We were back on the train by the end of the night. It was late. I was tired. Marcel didn't speak to me. As soon as we get back to the train Cid is waiting on us. His eyes glare at us in the common area. I sit down comfortably as I can on the sofa across from Cid.
Marcel doesn't sit though. He seems nervous. I know what it's about as well.
"So is he going to do it?" Cid asks Marcel, "Is he going to endorse tomorrow?"
"He says he would," Marcel replies, "If I agree to deal with what he calls the straight issue."
A smile spreads across Cid's lips. The other people aren't there but I can tell he's excited. This is good news. This is amazing news.
"You were going to do that already!" Cid snaps raising his glass, "We should be celebrating at this point. Do you understand? You guys did it. You guys pulled it off."
He's as excited as I thought he should be.
Marcel isn't though. Marcel stares at the wall. He doesn't look at Cid nor does he look at me. He just stares out. I can tell he's still thinking.
"There's one more thing."
"He wants me to divorce Marx and marry Florian," Marcel states, "He is going to have divorce papers drafted and he wants me to sign them by tomorrow."
There is a silence that covers the room. Cid looks at me. It's so awkward. I assumed it was going to be this awkward. The ride back from the White house was awkward with Marcel. He avoided eye contact with me. There was no conversation. I can feel the tension even worse now with Cid standing there.
"Man, that old man is cold," Cid replies.
I'm surprised Cid even reacts like this. It seems like all the happiness that he had a minute ago was just sucked out of the room. It happened with Marcel almost the exact same way. It's strange how things like that work. I look over at Marcel and just feel bad. He's going through it.
"I guess it wouldn't be so bad," I finally say.
It comes out almost second nature without me really thinking.
Marcel turns to me, "What?"
I shrug, "Listen. This was an arrangement like any other arrangement. I mean isn't this politics? You needed me at one point but now you need Florian. It's business right."
Cid crosses his eyes and nods a little bit, "The kid has a point."
The way he calls me kid makes me think that he's surprised that this is coming out of my mouth. I hate getting involved with the politics. I hate acting like I know what I'm doing but at this point and in this moment I get it. I understand why I was brought here in the first place. I was brought here to be an advantage to Marcel. Now the advantage is with someone else. And what choice do I have?
So why does it hurt so bad? Why come when I look up at Florian it's painful? It's almost like a sharp pain that fills my chest. God it hurts.
I push the thoughts to the back of my head, "I'll sign the divorce papers."
"I never said I was going to do it," Marcel replies at that moment shaking his head.
I'm confused. Marcel shakes his head at that moment and for that moment it looks as though he is about to give up on the presidency again.
"If the President doesn't endorse you...you'll lose the primaries," Cid explains to Marcel, "I've had every analyst look at the numbers. We are losing to Regula. People love the idea that she is a post-OP Transexual. She'll gain even more popularity with Primus at her side. It's over."
Marcel raises an eyebrow as though thinking about something, "People love Marx. Even if I win the primaries with Florian people are still going to feel some type of way that I divorced Marx. You know how people are going to be in our business."
"First things first. You have to win the primaries. You can't do that without Florian," I tell Marcel
"So I lose this time. Oh well," Marcel replies, "I'll try again in 4 years. Marx and I will grow as a public couple."
"You want to keep up this charade even if you lose?" Cid asks.
"That's the thing. It's not a charade."
Cid and I look at Marcel with the same look. For the first time I can really get into the mind of Cid. Marcel reaches over to me. He's holding my hands. My heart flutters at that moment. God it feels good to have a man like Marcel reaching out and actually touching me. He's embracing me. He wants me here.
"You do realize this is New Jerusalem right?" Cid asks, "You do realize your marriage to Marx is fake right. I mean...no offense Marx..."
I'm just as confused as Cid, "None taken."
Marcel doesn't back down though. He holds my hand even tighter.
"It was fake but I mean it's not so fake anymore," Marcel replies, "Cid you know how I feel about him. I've told you."
I feel out of the loop with Marcel sitting there. I feel like they once again know something I don't. Marcel and Cid exchange eye contact. I see Cid walking back and forth. He's clearly panicking and I know it.
Cid shakes his head, "Marcel you can still be with Marx if you want to. What happens in the public and what happens in private are two different things."
Marcel shakes his head, "No. I promised someone. No more lying."
Marcel looks down at me when he says it. I can still remember his words. I can still remember the words that he used when he told me that he wouldn't lie to me anymore.
In that moment. As he stands firm and begins to walk away I realize that I fucking adore this guy. It's amazing how it happens but I fucking adore him. Everything about him. I can't help but to watch him walk away and my heart beats every with each step.
Cid calls out to him at that moment, "Marcel...don't give up on this. Marcel...this is your dream. This is your dream..."
Marcel doesn't listen to him though. He continues to walk away. And as he leaves he takes my heart with him...
