Lisa was feeling better in the morning. I told her that her father came to check up on her yesterday and that her parents would come to pick her up soon, in the morning. We were having breakfast in my room and enjoying spending some time together when we saw Mr. Richardson’s car being pulled over in front of the hotel. She looked at me anxious and finished eating her toast. I called my mother who was in the bathroom, bathing my sister.
It seemed to me that Mr. and Mrs. Richardson were not as usual, that morning, as if they had an argument or something.
Mrs. Richardson was very happy to see her daughter. Lisa gave a hug to her mother and apologized for behaving in such a manner. My mother came outside and greeted to both of them. As all of them engaged in a conversation, Marvin on the other hand, was quiet. He didn’t say a word. He was just looking at them as they were speaking.
He didn’t say anything to me aside from good morning. He didn’t even look at me ... as if I were invisible and I was disappointed at him, for kind of ignoring me that much.
I felt that he mightn’t want me anymore and that he was punishing me for what I did to him, I mean about what happened to Lisa last night. He misunderstood the situation I wasn’t aware that Lisa was going to drink too much yesterday, otherwise I would have prevented her from doing such a silly thing. He didn’t want to listen to me and now he is ignoring me.
In about three days, I would come back to his house and everything will be set. I guess. After saying goodbye and thanking us for taking good care of their daughter, they left the hotel room.
I watched them leaving when I felt it was the right moment to speak with my mother about something special. Something that should be discussed now ... like right now.
I needed to ask my mother about my father, and I wanted to tell her that I decided to come back to the training today. I felt myself better those days and started to eat again, even though sometimes I still use the method of throwing up everything. I felt I started to make effort to regain my strength.
My mother was about to leave in two days. It was high time I talked with her about my father.
- “Mom, I just need you to help me to ...” I stammer.
- “Yes sweetheart ! anything, just tell me !” She turned to look at me, wondering what I would ask her.
- “I don’t know how to say it !” I shrugged.
I tried to have the guts and speak out. She kept looking at me, not understanding what was going on into my mind.
She couldn’t understand what was going on. How could she?!
- “Amy what is going on baby?” she said worried.
- “Can you tell me more about him ? About my father!” I finally said.
Her face became paler the moment I pronounced the word “father”. She didn’t reply at first, then after some time she could finally reply to me.
- “Amy ... your father was a good man.”
- “Does that mean he passed away?” I asked with a broken voice.
- “No, he’s alive! Don’t worry ... I mean he must be alive somewhere” she said, uneasy to speak about the truth.
- “How do you know that mom? You told me you haven’t seen him for ages !”
- “Euh ... I know it. I know he’s alive.” She tried to convince me, but I was not buying it. It was clear to me that it was a lie. A big lie.
I smiled at her. I was somehow happy to know that he was alive which meant that I could finally meet him, or at least find a way to meet this man. My father.
- “Great ! Can you tell me where I can find him then? Where I should be searching for him!?” I clarified.
- “I don’t know if it is a good idea Amy.”
- “Why are you telling me that! You don’t want me to meet him?”
My body stiffened as I started to get very nervous and to feel angry at her.
- “It’s not that. I really want you to know who your father is, I want you to meet him and have a good relationship with your father. After all, he’s your father and it is your right to have him in your life. The problem is ...” she stopped.
She couldn’t finish up her sentence. Something was wrong about this guy. That was what seemed to me.
- “What is the problem? I don’t get it” I tried to understand.
- “He may not want to meet you. I don’t want this to happen to you. I don’t want you to be disappointed as I was.”
- “You’ve never told me what really happened to both of you. I don’t even know his name.”
- “Baby ...” she said trying to calm me down. She tried to make a few steps towards me, but I kept my distance from her.
- “Let me speak mom. I really need to know my dad. It’s my right. So please tell me ... at least, what is his name, for God’s sake!?”
- “Oh Amy ... I wish I could ...”
- “Tell me what is the name of my father ! That’s not a difficult task, isn’t it? ”
- “It’s too hard for me baby ! I cannot ! I cannot tell you his name, because if you know ... ” she stopped again.
- “Why? Why are you hiding the truth from me?! I don’t get it !” I raised my voice at her.
- “Because I cannot tell you ... it is very hard to tell you the truth.” She yelled at me.
