XX, Chapter 2

Chapter 2
My grandfather is barely able to talk when my grandmother has him wheeled into the New Florida Oval office. My sisters are all there and we are all wondering how the fuck this dying man is able to do this.
The stingers and I are being looked at by my other sisters. Opal, Diamond and my sister Amethyst are standing there. Amethyst and Diamond are the only ones who really didn’t now that we went through with kidnapping Rahmell.
Diamond just was too soft to go through with it and Amethyst…well it was more complicated than that.
“Bring him in,” my grandmother orders.
The Amazon soldiers leave the room. A few minutes later Rah is brought into the room. I look at his face and can feel embarrassment when our eyes connect. We both know what happened in that tent between us. Ruby was the other one who knew and Ruby was just pissed that I’d swallowed the nut more than anything.
“What’s going on here?” Amethyst asks.
Amethyst runs forward trying to get at Rahmell but Pearl holds her back.
“Amethyst!” Rahmell says.
See the thing about Rahmell and Amethyst is that they were in love a long time ago before Rah was taken away to the Districts. Amethyst never got over it.
Amethyst is kicking and screaming to the point that she has to be taken out of the room. I can tell that she isn’t really feeling all of this.
“This is unnecessary,” Diamond states noticing Rahmell tied up at that moment and Amethyst being dragged out of the room.
“You’re going to kill me?” Rahmell asks my grandmother.
“No…the Districts will suspect us if you end up dead,” my grandmother answer, “We’re going to let you go.”

Beryl looks concerned at that moment and Diamond looks relieved. It’s interesting to see the contrasting views between the two. They’ve always contrasted in that way and butt heads. Beryl usually won because she was bigger, stronger and had the backing of the other two stingers.
In this matter I’m confused. I don’t want anything bad to happen to Rahmell but I also don’t want him to be let go and go running to the Districts letting him know that we kidnapped him in the first place. Ok…maybe it was rash but we’d done it for the right cause.
Suddenly my grandfather states, “Rahmell…you’ll keep what happened to yourself.”

It’s not a question.  My grandfather’s voice is shaky. If the country knew their president was so weak god knows what the feminist extremists would do.
“Or what?”

My grandfather is too weak to carry out a threat. My grandmother steps in and looks down at Rahmell, “As you may know, radical feminists have terrorized our cities. These terrorists want to topple my husband’s government to create an all female nation. Your mother is one of them. We have her locked up at this moment. You will keep what happened here to yourself and you will assist my ambassadors at the convention acting as a spy for the District.”

“Why would I betray my own country?” Rahmell asks.
“Because if you don’t we’ll execute your mother.”
I’m speechless.
Diamond looks over at my Grandmother and all she can get out is a pleading, “Ma Zoe…”

My heart drops. I look over at Beryl and the Stingers. They have smiles on their faces. None of us expected this from our grandmother. This woman had gone around being the most passive woman since the 19th century but she was over here threatening to kill Rahmell’s mother.
At that moment I watch Rahmell look over at me and he just seems broken, “Gem look.  You can’t let them do this. Gem…”

I look at Rahmell. I feel bad. I didn’t think my grandmother would go this far as to threaten Rahmell’s family if he didn’t go along with being a spy for us. I didn’t know she was that desperate. Right now I still didn’t know my Grandmother’s plan. She was being so secretive about it all. She could have told us it was her plan a long time ago for us to go to the Geneva Convention.
I look over at Rahmell and cross my arms, “Just say you’d do it Rahmell.”

“Are you fuckin’ serious? You know what happens if I get caught spying for another country in the District.”

“Please Rahmell.”

Rahmell looks over at me and shakes his head, “Shit you really have changed now, haven’t you Gem? Fine. I’ll do it.”

Rahmell looks away. He looks like he’s in pain.
“I want to attend this convention as well,” Diamond states at that moment.
“That won’t be happening,” Ma Zoe explains, “Gem will be going as an ambassador.”

“Me?” I ask.
Opal raises an eyebrow, “HIM?”

We all expect it to be Opal. She’s the one who has all the political ties to other countries. She was the one who was supposed to be Grandmother’s favorite. Why the fuck was my grandmother sending me of all people?

