His hands trembled, his heart fluttered, her deep blue eyes, radiant warmth, and lustrous curly red hair that shimmered like the wavelets on a lake in the early morning son had him perplexed. He did not care for the chaos surrounding him, nor did he notice it. For now she was everything, the woman who haunted him when he closed his eyes, an object of fixation for some time after leaving her company. He had her, in all her glory.

He leaned in gradually, caressing the back of her neck. An explosion rocked the air. Neither seemed to care. Her smile turned to acceptance, her demeanor to preparation, not of their impending doom but of something more primal and deep. He knew he had won her over. He did not know how a simple boy could win such an amazing woman. Perhaps it really was love. He leaned his slightly taller frame ever closer to her, slowly so as not to rouse suspicion. Could it be?

Her eyes did not close, she was an experienced lover. He nearly broke as the building around them swayed and buckled, the air filling with dust. The world was ending. The buildup was over. The slight smiles, the intense feeling of his head splitting in two. Her constant knowledge of everything he liked and held dear. She had built a palace in his mind. Not insurmountable but not without its challenges. Her seemingly teasing behavior had only led him to throw his rope towards that window, to pine so loudly he screamed silently for Juliet on her balcony. This was nothing now.

Just when the emotions reached fever pitch, when gratification was locked lip to lip, the dust spilled over. Everything went black. For centuries they stood as fragile statues, a reminder of something almost obtained, of humanity at its best. A triumph despite its ugliness.

The anthropologist smiled. She knew the feeling. Love was the same in the year 4000 as it was in the terrible eruption of 2173.

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