Series 2 Episode 5
28th February. Dylan’s favourite day of the year. On this day, he was the centre of attention for everyone, and for once, he didn’t hate that.
Although, that said, he never failed to feel uncomfortable when people sing “Happy Birthday,”.
The people who sang and attended his parties seemed to vary each year. Assorted family members used to visit, and maybe one or two friends from elementary if he were lucky, but this was only his second birthday in Crystalshaw. Family had sent cards with money inside, avoiding the journey to see him, meaning it was just him and his mum on his special day.
He rolled over in bed to see the time. 7:00am. He still had to get ready for school. Ugh. Dylan clambered out of bed and checked his phone. Instantly, he saw a mass of notifications. People on Facebook that he barely knew were posting birthday messages. He wasn’t sure whether to be grateful or not.
However, among the messages was a loving, heartfelt birthday wish from Jono, basically gushing over him. Four pictures accompanied the mini-essay, and it was heart-warming to read. Dylan had heard other people talk about the “honeymoon phase,” in relationships, and it seemed to vary in length, but Dylan was praying that his honeymoon phase with Jono would never end.
His birthday was a welcome distraction too, from everything that was happening around him. It had been two days since he last heard from Clara and Shania, and no matter how dangerous they were, Dylan couldn’t help worrying. What’s more is that it was the full moon, and Freddie was being discharged from hospital just in time. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a relaxing day after all.
Home sweet home, Freddie thought to himself as he collapsed onto his own bed for the first time that week. He had never realised how much he missed it.
“No time for sleep lazy ass, we’ve got school,” George poked his head around the door.
“School? Come on man, I’m too ill for school,” Freddie lied. He might as well play up the injured act for as long as could.
“Nice try, I know you’ve got super-cool healing powers, you’re not ill at all,” George responded, quashing the idea, “Besides, it’s the full moon tonight. You need to be on fine form.”
George left him to it. It was beyond weird that George now knew Freddie’s secret. He seemed cool with it, but it felt quite exposing for Freddie. That whole aspect of his life was now on show to his brother, whether he liked it or not.
“Hey,” a voice timidly came from the doorway. It was Yasmin, peeping her head sheepishly round.
“Hi,” Freddie smiled, sitting himself up on the bed. It was unusual to see Yasmin, she must have had a reason to visit, “Is everything alright?”
“That’s what I came to ask you,” she entered the room and sat next to him, “How are you?”
“Okay I guess. Glad to be home,” Freddie smiled. It was nice for someone to express their concern so sincerely, “Have you heard from Dylan today?”
“Not yet, I don’t think there’s any sightings. Don’t worry, we have it under control,” Yasmin explained. The thought of Clara, Shania and Oli being on the loose unsettled Freddie. He had no idea what their motivations were, and the fact they needed all of them alive to be a part of their pack somehow felt even more unnerving.
He glanced into Yasmin’s eyes, and somehow, for a reason he couldn’t explain, he felt safe. They exuded comfort and warmth. He believed every word she said, as she’d never given him a reason not to. A moment of silence passed as Yasmin caught him looking. He looked away as if he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t have.
“I should get to school,” Yasmin broke the silence. Freddie felt almost disappointed.
“I’ll see you there,” he regretfully responded, opting not to persuade her to stay. She smiled politely at him and left the room. Freddie’s heart had never pumped harder. He got the sense it wasn’t one-sided, either.
As much as Dylan enjoyed walking to school, listening to Jono’s playlist, he was pleased to be getting a lift that morning. Jono’s cute little car pulled up outside, and Dylan raced out to see him.
Getting out of the car just in time, Dylan flung himself into Jono’s arms. It was the best place ever, and he would spend every second there if he could.
“Happy birthday my love,” Jono smiled, before locking lips with Dylan. He then grabbed an envelope from the car seat and handed it over, “Open it.”
Dylan was intrigued. Jono had been promising a super exciting present, and his excitement levels were peaking. He ripped open the envelope and saw a brilliant card of two teddy bears hugging. Impressively, both were wearing blue, signifying two men. It must have taken some going to find such a card, they were irritatingly rare.
He opened the card, and out fell a note. He kept it in hand while reading the message in the card itself:
“Thanks,” Dylan uttered. It was a beautiful card, and he was stunned to be experiencing so much love. It was totally flattering.