“It’s because he’s a man isn’t it?” Diamond states.
I can see her looking at me curiously and Opal giving me the same stare. None of my sisters seem supportive of me being sent out there. They are all looking at me with a reluctance. I’d never been either one side with the stingers or the other side with Diamond and Amethyst. I’d always been somewhat in the middle and that seemed to scare everyone.
Ma Zoe shakes her head, “Your grandfather and I have made the decision. Diamond and Amethyst will be staying here. Diamond will continue her work with building up the infrastructure and Amethyst has to finish school.”

“What about us?” Beryl asks in regards to the Stingers.
“You’ll accompany Gem. You’ll protect him.”

Knowing the Stingers were coming with me to the Geneva Convention felt like both a good and a bad thing. I didn’t really know how to take this. They were dangerous but at the same time them being dangerous could be a good thing. I’d heard scary stories about the District and their technology. I needed some cutthroat people on my side.
That’s why I look over at Opal. Opal was a sneaky, conniving woman if I’d ever met one in my life.
“I’d like to request Opal as well,” I state.
“Opal would be better served here,” my grandmother states.
Opal shakes her head at that moment and looks down at the floor, “I don’t need to go. I don’t need your pity Gem.”

She’s embarrassed. I can tell she is.
“Opal knows way more about politics than I do. I need her help.”

What I want to say is that she knows more about subterfuge than anyone I knew. She made her reputation for being sneaky and ambitious. I didn’t trust her either but again I didn’t trust the Districts or the other country’s ambassadors much more.
My grandmother nods, “Fine. Gem please escort our new friend back to his room and make sure you stop by here to see me tomorrow before you leave for the Geneva Convention.”

My heart is racing as Rahmell follows me down the hallway. I can tell he’s pissed. He’s more than quiet and he’s definitely not feeling me right now.
“I’m sorry,” I tell him by the time we get to his room door.
“Sorry? I’m your best friend and the most you can say to me is that you’re sorry?” he asks me, “Your family just threatened to kill my mother.”

I’d never seen Rahmell this mad before. When we were younger he’d get mad over little things but even when he was mad he’d always smile. I used to hate it because I could never take him serious. We’d argue smiling all the time and we’d end up hugging it out.
“Just do what they say,” I explain, “And everything will be fine.
“Remember when I hit puberty and was told that I can start extracting my sperm?” Rahmell asks me.
He leans up against the wall. It’s hard to look at him in his suit with his handsome eyes looking disappointed at me.

“Yeah…” I say crossing my arms, “I was excited for you but you were scared shitless.”
“I told you I didn’t want this. I said I wished I was like you. I wish I was infertile because maybe then I could live a normal life,” Rahmell explained, “Remember what you told me.”

“I told you everything will be ok.”
I smile at Rahmell.

Rahmell isn’t smiling back.
“I believed you,” Rahmell explains, “Because you were my best friend and I felt like whatever you said was law. You could tell me the sky was purple and I’d believe you. So I thought everything was going to be ok. I thought I didn’t have a care in the world. A week later I found out your grandfather was already looking at which country to sell me off to like human cattle.”

“Melly…”

“Nothing’s ok. And this plan…this shit is crazy. Once you get to the District you’ll see. Nothing will ever be ok again…”
The next day I’m packed. Diamond helps me back. She doesn’t admit it but I know she still feels some type of way about the fact that I’m going to District but she isn’t. She’s a good sister though so she stays by my side as she walks me over to the meet my grandmother.
“Don’t let her change you,” Diamond whispers in my ear, “I’ll be waiting for you at the docks with everyone else.”

I nod at Diamond. I know she worries. I lean over at that moment and hug her. I’m going to miss Diamond the most out of everyone back here.
I see Diamond wipe away a tear at that moment. It’s clear she’s upset and it’s nice to know I have someone at home at least waiting for me. She punches me in the arm at that moment and watches as I walk into the room to meet my grandmother.
I’m nervous meeting my grandmother. She’s standing by herself at the bed. She looks over at me with a short glare.
“You’re ready?” she asks me, “You got your gator skin I see.”

I laugh, “I have to represent the Amazons. Grandmother. Why me though?

