“We're still here.”
He was only half awake. “Huh? What?”
Amy rolled over towards him, mouth close to his ear, breasts mushed against his arm and shoulder, and she whispered, “We're still here.” With his eyes still closed, he felt her push away and swing her legs to the floor to get out of bed. Then he heard her bare feet pad across the carpet to the window.
“Why wouldn't we be?” He stretched and looked around the room: Frank's room, with stuff strewn around haphazardly from the guy having packed in such a hurry to get wherever it was he was going.
“Oh, don't try to play it off like you didn't sort of believe it.” She laughed nervously, two fingers pushing an opening in the blinds for her to peek out. “Looks pretty normal.”
“No burning atmosphere, no walls of water rushing at us.” He yawned. “No army of killer angels.”
“Exactly.” Her tone of voice was pensive, almost disbelieving.
“You're really surprised?”
“You're not?” She came back, sat on the edge of the bed. “I thought you were just... you know, just playing it cool, tough. Acting like you didn't care or whatever.”
“Of course I care. I just didn't really believe the world was going to end.”
Amy laid back down, nestled against his side. “I did. I mean, I really did.”
“I sort of did too. Not much, but, a little. Mostly because of my mother—”
“Oh, god, your mother. What are you going to say to your mother?”
“Nothing, probably. She won't bring it up if I don't.”
They lay there for a while, not saying anything. He thought she had gone back to sleep, or he had, but then she said, “So what now?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, Theoduce... he was wrong.”
“I'm sure he's already on TV making up some more horseshit about how he just got the date wrong. Bad math. Like that guy does math.”
“You think he just made it all up? That it was all a... a lie?”
He turned onto his side, looked into her eyes. “You don't?”
“He was so convincing. I mean, everybody believed it. The President even did. He wouldn't say so, because it would cause panic, but I could tell. I mean, he went home to Montana two days ago—”
“I guess he'll have to come back now.”
Amy grinned. “Oh, god, three more years of that guy. Why couldn't the world have ended!”
He chuckled, kissed her. She stared at him blankly. He asked, “Are you sorry? Not that we're all still here, that we didn't burn up in some holocaust of judgment; I mean, sorry you slept with me.”
“No.” She didn't look at him, but she was still smiling. “I'm not sorry. I'm hungry though. Are you hungry?”
“There's no food here, I looked. Frank threw most of it away before he left. We ate the last of it last night.”
“Let's get dressed and see what's open.”
They walked down the street, awkwardly holding hands. There were few people out and about, most looking exhausted or embarrassed or both. There were some far-off sounds of emergency sirens that ebbed and surged and never seemed to entirely go away. They passed a few hard-looking men standing around a car, solemnly shaking hands.
“I wonder what their night was like...”
“I don't want to know. Let's try Roger's.”
It was a 24/7 breakfast place, pancakes and eggs and bottomless coffee, and it was closed. They kept walking. They came to a McDonalds, and it was open, but there was a raucous party in progress, that had spilled out to include the parking lot, and they decided they wanted somewhere more sedate.
Eventually they found a Chinese restaurant open: Hunan Flower, only a few people inside. They sat down, and eventually an older Chinese woman came over to the table. “Only one cook show up... but we make whatever. You want water?”
Amy answered, “Yes please.”
They held hands while they looked at the menu. When the woman came back with the water, they ordered: beef and broccoli, and eggrolls, to share. He added fries, because Chinese restaurant fries are always good. “Ten minutes.”
Amy said, “Can I also have an iced tea?” The lady smiled and nodded as she headed back to the kitchen, and then they sat in silence for a while.
“You were saying you weren't sorry.”
“No. I mean, I know it was impulsive, and I wouldn't before, but, I mean, I thought we were all going to die.”
“But we didn't. We're not going to. So, what now? I mean, are we dating?”
“I'm holding your hand, aren't I?”
“I wasn't going to say anything because I was afraid you'd take it back...”
Amy grinned, but then took her hand away, because she had started crying and needed to unroll her napkin to daub at her cheeks.
The old lady returned at that moment with the iced tea. “You all right? Why are you crying? Are you sad?”
“No, I'm happy! I'm happy.”
“Can I ask,” he interjected, while the lady was standing there. “Did you believe the end-of-the-world stuff? Did you think it was all going to end?”
The lady laughed. “What? No, don't be silly. World no end. World keep going. We live, we die, kids live and die, their kids, world goes on.”
“So the Earth goes on forever?” Amy asked, wiping the last of the tears away.
“Not forever. Sun gets old, gets big, swallows Earth up.” She made a grabbing gesture and a slurping sound with her mouth, to punctuate the idea. “Long time from now. Billions of years. Why you not know science?” She shook her finger at them disapprovingly before heading back towards the kitchen for their food.
He locked eyes with Amy. At the same moment, they burst out laughing.
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