- “But I need to know ! I need it! Please mother ! Don’t you understand! What’s wrong with you!? How come you don’t want to help me! ” Warm tears pricked my hazel eyes, to later be shed on my cheeks, as I tried to wipe them from my face.
She came closer and hugged me so tight. I didn’t want to get away from her, no did I want myself to back off. She was very affected by what was going on, but didn’t know what to do.
Still, I felt myself deprived of a truth that I should have known a long time ago.
- “Please mom, tell me. I want to know the truth !” I begged her.
- “He doesn’t know about you Amy!” She confessed, wiping a few tears from her eyes.
- “What !?” I said pushing her away from me. Not realizing what she was telling me at that moment.
Did I get it right? How come my father doesn’t know about me? Doesn’t this man know he’s got a daughter?!
-“What did you just say!?” I asked again, not realizing the truth that hit me right in the face.
- “You’ve heard enough !”
- “Why didn’t you tell him about me?! Why?” This time, I couldn’t pull myself together as I shed a few tears on my cheeks.
- “I told him, but he didn’t want to know more.”
It was a hard moment for both of us. Lily started to cry, too. My mother hurried to her and held her in her arms. I kept looking at her then grabbed my bag, and got out of the room leaving her calling after me not to leave, just to come back so that she could explain more.
I didn’t need her to explain anything to me. Everything was so clear to me now. I didn’t need to listen to more explanations from her. They are going to be more lies. Bigger lies.
I was so angry at this man although I would probably never have the opportunity to meet him. Still, How come he didn’t want to know about me!? I am his daughter, his own flesh ! How could he not!?
I needed some fresh air. I needed to breathe. I needed to be with myself, to pull myself together as I was about to explode any minute.
I decided to go for a walk on the beach. I was crying all the way to, telling myself deep down that I might never know who my biological father would be. I would never know who truly he was. It was depressing. I felt myself so damn lost. I felt that my mother had betrayed me to some point.
She would have insisted on trying to introduce me to him despite the fact that he didn’t want to know me.
Damn! I am his daughter how could he not want to know me? How could that be possible? Why didn’t he want to meet me? Why didn’t he want to raise me?
Fuck him !
She should have tried harder ... she should have. I made a sacrifice for her. I had never told her about what happened to me last year in Phoenix. I didn’t tell her the truth about her husband. I didn’t tell her what he did to me. I did all that because she was my mother and I cared so much about her. I didn’t want to break her heart. I didn’t want her to know that the man, she was waiting for all her life, raped her own daughter when he had the occasion to do so.
Yes, I didn’t tell her the truth. I should have told her after all. Why would I hide such a secret from my mother, after all?
What about her? She didn’t try to help me find my father for reasons that I ignored.
Still, he is my father despite all the constraints. I had the right to know who he was in spite of all the problems. I had to know. It was my right to let him know that his daughter Amy was alive. His own flesh.
I sat on the sand. I wanted to go somewhere far from where people were sitting. I couldn’t stop crying. Tears of despair, hurt and turmoil. I would have never thought that my mother could do such a thing. She didn’t even give me his full name. It was my decision to meet him and not hers. She didn’t have the right to keep the truth for herself. I was twenty. I am no longer a little girl. I was a young adult now and I am responsible for myself.
If I had to prove it, I would do it no matter what would happen to me. If I had to prove that I could manage my life by myself, so that I could finally meet my biological father I would do it as long as I would have a chance to meet him. This was all I wished.
I should have stayed there for a couple of hours and started to feel tired and hungry. I decided to go somewhere where I could eat something, a salad ... I thought. I didn’t want to come back to the hotel. I found three missed calls from my mother. I didn’t want to call her back.
I did not remember much of what happened to me after walking only for few miles from where I was sitting when I fainted on the sand.
All I could remember was hearing voices that were familiar to me. I started to open my eyes. I felt dizzy and I couldn’t see properly. Everything was hazy. I could barely recognize my mother’s face and Mr. Richardson’s face.
Was Marvin here? All I could say was “where am I? What happened to me?” I was no longer at the beach, not that I recall so far. I was in a room, not like the hotel room. Another room like of a hospital room.
My mother was beside me, telling me that I was okay and that I fainted, on the sand, at the beach. That she received a call from the hospital, letting her know about me.
I didn’t want to talk to her so I turned my face away to the other side of the room, then closed my eyes. I think she understood that I was still disappointed at her about what she told me earlier that day.
