“Crap.” Thomas smacks his thumb against the buttons of the chord phone several times before accepting the soundless drawl on the other end. His heart thumps with agitation and anxiety as he realizes they are most likely stuck in the chalet until morning. All the two could hope for would be that someone would be able to get to the cabin.
“What?” Alison narrows her eyes and slides around the corner. Her arms are crossed and the front of her hair falls onto her shoulders, making the young woman look more mature than 26. Thomas thinks about how she looks annoyed and tired but beautiful. Several years had passed since he had seen her, but she pulled at him the same way; unassuming and strong.
“Phone lines down,” Thomas mutters and coughs as he tries to focus. He feels slightly nervous in anticipation of her reaction and scratches the back of his neck. The clumsy man struggles to hang it up. His reckless actions end up knocking the phone off the wall.
“Are you serious?!” Alison yells. The woman's eyes look like they are about to bug out of her head in frustration. The look was familiar to her expression in college than the woman he had encountered several hours ago with his friends. One was quiet and patient, the other was easily excitable.
“That’s what I just said!” Thomas retorts back to her. His brain felt like a disoriented tangled web of threads. Stretching from one end to another and intertwining. He breezed through the visions of skiing and the encouragement he had received to go talk to Alison from his friends. Even though he wanted to see her, he didn’t intend to get stuck where she was staying, or to be isolated in it with her alone as their friends were stuck elsewhere on the ski resort.
“I mean the phone!” Alison yells pointing towards the old appliance on the floor. She looks frantic and uncomfortable, crossing her arms in a defensive manner. She had a tick from her college years where she would curl up in spirit, avert her eyes, and refuse to look at you. This would arise when she was anticipating anger in an uncomfortable situation. It was the outward appearance of disgust and fear.
“Oh...” Thomas exhaled. He felt the same anxiety she felt. It was either he was alone with her for possibly a whole night in a snowstorm or he ventured out and tried to do the noble thing. She never liked being left alone with men, he could remember that about her and how defensive she was about it. In earlier years, he felt special since she wasn’t afraid to enter a car with him, be left alone in an elevator with just them, and eventually allow him to be her boyfriend.
“We’re screwed.” She walked away and went to sit on the couch. Her eyes gazed out at the heavy snowfall. As much as Thomas wanted to avoid the cold, he could see her concern at both his presence and now their lack of a phone. If they were still in college, he would walk up to her and put a hand on her shoulder, as reassurance that everything would be fine.
“Allie, I’ll go out to the main resort to get help.” Thomas grabs his coat and starts putting it on, preparing himself to venture out into the cold of the night. She would be alone in the house but she would be protected from the storm and ultimately feel less fearful.
“Thomas don’t, it’s close to a mile to walk there.” Her voice is fast and abrupt. It was a small plea to get him to stay. It reminded him of when something scared her on the street or in her apartment all those years ago. She wanted him around and it was that rare reveal of vulnerability. He appreciated that and it looked good on her.
“Well at least let me try to go to the next cabin and get the others.” It would be better if he insisted. For himself, he would feel less chivalrous immediately taking her up on the offer to wait it out. It’s not like he didn’t want to, but the other part of his soul asked him to put himself in the more difficult situation for the sake of her honor.
“Thomas, stay. We’ll see if there’s another phone and try to hook it up.” Alison grips his shoulder and looks into his eyes. There was an honesty in the fact that she was concerned about his well-being, it was refreshing after the bouts of ego she exhibited in her younger years. If it meant helping her, he would stay.
“Last time we did this kinda thing, I was trying to set up a phone for you and Ripley.” Thomas laughs a bit, hanging up the newer phone and making sure it’s set up. Alison giggled and returned the sentiment.
“I remember that. Ripley and I moved into another flat after we thought someone was living in our attic.” She sighed, remembering a different time in her life when she and her friends had less sitting on their shoulders and responsibility was not as much of a concern.
“Was there?” Thomas asked while looking once more at the instructions from the box and checking the receiver.
“I’m pretty sure there was, Ripley and me found a blanket and crackers and started crashing with Lia ASAP.” Alison laughs, trying to hide the fact that she was afraid. Thomas remembers this well. This was before the two were officially a couple. The two had to sit next to each other on the bus for a track meet and she started crying because of how afraid she was of the intruder. He would never forget that small sign of trust she showed him.
“Allie, I’m sorry that happened.” Thomas stands up from the outlet and looks at Alison. Her face was softer than it had been. The two of them alone was nice, and something he had greatly missed. The atmosphere was simple, silent, and warm.
“It’s not your fault.” She muttered. Her voice was almost silent. She turned away, looking like she wanted to hide the reemerging fears that made her look like a little girl. It was the unassuming innocence that she tried to hide, the shock that someone would cause her to be scared.
“Yeah, but you were afraid. I don’t want you to feel that way.” Thomas walks closer to her. Alison standstill, not afraid of his presence. Her eyes looked up at him and smiled without a movement of the mouth. He wanted to lean down and kiss her. To let her know that she had very much been missed and would always be safe with him. Her eyes drifted to his lips and his to her own.
“Hey guys, we made it back. Yo, it’s nasty out there!” Ripley barges in and walks around the corner to see Alison and Thomas standing a little too close to each other. The two jumps back a little, making more space as they both look away. Ripley smirks to herself, feeling the need to ask about what had happened while she was gone.