XX Chronicles, Chapter 7

“What are you doing here?” I ask her.

“Grandma sent me,” she states.

Strange. Why would my grandmother send her? I watch as Opal and Rahmell take turns hugging Amethyst. They seem happy to see her. Honestly I'm just confused. Why was she here? I didn't get it. Amethyst has this wide smile on her face when it comes to my turn to give her hug. I don't want to be fake but I hate the fact that my sister is here.

“You're...” I look at her stomach.

Amethyst puts a hand on her stomach. She's smiling. It's a small pouch but it's a pouch. I hadn't noticed it before. I might not have been paying attention when I had last seen her. When you aren't looking for something you just don't see it.

Opal cups her mouth, “PREGNANT! Oh my god!”

“Why would you travel when your pregnant?” I ask Amethyst, my eyes squinting a little bit more in suspicion.

Opal pushes me aside, “Stop being a debbie downer Gem. This is great news Amethyst. I'm so happy for you.”

That's when Amethyst turns to Rahmell. I watch as she does something that fucking tears my heart right out of my chest. Amethyst leans over and grabs Rahmell. She gives him a hard kiss on the mouth. Rahmell kisses back. Immediately my legs give in. Luckily no one sees it. I damn near collapse, catch myself and sit on the bed when Rahmell kisses Amethyst. Opal is laughing at the moment giving no regard to me at all.

“Why did Grandmother send you?” I ask Amethyst.

Amethyst smiles at me, “Is it OK if we talk later? I had a long trip. I'm a little sick with that hovercraft. C`mon Rahmell. How about you show me the city?”

She's too sick and tired to talk to me but not too tired to steal Rahmell away to walk around the Convention. I'm the one who is actually sick to my stomach right now. I never felt jealousy like this. It creeps into my skin. Amethyst has that fake pretty little smile of hers etched on her face. She's always been one of those, dumb innocent looking girls. She never knew what was going on. She never knew what the fuck was happening.

“Sure...” Rahmell states and is starting to follow her but then stops mid-stride, “Actually can I get a moment Amethyst?”

Opal grabs Amethyst, “I'll keep her company. Come on. We have to come up with baby names.”

Opal is excited. Amethyst is excited. Rahmell is excited as well. He's acting like he's not excited but I can see it on his face. I can see the way his eyes light up when he watches Amethyst. He is watching Amethyst leave the room and follow after Opal. It's almost like he's chasing a bone or something like that. I can't stand it.

When she leaves he's finally glances back at me, “Hey you don't mind if I spend the day with Amethyst, do you?”

“Why would I mind?”

“I mean...you're always welcome to come along with us, if you'd like.”

I can see Rahmell is trying to be nice. He's trying to play this peacemaker. The more he looks at me with those sexy hazel eyes the worst it becomes. His skin is the color of freshly baked muffins my grandmother used to make and almost as warm to the touch. Everything about him reminds me of home. Everything makes me fall in love a little bit more.

“I'm good.”

I can't hide the look on my face. I'm not good. Rahmell knew me. I wasn't talking to a stranger like Shaddius. I was talking to someone who I grew up with. He knew me more than I knew myself. Rahmell knows me enough to come and sit down on the bed with me. There is a look of concern that comes across his face.

“You sure? Look. There's no rush. Did you want to---I don't know, talk about what happened last night?” he states.

I'm actually surprised he's bringing it up. A part of me doesn't think he wants to talk about the kiss we shared last night. He just knows that I want to talk about it. He's just trying to make me happy. That's the thing about Rahmell. He's always just trying to make me happy. The longer he sticks around the more I just start feeling sorry for myself.

Why did she have to show up?

Why did she have to show up the night after Rahmell and I kissed?

I shake my head, “I'd just be a third wheel...”

“Gem don't be like that---”

“I'm good.”



Rahmell is hesitating but he gets up at that moment and he leaves following after Amethyst.

