Saturday, October 1, 2016

Frenzy: Spending Time (Part XII)

I catch a bus to Ace’s apartment since I have no identity, and public transportation still allows for such a thing. I still have to do some walking, which is honestly getting to be a pain. I’ve been through a lot over the last two days, and I really just want to go to bed. Assuming Ace is some kind of time traveler, and already knows what’s going on, he’ll probably let me crash at his place again. If he’s not, then I’m about to make an ass out of myself. I go up to his unit and knock on the door.
A woman answers. “Can I help you?”
“Um, does Ace live here?” I ask before adding, “or Horace, that is?” I remember him calling himself that once.
“No, I’m sorry. I’ve never heard that name.”
“I must have the wrong address. Sorry about that.”
“Not a problem,” she answers. “Hey, are you one of those Frenzy runners?”
“I am,” I say. “I’m training.”
“Well, good luck next year.”
“Thanks,” I say before she closes the door.
Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t live here yet. A lot can happen in four years. Hell, he might have moved in a month before we first met in the future. Now I truly have no one. I could seek out Lincoln Rutherford, the one person I know for sure understands time travel, but I’m hesitant to do that. He was clearly freaked out to see me before, and I’m not so sure I can trust him. Still, he might be my only option. That will have to wait, though. It’s getting late, and I still have to find somewhere to sleep.
I wander the streets for nearly an hour, trying to find the best place to curl up in a corner and wait out the night. Homeless shelters are regularly closed and replaced. I do not recall where to find one back in 2022. I notice a coffee shop up ahead, and decide that that’s where I want to be. I’ll find some warmth for a few minutes before they kick me out, and someone may even let me borrow the internet so I can find a shelter. I walk in and see serendipity sitting by the fireplace. Maybe The Gravedigger, or even Rutherford, is looking out for me. How else would you explain this? Of all the coffee shops, in all the world, I walk into his. Ace is reading what looks like a very deep and thought-provoking book, and sipping from his tea. I was going to ask him for answers, but seeing him like this makes me realize that he has no clue what’s going on. Whatever he learns about this world, he’s not learned it yet. For now, he’s just a normal guy. A hot normal guy with some kind of pastry that looks better than any food I’ve ever seen.
“You can have it,” Ace suddenly says without looking up from his book.
I look behind me like an idiot. “Are you talking to me?”
“There are several other people here, so I must be talkin’ to you.”
“I’m sorry?”
He laughs and closes his book. “It’s before your time. I can practically smell your hunger. If you need something to eat, that’s available. I didn’t realize it had raisins, so I’m not gonna eat it.”
I don’t like raisins either, but I’m starving. Worried he might change his mind, I quickly grab it and swallow it up. Only afterwards do I feel embarrassed and ashamed. “I’m sorry.”
“Your fine.” He reaches back and takes some paper money out of his pocket. “This place doesn’t give you shit when you pay with dolla dolla bills. That’s why I come here.”
“I...I can’t take your money.” I continue to stammer, “in—in fact, I sh...should be going.” I stand up. I really want to stay with him, but this isn’t right. We’re not supposed to meet for another four years. The longer we’re together here, the more likely it is he’ll remember me when he meets me before the Frenzy. That will just be confusing for him, so I have to cut this short and let it go. It’s time to face the fact that I’m alone in this time. No one can help me, and nor should they try. Even though I don’t consider this my fault, it’s my mess, and I can’t expect anyone to help clean it up.
“Wait,” he stops me. “What’s your name?” he asks, just so that he can get to what he wants to say.
“Serkan,” I reply instinctively. No, I should have used an alias. I’ve made it even worse; must be Tuesday.
“Serkan,” he starts off, “I don’t like to sugarcoat things. I don’t know where you come from, or what’s going on. But I can see that you need food, and you need money. I have those things. I’m actually pretty well-off. I’m not here to judge or question whether you deserve to be in this situation, but what I can do is help. Maybe it was even fate. Of all the coffee shops, in all the world, you walk into mine.”
That’s a direct quote from a thought I just had. “Can you read my mind?”
He laughs. “Can I dowhatnow?”
I don’t want to press it. “Never mind.” I take the wad of cash from his hand. “I very much appreciate it.”
“Don’t mention it.”
I go up to the counter and wait in line, but as I’m doing so, I find myself frequently look back at Ace. He’s watching me as well. He’s four years younger than last I saw him, which means that he’s only a few years older than me at this point. That’s no big big deal at all. I probably don’t look like a silly little child to him, and the way his eyes focus on me makes me feel like he recognizes this as well. I try to look up at the chalkboard to determine what I should eat. It has to be filling, cheap, and as healthy as possible. As a coffee shop, it doesn’t have too many options—
Before I know it—and I’m not talking about time travel; just a form of autopilot—I’m in Ace’s apartment. We don’t even get out of the entryway before we start making out and tearing each other’s clothes off. I’m kissing him more passionately than I ever have anyone before. I’m kissing him like an adult. He undoes my Frenzy suit and tugs it off my shoulders. Now I’m standing here topless, like a surfer who hasn’t yet put his wetsuit all the way on. He starts kissing down my chest, drawing closer to the finish line. I laugh in my own head at the metaphor.
He comes back up and looks me in the eyes. “My name is Ace, by the way. Horace.”
“I know,” I say, in the heat of the moment, then I go back to kissing him on the neck.
“I mean...that’s a great name.”
“Oh,” he tries to say through the desire.

