"Ah, there's nothing like a good old-fashioned Rocket car trip," Raymundo announced to the car.
"You said it, bruddah." Tito agreed, looking out the window as they left Ocean Shores.
"Reggie! You're hogging the whole seat! Put your laptop away! Your elbow is all up in my space." Otto whined.
"I need to finish this article for the Zine and send it to Sammy before we reach the top of the mountain!" she shot back. "Besides, you're the one who's driving us all crazy, blaring that music."
"I'm wearing headphones," Otto scoffed, though everyone in the car could still here his music. "Just write it whenever we get there! What's the big deal?"
"The big deal is we're only going to have internet access when we get to check-in. I need to have it ready to email him by then or he's not going to get it."
"Ugh," Otto groaned loudly, resting his arm against the window and trying to ignore her.
"What's this issue about?" Twister asked.
"Cold weather surfing," she said turning the screen to him. "I've laid out different tips and stuff for winter surfers or people who live in different areas. A lot of people try to cheap out when it comes to finding a good suit with a warm lining. It's also surprising how many people don't do anything to warm up before hitting the winter waves. Sam's said he's going to add a few science facts about how important that is to protect organs and keep up blood flow and stuff."
"It's too bad Sam couldn't make it on our trip this year," Raymundo commented. "We're going to miss having him along."
"I know what you mean," Reggie agreed. "His mom totally wigged after he broke his arm last year. I had hoped she would have eased up, but he said the second he brought up the trip, she went off to him about how he could've been killed."
"That's bogus," Otto interjected. "The Squid was fine. He falls all the time. What's one little broken bone?"
"Mrs. Dullard does kind of have a tendency to overreact," Reggie frowned.
"Poor Squid, it's not his fault his mom's a freaker," Twister added. "Personally, I think the Squid was much happier after he fell. He just stayed in cabin, drinking hot chocolate and playing on his computer."
"Well I'd much rather have Squid than have to deal with Twister's lame-o cousin," Otto complained.
"Hey!" Twister and Reggie said in unison.
"That's my cousin you're talking about, man," Twister said defensively.
"Duh. You don't think I know that?"
"Otto, lay off," Reggie shot at him. "Clio's my friend. And it'll be nice to have another girl on the trip for a change. When's she getting in, Twist?"
"Her plane's getting in tomorrow morning. My aunt is letting her rent a car this year since she got her license a few months back. They've already worked it all out and she should be in before noon."
"They're letting her drive?" Raymundo said, astounded. "Wow, when Reggie started driving, I wouldn't let her of Ocean Shores by herself for a year."
"We remember, Raymundo," Reggie said rolling her eyes.
"Hey! You never let me drive!" Otto added.
"That's because after it took you four times to get your license, you crashed into the mailbox within your first two weeks out on the road," Raymundo said bitterly.
"Ha ha, bust!" Twister said high-fiving Reggie.
"Whatever. Who wants to drive everywhere anyway? If I 'board around town, I'm just preparing myself even more to go pro by nineteen." Otto boasted.
When they arrived at the top of the mountain, Tito was snoring in the front seat. Otto flipped through a snowboarding magazine while his music blared. He looked over and rolled his eyes at Twister, who was trying not to move as Reggie's head rested against his arm. Raymundo pulled into the parking spot and announced that they had arrived, snapping Tito awake.
"Reg," Twister said quietly trying to gently wake her up. "Reg, I think we're-"
"Dude, get up!" Otto interrupted, grabbing her duffle-bag from the back and throwing it at her. "We're here! Man, I am so ready to hit those slopes!"
"Cool it, Rocket boy," Reggie said, slightly annoyed at her abrupt wake-up. "We still need to check in first, remember?" She put her bag back in the back, exchanging it for her computer bag as they made their way into the lobby.
"My toes are cold," Tito said as they walked to check-in.
"I'm buying you boots one of these years," Raymundo said glancing at Tito's flip-flops.
