Three knocks. Three knocks is the code to enter. I walk down the steps to the basement when the secret door is open. I can see the looks of everyone as I walk in there. People are nervous. They are scared. They know that they would be trialed and convicted for treason for even showing up at a meeting like this.
Everyone turns to me. They have these hopeful eyes. They’ve been waiting for me. Some have been waiting for me for hours even to show up.
They hang off my every word.
I look at the crowd of people, “Welcome to the Revolution.”
I’m greeted by silence.
The majority of the Zodiac signs are represented. The Leos are there, the Sagittarius, the Cancers, the Pisces. We even managed to get members of the smart Taurus groups and the process driven Capricorns who are usually extremely loyal to the status quo. I represent the Aries but I’ve been joined by a few of my Aries friends from back home.
I notice the Scorpios in the back of the room. There are so few of them and the fact that they traveled all this way says the most. They are scared but they must understand that change is really on the way.
The only ones missing are the Virgos and the air signs. It would have been too much of a risk to try to see if we could get any Libra, Gemini or Aquarius representatives for this.
Corey is the one who talks first, “We all gathered here today to plan a revolution. We have been notified that there is some tension between the air signs. This means we can take over the city. This means we have a chance to change the laws to make it fair for everyone.”
“What’s the plan?” a Sagittarius man asks.
I recognize him. George. He’s a well-known guy even before I came to the City of the Zodiacs. He’s a news reporter that was blacklisted a few years ago because he was writing some articles exposing Geminis for fraud. Normally I wouldn’t trust George or any other Sagittarius. They were usually too nosy and too wishy-washy. Still, they knew things. They had knowledge. They didn’t have the kind of knowledge that Taurus had, but they were street smart. If anyone knew gossip it was a Sagittarius and gossip would be very useful in the revolution.
“The Geminis are teaming up with Apollo to overthrow the High Liberty. We are going to tip off the High Liberty.”
“That’ll start a civil war,” another Sagittarius says.
They were going to a problem. They were so distrusting. It was Corey’s idea to invite as many of the signs as possible. The Sagittarius don’t trust me, though. I can tell by how they huddle around the exit ready to make a run for it if this goes south.
“Exactly,” I respond, “The Libras have their Virgos and Apollo has the Aquarians and the Gemini behind him. Once the chaos breaks out we’ll remove both the High Liberty and Apollo.”
Laughter breaks out.
They are laughing at me. It pisses me off.
It’s George who speaks for the others shouting out in the crowd, “BULLSHIT!”
“You want to say that again?” Roy says.
Roy is a friend of mine. He’s an Aries. He steps forward and he has the other Aries guys with him. They want to brawl. I know my Aries friends. They are hot tempered. They don’t take kindly to disrespect. The aggression they have at that moment shows almost immediately. I can tell things are going to go south really quickly.
“Bullshit,” George says boldly even though he takes a few steps back.
A Leo steps forward, “George is right. How the hell are we going to turn them against one another?”
Corey butts in, “A lot of Cancers work for Apollo. We already have proof that Apollo is turning against the High Liberty. He wants to make his husband Law be High Liberty. If that proof ends up in the wrong hands…say the hands of a Taurus or a Capricorn the High Liberty would believe it.”
The Taurus and the Capricorn representatives worked for the High Liberty. They look nervous, though. Out of everyone here they were probably treated the best. A few of them were crossed by the High Liberty but honestly, they didn’t live like the rest of us. They were middle class. For the most part, they lived happy lives. I can see the reluctance when Corey tells them the plan.
One of the Taurus speaks for both Zodiac signs, “I don’t know if we’re willing to take the risk.”
Roy and the Aries start to boo, “Cowards!”
The Sagittarius keep asking questions. The Pisces attempt to keep the peace and calm everyone down. The Leos take the Sagittarius side and get louder and louder. It’s clear that I’m losing control of this meeting. It’s clear that we aren’t all on the same page.
“Everyone please,” I continue, “We have to take the risk. We have to work together. The High Liberty is having a party at the end of the week. We make sure both parties are suspicious of one another. We cause a disturbance. The Libras will blame the Aquarians. The Aquarians will blame the Libras. In the chaos, we have to get the High Liberty and Apollo out of the picture.”
“How?” George asks.
“Me,” someone says.
Everyone turns at that moment. Simeon walks in the room. The idea of the Zodiac Killer being in the room causes people to feel uncomfortable. Everyone has been briefed about the fact that Simeon was not really a threat beforehand. We didn’t brief them on the fact that Simeon would actually be at this meeting, though. I look over at Corey. Simeon wasn’t supposed to be here. He was supposed to sit this out. Why the hell did he show up?
