Cabin Fever

The twelve friends thought they were in for a relaxing week on the slopes when they boarded the plane to Banks’ grandfather's cabin, but a freak blizzard ends all their plans. Stuck together 24/7 tensions run high.

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Length: words


Disclaimer: We do not own the Ducks but Kory is Meme’s, Taz and Annie are Star’s and Maya belongs to Victory Thru Tears. Please don’t take them without asking or Meme will be forced to get violent.

Distribution: FFnet,

Cabin Fever by meme and Star

[nextpage title=”Chapter 1: Charlie’s POV by meme”]

There’s a line of taxis four cars long parked in front of my house and they all belong to us. Taking control of this lot and figuring out who’s riding with who is like pulling teeth from a lion’s mouth, it’s not the safest of jobs, but someone has to do it. Why does that someone have to be me? I’m just lucky I guess, that’s one of the perks (and I use that term loosely) of being the team Captain. I have to make a mental note to throttle Adam for mentioning his grandfather’s ski cabin in Colorado, I can already sense my ulcer developing.

“I’m not riding with him,” Fulton declares snidely, pointing at Portman.

Portman just rolls his eyes. “Jesus, you’re six foot plus and you’re such a baby.”

If you haven’t guessed from the way they’re acting the Bash Brothers are in a lover’s quarrel. Don’t ask me what about, all I know is they were fine up until the last day of Junior year when they were packing to go home for summer vacation. Now Fulton won’t look at Portman and Portman is certain his ex is the world’s most unreasonable life form. Neither really wants to go anymore, but the plane tickets were just too expensive to let go to waste, so they’ll have to deal with one another.

If that’s not bad enough a new family just moved in next door to me a little less than two months ago with a teenage daughter, a really nice teenage daughter to be exact. Kory Montel will be going to school with us next year at Eden Hall so I invited her along to meet some of the gang before the year starts. That wouldn’t be too bad if she was willing to ride with anyone other than me, she won’t. Of course Taz wants to ride with me as well and there’s no way Kory, Taz, Maya, Banks and I are all going to fit in one taxi.

I can feel the migraine setting in, I really can. On the brighter side of things after the hell we’re going through to get there, spending a week on the slopes and cuddling by the fire with Adam is going to be well worth the work. At least that’s what I’ll have to keep telling myself until we get there, or I just may change my mind and stay here in the safety of my own home. Oh and Jesse’s coming along too, I think he’s felt pretty left out lately, so it was sweet of Banks to invite him.

“Is everyone here?” I clap my hands together and start doing a head count. “Four girls, three straight Ducks, two Bash Brothers, one former Duck…”

“And a partridge in a pear tree,” Averman cuts me off in a sing song voice.

“All right this is how it’s going to be.” I shake my head at the annoying redheaded boy “Adam, Kory and me in cab one, then Taz, Maya and Fulton, Luis, Portman and Annie in the third, last is Jesse Averman and Goldie.”

“There’s one problem with that Charlie,” Banks speaks up beside me and I grumble. Why does there have to be a problem?

“What’s the problem?”

“Kory’s not here yet.”

“Not here yet! The girl lives next door how can she not be here yet? It’s not like she could’ve gotten lost!”

Jesse finally opens his mouth for the first time since he arrived, I’d almost forgotten he was there. “Chill Charlie, the flight doesn’t leave for like an hour and a half.”

“Besides, maybe that’s why she’s running late.” Luis’s best-friend Annie James points across the yard toward the sandy haired girl tugging a huge suitcase behind her, while trying to balance a violin case under her arm and a backpack on her shoulders. I know I told her we were only going to gone for a week, we weren’t fleeing the country or something.

While Portman and Goldberg run to go help my new friend with her baggage I can distinctly hear Taz whine to Maya. “How come she gets to bring her violin, but I had to leave my paints at home?”

“Well sweetie…” Her girlfriend wraps an arm loving around the purple haired wonder’s waist. “Her hobby won’t deplete the property value of Adam’s Grandfather’s cabin.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means if Kory decides to play the violin in the living room it’s not going to harm anything, if you take out your paints there’s a good chance Grandpa Banks will wind up with Snow White and The Seven Dwarves on his wall.”

“Oh, right.” Taz giggles and skitters off to chase a butterfly that just landed on my lawn.

As Kory walks closer to me I see her glance in both Annie and Taz’s direction and I know why. She’s studying Taz for the simple reason there was not many people with bright purple hair on the Marine base that Kory grew up on and two even if there was they more than likely weren’t size of your average eight year old child. Why is she checking out Annie? Simple really, Annie’s cute and Kory’s bisexual, makes perfect sense to me, maybe those two can talk and be friends, then Kory can leave me alone for a few. But I don’t know, Annie’s a cheerleader and Kory’s in the band, they may not mesh well. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all goes.

One last time I do my best to get everyone’s attention, but my clapping does nothing so instead I start jumping up and down flapping my arms like a monkey with a wedgie.

“Everyone over here, before we load up you all need to meet Kory. Kory come here a minute.” Kory however is deaf and has no clue I’m trying to get her to acknowledge me. She’s too busy staring at the side of Annie head. I’m sure the blonde has a beautiful profile but I’m trying to organize things here. “Can someone get her to look at me please?”

Averman taps my neighbor on the arm and with a blush she turns to look at me. “Sorry.”

I nod and continue. “Guys this is Kory Montel, she’s new around here so be nice to her for the first couple days, then you can be yourselves. Kory, this is, Greg Goldberg, Lester Averman, Jesse Hall, Luis Mendoza, Joanna ‘you better call her Annie’ James, Fulton Reed, Taryn Anne MacDonald—” That earned me the angry munchkin face from Taz, haha she may be scary but I’m still bigger. “—Maya Hansen, Dean Portman, Adam Banks and you know me.”

Wow that took a lot of breath. I need a soda before you go. No wait, if I get a soda everyone else will want one and I’m not flying from Minnesota to Colorado with a caffeine high Taz. She’s likely to drive the pilot so crazy he crash just to ease his misery.

“Everybody get into your pre-assigned taxi please, so we can go.”

Ever try to get twelve people through check in, in less than thirty minutes? I just did, I’m never doing it again, but I did. That was of course after Taz took her spin on the luggage carrier and Fulton ‘accidentally’ smacked Portman in the back of the head with his skis. And I just realized something else, Adam’s claustrophobic and Fulton’s scared of flying. Oh man I hope the stewardess carries sedatives on her tray.

Adam sits down in a seat closest to the window so he can look out, and with a subtle grin I slip into the chair next to him. He smiles back and everything is good for less than a minute. The next thing I know there’s a ruckus next to me that sounds like cats fighting over a mouse, the analogy is pretty close to the real thing may I add. Only I’m the mouse and Kory and Taz are the cats, they’re both trying to force themselves into the seat next to me. Unfortunately for Taz, Kory’s got a good four inches on her and a few more pounds, it’s not too difficult for her to force the smaller girl out of the way. Aspirin please.

Taz goes back to sitting with Maya and I start rubbing my temples. It’ll be okay when we get there.

“She’s a bully!” Taz pouts and Maya shakes her head, reaching into her carry on for a notebook and pen. Then pen she pulls out is sparkly with little plastic butterflies inside, when you shake it, it looks like they’re flying. Instantly she hands it to her girlfriend and fishes a pencil out of her bag for herself. Maybe it’ll keep her occupied for a minute or two.

As we exit the plane Portman says something that Fulton immediately has to contradict.

