Alice didn’t come home until the next morning around 3am. I jerked awake as I heard her staggering past my room. I came out into the hallway. She was with Dave. She had her arm around his neck and he was helping her walk to her room in the dark. Her hair was sprawled over her face.
“Shh” Dave occasionally told her as she kept making noises and saying things.
“Is she okay?” I asked Dave, coming to support her on the other side. She reeked of alcohol.
“Yeah, just a little drunk.” He responded.
“Is this your definition of ‘a little’?” I asked him.
“How did you even get in here?” I asked him. “I know dad made it clear that you were not allowed to set foot in here anymore.”
“Alice told the guards to let me in.”
“Is this Gen?” Alice asked, throwing her head back trying to get her hair out of her face.
“Alice, dad might hear you. Be quiet.” I told her.
“How did the interview go?” She asked me and then began laughing hysterically.
We managed to get her to her room which was at the end of the hall. Dave opened the door while still holding onto her. We helped her walk to her bed. I began taking off her boots as she laid back.
“You know, you shouldn’t be getting her drunk like this.” I told him. “Switch the light on.”
“I didn’t get her drunk.” Dave responded.
“The switch is behind the door.” I told him.
“I know.” He said and the lights went on.
I squinted my eyes as the room became bright. “You didn’t get her drunk?”
“No.” Dave said putting his hands deep in his blue skinny jeans.
Dave was the type of guy that never looked you in the eye even as he spoke to you. Always watched the floor next to you, some furniture nearby or whatever could be seen with the naked eye. His voice was always low and gentle, no matter what he was saying. His hair fell on one side of his face almost covering his right eye.
“I didn’t even know that she went out.” She continued. “One of her friends saw her at the club and called me to come get her.”
Despite dad’s many reasons for not liking Dave, I actually didn’t see what was the problem with him. He was a decent young man who was supporting himself financially. How he did it didn’t matter.
“I’m sorry.” I said.
He came to take her hair out of her face. She was already fast asleep.
“It’s okay. I’m getting used to it.” He replied. “Always hearing about her being seen around in clubs and all without me.”
I covered her with the blanket. “Thank you for bringing her home.”
“Well, she’s my girlfriend. Although I don’t know who the hell she is anymore.”
“Well, just hang in there, Dave. Keep being there for her.” I touched his shoulder.
“I’m gonna head out now.” He said.
I sat on the edge of her bed and touched her forehead to feel her temperature. She was sleeping but still looked exhausted.
“I love you, Alice. And I’m sorry that you feel the way you do about me.” I said to her when Dave had left the room. “It’s just, I’m tired of hurting people. I’ve done enough of that. Really. That’s why I’m trying my best to be all that dad wants… and Nathan too. I don’t even like working at the company. I miss teaching. “
I fixed the blanket up to her neck and stood up. “I just hope one day you will see that I’m not your enemy, I feel just as messed up as you feel. We are more alike than you think.”
I kissed her on her forehead and went to switch off her light. I closed the door behind me. I went back to my own bed and slept until my alarm rang. At 7am. I had to be in at 9am.
Alice didn’t come down for breakfast the next morning. I guessed she must still be sleeping off her hangover.
At the table the atmosphere was different. It seems like mom and dad had worked their differences out over night. Everyone looked happy. I think it’s because we had mastered the interview although we hadn’t even practiced. We ate together like the one big happy family we were supposed to be. My dad complemented Anna for the delicious breakfast. Anna beamed at the complement.
“Ahg.” My mom rolled her eyes at dad’s compliment. “The bread is a little too hard.”
One of the mansion’s drivers dropped me to work with the jeep and left. I called my own driver, Finn, as I was making it up the stairs and through the French doors. I told him that after work I’d be going back to my apartment and that he should be here before 5pm to pick me up. As soon as I got to the office and sat down, Nathan walked in.
“Good morning, beautiful.” He said coming to kiss me.
“Good morning, sir.” I smiled up at him.
“How did it go?”
“She asked a lot of questions we knew she’d ask, about my past of cause. But we handled it well.”
“Cool.” He sat on the edge of my desk.
I began signing the files that I was supposed to be done with two days ago.
“I actually wanted to apologize for yesterday.”
I looked up at him.
“I shouldn’t have destroyed that letter without your consent.”
“I told you, it’s fine.”