Corey shakes his head. He didn’t know Simeon was going to be here.
“Are you fucking crazy?” one of the Capricorns says, “You invite HIM here.”
I didn't invite Simeon anywhere. The problem with Simeon is that he was so hard to control.
“I’ll get rid of the High Liberty and Apollo. No one is better at getting at people than I am,” Simeon explains.
“He’s the Zodiac Killer!” a Taurus barks out.
Chaos breaks out yet again. Corey and I are desperately attempting to calm everyone down but Simeon just had to show up and cause this. The little bit of calm we did have was out of the window. The Aries were now getting in the face of the Taurus and Capricorns, calling them cowards. The Sagittarius were throwing around question after question. The other Cancers have withdrawn into their shells. The Pisces seem like mentally they completely checked out of the conversation and had retreated somewhere into their own minds. I was losing control of this fast.
I’m not surprised when the Taurus and Capricorns make a move, “That’s it. I’m out of here. If anyone finds out I’m meeting with the Zodiac Killer my career will be over.”
The Capricorns and the Taurus representatives both get up and leave! They have high positions in the city. I know that they aren’t willing to risk their lives for this. As soon as they leave I come to the realization that this was going to be harder than I realized especially without those two high-ranking groups.
“There goes our connection to the High Liberty…” one of the Leos screams out at the top of their lungs in a dramatic way that only a Leo could manage.
The Sagittarius George is shaking his head, “Any other clever plan now?”
All eyes turn to me.
“I’ll do it. I’ll tip the High Liberty off myself,” I state.
George raises a suspicious eyebrow, “Why would he trust you?”
“I’ll MAKE him trust me,” I respond, “Once he knows that Apollo is definitely after him he’ll have no choice but to act. Once the High Liberty and Apollo are out of the picture there will be chaos. I’m going to need all of you to go back to the other members of your signs. Tell them to be ready. In that chaos, we have to take over the city. We can change the laws. We can control the city.”
“And what about Law?” one of the Scorpios ask, “With Apollo and the High Liberty gone he will have all the power.”
I’m shocked that it’s not George or the other Sagittarius asking a million annoying fucking questions. The Scorpios have been quiet this entire time not really participating in the back and forth. Then I realize why. This was about Law.
I wonder if Simeon had anything to do with why the Scorpios were questioning Law.
I nod, “I know that. That’s the point. Law will have control and authority.”
George jumps in suspiciously nodding, “Why would Law want to change anything? He can appoint a new Police chief, he can have the Virgos and Aquarians get together to put down the rebellion immediately if he wanted to. He would have the power to do that if both the High Liberty and Apollo are out of the picture.”
They were right.
“Because I love him,” I state crossing my arms and looking out in the crowd.
“He’ll help us because you love him? You’re willing to make him the most powerful man in the city because you love him?” George asks.
More laughter. This isn’t just coming from the Sags this time. The other signs have joined in. They are mocking me. I’m putting everyone’s fate in Laws hands here. I realize that.
I raise my hand, “Love. Law and I were matched to one another. I'm not talking about the system. He IS my match. He knows fairness. I know what you are all thinking. Libras all think they know what it means to be fair and balanced. I’m not talking about any Libra, though. Law knows balance. He understands the balance between love and hate. He understands the balance between good and bad. He understands the balance between right and wrong. This isn’t a Libra that we are talking about.”
“If he isn’t a Libra then what is he?” Simeon asks.
I was right. Simeon did put the other Scorpios up to questioning Law. Right now he was taking it upon himself. I feel a little betrayed by him but I get it. He doesn’t trust Law. He doesn’t like Libras.
“Libras can fly. You’ve all heard the sayings. They fly high over the other signs. They live on that mountain in the sky where no one can touch them. I know Law is more than a Libra. Do you want to know why? Because I’ve seen him fall. I’ve seen him fall with my very own arms. I promised I would always catch him and I did. I caught him. He fell for me. An Aries. Because of that…I know that he’s not flying over us. I know he's not flying because he’s fallen in my arms and he's fallen in love with me.”
The room gets quiet. Simeon looks away from me.
For the longest time, I don’t know if my description of my relationship with Law had any impact on them. George is the first one to talk.
“I don’t have any more questions,” George states.
Jesus Christ. A Sagittarius who didn’t have any other questions? He isn’t the only one too. Everyone is nodding. They are in agreement. It’s clear now that what I said about Law did make a difference. They are all nodding. They are all in agreement. Our only hope right now was Law and they were OK with that. They were putting their trust in him the same way that I put my trust in him.