“You’ll do what it takes.”

The way she says it is strange. Grandmother had something that she’s up to. I don’t know what it is.

“What is the plan of me going to the Convention? What exactly do you want me to do?” I ask.

“For now…gather information.”

“That’s it?”

“No…I have a way that we will change our situation completely.”

“What is it?”

Grandmother is hesitating. I wonder if she doesn’t trust me. Maybe that is the reason that she wanted the stingers to come with me. Protection was one thing but a babysitter was another thing. If she trusted me to go to the Convention as our countries ambassador than she should have trusted me with everything.
Grandmother slides her hand on my face, “You look like your grandfather when he was younger. Slightly feminine and yet still strong. You’ll do anything for your family. That’s what I need you to do. When you get to the Districts I have Anastasia Tailor already there. Anastasia is an Amazon who will set you all up with a place to live and help with anything you need.”

“You’re avoiding the question…”

She continues to avoid the question by pulling out a necklace from a box, “This is a rare stone that made your grandfather his fortune with his mining company. It’s called the Exa Stone. Soon after he found the Exa Stone your father struck oil. I want you to wear it at all times. It’s good luck.”

I look at the stone. It’s beautiful and huge. I’ve never seen or heard about the stone before. It is a yellow stone that shimmers with white speckles.

“What is my mission Grandmother? Please…”

“Anastasia will let you know the plan when you get to the District,” she explains, “Follow me…it’s time to get to your ride.”

She’s talking stranger and stranger and I know that my grandmother is up to the something. I can feel it all over here.

I’d never rode on a hovercraft before and when we get to the port I can see the row of Amazon women lining up. They are singing songs as we leave. They are stomping and cheering. I can see many of them waving at me as I leave. I don’t know how much they know about the Geneva Convention. It’s all been really whispers. The only time we left New Florida was when we were going to war with the Carolinas or training for war with the Carolinas.

“Please be safe,” Diamond says giving me a hug at that moment.

After she gives me a hug Amethyst leans in to do the same. Amethyst doesn’t look like me. She is beautiful like all my sisters but she’s always been very fair skinned almost to the point that a lot of people took her for white. Amethyst had light brown hair that fell to her shoulders and these huge dough eyes that made you think this girl was the most innocent person in the world. She was the kind of girl that guys wanted to marry. She was a pure soul and everyone knew that. At times though the authenticity of her innocence was something that I questioned.

For a girl so into religion and church, Rahmell admitted to quite a few sexual encounters with my ‘virgin’ little sister back in the day.

“Take care,” Amethyst says, “Be safe and oh yeah…can you give this to Rahmell?”

She hands me a letter at that moment. It’s a note for Rahmell.

I look at it and before I can even respond I see Opal walk past me with an annoyed clearly antsy look, “Enough of the emotional goodbyes. We have business to get to. Come on Gem.”

I don’t even have time to wave away to my grandmother. She’s standing a little further off away from the rest of us. I follow Opal on board the hovercraft at that time making sure to wave to Diamond a lot more. Why the fuck did I get the feeling that they were more scared than anything as they waved off to me.

“No guns.”

“The FUCK do you mean no guns!” I hear someone screaming.

Within a matter of seconds of boarding the hovercraft I already know who that person is. It’s Pearl. Pearl has a pretty face, challenged only by Ruby but her mouth was something fierce. The girl never smiled a day in her life. She had what was known as resting bitch face and found every reason in the world to fight.
“There are no guns allowed this ship. We have to confiscate all your weapons,” the District officer is saying.
The office looks a little worried about Pearl. He has a reason to be. I know my sister enough to know what happens when she starts winding up her wrists. For pretty girls the stingers had been in more bar fights than drunk sailors. I’m worried because she’s causing a scene already. Beryl is usually Pearl’s leash but she’s no where to be found. Ruby is standing there and she looks like all she’ll do is end up following up if a fight broke out.

This mission would be over before it started.

“Aren’t you going to do something?” Opal asks me, “You’re our ambassador…remember?”

“You want me to stop Pearl?” I ask.

“Keeping the Peace. That’s sort of what ambassadors do.”

