"Do you want me to get the cake tomorrow or did you want to do it?"
I'm sitting in the house. Two days have passed since the Blind contacted us. Since then I've not seen Ronin. Everything about it is kind of scary. The idea that the Blind want me to meet with them is really getting to me. It's not that. I haven't been able to talk to Ronin about it. Now I'm in the house. It's after dinner and I'm cuddled up on the couch with Adrian. There was a time in my old life where I thought this was where I wanted to be. There was a time in my old life that I wanted nothing more than to reverse the clocks, leave Ezra and get back with Adrian.
I had that opportunity now...in this world. Sure this was scary. Sure this world was different. But I had Adrian with me and I'm not sure if I'm entirely ready to get back to that old life.
The thoughts cloud my head.
I needed to talk to Ronin. Where the hell was he?
"What?" I ask.
My mind is clouded with thoughts of Ronin. I'm not even paying attention to the fact that Adrian has been asking me these random questions for the past few minutes.
"Our anniversary party is tomorrow."
Fuck. Little things like this made me feel like I was in someone else's life with no idea what I was doing. If I was here then I wonder how this world's Ontario was really feeling.
"Of course. Why don't you get the cake baby?"
"Did you forget?"
He stares at me. He does it more and more often. I'm trying to pick up on things, but there are times when I miss things and he looks at me as though I'm a stranger.
"Of course not. I'm so excited."
He smiles shaking his head as we watch the television, "Great. I may be a little bit late. At work, they want us investigating new leads to the Blind."
I knew that he worked for the government. He told me several times what his position was but it wasn't anything that quite made sense in my mind. I'm assuming it's some sort of government FBI sort of agency but at the same time, he's also spoken to me about creating laws. All of it is quite confusing and I'm yet to be able to piece together the structure of things here. A part of me wondered if this world had google for research but knowing this world that would be monitored too. The only person I knew who could really provide me insight was Ronin and he had been missing.
"Any leads?" I ask.
He shakes his head, "They are acting really strange lately. Strange behavior. Everything is really secret. They've been playing around with multi-dimensional travel. As though that is something logical."
"Yeah, sounds ridiculous."
I laugh, awkwardly.
"Right. But these are radicals. They want to bring down society. It's dangerous that they believe they might have evidence of multi-dimensional travel. Whatever this evidence might be would be a danger to everything."
"So what happens when you find this evidence."
"We destroy it," he says easily with a smile, "Of course."
I gulp. Shit.
"I'm feeling a little sleepy...I was going to head to bed."
"You want me to come with?"
There were times when I was terrified of this world's Adrian, but there were other times when I wanted nothing more to lay up under him. It's a beautiful thought seeing someone who you've lost again and knowing that person is living. At the same time, I had to remember this wasn't really Adrian. Sure, this Adrian looked the same, sounded the same and seemed to care about me just as much. But he was a confident Adrian. He was an Adrian that was so sure of himself. Maybe it was better. Maybe I could fall for this world's Adrian...but for some reason I have someone else on my mind.
I can't shake the thought.
"No," I state, "I just wanted some alone time."
That's when Adrian says the weirdest thing that puts everything into perspective.
"Don't be silly, Ontario," he says, "You're never alone."
I know he doesn't mean anything by it. It still sends a shiver up my spine none-the-less. I smile, nervously and walk away. In my mind, I'm thinking that Adrian is right. In this world, in this dimension, I was never alone. And the scary thing is that I didn't know how to react to that.
As I walk into the bedroom to feel a moment of solitary I see a rotating camera. It fully circles around the room watching me eagerly. I sit on the bed, grab one of those tablets and type in Ronin's name. A part of me wanted to respect his privacy, what little he had in this world, but then I had to remember that this wasn't the expectation in this world.
What if Ronin was in trouble?
What if they found out he was working with the Blind or even worse he had a device that leads to a Parallel Universe?
I needed to make sure he was OK.
"You're so handsome to me," I hear the person say when I look up Ronin's name.
Ronin is in an apartment. It's a smaller apartment. At first, I don't see who Ronin is talking to but in the next few seconds, someone walks into the shot. It's Nick. His blind date and also a member of Blind.
When Nick shows up on screen, I realize Nick is in his underwear. The guy had a nice ass. Seeing how he walks up to Ronin kind of makes me nervous. I don't know why.
"Thanks. It's been nice of you to offer to let me stay here. Saved money on a hotel," Ronin says.
"Of course. Are you finally going to tell me what you're running from?"
Ronin shakes his head.
"Not running just breaking up a...tense...situation."
Tense situation? It sounded like running towards me. I remember what was tense when I was with Ronin. I remember the chemistry between us. I wonder if it's me he's actually avoiding by staying at this guy's house.
"Well, I'm glad I can help you relieve some of that tension."
All of a sudden out of nowhere Nick drops his pants. He fucking drops his pants.
I sit there looking at his ass. The guy had a bubble butt. I saw how Ronin looks at his big booty. All of a sudden I'm just feeling so aware of myself. My butt looked nothing like that. Ronin's eyes almost got wide taking a look at Nick's butt. He adjusts himself in the chair he's sitting in. He sits up. It's clear Nick has just made him really uncomfortable.
