Two Hearts Stand Alone Pt. 03byphotodad©
Thank you for the kind words on Part 2. Apologies for the severe cliffhanger, but I hope it will be worth the wait to see what happens.
If you're finding this for the first time, word of warning: long story. There is not a whole lot of erotic activity in this one. If you're trolling for quick get-me-offs, this isn't for you. If you like involved stories, please read parts 1 & 2 first.
All physically involved characters are 18.
Please remember to rate at the end. If you haven't rated on parts 1 & 2, please do so. 5's are appreciated if warranted.
Tom was watching TV with his roommates a few hours later, waiting for his girlfriend to get off work. Suddenly, the national news appeared in the middle of a punch line with a graphic displaying "Breaking News."
He was upset that one of his favorite reruns was being interrupted this late at night. "Oh what now? Did Russia invade China or something?" His roommate laughed.
The newscaster appeared. "There's a developing story from Northwest Florida. A rare deadly nighttime tornado has touched down, demolishing a new golf resort and damaging several houses. We turn now to our local affiliate who is on the scene."
Tom's blood ran cold. "Turn it up, man...that's near where I live." His roommate pressed the button just as the reporter who was covering the story appeared.
He was obviously still working on gaining his composure. He explained that he was in the parking lot of the new golf resort and that the only thing authorities were allowing him to show right now was the scene of the cars that had been tossed around like toys. The cars belonged to seniors attending their last prom, and that was the big story. Rescue work was moving slowly due to the unstable debris, but 13 bodies had been found so far. He reiterated that workers were still hopeful they would find survivors, but rescue officials figured that loud music may have prevented anyone from knowing what was coming, let alone find a safer place. The search was concentrated on the ballroom, as that was where the dance was being held. A quick check of the rest of the complex was performed, but it was assumed that it was unoccupied. As a side note, the tornado was losing steam when it reached a recently finished subdivision on the far side of the course. Therefore, only moderate damage with five injuries were being reported from that area. The reporter recapped the story, promising updates later.
Tom's roommate commented, "Prom, now? Kinda late in the year for a dance, isn't it?"
Tom's mind was racing. His mom had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Christine's prom was pushed back because of the track state finals. No way...she couldn't be there. Or could she?
Just then, his cell phone rang. "Hello?"
"Tom! Have you heard from her tonight?"
"No, Mom. I just saw something on the news. What's going on? Christine wasn't there was she?"
"YES!" his mom cried.
"Sister Collins called about an hour ago to tell us before we heard it on the news. He left right away to help search and tend to the injured...if there are any." The meaning of what she just said crashed on her and she broke down into sobs.
"Mom, you're not alone there, are you?"
"No, Nancy and Mary just got here," she managed to say.
"Okay. Try and keep calm. Who did she go with tonight?"
"Then I'm sure she's okay, Mom. As much as I joked about not liking him, I know that he wouldn't let anything happen to her. Besides, Christine is a strong girl. Just try to keep your hopes up. I'm coming home."
"I'll use my emergency card and catch the next flight out later this morning. I'll drive if I have to, but either way, I'll be there by the afternoon."
"Alright, thanks Tom."
"Don't worry, they'll find her."
"I hope so."
His long-time girlfriend got in shortly after. He told her what he knew, and the two set about finding a flight. She called every airline she could think of while he searched the Internet.
The hours clipped by, and every once in a while, there was a recap and update on the TV about the tragedy. Every time a reporter came on, the death toll increased. Tom was starting to go out of his mind...it seemed that no flights were open. Jill wasn't having much luck on the phone, either.
At dawn, there was a new report, now on a national cable news channel. The crew drove all night from Atlanta to cover the heartbreaking story on location. They reported that the ballroom area search had finished up, and the ugly task of removing debris to recover the trapped and lifeless bodies had begun. An off-camera interview with the sheriff and principal of the school revealed that nearly the entire senior class had perished under the collapsed building. A frantic search of the golf course was on for two unaccounted-for seniors. The parents had been contacted, and informed authorities that they still had not seen the two. A car matching the description of the one they drove to the event was not found among the pile of scrapped vehicles. The sheriff's department released a photo of the couple given to them by the distraught event photographer. It was explained that the photo being displayed was picked by the couple for their package only two hours before the disaster.
