So firstly, I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Strongyu for making the cover image for me. I presented the concept to her several weeks ago, and she just knocked it out of the park! Thank you so much dear.
Secondly. this is an idea that came to me after watching the Olympics, and Jack's character is based heavily off of athlete Nick Goepper. PLEASE look him up on YouTube, the videos of him doing the various tricks and ski runs down the tracks will really give you an awed sense of what I'm trying to give for Jack. And, he's really freaking cool to watch.
Thirdly, I am doing my best to have this set in Norway and doing my best from research gleaned off the internet. If I do something that is incorrect, PLEASE correct me. I like trying to be as accurate as possible, and sometimes that is difficult when I've never been to Norway :).
Enjoy! I don't plan on this being a very long story, but it will be a sweet story. Love! Aria.
Jack strolled through the streets of Bergen Norway, marvelling at the old structures of the city intermingled with the new as people bustled along, various languages being spoken as he made his way through the infamous streets that were crowded with tourists. He smiled often, enjoying the sites of the city around him as he snapped pictures with the small camera hanging around his wrist, stopping often to look at the collection of street artists and watching musicians performing on the curbsides.
It was late February in the large Norwegian city, and the city was happy and alive while still being wrapped up in cold and snow from the winter; it's position in the northern part of the globe certainly being made known as chilly wind cut through layers of warm winter clothing and coats. Jack wasn't bothered though, he was more than used to a little cold.
He was in Bergen for the day, maybe two if he decided to stay the night. He had a few more days off from training at least, and he was going to make the most of them.
Jackson Overland. Jack Overland. Known in the professional skiing community as Jack Frost, a nickname a bouncy X-Games reporter had given him after she'd forgotten his last name, and it had stuck. He didn't mind, he thought it was catchy and the press liked it going along with his bleached white hair and striking blue eyes.
He had skill to back up his loud mouth he'd had in the first year he'd entered professional level competition. He'd won minor competitions, major competitions, X-Game competitions and was gearing up Olympic tryouts at the end of the year, for the world wide competition in just under a year's time.
And he strolled around the city now a complete unknown at the present moment, another American tourist in a foreign city. He smiled, lifting his camera to take another picture of an old stone church, St. Mary's according to the small map that he had bought.
He and his training companions, Mari, Edmund, and their trainer, Nick, were in Norway for a couple months to train at the Hemsedal ski center. It was one of the best in Norway, and gave them a good opportunity to train at a facility they weren't used to. Nick liked to try and change things up for them from time to time, making sure they didn't get overly comfortable in their environment.
The downside to that, however, was when Jack made mistakes on new big air tricks, they tended to hurt a little more. Which is what had led to his short vacation from training, and subsequent trip to the city of Bergen. He hadn't gotten enough speed from a take-off in trying a new trick, had under-rotated his attempt in the air and landed badly, twisting his knee in the process.
He hadn't torn anything, thankfully, after he'd gone into Oslo for tests and an examination. He'd been ordered to stay off the slopes for the week though, the doctor telling him to ice and rest the knee. Jack had had little complaint there, it had hurt like hell and changed a rather impressive purple color with the bruising that he still sported under his long pants.
He glanced around now, thinking about his twisted knee was making it hurt, and making him want to find a place he could sit down for a spell. He set off down the road, wondering what he might find that could fit the need.
Elsa Sandvik hurried along the street from the university, her backpack slung over one shoulder as she made her way to her favorite bookstore, "Istappe Bøker," where she would be able to settle into a nice comfortable chair and study for her exams coming up later this week. She was studying mathematics at the University of Bergen, and was in her second year now.
She turned a corner on the street, a smile forming on her face as the familiar pale green storefront came into few, with it's cheery handpainted sign beckoning customers inside. She looked either way on the street before skipping across the road, nodding at an older couple that passed before her before pausing at the shop door and pushing the old door open. A tinkering bell and squeaking hinge bespoke of her entrance before she was able to.
"Mr. Tjenersen?" she called, stepping over to the pair of worn, leather armchairs that set close to the window and setting her bag down heavily on one.
"Upstairs!" called a male voice, muffled from being amongst all of the stacks of books.
Elsa smiled, turning and heading to the small back room where a small kitchenette sat amongst the stacks of unreleased books and unpacked shipments. She turned the water on, grabbing the small electric kettle from it's spot on the counter and filling it part way with water. She set it back on the counter, plugging it into the socket and began to prepare a teacup for herself.
She came here to the bookstore after her classes to study, she preferred the quiet and intimate setting to the busy and crowded school library any day. And Kai (Mr. Tjenersen) let her use the backroom to make herself a snack or a cup of tea to have while she studied. While he didn't have nearly the amount of reference material that the huge library did, he usually had enough to get her papers going, or to look up an equation formula if she needed it. She never regretted spending her time in the small two story shop with the kindly old man.
The door to the back room swung open, and Kai appeared with a small stack of books in his hands. She smiled at him, moving out of the way as he shuffled past to set them down.