I look over at Pearl. Pearl was patting her hand. She was about to slap the dog shit out of the officer. Ruby would grab at the closest weapon and try to protect her sister. Beryl would come out of no where like she always did and then it would be game over. I didn’t know if I wanted to get involved in this. Usually I just let the stingers get their ratchedness out while I sat in the corner somewhere. Opal is looking at me right now wanting me to prove that I have what it takes to be the ambassador though.

So I step forward.

“Pearl, fall back,” I say grabbing my sister’s itching hand.

Pearl looks at me like I just lost my mind, “Are you fucking kidding—”

“Is there a problem here?” a voice says.

I turn to see that it’s Senator Redd. He’s standing there with an interested look on his face. There is something about this guy that I don’t trust. I can’t put my finger on it but there is something just straight devious about him. As he walks over I can almost feeling my senses tingling and I don’t think I’m the only one. Ruby and Pearl are giving him this stare that make me realize this guy just seems to come off in a negative way.

He smiles and even through that smile I can feel something…nasty.

“No problems sir,” I state, “My sister was just taking her seat and handing over her weapons. Weren’t you, Pearl?”

Pearl looks at me. She looks at the Senator. Then she looks at me, “Fine…I don’t need this anyway. Or this. Or these…oh yeah…don’t need this too…”

By the time Pearl is done the other officers have open mouths realizing just how many weapons my sister was bringing on board the ship with her. She pats herself down letting us know she doesn’t have anything else on her. Knowing my sister though I doubt that is the case. Pearl grunts and takes herself back to her seat with Ruby following close behind her.

I watch in embarrassment as the officers start picking up all the weapons off the floor.

“I guess the rumors about the fierceness of Amazon women are true,” Senator Redd explains, “I wonder if it is the same with Amazon men.”

His eyes study me closely.

“Well you know Rahmell…”

“Rahmell’s a district man, all the way through,” the Senator assures me with this snide tone in his voice, “I don’t know how he managed to become civilized so quickly.”

I try my hardest not to say anything. Was this guy saying that my country wasn’t civilized? The look on his face has that same look. He has one of those expressions that you just wanted to punch. He was beyond cocky and not in a good way.

“Thanks for the ride to the District,” I tell the Senator.

“Have a seat. We’re about to take off. I’m sure the District isn’t something you’ll be used to,” the Senator tells me.

I fake a smile again and go take a seat next to my sisters. I realize that Beryl is stiff as board and I have the strange suspicion she’s scared of heights but I don’t think any of us will dare ask us. By the time we take off I can see Beryl sweating. I’ve never known Beryl to be scared of everything. Ruby and Pearl snicker amongst themselves off to the side so Beryl doesn’t hear. Opal acts like she’s above us and is reading a book.

The Hovercraft does scare me as well. It reeked of District technology. I have to admit that I relate to Beryl. I’d seen videos of airplanes but after World War III started most consumer airplanes were replaced with hovercrafts that could land just about anywhere without the need of a runway.

“We will arrive shortly!” A person comes out of no where and tells me.

I nearly lose my shit and scream at that moment, “What the fuck!”

“Relax. It’s a hologram,” Opal says taking her head out of her book, “I swear I can’t you people anywhere.”

It’s another dig about us being uncivilized. I don’t now where Opal learned all her civilization though. She may have had more schooling than the rest of us but we were all good at our own things.

“So when we going to get our guns back—Mr. Ambassador?” Pearl asks me, clearly letting me know that this is what’s on her mind.

“We won’t need them.”

“What happens when we want to shoot someone?” Ruby asks me.

“You’ll just have to do without,” I explain.

“Well Rahmell if I don’t have a gun I’ll have to get real creative with Rahmell if he betrays us,” Pearl states.

“Shh…” I whisper.

There are people walking up and down. Pearl doesn’t know how to keep a low voice. Her and Ruby begin to snicker to themselves like little school girls. Opal goes on to roll her eyes.

Luckily I shut them up in time because I watch Rahmell walk past. All of us seem to notice him at that moment except for Beryl who has now closed her eyes and is pretending to be sleep while holding onto the chairs for dear life. None of us will dare make fun of Beryl to her face but it is pretty pathetic.