Once they had gotten settled into their cabin, they were way past ready to get out in the snow. Raymundo offered them lunch first, but Otto rejected it for the three of them, slightly Reggie and Twister's dismay. They got dressed, grabbed their gear, and headed out the door as Raymundo yelled to be back at the cabin by six. The mountain was perfect, covered in fresh powder. They hopped on the lift and pulled down the rail, Otto talking about how awesome it was going to be, Twister talking about how hungry he was, and Reggie tuning the boys out as she looked down at the fresh snow that covered Mt. Baldy.
They got some good runs in and they were all loving being out on the mountain again. While the kids were out snowboarding, Raymundo and Tito had gone to the store and picked up some food for the week. When Otto, Reggie, and Twister came through the door, they told Raymundo and Tito all about their day on the slopes. They all chilled in the cabin the rest of the night, watching tv in their long-johns and reviewing the footage Twister had gotten. Otto was mad the next morning when Raymundo said they had to be back in the cabin by eleven to help Clio get settled in. They started their morning at 7 so they could try to get plenty of snowboarding in before they had to head back. Raymundo and Tito went with them, remembering their own glory days skiing down the same slopes.
"This is so unfair!" Otto complained as he sat on the couch. "I could be out there right now! Why can't you guys wait for to get here?"
"Chill, Rocket boy. You got plenty of snowboarding in this morning and, if you remember correctly, we still have the rest of the week left," Reggie replied before smiling and heading for the door. "Look, she's here!" she said as a car pulled in. Reggie ran outside, hugging Clio as she stepped out of her car. "It's so good to see you!" Reggie loved any chance she got to see Clio, despite the rocky start to their friendship. The two girls were complete opposites. Reggie was still dressed in her ski pants and had a baggy, gray, long-sleeve 'Rocket Boards' shirt over her thermal shirt. Clio wore a fitted, light pink sweater with a cream vest over it, a stylish cream-colored beanie, black leggings, and ankle boots.
"You too!" Clio happily replied. "I can't believe how long it's been! How have you been? How's the trip so far?"
"It's been great! The snow has been awesome! Fresh powder yesterday and today!" Reggie started as the others came out the door.
"Maurice! Hello!" Clio said, pulling her cousin in for a hug. "My goodness, you seem to grow taller every time I see you! But this hair?" she said, combing it with her fingers to one side of his head. "What are we going to do with this?" Once she had turned around, Twister shook his head, and ran a hand through his hair until it was back to it's original, messy style.
"We're glad you could make it, Clio," Raymundo said as he grabbed one of her bags from the back. "Aren't we Otto?"
"Yeah, it's great. Nice to see you again," Otto said insincerely. "Now that she's here, can we please get back on the slopes?"
"Otto, why don't you show Clio to her room?" Raymundo said handing Otto one of her bags. Otto groaned as Raymundo continued, "then we can all get some lunch before we head back out."
Otto motioned for Clio to follow her as he carried a bag up to her room, Raymundo and Tito following behind with the rest of her stuff.
"Here," he said throwing her bag on the ground.
"My, my! What service!" Clio exclaimed sarcastically.
"How much did you pack? We're only staying a week you know," Otto remarked as he saw Raymundo and Tito carrying the rest of her stuff in the room.
"I packed light this trip," Clio proudly declared. "Only one checked bag, one carry on, and then of course a purse and a personal item."
"This is your purse?" Otto said lifting up the bag that Tito had just placed on the floor. "This thing weighs a ton. Do you really need all this crap?"
"Everything I brought is one-hundred percent essential," Clio replied matter-of-factly.
"Alright," Raymundo said, "how about we grab some lunch?"
After lunch, the majority of the group headed back out to the lifts while Clio hit the ice rink. When they got back from skiing and snowboarding, they went out to the hot tub to find Clio already there. They all chilled in there, enjoying the warm water while having a great view of the snow-covered mountains surrounding them. Reggie, Otto, and Twister had brought sodas out with them despite the "no eating or drinking" sign and Twister was already opening a bag of chips.
