Never My Love
A Gaby FanFic
(based on the 'Notes of a Journey' trilogy)
Viewing Note: This story should be viewed with the Edwardian Script ITC font installed on your Windows platform in the c:/Windows/Fonts directory. Microsoft Word installs this font automatically.
Photo Credit: Permission to use the photo of Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, has been granted by the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts .
I Wanna See A Mountie!
“Welcome to Calgary, Alberta. The local time is 3:50pm and the outside temperature is -10 Celsius or 14 Fahrenheit. Please remain seated and seatbelts fastened until the plane comes to a complete stop… Ensure that you take all your carry-on and your customs declarations with you. On behalf of myself, Captain Simons and the entire flight crew, I thank you for flying Air Canada …”
“So … this is the Canadian West,” Gaby quietly joked as Maddy was putting her book into her bag along with her customs forms. “Looks civilized…”
“Did you see those mountains when we came in?” Maddy asked while she was looking out the window as the Airbus A330 taxied to the terminal.
“That’s where we’re going,” Gaby quietly revealed.
“Now that we’re here, you going to tell me those other things you have planned like you said you were?” Maddy sweetly asked as she gently cuddled Gaby’s arm.
“Once we’re in our room…”
“With the king-sized bed…” Maddy playfully interjected.
“With the king-sized bed,” Gaby confirmed with a chuckle.
“I just wanted to surprise you and make this week a romantic get-a-way … something neither of us will forget … that’s all,” she softly added.
“It will be, sweetheart…” Maddy whispered as she squeezed Gaby’s hand. “I love you.”
Once they cleared Canadian Immigration, they quickly got their luggage and were boarding one of the private coaches that regularly picked up guests staying at the Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise, from the airport. In a little over two-and-a-half hours later they were pulling up to the main entrance of the hotel, situated amidst the scenic Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park.
“Buckingham Palace pales to this!” Maddy breathlessly exclaimed as they walked through the lobby and approached the reception desk.
“Huh? … ‘Ow would you know?”
“Mum an’ I took the tour.”
Turning around slowly in a complete circle, Maddy slowly scanned the lobby with wide eyes. Its high vaulted ceilings and cream coloured walls were in stark contrast to the richly finished oak trim throughout. The walls were inset with several oaken panels, each with an original painting depicting a scene related to the Canadian Rockies set into an arched recess in the wall.
Looking to one end of the lobby, she saw a grand staircase that rose to the ornate mezzanine of the first floor. Starting off as a wide single staircase with heavy oak railings, it rose to a landing half way up, before splitting off in opposite directions like a ‘Y’ and finally connecting with the upper floor. A life-size statue of a pioneer, set into its own oak-framed niche, greeted guests at the split in the stairs.
Hanging from the ceiling, a large multi-tiered chandelier dominated the lobby like some sort of guardian, surveying all that stood below. A twenty-foot Scotch-Pine stood directly below the chandelier, decorated in white lights and hand-made Christmas ornaments. Surrounding the base of the tree was a small mountain of wrapped boxes, completing the seasonal theme. Couches and chairs upholstered in soft leather, were strategically grouped throughout the lobby on both sides of the Christmas tree.
Below her feet, rich, luxurious patterned wall-to-wall carpet covered the floors throughout. As her gaze turned back to the hotel’s main entrance, she was surprised to see a stuffed adult Grizzly bear ‘walking’ in a natural-looking wooded setting, above the same main entrance doors they’d recently walked through.
“This is amazing!” Maddy quietly enthused.
“Isn’t it?” Gaby cheerfully agreed.
After they checked-in, the girls followed the bellhop as he took their luggage up to their room.
In keeping with the festive season, each arch in the lobby, as well as the stair’s heavy oak banister, was trimmed with garland and interlaced with small white Christmas lights. Until Maddy actually wandered over and touched it while she passed the stairs on the way to the bank of elevators, she though the garland was made from real Pine boughs.
Arriving at their suite, the bellhop opened the door for them, then stepped aside to allow the girls to enter the room first. Maddy was again overwhelmed as she walked down the suite’s short hallway into the living room with its two plush chairs and rich pine furnishings that included a wall unit that housed a large flat-screen television, behind a pair of decorative doors. After scanning the room, her attention quickly moved to the three framed-windows.
