❆ chapter six

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While the goal of the trip was to push herself out of her comfort zone and meet new people, Nevada had underestimated how necessary an evening alone was. The cabin was empty; the only sounds to be heard were the sweet tunes of the Christmas playlist she had selected and the scuffing of her feet against the floor. There was no pressure to engage in conversation, which would've been inevitable had she accepted Sam's invitation, and she realized now how much she craved her privacy.

Unlike Natalie, she came to terms with being alone. She found that she didn't mind it most of the time. There was something refreshing about being the outsider, observing the lives of those around her. On the other hand, Natalie hated being alone for more than an hour. Whenever she returned for winter break, she grew bored quickly, missing her college friends even though she had seen them a week ago.

Nevada was more independent in that sense. Sitting on the living room floor, the flames in the fireplace burned in front of her as she balanced a bottle of polish on the carpet, carefully painting the bright color over her nails. She had gone with a wine red in the spirit of the holidays.

As she finished off the last nail on her pinky finger, her phone buzzed with an incoming notification. It vibrated from its position at her side, and Nevada leaned forward to see Sam's Snapchat username slide across the screen. Though he had suggested that they should start a streak, he hadn't sent her a picture since the first.

Her eyebrows furrowed. Part of her wondered if he had sent her a photo to taunt her with what she had missed, but that felt too cruel — especially from Sam, who knew how difficult yesterday had been for her. Using the pad of her thumb, Nevada unlocked her phone and opened up the app.

It was a photo. She had been wrong. It didn't showcase the fun time he was having. Instead, it was a blurry selfie that had been taken too close to the front camera, a loopy smile gracing his lips as he took the picture. The caption read mis u.

from silentsamule

Nevada sent him a picture in response, though she couldn't lift her phone to take a better photo. It wound up displaying her chin more than she would've liked, but she added a caption nonetheless.

nevadaruizz: are you drunk?

silentsamule: nooooope. i think.

He continued sending her blurry selfies. She couldn't identify the background, the dark blue paint the only prominent feature. It looked like he was in someone's bedroom, but no one seemed to be with him.

nevadaruizz: are you okay?

silentsamule: yu p. just miss u. wish u wer here.

Her heart warmed. There was no doubt that he had more than a few drinks in his system, the alcohol spurring him forward.

nevadaruizz: im good here, thanks haha. just stay safe, okay? don't drink more than you think you should.

silentsamule: too late. carter dragged me into drinkin games.

A second message came a second later.

silentsamule: i don't feel 2 good

Nevada frowned. While she was no expert on alcohol, his message sent a spike of fear into her.

silentsamule: i think i mite throw up. Im such a lightweight

Her fear turned into mild concern. Had Carter just abandoned Sam? Why was he alone?

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