Confident that everyone had left, I quietly trotted to the treadmill and got started.

The scenery in front of me never got old.  That and focusing on the lyrics of the songs blaring in my ears kept my mind occupied.

Only a mile left to go, I thought to myself.  I tore my eyes away from the marvelous view to increase my speed on the control panel.  I wanted to finish my run undetected and scurry back to my room.  No such luck.

I saw him approach from my peripheral.

“Where are we running today?”  Asked a surprisingly friendly, silken voice.  I looked up, shocked to find that one, he was speaking to me, and two, he wasn’t spitting razors while doing it.  His face was much softer today, inviting and frustratingly attractive.  Alex stood at the head of the treadmill with a smile daring to cross his flawless lips.

We are not running anywhere,” I informed.  It came out sharper than I really intended but, he laughed it off; flashing a crooked smile so beautiful I was captivated like a child by a shiny toy.

“We,” shaking his head remorsefully, “I got off on the wrong foot last week,” he continued, “and I would most appreciate a second introduction.”

Huh?  Where did this come from? And what was this?  An apology?   I needed to say something, but nothing came to mind.  I stepped off the treadmills belt onto the sides, but my foot caught the edge and jerked my feet from under me.  If it wasn’t for Alex catching me under my arm I would have flown straight off the back.  Perfect.

Humiliation bled into my cheeks, and my heart beat furiously with the adrenaline rush as I found my bearings.  My eyes sheepishly met his-they were different from the last time we spoke.  The difference in hues was almost alarming.  Today, they were the same as the others-a shade of predatory green I don’t think I’ll ever get used to.

“You have your mom’s eyes,” I finally replied.

That

was my opening statement?  I mentally pictured myself slapping my forehead.

“Thank you,” he laughed musically.  “Let me help you off this contraption.”

He obviously thought I was mentally incompetent to help myself so, he held my hand, gently balancing me as I stepped off the edge.  His hand was so warm, as if he had been holding it over a fire.  But, that wasn’t why I quickly dropped it.

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