“It’s just like you said, sweetheart!” Maddy breathed as she took in the panoramic moon-lit view of an ice-covered Lake Louise and the surrounding snow-capped mountains. She was still taking in the view when the bellhop departed.
“Beautiful, innit?” Gaby softly asked as she walked up behind Maddy and wrapped her arms around her wife’s waist.
“Oh, yes,” came her whispered reply.
“Come ‘ere. Check this out,” Gaby quietly urged.
She gently took Maddy’s hand and led her back down the short hallway. Her first stop on the mini-tour was the bathroom with its large slate tiles and heated floor.
“Hers n’ hers sinks!” Maddy playfully enthused as she ran her hand along the long granite counter top.
“Thought you’d like it,” Gaby smirked as she watched a grin form on Maddy’s face.
“This is so posh!” Maddy squeaked as she inspected the oversized spa tub with its many water jets.
“Check this out…” Gaby suggested as she directed Maddy’s attention to the large separate glass-enclosed, walk-in shower with two shower heads.
“Now, this … this, has possibilities!” Maddy mischeviously pondered.
“There’ll be time for that later … first … ya gotta see the bedroom…” Gaby suggestively breathed as she gently steered Maddy to the room across the hall.
“My mommy told me about girls like you,” Maddy playfully smirked.
Like the sitting room, the bedroom was lavishly furnished with pine furniture and a view of the mountains.
As her eyes fell upon the king-size bed, Maddy let out a quiet squeal of joy. She quickly removed her boots before lifting the hem of her dress and crawling to the middle of the large mattress. Flopping onto her back like rag doll, she answered Gaby’s amused expression with a huge contented smile of her own.
“Oooo … this is sooooo nice. C’mon …you gotta try it!” Maddy urged.
“So this is okay, then?” Gaby asked. When she removed her boots, smoothed her skirt and started to lay down beside her wife, another smile grew on Maddy’s face as she nodded her approval.
As Gaby edged closer to Maddy, she turned onto her side to face her. Draping her free arm over her wife’s shoulder and pulling her closer, Maddy seductively whispered, “I’ve been waiting all day to give you a proper snogging…”
“Now?” Gaby softly asked.
“Now…” Maddy breathed as their lips met.
“Wow!” Gaby breathed as they parted, more than a few heated moments later.
“That was worth the wait…” Maddy whispered as she snuggled up even closer.
Gaby then happened to glance over her wife’s shoulder and noticed the green LED read-out on the clock radio by the bed.
“I hate to ruin the moment … but seeing how it’s now after seven … in the evening … would you like to go downstairs and get something to eat … or … stay here for a while longer?”
"Hmmmm … ravish you now … or … ravish you after dinner? That's a tough one. How ‘bout asking me something easier?”
“I hafta choose, huh?” Maddy coyly asked.
“Yes!” Gaby softly hissed.
“Ummm … now that you mention it ...” Maddy softly pouted. “…'Sides, I always ravish better on a full stomach!”
“Hungry, are we?” Gaby joked.
“I wasn’t until you reminded me I was…”
“Think maybe we could hire some skates after dinner? The hotel’s cleared a large rink on the lake…” Gaby ventured.
“I saw that when I looked out the windows in the lounge.”
“Might be nice … but … you’re only delaying your destiny, you know…” Maddy whispered as she leaned in for another kiss. After their lips parted, two girls remained locked in their embrace on the bed, silently gazing into each others eyes, for several minutes more.
“(sigh…) “Let’s go eat ... then we can come back and get changed,” Gaby reluctantly suggested. Once they repaired their make-up, they ventured out of their suite and headed downstairs.
After looking at several in-house restaurants, they found themselves at the ‘Tom Wilson Steakhouse’. Shortly after they were seated and given menus, Maddy playfully started in on the local trivia.
“According to the menu, this place was named for the first ‘White Man’ to see Lake Louise.”
“I bet the statue we saw on the lobby stairs was this Tom Wilson,” Gaby suggested.