“Omar Williams, from yesterday is calling. Should I let him get through to you?” Penny stuck her head around the door.
“Whose Omar?” Nathan asked me.
“I don’t know…” I told him.
He looked unsure. “Isn’t Penny supposed to handle that? The person shouldn’t be speaking to you directly…”
“You don’t even know what the person wants. Can I do my job now?” I asked, picking up the phone.
He didn’t say a word, just watched me.
“Genesis Roseburg, speaking.” I said holding the phone to my ear with my shoulder.
“Hi” Omar Williams replied. His voice sounded a little familiar. “I’ve been trying to get hold of you for so long.”
He’s accent sounded funny and I had to listen closely to understand his English.
“I’ve been busy.” I said continuing to sign the files. “Uh… Who is this?”
“Omar Williams.” He said. “I just wanted to tell you that you’d want to go to Duran Courthouse in court B3 at exactly 10.30 this morning.”
“Why?” I frowned. “Who are you?”
“Why?” He repeated. “It’s clear that you don’t remember me.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Well, let’s just say that if you wanted to right your wrongs you’d pitch.”
“Which wrongs?” I asked switching the phone to my other ear.
“In plain English, if you still care about your baby’s father you’d go to the courthouse at exactly that time.”
My heart almost beat out of my chest. “What sick joke is this? Who are you?”
Omar hung up.
“Who was that?” Nathan asked me. He looked alert.
“Just some stupid guy playing a prank on me.” I shook my head.
“What did he say?”
“That if I wanted to see my baby’s father I should go to the courthouse today.”
“I bet it’s just a strategy that the reporters are using to try and figure out if you were really pregnant.”
I shrugged. I didn’t want to upset Nathan by touching on that topic. “Maybe.”
“You should probably block that caller.” He said.
“I will.” I said. “Aren’t you going to work today?”
“I just got here, you want me to leave already?” Nathan looked serious, too serious.
“I was only kidding.” I told him. “Relax.”
He looked at me. “Fine. I’ll be in my office.” He walked out. Through the glass doors I could see him speaking to Penny and then leaving.
I looked at the telephone. Who the hell was that Omar guy? And why the hell would he tell me something like that? I looked at the clock on the wall, 9:45.
I tried to focus on the files I had piled up on my desk that all needed my signature. But I still couldn’t understand why that guy would play such a joke on me. I couldn’t get it out of my mind no matter how hard I tried. I looked at the time, 10am.
“Coffee?” Rob swung his head in.
“I need that right now.” I told him as he came in.
“You know your boy got your back.” He smiled as he placed the mug on my desk.
“Thanks.” I said taking a sip. The amount of sugar was just perfect, there was a lot of milk and the coffee was weak. Just like I liked it. “Hm… You make the best coffee.”
“I know.” He winked at me. “Can I take a seat?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be serving everyone their morning coffee?”
“Yeah…” He said slumping down in the seat opposite me. “I’ve been up and down all morning. I need a moment. Plus, the alpha already got his coffee.”
“You know, I’m actually not well today…” He began. I looked up from the documents and looked at him. He was expecting me to enquire.
“What’s up.” I said trying to sound conversational.
“My girl dumped me last night.” He said.
“Shame.” I said and continued working.
When he realized that I was not going to ask him to elobarate on that matter, he went on. He told me about his girlfriend and that they’ve been together for 7 months. As he went on about her I continued with my work and kept my mind on my work. I just threw in a couple of reactions here and there just so he wouldn’t think I’m not listening.
“But you know what? It’s cool cause I didn’t love her.” He told me. “I got my eyes on someone else now anyway.”
“Hm… And who is that?”
He smiled shyly and scratched his head. “I know it’s a little stupid but can a guy not dream?”
“Sure he can.”
I looked at him and rolled my eyes at him. “Very funny.”
He laughed so hard and even slapped his palm on my desk almost making my coffee spill over.
“Woaw, watch it!” I scold.
He continued to laugh. “Should have seen your face. I’m just kidding.”
“Okay Rob but I’m trying to work.”
“It’s Penny.” He told me. “Please don’t tell her.”
He got up.
“I won’t.” I said looking up at the time on the wall, 10:32.
“I’m gonna leave now.” Rob said taking his tray. “Catch you again later.”