Tom's heart fell through the report, even as Jill held him.
Then, the photo was aired. Together they exclaimed, "Oh my GOD!"
Tom looked up at the ceiling and said, "please, please let them be somewhere else...safe."
"There's still hope," Jill whispered. "But, I'm thinking the flight situation has failed. There's a standby in Tampa at 11. And an open seat in Orlando at 3 this afternoon."
"That's what I found, too." Tom jumped up and grabbed the bag Jill packed for him when she took a break a couple of hours ago. "I gotta go. I can drive there faster than those flights will arrive."
Jill agreed, gave him a quick hug and kiss, then wished him luck as he rushed out the door.
He was just outside Jacksonville when Tom called his mom. "Hey, I'm on my way. I should be there by three."
"No, I'm driving. Any more news? The radio stations keep saying the same thing, that Christine is still missing with her date."
"No. I don't understand why they left, and more so, why haven't they at least called?"
"Are they at least looking for his car? The popular thing he did with dates in the past was either bowling or the beach."
"Well, they're looking for his dad's car. They've checked those two places, since that was his mom's idea as well, and they haven't found anything. They're driving to all the hotels now to check those lots."
"I think that's a waste of time. They wouldn't shack up like that."
"You sure? You haven't seen them together the last couple of weeks. Things had changed between them. I was thinking for the better...but now...I just don't know. On one hand, I'd hate to think they ran off together to some out of the way sleazy motel. But on the other, I kinda hope they did, you know? I feel sorry for all those other families. What they must be going through."
"Mom, it's no picnic for us, or Chris' parents, either. We don't know WHAT happened. I just hope we find them soon to figure it all out."
"Yes. I know what you mean. Be safe. Oh yeah, the Zehyr's are here now. That way if one of us hears something, the other will know as well."
"Good idea. I'll see you soon." Then, Tom hung up the phone.
Tom chanced speeding tickets a bit and got to his house by two. His mom offered him a sandwich after he and the Zehyr's exchanged brief hellos. Tom refused the food, intent on setting off to attempt to find his sister right away. He got an update from his dad who had just gotten home from the scene. The ballroom debris had been sifted through, and 101 bodies had been recovered. The class, minus Chris and Christine, four teachers, and three event staff members from the club. They would start removing the conference center rubble tomorrow. All the places in the pile where a hollow big enough for a person might have existed had been swept over with police dogs as well as where the restrooms were, and it was determined that no one else was inside.
Tom listened to his dad's report, then turned to the two inside dogs. "Lady! Pepper! Let's go!" The dogs jumped up and followed him out of the house.
During the ride home, Tom had run possibilities of where they possibly could be through his head. He kept coming up with one conclusion. If they weren't at the beach, or in her room, they SHOULD still be at the dance. With that hunch, he decided that he would start his search there. Forty minutes later, he pulled into the driveway of the demolished resort. There were large media satellite trucks lining the drive and out onto the street, as everyone wanted a piece of the Prom Tragedy story. He thought to himself that it wouldn't have been as big a story if his sister and her date were dead along with the others. Hell, just before he left with the dogs, one station covering the story had a graphic up asking, Where Are They?
Just before the parking lot, a deputy stopped him and asked why he was there. He explained his relationship to the missing couple, and said he wanted to see the building for himself. The officer radioed his supervisor on the grounds, and Tom heard the reply, "whatever, let him pass. There's nothing here for him to find, anyway." He was waved through, and found a spot away from the tow trucks that were busy removing the tossed around cars. He got out and met another officer at the crime scene tape. He was allowed through, but warned that the pro shop was also in the conference complex, so there were a lot of golf balls scattered around by the twister. Second, he was told that he was not to go near the pile where the buildings stood. It was highly unstable, and something could shift and snap his leg. He agreed to those terms.
