Needing some desperate relaxation, Apollo made his way downstairs to his family’s in home sauna. He was so lost in thought that he didn’t realize his father was already in there.
“Apollo…?” Noah asked.
Apollo’s eyes darted up and he saw his father sitting there. “Oh, hey dad. I didn’t know you were here. Do you mind if I crash the party?”
“Not at all, you look like you need a spa day.”
“I definitely do, I’m losing my damn mind here.” Apollo rubbed his temple.
“Want to talk about it?” Noah asked thoughtfully.
“You’ll think I’m crazy,” Apollo said sincerely. “It’s weird. I just feel like I don’t belong in this life that I’m in right now.”
“That’s because you don’t belong in this life,” Noah said.
“Wait…what did you just say?”
“I should have warned you about this when I chose you as heir. Where do I start?” Noah looked particularly perplexed, as if he couldn’t put the past events into words. “There’s this guy named Emit Relevart. He’s the time keeper. Emit is in charge of making sure that the future stays in tact. The future he lives in is called Oasis Landing and right now, it’s in terrible shape because of this guy named Mason who’s running around and screwing with the timeline.”
“Mason?” Apollo asked, looking up. “Is he really grandpa Levi’s brother and Uncle Caleb’s father?”
“Wait…what?” Noah let out a huge breath. “Caleb’s father? Who told you that? That’s ridiculous.”
“Mason told me that. He said that he was Caleb’s father and the reason that Caleb doesn’t have any kids is because of the guardians.”
“You can’t listen to anything that Mason says,” Noah said sternly. “The guardians seem unruly but they’re the good guys. Mason is absolutely rotten. He wiped my memory clean and made me live with him in Oasis Landing. He filled my head with this fake life and he had someone play along and act like she was my wife. Mason is particularly good at distorting time. Except in your case, I don’t think there’s any foul play. You actually are married to Lynette. I was there at the ceremony. I know Mason is behind something but I don’t know what. Not yet.”
“Wait a minute…” Apollo began but Noah cut him off.
“Your mother told me that you’ve been acting strange. I know you’ve struggled with some anxiety issues in the past but your mother knows you better than anyone else. She was the one who helped me get my memories back. She was the one who saved me. Right now, I think you need to find that one person. That person who makes your heart pound, that you’re nervous to be around. I have this theory that love is the one thing that repels Mason from this family. He didn’t bother your grandmother after she married your grandfather and he didn’t bother me once I married your mom. We had other problems, but that had nothing to do with him. You need to find that person and I don’t think it’s Lynette…”
“It’s not…” Apollo shook his head quickly. “It’s not Lynette. Dad…I mean, I don’t really know how to say this. I mean…I don’t know if you’ll believe me about my past but…ugh this is so hard to say.”
“Spit it out, Apollo.”
“I don’t mean this in the wrong way at all when I say this alright. But…if you were really gay why would you marry Lynette?” Noah asked.
“I…I didn’t. In university Tommy confessed his feelings for me and we kissed. He ran out right afterwards. His family doesn’t accept him for being gay, he’s been living in the closet for years because of the harassment he’s witnessed. The next day you came and picked me up. Lynette and I talked and I was telling her how I couldn’t be gay…not me, like it’s some curse or something and then she pinned me to the ground and kissed me. She asked me whose kiss I enjoyed more and the answer was obvious.”
“It was Tommy.”
“Exactly.” Apollo nodded. “He was my best friend growing up until high school came. Then everything fell apart. His reputation and his father….all of it made him suffer. I…I’ve never been interested in anyone. Katherine kissed me a bunch of times but I didn’t feel anything. It was all different with Tommy. I don’t want to ask Lynette about Tommy, I don’t want her to freak out. I don’t know what memories she has, because the last three years are practically non-existent to me. I don’t know what to do Dad.”
“It’s obvious what you have to do, isn’t it? I can hear it in your voice. You sounded like me when I was talking to your aunt Lorie about Leia. Honestly, call me old fashioned but I think love fixes everything. You need to go and find Tommy. I don’t know what you’ll do about Lynette or your memories, but your mother and I will handle it. We know Mason is dangerous. Just leave it to us okay?”
“You are the best dad, thank you so much.” Apollo let out a sigh of relief. He turned back to his father. “How can I find Tommy?”
“Ask Lynette. She’s still your wife you know. Figure out your feelings, find Tommy and then somehow everything will fall into place. First and foremost, Lynette loves you. She cares about you. You need to be honest with her.”
