Dad rushed out of the car functioning almost on autopilot. I recognized his behaviour at once. The same autopilot kicked into gear when mum disappeared. My mind was racing. I couldn’t fathom what was going on. Dad was just found not guilty. We should have been celebrating his freedom and ours from that twisted tyrant of a woman who pretended to love us. Instead, we were the ones running? Nothing added up.
George emerged from the shadows at the back of the house. He regal like silhouette belied the fact that he was struggling to hold back his emotions. “All’s in order sir,” he stammered. “Thank you, George,” said Dad, taking his hand. In the thirty years George worked for Dad, he had never looked directly at him. His eyes would always rest slightly lower than Dad’s, during their interactions. This time he did though. His solemn grey eyes would meet Dad’s for the first and last time. “It has always been my pleasure sir.”
Kristy ran into the house and up the marble staircase. I followed, still trying to piece together what was happening. I looked around my darkened room, grabbed my Nike back pack and stuffed in what I could. Nothing mattered to me. Dad was free. I trusted him. I would do what he asked.
Kristy joined me as we made our way back down the stairs. “Is that it,” she looked at me quizzically. I smiled. “Wait; let me guess. You’re taking your Gossip Girl mag!” I teased, giving her an affectionate shove.
“We should get going.” Dad was looking at Kristy. George was waiting by the car. “Goodbye Jake, Miss Kristy!” he whispered, fighting back his tears. “Goodbye George,” I said, choking back my own.
Dad, Kristy and I piled into the car. “Where are we going, Dad?” I asked desperately. “You’ll see son.”
We soon arrived at the airport. Our charter jet was waiting. Dad parked the car beside it and we got out. “I hear congratulations are in order,” a familiar voice boomed over the tarmac. “Go on kid. Board the plane.” Dad walked over to a man in a trench coat and shook his hand.
Kristy and I boarded the Cessna. Our hostess welcomed us warmly. She didn’t look familiar. Kristy busied herself with the onboard entertainment, profusely flicking through channels as if her life depended on it. After what seemed like ages, Dad and the trench coat man joined us on board. Now I was even more confused! It was the judge!