Sometime things turn out just like you wish. There are a few people who know how this story was inspired. Time passes but the memory of some things always remains. This is for anyone who likes happy endings.
There is something magical about the first snowfall of the year, no matter how light or heavy.
The snow had actually stopped falling hours ago and the clouds had finally drifted away, revealing a full moon, like a perfect pearl on a diamond scattered, black velvet back drop. The moonlight glistened across the top of the virgin snowfield, like a sprinkling of diamond dust across the first snowfall of the year. The silence was complete, as if nothing dare break the solitude the snow had brought with it. The full moon was silvery white across the landscape, reflecting back an almost magical glow and illuminating the living room behind Serena as she gazed out into the late autumn night.
She had been reluctant at first. Wendy's idea that Serena join the Morton clan for Thanksgiving made Harrison feel like an interloper with no place to go for the holidays. Not far from the case, actually. While she had barely spoken to her mother in nearly ten years, since solving the mystery of the paternal half her parentage, Serena was trying to rebuild the gap between her and her mother.
Only Elizabeth had canceled on her daughter, three days before Thanksgiving. Her father had already flown back east to be with his sister, the Aunt Edith that Serena had yet to meet. When Wendy found out Serena's mother had canceled at the last minute, she had all but dragged Serena home with her. Chip and Lee had arrived the day earlier, and the house was full of Mortons and family friends. Serena had never had a big family growing up and had spent most of her holidays alone, working on either some dig overseas, or working on some research paper for her degree. In all the years Serena had known Wendy, she had never once spent a holiday like Thanksgiving with her friend. Serena strongly suspected that her days of solitary holidays were over.
She focused on the snow outside, mesmerized by the purity and innocence of a simple snow fall. For the first time in a long while, Serena felt at peace. She felt like she could stand here for years and simply watch the snowlight dance across the sky. There was only one thing in her life now that she was at a loss to deal with. That thing was the man Serena knew as Chip Morton.
She had never met another man like him. Honorable and driven, Chip would defend those he counted closest to him with his last dying breath. His loyalty was beyond reproach. Serena knew that Lee wanted no one else at his back. The bond between those two was near mythical. Serena had more than once witnessed the glance or the gesture that spoke volumes, but left the outsider wondering what had just happened. There was a strength inside Chip, something that resonated from deep in his soul that Serena could not put her finger on. She was drawn to him, as much as she tried to tell herself it would never work, she could not help but wonder 'what if'. What if she dared? She had never had much luck in the relationship department. Brandon had called off their engagement after the accident that left her with a limp. Serena had always assumed it was because she wasn’t perfect enough for him and his high society mother. There had been others but she had never found that one soul who echoed her passion for the sea, her love of the ocean and her desire to protect it. It was the same passion she saw in her father and finally Serena understood part of why she was drawn to Marine Archeology. The hard part was accepting that maybe there was no one out there who understood her.
A masculine voice jolted Serena out of her daydreaming. “Beautiful, isn't it?”
She didn't turn, having long ago gotten used to the way Chip managed to be there one minute and then not there the next. She felt him come up behind her and wrap his strong arms around her midsection.
Surprise rippled through every fiber and she froze, feeling his arms close around her. She swallowed hard, confused at his sudden touch.
“What are you doing?” she asked softly.
“Holding you. If it bothers you, I'll stop,” he said. His voice sent a shiver up her spine and sent the butterflies in her stomach fluttering.
“No, I just wasn't expecting it, that's all.”
Without thinking, she leaned back against him, reveling in the warmth of his embrace, the smell of his cologne, his strength as he held her close, the simple sense of feeling safe and protected.
“It's been a while since I saw snow. Not much chance of seeing it in Santa Barbara,” Serena said quietly. She rested her hands on his, feeling his long supple fingers entwining with hers. She felt her heart pounding as he responded to her touch.
“No. Can't ever say I've seen it snow that far south. I like coming home this time of year. I grew up with this, and I miss it from time to time. It sort of helps me focus in what’s important,” Chip said.
Serena didn't say anything, just stood still, letting Chip hold her. Briefly she wondered what had gotten into her. She wasn't the touchy feely type. There was always a quick handshake or a brief hug between close friend, but never this kind of close interaction. Chip's fingers ran over her hands, caressing her palms. She closed her eyes and just let herself go, dropped her walls and defenses and surrendered herself to the moment, not ready to admit it was real, but not ready to give it up either. She felt his hands moved slowly to her waist and gently guide her so she was facing him. Curiously, she looked up into his eyes, two twin pools of deep blue that seemed to glow incandescently in the snowlight coming through the window. Serena had always been captivated by his eyes and was unable to draw her gaze away from them now.
“You know, there's something else I’ve wanted to do for a while now. The timing was just never right,” Chip said and before Serena could reply, found her lips occupied as Chip kissed her, deeply and gently.
Again, Serena froze, but she didn't pull away. Instead, she melted and gave in, kissing him back. She put everything she had into it, all her emotions, all her passion, everything she had denied feeling for Chip since she met him. His hands moved up her waist, sliding up her sides, caressing her arms as one hand slid around her neck, moving through her long hair. Serena echoed his movement, her hands feeling the ripple of his biceps, the muscles of his shoulders as he moved. Her fingers found purchase in his short white blond hair, like molten silver in the reflected snowlight.
Neither heard or noticed the figure lurking on the staircase.
Lee Crane stopped and took two steps back, not wanting to interrupt the two figures back lit against the pale light of the window. He grinned, unable to actually believe what he was seeing. Silhouetted in the glow of the moonlight reflecting off the snow outside, Chip was holding tight to Serena, the two caught up in a kiss that would make headlines if it ever got out. Their bodies were so close; a breeze couldn't have slipped between them. Lee slowly tiptoed back up to the top of the staircase, leaving his friends to the magic of the snowlight.