I spend the day attempting to get another meeting with the President in regards to at least releasing the Stingers. All attempts are ignored. All the messages I send out via hologram are not returned. It isn't until the evening time that I do get a hologram.

The hologram scares the shit out of me, appearing in my room. It always scares the fuck out of me when some video projection of a woman shows up. This time I've just gotten off the toilet and I'm pulling my fucking pants up. I damn near scream and trip over myself when the hologram appears.

“You have a message.”

“Is it from President Tailor?” I ask.

My heart is racing. I need to get my sisters out of jail. I never thought I'd actually think this but I missed the Stingers. I missed having them around. For some reason---I felt safer with them around.

“Negative. This is from Shaddius McDonald.”

I didn't know that was his full name. I look at the hologram and nod, “Accept.”

“Shaddius would like you and your sister to get dressed and join him for a private dinner in his quarters. Here is a map showing the location of the dinner. The dinner is in an hour. Please dress in form attire. Would you like to RSVP now?”

The more I think about the more I realize it would be nice to be around Shaddius. It would be nice to take my mind off of my issues. It'd be nice to take my mind off of Rahmell.

I'm not so lucky when I arrive at Shaddius's quarters.

“So glad you could make it. Everyone's already here.”

“Everyone?” I ask.

“Karington and Quincy are here. So is Rahmell and he's brought a date with him. From the look of it I think she's an Amazon.”


I walk into the dining area with Opal trailing behind me. Opal is energetic when she sees everyone. She gives her fake wave, smile and small talk just like the politician she is. My eyes are on Amethyst and Rahmell. Amethyst is beaming like some clown but Rahmell's eyes connects with me at that moment.

Rahmell looks nice. He has on a blazer with a low cut t-shirt underneath it. It shows off his figure. Amethyst must notice how sexy he is because she couldn't be any closer. Amethyst looks like a goddam Amazon. You could tell she's straight from there from her rawhide skirt and her cheap cotton blouse. I probably don't look that much more civilized but I need something to hate on her about.

“I wasn't expecting you all to be here,” Rahmell states.

“You sound like you're disappointed,” Karington jokes at him.

Rahmell must kick Karington under the table because his friend jerks. I look over at Karington and Quincy. The two are laughing amongst themselves. I'm not sure what's so funny but it seems like there is something I'm out of the loop on.

Rahmell looks over at me, “Hey Gem, pull up a chair by me.”

He signals to the other side of him. Normally I would jump at the opportunity. It's normal. I always sit next to Rahmell. It's like fucking clock work but then I see Amethyst. My sister is pressed up against Rahmell claiming him as her own. The jealousy is running through my blood.

“Actually I'll sit over here by Shaddius,” I respond.

“What makes me so lucky?” Shaddius openly flirts licking his lip, “Gem can you help me bring out the dishes in the kitchen?”

“I'll help. Gem just got in,” Rahmell offers.

“You can entertain your date. Gem can help...” Shaddius counters.

“She's good,” Rahmell states, “Plus Gem is clumsy as hell. He'll spill something. Trust me. I know him better than anyone else.”

There's something odd about the way Rahmell is speaking to Shaddius. Someone looking in might think he didn't want me being with Shaddius alone. Maybe that was the truth but things weren't so simple with Rahmell. There was a difference between how he made things appear and how things honestly were between the two of us.

Karington coughs, “This is awkward.”

Shaddius finally gives in because the truth was it was getting awkward. He looks over at Rahmell, “Sure friend. Why don't you help me?”

The two of them disappear and I damn near hear Karington exhale. Quincy and Karington look at each other. I wonder if they knew something that I didn't. I mean they were friends with Shaddius and Rahmell. Was there something that happened that I wasn't aware of. There definitely seems to be some tension between Shaddius and Rahmell.

Quincy changes the subject looking up at Amethyst, “You Amazons are gorgeous...”

“Relax hornball. She clearly is Rahmell's girl,” Karington responds.

