Airel: The Awakening is a young adult paranormal romance about the angel Kreios who falls so deeply in love with a woman that he chooses to fall from heaven to be with her. She gives birth to a daughter in Arabia, 1250BC. The girl is pursued ferociously, relentlessly by an enemy in the deepest darkness.
In present day, Boise, Idaho is just a girl: Airel. She’s just your average high school student…who turns out to be anything but average. It’s because of who she is, because of her ancestry, because of her lineage. Past and present collide as what has been twisted comes dangerously unraveled.
About the Authors
Aaron Patterson is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author of over a dozen novels. He writes hard-boiled thrillers and young adult fantasy. He was home-schooled and grew up in the west. Aaron loved to read as a small child and would often be found behind a book, reading one to three a day on average. This love drove him to want to write, but he never thought he had the talent. He wrote Sweet Dreams, the first book in the WJA series, in 2008. Airel is his first teen series, and plans for more are in the works. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his family.
Chris White is an award-winning author and editor, and is co-author of the Airel Saga with Aaron Patterson. Chris also writes psychological thrillers under the nom de plume Jet Deaver, and has penned some short stories as C.P. White. He blogs occasionally about writing and the journey of the Christian artist at C.P. White Media Blog and lives in Idaho with his family.
Praise for the Book
“This is not your typical fallen angel story. It is one that has left me breathlessly waiting for the next one in the series.” –Sandra Stiles, Amazon review
“A beautifully written and crafted fiction about teenage innocence, faith, loss and love. A must read for teens and adults alike.” –Vincent Zandri, International Bestselling Author of The Remains, The Innocent, and Concrete Pearl
“This was such a unique twist to the common way angels are portrayed…. The struggle between good and evil is the forefront of this great story!” – Courtney, Amazon review
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Excerpts from Airel: The Awakening by Aaron Patterson & Chris White
—————– EXCERPT #1 ———————
“Nice shirt,” Kim said. She was my best friend, my shopping buddy. We were an unlikely story, the two of us, but that was what made it work. She glared at my shirt as she sat down next to me. “You took the tags off, didn’t you?”
“Called it,” I said.
She made a face to punish me for my insolence, but then took off on a whole different subject.
That’s my Kim.
“So,” she said, “you hear about the new guy yet?” She looked around and lowered her voice as if it was a crime to talk about a boy in class.
“Ah … no,” I said. “And what does it matter? It’s not like I care.” I rolled my eyes, assuming she was talking about the latest supposedly super-hot guy who had caught her momentary attention. Mostly it just gave her something new to talk about. Kim loved to talk—that much I could count on. I opened my history book and pretended to read, hoping she would drop the subject. I knew better.
“Come on, Airel. When he sees you, he’ll fall madly in love and beg you for your hand in marriage.” She giggled. She was always so energetic. Most people had their good days and bad days, their moods going from hot to cold, but not Kim. She was full speed ahead, no brakes. I had to admit, sometimes she was the only thing that kept me looking on the bright side of life.
“Speak for yourself,” I said. “You’re the boy-crazy one, not me. He is all yours. Just remember, they have cooties.”
She scoffed, but then quieted down as Mr. Brashear began the class. She propped her phone into her history book, pretending to read, and began texting whoever she was always texting. She had bazillions of friends, as far as I could tell. And though Kim even had friends at other schools and they texted back and forth non-stop, she and I had something special. I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
I kicked her leg and she grunted, dropping her phone. It clattered loudly on her desk, and I grinned an evil smile. She shot me the stink eye, threatening me under her breath.
I rolled my eyes at her, ending the episode.
I wanted to zone out in history, which was what I normally did. After all, this class was only about what had already been done, and how boring was that? I had my head down and was trying to will my headache away, but not having much luck.
“Ah, there you are,” Mr. Brashear said loudly, snapping me out of my trance. “Good of you to join us, Mr. Alexander.”
I looked up, trying to bring my vision into focus, fighting that stupid pesky headache.
“Sorry,” a voice said.
It was familiar to me.
“I don’t really know my way around the halls yet.”
My eyes focused. It was him.
