He saw her gaze drift to his skis, and that was when Damian belatedly noticed how badly damaged it was.
“You won’t be able to ski on that,” Sarah felt obliged to point out.
“No,” Damian said slowly as the craziest idea occurred to him, and his heart began beating hard. “I won’t. Are yours okay?”
She shook her head.
“Is that a bad ‘I see’ or a good ‘I see’?” she asked fearfully.
“I’m saying our current conditions aren’t exactly the best, but they’re still workable.” After taking his skis off, Damian turned to her, asking, “Will you be alright if I leave you alone here for a moment?” When he saw her start to tense, he explained right away, “I still feel my phone in my pocket. I’ll see if I can find a signal, get someone to pick us up by chopper.”
“Okay.” Sarah tried not to show how scared she was at no longer being in the safe haven of his arms. “Just don’t go anywhere I can’t see you.”
Damian pressed a quick kiss to her forehead, and Sarah didn’t dare take her gaze off his back as he walked away. The billionaire probably didn’t know it, but she had an accident similar to this when she was seven. It had just been her and her dad skiing, but because he had been drunk that time, he had somehow lost sight of her, and she had ended up crying and shivering in the cold for hours. Although Naomi hadn’t even blamed Sarah’s father for the accident and only asked that he went to rehab, he had done a runner on them instead.
Sarah’s anxiety eased when Damian trudged back to her, but the grim look on his face made her relief short-lived. “You didn’t get any signal?”
Instead of answering her, he asked, “What about your phone?”
“I don’t have it with me,” Sarah admitted tremulously. “I left it charging in my room.”
I see? Frustration welled up inside of her. Why did he keep saying that? “Did you get to—-” That was when the billionaire showed her his phone, and the words died in her throat. Its screen was completely smashed to pieces, and she gulped hard.
Damian crouched down. “Sarah?” Something felt wrong, and then he saw the way her face started losing color and almost swore. “Breathe, Sarah! Breathe, goddammit!”
She found herself clinging to the command in his voice, and miraculously enough, the tightness in her chest started loosening gradually.
“Good girl.” Damian’s voice was tight but controlled. He had a feeling any trace of fear from him could set her off, and he needed her calm and relaxed. “Slow and deep, love. That’s right.” And he started breathing easily as well when he saw her finally regain color in her cheeks. “You’re doing great, Sarah. That’s it, love.” He cupped her chin to lift her gaze to his. “You’re with me, and I’m going to take care of you. Nothing will happen to us. Got that?”
If she showed the slightest bit of fear, Damian brooded, he would call the whole fucking thing off. But if she didn’t…
Sarah could actually feel the terror peeling off her skin as she lost herself in the blazing assurance in Damian’s blue eyes. “I got it.” And as soon as the words were out, she realized that she had spoken the truth. If Damian told her it would be alright, then it would be, and as she started to relax, logic also eventually reasserted itself and a chagrined expression fell over her face. “I was being silly, wasn’t I?”
“Not at all.”
She snorted. “Liar.”
“Seeing that you’re feeling good enough to argue with me…” Damian offered her his hand and helped Sarah to her feet, saying briefly, “We should look for somewhere to hole up. It’s not good to be exposed too long out here.”
Sarah tried not to think about how glaringly white everything was around them as they started moving. She had no idea how Damian knew which direction to trek, but then, he had always been the outdoorsy type, the kind that knew the right end of a compass and was able to tell the time just by looking at the sun’s position in the sky.
After almost twenty minutes of treading their way through woods that eerily reminded her of the Blair Witch, they finally made their way out, and the first thing Sarah saw had her rubbing her eyes several times, just to make sure she wasn’t seeing some kind of mirage.
And yet…the log cabin remained unwavering in her sight, and she turned to Damian, eyes glowing with excitement. “You’re seeing what I’m seeing, right?”
But the gleam in his eyes assured her he was only joking, and she let out a peal of laughter. “Oh, thank God!” She ran towards the log cabin and let out a squeal when she saw the fresh tire tracks on the snow. “Are you seeing this, Damian?”