“Aren’t you going to give the Amethyst’s letter to him?” Opal asks me, “Please don’t tell me my role of advising you on this trip is reminding you of everything you have to do.”

“That’s exactly what your role is,” I get smart right back with her.

When I get up I see Ruby grab me, “Whoa, hold it. Think about this. Why would you want to do to that?”

“Amethyst asked me to,” I reply confused.

Ruby rolls her eyes, “No. Amethyst is weak. If she wanted to tell him something she should have told him herself.”

“You should open it. You should read it,” Pearl suggests.

I look at the letter.

“No…that’s foul as shit,” I respond.

Ruby rolls her eyes, “See this is why you can never be a Stinger. You need to learn how to be more assertive.”

Opal butts in, “You mean be a bitch?”

She’s sitting one row in front of the row that Ruby, Pearl and I are sitting in. In the distance I can see the area that Rahmell is sitting in.

Ruby shakes her head, “I mean be assertive. If Beryl was feeling ok she’d tell your ass off right now.”

“I’m fine,” Beryl says between clenched teeth one row behind us and struggles to say, “Be assertive.”

“You’re an Amazon,” Ruby smiles, “Take what you want.”

She winks at me.

“Ruby—”

“Oh relax. Opal…the traitor, knows about what happened between you and Rahmell,” Ruby explains.
My face gets red. I look over at Opal. My sisters are all staring at me right now. Opal has her head out of her book. Beryl has opened her eyes for the moment. I feel so embarrassed right now.

“You guys know I’m gay?” I ask.

“Of course we do,” Opal explains rolling her eyes, “We also know how you feel about Rahmell. The only one dumb enough not to have seen that for years is Amethyst.”

I shake my head. Amethyst did act like she was in denial. I went out of my way since I was a kid to spend any time I could with Rahmell.

“Being a gay Amazon is fine in my book,” Ruby explains, “Being a weak gay Amazon is unacceptable. You’re in love with him. You always have been. Don’t trade love letters with them.”

“Read the letter,” Pearl butts in.

I look over at Opal.

She’s quick to say, “I don’t do personal conflicts. I give you political advice. That’s why I’m here. Don’t look at me because honestly I don’t give a damn.”

I get up at that moment.

I take the letter with me.

I’m nervous as fuck as I get to where Rahmell is sitting. He’s sitting with some other handsome looking guys. They are all tall dark and handsome. I figure they have to be Fertiles. I mean these guys all looked like models. They were probably the best of the best when it came to Fertiles or FDs as the District would call them. They all have their District suits on. They all look really fly. I have to admit as I walk over to them I can feel myself just feeling like an idiot.

As I walk over to Rahmell the hovercraft sways a little bit and I feel myself losing my balance. I tumble forward realizing I’m about to bust my ass in front of all of these people but I’m caught…right in time by Rahmell.

That doesn’t stop Rahmell’s District friends from laughing.

“Primitives,” I hear one of them say under their breath.

I know if one of my sisters were around to hear what he said there would have been some serious consequences. Luckily they aren’t around though. I stand there wondering if this whole trip was a good idea at that moment. It feels like things are just going to blow up.

“Are you ok Gemmy?” he asks.

My heart stops.

“I was about to give you,” I start out before handing him the letter but stop mid sentence, “Oh my god…”

“What?”

“You just called me Gemmy,” I respond.

Rahmell used to call me that all the time when we were younger. It was his nickname for me. He was Melly and I was Gemmy. It was corny and stupid but it was our thing. It was the thing that let us know that no matter who we became or where we went, we were once close. We once were best friends. I don’t know why I’m looking at this guy like this. I don’t know why I always look at him like this. Rahmell looks at me with an interested look and smiles when he realizes what I just said.

“Come here…” he says.

He doesn’t wait until I respond before grabbing my arm and pulling me off. He takes me into the bathroom at that moment. It’s a small bathroom really tight and small.

I want to make a joke about the mile high club but I’m nervous as shit so I just say, “What are we doing in here?”

“We need to be careful with what we say in public…especially if I’m going to be spying on the District…” he explains.

“Wait so you’re going along with this?” I ask.

He shakes his head, “I owe you an apology.”

