Six Degrees of Separation [ARP/Sahara]
Date: 3rd Sep 2021
Everything was going fine until Dane Preston walked in and made his big speech. She mumbled to herself. She had been doing just fine by herself at a table with Ricky Rodriquez before he showed up and then all she wanted to do was leave. So she did, she left by herself.She was halfway up the block as she was passing a black SUV with black tinted windows. Both passenger side doors opened up and two men dressed in black tactical gear got out. As the one from the front seat grabbed her left wrist, Sahara struck him in the jaw with her right causing the other guy to grab her from behind. One took a black silk bag and placed it over her head. Had she not drank as much as she had, she would have put up a better fight than she did, but these men were trained professionals and she was almost two sheets to the wind.
What the fuck? Let go of me! She struggled and kicked out wildly with her legs, hitting her target in front of her occasionally and despite hitting him, he didnít deter from his job. He grabbed both her hands and put them together and slipped them into a ziptie and then reached down and grabbed both her legs. Together they put her in the rear passenger seat, belted her in and closed the door, while one got in the front passenger seat the other ran around to the other side and got in.It happened in less than five minutes. And Sahara was gone. But a block away, she was still screaming and kicking out with her feet and struggling against the seatbelt.
Who the fuck are you? Who sent you? She could see nothing as she kicked at the seat in front of her.
If you donít stop kicking the back of my seatÖ A manís voice calmly said from the front passenger seat.
Youíll fucking what? She stopped kicking for a moment, her voice dripped with sarcasm. Put a bag over my head and throw me in an SUV? She started to kick and scream again.Calm down, Lauren. And she did, her head snapping in the direction of a familiar feminine voice. Youíve got to be fuckiní kiddiní me?
I think you can take off her hood now.Sahara felt as a hand from behind her grabbed the hood and pulled it away, snatching a few strands of blonde hair with it. The first thing she sees is Allison Riggs-Preston sitting there. She is not bound like Sahara and has a look on her face that is a cross between boredom and amusement.
Whatís going on here? Sahara narrowed her eyes and stared at Allison. Why is she loose? Why arenít you fighting these men?
Iíve known Bishop and Duke since I was about 12. She nodded her head to the front seat, she nodded to the back seat. And Frank aboutÖ She looks back at him. What 5, 6 years now?Five.
This has got to be a dream. Sahara tried to reason with herself. I am passed out in an alley behind Vooís club and I am dreaming this, itís the only explanation. Allison reached over and pinched her hard on the upper arm. Ooww! What was that for?
So, you would know you werenít dreaming. She smirked a little. And because I felt like it.
The Princess and the Panda are secure. From the front passenger seat Bishop said into an earpiece. Both women said at the same timeÖ Mother Fucker. He turned around with a smile on his face. PrincessÖDonít call me that.
Iím sorry, Princess. Just doing my job and Iíd appreciate it if youíd just let me do it and not hate me for a year like the last time.
The last time? What the fuck is wrong with you people? Sahara began to struggle against the seatbelt, managing to get it unbuckled and then against the door trying to open it but the “child proof” lock had been flipped. Youíre going to let me out, Iím not going anywhere. Who the fuck grabs people and puts a hood over theirÖ Sahara got a strange look on her face. He..adÖ anÖ
Saharaís eyes rolled back and she slowly slumped over and ended face first in Allisonís lap and all Allison could do was stare at her and shake her head. What the fuck, man?Want me to wake her?
No, just let her sleep, the last thing I want to do is listen to her mouth all the way to the airport. Allison turned her head and looked out the window. Bitch better not barf on me.At least we packed clothes for you. Iím mad at you, Bishop.
I know, Princess. He chuckled from the front seat. Laneyís birthday is next month. Will you be finished being mad at me by then?
Allison looked at him and didnít say anything at first; she liked his daughter, Laney and Laney loved the twins. Itís the 15th, right?
Until then I am mad. Behind her Frank chuckled.I expected nothing less. She turned her head and looked back out the window. She had no idea what her father was up to, but she was damned sure going to let him hear about it just as soon as she saw him.
??? ????????After 8 hours that included a ride on a chopper, a ride in a plane and finally a ride on a boat, they have finally arrived at their destination, the sun has almost gone down over the horizon and Allison and Sahara are standing on the wooden dock as Bishop is tossing the four bags on the dock beside them. Sahara pulls out her cell phone from her pocket book and begins to look for a signal. You could have dropped us off at the dock closer to the house so we didnít have to walk across the island in the dark.
