8 // Usain Bolt Me Out of This Situation

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I hoped that they chose a nice picture for my funeral, and not my last school picture because in that one I was mid-blink and the photographer clearly did not care about my forever memories. I should have written a will for this.

They were so going to use that stupid picture.

"How's it going, Stella?"

I swallowed my dying breath and looked up at Tyler with what I hoped looked more like a grin than a grimace. He was glistening with sweat and an easy smile on his face, cheeks flushed and adorable. I gave him a shaky thumbs up and willed my legs to keep moving, desperately trying to ignore that I probably looked more burning sweaty pig than just cutely parched. 

"Super great," I reassured him, feigning delight. "Yeah, no, running, it uh, really opens up the muscles."

I didn't even know what that meant.

Reese had disappeared somewhere along the way, which usually I would find to be the greatest of blessings but now felt a little empty. Although I knew that this was the basic structure of his plan, disappear so alone time could ensue between myself and my future husband, it wasn't exactly working out to the standard fairy tale itinerary.

At least before there was a steady flow of conversation that I could mindlessly listen to between the two boys, because they were clearly aliens that did not feel the pains of gravity like the human folk.

Now there was nothing. My main priority was trying to keep the oxygen in my lungs, let alone trying to maintain a conversation.

This was a stupid plan. I shouldn't have expected anything else from that dumbass.

"Awesome! You've been keeping up really well! We should have done this earlier. I never knew you liked to run, but that's really cool! It's always fun to run with other people," Tyler chimed, and those clear blue eyes would have winded me if I wasn't already on the brink of death.

"Yeah, I, uh, yes," I agreed, realising that anything other than monosyllable answers was a bad idea.

I had to restrain a groan as he turned down a dirt pathway that meandered through a dense forest. With a hard swallow, I stared up at the looming sea of leaves and bark, accepting the fact that they were going to find my body covered in dirt and critter poop.

For a solid minute we paced ourselves further and further between the trees, an earthy aroma enveloping us whole as our feet pounded against the dirt. My skin prickled as I absently scanned over my surroundings, drinking in the hum of cicadas and the distant chirp of robins. I probably would have enjoyed it if I could still feel my legs.

"So, Stella," Tyler hummed, glancing over towards me.

"Yeah?" I breathed out, barely even giving him any consideration. This was the longest conversation I ever had with Tyler and I was going to die. This was my life.

"Are you and Reese, y'know, since the whole Melissa cafeteria thing, are you guys a thing?"

I coughed, choking on my own spit due to the sharp intake of breath that followed his terrible accusation. Pounding on my chest, I willed my cheeks to calm down from the vicious burning I felt and tried to clear a decent airway. 

"No!" I spat out, out of breath. "No, no, no, no!"

"Ah, I'm sorry!" he blurted out, eyes wide as he shook his hands as if to erase the question from existence. "I just thought- it was sort of a rumor going around. I mean one second you were trying to kill him, the next apparently you guys were together..."

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