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Chapter 2

"Typical Nick. Eight in the morning, and he's already watching cartoons."

Howie shut the door to the room he shared with AJ. "Let him be, Bone. I'm sure he's enjoying the show."

I stared blankly at the screen. I had watched four and a half hours of the Ninja Turtles. And the oncoming fifth hour did not seem exciting.

Brian exited our room as Kevin headed in the kitchen. Brian set down beside me as Kevin spoke. "Morning guys. I'm making eggs and toast. It'll be about twenty minutes."

Suddenly, I saw the channel switch before my eyes. I heard AJ's voice. "Sorry, bud. I can't stand those damn turtles."

I shrugged, growing sick of the show myself. Howie glanced at my bare chest and boxers. "Aren't you cold, Nick?"

I shook my head. "No."

"Why don't you go change?" Brian suggested.

I nodded and headed to the bedroom. When I returned in a t-shirt and jeans I saw the group sitting down to breakfast. Against the churning in my stomach I joined them.

Kevin placed a plate before me and everyone began to dig in. I looked away and sipped my water.

"Is my cooking that bad?" Kevin laughed.

I tried to smile. "No, I'm just not hungry."

Brian faced me. "What's wrong with you, Nick? you woke up sweating, haven't slept and now you're not hungry?"

Kevin set down his fork. "Are you sick?"

"Nah. I'm fine."

"People who don't eat or sleep are not fine," AJ grunted.

Howie elbowed his pal. "Are you sure, Nicky?"

"Yeah," I said as I thought to myself that I'd be better if he didn't call me 'Nicky.'

Kevin returned to his meal. "I guess, we have to take your word for it."

Chapter 3