————————- EXCERPT #2 ——————————–
“CLASS, THIS IS MICHAEL Alexander. Michael, welcome to Borah High. Please take your seat.” Mr. Brashear turned back to the board while Michael began moving toward the only empty seat, just one over from mine. I wanted to shake my fist at the sky and shout, “Why, God, why,” but I couldn’t do that in the middle of History 301.
As he moved through the motionless room, I felt the difference his presence made.
I didn’t want to, but I was staring, too numb to do anything about it. He smiled as he looked around. His wheat- colored hair was spiked up softly, wildly, in the most out-of-control, amazing way. I felt my heart speed up as his bright blue eyes fell on me.
There he was. Mr. Napkins. I was Miss Coffee Spill, and I so wanted to be Mrs. Napkins.
I felt heat rising to the surface of my face. I’d never felt anything like this. Airel, what is wrong with you? This is so not like you. Michael moved with smooth grace. I was gawking, staring like some love-struck calf. I hoped he wouldn’t notice me. This was so stupid. Why was I acting like this?
But I could hear the universe calling my number, and I was stunned to discover that I had really been waiting in line all this time, staring wide-eyed, ticket in hand. But I don’t want this. I held my breath without realizing it. The draw I felt toward him was overpowering.
He sat in his seat and looked straight ahead, and I shook my head ungracefully. Just as fast as the room had stopped, it launched itself into hyper speed, and then I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Kim, wearing a big, dumb grin on her face. Her eyes sparkled as she said, “Wow, girl. You’re as red as a lobster.”
“What?” I said. It came out as a raspy, forced whisper, but it was all I could manage. Kim was stifling a laugh. I slunk down behind my history book. “Shut up, Kim.” But she just smiled and batted her eyes. I really didn’t like her right now. Maybe I could find a new best friend.
THE CLASS BELL RANG. I jumped up and rushed out the door, desperate for the bathroom. I didn’t feel well. I turned on the water and splashed its cold wetness over my warm cheeks, trying to cool myself down and shake my mind from the maddening fog that had overtaken me. It wasn’t like me to freak out about a boy. I was the last girl in the world to go gaga over a good-looking guy. But it was more than that. So what if he was good-looking—there were lots of hot guys around. It was something else, and I was starting to think it was really a spell.
I looked in the mirror. “Aw, man.” My face looked like I’d just had my first kiss and then sat under a heat lamp for a few hours.
Kim came in and stood with her foot jammed at the bottom of the door—so she could grill me in private, no doubt. “So,” she said, “you see the new guy?”
I shook my head and rubbed the back of my neck. “Whatever. I was hot. That classroom … it’s always so muggy, and I had a headache.”
“Oh, is it? I hadn’t noticed.”
I ignored her, pulled my hair into a ponytail, and splashed more cold water on the back of my neck. I was relieved to see my face returning to its normal slightly fair hue.
Kim just grunted and smirked and looked down at her nails, inspecting them, looking up at me in little snatches of concern. “Well, I think he’s ugly. Besides, what kind of name is ‘Michael Alexander?’ It’s like he has two first names. I mean, what is he, America’s Next Teen Pop Superstar?” Her face was calm. Much too calm.
She’s totally mocking me. I couldn’t help smiling. His face filled my mind for a split second. I could feel my blood warming, rising to my face again. I thought of all the dumb 80s song lyrics that my parents continually tortured me with. “Hey,” I said, trying to go on offense a little, “you and I both know he’s gorgeous, so stop lying. I don’t know what came over me. The room was actually spinning.”
“Oh, the room was spinning? That’s news. Airel, are you crazy? Because, like, how did I miss that?”
“Kim, I don’t know. You know this isn’t like me at all. Something weird is going on. When he walked in, I completely lost it. It was weird. It’s like the clock stopped. Or jumped forward. Am I going crazy?”
“Yeah, and he looked at you like he knew you or something,” she said, coming closer to me, a little worry showing on her features.
I couldn’t make my mind stop. It was racing, replaying every second of our first meeting—the coffee, his hand, his smile. He looked at me like he knew me, looked me right in the eyes, saw me, and I could feel him searching me, looking for something, perhaps some kind of confirmation from me that I knew him too. My heart fluttered with the memory of that moment. I suddenly had this insane desire to cry and laugh at the same time.
