Early last fall, my father slipped from being a secret agent to a not-so-secret one. I don't know who let the cat out of the bag, but someone one did, and all within the span of a day he became the target of all kinds of killers.
That same week, he hired a bunch of bodyguards for me, his daughter. Our house already had its share of men-in-black, sitting around the house waiting for someone to start shooting us, but the thing is, I don't live at home. I go to boarding school, and my father, concerned about my welfare, hired some bodyguards.
Four, to be precise. Four people who were supposed to be willing to lay down their lives for my safety. I tell you this much, it sounds special and all, but the way they all get hurt protecting me sometimes, I could just die myself.
Early last fall, I let four strangers into my life, and everything changed. Maybe the change was gradual, and I'm not really sure what changed. There's a big difference between 'then' and 'now', but all the lines in between are pretty blurred.
But for us to come from then to here, a lot of things have happened.
Now we're standing at the perimeter of the woods, there's blood on my jacket and I don't know how he thinks he's going to get us out of this.
"Don't worry," he says, as if reading my thoughts. There is a gunshot, and I hear a shout. He glances over in the direction it came from, and looks back at me. There's snow in his hair, but he doesn't look the least bit cold. "I won't let anything happen to you."
If I'd known then, that it would be the last time I would see him alive, properly, clearly, I'd probably have taken a better look. I would have looked at him long and hard, and embedded the living memory of him in my mind. Unfortunately, we rarely know what's coming, and I at that moment didn't have that foresight.
Further into the future, I'll think back on tonight, on his words, and wonder if there was anything that didn't happen to us.
Not just he and I, but all five of us. Apply Murphy's Law, and you get everything that happened to us from then on until it ended.
Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.
But before we can go forward, you probably need to understand what happened, what led up to all this.
Let's start with early last fall.