For all of MJF's Primeval and Doctor Who stories
Series 8 Episode 3
Sick with nerves, Josh was both excited and anxious in the same capacity. He had been thinking about this moment for months, putting it off like a coward. He’d even requested one more night from Freddie before he faced the music, not that it really mattered. He still felt just as terrified after a night’s sleep.
Freddie had spent the night with him, at his old house. What he did to deserve Freddie’s trust was unknown, but he appreciated it. He anticipated reactions more akin to Yasmin’s. Josh knew earning her trust back was going to be tough, but he wanted to prove himself all over again. Would she ever take him back? Doubtful, but it was her friendship that he really missed. That was his goal.
Approaching the front door, Josh felt a wave of emotion consuming him. It was almost nostalgic, reminding him of when everything felt so much better. So much had changed since he last stepped foot inside that house. Returning meant he had to face up to reality.
“Hey, Freddie, is that you?” a comfortingly familiar voice called out as they entered inside. Josh’s vision was being blurred by the tears in his eyes. Freddie urged him forward into the kitchen. He had to take this step on his own.
There she was. Making breakfast, just as she did every morning, except things had changed. The cheerful smile that always adorned her face had faded. She’d lost something so precious.
“Hey,” Josh tearfully uttered. She put the plate she was holding gently down on the work surface, taking in a deep breath as she did so. Slowly, she spun around. Her expression was much like his – they were both already crying like crazy.
“Come here,” Caroline insisted calmly. She smiled – they were happy tears. Josh sprinted into her arms, unleashing the tidal wave of tears he had saved up. He had missed the warmth of her hugs so much.
“I’m sorry,” Josh confessed.
“I know,” Caroline caressed his hair, “Welcome home, my precious boy.”
Josh’s heart wanted to burst. There was no way he deserved this treatment, but he cherished it.
“I just woke Jono, he’s on his way down,” Ed strolled in obliviously. He stopped suddenly in his tracks, meeting eyes with Josh, “Oh my god.”
“Hi,” Josh sheepishly greeted. He caught a glimpse of Freddie’s proud smile behind Ed.
Jono followed Ed inside. He paused, gobsmacked and expressionless. Without saying a word, Jono wrapped his arms around Josh. This was his family, and it was the most important reminder of how desperately he needed them.
Stirring from a rough night’s sleep, Dylan’s eyes slowly adjusted to his surroundings. He couldn’t quite believe he finally had different sights to wake up to. The harsh lab lighting was gone, replaced by the sunlight making its way through the cracks in the wooden boards covering the window.
For the night, the boys had found an empty, abandoned shop to hide out in. None of them had their phones, so they were on their own. Liam said they weren’t too far from Crystalshaw, but how could they get back there without being caught? The Sanctum wasn’t far away. They weren’t out of the oven yet.
“Morning,” Jeremy smiled over. Still the same friendly face greeting him, and Dylan wasn’t mad at that. Jeremy had been his rock for months. They had dreamt of this day for so long, and it was surreal that they were soon going to be home, “Happy birthday.”
Dylan had almost forgotten it was his birthday. All he’d thought about was seeing Jono’s face again. What would be the first thing they’d say to each other? Dylan couldn’t even imagine, but he was so excited – it would’ve been the best birthday present ever.
“Thanks,” he smiled back to Jeremy. He looked how Dylan felt – buzzing with excitement. Dylan knew how badly he wanted to see Sammi again, and now he could.
“Nolan,” Liam called out suddenly, jolting awake. He looked around frantically, realising where he was.
“Bad dream?” Dylan presumed. He’d have enough of those in five months to last him a lifetime.
“Yeah, sorry,” Liam explained, “I know it’s only been a day, but damn, I miss him.”
“How did you meet?” Jeremy wondered.
“He hunted me,” Liam raised a smile, “He got manipulated by this woman, Monroe, but he fought back. I mean, I never called this happening, but it made sense.”
“Is he your first?” Dylan queried. He was curious about people’s stories – Jono was his first, and he could only envisage Jono being his last too.
“My first was a girl called Hayden. She moved away, but we still talk occasionally. I didn’t think I was into guys until Nolan. He’s the only guy I want,” Liam detailed. Dylan was engrossed in his story, because of how different it was to his own. Nevertheless, they both had boyfriends that they cherished to get home to, so they had a common goal.