“I’ve never brought anyone home before,” he says when we wake up in the morning.
“I ain’t never been broughten.”
He chuckles. “You must be hungry. You never did get that crumpet, or whatever, last night.”
“I got something better. But yes, I could go for some quiche, or something.”
He tilts his head. I’ve messed up again. I’m not supposed to know about that. “Funny. I’m kind of known for make an amazing quiche.” He stands up and starts some morning stretches.
“Then I guess I came to the right place.” Despite my time travel taboos, I’m doing pretty well. I’m smoother than I usually am. It must be the sex. I’ve had it before, but not like that; not with a guy like Horace... “What’s your last name?”
“Reaver. Horace Reaver.”
I nod. “Serkan Demir.”
“I feel like such a slut not telling you that before hopping into bed.”
“Then I suppose we’re both sluts.” I sit up on my knees and kiss him again. “I’m all right with that.”
I can feel his lips smile while still attached to mine. “What makes my quiche so good is that it takes an hour to make. I better get started.”
I fall back and rest my head on both my wrists. “I can’t wait that long,” I say in a cutesy voice.
“I’ll make some toast too, and I think I still have a couple hard-boiled eggs in the fridge.”
A few minutes later, I walk over to the kitchen area wearing pants and a shirt I stole from his wardrobe. I sit at the counter and eat my appetizers while watching him do his thing. “I’m not homeless,” I blurt out.
“Okay,” is all he says, not wanting to overstep.
“I just...I can’t go back home.”
He peers at me. “Do they not accept you as you are.”
“Oh, no. It’s nothing like. I was a gay baby. I never needed to come out to my family. I can’t really explain why I have to stay away from there, though. I just have some things I need to work out on my own.”
“I understand that. I mean, I don’t understand what you’re going through, but you and I are okay.”
This guy had sex with someone he thought was homeless. He brought him home to his house with fancy television monitors and a bunch of clothes, and then he slept with him. He may not make the wisest decisions, but he’s someone I can trust, and I already knew that. I can’t do this on my own. If Horace Reaver won’t help me through being marooned in the timestream, then no one in the world will. I have this urge to explain myself, so that he doesn’t think my parents kicked me out, or something. I need him to know who I am; why I’m here. “I’m a time traveler.”
“I was in 2026, and then I fell in a grave, of all places. When I crawled out, I found myself in 2022. I don’t know why or how it happened, but I can’t get back. It looks like I’m gonna have to go the long way ‘round.”
He stops cooking and studies me. “Are you telling the truth?”
“I know it sounds crazy...” I start to say.
He puts down the spatula and goes over to grab his phone.
“I understand if you have to call the authorities, or a mental hospital, or whatever. You should know, however, that last night was real. That meant something to me. I’ve never met anyone like y—”
“Ulinthra?” he asks into the phone, cutting me off. “How fast can you get to Kansas City? I think we’ve just found the proof we were looking for.”

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