"You are an idiot, Vi!" Eddie whacks his hand upside my head.

I ignore the whack, it was more like a love-tap anyway, Eddie is way too nice to ever actually hit a girl. "You're a drama queen, Eddie, it's not really that big of a deal."

"Easy to say now, it's still light out, and warm. What are we going to do when it gets dark and cold? It does get into the 40s at night even in the summer, you know."

"Humans survived for millions of years without electricity. I'm sure we can figure some way to survive," I say dryly.

"You dunce, I'm not worried about surviving. I'm worried about not being bored stiff in this rundown lodge with no forms of entertainment, whatsoever. And all because you forgot to call and check if the electric company had turned the power back on yet." Eddie gazes longingly at the PS3 sitting in the car amidst a mess of wires. "The only reason I agreed to come was because I figured I could at the very least make my way through the Scrubs DVDs and beat God of War."

I gape at my best friend's brother. "You know, you didn't have to come early with me! You could have waited until Sarah and the rest of them were arriving. Then the electricity would be on and then you wouldn't have had to miss your precious electricity, and Scrubs, and God of War, and then you wouldn't be forced to--god forbid it-- hang out with me!" Eddie and I fume at each other, but I notice that the corner of Eddie's mouth is twitching oddly. I narrow my eyes at him, "You okay there, buddy?"

Eddie seems to be holding his breath as his mouth continues to twitch and his face takes on the appearance of a beetroot.

"Are you choking? Can you breathe? Try breathing!" I scan my brain frantically for the emergency actions required for choking. All I can think is, I knew I should have taken that class in CPR. "Oh, Heimlich, I'll do the Heimlich." Just as I slip my shaking arms around Eddie's waist, he expels loudly several times in succession. I twist so that I can see Eddie's face. He's laughing! I was freaking out, and this whole time Eddie was laughing.

"Sorry!" Eddie gasps in between exhalations of laughter. "I couldn't resist, you're such an easy target!"

"Ha, ha, ha, douchebag. I hope you still find it amusing when you actually are choking and I fail to save your life because of all your false alarms."

At this point, Eddie is bent double and pounding his fist into his thigh. I cross my arms and lean against my Volvo station wagon. When this happens it usually takes him a good while to get over his fit. Eddie's full out guffaws peter out and he straightens up and takes a few deep breaths. "I really did miss hanging out with you, Vi."

I raise my eyebrows, "I'm not the one who was too busy to hang out!" Eddie's sister, Sarah, was my best friend all through middle and high school. When I ended up going to the same college as Eddie-- two years after he did-- I made some efforts to hang out with Eddie, but was put off by his too frequent excuses. I gave up trying after a while.

"Yeah, I was a dick wasn't I?" Eddie leans against the station wagon next to me and lays his arm across my shoulders. I soak in the warmth from my hot car for a moment. "From now on you won't be able to get rid of me even if you want to." He rubs my shoulder lightly, "Shall we get the stuff inside and figure out how to get through the night without a PS3?"

"Yeah, def."

Two hours later, Eddie and I are lounging on the wool rug in front of the fireplace. We had found an ample supply of firewood and matches, and scrounged up a reasonable meal of beans and potatoes. I had been staring into the fire for 10 minutes, mesmerized by the leaping flames, but now I am starting to feel antsy. "What should we do now?" I ask, looking over at a dreamy-faced Eddie. He's unresponsive, so I nudge him, "Yo!"


"What do ya wanna do now-- you know, since we can't play PS3?"

Eddie is quiet for a while. "Meh, what is there to do in the middle of nowhere with no electricity?! I got nothing. Let's just each make a list of 12 choices and then we can pick the best things off of the lists."


Eddie pulls out a sheet of newspaper and hands it to me. "We'll write in the margins."

Ten minutes later, I am done with mine but Eddie appears to still be thinking hard about his as he chews on his pencil. His face looks pink under the light of the fire.

My twelve items are:

1) Play cards

2) Play charades

3) Sit outside with blankets and look at the stars

4) Roast marshmallows

5) Do calisthenics

6) Read by the fire

7) Play scrabble

8) Learn to knit

9) Read the 8 month old paper-- or just read the headlines and try to guess what no longer current event it refers to

10) Build a house of cards

11) Tell stories

12) Talk

Finally, Eddie folds his paper 3 times and lifts his head to meet mine. His eyes look big and dark in the firelight. "So, um, let's swap lists." I hand mine over to him and take his folded up paper. He doesn't bother to glance at the paper I just handed him but instead watches as I open his list.

The list reads:

"Twelve things to do to pass the time without electricity.

1) Play cards

2) Tease Viola

3) Ask Viola out










My heart starts to beat fast. I glance up at Eddie nervously, then look back at the list which is trembling in my hands. "Um," I say.

At this point, Eddie's face is definitely pink and he is toying with a stray piece of wool from the rug. "So, uh, I couldn't think of anything else to put on the list after number 3," he says. "Before, when you said that was to busy to hang out with you-- well, that wasn't strictly true. You see, I was excited when you started at Conn College with me. I thought it would be fun to have a blast from the past to hang out. I was all set to show you the ropes at the school. But during my two years away, you'd matured so much and developed so much poise. I realized right away that you were my equal, not just my kid sister's best friend."

Eddie turns his brown eyes on me and smiles slightly, "The guys on campus were all falling over themselves to talk to you. Even my friends, when they saw me talking to you, wanted to be introduced." Eddie tosses the wool scrap aside and lays his hands in his lap now. "Like everyone else, I wanted to date you. I wanted to tease you just like I did when we were young. Only this time, instead of laughing at you when you fumed, I wanted to kiss and hug you, to show you that it was all in jest." Eddie continues, "But you were having fun with the boys, and I didn't want to just pounce on you, not knowing either of us wanted anyway. So while you dated other guys, I dated other girls. Nothing serious. Just a way to bide my time and make sure that I really wanted to infuriate my little sister by hitting on her best friend."

I bark out a laugh. "Sarah would be pretty pissed if you hit on me, I think." Eddie chuckles, too. He reaches over and takes hold of my hand, sending tingling sensations shooting up my arm and around my tummy.

"I've had a few years to think about it now, and I know that I want a chance. I know this isn't a passing fancy for me. Viola, would you go on a date with me?"

At this question, I cannot hold back the smile that has been threatening to split open my face every since I read the words on Eddie's list. "Yes! Yes, yes! Ive been waiting for you to ask for years!"

Eddie wraps his arms around me and pulls me up against his body. Then he sets me down and leans back to cock an eyebrow at me, "Wait, you've had a crush on me all this while and never bothered to share?"

I roll my eyes and slap him on the shoulder, "You're one to complain."

"Does Sarah know?" He asks, coyly.

I nod, "Yeah, I think she confronted me one day."

"Okay, great, how about let's tell her *you* hit on *me* then she won't be mad at me." Eddie smiles broadly and hugs me to him again.

I frown, "But then she'll be mad at me!"

"Better you than me."

"Ugh! You're such a di--" Suddenly, I'm cut off by his chuckling mouth pressed against mine. I can't help but smile as I kiss him back, "you got me good."