“Can you hear that?” Jeremy pointed out. Dylan listened carefully. Sure enough, the sounds of car engines were present, and they were close.
“They’ve found us,” Dylan worried. Now he needed an escape plan.
The mood at the bench was surprisingly positive for the first time in ages, and Jono was thrilled. He had no idea Josh was back – too wrapped up in his own dilemmas – but seeing him in the kitchen that morning was the most euphoric feeling. Josh had given the pack the lift they needed, and it had persuaded Jono that now was indeed the right time to move on with his life.
Brett’s words had been playing on his mind all night alongside Lily’s reassurance. If Oscar really was into him, he should be jumping at the chance to see how things go, because no matter how hard he tried to deny it, he liked Oscar too. There was only one downside – it was Dylan’s birthday. Of all the days for Jono to be thinking of taking such a step.
“Miss Pannu is going to give you so much computing work to do,” Freddie joked. Of course, Josh had missed a massive amount of senior year. If he wanted to graduate, he’d have to work his socks off.
“And just wait until you see Mrs. Johnson’s list of textbook work,” Oscar added. He’d never met Josh before, but was already joking around with him. He had such a cute charm. Of course, Jono had already warned Josh not to mention werewolves around Oscar, and he understood. All Oscar needed to know was that Josh was Dylan’s brother. No further details.
To Jono’s right, one person wasn’t sharing the elation. Yasmin was burying herself in her textbooks, and Jono couldn’t blame her. Josh treated her like dirt, she had every right to expect him to grovel. Jono picked up her pen and wrote a note on the next page of her notebook.
Yasmin looked up at him before writing a reply.
‘I’m OK, but thanks.’ She nodded to prove it. Jono wasn’t convinced, but as long as she knew he still had her back, that was what mattered.
“Hey,” Oscar tapped him on the shoulder, shaking his water bottle, “I need a refill, want to come?”
Jono couldn’t miss this chance. A moment alone with Oscar. These didn’t come very often. He accepted the invitation, leaving the good vibes of the bench behind.
“I wanted to ask something,” Oscar began. Jono listened keenly. He had butterflies in his stomach, anticipating where this could have been going.
“Go on,” Jono replied.
“I know my timing might be off, but I was wondering if you’d be up for grabbing a coffee after school. Just you and me,” Oscar suggested, “No pressure. I don’t want to rush you.”
“I know,” Jono smiled at just how worrisome he was being, “I’d love that.” This was it. His big step forward. Moving on, just like Dylan wanted him to.
A day off from lectures, Lily was enjoying a spot of relaxation. Of course, college took up a lot of her time, and studying had been a good way of keeping her mind off everything Jono was going through.
Good news had arrived that morning, though. Josh had been found, and Lily was delighted. The exclamation marks on Jono’s WhatsApp message said everything. Things were looking up for him, and that was what mattered.
To celebrate the good news in her own little way, Lily had taken Sindy and Misha for a picnic by the river. Of course, Alex was invited too, but he seemed to be running late – fashionably so.
“Who’s Josh again?” Misha was trying to grasp her head around everything. Lily had told her about her friends – Misha was a brilliant conversation starter and had so many questions to ask – but of course, some details were left out. Lily hoped she’d be able to do a better job of keeping her out of anything supernatural than with Alex and Sindy.
“My brother’s boyfriend’s brother,” Lily answered. That was more confusing than she realised.
“Where was he?” Misha queried. Darn. Lily had to think hard for a realistic white lie to answer that. Why would people vanish for months?
“We don’t know,” Sindy jumped in, saving the day. She and Lily made an excellent team, “But he’s safe, so we’re celebrating.”
“Don’t start without me,” Alex chuckled, jogging over with Jamal tagging along behind. Lily hadn’t specifically extended the invite to him, considering their slightly shaky start, but perhaps it was an opportunity to see if she really was just being paranoid about him.
“Of course not,” Lily smiled, getting a cute peck on the lips from Alex. Her favourite sensation, and she cherished it even more after a night without him by her side, “Sindy, this is Jamal, Misha’s brother.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Sindy flashed her most charming smile. Lily rolled her eyes – she knew exactly where Sindy was going with that.
“The pleasure is all mine,” Jamal flirted back, much to Sindy’s delight. Lily wasn’t sure how much more of their back-and-forth she could stomach.
