The Book of Gateways (Installment 12)

Chapter 4

I wake up in the office again collapsed on the floor. I realize Piers is underneath me, his hands still clamped on the book. He’s breathing is shallow and his eyes are closed.

“That was weird.” I still feel like the world is spinning. I lay myself back down, using Piers as a pillow. Oh, I do not feel good. I look over and see Piers’ eyes flutter open.

“Ugh, what just happened?” He releases one hand from the book and rubs his temple. “I have a serious migraine.”

“I have no idea.” I say sitting up fighting the bile coming up my throat. My head is pounding. I check my phone: eight am. Well that can’t be right. I look at the door and see it closed unlike before, but on the closed door is a horrible calendar, bright pink and filled with flowers and kittens frolicking about. One of the kittens have “x’s” scrawled on its eyes. How pleasant.

“I don’t remember that calendar being there.” I say pointing to the door. Piers’ mouth drops open.

“This is impossible!” A madness creeps into his eyes. “This is freaking impossible!” He scrambles to his feet and opens the book frantically to the page we were looking at before all the weirdness. “San Diego Office Book Store” is written at the top.

“This is insane!” Piers says tightening the strap on the book.

“Piers… Where are we?” I say grabbing his wrist.

“I think we’re in California.” He locks eyes with me. He tucks the book into the back of his pants and pulls his shirt over it to conceal it. Not exactly a great hiding place but it’s all we got. My stomach is still sloshing about and I’m still not quite sure what just happened.

“Should we check to make sure?” I nod towards the door. Piers still shaking nods back. I go to the door and open it just a fraction so I can see out. It looks clear. I poke my head out and as I do I lock eyes with a girl rounding the corner. Of course we both scream at the top of our lungs and Piers yanks me out of the way switching positions with me. The girl calms down a bit still clutching her heart.

“Rileson Piers! What is wrong with you?” I hear her high pitched voice squeak. I see the tension release from his shoulders a bit and he smiles quickly.

“Hey Lannah, I thought we agreed you wouldn’t mess my name up anymore.” He says as he walks forward and gives her a hug. I feel nauseated again.

“What are you doing here?” She says smoothing her hair back. I poke my head out to enter into the conversation.

“Oh… you know… We kinda just popped in.” Piers laughs nervously.

“Usually you don’t just ‘pop in’ to a book store across the country.” Lannah says with a weird expression on her face. Piers laughs nervously again. “When did you guys get in?”

“Oh… this morning.” Piers manages to recover. He’s so not good under pressure.

“Hi, I’m Cesar. Piers’, friend.” I say not too sure about what the last part was about. Are we friends? Or are we more than that? Like best friends. I think we’re best friends. I smile at myself.

“Hi! I’m Lannah! I’m one of the staff members here. I know you’re… Milo’s girl from Maryland. We’ve heard a lot about you and that location.” She says smiling and giving me an awkward hug. They feel the pain of loss too.

“So what’s the reason for your visit?” She says back to her peppy self.

“Oh we thought we would travel over and see how you guys are doing over here. It’s been kinda tough for us so I figured I would drop in. Cesar just came along for the ride.” He smiles, his charm coming back slowly. Lannah nods suspiciously.

“Ya, it’s been tough. We tried to stay open a bit but we cut our hours a lot when… Well you know. Anyways you’re getting as bad Milo, suddenly appearing in his office and what not. He was a stealthy gentleman that one. Piers and I shiver knowing how he made it to and from his locations.

“A family trait I guess.” Piers laughs again.

“I guess so, anyways let me take you guys to the front. Desimae is here.” Lannah walks down a hallway that seems to open up into a big room. Lannah has long brown straight hair that reaches to her lower back, a plain and simple haircut with no bangs or layers. She has soft features and long eyelashes that seem to perfectly frame her stunning blue eyes. A pear shaped body and long arms. Her smile is sweet, and her personality seems to be the optimistic type. She’s probably a doormat.

Anyways we follow her down the hallway where it opens up into a large room. There are rows and rows of bookshelves to the left, there’s even a large section for comics and graphic novels. I shake my head, how nerdy. Who am I kidding? I want to go over there and start reading them. To the right is a large complete circle desk with a little swinging door to let you inside of it. Two rolling chairs are stationed on either side each with a computer. I see a girl about my age sitting on the counter top,  short curvy African-American girl doodling on herself with a pen.

“Hi ya!” She hops off the counter and thug walks over to Piers.

“What it do home skillet?” Piers throws his hand up in a “what?” gesture.

“I’m quite lovely.” She suddenly switches into a British accent and hugs Piers. They both start laughing. Very odd but enjoyable. Then I notice her shirt. A purple sleeved baseball shirt with a large gray koala with a mustache and eye monocle and a speech bubble that said: “Excuse me my good sir!”

“I like your shirt.” I say smiling.

“I like it too.” She smiles wryly.

“I’m Cesar, nice to meet you.”

“Desimae.” Her British accent is gone now.

“Interesting name.” I say watching Piers leave to talk to Lannah.

“Ya, my parents are mad ghetto.” I can’t help but laugh but then I realize she’s serious. She smiles. I try to change the subject.

“Nice calendar you guys have in the office.” I nod back towards the hallway.

“Ya, it’s hideous. Lannah likes it though… I added the “x’s”. She smiles. I pinch my lips together to keep from laughing. I’m so overly tired. By this time Piers and Lannah appear again.

“So, who wants to go to breakfast?” Piers grins from ear to ear. His favorite meal of the day.


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