The pain shoots through my chest. I don't think Amethyst is pretty. She's basic looking. She looks like one of those next door neighbor type girls to me. She wasn't the full package ike Ruby. She didn't have Pearl's face or Beryl's banging body. She didn't even have Opal's whit. Amethyst was boring. Dry paint.

For some reason guys seems to be attracted to that. Out of all my sisters Amethyst was the least combative. She had the Amazon looks but she didn't have that aggressive personality that scared men away.

“I can still look,” Quincy states before smiling and looking at her chest, “Nice jewelry you got there...”

Amethyst has a fake smile. She's acting like she doesn't know Quincy is flirting with her. He could care less about the stone. I recognize the stone almost immediately. Great---so not even my grandmother thought I was special.

“It's an Exa stone. Our grandmother gave it to me before I came down here,” Amethyst responds.

“Our?” Karington asks.

“She's our sister,” Opal explains.

Just then shit gets super weird. I could swear Karington looks right at me, takes a long sip of wine and then stares at Quincy. Quincy is staring at the table. I can tell Quincy is the type of guy who is always trying to make peace but it's also clear that Karington can't hold his weight in gold.

Just at that moment Shaddius and Rahmell walk back into the room. They have brought a protein that I've never seen before. It smells good but the texture looks a little strange. I can tell by the look on Opal and Amethyst's face that they don't know how to take to this strange looking meat.

“It looks amazing,” Amethyst states, lying through her basic ass face.

Karington looks over at Shaddius, “You hear that. Gem's sister likes your cooking.”

“Wait you guys are related?” Shaddius asks, “How many of you are there?”

I look over at Amethyst, “Too many.”

Shaddius grunts, “Seems like Rahmell definitely makes his way around the family huh?”

Rahmell doesn't reply. Things get awkward as hell. We start eating and no one is really saying anything. Amethyst is humming while she eats. It's an annoying habit she had ever since she was a child. The girl knew she was the least special out of all my sisters and seemed to do anything she could to get a little bit of attention when she could. That went into going after my best friend back in the day.
The fucked up thing was that she ended up getting what she wanted.

“So I'd like to make a toast,” Shaddius explains breaking the silence, “Good news. I spoke with people back at home and they've agreed to trade with the Amazons.”

“Great news!” Opal states clapping all of a sudden.

I have to admit I get excited. I get a little too excited. I damn near jump out of my seat and onto the same chair as Shaddius. I can't help but to give him a kiss on the cheek.

“Oh my god. You're joking.”

“Dead serious.”

“That's amazing. I figured the Exa stone was useful for something,” I respond, “What quantity do you need...I can order from my grandmother.”

Shaddius shakes his head, “Actually weird thing is...they were fine with the one.”


“Wait why? They just want one? What are they going to do with one?”

Shaddius shrugs, “Some of the scientists from back home took an interest in the rock for some research that they are looking into. Seems like they've been looking for the Exa stone for a while. The hacker is on his way to New Florida now.”

Too weird.

“This is amazing. So the trade is over?” Opal asks, “We get to go home.”

This is all too weird and all too fast., “Isn't it weird to anyone? One stone?”

“Must be a valuable stone. It looks nice,” Karington states.

“Isn't this what you wanted?” Quincy asks.

They are right. Opal has this excitement in her voice. After all the shit we been through I can see why she would be excited. We actually did what we came here to do. We should all be excited. So why come my stomach was bubbling. Something was off about all this. I couldn't put my finger on it.

Rahmell looks over at me at that moment, “Go with your gut, Gem. If you think something is weird about this trade then so do I.”

I knew he would take my side.

I look over at Shaddius. Shaddius looks at me and then looks at Rahmell, “You guys think I'm trying to pull something? I sent you the person you are looking for. I didn't propose this trade.”

I don't know what to think.

I trust Shaddius but...something was weird. Why were they so interested in 1 fucking stone?

“If the shoe fits...” Rahmell states.

“Bro what the fuck is the matter with you?” Shaddius states getting up at the table, “You sitting here trying to say I'm up to something?”

