"Come on, get inside!" Coach urged Ellis, who was lagging behind the group, clutching his blood-stained shirt around his torso. The bigger man watched the boy limp toward him, and heard a string of curses from his dry cracked mouth even from that distance. He held the steel door open, just enough for Ellis to make it through.

"Ahh… I'm goin' as fast as I can!" Ellis breathed, and limped slightly faster. I felt a sharp pain around his rips, and his breath hitched harshly. "Shit…"

Somewhere behind Coach, Rochelle clicked her teeth, then, "At this rate, something might get him…"

At that moment, Nick brushed by Rochelle, and stood near the entrance into the safe room with a long gun, a sniper rifle. "Don't worry, I got it. Coach, open the door just a little more." When Coach didn't follow his orders immediately, he added, "We can see zombies run at us from a distance. They aren't the problem, the special infected are, so open the damn door a little more will ya?"

Coach snorted, but did so anyway. With a deep breath, Nick got on one knee, and started feverishly searching for any movement behind Ellis. Those special infected were sneaky bastards and always knew where to hit them. Always. And no doubt, this would be the best time… Usually, he wouldn't need a sniper rifle for this kind of thing, just listening for a growl or a cough or a screech or an annoying laughter or a burp… 'Just how do they catch us off guard anyway?' he asked himself. If it wasn't such a dire situation, he would have laughed it off.

"Nick, look, right over there…" Rochelle pointed.

And there it was, a Smoker, hiding slightly behind a pillar, aiming its filthy tongue (or maybe it was tongues? Nick never really cared or paid any attention, either way that shit really hurt) at the limping son-of-a-bitch, who couldn't limp any faster. "Yeah, I got him…"

Coach also glanced to the direction Rochelle was pointing. "Ellis! Hurry it up man!"

"I said I'm going… as fast as I can…!" He shouted back, and it hurt. Walking hurt, his arms hurt, breathing hurts, everything just hurts and he was on the verge of collapsing. He knew, one more hit, and he's done for… Did Nick think so too? It looked like that gun was aimed straight at him—


The bullet whistled by his ear, and Ellis instinctively covered his head with bloody arms. The urge to shout at Nick died off in his throat the moment a wheezing sound of a dying Smoker reached his ringing ears.

Nick silently congratulated himself for such a clean shot then yelled, "Now get your ass in here before I shoot you."

Now inside the safe room, Ellis was guided to a table by Rochelle.

"A-Ahh… oh… damn…"

The woman sighed and shook her head. "You're too messed up to heal yourself. Sit on the table. I'll patch you up, okay?" She reached for one of the medical kits beside Ellis and unpacked them on the table.

"Thanks Ro'. I owe you one."

"Don't mention it," she said simply as she grabbed the roll of gauze and started wrapping it on his blood-stained arm. After a quiet moment, she spoke again. "That was reckless, you know."

"What was?"

"Shoving me out the Chargers way. That was stupid of you."

Ellis grinned at her dumbly, "Yeah, maybe, but you gotta admit, I looked pretty cool."

"No," she said instantly, "You looked pretty damn stupid. Even if I was hit, you boys would have helped me out. We weren't in any real danger; there were just a couple of zombies around. And because of that, you got hurt pretty bad." She tore the gauze and tied the end with a fairly secured knot. It was the only reason why she made it, not unhurt, but the healthiest out of the four, and the only reason why Ellis was so close to die.

"What, I don't even get a 'thank you' or anything?"

"Heh, alright. Thank you." Though in all honestly, it was only halfhearted since she was just humoring him. Rochelle then applied rubbing alcohol onto a piece of gauze and lifted his shirt. "This is going to sting a little… actually; it's going to sting a lot."

"You know, when guy do that kind of stuff, we get a kiss or someth--OW GODDAMN GIRL!! THAT SHIT STINGS!"

Rochelle chuckled, "Hey, I told you. Now be still."

