The next morning, I could barely bring myself to get out of bed. All I wanted to do was throw the covers back up over my head and sleep forever.However, I knew I couldn't just avoid the world forever, so instead of giving in to the urge, I reached over to my bedside table and grabbed my phone, turning it on. After a few seconds of waiting, text messages began flooding in. There was one from the phone company, reminding me to make my next payment asap. Delete. There were four from Mark. I opened our conversation to read what he had sent.

Hey Liz, are you okay? You ran off pretty quick...

I mean, are we okay? Like, are you mad at me for something?

...clearly you're not answering, so I hope you come around a bit tomorrow. Good night.

Oh yeah. I'm going boarding with Damon in the morning, if you want to tag along. See ya.

I sighed and placed my phone back on the table. I forced myself out of bed and into a pair of old yoga pants and a Lululemon sweater with pink stripes. I took my hair out of its messy ponytail and quickly brushed it out. I didn't bother with makeup. That would have been asking way too much. I walked out of my room to meet my family in the living area of our suite. When we were all there, we decided to go down and grab some breakfast.

I poked at my bowl of oatmeal, and stared out the large picture window. Despite my best efforts, I found myself scanning the slopes and wondering which figure was Mark. It was only 8:30am, but the slopes were already filled with people. People who weren't busy nursing broken hearts.

After going back to the room, I thought about mustering up some courage and heading out to the slopes-I was out of practice! However, my heart won out and I ended up rooting through my bag to grab my ice skates. Ever since I was a kid, skating always helped clear my head. I waved a brief goodbye to my parents and walked out to the pond.

Two hours passed by and I didn't even notice. As soon as I stepped on the ice, I put my headphones in my ears and just glided around in peaceful, rhythmic circles. I would have kept going if it weren't for me zoning out and crashing into a guy skating in front of me. Dazed, I pulled out my headphones and began to stand up, slipping again. I saw that the person I had collided with was also down, so I began hastily muttering an apology.

''Oh my gosh, are you alright?!”

When my victim flipped to his side, I couldn't help but let out a small gasp. “What the hell, why are you here?”

He laughed and slowly stood up, stretching out. “Good to see you too Liz.” Craig smiled his easy smile, and I just felt my defences slipping down.

“It's nice to see you,” I said “But I figured you'd be on the slopes with Mark and Damon!! And I never would have pictured you on skates.”

He laughed again. “I bailed on those morons.I'm not too happy with Mark right at the moment. I also wanted to come pick up my car which I generously let someone borrow recently.” He winked and I blushed. “And,” he continued “I played hockey growing up, and I still enjoy skating every once in a while, believe it or not.”

His talk about the dreadful night shut me up. It was as painful of a memory as getting teeth pulled. “Your car is right there in the parking lot. And I have your keys.” I fished into my pocket and rummaged until I could grab his keys. He took them awkwardly.

“Thanks.” A pause. “ are you? No offence, but you look like hell.” He asked with sympathy in his voice. I sighed.

“I've been better.” I tried to force a laugh, but it sounded pathetic, even to my ears. “I guess it's my fault though. I thought it was more than it was. I overreacted.” I tried to dismiss the subject, but Craig saw right through me.

“Take your skates off and come with me.” Without another word, he skated over to the snow-covered grass and removed his skates, making his way to a nearby bench and sitting down. With yet another sigh, I followed his lead. I had the feeling I was about to enter a very deep and very stressful conversation.

Baby Steps (Mark McMorris FanFic)Read this story for FREE!