We could have, but we didnít. He ignored the venom in her voice. Weíve made sure you have plenty of stuff to eat and drink.
Mighty kind of you. She stared angrily at him; her voice coming out sarcastic and unkind. I’d hate to think my dad put us on an island like we were on an episode of “Alone”.
Doesnít matter how hard you stare at me like that, Iím not going to burst into flames. He smirked a little as the boat was pushed away from the dock. And itís “Survivor”, Princess.Hey, Bishop, will you give my dad something for me? Sure, whatís that? Allison raises her right hand and flips him off.
Tell him I said ditto. Sahara also raised her right hand and flipped him off.
From the boat they watched as Allison grabbed her two bags and told Sahara to get her shit and keep up. None of the men knew what Damon was thinking when he came up with this “idea”, but they all silently wondered if the island was actually going to turn into Thunderdome with the two women enter, one woman leaves rule.After about the 100th time of yelling at Sahara to keep up, Allison was glad that they were almost to the house. She was glad that she was in tennis shoes, unlike Sahara who was still wearing heels and tripped over the natural terrain on the island. Each time she tripped a smile would creep to her lips. After not hearing Saharaís grumbling or footsteps, she turned around to find her standing in a clearing with her cell phone in her hand and reaching as far as she could in the air to get a signal, while walking in circles still looking for a signal. For fucks sake, dumbass, stop wasting time, thereís no damned signal. This isn’t normal, Allison, this kinda thing doesn’t happen to people! This is like a god damn Jerry Bruckheimer movie. There’s gotta be a satellite or something somewhere.
Snakes and spiders will be out soon. Allison turns around and starts to walk away, leaving Sahara standing there looking behind her. And I donít want to be outside when the Nagini Voldebasilisk comes out.The what?
A big fucking snake. Allison yelled over her shoulder.Sahara looked around at the jungle-like terrain and became aware of how loud the animal and nature sounds had become and that she was way out of her element. Fuck, she mummbled to herself and started off into the direction that Allison had disappeared into, she had no idea how big the snake was, but she didnít want to find out, plus, she was hoping there was a full bar stocked wherever Allison was taking them.
??? ????????Itís hours later, and the girls had managed to make dinner for themselves without killing each other in the kitchen first and they were now sitting in the living room. The storm that rolled in about two hours after the Phoenix Squad had dropped them off had knocked the power out and they were both sitting in the living room, with candles lit watching the storm rage through as they did the only thing they could do, drink wine from the fully stocked wine room. ”Have I ever told you about the first time I did cocaine?” ”Seriously?”
”What else do we got to do? Fight some more? I feel more beat up running into you lately than I do from actually fighting, and from the looks of it, we ainít goiní anywhere anytime soon.”Allison gave a half shrug as Sahara held her arms out and looked around at the surrounding solitude. Sahara had her there, what else was there for them to do? ”Okay. Fine, Lauren, tell me more about your unpleasant upbringing.”
Sahara rolled her eyes. ”Donít be an ass. My upbringing was fine, my parents did their best with what they had. I–“”Youíre right, Iím sorry, Iím being an ass.” ”Do you wanna hear the story or not?!” Without saying another word, Allison merely made a bit of a sarcastic looking rolling motion with her hand, signaling the other blonde to continue on. ”I was twelve–“ Allison’s eyes opened a bit wider.
”What?!? TWELVE?! Hold the fuck up, you were doing coke at twelve?!” Noticing Sahara had tightened her lips and closed her eyes at the repeated interruptions, Allison raised her hands and relented. ”Sorry, sorry. Go ahead.””So anyways, I was twelve at the time and Iíd always hurry home after school, cuz Iíd help out with my parents’ little wrestling company. I told you they ran a little indy at the time, right? They werenít really fond of me hanging around with how sleezy this industry can be, especially back then, but what could they really do? So anyway, they reluctantly let me do stuff like help set up the ring and whatever else. Little stuff. So they were promoting some special crossover event one weekend and so there were people there Iíd never seen before. You know, the usual, managers, promoters and what have you.” Allison nodded as Sahara took a brief pause to take a sip of her drink. ”So this one guy has me helping out setting up the little makeshift dressing rooms. Chairs, tables, coolers of beer and that kinda stuff. And Iím talkiní about the kinda guy you used to always hear about backstage at these events. Sleezy to the max. Just Ö whatever. I figured someone left him in charge, so he must be trustworthy. So at one point that afternoon, he comes into the little dressing room Iím setting up, and heís got white shit on his nose. I mean, Iím twelve, but Iím not stupid, so I know what it is. I kinda looked at him all wide eyed and wiped my nose a few times to signal to him, and so he wipes his nose, snorts a bit and then licks his fingers.”