"Ah… ow…" His breath hitched more than he could count, but unlike the harsh, quick breaths of before, these were slightly gentle. Every single tap of that gauze burned and stung like hell. "Owowowow… hey you know what, did I ever tell you about the time when Keith dipped his leg in boiling water? It was weird 'cuz like—"

Automatically, without another thought, Rochelle asked, "Ellis, sweetie, can this wait?"

"Man, I never get to tell my stories…" He pouted like a little boy who didn't get his way.

She rolled her eyes. "Maybe… because it's not the best time? We're in the middle of a zombie apocalypse if you haven't noticed."

"Well I—ow—I'm only tryin' to lighten the mood a little. And besides, no one else tells any stories."

"Like I said, not the best time."

Rochelle tried to end the conversation, he noticed. "Do you have any stories? I bet you have a bunch of them since you work at the news station and all."

Rochelle applied tape to the gauze at laid on top of Ellis' gapping scar on his abdomen. "… My job isn't like that. I only applied cables to electronics and gave coffee to my workers, and got ordered around." She smiled bitterly at the memory of one of the newscasters angrily demanding for iced coffee (with two packs of sugar, and not the regular kind of sugar, the diet kind, and it had to be that kind, nothing else) whenever she was around. Maybe the zombie outbreak wasn't so bad after all, she thought.

Ellis shifted a little, and tried to get used to the new thing on his stomach. He then watched her get on her knees and started applying bandages on his legs. He moved his lips in a thoughtful manner, then, "What about that Jacob guy?"

Rochelle stopped mid applying and cocked a thin eyebrow at the man in front of her. "What?"

"Jacob. I've heard you say that you 'shoulda stayed with Jacob' or whatever. Who is he?"

She went back to the injured leg. "My boyfriend."


She couldn't help but notice the tone of his voice; he sounded crestfallen, like he'd been rejected. There was a short lived silence until Rochelle exhaled. "My… ex-boyfriend."

"Oh?" Instantly, he sounded, not exactly cheerful, but hopeful.

The woman smirked slightly and continued, "We had broken up right before the outbreak started actually. It's pretty complicated... Anyway, we had planned to go on a vacation to California… So I thought, what if I stayed with Jacob? I probably wouldn't be in this mess."

Ellis wanted to comment about the fact that she didn't tell a story about her and Jacob like how he wanted, but he grinned. "If you stayed with Jacob… now, this is only a guess so I could be wrong, but if you stayed with him, I bet you would be infected or somethin'."

"If not infected, I'd probably be dead. Jacob wouldn't protect me for shit. Hell, he'd probably leave me to protect himself."

"Heh, yeah I bet. And you know what? I bet I'm so much cooler than Jacob. I mean, I pushed you out the way of a Charger and stuff! He wouldn't have done that, huh? And, you know what; if you stayed with Jacob, I bet you wouldn't have met me."

Rochelle noticed that he left out Coach and Nick. What's even more, he didn't say "us", he said "me". She flicked a finger at his bandaged scratch and watched him jerk his leg back in pain. "Are you trying to hit on me?"

"Well… is it working?"

She put her focus back on his legs. "No. Besides—stop moving I'm not going to hit you again—I think you're already in a relationship."

"Huh?" Ellis' eyebrows furrowed. He was at a loss. He isn't in a relationship with anyone else; at least, he thought so. He tilted his head a little to the left, then to the right, and looked down at Rochelle, who had an amused look on her face. "Wait, who?"

"…Isn't it obvious? Keith, or course."