"Ah, this reminds me of the ski trip we took back in '79," Raymundo said, reminiscing.
Tito laughed, "You and Danielle had just started dating and she almost dumped you after getting woken up at three in the morning by security."
"I don't think I've heard this story before," Reggie said, listening eagerly.
"Yeah, why'd mom try to dump you, Raymundo?" Otto asked.
"She didn't try to dump me," Raymundo said defensively. He scratched his head, "although she didn't talk to me for the rest of the trip.
"What'd you do to tick her off?" Twister asked.
"Well, Tito here had a vendetta against the guy that ran the ski lodge. And he thought he deserved to be a good pranking."
"So Raymundo and I followed him around and figured out he liked to hit the hot tubs after hours every night when he finished work," Tito explained.
"Now, he didn't get done with his shift until about midnight each night, so we-" Raymundo started laughing and couldn't finish the story.
Tito took over, still laughing, "we put blue food die in the hot tub before the bruddah got in!" They both died laughing, remembering the story.
"How'd you get caught?" Reggie asked.
"We were hiding in the bushes watching and when he got out of the water, blue from the chin down, Tito burst out laughing and he called security on us," Raymundo said, wiping a tear from his eye from laughing so much. "Our whole group was forced to leave and me and Tito we're banned from ever setting foot in that place again."
They stayed in the hot tub telling stories of trips from their past until it started getting dark, then they decided it was probably about time for dinner. When they got back to the cabin, the kids took turn showering while Raymundo and Tito fixed dinner. They all hung out in the living room, sitting on the couch and laughing with each other. At eleven, Tito and Raymundo decided it was time for them to go to bed. They said goodnight and Raymundo told the kids to try not to stay up too late. They looked back on more of their memories, telling Clio about the time the boys almost died when Otto convinced Twister to try to snowboard in the restricted zone.
"Oh my!" Clio exclaimed hearing the story. "That must have been so scary! Otto, you really must stop talking my cousin into going along with these crazy ideas of yours!"
"Hey, it wasn't entirely my fault," Otto argued.
"Which part exactly wasn't your fault?" Reggie asked.
"Ha ha, bust!" Twister added.
"Now, but Maurice, you do have to admit, you have a terrible little habit of going along with other people's bad ideas," Clio said with a smile. "Remember the time your family came and visited us and you and Lars lost poor little Scotty again?"
"Uh, I don't think they need to hear this story," Twister said bashfully.
"It must have been, what? Three years ago? It was around Lars' seventeenth birthday," Clio started the story as Twister sank in his seat. "Little Scotty was only about ten or so and he just adored Maurice. There was this concert Lars and Twister had been dying to go see, so Lars convinced Twister to sneak out and steal Uncle Raul's car once everyone had gone to sleep. They didn't realize that little Scotty had overheard their plan. He just looked up to Twister so much and wanted to spend some time with him, so he hid in the back of the car. They got to the concert and tried to get bootleg tickets, but little Scotty had followed them and tried to sneak into the concert. He got taken by security, but luckily he knew Twister's cell phone number and was able to call him."
"I had to miss the whole concert! I was stuck waiting outside in the car with little Scotty. Lars refused to come get him with me," Twister said bitterly. "And I still got grounded!"
"Little Scotty wasn't very good at keeping secrets and he told everyone about it the next morning. Aunt Sandy and Uncle Raul we're livid," Clio laughed and Reggie and Otto joined in.
"It's not funny!" Twister pouted.
Reggie laughed. "You should've known better than to go along with any plan that Lars came up with, but I'm proud of you for staying with your cousin," she said putting her hand on his arm. Twister blushed and Otto rolled his eyes again. "Maurice," she added with a smile while the others laughed.
