I was bummed because I knew I wouldn't be spending any time with Mark over the next few days. On Christmas Eve, we were both busy with family matters. He was showing Craig and his parents around the resort, and I joined my sister on a snowshoe trip to celebrate her birthday. I had given her the snow globe earlier in the morning, and to my surprise, she actually liked it! I gave myself a pat on the back for that one. During our expedition ton one of the forest trails, she continuously talked to me and questioned me, answering all of her questions herself instead of waiting for me to answer. This was for the best, because my head wasn't in the trip at all. I was thinking only about the night before. It felt like decades ago, not just a few hours. I remembered our harmonious laughing around the dinner table, his kindness towards my family, and, of course, our hug. Sure, it was just a friendly gesture between friends, but I couldn't help but be incredibly girly and gushy. I thought about how warm he was, how my head fit perfectly in his chest, and how relaxed he made me feel. Suddenly, I felt my snowshoes cross, and I braced myself. I landed face first in the cold, wet snow. I looked up, expecting Rose to be laughing at me, but she was still trucking along, still in deep conversation with herself. I groaned and pulled myself up, wishing our dangerous adventure would soon come to an end.

   That evening, I was sitting around in my room with everyone, eating supper and watching Elf, our traditional Christmas Eve movie. Don't get me wrong, I loved Elf, but it just couldn't hold my attention. My mind kept running back to the same thoughts, as well as thoughts about Craig's upcoming Boxing Day party. I bit my nails, remembering that Mark was planning to tell his family about me when he went to pick them up. I wonder what he said... I thought nervously. I hope they'll like me. From across the room, I heard my phone vibrate on the coffee table. I jumped up from the couch, leaving my blanket laying on the floor. “Jeez calm down.” My brother said, shaking his head. “Expecting something important?” Mom questioned. “No.” I mumbled back, my fingers flying through my passcode and into my messages. Much to my delight, there was a new message from Mark.

   Hey Liz, didn't get to see you today. Hope your sister had a good birthday. Say hi to everyone for me, and Merry Christmas :) He had texted. I grinned, and rapidly wrote my reply. You too McMorris, don't stay up too late waiting for santa! ;) I set my phone back down and wandered back to the living room in a much better mood.

   “WOO LIZ GET UP ITS CHRISTMAS!” I peeled one eye open and saw my sister and brother running around the room, trying to sneak peeks of their presents and get dressed at the same time. I sighed, and slowly pushed back the covers. I walked into the bathroom and caught a glipse of my appearance in the mirror. That was humbling. My brown hair was in a sloppy low ponytail and my fly-aways were sticking straight up from sleep. I had a huge red spot along the right side of my face thanks to my pillow. I was in a pair of pink Hello Kitty shorts that were way, way too small, and a baggy t-shirt that I had won at a basketball tournament. I washed my face, and looked back at my reflection. Should I make an effort? I thought, considering putting on real clothes and brushing my hair. However, Lazy Liz won out, and I stumbled out to meet the rest of my family looking like a complete hobo.

   An hour later, all presents were opened and our Christmas breakfast was in the process of being made. My siblings had gotten a bunch of new outdoor toys, like dart guns and softball gloves. I got some workout clothes and tons and tons of books. What can I say, I truly am a nerd. I was slouched on a dining room chair, scrolling through Instagram and chatting with my Mom, when we heard a knock on the door. “Who the hell would be visiting us at 7am on Christmas?” My Dad asked in confusion. I was closest to the door, so I scurried over, expecting to see a worker from the resort or something. I opened the door, and got an unexpected surprise.

   “Merry Christmas Liz!” A long pair of arms wrapped around me, and, in complete shock, I hugged back, trying to get a better look at my attacker. He pulled away, and I saw that Mark McMorris was standing outside my room with a gift on Christmas morning. I must have still been asleep and dreaming. I blinked a few times, making sure that the current scenario was my reality. Yep, it was. I was taken aback and a bit speechless. “Umm, wow. Thanks, Merry Christmas to you too!” I managed to squeak out. He pushed the present towards me, and told me to open it. I tried to hand it back. “Mark, I can't! I didn't get you anything!” I told him, slightly embarrassed. “I didn't expect you to, I wanted this to be a surprise!” He pestered. I knew he wouldn't be satisfied until I obeyed, so I reluctantly began unwrapping the box.

   When I got the gift open, my jaw dropped. “Mark I...I can't!” I exclaimed, my eyes moistening at the gesture. Inside was a silver locket with a bedazzled snowboard charm dangling in the centre. “This is too much.” I said. He laughed, like it was no big deal. “That was the perfect reaction Liz. I want you to have it, so that you don't forget about me after this trip!” It was my turn to laugh, which came at a good time, because it kept me from getting too emotional. “Trust me, I couldn't if I tried. Thank you so much.” I said, not sure what to do at this point. There was a brief silence. I suddenly remembered what I looked like, and my cheeks started to turn red. Mark spoke up. “Well I should get back to my family, I have the impossible mission of getting Craig to wake up. Anyway, have a good day!” He said, starting to make his way back into the hall. He stopped, and turned to face me again. “Oh, and Liz?” I raised my eyebrows, ready for what he was going to say next. In all seriousness, he said “That's a nice outfit, it suits you.” He winked, and continued his way back. I laughed and turned an even deeper shade of red. Why can't every guy be as cool as him? I wondered. And then I realized something. It came out of nowhere, and hit me like a tidal wave in the middle of a huge storm. I felt it in my gut, in my throat, and pretty much everywhere else. It was a new feeling, one I had never experienced. In this moment, I realized that I was in love with Mark McMorris.

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