“Read the note,” Jono eagerly suggested. Dylan obliged, unfolding the pink sheet of card, and he read:
Dylan couldn’t believe his eyes. He was not expecting such an incredible gift from Jono. It was worth the hype and then some.
“Thank you,” Dylan was lost for words, but he managed to gather some gratitude, “You didn’t have to do this.”
“Only the best,” Jono smiled. He looked just as excited as Dylan felt. It was the warmest feeling. He couldn’t wait.
“I’m still not sure this is a good idea,” Josh sighed, sitting down at the bench at school. Drew parked himself opposite. He’d managed to drag Josh into school again, and Jono surprisingly agreed that it would be a good idea. For a chance, those idiotic humans Dylan insisted on involving weren’t standing in his way.
“You need to earn Dylan’s trust. You won’t do that stuck in Jono’s bedroom,” Drew noted.
“I guess,” Josh didn’t sound convinced. It was a far cry from the days where Josh was a ruthless murderer.
“It’s his birthday, I wouldn’t give him any nasty surprises if I were you,” Lily commented, joining the bench.
“Oh great, a whole day of people spaffing themselves silly over him,” Drew groaned. He wasn’t much of a fan of birthdays. He’d not really had anybody to celebrate with in recent years. Nobody that truly understood him anyway.
“Don’t be jealous,” Lily scolded. So much for free speech.
“Here comes trouble,” Drew changed the subject, noticing Freddie approaching, looking sheepish and keeping his head down. George swaggered over behind him.
“Shut it,” Lily quickly muttered to Drew, before spinning round to greet the boys, “Hey you two. Welcome back Freddie.”
“Hi,” Freddie quietly muttered. Drew could smell the worry on him a mile away. After what had happened, he couldn’t really blame him.
He and George sat next to each other, George purposely placing himself next to Lily. Never has a crush been more obvious.
On one hand, George was another number for them. The downside was his humanity. They always seemed to have their own agenda that distracted them from the goal.
The school bell rang, forcing Drew to pretend to be human himself for six hours. The sooner he was done with this place, the better.
Taking his seat in biology, Jono was on cloud nine. He had been planning Dylan’s birthday present for months and keeping it secret was a total nightmare. He still hadn’t told his parents the full story though. He said it was a group of friends, including Dylan. He wasn’t out to them yet, and the thought still terrified him. Although, with the amount of time he and Dylan spent together, it was probably obvious.
The white lie was worthwhile though – he glanced to Dylan on his left and he was gleaming. His favourite sight to see.
A less pleasing sight was that of Josh, filtering through amongst the stream of students flocking into the room. Although he believed going back to school was the best thing for Josh, he still had to convince Dylan.
“What’s he doing here?” Dylan’s good mood had vanished in an instant.
“He can’t just sit at mine all day,” Jono reasoned. He was fed up of Josh leaving empty plates and mugs all over his bedroom and justifying his presence to his parents was becoming tougher.
“He’s dangerous,” Dylan debated. He wasn’t wrong.
“It’s not like he’s under lock and key at mine,” Jono added, “He could’ve gotten out at any time, but he didn’t. Don’t you think we can cut him some slack?” Dylan sighed. He didn’t have a choice in the matter at this point, but Jono hoped he would be able to roll with the punches.
Glancing over at George, Lily was trying to figure out how he must be feeing. It had only been a few months since she found out about Dylan herself. The difference is that one of George’s own family was a werewolf, even though Dylan now felt like her own family. He wanted to know every detail, so Lily obliged. She told him about Josh, about Drew, and most importantly, about Oli. He was horrified that she had willingly put herself in a potentially dangerous situation, but the part he didn’t seem to understand was how convincing Oli was. Lily totally felt smitten by him. She believed there might be something more than just a cheap date in it. Turns out she didn’t even make it that far.
“Are you alright?” she politely enquired
“Yeah,” George casually yet bluntly replied. There was something more going on.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. You weren’t in any danger and it wasn’t my place,” Lily justified. That seemed to be the root cause of George’s problem; the fact that Lily didn’t tell him sooner. He didn’t reply to Lily. It was quite rude at that point, “Look, it’s Dylan’s birthday today. I’m throwing a party at mine tonight. Wanna come? You can be my guest of honour.”
