Lexus Lucius had released a sex tape from Marcel and all hell had broken loose. Cid had called an immediately retreat back to the train but it wasn't nearly enough.
The Paparazzi had spotted us trying to make an escape for the train and they were on it before we knew it. Flashes of camera were spotted getting at Marcel and others.
Silk was by my side. He covered my head with his coat and guided me through the crowd. It might have saved me from the embarrassing glares but I could still hear the questions being hurled at me.
"How long was Marcel having an affair?"
"Is your marriage a scam?"
"Were you aware of Florian's relationship with your husband?"
The questions and allegations flooded from everywhere. Marcel was up ahead with Cid and the others. By the time we got to back to the train I felt like a media storm had just settled on New Jerusalem.
We were back in the station. Cid was barking out orders. I could hear him now screaming for people to pay the news in order to paint this issue in a different like. He was trying to fix it almost immediately but I could see the defeated look on Marcel's face as he just stood there completely shocked at what had happened.
Marcel looked over at me.
"I'm sorry," he replied.
His eyes glared at mine. He honestly did look sorry but I couldn't look at him too long. To be honest I was disgusted. This man had just kissed me not too long ago. I mean it was just another kiss but it meant more to me for whatever reason. We had sex before, even though it was an accident and we didn't remember. We flirted constantly. I knew about Florian but that didn't make any of this any better really.
"He's fine," Silk replied.
Silk stood over me protective by nature.
"Aren't you supposed to be guarding the both of us?" Marcel ask Silk, "Seems like you only have one person in mind to protect..."
"Don't you have other issues to be worrying about?" I askMarcel confused on why he was coming at Silk in a time like this.
I knew the way I said it was funny. I knew I had an attitude. I couldn't fake it and act like I didn't have an attitude. I was annoyed. No. I was more than annoyed. I was embarrassed as hell. I felt like the entire world was looking at me like a shit show right now.
"I'm sorry," he replies.
I shrug, "This is a fake marriage anyway, isn't it?"
"Don't spare my feelings brotha. You go fuck who you want but why on Earth would you record it. That's the dumbest thing."
"I didn't record anything. I...I didn't know it was happening..." he tries to defend himself.
He looks embarrassed but I think we are all embarrassed right now. We are parading around town acting like a happy couple so in love and now he has a sex tape out from a week ago that he just failed to realize.
"Could Florian have recorded it?" Cid asks Marcel.
"Florian wouldn't do that."
"Because Florian is so perfect?" I ask him.
"Because he loves me," Marcel replies.
I realize at that moment that Marcel's relationship with Florian is more complex then anything I could have imagined. This wasn't sex. This was something deeper than that. I knew they had a history. It was clear by their reaction to one another. Hell, I even knew they had something going on now. But this love word being thrown around pissed me off. I couldn't help it. I was jealous. I was insecure. I regretted getting involved in this shit show.
"We can fix this," Cid replies.
"How?" Marcel asks, "We should just give up. I'll drop out of the race..."
The staff members looked over at Marcel. I don't know how much Cid's staff knew about our agreement and our situation but they never seemed to comment. Either Cid was paying them a lot to not seem too judgmental or they just were used to New Jerusalem shadiness.
"I agree," I add to Marcel.
He looks at the floor instead of looking at me. Ever since I met him he always seemed so confident. He always was so sure of himself. Right now he seemed defeated almost completely. I can almost feel bad for him but every time I think about feeling bad I remember his naked body grasping as Florian's waist and fucking him from behind.
"The race is not over. Lexus realized that because of Marx's speech today your popularity is probably up. This was a desperate ploy by a desperate man who is LOSING. All we need to do is find out how Lexus found out about Marcel cheating."
"Can you stop saying that?" Marcel replies.
"Cheating? What do you think you're doing?" Cid asks Marcel, "I'm sick and tired of having to fix your messes. Keep our DICK to yourself or give it to your husband. Period!"
I never saw Cid get out of character like this. I never saw Marcel fold to him like he was doing right now. Usually Marcel would try to combat Cid's instruction or something like that but right now he was just looking at the floor...defeated.