Apollo swallowed hard. “I think it’d be best if I told her after I found Tommy.”
“Do what you have to do son,” Noah said as he stood up and walked out. “No matter what, I’ll always love you.”
It was clear to Apollo what he had to do. He went to the study and began to search for Tommy on the internet. He didn’t feel confident enough to ask Lynette about him. He wasn’t prepared for the questions she would ask him. He was sure that she would remember how Tommy had kissed him. It made him wonder, what changed? What made her believe that something had changed? He didn’t want to face her. He should have tackled the situation head on. He really should have, but he couldn’t. He didn’t have the guts.
“Stop that!” Frost Bite said suddenly.
“What the heck are you doing here?” Apollo asked, whipping around.
“Stopping you from finding Tommy. Apollo, you can’t.” Frost Bite grabbed his shoulder.
“Why can’t I? I need to find him. It’s the only way to stop Mason. I need to get back to my old life!” Apollo turned back to the computer and began to type again.
“I said stop it!” Frost Bite shouted as she zapped some ice at the computer.
“Did you just break it?” Apollo asked angrily.
“Don’t you listen to people when they talk to you? You cannot go and find Tommy. Mason needs to be stopped but not right now. He didn’t do anything wrong. All he did was speed up the time. Everything is fine. You’re married, have a kid coming along. Everything is perfect.”
“Wait…what?” Apollo lowered his eyes at her. “First of all, you’re defending the guy that took away my father’s memory. Two, what do you mean I have a baby coming along?”
“Ok, well if you promise to listen, I’ll tell you. Your father would have never met your mother without Mason’s interference in his timeline, so you can thank him for that. He was supposed to marry Corrine Blantan. You weren’t supposed to be born Apollo. Second, you heard me. Lynette is pregnant. All Mason did was set you on the right track. You’re on a timeline that actually leads to a second generation. How did you expect to have kids with another man, Apollo? It’s impossible!”
Apollo couldn’t believe his ears. “What the hell are you saying? Are you saying that Mason is manipulating my family? That you’re working with Mason? A future with Tommy would have been possible if you guys didn’t interfere! We could have adopted!”
“Mason isn’t working with us! He’s changing the Gray family timeline. He’s still screwing with our plans. We have set you guys on a path and Mason is changing that path!” Frost Bite suddenly covered her mouth as if she said something she shouldn’t have.
“You…” Apollo growled. “So Mason is changing the path, but he isn’t destroying it? Tell me what you freaking mean!”
“Apollo, who are you talking to?” Lynette asked.
“Lynette…?” Apollo looked at her. “Don’t you see her, she’s standing right next to you!”
Lynette shook her head. “Apollo, please go and get some rest. Please.”
“She can’t see or hear me. Only you can.” Frost Bite crossed her arms over her chest. “If I see you’ve searched for Tommy again, there’s going to be a problem. You cannot leave Lynette. Remember, she is pregnant with your child Apollo. You need to stay with her. In order to continue this legacy, your heir has to have your blood. It’s simply not possible with Tommy. I’m sorry.”
“Lynette, please. You have to believe me…” Apollo began.
“Apollo, please just go and lay down ok? I don’t want to have to call the therapist. Please,” Lynette begged.
“Why would you have to call the therapist?” Apollo asked.
“You can’t go to the therapist!” Frost Bite said quickly.
“She said to call her if you ever had an episode. I think you’re having an episode,” Lynette began to panic.
“I’m having an episode. Call the therapist right away!” Apollo said. Maybe the therapist could tell him what the hell was going on.
“Apollo!” Frost Bite warned. “I know where Tommy is. Drop this and I’ll take you to him.”
Lynette had pulled her phone out and was punching numbers into it. “Lyn, stop. I was just kidding.”
He shot Frost Bite a look and mouthed, “You better tell me where Tommy is.”
“Seriously?” Lynette punched Apollo’s arm. “I was freaking worried you dork!”
“Sorry jeez!” When Apollo turned around, Frost Bite was gone.
Apollo stood from his chair and grabbed Lynette’s arm. “Lyn, please. I need you to be completely honest with me here, alright.”
She nodded, “I always am, baby.”
Apollo let out a breath. “Are you pregnant?” Apollo felt his world shattering as Lynette’s happy face twisted in anguish. Please don’t say it….please don’t say it.