After Rob left I tried to continue but I couldn’t. It was now past 10 and that guy had told me 10.30. I knew that this was stupid but I still got up, grabbed my coat and left the office.
Penny looked at me.
“I’ll be back right now. If Nathan asks where I am, just tell him I went to the bathroom or something.” I told her putting on my coat.
“O…kay…” She responded giving me a weird look. “So we are lying to bae now?”
“I’ll be right back. Promise.” I left, looking towards Nathan’s office and praying that his door remains closed.
“Sure.” She said.
I took the lift down and went to the parking. The space where Finn usually parked my car was empty. I realized that it was still back home at my apartment.
I felt for my phone in my coat. I dialed Finn’s number, which was on speed dial. He picked up quick.
“Finn, could you please come to the parking. I need to go somewhere fast.”
“I’ll be there now, ma’am.”
“Okay.” I said. The time on my phone read, 10.40am.
The courthouse was quite a distance from here, it was going to take me at least 30 minutes to get there. Not that I expected anything or anyone to really be waiting for me at the courthouse in B3 but I just wanted to be there. Just so that I don’t have to spend the whole day wondering what I had missed. At least if I see that my “baby’s father” was clearly not there in B3, I wouldn’t think any further about it.
As I stood there by the space which my black mustang would have been waiting, I began feeling unsure and stupid. Was I really about to leave work and drive all the way there just because of that joker? This is such a waste of time. I turned back to leave but saw Finn walking towards me in his black suit and dark glasses.
“Good morning ma’am.” He said when he reached me. “The car is in front.”
“How did you get here so fast?” I asked him frowning.
“I was actually already on my way here. I knew that I had to be here in case you needed to go somewhere during the day.” Finn told me.
“Sure, but why didn’t you just bring the car to the parking? Nathan’s window is on that side.”
“Never mind.” I said taking the lead as he followed behind me. “And you could have just called and asked me to come to the front. It’s already 11.”
“Uh… Sorry ma’am but sir Nathan made it clear to me that calling you is inappropriate.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Finn said.
When we got to the car Finn opened the back door for me.
“Oh… No… I’ll go by myself.” I told him. “Give me the keys, I’ll be quick.”
“Are you sure?” Finn smiled nervously. “Mr. Raphael said I should take you everywhere, unless you are in sir Nathan’s car.”
“No. I’m good.” I got into the drivers seat. “I’ll be back before you even know it.”
“Ma’am, I’m sorry. I’ve gotten strict orders from Mr. Raphael before. I’m not allowed to let you drive off alone.” Finn was holding the door open.
“This is my car and I’m running late, Finn please give me my keys.” I said, trying hard not to raise my voice at him.
Plus, where we were, Nathan could easily just look out of his window for whatever reason and see us.
“Ma’am I can’t. I could lose my job if Mr. Raphael finds out.”
“Finn, give me the keys!” I yelled at him.
A passersby jerked their head in our direction. It suddenly began drizzling.
“We’ll get wet.” I told him. “Give me the damn keys.”
“Ma’am I can’t.” Finn said. He looked so frightened but steadfast. “Mr. Raphael is much stricter on us when it comes to his daughters, especially you because of your incident. Please understand that.”
“Get in the back.” I told him with the last bit of patience I had left in me.
He obeyed and then gave me the keys once he sat down.
I started the car and drove like a crazy person. I didn’t stop at any of the red lights unless it was like a really dangerous intersection. It was now 11am. On my way the other drivers yelled out cusses at me from their car windows.
“Sorry!” I kept calling out.
“Ma’am, I really think you should slow down.” Finn told me cautiously.
I ignored him and drove as fast as I could. It became difficult to see the road so I turned the window wipers on. When I finally got to the courthouse and parked outside, my stomach churned. What would I tell the reporters if they caught me in here? Well, at least I had arrived an hour later, any excuse for being here would work.
I pulled my furry hood over my head and I put on my black shades. I stepped out of the car and pulled out my umbrella from the boot. Finn was by my side.
“There is enough security inside the courthouse. I’ll go in alone.” I told him opening up the umbrella.
Finn didn’t say a word, just stood there with his arms behind his back. He was clearly not going to leave my side. And I didn’t have time to quarrel with him again.
“You know what, whatever.” I said making my way up the flight of stairs. It was a long way up.