"I'm sorry...to both of you," Marcel replies.
He looked over at me. I wondered if he meant it. I wondered if he really felt like he needed to be sorry. He was probably thinking the same thing that I was thinking. We weren't in a real relationship. We really didn't even care about one another. On paper he was married but in his heart he was still single. He could still do what the fuck he wanted to.
And so could I.
"Well. I'm going to bed."
"You're going to bed at a time like this?" Cid asks, "We didn't even figure out a plan."
I looked over at Cid and shrugged, "Listen, my job isn't to figure out plans. That's yours. Remember? I'm the one who is supposed to smile and be the arm candy in this moron-athon. I did my job. I'm going to bed."
Marcel's eyes stayed locked in on mine as I walk away.
I stay in my sleeping quarters for hours until there was a knock on the door. A part of me thought it was going to be Marcel for some reason. I don't know why I expected it to be him or maybe even hoped it would be him. I wanted him to give me some excuse about all of this bullshit so that I could feel better about it.
It wasn't him though.
It was Silk.
I already knew what this was about before it even started.
"Please don't..." I start.
I knew my friend. Even with all his metallic upgrades I knew exactly what Silk was about to say and what he thought about all of this.
"I told you so," Silk replies.
"You can't help yourself can you?"
"No. Are you hearing what's going on with these people?" Silk replies, "These people play dirty. There is nothing they won't do to win. Is this what you want?"
Sometimes it's hard to listen to Silk because sometimes he speaks the truth. He makes me see parts of myself that I don't want to see and I hate it.
"Is this what you came here to do?" I ask Silk, "Preach to me?"
"I came to deliver a message from Cid," Silk replies, "Your father would like to arrange a visit with you..."
The word father seemed like a distant memory. I didn't consider him that really the moment he acted like he didn't even recognize me. Now all of a sudden he wanted to speak to me. All of a sudden after I do an interview letting the world know the disgusting human being he is. Now he wanted to speak to me huh?
I shiver at the thought of it.
"You know me well enough to know what my answer is."
Silk shook his head, "I do. You think your father is so bad but for some reason you give Marcel a pass. I see how you look at him and I don't like it. They are all the same. Every last one of these gays are scum..."
"Silk, you and I both know I'm gay."
"That's not the case. I don't know what technology they used to change your asexual measurement...but you're not gay."
"I know what I am," I replied to him shaking my head, "I'm very very gay. I've never been attracted to a female in my life."
"That doesn't mean you're gay. You weren't attracted to males either."
"I was always attracted to you."
The words came out of my mouth like vomit. I don't know what makes me walk over to him and kiss him. I don't know why I press my lips hard against my friend like this. I know how he would react. Maybe I love the idea of being misery.
Silk does exactly what I think he's going to do. He pushes me away. His face sours up at that moment as though he tastes something wrong.
"What WAS that?" he asks me.
"Am I so disgusting to you?" I ask him.
"You're not gay," Silk replies as though trying to convince both him and me, "This Marcel guy, he's trouble. He has you confused on your sexuality. You're asexual. The scale told you."
"I never needed a scale to tell me what I was..."
Silk doesn't seem to want to hear anymore. He walks out. He leaves me there staring at the door just thinking about how disgusted he looked when I kissed him. I knew that I was gay. I knew that I always had a crush on him. Silk hated gays so much that he refused to allow even someone he cared about to be gay.
I didn't sleep that night or the next night for that matter. Marcel never comes to the room. I figure he must have found somewhere else to sleep. Hell it's probably with Florian for all I know.
The only thing that was on my mind was Lexus Lucius and his revelation to the world. By the time I came downstairs it looked like I wasn't the only one that felt that way.
Cid was still running around like a chicken with his head caught off. He was still wearing the same clothes from the day before. So were half the people on the staff. There was no lack of energy however. There was a stench of exhaustion but no lack of energy.
"He's been at it all night," a voice says.
I turn to see Marcel standing there. He had on a wife beater and basketball shorts. I've never seen him dress so casual.
