They found themselves standing together on a train platform once again. Only this time they were a few hundred miles and a few hours from where they had started from. After connecting as they had while the elderly couple across from them had slept, they weren’t quite sure what do to now that they had reached their destination.
Their luggage was gathered around their feet. The few other passengers who had gotten off with them had already hurried off. The platform was empty and quiet. It was as though they were the only other living souls around. It was an eerie feeling, but then that feeling was prevalent all across the world. Thriving metropolises had seen their numbers reduced as people flocked back home or overseas on one last grand vacation. Transportation hubs had been jammed a week or so ago, but now, on the last day, no one was really going anywhere. And with stores and restaurants and other venues closing their doors permanently on a daily basis, there were fewer and fewer things to do outside of one’s home. The world had seemingly gone quiet on this last day. The atmosphere was tense and solemn, and undeniably creepy to Cooper and Valentine.
Valentine shifted her feet and clasped her hands together in front of her. She offered a tentative smile, unsure of what to do now. She knew she should be getting to her parents’ house; they were expecting her, after all. But she had been enjoying Cooper’s company so much, no matter how dirty and unkempt he looked. He was really very nice and she was glad they had made plans to meet up that night for the party.
“I suppose I should be getting to my parents’ house,” she said, her voice wavering with indecision.
“I should probably be doing the same. My parents are probably anxious to see me again.” He rolled his eyes. “The feeling’s not exactly mutual, but at least it’s somewhere nice to be for the end of the world.”
She smiled at him. “Well, from what I hear, it has been a couple of years.”
He barked out a laugh. “Yeah, it has. And now that I’m here, I’m not so sure I want to go home.”
“But didn’t you already talk to your father?” she asked, tucking a lock of red hair behind an ear in a self-conscious move.
She reached out and gently brushed her fingers against his shoulder. “Why don’t you escort me home first, then? It’ll give you a little more time before you see you family again and it’ll give us more time to spend together. I live about a fifteen minute drive away.”
“I kind of doubt there are going to be any buses or taxis waiting around,” he said, dubiously scratching at his head.
She shrugged. “I’m up for a good walk. My luggage rolls.”
“Mine is pretty light.” He shrugged. “Okay. I’m game. I’ll walk you home and then can I call a taxi?”
“I’ve got a car at home. I’ll take you myself.”
“Okay. Come on, then.” She grinned. “I’m starting to think I smell.”
Cooper laughed and picked up his duffle bag and backpack, slinging both across his back before taking hold of one of her rolling suitcases.
“You think you smell bad? I haven’t washed myself in about two or three days. I kind of lost track.”
“Really? I think I stopped noticing a couple of hours ago that you stink.”
They laughed together as they finally made their way out of the train station and into the bright, sunny morning. Even at eight in the morning at the end of spring, the air was still cool. But they knew it would be quite warm in a couple of hours and they should really get moving if they wanted to be in a nice, cool house before the sun really started to warm up the earth.