XLIX. Ski Trip Part I
Josh had been quiet ever since he came back from his fishing trip.
I scribble on the piece of paper and erase it. My eyes peek towards the bed to see Josh reading a book with a single muscular arm behind his head. He exhales loudly, then turns the page.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
He chuckles, a single one, “Don’t use me as a distraction. You have exams this week.”
Josh is right. I am using him as a distraction.
The door opens, and I turn the chair. I smile, “Hi, Ricardo!”
Josh looks up from the book, “Sup.”
Ricardo drops the duffle bag onto his bed. “Sup.” Ever since Josh and Ricardo got back from the fishing trip - I didn’t even know Ricardo went - they haven’t been fighting as much. I guess they just need some time together.
I chew on the tip of the pencil, “How are you, Ricardo?”
He took off his shirt and threw it on the table. I fought the urge to swallow as his defined muscles crunch against one another. From what I heard, Ricardo hits the gym pretty frequently.
I can feel it. Someone is staring at me. My eyes turn towards the bed to see Josh still reading the book.
“Good,” Ricardo responded.
I turned the chair back, and Ricardo had a new shirt on. “How is-”
“Stop,” Ricardo said, pulling out a book. “I need to study.”
“Right,” I said, twisting the chair around.
Someone knocks on the door, “I’ll get-”
“No, I’ll get it,” Josh said. He made his way to the door and opened it.
I scoot the chair closer to the door to see Crystal, but Josh’s stupid large body was in the way. With a deep exhale, I twiddle the chair back towards the desk.
I caught Ricardo looking at the door.
We made eye contact.
He looks back down towards the book.
“Hey, Crystal. What’s up?”
“I want to know if HayHay is free.”
“No, she is busy studying.”
“Come on, cuz! Just one hour!”
“B-But I’m so bored!”
Crystal exhale, “Spaghetti, are you free?”
When I feel the dark aura behind me, I scoot closer to the desk. I cover my face with the book.
“Why do you need him?” Josh’s voice does not sound pleasant.
“So we can hang out.” Counter to Josh. Crystal sounds like she is having fun.
“What? Why not?”
“Because I said so.”
“You sound more and more like Uncle Matt each day.” I can hear some grunting sound from behind. Crystal was fighting Josh for entrance into the room. “Let me in! I promise I won’t be a distraction!”
“That’s what you always say!”
“Let me have a small chat with Hailey!”
“Then, I’ll talk to Ricardo!”
“That’s a bigger NO!”
After some more wrestling between the cousins, Josh was able to push Crystal out of the room. She pounds on the door for the next fifteen minutes, then gives up.
The silence returned.
So many dang numbers.
I pound my fists against the desk and stand up, “I can’t take this anymore!” I screamed and threw the pencil across the room. That’s it—my breaking point. “I’m done! Done!” I rush towards the door.
“Hailey!” Josh screamed.
I made it into the hallway.
“I’m free!” I scream, rushing down the hallway.
Free! Free! Free!
I made it into the lobby, but Austin caught me and held me down until Josh came and picked me up.
I’m not proud of my breakdowns.
The best moment of the week is the fact that it’s over. But then, the anxiety came, and it stayed until the weekend was over.
On the way to class, Josh massages my shoulders, “You’re fine,” he attempts to comfort me. “You’ve been studying hard, and you had a good night’s sleep. Plus, you did the backside.”
I stop beside the classroom and pout. My back stray against the wall, “What if I fa-”
Josh karate chopped my head, “No negative thoughts. Positive. Now, say it with me; I passed.”
I bit my lower lip, “I’ll pass.”
“I need to hear from you! Loud and clear!”
“I passed!” I shriek out of my lungs.
“Yeah! Now, that’s what I’m talking about!”
I can feel it, the energy storming inside of me, “Yes! I did damn well!”
“Now, you get your fine ass inside that class and get that passing grade!”
I threw my arms up, “Yeah!” I turned my body towards the class and made my way inside.
I feel a hand smack on my butt.
A gasp left my throat, and I turned back.
Josh smiled, “Encouragement pat,” he said and smacked my butt one more time.
I glare at him and head inside.
After an hour, I walk out.
Josh was outside, leaning against the wall. He looks up from his cell phone and tugs on the strap. “How did you do?”
I couldn’t fight the smile on my face. I held the paper up to cover it. “I passed!” I squeal.
“I knew you could do it!” Josh said and spun me around.
I wrap my legs around his waist, “I did it! I did it!”
He puts me down, “Ready for your next one?”
Throughout the day, Josh encouraged me from one class to another. I love it, his positivity.
I didn’t pass with a high grade, but I did. Something is better than nothing. So, it’s good enough.
Sadly, I didn’t get to be a banana this year, but Josh said we can always do it next year.
Track and field training
Josh spent his time in New York.
Mine was in California.
Track and field competition.
The coach and the team didn’t blame me. They were still supportive, as always. I feel lucky.
Our presentation for Mr. Franklin’s class went well. We did our presentation on business in stocks, because why not? Taniyah is an expert in it.
He gave us a C.
The only one upset was Crystal.
I never knew she cared so much about grades.
Then it’s time.
The bus rattled back and forth as it rode us up the snowy mountain. Josh was sitting on the outside while I sat by the window, gazing at the endless sprinkle of snow. I smiled, drawing a little flower on the foggy window.
