I try to bury myself in my books and writing projects. A really cute guy in my Sociology class asks me out, and I turn him down. I haven’t done a very good job making friends. I have Tessa and am otherwise on autopilot. After all, I hurt Michael bad enough. There’s not much room in my head or heart right now to involve another single person.
So, when my parents call the week after Thanksgiving to tell me we’re taking an impromptu ski trip over Christmas break and that the Roberts and Ian will be part of the group going, I choke and snap out of cruise control. I invite Tessa, but she has plans with her family.
By that evening, I have an email with my flight details. We’re all meeting in Colorado and scheduled to ski in Breckenridge for an entire week. I think I might be in shock. I’m elated that I’ll see Ian again and yet ticked that I haven’t heard anything from him in all these months. Poor Tessa gets an ear full of my rantings on the whole subject. God bless her, she lets me go on and on. Until she realizes I don’t have cute ski clothes.
“What are you going to wear on the slopes?”
“I don’t know.” I huff. “I haven’t ever even skied. How would I know what I’m wearing?”
“Well, we need to figure it out.” She grins wickedly. “You have to show Ian what he’s missing!”
“Can you help me?” I moan. “I don’t even have a coat that will work. Aaaaagggh. Why did my parents agree to this?”
“Well, they probably don’t know that you’ve obsessed over Ian since the day you met him. Otherwise, I’m sure they wouldn’t be going. Have they given up their hopes for Michael?”
“I’m not sure they’ll ever give up on the thought of me and Michael. Every time I talk to them, they tell me how awful he looks. He goes over there and talks about how much he misses me.”
Tessa lifts both hands and shakes them at me. “You haven’t died! He could still be your friend, for crying out loud.”
I snort. “I love it when you get all passionate. And I wish we could be friends … maybe eventually.”
“This trip will be fun. Don’t even think about Ian for now. Think about how great you’re going to be on the slopes.”
“Pft, yeah. You know I’m a monumental klutz. How am I going to survive on skis?”
“You’re a good skater. Maybe you’ll be a good skier too,” Tessa says.
“Since when did you become Miss Pep Talk of the Century?” I grumble.
“Since you needed a good shaking.” She leans over and gives my shoulders a soft nudge. “Seriously, Ro. You’ve barely left this apartment except to go to school. I hope this trip will shake you out of the funk you’ve been in.”
“I haven’t been in a funk! I love it here. It’s been so great to be on our own…”
“You haven’t gone on a single date. Maybe this is just what you need. You’ll see Ian and either know why you’re not meant to be with him, OR you’ll make sure you keep him this time.”
I glare at her. “I didn’t know you were thinking all this. Why would I go on a date when I’m thinking about someone else … and I’ve already broken one heart? I don’t like to hurt people!”
“I know you don’t, but we’re in college, far from home … you’re supposed to be living dangerously. I’m supposed to be living dangerously.”
I roll my eyes. “Okay, ‘Little Miss Dangerous’. I’m not stopping you. Just help me find something to wear, okay? And then you can go live it up with all your wild and crazy dangerousness!”
“Gladly,” Tessa smirks. She starts tapping away on her laptop and pulls up several ski outfit choices. My ire softens somewhat because I’m impressed that she found something so quickly. She’s a whiz on the googling. Tessa Googlelot might have to be her new nickname. She clears her throat and I snap out of my Googleshedaisy train of thought. One outfit is electric blue and the other is a vibrant pink. She turns toward me and gets an inch from my face. If she weren’t so close, I’d be able to clearly see that her eyebrows are working overtime, but as it is, they’re a big blur with all their wiggling.
I can’t help but laugh. “These are both great, but so, ‘Hello, I’m a snow bunny.’ And they’re really … colorful. And show … surprisingly much for covering every inch of skin.”
“He needs to be able to see you coming,” she emphasizes.
“Well, he certainly wouldn’t be able to miss me in that one.” I point to the blue outfit. It definitely would stand out in the snow. Or anywhere, for that matter. It’s actually pretty fabulous. I might need to do a thousand sit-ups and squats every night before trying to go out in the Cat Woman-esque get-up.
“They have the whole outfit in that store on 43rd,” Tessa says. “We could run over there right now for you to try it on. You know, get out of the house for a while, and see what it’s like out there in that big old city we came ALL THIS WAY TO LIVE IN.”
“No need to get huffy,” I grin and jump up. “Come on, let’s go.”
As much as I hate to admit it, Tessa is right. Getting out in the brisk air feels great. I can’t believe how I’ve been hunkered down in my room and books the last few months. I’m all about being a good student, but maybe I’ve taken it a little too far. I feel the rank cloud shedding off of me, like an oily layer floating to the top of the surface.
The city is beautiful as we walk along the crowded streets. The trees are already lit with Christmas lights. I can’t believe I haven’t even noticed until now. Maybe the breakup and move across the country affected me more than I realized.
“Earth to Sparrow.” Tessa is snapping her fingers in front of my face. “Ro? You with me? I’ve asked you the same question three times.”
“Oh, sorry … what?” I turn and see the concern in her eyes.
“Are you okay?” she asks softly.
“Yeah,” I bump her shoulder with mine. “I’m sorry I’ve been such a downer the last couple of months. I can’t believe how patient you’ve been with me.”
“I know you were crazy about Michael. Not as a boyfriend, necessarily, but he was one of your best friends. And Ian…” she shakes her head. “He really did a number on you. I’m kinda mad at him right now.”