I nod, “That settles it. It starts at the party…the revolution starts at the party.”
It’s the end of the week. I’ve gotten my tuxedo ready. I had to spend my entire check on it. I have to look nice tonight. I notice Loreal walking out of her room and seeing me getting dressed in the living room.
“Um where do you think you’re going?” my wife asks me.
I look at Loreal. She’s dressed in a pretty red gown that flows all the way to the ground. I can tell she looks a little upset with seeing me around.
“I’m going to the High Liberty’s event. With my wife.”
“Oh no you aren’t…” she responds, “Have you lost your mind? It’s invitation only.”
“I realize that. I saw the invitation. It’s great that every invitation has a plus one. Since I’m your husband I was hoping that I could be your plus one.”
She raises an eyebrow.
“I have a date.”
“Excuse me?” I ask.
“I have a date,” she responds bluntly again, “So no. You can’t go. What do I look like? Law? I will NEVER be seen in public with an Aries. Quote me on that one. You aren’t invited. Period.”
I watch as she turns around and walks out of the house. She doesn’t wait for me. Fuck. How the fuck was I supposed to get to this thing now? I pace back and forth. Fuck. The plan was for me to get to this meeting. The plan was for me to give the information to the High Liberty. This was the time that everything was supposed to go down.
The other rebels were at the party. They were waiting for me. Things were supposed to happen and everything depended on me.
“You look worried…” a voice says.
I see him standing there. He’s standing behind me. Simeon. How long he’s been in the apartment I don’t know. He’s great at sneaking into places. He looks…beautiful…to say the least. I have a hard time looking at him. Our eyes connect and I quickly try to look away so that I’m not staring at him for too long.
“YOU CAN’T BE HERE!” I scream at Simeon, grabbing him up, “Don’t you ever know when to show up at places. Loreal can come back here in any minute.”
I’m grabbing Simeon up and for some reason, a smile comes on his face when I do that.
“I love when you get aggressive. Nothing like an Aries. I swear.”
I roll my eyes and release him.
“I’m serious, Simeon. You don’t belong here.”
“I belong wherever you are,” Simeon replies.
I’m not expecting him to say that. I’m not expecting him to say it in a serious way either. I’m not expecting Simeon to sneak up behind me and grab my dick. He holds onto it for a few minutes giving it a few tugs.
“What are you doing here?” I ask him.
He has a microchip in his hands, “Corey told me to give this to you. It’s all the proof that the High Liberty will need to know that Apollo is plotting against him.”
“How’d he get it?”
“Whistler. Turns out those Virgos have some voice recording programs in them. Corey was able to hotwire her and get that information out of there. I’ve listened to everything. It’s very incriminating. Why the long face? I figured that you’d be a little bit more happy that I got this information for you. It’s the dawn of your revolution. I would think you would at least smile a little bit.”
Simeon is looking at my face. I look back at him. He knows me. He can see the worry on my face. I feel stupid.
“I don’t have an invitation to the fucking event,” I respond shaking my head.
“Wait. Your entire plan was to show up to this event and make a big stink and you can’t even get into the event?”
“You aren’t helping.”
I turn to Simeon.
“Give me a kiss and I’ll tell you.”
“Again?” I ask him, “Damn Simeon get serious…”
“I have an invitation to the party,” Simeon states, “You can be my date if you'd like."
“Swear to God. The High Liberty wants me to take someone out. He made it a masquerade party specifically so no one would notice me. There are going to be tons of people there with masks on. Now. I can invite you as my plus one if you’d like.”
“And I just have to give you another kiss?” I ask him.
“Yeah. That’s all. I have a vehicle parked outside. I have my tuxedo and my mask in there. I’ll get you over to that event. Your revolution begins. Everyone’s happy.”
Why did I feel like I was cheating on Law? We were both married to other people. I take a few steps forward and grab Simeon. I can’t think about it. I can’t let the fireworks show up like last time. The last thing I needed was to be seriously in love with two boys. So as I kiss him I close my eyes and I imagine Law. I imagine Law the entire time. My tongue is down Simeon’s throat, but in my mind I see Law. Maybe that’s a mistake because I get into it more than I should. I start squeezing Simeon’s ass as I kiss him. I pick him up from his glutes and pull him higher towards me. He kisses me back, sucking on my tongue and panting slowly into my mouth.
Simeon backs up a little bit.
“Jesus…” he responds.