There was a pregnant silence between the two of them, and Rochelle took this time to finish patching the boy up. Ellis however, slowly realized what she had implied, then, "Wha… Oh hey that ain't funny Ro'! Me and Keith are best buds alright? That's just nasty and stuff. That kind of reminds me, did I ever tell you about the time when Keith challenged a fat guy to sumo wrestle? Don't worry, it's totally relevant. Anyway, he had just seen it on TV right, so he wanted to try it out. But he asked the first fat guy he saw right and, I mean, he wasn't even Asian, so then he—"

Abruptly, without warning, he felt full, warm, chapped lips on his own. Frozen with shock, he didn't do anything but watch Rochelle's closed eyes in front of his own vision. It was only until he realized what was going on when she pulled away and stood up. Elatedly, Ellis jumped onto his own feet (accompanied by pain) and started to embrace Rochelle into another, better, longer kiss but she caught his arms before they could touch her. "…Ellis, sweetie, can this wait?"

Knowing that phrase all too well, the country boy grinned lopsidedly."I thought you said my flirtin' wasn't working."

"It wasn't."

Pause. "What? Then what was the kiss for?"

"For you to shut up. I've heard enough about you and Keith doing stupid shit." Or maybe it was to humor him? Or maybe she just felt like it. No matter the reason though, he didn't shut up.

Ellis' grin never faltered; instead, it only brightened, despite his scarred skin. But even with that, his reddened cheeks added life to his once pale face. "If I tell a story again, will you kiss me?"

"…No." Then she smirked. "Like I said, you still haven't won me over."

"Okay, well, what do I have to do to make you fall in love with me?"

"Wouldn't that be too easy?" Rochelle asked while placing her hands on her hips. Ellis blinked at her and had a mix of confusion and amusement on his flustered face. Rochelle shifted her weight and stared at Ellis in a sort of mocking way. "You like games, don't you? Then, think of this as a game to win me over." A pause, then she added, "I dare you to make me fall in love with you."

At that single word, Ellis's eyes sparkled as much as he's seen the Midnight Riders poster inside one of the safe rooms. "Wait wait, double dare me! No wait, triple dare me!"

The woman became slightly shocked at how excited he was. "Alright alright I triple dare you, calm down. Now I have to warn you, I'm not easy. You can save my life all you want, and we can even survive this whole thing, and I still won't be swooning all over you."

"Heh, that just makes it more exciting."

From the corner of the room, Nick can be seen with a set of bandages on his face, a hard stare and folded arms across his chest. "Try not to be too distracted, lover boy. You might get yourself killed."

From behind him, Coach's chuckle can be heard. He then appeared, also with new bandages, and two pistols in each hand, "You two about ready to get going or what?"

Rochelle picked up her once abandoned shotgun from the table and started to reload it. "Just about."

"Hell yeah I'm ready! I gotta look cool while killin' the shit outta zombies!"

Nick groaned. "Now look at what you've done, Ro'."

She held up her hands, as if in defeat, "Hey, I didn't do anything." She turned her attention to the county boy, who was excitedly reloading his gun. In all honesty, he was really just a little boy, and that was probably why she liked him. Being around the newscast wasn't always entertaining or exciting, but he… well, he was just a breath of fresh air (though the air wasn't that fresh). In addition, he had good looks, which was a plus in her book. Realizing this, she patted Ellis' broad back and half-smiled. "Well, actually, if we make it out alive, I'll consider swooning over you."

Not a moment later, he proudly wrapped his muscular arms over Rochelle and pulled her in, "I think you mean, 'when we make it out alive', right?" And again, that goofy grin appeared on his features.

If it was any other time, she would have kissed him, even hug or talk sweet nothings to him. But they were busy people, and needed all the time they could get to survive. Plus, as she and everyone else constantly told him, it really wasn't the best time. So instead, she muttered, "Yeah, you're right. When we make it out alive."

Together, not hand in hand, but side-by-side (with glances and light curling of the lips), they walked to the closed exit of the safe house. Peering through the metal bars, they saw the blood-thirsty zombies, wondering around the area with no destination in mind, a sight all too familiar to the four of them.

Coach inhaled in a deep breath and took the bar off the steel door. "Alright, you guys ready to kill some zombies?"

The other three nodded slowly, silently, and Coach threw open the door.

A/N: uh yeah idk i just like these two together ;;
review please?
please ;_;