Shadow on the Sun Ch.9: Moira by Nils Durban

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SUMMARY: In which the rift between Sleet and his brother is explained and we revisit a fateful night and the event which determined the course of his future, providing, as it did, an unlooked for purpose.....

Looking back, it was fair to say that, when Moira had walked into their lives, the brothers' world had been turned upside down.

Her arrival had been precipitated by Sky's reckless bravado on the slopes of St. Anton. It was certainly not that he was an incapable skier. On the contrary, he was both experienced and accomplished. His downfall on that particularly bright and chilly morning had been the combination of last nights beer and schnapps and the black run that he was determined to conquer before they caught their flight back to Heathrow that evening.

Sleet had not attempted to talk his brother out of it. He had tried to dissuade him from similar irresponsible antics on many occasions, but had very rarely experienced success. And on this particular morning he was feeling just as worse for wear. He had consigned himself to blue and red runs for the day, and promised himself plenty of water in-between - his pounding skull demanded it of him.

The result of Sky's over-enthusiasm that day: one broken arm and one severely broken leg, a compound fracture that had him screaming in agony while he and the couple of guys who had thankfully accompanied him waited for the air ambulance to arrive. Oh, and Moira. Moira was the other result.

Upon their delayed return to the UK, his brother spent the following three weeks confined to a hospital bed, in traction. The first of these was filled with very real concern on the part of the family and very real pain on the part of the patient, after having a couple of bones pinned together. During the following fortnight, however, Sky's attentions became focused upon the nursing staff and he re-launched his normal flirtatious persona with gusto. The depths that his brother dared to plumb during this provocative banter was a source of constant amazement to Sleet. Most men would probably find themselves on some kind of sexual harassment charge for less but, of course, the combination of his peerless charm and his cheeky smile served to ingratiate him with the nurses, who hung on his every word and fussed about him constantly, as if he was in risk of fading away at any moment.

The NHS, however, needed its beds, and so, as soon as it was adjudged by the doctor's that Sky's further convalescence could take place at home, he was discharged. Amidst an incomprehensibly tearful gaggle of ladies, both young and old, who had been administering to him over the last few weeks, Sleet collected him from hospital and ferried him back to their Mother's house, where the process of catering to his every whim would no doubt continue.

Whilst their Mother was second to none when it came to tea and sympathy and the plumping up of pillows, the patient's rehabilitation required more than that alone. If he was to make a completely successful recovery he would require intensive physiotherapy. Accordingly, after a further three week period to allow his bones to knit back together, and the removal of his casts, Moira Hardcastle arrived upon their doorstep.

Moira was tall, blond and good looking.

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