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“I promise.”

“I’m so glad you’re doing this. It’s good for you to try new things.”

I smile weakly. If he only knew what went down at the ski trip, he wouldn’t be so glad then. Then I spot Peter and his friends messing around outside by the charter bus. “Thanks for the ride, Daddy. See you tomorrow night.” I give him a peck on the cheek and grab my duffel bag.

“Zip up your coat,” he calls out as I shut the car door.

I zip up my coat and watch his car drive off. Across the parking lot, Peter’s talking to Genevieve. He says something that makes her laugh. Then he sees me and gestures at me to come over. Genevieve walks away, looking down at her clipboard. When I get there, he takes my duffel bag off my shoulder and puts it next to his. “I’ll put this on the bus.”

“It’s freezing,” I say, my teeth chattering.

Peter pulls me in front of him and puts his arms around me. “I’ll keep you warm.” I look up at him like so cheesy, but his attention is somewhere else. He’s watching Genevieve. He snuggles against my neck, and I squirm away from him. “What’s with you?” he asks.

“Nothing,” I say.

Ms. Davenport and Coach White are looking through kids’ bags—Ms. Davenport’s doing the girls and Coach White is doing the boys. “What are they looking for?” I ask Peter.

“Alcohol.”

I whip out my phone and text Chris.

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Don’t bring alcohol! They are checking!

No response.

Are you awake??

Wake up!

But then her mom’s SUV pulls into the parking lot and she stumbles out of the passenger seat. She looks like she just woke up.

What a relief! Peter can talk to Genevieve all he wants; I’ll be sharing a seat with Chris and eating the snacks I packed. I have strawberry gummies and the wasabi peas that Chris loves, and Pocky sticks.

Peter groans. “Chris is coming?”

I ignore him and wave at her.

Genevieve’s standing by the bus with her clipboard when she spots Chris too. She has a big frown on her face. She marches right up to Chris and says, “You didn’t sign up.”

I run over to them and hover next to Chris. In a small voice I say, “In the announcements last week they said there were still spots left.”

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“Yeah, that you had to sign up for.” Genevieve shakes her head. “I’m sorry, but Chrissy can’t come if she didn’t sign up or give a deposit.”

I wince. Chris hates being called “Chrissy.” She always has. She started going by Chris as soon as we got to high school, and the only people who still call her that are Genevieve and their grandma.

Peter shows up beside me out of nowhere. “What’s going on?” he asks.

Folding her arms, Genevieve says, “Chrissy didn’t sign up for the ski trip, so I’m sorry, but she can’t come.”

I’m panicking, but all the while Chris is smirking and saying nothing.

Peter rolls his eyes and says, “Gen, just let her come. Who gives a shit if she didn’t sign up?”

Her cheeks flush with anger. “I didn’t make the rules, Peter! Should she just get to come for free? How is that fair to everybody else?”

Chris finally speaks. “Oh, I already talked to Davenport and she said it was cool.” Chris makes a kissy face at Genevieve. “Too bad, Gen.”

“Fine, whatever, I don’t care.” Genevieve turns on her heel and spins off in Ms. Davenport’s direction.

Chris watches her go, grinning. I tug on her coat sleeve. “Why didn’t you say so from the beginning?” I whisper.

“Obvi because it was more fun that way.” She slings her arm around my shoulder. “It’s going to be an interesting weekend, Covey.”

Worried, I whisper, “You didn’t bring any alcohol, did you? They’re checking bags.”

“Don’t worry about me. I’m covered.”

When I give her a dubious look, she whispers back, “Shampoo bottle filled with tequila at the bottom of my bag.”

“I hope you washed it out really well! You could get sick!” I’m envisioning Chris and company trying to take shots of bubbly tequila and then having to go to the hospital to get their stomachs pumped.

Chris ruffles my hair. “Oh, Lara Jean.”

We file onto the bus and Peter slides into a seat in the middle and I shuffle forward. “Hey,” he says, surprised. “You’re not going to sit with me?”

“I’m sitting with Chris.” I try to keep walking down the aisle, but Peter grabs my arm.

“Lara Jean! Are you kidding me? You have to sit with me.” He looks around to see if anybody’s listening. “You’re my girlfriend.”

I shake him off. “We’re breaking up soon, aren’t we? We might as well make it look more realistic.”

When I slide into the seat next to her, Chris is shaking her head at me.

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“What? I couldn’t just let you sit alone. You came here for me, after all.” I open up my backpack and show her the snacks. “See? I brought your favorite things. What do you want to eat first? Gummies or Pocky?”

“It’s barely even morning,” she grouses. Then: “Hand me the gummies.”

Smiling, I rip open the bag for her. “Have as much as you want.”

I stop smiling when I see Genevieve get on the bus and sit down in the seat next to Peter.

“You did that,” Chris says.

“For you!” Which isn’t true, not really. I think maybe I’m just tired of all this. This in-betweenness of being somebody’s girlfriend but not really.

Chris stretches. “I know you’re all about hos before bros, but if I were you, I’d be careful. My cousin’s a barracuda.”

I stuff a gummy into my mouth and chew. It’s hard to swallow. I watch Genevieve whisper something in Peter’s ear, and Chris falls asleep right away just like she said, her head on my shoulder.

The lodge is exactly the way Peter described—there’s a big fireplace and bearskin rugs and lots of little nooks. It’s snowing outside, tiny little whisper flakes. Chris is in good spirits—halfway through the bus ride she woke up and started flirting with Charlie Blanchard, who’s going to take her out on the black diamond slopes. We even lucked out with a double room instead of a triple, because all the other girls had signed up for triples together.

Chris went off to snowboard with Charlie. She invited me to come along, but I said no thanks. I tried to ski next to Margot when she snowboarded once, and it ended up with us coming down the slopes at different times and waiting for each other and then losing each other all day.

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