As I listened to the sadness in Meggie's voice when she talked about Aidan - no matter how much she tried to hide it, heartbreak like that is difficult to conceal - I wrapped an arm around Alex's waist and pulled him closer to me. I can't imagine what I would do if he left me... I could barely breathe through the pain of just thinking about it.
My eyes wandered over to the other girl - Erica. I knew her story; who didn't? Her face has been plastered all over the news since the death of all her family members. I couldn't help but feel a pang of pity for her. She was alone, and not by choice the way I had been.
I gave her a small smile, which probably only succeeded in making her feel like I was patronising her or something. But it was the best I could do. Hey, just a little support can make you feel better, right?
Looking around, I was suddenly hyper-aware of every closely-packed body in the place. The guy hovering over Meggie's shoulder looked like he was trying to pretend not to listen in on our conversation, so I turned my head to whisper in Alex's ear.
"Don't you think we should go somewhere quieter? If they're trying to hide, a packed pub like this isn't exactly the best place..."
He just shrugged. "They chose this place... I'm sure they know best, but I don't mind where we go. I wouldn't mind another pint though..." He looked at the bar wistfully, and I couldn't help but laugh.
"Don't mind where we go, huh?" I grinned cheekily. Then I pulled Alex close to me, kissing him passionately on the lips, before pushing him away again. "Go get your drink." Oh, how I love teasing him.
He winked, and I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face. "You want another drink?"
I considered for a moment, feeling the warm fuzz from my previous pint. It's been too long since I drank anything... my alcohol tolerance must have gone down. "Um... just coke, please." He nodded, and wandered off to join the crowd at the bar.
I realised too late that we probably should've offered Meggie and Erica a drink... oops. Oh well. I'm hardly known for my manners.
"So, um..." I managed to tear my eyes away from Alex to talk to the two of them. "You wanna tell me what exactly happened next door? And don't bother giving me that crap about not worrying about it." I watched as they exchanged a glance, and Meggie opened her mouth to speak.
A deafening explosion tore one side of the room apart, dust billowing outwards and over everyone in the room.
My only thought? "ALEX?!"