“Compliments don’t work on me,” George bluntly said, before cracking up with laughter. Lily was bemused.
“What? You had me grovelling for nothing?” Lily whacked him playfully on the arm.
“I’m sorry, it was too fun to resist,” George giggled, “I’m not mad. I’m trying to make light of things. And yeah, I’ll be your guest of honour, it better be worth my while.” Lily couldn’t help laughing too. George was a total dork but the best friend she had. The thought of him being pissed at her was more than a little upsetting.
The school day dragged and Dylan was so relieved when the bell rang at 3pm. He was too excited to get home and chill with his favourite people for the night. He hadn’t arranged any sort of party this year and had instead invited Jono and Yasmin round to watch a movie with snacks, and, as a special treat only, a bottle of rosé wine to share from his mum. Caroline was usually uber strict on Dylan’s alcohol consumption, but she allowed him a glass on special occasions.
Jono opened the passenger car door for him, like a chauffeur, while Yasmin hopped in the back.
“Alright, so there’s one more surprise,” Jono said as he pressed play on Spotify on his phone. “I Like It,” by Cardi B began blaring out, causing Dylan to subconsciously tap his foot.
“Huh?” Dylan’s ears perked up. He wasn’t so big on spontaneity, but he trusted Jono.
“Lily’s throwing you a party later. No pressure, casual clothes, and absolutely no singing “Happy Birthday,”,” Jono revealed. So much for the quiet evening in. It did sound pretty good though, and the lack of singing sealed the deal.
“I did decorations, Lily did the guestlist and Jono’s DJing,” Yasmin continued. That all sounded pretty great. Jono on DJ duty was particularly brilliant – nobody knew Dylan’s taste better.
“Oh my god, thank you guys,” Dylan awkwardly reacted. He couldn’t find the right words to say, but it was so nice to have this many people on the lookout for him. He just had to make sure he yanked Freddie out come full moon.
Strolling out of lesson, Freddie was sticking close to Drew. He’d been joined at the hip to at least one person all day long, not wanting to be on his own.
Oli was lurking around, and there was still no news on Clara or Shania. Dylan was now assuming they were taken by the hunters, but the only information they had involved Yasmin’s dad, and Yasmin wasn’t willing to talk about it. It was fair enough – nobody wanted to believe their parents were bad. He struggled to think of anything bad to say about his mum, although at least Yasmin’s dad was still around.
“Coming tonight?” Drew wondered. He didn’t sound very enthused.
“I’m not really in the mood, but George is going and I don’t really wanna be on my own,” Freddie sighed.
“Don’t forget it’s the full moon too,” Drew added. Ugh. How could he forget? No full moon had been a smooth experience thus far, and he wasn’t convinced this one would be any better.
“I know. Dylan’s gonna make a quick getaway and help me,” Freddie explained.
“Wanna make a quick getaway now?” Drew offered, “I’m gonna do a bit of digging on Yasmin’s dad. The less she knows about it, the better. We’ll show our faces at the party a little later.”
“Alright,” Freddie was interested. It was more his kinda thing anyway. He fancied himself as a private detective one day.
Making the final adjustments in the kitchen, Lily was pumped for the night ahead. It was her first party in a couple of months, since her hugely successful New Year’s Eve do. Now she had to do Dylan proud. She had invited everyone he knew, which was a rather limited pool of people, but sometimes smaller get-togethers were the best.
“Honey,” Helen poked her head around the door, “Remember I need this place spotless by the time we get home.”
“Yes mom, I promise,” Lily groaned. Her mum gave her the same speech before every party. Although, she normally ranted about ensuring there was no alcohol too. Thankfully, she had been spared of that one.
“This is all for Dylan? Seems like a lot for one of Jono’s friends,” Helen pondered aloud. If only she knew.
“He’s my friend too, mom,” Lily tried to deflect.
“I know, but Jono spends a lot of time with him. Do you know if they’re…” Helen wondered. She didn’t finish her own sentence but Lily knew what she meant.
“I don’t know mom, you’d have to ask him,” Lily bluntly replied. She hated lying but it wasn’t her place to say otherwise.
“He speaks to you more than me, that’s all. Your dad and I wouldn’t care either way. We love you both no matter what,” Helen reinforced. Lily nodded and smiled gently. She’d have to pass that onto Jono. Might make coming out that bit easier whenever he does it.