“What?” I ask.

Rahmell looks at me. I can’t take the fact that we are so close in this bathroom right now. His crotch is pressed up against mine. He doesn’t seem to mind. It’s just like when we were kids. He’d take me in the tightest most uncomfortable spots. He’d feel so comfortable with me, meanwhile I am going crazy from every moment we’re stuck together. Right now is one of those times. He touches me too much when he talks. He leans in too much when he expresses himself. His pearly white teeth flash and his sweet breath hit my face.

And his eyes change color…again.

“My mother is an Amazon and you’re an Amazon. So I think you were right. I am District now. I will always be District, but I still have to protect the Amazons.”

“Yeah…Amethyst is an Amazon too.”

Rahmell shrugs his shoulders, “Oh yeah forgot about that.”

“Your forgot about your girlfriend.”

“Ex-girlfriend. Besides. Bros over…hoes. I mean, shit I probably shouldn’t say that about sister,” he laughs at that moment.

I raise an eyebrow.

“Ok.”

“So anything you need to know about the District I’ll help,” he tells me.

“I won’t put you in any threatening positions.”

“Listen if what happened in that tent was a threatening position…I won’t mind,” he says at that moment before stopping and saying, “Wow…that sounded really gay just now didn’t it? Damn! That sounded off. Yo. I take that back.”

I want to beg him not to take it back but instead I just smile and laugh.

“Forgotten already.”

“Ok great. Shit was about to get real weird,” Rahmell laughs before jabbing me in the arm, “So what happened in the tent isn’t going to change things with us right?”

“Naw. We’re good.”

“So we are friends again?”

“Best friends.”

Rahmell eyes smile at me, “You always trying to one up me huh?”

“I got to be better.”

“Well then we are one level above best friends,” Rahmell states.

It was that awkward moment happening again. It was that awkward moment that I loved. The moment that Rahmell remembers how close we are. And our eyes linger on one another just way longer than it should linger on one another. Our eyes lock and all of a sudden I’m that little boy again following Rahmell wherever he wanted to lead me. He’d take me on those adventures and we were kids.

Take me there. Rahmell.

Take me on your adventure with you.

I’d follow you…anywhere…

I lean forward. I am going to kiss him. I don’t care about Amethyst at that moment. I don’t care about me being an Ambassador for New Florida. I don’t care about anything else but Rahmell.

I am about to touch his lips when we are interrupted by a very tiny woman, which has to a hologram hovering right over the toilet.

Rahmell and I both laugh at her presence.

“Damn no privacy,” I say.

The hologram announces, “We are arriving in the District.”

Rahmell is all smiles when he opens the window, “Yo…come here…take a look at this. It’s Columbia, capital of the District.”

I lean over to the window and Rahmell making sure that I can see it, grabs me by the waist and scoots me up to the window a little bit more. I look out of the window and I see the most amazing thing I’d ever seen before.

It’s a city of the future. In the distance I see things I’ve never seen before. I look at Columbia and I’m amazed.

Words can describe what I’m seeing.

“I…I…” I start to stutter.

I’m scared. Nervous. Excited.

“We should get back to our seats for landing,” Rahmell says letting go of his hands around my waist but then stopping by the door to add, “This is gonna be dope being around you all the time again. I can’t wait to show you everything in Columbia.”

I smile, “I can’t wait either.”

Rahmell smiles, closes the door and leaves me in the bathroom.

At that moment I take out the letter. I’m sorry Amethyst but there was no way in hell that Rahmell was going to know you wrote him this letter.

When I open the letter my smile fades and the excitement gets dim.

The letter reads:

Last night was amazing. I didn’t expect you to come to my room late night but I was happy that you were. I didn’t expect us to have sex that night but I’m glad we did. All of the feelings I had for you started rushing back. I know you’ve been close to the District but I’m glad there is still a part of my old Rahmell still there. You are the sexiest man I ever met and there is nothing I wouldn’t give to be with you. I never stopped loving you and the time we spent together was more than amazing.

Thank you for asking me to be the mother of your children. As soon as I start showing I’ll let my family know the great news about me being pregnant. 

LOVE

AMETHYST ZOE