Finn and I entered the courthouse. There was a lot of people scattered about, all dressed modestly. I kept my head down to avoid being recognized as I scurried down the hall. I followed the indications to B3 court. As I got closer, the butterflies in my stomach got worse. I pressed my arms around my stomach and took a deep breath in.
As I stood in front of the big wooden door with the sign B3 in the front my heart began beating even faster. What the hell am I doing? I looked back at Finn and he was just standing there looking back at me. His hand was on the door bar, saying ‘push’, in green bold letters.
I took another deep breath, in an attempt to calm these nerves that were going crazy in me. I nodded once at Finn. He pushed the bar and the wooden door swung open.
There were a few people seated on the benches. The judge was not even there. I kept my head down and went to take a seat at the back with Finn. The time was now 11:22. I looked up slowly and tried to catch a glimpse of the people’s faces. There was no familiar face, just a lawyer I’ve seen around our house with my dad on countless times.
The judge suddenly stepped in from her chamber.
“All rise.” The policeman in the corner said and everyone stood up. I remained seated. No one noticed.
She sat down and then everyone else sat down too. She had a wrinkled no-nonsense type of expression on her face. Her blood red lipstick emphasized that fact.
“Can the accused please stand up?” She asked.
The accused, a man in the front row stood up. His back was towards us. His hair was into a fader and as he moved I saw that the sides were styled into a wavy pattern. He was wearing a black jacket with the hood hanging.
“Mr. Danlie Forbes, I’ve judged and I’ve found you guilty of the charges charged against you by Roseburg Advertisements of fraud and theft.”
I frowned. Why would someone call me to witness this case? Danlie Forbes was the man who had sent me the letter that Nathan shredded before I could read. He was the fraud that had been working in our company illegally for 4 years.
“Fraud because you pretended to be someone else with fake qualifications to work in their company. And theft because of all the undeserved salary they had been paying you for 4 years.” The judge continued.
Danlie Forbes suddenly turned around and began inspecting the room as if looking for someone. When I saw his face I was in shock! I took off my shades quickly and his eyes caught mine just then.
“How?” I asked, more to myself.
Finn jerked his attention to me. “Excuse me, ma’am?”
“Danlie Forbes, can you pay attention?” The judge asked him strictly.
After keeping his eyes on me for a few more seconds he looked to the front. I got up and removed my hoodie. I couldn’t get my eyes off him. Danlie Forbes was none other than Yoké! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was I hallucinating? I rubbed my eyes several times but he was still standing there.
“Ma’am, are you okay?” Finn whispered to me.
I remembered that our family therapist Lauren once asked me, “What would you do if that man was standing before you now?” She never mentioned his name. Always referred to him with pronouns and nouns. But I knew what she wanted to hear, I knew what was expected of me. So I said: “I’ll wake up from the dream because that’s exactly what he is. He doesn’t exist in the real world.”
When I said that, she smiled a content smile and moved along. But here he was before me at this very moment and this did not look like a dream. And if it was, I didn’t want to wake up now.
“I’ve taken into consideration that this is your first offence so I hereby sentence you to 3 years in a maximum security prison. You will be incarcerated at Duran Penitentiary.” The judge said and then knocked her gavel. “This case is dismissed.”
She got up as the policemen came to put cuffs on Yoké.
“Wait!” I found myself yelling. The judge and the others looked towards me. “Wait.”
I came out of the bench clumsily and made my way to the front.
“And who is this?” The judge asked looking at me with exasperated.
“He is not Danlie Forbes.” I told the judge pointing to Yoké.
The judge looked at me as if I was some crazy person. “And who are you?”
The police continued cuffing Yoké.
“I’m the manager of labour department for Roseburg Advertisements.” I said nervously coming to the front. “My name is Genesis Roseburg and that man is not Danlie Forbes.”
“Look, I don’t have time for this, okay?” The judge told me wanting to leave.
“Wait.” I told her. “As the head of labour department I withdraw all the charges we charged against this man.”
The judge looked at me as if I was really annoying her.
“Well it doesn’t work like that, missy. As long as you are not the owner of Roseburg Advertisements you cannot drop any charges. Your company lawyer is standing right there. Discuss it with him and he can schedule another ruling.”
“Well, Roseburg Advertisements is our company. My father is the owner and I’m telling you that we withdraw-”
“You are not the boss.” The judge told me curtly. “Your father is.”
