I’m not sure if this is news to Dre. Dre isn’t even paying attention to Bambi. He could care less. Chyna, Kaysha, Jae Jae and I surround her. I can’t believe what Bambi is saying at this moment.
“I tried for so long to protect him,” Bambi explains to us.
Dre finds the phone. He is on it in a matter of seconds dialing an extension, “The Alien is on his way to you.”
Dre hangs up the phone at that moment. We all look at him. He runs over to the door and locks the door. Dre had his gun in his hand. He holds it tight. I’m so nervous. I’m so fucking scared at that moment. What the fuck is going on?
“Greg’s an alien?” Chyna asks.
At that moment, she faints. I’m not surprised. Hell if I’d been fucking an Alien this entire time I’d probably be scared as well. Chyna is on the ground right now. Jae Jae and Dre are over her attempting to wake her up. Kaysha is on her chair rocking back and forth. At that moment, I find myself feeling a little bit faint as well. I probably would have lost my balance if Dre had not run over to catch me in his arms.
I look over at Bambi. Bambi is sweating. I can’t believe she knew something about this all along. I mean Bambi always seemed to be well informed but for her to have known that her brother wasn’t human was something completely different.
I want to worry about Chyna but right now, I’m just straight up scared.
“Are you ok?” Dre asks me, “Sit down…”
“Dre…I’m fine. I need to know what is happening,” I explain to him.
Dre grabs onto my hand in a way that makes me uncomfortable, “Look. I know we didn’t work out romantically but I still love you. And I need you to sit down. I don’t need you fainting like her.”
“I’ll tell you what I know once you sit down.”
I get to the couch quickly and sit down.
Dre runs to the kitchen and gets two rags. He gives a cold wet rag to Jae Jae for Chyna and then comes over to give one to me. I don’t accept it at first but soon realize that Dre doesn’t take no as an answer. He puts the rag on my forehead and presses it down.
“It all started with an explosion,” Dre explains, “It happened in the storage area. Greg was down there. A couple people saw him. They found strange rock fragments. They thought that Greg had released something. That’s when Captain LaPerla became suspicious of him. That’s when she approached me. She figured I owed her and she could use me to spy on Greg. Soon after the explosion the wormhole opened.”
He’d never been trying to spy on Jax. This whole time I was completely wrong. Looking back he never said Jax. He always just said in Jax’s apartment. Jax shared this apartment with Greg.
“Exotic matter is the substance he released”. Bambi states.
“He had it?” I ask, “Greg had exotic matter?”
Bambi nods, “My family found Greg when he was very young. He was always so advanced. He was always brilliant.”
“Greg…advanced…?” I ask.
I don’t see that. I don’t fucking see that at all.
“Not everything is what it looks like,” Bambi explains to me, “He learned to hide how smart he was for his own safety. However, it was Greg who designed this space station for the LaPerla’s. It was him alone. I should have been suspicious of why he did it but I just assumed he was a genius. I just figured that he was smart.”
“A kid building a space station doesn’t seem very human to me,” Jae Jae responds.
“I was suspicious,” Bambi stated, “But I was in denial. Greg was always different growing up. But things got really weird when he fell in love with a boy. He became obsessive over this boy he was dating. I had always thought Greg was straight and he never showed affection towards the females he was with. However the guy did what guys do. He stopped caring for Greg. When the straight boy didn’t love him back…he kidnapped the boy.”
My mouth dropped opened.
Jae Jae and I look at one another. I had no idea Greg was so fuckin’ crazy.
“Your brother’s fuckin nuts man,” Jae Jae tells Bambi.
Chyna softly agrees, “I love you Bambi but Greg has some SERIOUS identity issues, especially if he killed that Peter guy.”
Bambi ignores Chyna. It’s like even now she doesn’t want to hear that about Greg.
“We found the boy. My family paid the boy off. That’s what money does. We sent Greg to counseling to an upscale facility to deal with his obsessive nature. That’s where he met Jax Christopher. That’s where they became best friends.”
I remember the counseling that Jax had told me about. Jax hadn’t really mentioned why Greg was in there.