Kim made a kissing sound, reaching out to me. “Loooove, Airel.”
I brushed her off, moving to an empty stall and locking myself in.
“You should see yourself. You so just went all googly eyed over him.”
I fell to my knees as crippling pain suddenly shot through my side. I couldn’t help whimpering. Then a sickening wave of warmth washed over me and I was instantly depressed. Hello, roller coaster. Wow, what’s your name? Could it be Michael Alexander? Ugh. Or maybe it’s just barf. “Ugh,” I said aloud, turning toward the toilet. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Loooovesick.” Kim was clearly enjoying my discomfort, but I had no time to defend myself. I bent and threw up into the toilet. Oh, dear God. This is fun. I was totally heaving in the high school bathroom.
Kim snapped out of taunting mode and rushed in to help me, going back into best-friend mode. I lost my dinner and yesterday’s lunch and started to wonder if maybe I should have had breakfast after all—was that why I was so sick all of a sudden? Skipping breakfast? There is a nasty flu going around this year…
Kim held my hair and rubbed my back. I didn’t know I was crying until I saw the tears splashing onto the floor and heard myself sobbing. I’m crying. Why am I crying? My stomach felt like a knife had been plunged into it and my whole body convulsed as I tried to stand up, my legs shaking like a newborn colt.
Kim helped me to the nurse’s station and soon after, I was on my way home, looking like death in the passenger seat. Trusty Kim was driving my trusty Honda. It was a good thing Mom was at work, and that Dad was out of town. I hoped I would be feeling better by the time Mom got home because she had a tendency to go overboard when I got sick. Parents.
Kim parked in the driveway and helped me up the stairs, and even though it was the middle of the day, I went to bed and fell asleep feeling cold and scared. Maybe I wasn’t lovesick and something was really wrong with me.
—————————————– EXCERPT #3 ——————————————
I WOKE UP THE next morning with the never-ending headache and dried tears on my face. I couldn’t remember much about what had happened after I’d come home yesterday. I had a vague recollection of Kim putting me to bed and Mom coming in at some point with a worried look on her face.
I did remember parts of a nightmare. There was a black figure—a horrible, cloaked presence trailing black tar coming after me. I had to admit that scared the crap out of me. Dreams could be weird sometimes, that much I knew from experience, but I’d never had any that were quite so vividly terrifying.
Lying in bed, processing, I tried to wriggle out from the remains of yesterday. It had wrapped me up in a cocoon of thoughts and a tangle of blankets. I finally realized that I had swapped ends in the night; my head was at the foot of my bed and my feet were on my pillow. Whoa, I must have slept rough—rougher than usual, anyway. After a few minutes, I pulled myself up on my elbows and looked at the clock. Wonder of all wonders, it was still early and I had time before school. I struggled out of bed—backwards—and trudged to the bathroom. Guess bad dreams have good points to them. At least I have time for a decent start to my day. Maybe today will be better.
Inevitably, I thought about him—the boy who I felt knew me. Michael Alexander fluttered into and around my thoughts, and I started to blush again. I couldn’t explain what was happening to me. Why do I react like this to him? It was really weird, because I could see his face just as clearly as if he was standing right in front of me. Normally I couldn’t do that with guys I liked. Come on, Airel. Get a hold of yourself. You haven’t said two words to him, and you like him already? What a moron.
I turned the shower to super-hot and waited for the warmth to kick in. I looked in the mirror and noticed that the normal dark circles under my eyes were surprisingly faint this morning. I would have thought that after a day and night like I’d just had, I’d look like the corpse bride.
I flashed my fake smile into the mirror, and that made me smile for real. I didn’t really think I was “all that,” but I knew I had a few good things going for me. I felt like I looked really good today, and I had just rolled out of bed. That made me smile even more.
After a long, hot shower, I pulled on my blue jeans and my favorite T-shirt—the one with Bob Marley on it. I pulled my hair back in a ponytail. I always had to do that after a shower—otherwise, it would get frizzy and curl like no one’s business, turning into a puffball or a fro.