“How did you know?” She bit her lip nervously. How did this happen? How could one go to bed one night a college freshman and wake up a married man with a child on the way? He thought back to what his dad said. Noah confirmed that Mason was screwing with his timeline and so did Frost Bite…but how was it scientifically possible for Lynette to have his child? Apollo never slept with her…at least he didn’t remember it. His first time was supposed to be something special with someone he really cared about. Honestly, he felt cheated.
“It’s just obvious…I mean…I know you, so…” Apollo lied. He had no reason not to believe her. He wanted to believe that she was lying but everything Frost Bite had said made sense. His family was the path to the future. In order to continue the Gray family legacy he needed a child with his blood. Apparently, this was how it was going to happen.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, I just wanted it to be a surprise you know? I was trying to think of a creative way to tell you. I know we’re young, but I think we can be great parents.”
“I’m going to just go lay down…don’t follow me…” Apollo said as he left the room.
“Apollo!” Lynette held her hand over her heart. What if he didn’t want this baby? What was she going to do?
Apollo banged on the door to his room. It was unfair. His life was crumbling right before his eyes and it wasn’t even his fault. There was nothing he could do about it. All of this was because of some stupid legacy. He hated this. Was making him miserable really going to change the future? What was he going to do? A child. He was barely an adult himself, yet he was having a child. He wasn’t ready for it. he couldn’t do it. He had so much planned out for him and now it was all going to go down the drain because he had to take care of a child. Why did they have to pick his family? But, if what Frost Bite said was true…he wasn’t even supposed to be born. If you thought life was hard, try being watched by the guardians. They played with his life like he was part of some game. He was the pawn being controlled by these people he’s never met. Noah swore it was for the best, but was it really?
“What are we looking at?” Frost Bite asked as she appeared next to him.
“How fucking dare you. How dare you play with my life like this…” Apollo growled.
“Apollo, don’t you want your descendants to live in a good future? Are you that selfish that you think your pain now is more important than theirs in the future? Don’t you get it…species like mine will cease to exist. You know your friend Damian? He’s a vampire. His kind will be extinct too. The fate of not just humanity but other species as well is in your hands. This is a big deal.”
“And there wasn’t another way to do this? Couldn’t you just tell me? I could have figured something else out…why do I have to be a stranger in my own life?”
“I’m sorry Apollo, I really am. Mason changed your timeline. What can we do about that? He’s more powerful than us.”
“Stop contradicting yourself! What about the time keeper? He must be more powerful than Mason! You guys spoke about him just the other night! I know there’s another way, but you don’t want to include me in any of this. There are other ways! Why didn’t you stop Mason?”
“Ok fine!” Frost Bite shouted back. “It’s not up to me. I don’t get to choose what happens to you. I’m in ‘charge’ of your generation but everything that happens needs to be confirmed with the other guardians! Emit got too cozy with your family. We can’t have that. The guardians aren’t your friends, we’re just trying to save the future. Why bother changing Mason’s timeline if he’ll just try it again?”
Apollo thought back to his conversation with his father that morning. Love. Was it that simple? Did all he really have to do was find Tommy? Was he even really in love with Tommy? He had to give it a shot. He wouldn’t know for sure until he came face to face with Tommy once again. “There is another way to stop Mason. I just can’t trust you with that information until I know your true intentions.”
“Apollo, I’m on your side.”
“If you’re on my side, than tell me why you don’t want me to go see my therapist.”
“If I could tell you, I would. I don’t want to have to do this Apollo, but please, you can’t see that therapist again. I’ll keep my promise and let you see Tommy again, but keep in mind that there will be consequences if you defy the plan that the guardians have laid out for you.”
Apollo wanted to yell, shout, kick and scream but he couldn’t. He needed to know where Tommy was. “What makes you think Lynette won’t tell me where her brother is?”
Frost Bite looked at him directly in his dark eyes. “He isn’t in a world that’s reachable by you humans. Tommy and Lynette got into a huge fight right before your wedding and he ran away. I don’t know who it is but there had to be some sort of supernatural being that helped Tommy reach it. On your own, you wouldn’t be able to get to it and even if you could, it hasn’t been discovered yet.”
Apollo believed her, or maybe he was just being desperate. He should have thought it through but his want to see Tommy was much stronger than his thoughts right now. “You’re going to take me to Tommy?”
“Yes, if you follow my rules. You can’t tell anyone where you’re going. I know your parents already have the idea in their mind. They’re the only exception. Your wife and little brother should know nothing about the real origin of your journey. This world cannot be found by humans. Not yet.”
“I’ll do anything, please, just take me to Tommy.”