Circumstances have allowed =)
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AM Saturday February 2, 1963
Cedar Mountain Lodge, Cody, Wyoming
“Do we have any more cocoa?”
Margaret looked to Amber, sitting in the reception area of the lodge. “No. Since every room has been requesting more of it, they get priority. Considering it is still below zero outside, can you blame them?”
The girl tightened her jacket and scarf around her. “Anyone thinking of going outside in this sort of weather would have to be suicidal.” She looked behind the counter, angling to see through the door behind it. “Where is Dad?”
“Searching for more cocoa.”
The bell jingled as the door to the reception area opened, a marrow-chilling rush of cold entering behind the visitor. The person was unrecognisable, wearing so many garments they more waddled than walked, with a thin covering of frost upon the shoulders of their black jacket. Amber’s mother observed the visitor with concern. As the visitor took off their beanie, a blanket of auburn hair fell past their shoulders.
Amber gasped. “Scarlett! What would possess you to go outside in this cold?”
Scarlett looked to her friend, the degree of hurt in her eyes shocking Amber. She rushed over to her frosted friend, hugging her as she burst into wracking sobs.
Margaret stepped from behind the counter, rubbing Scarlett’s back as she guided them to the chairs. “You poor dear. I’ll go get you some cocoa while you talk with Amber.”
Amber gave her mom a brief look of accusation before turning back to her distraught friend.
“What’s wrong, Scarlett?”
Her friend took several breaths to control herself, her red-rimmed eyes looking to the roof in a futile attempt to halt the tears. “Dwayne dumped me.”
Amber gasped. “What happened?”
“He’s been accepted to the University of Wyoming under a football scholarship. When we were studying, he told me that he would be moving there permanently, and he did not think it was fair to either of us to try and make our relationship work when we were on opposite corners of the state.”
She hugged her friend tighter. “You poor thing.”
Scarlett started sobbing again. “He gave up before he’s even left town. Why wouldn’t he even try to make it work?”
“He’s a guy, and a teenage guy at that. They are not the most considerate breed in the world.”
“Yet he said it in such a way, as if he was doing the right thing for both of us. Making the call without even talking to me about it first.”
Amber’s mother returned with the promised cocoa, a mug for each of the girls. She huffed and rolled her eyes as her daughter informed her of Scarlett’s situation, muttering to herself as she went back behind the counter to continue her paperwork. The bells rang out again, and one of the Belleview twins closed the door behind her as if a grizzly was mere yards behind her.
“Goddamn! How can y’all live in this?”
Margaret’s eyes widened at the cussing. “Language, dear.”
The girl gasped as her hand went her mouth. “I am so sorry Mrs Marigold. I have never felt this kind of cold before, even in New York City at Christmas.”
“I can understand that. Texas has never been known for its cold.”
“It supposedly got down to five degrees once in Houston.”
“How can I help you, dear?”
“Dad has asked if you have any decent whiskey.”
Margaret’s eyes narrowed. “It would depend on his classification of ‘decent’, but yes we have some.” She looked to her watch. “It’s not even midday yet.”
“He says that the cocoa isn’t getting the frost out of his blood.”
“Very well. I will go and see what we have available.”
As Margaret went through the door behind the counter, the twin turned to look at the seated girls.
Amber looked up to her. “Hi Lavender.”
She gave a brief smile before focusing on the still crying Scarlett. “Good Lord! What y’all all choked up about?”
Scarlett told the story again, drawing an angry scowl from the Belleview twin.
“I know you’re upset now, but his doing this proves he’s nothing but a low down scoundrel. Better off without him I say.”
The well-meaning words only made Scarlett cry harder.
“Come on now, dry them eyes up. There is only one thing to do now.”
Amber and Scarlett both looked to her.
“We gonna make that boy rue the day he did you wrong. You’re in the running for the head cheerleader spot, so let’s get a campaign started that would make President Kennedy jealous.”
The infectious enthusiasm dried Scarlett’s eyes, and drew a smile. “You think I can win?”
Lavender smiled. “The walls are being written on already. Y’all know the number one Texas rule: Go big, or go home. And this is gonna be big!”
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