”I knowÖ” Sahara scrunched her nose in disgust. ”I was like Ďeew, gross!í And heís like itís only gross cuz you never tried it before! So he busts out a little vial and heís like, ĎWell, you wanna try it? Everyone whoís anyone does it!í I didnít know what to say. Here I am, this twelve year old girl that just wanted to fit in so bad, so Iím like ĎUhhh, okay whatever dude, sure!í You know how it is, I gotta be the little big girl that acts like sheís an adult when Iím around other adults! I mean, just earlier that day I was at the fucking playground with my schoolmates, and now I got this guy offering me coke like Iím an older girl.”Sahara paused a minute and took a long drink as Allison sat listening to the story unfold.
”So anyway, much to my surprise, he actually lays some out for me. I was expecting him to say, ĎThis stuff ainít for kidsí, but whatever. I canít back down now, right? So I act like I know what Iím doiní and lean over to do it, but my hair falls forward in it, so he takes my hair and holds it back for me. I did my best to snort up the little lines he put out, and lemme tell ya that shit hit me like a ton of bricks! It was like this terrible aspirin taste and my face got all numb, but it was also like, amazing feeling. I felt like I could take on the world and I ainít never felt anything like that before. So I start laughing and kinda wiping my nose. A lot. And the guy, I didnít really notice it, but he was kinda rubbing my neck from when he held my hair back, and then he takes my hand and puts it on his pants–“
”What the fuck, Lauren–” She stars at her not believing what she was hearing.”Yeah, I know. Letís just say the dude was ready and willing–“ ”My fuckiní God, you were fucking TWELVE!” ”I didnít know what I was doiní, Allison! I mean, I knew what he wanted me to do. So he starts telliní me how pretty I am and how girls like me give men urges, and when that happens itís on us to help them out. The usual creeper shit. So he starts undoing his pants, and Iím high as fuck at this point and paranoid as hell. Iím thinkiní this guy is gonna tell people I was doing coke if I donít do what he wants. I know, Iím stupid–“
Allison chimed in, ”Christís sake, you werenít stupid. Jesus, you were fucking twelve and a fucking creep was taking advantage of you.”
Sahara sheepishly nodded, ”Anyway. Instead of thinking this dude is about to rape me and I should scream or something, all Iím thinking is heís gonna tell my parents I was doing drugs, and this is exactly why they didnít want me hanging out backstage and all of that stuff! I didnít want them to not allow me back again, so I couldnít let them find out, so–“
Holding up a hand, Allison shook her head in disgust, ”I donít wanna hear the rest of this. Jesus, Iím sorry you went through–“Allison shook her head as she fought to keep tears from forming. She angrily picked up her wine glass and took a real long hard drink from it. She couldnít handle stories like this, not with Layla, the thought of someone touching her daughter like thatÖ there would be nowhere a person could hide from her.
”Oh, no, wait! Cuz thatís when shit got crazy. So just as heís takes my hand and pulls it toward his thing, some guy walks in the dressing room and sees whatís goiní on! And he was just on this guy, no questions asked! It wasnít like he busted in and said, ĎHey, whatís goiní on in here?í, no, he just goes right at this guy and WRECKED this dude with me standing right there! He threw the guy right through the fucking wall, and almost collapsed the whole damn dressing room setup in the process. And when I say he fucked this guy up, I mean the guy would have probably gotten off lighter had he gotten caught and arrested, especially back then. He turned this guy into a blithering bloody pulp. I mean, serious damage. After that, he came back to make sure I was alright, and took me aside and waited until I sobered up. He paced around lecturing me the whole damn time on how trying to fit in doesnít make you cool, and how the industry is full of people that are gonna be looking to prey on me.”
