Dianna kicks off her covers and sighs loudly. Sunshine streams in the windows of her tiny home. The clock radio comes to life and begins blaring a 90s love ballad. She hated it when she beat her alarm like that. It made her feel like she'd been cheated out of an extra two minutes of sleep.
Sitting up, she runs her fingers through the bundle of matted straw atop her head. "If only he could see me now. So hot," she mumbles.
Successfully exiting her bed, she manages to stumble into a hot shower and a fresh change of clothes. Her hair decides that it's going to be a good day after all. Thank goodness for tiny miracles.
Continuing the theme of better-than-average-days, no over-sized human beings decide to sit next to her on the tram. She smiles out the window as she watches the world go by. Maybe this was all a sign – a type of things to come for this evening.
Work is dull, just as it always is. That's probably why they call it 'work', as opposed to 'the time of one's life'. Before Dianna knows it though, two legally mandated breaks and a lunch hour have zipped by.
"Sooooooo…" the sound made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. A familiar face peaks over the left cubical wall. "Tonight's the big night, huh? Are you excited?"
Dianna manages a smile and casually tosses it over her shoulder at the unwelcome face. "Yeah. It's tonight."
Amanda's face is exploding with a mix of excitement and jealousy as she looks down at the other woman. "I am SO jealous! If I can fold up into your purse, will you take me along?"
Dianna manages to keep the smile going while wrinkling her nose a little. "I'm pretty sure my purse isn't big enough. Sorry."
The smile slides off of Amanda's face like snow from a rooftop. "Did you just call me FAT?" she demands.
Dianna grits her teeth a little.
"Just kidding!" Amanda declares, the exploding excitement returning to her face once again. "Have an incredible time, OK? And I want ALL the details tomorrow morning!"
Dianna manages to nod a couple of times as the other woman slowly disappears behind the cubicle wall. She's startled when Amanda's face suddenly pops back up again.
"Don't do anything I wouldn't do! Be good!"
Dianna summons the last of her energy to manage a final smile and nod. The other woman once again slowly descends behind the fabric covered divider while cackling manically. One final piece of muffled advice manages to penetrate the space between them before she can stand and escape. "And if you can't do that, at least be good at it!"
Darkness blankets the land and the city retaliates with artificial illumination. Dianna hums quietly to herself as she sits and prepares in front of her vanity. She smiles and gives herself permission to break out the good stuff for this evening. The regular creams and perfumes are cast aside as a few expensive looking products are brought to the forefront.
"I hope he doesn't get all grabby…"she says to herself. She hesitates before applying her $200 perfume. Was this too much? She knew men were weak at the best of times. Would the perfume push the poor guy over the edge? She thinks it over for a few minutes, then looks her mirror image in the eye and generously douses her neck. "Or maybe I hope he does," she says with a wicked little grin.
The cabbie is kind enough to open the door for her. He tries to conceal the fact that he's drinking in her legs as she exits. She gives him a little grin and a few folded bills. He gives her a little nod and tips his hat in return.
Dianna tries to keep her head up as she strides toward the restaurant, but the sparkle of her favorite stilettos keep stealing her attention. Maybe she hadn't needed the cream and perfume after all; these shoes were fabulous enough to bring peace to the Middle East.
A tall, stately gentleman smiles as she approaches the door. "Dianna Herold?" he asks.
"Yes, that's me."
"Very good. This way please."
She follows him into a large fine dining hall full of young couples. They all smile and nod as she is shown to a table at the front of the room. Was it her imagination, or was her table a little better lit than all the rest? She tucks her skirt tightly beneath her as she sits. If she had known that she was going to be the center of attention, she might have opted for a slightly longer garment.
"Is there anything you need? Water perhaps? Something a little stronger?" the host asks.
She smiles and shakes her head. He gives a short bow and then returns to his post at the front door.
The room is filled with an unseen announcer's voice. "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attendance tonight. And a special welcome to Dianna Herold, winner of this year's 'secret dream guy' draw.
Several more spotlights power up on Dianna's table. The world around her becomes white and the thunderous applause coming from all around her makes her heart skip a beat.