Helen left her to it, and Lily moved to the sink, carefully washing up the posh drink glasses. She looked out of the window in front. It was starting to get dark, but she could still see clearly into the front garden.
Something shook in the bushes. Lily jumped, noticing it instantly. It rustled again. Lily dropped the glass she was holding back into the sink.
Then it appeared. The spine-tingling sight of Oli’s face, peering through the bush. She blinked and rubbed her eyes, her feet frozen to the spot. Looking again, it was gone and the bushes were still.
“You’re hallucinating Lily, stay calm,” she told herself. Not that she believed her own words.
By half past four, Dylan was ready and on the way to his party. They had all gotten ready at Dylan’s house, with Jono and Yasmin bringing their clothes in their schoolbags. Yasmin had bought him a new shirt to wear that night – it was a light pink with faint stripes, and the material was very comfortable. He wore it with some neat jeans, and he felt a million dollars even if it must have costed no more than $30.
Jono was dressed similarly, except he had a navy shirt on. It suited him to a T; he looked drop-dead gorgeous. Yasmin complemented them both with a short but stylish silver dress, designed to stun. Any straight boy would be silly to deny her.
Jono was now driving them away from Dylan’s house. The party began in the car, of course, and the party playlist had “YES,” by Louisa playing out on top volume, instantly putting Dylan in the mood.
“I swear to god, Lily better have invited some fit guys,” Yasmin laughed. She presented it as a joke but Dylan knew she meant it. She seemed to be hoping to party through the drama with her dad. When Jono told her the morning before, his heart broke for her. What a horrible position to be in.
“We got one already,” Jono jested, nudging Dylan’s arm. Dylan blushed. Amongst anyone else, he’d have felt embarrassed, but he enjoyed the compliment and awkwardly laughed.
“Alright, some straight fit guys,” Yasmin corrected herself, “Or anyone else who’s interested in girls.”
“It’s my party, not speed dating. Don’t set your expectations too high,” Dylan jested.
“Oh I don’t know,” Yasmin vaguely added. It sounded like she knew something he didn’t. Maybe they needed a bestie chat away from Jono.
The car pulled up into Jono’s driveway, past the treehouse. Dylan noticed it was lit dimly, much like it was on the night that he first attended one of Lily’s party. It seemed Jono had plenty of plans for the night.
“I thought we could slip away after a bit, you know,” Jono whispered, his eyes nudging up to the treehouse, “Before the full moon of course.”
Ah, the full moon. Dylan almost forgot. He had to keep a very close eye on Freddie all night. He’d gained a better sense of control recently, but Dylan didn’t want to take the risk of leaving him alone amongst a large group of party guests.
Creeping through the back window of Yasmin’s house, Freddie was feeling apprehensive. Drew was leading the way, and while Freddie trusted him, there were a lot of variables that could go wrong. Drew was supposedly sure that Mr. Forsyth wasn’t at home, but where he had gone was another matter.
“Keep an eye out for any CCTV,” Drew ordered. Freddie was already feeling paranoid enough without having to fret about shitty CCTV as well.
“Who has CCTV inside their own home?” Freddie refuted.
“How many werewolf hunters do you know then, dumbass?” Drew retorted, “My point is that you never know. Keep your eyes peeled.”
Freddie took note. It was a fair point. He had absolutely no idea what to expect, although he still doubted the CCTV idea. Yasmin would never have stood for that, and she always got her own way. He liked that about her.
“Take a look around, see what you can find,” Drew ordered. Freddie obliged, and began scouting around the house. He didn’t know what to expect, but he was terrified.
He glanced along the old-fashioned bookcase, filled with old books and a couple of photo frames. In both photos were a young couple – one male and one female. The female looked a lot like Yasmin, but the picture quality said otherwise. It must have been Mr. Forsyth and Yasmin’s mum. Yasmin had never mentioned anything about her mum to him, so whatever happened to her was a mystery to Freddie.
He opened one of the draws in the cabinet next to the bookcase. It had expensive crockery and cutlery stored away carefully. Not what Freddie was on the lookout for. He swept his hair out of his eyeline and rubbed his eyes, feeling exhausted.
“Full moon affecting you?” Drew enquired.