“How are we all going to fit in a ski cabin anyway, aren’t they usually small?” the taller Bash Brother asks.

“It’s Banks’ grandfather’s genius, it’s probably got twenty bedrooms, six bathrooms and a butler.”

“Uh, it has six rooms and two bathrooms, guys. Three bedrooms and a bath upstairs and the same downstairs. There’s a fire place, though, and a hot tub. Very romantic.” Adam winks at me and the Bash Brother’s sneer.

“Kory’s deaf right?” Luis questions quietly as we stand waiting for our bags to unload.

“Yeah,” I reply confused.

“She’s rooming with Taz then.”

Averman laughs only to be kicked in the shins by the Purple Peril. I knew I liked that girl for a reason. But somehow I’m starting to think this was a bad idea.

[nextpage title=”Chapter 2: Portman’s POV by Star”]

“Well.” Banksie pushes open the door. “This is it.”

As we troop inside my jaw drops and shatters painfully on the perfectly polished stripped-wood flooring. To say this place is big is like saying Hitler was a teensy bit naughty. It’s like saying Tiny Tim’s family were moderately impoverished. It’s like saying Fulton and I are in a ‘snit’ with each other.

Naturally Taz is the first to find her voice. “Holy god. This is your cabin? It’s a palace.” She then grabs Maya’s hand and bounces forward to explore.

The entrance foyer is bigger than my Mom’s apartment. There’s a staircase straight ahead, to the side is a huge lounge, it’s straight out of a movie. There’s a fireplace to one end with—get this—a bearskin rug in front of it, couches litter the edges of the room. Then I catch sight of the walls.

“Just so you know, Banksie,” I say. “I’m morally opposed to them.” I point at all the stuffed animal heads mounted on plaques around the room.

“Typical,” Fulton mutters.

“What?” I snap, rounding on him. “I’ve been a vegetarian for eight years now. I don’t eat meat to live, so there’s no way I can condone people killing animals for fun.”

“Well, thanks for today’s morality lesson,” he replies in a bored tone. “Unfortunately, none of us care.”

“Hey, don’t go dragging us into it,” Maya says lightly. “Not with this fabulous place to explore.”

“You’re a lot mouthier than you were an hour ago on the plane. I think I liked you better when you were quivering like a girl—” this earns me an indignant ‘hey!’ from all girls present “—and praying to a god you don’t believe in that we wouldn’t crash.” He gives me a wounded look, and I realise that my last comment may have been a little below the belt. He can’t help being scared of flying. Then again, why should I care about his feelings when he doesn’t care about mine? If he cared about mine, he’d have asked for my side of the story before breaking up with me.

“Hey, I was praying that we wouldn’t crash too,” Annie interjects. “It’s always a good idea to get the Big Buddha on your side and if you’re that high up you’ve got a better chance of being heard. Now, can we go explore, because I’m dying to get in the hot tub that Banksie mentioned afterwards.”

Luis puts an arm around her and we move forwards through the living room. It leads to a kitchen that could successfully cater to the entire student body of Eden Hall. A door leads back to the hall, off that is three bedrooms and a bathroom.

Upstairs there are a further three bedrooms and yet another bathroom. This place is amazing, it’s exactly like I hoped it would be, although when I first signed up to come along, I had thought that Fulton and I would be together. I envisioned us spending the days skiing, and then the nights snuggling up together (and potentially doing X-rated stuff on that bearskin rug, just like those cheesy clichés). Of course, now we’ve split up, I can’t see myself enjoying this trip as much. I still want to ski, and the scenery is great, but it’s just not going to be as much fun now.

“Wow! Hot tub!” I hear an enthusiastic yell, followed by giggling, no doubt from Taz or Maya and it once again highlights that I’m not going to have the fun vacation that I wanted.

“I’m not rooming with him.” I hear a sudden declaration from my ex, coming from upstairs.

“Ok, you don’t have to,” Charlie says in a placating tone.

I suddenly realise the cause of the argument, Charlie and Adam will be sharing, Luis and Averman have always been roommates and won’t want to be separated. Jesse and Goldberg will be sharing. Taz and Maya—well, who’d want to separate them? It would mean putting someone else with Taz, and I presume Kory will be sharing with Annie—bad enough that she’s sharing with someone she doesn’t know, far worse if that unknown person was a guy.

So that leaves Fulton and I together, which was the original plan when we signed up for this. I wander up the stairs to join my irate ex and poor Charlie, who looks fit to collapse from the stress any second.

“I’m not sharing with you!” Fulton tells me before I’m even halfway up the stairs, just in case I missed it the first time he yelled it.

“Fine, don’t. I’m sure those couches downstairs will be plenty comfortable for you,” I reply with mock cheer and indifference.

“Why should I have to give up the room?” he snaps. “You can sleep downstairs.”

“You know what…” Charlie begins to edge away. “This is really between the two of you, I’ll just…”

I hardly notice him leave, despite the audible sigh of relief from him. “Why me? You didn’t have to come on this trip, you could have stayed home.”

“So could you,” He points out.

“I’m not sleeping on the couch!” I yell.

“Well I’m not either!” he yells back.

“Oh for the love of god, one of you kill the other, we’ll help you hide the body and then the rest of us can have a peaceful vacation!” Taz shouts up the stairs.

I realise that while my vacation is screwed, there’s no point in ruining it for the rest of them, one look at Fulton shows he’s come to the same conclusion.

“We’ll talk about this later,” he says gruffly and quickly walks away.

I sigh and follow him down the stairs, leaving enough space between us so he knows I’m not following him to talk, I just happen to need to go downstairs too. He heads towards the kitchen for some food, so I head the other way into the living room.

Annie is sprawled on the couch with Luis, giggling at something he’s saying, while Kory is sitting awkwardly by herself on the couch opposite. I notice that Annie keeps taking surreptitious glances at Kory, while listening to Luis.

“Problems?” Averman asks.

“Nope, we’re just dandy,” I reply sarcastically, then I regret being so harsh. It’s not Averman’s fault. “So, where are the others?”

“Well, Charlie and Adam are trying out the hot tub and Maya is checking Taz’s bags for art supplies of any kind,” Luis answers. “Jesse, Goldie and Averman are investigating the food situation. Although that’s scary, I hope Jesse can cook, because I know Averman can’t.”

“Fulton can,” I reply automatically. “He’s just headed that way.”

“Well, that’s a good thing,” Luis says. “We’re not going to die of food poisoning today.”

I take a seat next to Kory, and she gives me a shy smile. “So, Kory, are you going to be skiing?” I ask, then wonder if it’s a dumb question. I know that deafness would not affect her ability to ski, but would I like to be strapped to two planks of wood, hurtling down a mountain without being able to hear? “Taz won’t be,” I add hurriedly, to make it sound like my question is based on whether she wants to ski, not her disability. “She says it looks too athletic for her.”

Kory nods. “Actually, I will be. I like any form of sports.”

“Me too,” Annie chips in, then pauses until Kory is looking at her. “Although I’m a little scared of skiing, I don’t mind being tossed in the air by two girls my age in the gym, but skiing just seems a bit more extreme.”

“Why would you be tossed in the air?” Kory asks.

“I’m a cheerleader. Co-captain, actually,” Annie replies.

Kory gives her a surprised look. I guess Annie doesn’t act like the stereotypical cheerleader.