"The train's moving," I tell him.
"Yeah. We're headed to the Education district. It's where all the new Gays come in when they hit puberty. You didn't have to do it clearly because you were over the required age limit. It's a big spot in the campaign and after my cluster fuck Cid is going to be pulling a couple all nighters. Let's get breakfast. You don't want to be around this."
I was surprised Marcel wanted to actually go get breakfast with me. We walk to a separate part of the train that seems relatively full of politicians and their staff. We get mixed stares when we walk into the room.
There is a change though. I was once getting the strange funny stares but now it was Marcel getting them instead. It seemed as though the tables turned.
He seemed well aware of it too by the time we got our breakfast and sat in the dining table.
"It's everywhere..." Marcel replied, "The video. I've never been so embarrassed in my fucking life."
His voice is solemn...deep.
It's hard not to feel bad for him even being as pissed as I was. The entire world seeing you have an intimate moment.
"How do you suppose Lexus got the tape?" I asked, "Did you honestly think about it?"
Marcel sighed, "I know where you're going with it. I told you Florian wouldn't do me like that. He loves me."
"Do you love him?"
Marcel took a deep breath, "I don't know. Maybe. Maybe a little. Once I really did."
"Life happened. He decided that he wanted to move on to bigger and better things, meaning your father. I remember what he told me when he left me. He goes... 'you understand, right? It's nothing personal.' Almost like he we hadn't been together for 3 years."
"That's fucked up," I replied.
Marcel shakes his head, "The sad thing is its normal in New Jerusalem. People give up the idea of love for advancement all the time. In the beginning I went into politics to win him back. I figured I could show him that I deserved him. You know. It was all for Florian...but only in the beginning. Soon I started really enjoying politics and wanting to make a difference. Florian faded into the background and my status grew. First a senator for the Fitness District and then running for president."
"And let me guess...Florian finds his way back."
"He finds his way back and even though I spent so long trying to get over him I take him back. We promise to get married. All the bullshit. But then I pull a Florian on Florian. I find someone who is a better fit for my advancement. You. I tell Florian. 'You understand, right? It's nothing personal.' It made sense. It was fair. I should have dropped him then, but I didn't. Not all the way at least. I don't know what went wrong."
Marcel is telling me this story as though he wants me to understand him.
The truth is it works.
"Nothing went wrong," I tell him, "You aren't Florian. You have a heart. You are still involved with him because you love him."
"And that love fucked up my career."
"What's more important to you? Love or a career?" I ask Marcel.
Marcel looks at me. For some reason you would think I ask him something as complicated as what the purpose of life is. Marcel is just staring at me blankly. Something that should have been a simple answer isn't clicking to him. He just looks at me for a moment and then sighs.
"I'm not sure..." he finally responds.
"Well maybe that's something you have to think about," I reply getting up, "I'm about to head back over and check on Cid, see if he needs anything. You want to come."
He nods. I can tell he's still in thought as he strings along behind me.
By the time we get back to the room things from from bad to worse. Florian is there in the back of the train. He isn't just there along either. He had bags on bags with him. All of his things are just laid out across Cid's working space.
Cid shoots Marcel a look as soon as we walk in.
"Deal. With. This."
Cid's patience seems like it's running out and clearly he has a reason to. Why the hell would Florian show up here at a time like this? There weren't any media on the train but the other politicians clearly seemed just as bad as the media. Anyone could have seen Florian come over here.
Florian was standing in the room with his dark, almost orange skin and emerald green eyes. He looked painted on at times but I guess some people found that 'perfect, Ken Doll' look attractive. Some people which included Marcel.
"Nazarius wants a divorce," he says.
Marcel looks at me and and then looks at Florian. He walks closer to Florian seeming to want to be in private. I hear him whisper something to Florian..something like "calm down" but he whispers it so low that I can't really hear.
Either way Florian isn't having it, "My life as I know it is over. Don't you care?"
"I'd assume he cared. It did involve him as well. It does take two to make a sex tape," I reply at that moment rolling my eyes.