“Oh god, you’re so embarrassing,” Misha cringed, hitting the nail on the head.
“Hey, Lily, can I have a word?” Jamal changed the subject. Lily’s good mood quickly dropped. What was this about?
“Hey, what’s up?” Lily calmly questioned as they moved out of hearing range.
“I know what you are,” Jamal simply stated.
“Huh?” Lily was gobsmacked, but she couldn’t allow herself to show it. Nevertheless, her gut instinct about him after the lecture wasn’t being proven wrong.
“You’re a werewolf,” Jamal added, “And I don’t like that.”
“Are you threatening me?” Lily wasn’t sympathetic to anyone who dared to talk to her like that. She’d seen enough bloodshed to last a lifetime.
“I’m saying I’ve got my eye on you,” Jamal replied, before returning to the group. Lily was feeling shaken. How dare he? Who even was he to be making threats like that?
Quickly catching Sammi between classes like he always tried to, Freddie was beginning to realise how much he relied on those brief moments with her. Even with all she had been through, Sammi was still his ray of sunshine. Somebody he didn’t have to pretend around. With Josh missing for months, Jono so wrapped up in losing Dylan, Yasmin avoiding her feelings, and George in London, Sammi really had become the one person Freddie could unwind around.
For so long, Freddie had tried to be the strong one. The person who brightened everyone else’s mood with a well-timed joke. Yet, he never spoke much about his own feelings to anyone. They had their own issues, after all. That was why he and Sammi worked so well. They could talk openly and freely with each other about anything, and Freddie really needed that.
“Hey,” Sammi smiled. She was chirpier than usual, much like most of the pack. Josh’s return had made such a difference to them all.
“Can we talk?” Freddie questioned.
“Sure,” Sammi looked concerned. She led him into the newsroom, which had barely been touched in ages. Jono hadn’t continued any work on the school newsletter since they lost Dylan, so the room was beginning to gather dust.
“Is everything okay?” Sammi wondered.
“Everyone’s celebrating Josh’s return, but things still feel so different. I wanted to tell George, but a video chat’s not really the same,” Freddie confessed, “And last night, being at the house, sleeping in my old bed, I’m really missing it. I know it’s stupid.”
“No,” Sammi took his hand, “You’re in the middle of everything. You’ve lost your friend, you’ve had to deal with me, that’s a lot for anyone,” Sammi instantly reassured. She’d become so good at giving out advice – the benefit of receiving so much unwelcome advice after losing her brother – “but you don’t have to be the strong one all day every day, Freddie. You’re allowed to cry. I can be strong for you.”
Freddie’s lips trembled. He wanted to cry so bad, and Sammi’s words were the final straw. Her support meant everything. She pulled him in for a tight, supportive hug.
“Hey, Caroline’s organising a little gathering tonight for Josh,” Freddie mentioned, “And because it’s Dylan’s birthday, so we want to celebrate. It’s been ages since we last had something to be happy about. Fancy coming?”
“I’m not missing it,” Sammi smiled her prettiest smile. She was the most phenomenal person he knew. He was so lucky.
Panic. That was all Dylan felt. The front exit had been blocked. The Lunar Sanctum had found them. Dylan knew he had to think fast, because there was no way he was going back to that place. The mere thought made him feel so upset, after the stress of making it out in the first place.
Dylan glanced at Jeremy and Liam. They were both as petrified as he was. For their sake if not his own, Dylan had to find a way out.
“The back door,” Dylan realised, “There’s no heartbeats out there.”
“But how far can we get? We can run fast, but they’ve got cars, and it took them no time to find us here,” Jeremy panicked. Dylan knew how much freedom meant to him, having spent so long hidden away.
“I’ve got an idea,” Liam thought, “But we need a distraction.”
“Leave it with me,” Dylan volunteered. It was the least he could do, as the alpha, “This plan better be good.”
Liam led Jeremy out the back while Dylan peered through the gaps in the wooden boards. Mr. Leadsom was stood examining the building as two guards approached the door.
“We know you’re in there, Mr. Drummond,” Leadsom threatened. Dylan was quickly trying to think of a distraction. Perhaps Leadsom simply needed a dose of what he was looking for?
Cautiously, Dylan approached the front door. This was such a gigantic risk; he’d have called it stupid in any other circumstance, but they were desperate.
