“Are we still on for tonight?”
Ryan’s words rang in Zöe’s ears. So much was happening. Ryan appearing out of nowhere. Aaron looking befuddled. Zöe seeking sanctuary.
Sanctuary. That’s what the Hunchback of Notre Dame shouted in the old film as he swept Esmeralda to safety. “Sanctuary,” he proclaimed, “Sanctuary!”
Zöe turned to Ryan and at that moment a strange thing happened. She felt a click in her chest, not like her heart skipping a beat but a click as if something fell into place.
Then she fell.
She didn’t fall down, but she fell all the same. She fell into Ryan’s eyes, into his heart. It was falling into insanity. Zöe had no fear of falling. She surrendered to the sensation, closed her eyes and let it happen. She fell and fell and fell. Is this eternity, she thought? Suddenly she felt herself being lifted up, held by wings, ephemeral gossamer things of light that held her tight, safe and sure.
It was eerily silent. Zöe tried to speak but nothing happened. It was like a dream where suddenly you can’t move your feet. You are frozen.
“Frozen,” Zöe thought, “frozen.” She paused to let those words sink in. An eternity later she knew what to do. Let it go, let it go!
“Sanctuary,” Zöe shouted, “sanctuary!”
Ryan looked confused, “What?” he said.
“Yes,” Zöe continued, “yes, we are still on. Yes, we are so still on. We are like major on. Let’s blow this two-bit pop stand! We need to do the on thing right now. Immediately. No time to waste. We have to go, go, go!”
Zöe turned to Aaron and handed him her plate. “Please be a dear and take care of this for me.”
And with that Zöe took Ryan by the arm and dragged him toward the door. Ryan was caught off-guard by all this, stumbled a couple of steps, but regained his balance and did his best to keep up with Zöe’s pace.
Zöe didn’t look back but if she had she would have seen Aaron standing by the buffet table looking perplexed and holding two plates.
Once in the lobby, still half walking, half running, Ryan managed to ask, “Where are we going?”
Zöe looked up at him, smiled and said, “Out. Then it’s over to you.”
Over to me, Ryan’s mind raced. Great. Over to me.