After my amazing day with Mark, entering my room felt like transporting in to a completely different world. I scanned my key card, and turned the knob. I walked in quietly, gently shutting the door. Awkwardly, I shuffled forward into the main part of the room, with the TV and chairs/couches. I walked forward, and braced myself, waiting to be called out for my tardiness. Instead, my Dad looked up from his Blackberry and asked, “How did snowboarding go? You still in one piece?” Cautiously, I replied, “It was pretty fun. I wasn't that bad.” He nodded. “That's good. We're glad you found some friends to hang out with. It's about time you put yourself out there.” I couldn't believe how calm he was. I had come back, expecting to be grounded for the rest of the trip, and here I was getting a pat on the back for running of with strangers. It is a crazy world we live in my friends.

   I sat down in a chair near my sister, and faintly tuned in to the movie they were all watching. I pulled out my phone and considered texting Mark, but I realized that in my panic, I had forgotten to get his number. Now I would have to wait anxiously for him to text me. I thought about going “exploring” a bit more, and hopefully bumping in to him again, but a part of me did feel obligated to spend some time with my own family. Besides, I didn't want him to get the wrong impression. We were just friends-snowboarding partners in fact. I wouldn't want him to get any crazy ideas, like I had a... crush on him or something. I mulled over those words, tossing them back and forth in my mind. Could I, awkward, shy, boring, buzz-kill Elizabeth May, have a thing for the Mark McMorris? I pushed the idea away quickly. There was no way. He was 3 years older, and we were total opposites. I lived for school and studying, and he was a dropout. He took everything one day at a time and lived in the moment, and I had to live by a schedule or I would lose my mind. Not to mention, he totally wasn't my type. His messy brown hair, slouched posture, slow, mesmerizing voice, gorgeous blue-green eyes...nope. Not my type at all.

   After my family finished their stupid Jim Carrey movie (the guy gave me the creeps), we decided to go out for a leisurely skate on the pond. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved skating. At our old house, we had a huge pond right in our backyard, and in the winter I would spend hours helping Dad shovel it off so we could skate. I could spend forever gliding around, doing jumps and twirls. I was always the first one on and the last one off the ice. The pond also reminded me of when I had a social life. The winter of Grade 10, when I was actually happy and popular and social, believe it or not, a big group of us used to meet up at the local pond on weekends and goof around. We would make a big, crackling bonfire, and play pick-up hockey until we thought our feet would freeze off. Sure, the guys would always smuggle liquor and cigarettes, and I was frequently the only girl, but I never took part in any of their shenanigans. Being an athlete, I was always very conscious about my health and my behaviour. I was satisfied with just skating around and telling stories by the fire. Those memories felt like decades ago, not just a 2 years. I sighed, and began lacing up. In no time I was up and dancing around the pond, happy to be doing something familiar again.

   After doing a few solo, speedy laps, I decided to slow my pace and keep up with my family. I was in the middle of conversation with my parents about the weather, when I heard a faint voice yell my name. “Liz!” I looked up, not actually thinking anybody was addressing me. I scanned through the crowd of skaters, and finally laid eyes on a tanned, blonde-haired boy waving frantically. Him and his brunette buddy raced over to me as fast as they could. As they got closer, I could make out their faces. Oh great, I thought, Dumb and Dumber. Damon and Matt halted just in front of us, not regarding my parents at all. “Hey Liz, sorry to leave you alone with Mark this morning. We were too anxious to just stick to the basics, you know?.” Damon, apologized, skating alongside us. “But we heard you were a total pro. I guess you have better luck at snowboarding than you do walking!” Matt winked, and the two boys raced ahead of us once again, not giving me a chance to even speak. Carefully, I looked at my parents, to see their reaction to the scenario.

   “Who were those boys?” My mother questioned, sounding more curious that angry, which was a good sign. However, Dad didn't wait for my answer. He piped up with his own question. “Who is this Mark guy that you were alone with all morning?” My cheeks flushed red, and not from the cold. I was never good at discussing boys with Mom and Dad, even if they were just friends. “They're a bunch of guys I met yesterday. They were the ones who invited me to go snowboarding this morning.” I answered Mom's question, hoping Dad would forget about his. “Well they said they weren't even there today, so who were you with?” He pressed. I sighed yet again. “The other guy who was with them yesterday, Mark, took me to the Beginner Slope today and just showed me the basics, that's it. He's been snowboarding for a really long time, so I thought he'd be a good teacher.” I mumbled, slightly embarrassed. Mom shook her head in disbelief. “So you just decided to go off alone with some boy you don't know?” She interrogated, making me feel about 2 inches tall. “How old is he?” I pretended not to hear, skating along and putting my head down. “Hello?” She insisted. “Okay, you're making it sound a lot worse than it really is Mom. He's a nice guy. And he's like, 20 or something. It doesn't matter.” I snapped, wanting to end the conversation. “20,” Dad repeated, obviously not impressed. “What's wrong with you? Are you finally going through your teenage rebellion?” He asked, trying to make sense of everything. I threw my hands up in frustration. “Jeez you guys, he's 20, not some 45 year old paedophile! He's a smart, successful, nice guy. I don't know what more you want me to say! You complain that I'm not social enough, and you make fun of me for not hanging out with enough boys, but then you go and treat me like this! I just can't win with you two!” I finished my rant, ready to leave the pond and run back to the room. They were quiet for a moment, absorbing my words. “Well,” Mom started. “If he's such a nice boy, can we meet him? Invite him to supper tomorrow night!” My automatic response was to shake my head. “Mom,” I complained. “We're not dating or something. He was only teaching me to snowboard!” This time, it was Dad's turn to butt in. “But if you're spending time with him we want to know that he is not a bad influence.” I groaned, seeing that there was no possible way for me to win this argument. “Fine,” I agreed reluctantly. “But you guys have to promise to be normal and not embarrass me. We are just friends. That is it. Heck, he might not show up!” I stated. “That's fine.” They concluded, pleased that they got their way. “Good, can we just skate now?” I asked, finally feeling a small sense of relief.

   After dinner that night, when we got back to the room, I decided to go take a hot shower. As I was going through my bag to gather my pyjamas, I heard my phone vibrate on my nightstand. I flew over my bed and plopped down on the edge, picking up my cell as quickly as I could to read the message. I tried to ignore the fluttering feeling I had in my core. I looked, and it was from...my chemistry partner, Nolan. Did you finish the stoichiometry assignment yet? I need help. My butterflies faded. I was so disappointed that I almost didn't notice the little symbol in the corner of my screen showing that I had an unread message from earlier this evening. I quickly looked back in and saw a message from an unknown number. Hey there snow bunny ;P it read. A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth, and I texted back. Hey yourself McMorris. P.S., never call me that again ;) Oh, and I have a question for you! I set my phone back down and skipped my way to the bathroom, bursting with unexplained joy.

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