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Ophelia shoved open the mercantile door with one hip and the frigid air bit her nose. She shifted the grocery bag into one arm and tried to ignore the scent of all the things she was forbidden to eat. Out of control.
She lifted her eyes to the enormity of Alaska.
Mountains, jagged and white, stabbed the dark gray sky, spilling snowflakes which shimmered in the street lamp. Although morning, it wouldn't get fully light for another hour.
The sun would not peek over the horizon until after nine. Her small town huddled between them and an inlet of the Arctic Ocean, closed with ice. A person might lose her way in any direction and only the polar bears and tundra wolves would find any trace.
Stepping off the curb, Ophelia dug keys out of her purse.
Something fell at her feet and she knelt to pick it out of the dirty, shoveled snow, a plastic triangular thing, a Star Trek uniform badge. Despite the phenomenal success of the newest movie, she was still the only teen Trekkie around.
Except for him.
Good feelings swirled up her back and wrapped around her in a hug. "You must be someone from my calculus class," she whispered, glancing around.
News of the new millennium hadn't entirely reached Togo, or so it seemed.
Ophelia was the only girl in calculus, and if she dropped out her doctor-mother would wage war with the school board. Anyway, winning a scholarship is my ticket out of this icebox.
She closed gloved fingers on the cereal box trinket.
This wasn't his first little gift.