"Nice to see you, as always," he told her, speaking in Norsk as he always did. "How was your day?"
She stepped back as he moved to a far shelf, pulling a few books down.
"It was fine," she responded, setting a teabag into a clean cup as she waited for her water to boil. "Professor Røyskattsen is as lovely as ever."
He chuckled, turning to smile at her. "I think I detect some sarcasm there?"
The electric kettle began to hiss, signalling that the water was now hot and she unplugged it while she exhaled a long sigh.
"He's a rather sadistic little man, I swear. He loves to watch us all squirm when he announces that he's testing us the DAY before the winter holidays start."
The bell on the door tinkled again, alerting them both to a customer in the store and Kai moved to shuffle past her again as she poured the hot water into her cup. He patted her shoulder as he did so, and she could sense the smile on his lips as he pushed the door open.
"You'll do fine, I'm sure of it," he said. "You always do."
"Thanks, Mr. Tjenersen," she said, turning and smiling at him as she flicked a small packet of sugar in her hands.
He disappeared through the door, going out to greet his customer while she stayed to finish preparing her tea. She opened a cabinet door, pulling out a packet of biscuits and slid a few out of the wax wrapper before tucking them into a napkin, picking up her steaming teacup and heading out the door herself.
Kai stood with a young man with bleached white hair and dressed warmly for the weather outside; he wore a black brace around his left knee over his dark jeans. Kai's brow was furrowed in concentration as the man talked quickly in English, telling Kai some books and magazines that he was looking for as Elsa sidled past with her tea and snack to get to her chair and begin her studying.
The conversation behind her continued, fading away after a few moments as Kai led the man away into a part of the store. Kai knew English, it was just difficult for him, especially when spoken quickly. And he always got by with the myriad of tourists that made their way into the shop from time to time. She settled into her chair, balancing her teacup on the armchair while she worked textbooks and notebooks from her bag.
She was almost settled in, flipping open her mathematics book to the section they were currently working on to begin her review when Kai hurried over to her, a frazzled expression on his face. She blinked up at him in surprise, she'd hardly ever seen him get flustered before with a customer.
"Elsa, I'm sorry," he began in Norsk, an apologetic look on his face as he gestured over to the section that the man was browsing in. He was crouched down, arms stretched forward as he flipped through a selection of magazines. "Could-would you mind helping? He talks so fast, and uses strange words."
Elsa frowned, glancing between Kai and the man.
"Um, yeah," she said, setting her books aside. "No problem."
She got back up out of her chair, momentarily pausing to grab her teacup. If she was going to help this man, she might as well enjoy her drink at the same time. She wandered over to him, smiling when he looked up.
"What are you looking for?" she asked, taking a sip from her cup.
He glanced up at her, quickly flashing her with a wide, white smile and stood up.
"Hi," he said, sliding his hands into his pockets. "I-um, I was just trying to look for some snowboarding magazines?"
He named off a few titles, giving her a hopeful look as he did so. She turned, sliding her cup onto the end of the check out counter and crouched down by the sports magazines in the section.
"I'm not sure how much luck you'll have," she told him, a warning note in her voice. "Most of the magazines Mr. Tjenersen carries are in Norwegian except for the very popular titles in English."
He shrugged. "Pictures come in all languages," he said, flashing her another smile.
She couldn't argue with him there as she glanced through titles, pulling a few out for him to look at before she stood up, walking back over to grab her cup again.
"Is that all?"
He fumbled all of the magazines together and got to his feet, wincing as he did and bending down to rub his braced knee. "Uhh, was hoping to get a couple books too. Maybe a good mystery or action book? Know any good ones?"
She nodded, gesturing for him to follow her again.
He chatted at her, asking her about the city and what she did and if she worked in the bookstore. He seemed confused when she said she didn't.
"I just like coming here to study," she said, pulling a couple of Tom Clancy books from a shelf for him. "It's peaceful, and Mr. Tjenersen lets me stay as long as I want."
She shrugged. "I know the store just from being here so long, I've been coming here to study ever since I was in secondary school."
She pulled another book from a shelf, holding it out for him.
"I think he likes it because a pretty girl sitting in the shop window is probably good for business," she said, smiling at him.
He grinned at her. "Certainly can't hurt," he agreed, glancing over the backs of the books. "Well you've certainly loaded me down with more than I probably could ever read."
She chuckled turning to lead him back downstairs. "You don't have to get them all, though that's about all he has in English I will say. You might need to try a bigger chain store if you need a bigger selection while you are here."
"No, no, this is good," he said, smiling at her again. "Thanks."
She smiled back at him, gesturing to the front counter that Kai stood at while she turned and headed back to the back room with her now empty cup, quickly cleaning it and placing it on the small drying rack. Then, she headed back to her chair in an attempt to restart her study attempt, smiling again at the man as he paid for his purchases at the counter.
She settled into her chair, arranging her textbook and notebook on her lap again, a pencil poised in her hand as she reviewed her lecture notes from the day before.
