cheeks when she noticed she would have to hold on to Anna to balance herself while in motion.
The idea seemed to hit Anna at the same time, suddenly glad to be wearing a helmet. She wouldn't want the blonde to see her blushing.
"Hold on." She said, revving the engine loudly.
Elsa had no choice but to wrap her arms around the barmaid as they began to move. She pressed herself against Anna tightly once they gained speed, racing down the road towards the set. It seemed that the redhead didn't need directions.
Anna insisted on gaining velocity, fiercely propelling them down the road. A familiar sense of excitement bubbled inside of Elsa, bringing a smile to her face and causing her to giggle. It didn't go unnoticed by the younger woman, serving to encourage her to pick up the pace. She pushed the bike to high speeds that were probably a little too dangerous, especially with small puddles of rainwater scattered across the road. At the moment though, she couldn't find half a mind to care.
Elsa's laughter picked up. She enjoyed going fast, something only Anna truly knew. The blonde was completely gleeful. She couldn't remember the last time she was this happy. Her arms tightened around the redhead's waist, pressing herself harder against Anna's back. The barmaid felt her body raise in temperature, becoming very aware of the body behind her being so close to hers.
Before either had time to notice, they approached a field of trailers ahead of them. Anna took the time to slow down to a reasonable pace as the distance between them and the set closed. Anna willed the bike to a stop once they arrived, putting her feet down to stabilize them.
It took a moment before Elsa found the motivation to release the redhead from her grasp. If she had to be honest, she didn't really want to let go at all. Being this close to the redhead felt so completely natural, but she knew that holding on for any longer would cause the redhead to become suspicious. She gracefully dismounted the bike, removing her helmet once on the ground. Anna followed suit to make conversation easier.
"Thanks for that." Said the blonde genuinely.
"It's no problem. You seemed like you really needed it, so…" She shrugged, not sure where she was going with the comment.
"Elsa!" Came a voice. Anna looked over in the distance, watching as a tall blonde man approached them. "Took you long enough. I thought you were coming in early?"
"The car that was supposed to pick me up broke down, but…I managed to hitch another ride." She looked over to Anna who eyed them both curiously. "Kristoff, this is Anna."
"Oh?" Kristoff glance at the redhead, realization flooding over him. "Oh! Anna!"
Elsa cleared her throat, signaling the actor to calm down. "Anna, this is-"
"Kristoff Wolfe. Yeah, I know." She said, clearly unimpressed. "It's nice to meet you."
"It's nice to finally meet you too, believe me."
Anna raised a brow. "Finally?" She looked to Elsa in question.
"Anyway! I think I hear them calling us to hair and makeup. We should probably get going." Said the actress. She took the helmet in her hands and pushed it towards Anna for her to take.
"Keep it. I'm going to assume you need a ride home, so I'll be back later." Anna was very blunt with her words, not giving Elsa much of a choice in the matter. "Anyway, I've got to get to work. Oaken's a nice guy, but I think it's better if I'm on time, for once. See you soon."
"Wait!" Called the actress before the barmaid had a chance to ride away. Anna looked to Elsa curiously. "Thanks. For the ride, I mean. You didn't have to do that. It means a lot."
Anna's face softened, knowing that Elsa was truly appreciative. "You already said that." She smiled slightly, no malice evident in her voice. "I'll be back."
"Definitely." The blonde nodded, watching as Anna put her helmet back on her head and drove off.
"So, she's the one, huh?" Asked the actor beside her. "Why didn't you tell me she was so hot?"
Elsa punched him in the arm, making her discontentment with his rude comment known. "Shut up."
Kristoff rubbed arm, trying to ease the pain. The actress sure knew how to throw a punch. "Okay, okay! Sorry. You should take it as a compliment, though. You've got good taste."
"Whatever. Let's go."
"And The Ice Queen is back! For a second there, I thought you were going soft. Funny how attractive women can turn you into mush."
The next punch was completely deserved, and they both knew it.
The North Mountain was the highest point in all of Arendelle. It stood on the outskirts of the town, away from most of civilization. It was quite a long ways away from the Andrews' and Summers' residences, but the ride there was not unwelcomed.
