It was cold, and it was quiet.
Precisely how she liked it.
4 PM on a Wednesday afternoon, or perhaps evening was the more appropriate adjective? It seemed too early for that, but for the orange tint of a sky threatening to turn dark. It was the one disadvantage to the winter- the disappointing lack of daylight hours. Well, there were quite a few other disadvantages to the winter- mainly that her parents put her excursions to the forest outside of Seattle on hold, citing the weather and the aforementioned lack of daylight- but Chitose liked to keep a positive attitude about these things. She did like the cold, anyway. A bit of a nip in the air never hurt anyone.
Plus it kept the park empty, mostly. The snow probably had something to do with that too- it was only a light flurry, but the weather reports had seemed to believe it was going to get much worse, very soon. Chitose never put much stock in weather reports, not when she could see the clouds and the snow with her own eyes, and it didn't look so bad to her. Besides, given her current position under a gazebo, it hardly mattered.
And if it started piling up before she left, well, one could hardly say she wasn't dressed for the occasion.
She even brought snowshoes! Just in case. Ignoring how impractically heavy they were and how virtually impossible it was that the sky would dump that much snow on her before the sky darkened completely and she had to go home...ignoring those things, it was brilliant. Chitose Sakuraba was prepared for anything. Like always.
None of that mattered right now though. Nothing matters when Chitose is reading. At least not to her.
Intrepid heroes march through an enchanted forest in a snowstorm in the dead of night...weirdly apropo! Dear snow: please snow more. Love, me. Does that make sense as a thing to say to snow?
Wait, saying things to snow doesn't make much sense.
Um, never mind, snow. Carry on snowing.
She returned to her book, wondering if her solitude was likely to last.
((Jenna Rhodes: Start))
Whilst most Aurora High students would see snowy winter days as an excuse to stay home and play video games, Jenna Rhodes saw it as the perfect opportunity to enjoy a nice and quiet day of school with the few people who bothered to show up.
Of course, the fact that Aurora High was only a twenty minute walk from where she lived also helped, but even then she liked to believe that even if she lived on the other side of Seattle she'd still make the effort to show up on time. She'd put a lot of effort in maintaining a 100% attendance rate, and she wasn't about to let a few feet of snow or a horrible cold hinder her. Even arriving late was something she tried to avoid at all costs. She remembered this one time when her alarm didn't go off when it was supposed to, so in order to make it to school on time her father decided to give her a lift in his police car. The looks on all her fellow classmates' faces was priceless.
Still, despite the snow a surprising amount of people still bothered to show up. Not that it really mattered, apparently Miss Gunderson and several other teachers was off sick that day, and with no substitute teachers to spare there didn't end up being a politics lesson in the end. So to make up for it, Jenna decided to spend the rest of her afternoon in the library doing research on past presidents of the United States, the idea being to do so until the bell went off so she could head home.
However, in the end she ended up getting so carried away that it wasn't until a janitor asked why she was still there that she realised that school had ended hours ago. So, feeling more than a little peckish, Jenna quickly put her orange winter coat and beanie on before heading out via the front doors.
The freezing temperature aside, it was actually a really nice day for a walk. There was always something about snow which made Jenna feel serene and at peace. Sometimes, whenever she was feeling mad about something or somebody, she just closed her eyes and thought of snowflakes slowly falling to the ground to calm herself down. The fact that it was only a thin layer also helped, seeing as it meant she could enjoy walking down the street without burying her feet with every step.
Best of all, seeing as she was walking home that evening rather than getting a quick lift like she sometimes did, it meant that she got to walk through the park as well.
It wasn't actually that long ago that she first realised that there was a shortcut to her house through the middle of Centennial Park. Before then, she always found herself walking around said park, adding an extra twenty minutes or so to an already long walk. Ever since she first realised this, she couldn't even begin to imagine why she would take any different route home. On that day in particular, the park looked especially beautiful thanks to the countless snowflakes that coated the ground around her. Whilst there weren't that many people around at the moment, Jenna could tell just by looking at the footprints around her that people had obviously been there earlier. There were a few snow angels here and there, and what looked like a failed attempt at making a snowman. There were even a pair of separate footprints either side of each belonging to who Jenna assumed to be a man and his dog.
Apart from that though, the park was more-or-less empty. It wasn't until she walked past the gazebo that she actually saw anyone besides herself, specifically in this case a young Asian girl around her age with pink...
Hang on... Is that Chitose?
She stopped by the gazebo and turned to face the girl again, and to her surprise it was none other than her friend Chitose. Seeing as she was in no particular rush to go anyway, Jenna decided to take the opportunity to stop and say hi.
"Oh, hey! Didn't see you at first..." she said, smiling as she did so before quickly looking about to see if any of Chitose's friends or family were about.
"Are you, uh, alright there? Seems like an awfully cold day to sit outside and read by yourself."