She glanced up with a frown when he sat down heavily in the chair opposite her, watching as he fished his stack of magazines out of the shop bag and began to leaf through the top one. He looked up at her and grinned at her.
"I'm Jack by the way," he said. "Jack Overland."
"Elsa," she said, looking back down at her lap. "And I'm trying to study."
"Sorry," he muttered, thumbing open the glossy pages of the magazine.
She silently worked on a formula, going over the figures and processes in her head as she followed her notes with her pencil, her lips moving silently as she studied.
"So, what are you studying?" he asked her after a few minutes of silence.
She glanced up, her brow raised in annoyance now. "Mathematics, it's my major. I have an exam later this week," she said, hoping the latter part would silence him.
"Oh," he said, nodding. "You live and go to school around here then?"
She sighed, sitting up from her hunched position now and looking at him. "Yes. I live in Bergen, and I got to school at the University here. I'm guessing you are here as a tourist?"
He grinned at her. "Nope. I'm doing a, um, doing a work-study type thing. Got a couple days off though, thought I'd come see what Bergen was all about."
She gave him a tight lipped smile. "How fortunate for me," she said, looking back down at her book.
"You should take a break from all that studying too," he said. "It's good to have some fun, get away for a time and all that."
"I can after my exams this week, and the winter holidays start after classes end Friday so I have all next week off. So, rest assured, I will," she said, not looking up as she wrote a problem out on a blank part of her notebook.
"Great! We should go out then," he said, leaning forward.
She froze, looking up at him with a furrowed brow. "Wait, what?"
"Yeah! You just said that you have all next week off, right? We should do something together."
"No," she said, looking back down.
"Oh, come on," he said, smiling at her.
"What if we went, um, skiing?" he asked her, holding up one of the magazines that he'd bought and showing a picture of a skier on the cover. "There is a center not too far from here right, Heimdall?"
She looked up at him again, amused this time.
"Heimdall is a mythical Norse figure, he's the gatekeeper to Asgard. HEMSEDEL is a ski center several hours from here," she told him, setting her arms over her book now.
"So we can go?" he asked, grinning at her again.
"I'm not going to go somewhere with a strange man I don't know," she said, giving him a pointed look. "Regardless of how charming he tries to be."
His face fell a little bit, but he gave her another grin before holding up his magazines and looked down at them, thumbing through the glossy pages again.
She worked in silence for several more minutes, glancing up at him as he looked dejectedly through his magazines before she sighed, leaning back in her chair.
"Look," she said. "I'm sure you're a nice guy."
"You're right, I'm a very nice guy."
She rolled her eyes. "I'm just, this is stressful. These exams are important and difficult. I need to focus on them. I'm sorry if I snapped."
He smiled at her again. "I get it, stress is a bitch."
She blinked for a moment before nodding.
She opened her mouth to protest.
"Cause," he said, pausing for a moment. "I-I really have been wanting to try and find someone nice that wouldn't mind trying to show me a thing or two. It's kind of what I came here for," he admitted.
She closed her mouth, looking at him as he gave her a pleading look.
"Besides, it would be good fun for you, after all those exams and get your holiday off on the right foot?"
She sighed. "You're a stubborn one, aren't you?"
"Extremely," he agreed. "So, Saturday?"
She raised a brow. "Certainly not trying to waste any time, now are we?"
He shrugged. "I gotta get back to work soon."
She sighed, shaking her head. "I can't believe I'm doing this but okay, yes, fine. I'll go with you."
"Awesome," he said, smiling even wider at her.
She surrendered her phone number and address to him, programming his into her phone.
"It's not a date though," she said, looking up at him warily. "I'm, I'm being nice and teaching you how to ski."
He held his hands up. "Not a date," he said. "Unless you change your mind."
She scoffed, rolling her eyes at him. "I doubt that."
He grinned at her, packing his magazines into his shop bag and standing up.
She raised a brow, looking at him curiously now. "Leaving already?"
"I have things to plan," he told her, winking at her. "I'll see you Saturday though. And I'll be in touch. Good luck on those exams."
She watched as he skipped out the door, giving her a wave as he spun around on the sidewalk, still wearing a big grin on his face. She shook her head, wondering what she'd gotten herself into.
She turned her attention back to her books, having trouble focusing now as her attention kept wandering back to Jack.
The bell tinkered on the door again and she glanced up to see the red-haired form of her sister coming into the shop.
"Hey Anna," she said, closing her barely touched notebook and beginning to pack up her things.
"Hey!" Anna replied, stopping beside her and smiling. "Ready to go?"
"Yeah," Elsa said, shoving her things into her bag and standing up. "See you tomorrow, Mr. Tjenersen!" she called, waving at the older man as they left the shop arm in arm.
"So!" Anna started. "Anything fun happen today?"
Anna always started their walk off with the same question, Elsa just had an interesting answer this time.
"Actually, yes. We're going to Hemsedel this weekend."
"Oh?" Anna asked. "Do tell."