She nervously yanked on the beam enough for him to roll out from under it. A second later he was sitting up, groggily holding his head. You're alive," Julie said. John tried to look around him, but clutched at his neck and shoulder instead. I hurt all over. We're lucky. I don't think everybody made it out. She looked for a place to hide, but of course there was none. Twenty seconds later, the flow became a trickle, and then stopped entirely.
But the damage had been done.
Both Julie and John were soaked. Always the lady, Julie was more uncomfortable with the transparency of her blouse than the fact she was soaked. She crossed her arms in front of her and stood awkwardly against the sink. I'm not sure you're going very far.
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John jumped back into the relative openness of the break room when the ceiling out in the hall sounded as if it was coming down. John and Julie held whatever was closest to them and watched the doorway disappear behind a solid mass of building material. Gladly, she hid with him as the short tremor died out.
The room was much darker now, virtually all links to the outside blocked by the effects of the aftershock. Neither of them voiced their concerns, but they both knew there would be others. Julie looked at John. The look on his face frightened her. It was the look of a man who suspected what would happen with one more large aftershock. But then her turned to her with a half smile and said, "Want to get out?
John chuckled and crawled back out amid whimpers of pain.
Julie joined him. They stood in a space approximately ten feet square, with the beam that knocked out John lying diagonally across it. He quickly dispensed of it by pushing it on top of the refrigerator, which was amazingly unharmed They both moved to what used to be the door, pushing ineffectively against the rubble.
His meaning was perfectly clear to Julie.
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She just looked at him and shrugged, her arms still serving as a shield in front of her torn, drenched blouse. A rescue. It was becoming very serious now. Julie went to sit on the table, but it was covered with a layer of water. As she went to wipe it with her hand, John pulled open drawers, hoping to find a towel. Here you go. He was holding up an apron, letting the small, rectangular patch of material hang beneath two thin straps.
She looked over to make sure he hadn't taken her too seriously. John was busy opening more drawers, and cabinets, and the refrigerator. John joined Julie on the table and they sat silently for a moment. For the first time since they'd found each other, they had a chance to reflect in their own way.
What they couldn't tell was that both were thinking of ways out.
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Unfortunately, they both came to the same conclusion: somebody would have to come to them. They chatted for a while about the original quake, how they came to be where they were at the time, and what they remembered. It helped a little to talk about it, but neither mentioned the obvious possibilities of future aftershocks. As the evening wore on, they heard the barely audible sounds of emergency vehicles.
John surmised the roads were too torn up for vehicles to pass easily. Julie hoped he was right; otherwise she would soon become frustrated by the lack of any sound of rescue.
They each paced occasionally to loosen their sore muscles and break the tension. However, the room eventually became all but completely dark. Just prior to total darkness setting in, John found enough rags to dry off space on the floor for them to lie down. Their eyes adjusted enough for them to make out each other's shape as they sat on the floor and talked. Little by little the room began to cool, until a damp chill overtook them.
Combined with their wet clothes, it was terribly uncomfortable. During one of the lulls in their conversation, John lay on his back and stared up into the darkness. He saw Julie do the same. Not a sound could be heard. Then he felt an arm touch his chest, and Julie's body against his right side. Her head rested on his right shoulder. John moved his arm and wrapped it around her, bringing her closer. He could feel her shaking.
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Unsure that it was what she wanted, John took his other arm and wrapped it around her as well. She allowed part of her body to fall on his, allowing John to more tightly envelop her. Already she was warmer. They stayed that way, without comment, for several minutes. Julie slid her right leg between John's and seemed to John to stop shaking.
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A minute later she said, "I might be better off with this blouse off. Now don't look. He could barely tell there was anybody next to him as she removed the still moist shirt. Just as quickly as she had left his side, she was back and on his shoulder. His arm went back around her, only this time he felt her wonderfully smooth, cool skin.
John's hand landed on her bra strap and he timidly moved it onto her bare back. In the darkness, Julie smiled. She wondered how many other guys in the office she could do this with. In this one sense, only, it was her lucky day. But not tonight," John replied matter-of-factly. Use the old 'wet shirt' line. Aren't you uncomfortable? It's freezing," he said. Their bodies were much warmer now that their skin could touch. With one exception. God, what a wimp. Julie took off the bra. She purposely made sure her breasts were the first thing to hit his chest when she lay back down. And if she'd reached between John's legs she would have found out he did, too.
She was tempted, but chose not to. Instead, she said in his ear, "Can you warm them up for me?