“Hmmm … I see neither of us was willing to order the Bison,” Maddy later pointed out with a smile, after their orders were taken.
“Alberta steak’s fine with me!” Gaby joked. “Maybe before we leave … if I feel adventurous.”
“Okay, now you finally gonna tell me what you’ve got planned?” Maddy excitedly asked.
“I thought tomorrow we could relax and go into Banff … maybe explore the town. There’s a First Nations museum I’d like to see and we can spend the rest of the time wandering around … looking at the shops … and when we get back here … we’ll just have to ‘wing it’!.”
“Go on…” Maddy playfully urged.
“I’ve booked a few things online for later in the week … but nothing’s carved in stone until then, so we’re free to relax and play it by ear for the next couple of days.”
“What if I just want to stay in our room and make wild and passionate love to my wife?” Maddy mischievously asked in a quiet voice.
“We could…” Gaby softly replied while giving her a very suggestive smile.
“Mmmm … best keep that option open … hadn’t we?” Maddy purred.
“I think you might also like what’s coming up, later. It’s something I can say neither of us has ever done … an’ for that matter … no one we know has ever done this.”
“And that would be…?”
“You serious?” Maddy squealed with delight, at the same time trying to keep her voice down, aware of the other diners. “When?”
“Wednesday morning. It’s a two hour trip that leaves here and then crosses ‘the Continental Divide’ heading into British Columbia … an’ turns back at some place called ‘Kicking Horse Pass’. They’ve got you riding in the sleigh for most of the trip, but the web site also said they like to get you up to try your hand at driving the team …”
“Ooooo …I can’t wait!” Maddy gleefully enthused. “Are we in separate sleigh’s?”
“That was an option, but they can take both of us in one … as long as our combined weight is less than 400 pounds!”
“I think we qualify!”
“I figure we can pick up any additional warm clothing we may think we’ll need when we’re in town tomorrow,” Gaby explained. “Then when we get back … we have a choice of skating, tobogganing ... or doing whatever…”
“Mmmm … I like the idea of ‘doing whatever’ … especially if it’s back in the room … but … tobogganing also has possibilities,” Maddy seductively purred, causing Gaby to turn a deep red.
“You blush really easily … you know that?”
“You’re bad … you know that?”
“Can’t help it … look who I’m married to.”
“I love you too…” Gaby smirked as she reached for her water.
“Well, I also thought we could do a bit of skiing while we’re here.”
“Sweetheart? Do you think that’s a good idea? I just don’t think either of us are good enough to tackle these mountains … an’ I don’t want to have anything happen to you,” Maddy voiced with some concern. “Especially with the 2014 season just around the corner.”
“Not ‘downhill’ … ‘Nordic’. I still get a warm an’ fuzzy feeling when I think back to Virginia an’ the two of us sliding along by ourselves.”
“I remember that day. It’s really the only moment on that whole trip that I want to hold onto…” Maddy softly replied as she reached across the table and took Gaby’s hand into her own. She felt her eyes begin to moisten as her mind flashed back to that winter day.
“I thought we might try to go out on the trails a couple of times while we’re here,” Gaby softly proposed. “We’ll have to take a shuttle from here to the ski area, but we can hire everything we need when we get there.”
“I’d really enjoy that, sweetheart…” Maddy quietly agreed as she gave a single squeeze to Gaby’s hand.
“I’ve booked something rather special for our last day here,” Gaby quietly admitted.
“Any hints or do I hafta wait?” Maddy joked. Looking at her wife, Gaby saw the sparkle in her eyes start to return along with a smile that was slowly beginning to form.
“I’m gonna make you wait … but … I think you’ll like it,” Gaby softly allowed.
“If you’re with me … I know I will,” Maddy replied in a near-whisper. She still had a hold of Gaby’s hand when their food arrived at their table.
The remainder of the dinner was relatively quiet, with the girls enjoying the food and each other’s company. Following the meal, they were soon back up in their room getting ready to change into their jeans for skating.
Maddy had just pulled off her sweater dress when she noticed Gaby quietly sitting on the edge of the bed, staring down at the folded skirt that she had just draped across her lap. After silently watching her for a couple of minutes, she walked around the bed and sat beside her.