"Don't call me that!" Twister begged.
"Alright, alright, enough stories. Let's watch some of the footage from today!" Otto said, grabbing the tape out of Twister's camera. As they watched the screen, they commented on all the different tricks they had done.
"Nice one, Rocket boy!" Reggie commented as she watched Otto do a double flip with a solid landing.
They watched as Otto headed for a pipe, then the screen turned to Reggie, snowboarding near the camera and holding up a "hang loose" gesture with her hands as she passed.
"Hey! That was when I nailed my Double McTwist! How did you not get that?" Otto complained.
"Loosen up, Otto. We we're just having a little fun," Reggie said.
"Ooh, nice back flip, Reggie!" Clio commented.
The screen showed Otto doing an axis of rotation with a front flip. Otto seemed pleased, until the next shot where Twister caught him wipe out. Otto had a few good moves left in the footage from the day, but a lot of it was of Reggie's tricks or Twister and Reggie messing around.
"Did you even get anything of me that we can actually keep?" Otto got mad and stormed off to his room after they all laughed at one of his wipeouts. Clio followed him.
"What's the matter? Can't handle a little teasing?" Clio asked, sitting next to him.
"I can handle it just fine. But your cousin is driving me crazy," Otto whined.
"How so?" Clio said, sitting down next to him.
"Were you even watching the tape? It's this whole Reg thing-" Otto started to rant, then remembering he was sworn to secrecy. Clio motioned for him to continue. "Not that there is a Reg thing. I just mean if there were he would probably be a total lame-o and get her on camera way more than anyone else," he said crossing his arms and sinking back against the wall.
Clio laughed, "You're mad at Maurice for liking your sister?"
"No. I'm mad that he refuses to ever do anything about- wait. He told you?"
"Of course not! Maurice is so easy to read. I picked up on his little crush on Reggie years ago. However, if I hadn't known, you would have just given it away. I'm surprised he told you about it. I could never get anything out of him. I was very surprised at him. Not that he liked Reggie, that was obvious, but that he could keep a secret. Growing up, none of the family ever trusted him with information like presents or surprise parties because he always accidentally blurted them out," she laughed, reminiscing.
"He didn't want to tell me. It was whenever I had a thing a few years back for this girl, Rebecca. She was super hot and could really shred, but she refused to go out with me and I thought if I set Twister up with her best friend, it would help my chances. He kept trying to make excuses to get out of it and I figured something was up. I told him if he didn't tell me what was going on, we we're really bros and I would stop hanging with him."
She giggled at his story, "Oh, little Maurice! You have too much control over the poor boy."
"Apparently not enough," Otto said, annoyed again. "Ever since he told me, I've been telling him to just ask her out already and get it over with. If she says yes, great. If she says no, no big. He can actually move on with his life."
"It's not that simple, you know," Clio pointed out.
"It's better than just pining after her. He doesn't really talk about it much because I guess he's embarrassed or something, but ever since he told me, I've noticed all this stuff he does around her that's super annoying."
"Such as?" Clio inquired.
"Giving her his extra fries when he never even offered them to me. Or filming her just goofing off and then not getting my sick moves on camera."
"And you don't mind? That your best friend likes your sister?"
"No, it's Twister. He may be a moron half the time, but all the other guys she's ever met are total assholes. He's by far the best offer she's going to get," Otto started, then mumbled, "if he'd ever actually do something about it."
"Well maybe he just needs a little push," Clio suggested.
"Uh, hello? Earth to Clio? I've been trying to push him to ask her out for years now and he never listens."
"Well the whole problem there is that you've been trying to push them together," she said schemingly as he gave her a glare. "I think what you need is some help from someone who actually knows what they're doing."
"If there were someone," Otto said with a snarky smile.
Clio gave him a slap on the head. "If we're going to make this work, you need to learn to be nicer to me. And listen to someone else for a change."
"Fine. What's the plan?"