They started taking Yoké away.
“Where are they taking him?” I asked her.
“Miss, this case is closed. I’m basically 2 minutes late for my lunch break now.” The judge said and then went back into her chamber.
I ran to Yoké.
“Ma’am, please step away.” One of the policemen told me.
My phone began ringing in my pocket.
“Yoké listen to me.” I told him quickly. “I’m going to get you out of there. Do you hear me?”
He looked back at me and didn’t say a word. He just stared at me coldly.
“I promise.” I told him. “I’ll do whatever it takes.”
“What does one have to do to finally get your attention?” He asked me.
I blinked a couple of times. Clueless. “What?”
“Exactly.” He said and then turned away and let the policemen take him away.
I placed my hands on my head and watched them take him behind a door. What the hell? I looked back at Finn who was right behind me. Did I just see them take Yoké away or was I hallucinating? I had to be going crazy. Yoké can’t be here, in Duran. How would he even get here? He is not Danlie Forbes. There was a big misunderstanding here.
“What are you doing?” Our company lawyer asked me. He was a slim man with thick reading glasses and a long nose. He had a bunch of files in his hands. If this was a school, he’d be that nerd everyone made fun of.
“Listen, I want you to withdraw all the charges we laid against him and schedule an appeal right away.”
“Why?” He asked me, puzzled.
“Because I said so.” I told him firmly.
“Didn’t you hear what she said? Raphael must first agree.” He told me. He was holding the files he had in his hands closer to his chest now.
“I’m his daughter.” I told him. “I want that man freed as soon as possible.”
“It doesn’t work like that, miss Genesis.”
My phone began ringing again.
“How does it work, then?” I asked him impatiently.
“Raphael is the owner of the company. He needs to be present in court and say that he wants the charges dropped, if he can’t be here then he needs to sign the necessary documents whereby he gives consent to drop all the charges we laid against this man.”
“Where’s the documents?” I asked him.
The lawyer frowned at me strangely. “I’ll find them.”
We went over to the desk and he began looking for the documents in the pile of files he had in his hands. After a while he looked up at me pushing his spectacles up with one finger.
“Even if I do find them, Raphael would never sign them.” The lawyer told me. “In fact, he’ll make sure that thief gets 25 to life, for fraud. ”
I didn’t respond. Just kept tapping my foot restlessly.
“And will you get that phone?” He asked me awkwardly. I picked up a little annoyance in his tone. I didn’t even realize that my phone was ringing again. I looked at the screen, it was Nathan. I silenced the call and put it back in my coat pocket.
I was feeling restless. I couldn’t think straight anymore. This was like some dream. I couldn’t believe that all this was really happening but if this was a dream, I would do all that I could to get Yoké out of there before I woke up. No matter what it took.
"So I just have to get my dad to sign this document and then get it back to you?" I asked the lawyer as he handed me three pages held together by a blue paper clip."Yes." He replied. He did not look happy about this."Thanks." I told him. "Can I get your card? I'll phone you once my dad signs it.""Sure." He said pulling out his wallet from his back pocket.I looked back at Finn. He fixed his shades and then returned his hands behind his back.The lawyer handed me his card."Thanks... Steven." I said reading his name on the little card. "I'll call you soon. Please stay close to your cell."Steven nodded slowly. "Why do you want to drop the charges against him, miss Genesis? Do you know what he did?"I looked at him, then looked towards the door and then at him again not sure how I'd explain myself. "Steven, let's jus
Do you know that moment when you are conscious of doing something wrong but just to see if someone else picked it up you ask them what? This was that moment."Did you read the whole document?" Father asked me.I gave him my sweetest smile, feeling my heart rate settling again, "Yes, sir."He signed his neat curly signature on the empty space and placed the pen on the paper."Thank you." I told him as he turned back to his waiting clients."Sorry about that, it's just some work was stopped because it needed my signature." I heard him say as I turned to leave.I stood by the door and watched them turn back to my dad and nod."You see, that's the best thing about signing with Roseburg Advertisements. We never let anything get in the way of our productivity."I felt guilt well up inside me so I shut his door quietly. I felt really bad