“Can we go now?”
“No. I mean. That kiss was amazing but I should have been a little bit more specific. I didn’t want a kiss on my mouth. I wanted a kiss down here.”
Just at that moment. he drops his pants. I’m shocked! Simeon turns around. He turns away from me. He gets on his hands and knees. His opens up his asshole showing me his pink, puckering hole. I watch as he tightens and loosens it. It’s calling me. The pink hole looks so fucking edible. Immediately my dick betrays my true intentions as I get hard as a rock.
Simeon wanted me to eat him out.
“Simeon man! What the fuck! I can’t do that! I’m in love with Law. What part of that don’t you get!”
“He’ll never know,” Simeon tells me.
A part of me thinks about it for a quick second. My heart is telling me not to do this but my body is telling me I’m a fool if I don’t get behind this boy and taste every inch of his asshole. Simeon knows I find him attractive. He looks back at me. His dark eyes squint at me drawing me in. He licks his lips a few times using his tongue to flick up and down as though showing me what I could be doing to him right now.
I walk over to him. I’m shivering as I get close. I put my hands on his ass. I look at his puckering hole. My mouth waters.
I grab his pants and give them a tug pulling them up.
“I can’t. I’m sorry.”
“Are you fucking with me?” he asks, “Ryder, this is for your revolution. People are depending on you for this. Law is depending on you for this. If you ask me you’re doing Law a favor by eating out my ass.”
I roll my eyes.
“I won’t do this to him. It’s enough having to explain to him what almost went down in the shower the other day. I refuse to have to add this to that list. So no. I’m not doing this to Law, Simeon. It’s not happening. So pick up your pants. Get your invitation and get the fuck out. I’ll find another way…”
“Ryder, seriously I’ll fucking leave.”
I wouldn’t be allowed near that party without an invitation. I know it. I know Simeon is my last choice but I just can’t do this. Simeon gets up and starts walking out. I want to punch the fucking wall. I’m stuck between my revolution and my loyalty to Law. I chose my loyalty to Law. The revolution would have to wait. There was no way in hell I would give another guy oral sex while I was with Law. It wasn’t happening.
I sit on the couch alone. Depression falls over me.
People depended on me. They wanted me to start the domino effect. I needed to talk to the High Liberty. When was the next time he would be at an event for me to have access to him? Would the others rebels even be willing to wait for another event? Everything was ruined.
“You really love him don’t you?”
It’s Simeon. He’s come back. I should have known. He always looks out for me. He can’t say no to me. He’s always there for me. I’m so happy that he’s back that I want to run over to him and give him the biggest hug. Every part of me is holding back, though.
I cross my arms, “I do, Simeon. I really do.”
Simeon rolls his eyes, “Come on. Let’s go to your stupid fucking party.”
The event is high on top of a building. I’ve never seen so many polished rich people around. We all knew the wealthy air signs ran this. The Libras were floating on air acting like they knew how to fly as they glide around the dance floor dancing. The Geminis have gathered around in the corner looking rich and completely corrupt as they make back-end deals amongst one another. The Aquarians were there as well. They were talking to everyone and anyone charming people off their feet as they did. Trickled among the air signs were a few lucky Taurus and Capricorns. That was about it, though.
The other signs were nothing more than the help. There were Leos but they were performers for the High Liberty. The Cancers were servers. The Pisces were photographers. The Sagittarius were the reporters outside asking who designed the clothes for the air signs. Hell, at least they were allowed in the room. I was pretty sure I was only Aries here.
“Wine sir?” one of the servers asks me as I walk in the room.
I’m handed a bottle of wine. I notice that the server has to be a Cancer. He looks familiar. As he hands me the wine glass his eyes divert as though trying to tell me something. He’s pointing to the balcony. I wonder what he means.
What the fuck is out on the balcony?
“Come dance with me?” Simeon states.
I look over to the balcony. What was the Cancer trying to tell me about?
“We don’t want to draw too much attention to you,” I warn Simeon.
Simeon has a mask on. He feels extra comfortable. He has a smile that dresses his entire face. It’s intoxicating. I can’t help but smile back at him. I turn to my side, though. I notice that Loreal has just arrived. She is joining up with the two other drop dead gorgeous Libra girls that Law is always with. Law is nowhere in sight. I was kind of excited that maybe I would get to see him.
“Oh, bullshit. We both know the High Liberty won’t let anything happen to me until I’m done doing his dirty work,” Simeon replies, “I’m safe. Plus the High Liberty is on the dance floor. You’ll have an excuse to pull him aside.”
