The rooms go on as far as the eyes can see when we enter the dark building.
"Welcome to headquarters," Ezra states, "This is my second in command, Alice. Alice is from Taured, just like you Ronin."
Seeing this girl named Alice was strange because she definitely had the same sort of look as Ronin. This mixed culture that did not exist in my world. A mix of everything, that I've never recognized. She is dressed in all black like the others that come to approach us in this area. People are intrigued by us showing up in this building. I am under the assumption they don't have a lot of company.
"It's nice to meet the both of you," Alice introduces herself shaking Ronin's hand, "I knew your grandfather Ronin, he was a member of the resistance."
"I'm glad you decided to follow in his footsteps," Ezra states, "And you brought a friend."
"Actually it's just me...for now. There is another reason that I brought Ontario here."
Alice and Ezra look at one another. They get uncomfortable.
Alice is glaring at Ronin, "Wait, this isn't a potential recruit?"
"No..." Ronin responds.
"He shouldn't be here then," Alice immediately states, "You've put us all at risk..."
I'm quiet. This whole entire time I'm staring at Ezra. I don't know how to react. It's clear Alice is on edge with me being here. It's also clear that her uneasiness is spreading to others who are listening in on our conversation. Ezra is calm though. He hasn't looked at me weird since we walked in here.
"Alice tends to worry too much. If you wanted to sell us out to the EYE we would have all been dead already," he states before reaching out to shake my hand, "Hopefully you do decide to rejoin the resistance. My name is Ezra. I'm the leader of the resistance."
Seeing Ezra again at this moment sends shivers down my spine, but all the while it makes it awkward between Ronin and I. We follow him down a hallway, passing rooms of people who were literally whispering. They were whispering because there were things they didn't want people to hear. I'm surprised. It's the first place I've seen where there were no cameras what-so-ever. It was a building that almost seemed forgotten to the world.
"Yes?" he asks me.
I look over at Ronin. I'm speechless. I need help. For so long I wondered what it would be like to see my husband again. Would I be angry over what he did with Ronin? Would I just miss him after everything we went through?
I'm stuck somewhere in the middle. I'm just stuck in my head.
"Ezra," I repeat again.
I feel stupid saying the words over and over as though it would change anything.
"Is he OK?" Ezra asks Ronin.
Alice gets protective of Ezra almost immediately, "Why is he staring at Ezra like that?"
I know I'm being weird. I can't help myself.
Ronin sighs, "You remind him of someone. You remind us both of someone."
Ezra glances at me and nods as though understanding something that we aren't really saying. He gives me a soft smile, a lot softer than the smile of the Ezra that I knew in my world.
"You know what they say," Ezra explains with this knowing glance, "There is nothing new under the sun. Maybe in another lifetime we were brothers. Maybe in another lifetime we were friends. Maybe in another lifetime..."
"We were married," I state.
Ezra smiles, "Right perhaps."
"No. For real," I respond to Ezra crossing my arms, "We were married. To one another, in another world. In another dimension."
Everyone gets quiet. The whole hallway full of people stops talking all at once. Ezra's friendly smile fades at that moment. Everyone is looking at me. I feel so exposed. I feel just as exposed as I did with those cameras. Feeling those eyes staring at me felt like I was standing here naked in front of all of them.
"Impossible," Alice states.
Ronin shakes his head, "It's not impossible. I went to his dimension, somehow brought him back to ours...using this. My grandfather gave it to me. He wanted me to deliver it to you all."
Ronin reaches into his bag. It's a bag that I realize he's been keeping close to him since the party. He pulls out the device that I've seen before. The Parallel heart. The others look at it. They don't touch it. They just look at it. There is a look of recognition in their eyes. All of a sudden everything seems so serious. Everything seems so dire.
It's Ezra who nods, "Let's speak. In private."
There are whispers all of around us. Speculation. Hearing that we were speaking in private was something I was afraid I'd never really experience again. Ezra and Alice bring us into a room. It's a meeting room. He shuts the door and asks us to take seats. Alice is standing over us. I look over at her and realize that she has a gun at her waist. It looks similar to the guns that I'd seen in my own world. I wasn't this big gun expert but I'm sure we had something like that where I was from. Ezra and Alice continue to look at me with the same awkward stare that I was using to look at Ezra.