“I guess,” Freddie replied. It just felt like one bad thing after another that week. He pulled the next draw open and saw a set of leys. There were a good ten or twenty keys on the chain, and it wasn’t clear what any of them were for.
All of a sudden, a light passed through the windows. It was a car arriving.
“Quick hide,” Drew ordered. Freddie slammed the draw shut in a panic, leaving the keys untouched. He and Drew immediately hid behind the long, draping curtain that covered the back door. The sound of the key in the lock of the front door filled Freddie’s enhanced hearing, and he knew he had to be dead silent.
Dancing with Jono for most of the evening, Dylan was enjoying a breather. He’d been sipping his glass of wine all night and still had half of it left. He wasn’t much of an alcohol drinker, much to his mum’s pleasure, but a rare treat wasn’t harmful. He was drinking some Diet Coke too to quench his thirst.
He was sweating in exhaustion from all the dancing and singing. The playlist was upbeat throughout – Jono had crafted it in advance so he could enjoy the dancing too. Time had slipped away quickly, and he had spent a solid hour on the dancefloor, enjoying a mix of everyone from Dua Lipa to Mariah Carey. Jono came and collapsed next to him on the sofa, necking a glass of Fanta within seconds.
“Time to escape?” Jono proposed. That was music to Dylan’s ears. He nodded keenly, and Jono led him out of the house and up into the treehouse. As expected, it was decorated exquisitely, with fairy lights hung across the walls, and their makeshift bed laid out in the centre with a rose on top. A couple of candles were lit either side, providing a perfect ambience.
“It looks beautiful,” Dylan gushed. He was in the best place on the planet, and nobody could persuade him otherwise.
“We’re all alone up here too,” Jono grinned devilishly, saying little but suggesting a lot. He leaned in towards Dylan, pressing his lips up against his. Dylan loved the sensation every single time just like the first. Somehow, he had ended up dating the most stunning boy in his year group, and he reminded himself every day of just how lucky he was to have Jono.
He laid down on the bed, picking up the rose and slotting it into his hair like an accessory. He wore it proudly while Jono climbed on top of him, kissing him keenly and excitedly. While he did that, Dylan slipped his shirt off and began unbuttoning Jono’s, avoiding breaking the kiss where possible.
“Are you sure this is alright? You know, full moon and all that,” Jono clarified.
“Are you inferring you might make my heart race and cause a shift? Surely not,” Dylan jested. He was in no mood to reply seriously and only wanted to play around with Jono.
“Innocent little me?” Jono giggled, before closing back in for a kiss. They understood each other perfectly, and it was pure bliss.
Meanwhile, out in the kitchen, Yasmin wasn’t sticking to the soft drinks. It was hard work being sensible all the time, and now she wanted to unwind. Maybe it would help her forget everything shitty that was happening in her life.
She hadn’t seen Freddie yet either, and in a crowd of people that was relatively small, it wasn’t difficult to suss out who was and wasn’t there. Thank god she’d seen Dylan sneak off without realising. He shouldn’t have had to worry on his big day.
“What’s up?” Lily approached, sounding casual.
“I feel like everything’s gone to shit,” Yasmin bluntly put. She was a little tipsy by this point and was in no mood to hide her true feelings.
Lily pulled up a couple of bar stools and they sat down facing each other. Yasmin carefully placed herself down, trying her best not to lose balance. She focused on Lily in front, looking at her pretty face. If only she were interested in girls instead. Life would be so much easier.
“You know your dad will love you no matter what, right?” Lily reminded, speaking softly.
“He won’t love what I am. I’m part nix, isn’t that totally against what he stands for?” Yasmin ranted, trying to speak as coherently as she could.
“He hunts werewolves, not nixes, how can you assume any of this?” Lily considered. She was asking everything Yasmin had already considered in plenty of detail. She’d hardly thought of anything else for the past two days.
“Why wouldn’t he? The entire concept is the same. Besides, if he doesn’t hate me, he’ll certainly stop me seeing Dylan,” Yasmin sighed, before adding, “And Freddie.”
“I didn’t know you and Freddie were close,” Lily noted. Yasmin feared she had already said too much, but there was too much alcohol in her system for her to think straight. At least it proved she didn’t heal like a werewolf, Dylan would never be able to get drunk.
“We aren’t, yet,” Yasmin teased, giggling. Lily laughed a little too, connecting the dots.