“I’m here,” Dylan announced, stepping outside with his hands raised, “Just me.”
“Cuff him,” Leadsom demanded. Dylan allowed the guard to place the handcuffs on his wrists and escort him to the back seat of the car. Wherever Liam was, he was taking a worryingly long time.
Before anyone else could get into the vehicle, Dylan heard a thud. One guard sunk to the ground unconscious, and then another did the same. Liam was there – he’d gone over the roof. Jeremy jumped down to join him, and they rapidly jumped into the car, Liam in the driver’s seat and Jeremy in the back next to Dylan.
“Stop them,” Leadsom angrily demanded to the three remaining guards, but it was too late. Liam pulled out onto the road, making their getaway without a hitch.
“Alright, that was some plan,” Dylan breathed a sigh of relief as his view of Leadsom faded into the distance.
“Need a hand with those cuffs?” Jeremy queried.
“I got it,” Dylan replied, easily snapping them off, “I can’t believe they thought those would work.”
“Next stop: Crystalshaw,” Liam announced. This was it. They were almost home.
Butterflies in his tummy, Jono had forgotten how exciting a first date could be, whilst simultaneously being terrifying. He wasn’t sure why he was scared; he knew Oscar already and Oscar knew him, but this felt different. After all, it wasn’t a casual chat at the bench, it was a date in a coffee shop, and the stakes were higher. He really wanted it to go well.
They had each allowed themselves thirty minutes to freshen-up after school, and Jono was the first to arrive. He’d thrown on a cute shirt and jeans, before checking on his untamed curls in the mirror. He needed to look his best.
Of course, Jono couldn’t help thinking back to his first date with Dylan. They attended one of Lily’s parties together, and for most of the evening, it was great. That was until Josh crashed the party in his psycho-alpha phase and killed an innocent girl. Jono was relieved to have the Josh he knew and loved back.
“Hey, sorry I’m late,” Oscar dashed in, “Just gonna get a coffee.” Jono smiled back. He was the opposite of Dylan in that sense – Dylan was always ten minutes early, just to be sure he wouldn’t be late.
Jono waited patiently until Oscar smiled at the table with his latte. He’d also thrown on a cute shirt, though he’d left his traditionally shaggy mane untouched. Jono loved his style, though. One thing they had in common was that they weren’t afraid to be themselves.
“You look amazing,” Jono complimented.
“So do you, I love that shirt,” Oscar smiled his adorably cute smile, “So sorry I’m late, time got away from me.”
“You’re here now, that’s what matters,” Jono replied. An awkward silence followed as they both stirred their hot drinks. Jono’s mind had gone blank. The romantic setting had gotten to both their heads, “Look at us. Put us on a date and we can’t muster up a word to say.”
“I know, right?” Oscar chuckled, “This is my first date. I’m kinda nervous.”
“Hey, don’t be, I don’t bite,” Jono instantly reassured. Thank god Oscar wasn’t in-the-know to understand the unintentional werewolf pun, “This is the first date I’ve been on since Dylan…you know…” He still couldn’t bring himself to use the dreaded ‘D’ word.
“A big moment for us both,” Oscar nodded, “You still miss him, don’t you?”
“Every day. I always will, because he was my first love. We had everything planned out for the rest of our lives,” Jono opened up. Oscar needed to know how he felt, because his feelings for Dylan were never going to go away.
“I get it, sort of,” Oscar admitted, “When I was ten, my best friend got run over. She died, and I never got to say goodbye.”
“I’m sorry,” Jono felt sad for him. His cute face looked broken.
“It’s okay, I’ve never forgotten her, but I’ve learnt to live my life again. You’ll get there one day,” Oscar assured, “And I’ll be here, if you want that. We can do things at your pace.”
Jono felt emotional. Oscar understood so clearly. He was so considerate. He knew Dylan would approve of him.
Overwhelmed by the amount of work Mrs. Johnson expected him to catch up on, Josh was relieved his revision session after school had finished. It was a lot to take in, even if he knew it was essential if he wanted to graduate with the rest of the pack.
He never expected the warm welcome the pack had given him. Quite frankly, he didn’t deserve it, but Dylan’s death had put a lot of things into perspective for all of them. Now he had to prove himself.