I lean back against the back of the couch as those who have skied trade stories and tips with those who haven’t, Charlie and Adam appear and join the conversation. I notice that this room is a lot more expensive than it appears on a first viewing. There are antique skies mounted on the wall and genuine Navajo rug adorns another wall. I can’t believe Banksie’s family are trusting us in this place.

Fulton pokes his head around the door. “We’re attempting to cook in here. Are there any objections to burgers? We’re starting small.” He flashes his grin at everyone except me.

“I have an objection,” I say firmly, and he knows what it will be. We were together for years, he knows that I’m vegetarian.

“Does anyone who counts have an objection?” he replies easily.

Damn him. Maybe it’s a good thing we broke up, how on earth did I fall in love with such an insensitive bastard? He doesn’t trust me, he doesn’t respect me (his ignoring my vegetarianism is just the tip of the iceberg)… yeah, it’s definitely for the best we’re apart.

I’m fine about this. Yeah, the break up was for the best. So what if I thought I loved him? Who cares that he’s the only person who knows me? What does it matter that he knows what’s going through my mind even before I verbalise my thoughts?

Who cares about all of that when he’s making me eat meat?

I sigh. I can’t even convince myself that I’m not missing him. I can’t even think of decent reasons why I might be glad we broke up.

Well, except for one…

“I’m not eating meat!” I yell.

“We have vegetarian burgers,” he says shortly, and without even a single glance in my direction he retreats to the kitchen, leaving me feeling oddly deflated.

I was all geared up for another fight then. I was just about to come up with a reason that I don’t need him.

This vacation sucks.

[nextpage title=”Chapter 3: Jesse’s POV by meme”]

Things have settled down now, Adam and Charlie went for a drive into town to pick up some last minute snacks for the rest of the week, the caretaker of the cabin only stocked the cupboard with healthy nutritious food when he heard we were coming. Kory followed them, I guess she didn‘t want to stay here without Charlie. And Portman and Fulton have finally stopped fighting, for now anyway. It’s quiet for the moment, Goldberg and Averman are in the kitchen polishing off the last of the Oreos Goldie had stored in his duffle, Taz and Maya taking their turn in the hot tub, Annie’s sitting at the bottom of the stairs trying to send Luis telepathic messages across the room and Portman’s sitting in a chair in front of the fire place reading.

I swear I leave the team for a few years and everything went straight to hell. I can’t remember when the Bash Brothers went from best friends to lovers, then to hating each other. I’m not sure when Banks and Charlie became the world’s idea of the perfect gay couple, or even when any of them met the adorable girls that have come to be their good friends. It makes me feel a little left out that I’d been separated from the group so long, but it was my own choice. I can understand to a small degree how Kory feels though, I’ve been feeling uncomfortable around them today. Of course I don’t feel as uncomfortable as she does, these are in fact my friends and I’ve known them for years.

But being away from the team does have one benefit, I can see things clearer almost like I’m someone on the outside. Like nobody’s supposed to notice that the Bash Brothers are obviously still completely infatuated with one another, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves otherwise. I never knew Fulton was afraid to fly either, when I heard that on the plane it was news to me. But I was just talking to him a few minutes ago and he told me ‘I’m not afraid of flying, I’m afraid of what will happen to my body when it hits the ground at that speed.’ That I can totally agree with.

I can tell that Banksie and Captain Conway aren’t as happy and in love as they pretend to be. Luis has come a long way from the cocky, suave girlfriend-stealing kid we met at the beginning or the Goodwill Games, having a strictly platonic relationship with a beautiful girl and the two year relationship he had with his ex, Mindy, he’s grown up. Goldberg and Averman however never change, they’re still buttheads. Though I’ve never known Averman to not like someone, the way he doesn’t like Taz. She just brings out the worst in our resident jokester. I don’t really know the girls real well but I’ve picked up on some things about them as well.

Firstly the little purple haired one is scary but her girlfriend is so mellow she balances her out and you can tell they’re as much in love as Charlie and Adam pretend to be. Annie is hot, when you think of your typical blonde cheerleader she’s what you imagine but as soon as she opens her mouth you know she’s not just a stereotype, she can actually walk and chew gun at the same time. Then there’s Kory, she’s the hardest to get, she hasn’t said more to me then ‘Can you pass the ketchup?’ at dinner. She seems like she doesn’t want to spend the entire week alone but doesn’t want to start a conversation with anyone, like she’s afraid to. Then you see how she looks at Annie and know she’s hoping to leave the cabin next week with a new friend. Lastly there’s the evident battle between her and Taz to be the receiver of Charlie’s attention.

With a content sigh I flop onto the couch and close my eyes, the fire place is crackling and the house is quiet. It’ll be nice to just relax. I feel a weight shake the couch and look up to see Luis has moved from the floor to the arm of the couch, still with an intense look of concentration on his face. I’m starting to wonder if my boy’s lost it, or he’s just humoring that Annie girl. I close my eyes again, squiggle further into the cushion and am just about to take a power nap when a door slams upstairs.

Fulton comes thundering down the staircase, nostrils flaring like a raging bull. I’m not exactly sure what has got him in such a tizzy, but I’ll put five on the idea that Portman did or didn’t do something. It’s a good thing Annie isn’t using all of her energy to mentally contact Luis and is paying enough attention to know when to move out of the smaller Bash Brother’s way. Personally I feel if she hadn’t he would’ve trampled over her without stopping. However now he’s standing in front of Portman waving his arms like a lunatic with what looks like paper in his hand.

“It’s bad enough I have to room with you, but you could at least have the courtesy to keep your smut out of my view.” With that he hurls a magazine at his ex’s head.

The magazine scarcely misses connecting with Portman’s skull before bouncing off the wall behind him and fluttering to the floor. Dean’s face lifts from the books he’s been reading and his eyes narrow.

“What are you yelling your fool head off about this time?”

“Keep your porn out of my room.”

“Firstly our room, secondly porn? What the hell are you talking about?” Portman snorts and leans over the arm of the chair to see what was thrown at him. “Sports Illustrated Fulton? Come on now that’s hardly porn. And it’s not mine.”

Luis gets up off the arm of the chair and fetches the magazine that Fulton had just chunked. “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, this is mine.”

“Then how did it get in our room. Walk?” Fulton crosses his arms.

“Taz took it away from me on the plane, she said it objectifies girls. She musta hid it in your room or something.”

“Once again you jumped to conclusions rather than just asking me what’s going on. If you had, you would know that’s not mine.” Portman cracks his knuckles and puts his book on the floor.

“Oh stuff it, Portman!” Fulton snaps.

“Believe me I’d love too, but we’re broken up remember.”

Annie, Luis and I all stifle giggles, point Dean Portman. He can be pretty spiteful when he’s mad, and funny too. It would almost be amusing if it weren’t a constant thing. Well no I take that back, this is funny right now, but if I have to deal with much more of it I will be forced to kill them both and burn the evidence in the fireplace. I think with the way it’s annoying everyone else nobody would turn me.

Fulton scowls and spits out. “Bite me.”

“Been there, done that.”

Suddenly we hear a girl’s voice and look up to see not Taz but Maya with a frustrated look on her face.

“Enough with the sexual allusions and childish arguing. Either make up or shut up because we’ve only been here seven hours and I’m already sick of it.”

I like that girl, I really do, she got them to shut up for five minutes. Too bad she’s a lesbian. Wipes away a tear. Just kidding, she’s cool and all but she’s not my type. Plus there’s the fact I have a girlfriend back home that would kill me if I even looked at someone else. But I am going to have to repay her somehow for that, maybe I’ll be her slave for the day or something, I’ll do it for the rest of the week if she can keep them quiet tomorrow too.

