She ran along the pavement in the spaces between the puddles and pools of rain that had gathered in the night. She had lain awake well past midnight with his lyrics under her pillow and her ticket safely in the bag she had packed and hidden at the bottom of the closet. That bag was slung over her shoulder now as she raced down the hill to the station. She was going to be late. She was sure. Her Converse slapped against the slabs and she muttered apologies as she splashed other earlyrisers on their way to work.

Then she spied a slouched figure huddled between the rows of buses and sped up. He smiled when he saw her and opened his arms wide,

"I thought you weren't coming Claudie," he said as she flung her arms round his neck.

"You know I'll always keep you waiting.." she whispered in his ear.

"We can make it if we run," he replied and took her hand. Together they ran for the bus. They made it. Micah took the window seat, he wanted to see where they were heading.

As if he didn't know. They had planned this for weeks, heads together over a good old cup of coffee in the back of some grimy cafe, where nobody could find them. And soon it would be permanently that way. Running away was never the most perfect solution - but it was the easiest.

Claudie turned and looked at him. His dark hair flopped over his eyes like he was trying to keep a secret, and truly you could never tell what he was thinking until you read his thoughts between the lines of his lyrics. He had out his scrappy notebook now, writing on the dog-eared pages with the stub of a pencil.

"Micah?" he looked up. "What'cha writing?" Claudie asked.

"I'll show you later." He smiled and pressed a finger to her lips. His smile turned to a frown as he began to trace the shadow of a bruise from the corner of one eye and down Claudie's cheek. It was a faint blue-yellow colour and barely visible - but Micah never missed anything.

"I swear," he began, "I'll punch his lights out.." he clenched his fists.

" doesn't matter now. We're gone." Claudie smiled at her own sweet revenge. "You can't get him, and he can't get me." She settled back in her chair and sleepily rested her head on Micah's shoulder. But Micah didn't forget about it, his fists were still clenched long after Claudie was asleep.

When she woke it was dusk and the bus was winding its way through the streets of the city.

"How many runaways d'you think have walked in the city here?" said Claudie as they began to walk down the hill from the station. Everything was new and bright and alive. She'd only been here for five minutes but Claudie wanted to be a part of it.

"How many people d'you think call this city home?" Micah replied, smiling.

"Thousands and thousands.." Claudie looked down at all of the lights that stretched out twinkling on the horizon, "..and two.." she looked up at Micah.

"Hey, I'll chase you to that fountain!" He dropped her hand and ran helter-skelter down into the park with his guitar bag bouncing off his back the whole way. She ran after him, laughing in the dusk and gasping when he scooped up water from the fountain and aimed.

"Missed!" Claudie dropped down on the grass. "I think we should stay here all night and watch the stars."

Micah was getting his guitar out. "You can't see the stars in the city."

"Will you play me your song now?" Claudie asked, and swept her long brown hair out of her face. And Micah played. Claudie loved that guitar, but she loved Micah more. They could both take her places with their music, and make her forget things she didn't want to remember. The acoustic washed over Claudie like a wave, she smiled, and Micah sang:

"We'll take ourselves off into the city

And save our old-town selves in song

Play it louder, and on repeat

'Cause it brings us back to a place we called home."


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