As he walked towards the school gate, Josh spotted Yasmin on her way to the car. Yasmin was the person he had the most to prove to. Every day, he thought about how badly he treated her. He so desperately wanted to make things right, and he was prepared for that to take quite some time.
“Hey, Yasmin,” Josh jogged over. Yasmin didn’t reply – she continued towards her car as if she hadn’t heard him.
“Hey,” Josh repeated, catching up to her.
“What do you want, Josh?” she hit out. Not an unexpected reaction.
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry,” Josh began, “For everything. I know this can’t be easy on you, and I’m not expecting you to forgive me yet, but I really hope you’ll let me try to put things right.”
“Things won’t ever be right again. Dylan’s dead, and what did you do? You ran. You didn’t think about helping us. Helping me. I needed you, Josh,” Yasmin vented.
Josh paused. He hadn’t thought of it that way. He’d been so self-centred, and it broke him.
“I saw Drew,” Josh confessed, “I ran into him and he talked me down. He told me to come back, so I did. I just… I was a coward, and I was selfish.”
“Too right,” Yasmin bluntly responded, though her eyes were focused behind Josh.
“What are you looking at?” Josh queried.
“Can you see that?” Yasmin wondered. Instantly, Josh looked over, focusing with his wolf vision. A pair of eyes looked back at him, glowing pure white.
“Don’t look,” Yasmin pulled him back. What? Josh was confused. That was very contradictory.
“You told me to look,” Josh sought clarification.
“It’s dangerous, I feel it,” Yasmin explained. That was all Josh needed to know – Yasmin’s gut feelings were always correct.
“Come on, let’s investigate,” Josh smiled. Whether she had forgiven him or not, Yasmin must have known how good a team they made. They needed each other.
The picnic was a success, much to Lily’s relief. Laughter and joy had painted themselves across the day, and everyone seemed to have a good time.
That was, of course, excluding Lily herself. Though she had put on a brave face, Jamal’s words were playing on her mind. She so desperately wanted to confer with Sindy and Alex, but when Jamal was sat right there, the right moment hadn’t arrived. Besides, Misha was there too – Lily had no reason to suspect she was involved yet.
On the bright side, she’d had a whole day to spend with Alex. Their so-called “honeymoon phase” seemed to be never-ending, and Lily was okay with that. He made her smile constantly just by being his dorky self. He was the best.
“Hey, I’m gonna head to the bathroom,” Misha mentioned, “Where’s the nearest one?”
“I’ll show you,” Jamal offered. Lily felt a slight relief – she finally some time away from him.
“He is so hot,” Sindy remarked as soon as they were out of earshot, “And such a gentleman.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Lily quickly corrected. They needed to be aware of the situation, because it didn’t involve only Lily; Sindy was a banshee, and Alex was closely associated with them. They were both in danger too.
“What did he want to speak to you about earlier?” Alex wondered. She was pleased he hadn’t forgotten that.
“He knows I’m a werewolf,” Lily revealed, “Well, he didn’t mention the specifics, but I didn’t feel like correcting him.”
“How? What did you say? Maybe he knows about me?” Sindy fired questions at her, panicking already.
“I couldn’t deny it, he saw me heal yesterday. He didn’t mention you, but he’s pissed. He’ll find out sooner or later,” Lily warned.
“Pissed? Who even is he?” Alex considered.
“I don’t know, but we have to be careful. Not just with Jamal, but with Misha too, we don’t know how much she knows.”
“She seemed so sweet,” Sindy looked disappointed.
“Maybe I need to ask to be re-roomed,” Alex considered.
“No,” Lily quickly said, “Act normal. Pretend I’ve not told you anything, for your own safety. Act stupid if he brings it up.”
“Not difficult,” Sindy teased.
“Rude,” Alex laughed, “Okay, but I’m not happy about this. You’re not safe, Lily.”
“Guys,” Sindy interjected, “Look in the river.”
Lily glanced over as directed. Surfacing at the top was a body. A dead body. A familiar dead body, at that.
“Nicolas,” Lily recognised. A chill shot through her body. Things had suddenly taken a very dark turn.
Sweating all over, Brett was feeling pumped from basketball practice. They had a game coming up, and there was no way he was going to see their winning streak draw to a close. The team was one man down, though, but Brett wasn’t ever going to stop Jono from going on his date with Oscar. He’d waited five months to see a smile that big on Jono’s face. He deserved it.