"What are you doing?" Ronin asks him.
"What do you think?"
"I thought we were just...hanging out?" Ronin asks.
"I think we both know it's a little bit more than that," Nick responds at that moment.
That's when I see Nick do something that rubs me the wrong way. He grabs Ronin. He grab's Ronin's crotch. From the look of it, it's kind of obvious to see that Ronin is definitely hard. Ronin allows him to grab his crotch.
I find myself getting more and more upset.
I'm feeling this angst.
I'm feeling jealousy.
That was the only way to describe it. I knew it I couldn't take this anymore. I close the tablet. I lay on the bed at that moment just thinking what a cruel world this is. You liked someone and you had the ability to pry into their life. You had the ability to see moments in their lives that you didn't see and it all just felt so...wrong.
It's the next day at the Anniversary party and I find myself having an obsession with what Ronin was doing. It took everything out of me not to load up the tablet and see where Ronin was. I had such a hard time not prying into his life. I remember the kids outside in the neighborhood getting picked up to go to school. All of them had a tablet. All of them were glued to it. I wondered what they were watching. Someone they had a crush on, someone they hated, their favorite celebrity? Nothing was sacred in this world. Nothing was left to the imagination.
How does one fall in love with someone while you watch them being intimate with someone else?
"Your husband is so perfect," Monique states, "Congratulations."
My anniversary party is more crowded than I would have had in my world. This world's Ontario was a bit more popular. On the other side of the room, Adrian is talking to his friends from work. He winks over at me with a teasing smile. I smile back as best as I can. I'm so anxious though. I'm so on edge, wondering if anyone will ask me a question or reference something that I'm not aware of.
Monique gives me a kiss. Monique and Gary are there. A bunch of other people I don't know are there. It's weird that Paris didn't show up. It's weird because in my world Paris would be the one who was so happy for me. He would be the one drooling over my husband and over-complimenting me on everything. Right now though he's not the one who was making me look at the door anxiously. I was looking at the door wondering if Ronin would show up.
"He makes me happy."
"It's a shame his brother is from Taured," Gary states.
"You know Ronin?"
"No of course not, but I've seen his videos," Gary responds, "He had a BLINC last night. Really suspicious."
"Was he with someone?"
"Yeah at an apartment," Gary explains, "I saw the whole thing. One minute they were about to have sex and then bam, a BLINC. Strange. I'm telling you."
He had a BLINC. That meant someone was not on camera for an elongated period. It was suspicious but not in the way Gary was saying. They were about to have sex and they had a BLINC. People were mad because they didn't get to see it but maybe it wasn't about sex at all. What if Ronin and Nick were planning something? That had to be it!
For some reason the thought that Ronin didn't have sex with Nick makes me smile.
It had to be all part of the plan.
Why else was there a BLINC?
"The Eyelids should just gather up everyone from Taured and put them in some sort of prison camp," Monique argues, "They are way too big on their privacy. It's not normal. You know?"
I look at Monique, "I agree. It's savage to want to be alone with yourself."
They can't hear the sarcasm in my voice. It goes right over their head. Instead, they are nodding in agreement as though I just said something that they'd all been thinking.
"Speak of the devil," Gary states.
Just at that moment, I notice Ronin walking into the party. He's with Nick. I watch how they interact with each other as they walk in. It seems like Nick actually knows more people at this party then Ronin does. I don't keep my eyes off of Ronin. As Nick works the room, Ronin just feels out of place. He looks more out of place than I do and I was a from a whole different fucking world.
Our eyes connect after a few minutes. Monique's talking trash about him I believe. I don't hear a word she says though. None of it matters.
Ronin was here.
I signal myself towards the bathroom. I walk to the bathroom and begin washing my hands. A minute later I hear the door open and sure enough, Ronin has followed me to the bathroom.
"Have you been OK?" he asks.
I look at his face in the mirror. He seems intensely concerned.
"I made due," I tell him, lying so he doesn't realize how completely vulnerable I am in this world, "You've been with Nick?"
"You've been watching?" he asks.
He seems concerned, all of a sudden.
"I saw you guys. I guess people are talking about the fact that you had a BLINC yesterday."
Ronin nods, "The Eyelids are probably going to come looking for me to interview me and find out what happened not too long from now."
"It was smart," I state, "Pretending like you and Nick had something going on so that you had an excuse to BLINC."
"Pretend?" he asks.
He looks at me seeming really confused.
"Yeah. I saw right past it."
There is a silence. It's brief. It's really brief.
"What you saw on camera wasn't pretending," he states, "I think I kind of like Nick. He's different..."
My stomach folds in my chest.
"Are you FUCKING joking. You don't even know that guy."
"Lower your voice. Those monitors are sensitive," he states walking closer to me and shaking his head, "What's your issue?"
"I don't have an issue. Just kind of weird how you just jump from guy to guy."
I was kind of mean in what I'm saying."
"I'm not calling you a whore it's just..."