"Go over what happened...from the beginning," Ezra states.
Ronin sighs, "I was on the plane leaving my grandfather's place. I had the device tucked away on my carryon. I'd been so nervous that I'd be discovered. I started to notice that there was turbulence. The lights on the plane kept flickering. They kept going out as I passed under them and then coming back on when I'm past them, which I thought was strange, but I chalked it up to coincidence as I've had this happen on planes before. Eventually, I wake up and I'm on a plane next to someone that just appeared out of nowhere. Someone I was sure wasn't sitting next to me not too long ago."
"You," Ronin responds, looking at Ezra, "Or someone just like you. I didn't know then but I know now that I had entered another dimension."
"How did you know that?"
"There was no all-seeing eye."
"Impossible!" Alice barks.
"My world doesn't have that," I explain, "If you want your privacy you can have it."
"And it's not like Taured. It was nice. It was normal. I wanted to stay there forever. I was so happy. My happiness caused me to make...mistakes in this new dimension. The mistakes led to a conflict with Ontario and suddenly we were back here in this dimension."
Alice and Ezra look at one another.
It's so weird.
"He cheated with you," I fill in the blanks about this `conflict' that Ronin didn't want to mention, "You and I were just coming back from our honeymoon."
"This has to be some sort of joke," Alice states.
Just as she says that Ezra grabs her hand. The way he grabs her hand lets me know that things were definitely different in this world. Ezra was with this girl named Alice. He's trying to steady her. It's clear she feels very uncomfortable.
"I don't think he's joking babe," Ezra states, "It's entirely possible that I was gay in another dimension..."
"What's the chances...what's the chances we run into each other in this world?" I ask Ezra.
"The Universe has a weird way of bringing energy together," Ezra responds.
He smiles at me. I think it's just friendly but then I notice the stare that his girlfriend gives me. Alice has this look on her face that seems to be burning bullets into me. I feel just as uncomfortable in this room as she does. I was in a room with a guy that looked just like my husband, the guy my husband cheated on me with, and Alice who was clearly in love with the guy that looked just like my cheating ass husband. I don't think any of his could have gotten any odder.
"Well at least you don't have to worry about me sleeping with this. world's Ezra?" Ronin states and laughs.
I give him a hard look. Really hard.
"Sorry, it was a joke," Ronin responds quickly, "Just...trying to make this phenomenon a little less tense."
Alice shakes her head, "There is no phenomenon. I don't know who you people are but I know that device that you have...the parallel heart hasn't worked since July 1954."
"Are you saying I'm lying?" I ask, "Trust me. I am not from this world."
"She's not saying you're lying," Ezra states.
"That's exactly what I'm saying," Alice butts in.
Ezra once again tries to ease the tension in the room with his overaggressive girlfriend, "Maybe there is some sort of a mistake. There were only only three parallel hearts created. One was with your grandfather, one is with the government and the third was destroyed. Everyone who was on the project to create the parallel heart was murdered."
"Except my grandfather," Ronin explains, "And he says there is one way he knew for sure to activate it. The Lockland law."
Alice and Ezra look at one another one more time.
"You think this is Lockland's law?" Alice asks.
"Yes," Ronin states.
"What's Lockland's law?" I ask.
Alice laughs at the thought, "You don't know what Lockland's law is? You really must be from a different dimension."
"What is it?" I ask.
Ezra is about to explain it when Ronin cuts him off.
"Do you mind if I tell him when it's just the two of us?" Ronin asks.
Weird. What was so sensitive about explaining this law. The way that Ezra looks at Ronin and nods make me feel like there is this big secret that I'm being left out of something. It seems heavy. I'm not sure why but it seems so heavy by the way they talk about it.
"You aren't falling for this, are you?" Alice asks Ezra, "What's the chances that Lockland's law opened a dimensional hole?"
Ronin doesn't hesitate, "It happened..."
"You're very young," Ezra states, "Can you be sure?"
Ronin looks over at me. The way he looks at me sends shivers down my spine.
"If you guys know what opened the hole can you send me back?" I ask.
"Alice will escort the two of you to a waiting room if you don't mind," Ezra explains, "We need time to discuss with this with our team here and see if there is a way to get you back to your own dimension, Ontario."