Charlie, Banks and Kory just walked in carrying grocery bags, lucky them missed out on the latest Bash Brother spat. But as soon as they enter the living room there’s another scene, this one involving Taz. The tiny girl is still sopping wet from her little adventure in the hot tub and vaults full speed at Charlie, who in turn lowers the grocery’s he’s carrying to brace for the collision with her.

“Charles, I missed you!” She leaps at him, nearly toppling him over.

Charlie puts her down, revealing the soggy imprint she left on the front of his shirt. “I was only gone like an hour Tazzie, I’m sure Maya kept you occupied for that hour.”

“I’ve been cooped up in here all day and you know how I get when I’m cooped up, plus you brought her with you.”

Kory shifts the bag she’s balancing on her hip and I wonder if she knows that their talking about her. I know she didn’t hear what was said, but if she read Taz’s lips there may be trouble. I’m not sure what kind of trouble, I mean from what I’ve seen of her she’s pretty mild mannered, but Charlie says she knows martial arts. I think if this jealous thing between them ever gets to a violent stage Kory would cream the other girl. Fortunately she simply shakes her head and goes into the kitchen to unpack.

I hope this ‘I’m Charlie’s best friend.’ crap gets over soon though. Between them and Portman and Fulton we could be a cheesy reality series. Thankfully the girls haven’t actually bickered, they’re just being cool to each other. I cannot wait to get out of this cabin and hit the slopes. By the end of the this I’m going to need to seek therapy.

We all hear glass breaking and look into the kitchen doorway to see Averman with a bottle in his hand and a shattered one at his feet, along with a deep red liquid that’s staining both his sneakers and the floor. Goldberg pops up behind, with two more identical bottles in his hands.

“Hey Banksie, did you know your grandpa has a wine cellar under the kitchen?” Averman asks as Annie jumps up and runs to a towel to sop up the wine that was now running all over the floor.

“Yeah, the door’s in the back of the pantry.” Banks nods.

“You knew there was liquor in the house and didn’t tell us?” Taz rolls her eyes and reaches for one of the bottles Goldie’s holding, before Charlie catches her around the waist and tosses her over his shoulder.

Goldberg smiles holding the bottle out in Taz’s direction and pulling it away right before she can grab it. “I say we pop the cork on one of these and get the party started.”

“And I say Averman cleans up the glass that’s now all over the floor, since he dropped it.” Charlie declares. “And whiles he’s doing that, I’ll find the corkscrew.”

Banks’ face sours but he says nothing, I guess he’s a little nervous about the thought of twelve drunk teenagers around all this expensive stuff. But it’s just us, really what can go wrong?

[nextpage title=”Chapter 4: Annie’s POV by Star”]

Notes: Three naughty words in here, not horribly offensive, but still, consider yourself warned.

I glance around the room. Portman, Taz and Maya are in one corner, sharing a bottle of white wine (red gives both girls headaches and Fulton said he like red best, so naturally Portman wanted white). They’re having a very crude conversation. Taz brought along a CD by a group called Atomic Kitten (some British teenybop) and cheerfully announced that her cousins call them Nuclear Pussy, Portman suggested Toxic Muff as another name, and the conversation has degenerated from there.

Averman is reciting the entire Corinthians/St. Paul letters thing by Eddie Izzard to Luis, Goldberg, Jesse and myself and we can’t stop laughing. If I wasn’t gay and Luis wasn’t available, I’d definitely want to date Averman, a sense of humor is very important.

Charlie looks distinctly uncomfortable. He’s sitting with Kory, Adam and Fulton, and—by the looks of it—trying to talk to everyone equally (whilst trying to smile at Taz on a regular basis). Poor guy. Fulton’s still in a raging huff with Portman, Adam looks to be feeling rejected by Charlie when he talks to Kory and Kory only knows Charlie, so it’s no wonder that she’s sticking close to him.

I down another large sip of my wine and sputter inelegantly when Averman says in tones of great indignation “You arrogant bastard! You wrote a letter to an entire city!”

“Nice one, Annie,” Luis says with a grin.

“Shut up.” I give him a shove and he falls of the couch.

Abruptly, the music changes (Portman, Taz and Maya are in charge) and It’s Raining Men comes on, loud enough to make the pictures on the walls shake. Taz bounces to her feet and offers her hand to Portman, to my surprise he accepts and they move to the center of the room for a dance. They’re friends, but not really close, they say hi to each other in the halls and occasionally do the small-talk thing, but they wouldn’t sit together in class. Also, he’s about a foot taller than her, so they made an odd couple. Although I must say, they’ve both been a lot nicer to each other since the Bash Lovers broke up.

Maya grins and takes Luis’ hand, hauling him off the floor for a dance.

“Come on, lads,” I say cheerfully. “One of you has to dance with me.”

It must be the wine, but they all offer. Jesse, Goldie and Averman and I join the four already dancing. Adam looks nervous, it’s just dancing, what harm could we do?

I notice that Kory is moving her shoulders to the music. I detangle myself from Jesse and dance over to the foursome sitting on the couch and offer my hand. Making sure she’s looking at me, I ask her to dance. She looks around then shrugs and smiles at me and gets to her feet.

“Most people wouldn’t ask a deaf girl to dance,” she comments when we find a space.

“I saw you moving to the music. Can you hear it?” I ask, interested.

“I can feel the beats through the floor. And I can hear some sounds,” she explains. “I suppose if you put your head underwater in the next room, you’d hear what I hear.”

Luis taps her on the shoulder. “Don’t give her ideas,” he says sternly. “I don’t want to find a dead Annie in this cabin.”

“He’s kidding,” I reassure her. “I wouldn’t drown myself trying.” But I might try it later. Just to see what it’s like. However, no need to alarm Luis.

Kory opens her mouth to reply, but is accidentally shunted forwards by an over-exuberant Taz. Kory reacts instantly with far more grace and agility than (I’m sorry to say) than half of my cheering squad. She slams her elbow backwards into Taz’s midriff and Taz stumbles back, the backs of her legs catching on the coffee table. She crashes down on it, snapping it in half as if it were made of matchsticks. Two bottles and three glasses of red wine go flying all over Taz and Charlie, Adam and Fulton, who had the misfortune to be sitting nearby.

I notice the deep, fluffy rug on the floor also gets a large amount of wine on it. It looks like someone got killed on it.

There are tears in Taz’s eyes, poor kid, that did look like it hurt. Then she bounces to her feet and rounds on Kory and I realize they are tears of frustration as well as pain. “Why the hell did you do that?” she demands angrily. “You stupid cow! I didn’t mean to bump into you, it wasn’t deliberate!”

“Look you grape-haired leprechaun, I’ve been trying to be polite and ignore you, but you’re making it really hard for me!” Kory replies, then turns bright red.

“So what, you throw me across the room to make your point!” Taz bellows at the same time as Kory tries to make a swift apology.

“Taz,” Charlie begins in a placating tone. Very sensible of him not to call her Taryn right now. “Kory didn’t mean to, it’s just her reflexes…”

“Oh, take her side why don’t you!” Taz snaps, and one of the tears that was refusing to fall finally gives up and trickles down her face. She turns back to Kory. “You’re ruining everything! You’re not supposed to be here! See, me and Maya, we’ve known the Ducks for ages, and Annie’s been Luis’ best friend since Freshman year, but you! You’ve known Charlie two minutes and you’re already taking over! You get to sit with Charlie in the cab and on the plane. You get to go shopping with him. What do I get? Told to be nice to you because you’re new and shy. Who cares? You’re ruining everything!” She turns angrily and runs out of the room.