"Was I talking to him?" Florian asks before turning to me, "Was I talking to you? Mind your business."
"That's my husband. That is my business..."
"He's right," Marcel says.
He's looking at the ground so neither Florian or I can tell exactly who Marcel is speaking to.
"Whose right?" Florian asks.
"My husband is," Marcel responds.
Florian raises an eyebrow as though shocked. Hell. I'm pretty goddam shocked too. The way Marcel says it seems like the old Marcel too. He lifts his head up and confidently addresses Florian in a way that makes Florian look away.
"Well you and your...husband need to find a way to fix this or else I'm not going anywhere. All the accounts are in his name. Every last one of them. If he divorces me I have nothing," Florian replied, "NOTHING!"
"That sounds like a personal matter if you ask me. I don't understand what this has to do with us. Maybe you need to be escorted out. Have you met my friend Silk?"
Silk isn't too far away. He never really is. Florian takes a few glances at the size of the cyborg and changes his tone almost immediately.
"Be reasonable," Florian replies, "If he divorces me the media is going to run with it. My affair will make Nazarius look more sensitive. People all over will relate to him. And who will they blame for my failed marriage?"
"He has a point," Cid stated, "Nazarius can only gain from divorcing Florian. He wins sentiment all the while casting a bad light on Marcel."
"I don't understand how this has anything to do with us?" I replied.
Cid shooks his head, "It may not have anything to do with Marcel yet but maybe you can fix this. Maybe you can meet with Nazarius and convince him not to divorce Florian."
I look at Cid like he has two heads.
Florian nods with agreement clearly willing to try anything to get him out of the bind he's in, "Right, right. That is your father."
I ignore Florian, "Cid, you've got to be joking. That man hates me probably and right now the feelings are mutual. Why the hell would he agree to meet with me?"
"He's already agreed. I know the political field. You dealt him some major cards when you started that victimized son campaign. That really worked out for us," Cid states.
"That wasn't a campaign. That was the truth."
"Whatever it was. It worked. Marcel looks bad because of this affair and Nazarius looks bad because of he abandoned his son. I'm not sure what fixes this but maybe Nazarius is," Cid replies, "Maybe you should go meet your father."
"I wouldn't want him to do that," Marcel replies.
The question comes from both Cid and Florian at the same time. They look at Marcel completely confused and baffled. To be honest I'm a little baffled too. Marcel is standing there with his arms crossed.
"Because....well...I don't know. He's isn't politically gifted or anything. He'll go in there and make things worse," Marcel replies.
I honestly thought he was going to say something else.
"Can't get much worse. I'll go meet with that asshole. Set up a meeting," I reply.
Marcel is in the room later that day. He still sleeps on a pullout bed instead of sharing the bed with me. He is laying on the bed pretending to be taking a nap but I know he isn't asleep. The time when I'm supposed to meet my father is coming soon and I'm getting dressed. I see Marcel watching me get dressed the whole time almost like a child would watch their parent get dressed.
"Are you just going to stare at me the whole time? Shouldn't you be with Florian or something making another sex tape?" I ask.
Florian is downstairs. They got him an extra room in our bedroom.
Marcel ignores my sly remark.
"You don't have to do this," he tells me.
"I won't make things worse," I reply, "I'm not that dumb..."
"I didn't mean to say that earlier," Marcel replies, "I meant to say...that you've done enough for me. You've done more than enough. And you are naive when it comes to this world but honestly, I like that about you. I like the fact that you are someone who doesn't have an agenda. I like the fact that you can't force a smile to save your life."
"You like that I can't pretend well?"
"Exactly, because I know when you smile at me, it's genuine. And I don't know. I'm starting to...I don't know...like when you smile at me. I don't want to you to change. I want you to stay...you..."
Marcel is leaning up on the bed. He looks so sexy staring at me in the mirror. His shirt is off. His man pecs are enough to motivate anyone to get back in the gym. His slim waist is the perfect size. He looks over at me. His eyes drifts over to mine. We connect. We linger on there way longer than it should. This attraction I have for him drives me crazy sometimes but sometimes the annoyance I have for him drives me the same amount of crazy.
