аЯрЁБс>ўџ 57ўџџџ4џџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџьЅС` №ПD#bjbjЫsЫs .,ЉЉDџџџџџџЄjjjjjjjидP P P P \ Ќ‹Ж| | | | | | | |       $AhЉv0jp| | pp0jj| | Eюююp"j| j| юp ююjjю| p `‹><ГFЦP ’Rю [0‹юфюjю| DРžю^LЊЦ| | | 00ф | | | ‹ppppЌЌЌЄP ЌЌЌP ~4В"дjjjjjjџџџџ Covered In Rain John’s having nightmares about Lydia dying in a deadly terrorist attack. He’s too caught up in what could have happened to see that even though they are getting physically closer, he is slowly losing her. However, he may soon find that this is all for the best. Pieces of paper were falling from the sky like thousands of wartime leaflets over the panicked New Yorkers. They were running away from the fallen towers, and making it difficult for John, who was heading in the opposite direction, to get through. Some of them tried to push him back, calling him a fool with a death wish, but he was determined to find Lydia even if he died trying. He croaked out her name several times while pushing aside the soot-covered people and tripping over debris. He made it to The Bookstore, which was about a block away from the towers, and saw that the entire front window display was blown in. He called out for Lydia again, and almost immediately a woman flung herself into his arms and cried out, “John!” It wasn’t Lydia, but Mrs. Grote, Lydia’s boss and the owner of the bookstore. “I was in the basement and I… I–” But John couldn’t hear her anymore. He had turned to look into the store and saw a woman’s body lying out from underneath a bookcase. “Shit!” He hopped through the broken window, stumbling over the scattered books and pulling the bookcase off of Lydia’s lifeless body. John sat straight up in bed, running his hand over his face and wiping the cold sweat on his comforter. He turned over to check on Lydia, only to find the other side of the bed untouched. Panic overtook his body as he scrambled out of bed and into a pair of track pants. He tried to remind himself that it was just a dream, but he couldn’t trust anything his brain thought he knew anymore, nor could he believe that a time when he could ever existed. He dragged himself into the living room and Lydia turned to look at him from her spot on the couch. Behind her, the news droned on with reports and stories about an event he knew far better than any anchorman. “It’s about time you woke up,” she smiled. His eyes traveled from her to the TV, watching the building fall in on itself for the 87th time in three days. “Thank God you were there helping with inventory that day. Just imagine if–” “Let’s not talk about it,” John interrupted leaning over the back of the couch and wrapping his arms over her shoulders. “What time is it?” “Almost six-thirty.” “In the morning? I only slept three hours?” “Try fifteen. You kept tossing and turning, though. Bad dream?” John sensed the concern in her voice and wanted to tell her about his recurring dream, but couldn’t bring himself to worry her. Her parents were already trying to convince her that she’d be safer if she moved back home to Massachusetts, and the idea that she was dying every night in her boyfriend’s dreams just might have made her agree. “I don’t remember,” John lied, kissing her before she could ask any more questions. “I’m starving. How does Chinese sound?” Lydia nodded and kissed him again before he pulled away and stumbled clumsily into the kitchen. While on the phone, he noticed the bottle of wine Lydia had given him the day he got offered a record contract - even though she knew he didn't drink. He figured now was as good a time as any to start, so after ordering enough friend rice to take them into the next week, he grabbed two glasses from the cupboard and headed back into the living room with a determination to wash the past few days away. He plopped down next to Lydia and handed her a glass before pulling the blanket she was wrapped in over his shoulders. He filled both glasses, and then downed his before Lydia could even bring her glass to her lips. “John, are you sure you want to do that?” “Absolutely.” He tried to pour another glass, but Lydia pried the bottle from his hands and slid into his arms. He flinched, his muscles aching, but still held her tighter than normal. “Can we watch something else?” Lydia let out a disapproving groan, but sat up and flicked off the TV. While she was distracted, John helped himself to another glass of wine. His thirst for alcohol was sudden and unexpected, but once it hit he wished he had something stronger. “It helps with the pain,” he explained to the frown that was painted across Lydia’s face. “You should go to the doctor,” she scolded, massaging his chest. “No,” he grunted and took a swig straight from the bottle. “They have worse things to worry about than a few sore muscles.” Lydia frowned and muttered, “It could be serious,” but otherwise dropped the subject. John didn’t want to discuss Tuesday or hear anyone else talk about it, but the absence of the background noise that the television had been providing was getting to him faster than he would have liked. “OK, I changed my mind,” he said, bringing the bottle to his lips once again. “Turn the TV back on.” “Mm,” Lydia groaned, planting butterfly kisses on John’s chest. “You know, it’s been like a week.” “I dunno,” John took one last gulp and finished off the wine and leaned back on the couch, folding his arms behind his head and staring at the ceiling. “Pretty please,” Lydia pouted, massaging his chest harder than normal. She was deliberately trying to piss him off, a trait she’d picked up to get her way when he was showing no sign of caving. “C’mon baby. You know that hurts,” he whined and tried to push her away, but she wrestled back into his arms and nestled against his chest. His aggravation subsided as he held her tightly and allowed his panicked mind to convince itself that she wouldn’t be there if he let go. “John,” Lydia said softly. “Hm?” “You’re hurting me.” “Sorry.” He settled on rubbing her back, something her knew she would enjoy while offering him reassurance of her safety. Every time his fingertips traveled over the small of her back, she let out a quiet giggle and her body shuddered against his. It had to be the most innocent thing she’d done since they met, but it had such an effect on him that he continued the motion until her was convulsing in a fit of laughter on top of him. “John,” she gasped into his chest, “I can’t breathe!” He took her momentary vulnerability as his opportunity to grab her by the waist and flip her onto her back. She let out a yelp – that he interrupted with his lips – and pulled away long enough to shed her t-shirt and send it flying across the room. John saw to it that her bra and jeans kept her shirt company. 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