What was Marvin doing in the ER? She must have called him when she got to the hospital. I guess.
- “Amy, talk to me please !” she begged.
I didn’t say anything. I was just listening to her and didn’t want to talk to her.
- “Amy, talk to your mother. She’s very worried about you.”
Marvin scolded me and insisted on me to speak to her.
I turned my head toward her and looked at her in the eye. I was surprised at myself how I behaved as he instructed.
He came. Marvin came to the hospital just to check up on me. He took another risk just to be with me.
What is this man doing? Is he really risking his life just to be with me !? I couldn’t grasp what he is doing. I just need to understand what I might mean to him. Yet I was still thinking he may just consider me as simply and shamelessly a fuck toy. I didn’t like that idea. I didn’t like a man to consider any kind of woman as an object.
I was not an object, but rather a woman who, in spite of all her weaknesses, was proud of herself, somehow.
- “Where is Lily?“, that was the first words I could pronounce. My little sister was in my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about her.
- “Lily is with Lisa. She couldn’t come with us.”
- “Why am I here?” I tried to understand what really happened to me.
- “You don’t remember, sweetheart? You didn’t feel well. You spent a while under the sun because you fainted on the sand, so you got dehydrated. Hopefully, a few people found you and called 911” Her voice broke at the end.
She spoke to me and explained what happened to me when a nurse came in and interrupted our conversation.
- “Dr. Morgan, sorry to interrupt you, Dr. Greene is here and needs to talk to you.”
- “Okay, I’m coming right now. I will be back Amy.
Mr. Richardson can you stay with her until I come back?” She turned to him.
- “Yes certainly.” He assured with a smile, lifting up slightly the curves of his mouth.
She left the room leaving us alone. Marvin was standing by the window. He seemed to be worried about me.
- “How do you feel Amy?” he said in a serious-looking way.
- “I am fine ... thank you for coming” I said as cold as ice.
- “It is my responsibility to look after you. We were really worried when your mother called Lisa earlier.”
- “She called Lisa?”
- “Yes she called Lisa to tell her if she could baby-sit Lily for a couple of hours. Then she told her about you. You have to take good care of yourself Amy.”
- “I know ... I know”
- “ What were you doing at the beach alone? ” His voice full of worry.
- “I needed to be alone.” I barely said, making my voice the least audible.
He stood there looking at me. I would give anything to know if he missed me as much as I missed him. I was really pleased to see him by my side despite everything.
- “Thank you again Marvin for coming.” This time I really mean it.
- “Amy ! Are you going to spend the whole time thanking me for being here!” he said coming closer to my bed.
- “Let me thank you again. After what I said the other day ... I thought that you are still angry at me!” I felt somehow guilty.
He smiled and said “it is neither the time nor the place to speak about what happened the other day. We’ll talk about it another day ... baby.”
When he uttered the word “baby”, I felt joy overwhelming all the parts of my body. I smiled back at him and I was sure that a part of him still wanted me despite everything that happened between us.
Yet I wanted to say a few words concerning that disagreement between us.
- “Allow me to say that even though it is hard to admit it, that I thought you might want me as a ...”
I was about to pronounce the forbidden word “fuck toy” another time when he immediately interrupted me saying
“Enough Amy. I said we’ll talk about it another time, not now. Your mom is around. She can come back at anytime! Don’t you understand !”
He became tenser when I attempted to say the forbidden word another time. I decided to obey him and speak about something else.
- “What about you, how are you doing?”
- “Well ... I’ve known better days. I have much work and many things to handle ... as usual” he said deeply concerned.
- “What about Lisa? What happened to her?”
- “I have done what should have been done !”
- “What happened? What have you done to her?”
- “I won’t tell you about it, Lisa will” he teases.
- “Marvin ! I am really worried about her”
- “I know ... I know Amy. You’re a nice girl, you know that. You don’t have to worry about Lisa. I lectured her. We just had an enriching talk between father and daughter ” He winked at me.
- “Enriching huh!” I smiled at the word, then kept looking at him.
He kept looking back at me. His eyes were on mine and mine on his the whole time. He was into the hazel and I was into the blue when suddenly three words interrupted the silence.
“I missed you”. He said. He finally confessed to me.
He missed me ! He missed me ! Did he really say that? Did he really say he missed me!