Tom could see why this seemed like a hopeless trip for him to the officers. The once-great ballroom stood in sifted piles only about 6 feet high. The two story complex next to it had untouched debris mounds that topped out at a mere 12 feet in a few places. The best way he could describe the building was "flattened." His and Christine's dogs stayed close to his feet.
He got to a midpoint around back of the piles, somewhat out of view of the media back on the parking lot. Sighing heavily he said to himself, "here comes the Hail Mary play." Then he looked down at the canines. "Lady, Pepper, go find CC!"
The two brown and white Shetland Sheepdogs seemed to know what was asked of them, and they split up. Lady started nosing around the ballroom area, while Pepper started off at the far end of the conference complex. Lady was the first to act strange, sniffing and pawing at pieces of debris, especially near the center of where the ballroom once stood, but she kept moving. Tom figured that she could tell that the couple were there, but she couldn't find them. About a half hour went by when Lady sniffed the breeze and took off over the shattered mess of trees littering the course in the tornado's path. Tom thought to go after her, but Pepper was unfazed and kept searching the rubble. A deputy saw the dog fly off and offered to retrieve her. Tom said that Lady would come back on her own, but that the deputy might want to check out what she went after, just in case.
After about 15 minutes, a flurry of excitement started heading in the same direction. Tom thought he heard someone yelling to a camera crew something about a car being found. At about the same time, Pepper did something that made him ignore the buzz. Almost 40 yards directly in front of him, she cocked her ears, sniffed, then disappeared into the pile.
It was over just as quick as it started. Things got really quiet, save for some lingering groans and creaks. Christine found herself alive, but screaming. It took every ounce of willpower she had to force herself to stop. The table legs were holding, so they combined with the fallen tabletop resting on its middle split to form a protective cage around them. She called Chris' name repeatedly, but didn't get a response. She felt his chest rise and fall beneath her, so she knew he was still alive as well. Christine started screaming for help, stopping what seemed to be hours later only when her voice finally gave out.
She laid still now, fearful any move on her part would shift something the wrong way. When her voice gave out earlier, she tried to explore by touch their surroundings. She had grazed something with her foot when she inched down Chris's body. The nudge resulted in a short series of eerie groans along with crumbles of drywall falling, and that convinced her that the space they were in was tiny, and getting smaller. Her head laid on Chris's chest, and the only sound she could hear, apart from the occasional groan or creak, was his heart. For a couple of hours now, it was a steady hypnotic pulse, but then suddenly the pace quickened. A few of his muscles twitched below her, and a low moan came from in front of her head. The body startled under her weight.
"Christine!" It was more of a call of panic, than a beckoning one.
"Shh. Don't move. Things are still shifting," she whispered. A couple of soft pops punctuated her hushed warning.
"Are we dead?"
"No," she rasped.
"Am I blind? Cuz, I can't see a thing."
"I don't think so. I can see my watch if I turn on its light." This time, her voice was a bit stronger.
Chris finally recognized the voice. "Oh, it is you...I think. You sound different."
"I was yelling for help for a really long time."
"Is this really Christine? Or am I dreaming?" He moved his hands up to touch her face, but they got as far as her hips before they brushed the underside of the collapsed table. So, he brought them towards each other and found her dress. He moved them closer and felt her pelvis, then the beginning of the softness of her behind before hitting the table. "The dress feels the same. A little gritty, but the same...so does the ass."
Christine gave out a deep breath. "Yes it's me. And, yes, that's my ass. I'm pinned against you, so what are you going to do? Molest me?"
"Sorry, I'm just figuring out what's around. I'm so woosie."
"Well, ya. The last thing I saw after you spun me over on top of you was that chair whizzing past and hitting you on the head. It was pretty wet before, so I'm sure you were bleeding, but it seems to have stopped now. What else are you feeling...wrong with yourself that is?"
He inhaled deeply against her weight and mentally ran over his body. "I feel like my back's on fire. I think I pulled something when I moved you. OW! My ankle hurts bad, and I can't move it."
Christine moved her foot over his leg until it stopped against something hard. "I think something is sitting on it. It might be broken."
He grunted as he tested that leg again. "No, don't think it's broken, but maybe sprained and bruised. Speaking of asses, mine's wet...is that rain? Or did we spill all the water?"
