If Peter were to invite me to go snowboarding with him, I think I’d go. But he doesn’t, and I’m hungry anyway, so I go to the lodge to eat lunch.
Ms. Davenport is there looking at her cell phone and eating a bowl of soup. Ms. Davenport is young, but she presents herself old. I think it’s her heavy foundation and her severe part down the middle. She isn’t married. Chris told me she saw her having an argument with some guy outside the Waffle House once, so I guess she has a boyfriend.
When she spots me sitting alone, eating a sandwich by the fireplace, she waves me over. I carry my plate to her table and sit down across from her. I’d rather eat alone and read my book, but it’s not like I have much of a choice in the matter. I ask her, “Do you have to stay here in the lodge all weekend, or can you go ski too?”
“I’m officially home base,” she says, wiping the corners of her mouth. “Coach White’s on slope duty.”
“That doesn’t seem very fair.”
“I don’t mind. I actually like sitting in the lodge. It’s peaceful. Besides, somebody has to be here for emergencies.” She takes another bite of soup. “What about you, Lara Jean? Why aren’t you out on the slopes with everybody else?”
“I’m not the best skier,” I say, feeling embarrassed.
“Oh, really? I hear Kavinsky’s a very good snowboarder. You should get him to teach you. Aren’t you two dating?”
Ms. Davenport loves being in on student drama. She calls it having her finger on the pulse, but really she’s just a gossip. If you give her an opening, she’ll burrow in for as much dirt as she can. I know she and Genevieve are close.
I have a quick flash of Genevieve and Peter on the bus with their heads close together, and the picture makes my heart squeeze. Our contract isn’t over yet. Why should I let her have him back even one second early? “Yes,” I say. “We’re together.” Then I stand up. “You know what? I think I will go check out the slopes.”
I’M BUNDLED UP IN MARGOT’S pink ski bib and the pom-pom hat and my parka and I feel like an Easter treat—a strawberry-flavored marshmallow. As I try to click into my skis, a group of girls from school walk by in cute yoga-ish ski pants. I didn’t even know those existed.
I always think I could like skiing and then I go on a ski trip and I remember, oh yeah, I hate it. All the other kids are on the black diamond slopes and I’m on green circle, aka the bunny slope. I pizza wedge down the whole way, and little kids keep zooming by me, which makes me lose my concentration because I’m terrified they’re going to run into me. They whoosh back and forth like Olympic skiers. Some of them aren’t even using poles. They’re like Kitty. She can go down black diamond slopes. She and my dad love it. Margot, too, though Margot prefers snowboarding to skiing now.
I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for Peter but I haven’t seen him yet, and it’s starting to feel a bit bleak out here all alone.
I’m considering giving the intermediate slope a try, just for kicks, when I spot Peter and all his friends carrying their snowboards. No Genevieve in sight. “Peter!” I call out, feeling very relieved.
He turns his head and I think he sees me, but he keeps walking.
He saw me. I know he saw me.
After dinner, Chris goes back to the slopes to snowboard. She says she’s addicted to the rush. I’m heading back to the room when I run into Peter again, this time in swimming trunks and a hoodie. He’s with Gabe and Darrell. They have towels around their necks. “Hey, Large,” Gabe says, flicking me with his towel. “Where you been all day?”
“I’ve been around.” I look over at Peter, but he won’t meet my eyes. “I saw you guys on the slopes.”
Darrell says, “Then why didn’t you holler at us? I wanted to show off my ollies for you.”
Teasingly I say, “Well, I called Peter’s name, but I guess he didn’t hear me.”
Peter finally looks me in the eyes. “Nope. I didn’t hear you.” His voice is cold and indifferent and so un-Peterlike, the smile fades from my face.
Gabe and Darrell exchange looks like oooh and Gabe says to Peter, “We’re gonna head out to the hot tub,” and they trot off.
Peter and I are left standing in the lobby, neither of us saying anything. I finally ask, “Are you mad at me or something?”
“Why would I be mad?”
And then it’s back to quiet again.
I say, “You know, you’re the one who talked me into coming on this trip. The least you could do is talk to me.”
“The least you could do was sit next to me on the bus!” he bursts out.
My mouth hangs open. “Are you really that mad that I didn’t sit next to you on the bus?”
Peter lets out an impatient breath of air. “Lara Jean, when you’re dating someone, there are just . . . certain things you do, okay? Like sit next to each other on a school trip. That’s pretty much expected.”
“I just don’t see what the big deal is,” I say. How can he be this mad over such a tiny thing?
“Forget it.” He turns like he’s going to leave, and I grab his sweatshirt sleeve. I don’t want to be in a fight with him; I just want it to be fun and light the way it always is with us. I want him to at least still be my friend. Especially now that we’re at the end.
I say, “Come on, don’t be mad. I didn’t realize it was that big of a deal. I swear I’ll sit next to you on the way home, okay?”
He purses his lips. “But do you get why I was pissed?”
I nod back. “Mm-hmm.”
“All right then, you should know that you missed out on mocha sugar donuts.”
My mouth falls open. “How’d you get those? I thought the shop didn’t open that early!”
“I went out and got them last night specifically for the bus ride,” Peter says. “For you and me.”
Aw. I’m touched. “Well, are there any left?”
“Nope. I ate them all.”
He looks so smug that I reach out and swat at his hoodie strings. “You creep,” I say, but I mean it affectionately.
Peter grabs my hand mid-swat and says, “Wanna hear something funny?”
“I think I started liking you.”
I go completely still. Then I pull my hand away from his, and I start to gather my hair into a ponytail, and then I remember I don’t have a hair tie. My heart is thudding in my chest and it’s hard to think all of a sudden. “Stop teasing.”