Chapter 9

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Julianne was relieved when she felt Zach’s temperature going down. But he was still warmer than normal. His breathing was heavy as he slept. There were no sounds around them other than the crickets and some scrambling sound behind the bushes. Good thing she was not terrified by sounds like that. But she couldn’t fall asleep.

She turned her head and looked at the man responsible for everything that went wrong to her in the show. For the first time, she had the freedom to study his face up close without getting caught. She noticed that some new bristles had already started to appear on his chin and along his finely shaped jaws. His nose was not as perfect as she had thought though. It was a little crooked, probably caused by an injury of the past. His brows were thick and hooded his eyes in a smooth arch. His mouth was not too full or too thin either. They had that natural smirk on them. All in all, he looked so innocent while sleeping she could hardly believe he was capable of lying. Her anger had already died down and she just sighed. What could have gotten into him to play such a trick on her?

What a bastard, she thought.

A pretty handsome bastard, part of her mind added.

Julianne just smiled.

She turned her head up and looked at the night sky, wondering what she ought to do to get out of the show. The top four was not too soon for her and she didn’t like it that she was starting to enjoy Zachary’s annoying presence. She really had to go home fast.

Then a thought finally came down and rang repeatedly around her head. And then she smiled.

Yes, that’s a great plan…

And she would start that now. Gently, she reached out her arms and pulled Zachary towards her until his head lay on her shoulder. And ever so gently, she guided his head down her lap. He stirred, but sleep overcame fast.

Julianne smiled. Step one, done.         


Zach woke up against the heat of the sun. Opening his eyes, he frowned. He was facing the lower part of the ground. He could see the bushes far ahead. Turning his head, he felt something soft. Startled, he shot upright and saw Julianne’s sleeping form. He looked down from where his head had been lying down.

He’d been sleeping on her lap. How did he get there?

His eyes returned to Julianne’s face and he smiled. She looked like an angel with the gleam of light against her face. Everything that happened last night came back to him.

They were lost.

He looked around and he sighed with relief. Of course, he knew where they were now that the sun was up. He had an urge to shake Julianne awake and brag that he was right that they waited until the sun came out. He decided against it knowing she would not appreciate the shaking.

Then he remembered something else.

He had a fever.

He brought his palm on his forehead and grinned. No fever. Good.

“Jules,” he said gently, facing her. His throat was dry and he tried again, “Jules.”

She stirred and her lids opened slowly behind her ugly glasses. He should really give her the contacts he bought in Chicago.

At some point, she looked stunned when she saw him. Then her face lit up and she smiled.

Zach sat frozen on the ground. Did she just smile at me?

“Hi,” she said, her voice husky.

His frown deepened. “Are you alright? You don’t seem alright. Did you get a fever?” he reached out to touch her forehead.

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