I blushed and smiled shyly as I was feeling myself overwhelmed with hope and joy, when we heard my mother’s voice behind the door. She was on the phone speaking to someone. Marvin stepped back and returned to stand by the window.
When she came in, she was still speaking on the phone. She looked at us and said “Okay I got to go now baby. Call you later!”
She was speaking to Jim. Who else could she be talking to !
- “Amy, Jim says hi. He’s worried about you.” She told me after hunging up.
I didn’t reply. I just smiled back at her. I don’t need him to feel worried about me. He’s a liar and a manipulator. I felt that Marvin was scrutinizing every facial gesture I was making ... as if he was suspecting something fishy going on with Jim Carlson.
- “ When is she going to leave the hospital Mrs. Carlson?” Marvin asked.
- “ Dr. Greene said she can leave today in the afternoon.”
- “Okay. I will call Lisa to let her know. She must be worried.”
- “Mr. Richardson can we speak in private, please?”
- “What is going on mom?“.
What is she hiding from me? Is it about my health or about something else?
- “Yes sure !” Marvin said surprised.
- “Amy I just need to talk to Mr. Richardson for a moment that’s all.”
They left the room leaving me wondering what was going.
Why did my mother want to speak to Lisa’s dad? for what reason?
I could not know. I was stuck in the bed. I was very weak to stand on my feet and go eavesdropping. First, I waited for about two minutes, then two minutes became five minutes, then more than five minutes more.
What was going on!? I needed to know what my mother was telling Marvin. Was it about me? Was it about another thing?
I was about to stand up when my mother came into the room. Marvin wasn’t with her. She was alone. Where did he go? He must have left the hospital.
- “What takes you so long to come back? What were you talking about?”
- “ I ... I was informing Mr. Richardson about what Dr. Greene just told me. Amy I don’t know how to tell you that, but your medical results are still instable!” she said with a trembling voice.
- “Tell me the truth mom !”
- “You need to go to a medical center to follow a healthy program baby.”
- “What? Why? I don’t need that ! I am fine!”
- “You think you’re fine, but you’re not. Your results revealed the opposite of what we thought. Your health is, somehow, in danger!”
- “I don’t want to go there. Mom please you cannot oblige me !”
- “I know ... I know I cannot oblige you, you’re an adult, but you need to go to feel better.”
- “I said I don’t want to” I yelled at her.
- “Amy ! Stop it ! I won’t oblige you it is okay. But if you don’t go you may hamper your health more and more !”
- “I don’t care about my health ... anymore”
- “But I care about you, Amy. I am your mother”
- “If you’d cared really about me, you would have told me about my father.”
- ” I did that to protect you. Why don’t you get it !”
- “I need to know who my father is ! This is all I need ! Don’t you understand that?”
- “If I tell you who your father is, would you promise me to go to the medical center!”
I know what my mother is doing; it a clever way to get what she wanted and I didn’t know what to do about it.
Should I change my mind about the medical center, because if I do, she will tell me all I need to know about my father. She will, right?
I didn’t reply at first. I kept looking at her for a while, then broke the silence,
“Where is this center?” I shrugged.
- ” In Phoenix !” she said, hope in her eyes as she kept looking at me.
- “No way mom ! You know that I don’t want to go back to Phoenix ! How could you do that to me!”
- “Amy, medical centers in Santa Barbara are too expensive ! I cannot afford it!”
- “I won’t go to Phoenix. I don’t want to go to a medical center !” I didn’t care much now, as it comes to be related to Phoenix, and eventually to Jim.
No way I am going back there. I don’t give a shit about my father at this point. I won’t risk to be near my step-father again. Not anymore.
- “Amy ... baby ... you need to calm down !” She reached out for me and wrapped me in her arms.
I was crying out of despair and injustice. All I needed to know was his name. My body wasn’t feeling well because of all the problems I had to handle alone. I was desperate and I was feeling hurt. I was hopelessly thinking that I might never know my father when I heard a name which was familiar to me.
- “Philip Johnson ! Philip’s your father ... Amy” she said, at last.
What? No way.
At first, I couldn’t respond to what she said. I wasn’t realizing what I was hearing.
Philip Johnson was my father.
The big boss for whom I was working was my biological father.
She was kidding me, right?
I was working in his company for about two weeks now and I have never seen this guy. I have never seen this man who was my father.
