Authors: Cylin Busby
For the Jennies at the JCC
(and Molli, too)
It's another cold, gray day when you get to school on Thursday morning. Winter break is just two weeks away, but before you can relax and take some time off from school, there are all those end-of-the-semester tests, papers, and projects due. Thank goodness it's the school ski trip this weekend, otherwise you'd be going out of your mind with stress! Before you even go to your first class, you head over to the main bulletin board to check out the sign-up sheet for the ski trip one more time.
“I can't believe it's finally here!” your friend Heather says as she comes up behind you. “Tomorrowâno school, we just hit the mountain. I cannot wait!”
“Look at this,” you say, pointing to one name on the list.
“Dan's going? Wasn't he, like, in love with you last year?” Heather jokes, and you have to laugh.
“I guess so.” You grin. “But now I hear he likes somebody else.”
Heather blushes. “I don't know about that!” “Oh please, he follows you around everywhere, just like he used to do with me,” you say, but Heather just looks down at her shoes shyly. “And I'm getting the feeling that you might like him backâ¦.”
“Maybe just a little,” she admits, pinching her thumb and forefinger together.
“I guess a romantic ski trip to the snowy slopes will help you figure it out!” you joke, hooking your arm through hers. “We better get to class,” you say, just as the warning bell rings.
“Did you hear that Marshall High is also going to Mount Frost this weekend?” Heather asks you with a sly grin.
“You know I did,” you say back, “because you're the one who told me!”
“I just can't help wondering if a certain former crush is going to be there,” Heather goes on.
“Look, I haven't seen Mitch since he moved away over the summer,” you explain. “ It's been
months.” You stop outside the door to your classroom. “And just because his new school is going on this trip, it doesn't mean
going to be there.”
“Uh-huh,” Heather says, cocking her head to one side. “So the thought hasn't even crossed your mind? You and Mitch, sipping hot chocolate, talking about those long days at the pool last summer, that time when you almost kissedâ¦”
You move to swat her with your backpack, but she jumps back just in time. “Knock it off!” You laugh. “Seriously, what if he's not even there?”
“I have a feeling he will be,” Heather teases as the final bell rings. “Eek! I'm late!”
“Call me tonightâlet's talk about what we're going to pack, okay?” you yell after her as she races down the hall.
“Okay! Later,” she yells back.
Very early the next morningâwhen it's still practically dark outâyou meet up with Heather and all the other students going on the ski trip.
“I feel like a snowman in this thing,” Heather says, patting the front of her big, puffy white jacket.
“I know what you mean,” you say, zipping up
your own coat. Mrs. Bulow, the teacher who organized the trip, comes over to the group crowded around the bus.
“Everyone, listen up!” she says, clapping her gloved hands together. “I'm going to be the head chaperone on this trip. If you have any problems or issues, come to me.”
“I have an issue,” Heather whispers to you. “I'm freezing to death! When do we get on the bus?”
You can feel your feet getting numbâit
a really cold morning.
“We have two other teachers coming along on the trip, and we have four seniors from the school who have volunteered to be junior chaperones.” Mrs. Bulow points to the guys standing next to her. “This is James,” she says, introducing a tall guy with dark hair. “And this is Glenn,” she goes on, “and Max,” she says, pointing to a blond guy in a puffy down vest standing next to her. “And, of course, Cathy.” She motions to the petite girl on her other side. “All of these students are seniors and have been on the school ski trip in the past. And they are all excellent skiers.”
“Excellent indeedâ¦,” you hear Heather murmur next to you.
“Shhhhh,” you whisper back, but she's rightâ the guys are all amazingly hot.
“What?” Heather says. “Like you wouldn't die for that guy to ride the chairlift with you?” She nods at the dark-haired senior.
You take another glance at himâjust when he happens to look your way! You quickly look down.
“Busted!” Heather says under her breath. You feel your cheeks turning even redder as Mrs. Bulow goes on.
“Respect the junior chaperones. They are not just fellow students; they are here to look out for you. Treat them exactly the same way you would treat us teachers,” she says, motioning to the two other teachers standing near her.
Heather starts doing a little dance from one foot to the other, trying to keep warm, just as Mrs. Bulow happens to look over. “Does anyone need to use the bathroom before we go?” she asks, and a few of the boys in the group start laughing. “It is a two-hour trip,” she says, looking pointedly at you and Heather.
Heather stops hopping. “ Ohman, could she embarrass us more?”
“I know it's cold out hereâlet's line up and
climb on the bus!” Mrs. Bulow finally says, and everyone races for the door. When you and Heather finally make your way up the stairs into the bus, almost every seat is taken. “Here?” Heather says, pointing to a seat right behind the driver. It's not exactly the best seat, but you don't really have any other choiceâthe bus is totally packed.
When everyone is sitting, Mrs. Bulow comes onboard. “We have a tiny problem,” she starts. “I need to ride on the bus, too, but as you can see, it's full. So I need someone to give me their seat and ride up to the mountain in the van with the junior chaperones.”
“Let's do it,” Heather whispers to you, nudging your arm.
“We'll volunteer,” you say quickly. “Heather and I don't mind.”
“Yeah, no problem,” Heather agrees, standing up and grabbing her backpack.
“Sorry, girls, I only need
of you to give up your seat,” Mrs. Bulow points out. “And there's only room for one person in the van, too. But if you don't mind going alone”âshe looks directly at youâ “this seat
be perfect for me, right up front where I can keep an eye on everyone.”
You look over at Heather. “It's up to you,” she says, though you're sure she'd rather not have to sit by Mrs. Bulow for the two-hour bus ride. You can't help thinking about that junior chaperone, James, and how cool it would be to get to know him better. You look back at Heather. It
just a ride up the mountain, after all, and you'll get to hang out with Heather for the rest of the weekendâ¦.
“Let's get a move on here!” the bus driver says, turning around to look at you. “In or out, missy?” He pulls the handle to open the bus door, and a rush of cold air comes in, hitting your face. You take a deep breath and decide toâ¦
Join the junior chaperones in the van.
“I think I'd rather stay on the bus with my friend,” you tell Mrs. Bulow.
“I'll go,” a guy sitting across from you quickly volunteers.
“Perfect!” Mrs. Bulow says. “See you up there, suckers!” the guy yells as he goes out the door of the bus.
“What a loser,” Heather whispers to you. “He's probably right, thoughâthe van will make it up there a lot faster than this old bus,” you say.
“Are you wishing you'd gone in the van?” Heather asks, looking hurt.
“No, I'm just sayingâ¦,” you start, but then notice someone leaning over youâit's Dan.
“Hey,” he says, pushing his shaggy blond hair back from his eyes. “I was just wondering if maybe I could sit with Heather,” he asks, looking at you.
“Umâ¦” You're about to say no, but then notice that Heather is giving you a hopeful look. Maybe
you should have gone in the van after all!“ Sure, I can move,” you mumble.
“Great!” Heather says. “I was sitting right back there.” Dan points back to the only empty seat, and you make your way down the aisle as he sits next to Heather. When you get to the back of the bus, you realize that Dan had been sitting with this cute guyâall you know about him is that he skipped a grade and he's supposed to be super smart.