Chapter 28

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T W E N T Y—E I G H T

      I SAT THERE for a while, curled up on myself and sobbing before the sound of a car engine pulled up nearby. I didn't bother glancing up, afraid to see the lightening again even though I could hear the loud thunder that sounded along with it.

      I heard movement in front of me, but still didn't look up from my head's resting place on my knees. I couldn't feel my hands.

      "Skye?" A voice asked lightly. "Skye, its me."

      I shivered and glanced up just enough to barely see though the mess of tangled and soaked hair. My eyes locked onto gray ones that looked even more silver in this lighting, relief flooding through me. "You came," I whispered.

      He looked surprised by my reaction, then squatted down in front of me. He didn't seem to mind the heavy rain soaking him from head to toe, instead focusing his attention on me. "Of course I did. You didn't think I'd leave you out here, did you?"

      I honestly wasn't even sure he'd be able to find me, but shrugged instead of voicing that thought. My lips split painfully, the metallic taste of blood reaching the tip of my tongue as I instead said, "I assumed you'd w-want to stay and catch up with Selena."

      Ryder sighed, then offered me a hand that I hesitantly took to pull me up. He tugged me forward and into his arms, surprising me. "I wouldn't leave you out here like this, even if I'm not that fond of you."

      "Yet," I said quietly, trying to lighten the mood as we headed over to his car.

       He laughed a little, but the happiness was short lived as I shrieked and jumped again from a round of thunder. "Damn, you really are terrified of storms."

      "You think?" I muttered, shivering a lot harder than I'd expected to. He sighed in relief a few seconds later, unlocking the car door for the both of us to climb in. I stumbled with my numb hands a moment before jumping in and slamming the door shut behind me. "What?"

      "You shivered," he said simply, shifting his attention to the road as he started the car. He turned off the radio and turned on the car's heater. Warmth blasts through the vents, and I welcomed it with a heavy sigh.

      "S-So?" I asked, remembering his comment on the phone about shivering.

      "So," he said slowly, as if talking to a child, "you're not severely hypothermic."

      I had a vague memory of shivering having something to do with hypothermia, but I never understood why.

      He glanced over at me for a second before turning his head back to the rain-covered window, seemingly understanding my confusion as he explained. "When you're severely hypothermic, your internal body temperature drops to dangerous levels."

      I shifted in my seat to face him, yawning from how tired I felt. "So, w-what does that have to do with shivering?"

      He signed, glancing up in the rearview mirror before stopping at a stop sign. "I don't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure it's something to do with your body conserving glucose." He ran a hand through his hair before continuing. "Basically, you'll shiver violently. Each shiver will be longer and longer apart, until you stop shivering entirely, eventually curling up in a fetal position and entering a state called 'metabolic icebox', where you pretty much look dead, but aren't."

      The blood in my veins froze—ironically—at the thought that it could have been me curled up in some fetal position at the bottom of a tree, waiting to die. I glanced down at my hands, attempting to mentally force the cold out of them as I tried to clench and unclench them. It was hard, and the bones in my fingers aches at the attempt.

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