A snort caught my attention, and I turned to see Josh’s head drop to the top of the blue leather seat, with his arms folded in a deep sleep. The bus rattled, and he sways to my side.
In all my years of watching romantic movies, now would be the perfect time for us to bond. He fell asleep on top of my head, and I closed my eyes, and we slept wonderfully together.
This is reality.
Reality says Joshua Greyson will squish Hailey Vaughn with his enormous body.
I tried to breathe as Joshua entered my side of the seat, more and more. My neck had a cramp due to his oversized head. I pushed him away, but he barely budges. “Josh! Josh!” I slap him, but he turns and wraps his arms around my body, his face squishing into mine. “My neck hurts...I can’t breathe.”
He starts snoring.
When we stepped out of the bus, I glared menacingly at him. He stretched his body and grinned. “That was a good nap,” he said, then turned towards me. “What’s wrong with your neck?” He places his hands on my head, trying to fix my tilting head.
I slapped his hands away and stomped away. “What’s wrong with your leg?” he asked since I was limping due to a sleeping leg.
I turned around, grabbed a handful of snow from my side, and threw it at him. He went on a defensive mood and covered his upper half with his arms with a single leg lifting in the air. “You don’t want to go there with me, Vaughn!”
“Now. Now.” Mr. Timberland claps, “Enough, children.” Everyone circles around him. The school was split based on dorms and floors, then spread into the different resorts. Since I’m part of the Golden Dormitory, I get to be with Josh and Crystal; well, everyone that I know. “Remember, we don’t leave town. Curfew-”
“Curfew is at 10. Resort doors close at 10. It’s 10, not 10:01, not 10:02, but 10. If you don’t check-in by 10, we will send you back. Other than that - behave well, stay out of trouble, and have fun.”
Everyone cheers before dispersing. Crystal grabbed my arm, “Let’s go skiing later!” She tugged me towards the lodge.
The floor was stacked with fine woods, absorbing all the water below our boots. I look up to see a small chandelier; the lights are dimmed. Embroidered silk sofas surrounded a large, flat-screen television above the fireplace.
“Now-” Mr. Timberland said. “The faculty talked, and we agreed that if you want to switch from your usual roommates. You can.”
“Dibs on HayHay and Tani!” Crystal squeals, grabbing each of our arms. “We are going to have so much fun!”
Interestingly enough, Taniyah got put in the same group as us even though she stayed in another dorm.
Taniyah scoots away from Crystal. “No, thank you.”
“You can be my roommate,” Madison suggests.
Taniyah leaned back towards Crystal, “I’ll be roommate with crazy.”
“Yay!” Crystal claps.
I look at Josh, who smiles at me. While Crystal talked to Taniyah, who pretended to listen while signing us in, I explored the rest of the room. There were interesting paintings hung on the wooden walls. They were all pictures of nature; sort of boring.
Once inside the room, I stop for five whole minutes and listen. I can hear it; the sound of my mouth going: “Woah!”
Open the white curtains.
Check the bedside cabinets with complimentary gum.
Check the bathrooms to see free medications and toiletries. There is a complimentary toothbrush on the counter. The glass shower had shampoo, conditioner, and soap.
Then I went through the closets that had white robes, iron, and slippers—all smooth.
I ran my hands across one of the twin size beds, feeling the silky sheets.
“That’s a lot of woah,” Crystal said.
I looked at Taniyah, who was staring out the balcony. Interested in what she was looking at, I made my way towards her.
The mountains were covered in a thick white that shines brightly underneath the sun, but not too much. I smile, seeing the benches rolling up to the top with layers of riders, snowboarders, and skiers. In the distance, there were people tubing. I can’t wait to ride it. On the other side was ice skating.
“Woah,” we said at the same time.
“Are you two going to stand there all day?” Crystal asks.
“Sorry, but not all of us take ski trips every winter,” Taniyah replies.
Crystal scoffs, “You think the season is going to stop me?”
Taniyah rolls her eyes at Crystal’s comment. She will fly halfway across the world if she’s in the mood to ski. Sometimes I wish her step-father was my father.
I went to my luggage and took out the clothes for myself; waterproof parkers, boots, pants, and shirts. All black or grey, so if I fall on my butt, it’s okay.
Once I got dressed, I made my way out of the bathroom. “Coming?” I ask Taniyah as Crystal tugs on her blue boots.
Taniyah digs deeper into the sheets. “Nah. I’m not big in sports. You guys go,” she responds before sipping on the complimentary hot cocoa.
“You sure?” I ask.
I look at Crystal, who shrugs, “Well, call us if you change your mind,” I said.
Crystal and I walk out of the room. Once we step inside the elevator, I sigh.
“What’s wrong?” Crystal asks.
“I don’t know. I just thought maybe Tani thought of us as friends by now.”
Crystal chuckled, “She lets us call her Tani and agrees to room with us. That is her way of approving our existence.”
“Do you think we’re annoying her?”
Crystal shrugs, “We won’t know until she threatens to shoot us with a gun.”
I lift a brow, “That’s how you decide if people are annoyed with you?”
I exhale and stare at the changing red numbers. “Can I ask you something?”
“Is there anything going on between you and Ricardo?”