It never snowed that much in New York.
Carol made a point of complaining about that, how she needed something to remind her that it was really Christmas at all. She'd been hounding over activities, things to do, things that Therese might like. So Therese had been expecting it when Carol proposed that they head to downtown Manhattan to skate at the Christmas tree. "It's more local than heading to the closest ski range," Carol tried to explain to Therese, as if she wasn't already going to say yes. Of course Therese wanted to try out skating, wanted to try it because Carol was so adorably excited over it.
Therese remembered that at some point, Carol had talked about how she'd flitted around to many different activities in her childhood. She thought that at some point, she might become a professional figure skater, although skating clashed with her piano lessons and various other after school activities. The loss didn't hit her that badly, she promised.
On the other hand, 'skating' and 'Therese' were two foreign concepts that should never collide. She knew the other girls back in New Jersey, as well as the annual ice trips they looked forward to. Therese always found excuses to never go, because at the time, the idea of skating seemed silly. Skating was really only walking with one added addition, or so she thought, and Therese had other things to do such as sketching and reading.
In hindsight, Therese supposed that her dismissing the entire activity as 'trivial' was what set her up for the nightmare that was trying to skate by the Rockefeller Christmas Center. It couldn't be so hard, Therese had thought, over and over.
The issues only arose after Therese actually had the skates on and was trying to walk down the steps to the rink.
"Are you sure these aren't too tight?" Therese asked awkwardly, arms held out. Even walking down to the ice felt a chore, and her balance was all thrown off. "It feels like I could break my ankles at any time."
Carol shook her head. "No, you should be fine… Oh, do you want to stop? We can take the skates off, if you're unsure." Even her concern was endearing. Therese offered up a reassuring smile, because even though she really had no clue what she was doing at all, she trusted Carol would be besides her the whole way. And really, what else did Therese want out of this experience?
Carol was the first on the ice, and she pushed off with all of the grace of the figure skaters Therese had seen on the silver screen. She glided across the ice in a small loop, before skating back to Therese with a wild-eyed grin. "It's been such a long time since I've been on ice. It feels wonderful!"
Therese's attempt at a graceful push-off was arguably much less enthralling than Carol's. In fact, she had nearly slipped after simply putting her skates on the ice, and reached out to steady herself. Carol made an amused snort, and held her arms out to Therese. "Here, hold on, I'll teach you how to skate."
"Yeah, sure," Therese said with a hint of disbelief, but took hold of Carol's arms anyways. It was one form of showing how close they were in public without actually giving anything away. Even if Therese never learned how to stay balanced on these irritably thin blades, Therese could say that she was pleased. Carol pulled her back, occasionally looking over her shoulder to see if she was about to run into anyone. She stopped at the middle, where there were fewer people trying to skate laps around the rink.
Then she let go of Therese's hands.
"Oh—Oh, um," she stumbled awkwardly, then spread her arms out again. She was horribly out of balance, and maybe a little afraid, but she stayed relatively still for a while. One or two various noises of surprise later, Therese managed to speak, "Alright, what do I do now?"
Carol was all-too-pleased to see Therese in this kind of situation, and if it was anyone else, Therese might have felt ashamed and angrily embarrassed. She likely would have gotten off the ice already. Still, it wouldn't hurt to try. "Try to put all of your weight to your left leg, then push off using your right." She did a demonstration as she spoke, turned around to smile. "If you feel like you're about to fall, I'll be right by your side."
Admittedly, Therese took a little too much advantage of Carol's closeness. "I probably… Shouldn't be holding on to you the whole time," she mumbled out, filling the air with a half-hearted laugh. The other skaters on the rink actually knew what to do, and here was Therese, so afraid of falling over that she had to have someone help her. Not that she was ashamed, or even embarrassed to have Carol by her side. She felt a little out of place.
"I'll step back then," Carol offered, and did just so. Therese tried to push out, just as she had demonstrated, but only served so wobble backwards dramatically. If nothing else, at least she didn't fall over and make herself look like a complete fool. "Keep your knees bent and your hips forward so you don't fall over."
Shakily, Therese nodded and tried again. The results ended up much the same, only this time, Therese ended up gripping at Carol's coat. Her eyes were stretched wide, if for no reason other than she'd come this close to making out with the ice. She exhaled a breath and looked up into Carol's eyes with no undue amount of sheepishness. "Okay, okay. Wow. Wow, that was a mess." Carol laughed.
"Look at you! You're trying, at least! That's further than what I got with Abby."
"Yeah? Well, maybe we should invite her out next time!"
Therese's smile was stretched wider as Carol covered her cackling with a gloved hand. "Gods, no! She'd lynch me if I even tried to bring it up."
She could see it now; Carol holding onto Abby, and Abby gripping at both Therese's sleeve and Carol's arm at once. She would probably be cussing the both of them out the whole while, and Therese giggled at the thought.
"Alright, stop stalling, let's get back to skating." Carol glided a few paces back and held out her arms dramatically. "Here, try skating into me."
Therese nodded. A short enough distance, doable enough (if you weren't completely incompetent at skating, that is). She let herself glide, and the distance between them grew routinely, up until Therese felt uncomfortable and shook her head. "If I start skating from here, I don't think I'll be able to stop."
"Normally, I'd argue that 'start' comes first, the 'stop' later, but I think I much prefer the idea of not being crashed into at high speeds. Don't you?"
"Five more minutes on the ice, then we'll grab something for dinner?"
"Five more minutes."
Eventually, Carol gave up in trying to teach Therese how to skate, and Therese gave up trying to learn. "Next year," Therese offered, and Carol agreed, even though the both of them knew they would only repeat this years events, and that was fine with them.