“Can you believe how messy this shit is?” Cedric says to me, “Jamison. Hello...Jamison. Are you listening?”
I'm not listening.
My story begins at the very moment he walks into my life. I knew at that very moment that he would change my life forever. He crosses into the room and my heart stops. My breathing stops. My world stops.
He's dark and his hair is short and gray. He has it cut in a specific style. I can see how some people may not think he's handsome. He isn't traditionally handsome. He has strange features that I've never seen before. His nose is a little too small for his face. His lips are a little too thin. He has sharp chin. His features remind me of on a menacing villain from a Disney movie. His eyes squint as he walks. Every step...is so...precise as he moves. It's almost as though he planned all of this. It's almost as though he plans to walk in my life at that moment.
I grab Cedric and pull him close.
“Who is that?”
Cedric looks over at the boy I'm talking about. He looks back at me. Cedric and I have been working together for almost four years. We know each other. We always have.
“That guy over there?” Cedric asks, “Who knows? Who cares?”
“How do I look?” I ask.
“How do I look?”
Cedric laughs, “You know damn well you are the sexy maintenance guy. Don't ask me stupid questions.”
I ignore Cedric. At this moment nothing else matters. The moment when you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with nothing matters. It's not like I've had this feeling before though. I shouldn't know what this feeling is. But I do. I know exactly how I feel.
And I can't stop staring at him. He's crossed the hallways. He's waiting at the elevator. He leans over to press the buttons. The boy with the gray hair is about to press the button but he stops. He stops and he turns to me.
“Oh shit. He's looking over here...”
I turn all of a sudden. I pretend like I'm back to doing work. I act like I'm fixing on of the desks. I have my toolkit in hand.
“You are acting so weird,” Cedric says, “Are you ok?”
“Is he still looking?”
“The boy Cedric. Shit. The boy with the gray hair...”
Cedric pauses for a minute. He sighs a little bit, “Uh...yeah. Yep. He's headed this way.”
I'm panicking all of a sudden. I never panicked over someone in my life. I never gave it a second thought. This was different though. That feeling that enters my stomach cripples me. It keeps me standing there and I'm afraid to look over at where the boy is.
But I feel him. I feel him standing over me now. He's crossed back over to the office space that Cedric and I are working in. He's lingering over me.
“Do you guys work here?” the boy asks.
I don't look up. I'm so afraid to look up. I am just pretending like I'm fixing something. Anything. It doesn't matter. I take my wrench out. And I start hitting something. Anything. I have to seem busy. I don't know what to say. I can't look at him in his face.
“Well not with the Corporation,” Cedric says, “We are a third party. Maintenance crew hired by the Corporation.”
“I'm trying to get to the 40th floor...but the numbers only go up to 39 at that elevator.”
Cedric seems confused, “There is no 40th floor.”
“Are you sure?” the boy asks.
The boy stops.
“But if there was a 40th floor...how do I get to it?” the boy asks.
“Sir. Most of the top floors are off limits,” Cedric tells him, “You need an access key to even get close to those top floors.”
“This access key?” the boy asks.
He has an access key to the top floors? No one had an access key to the top floors.
“Sir even with a key. There is no 40th floor...”
That is when I see the boy stop. I feel his eyes on me even though I'm trying to avoid eye contact.
“Can you tell me how to get to the 40th floor?” the boy says, completely ignoring what Cedric told him.
That is when I have to do it. I turn to the boy. Our eyes connect. Fuck. He's the strangest person to me. His eyes are like glass. They reflect my own. All of a sudden sexy Jamison is a little insecure boy all over again.
And like a child I am learning to talk all over again.
“I----uh----” I start.
I can't get the words out.
“Look....buddy,” Cedric states, “There is no 40th floor. Ok? Kapeesh? If you want to wander around 39 floors have at it. We have some work we have to do.”
I look at Cedric and at that moment I want to choke him. He's being so fucking rude. I can't help but to elbow him as hard as I can. I hear him grunt in pain. The boy must notice. He's not looking at Cedric any more. He's looking at me.
“What's your name?” he asks me.
