Finale Chapter 16
I’m standing in a hotel room with Roman. He’s looking at me in my face. I haven’t seen my old friend in so long. Marcel told me that I should go to the room. He told me he was going to deal with this issue.
“How have you been?” Roman asks me.
“I’ve seen better. Marcel told me you came here to warn me.”
“It wasn’t Silk, Marxis. He was programmed. I hope you know that.”
It’s strange to see my old friend after all this time. To be honest for the first time I feel like I have a piece of at home with me. All the crazy gays and their plots and schemes. I didn’t trust them and now I was seeing that Roman risked everything to come and see me. He risked everything to come here and warn me about them.
“You know I didn’t leave you on purpose right?” I ask Roman, “I was taken…”
“Marx. You don’t have to explain. You’re living the life that I would have dreamed of living,” Roman stated, “You don’t have to…fight for food. You don’t have to live in squalor. You’re happy right now and that’s all that matters.”
I look at Roman.
My heart races really. Nazarius abandoned me. I can understand how it is for him to be here and see all this nice stuff while he was living like a street rat. I feel horrible for him.
“Listen I’ll talk to Marcel. Maybe there’s something we can do for you.”
“I think you have bigger problems…”
Roman is right.
Just downstairs Cid threw me under the bus before he got taken away to prison. I should have known he would have. He came and saved me from the cops once. Now that he was in trouble with the cyborgs it was only a matter of time before he snitched and told everyone about me.
Roman and I sit upstairs. He tries to comfort me. He tries to tell me everything is going to be ok. I nod and smile.
It’s almost an hour before Marcel finally comes back upstairs.
“Are you ok?” he asks me.
He’s alone when he walks in the room. I’m surprised he is but I also notice the guards outside of the hotel room. There are a lot of them.
“I don’t know yet. You tell me,” I ask Marcel, “What’s going on?”
Marcel is close to me, “Listen. I won’t let them take you. You know that right?”
Marcel is holding me. I’m surprised he has this look on his face. It’s dedication. I wonder what he means by the comment. Clearly if he isn’t going to let them take me that means that they want to take me.
“Marcel what’s happening?”
I can tell Marcel is emotional. He’ standing in the room and he’s shaking. He doesn’t look like himself. He looks like he has so much on his mind.
“They want to test you.”
I swallow my spit.
“Marx breaks those,” Roman tells Marcel.
Marcel nods, “Yeah. I realize that. I was able to get them to push out the test until after the election. But regardless they are bringing some brand new test that can’t be manipulated in any way. Some state of the art Kingsley scale.”
My heart ran in my chest. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
“Isn’t there a way around it?” I ask Marcel, “Anything?”
“I tried. I pulled all my political weight,” Marcel replied, “There were a lot of higher-ups in the room when Cid said that. People are demanding to know whether you are really gay. They are going to test you….”
“So we run,” Roman suggests.
I look over at Roman.
“You don’t have a choice. Marx. You know what they do to people who try to trick the Kingsley scale. They put you in jail. They put you UNDER the jail. We need to run. We go back to the Breeding Grounds.”
Marcel and I exchange looks. The idea of being away from Marcel again is turning my stomach in knots. It’s not about staying in New Jerusalem. It’s not about any of that. It’s about being with Marcel.
Marcel crosses his arms.
“I can’t lose you.”
I’m surprised he says that but I understand it.
“Do I have a choice?”
“If I win the presidency I’ll have the secret service at my disposal. If you don’t break the test or if you score below a 3, I can have them storm in. Take you away to safety.”
Roman shakes his head.
“Why take the risk. Why not leave now?”
“Because what if he doesn’t break the test?” Marcel asks.
Roman shakes his head, “Marx. I know you really like being here, but don’t be stupid. Don’t risk you freedom to stay in New Jerusalem. It’s not worth it. I’m leaving here tonight and I want you to come with me.”
They both look at me. It’s so strange. At one point Marcel didn’t want me in New Jerusalem at all. He didn’t want me around him. Now he was basically begging me to stay. At one point Roman would have done anything to be in New Jerusalem and now he was basically begging me to leave with him.
Two sides of a coin.
Safety. Or risk.
“I’m staying with Marcel.”
Roman shakes his head, “You’re making a mistake, Marx. You’re making a mistake.”
Roman sounds exactly like Silk when he says it. I can almost imagine Silk’s head on Roman’s shoulders. Roman has seen how deceitful this world of New Jerusalem can be and I’m not surprised that he wants nothing to do with it. I’m not surprised at the fact that he’s running.
Marcel has his people escort Roman away in the middle of the night. They sneak him underneath the shade of darkness. Before he leaves though Roman looks at me one last time. The look in his eyes says it all.
I should go with him.
If I was smart I would go with him.
But even then I turn and nod at him, “I won’t forget you. I hope you know that.”