We are taken down the hall to a private room. Alice doesn't say anything. She keeps staring at us. Her dark eyes almost trying to peer into us to see if we are lying or not. I wish I was lying. I wish it was all bullshit. The scary thing is that it wasn't.
"If I find out the two of you are up to something to hurt my Ezra..." she states, "I'll kill you both. I promise you that."
With that, she leaves us in the room and walks away.
Ronin laughs as soon as she leaves, "Intense girl."
He is so at ease at that moment.
I wish I was even a fraction of at ease as he is.
"You knew," I state, "You knew this whole time how I got brought back here with you."
"It's complicated," he responds.
I look over at Ronin. I kind of feel betrayed. This whole time he was acting as though this was some freak accident. This whole time he hadn't let me know that his grandfather was on the team of the people who created this invention. There was a goddam LAW for godsakes on working the Parallel Heart device.
"You could have tried to tell me something, anything!" I respond, "You wouldn't even let Ezra explain what Lockland's law is."
"In the 1950s, Robert Lockland of Taured was granted a bill by the government to look into multi-dimensional travel. My grandfather was on his team. Lockland was devoted to his work as his wife had just died. She was the love of his life. He devoted all his time to creating what he called the Parallel Heart. One day during the project Lockland disappeared. When he reappeared he had someone else with him. He brought back a woman with him. She was a hotel staff member. She was a woman that looked just like his dead wife. Same name. Same face. But a different life."
"Did they fall in love?" I ask.
He nods, "Yes. Yes, they did."
"It was. Until the woman started to get really...sick," he explains.
"Lockland believed that someone couldn't exist in a dimension they weren't supposed to be in. It started with her bleeding from her nose. A few weeks later she died."
I'm shocked. My mind is going crazy at that moment.
"Is that going to happen to me??"
"Of course not," I state.
"How do you know for sure?"
"I won't let it happen," he states, "We are going to get you back? You won't end up like her. I won't end up like Lockland."
The way he says that feels empty.
"What happened to Lockland?"
"The government took over the project. They tried to force Lockland to recreate the portal using the Parallel Heart. He couldn't though. Something was missing. Something was gone. Lockland died of a broken heart."
The story was horrifying and beautiful all at the same time. Something sticks out to me. Why did he say that he didn't want to end up like Lockland? Was he saying that he didn't want to die of a broken heart? Why would he be Lockland's position?"
"What is Lockland's law?"
Ronin hesitates. It's that heaviness again.
"Lockland's law states that a Parallel Heart can be activated if two soulmates are in the same area across dimensions."
I turn away from him. Why am I getting emotional at this point? I turn towards a window. There is privacy in this building. He can't see me even though he's standing just behind me. I don't know why I'm crying exactly. I'd thought I'd been in love so many times. I remember being with Adrian. I didn't realize I loved him until I lost him. Then there was Ezra who never really returned the kind of love that I wanted him to.
Now Ronin was here talking to me about a term that I had never experienced.
"Do those exist?"
I feel his steps coming towards me, "When two people are meant for one another they find a way to that person. Fate brings them together. The universe brings them together. No matter what. No matter how. That is Lockland's Law."
"What does that have to do with us?" I ask.
That's when Ronin turns me around. He turns me around and I realize he has the same tears that I have. There is this intense emotion between the two of us at that moment. Our hands rub up against one another. He is holding my hand. His hands fit perfectly in between my fingers. It's almost as though his fingers were made to hold mine. I am watching how his breathing almost matches my own breathing as he gets closer and closer to me.
There is this feeling that exists between us. This feeling that I can't explain. This magnetic force that just draws us together. I felt it when I first saw him on the plane. I didn't know what it was back then. Was it infatuation? Was it hate? Was it jealousy? I hadn't been able to put it into words. Maybe it was all of those things at once. Maybe it was something completely different. Maybe it was an emotion that my world had not yet been able to create a word for?
Did they create a word for it in this world?
"I think this is Lockland's law," he whispers to me as though telling me a secret that only the two of us share, "This moment. This thing. This feeling. This is Lockland's law. And no matter how much we don't want it, we will be drawn to one another. We will find our way back to one another. Always. That's how you activate the Parallel Heart."
I don't know who kisses who first, but I realize we are kissing.