“I'm Jamison. Jamison Reid,” I tell him.
At least I can get that much out.
“Oh...” he says with a blank stare.
That is when he turns and walks away. I watch him from behind. I can't help but to watch his ass in his slacks. He has on a sports coat. He's wearing all gray. It's the same color as his hair. When he gets to the elevator I watch as he presses floor 39. He waits for the elevator. Cedric is talking to me by now. He's saying something to me but I don't even hear him. I'm just looking at the boy with the gray hair. I'm mesmerized. The boy walks into the elevator and disappears.
“Did you hear me Jamison?” Cedric said.
I finally snap out of it, “What? What did you say?”
“What a fucking a weirdo right?”
I nod. I am still staring at the elevator. Every part of me wants to jump into that elevator and see how close I can get to him again. My body is shivering. An itch runs up my spine. I need to stare at him again. I need to see him again.
“Yeah,” I respond to Cedric, “He was really weird...”
I go home later that day and close the door. I live with my Aunt Gloria above her store front. On the weekends I help her out and on the weekdays I work at the Corporation. That's what Cedric and I have called it all these years. We don't know the name of the Corporation. It's strange but they pay well to a couple of maintenance guys who just have high school diplomas. So we don't ask questions. We go in, pick up the maintenance requests and clock out. No questions asked.
“Jamison. Jamison are you home!” Aunt Gloria is calling out to me.
I ignore her and turn up my radio. I'm in the mood. I can't get the boy out of my mind. For some reason I'm thinking about his ass as he was walking away from me. I've always been gay. When my mother died Aunt Gloria was the only one in the family that seemed ok with my sexuality. So I came to stay with her.
I find myself grabbing at my crotch...touching myself. Feeling at my dick. I can imagine being in him. I can imagine making love to him.
I've always been a top. That's what I prefer. Tried getting fucked when I was way young. That just didn't work out. I am touching myself all of a sudden. I'm grabbing at my crotch. I can feel my dick expanding through my pants.
All of a sudden Aunt Gloria storms into the room. I could have sworn I locked the door but I must have missed the lock. She's standing there all of a sudden and I quickly grab at a pillow to cover my hard dick under my pants.
“Aunt Gloria! Can you knock?” I ask her.
“Relax. You can play with your little thing in a minute. I just have a question.”
That's Aunt Gloria. She is blunt crude and honest. It's the New Yorker from her. Since we moved to Chicago, that New York attitude never left her. The streets of Chicago weren't much different to me but to her it made a world of difference.
“There's nothing little about it Aunt Gloria,” I say rolling my eyes.
“Right. You take after your Uncle Charles huh?”
“TOO MUCH information,” I tell her, immediately, “What did you need?”
“I just need to know if you're going to be working at the store this weekend.”
“No I can't. The Corporation has been putting in a lot of requests lately. A lot more than usual. They want everything ready for something. I don't know what it is.”
“What kind of Corporation is this you're always talking about?”
“Aunt Gloria. I told you. I don't know.”
“Why don't you find out?” Aunt Gloria asks, “You've been working for this company for how long and you have no idea what they do?”
“It's a lab. Science stuff. What do I care? I just fix their appliances.”
“For all you know, they can be making EBOLA in a tube...”
“Ok, Aunt Gloria. I'll talk to you later.”
“I'm serious. You want Ebola?”
“Bye Aunt Gloria.”
I close the door at that moment on her. A part of me feels like she may be right though. I've been working at this place forever and I don't know what they did. I never cared honestly. But now things are different. I've met that boy. All of a sudden I want to know who he is. And I want to know what he does at this corporation.
Work the next day is busy as hell. Cedric and I are supposed to be checking all the security wires for the 5th time and making sure they are ran correctly. As we work I notice how busy everyone in the building seems. A lot of the times things have been strange in this building but within the last few days things are just stranger.
“Do they seem off to you?” I ask.
“Who?” Cedric asks.
“The people here...”
I look around. I can't put my finger on it. The majority of them are regular people but every once and a while someone walks into the building that isn't so regular. And it's almost like everyone seems to know who that person is and they seem to avoid that person...no matter what. It isn't until that person leaves the floor that they start acting normal again.
