By the time we finished snowboarding, our legs were numb and our hands were frozen. We wore smiles on our faces that would make the Cheshire Cat look grumpy. Instead of grabbing a coffee and a bite to eat like the previous day, we decided to just take a leisurely stroll through the resort, taking in the sights and sounds. "It's beautiful here." I mumbled, speaking to nobody in particular. Mark agreed with me. "Heaven on Earth." He stated. We walked along, and pointed out things we found interesting; children attempting to skate for the first time on the pond, groups of people who looked happy, and groups that looked utterly miserable. We observed everything, not saying much. It wasn't awkward at all though-a comfortable silence. Eventually, we took a seat on a bench and struck up another conversation.

   "So what's it like," I asked, "being a celebrity and all?" Mark grinned his killer grin, and answered my question. "Well I wouldn't say I'm a celebrity or anything. But it's kinda weird to go places and have people take pictures of you, and act like they know you. I mean, I've never met any of the people who come up to me, and they know more about me than I do. It's nuts." He rambled. Clearly, I had picked a sensitive topic. He continued; "And with the reality show and everything, it's hard to catch a break." I nodded sympathetically, completely forgetting about He and Craig's reality show, McMorris & McMorris. I sure wasn't going to admit that I had watched a few episodes...or maybe the entire season. I was getting ready to pipe up my opinion on the matter, but Mark had more to say. "Don't get me wrong, the fans and stuff are great; they're what keep me going. But sometimes, you just need to get away from it all, you know? That's why I came here." He had finally answered the other question I had been thinking, as to why he was here, at a random Canadian ski resort. I thought for a moment about what to say next.

    "So...has it worked?" I questioned. A puzzled look came upon his face. "Has what worked?" He asked, looking confused. "The vacation. Have you, I don't know, become de-stressed, or...reconnected with snowboarding or something? Met really, really rad new people?" I explained, light-heartedly hinting at the end. "Ohhhh." He nodded, understanding. "Yeah actually, I think this has been good for me so far. I've got Sochi coming up soon, and this has given me some new inspiration, ya know? And, I've met a few people, but uh, nobody real cool-all a bunch of geeks so far." He winked, looking for my reaction. Again, I punched him. He groaned. "Owwww, jeez girl. For someone so quiet you're very violent." He accused me, trying to keep a smile from creeping up on his face. I smirked back. "Haven't you heard; it's the quiet ones you need to watch out for!" He flowed right along with another insult. "Yeah, like in all those crime shows, the serial killer is always the nerdy, quiet one-like you Liz!" I chuckled and nodded, in mock agreement. "Yup, that's me. I'm a brutal, merciless killer." I described myself, fitting his description. "As long as I'm on your good side, you'll spare me, right?" He interrogated, pretending to fear for his safety. "Yeah, I think you should be alright. But, you might have to prove it to me." I challenged. He laughed, and got down on one knee before me, much to my embarrassment. "Oh mighty Liz, what shall I do to earn thy trust?" He asked me, playing along with the charade. I thought about his question, and came up with an honest response. " my friend." I stated awkwardly.

   Mark's head came up, his face suddenly serious. "Well, I was just assuming we were friends Liz. I like you, you're cool." He told me, making me turn slightly pink. I tried to continue on without totally humiliating myself. "But I mean, you're...famous, and you have so many A-list friends, I just thought that maybe I wasn't..." I stumbled, cutting myself off. "Good enough?" Mark finished. I nodded in reply, unable to say anything. He took his seat next to me, and put his hand over my knee. Sure, I was wearing a big, bulky pear of snowpants, but it didn't matter. The contact still sent a jolt of electricity rushing up my spine. He looked me in the eyes and continued. "Liz, you're honestly one of the best people I've ever met. Just because you don't think you're cool doesn't mean you're not. You're you, and I'm down with that. In fact, it's great to hang out with someone who's not being followed by photographers and managers and trainers for once. Chilling with you the past few days has been awesome, and I mean that. I was hoping we could stay friends, if you wanted..."

   He finished his speech, and I could've sworn my heart was going to explode. I paused for a moment before answering, to collect all of my thoughts. Finally, I spoke up. "That's...the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me" I mumbled. "I don't really...have many friends back home, so this has been like living in a dream world. I'm just scared that when I go back...I'll be left by myself again." I finished quietly, 100% sure I was sounding like a pathetic, overly-sensitive loser. He shook his head, like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Liz, you, are, a great, person." He emphasized. "I am going to make it my mission for the rest of the week, along with teaching you to snowboard, to introduce you to the best people in the world." I stared at him, not sure what he meant by that. "My brother Craig is coming here on Boxing Day, and he's bringing a ton of our snowboarding friends and some of their friends. And let me tell you, these guys will change your life." He clarified, dead serious. I laughed, despite my anxiety. "You don't have to take me on like a charity project or something.." I began, pretending to be unsure about his idea. He leaned in and put his arm around me in a brotherly way. "You're not a charity project, you're my friend, and friends help friends have fun, don't they?" I looked at him, and smiled. "Yeah, they do."

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