“He's not saying that,” I respond.

“Maybe I am,” Rahmell responds relatively quickly, standing up as well, “You said it yourself. Something is off about this deal.”

Shaddius doesn't back down, “Is this really about the deal? Or the fact that you are going around telling people you don't trust your best friend being with me?

I watch Karington and Quincy bury their face. So this is what they were talking about. Rahmell had told them that he didn't trust Shaddius with me and it had gotten back to Shaddius. The awkwardness fills the room. Neither of these guys are going to back down.

“Listen. The trade is done. It doesn't matter,” I respond.

For some reason by the looks between Rahmell and Shaddius I don't think they are talking about just the trade. Rahmell doesn't trust Shaddius with me period. Luckily Rahmell sits down though, prompted by Amethyst pulling at his sleeve. Shaddius hesitates a little longer but follows suit. Shit just got very awkward really quick. I am acting like I don't care anymore to calm things down but I still feel very uneasy about the trade.

Could Shaddius and his government really be up to something? Why the fuck did they trade a skilled worker for just one goddam stone?

“We can go home now,” Opal states.

“Not until I get the Stingers out of jail.”

“Actually that's not the plan,” Amethyst states.

I look over at my sister. It wasn't like her to speak when other people were having serious discussions. She was must too pleasant and pink for that.

“Excuse me?” I ask her.

“Grandmother sent me here to make sure that when you finished the trade, we returned home immediately.”

Shaddius looks over at Amethyst, “What's the rush?”

“Immediately. She's hired a hovercraft. We are all to return tomorrow.”

Amethyst drops her fork at that moment. The dinner ends soon after and when it ends I see Shaddius walk up to me. He has this look in his eyes. From the door I can see Rahmell and Amethyst. Shaddius grabs me by my hand.

“So you're leaving tomorrow morning?” Shaddius asks me.

I sigh. Amethyst sounds really serious. It had to be serious if my grandmother sent her all the way out here to make sure that she brought Opal and I home. But this wasn't sitting well. What about the Stingers?

“I don't know yet,” I reply.

Shaddius grabs my hand, “What if you are leaving?”

“What do you mean?”

“I'm asking you why don't you spend the night with me?” Shaddius questions.

He is standing over me. His tall, serious, forceful demeanor turns me on. I have to admit I'm attracted to him. When I look at the door I see Amethyst and Rahmell. They are talking together. Rahmell keeps looking my way. I can tell something strange is going on there.

There's something really shady about this deal. I don't know what it is yet but I know it's something. Rahmell can feel it too.

A part of me wants to make Rahmell feel jealous. But then a part of me doesn't really trust Shaddius.

I meet somewhere in the middle.

“I won't sleep here tonight but how about this...”

I lean over at that moment. I kiss Shaddius. My tongue enters his mouth. I push him up against the wall. It takes him by surprise but Shaddius doesn't back down. He is cupping my ass, taking a full handful of my cheeks while I'm kissing him.

By the time we are done kissing Shaddius is licking his lips over and over. I have to admit it makes me feel good when he smiles and looks down at me. He makes me feel like I'm the most attractive man in the world.

The smile he wears rocks my fucking world, “Well goddam.”

The thing about the kiss is that everyone sees it. My sisters look a little awkward. Karington and Quincy are snickering at the kiss. Then there is Rahmell. Rahmell sees it. His face grimaces in a look of deep mistrust.

“She's ready to speak to you,” Amethyst states, “Just you alone.”

Amethyst is saying this to Opal who is standing next to me. I walk in the room that Amethyst just left. I see a hologram of my grandmother. I requested this after the party. It's the next morning and I refuse to get onto that hovercraft until I speak to my grandmother. I can't just go back home. I can't just leave. Not like this.

“You look well. Amethyst told me that you completed your mission. Congratulations,” she states, “You may return now.”