And the strange thing about it was all of those people who everyone else avoided had gray hair.
“You just now notice that?” Cedric asks me.
“No...but don't you wonder what they do here?”
“They mix chemicals in tubes. Big shit,” Cedric replies, “You know what else they do? They pay me. They pay me good money to keep my head down and shut the fuck up.”
I know Cedric is referencing the contract we signed when we started working here. The thing was about 100 pages long. All this legal shit that no one had time to really go over. I thought it was weird then. But I was also broke and I needed to help Aunt Gloria out. So I took the job as fast as I could.
“Something is happening. I've seen more of the gray haired people around lately. And that boy yesterday. It's the first time one of the gray haired people have talked to us,” I stated shaking my head and then stopping, “And what about all the maintenance requests and...”
“JAMISON....do me a favor...”
“Shut the fuck up,” Cedric tells me, “Why don't you act like a normal dude and try to go on a date with one of these hot scientist chicks here?”
“Cedric. How many times do I have to tell you that I'm gay?”
By now we are walking to the next request. As we walk down the hallways I get stares. It's normal. I'm used to it. I am even used to the whistles when there is a group of cougars around or something. Speaking of cougars I notice the name of one on the next maintenance request.
I lead Cedric to the office reluctantly.
Cedric looks at me strangely, “Seriously. I thought that gay thing was just a phase. Dude.”
“No. Gay. Very gay.”
“So why don't you ever date? Not even guys? Get you some dick.”
“Don't like dick.”
“You just said you were gay,” he said.
“I like ass. Just because you are gay doesn't mean you necessarily want to get dicked down all the damn time,” I tell Cedric.
Cedric looks confused, “Uh. Whatever. There are too many labels with you gays. If I looked like you I would have SO much science pussy right now. Look. Dr. Big Titties is staring at you right now.”
I turn to see what Cedric is pointing at. He's right. I know the girl he's talking about. We are in her office. She literally breaks things on purpose just so that she can put in a maintenance request and have us come look at it. Her name is Annabelle. She works on the 3rd floor and she's been crushing on me for about a year. She isn't the only one. A lot of the girls and hell, even some of the guys I've worked with have tried to get with me. I never gave them any thought. I mean I did find some attractive. Even Annabelle was good looking...but that was never enough for me.
It never satisfied me.
“When are you going to come tighten my screws Jamison?” Annabelle says.
I can see her staring at me. She unbottons her blouse. I can tell Cedric is annoyed that I never take advantage of this. Cedric isn't an ugly guy. He's attractive in his own way. For some reason though I've always been THE attractive one. I ran track in school so my body is tight and muscular. I'm tall standing at 6'3”. I have a handsome face. I'm the definition of tall, dark and handsome. And no matter how humble I like to remain there is always someone like Annabelle reminding me just how much people want to screw me in every position possible.
“Annabelle you know the procedures,” I say, “Put in the maintenance request.”
Annabelle is close to me all of a sudden. A little too close, “Can't we just do it under the table?”
She's smiling at me seductively. This shit literally happens everyday. It's not just her. There is something about rich, powerful people. She acts like I don't see the ring on her hand. Most of them don't. I assume maybe they married for position or power. And they clearly aren't satisfied so they go to work and flirt extra hard with the good looking maintenance guy.
That's all I am to them. A piece of meat.
“I can do it under the table. Or on top of the table. Or anyway you'd like,” Cedric smiles.
Annabelle gives him a hard look, “Really preferred Jamison. I like his handy work. No offense...”
Annabelle grabs my hand at that moment. I swear if I wasn't afraid of losing this job I'd press charges on some of these people for harassment. It happened a little too much. It happened all the time.
Then it clicks. Maybe I can use her for something else.
“Annabelle I was wondering if there is something strange going on in the building lately? Like any kind of conference about to happen?”
Annabelle stops smiling and tilts her head like a curious dog, “Any reason you ask?”
“Just a lot of requests lately. Just you know curious. Something really weird happened yesterday too. A boy came in. He asked for the 40th floor.”
