“No thank you.” I turn it down politely as I step past her.
“Are you really going to keep that stick up your ass this whole trip?” Paige asks.
“I’m not a big drinker.” Not to mention it’s not legal.
Plus, unlike everyone else, I have a list of rules I have to follow. I don’t trust any of them not to try and snag a picture or something and use it against me in some way. In the year I’ve gotten to know some of them, I know how this group works. They’re all friends that will stab each other in the back if it gets them something they want or need.
“True, looks like you’re more of a big eater. Or just big.”
I flinch. The second I do, I regret giving her any kind of reaction. Everyone is big compared to Paige. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her eat before. Even her champagne sits next to her, untouched.
“God, you’re such a bitch, Paige.” Tyson comes up behind me.
“You always take her side,” Paige hisses, actually getting worked up for once. Normally people's remarks roll off her, but Tyson has the ability to rile her up. Pretty sure she’s into him or they have something going on. I’m sure it’s why she’s more of a bitch to me than to everyone else. At least Tyson is nice to me.
He grabs my bag off my shoulder. “What the hell have you got in here?”
“Books. I didn’t want to check them with my other bag.” They’re not technically mine since I checked them out from the library.
“Of course you did.” He laughs. “Does this work for you?” He motions to one of the seats.
“Yeah.” He places my bag down in the chair before sitting down in the one beside it. Paige sends me death glares.
I reach into my bag and pull out one of the books as more people board the plane. Carter sits in the seat across from mine, and I keep my eyes trained on the pages of my book, trying to get lost in the story.
We haven't taken off yet, and I already want this trip to be over. Who cares about fancy private planes and snow resorts for the rich and famous when the people you’re surrounded with are cruel?
So much for starting the new year off on a great foot. That will be impossible now.
“The rooms are all full, Connor. I don’t know what to tell you.” My cousin Natalie goes back to typing on her phone, but my sigh is loud enough to distract her. “This was your idea.”
“Well, it wasn’t a good one.”
Mountain View Lodge has been in our family for generations, and after my uncle died two years ago, I’ve been helping my cousin settle into her role here. We’ve lived on the property our whole lives, but now she’s running the office, and I can tell she’s just a bit overwhelmed with the big weekend coming up.
After she took over, she had some of the cabins renovated and put them up as rentals. We haven’t rented them in years, so it was a bit of a learning curve. I offhandedly mentioned that she should do a vacation package for weekend skiers, and they sold like hot cakes. Since last year, she’s had the cabins booked solid, but I’m not sure how I feel about it anymore. This place has always been my quiet refuge, but having tourists come around makes it feel less special. If it was up to me, I’d lock the gate and throw away the key, but Natalie can’t be alone. She’s said her whole life it’s too quiet up here, so I was surprised she wanted to take over after her dad died.
I’d made a bet with her brother that the second she could get off this mountain, we wouldn’t see her again, but the day she moved back in, I had to slap a hundred-dollar bill in his hand. Bastard.
My mom and dad passed when I was younger, and I was raised by my aunt and uncle. So even though Natalie is my cousin, she’s always been more like a little sister. Mostly because she loves annoying the shit out of me.
“How much money would it take to cancel their reservations?” I hedge, and she narrows her eyes at me.
“Shut up, Connor. We both know neither of us needs the money.”
“Then explain to me why you’re letting all these strangers up here for New Year’s Eve. I thought we agreed to rent the cabins until the end of the year then take a break.”
“Technically, it’s the end of the year.”
I roll my eyes and hear the front door close. “Wilder!” I shout. “Come in here and tell your sister to kick everyone off the mountain.”
“No way, then we’ll be stuck with her over New Year’s, and I’m not kissing my sister at midnight.”