Maya glances around the room, looking as if she wants to apologize, but can’t bring herself to be ‘disloyal’ to her girlfriend. Poor Maya, “gifted” with the ability to see things from everyone’s perspective. She in turn follows Taz.

I realize the whole room has stopped moving. Eventually Jesse moves towards the stereo and turns the music right down. This snaps several people into action.

“Oh god! Look at this rug!” Adam says in dismay.

“It’s just a stain, Banksie,” Fulton points out.

“That’s easy for you to say. I had to put my spleen up as collateral to get this place.” He sighs. “Have you ever met my Grandpa? He believes that thumbscrews and torture with hot pokers are lenient punishments.”

Kory exits the room without a word, her head held high. Charlie thinks on this for a few moments, then follows her.

Adam looks hurt. “You’re all so stupid!” he snaps abruptly. “You’re always doing stuff like this.” Then he also leaves the room.

“Ok,” Jesse says shakily. “That’s five swift exits in two minutes. Anyone else going to be offended then leave?”

“I’m going to see if there’s anything that will get rid of red wine,” I say, and tug Luis’ sleeve, indicating that he should come with me.

“Behold the weirdness,” he says when we’re in the kitchen, after checking that no-one is in earshot. “I almost felt sorry for Taz for about two seconds back then.”

“Ummm,” I say noncommittally, my head in the cupboard under the sink looking for some form of cleaning product that doesn’t contain bleach. While bleach would kill the stain, it would probably eat the rug, and I think Banksie really wants his spleen back.

“I didn’t realize that she was so spiteful though. I mean, I’ve seen her and Averman go head to head, but it never gets nasty like that,” He continues, filling a bucket with warm water.

“Poor kid was probably in pain. It can’t be fun to go through a table,” I point out. “Plus, she looks to be the jealous type. But I agree, what she said to Kory wasn’t nice. It’s not Kory’s fault that Charlie is the only one she knows. If I’d have come skiing with you guys after only knowing you for a couple of months, I’d be sticking to your side the whole time, so I can see her perspective. And I should imagine that she didn’t mean to launch Taz into outer space.”

“Annie, you do stick to my side at all times,” he replies with a grin and I stick my tongue out at him, before resuming my search. “And you’re certainly able to see both points of view,” he continues in a tone I know well. That’s Luis’ mocking tone. “You, Annie, the pig-headed girl who usually refuses to do so.”

“Maybe I’m growing as a person,” I say, my hand closing around a useful cleaning product. I grab some cloths and sponges too.

“Or maybe you have a crush. You only act reasonable when you’re crushing.”

“Yes,” I say sarcastically as I stand up. “I’m crushing on Taz. The girl who’s been happily ensconced in a relationship with one of my friends for over four years.”

“Annie.” Luis throws an arm over my shoulder. “I think you’re crushing on Kory.”

“I don’t have crushes,” I say sternly. “Remember the Bush Pig? I don’t do relationships. Or crushes. Or anything. It always ends badly.”

“You’re so jaded,” he says in a melodramatic tone as we return to the living room.

It’s a flurry of activity when we get back. Jesse has gone to talk to Banksie, Fulton and Portman are managing to move the sofa (without killing each other) so we can clean the wine that has seeped beneath it, Averman is collecting the broken glass and Goldberg is seeing if the coffee table is repairable.

“Looks like we’re cleaning,” I say with a tired smile. Right after this, I’m getting in the hot tub, then I’m crawling into bed and having a nice long sleep.

Luis mops up the wine spilled on the wood flooring and I tackle the rug, my mind on the hot tub. Nice, relaxing hot tub. And if Kory’s there, that will be nice too.

Not that I’m having a crush.

[nextpage title=”Chapter 5: Banks’ POV by meme”]

There’s a wine stain on my grandfather’s rabbit fur rug and my grandmother’s antique rosewood table is still in splinters on the floor. We’ve only been here sixteen hours!!

I can already hear the lecture I’m going to get when we get back. “I’m very disappointed in you, Adam. Your brother would never have allowed this to happen.” Yeah because my brother’s a winner all right, he should be sainted or something.

I’m so tired right now, I could snuggle up nice and warm under the kitchen table and take a long nap, but I think people are waiting for their breakfast. I was up all night trying to figure out who is responsible for this mess because somebody’s going to have to pay for it. Technically Taz’s trip through the table caused it all, but she wouldn’t have fallen if Kory didn’t push her. Still none of it would’ve happened if Averman hadn’t brought the wine up from the cellar. Oh god! *smacks self in forehead* Someone’s going to have to pay for the missing wine too. It’s going to be me, I can see it now. The price on the rug alone is probably more than most of my friends have saved for college.

I woke up this morning to the sound of a scream coming for the upstairs bathroom followed by Taz yelling. “Nobody look, I’m naked!” Then there was the skitter of feet and some Irish cursing. Someone is in trouble.

However after that Portman yelled up to her. “If I wasn’t gay before seeing that, I am now!” So I think after she kills Kory for whatever she did (I know it was Kory because everyone else knows her well enough to know, you don’t piss her off before noon) the larger Bash Brother may see some of her awesome wrath.

Oh well, I am looking forward to spending a nice relaxing day with Charlie, alone by the fire or in the hot tub. Annie somehow managed to convince Kory to hit the slopes with her and Luis, so today’s she’s my best friend. I think they’re taking Averman too, since Annie gets a kick out of him. Plus Luis needs some male company and he’s pretty close with Les these days. Taz is still mad at Charlie for sticking up for Kory last night and has been avoiding him like the plague all morning. I’m not sure which is more bruised, her butt or her ego. For once I may get my boyfriend’s undivided attention. The rest of the gang shouldn’t interrupt us either, Portman’s heading down to the lodge to sign up for ski-board lessons. Taz wants hot chocolate so she and her girlfriend are going down to the Snow Side Cafe, she doesn’t realize Maya plans on doing some skiing first and Fulton still determined to have the worst possible time will be locking himself in his room all day. That’s okay with me, I’m not getting involved this time, every time those two fight its cause for trouble for anyone that attempts to help. Wild buffalos couldn’t drag me into that situation. Jesse has made it very clear he’s not wasting another minute in the cabin when there’s fresh powder and hot snow bunnies out there. Unfortunately for him though he’ll be spending the day trying to teach Goldberg, who’s never skied before, to learn how to stand up.

I’m preparing breakfast before everyone takes off though, because I’m nice like that. Strangely though I’m actually cooking for everybody, because everyone is awake, even Taz and she’s not much of a morning person. Last I saw of her though I think she was making a gift for Kory, it’s a crown that says ‘Royal Pain’ on it. I’m amazed at what that girl can do with construction paper and glitter. I just hope there’s not another scene from the Matrix displayed in the pallor.

“Hey who wants to eat? I’m making corn beef hash and eggs.” I go to the doorway of the kitchen and stick my head out. Portman immediately shoots me a dirty look and I hold up my hands. “Don’t worry Dean, we bought you some of that imitation egg crap last night, it looks sort of like boogers, you might like it. As for the hash, you’re screwed.”

“You should’ve just let him starve,” Fulton sneers.

Luckily Goldberg is sitting on the rocking chair in the living room and decides to give us some comic relief. “Is the hash kosher?”

