I am no more reassured about what is going on.
I managed a few hours of sleep after last night, but my morning was groggy and hazy. Nonetheless, I managed to help Yelp a lunch spot to go to with S. I picked somewhere casual and uncrowded by over-hyped reviews. My hands were sweating so much on the drive over that they almost slipped off the steering wheel on a turn I was making.
When we saw each other, I was perplexed by the perfectly normal expression on S's face. He was wearing a huge grin, and greeted me with the usual, "Good to see you! How have you been?"
"Okay, I guess," I answered automatically. I was not okay.
We got our seats on the patio and our sandwiches and began our Saturday lunch date. I could barely concentrate on the menu but managed to put my order in with only minimal stuttering.
Oblivious to my distress, S began detailing his ideas with his usual pep.
"So, I was thinking about your Dog Jackets," he said enthusiastically as I pushed around my food, "I think something you can add to them is colors and patterns to the lights - you know, in case you have more than one dog or they get really really lost. You could program an emergency mode that flashes S-O-S in morse code."
I barely took in any of his words as I truly began to question what happened last night. Screw my stupid little Kickstarter project, I was either going insane or paranoid or both. I was still so convinced that it was real though. Perhaps, I thought, S doesn't remember. Wasn't that what the gas was for? Then why do I remember it so vividly with no other memories of what would have been a normal Friday night?
"Uh... yeah, that's great," I mumbled after a while, doing my best to crack a smile, "I actually know someone who can hook me up with some colored LEDs."
The rest of lunch seemed just as surreal to me as that 'dream' I'd had. I chimed in every so often, but luckily S was happy to hear himself talk.
He got the check, as was our unspoken agreement about how we go eat out on our one-on-one meetings: whoever asks first pays; whoever is asked picks the place. And our group usually hangs out enough so that it all evens out. It was less trouble than asking for split checks.
We left the cafe, but I still felt heady. Maybe it really was the lack of sleep getting to me, I figured. I don't know what I expected when I saw S.
Perhaps finally catching on to my silent suffering, he frowned and asked, voice a little lower, "Hey, are you alright?"
"Just tired. I was up pretty late last night," I blurted, again putting on a smile. "Good talk, catch you later."
S leaned in and hugged me. It was soothing to feel another warm body and the rhythm of his chest moving with his breath - tangible, solid, real.
But then he whispered in my ear, "Don't say anything. They're watching. Don't tell [M] or [B]."
He must have felt my heart pounding, and he held on until he felt me nod. Then he was all smiles again, as if he had said nothing. "I'll let you know when I'm free next week!"
Then he gave a cheery wave and walked off. He just walked off and I let him because I was too stunned to do anything other than mimic the motion. You know how you always think of the perfect thing to say about five minutes too late? That hit me in the car and I was glad my windows were rolled up because I just shouted, "What the fuck?!"
I came straight home, unsure what else I could do. Act normal? Do not contact M or B.
Except... I didn't mention the stuff I'd typed up and posted in a scared haze the night before. Shit.