I headed downstairs, not having to sprint for once. Our house was like most, with several bedrooms, a family room, and a big kitchen. The upstairs was where my room was, plus my parents’ room and two spare rooms: one for guests, one for Kim. She stayed the night at least three times a week. Most of the time she just slept on the floor in my room, even though Mom had set her up with her own, and we would end up talking all night. So her room was mostly just a landing place for all her junk.
I put two strawberry Pop-Tarts in the toaster, noticing for the first time that it was raining outside. Great. One last day of sunshine yesterday and I was sick for most of it. I made a mental note to grab a light jacket before I left the house. I felt fine today, I noticed. Other than the bad dream, I felt good. I looked good, and I knew it. I wanted to get out and do something after school, but figured it was too cold and rainy.
I nibbled my Pop-Tarts, which tasted good all the way down to my painfully empty stomach. I really hoped I’d be able to keep it down today. Michael’s face presented itself in my memory. I tried to banish him from my mind. I had to squash any thought of him—I didn’t need or want that kind of drama in my life right now.
I grabbed my jacket and started for the door, trying not to wake my mom. She never slept in and today was her day off, so I knew she would want to. She was like most moms. Protective and maybe a bit overbearing, but she meant well and I knew it. She worked at a flower shop. Not that she had to, but she liked to keep busy.
Since I was an only child and in school most of the day, she would climb the walls all alone if she didn’t do something, so Dad had told her to go find something she would enjoy. She found a little shop called Just Flowers and started working there years ago. I teased her constantly about being so old-fashioned—such a stereotypical housewife, working at a flower shop—but she loved all things plants. If it was nice out, she could be found without exception in the yard, planting, digging, or pulling weeds. We had the nicest yard in the neighborhood.
As for Dad, well, I wasn’t sure exactly what he did, but he was gone a lot. He was a sales rep for some company or other—it didn’t matter much to me. He was a quiet guy and didn’t bring his job home. He got bonuses sometimes, which we always used to go on family vacations. Those times were the happiest for me, when we were all together.
Last summer was the best. Dad took us all to Disney World, and I even got to bring Kim along. Her mom was cool with stuff like that. Kim’s dad left when she was young, so she was basically part of our family.
The rain was really coming down, so I ran to my car, hoping to dodge the raindrops. I opened the driver’s door to my Honda and got in. Before I could turn the key, I felt a horrendous, debilitating pain dragging razor blades up and down my arms and legs, deep inside me. “Owww,” I shrieked before I could stop myself. But then, just as fast as it had come, it was gone, and I was left sitting there in its wake, hyperventilating and wondering what was wrong with me.
——————————– EXCERPT #4 ——————————–
I MADE IT TO school without any more bizarre episodes, but I still wondered what was going on. It was irritating. True to form, the rain was just a light drizzle and it made the wipers chatter across my windshield. Bdraaaap, flaaaap. So I walked the dangerous line between embarrassment and annoyance and the need to see where I was going. I was clicking them on and off all the way to school. Lame…
I cringed when I pulled into the parking lot. Kim had told me that Michael Alexander drove a huge white Chevy truck and there it sat, gleaming in the rain. My stomach did a flip, and I sucked it in and found a parking space. Isn’t that great. Here I am … I haven’t even met the guy and I’ve already had an entire relationship with him in my imagination. Just go to class and get this over with. He’s just a dumb boy like all the others. This stupid obsession will run its course and in another week or two, he’ll be just another guy. Get a grip, Airel.
I walked to my first class with no sign of the mysterious new boy. I was glad about that because I didn’t want to face him and risk the chance of a repeat of yesterday’s disaster. I felt off my game, if I had one at all. My body was fighting this illness—no doubt brought on by my idiotic and uncontrollable feelings—and even the thought of him made me panicky, or worse, made me want to cry.
I knew I would have to see him in the halls. And we would have more classes together, too—at least if the world were as sucky as I thought it could be. I ran ideas through my mind about how to avoid him.
Kim found me in between classes and gave me a quick hug. “Are you going to live?” She had that familiar smile on her face.
“Yeah, I think I might make it today. You may want to stay away from me, though. I could be contagious.” I coughed in my hand and felt my forehead as if I had a fever.
