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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Phil seemed relieved. That brought a flash of guilt to Jennifer. Had he been scared? Thought she'd abandoned him, perhaps? She was about to fumble her way through an apology, when he continued, asking her how long he'd been asleep for.

"It's, um, well, I don't know. It's dark now. It, um, could be any time past sunset, but we were, uh, out for at least half a day."

Phil suggested they get out. That meant all her work clearing the body out, actually touching the thing, had been totally fucking pointless. That didn't matter, though, because she couldn't agree more. She was ready to be back in the fresh air, in the open. She gathered up her stuff, too, making sure she had her backpack, the one she had packed for the trip. It really was stupid to still be holding onto it.

She wasn't going to leave it, though.

Then Phil did something that took her off guard. He thanked her. Offered to pay her back. Implied he owed her something. Owed her? No, no, not at all. She'd just done what she had to. Worked to help someone. Would anyone have taken another action? She wasn't special. Phil was making too big a deal out of this.

"Um, I... You don't have to do anything, but if you, um, want to stick together for a while, that'd be nice. I am, uh, looking for someone, actually. Um, it's Maf. From the, uh, the football team. And... and we can find your teammates too. I'll help you, too."

There. She'd proposed it. Made an offer to stick with someone. It was worrying, actually. She had responsibilities now. Was back to watching out for someone else. From here on out, she couldn't just run if things went badly. Not unless she was sure Phil would be okay.

Time to worry about that if it came up. For now, they were moving out of the tunnels. She would steer them away from the body, and they would continue their search. Check by the mirror house at some point. Keep moving.

Keep alive.

And maybe, just maybe, they'd be able to catch up with Nick again, and she could fix some of the damage she'd done.

((Jennifer Perez continued in Still Going Strong))
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Spelunking · The Tunnels