Chapter One

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Willa

Why I volunteered to get seven hot chocolates and told my friends that I didn’t need help carrying them, I don’t know. It was a moment of insanity.

         As I walk slowly across the ski lodge, balancing the tray of drinks and cursing myself for refusing help, I hear someone say my name.

         I look toward my friends to see if one of them said it, if maybe someone is coming over to help out, but they’re all laughing together at a table in the corner, not looking in my direction. I shrug it off, figuring that maybe someone else here is named Willa. As I start walking, I hear my name again.

         This time, I see who said it.

         My eyes lock with a familiar pair across the room and my heart begins to beat a wonky rhythm. I close my eyes, thinking that maybe they are playing tricks on me. But when I open them again, I can’t deny it any longer.

         I’m standing in the same room, breathing the same air, as Dan Martin.

         He smiles and starts toward me, and instead of acting like a rational, mature human being who happens to be running into her ex unexpectedly, I panic. My whole world tilts and spins.

         I can’t see Dan like this. Not here. Not when I’m this unprepared.

         But I’m not an idiot—Dan is here and he clearly sees me and he’s going to find me. It’s only a matter of time.

         Before that happens, though, I need to get to my friends. I need their support. I need to calm down. I need to get emotionally and mentally ready for what is about to happen. I need to, well, not be holding scalding hot liquid.

         Luckily, the Vail ski lodge is crowded this afternoon. I move as quickly as I can, weaving and dodging between groups of people in the zigzag pattern that I mastered growing up in Manhattan. When I finally make it to our table, Sophie sees me and jumps up to help with the tray.

         “So, there’s a slight problem,” I say.

         “Are these sugar-free or somethining?"        

         “Not that kind of problem. This kind is more Dan-shaped.”

         She furrows her brow at that. “Explain.”

         “Dan is here.”

         “Dan Martin?”

         “Yes, Dan Martin.” Her eyes widen with what looks like clarity.

         “Did you know?” I ask sharply. “Is this something you arranged?”

        “No!” she exclaims. I look at her dubiously. “Okay, I knew that he was also going skiing for spring break, but I didn’t know he was coming to Vail! I figured he was going to Vermont or somewhere on the East Coast.”

         “You really didn’t ask each other where you were going skiing?”

         “I think I made a joke about us both being sadistic for going skiing instead of going to the beach and we moved on. It seems stupid in hindsight, huh?”

         “A bit. Especially considering you’re the journalist.”

         “Hey!” she says. “That’s not fair. I’m not perfect, you know.”

         “You’re pretty damn close,” Luke says, butting into our conversation and kissing his girlfriend on the cheek. “Thanks for getting these, Willa. How much do we owe you?”

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