Prompt: A Winter’s Tale
Characters: James, Bernd, Amber, Wolfgang, Greta, Didi
Word count: 819
Summary: James and Bernd took a spill on the way to Bernd’s surprise party…
Author’s Note: Please note that James, Amber, and Greta belong to Kat. I’m just borrowing them. Thanks also go out to Kat for pinking this.
Happy Bday, Kat, with love…
James walked around Bernd’s car and opened the passenger side door for him. He felt terrible that his best friend had slipped on a patch of black ice in front of his apartment building and fell, ending up in the emergency room, when they should have been on their way to Bernd’s surprise party. Instead they spent a couple of hours at the hospital, getting Bernd seen to.
Bernd gingerly swung his legs out of the car and waited for James to get his crutches. With a bit of help, he managed to get out of the car, where he slowly and carefully made his way up to his house. James opened the back door for him and everyone crowded around him in the mudroom. They fussed over him, instead of yelling “Surprise!!” and “Happy birthday!!” Amber moved to his right; while Greta hurried over to his left and together, they left the mudroom follow by the rest of his family and friends.
Wolfgang hung back with James. “What happened?”
James felt miserable. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he hung up his coat. “Bernd made it to the apartment okay and when we left, he stepped on some black ice and landed on his ass. And ummm… He twisted his ankle when he tried to get up… I kind of, ummm…” James shook his head. He tried to go on, but his words failed him. “I’m sorry, Vati,” he finally managed to say.
“It’s okay, James. It’s not the first time he’s fallen and won’t be the last.” He smiled. “Besides, it’s just a simple sprained ankle. He’ll be fine in a few days.”
James barked out a little laugh. “Yeah.” He managed to smile back at him.
“Thank you for putting the doctor on the phone. I’m sorry, I couldn’t get to the hospital, but the girls were borrowing my car.”
“You’re welcome. It was the least I could do.” James tiredly rubbed his forehead.
“Come, let’s go inside, get you something warm to drink, and start the party.”
Wolfgang turned and went into the kitchen. James nodded and followed him. They were met by Amber, who was pouring some cocoa from the pot on the stove into a mug for Bernd.
“What happened, James?” Amber said as she walked over to cabinet where the mugs were kept and took one out. Without waiting for an answer, she added, “Do you want some cocoa?” She took out another mug. “Vati?”
Wolfgang shook his head.
“Sure.” James fidgeted. “Bernd fell.”
“How?” She grabbed another mug, poured cocoa into it, and handed it to James.
“He wasn’t watching where he was going and stepped on that patch of ice out front and he landed right on his ass. Then he twisted his ankle, trying to get up…” James looked down at his mug and said softly, “I ummm… I fell on him, when I went to help him up.” He looked sheepishly up at them.
Amber burst out laughing. “You’re both such doofuses!” she teased.
Wolfgang stood there, trying hard to keep from laughing at the mental image he got of the two of them. He briefly wondered if Bernd hit his head on the car when he went down again with James. “Whatever happened, you’re both okay and that’s what’s important.”
“Yeah,” James said. He was starting to feel better about ruining Bernd’s surprise party. “So ummm?”
Wolfgang herded the twins into the den. Bernd was sitting on the sofa with his foot propped up on a pillow. He was regaling his family and friends with the story of what had happened to him. “And then they just wrapped it up and gave me crutches, but I still had to sit in a stupid wheelchair while James went and got my car, right James?” He took the mug of cocoa Amber handed him and took a quick sip.
“Yeah.” James sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck.
“And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” Bernd smirked. He laughed when Greta leaned over and whispered something in his ear. “I wish!” he exclaimed mischievously.
James wondered what kind of ideas Greta was planting in Bernd’s head. She could be like the Pied Piper of Naughtiness at times. It did not help that Bernd was always willing to go along with her ideas.
Before things could get too raunchy, Didi left the room only to return with a cake he had made. “Happy birthday to you,” he sang shyly.
“Happy birthday to you!” everyone joined in.
Bernd sat there, grinning from ear to ear as they sang. It was the best birthday he ever had in his humble opinion, even if it involved a side trip to the emergency room and a sprained ankle. He blew out the candles and made a wish. I wish next year’s birthday is even better than this!