"Of course you're not. Because I'm single and you're jealous."
Wow. When he says that to me I almost want to snap. He looks at me with these knowing eyes as though he was one of those monitors but he couldn't just see what I presented to the world. He looks at me as though he can see right through into my mind, my soul, and my true intentions.
I hate it.
"I'm not jealous of you," I let him know with a laugh.
"Not of me. You're jealous of him. Because you wanted to be him. You wanted to be him with me yesterday."
Ronin smiles when he says that. He's so confident in what he's saying that it makes me sick. I look over at his face and I'm pissed the fuck off.
"During the BLINC?" I ask, "So something did happen?"
"How would you feel if something did?"
I feel this fire in my chest. Was he fucking joking?
"You fucked Nick!"
"How would you feel if I fucked Nick?" he asks, "You didn't answer my question."
I couldn't believe him. I'm breathing heavy. I'd seen Nick drop his pants. I stopped watching. I figured since they had a BLINC that it was all fake but Ronin was telling me now that it wasn't. Right? Was he really admitting to me right now that he had sex with someone else?
"You really are shit. You know that? God. I should have known about you the moment you had sex with Ezra."
"So you're still on that."
"You can't keep your dick in your pants."
"Wow," he states, "Can I remind you that I'm the single one in this equation. You are married in two worlds but somehow you can't seem to enter a room without staring at me. Do you think I don't notice the chemistry between us? Why do you think I've been gone for two days."
Goddam it he was right.
"Even if there was chemistry, it was gone."
"Is that right?" he asks.
"Yes. That's right."
Just at that moment the door, the bathroom opens. I get scared but then I realize it's Nick.
"Now's the time."
"Now's the time for what?" I ask.
Nick looks over me, "Ronin and I had a BLINC yesterday. We were using that time to discuss the meeting with the Blind. We figured that right now during this party would be the best time."
I look over at Ronin.
"You guys didn't have sex."
Ronin smiles with this winning look, "It's always nice when you don't need a camera for someone to reveal themselves to you, right?"
All of a sudden I feel like the biggest idiot. I was really pissed at Ronin. I literally called him a hoe for having sex with Nick. I just feel so stupid and Ronin seems to be eating this all up as we walk out of the bathroom.
I feel confused about what just happened in the bathroom but also surprised that this was happening now. I was meeting with the BLINC.
"Hey! Hey baby, come here!" I hear my husband calling from across the room.
"Don't stop, keep walking..." Nick states.
We do what he says. I ignore Adrian and keep walking. I don't look away. I just keep moving. We pass a few people and I hear Nick telling them.
"We're going to make a store run guys, we'll be back in a minute," Nick addresses a group of people.
He says it loud. He says it loud enough so that the cameras will hear. I'm so nervous. I couldn't go back to being a normal person after this. I was basically meeting with rebels. People could be killed for that in this world.
"We are going to BLINC," I whisper to Ronin, "They're going to realize we're gone."
We walk into a van outside. It had tinted windows. I'm so confused. It's Nick who hands us a phone with a GPS once we get in the van. There are two other people in the van.
"Body doubles," Ronin says.
I watch as these two people who look almost identical to Ronin and I walk out of the car. They were definitely body doubles. They even dressed like us. It's all happening so fast. They get out of the van switching places with Ronin and me.
"Follow the GPS to a Blind zone. The leader of Blind himself will meet you there," Nick states, "Don't stop. No matter what."
Ronin looks like he's about to ask Nick another word but Nick doesn't say anything. He just leaves with the body doubles. I watch them get into a regular car. One without tinted windows. They drive off.
I'm nervous as Ronin is driving away. This was serious. This was so serious. As we drive he looks over at me several times. It's as though he wants to say something and have a conversation but he knows I'm too nervous to say a damn thing. We drive away from the house into the darkness. My heart is racing. My palms are sweating. What if we got? What if we got pulled over? What if someone knew who we were meeting with.
I keep my eyes on the road. We are following a GPS. How do we know to trust Nick? Why we were we so important that the leader of the Blind would meet with us.
We stay on the street and make a right on a side street. I get nervous when behind us I see a few police officers go by with the words EYELIDS on printed on their cars. I'm struggling not to have a panic attack as they drive back wondering if they saw us turn! I wonder if they are going to follow us! I wonder if they are going to stop us! I wonder if they are going to question us! They would know I'm lying. I'm far too nervous. Then I am taken to prison. Maybe I'd just be shot right there on the spot. I'd die in another world, in another dimension without ever seeing my own world again.
But it didn't happen.
Ronin pulls over. We stop on the street corner.
"We're here," Ronin says.
He's right. We've arrived.
There is a man on the corner. He's standing there.
"That must be him. That must be the leader of the Blind."
The man walks towards the car. There are no cameras in this dark alley. It's a blind zone. That meant we can say whatever we want. It would be tracked. No one would know what we were saying. This was one of the only free places in the city and somehow Nick sent us right here.
"Is that..." Ronin states.
I recognize the person walking to the car. I recognize the leader of the Blind.