“That’s where he began falling for Jax isn’t it?” I ask.
Bambi nods, “I wanted to avoid it. Now you see why I was so pressed for you and Jax to get together. I figured if Jax fell in love with someone else Greg would leave it alone. I did it in secret. That was until you told Greg that I was trying the hardest to get Jax with someone else. He lost control. He opened the wormhole…”
“You blamed me…” I remember.
It all made sense now that day that she told me it was my fault. I remembered how Greg had walked off. Bambi said it was my fault that the wormhole had been opened. At the time, I didn’t understand what she meant. It was my fault because I broke Jax’s heart. I left him open for Greg. It was my fault that Greg went crazy and opened up this wormhole.
“I don’t know what his plan is,” Bambi explains.
She looks down on the ground.
“You’re so fucking reckless Bambi,” I tell her.
I’m pissed off at this moment.
“Mario calm down,” Dre tries to hold me back.
I’m not going to hit Bambi but I’m in her face at that moment, “You blame ME? Really! I’m the one responsible for your crazy ass alien brother doing all this crazy shit. My love life is to blame? Really?”
“If not you…then who?”
“YOU! Bitch you knew what your brother was this whole time. You probably knew he was a fucking alien. You probably knew why he helped design the Exodus. He was trying to fuckin leave Earth this whole time…”
“If you and Jax worked out your shit he wouldn’t have sucked everyone else into his plan,” Bambi explains, “You allowed him to HOPE that him and Jax could be back together.”
“Bitch you knew this whole time your brother was obsessed with JAX! Me getting with Jax or not wasn’t going to make a difference!”
We continue to argue screaming in each other’s face. Emotions are high. She’s pointing fingers at me. I’m pointing fingers at her. She’s not making sense to me. I don’t understand her argument. I don’t honestly think she has one. Bambi is just a sneaky bitch and now that her secrets are coming out, she’s looking for someone to blame. She did the same thing with Pia forever. Now I was the new scapegoat. I was the person she wanted to blame.
Dre is trying to pull me back in an attempt to calm me down. Jae Jae is pulling at Bambi hoping to get her together. If the others are choosing a side they aren’t letting it be known.
“EVERYONE QUIET!” Kaysha screams, “You hear that?”
The only thing that breaks up the chaos is a phone call.
Dre is the one who walks over and picks it up.
We all look at him. It is almost as though Bambi and I weren’t arguing at all. You can hear a pin drop when Dre picks up the phone. We are all staring at his expression as he talks on the phone.
“Yes ma’am,” Dre states, “Yes. Ok Ma’am. Oh my god. Yes ma’am I completely understand. Ok ma’am…we’ll let you know if he comes back to the room.”
The look on Dre’s face is pure horror when he hangs up. He just sits there. Dre was never really the type to deal with shit in the best way. So looking at him I’m not surprised that he is somewhat breaking down right now. He doesn’t know what to do
He holds onto his gun tightly as though this is his life force.
“Well?” Jae Jae asks him.
Dre turns. His face has gone completely white, “Pia, Greg and Jax never met with Captain LaPerla. They are…missing…”
“Are you happy now?” I ask Bambi, “Your brother has finally snapped.”
Bambi just stares at the ground.
She doesn’t have a word to fucking say now.
“Captain LaPerla is searching the space station for them,” Dre states.
“NO FUCK that!” I scream at that moment.
I’m panicking. Jax is out there. Jax is fucking out there with a killer alien. I shouldn’t have let that shit go down. I shouldn’t have let him go. If I knew, Greg was that crazy I would have never done it. What kills me is that Bambi knew. She knew how obsessive her brother was. She suspected her brother wasn’t human and wasn’t normal. Instead of telling us, she tried to cover it up this whole time.
And she loved calling Pia the shady one.
I remember the first thing Jax told me about the Dollhouse. He told me not to trust them. These people were selfish as fuck. They only cared about themselves.
“Where are you going?” Dre ask me as I am headed to the door.
“Get off me!” I yell as Dre grabs on to my arm.
