Prologue

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 "This place is a frozen hell and I hate it. I miss the sun's warmth." I growled under my breath as we walked into our hotel room.

"Jason, shut up." Lila hissed, kicking off her shoes. I clenched my jaw and tried to warm up my hands.

"I hate this place." I quietly repeated. Lila sent me another look.

"My cousin just lost her brother and you're worried about your chilly hands?" She glared as she sat down.

"I'm sorry." I apologized. "How was she yesterday when you went to see her?" 

"Still in shock." She answered. "She didn't talk much. I was there for only 5 minutes. Uncle Joe told me she didn't want company, but I thought I could help." Lila bowed her head. 

"Maybe..." I paused and refocused elsewhere. 

"What?" 

"I was thinking maybe I could talk to her." I suggested. "I know what it's like to lose flesh and blood."

"I'm sure she just wants to forget Trent's death. You see she didn't go to the funeral." 

"There shouldn't be caskets that small." I rubbed my chin as I sat next to my girlfriend. "He was a good kid."

"The sweetest." She tried to give a smile. 

"He left too soon." I took her hand in mines. "I'd like to see how she's coping."

"I hope she talks to you. Her dad said she hasn't said more than 10 words since everything happened."

"How did Marissa look to you?" I asked. 

"I don't think she's been eating." 

"I'll go see her tomorrow." I decided. She kissed my cheek. 

"You're the best." 

"The sky is blue and the grass is green." I smirked. 

"Not always." Lila objected.

The following day, my knuckles pounded against the wooden door, begging for entrance and escape from the brutal, tundra-like wind. Marissa's father answered.

"How can I help you?" He greeted. 

"I'm Jason, Lila's boyfriend, Marissa's friend. I was wondering if she's home." I stood eye-to-eye with the bulk man.

"She's... isolated herself." He switched his eyes down the road. "We're going through a hard time son." He stated. 

"I know... I was at the funeral." 

"Sorry, I can't remember everyone's face. I haven't been seeing things clearly. My mind is all distraught." 

"I understand and I'm sorry for your loss." 

"Thank you." He said. I nodded. 

"Maybe I could talk to Marissa. Could I just see her for a second, please?" I tried to reason.

The man moved to the side, allowing me to come in. 

"Marissa!" Her father went to the stairs and called her name. No answer. 

"Are you sure she's home?" I asked. 

"Follow me." He led the way up the steps. I quickly kicked off my sneaks. "Rizzy." He lightly knocked on the door. No answer. "Someone wants to see you." He talked against the closed door.

"Go away." Her voice was faint. He reached for the knob and turned it. 

"Locked." He reached above the doorframe.

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