The unseen announcer continues. "Dianna, are you ready to meet the man that thinks you're the one for him?"
Her heart is racing now. She vigorously nods her head and shouts "YES" much louder than she actually meant to.
She feels the earth move. Her heart skips another beat. She can barely breathe. The earth moves again. And then again. And then again. Some of the women in the audience start to scream as several of the spot lights shatter along with the front window of the restaurant.
Dianna suddenly realizes that the earth is actually moving. It was an earthquake!
Expensive chandeliers swing to and fro as panicked patrons dive under tables and cover their heads. Chunks of plaster fall from the roof and explode on the expensive hardwood floor. Dianna screams and dives onto the stage beside her just as a large piece of ceiling lands on her small glass table. A few people try and make it to the exits, but turn back as they are pelted with tiny pieces of razor sharp glass.
The building shutters and shakes for what seems like an eternity. Dianna manages to roll under the stage curtain and crawl under several large tables stacked along the back wall. She screams again as the curtain comes down along with the catwalk above. Several sandbags drop and explode their contents in front of her.
The power finally fails and the resulting darkness elevates the experience to full nightmare status. The merry crowd found laughing and clapping a few minutes ago has been reduced to panicked hysterics and cries of pain and anguish.
Dianna holds herself and weeps as the earthquake finally begins to subside. Something, or rather, someone falls on the floor in front of her. From the sound of the breathing, she guessed it was a man.
"Dianna?" a voice in front of her sputters in a harsh whisper. "Dianna, is that you?"
"Who is it? What do you want?" she whimpers back.
A lighter flicks on revealing the face of a man lying on the ground in front of her. A thin trickle of blood runs down the side of his face.
"Hi. My name is Kevin. Apparently I'm the perfect guy for you. Surprise."
Dianna has no idea what to say to that. The earth has stopped moving, but the mood in the air was still that of fear and panic.
"Are you OK? Are you hurt?" she asks.
Kevin groans a little and pulls himself closer to her. "I'll live. How about you? Did you get cut with all that glass flying around? Are you OK?"
As crazy as it might seem, there was something about this man that put her at ease. She had never seen him before, but the concern in his voice sparked a little something inside of her.
His lighter flickers a little as a light hail of dust begins floating down and blanketing the area.
She reaches out to him and rests a hand on his forearm. "Yeah. I'm OK. Thank you. You're bleeding though!"
"Bah…" his eyes twinkle a wee bit in the dim light, "tis just a flesh wound. I've had worse."
She gives him a strange look as a slight smile crosses his face. What an odd time to be quoting Monty Python.
"So… come here often?" he quips.
Before she can answer, he continues. "This place is a real drag. You want to get out of here? What do you say?"
Dianna covers her mouth and stifles a giggle. Was this strange man really making jokes in the aftermath of an earthquake?
"Come on, I'm bored," he continues. "Let's blow this Popsicle stand. You don't mind dragging me do you? I think both my legs are crushed."
"OK, shut up," she says as she slides out from under the tables. "I think you took a bigger blow to the head than you thought," she says with a little grin on her face.
The lighter snaps off and both are plunged into darkness again. "OW! And I'm pretty sure I just burnt my thumb. Guess we'll just add that to the list."
An aftershock begins rocking the once fancy restaurant again. Dianna reaches out and grabs Keven by the jacket. With a little grunt, she starts pulling him back under her table.
"Baby, you really move me!"
Dianna rolls her eyes in the darkness. His speech was becoming a little slurred.
"And by the way… OW! Easy, lady! I've just been in an earthquake!"
Everything begins to shake violently now. More screams come from the darkness on the other side of the room. Dianna manages to prop Kevin's head on her lap as she huddles with him in the darkness.
"Am I going to get lucky? I want to get lucky at least once before I die."
She gently pats him on the side of the face and smiles.
Kevin continues, his speech slurring badly now. "And to think all this time, all I had to do was get smashed by bits of falling ceiling to get a little attention… from a… beautiful…"
Kevin goes limp in her arms.
Dianna holds him a little tighter as the building continues to dance.