Ma Zoe isn't wasting any time. My grandmother looks at me. Her stern looking face ready to challenge me. I'm sure that Amethyst told her that I wasn't ready to get back home. She's acting like she doesn't know but her facial expressions betray her.

“Ma Zoe,” I start off before looking at my feet, “Beryl, Ruby and Pearl are in jail.”

Ma Zoe nods, “I've heard. Maybe it's for the best.”

I raise an eyebrow.

“Excuse me?”

“Listen. A war has been declared against us. We have other things we need to focus on. I'll get your sisters out in time. Right now I need you to listen to me and to return back home. Is that clear...”

“But Ma Zoe...”


My grandmother never raised her voice at me before. I'm struggling at that moment.


Her voice gets softer at that moment, “Listen. I don't want to upset you. Your grandfather is sick. District soldiers are on our borders. We need you back home. Please board that airship and return home as soon as you can.”

“Yes ma'am.”

“Oh. Before you leave I need you to give that Exa Stone I gave you to Anastasia Tailor,” my Grandmother states.

I pause.

That was a strange request.

“Why do you want me to give it to her?”

“Just as a parting gift for all her help.”

“Ma Zoe. My sisters are sitting in jail right now,” I explain to my grandmother, “Anastasia Tailor has completely ignored us. She's been no help at all. Why would I be giving her a gift?”

She's getting impatient. I can see it in my Grandmother's eyes.

“Do as I say, sweet heart. Ok?”

“Grandma I don't have it any longer. I gave it to Ambassador Shaddius of the Carolinas.”

The look on my Grandmother's face is something that I'd never seen before. It is a look of shock and almost...was that fear? What the fuck was going on?

“Why would you do that?”

“As a trade...for the Hacker you wanted.”

My grandmother is thinking. She is thinking hard.

“Never mind. Another Amazon is on her way to replace you. She will give Anastasia a stone. You are good. Please take Opal and Amethyst and return home.”

“Which Amazon? Diamond? Someone else?

My grandmother ignores me.

“See you soon Gem.”

“Grandma. Which Amazon are you sending?”

Ma Zoe hangs up on me and her hologram disappears. Just like that she is gone. I'm shocked honestly. What the fuck was going on and why the fuck did I feel like I was getting all of the pieces to this puzzle. My world just seemed completely odd at that moment.

I walk out of the room to see Amethyst and Rahmell. They are sitting on the couch together. Opal walks out. She has a suitcase in her hand.

“Time to go bitches!” Opal states.

She has a smile on her face. I know why Opal wants to go back home. She wants to brag and feel all civilized amongst Amazons again. She would have something to brag about being the first girl from the Amazons.

I don't know what comes over me but I find myself standing over Amethyst and Rahmell. I want to make them feel uncomfortable.

“Can I...help you?” Amethyst asks, “I'm kind of trying to get a moment with my babe...”

She claims him with confidence putting her leg across his knees, swinging her hair back and giving a girlish laugh as though that would hide the fact that she was being completely offensive and brash right now.

When she tosses her head back I realize Amethyst doesn't have her necklace on.

“Amethyst, c`mon...” Rahmell states.

I hear Amethyst whisper to Rahmell, “No Rahmell. You come on. Come with me...”

“You know I can't,” Rahmell responds to her lightly, “I would if I could. You know that. But with the war and me being a fertile...President Tailor wouldn't risk me in Amazon country.”

“But I'm your girlfriend and what about Gem?” Amethyst asks looking at me.

Rahmell looks over at me as well. As if things weren't awkward enough.

“Gem?” Rahmell asks.

Did she know about the kiss? Did Opal hear us and maybe let Amethyst know.

Amethyst is clueless, “You know. You guys are best friends. You gonna just let your best friend leave like that. Who knows when we'll see you again.”

“Well I'm not leaving,” I state.

Amethyst and Opal glare at me like I've just lost my mind.

Opal damn near grunts, “We were given an order Gem.”

“I'm not leaving this place without the Stingers,” I tell Opal this time more aggressively.