I spent the rest of the day sitting in front of my laptop and looking up Duran State Penitentiary. The articles I read about the prison sent chills down my spine. The prison is run by gang leaders and almost everyday an inmate gets killed or injured. Being the most overcrowded prison in our country, cells meant for only 22 men are often occupied by 50 men and some of them sleep on the floor and share 1 commodity. How is Yoké supposed to stay in such a place? One article I read said that new inmates are the most at risk of getting harmed by older inmates unless they join a gang.Yoké must be feeling really scared right now. He doesn't know about gangs, and a prison environment he'd probably never even imagined before. What is he thinking of me right now? Does he think I've forgotten about him? I need to see him. I need to go see him and just assure him that I'm trying all that I can to get him out of that hell hole. He needs to know that I'll stop at nothing to m
After taking several sips of his coffee dad leaned back on the couch."You know, it feels good to sit like this with you." He said."I've been getting that a lot lately, from Nathan." I smiled."Well, I just wish Alice could have been here too. But she's a whole nother person.""She just prefers something different. Something more... fun, I guess.""She takes after Leticia." He said sipping his coffee. "You take after me.""But a year ago I was like her too." I said holding the warm cup close to my body. "You didn't like it.""Yeah... but your choice of teaching wasn't as humiliating as hers. You are more sensible.""Well, I am older." I shrugged."Yeah..." Raphael sighed. "That's why I want you to work and get enough experience. Because you'll be the heiress of our companies. This is the headquar
The piercing sound of my alarm clock jerked me awake. Trying to fall asleep was like starting a war in my head; with thoughts of Yoké fighting off every bit of sleep, with questions I didn’t know the answers to. Is he okay? Was he able to sleep? Or is he struggling like me, maybe spending the whole night wondering when I’d show up to take him away from that awful place… But as usual, sleep always conquers.Although I set my alarm clock for two hours earlier than I usually wake up, I was full of energy and wide awake as soon as I heard it ring. I turned on the radio, wishing that I could turn the volume much higher than it already could go. I felt so excited! I would be seeing Yoké today!I jumped into the shower, spending more time than I would on a regular day. I made sure to take a lot more time doing my make up and hair too.I’ve watched hundreds of romantic movies of when the girl and the guy
I took the lift straight up to the last floor. It took me a long while to get to the 40th floor because the lift stopped at almost all the floors. The workers kept coming in and out. I didn’t care one bit that I was not returning their fake smiles. Even the long drive back to the office wasn’t long enough to calm me down. I was so disappointed that it made me upset.When I got to the 40th floor I was the only one left in the lift. The whole 40th floor was my dad’s and his alone: his huge office, waiting area, secretary’s desk closest to his office and also his two body guards. One of the body guards was standing by the lift and the other standing outside his office door. I don’t even know why he brings his body guards in here, there is a security guard on each floor. I remember having to beg my father to not have two big guys follow me around. After weeks of begging him, he finally allowed me to only have one body guard and he be my
I woke up around 7 on that Sunday morning. I made sure my phone was on so that I didn't miss any calls from Steven. After an hour of lying in bed and checking my phone a thousand times, I finally decided to do a breathing exercise just to try and relax. I felt like I was about to get a panic attack. While doing the exercises, I felt better but as soon as I finished, I found myself anticipating the result of the case again. What if? What if we lose? What will I do if we lose?Although it was still early, I decided to go and take a shower just to keep my mind distracted on something else other than Yoké. When I was about to step into the shower I heard a knock on the front door. I heard Rosalie open the door. I hope that it isn't my father. When I came to the door, she was standing there with a bouquet of roses in her hand. Pink roses."Good morning ma'am." She greeted, holding the flowers towards me.I frowned moving the flowers to one side, looking for a note. There was. The flowers we
“I took in account that this is the accused’s first felony and hereby decide that he can be let out on bail. But if the accused is to commit another felony within 5 years, his punishment will be tight.” She banged her gavel. “This case is closed.”I almost screamed with excitement. I even hugged Finn! He didn’t hug me back, obviously. I didn’t care. I jumped out of my seat and struggled out of the bench. I ran towards Steven and hugged him too.“Oh my God!” I said placing my hands on my head, my mouth in an ‘o’. I still couldn’t believe this.“We did it.” Steven was smiling at me. He didn’t look excited, just wore a professional smile.“Oh my God…” I said. It had still not completely registered. It all just felt like a dream and I was afraid I would wake up anytime and have to face the odd rea