I wake up to loud moving. Marcel isn't laying beside me even though I went to bed in his arms. When I wake up I walk around the corridors trying to find him but with no luck. I return to the room and bathe hoping that he'll be waiting for me after. Still no luck.
Is he avoiding me?
Is he reconsidering?
As I walk down the steps it seems like everyone is packing up. It's clear that everyone knows that Marcel is about to lose. I have no doubt that Cid told everyone his decision to skip out on the President's endorsement in order to stay married to me. I don't know how to feel about it.
I see their long faces. It's clear as they are packing their stuff they probably blame me. No one is really giving me eye contact. No one is giving me their usual cheerful news. Even the lesbians seem a little down and out at that moment. They are standing by the door and weakly smile at me. I wonder how much they know. I wonder how Cid has spun the story to everyone.
I'm afraid to find out though.
"Have you guys seen Marcel?"
"He's off the train. He said to send you his way when you woke up."
"Are we still in the Commerce communities?" I ask.
"The outskirts of the community. It's an area known as the Gardens. This is where the Primary announcements will take place. Remus. Hey Remus. Take Marx to go see Marcel will you."
The lesbians give me another smile. It's weak. I can tell they are sad. I try my best to smile back at them though.
Remus is quick to show me the way off the train and lead me away. We are taken towards the outside of the train and I realize just how beautiful this place is. Not to far from the platform a stage is being set up. Robots are assembling the stage and I have no doubt that is where the announcement for the two candidates for president will be announced. By the mass of how things are I can tell this is really going to be a big deal.
"Right this way sir," Remus states.
I follow closely behind Remus. He walks fast. He leads me to something that looks like a hedge labyrinth. It's beautiful really. The hedges are so high that I can't see over them. I don't know how deep the labyrinth goes. I don't see any security around and the platform is further than I really feel comfortable.
Remus just stands at the entrance.
"He's through there..."
"Is it safe?" I ask him.
Remus nods, "Safe? Sure is sure. Sure is. See over there sir? Those are all cameras. The gardens aren't too far from the White House sir. This area is probably among the safest in New Jerusalem. I would escort you sir. I promise I would, but Mr. Anthony says he wants you go to go in there alone sir."
For a moment I'm a little scared. This is unusual as fuck. I mean Marcel wakes up early as hell and sneaks off to a place like this. He doesn't send any security with me or anything like that. Then he notified people that no one is to escort me in there.
This doesn't sound like Marcel and for a moment I am nervous. How well do I really know Marcel? My heart is racing? I thought I knew Silk. I thought I knew Silk so well before he tried to kill me that is.
Was I dumb enough to just blindly trust Marcel?
"Ok. I'll go."
I tell Remus this as though trying to convince the youngin' that I'll be fine but he doesn't seem to give a damn either way. Cid's assistant just stands at the beginning of the maze and crosses his arm. As I walk through the maze I realize that this place is honestly quite beautiful. Roses are entangled the the branches of the hedges. The hedges are neatly trimmed. Every growth is in perfect place. The grass below me is so green that I actually wonder if this is turf. The air doesn't smell like turf though. It smells good.
It smells amazing actually.
If I am going to die here...this would be a beautiful place to die.
I make my way through the maze and as I walk through the maze I get more and more anxious. I find myself going the wrong way a few times. I find myself going back. It seems like I'm in the maze for longer than expected.
Back forward. Back forward.
Finally I find an entrance. I realize I'm in the other end. And I hear...music.
"You made it," Marcel's voice says to me.
I see him on what looks like a table. There are musicians playing over head. They are playing live. I look over at Marcel and he is dressed in a tan suit. He has an ascot on. He looks like something out of an old romance novel that Roman stole from the old Breeding libraries back in the day. It's like a dream seeing him there with his band right beside him. The table that he is sitting at has fresh lemonade.
As I walk to the table Marcel stands up. He moves my chair, allowing me to sit.
I feel my heart beat. I'm triumphant.
"What's this about?" I ask him as I sit.
"Oh you don't like it?" he ask.
I roll my eyes, "You know damn well I like it. I'm just confused what's this about."
Marcel shrugs, "I don't know."
That's all he says. I can't help but to laugh as he says it.
"You don't know?" I ask him.
Marcel laughs, "C`mon punk. Don't make me say it. Ok. Whatever. I wanted to have a date with you. Because. I don't think we ever really had one. Not an official one at least. I wanted us to talk. I wanted us to get to know each other. I wanted it to make sense about why I'm...why I'm...damn, why it always so hard to talk to you? Ok. Let me try again. I wanted to justify my emotion. You know? It just felt so funny for me to feel the way that I feel about you. I shouldn't. You know? I shouldn't have an emotion connection to you because this is business. This is a political marriage and I know that."