As always, the two took Anna's bike to the location. After years of riding, Anna's legs were used to peddling the long way there, even with the extra weight of Elsa on the pegs behind her. It usually took a good while to get there, but on this particular day, the ride was significantly shorter. Whether it be due to Elsa's insistence of staying at a higher speed, or Anna's excitement, it didn't matter.
The bike slowly came to a stop at the bottom of the mountain. Elsa hopped off the back and watched as Anna wheeled the bicycle into the security of nearby bushes. It was something that amused the blonde every time. Anna loved that bike, and wouldn't risk it being damaged or stolen. It was her main mode of transportation, and she would protect it at all costs. There were too many memories attached to it to put it in any sort of danger.
"Here, gimme that." Said the redhead, motioning to the backpack Elsa had carried the whole way there.
"I'm pretty sure I should hold on to it." Said the older girl. Although Anna was full of energy, she knew that peddling all the way to the mountain had to be exhausting. The least she could do would be to carry the backpack up with them to ease the burden. They still had a lot of hiking to do, Anna's legs had already done enough work for the day.
"Nuh-uh. Hand it over."
Elsa swung the pack over her shoulder, debating whether or not to give it to the younger girl. "What do you have in here, anyway? It's pretty heavy…"
"Important stuff." Said Anna simply. "Now, gimme it. We need to get going."
Elsa rolled her eyes, not quite understanding her best friend, but respecting her enough to give her the backpack. Anna opened it, reaching in two grab two water bottles. She tossed one to the blonde before taking a gulp of her own. "Drink up, we're going to the top."
"The very top? Anna, that's a long way up."
"I know. Now, let's go!"
They walked at a steady pace up the mountain. Anna took the lead, seeming to be very eager to get to wherever they happened to be going. She had a certain spring in her step and tone in her voice that suggested her mood was even more elevated than usual. Elsa took her time carefully observing the younger girl.
"-And I'm totally getting sick of it. If he thinks he's getting anywhere with his scummy moves, he's got another thing coming. Why is he even hitting on a sophomore, anyway? I swear, ever since they made him team captain, he thinks he's some sort of god or something!" Anna took her steps carefully, taking notice as the trail narrowed the higher they trekked. She tried her best to ignore the steep incline below the path. They could easily fall and roll the long way down the mountain if they weren't careful.
"It's gone to his head, but he is the best player on the team. A lot of people would be jealous of all the attention he's giving you."
"Elsa! You're not helping here." Anna crossed her arms while walking. Hans South was becoming more and more of an issue in her life. His constant flirting was driving her up a wall. It didn't matter what she seemed to say to him, he just wouldn't go away. He had passed the point of being an annoyance, and was rapidly becoming a problem. It was exhausting.
"He's the most popular guy in school, now. Everyone loves him." Elsa loosely tried to back up her point. "All the girls like him."
"Yeah, but I don't!"
"Why not?" Elsa questioned.
Anna stopped in her tracks, nearly causing Elsa to bump into her. Slowly, she turned to face the blonde. There was a silent moment between them, giving Anna a moment to let the question sink in. "Because, he's not the one I want."
The ground beneath the redhead's feet began to move. She felt herself tilting in one direction. Right over the edge. She tried frantically to fix her footing, but her efforts were all in vain. The dirt under her feet shifted, half of the path collapsing.
"Anna!" Elsa panicked. She could see where this would end if the younger girl were to fall down the mountain, but didn't have time to think it through before she swung her arm out to grip Anna's and drag her back to safety. She acted purely on instinct.
They both huffed to catch their breath, the reality of the situation not having hit either of them yet. Elsa wrapped her arms around Anna, pulling her close. She clamped her eyes shut and anchored herself onto the younger girl as her body trembled. Anna was still left in complete shock. She could have toppled over the edge and rolled all the way down the mountain, resulting in serious injury, or worse. Yet, with Elsa there to pull her back to the security of stable ground, she was perfectly fine. Not a scratch on her to show for her near-death experience.
When she finally reached the confines of reality, Anna could feel the distinct shaking coming from the blonde. They were pressed so close together, that she could almost feel her heart hammering against her chest in panic.
"Elsa?" Anna's voice was soft, not wanting to further her best friend's anxiety.