“A penny for ‘em…”
“They’re not worth that much,” Gaby replied with a chuckle.
“Tell me anyway.”
“I know it’s early here … but it’s been a long day for both of us,” Gaby whispered as she put her arm around Maddy’s waist and pulled her close against her. “We’ve been on the go for almost twenty hours … how ‘bout we skip the skate … call it a day … and get a good night’s rest … okay?”
“Okay…” Maddy quietly agreed.
“You sure you don’t mind?”
“What? Getting you into bed?” Maddy softly answered and then gently kissed her wife on the lips before informing her in a seductive, breathless whisper, “I brought that white lace babydawwww … mmmm.”
“You gonna get outta bed … or just lie there with that silly grin on your face?” Gaby lay propped up on one elbow, looking at her wife, as the sun streamed in the window with the promise of another beautiful winter’s day.
“Whaddya mean … silly grin? You put it there!” Maddy playfully shot back as she moved a lock of her dirty-blonde hair from her face. “Besides … I prefer to think of it as the look of a very contented woman…”
A mischievous smile grew on Maddy’s face as she threw her arm around Gaby’s neck and pulled her close for yet another long and very intense kiss.
“That answer your question, sweetheart?”
“Have I ever told you that I love you?” Gaby softly asked as she held Maddy tightly against her.
“Not this morning…” Maddy softly answered, as she leaned in for another kiss.
“Mmmmm … I could do this all day,” Gaby whispered after both girls decided to surface for air.
“What’s stopping us?” Maddy quietly wondered.
“… ‘cuz there’s some things we have to do … an’ getting’ up is one of them,” Gaby cheerfully urged.
“Okay ... but … only if we must,” Maddy replied with a cute ‘little girl’ pout. She rolled onto her back and turned her head to look at the clock radio on the nightstand, did some quick figuring and then got out of bed.
“I’ll call Mum and give her our room number … it’s about five in the afternoon back ‘ome, innit?” Maddy wondered.
“I think so, luv…” After straightening her own ankle-length nightgown, she quickly glanced at her wife and then turned her attention back to the bed. “That’s what I thought!”
As Maddy picked up the phone and was preparing to place the overseas call, she smiled to herself as she watched her wife repeatedly peel back the massive covers, frantically searching for something.
“What are ya looking for, Gabs?”
“Your panties … unless you want Housekeeping to find ‘em when they make the bed!” Gaby replied with a grin. It was only then Maddy realized she was missing the lower half of her babydoll’s.
“Should be in there somewhere, sweetheart. What did you do with ‘em?”
“Moi?” Gaby innocently asked as she did her best to appear wounded by the accusation.
“You heard me!” Maddy returned her stare with a knowing smirk of her own as she finally started to punch her parent’s number.
“Uh uh … I seem to recall it as more of a co-operative venture,” Gaby smugly mumbled.
Seeing Maddy raise the phone to her ear, she quickly added, “An’ when you do get through … don’t take long ‘cuz we still have to get breakfast and grab the shuttle into town.”
With another flick of the bedcovers and an air of triumphant relief, she grabbed the AWOL panties from the crumpled sheets. Turning to Maddy, she then raised them in victory and firmly, but quietly, declared, “Found ‘em!”
“Hello? … Daddy? Just a quick call…” As soon as Maddy started talking, Gaby motioned to her that she was going for a shower.
Once she was satisfied with the water’s temperature, she removed her nightgown and hung it up on one of the hooks on the back of the bathroom door along with the recovered panties.
Satisfied that she had everything she’d need after getting out, Gaby stepped into the warm spray and wet herself down. While she was putting some body wash on the puff, the shower door behind her was abruptly opened and Maddy quickly stepped in.
“Miss me?” With a devilish smile, she gently took the puff from her wife’s hand.
“You have everything or do you need to go back to the room?” Gaby asked as they left the hotel restaurant following breakfast.
“I’m good to go, sweetheart. We might as well get on the shuttle. How far are we from town?”