Allison seemed a bit relieved the story didnít end up even worse, ”So who was he? I mean, the guy that saved you, not the creepy rapist.”
Sahara shrugged, ”I dunno, I never saw him again. I guess he was only there for the cross promotional event and passing through. I mean, thank god he was there, but it was also like a hundred years ago and my memory for faces is blegh, but Iíll never forget what he told me. So Iím sitting there on the street curb cuz he took me outside for fresh air and to kinda keep the drug thing on the downlow, and as he paced back and forth he asked me what the hell I was thinkiní, and I didnít know what to say. I just shrugged. I felt like such an idiot. He kinda just looked at me all sympathetic like, nodding his head and thatís when he says to me, ĎNever dim your shine to make others comfortable. Fix what needs fixing in here and in hereí, he kinda motioned to his heart and head when he said it, and then heís like, ĎPut in the work and everything else will fall into place.í And that was pretty much it, after I sobered up, he made sure I was okay and life kinda just went on. He was kinda like my Mr. Miyagi. For a few minutes anyway. Sometimes I think about that–“ Sahara suddenly paused, noticing a bothered look come across Allisonís face. ”What?! What now?”
Allison looked back at her, ”Never dim your shine? This guy said that to you?”
Sahara shrugged, ”Yeah, like I said, Iíll never forget it.””Those exact words?”
Sahara replied rather sarcastically, ”Uhh, yeah.”Allison felt a tingle run up her spine, with gooseflesh suddenly covering her body.
Allison whispered as she turned toward Sahara, ”Oh, that is so fucking weird.” Her eyes narrowed as she gazed at the women that had slept with her husband. But it wasnít anger or jealousy that she felt. It was understanding. ”So youíre the little blonde doing coke I had to hear about?”
A confused look came over Saharaís face. ”Huh?”
Allison chuckled and shook her head. “Youíre not going to believe this.””I donít know what to believe anymore to be honest, I used to, but not anymore.” ”Let me tell you about the time my dad found out that I was smoking weed with Johnny Stylez backstage in the arenas.”
Sahara was in the middle of taking a drink when Allison said this and she choked on it just as hard as she did the soda backstage at the Maury Show when the first Lie was said. Sahara wiped the wine off her face as she giggled, “The Lie Detector test has determined that is a lie!” Allison said nothing as she stared at Sahara for a moment. “What, too soon?”
”Too soon.” Allison nodded her head.”My bad, please, go on with your story.”
”Anyway, I was like 14 and was built like a brick shithouse already. Everyone was looking for a way to get the “big one” over on my dad. And the big oneÖ was me. Everyone wanted to be able to brag that they were the one who busted Little Allie Riggsí cherry and be able to rub that in his face.”
”ButÖ” Sahara started.”Yep, I was 14 and already my dadís enemies were trying to use me as a pawn to hurt himÖ to further their career. So, while dad would be in the ring, I would be in the back watching and of course some of his enemies would be all sweet talking to me and shit like that and this was going on one night shortly after John had joined WfNW and one guy, Iíll call D, was being a little forceful and John put his foot in his ass and then got me out of the area. He saw how upset I was and pulled out a blunt and told me that it would help calm me down.”
”John?” Sahara had that confused bunny look again.”Yeah, Johnny. LA Johnny Stylez. Stay with me here, blondie.”
Sahara rolled her eyes, ”Canít stand that douche.”Allison took a drink from her glass.
”Be that as it may, this was every show where John and I would sit at the top of some of the scaffolding and watch my dadís match and smoke a blunt.” Sahara opened her mouth and Allison answered the question she was thinking before she spoke it. “He never touched me like that. I donít know if the courts would have done anything to him since he was only 18, but my dad sure would have if he tried.””Allison Riggs-Preston smoking weed with Johnny Stylez. Iíve heard it all now.” ”Oh it gets better.” ”Better than this?”
”Fast forward five months and dad finds out thatÖ” Allison mimics her fatherís voice and movements… “His princessÖ” She returns to her ownÖ “Was smoking weed with Stylez. So, he rallies the family and I am sitting there listening to him and VooDoo and Jenna and every damned body give their speeches about the who, what, where, when, and why of my actions. So then my dad suddenly busts out this story about a little twelve year old girl he caught doing coke.” This time it was Saharaís turn to feel a tingle run up her spine, with gooseflesh suddenly covering her body, causing her to shiver. ”My dad has always said… ĎNever dim your shine to make others comfortable.í You know how he talks.”
