wormwood, pt. 8

Rosalind ran for something a little more stable than her catwalk and waited for the shaking to stop. The catwalk fell to the theatre floor with a loud crash and the tinkling of glass. When everything was still once again, she sprinted outside into the street. It was too dark to see if there was any obvious damage, and she had more important things on her mind: she had to get home.

She stopped to try calling Nicole, but she'd forgotten her phone. So she ran, instead. There were fires and damaged buildings along her path, and off in the distance, the sound of sirens. She kept running, clearing her mind of anything except the rhythm of her footsteps and her breathing, vaulting fences and cutting through back alleys to shave off distance. She fell once, tripping on a milk crate in an alley and picking up a few fresh scrapes on her forearms and some new bruises on her knees, but the time saved was worth it.

She got home, sprinted up the stairs to their studio, and threw open the door. As she stood there, gasping for breath, Nicole set the guitar down very deliberately, then rose to her feet and kissed her, hard, on the lips.

"Good to see you too," said Rosalind weakly, and collapsed onto the bed. Nicole lay down next to her.

"You're supposed to have your fucking phone on you when there's an earthquake, Rose."

"Yeah, yeah." Rosalind closed her eyes for a long moment. "I'm glad you're okay. I, uh, think I picked a bad time to run off."

"A little bit."

Another long moment of silence followed. Then, "We should probably pack up now. It's going to be a lot worse, and I don't know if I trust--"

"Shh." Nicole put a finger to Rosalind's lips. "No disaster planning tonight. That is what mornings are for. I don't care if the fucking building collapses on us. No planning, no worrying, no preparations. Just us."

The ground rumbled again and the lights flickered out. Eventually they fell asleep to the endless sound of sirens in the distance.

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