“From Banff? A little more than 50 kilometres … why?” Gaby quietly responded. Maddy rolled her eyes as they both entered the touring coach and sat down in a vacant pair of plush upholstered seats. “Don’t you remember? … We came through there yesterday on our way here.”
“I guess I never noticed … an’ when you said shuttle, I thought…”
“It’s gonna take almost an hour to get there … so sit back and enjoy!”
“Banff is the closest town and we’re still an hour away by coach? Cor! Really makes one see how crowded our part of the world is, doesn’t it?”
“It is different,” Gaby agreed.
Maddy turned to look into her love’s eyes as their lips met for a brief kiss. When the other passengers began to board, the two girls parted and got comfortable in their seats in anticipation of the drive through the scenic ‘Rockies’, ready for their first full day in Alberta.
Some time later, they stood with other hotel guests, looking up and down Banff Avenue and the various shops that lined the road.
“Now which way, sweetheart?”
“That way! Seems to be more built up,” Gaby directed.
After walking past several storefronts, she soon began looking around after deciding to get some help from the locals. Her search paid off and she soon spotted two girls, in their early twenties approaching them on the sidewalk.
“Excuse me. I wonder if you could help us with some directions?” Gaby asked as they started to walk past.
“If we can. We’re from Calgary … but we come here a lot, so we do know the place fairly well,” replied the taller of the two girls.
“That’s more ‘local’ than us,” Maddy joked.
“British or Australian?” her friend wondered.
“British,” Gaby confirmed.
“So! What are you two looking for?” the taller girl cheerfully asked.
“I wonder if you could recommend a good sports store where we can pick up some additional warm clothing for the slopes?” Gaby asked.
“That’s easy … Monod’s. Gotta be the best of the sports stores in the area. We always go there … in fact, we’re heading there now,” the taller girl related.
“It’s a bit of a hike if you walk. Much easier if you take the bus. You can see the orange sign of the bus stop about two stores down … why don’t you c’mon with us?”
“Thanks!” both Maddy and Gaby chorused.
“By the way … I’m Gaby … and this is Maddy.”
“I’m Cheryl and this is my sister … Diane,” answered the tall brunette while looking at the girls.
“Sisters?" Cheryal wondered.
Before either one could come up with a reply, Cheryl noticed their rings.
“Those are nice! Never seen that style before.”
“It’s called ‘Traditional Celtic’.”
While Cheryl was looking at Gaby’s rings, her sister noticed Maddy tense up ever so slightly with this new direction of conversation.
“A double wedding?” Cheryl inquired, while glancing over at Maddy’s matching rings. Meanwhile Diane gave Maddy’s arm a reassuring touch as she discreetly answered her sister.
“I … don’t think so, sis...” She then softly voiced. “You’re married … aren’t you? It’s okay … we won’t bite.”
“Since last May,” Gaby softly admitted.
“This is our belated honeymoon,” Maddy quietly offered, as she protectively inched closer to Gaby.
While neither girl had made any attempt to hide their relationship, this conversation with two strangers was charting new waters. Both girls were also aware of other people standing around them, waiting for the city bus.
“Kewel. I’ve only known one girl who was…” Diane began. Seeing her sister’s confused look, Diane decided to enlighten her.
“You remember Sharon? Last summer? Worked with me at the Stampede*.”
“The one you kept telling me all the guys tried to hit on? She was? Really?”
”Yes, she is. I’ve known since I first met her and despite that … we’re still good friends!” Diane flatly remarked as she stared at her sister. Turning back to the girls, she added in a quiet, but more playful voice, “You’ll have to excuse her … she’s led such a sheltered life. Oww!”
“I know there’s been a lot of same-sex marriages in this country, but I’ve never met a married couple. Was it in a church … or did you have one of those ‘civil unions’?” Cheryl quietly asked in a guarded voice.
“Church,” Gaby stated.
“Where?” Diane asked.
“Bad Neuenahr. It’s a town in the south of Germany,” Gaby offered.
“You live in Germany?” Cheryl wondered.
“Uh huh. Gabs rides professionally for a German-based women’s cycling team … Team Apollinaris … and I work as a research assistant for the University of Bonn.”