He pushes me up against the door. He’s trying to manhandle me and right now, I won’t allow it. For a second we tussle around. He literally has to stuff the handgun he has into his pocket in order to use both hands. He restrains me up against the wall. His hands hold me there pinning me.
“You’re not going out there,” Dre tells me with this deep demanding tone, “Greg isn’t the only one out there. Those aliens…”
“He’s right,” Kaysha, replies, “The aliens are here. They’ll get in. We can’t keep them out!”
“I don’t want anything to happen to you,” Dre responds, “I…love you…”
Dre is holding me down. He looks me deep in my eyes. There is a passion in him that I knew was always there. It was hidden at points in our relationship. He didn’t show it at all in the beginning. However, I always suspected that kind of passion was there.
There was only one problem.
“I’m in love with Jax,” I tell Dre.
I try to make it as quick and simple as I can. I can tell it breaks his heart. He looks at me and it seems like his heart shatters into a million pieces. He just stands there for a second.
“I’ve always had a connection to him. You and I were always better as friends,” I respond to him trying to as honest as possible, “And if your love for me is real then you know what love means. And if I were out there in danger what would you do, Dre?”
Dre doesn’t hesitate.
“I’d cross a galaxy to come and get you,” he responds.
“Then let me go,” I explain to him, “Let me go find my man.”
His hands loosen slowly but they loosen. He grabs the gun out of his pocket. At first, I think he’s going to stand guard against the door with it but he doesn’t.
He holds the gun tightly and professes, “I’m coming with you.”
“Dre you don’t even give a fuck about Jax,” I respond.
“I care about you,” he tells me, “I don’t care if you don’t feel the same way about me. That’s not what love is. I told you I’d cross the galaxy for you. And I’ll cross the galaxy with you…if need be.”
I can’t help but to smile at Dre. It starts off as a smile at least. Soon I find myself leaning in and giving him a kiss. The kiss is on the lips. I don’t tongue him down. I peck him gently. The soft kiss seems to affect him.
“You always seem to do stupid shit,” he sighs.
“I’m coming too,” Jae Jae responds.
“No. I need you to stay here with the girls,” I tell him.
“Not this girl,” Bambi responds, “This girl is coming too…”
“Bambi you’ve done enough.”
“He’s my brother. He listens to me,” Bambi explains, “Besides I know where he’ll go. I know his hiding place on this space station. I can take you there.”
I look at her.
I feel bad for Jae Jae. Leaving him in this place with Kaysha and Chyna doesn’t really seem to be the thing to do but Bambi is right. We may need her. We may need her for this.
I take a strong look at Bambi.
“You pull something else. You hide anything else…and our friendship isn’t going to be the only thing that gets hurt…”
Chyna gasps a little bit. Bambi’s eyes open wide.
“Are you threatening me Mario?”
“No, I’m promising you,” I respond.
And it’s about time someone did.
The walk through the space station is a little scary to say the least. We walk for about 5 minutes. All the students are in their dormitories scared for their lives. Every time we walk past a window, we are blinded by the white light surrounding the space station. I wonder if the aliens are onboard the space station yet. I wonder what will happen if we encounter them.
I don’t know how to feel about this.
“How much further?” Dre asks.
He looks back at Bambi.
“It’s coming. Greg liked cold places. Maybe it’s an alien thing. I don’t know. It’s coming up though,” Bambi, states pointing her finger, “Just that way.”
“You think I’m lying?” Bambi asks.
“I can never tell with you,” I respond.
“You know what…me wanting you and Jax together wasn’t all for my own selfish reasons,” Bambi explained, “Sure I felt like it would make Greg act less crazy. Sure I thought it would calm him down if Jax was taken…but I honestly think you and Jax are made for each other.”
“Thanks,” Dre says ahead of us, rolling his eyes in annoyance.
“Sorry Dre,” Bambi shrugs.
“Peter used to say the same kind of things,” I respond and when Dre looks back, I have no choice but to issue my own apology, “Sorry…”
Dre shrugs, “its fine. I Just don’t think it’s fair he slept with someone else if the two of you are supposed to be so ‘made for each other’, especially not your best friend.”
