My wife immediately stood and rushed to my side. “What’s wrong, Michelle?” she asked. I knew she’d be able to read my face instantly. She’s an employee of Dr. Paul Ekman, the leading authority on non-verbal communication and micro expressions. (Basically, she can tell what your true reactions to anything, and your emotions about whatever’s being discussed, just from watching you.)
“We have to pack, Claire.” I replied. “Come with me to the bedroom, and I’ll explain as much as I can while we work.” We walked upstairs and grabbed a few suitcases out of the closet. I began packing practical things, like clothes and toiletries, while she worked on getting what had the most value, both sentimental and monetary. As we worked, I explained everything that had happened, not without quite a few interruptions and questions. When I finally finished my narrative, she sat motionless for a few beats, staring into space, trying to get a grasp on what was happening.
“What are we going to tell our friends? Jim, Jason, Laura? What are they going to say?” (She didn’t ask about family because we didn’t have to worry about them. They wouldn’t have anything to do with us, something about our relationship not being old fashioned enough for them. We hadn’t heard from family in nine months, not since we announced our engagement.)
“I don’t know what we can tell them, Claire. I don’t know if we can tell them anything at all.” I said sadly. Our friends meant the world to us. At that moment, we heard a car drive up to the house. Doors opened and shut, and we heard Olivia Greensburg’s voice, shouting that we’d better hurry; we were almost out of time. We grabbed a few last items, zipped up our luggage, and took one last look at our room. Who knew how long it would be before we saw it again. We hugged: a long, tight embrace, and I told her that no matter what happened, we’d always have each other. Then, prompted by Ms. Greensburg, we picked up our bags and headed out to the Government Issue black Suburbans, to leave our old lives behind, and go to wherever the winds of fate would carry us…. Most likely to a secret briefing center, first of all.