“Oh, wow! Cycling … as in bike racing?” Diane enthused. As Gaby nodded, she quickly added, “My boyfriend’s into that, big time!”
“Gabs’ the current Women’s World Champion for road racing,” Maddy proudly revealed.
“Wait ‘til I tell Mark that Cheryl and I met you!” Diane exclaimed. “He’ll be kicking himself for not coming skiing with us this time!” Again Maddy’s pride in her wife swelled as she tightly held Gaby’s arm.
As the bus pulled up, Maddy took the opportunity to re-direct the focus from them by inquiring to neither sister in particular, “How much?”
“A buck … but it’s exact fare. The driver can’t make change,” Diane replied as she produced a gold-coloured coin from her wallet. Noting the furrowed brows on Maddy’s face, she added, “You guys have change?”
“This is the smallest I have,” Maddy replied as she pulled out a Canadian five-dollar bill.
“Mad … never mind!” Gaby jumped in as she produced two ‘Loonies’** from her wallet as Cheryl was opening her purse to make change for Maddy.
“Where’d you get those?” Maddy asked as she accepted her coin.
“…’member I got us those Cokes yesterday? Before we left the airport for the hotel?”
When the four girls climbed aboard the bus, Maddy and Gaby sat in the front forward-facing bench seat, while Cheryl and Diane sat in front of them an inward-facing bench seat. As the bus pulled away from the curb, Cheryl broke the silence.
“You two into downhill?”
“We’re much better at Nordic skiing,” Maddy replied.
“Nordic? I’m not…” Cheryl wondered.
“Cross-country,” Gaby offered.
“Okay … that I know.”
“You’ll find whatever you need at Monod’s … equipment … clothes … whatever,” Diane mentioned as she looked back at the girls.
“Mainly we just need something warmer than this for when we’re out all day,” Gaby replied as she indicated their ski jackets and jeans, with a sweeping motion of her hand.
“I’d say go with ‘layering’ rather than a ‘snowsuit’. They’ve got some great two piece outfits to wear under your clothes … made to fight off the cold and wet,” Cheryl advised. Diane nodded her agreement. “Might seem a bit pricey, but you’ll get much more use out of them than if you got a complete ‘snowsuit’.”
“Sounds good! Okay … that’s what we’ll look at, then. Thanks!” Gaby mentioned.
“It’s the next stop. Like I said … a long walk … but a short ride,” Diane stated as she stood up and turned around to pull the yellow cord running along the inside of the bus, to request a stop. The other three followed Diane’s example and stood up, grabbing the support railing and waited for the bus to pull over.
“Next stop … Buffalo St.!” announced the driver.
As they gathered on the sidewalk after stepping off the bus, Diane turned to the girls. “Monod’s is a few stores back that a-way.”
After going a few steps, Cheryl abruptly stopped and when the others turned to face her, she meekly offered an apology.
“Hey, guys … I’m sorry if I said anything back there that made you two uncomfortable.”
“If you think you did, Cheryl … we know it was unintentional. Don’t worry about it … Mad an’ I aren’t,” Gaby soothed as both she and Maddy walked back the few steps and gave her a hug.
“Now relax ... it’s okay … really.”
“You sure?” Cheryl softly asked.
After quickly glancing at each other, both girls chorused, “Yeah … we’re sure.”
“C’mon, sis … if we’re goin’ in…”
Diane and Gaby each took one of Cheryl’s hands, while Maddy took Gaby’s free hand and together the four girls, spanning the width of the sidewalk, walked the remaining few steps to their destination where they only released hands in order to walk through the single door.
“Hi, girls! Mark not with you, Diane?” a young man in his mid-twenties asked, obviously addressing the sisters.
“Not this time, Wayne.”
“Who’s your friends?”
“This is Gaby … and Maddy,” Cheryl answered, pointing first to one and then the other. “They’re visiting from Germany.”
“Welcome … is this your first time to Canada?” Wayne politely asked.
“We’ve been here a couple of times … but this is our first trip to this part of the country,” Gaby replied.
Upon hearing a distinctly British accent, he turned to Cheryl.
“I thought you said Germany…”
“She did. We lived in Germany for the past few years … but we’re both British born and raised,” Maddy playfully explained.