"I could have lost you." Came a gentle whisper. "You could have…"
"But I didn't." Anna pulled back just far enough to look Elsa in the eyes. She reached to untangle the blonde's hand from around her, holding it against her chest. "I'm fine, see?" The blonde could feel the easy thumping of Anna's heart. It came in a steady rhythm, coaxing the older girl back from her trance. "You didn't lose me. I'm right here. With you." Anna raised her hand to Elsa's cheek, wiping away tears she didn't realize she had shed. Anna looked so sure in her words, as if nothing could ever hurt them. When the redhead pulled her back into a tight embrace, she felt it to be true. She was with Anna, and Anna was with her. There was no panic. No fear. Only happiness, joy, and love. Things only Anna could make her feel.
"I'm not going anywhere. Ever." Anna's voice was muffled into the bare skin of the blonde's neck, but her words were very much heard. "Now comm'on. Let's go. We're almost there."
By the time they had reached the top, the sun had begun to make its way down the western sky. It made Elsa feel a little uneasy. It had taken them long enough to get here, if they stayed much longer, they would have to hike down in the dark. After their latest incident with the shaky trail, the blonde didn't like the sound of that. They might not be so lucky if the past was to repeat itself.
"We're here!" Said the redhead enthusiastically. She gently put down the backpack and pressed her hands to her hips in triumph.
Elsa looked around them, noticing the small plateau they were standing on was covered in wildflowers. They must have been the last of their kind. Though it was only the beginnings of fall, she knew that winter would soon rear its icy head and all the beauty around them would be covered in a thick layer of snow. Still, at this very moment, it was breathtaking.
"Anna, this is…" Elsa searched to find the words to describe the scene around them. "Beautiful."
"It is, but I see something beautifuller." The blonde looked forward to see Anna staring directly at her in a soft expression of adoration. "Come here. I've got something for us."
Elsa did as told, stepping towards the redhead as she put the backpack down to open it, pulling out a large stone from within it. The blonde was taken aback. How could Anna possibly carry that all the way up the mountain?
"That's what was in there? A rock?" Elsa said, clearly confused.
"A big rock, yes." Anna dropped onto the floor, sitting down with the boulder in front of her as she shuffled through her bag once more. Once she had what she needed, she patted the dirt next to here, motioning to Elsa to sit down.
Though she was still very puzzled, she did as told and took a seat next to her best friend, though significantly more graceful than the redhead. "So, I still don't get it. What are we doing?"
Anna turned her head to look at Elsa, a smile plastered on her face. She held up a green marker, handing it over to the blonde with a smile. "Making memories."
After littering the ground with Sharpie's of an array of colors, Anna carefully leaned forward and pressed her own blue marker to the face of the stone, writing the date towards the bottom, and Elsa's name at the top. "Your turn."
Elsa, having partly grasped the purpose of Anna's antics, entertained her plan and wrote Anna's name next to hers. The redhead took her turn and messily drew a miniature version of Elsa in the middle of the rock under her name. The older girl shifted the rock towards herself, and followed the example given to her, doodling a tiny Anna next to the drawing of herself in proper colors. She thought for a minute before completing her sketch, a grin pulling at her lips and she joined their outlined hands together in marker. She turned the rock to face Anna, and waited for her to take the lead in what to do next.
After thinking for a moment, little blue snowflakes were strewn across the gray rock face. Elsa followed her lead with little flowers scattered around the tiny versions of themselves.
"It's perfect." Said the redhead, clearly pleased with their efforts.
"We should probably get out of here. It's starting to get dark. I don't want to climb back down if we can't see, especially after what happened earlier…" Chills shot up Elsa's spine as she recalled their nearly disastrous experience.
"Just…one more thing, okay?" Anna stood from her place on the ground, dusting herself off before holding out a hand to help lift Elsa onto her feet.
"Elsa…" Anna took both of the blonde's hands in her own. She cleared her throat, willing the words that she had rehearsed to spill out from her lips. "Do you remember when you first moved here?"
"How could I forget? You hit me straight in the face."
"Yeah, but I don't take it back." She flashed a crooked smile at the blonde. "Anyway, that was only a little bit after I got Sven. The whole reason Mom and Dad adopted him was because of me. I had no one else. I was alone."
Elsa tilted her head in question. This was a story she hadn't heard before. Anna was the most social and friendly person she had ever met. It wasn't possible for her to be alone for so long, was it?