I raised my head from the pillow. My eyes were puffy as I looked at her, then said “Philip Johnson is my father !”
As the words, finally, came out of my mouth, I realized that it was real. So damn real. I was not trapped in a dream or something. Mr. Philip Johnson was actually my father.
- “Yes Amy. Now that you know, you are free to do whatever you want. It is up to you Amy, but he doesn’t know you’re his daughter.”
- “But you’ve told me you told him”
- “Yes, I did. I told him I was pregnant and that we were about to have a baby together. It was twenty years ago. He didn’t believe me back then. Or if he had believed what I’d told him, he wouldn’t have left me that day.”
- “What happened mom?”
She sat on the chair by the bed, sighed, then started to confess.
- “I met Philip in a hospital. He was injured and was admitted to the ER. I took care of him and we fell in love. We dated for some time before he told me that he was going to get married to a woman he’s known for more than two years. He was engaged to that woman recently before we met.”
- “He lied to you?”
- “Yes, he lied to me because he couldn’t call off his wedding. The woman to whom he was going to marry was his boss’s daughter. His job was more important than me. Lauren Hall was more important than me. During all that time we were dating, he had never revealed the truth. He told me that he truly loved me and I believed him. I was so stupid, Amy. Then one day, I found out about my pregnancy. I was so happy and I told him. He got angry at me. He didn’t believe me and didn’t believe that the baby was his. Then he told me the truth about his wedding.”
- “Oh mom, I am so sorry ...”
- “It’s alright, baby. Here is the story about what really happened between Philip and I. We were young at that time. I didn’t know what to do. I was very afraid to keep you, but much more afraid to lose you. So I decided to keep you finally. Then you were born. The day I held you in my arms was the happiest day of my life, baby. You were the happiness I’ve been waiting for my whole life. You remind me a lot of him ...”
- “I didn’t mean to put you through this again mom ! I am so sorry !”
- “You’re right. It’s high time you knew the truth about your father. Now that you know who he is, you are free to do whatever you want !”
- “I don’t know if I can tell him that I am his daughter.”
- “You are free Amy. I am sorry for not telling you the truth earlier. After all, he is your father and it is your right to know.” We hugged.
For the first time in my life, I felt that I had to be strong for my mom. She’s been through a lot. I loved her more because she opened up herself to me. She was the bravest woman I have ever known. She sacrificed a lot for me. Now I finally knew who my father was. I was eager to meet him. I remembered Marvin inviting me once to his friend Philip’s party. I wouldn’t miss that for nothing. I had to go and get to know him more. It was an occasion to know him better. I felt I wanted to come back to work even though I was still feeble. I had to move now.
I remembered as well that Marvin told me if I had the opportunity to search for my father one day, he would help me find him. It was the time for him to help me but without knowing the truth. I wanted to keep that a secret for now. I will not tell the truth to anybody, even to my dearest friend Lisa. Marvin can enlighten me more about Philip Johnson because as far as I know he is one of his friends and business partners.
That late afternoon, I came back to the hotel. Lisa, Tiffany, Jason and Zoe came to see me. I was glad to see them all. Tiffany told me that Jason, Zoe and she will be going tomorrow back to the northern part of California. Summer is almost over. We spent some time together then went out for dinner downtown. I told them about what Dr. Greene told my mother. I told them that I had to make up my mind and decide what to do because I refused to come back to Phoenix. Lisa was the only one to know about the reason behind such a refusal. We spent a nice evening outside then came the time to come back to the hotel. They gave me a lift.
I was on my way to go upstairs when someone grabbed my hand suddenly. I turned back and it was Tyler Morrison. He seemed to be drunken.
- “Tyler!” I said surprised the moment I recognized his face.
- “Amy ! We need to talk!” He put more pressure on my arm as to insist on me.
- “Let go of my hand, I don’t want to speak with you. I’ve said enough.” He said a chill down on my spine.
- “I want you back Amy ! Give me another chance !” He didn’t let go of my hand as he kept insisting.
- “No way ! After what you did to me !” I tried to jerk my arm away, but he didn’t want to let me go.
- “It wasn’t what you think. I really love you, I do.”
He pulled me toward him so as to try to kiss me. I was trying to let myself off him, but I couldn’t.
- “I said leave me Tyler ! I don’t want to be with you !” I shouted at him.
