Gavin’s parent’s had a chalet five hours north of Roehampton. It was in the middle of a charming and quaint ski town that only the truly rich could afford to live in. Fortunately, Gavin’s parents were very wealthy and their chalet was gorgeous, rustic, and massive. Every winter, just before Christmas, Gavin brought his friends to his parents’ chalet so that they could go snowboarding and skiing and generally drink a lot surrounded by the peaceful quiet of nature and the obscenely wealthy. This year, Gavin had extended the invitation to some of their new friends. In the past, it had primarily been limited to Finch, Gord, and Amare. Sometimes, partners were invited, if anybody happened to have one. One year, Finch had brought his ex-boyfriend Taylor, which hadn’t turned out well because Taylor dislocated his elbow. Also, as it turned out, Finch hated him. The year before that, Amare had brought his girlfriend of the month, a very petite woman named Sondra, who hated the cold and nature and mostly everything that involved skiing. As Gord had pointed out many times throughout that particular trip, Sondra had not been the right choice for a ski trip.
This year, they had invited Robin, Joey, Tallulah, Sybil, Chris, and Jacklyn. Gord had explicitly told Finch to invite Tallulah so that he could get to know her better. It was part of his grand plan to make her fall in love with him. Finch thought it was shit plan. He said as much to Gord, who ignored him. He was still dating Janine, whether he wanted to be or not, and there was no chance that Gord would do anything until they were broken up. Gord had very strong morals. Finch assumed Joey had managed to swindle and invitation of his own in much the same way he had swindled an invitation for Jacklyn. For the life of him, Finch couldn’t figure out why she had agreed to come, seeing as how she had dated Amare briefly before never speaking to him again and was now dating Joey, one of Amare’s close acquaintances. They were by no means best friends, but they were close enough to be invited on the same ski trip.
“This is going to be a disaster,” Finch remarked to Gord and Robin as they packed up the cars to get on the road.
“Straight up,” Robin agreed.
“I’m fucking delighted,” Gord said gleefully.
They took two cars, primarily because that’s all they had access to and no one wanted to rent a car. Tallulah, Sybil, Chris, and Jacklyn all went with Robin in his car, which left Finch, Amare, Gavin, and Joey in Gord’s burgundy 1980 Cutlass Supreme Oldsmobile. Fortunately, it was an incredibly spacious car. Unfortunately, Gord had gotten it from his father and it had one of his mix tapes stuck in the tape deck. Sometimes, if they were really lucky, they would be able to listen to the actual radio, but most of the time they were stuck listening to the same fourteen songs on repeat if they wanted the stereo to be on. Gord’s father, Gord Sr., had had some very eclectic tastes in his life apparently. The tape started off with some of Bruce Springsteen’s hits from his Born in the USA album before transitioning into some Fleetwood Mac, which was all fine. And then they got to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”.
“We’re being genuinely Rick rolled by your father,” Gavin observed in awe from the backseat. He was squished in the middle between Joey and Amare. Finch had called shotgun the moment they’d all seen the car in the parking garage at their building and he wasn’t giving it up for love nor money. Amare had literally offered him money.
They took their first rest stop two hours into the trip. Finch waited in line for the bathroom with Amare and Chris while the others grabbed something to eat. Amare took the opportunity to plead his case to Finch yet again.
“Switch seats with me,” he urged. “I can’t sit back there with Joey any longer. It’s awkward.”
“Handsy?” Chris asked, interjected. Finch laughed, because it was true, but Amare was not impressed.
“He’s dating Jacklyn,” he told Chris, who nodded.
“Yeah, I don’t get it either,” Chris said.
“I used to be dating Jacklyn,” Amare added.
“Oh…yeah, that is awkward,” Chris nodded, not offering anything else. Amare turned back to Finch.
“And Gavin has the boniest elbows,” he added, as if that would do anything to persuade Finch to want to sit next to him for the next three hours of their car ride.
“I wish I could properly explain to you how little I care about your problems,” he told Amare flatly.
“You’re an asshole, you know that?” Amare returned.
“Yeah,” Finch replied.
When they piled back into Gord’s car, Finch was back in the passenger side and they were listening to the second half of Gord Sr.’s mix tape for the second time. In the middle of “The Wanderer” by Dion and The Belmonts, Gord abruptly decided to pick on Amare and address the awkwardness all at once.
“Hey, remember when Jacklyn ghosted you, even though you see her all the time, for Joey?” He piped up randomly. “Did that feel better or worse than finding out all of your shirts are pink?”
Finch looked over at Gord, who was grinning broadly from ear to ear. Then he glanced over his shoulder at Amare, who was glaring back at Finch.
“They’re salmon,” he said through gritted teeth.
“They’re fruity and pink,” Finch returned swiftly.
“Ooh, just like my Uncle Terry,” Gavin interjected brightly.
“Sorry, man, I didn’t know she’d done that to you,” Joey said to Amare, leaning over Gavin so he could talk to him face to face. Amare begrudgingly turned to him.
“So you’re going to break up with her?” He asked, which Finch thought was one hell of a long shot.
“Well, I can’t now,” Joey replied. “I invited her skiing. How fucking awkward would that be?”
“Would it be more awkward than this?” Amare returned, teeth gritted again.
“For me, yeah,” Joey said, which was clearly not the answer Amare had been hoping to hear. He went back to glaring out of the window and Gord began singing along to The Pointer Sisters at the top of his lungs.
When they finally arrived at the chalet, they got out of the car and began unloading their luggage. Gavin had taken off his parka and was in what he referred to as his vacation clothes. He was wearing jeans, because it was winter and he couldn’t bust out his Bermuda shorts as he’d wanted to, but he was also wearing a Hawaiian shirt deeply unbuttoned, a neon green fanny pack, and a white visor. He wore the same outfit every year. He wore it on every vacation he ever went on, no matter where he was going or what he was doing. Finch took his visor off his head and chucked it into the snow on the front lawn of the chalet.
“Dude, stop trying to make visors happen,” he said to Gavin. “You look like my fat Aunt Trixie on vacation in Boca Raton.”
“Hey!” Gavin protested.
“He’s a real asshole, isn’t he?” Amare chimed in, glaring at Finch yet again as he walked by.
“Don’t know what you’re pissed at him for,” Gord cut in loftily. “He didn’t ghost you and your pink shirts.”
“They’re salmon!” Amare shouted so loudly that he startled birds into taking flight, rustling the treetops in their wake.
“While you’re at it, start buttoning your shirt more,” Finch said, turning back to Gavin after giving Gord a high-five. “You look like my Uncle Bernie, also on vacation in Boca Raton.”
“Who says that’s a bad thing?” Gavin sniffed indignantly.
“They look like stampeding rhinos when they run to buffets,” Finch added. Gavin thought it over for a moment.
“I’m keeping the fanny pack,” he said, walking into the house and leaving his visor in the yard.