Now if you know Goldberg, you know he’s the most non-Jewish, Jew in the world. That starts and uproar of laughter and Portman doesn’t have a snappy come back yet anyway so it’s all good. 10:00 AM and no official arguments, I think that may be a record for us.

“So what was all the yelling about this morning, Taz?” I ask while setting some plates out on the table, she’s filling glasses with orange juice, I think because both Charlie and Kory are in the living room now and she’s trying to avoid them.

“Your boyfriend’s friend snuck into the bathroom and flushed the toilet while I was in the shower. First the water went to like a million degrees on me, then I practically froze. When I jumped out really quick I saw she stole my towel too. Little bitch.”

Sorry I asked.

“Corn beef hash?” Taz picks up an empty can that’s sitting on the counter and I turn my head.


“You’re making stew for breakfast, Banksie? I thought you had more class than that.”

“What are you talking about? That’s hash right there, Taz.” I gesture to the frying pan.

“That?” She leans over and crinkles her nose. “It looks like dog food.”

“Tastes like it too.” Portman yells in, Fulton instantly tells him to shut up.

“In Ireland it’s a stew, here it’s disgusting. And by the way pancakes are a dessert not a breakfast food. If you guys would have asked me that years ago, you would’ve known.”

Oh please don’t let her follow me around for the rest of the week.

After we eat they all get ready to go but not before Kory’s coronation. Taz makes a big deal of Kory having to sit in the prettiest chair we have before sticking the cardboard crown on her head. “Since you think you’re such a princess and since Charlie here kisses your butt like your humble servant, I hereby crown you ‘Princess Kory ‘The Snob’ Montel.”

Kory just sighs and waves her hands. “Off with her head.”

So much for the calm day I was hoping for.

[nextpage title=”Chapter 6: Fulton’s POV by Star”]

“I thought you’d learnt your lesson about drinking from last night,” I say, eying Taz sternly. We’re sitting in the hot tub hating everyone that is currently skiing, and Taz is desperately trying to convince herself that she likes Manhattan Cocktails. She bought a bottle of it from the shop up at the main lodge and some of those little umbrellas, then got in the hot tub, after forcing me to agree to join her.

“I really wanted Sex on the Beach, but I kept blushing,” she explains, taking an experimental sip, wincing and forcing herself to smile. “I just thought it would be nice to have a drink while sitting in the hot tub.”

“Yes, a drink you quite obviously hate,” I say disagreeably.

“Well, you try some. It’s bloody horrible. I bet you wouldn’t like it either,” she retorts.

“Won’t Maya be missing you?” I ask. I’m really not in the mood for company. Hence I stayed here today, I thought I’d have some peace and quiet with everyone out, but then Taz came back early, and I know better than to refuse her anything. A refusal just encourages her more.

“Nope, she joined Goldberg and Jesse on the easy slopes,” she replies. “She and Goldie picked it up really quickly actually. I felt quite abandoned, hence I’m here. You know—”

Taz breaks off as we hear the front door to the cabin slam and a curse of extremely offensive expletives, used with great fluency and creativity.

“I didn’t even know you could do that with a hockey stick…” she murmurs looking a little dazed.

I know exactly who is cursing. The dreaded ex. Of course, he’s not usually that imaginative unless something is wrong—really wrong, not just annoyed with me. “Stay here,” I tell Taz as I get out of the hot tub and wrap a towel around my waist. “And another thing, stay here. I know I’ve just said the same thing twice, but it’s fairly important and you might have missed it the first time around.”

I go through the cabin and into the entrance hall where Portman is leaning against a wall, crutches attached to each arm, resting one foot that is bandaged tightly. He looks mightily annoyed. “What happened?” I ask in a neutral tone.

“I fell,” he replies shortly. “So laugh it up.”

“I’m not going to laugh.” I tell him. “Come on, if you have a seat on the couch, I’ll get you a drink and some toast with synthetic scrambled eggs on top.” Portman can be a bit of a baby when he’s unwell or injured, and I know just how to treat him.

“I don’t need your pity!” he snaps angrily as I move to take his arm to help him.

“It’s called compassion,” I retort. “I know you’re not overburdened with it, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is lacking.”

“Sorry, Fult…” He pauses for a few seconds, then changes the subject abruptly. “So, why are you naked?”

“I’m hardly naked, I was in the hot tub earlier.” I offer him my arm and this time he takes it. “Taz is still in there, convincing herself she likes Manhattans.”

“Oh!” His eyes light up. “I like Manhattans.”

I give him a stern look. “Nobody likes Manhattans.”

He backs down. “Ok, so I don’t. But I could if I wanted to.”

Another thing about Portman when he’s hurt, he likes to be difficult and contrary. “Do you want a Manhattan? I could ask Taz, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”

Portman collapses inelegantly on the couch and I help him rest his injured foot on the remaining undamaged coffee table. “No, best not,” he decides. “I’ve had painkillers.”

If he wasn’t so frustrating, he’d be amusing. I used to love it when he acted like this. Of course that was before I found out that he was a lying, cheating scumbag.

“So, what do you want to drink?” I ask, then reluctantly add, “I brought your brand of mint tea. I thought you might forget and nobody else knows which one you like best…” I trail off feeling foolish.

“Thanks,” he says softly. “But why don’t you sit down and talk to me instead?” He rubs his eyes.

He suddenly looks really tired and in a not insubstantial amount of pain. Like the big softie I am, I cave and take a seat beside him. It’s been months since we had a conversation that doesn’t consist of hurling insults and accusations at top volume at each other. Actually, it’s kind of awkward now he’s said that. I can’t think of a single thing to say that wouldn’t put us right back to the yelling stage.

“If I say something, do you promise not to yell?” he says, eyeing the ceiling as if it holds the answers to the meaning of life.

It’s on the tip of my tongue to say something along the lines of ‘it depends what you want to say’, which is a perfectly reasonable answer, but would probably result in yet another yelling match. “Sure.”

“You should have trusted me,” he says.

I can already feel my temper bubbling up. I take a deep breath and try for a neutral tone. “I should?” I can only manage two words without exploding.

“Yeah, you should,” he says firmly. “If you thought I was cheating on you, why didn’t you just confront me instead of rummaging around in my stuff like a sneak?” The look on his face tells me that he didn’t mean to say the last part out loud, but I don’t care.

“I wasn’t sneaking!” I snap. “I was tidying. And if you weren’t hiding stuff and screwing around we wouldn’t have this problem.”

“I was not screwing around!” he yells.

“What, if it was with a girl it doesn’t count?” I throw out spitefully. It’s been eating away at me for ages that not only did he cheat on me, he cheated on me with a girl.

“You really don’t believe me, do you?” he asks. “So much for all that trust we were supposed to have. I’ve told you a hundred times I never cheated on you and I never would. Although right now I wish I had!”

“We broke up, Portman!” I yell, getting to my feet. “You can cut the bullshit now!”

“I’m not lying!” he yells back, just as loud, as I make my way towards the stairs. “But if I was, wouldn’t it be time to stop whinging about it since we’re broken up?”

I don’t reply, but continue up the stairs, not stopping until I reach my—our—room. I slam the door and a picture falls off the wall, the glass shattering.

I don’t know when Portman became such a pathological liar. But I know he’s lying about cheating on me.

Because I found one of the steamiest love letters I’ve ever read tucked inside one of his books when I was packing our stuff away at the end of the school year. You would not believe what this girl wanted to do to him. He claimed that he had never cheated on me and then accused me of going through his stuff. I didn’t, the letter fell out as I picked up the book.