”Wait! Hold up. That guy–wait. Wait–” There was a completely bewildered look etched onto Saharaís face as her mouth stood agape as it all slowly came into focus.Allison once again made a rolling motion with her hand as if coaxing Sahara to Ďget thereí. ”That was Ö Damon?”
Allison nodded, ”Yeah, Iím thinkiní it was. This is the exact kinda thing he does. And it makes sense. Think of the way he admonishes you…” She once again goes into Dad mode and mimics Damon’s voice, ”Lauren, Iím very disappointed in you. Lauren, youíre better than this…”
”And how I always somehow feel like a little kid when he speaks to me…Jesus, howíd I not see it?! Oh. My. Fucking. God!”
Taking a deep breath, Sahara grabs the bottle of wine and holds it up to the light checking how much remains. ”Oh the hell with it.” Bringing the bottle to her lips, she chugs down the remainder of the bottle and looks at Allison. ”Weíre gonna need more of this. A lot more.”
”Good thing we have a lot of that, then.” Allison smiled and held up a freshly corked bottle of wine. She leaned across the candlelit table and refilled Saharaís empty glass. ”Hey, since weíre kinda being open and honest with each other right now, what do you think that little twelve year old version of you would think of, you know, the current you?”
Swirling the wine in her glass, Sahara stared at the deep red hue of the liquid as she seemed to ponder the question. ”I donít know. I think sheíd be happy in some ways, and Ö probably pretty disappointed in a lot of others.” The question seemed to get to her, forcing her to look at herself in a way she really didnít do very often. Or ever.”I mean, twelve year old me would be happy that Iím semi-famous and made it to the big time as a wrestler. Itís all she ever dreamed about! Hell, I even held a world title for a spell, not to mention a few other title reigns in my time. I got onto a few television shows, even if in minor roles. That was kinda cool. I know sheíd really be proud of that, but–“ ”But what?”
Sahara took a rather long pull of her wine and sighed. The platinum blonde absently bit her lower lip as she gazed across the table at Allison, but it was quite clear she wasnít really looking at her. She was thinking. ”I think sheíd beÖ disappointed in me. Or her. Or whatever. Outside of wrestling, my life is a complete wreck, Allison. Itís the only thing I do where I feel right. Outside of that, Iím… and forgive me for this, but I fucked a married man because Iím smitten with him and jealous of his wife. And that wasnít the first time Iíve slept with a married guy. Iím divorced. I had a pretty bad drug problem that led to that divorce. I drink way too much–“ She smiled and held up the glass of wine before taking yet another drink. ”I spend money as fast as I make it. I outed my little brother as gay, because I thought it was funny. She wouldnít have thought so. And I Ö I donít have kids. She really wanted kids.” Saharaís voice trailed as her eyes suddenly welled up with tears, though she did her best to hide it. Her usual steely mean girl demeanor had all but vanished.
Sahara forced a laugh, ”See? This is why I donít like it when people make me think! Itís like, so other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?!” Sahara laughed again as she took another drink before holding out her empty glass.”Refill me. And tag. Youíre it.” ”Fourteen year old me would be shaking her head and saying “damn, didnít your father warn you about men like Joe Montuori and how they would fuck up your life?” She groaned and dropped her head on the table, her blonde hair covering her face.
”I wanted to help my dad fulfill his dream with his wrestling legacy. I wanted to marry the perfect man, and have the perfect marriage, and have the perfect kids, and the perfect life.” She snaps her head back up, blonde hair flying everywhere. “And I did, until I fucked that up by trying to prove something. SomethingÖ that meant nothing to anyone I thinkÖ but me. Then again, maybe THAT didnít even mean anything to me? Maybe it was the whole title shot thing and getting the gold? Hard living in the shadow of a man whoís got a world title for every damned year he was in the ring. I fucked up my marriage and my kidsí livesÖ all because I had to prove a pointÖ to I guess my own damned self. Because Lord knows everyone else has put it all out there that THEY wouldnít have made the choice that I did.” She rolled her eyes and sighed. ”LikeÖ what the fuck ever.”Allison downed half the glass of wine.