“I forgave him,” I respond, “We’re past that.”
“I haven’t forgiven him,” Dre responds, “I haven’t forgiven him for having this thing with Greg that put us all in this situation either. Honestly—Fuck a Jax Christopher, in my book.”
“Greg had issues. Things he had to work on,” Bambi states.
I stop Bambi.
“Are you really trying to defend your brother?” I ask, “Even now.”
“I love him. He’s my brother.”
“ He’s a damn kidnapper. He’s a murderer. Most of all—-he’s an alien. ”
Bambi looks over at me. Her eyes are watering. It’s rare to see a beautiful girl like Bambi emotional. She never shows it. Now she is clearly emotional though. Mascara runs down her face. She and I are staring down a long corridor as Dre slowly moves forward making sure that it is safe with gun in hand.
Bambi’s emotional side almost breaks me.
I can’t help but to feel…sorry for her.
“He’s all those things. But he’s also my brother. And I still love him.”
I don’t know why it hits me. I don’t know why I lean over and grab Bambi up at that moment. I put my arms around her and I pull her close. I hug her. I’m pissed at her. I’m pissed she never told anyone what we needed to know about Greg. I’m pissed that our lives are all at risk because she allowed us to trust him. But at the same time, all of those feelings and emotions that I had were resolved with Bambi simply stating, “And I still love him.”
There was something so powerful about that statement. There was something about that meant the world to me. Unconditional love had no limits. Love as deep as a galaxy.
“I understand…” I whisper to her.
I console her for a while and even more surprisingly, Bambi lets me. She lets me console her as she cries. She must know she was wrong. She must really accept the type of person Greg is. However, the thing about Bambi is it doesn’t make a difference to her.
And with all the things that I’ve been through with Jax…I love him unconditionally as well.
“We’ll find him,” Bambi promises me.
It’s almost as though we are on the same page when she says it. It’s almost as though Bambi knows exactly what I’m thinking.
Just as Bambi makes her promise, a voice screams out,
It’s Dre. We don’t see him at first. He must have walked away while we were talking. Bambi and I follow a path down the corridor that leads to a service staircase. This looks like the core of the ship. Maintenance machinery is down here. As we walk down, I notice a cold draft coming into the room. The cold draft is coming from the vents probably used to make sure the machinery doesn’t overheat down here. The long pipes stretch out for what seems like forever.
We find Dre right in the middle of the path a little ways down. He’s looking down at some people. It’s clear they are bodies.
“Oh shit,” Dre states.
Dre grabs onto me.
“Pia”, Bambi states.
It is Pia. Pia is laying there. She isn’t moving. She just seems…lifeless. Slowly her eyes open but I barely notice them. I’m looking at the blood around her. There are other men layered all around her. Guards. Blood stains streak the hallways. It’s almost like she and these men were dragged down here. It’s almost like they were attacked by something…not…human.
“Bambi?” Pia whispers.
Her voice is faints. She looks like she is barely hanging on.
“Oh my god. Pia hold on! She’s dying! Guys—SHE’S DYING!” Bambi panics.
You would think they were best of friends again, by how Bambi is reacting to Pia at this moment. Right now, it just looks like Bambi is struggling with this. She’s struggling with the fact that Pia has been attacked. I feel bad for Bambi.
I feel that all the pettiness that had gone on between Bambi and Pia really mattered right now.
“He’s…he’s a monster,” Pia states.
“Greg did this?” Dre asks in disbelief.
Pia nods, “He has Jax. He’s taken him. He’s down there.”
She points down the corridor to where they disappeared.
“Pia stops talking. Stop wasting your energy,” Bambi states.
“It’s too late for me,” Pia responds.
“NO IT’S NOT!”
Bambi is holding her. Bambi looks so human right now. She doesn’t care about getting Pia’s blood all over her. She doesn’t care about the petty high school bullshit they went through at one point. None of that mattered right now. Right now, the only thing that matters is the fact that they cared about each other at one point.
Pia struggles to talk, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything. Being in control is all that mattered to me and I became desperate to maintain that. That’s all that mattered to me being in control. It seems like once you reach for power is when you are the most powerless.”
