It's Sunday night. The ITGeek is sitting on his computer, trying to find music for our wedding. Exactly three weeks from now, we will be married.
So this weekend, the ITGeek's parents came down to help us Get Shit Done. Table arrangements, place cards, all that fun stuff. My parents came over to help too. I love my parents. I love my in-laws. I'm truly blessed to have four wonderful people in my life, who get along so well. But they are exhausting.
Then there's what happened on Friday night.
It's 11pm, and I've just finished brushing my teeth. Suddenly, the ITGeek opens the door. He's on the phone, and he's pale.
"We've been broken into," he says urgently, "the guy's downstairs. Stay here. Please, stay here."
Then he shuts the door and is gone.
Two things that suck about being 'stuck' in the bathroom. First, you can't hear anything. All those tiles effectively make the place soundproof.
Secondly, there's very little you can use as a weapon. I forgot about the eye-burning powers of aerosol deodorant, but I did grab the broom. I vacilated wildly for a minute that felt like ten, then crept out, holding my broom.
The ITGeek was in the bedroom, talking to the police. I headed straight for the big, 6 C-battery maglite I'd moved to my side of the bed when he'd gone away for a couple of nights. Hefted it like I actually have any idea how to hit somebody with it (I don't). The ITGeek gave me a bit of a smile, and shook his head. He was describing the man in our house who had not been invited to the person on the phone.
When he got off the phone, he told me his father was downstairs with The Guy, and that he was calm. He repeated his request for me to stay upstairs. Then, again, he left.
I waited a bit. Then, still holding my new best friend, I crept out of the bedroom. Despite my familarity with Mr Maglite, I'm well aware of my limitations in terms of actually being any use in a fight. I was content to stay out of sight, but there was no way I could sit there without having any idea what was happening. On the upstairs landing, I could hear without being seen.
I slipped out just in time to hear the cops arrive. They were very firm on the subject of what The Guy had in his pockets. Then I heard the ITGeek being equally firm on the subject of who actually owned the GPS unit The Guy had just pulled out of his pocket. Someone was calling an ambulance, because The Guy had cut himself. After another minute or so, I heard The Guy being taken outside, and I felt safe enough to walk downstairs.
Know that part in crime shows where some random person notices a bit of blood, just before the corpse suddenly lands on their head? That was my living room. A trail of dark red blotches ran across my carpet to the kitchen, around our coffee table, towards the TV. More blood stained the walls, kitchen benches, fat puddles of it all over the tiles in the entrance way. It was just everywhere.
The Guy was outside, surrounded by cops. I started shaking. I suddenly had a deep, visceral need to get that blood out of my house. I wanted every single fucking trace of this creep out of my Mary Poppins home. He did not belong here, in my place of safety and silliness, he'd never been invited and I wanted all evidence that he'd ever been there eradicated.
The ITGeek's parents were in their dressing gowns. His mother looked shocked. His father looked calm, and healthy, as did the ITGeek, which was all I cared about. Well, not quite. I asked where Morgan was, and was told he'd been locked in the garage.
While the police did their thing, I got the (incredibly surreal) story out of my family.
The Guy broke in through the window of our spare room. He pulled the window far enough to let himself in, pushed off the flywire, and climbed on in. The ITGeek's parents, who had just settled into bed in the room opposite, heard the noise and were discussing it when The Guy opened the door.
"Oh, hello," The Guy said. "Sorry, I'm looking for my friend."
Then he shut the door. The ITGeek's father got up, thinking this was perhaps a friend of the ITGeek, and followed him, calling for the ITGeek at the same time. On the way, he walked past the door of the Spare Room and noticed the broken fly screen.
By this time, the ITGeek had come downstairs. He saw his father, and a stranger with a bleeding hand, and thought The Guy had knocked on our door, asking for help, and been let in. So the ITGeek immediately started helping The Guy, washing his hand, and helping him bandage it.
I should add at this point that The Guy was so high, he wasn't even sharing our solar system. He had a dozen different stories, starting with 'My friend said he'd leave the window open for me,' proceeding through to 'I got slashed by a friend', then to 'I got attacked, I ran here for help,' and back to 'I'm looking for my friend, he owes me money'.
Anyway, eventually his dad clued the ITGeek in on the situation. The ITGeek ran upstairs to call the cops (and warn me), who arrived quickly, with stab vests and enormous cans of pepper spray. While waiting for the cops, the ITGeek and his dad kept The Guy busy by getting him to help them clean his blood off our kitchen floor. Which he did quite amiably, apparently. He only really got cranky when the cops had him cuffed on our driveway.
Like I said, a surreal story. The officers who took the statements seemed to find them very entertaining (particularly the ITGeeks. When he got to the part where his father clued him in, the officer said 'I was wondering if you knew what was going on. People usually aren't that nice to people who break into their house'.)
I also had a wee breakdown after I got filled in.
The Guy got in through an open, unlocked window. I was the one who'd opened that window and left it unlocked.
I'm the paranoid one in our relationship, the one who always takes valuables out of the car and locks the house down before we go to sleep. But the in-laws were visiting, and when I was airing out the house, Morgan looked so intrigued by the fresh smells coming through the window that I forgot to lock it. Then, when we went to bed, I forgot to lock everything else.
I left the window open and unlocked. As the future mother in law keeps reminding us, he could have had a knife, and one stab would have been all it would take.
I don't think she realises how much that freaks me out. Or possibly, she's under the mistaken impression that I need reminding of how bad it could have gotten. Maybe she thinks mentioning all the ways my mistake could have gotten my family killed is for my own good.
Regardless, the cops took The Guy away. They sent some crime guys around to collect blood samples and take more photographs. Every single cop who saw our cat was highly entertained by how large he is and his obsession with chasing torch beams (one switched his torch to some sort of strobe light function and Morgan nearly lost his furry little mind). When the crime guys left, I got out the cleaning stuff and got all the little blood spots off every surface in our house. It was like a really gory game of Where's Wally with cleaning fluid.
We went to bed about 3am. I had to get up three and a half hours later for a trial of my wedding hair style. I woke up just as the fermented adrenaline made me throw up. Since then, my shitty lungs, which had already been having a hard time with my asthma, have given up the fight completely. And possibly given into the cold I've been fighting for a fortnight as well.
So I'm exhausted, wheezing, sneezing, and the drugs have given me a chronic case of the shakes. I'm still slightly scared of my house, and I keep coughing so hard I nearly puke again.
On the upside, I have the love of an incredibly brave and amazing man. He clears out drugged out burgulars and brings me cough syrup.
I wonder if they'd let me mention that in my vows?