By Lena Hart
“Ay dios mio. Novia, be careful!” Joanne Vega watched as her twelve-year old cousin attempted to do a twirl on the crowded ice rink, the blade of her rented skates coming too close to the back of her own sister’s legs. “Yana, will you watch her?”
Both of her young cousins continued around the ice rink, giggling, laughing, and ignoring her shouted warning. Joanne frowned and kept a vigilant eye on them through the crowd of skaters. Though she was born and raised in New York City, she had never spent her holiday in a tourist trap like the Rink at Rockefeller Center. But it was Christmas, and her mom’s side of the family was visiting from Puerto Rico. Joanne didn’t want to steal her cousins’ fun, but this was their first time skating on ice, and as the oldest, it was her responsibility to make sure they returned home in one piece. Since she couldn’t ice skate, she was reduced to worrying and scolding from the sidelines.
Their parents had decided to stay up in Harlem, not willing to make the trip downtown or take their chances with the weather. So far, despite reports for heavy snow, they had only gotten a few flurries. Because of that, the Rink was packed with people. Joanne looked past the throng of skaters and trained her camera phone on her cousins’ bright purple and pink coats. Her aunt and uncle would love to see their daughters’ first ice skating experience. With the large Rockefeller tree glowing in the background, it was a pretty magnificent sight.
Joanne tilted her camera lower and followed her cousins around the large rink. Though she had a pile of clips to edit for her fashion and beauty video blog, Joanne was happy for the distraction and to be showing her cousins a good time around her city. Lately, her life was consumed by either her day job or her vlog, which left little room for anything else. Her social life had seen better days, and though she had managed to spend some time with her bestie, they were both too busy for much else besides church and brunch. With her family in town, Joanne could use an excuse to go out and “play”—even if it meant chaperoning her tween cousins who were trying to give her premature grays at twenty-three.
Joanne was so focused on getting clear video of her cousins, she completely missed the tall male figure that came up beside her.
Joanne froze then turned to the familiar deep voice and her mouth almost gaped open. OMG. It couldn’t be…
She didn’t have to ask. Only one man had ever called her by that very old nickname, and she would have recognized those sexy, maple brown eyes anywhere.
Her old classmate—her old high school crush. He was the one guy no others had ever lived up to. The one she had tried but failed to forget these past five years. The one she had yearned for more than just friendship with…
Longing fluttered in her stomach as she stared at him—wishing she had done more with her long, curly hair then pile it on top of her head in a messy bun. She suddenly felt like the shy, awkward girl back in high school again.
When Joanne didn’t move or say anything quick enough, Shawn held out his arms. His dark, handsome face broke into a crooked smile. “We can continue this staring match, Jojo… Or you can give me a hug.”