On the topic of happiness, Brett was thrilled that Johnny had stayed behind to watch practice. Neither of them had anything left to hide, so Brett felt liberated. It was the best feeling to be out and proud.
“Alright, let’s call it a day,” Coach Singh called out. Brett was pleased; he desperately needed a glass of water, but he was also seriously craving a kiss from Johnny.
“Hope your lover-boy enjoyed the eye candy,” Anthony remarked, flexing his biceps.
“Excuse me?” Brett’s bubble was burst. Of course, he had anticipated remarks like that, but that didn’t make them any easier to hear.
“Hey babe, you smashed that,” Johnny jogged over, immediately planting that well-earnt kiss on Brett’s lips. Unfortunately, his timing couldn’t have been much worse.
“I’m happy for you both, but keep that for after school, boys,” Coach Singh disappointingly remarked.
“You can’t say that,” Johnny was outraged. Brett was, too – he expected it from his idiotic peers, but Coach Singh should have known better.
“Funny how you didn’t care when Anthony was playing tonsil tennis with his new chick yesterday,” Brett shoved the basketball he was holding to the ground, “I quit. Come and find me when you’re less homophobic.”
Taking Johnny’s hand, Brett stormed off the basketball court. He knew he was bound to regret that decision, but he had a point to prove. Being himself was more important than being team captain.
“That was awesome,” Johnny complimented, “Hey, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have breezed over like that.”
“Yes, you should have. In fact, do it more often, because I don’t give a shit what they think,” Brett vented, “I love you Johnny, and you’re worth more to me than anything.”
Johnny stopped walking, tugging on Brett’s hand, pulling him backwards for a kiss. A longer kiss. The kiss Brett really, truly wanted. It was so calming. Johnny was the most incredible kisser.
In the corner of his eye, near the bushes, Brett spotted something startling. It looked like a reptilian creature, but it was human-sized.
“Please tell me I’m hallucinating,” Brett pointed over, regretfully breaking the kiss.
“Nope,” Johnny annoyingly confirmed, “Come on, let’s follow.” Brett had low-key missed this sense of adventure, but he couldn’t deny the fear that pulsated through him in that moment either.
The familiar sights of Crystalshaw town brought such an incredible feeling to Dylan. It was like that sensation after a long journey back from holiday, tired and exhausted, but feeling comforted by the regular sights of your hometown after going away. It filled him with warmth and excitement to be home again.
They had ditched the car on their way, making it just that bit tougher to be tracked until they were among the safety net of the pack once again. Dylan knew the Lunar Sanctum wouldn’t give up the search, though. He had to warn his friends.
Already, Dylan was mentally planning what he’d say to everyone. He had five months to catch up on, after all. What was the gossip? He wanted to know where Brett was at with Johnny. Whether Jono’s parents had come round to who he was. Whether Yasmin had forgiven Josh. The answers were so close.
“Where are we going?” Liam questioned.
“My house,” Dylan explained, “You two don’t have to come. Go and find Sammi, Jeremy.”
“Good luck,” Jeremy nodded with the most enthusiastic smile he’d shown for a long time, before dashing off left towards the Chadwick house.
“I’ll go with him, maybe someone can point me to Nolan,” Liam caught Dylan’s vibes. He wanted to be alone for this. He needed to be alone for this.
For the rest of the walk home, Dylan’s nerves only intensified. He felt unavoidably sick, but he’d waited so long for this day. He was going to see his mum again, and he was in desperate need of one of her hugs. It would be the best birthday present ever.
As he neared the driveway, Dylan spotted two people stood facing each other on the doormat. To his delight, Jono was one of them. He looked amazing; Dylan could hardly believe he was so close again.
Next to him was somebody Dylan didn’t recognise. He had long, untamed hair and was dressed in a smart shirt. He was stood very closely to Jono. A new friend, perhaps?
Then it happened. The unthinkable. The lad pressed his lips against Jono’s. Dylan’s heart shattered. Jono had moved on.
Suddenly, Jono locked eyes with him. He backed off from the kiss, looking like he’d seen a ghost. Well, Dylan supposed he had.
“Dylan,” Jono uttered, completely gobsmacked.
Dylan didn’t know what to say. Nothing was the same any more.