I can’t work out what’s worse; the fact that if I hadn’t found that letter, I’d still be with him, cheerfully oblivious, or the fact that I wish I hadn’t.

[nextpage title=”Chapter 7: Kory’s POV by meme”]

Ugh, I’m certain if I were to kill that girl this week I can’t be tried for homicide because I’m convinced she’s not human. Okay so maybe I’m over reacting a little, but still, I think I have the right to be frustrated. Do you know what she did? I excused myself from the table to go to the bathroom during dinner and while I was away and nobody was looking she poured almost an entire shaker of pepper in my soup. I in turn dumped it over her head and left the kitchen in a huff. I’m sure if anyone asks her why she did it she’ll say it was pay back for the fact that I used a few pages out of a book on the rarest butterflies in Ireland that she was reading as kindling for the fire place. But that was only because she was stumbling around drunkenly earlier and kicked my violin case across the room, luckily the violin wasn’t inside, it still irked me though. Life’s a bitch and so am I, if you fuck with me, you have to die. Furthermore who in their right mind would sell that girl alcohol? Firstly you have to be twenty-one to buy liquor in the states which we’re not and secondly she doesn’t even look as old as she is.

I’ve been up in the room I’m sharing with Annie for about an hour now and not a single person has come to check on me, not even Charlie. What is it with these people? Can’t they see she’s the devil incarnate? But I guess in a way Taz is right, I did just come along, maybe I shouldn’t be here. But then I look at it like this, Charlie and Adam invited me for a reason so they must want me here. And from what Annie was saying to me on the slopes earlier, Averman hates Taz, and Luis, Goldberg and Jesse can take or leave her. So that means she’s not everyone’s favorite person either and I’m not going to let her chase me away from my vacation.

Have I mentioned how totally gorgeous my roommate is? She is and smart and funny. She seems pretty clingy to that Latin kid though, Luis I think his name is. I wonder if they’re a couple, no one has said they are, but no one has said they aren’t either. I could ask Charlie but I’m not talking to him right now, he didn’t say a thing to the purple pest after her pepper in my soup stunt. So needless to say he’s on the shit list. I guess I could ask either Annie or Luis, but if they are a couple it would make things weird. I’ll just keep quiet until I find out for sure, then even if they’re not together the odds that Annie’s gay are small.

Right now I’m working on my to do list of things I have to get done before school starts, of course I’ve been a bit distracted so it looks like this at the moment:

  1. Buy pencils and pens
  2. Get cute Doc Martins I saw in store window before we left
  3. Kill Taz
  4. Have hair trimmed
  5. Secure alibi
  6. Beg parents to let me stay in dorm
  7. Remind Charlie he promised to drive me in the first day
  8. Convince Annie she likes girls
  9. Pick out free piece for band try outs
  10. Find perfect first day outfit
  11. Write Holly in Georgia and ask what teachers she has this year
  12. Convince Annie she likes me

Not exactly the most productive list I know, but personally I would enjoy accomplishing everything on it. I feel someone tap me on the shoulder and turn to see Maya behind me. Funny I didn’t think she was permitted to talk to me, I bet her girlfriend doesn’t know she’s in my room though. I feel sort of bad for poor Maya, she seems so nice and she’s stuck with Satan in female form as a lover. She has my pity.

“The news channel said there’s snow heading our way, so we’re all going to go skating on the pond behind the cabin before it gets covered. Do you want to come?” she asks uncomfortably, no doubt Taz has instructed her not to invite me.

I have to think a minute before I can answer. Skating will give the violet haired villain the perfect excuse to knock me over or crash into me again like she did the other night while we were dancing. Violet haired villain you like that? I’ve got a bunch more, my amethyst enemy, my fuchsia foe, the lavender louse and just for fun Taryn the Terrible. Still I would like to get out of this room. Maybe Annie will skate with me, or Charlie will come to his senses and apologize for not defending me at supper. I might as well go.

“Sure, I’ll be down in a sec.”

“Okay, I’ll make sure someone waits for you.” As Maya leaves I run over to the closet and take out my brand new skates, I just bought then for this trip. I haven’t ice skated since I was like six, when the violin came into my life other things sort of faded out, I hope it’s like riding a bike and once you learn you never forget.

As I step out the back door onto the patio I look out towards the woods behind the cabin and notice how dark it is. I’m not a big fan of the dark, not being able to hear makes it a thousand times worse when you can’t see and vice-versa. Standing on the steps looking around for whoever is supposed to be waiting for me, I can barely see more than three feet ahead of me. If it weren’t for the patio light mounted above the outside door, there’d be no illumination at all. I feel my blood begin to pump faster and am about to escape back into the brightly lit confines of the cabin when I sense someone next to me. With a slight turn of the head I see Luis and Annie on the bottom step waiting for me, she’s even pretty in the dark.

“We were just about to give up and go without you, Kory.” Luis says with a smile.

“Yeah, we thought maybe you decided to stay in and avoid Taz.” Annie adds. “I know that’s what she was hoping for.”

I giggle and toss my skates over my shoulder.

“There’s no way I’m letting an escaped extra from The Wizard of Oz ruin my vacation.”

“Good, shall we go then?” Luis gestures toward the path that leads into the trees where the pond is and we start walking.

The two are a few paces in front of me so I watch them as we walk. They’re so close together their shoulders are touching and their hands are brushing as they swing gently between them. I conclude they must be a couple. But then if they are a couple, wouldn’t they just hold hands and get it over with? I’m over analyzing this I know, it’s a habit, I just want a clear sign. Maybe I should’ve stayed in the cabin and practiced my violin, then I wouldn’t be forced to watch this.

“Guys I know I sound like a big baby,” I begin “but I’m not too fond of the dark, do you mind if I walk between you? It would make me feel so much safer.”

They look quickly at each other and grin spitting apart without a word. I thankful for that because I never would be able to read their lips in this darkness. Is it wrong that I just did that? Oh why am I asking, I don’t care. I’m tired of always being nice, nice guys finish last.

Swiftly we find the pond where just about everyone else has already taken to the ice. Portman who’s still in pain from his accident and Taz who thinks it should be outlawed (funny I feel the same way about her) are both sitting out however. The sight around the pond is spectacularly beautiful, there must be a zillion Christmas light twinkling like baby stars in the trees and a handful of hurricane lanterns are hanging here and there as well, it’s so romantic. Plus I can actually see now, which is a good thing. There’s a picnic table by the frozen water and I wonder if maybe Adam’s family comes here in the warm weather months as well for family reunions or something. I can just picture the Banks clan swinging happily from the tire swing or splashing in the water as the grownups play horseshoes and flip burgers on the grill. Well maybe not, I’ve had the misfortune of meeting Adam’s brother and he doesn’t fit into the ideal fifties sitcom family I envision.

I sit down on the opposite side of the picnic table as Taz and Portman and lace my skates. I don’t say a word to either because Portman looks crabby and we all know how I feel about purple peril as the boys call her. Charlie skates over in our direction and reaches over grabbing Taz by the hips and carrying her to the center of the ice where he starts spinning in circles with her in his arms. When my new skates are tight on my feet I step out onto the ice, promptly falling on my butt. All right I guess it’s possible to forget how to skate, not to mention the fact I must look like such a fool right now.

“You look like you could use a hand.” Jesse holds out his hand and hoists me to my feet.

I dust the ice flakes off my ass and smile bashfully.

“Thanks, gravity is out to get me.”