He felt her heartbeat quicken against his chest, as well as heat increasing from her face. "No," she said embarrassed. "It's, uh, processed soda...from both of us. You were unconscious, so that happened pretty early and multiple times. I held it until I just got too tired. Sorry."
At first he didn't understand. "What do you mean...ohh. Well, I guess there could be worse things."
"Well, we could be in a state where we didn't feel anything anymore."
She sighed. "True."
"Any sign of the others? Yells, groans, anything?"
She rolled her head against his chest in the negative. "No. But the floor's been rumbling slightly for the last hour or so."
"What time is it?"
The weight increased on him slightly as she brought her hands over his face and a very faint green glow shown from her eyes for a second. "Six in the morning."
His back was mostly numb from being pressed by her body. He placed his fingers lightly on the ground at his sides and sure enough, he felt what she was talking about. It was very slight, but there definitely was a vibration. "Rumbling," he muttered to himself as he processed it. "Maybe equipment to move this mess?"
"Oh...it could be."
Chris felt around with his right hand until it found what it was looking for. "There it is," he grunted as he shifted under her slightly.
Christine suddenly heard "ping-ping-ping, ping...ping...ping, ping-ping-ping" from behind her. "What are you doing?" she asked.
"Tapping SOS with my ring against the table leg. Who knows, they might hear the higher pitch."
Hours later, the couple still hadn't gotten any result from Chris' attempts to communicate with the outside, aside from the constant ring in their ears. He'd been tapping so long now, it was automatic.
"Oh God! How stupid am I?" he exclaimed.
The sudden outburst startled Christine who had started drifting off. "What?"
"Where's your phone? We could have just flippin' called 911 and told them we're here."
"Give me some credit, Chris. I already thought of that. My clutch is on the other side of the table...probably smashed beyond recognition. Where's yours?"
"I left it in the car."
"Okay, then...don't you think it would be ringing by now? I mean, it's nine in the morning. I think after a thing like this, our parents would be calling to see where we were."
Christine sighed. "What do you think happened to the others? I mean, at least Sarah saw us leave the ballroom, 'cause I motioned for her to come with us. But she mouthed back one more song. She would have told any rescuers that we were over here."
Chris returned the long sigh. "I really hate to say this, but what do you think? You said yourself, SOMEONE would have thought to look for us here by now. I haven't heard any pops for a while, so I don't think they're moving anything above us."
She whimpered, "so they're dead?"
He stopped his pinging long enough to stroke her hips. It was the best way he could think of to comfort her, since the space wouldn't allow a hug. "I think it's really possible. The ballroom was just one big open space. We had another floor above us, and this table. And, we're left with what? 20 inches of room? Plus, it's pitch black in here, and we haven't heard anything but each other. Not even birds singing. So, yeah, I think they're gone."
Christine sobbed softly. Finally, she managed, "Are we going to die here?"
"Oh, sweetie. Not for a long while. We have some water and food. It should last us a couple of days or so if we're careful. The demolition crew should be moving this rubble long before then. We'll be found."
"If they don't crush us first."
He resumed his pinging. "I didn't think of that. Either way, I can't imagine a better person to leave here with. Dead or alive."
"Me too," she said quietly.
The trapped couple had talked at random off and on about various things, trying their best to keep spirits above despair. Topics ranged from political debates to college choices.
There was a lull in the conversation, since they were both exhausted, when Chris mentioned offhandedly, "You know, I'm beginning to think that high school dances aren't our thing."
Christine snorted laughter through her nose. "You say the most random things, sometimes."
He laughed with her for a bit before getting serious again. "Really. I mean, have you had a good one yet? I sure haven't."
"I don't know. Tonight, er, LAST night started out perfectly until...you know. I see your point, though. None have been very fulfilling. This one takes the cake, though. I feel like I've been cheated out of something great."
"Well, at least we cheated Death," he said.
"Oh, I'm not sure it was cheating. You seemed to know exactly what to do. Man, if you hadn't picked that lock...how did you know how to do that, anyway?"