Part Two: Tell me what you said again, I can't believe it's real.
Peter was up even earlier than normal. He went ahead and turned on the television to watch the early morning news. Normally, Peter didn't particularly like the news—it was too depressing!
The first scene was kinda familiar. The front lawn looked a lot like Gia and Autumn's, and the shore could be seen clearly. He realized that the reason the beach was so vivid was that there was no house in the way. Where the house should have been there smoldered red-hot embers and ashes.
Then it hit him—it was Autumn and Gia's house! He leapt from his chair and raced up the stairs.
"Micky!" he yelled at the top of his voice. "Wake up, man! It's an emergency!"
"What is it?" moaned Micky, still half asleep.
"There's been a fire! You gotta get up!"
"Fire?!" exclaimed Micky, jumping out of his bed.
"I saw it on the news. Come on, man, we've got to get down there!"
Micky dressed as quickly as he could. "Where's Mike?"
Peter looked at Mike's empty bed. "Um . . . I don't know, the bathroom?"
"Well, whatever. Let's get out of here!"
Micky slid down the banister and Peter ran down the stairs after him. They ran the three blocks to where their girlfriends' house had once stood.
Just as the news anchors turned to Autumn and Gia, Peter and Micky ran up. They found their girlfriends sweaty and smudged with soot. Peter ran right up to Autumn and embraced her. The instant she was safe in his arms, Autumn turned toward him and began to cry.
Micky and Gia weren't as openly affectionate as Peter and Autumn. They'd been dating for less time—six months to Autumn and Peter's approximate year—and were under more direct attack from the cameras. Micky had one arm around Gianna's shoulders, and she had one arm around his waist.
After Autumn calmed down, after the cameras and news teams left, and after the four of them were alone with only the muddy ashes and blackened house remains, Autumn and Peter still stood in one anothers' arms. Micky and Gia were picking through the messy pit that was once a house.
Autumn was worried about the things lost in the fire. She was running down a list of over fifty items—so far—that were important to her.
Peter released her and held her at arms' length. She quieted down to see what he had to say.
"Autumn, I don't care what you lost in the fire, as long as you're still alive—that's what's really important to me."
As cheesy as it was, Autumn knew it was heartfelt, and threw herself back into his comforting arms. They shared a sweet, lingering kiss.
Gia witnessed this scene from twenty feet away. "Micky, why didn't you at least give me a hug when you got here? I know you're not that shy!"
Micky couldn't tell her the truth she wouldn't believe him if he did. "Well . . . I didn't see any point in doing that in front of the cameras, y'know," he lied.
"What do you mean by that?"
Saved by the bell! thought Micky as he extracted a blackened and misshapen ceramic bell from the wet ashes. "Lookee here. A bell." Gianna took it from him and examined it.
"My brother-in-law gave this to me," she murmured.
Micky found another interesting item in the rubble. "Autumn! Can you come here?"
Autumn reluctantly walked over to where Micky stood. Micky offered her a box. Autumn wiped off some of the gritty, wet ashes with her hands before opening it—she refused to hold it herself.
"My silver!" she exclaimed. She tried to pull the soup spoons out—they'd melted together. "Well, at least we used them last week."
Gia placed three charred dishes on top of the silver, and a warped crystal bowl.
"I never knew fire was so powerful," Autumn said, awe struck.
"Or dangerous," added Gia. But her real threat was yet to come.
No Time Part Three
back to No Time Part One