“Gaby’s a World Champion!” Diane blurted.
“Really? What sport?” Wayne wondered, his interest now piqued.
“Women’s professional cycling,” Gaby offered. “I ride for one of the German teams …Team Apollinaris.”
“Well … it’s an honour to have you in the store. Is there anything in particular you’re looking for?”
“We got these two covered, Wayne … but you can cash ‘em out,” Cheryl teased as she gave him a hug.
As he walked away, Diane smugly confided to the girls, “Cheryl’s got a thing for him.”
“C’mon … the stuff you’re looking for is on the second floor,” Cheryl pointed out whilst obviously ignoring her sister.
“Wait a mo’ … you guys came here for a reason, didn’t you?” Gaby wondered. “We don’t want to intrude on your plans.”
“We can deal with that later!” Diane replied. “We just have to pick up our new skis, no big deal … so c’mon!”
“Really … that’s all we’re here for,” Cheryl sweetly confirmed as both girls looked at her. “So let’s get you two fixed up.”
When they got to the second floor, the two sisters led the girls to the several clothing racks that contained the thermal base clothing that would be worn under their outer clothes while skiing.
“Sis and I both like to pair the Marmot half zip tops with the Arcteryx Rho LTW bottoms … comfortable and warm … and of course some nylon snow pants to slip over our jeans!” Diane remarked as she led them further onto the floor.
“Okay … I guess,” Maddy agreed, not quite knowing what they were talking about.
“Ahhh … here we go guys …’fraid you don’t get much choice in colour … just this ‘forest green’ … but you can’t beat them for warmth and comfort. What size?” Cheryl remarked as she led the girls to a circular clothing rack of the base tops.
“Umm ... dunno?” Gaby replied, somewhat confused as she looked at the labels of several garments.
“This will help, guys … right here. All the racks have an international size conversion chart with measurements in both inches and metric!” Diane stated as she pointed out a printed chart sitting on top of the clothing rack.
“Reflects the amount of business they get from European visitors,” Cheryl added.
“Brill! Now according to this … Mad and I both take a medium,” Gaby replied as she studied the chart.
Cheryl quickly found two medium tops and handed them to the girls while explaining the features.
“There ya go! Two medium tops! Now here’s what makes these so good ... you have both a nylon front and a polyester fleece lining for warmth … yet you still have some ‘give’ in the material … also … what’s neat about this style is that the sleeves have thumb loops and this high neck … so when you have it zipped up to the top, it protects your neck and chin from the elements. Now here’s what I like ... the wind flap behind the zipper … no drafts.”
The three also looked at some other styles, but in the end, both girls agreed with Cheryl.
After they selected their tops, they noticed that Diane had already gone to a rack containing the Arcteryx Women’s bottoms.
“This style is the one we like,” she explained, holding one up. “They’re wool … but soft ... not itchy … and ... warm. Since they’ve got some stretch, they’re very comfortable … and the nice thing with these is that with them being a tapered leg ... they don’t bunch up under your jeans.”
“This says we need a ‘regular medium’ for these,” Maddy intoned as she looked at the accompanying conversion chart.
After both girls had found their size, their self-appointed hosts showed them other styles and explained the differences.
“Told you they were a bit pricy … but in this case … it’s a matter of you do get what you pay for,” Cheryl admitted when Maddy began looking at the price tags. “You guys know your finances better than we do, so you make the final decision.”
Following a quick think, the girls agreed to follow the advice of their new friends. They reasoned that there was plenty of opportunity back home to put these base garments to use. When asked, the girls said they were okay for hats and gloves, plus the detachable hoods on their jackets would also provide protection.
“Are those the ski jackets you two’ll be wearing on the trails?” Diane asked as she rummaged through a rack of nylon snow pants, before picking out two black pair.
On the way to the change rooms, Maddy almost walked passed a rack of tank tops before abruptly stopping when something caught her eye.
“Oooo … I like that! I wonder if they have a medium?” She quickly thumbed through the rack looking for her size.
“What size is that?” Diane inquired.
