@coriiiii @withacherryontop @lacrossefashionista @breanne-alexis @young-grasshopper

FRIDAY 23RD: Tonight is the resort's annual Winter Formal for the staff, held at one of the exclusive villas on the mountain. Dress up fancy (gowns not required), bring a date, and be on your best behaviour. Well, until the afterparty at TC's.

“My feet hurt.”

“We’re not even at the formal yet.”

“Can’t I take my shoes off?”

Riley and I were standing on the path leading up to the villa, which was visible in the distance, tiny lights bouncing off icicles in front of it. He shook his head, grabbing my arm and pulling me forward.

“You complain too much,” he said gruffly.

“You’re a terrible date, making me walk.”

“Then you should have chosen a date who was planning to get in your pants later, he would have taken care of you.”

“Noted, next time I will.”

As we staggered up to the villa, I had to take a second to stand back and marvel at the decorations put up to make the place festive. Usually, the resort didn’t go out on a limb for its employees, but it seemed like they saved all the effort for this night.

There were looks as we walked in together. People were starting to think it was something it wasn’t. As I brushed through the crowd, I came face-to-face with Mara, who looked me straight up and down. She was about to open her mouth for some judgemental comment about the length of my dress, but I cut her off, walking past her.

“Don’t bother.”

My sights were set on Olivia, who greeted me with a nod.

“You look nice,” she said, without any irony. Strange, for her.

“You too. Obviously, because you look like me.”

She looked over at Riley. “I see you’ve brought your boyfriend.”

“Ha.”

“You coming back to the cabin tonight?”

I shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. Why, do you want the room?”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“In that case, I’ll be back.”

“You never let me have any fun.”

-------------------------------------------

I didn’t know the name of the guy dancing – if you could call it that – behind me, but I did know that I liked the feeling of his arms around my waist and his breath on my neck. I also didn’t know how much I’d had to drink, but at this stage, if felt like a lot. The room was slightly blurry at its edges. Dancing near me, Sam gave me the thumbs up. She was being bear-hugged by a different guy, who seemed a little too keen. I flashed her the thumbs down, and she nodded, pushing the guy away, and finding a new one with a little more subtlety.

The guy I was with tugged on my hand. “Wanna get out of here?”

I nodded, staggering slightly as he pulled me from the dancefloor. Having forgotten my coat, I was hit by the freezing air, my hands immediately turning blue.

He pulled me behind the pub, into a dark corner where we were invisible to the world, and it was mere moments before he’d pushed me against the wall, kissing me roughly. His tongue wasn’t down my throat for more than ten seconds before I got the overwhelming sense to puke. I pushed him aside, leaning over and dry-reaching.

“Was I that bad?” he joked, holding me up.

“I don’t feel well,” I murmured. “I... I have to go.”

I pulled myself from his grip, kicking off my shoes and running back towards my cabin – so drunk that I forgot to retrieve my heels. He ran after me, shouting something that I couldn’t hear, but my mind was only on getting back to my room. Which I did, after a few minutes, making it to the bathroom just in time to bring up all the booze I’d consumed that night.

“Hey, pukey.”

Olivia stood in the doorframe, watching me throw my guts up. I didn’t have the energy to respond, but a few seconds later, I felt her lean over me, scraping the hair back from my face. Holding your hair while you puke... that’s what twin sisters were made for.

SATURDAY 24TH: Northstar's Night Before Christmas is more relaxed than the formal, it's a chance for the staff to get together and drink some eggnog around the fire in your ugly sweaters. If you don't celebrate Christmas, come for the amazing food.

I sat with Maggie and Chandler, our faces being warmed by the fire as it flickered lazily. Most of the staff had gathered for hot chocolate and eggnog and, in an apparently seismic change from last night, weren’t falling over each other drunk.

Of course, Liv and I had spent the afternoon pre-drinking, because that’s just what we do.

But I was only slightly tipsy, and hiding it well, as I listened to Maggie talking about her family Christmas that she was going back to. Chandler was nodding in agreement, butting in with a comment every now and then. It was funny how the three of us were all from California, but couldn’t be more different.

Someone put their hand on my shoulder, and I jumped, almost spilling my hot chocolate. The guy from last night stood in front of me, dangling my heels from his fingers.

“I think you lost these, Cinderella.”

“Oh, shi.t,” I laughed, taking them from him. “I completely forgot about those.”

The girls both raised their eyebrows, exchanging a whisper.

“We never got to finish that kiss.”

“I guess I’ll save it for a special occasion.”

The special occasion ended up being later that night, when the nameless guy – a ski instructor, apparently – invited me to go back to his cabin to watch Christmas movies. Of course, his motives were ulterior, but he was cute enough that it didn’t matter.

We sat through the first ten minutes of Elf before he stuck his hand down my jeans, but his digging-for-gold technique didn’t do much for me at all. A little sore, I excused myself to light up a cigarette outside, promising that I’d be back.

As I stood on the deck of his small cabin, I caught sight of another person sitting next door, staring out at the mountain. He was familiar immediately, and I walked over to stand in front of him.

“I’d ask you what you were doing here, but I’m pretty sure I know,” Riley said, his voice quiet.

“Mmmkay, my turn then, what are /you/ doing out here in the cold?”

“Getting some air.”

I took a seat next to him on the steps. “Are you okay? You seem sad.”

He nodded. “Just kind of homesick. My family is all about Christmas, and it’s the first year I’m missing out.”

“Aww.” I rubbed my hand over his back, realising how cold he was. “Let’s go inside.”

I walked into his cabin, and he followed, his cheeks flushing read from the sudden change in temperature. Kicking off his shoes and dumping his jacket, he walked into the bedroom, and I followed him, sitting on the edge of his bed.

“Want me to stay?” I asked.

“Don’t you need to go back to Olivia and do whatever weird twin rituals you do for Christmas?”

“I think we can lay off the Mara voodoo doll for one night, so no...”

He lay down on the bed next to me, staring up at the ceiling. “It’d be good. If you stayed.”

Smiling, I curled up next to him, resting my head on his huge arm. He didn’t need to explain – I knew he didn’t want anything from me, he just needed company. Even if it was just someone to spoon on Christmas Eve.
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