Simeon was right.
But I had a feeling. There was this feeling in my gut. It’s almost like my stomach was dropping out.
“Give me a second. Let me go look for Law.”
“Are you fucking serious?” Simeon asks, “He’s fine.”
“I haven’t seen him in forever.”
“And he can wait,” Simeon responds, “Come dance with me.”
Why was I having this feeling? Maybe it was my imagination.
“Ok,” I respond.
Simeon starts pulling me over to the dance floor. I take his hand. Just as I walk past I feel someone bump into me. HARD! I look up at that moment and notice who it is. Apollo. Our eyes connect. Simeon looks away attempting to avoid contact with Apollo. He completely abandons me in the next second. Clearly, he must not have felt that safe if he was avoiding eye contact with Apollo and disappearing even with his mask on.
“You…” he says, “What are you doing here?”
What is the chance that I bump into Apollo out of everyone at this party? I’m pissed. I’m beyond pissed. This is the last person I want to see. Apollo isn’t alone. He’s with Aeron and few other Aquarians as well. These are the same people that beat me. They are the same people that starved me. They abused me in that prison. When I see them I immediately start shaking.
“I got invited. Like everyone else.”
“None of your fucking business. I’m not your prisoner anymore.”
“You’re right. Where is my Aquarian hospitality? Where are my Aquarian manners? Let’s start over. Would you like something to drink? Corey. Corey go get me a drink why don’t you?”
Apollo turns to Corey. His servant. Corey was also my friend. I feel sick to my stomach when I see Corey run off to get Apollo a drink. The worse thing about it is that Corey is paid by Apollo in crumbs. A number of credits Corey got for all the work he did was a joke. I’m shaking. My anger is going up and up when I see my good friend do Apollo’s bidding.
Apollo takes the wine from Corey. He doesn’t even thank him.
I’m so pissed. My blood is boiling.
“Here. You go,” Apollo states but as he hands me the red wine he spills it all over my tuxedo! “OOPS! I got it all over you. Guess you’ll just have to get the fuck out of here huh? It’s OK. I’m sure if you go to an Aries event you’ll fit right in, fucked up clothes and all.”
The other Aquarians laugh at what Apollo says. I stare him down. Apollo stares me down. I want to swing on him. I’ve never in my life wanted to hurt someone as much as I want to hurt Apollo right now. I want to seriously break every bone in his face. I want to wipe that smile off of him forever. The only thing that stops me is Corey.
Corey shakes his head over and over.
I have to stay cool. Somehow.
“Have a good night,” I tell Apollo.
Apollo laughs and walks away. His other off-duty police officers walk away with him. I’m left alone in the middle of that dance floor steaming. I was tired of being pissed on. I was tired of being disrespected like this. I couldn’t keep letting him get away with this.
“Don’t do anything crazy. Go out on the balcony and take a deep breath,” Corey warns me, “Live to fight another day.”
I’ve never met anyone as kind and generous as Corey. The fact that these other signs treat the Cancers like shit blows my mind. I was going to make things right. I was going to set things right for the Cancers and all the other signs that were being victimized.
A revolution was coming.
Until then, Corey was right. I had to go outside and catch my breath. I had to calm down before everything begun. Tonight would be the beginning of the future. The world was about to change tonight and I don’t know how chaotic it would be. I wouldn’t be able to stop the dominoes once they started falling.
I had to be ready tonight.
I make my way outside closing my eyes. I walk out on the balcony. I take a deep breath. I open my eyes. There is this reluctance to do so until I open my eyes. That’s when I see him.
He’s standing on the balcony. He’s jumping. I run forward. I damn near throw myself over the edge of the balcony as well trying to grab him. He slips from my grasp. He starts falling!
No. This wasn’t happening.
It wasn't going to happen. I reach over the edge, throwing my body over as well. I manage to grab onto him. The only thing that is keeping me up on this ledge is my fingertips.
Somehow…I manage to pull myself up.
It’s not to save me. It’s because I know if I fall then Law falls with me. I pull myself up and I pull him up with me with every muscle in my body. I can't let anything happen to him.
Law is so confused when we both fall over ourselves on the balcony. He touches my face.
“Is this real?”
I’m crying. Tears roll down my face. It’s been so long that I got to see him. It’s been so long since I was able to be near him. I never wanted to leave him again. I lean over and kiss him. The kiss lasts forever and still it’s not long enough.
“I told you,” I remind Law, the love of my life, “Didn’t I? Didn’t I tell you Law? I told you every time you fall I’ll be there to catch you.”
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com