I felt as though a ten-ton weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Kevin was standing next to the car and smiled as he saw me approach.
“You did it.”
It was a statement, not a question. I guess my grin had given me away.
“Yup,” I replied. “But I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. I just want to get home and celebrate for now.”
“So now you go to trial?” he asked as we pulled away from the courthouse.
I tried to ignore the queasy feeling that crept up on me when Kevin mentioned the trial. Now was not the time to worry. I had been worrying enough, and I wanted to focus on the present. The bastard was locked up, and he wouldn’t be out at least until after the trial.
“Yes,” I replied impatiently, “but I don’t want to talk about that. Let’s just go home and find Tanya.”
We drove in silence, albeit not an uncomfortable one. With the windows down and the sun shining, I was feeling happier than I had in a long time. It was a good feeling.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I was surprised to see the motel owner watching us through the window. As Kevin parked the car, he crossed the parking lot to us.
“Kev – you did pay the rent, right?” I asked nervously, watching him approach.
“Yes!” he insisted, just as confused as I was.
“You Dasi?” he called out to me. “Dasi from Chicago?”
“Um, yes, that’s me…” I replied, suddenly nervous again. What was going on?
“You need to call home. Now. Your parents keep calling.”
I blanched. “Ok.”
“I’ll be in the office, you can use the phone there. Sounded important.” As he turned and walked back to the office, Kevin spoke.
“Do you think they know?”
I turned to face him. “Know what, exactly? I mean, there are a million things they could’ve found out…” I felt the panic building. “Maybe someone called them about court. Maybe someone called them about your court! Or maybe something happened. What if they know about everything?”
Kevin looked as nervous as I felt. “You need to call them.”
I nodded and headed toward the office and Kevin turned to go into our room. The manager placed the phone on the counter and nodded.
“One time, I make exception,” he said gruffly. “Next time, you use pay phone.”
“Thank you,” I said, as I began to dial the familiar number.
As I listened to the ringing, my pulse raced. Finally, I heard my mother’s voice. “Hello?” I could hear the tears in her voice.
“Mom?” I said, fear clutching my heart. “It’s me – what’s wrong?”
“Oh, Dasi!” she cried, now sobbing in earnest.
“What? Are you ok? What happened?”
“It’s Snuffy,” she finally answered. “We had to put him down.”
I felt my own tears begin in earnest. Snuffy? But I had just seen him at Christmas! He was fine! I forgot about everything at that moment, didn’t care about court, or partying, or Kevin… all I could think of was the little dog who always loved me no matter what. My mother explained that he had gotten pretty sick lately, and this morning my father had taken him to the vet and had him put down.
“He was old, honey, it was the right thing to do,” she sniffed on the other end of the phone.
I nodded as though she could see me.
“I love you.”
“Love you too.” I hung up the phone and wiped my eyes. Snuffy was gone. For some reason, I suddenly felt as though the bottom had dropped out of my world. My childhood pet had died, and had taken with him any shred of the old Dasi. Numbly, I walked back to our room and opened the door.
Kevin took one look at me and panicked. “What happened? Is your dad coming here? Did the cops call them? Is he making you come home?”
I laughed without humor. Leave it to Kevin to make it all about him. “No,” I responded flatly. “My dog died.”
Kevin visibly relaxed. “Oh, thank God!” he replied. “I mean, I’m sorry, hon – that’s rough.” He moved in to hug me, but I pushed him away.
“Just leave me alone for a while, ok?” I muttered.
Kevin moved uncertainly toward the door, and I prodded him on. “Please. Just go.”
“Ok,” he said as he opened the door. “I really am sorry, though – I’m just…”
I looked up at him and he shut his mouth before finishing what he couldn’t say. Then he slowly closed the door behind him. Once he was gone, I flopped down on the bed and sobbed.