“Ha. Only if you can catch the love bug.” Her eyes sparkled and she wore yet another dumb grin on her face.
We reached my locker and I ran the combination. “Funny. I would say he’s way out of my league, if I didn’t respect myself too much to go there.” I opened my locker door. “Besides, what does it matter, anyway? Even if I do think he’s hot, why should he care? He doesn’t even know I exist.” I knew it was a bald-faced lie, and I knew Kim knew it too.
But Kim was silent—which should have been my first clue. She was looking past me with her brows arched just a little, as if expecting something.
Like a mindless automaton, I turned around to see what she was looking at. There, standing two feet from me, was Michael Alexander. My heart jumped and—I swear—it stopped for a second. Now he was right in front of me, with the suggestion of a smile on his face. He had the most gorgeous crystal-blue eyes I had ever seen in my life and he was looking at me with that same soul-sucking look of his.
Kim stepped into the middle, cutting in between us. “Hi, I’m Kim. You new in town? How do you like it here?” Some other jock guy I hadn’t noticed was standing next to Michael. I groaned under the pressure, diving behind my locker door and hiding my face, wondering what I had done to deserve this. Me and my big fat mouth, that’s what.
Michael looked around her toward me and smiled. “Hey, I’m Michael Alexander.” It was obvious that he was being polite by answering her, while not actually talking to her at all. He was seeing me again. I looked out at him from behind my locker door, flushed, and then dove behind it again. I was not used to feeling flustered. I could talk to just about anyone and hold my own, but he was making my mind go blank.
“Michael …” Kim said, as if his name was completely novel. “Good to meet you. This is my friend Airel.” As she hiked a thumb at me, I could see the wicked smirk on her face. I was going to kill her. Murder, kill—and then for the kicker—unfriend her on Facebook.
“Hi…” I trailed off into nothing. Just “hi.” I probably sounded like I had some disease—which I wasn’t ruling out just yet. I thought of giving him my name, but Kim had already spilled those beans, and besides, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what my name was. I blushed even more, which made Kim giggle. From the smirk on his face, I could tell Michael was enjoying my discomfort. Boys are just evil.
“You’re Airel?” he asked. “I heard you got sick yesterday.” The smirk took on just the slightest hint of compassion, which nearly killed me. “You okay today?”
“Everyone’s been asking me that,” I growled, directing my wrath at Kim. Great—the new guy knew I was a sicko … that meant the whole school knew. Perfect.
“Yeah,” Kim said, “she’s doing better today. She’s glad to meet you.”
Say something intelligent, Airel. Get that mouth moving and stop gawking at him. “Uh…” Nice start, stupid. “Yeah, I’m much better today. Must have been a … a twenty-four hour … sort of … thing. And yes, I am Airel, like she mentioned—this is Kim.” I redirected the conversation to her, hoping Michael would just go away and not notice that all the introductions had already been made.
No, wait—I wanted him to stay. Hashtag facepalm.
“Kim, nice to meet you,” he said. “Again.” The smirk came once more, directed at me, God help me. “I guess I’ll see you around, yeah?” He smiled for me, then looked at Kim, lifting his hand in a half wave, and turned toward the cafeteria. His jock friend followed, and I could hear them laughing. I saw Michael hit the other guy in the arm.
I heard a few giggles from other girls peppering the stifling air, and saw a few football players rolling their eyes.
“Hi?” Kim asked. “Way to go, Airel.” She was a little beside herself. “Good thing I was here. You might have just stood there gawking at him.” She tossed her books into her locker and stood now, grinning from ear to ear, looking like a stupid cartoon character.
What is it with her lately? “Whatever, Kim. I wasn’t ready for that.” I shoved my books into my locker and glared at her. “And thanks for ambushing me. You could have at least warned me he was standing right there the whole time.” This was turning out to be a bad week. All I wanted to do was go home, curl up under the covers, and sleep the rain away.
