The tension was obvious and thick, Gavin and Rachel exchanged a brief hug and she lowered her gaze, “Take care.”
“Promise not to eat too much sugar.” He smirked, “I’ll get in touch when your scary god father gives me the green light.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
Davis gave the two some privacy and leaned against the car waiting for Nate. He arrived carrying one last bag. Davis took it from him and put it in the trunk, “Thank you.”
Nate looked offended, “What for?”
He rolled his eyes, “I’m her Godfather what more did you expect.”
With that he got into his car and put the key in the ignition. Rachel wiped her eyes and held up a hand to wave at them as the car pulled away. Davis put an arm around her shoulder and waved at them too, assuring her, the way fathers tend to … that everything was going to be okay.
Rachel was jolted awake at 4am that day, sweating and shivering at the same time. Her hair was plastered to her face and when she raised her hands to brush it away, she found that her hands were trembling. What really bothered her though was that she couldn’t remember the nightmare.
Rachel checked her phone for a message from Gavin, saying that he was home safe, but no notifications lit up her screen. Feeling increasingly uneasy, she put on her shoes and headed down the stairs.
She tried drinking water, pacing, distracting herself with music but nothing would make that dread go away. Finally, at a quarter to five, she headed out the front door, still in her pajamas and directly towards Wesson’s – Davis she reminded herself – house.
Rachel knocked. When Davis didn’t respond, she tried the doorknob, which surprisingly, turned with ease and the door clicked open. Rachel stepped over the threshold, heart beating violently and entered the house.
The door opened directly into the living room. Rachel could make the outlines of two sofas in the dim light emanating from the TV. The room had a light blue glow as the news channel’s colors illuminated the dark space.
Rachel could make out Davis’s silhouette on the ground.
“Umm,” she pondered over what to call him, “Dad?”
His head jerked up to look at her. His face was drawn, eyes empty yet glassy, Davis’s entire expression, haunted.
The lump in her throat grew bigger and she struggled to breathe, “Dad?” she repeated.
He raised his hand to take a swig directly from the bottle clasped in his hand and stood up, staggering towards her, “What’s-” Rachel had didn’t finish her sentence as Davis wrapped his arms around her, “Rachel” he choked out, “Rachel, he’s gone.”
“What? Who’s gone? You’re not making any sense.”
Hesitantly, her eyes flitted up to the TV screen, where the image of the severe looking reporter had been replaced by some footage.
Paramedics, police cars and firemen gathered around a spot on the road, a news reporter was saying something that Rachel couldn’t quite understand, because her words had faded and instead, there was a ringing in her ears.
They were assembled around a car – or what was left of it. It was on fire. The ringing had faded and her eyes moved down to the head line.
One body, they had only found one body, burnt beyond recognition. A track of blood leading away from it, the second passenger had gotten away, and they were searching for him.
Her face contorted in a mixture of disbelief and dread, Rachel shook her head, “No, he’s not, he’s fine. Dad the car isn’t even-” the camera zoomed in on the number plate.
Tears had started blurring her vision as the reality of what had happened crashed into her. The wind was knocked out of her lungs but the dread and trepidation had been replaced by an explanation. And that would have to do for now.
They collapsed to the ground together and hung on to each other for dear life. Davis rocked her back and forth until she exhausted herself from all the crying. And then he cried too, because it was dark and no one could see and because sometimes, the universe has a funny way of giving you the things you love the most. Nobody told him, that telling his daughter the truth would have such a heavy price.
The car belonged to Nate.