- “Oh Amy, I really want you back in my life ! I’m so sorry !”
I started to feel nervous. He was insisting and didn’t want to let go of me.
I was becoming terrified, terrified like the day where my step-father held my hands and tried to kiss me. I was trying to get myself away from him. He didn’t let me go when a husky voice interrupted us
- “Leave her or I will call the police!” He threatened him.
- “Who are you?” Tyler said defiantly.
- “I said leave her! Son of a bitch !”
The moment I heard his voice, I felt myself relieved. It was Mr. Richardson. Marvin was here to defend me. He was here to protect me. I couldn’t hope for more. He shoved him and Tyler was projected backward dizzyingly, and fell onto the concrete. He stood up, adjusting himself as he attempted to go towards Marvin another time to attempt to punch him on the face, but Marvin stepped back and shouted at him.
- “Go away or I’ll call the police. Don’t even think of coming again to see Amy. Do you understand? ”
Tyler looked at us confused, not knowing much what to say, before leaving the hotel parking lot. From the other side of the hotel, I saw two security guards approaching as to check what was going on outside.
Mr. Richardson told them that everything was fine. It was just someone who was trying to bother me.
- “Amy, are you alright? Did he hurt you?” I could tell he was worried as he kept scrutinizing me, checking up on me.
- “I am fine Marvin ! I’m fine. Don’t worry about me!” I said to comfort him.
- “Was he the guy ... the one who came to my house to talk to you the other day?”
- “Yes, it was the same guy.”
- “Who is he?”
- “He’s ... He’s my ex-boyfriend.”
- “You’re ex-boyfriend !”
- “Don’t be mad, okay ! It's over ”
I didn’t even know why I said that. It’s none of his business after all !
- “I don’t like him. I don’t want you to talk to him anymore!” he warned.
- “I won’t ! I promise. I wasn't waiting for you to tell me that ! Anyway, what are you doing here?” I changed the subject.
- “I came to check up on you!”
The way he told me so, made me smile. I blushed and said.
- “Thanks for coming !” I looked into his blue eyes.
He smiled back to me without saying a word, then caressed gently my cheek. I blushed again and said “I missed you, too.”
Yeah, I know I couldn't keep this to myself. I needed to tell him that I missed him too. As he told me earlier that he missed me, I decided to do the same. By the same, I mean, I decided to open up my heart to him and let him know about how I feel about him.
He stood looking at me for a moment, then said “Don’t keep your mother waiting for you, Amy! Go now!”
- “When will we meet again?” I needed to know. I wanted to see him again and I couldn't wait longer.
- “Tonight!” He surprises me, but I liked the way he said it.
- “Tonight !? When? How?” I didn't expect that, but I was thrilled by the idea.
- ” I will come to get you at midnight sharp. Are you in?”
- “Of course, I am. Where are you going to take me?”
- “It is a surprise ! Go now Amy!”
- “See you later then!”
- “Just be on time. My car will be on that corner of the road!”
He said pointing to the place he mentioned.
- “I will. Can't wait !” He kissed me softly on my lips, whispering “can’t wait to see you in a few hours, Amy. Now go!”
I spent the following hours waiting for midnight to come. We went to bed around eleven. My mother was worn out. Lily was sleeping. And I was gazing at the stars through the window. I was lying on my bed pretending to sleep.
The stars were glimmering in the deep dark sky. That night was full moon. I couldn’t let myself sleep. I had to wait for some more minutes to come to finally be able to meet him outside. I was thrilled by the idea of meeting him, though I didn’t know where we were going. I mean where he would take me.
I was thrilled and at the same time afraid of being caught by one of my friends, Lisa, or even his wife Mrs. Richardson. Then, I thought of my mother. What if she caught me with him? What if someone caught us?
These ideas occupied part of my mind. Still, I was eager to meet him despite everything and everyone. I was ready to take that risk as well as he was doing the same for me. It was dangerous, but insanely exciting.
I liked that excitement that I could feel each time we met, each time we felt the desire to kiss each other, and the strangest of all was that I couldn’t stop wanting more from him. I wanted him and I wanted him more and more over the days I was spending in Santa Barbara.
I looked at my watch and it was near midnight, I started to feel butterflies fluttering in my belly and smiled at the idea that in a few minutes, we would be seeing each other ... that I would go to meet him very soon ...