”When my parents divorced, it was like my whole world tried to fall apart. I had one parent that just vanished after a while and one who gave me the world because HE felt guilty for what happened to him and Stellar and what was going on with the news and the tabloids and shit like that. I told myself, when I found that manÖ Ainít nothing going to come between him and me.” She paused for a moment. ”But here we are and I feel that little girl would be so disappointed, because she said she would never put anything before her family and I fucked it up for her.”She angrily grabbed her glass and finished it off, while she was drinking it, Sahara spoke.
”Did you really fuck that up, Allison?” Sahara stared at the wine in her glass as she swished it around inside a little and finished the rest of her glass. ”Despite everything that has happened, Dane still loves you. Trust me, Iíd know. You can still fix this for your little girl, all you have to do is swallow down that big ass giant Riggsí family ego.”Allsion grabs the bottle of wine and tops their glasses again. She sat there thinking that she was in the Twilight Zone. Here she was in the middle of the Caribbean, sharing many bottles of wine with the woman who slept with her husband.
??? ????????Itís way after the witching hour as the storm still howled outside, Allison and Sahara have put away 3 more bottles before they made it to the rooms they claimed and passed out; the third one, because they just couldnít waste a bottle missing only one glass from it. Allison was rocked from her sleep by what sounded like an explosion. She jumped from her bed and ran to the door and flung it open to find the living room they had just been in a few hours earlier, damned near missing and itís remains on fire despite the rain that poured inside. Allisonís first thought was, surprisingly, Sahara. She started in the direction of her room, just as she came down the hallway yelling Allisonís name. ”Weíre gonna die!”
”Weíre not going to die, but weíve gotta get out of here.” She grabbed Sahara by the hand and pulled her to the door. ”Come on!””ButÖ” ”No buts, Lauren, before the house burns down with us in it.” Standing on the covered porch, peering out into the darkness, Sahara shook her head. ”We canít go out there, that crazy Nigiri snake monster or whatever the hell you said will get us!”
Allison tightened her grip on Saharaís hand, ”Jesus christ, you really are a blonde! Címon! NOW!” They took off running into the rainy night, Allison leading the way; both women held tight to the other’s hand. When one would slip and start to fall, the other would grab her to keep her from falling in the mud or tripping over roots. Almost to the lookout tower they both take a spill, sliding a couple of feet in the mud.
”Itís game over.” Sahara says as she sits up on the verge of hysterics and tears, both women are covered in mud that was slowly being washed away by the rain. “Weíre going to die on this fucking island.”Allison reaches over, grabs her by the shoulders and shakes her a few times.
”Stop crying and get off your ass.” She reaches down, the look of steel willedness in her eyes. ”Iím not dying on this islandÖ and neither fucking are you!”Allison pulled her to her feet and holding tightly to her wrist, began pulling her towards the only other shelter. Sahara followed her, looking at her as if almost for the first time ever, confused by THIS Allison that she has never seen before and hoping like hell that she kept her word.
Both Allison and Sahara slowly opened their eyes, the first thing that Sahara became aware of was her head laying on someoneís arm with their body pressed up against her and one arm around her waist; the first thing that Allsion became aware of was a face full of mud flecked blonde hair that was not her hue, her arm was asleep and her hand was damned near cupping Saharaís right breast. Sahara slowly turned and she and Allison stared at each other for a moment before they rolled from each other and got to their feet, both mumbling “ew, thatís grossÖ” “man, what the fuck…” Once the shock of waking up with each other spooning was over, they became aware of the fact that they werenít alone, not to mention covered nearly head to toe in dried mud.
”Don’t say a fucking word.” Allisonís eyes narrowed a little.”I wasn’t–”
”I was talkin’ to him.” Allison nodded in her fatherís direction before she looked at Sahara. “And you don’t say a word, either.””Never! We will never speak of this again.” Damon and Bishop stood there as they watched both the women start down the stairs and they slowly started after them. ”Do you think it worked, Bishop?” ”Hard to tell. Looks like they are in a mutual agreement that they donít want to talk to you.” Damon breathed a sigh of relief, they were both alive and only suffered from cuts and bruises. This wasnít supposed to happen this way. When he made arrangements for this to take place, he had made sure there were no weather problems on the horizon, but freak storms like this pop up all of the time. It was going to be one very long trip back to the states, he could already feel it.