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Back in the beginning, when I had first tried wiggling myself into Tyson's little group without entirely understanding why, I had thought getting up at the crack of dawn and jogging would help give me ideas for training regimes. I guess I had figured that if I did it, the boys would be more likely to do it.

Surprise surprise, there's actually more than one crazy person who gets up at 5:30 to run. Most of them were the string bean health types and athletes. No one was my age. For some reason, that made me uncomfortable. I had already come to terms with the fact that I had an easier time getting along with adults than kids my own age. And having such a hard time getting Tyson and the others to accept me as a real friend, not just as one of the many nice acquaintances polite people have, had made me more insecure than ever.

Maybe that's why I had been trying so hard. Because Tyson wasn't the type for acquaintances, but threw his whole self in, body and soul. That kind of stuff only existed in stories, especially in the adult world I had unwittingly thrown myself in to with my efforts to be responsible and dependable.

So, self-conscious as I was, I found myself being drawn to the less perfect rock beaches for my jogs. It was strange for me even then to want to be alone, when I was always so afraid of being just that.

And that's where I had found Kai.

I don't know if he knew I had seen him. He had been running along the edge of the tide, where sand met gravel. His shirt hung out of his cargo jean pocket and water arched up with each step, leaving a curtain of water drops hanging in the pink dawn light and sprinkling gold drops on his bare shoulders and chest. His hair had been flyaway crazy, and a part of me wondered if his eyes would look just as wild.

Though I had made a habit of going there for my runs, I never saw him again. Kai lived up to his elusive reputation. I learned soon enough that it was like sighting some endangered species of cat to catch him in the middle of his morning training.

I remembered that along with that impression of a rare, elusive beast as I more or less dropped a wet Kai onto Tyson's bed.

I shook the thought out of my head and instead got caught between whether or not I'd have to take off his wet clothes.

Of course he tried to stand up, but he hadn't even been able to walk here without my help, so that didn't go too far. He did seem aware enough to realize he was getting Tyson's bed soaked.

"Why am I here?" he grumbled.

"Because you just vomited everything you've eaten since you were 12 and your burning up and it's pouring outside. Why didn't you say anything? Why did you even come to Tyson's stupid party if you were sick?"

He didn't say anything, nor did he look up at me. He did, however, managed to scoot to the edge of the mattress, as though intent to have as little of himself touching it as possible. I watched him hang there, elbows on his knees, shivering so hard he seemed to vibrate, before I managed to get the foaming, screaming freak in my stomach to shut up. I knelt down in front of him. Before he could protest, or I lose my nerve, I put a hand to his forehead.

Whoa. It was almost as though he had gotten out of a boiling shower, not a cold storm.

To my surprise, he closed his eyes and leaned into the touch.

"You're head hurt?" I asked.

Since Kai never admitted to pain, he said nothing. I took my hand back reluctantly.

"You need to get out of your wet clothes."

Nothing. Though he did let out the smallest of groans.

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