When Kate felt the first rumblings she was out on the balcony. She had been gazing distractedly at the hazy blue of the Southern California coast, sipping her coffee and thinking about the bombshell Peter had dropped on her that morning.
“Oh God! Not another one,” she thought, as she reached instinctively for the railings. She had been through many of them in her 27 years in LA, so this didn’t particularly bother her. She continued to sip her coffee unhurriedly. But, when she turned around, through the transparent patio door she could see the people inside scrambling about excitedly. George, the senior partner, had come running out of his office, looking worried.
“Maybe this one is a 5.6 or a 5.8. Perhaps more than a 6,” she thought. She could still feel the rumblings. She knew from her professional training that the balcony wasn’t the safest place to be during an earthquake, however minor. Moreover, she had to calm her staff down and get them back to their desks. She headed for the patio door, determined to take control of the chaos inside.
As she stepped back in, she heard the emergency signal trailing away on the secretary’s radio. The announcer’s voice came on. Somebody turned the volume up and suddenly there was...
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