"That is…until I met you." Anna looked at their joined hands before raising her eyes to meet Elsa's. "When I met you, everything change. I finally had someone I could be with. Someone I could…love." She paused for a moment, knowing the next part would be the hardest. "Elsa, you've been my best friend forever, and I never want to lose you. I have something to tell you, and I'm scared….I'm scared you'll leave."
"Please, just…let me finish, okay?"
Elsa nodded, sealing her mouth shut and listening.
"I wanted to do this today, the whole rock thing, I mean, because I needed something to remember you by. Something to remind me that, even if you leave, you're still here with me." Anna could feel an intensifying pressure build behind her eyes. She swallowed harshly, trying to hold back the tears. This could very well be the last moments Anna would spend with Elsa like this, and she didn't want things to end with her crying. "I'm not good with words. Most of the time they just jumble together and make no sense. But when I'm with you, you make me feel like maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe I don't need words. Maybe…" She took a deep breath and exhaled sharply. "Maybe I just need you."
Elsa's eyes widened in realization. It all made sense. She knew that something was off about Anna. Ever since she had mentioned going up The North Mountain, she had been jumpy and a little over excited. Perhaps anxious, even. The blonde knew this wouldn't be just another hike they would share together, but she didn't think that this would be result of their day.
"Every second of loneliness was worth it because in the end, I got you." The redhead averted her eyes back to their entangled hands, thinking carefully of what to say next. "I need you, Elsa. You, and nothing else."
The older girl had never heard something so genuine in her life. Anna was truly speaking from her heart, and she knew it. She felt her whole body tingle with a certain feeling of warmth. Could she really mean what Elsa thought she meant?
"I'm not good with words, but there's one thing I need to say. Something I need you to know." She sighed, her nervousness finally peaking. "Look down." She nodded her head to the side, motioning towards the bottom of the cliff.
Elsa gazed down over the edge, her breath catching in her throat. Her eyes widened and she forced her mind to remind herself that this was in fact reality, and not just another dream.
On the dirt at the bottom of the mountain, clearly spelled out in lines made of boulders much like the one they had just drawn on, were the words:
'I love you'
When she looked back to Anna, she could read the clear expression of both true affection, and definite fear. She could find no words to express what she felt she needed to say. Her passion was acting, and words, unlike Anna, were something she was fluent with. She could speak very eloquently, but in this case, there was no script. No written words to guide her.
When the blonde pulled her hands away, Anna felt her heart sink. Part of her felt completely shattered. She watched her best friend walk away, and it took everything in her not to cry.
But when she stopped at their rock, and bent down to grab a marker and write on it, she felt more confused than hurt.
Elsa lifted the heavy stone and carried to towards where a stunned Anna stood near the edge.
The younger girl looked over the boulder, gasping as she read the new addition to their masterpiece mixed in with the previous words and drawings.
'Elsa and Anna
"I'm not going anywhere, Anna." Elsa placed the rock on the ground. "I'm not going to leave you. Ever." She took a step forward, placing them very close together. "I promise. And…" She trailed off, looking down at the redhead with half-lidded eyes. "I love you, too."
When their lips crashed together in a confirmation of confession, Anna was sure of one thing.
She would never be alone again.
Okay, first off, I owe you all a huge apology. I made a promise, and I couldn't go through with it. Within the past couple weeks, I got a full time job and it's been taking up all my time. Plus, there's this girl…
Anyway! I apologize from the deepest parts of my heart. I wanted to take my time getting this perfect, but life just kind of hit me in the face. I didn't forget about you, I promise!
Also as promised, I've overloaded this chapter with as much Elsanna cuteness as the plot would allow. We've got ourselves the patiently awaited confession, and the best part? They kissed! Am I the only one excited about this?
To make up for my blatant tardiness, I'm guaranteeing the release of chapter eight in exactly one week. No amount of exhausting corporate work, or adorable girls (well, one in specific) will get in the way. And if it does, I'll think of some way to make up for it.
By the way, I got a huge influx of followers/favorites completely out of nowhere the other day. Where are you all coming from?!
Well, I guess it doesn't matter. I love you all, and I'm truly appreciative for the time you've spent reading and reviewing everything I've written. It touches my heart.
I'll see you guys next Sunday (for sure)!