Within minutes the closed pouch had warmed, and she caught herself nodding. She gasped and writhed; standing upright was out of the question until she grabbed the rims of the glasses and worked her feet down to the bottom of the pouch, past the stems. It was absolutely imperative that she not fall asleep. If she did, she might... well, she preferred not to think about that. She kept herself busy with scooping up fuzzballs and hurling them out of the pouch, at the door of the locker. She would hurl one or two, squeeze up her eyes against the itch, a-a-a-CHOO came the sneeze, then a couple more fuzzballs hurled - more and more forcefully as she went on, because she did not like having her eyes water and her nose run and the goop getting all over her sleeve every time she covered a sneeze. It was aggravating. Not the most comfortable way to pass the time, but it made a pretty good vaccine against sleep.

Her heart rejoiced when a crack of light knifed through the utter black inside the locker, but she kept her head enough to duck down and pull the pouch closed, leaving herself a crack to see through.

"I hope she didn't get pulled over for anything," the janitor was saying. "What if she got caught without her license?"

"That would be embarrassing, wouldn't it?" Ah, that wonderful voice. She recognized the smooth tone; he was stalling. He wanted to give her time to get under cover, if she wasn't already. She saw the shadows of his fingers, blocking out bars of light across the top of the locker door. "Thank you so much for watching out for her."

"No problem, no problem. She's a nice lady. A little feisty, maybe..."

A laugh. "I couldn't agree more."

The door swung open, slowly, giving her time to shield her eyes from the suddenly blinding opening, and the great hand came down, slowly, blindly. She reached out and touched him when he was close enough, guiding two fingers up to the pouch. The hand formed a warm cup around her side of the purse, engulfing her completely, and she felt the purse move out and up in a smooth arc. It made her giddy, but she was safe.

"Thanks so much for everything," he said again.

She waited through the janitor's kind reply, the thuk-thuk of shoes on tile, and the squeak of the exit door accompanied by a rush of cold air. She snaked an arm out the pouch lid, smacking warm flesh impatiently.

"Okay, okay, I guess it's safe enough now..."

He stopped while she threw back the lid and slithered into his palm. She gasped fresh air, looked up at stars in a black sky and black hair and fair skin and great smiling eyes like stars.

"Phew! It was getting stale in there."

He held up a familiar object in his other hand, his left hand. The purse dangled by its straps from his elbow, momentarily forgotten. "Forget this?"

Her ring. Even in starlight, it had a rich golden glow. Its twin, on his left hand, twinkled yellow and amethyst. "My hands were swollen," she said guiltily. "I meant to put it straight back on."

"And I'm going to insist that you find a job with less typing." He proffered it, and she took it and cradled it, a great golden circle with yellow and purple winks that she had to use both hands to contain. It was warm through the cloth of her dress, warm from his skin. "Since doing less typing at your job hasn't worked."

"It gets so busy in the afternoon," she admitted. People started rushing, and the haste was contagious, and it was just so much easier to send an email or IM than to get up and walk to another part of the office, especially if it was a cubicle upstairs.

He lifted his palm to his collar, a familiar movement, and she slid feet first inside of it, preferring right now to be next to his warmth. "Oh, my shoes..."

"Here." He tapped; they were tucked under his left arm. She could feel his voice as well as hear it. "Want one to sleep in?"

"No, thanks! They'd smell awful." She inhaled blissfully. This was much better; cologne and cotton shirt and, subdued but comforting, good old male sweat. Privately, she liked that smell.

"Okay, but when we get to the car you're riding with the change."

"Boo." She pouted. She would have a wonderful view of the radio controls from between the seats. "I want to see."

"Sorry, sweetie. I won't risk you going through the windshield if some idiot hits me."