Chapters 25-26 Summary
In the middle of winter, Enzo, Denny, and Zoe join some of Eve’s extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and they all travel up into the mountains for a week of skiing and snowshoeing. While there, the family members embrace Denny, Zoe, and even Enzo, but Enzo questions why they had to wait for a family crisis to do so. Although Enzo had been acquainted with them, this is the first time the extended family has demonstrated such an interest in Denny’s family.
The snow sports are fun, but Enzo is not a fan of cold weather. But he has to admit that one of his favorite times is when the family builds a fire outside after dinner. The nights are crisp and the stars are incredible, but Enzo most enjoys the blaze from the fire. As he warms himself near the flames, he watches Denny to see how he communicates with Eve’s family. Denny is cordial, but Enzo can tell that his owner’s mind was distracted as he worries about Eve. Enzo knows that Denny is especially unaware of one of the teenage cousins who is obviously flirting with him.
Her name is Annika, and she is fifteen. Enzo watches as Annika maneuvers herself so that she always sits near Denny at the dinner table, always makes sure she sits next to him in the car when he goes with the family on side excursions, and laughs at all of Denny’s jokes. Enzo is unsurprised when, after Denny tells the family he is going to leave a day early to avoid a storm that is forecasted to hit the area, Annika comes up with an excuse to ask Denny for a ride. She suddenly has a school project that must be done and the extra day will allow her to finish it. She asks Denny for a ride to Seattle. Denny does not realize, as Enzo does, that this girl has developed a huge crush on him, so he gave in.
The trip across the pass is extremely challenging, even for such a good driver as Denny is. At the lower levels, ice coats both the car and the pavement. The car is constantly skidding. At the higher elevations, the ice turns to a heavy snow that requires that Denny put chains on the tires. The traffic is backed up and moves slowly. Denny calls the family members still at the lodge and asks them to find a motel that might still have rooms available, but all the rooms have already been taken. Denny has no choice but to push on.
The drive takes twice as long as it did when the roads were dry. While Denny is still driving across Seattle, Annika calls her parents to say that Denny is too tired to drive her home. Denny said nothing of the kind, but he allows Annika to have her way. When they reach the house safely, Denny is so exhausted that he falls onto his bed and drops into a deep sleep....
(The entire section is 769 words.)