“Small ... ah! Here’s one!” Maddy answered even as she resumed scouring the rack for an identical top. Not finding another one, she briefly examined her prize at arm’s length.
“Whaddya think, sweetheart?” Maddy cheerfully asked as she turned the camisole-style tank top for Gaby’s approval. The V-neck bodice was a dark blue with a wetlands scene printed in white and the torso was the reverse, with the wetlands marsh scene, printed in the dark blue, over white.
“Sorry … it just slipped out,” she sheepishly apologized to their two new friends.
“Didn’t bother us,” Diane replied with a shrug.
“Don’t feel you have to be anything other than yourselves … okay?” Cheryl comforted Maddy with a quick hug.
“Thanks, guys…” Maddy quietly offered before turning her attention back to Gaby.
“Feel how soft that is,” she remarked as she offered the top to her wife.
“It’d look lovely on you ... get it,” Gaby voiced.
She then started looking through the rack again until she picked out a style similar to the one she had in her hand. It had a Sweetheart V-neck, thin-strapped T-back with a scooped hem as well as the same style of brushed elastic shelf-bra as on her tank top.
“This would be nice for you. You could wear this under your skins on those hot stages and not worry about unzipping your top.”
“Mark Cavendish might be able to get away with it … but … I’m no Mark Cavendish,” Gaby joked.
“I know…” Maddy mischievously shot back as she reached out and cuddled her wife’s arm before presenting Gaby with the cream-coloured tank top.
“Let’s go try this stuff on while we can still afford to eat,” Gaby joked.
Later, down on the main floor, the girls stood at the cash while the two sisters waited behind them with their new skis.
“As promised Wayne…” Diane conveyed as he started cashing the girls out.
Outside the store, Gaby examined the sales receipt before she put it in one of the bags.
“He’s not on commission … is he?” she jokingly asked no one in particular.
“He’s not … but …if he was…” Diane chuckled as she looked over Gaby’s shoulder.
Maddy and Gaby soon parted company with the Canadian girls, but not before exchanging hotel information and a promise to get together for some Après-ski later in the week. The Banff ski resort Cheryl and Diane frequented was the same place the girls would be going to later in the week for the cross-country trails.
While the two sisters crossed the street to begin the long walk back to their hotel with their new skis, the two honeymooners slowly started their own leisurely long walk back up the street to their bus stop for the shuttle back to Lake Louise. This time they took the time to browse in any of the stores that caught their interest, along the way back.
The winter sun was beginning to set when they finally arrived back at the designated bus stop, to catch the coach back to their hotel.
Following a hearty supper to compensate for a missed lunch, the girls decided to turn in for the night, knowing the following morning would herald a busy day.
“I had a lovely day today … thank you, sweetheart…” Maddy whispered as she settled under the covers and into Gaby’s arms.
“We didn’t do much … just shop and walk and explore the town.”
“I know … but I enjoyed every minute of it!”
Maddy leaned over and kissed Gaby on the lips, then snuggled back down in her wife’s embrace. After a short blissful silence, her thoughts again turned to the day’s events.
“Cheryl and Diane were really nice … weren’t they? It’s gonna be fun getting together with them later on … where’d you put their hotel number?”
“Already on my mobile ... thought it’d be safer there than stuck on a scrap of paper.”
“Gabs?” Maddy whispered after a brief silent interlude.
“Sorry you didn’t get to the museum,” Maddy softly apologized.
“I’m not … I had much more fun shopping with you, enjoying ourselves and making new friends,” Gaby thoughtfully replied as she pulled Maddy in closer.
Silence once again fell in the darkened bedroom as both girls lay snuggled together under the blankets.
“I love you,” Gaby softly whispered as she gave her wife an affectionate squeeze. Maddy responded by lifting her face and drawing her bride into a long and deep, passionate kiss.
“Sweetheart?” Maddy seductively asked as she gently kissed her wife’s silk-and-lace covered breast. “Are you tired?”
*Calgary Stampede – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calgary_Stampede
** The ‘Loonie’ – Popular nickname for the Canadian one-dollar coin that replaced the folding money equivalent. The name came from the raised picture of a Loon swimming in a lake, on one side of the coin.
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To Be Continued...
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