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When my appetite returned, sleep left me.

I spent almost the entire night tossing and turning, watching Martina slumber like a baby. After realizing it was a little creepy to stare at her in her sleep, I forced myself to face the wall on the right side of my bed and close my eyes, even if I never ended up dozing off.

I'm wide awake by six a.m. and estimate that I have about two-and-a-half hours of interrupted sleep to get me through this day. I sigh and slip my feet into some flip flops before dragging myself to the bathroom down the hall.

My stomach grumbles like I haven't eaten in a century, the emptiness unbearable. Realizing I can't wait until breakfast, I swiftly make my way from the dorm to the central building in the pure serenity of the early morning. No blueberry muffins are in sight, much to my disappointment, so I settle with a yellow apple—far from my favorite fruit, but it's something to quell my hunger. I take small bites and walk down the hallway, peeking into each room.

Except for one.

I don't need to poke my head into the boxing gym to know Axel is in there, somehow finding the energy to pound and pummel a punching bag at practically sunrise. This time, no heavy beat booms in the background, making me wonder if he's wearing headphones.

A few quiet steps later, I'm close enough to glance through the gap between the two open doors. Sure enough, Axel wears a pair of wireless headphones and continues throwing punch after punch.

Something he isn't wearing: a shirt.

I lose myself in the small beads of sweat dripping down his abdomen, disappearing into the grooves of his muscles. His shorts ride a little lower than normal and reveal a sharp V-line. As my eyes trail downwards, a million thoughts fill my mind, and none are holy. I blink and try to think of anything else, imagining the disappointed glares from my church-loving grandmother.

Axel gives the bag a rest and gazes at the mirror. He spends a good thirty seconds lost in his reflection—a narcissist to any outsider, but I've seen that look so many times before, knowing his mind is in a different world.

Until it meets mine.

I fall back against the wall opposite to the doors and cringe, wishing I left a second before. He pulls out his headphones and grabs a small towel and strides towards the door. He stops and leans against the frame, folding his broad arms over his chest.

I decide to speak first. "I can't even explain myself at this point."

He chuckles and wipes some of the sweat from his brow. "I won't ask, then." He walks back inside and grabs his phone and his shirt lying on a random piece of equipment. He yanks it on and then instructs me to follow him.

I oblige, and we make our way down the hall to a small office. I wonder what purpose it will serve, as we could have just talked inside the gym, until I realize he doesn't actually care about the privacy or the long desk drowning in papers.

"I usually brew myself some coffee before working out," he says, walking over to the maker on a narrow wooden table. He picks up the pot, turning back to me. "Want a cup?"

"Yes, please," I reply, wondering just how visible my sleep deprivation is.

"How do you like yours?"

"Oh, just black is fine."

He quirks a brow. "Really?"

I chuckle. "Well, some almond milk would be good—if you have any."

At my request, he crouches down to the mini fridge under the table and pulls out a carton of almond milk. I take it from him with a thank you and watch him pour one packet of sugar into his cup, skipping the milk.

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