“Is he here?” Lily glanced around, trying to spot him.
“No, but he said he would be,” Yasmin answered, “So did Drew.”
“I’ll ask George, hold here,” Lily got up. Yasmin picked up her wine glass and took another gulp. Drowning her sorrows sounded more appealing than confronting her demons. Enough chat for one night.
Skipping into the living room, Lily saw George collapsed on the sofa. He looked sweaty and like he had been giving too much effort on the dancefloor. Lily laughed to herself. He was too adorable. She strolled over and collapsed next to him.
“Is the old man too tired?” she teased.
“Oh no, I’m just saving my energy for later,” George replied, trying to sound as alpha-male as possible. Lily shook her head while laughing.
“Hey, is Freddie here?” Lily changed the subject.
“He said he’ll come later. Something about an errand with Drew,” George recalled, “At least I’m here.” Lily laughed again. George had such a good sense of humour. Lily barely stopped laughing when talking to him. She looked into his eyes, and he met her gaze. Before she knew it, time seemed to stop, and she and George might as well have been the only people in the world.
George moved his head in closer towards her, and their lips touched. George was gentle, and his lips felt so beautifully soft against hers. She reciprocated, enjoying the sensation of the butterflies bubbling in her stomach. George backed off carefully, yet to face Lily’s approval, resuming eye contact. He giggled awkwardly, and Lily joined in. She hadn’t seen him in a romantic way before, but suddenly, everything made sense.
Freddie’s heart was pounding. He could hear it so vividly and loudly amongst the silence of the house. He was worried that Mr. Forsyth would hear him. It was easy to forget that his enhanced hearing made everything sound louder, but he had no idea just how loud he was. His heartbeat, his breathing, it all sounded way too loud. It made Freddie exceedingly uncomfortable.
He was quivering in fright. There was so much that could go wrong. Logically, a hunter is armed, and Freddie was terrified of ending up on the wrong end of a gun. Healing or not, werewolves weren’t invincible. A bullet could still kill.
Drew wasn’t making eye contact with him, not that he expected anything more. Both of them were too focused on survival.
Footsteps grew closer to him as Mr. Forsyth moved inside the house. Freddie heard one of the cabinet draws opening, followed by the jingling of keys. Those same keys that he saw. He paid close attention to his hearing, listening to the direction of the footsteps. They moved from his right to his left, and then came the click of a lock opening. Seconds later, the lock clicked shut again, and the footsteps paced away, like the sounds he’d heard before were recorded and reversed. The front door clicked shut once again and the car screeched off.
Phew. That was too close a call for Freddie’s nerves. Immediately after the car noises faded out of earshot, Drew shot out from behind the curtain and towards the cabinet that stored the keys.
“What are you doing?” a flabbergasted and panicked Freddie queried.
“What do you think?” Drew vaguely responded as he began testing each individual key on the locked cabinet opposite.
“We need to get out of here,” Freddie sensibly suggested. Drew ignored, willing to put himself on the line. Freddie sighed, feeling uncomfortable. He wanted out, sooner rather than later.
“Got it,” Drew cried out in relief. He shot the draw open and his fast movements immediately stopped. He looked shell-shocked.
Curious, Freddie took a peek too. He saw the gruesome sight of numerous weapons – a couple of guns, a small bow-and-arrow, and a large knife. A knife with blood on it.
Catching his breath, Dylan rolled back onto the bed. The comedown was always shitty, but the high was more than worth it. He looked back at Jono, who made eye contact. They laughed together before kissing again.
However, disrupting Dylan’s bliss came the crashing sound of a window shattering in the house. Trouble was below. Jono heard it too, and suddenly, any hopes of tranquillity were dashed by the racket of noise and screams.
Worried, Dylan peered down from the treehouse entrance. As long as they kept down low, they could be completely out of view from anyone on the ground.
Down below, Dylan’s worst fears were confirmed when he saw the person he feared the most outside Jono’s front door.
“What’s happening?” Jono whispered, still lying in bed.
“Yasmin’s dad is here. Don’t move, we should be safe here, but get dressed just in case,” Dylan suggested.
“In case of what? He doesn’t know about you,” Jono noted.
“In case circumstances have changed,” Dylan worriedly considered. Of all the things he’d learnt as a werewolf, the most important one was to expect the unexpected.