One of the metro cops was bigger and tougher-looking than the other. He was clearly the boss. He had a close-shaved head that wrinkled into a thick groove at the back.
“So where’s your licence?” he said.
“We didn’t know we needed one,” said Sbu.
“This is illegal trading,” the cop said.
“Sorry,” said Sbu. “We’ll pack up and go. No problem.”
“What about the money?” said Airtime. K8 hushed him.
“We were told to crack down on you people,” said the wrinkle-headed cop, and turned to the shorter one. “What do you think? Should we take them in?”
“We didn’t even sell anything!” said K8.
“You were still trying to break the law. I think you should come with us.”
The cop reached for the handcuffs on his belt.
Airtime started sprinting away down the street.
“Airtime, no!” said Sbu.
The younger, fitter cop started chasing Airtime, and the big cop rounded on Sbu with the handcuffs.
“Resisting arrest. You’re in trouble now,” he said.
Sbu felt K8’s hand on his arm. She was tugging him, and he found himself running with her, as fast as he could.
“Hey! Get back here!” called the wrinkle-headed cop.
Sbu ran with K8 past the grinning vendors, who enjoyed seeing a chase, through the tables of an outdoor café, and down a cross street. He knew it was foolish to run. He knew they should have just talked to the cops. But he hadn’t slept, and the thrill of running as fast as he could, running with K8, running from all his life’s problems, just felt too good.
They raced in front of a row of cars just as the lights turned green, took a left turn down a narrow road, and dodged across Long Street. Sbu risked a glance back. He couldn’t see the cop. But they kept running until they were out of breath. They slipped into an alley between a restaurant and a bookshop, and pressed together into a corner, out of sight of the road.
Sbu felt K8’s body shake as she panted for breath. He put an arm around her protectively. Their breathing slowed down together.
“We made it!” she said.
K8 could feel Sbu’s fingers touch her waist, and instinctively she pushed herself towards him. In all the time she had known him, she’d hoped more than once that they might be this close. He was one of the smartest and kindest people she knew. But there had always been so many things keeping them apart, like where they lived, and what their parents would think.
The longer they knew each other, the less things like that seemed to matter.
She looked up at him to search his face, and a bead of sweat ran down her forehead into her eye. She scrunched up her face and blinked it away.
“What’s wrong? Is there something in your eye?” said Sbu. “Here, let me see.”
He lifted her chin to see her eyes, and she pulled down on his shoulders, until they were level. She could feel the muscles of his arm under his shirt. Her fingers tingled. Their lips brushed, and they kissed.
They weren’t part of the world any more. It seemed like they were outside it looking in at these two people, kissing.
There was a distant ringing sound that grew louder and louder, until they had to tear themselves apart.
K8 answered her phone.
“Yes?” she said abruptly.
Sbu was close enough to hear the voice on the other end. It was Song.
“I need to speak you,” she said. “It’s urgent. Really urgent.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK? What do you think about K8 and Sbu’s relationship? Can they make it work?