I’m not sure if he knows what I mean. I mean that if I can do anything to help the condition of straight people that I would do it. But the only way that I can put myself in the position to help straight people is if I take the risk. The only way I can help them is if I take the test.
Roman shakes his head and doesn’t look at me again. Instead he takes a look at Marcel. His eyes look hard at Marcel.
“Listen,” he tells Marcel, “You straight people stole one friend from me. You won’t steal another. If anything happens to Marx…”
“He’s in good hands.” Marcel replies.
At that point Marcel actually puts me in his hands. He holds me. He secures me. And I honestly believe him. I know Roman is looking at me like I’m an idiot for still trusting a Gay. I can tell by the way he continuously shakes his head over and over.
As time passes the big talk of New Jerusalem isn’t the election. The big talk of New Jerusalem is something everyone is calling “THE TEST”.
The test is going to be on the same day as Election day. Marcel can’t spend a lot of time around me because he’s preparing for election day. Every moment he spends in the spotlight doing interviews and debating Nazarius.
“You’re the talk of the town,” Natasha tells me.
“Is that a good thing?” I ask.
We are sitting in the hotel room. That’s all I do nowadays. Marcel isn’t taking the risk of having me leave. The paparazzi is basically camping outside of the hotel. They just would love to get a scoop on me. Truth is the more I stay away from the spotlight the more popular I become.
“You’ll be ok. You know that right?” Natasha asks me, “If you’re not gay. I don’t know who is…”
“Right I mean you and Marcel have real chemistry,” Latosha replies.
I wonder if they are just trying to make me feel better. I break all of those tests. Cid manipulated the results once. He can’t do it again. I have nothing to hide behind.
I feel like it’s more of a countdown to lockdown anyway.
“Have you guys heard from Marcel? He doesn’t come to sleep anymore.”
It’s been hard on me. Truthfully I question him. Maybe he’s having second thoughts. Maybe he’s realizing that I’m more trouble than I’m worth.
“I know. But with the test coming up I’d assume he’d want to spend more time with me,” I replied.
I feel like I’m whining.
“I’m sure he wants to spend time with you,” Latosha replies, “He’s struggling though. Nazarius is winning in the unofficial polls.”
“Because of me.”
I know the girls know all the gossip going on in New Jerusalem. Nowadays I don’t even need to watch television. Natasha and Latosha know exactly what is going on with the political race.
Natasha rolls her eyes, “Because he hasn’t announced who his vice president is yet. Hell. He’s downstairs now meeting with Lexus and we all know the only thing that Lexus wants is you. When you and Lexus get married Marcel is going to kick himself with regret.”
“What?” I ask.
Latosha elbows Natasha. It is clear this is something that they shouldn’t have mentioned. It is clear that they should have kept it a secret.
Natasha tries to backtrack, “Um. Nothing.”
“Marcel is arranging a marriage with Lexus?” I ask them.
“Big mouth…” Latosha tells her girlfriend.
Why would Marcel be doing this? What the hell is wrong with him? My heart races.
“Is Marcel arranging a marriage with LEXUS?”
“We don’t know if Marcel is agreeing to it, but Marcel has to be desperate right now. Word is Lexus will only join the ticket if he marries you,” Natasha replies, getting red off embarrassment, “He arranged a meeting with Lexus so…I just assumed…”
I feel my heart race, “Great.”
Natasha and Latosha shake their head. It’s Natasha who whispers a soft, “I’m sorry.”
I wonder if she knows what she’s sorry for. I wonder if she really understands. It doesn’t mean much to them. To them it’s just politics. To them it’s just gossip. Marcel would really arrange for Lexus to marry me behind my back.
Marcel comes to sleep that night.
“Tomorrow’s the big day,” he says as he comes out of the shower.
He’s dripping wet at that moment. I’m sitting on the bed as he walks in. It’s the first time I’ve seen him in forever.
Marcel looks over at me, “You ok?”
Marcel walks over and sits on edge of the bed, “You’re not ok punk. Talk to me…”
“I haven’t seen you much.”
“I’ve been preparing a lot.”
“Right. Politics. I heard a lot about your preparations,” I reply, “Lexus is your vice president now huh?”
“You’ve been listening to the lesbians,” Marcel rolls his eyes, “I told them to leave you out of the political bullshit. You don’t need to worry about that.”
He seems annoyed. He takes a deep breath. I can tell Marcel is stressed out. The look on him looks stressed out. He looks handsome as usual. Don’t get me wrong. He’s sitting right now wrapped up in a towel. I have no doubt that he just exercised because he was sweating when he walked in the room. He told me once that helped him burn stress.
I look at Marcel up and down. Even though he looks the same, I can tell that he’s stressed. I can tell by the way he doesn’t look in my eyes. Something is making him nervous.
Something is making him nervous as hell.
