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We finish breakfast and head back to the store. On the way back I hang behind Piers a little to make sure the book is still tucked into his waistline. As he walks I can see the corner of the book make a crease in his shirt with every stride. Then suddenly Piers looks behind him and gives me a weird look. I look back at him my eyebrows in a high arch. Ah, no! I’m not checking you out! I think to myself and hurry to his side.
Listen I know that seemed weird but I was just making sure the… you know, was there. I wanted to make sure it didn’t fall out.” I say in hushed tones.
“Sure, sure, Cesar. I know what you were really doing.” He puts on a look of scrutiny. My face must contort because he starts to laugh. “I’m just kidding calm down.” He laughs some more.
“Hello good friend!” Desimae backs up between us and throws her arm around each of our shoulders. “New friend!” She looks to me. “I need to get out of this sun child! I do not need a tan! Although black don’t crack honey so I don’t know what I’m worried about!” She nonchalantly pushes off of us and frolics to Lannah and throws her arm around her shoulder bubbling with other weird things to say. Piers’ has such bizarre friends.
“How long are we going to stay here?” I ask Piers as we continue to walk to the shop.
“We can stay as long or as short as we like! Don’t you see? This is how my uncle went to England for two days or to China for just a day and came back! He used the book and was fine!” Piers grabs my bicep and squeeze a little to show his excitement.
“Yes, but then things got out of control and someone hunted him down till they found him and killed him.” I say as fear starts to creep in.
“No one has to know we have it. If we are careful and make it look like we actually flew everywhere we’ll be fine.” Piers says confidently “It’s all how we play this out.”
“Piers, this is not a game. We can’t ‘play out’ being murdered. There was no trace of evidence to help Milo, and there will be no trace of us if we keep doing this.” I try to appeal to his logic.
“Cesar… please. This is the closes we will get to being with my uncle. He left me his legacy. Almost all of it. No one else is eligible to take it. He knew I could handle it. That you could handle it.” He says stopping me for a second on the sidewalk.
“What are you talking about Piers?” I’m now confused and frustrated.
“Milo left you the Maryland location of the book store. It’s yours.” Piers quiets down to let that sink in. “I didn’t want to say anything in front of the other girls, but her left you that location. He also left a note saying he wanted you to help me in my future endeavors to keep Milo’s business alive…Cesar, Milo wrote his will a month before he passed.” We both sit there quietly. “He knew what was eventually going to happen and he wanted us to take care of the remaining.” What if I don’t want to ‘take care of the remaining’? I think to myself. I feel a little bit of anger flood my mind. Why would he eternally tie me to the shops? The work, Piers, the danger. Why would he do this?
“Why?” I feel tension in my voice.
“Don’t be angry.” Piers moves towards me but thinks better of it and backs up. “Milo was getting older, he wanted younger people he loved to do what he loved. You and I both know we love it too.” He says softly. A car with a loud engine goes by distracting my attention.
“I don’t think I can handle this ‘adventurous’ lifestyle.” I put my fingers in quotes.
“You don’t know that yet.” Piers smiles. “Come on.” He says and holds out his hand.
“Come on what, Piers?” I say thoroughly exasperated.
“Do you trust me?”
“I waiver.” I say dryly
“Will you trust me?” He rephrases the question. I nod ‘yes’.
“Then let’s go on an adventure.” He holds out his hand again. For a second I feel the anxiety come back rushing through my veins and I feel the “fight or flight” response kick in, but I swallow it. I press it deep down and realize the nagging sensation in the bottom of my stomach.
The urge to go through the portal again.