“Need some help?”


He wraps an arm around my waist and steadies me slightly. I have to admit that on top of being attractive he smells good as well, if I wasn’t so smitten with Annie I could potentially get interested in him. And he hasn’t tripped me or let me fall once, this is good.

I watch as Charlie passes Taz to Fulton, Fulton tucking her under his. He starts off again coming in mine and Jesse’s direction as Fulton continues holding Taz like a sack of potatoes.

Charlie skids to a stop in front of us.

“Wanna go for a spin?”

“No thanks,” I reply. “Why don’t you go skate with Adam? He looks lonely.”

Banks is standing on the other side of the ice looking longingly at Charlie. I bet he thought he’d be getting his boyfriend’s undivided attention tonight, but no such luck.

“Or you could go rescue Fulton from Taz bro.” Jesse gestures across the ice to where Taz is pitching a fit, kicking and yelling. She then knocks Fulton off balance, the two falling. They trip Luis and Averman who in turn fall as well and all three guys wind up on top of Taz. I’m certain she’s getting thoroughly squashed right now. You know what though? That’s the best thing that’s happened to me all vacation.

[nextpage title=”Chapter 8: Goldberg’s POV by meme”]

The little flurry we were supposed to get last night turned out to be more then we bargained for. There’s ten inches out there already and it’s still falling. The blizzard knocked out the cable and now we can only get two channels on the living room TV, one’s the Spanish network and the other has been playing a Star Trek marathon all afternoon. Luis had been watching some Spanish soap opera for a while, but then the Bash Brother’s muscled him out of the remote. Now Portman and Fulton are arguing over who’s better looking, Captain Kirk or Captain Packard. I mean they’re actually bickering over William Shatner and Patrick Stewart, it’s pitiful. And I’m bored, bored, bored, I’m hungry and bored.

I should get up and make something for lunch, I’m pretty sure it’s my turn to cook, but I don’t wanna move. You know how when you’re bored you get tired and when you’re hungry you get tired? Well I’m both so I have no desire to get out of this rocking chair. I look around the room to see if any of my friends appear too ripe to guilt into preparing some food. Let’s see, Averman and Banks are playing poker (good move on Averman’s part; Banks sucks at cards but he’s got tons of money to lose), Charlie’s playing with his Game Boy, Kory’s composing some music, Jesse’s listening to her intently and Luis and Annie are huddled in the corner giggling again, Taz and Maya are still upstairs. Hmm, who’s the best target?

Finally I just give a universal announcement.

“It’s lunch time guys, someone should go make something to eat.”

“I think the chore chart says it’s your turn to cook, Goldie,” Averman replies, putting down three of a kind.

“I don’t know how to cook, guys,” I lie. “So if you want me to poison you all, I guess I’ll go start.”

“Your parents own a restaurant, Goldberg. How can you not know how to cook?” Luis gives me a disbelieving look. Darn parents had to open that stupid deli and trap me here.

“No, my parents own a delicatessen, all I ever get to make is sandwiches.”

“We can handle sandwiches,” Charlie declares.

Portman adds, “PB and J for me.”

Cursed, okay, I guess that means I’m going to make lunch. With a creak I rise from the rocking chair and start toward the kitchen. There’s four different kinds of meat in the refrigerator, three cheeses and two types of bread. So I stagger back to the living room to take orders, just in time to see a sleepy eyed Taz, with purple hair sticking out everywhere stumble down the stairs in fuzzy bunny slippers. Somebody should let her know morning was a few hours ago. The girl shakes her head at Charlie and rolls her eyes at Kory before sitting down crossed-legged on the floor. Kory doesn’t seem to care though, she just tosses the pad she’s writing on down onto the ‘coffee table’ (we put it back together as best we could, thank god for super glue) and picks her violin back up. That however is a very bad idea.

As soon as the paper is within Taz’s eye shot she recognizes it as her sketchpad.

“You sneaky little rat!”

She screeches so loud even Kory jumps and drops her violin.


“You stole my sketchpad!” The purple haired girl storms over to the couch Kory and Jesse are sitting on and leans in nose to nose with the other girl.

“I did not, it was just sitting there on the table, I didn’t even know it was yours.”

“You did too you liar, you’re just trying to get under my skin and make me angry.”

“Oh take the stupid pad,” Kory snaps picking it up and shoving it straight into Taz’s chest. “I don’t need it that much.”

The room is totally silent as Taz takes her paper and storms back up the stairs in the direction of her bedroom. The situation is pretty tense so I decide to lighten the mood.

“So who wants wheat bread?”

Yup only I could think of food at a time like this, we’re stranded and hating each other. But news flash, I’m fat, food is what fat people think about. My list of things that I think about are, hockey, food, girls and umm food. Yup, your basic overweight teenage boy’s desires. What can I say, unlike Annie, I live up to stereotypes. But I’m not even the weirdest one. In fact I’m thinking over becoming a shrink just to make money from my friends. Charlie has control issues, Banks is claustrophobic, Fulton’s afraid of flying and Kory’s scared of the dark. Plus I’m convinced Taz has ADD, Luis has a narcissism complex, and Maya suffers from self-esteem issues, she’s always complaining about her butt. Compared to them, I’m fairly normal.

After I’ve served the meal everyone goes back to what they were doing previously, including our feuding enforcers. Though now I’m not sure what they’re actually fighting about, I think it maybe their relationship.

“Girls don’t count right, Dean?” Fulton asks bitterly.

Portman retorts with, “You are so thick headed.”

It continues for a few more minutes before they’re argument is interrupted by a ear piercing shriek, then the thundering of Kory chasing Taz down the stairs, with Maya following behind them. Kory catches Taz by the arm and spins her around, then total mayhem ensues.

The two start shoving each other back and forth, Taz yelling a fast pace version of Irish and I’m assuming is swearing. Everyone is stunned at first and it takes a second before someone breaks them apart. Charlie grabs Kory around the waist and tugs her to the other side of room while Fulton picks up Taz and tosses her over his shoulder. Both girls continue to kick and holler and they’re yanked away. Unfortunately for Banks as his boyfriend backs up he collides with an end table and sends the Tiffany lamp that’s sitting on it to the floor. Of course it shatters on impact. Adam hops up, mutters something about needing a valium and disappears into their bedroom for the rest of the day.

“Alright you two, what the hell’s going on here?!?” Our captain demands.

“She painted a huge purple butterfly on my violin case!” Kory indicts

Taz practically growls. “She used all of my paper to write some stupid song, I needed something to draw on.”

“Ugh, must pummel purple pain.” Kory struggles harder in Charlie’s arms.

“Must pummel purple pain?” Luis raises his eyebrows.

I laugh. “Try saying that three times fast.”

“Okay you two knock it off,” Fulton orders. “Violence is never the answer.”

Portman speaks up. “Unless you’re bigger than everyone else.”

“Easy for you to say you are bigger than everyone else,” Averman calls in from the kitchen where he’s supposed to be washing dishes.

“Wait a minute, Tazzie where did you get paint?” Maya breaks in.

“I found some in a box marked ‘arts and crafts’ in the closet,” her girlfriend responds.

“Okay honey, well let’s go back upstairs and throw that away.” Then she walks over to Kory and says “And you stop picking on my girlfriend you bully.” Maya stomps down hard on Kory’s foot and both she and Taz wiz back up to their room.

And as if the day isn’t going bad enough Averman comes back from the kitchen dripping grayish water.

“Does anyone know how to fix a dishwasher?”