“There is no 40th floor,” Annabelle states.
“That's what I TOLD him,” Cedric butts in.
I turn to Annabelle, “Are you sure?”
It's the same question the boy had asked Cedric. For some reason though Annabelle seems somewhat offended by it. She looks around at that moment. There are people walking past. I'm not sure if Cedric notices but I notice. I notice that Annabelle seems...scared. She seems worried. What the fuck about my questions have her worried at this point?
“Don't you think that's a little bit above your pay grade?” she asks.
“Sorry I didn't mean to offend,” I stated, “Was just curious.”
“You know what curiosity did to the cat right?” Annabelle asks me.
Cedric and I exchange glances. I'm not expecting her to say this.
“Are you threatening me?”
“No. Just telling you. Don't be cat,” Annabelle tells me, “And don't be a pussy.”
The day passes and the conversation with Annabelle is still on my mind. I'm sitting outside of the corporation. There are no signs in the building. It's in the middle of downtown. You need a key card just to enter the building. There is no front desk but there is security. There is a ton of security around.
“Tell me you don't think this shit is weird now?” I ask Cedric.
“What I think is weird is that Annabelle was damn near throwing herself at you and you somehow turned it down. No man can be that gay...”
“Cedric I'm serious,” I tell him.
Cedric sighs, “Ok. Yeah. These people are fucking weirdos. The whole company is super secretive. And they hire a bunch of nut jobs. But so what? We don't have no stocks in this shit. It has nothing to do with us.”
He's probably right. Still. It doesn't feel right. Nothing about this place feels right. Aunt Gloria warned me years ago that this was a strange offer. She warned me to stay away from it. She said it sounded fishy. All the maintenance guys in the building were fresh of out of school with little to no experience. It was almost like they hired new people who didn't know the ins and the outs on purpose. Maybe they were trying to avoid people getting to curious.
I'm sitting there eating my sandwich and I can't get it out of my mind.
The voice sounds familiar and I choke on my food when I look up and see who it is. It's the boy from yesterday with the gray hair.
He's looking at me again. I'm red with embarrassment as I continue to choke. Luckily Cedric is there to pat me on the back a couple of times. The boy looks at me and crosses his arms. He smiles as though amused.
“Yes...um...sorry. Yes. How can I help you?”
“I was wondering if I can put in a maintenance request.”
“You do it online. You guys have an online portal...” Cedric starts.
I push Cedric so hard he almost falls off the bench. I stand up almost immediately and stand in front of the boy.
“If you don't know how to do it, I don't mind making an exception,” I say.
I smile. All my life people found me attractive and all my life I could care less. Never before have I sat there and tried to appear sexy to anyone. I'm squinting at this boy. I'm licking my lips. I'm doing everything I can. He's shorter than me...just how I like it. He has a round ass and beautiful smile. He has those unique facial features that are so hard to forget.
He's my type and I didn't even know I had a type until I met him...
“Are you sure? If that isn't the process I don't mind waiting,” the boy says.
Fuck that. This was going to be the process now. Anything this boy wanted I was willing to give him. I was that attracted to him.
“We have a list full of requests to do,” Cedric warns me.
I take a look at Cedric. Then I turn and take a look at this boy. I thought I'd never see him again. Here he was asking for my help. It's at that moment that I realize I'm willing to sacrifice it. I'm willing to sacrifice almost anything.
“I'll be back,” I tell Cedric.
I'm walking behind the boy into the building. He's leading me to the elevator. I can't help but to keep looking at his ass as he walks. He has the most perfect ass. It moves like an inviting rhythm. It hypnotizes me and I can't help but continue to stare.
As we get on the elevator I notice other people start walking towards the elevator. They take a look at the boy with the gray hair and they stop cold.
“Taken,” the boy tells the employees.
They don't argue with him. They don't say a word. They just stand and wait for the next elevator. It's strange. He's young but I'm figuring now that he must be in some sort of position of authority. Maybe that's why they are intimidated of him. Clearly that was intimidation in their eyes. Or maybe it was something more intense. Maybe it was straight up fear.