I'm pressed up against the window sill. My body is still as he separates my legs and invades my space. He's so close. His tongue drifts into my mouth like a gust of wind. Both his hands ride up my body as though exploring me for the very first time. Everything feels real. It feels like every idea of love I've had before was building into this moment. Every time I had sex was in preparation for this moment to be with him.
"Take it off," I tell him.
I don't need to tell it to him though because before I can get the words out his shirt is off. I'm running my hands up and down his hard abs. He's struggling to remove his pants after. My pants are off. When it is all done, our naked bodies are pressed up against the window sill and it's so hot in the room that the window is fogged up. I wrap my legs around his torso, pulling him into me. I'm claiming him as mine.
"I could kiss you forever," he tells me.
And for a moment I believe it as he kisses me from my cheek to my neck, to my nipples, to my navel and then slowly makes his way down to my crotch. He doesn't hesitate to take my dick into his mouth, pressing his tongue solidly against the hole of my penis. His lips pull my dick to his lips. Wet smacking slurping noises follow as he begins to slurp me up.
I rest both feet up against his shoulders. My ass is resting on the window sill. His arms are securing me in a certain position that he likes as he sucks me up. And when he's done he's dripping with precum all over the place. He saves it all and aims it right for my hole.
It's as though my asshole was measured for him when he enters me. There is tension but not too much. The ease of his dick as he inserts it into me sends both of us sprawling into a chorus of moans.
"FUCK YES!" our voices echo in unison.
We press up against one another hearing a rhythm that begins to formulate. It's almost like music and it's as though his hips are dancing to the beat inside of me. He rocks them back and forth dancing to the music that we make together. Not just in and out, but circular, back and forth, side to side and directions that I never even thought of.
My ass creams all over his dick and he seems to feel it as he climaxes to the bridge of our song. Our special song.
"Oh damn..." he announces collapsing into me.
He remains into me. We're silent.
We're at ease.
And most of all we're aware. Regardless of everything that happened in the past, it is more clear then ever what brought him into my dimension and then what brought me back into his. The Universe wanted us to be together. It demanded we be together. It demanded to hear this beautiful music that we could only make together.
And I hear a silent applause from the Universe.
Yes, that's what this was. This was Lockland's law.
"Thank you guys for waiting," Ezra states.
It's almost an hour before Ezra and his people come to get us again. We didn't spend time talking. We just held each other while we waited. And now when we meet up with Ezra again, we are holding one another's hands. The only thing I'm afraid of at this moment is what it would be like when we had to leave this place and pretend like we just didn't know each other.
Could I manage that sort of thing?
"Can you do it?" Ronin asks, "Can you open the Parallel Heart?"
"We believe we may be able to reactivate the Parallel Hearts. We have scientists who studied Lockland's laws for quite some time and believe they may be able to get Ontario back to his own dimension," Ezra states.
"Good!" Ronin responds before looking at me, "That's good news right?"
He looks over at me.
I didn't know how I felt. Why was Ronin so happy about me leaving? That meant that we would be separated.
"I guess," I state.
"Not so fast," Alice states, "We don't do anything for free?"
Ronin and I turn to Alice and Ezra. It's clear there was more to this.
"What?" Ronin asks, "What do you want in return?"
"Ontario. We want you to tell your story," Ezra explains, "To the world. We want to broadcast what your world is like."
"If people knew that privacy didn't lead to mayhem and disaster, it would help bring down the All-Seeing Eye," Ezra explains.
That's what they wanted.
Ronin hesitates at that moment, "It's too dangerous. You are putting him as the face of the rebellion..."
Ezra nods, "Yes."
Alice agrees, "If your story is real, you'll want to share it. Right?"
Ronin hesitates, "It's too dangerous."
Ezra nods, "I'm sorry Ronin. I don't mean to be an asshole here, but this rebellion means everything to me. He has no choice at this point."
"You going to stop us from walking out of here?" Ronin asks.
"No I'm not," Ezra states, "But Ontario may not have much time left."
"What?" I ask.
That's when Alice reaches into her pocket and hands me a napkin, "You might be needing this Ontario."
Ronin looks at me with fear. I know why almost immediately.
I had a nosebleed...just like the woman Lockland brought back.
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com