Tyler ran through the trees, relishing the sound of his feet hitting the ground with a light thump. Just ahead of him was his friend Amber.
Yes, friend. He still hadn't gotten up the guts to ask her out yet, and it had been 3 months since the whole forest incident. They went running quite often, he could usually keep pace with her.
In the three months, his dad had become a park ranger for the area, and they had been living happily since.
Up ahead, Amber stopped and leaned against a tree. That was weird, usually she could go for hours and they had only been running 45 minutes or so.
He slowed and came up to her.
"Amber, you okay?"
She was gasping for breath. That wasn't good. He circled around so that he was in front of her.
She straightened. "I'm okay" She stepped gracefully around him and took off again.
Tyler frowned, but followed her anyways. despite his best speed, she was soon out of sight.
"Amber!" He called. "Wait up!" It wasn't like he was going to get lost, he knew the trail pretty well. He just wanted to check and see if she really was okay.
He rounded a curve, following the trail around the mountain. Around another curve, and he could see Amber. She was stopped, and she seemed to just be standing there.
Tyler sped up a little, wanting to catch up.
Then, Amber swayed a little. Tyler's heart stopped. Was she okay?
Amber's knees buckled, and she fell to the ground, rolling down the small, steep cliff.
"AMBER!" Tyler yelled. Sprinting to where she fell from. He slid down the cliff, landing with a thump next to her still body.
"Amber, are you okay? Can you hear me?" No answer.
Remembering his boy scout training, he rolled her onto her back and checked her breathing. Normal. Then, he checked her pulse. Her heart was a little fast, but that could have been from running.
A small creek trickled nearby. Pulling off his shirt, Tyler soaked it in the cold water. He pressed the soaking bundle to Amber's cheek, succeeding in waking her up.
"Huh?" She asked, touching her cold cheek. Tyler threw his shirt aside and helped her sit up.
"Are you hurt?" He asked seriously, checking her over.
"What happened?" Amber asked him.
"You fainted and fell down this cliff-ish thing"
Slowly, Tyler helped her stand, then caught her as she fell back down with a moan. He checked her over again, but didn't see anything wrong.
Biting his lip, he picked her up bridal style, surprised at how light she was.
"Tyler...What?" She protested.
"I'm carrying you back. It's only a little ways further if we take the shortcut back to town"
She started to struggle. "No, Tyler i-it's not a problem, i'm okay" He set her down and grabbed her shoulders.
"You just fell down a 10 foot hill because you passed out. That. Is. Not. Okay."
"I'm okay. I swear!" Tyler dropped his hands and hiked back up the hill. Amber followed, swaying a little. Once back on the trail he turned back to her just in time to catch her as she fell again.
"Ughhh" Amber groaned. Tyler swept her back into his arms and started walking.
"No! Tyler, put me down!" She pushed at his chest, but he held firm. It was then that she realized that he was shirtless.
"What happened to your shirt?"
"Left it back there, i'll get it later"
She shut up for a little while as they walked. Then started struggling again.
"I feel better, will you let me down?"
"Please, i'm not sick. I really do know what's wrong, and it's normal"
He did set her down at that. "What?" Amber started to walk down the trail. When he realized that she wasn't going to tell him that easily, Tyler followed.
"What?" He persisted. Amber ignored him. "Hello, Amber?"
Finally, she turned on him.
"I didn't want to tell because it's embarrassing. I'm anemic, you happy?"
"Oh" Was all he could reply.
He had studied anatomy in 9th grade, he knew what anemia was. Amber turned around and walked off down the trail. Tyler caught up and moved in front of her.
"Where are you bleeding? I could run back and we could use my shirt for a bandage"
She bit her lip and looked away, then looked back, obviously embarrassed.
"I-it's hard to explain..." She looked away again.
"Come on, you can tell me anything" Tyler replied.
"It's girl thing" She pushed past him.
"I live with my mother" He tried, walking backwards to watch her more carefully. Amber flushed a dark pink.
"You are really dense, you know that right?"
They continued on in silence for a little while. Then, Tyler couldn't stand it any longer.
"I can't stand it. Tell me"
Amber stopped and looked him in the eyes, blushing bright pink.
"I'm not bleeding anywhere obvious, i-it's...You know..." She trailed off.
That was when he got it. And he almost died of embarrassment.
"Oh my gosh, i'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked, i'm sorry" He kept repeating, his face glowing.
Amber started walking, and he followed her, still spewing apologies. Then, she turned around for the second time and planted a kiss right on his lips.
His eyes widened, then closed again. After a couple seconds, Amber pulled away.
"Well, now I know how to shut you up"