He was rambling on. It made me feel anxious. It made me feel uncomfortable. I felt like I needed to stop him for some reason. I felt like I needed to tell him to stop. Instead I'm just here caught in the moment and trying my best not to cry like a loser. This is more emotional than I want it to be. My heart is racing.
I can't take it.
"Let me finish. I know we are backwards as hell," he says smiling shaking his head, "I know that we were probably supposed to date, fall in love and then I ask you to marry me. That's how it works. Instead it's the opposite. I asked you to marry me, then I fell in love...and now I want to date you."
"You...you're in love with me?"
My heart is stuck in my throat.
He nods. He leans over the table. He kisses me. Everything is perfect. Everything is so fucking perfect. The music in the background. The sexy man.
No...not just any sexy man.
The man of my dreams.
So why do I get up at that moment. Why do I leave everything that I have? Why do I decide to run away?
Marcel chased me throughout the maze but he doesn't catch me. I'm not surprised that he doesn't catch me. I was running at top speed. I keep hearing his voice behind me calling out to me.
"Marx...Marx where are you going! Marx. I LOVE YOU!"
Instead I just run. I run as fast as I can. I feel like a runaway bride. Only difference is I'm not a bride and I'm already married to him. I feel like I can almost hear his heart breaking each time he screams my name.
So here I am standing in front of Cid.
Cid looks over at me, "Why you breathing so heavy? Ha. Did Marcel wear you out? You guys have been having sex like rabbits. I keep trying to tell him that he can't get you pregnant."
I look over at the door. I expect Marcel to run through the door at any moment.
"Cid. I can't do this to him."
I look over at Cid. My heart is twisted in my chest. Cid is confused. I can tell he is hiding his own grief underneath a corny sense of humor. I can tell everyone is upset. It's not just Cid. It's everyone.
Everyone feels how sad this is.
"He's willing to give up his chance for presidency to stay married to me," I replied.
Cid shakes his head, "I know. Marcel never was really the lover type. Being president was his the only thing he really ever cared about. You know? That was his dream. To be honest I figured early on that the two of you had chemistry. I figured you guys might end up together."
Cid looks serious.
Cid nods, "Oh yeah. Strong chemistry. Just like kids who punch each other in the school yard. I could tell a mile away. You know we watched you for a while before we came and got you from the breeding grounds. Did you know that?"
I shrug, "No. I didn't know that."
"Yeah. Even back then he was so into you. Blind you know. He'd do anything for you," Cid says and smiles as though thinking about old times, "We've gone a long way. I tell you."
"Tell me. And I want you to be completely honest. If Marcel isn't president would he really be happy. You know? Would he really be ok with not winning president."
Cid seems to hesitate. I can tell that he's struggling with what he should say and what the actual answer is. Cid looks me in my eyes.
"He'll regret it with every bone in his body...probably for the rest of his life," Cid responds.
I don't think twice about what Cid is telling me. It makes sense to me. At that moment I know what I have to do. At that moment I know why I have to do it.
"Cid. Can you help me leave?"
"Leave where? Like go get ready for the announcements?"
"No. Leave like go back to the Breeding Grounds."
Cid seems confused, "Marx. People don't just go back and forth from New Jerusalem to the Breeding grounds."
"What's so special about going to the Breeding Grounds?"
"It's not going to the Breeding Grounds that's hard. It's getting you back to New Jerusalem. Do you know how hard it was to get you up here? The manipulation I made to your Kingsley measurement has expired."
"Yes. It was a beta device that I developed. The technology wasn't stable and the synthetic energy I manifested was limited by asexual hormone imbalance.
"Speak english Cid."
"The manipulation won't work. It won't work at the border again. Marx...I'm trying to tell you that if you go back to the Breeding Grounds...you probably won't ever be able to come back again. You'll never see Marcel again."
My heart beat fast.
"If I don't leave now Marcel is not going to divorce me. He's not going to marry Florian. He's not going to be the president."
Cid raised an eyebrow, "You really care about him...don't you."
I liked to believe what I was doing was selfless. It hurt though. It hurt like shit. I wanted to do what was best for Marcel. I wanted to do what Marcel wanted in the long run. Him being the president wasn't just good for him.
Marcel becoming president would be good for everyone. It would mean there was hope for everyone.
I nod my head, "I love him Cid."
Cid looks over at me, "I'll have Remus steal a ship. He'll take you away."
Cid isn't joking when he says now either. I know that he isn't joking by the look in his eyes. There is a chaos that follows because everyone is getting set up.
I realize that within ten minutes Remus is there. Cid's young assistant has a hovercraft. Within seconds I am smuggled on board.
And within the next hour...I am saying goodbye to the world I've learned.
I'm saying goodbye to the technology...
I'm saying goodbye to civilization....
I am saying goodbye to New Jerusalem...
...Without ever saying goodbye to Marcel.
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