“I didn't get your name,” I tell the boy and pause, “You know for the maintenance request.”
“Is that necessary for every request?” he asks me.
He doesn't want to share his name?
“Yes kind of. Just so that I can log it.”
“You've already made one exception,” the boy says to me and smiles, “What's one more?”
He has a confidence to his tone. He has a slick demeanor. He's careful with his words. I watch at that moment as he hits the button for the 39th floor.
“Sir...the upper levels are off limits for the maintenance crew.”
“Oops...too late now,” he says.
He doesn't try to stop the elevator. He just ignores me. He's so strange. I get more and more nervous. As attractive as I am to him I can tell by the way he talks that he's trouble. For some reason I don't care though. For some reason that trouble is attracting me to him even more.
He scans his card and the door opens for the 39th floor.
We step out of the elevator and it's almost like we step out into a different world.
The rooms are white...ghostly white. No one is there. All the walls are made out of glass. I begin to follow him. That's all there is on the 39th floor. There are no appliances. There are no computers. There are no cameras.
What the hell did he bring me up here to maintain?
“You are breathing really heavy,” he tells me, “It's distracting.”
We aren't doing anything but walking. I wonder what I'm distracting him from. I don't want to be rude though.
“Sorry. You make me nervous.”
“Really? You're the handsome one.”
“You---you think I'm handsome?”
He doesn't reply. He is smiling. There is a menacing smile about him. He takes me to the end of the staircase.
“We should be very quiet. Like you said. You aren't supposed to be up here. There is a Small Queen running around. She's a bitch.”
I'm lost on what this boy is saying. He's speaking in riddles.
“A small queen?”
“Never mind. C`mon. I need you to fix something for me. It'll just take a minute. Right through that door right there.”
He is pointing to a door. It's a red door at the end of the staircase.
“That one?” I ask.
He nods, “That one. Go ahead.”
I am nervous as I walk to the red door. I open the red door.
A cold breeze hits me. In front of me there is a staircase. And there is a sign. The sign says “To the 40th floor...”
What the fuck?
It really did exist...
“No turning back now?” he tells me, “Come on.”
He does something I don't expect. He grabs my hand. His hand is smaller than mine. It fits perfectly in mine. For some reason him grabbing my hand is making my heart beat faster than walking into this strange staircase.
I walk up the staircase and up some more. It's higher than I thought and when I get to the top I don't believe my eyes.
“What is this place?”
It's one of the most beautiful places I've seen. I walk into all white grand foyer. A standing chandelier hangs above me and glitters. Everything is paved in gold. Everything sparkles.
“They call it the home of the gods...” the boy says with a menacing smile, “But don't be alarmed. They aren't gods. They just have god complexes. And that's what I need you to help me fix.”
I'm puzzled. I'm confused. I'm alarmed.
“I don't know what the HELL you're talking about.”
“There are no chairs.”
All of a sudden a chair rolls out from the corner of the room. It just ROLLS out as though some invisible force was moving it. My heart is racing at that moment.
“Sit...” he repeats.
“How did you do that?”
“I can tell you...or I can show you,” he smiles, “I enjoying showing more. That's always been my thing. You know. We have to hurry. She'll be back any minute now. But no worries. I've already found her stash.”
A vase floats into the room as though being carried. No one is carrying it. It's being moved by an invisible force. I'm so confused who “she” is that the boy is talking about. I don't get what is going on. This boy dragged me to this strange place and things are moving by themselves.
Could he be moving things? Could this boy be making things move?
The vase is in front of my face in no time.
“What's in it?” I ask him.
“You said you were going to help me fix my problem.”
“I don't get it. What am I doing here? Where did you bring me and why?”
“Drink...” he tells me.
The vase is tilted over towards me. I'm scared. I'm nervous...but there is something inside of me that is so FUCKING curious.
Maybe it's stupidity that makes me grab the vase.
I drink it.
It is so...sweet.
“What is it?” I tell him.
He looks at me, “The solution to my problem.”
All of a sudden I black out and there is nothing but darkness.
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com