~ "What do you mean you shouldn't have gotten me into this?" asked Jaden.
"I mean that it's my fault that this happened in the first place. I knew what kind of a race this is. It's about exploiting a person's every weakness."
"I'm not weak," Jaden protested.
"That's not what I meant, Jay." Andrew sighed and fell quiet.
"Then what did you mean?" Jaden asked after a moment of unbearable silence.
"You can have a weakness without being weak. There is a point in every chain that is not as strong as all the rest and that can be by a lot or by a little. Everybody has weaknesses."
Jaden turned his face to the darkness outside of the small circle of their camp.
"Yeah well, you didn't "get me into this" anyway. I wanted to be in this."
"Even now? After everything that's happened so far?" asked Andrew, quietly.
"Especially now. This is the most awesome thing I've ever done. It may kill me, but it's awesome. No matter what happens, this makes things different for my entire life."
"Jay, somebody tried to rape you," Andrew stated incredulously.
"Yeah well, I've had worse things happen to me and I'm still kicking."
"I can tell you one thing Jay, you've got what it takes. Whether we win this race or not you are going to make something of yourself. There's no reason why you shouldn't. You're smart, you've got the will for it, I don't see anything stopping you."
Jaden tried to smile but found it difficult. "Well I can see something stopping me. College costs money, and if we don't win this I haven't got any aside from what Takyle's paying me."
"Don't you worry about that," said Andrew, his voice as reassuring as it had ever been. "There are options. We'll get you taken care of." For a long moment no one spoke and then Jaden cleared his throat.
"Sure thing Jay."
"I think I can go to sleep now."
"Ok, well, good night."
"You too Andy." ~