Trapped With My Teacher

By: Penny Wylder

As for me, I’m going to prepare for this storm as best I can.

I organize the supplies in the kitchen, then take inventory. We’ve got enough food to last us a week—though I really, really hope we won’t be stuck here that long. It would really take a record-breaking storm to do that. As for the meat and fish, that we should probably eat first. There’s only enough for a few days, whereas there are plenty of dried goods.

I find a little notebook beside the stove with what appears to be guestbook notes. I guess this place is an Airbnb or something in regular season. It’s cute. I could see renting this place out for a private solo getaway. Holing up to do some schoolwork undisturbed and go skiing in the afternoons. It would be cozy—positively homey—if I didn’t have to share it with someone who makes my blood boil.

For more reasons than just because he’s irritating, my brain unhelpfully points out.

I ignore that. I tear a spare page out of the guestbook and list our supplies. One way or another, I’m making it through this storm. And if I have to rescue the most frustrating professor in the world alongside myself to make it, well then, so be it.


A Cold Night

I find Tony sprawled across the couch when I finally finish my preparations in the kitchen. “What were you saying about productivity earlier?” I ask with an eye-roll as I stride past him and reach for my bags.

“I’m being productive,” he replies. Then he holds up his cell phone. “Trying to reach civilization is a productive pastime.”

“Yeah?” I withdraw my own phone and eye the corner. No Service. As I expected. It still hasn’t found any signal. And there’s no Wi-Fi in this cabin—I guess that would be a little too much to ask from this ski bungalow in the middle of nowhere. “How’s that going?”

“Not well,” he admits with a groan.

“Got any bars at all?”

“Nope. You?”

“I’ve had no service since I left Buena Vista this afternoon.”

He heaves a sigh. “Guess we’re in this for the long haul. You seen a radio anywhere?”

“Not in here. We can turn on our cars to check for updates, though I think we should only do that sparingly. If the roads clear up at some point, we’ll want to have enough gas to make it out of here.”

When I turn around, I find him watching me again, this time with a more assessing gaze. “You get stuck in snowy cabins often, Corina?”

“More often than you, apparently. Happens when you’re born and raised in the mountains like this.”

He laughs. “Guess that’s me called out.” He leans back on the couch. There’s space beside him. Just enough that I could squeeze in, though our bodies would be pressed together. I debate taking that seat. It’s the only one in the house… “I’m from California originally,” he says.

“That explains a lot.”

He laughs again. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him laugh before. If he did that more often, he might not be so irritating in class. I find myself watching his throat as he swallows, then his mouth when his lips quirk into another grin. “Yes, just another West Coast invader into your poor flooded city. My apologies.”

“Why Tony, that almost sounds genuine.”

“I’m always genuine,” he says. “Just usually I’m genuinely disappointed in people.”

“All people, or just your woefully performing students?” I raise a brow.

He searches my gaze, his smile suddenly dropping. “All people. Or, most of them, at least.”

“You sound awfully picky, Professor.”

“I have high standards. Is that a crime?”

“Only when you take out your standard complex on innocent bystanders.” I cross my arms and lean back against the wall of the cabin. “Or students.”

His gaze rakes over me again. “Oh, I doubt you’re innocent, Corina.”

My cheeks flush again, and I’m far enough away from the fire that I can’t exactly pretend it’s from the heat of the flames. To cover up my fluster, I push off the wall and storm into the kitchen. “As if you know me,” I call over my shoulder.

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