——————————– EXCERPT #5 ——————————–
PEOPLE WERE RUSHING OUT through the concession lobby toward the ticketing area when Kim and I exited the ladies’ room. We stopped and held on to each other and stared as worried faces hurried by, ignoring us. One crowd of girls knocked over a cardboard promo display as they ran. They didn’t look back. I heard a woman’s scream burst out from somewhere, perhaps down one of the corridors, and then there were cops everywhere, one hand on their holstered guns, telling people to be calm and orderly. Through the glass of the lobby windows, I could see the blue-and-red strobes of several police cruisers. They had pulled right up onto the sidewalk. One of the cops carried what looked to me like a military gun, something huge and scary that belonged in the hands of a soldier, not with a patrol man.
Michael found us in the lobby and asked if I was okay. “What happened?” He acted like he was more excited than scared. “Did you see anything?”
“I saw everything. He did it right in front of God and everyone.”
“What did you see, Airel?” Michael asked, hunting for gory details I wouldn’t give. I pressed my fingers into my temples, trying to force my Technicolor mental snapshots of the event to flee from me. It didn’t help. All it did was conjure a bloody knife in my mind’s eye. My trauma was as invasive as the sound a man’s footsteps had made on the tile floor of the ladies’ room.
The police held everyone in the ticketing lobby, having locked down the theater so they could question everyone, including some people who had been watching other movies. They were calling certain people out of the crowd—exclusively tall, white males—and pulling them aside to a place I couldn’t see. Somebody identified the killer. I wasn’t sure if that made me feel better or worse; I couldn’t say it had all been a horrific nightmare now.
They interviewed me too. I told them everything that had happened, even the part where he had followed me into the bathroom. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. It felt like the world was running on its own time and I had been ejected from reality, caught in my own slow and haunting version of it.
The cops told me to wait for a few minutes—the officer in charge wanted to have a word with me. Great. James and Kim and Michael milled around with me as nearly everyone else was released and gradually allowed to clear out. The police had done the best they could. Even though they’d locked down the building in an attempt to trap the killer, I knew he was long gone.
I could feel it.
I was unsafe.
“You are one lucky girl,” the officer said, walking up to me. This must be Mr. In Charge. He was big, bordering on heavy, and deep-set dark eyes looked at me from under a heavy unibrow. He flipped his notebook shut, mumbling something to another uniformed cop.
Lucky? I thought how unlucky I was to have been subjected to all of it, but then again, I was alive. And that was something.
“We need you to come down to the station to meet with a sketch artist. You can …”
“I’ll take her,” Michael said. I didn’t argue. I thought it was a good idea, me not driving.
“Sorry, miss,” the officer said. “You’ll be riding with us, please. It’s for your protection. We still haven’t apprehended the suspect. Detective Lopez would be more comfortable with you in custody.”
I made a face. In custody? This is getting real. But what could I do? I just nodded to him. Increasingly now, things were happening to me, and without my active consent. I started to hand my car keys to Kim, but Michael intercepted them. “We’ll follow you,” he said, “and wait till you’re done.”
“You don’t have to come. I’ll be fine.”
Kim rolled her eyes and said, “We’re coming.”
The big policeman practically commanded me to call my parents, so I tried to find a private corner and then dropped the bomb over the phone. Boy, that was fun. My mom was freaking out, in tears. When I finally convinced her I hadn’t been raped or worse and was able to hang up the phone, it wasn’t five minutes until Dad called. Of course she had called him and probably made him think I was still in mortal danger. I could tell he was ready to kill somebody. I told him not to worry, that I would be safe at home with Mom in a few hours, but he insisted he would meet me at the police station. He said he wasn’t far, that he could get there within an hour.
Actually, that made me feel a lot better. As often as he was gone, I was glad he would be the one taking me safely home at the end of the day. “Dad,” I said, “it’s fine. I’m okay. Besides, I’m the only one who saw him, so I kinda have to go down and like, give a statement or something.” I hoped I wouldn’t just burst out into a big fat blubbering mess in front of everyone. It felt so good to hear his voice. There was strength in it, and I needed that.
“Well … I’ll see you there, kiddo,” he said.
“Dad,” I growled at him.
He hung up and I breathed a sigh of relief. When parents say you’ll always be their baby, they’re not kidding. I didn’t mind him calling me “kiddo” so much, as long as it wasn’t in front of my friends. On a day like this, though, there were exceptions. I wanted nothing more than to be a kiddo, home safe with my family.