"Why can't you say that when other people are around?" I ask him, "Why can't you be nice to me with other people around?"
"It's not that," he replies shaking his head, "You make my stomach feel weird when I'm around you so I try to play it off. I went to go see a nurse about it..."
"You went to go see a nurse about butterflies?"
"Butterflies? Don't tell me people in New Jerusalem don't get butterflies..."
Marcel laughed, "I mean. I know what they are it's just. I didn't think that...ugh, I feel dumb now. Listen why don't we just sit in all day and talk about what butterflies are. And we can make fun of what each other don't know. I like to do things like that with you. I just want to spend time with you for some reason."
Marcel looks like he hasn't figured it out yet. He looks like he is still confused. Maybe it's just a feeling instead of a thought that he fully understands.
I can't stick around to help him understand.
"I'm going to see my father," I tell him, "I think you're a cool guy. You're a complicated guy but let's make things easy. Very easy. Get rid of your baggage. Get rid of Florian and we can spend as much time together talking about butterflies or whatever else you'd like. Other wise. It's just business. And I just clocked out."
I know I'm being cold. I know that as I leave the room but whatever I say to him works because he seems to want to follow me as he tries on several attempts to stop me from leaving.
"Sit. Eat? Drink?"
My father is a man of a few words. He's never been one for small talk unless it was particularly necessary. Looking back I could kind of see how he would have gotten into politics. He always knew how to choose the necessary words of impact.
This part of the train is different from the part of the train that I'm on. Everything seems more cold and dark. There isn't any comfort items. There aren't a lot of staff running here and there. There isn't the madness and chaotic behavior that Cid has.
The staff that is there is all dressed the same almost like in a uniform. A dark green uniform. They all have a button that reads, "Cid for president." They all are all in telephones and from the silent conversations I can tell they are fundraising.
My father's sofa isn't even comfortable.
"I'm fine. Let's get to business."
"Business. What business?"
"Didn't you call me here to talk business?" I ask.
"Turn to the right a little and smile?"
I turn to the right. I don't smile. I'm confused. I notice my father is smiling though. A picture is taken relatively quickly. The person runs off with the picture.
"What's going on?" I ask him.
"Nothing. I'm here to enjoy a lovely bonding time with my son," he replied.
"I'm here to see if we can find a way to save face for both of our marriages," I reply.
My father laughs, "Why would I need to save face? I'm divorcing him. I'm playing the sympathy card."
"Florian still wants to be with you."
"I don't care what Florian wants and neither should you. This is the game of cards. You play the cards you are dealt. And you've been playing well haven't you? Your victimized son campaign. It worked so well. I've decided I'd play the victim as well. And I have an offer for you. Why don't you divorce that husband of yours too and join my campaign."
"Why would I do that?" I ask him.
"Because I'm going to win."
My father was cocky. He sounded so sure of himself. I almost want to punch the cocky conceited grin off his face. He even smirks and laughs a little bit right after saying it. The way he's acting makes my blood boil. He still hasn't even acknowledged any of my pain. He is calling it a campaign. To him this is all a game. To him I did this just to get Marcel to the presidency. He still didn't realize how hurt I am did he.
"You don't realize how much you really hurt me by abandoning me, have you?" I asked.
My father looks at me blankly. There is no soul behind those eyes.
"Listen. The cameras are off. Leave Marcel and join me. It'll look good for my image. And you'll be the famous boy that got his heart broken by Marcel Anthony. Lexus Lucius is going to lose the primaries and run as my vice president. He'll marry you. That Marcel Anthony campaign is a joke. It's a sinking ship. And I sunk it."
"Who do you think convinced Florian to seduce Marcel in the first place? Be honest? Florian left that boy in the dust years ago. He's an opportunist. He would do anything I said. For god sakes...I was in the room jerking off in the closet watching them. Who do you think recorded them?"
At that moment I realized just the kind of sadistic, backwards, snake Nazarius Marxis VI really was.
To read the next chapter go to www.crushedcrown.com