“So it’s true? Lexus is your vice president.”
Marcel struggles at that moment. God please let this not be true. Did he really trade me so that Lexus could join his ticket?
“Is that a problem with you…”
“Yes or no. That’s all I want to know.”
“Yes,” he says but then quickly adds, “I would have told you. I just didn’t want you thinking about politics. I want you removed from this kind of shit. I want…”
“That’s all I wanted to know.”
I roll over at that moment. Marcel tries to talk to me. I know I’m being immature. I just hate it. I find it sneaky. Why wouldn’t he let me know that he mad Lexus his vice president? Why wouldn’t he let me know that Lexus was working on arranging a marriage with me?
Marcel doesn’t attempt to talk to me again. He just lays down on the other side of the bed. I can feel his eyes staring at me trying to figure me out. For a moment I can hear his lips part as though he’s going to say something but nothing happens.
“Election day…you ready?” Natasha asks me.
She asks me if I’m ready as if they didn’t spend hours getting me ready. She reminds me over and over that “All eyes will be on me”. I don’t know if she wants to make me feel nervous on purpose. Either way I’m nervous. I can feel my chest. Natasha and Latosha can put as much makeup on me and dress me up in the nicest suit in New Jerusalem. It didn’t matter. Underneath all of that was a boy who was terrified.
“Test day you mean,” I correct her.
“Nothing will happen to you. Marcel told us about the escape plan,” Latosha tells me, “We’ll stay by your side the entire time. You aren’t alone. You know that right?”
I nod, “Thank you.”
I hug Latosha and Natasha wondering if this is the last time I’ll be seeing them. It’s hard not to feel that way. Even though they are trying to give me strength I can see the fear in their eyes. They’ve always hung their emotions on their sleeves. They are worried. They are worried that the government will test me and I’ll be revealed to all New Jerusalem as different. I’d be sent away to jail.
Natasha holds onto my right hand and Latosha holds onto my left. We head to the bottom floor conference room. A huge stage is set up.
The room is packed and Natasha is right. All eyes shoot to me.
I look at the signs across the rom.
Anthony/Lucius 2084 signs are hung up everywhere. I have no doubt that Nazarius and his campaign party are in another part of the hotel.
“What’s happening?” I ask Natasha.
She leans in a little bit, “The polls just closed. Everyone’s waiting to see who wins.”
I walk over to Marcel. He’s standing there and Lexus. They are talking. I see Florian right behind Marcel. What the fuck is Florian doing behind Marcel. My heart races.
I can hear them talking. I watch Lexus shake hands with Marcel. I watch at that moment as Marcel and Lexus shakes hands.
Lexus smiles at him and he says, “Nice doing business with you.”
Business? Business! Is that what I am now?”
“Marx…don’t…” Natasha tells me.
It’s too late. The emotions run through me at that moment. I don’t know what comes over me but I just find myself storming over to Marcel. I feel so betrayed. Every single time I’m betrayed by the Gays. I turn the other cheek and I get backstabbed again.
That’s what they are about.
“You look…amazing…” Lexus states looking at me.
He watches me approach. He’s looking up and down at me. My white suit is futuristic. I have coattails on that are so long they hit the floor. The white is like pearl color completely different from what everyone else is wearing in the room. It was Natasha’s idea. She said that she wanted me to stand out if this was my last day as a free man. She laughs but I’m thinking she is dead serious. I don’t mind.
Lexus isn’t the only one that seems mesmerized. Marcel turns as well. His eyes make eye contact with me. We didn’t speak since last night.
He takes a step towards me, “He’s right. You look…amazing.”
“I’m glad you think so. Dressed in all white. I’m ready for my marriage I guess. Isn’t this what you wanted?” I ask.
Marcel looks at me. His face gets red with embarrassment.
“Wait…how did you know about that?”
“Don’t worry how I fucking knew about it!”
Marcel seems just as upset. I see Florian and Lexus at his side. My heart is racing. I am getting betrayed again. I should have left when I had the fucking chance. Now my freedom was at stake.
Because I fell in love.
“I was going to tell you…after the results of the presidency.”
“Because that’s all that matters to you,” I reply.
“What?” he shakes his head, “I thought you wanted the marriage. I thought…”
“How could you FUCKING think I wanted that?” I ask him, “Are you fucking crazy? No. Hell no. I’m leaving now…”
Marcel looks shocked and confused. He tries to grab me but I push him away. I start walking out but as I walk out I realize that I’m blocked. There are men standing there. They aren’t regularl men. They are cyborgs. New Jerusalem police.
They are standing there. An official is standing there with me.
“Sir, we can’t let you leave until you take your test…” the cops say.
Marcel is following me, “You’re leaving.”
I wasn’t aware the testers were going to be here. Now. It’s too late. So this is how my story ends. Marcel selling me off and me ending up going to jail anyway. Was this how things ended up for me?