Rahmell stands next to me, “If you stay I'll stay. You know that right. I'll help you find a way to free them.”

“I'm not leaving either then,” Amethyst responds, “I'm pregnant with your baby Rahmell.”

“You guys are crazy,” Opal explains, “We got an order.”

I look at Opal.

“Something weird is happening here Opal,” I respond, “I need to stay a little longer.”

“I'm going back,” Opal replies, “Don't be stupid Gem. Come with me...”

I shake my head, “I can't.”

Opal looks at me like I've lost my mind, “This is ridiculous. I'm out of here.”

I watch as Opal walks into the hallway. I don't hesitate to follow her out in the hallway at that moment. I grab her before she can go too far.

“Opal wait.”

“What? I'm not staying here,” Opal explains.

“I'm not asking you to. Can you just...watch Grandma. Something's going on there.”

Opal shakes her head, “Don't be ridiculous. What the fuck could be going on. Everything was explained to you.”

That's the problem. My grandmother did explain things...a little too well.

“Can you please just keep an eye out for me?”

Just at that moment I see Shaddius walking. He looks like he's coming to my room.

Opal sees him and all sense of trust goes out the window, “Now I see why you're really staying. Well good look with that.”

Opal turns at that moment and walks away just as Shaddius approaches.

“You're not leaving?” Shaddius asks.

I shake my head, “No.”

Shaddius sighs, “Good. Gem. There's something I need to tell you. Something you may not like. Something I've been hiding from you. Rahmell calling me out yesterday kind of scared the shit out of me. I didn't want you to leave having the feeling I'm hiding something from you.”

Shaddius looks at me. For the first time I really see Shaddius. It's not just the sharp talking Ambassador who had a flair with being a little rude and forceful at times. Right now Shaddius wasn't being forceful. His voice was low and calm. For some reason this scares me even more. I lean up against the wall not sure if I'm ready to hear what he had to admit to me.

“What is it?” I ask Shaddius.

Shaddius takes a deep breath, “Man...”

“Shaddius just spit it out.”

“That stone. Remember how I told you that scientists wanted to look at it?” he asks.

The Exa stone. I had a strange feeling that a lot of this shit surrounded this fucking stone. My grandmother giving it to me to bring here and then asking me to give it to Anastasia Tailor before I left. My grandmother being so worried about me not giving Anastasia some parting gift that she is planning on sending another Amazon all the way out here to give it to her. That shit wasn't

“What do you know about that stone Shaddius?” I ask.

Shaddius sighs, “Don't get upset ok?”

“Shaddius. Spit it out.”

Shaddius looks around, “You have to understand I can lose my job if this gets out. It's more than just losing my job. I can get arrested for treason back in the Carolinas. This is classified information. You have to promise to just keep it between us. Don't tell anyone. Not your sisters...not Rahmell. Not anyone.”

Shaddius was risking his job to tell information. Why would he do that? A part of me wants to stop him but I have to know. I have to know what is behind this stone.

I agree immediately, “Fine.”

“The stone secretes a hormone. It's a hormone that was the cause of the Maneater Outbreak that killed so many men many years ago.”

“The Exa stone? The thing I hung around my neck?” I ask.

Shaddius nods, “Yes. Scientists from the Carolinas always suspected it came from New Florida. That is why we threatened to invade so many times. We were trying to find this stone.”

“You could have just said that. You could have just asked my Grandfather. He would have loved to find out what caused the Maneater Outbreak.”

Shaddius hesitates.

“Gem. Be smart.”

He winces at me in a suggestive way. It's a little too suggestive for my tastes.

“Shaddius what exactly are you saying?” I ask.

He was acting real funny like he was making some sort of accusation.

“The Exa Stone only exists in New Florida. Your family discovered it. Your family had access to it. Gem---I have intelligence that states your family may actually be the reason the outbreak happened in the first place. It's actually very good intelligence that lets me know that your family may have caused the plague.”

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