“Pia stops…” Bambi states.
“No. I knew Greg was dangerous. My mother knew. We should have warned everyone. We should have confronted him earlier. We didn’t. We figured he knew a way to get back home if he knew a way to bring us out here. We should have cared a little bit more. We should have loved a little more. I’m sorry…I’m sorry…”
Pia’s voice is getting lower and lower. It’s clear she is dying.
“We have to do something. We have to take her back to the nurse.”
“I understand…but I also have to save Jax,” I told her.
“I’m not leaving you,” Dre tells me.
Bambi looks down at Pia, “I’ll take her.”
A selfish part of me wants to ask Bambi what happened to her wanting to stop Greg. A part of me wanted to ask her why she was making this decision for a girl who had done nothing but caused us pain and misery this entire time. If she was the only one who could calm Greg down and she wasn’t around then we were basically screwed.
But there is humanity here. It’s a humanity I have to understand.
“I understand…” I tell her.
Bambi loves her brother. It’s clear she does even when she helps Pia up and starts to walk back up the service staircase. Bambi loves her brother but I think at this point she realizes there is something a little bit more important than protecting him.
I watch Bambi and Pia walk away and a part of me realizes that I have a newfound respect for these Dollhouse members. They were shady and they were sneaky. But at the end of the day, they were good people.
I couldn’t say the same for Greg though.
“We have to keep moving,” I tell Dre.
Dre nods at me. He doesn’t leave my side. It’s becoming clear now that he isn’t going to leave my side either no matter what comes our way. I don’t get it. I’m in love with someone else. He knows that. He accepts that. In the end, it doesn’t matter to him. He’s going to be down with me regardless. He’s going to follow me anywhere and right now, that means everything to me.
“Stay close to me,” he tells me grabbing onto my hand, “This way…”
The darkness is growing. Soon it is hard to see save dim yellow service lights stapled to the corners of the walls. Dre holds my hand with his left hand and guides me with his right. A part of me wants to take the gun away from him and send him back. I don’t want Dre involved with this. I’m worried about him. I know Dre won’t listen to me. If he can’t convince me to go back, then he’ll come with me no matter where I go. The thing about it is he can’t convince me to go back. I’d go wherever it took to find Jax.
I’d do whatever it took to find him.
After almost 15 minutes of going through the dark tunnels, we come to a door.
“You ready?” Dre asks.
He doesn’t wait until I answer before he opens the door. As we walk into the door, the cold gust hits us from the ventilation shafts. I see a figure that I recognize laying there in the darkness.
“NO! NO! NO!” I’m screaming at that moment.
He’s not moving. He’s just lying there. Jax isn’t moving. I don’t see Greg anywhere. I try to run forward but Dre tightens his grip on my hand. He’s looking around in a panic mode. It’s clear that he’s worried about where Greg is.
“Slow down baby…” Dre tells me.
At that moment, I don’t care though. It won’t matter if Jax is not alive. It won’t matter if Jax is DEAD!
“Jax isn’t moving. Dre! Jax isn’t moving…”
Jax is just lying there lifeless. Dre isn’t even looking at him. He’s looking at something else. Something else has taken his complete attention.
“Mario listen to me closely, stand behind me. Don’t move.”
“Dre—Jax isn’t moving!”
My heart is racing as tears roll down my cheeks. The love of my life is laying there on the ground in the darkness lifeless. I can’t do this. I can’t take the pain that I feel at that moment.
Whatever happened to our destiny that was supposed to be written in the stars?
Dre’s hand is shaking. He’s sweating. His voice quakes as he whispers something to me in a serious tone, “I heard you. If you don’t listen to me…we’ll both be just as dead as Jax.”
That is when I notice it.
A monster is attached to the walls. A slimy…scary monster scales the walls slowly. Long tentacle looking appendages slide down the walls. It blocks the door we just came thru…closing it…LOCKING US IN! And then I see its face. The face of horror takes hold of me.
Part of it still looks like Greg…but most of the face looks like something planning on sending me to join Jax very soon…
To read the last chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com