I shake my head.
“This is what you wanted?” I ask, “Fine. Test me…”
“Wait not yet…” Marcel states, “We aren’t ready yet…”
“Fuck you. And fuck being ready.”
I know Marcel is talking about his escape plan. He isn’t going to out and say it in front of the officials. I should be smart. Even though I’m pissed at Marcel I should be smart enough to tell him to leave me alone.
The entire room turns from the countdown screen. They are watching the cyborgs plug me up into this device. They plug it into the back of my neck. I’m standing there watching the cables and strings come around me. The official is there. Marcel is just shaking his head. Lexus is there. The lesbians are there. Florian has a smirk on his face in the back.
Everyone is watching me. They all are wondering what is going to happen.
“Almost done…” the official says, “Try to stand still…
A silence fills the room.
You can hear a pin drop.
“Sir! Sir you just won the election!” someone says to Marcel.
Me eyes light up but Marcel pushes the guy away, “Fuck the election. I’m worried about him…”
I’m shocked. I’m not the only one. Marcel just won the election and basically gave the man who told him a stiff arm. He didn’t even crack a smile let alone celebrate. Marcel was looking at me completely focused on what was going on with my test.
He could care less about the election.
And I’m confused. The election was his life. This was what was most important to him. Why the hell was he not celebrating.
Marcel was the president of the United States.
“I don’t get it,” I tell Marcel, “Why do you care what happens to me?”
“When have I ever stopped caring about what happened to you?” Marcel replied, “You are the one that’s saying no to the marriage.”
“I don’t want to marry Lexus.”
Marcel raises an eyebrow.
“Don’t you want me to marry Lexus?” I ask him.
“No. Fuck no.”
“So you didn’t arrange a marriage with Lexus so he could run for vice president?”
“I did but…jesus. How many times did I tell you not to listen to gay gossip?” He asks, “I didn’t arrange one with you.”
He turns at that moment. Lexus is standing there listening on. He isn’t alone though. I notice who is standing behind him. Florian. They are…holding hands…
My eyes gleam over at Natasha. She disappears behind Latosha at that moment trying to fade into the background. I can’t even blame her. It’s my fault for even listening to the rumors.
“But…you said something about my marriage. What were you going to ask me about my marriage?”
Marcel shakes his head, “So you didn’t know.”
Marcel takes a deep breath, “What did you think I was preparing for this whole time?”
“Fuck the presidency,” Marcel says, before looking at everyone in the room, “No offense. I wasn’t preparing for that. You want to know what I was preparing for?”
Marcel gets on one knee.
I look down at this man. This man I once hated. I look down at this man who once hated me and there is no hate there. All there is love. True, genuine love.
Marcel pulls out a ring.
“I wanted to do this the right way,” Marcel replies, “Marx…will you…”
My heart races. I’ve never been so in love in my life.
I”ve never felt so…GAY in my life.
The official unplugs me, “Hm…seems like you did measure a 6 after all. I’m sorry for the miscommunication sir.”
My story doesn’t end there of course. In the end this is a story about betrayal after all. Motto of the story: Watch your fucking back. And in a story of betrayal I wish I could tell you that we lived happily ever after…
Yeah. That isn’t the case.
There is so much to do. It isn’t too long that Marcel is going to have be sworn in as president. I’m spending a lot of times these days preparing a big wedding for us.
I know Marcel has a lot ahead. Cid supposedly won his trial and got out of jail. I have no doubt that he would find a way to get himself out of that. It was Cid after all.
Marcel is planning on naming Nazarius the Secretary of State. He asked my permission but I have no doubt that it’s politics. Keep your enemies close as they say.
Florian and Lexus get married. Seems the only reason Lexus agreed to marry him was because there was doubt that I was a 6. Now that I am confirmed a 6 though he’s right back to being the same old sneaky Lexus only now he’s the Vice president.
Then there was the straight issue. Roman went back to the straight people and really did start a “Straight Agenda”. Supposedly he did it for Silk or maybe because he got a taste of what New Jerusalem was really like and shared it with everyone. There was no way in hell he was going to just go back to the ghettos after experiencing it. Roman was going to raise all hell. Marcel plans on opening up negotiations about ending segregation but this new Straight Agenda doesn’t help with peace talks. The gays aren’t taking it well either and Marcel is right in the middle of it all. I have no doubt there are a lot of issues with this.
“You sure you ready for this?” Marcel asks me on the day he is being sworn in.
He is holding my hands.
Nazarius is to my right. Florian is to Marcel’s right. Lexus is right behind him. The political party is all around us giving Marcel the worst stares possible due to his new policies on the Gay/straight issue. Enemies are surrounded all around us. The only person I can trust is him. But at least I know there is one person.
There is one person who he can trust as well.
“I got your back,” I assure Marcel.
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