Chapter Nine

Some Fun, More Problems


 

 

“Josh, Jess, there’s something I want to tell you.”

 

“What is it, Ryan?” Josh asked, concerned at the nervous look on Ryan’s face.

 

“There’s no easy way to say this and it’s a little bizarre, but I hope that you’ll believe me. It’s just that what I’m about to tell you is so weird and…”

 

“Honey, stop beating around the bush and cut to the point,” Jessica told him.

 

“Okay, I’m one of the Gods.” Ryan said in a rush.

 

Silence reigned supreme for a few minutes in their vicinity as they digested this proclamation. It was Jessica who broke the silence. Her expression turned from shock to one of amusement.

 

“Right. When you said bizarre, you certainly weren’t joking,” she quipped.

 

Ryan looked towards Josh for support but got just a blank expression in response. Sighing, Ryan took hold of their arms and led them out of the auditorium to a secluded area. Making sure that they were alone, Ryan turned and said, “I knew you wouldn’t believe me. I didn’t believe it myself when God the Father told me Himself.”

 

“Ryan, you expect us to buy all this bullshit you just said?” Josh asked in amusement. “Cause trust me dude, we aren’t going to fall for it.”

 

Seeing no other way to convince them, Ryan thought back to the time when God the Father had told him about his gift and in that memory Ryan found his answer.

 

“Alright, I know of a way that’ll convince you that I’m telling the truth,” he said. “Think of something that you want. Anything; but don’t say it out loud, just think about it. Jess, you go first.”

 

Shrugging, Jessica thought no harm in trying. She closed her eyes and thought about the latest edition of Rolling Stone, as that was the first thing that came to her mind.

 

A few seconds later, Ryan asked her to open her eyes. To her utter amazement, she saw the object of her thoughts in Ryan’s hands. “Now do you believe me?” Ryan asked them. “Or do you still need proof. Josh?”

 

“I am so freaked out as of this moment,” Josh whispered slowly.

 

“Ryan, when did you get to know about this?” Jessica questioned.

 

“A week before Josh got discharged from the hospital,” Ryan answered. “How else do you think he recovered so fast, almost like a miracle?”

 

“You didn’t!” Jessica reproved.

 

“Wait a sec! You mean to say that it was you who healed me?" Josh asked, finally catching up to what was being implied. Ryan nodded his response.  

 

“So let me get this straight… You are one of the Gods and have all the powers they have, right?” Jessica inquired of Ryan.

 

“In a nutshell, yes. But I have a role to play as well,” Ryan said. He told them everything God the Father had told him that evening. He also informed them about his subsequent saving of the Pentagon.

 

“Wow! I knew you were special, but this, even I hadn’t imagined,” Josh exclaimed.

 

“Ryan? Did you ask Father before you came and babbled everything to us?” Jessica asked seriously. “Or even before you went back in time?”

 

“Uhh… No,” he answered.

 

“Dammit! You should’ve at least consulted Him on this!” Jessica said outrageously.

 

“Leave him alone Jess,” Josh came to Ryan’s defense. “He came to us because he trusts us. And besides, he saved so many people from dying.”

 

Jessica was about to argue further but was cut off by the arrival of Ms. Sanders, who was calling them inside.

 

“This discussion isn’t over by a long shot, wise guy,” Jessica warned Ryan.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

The student body was in for a special surprise when the Principal announced a trip to the local amusement park. While there was not a big restriction on students for going out of the campus, such ‘sponsored’ trips were always welcome as these suited the children’s already overburdened pockets. The children were given half an hour to get changed out of their uniforms and into something comfortable.

 

“How do I look?” Ryan asked Josh.

 

“Awesome as always,” Josh said after giving Ryan a look-over. He threw a bag towards him and said, “Here, keep our towels and shorts in this bag.”

 

Ryan caught the bag mid-air and gave Josh an inquiring look to which Josh replied, “There’s a water park as well.”

 

“Yep,” Mark said, entering the room. “And do you know what that means?” he asked the two. “Lots of EYE CANDY!”

 

“Give it a lid, dumbass. You already have Scott,” Josh joked.

 

“And besides, I have my eye-candy right here,” Ryan said, coming up behind his boyfriend and hugging him.

 

“Get a room both of you!” Mark jibed.

 

“Is this the cue for us to tell you that you are standing in it?!” Ryan laughed.

 

“Point well made,” Mark conceded. “Now move your cute little asses or we’ll be late.”

 

As Mark turned to leave, Josh muttered under his breath, loud enough for only Ryan to hear, “If he’s like this just a day after finding out about us, I wonder what the coming year and a half has in store for us?”

 

Ryan tried to shudder in mock fear but couldn’t. He burst out laughing, Josh joining him a few seconds later.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

Ryan was having the time of his life. It had been ages since he had gone out and done stuff like this. Sitting on the rollercoaster with the love of his life, he was certainly on cloud nine.

 

If there was one thing besides a good book and Josh’s body that could grab Ryan’s attention longer than a goldfish’s, it was spending a day on the most adventurous rides in the amusement park. His favorites were the Talon Express, a rollercoaster, and the Coffee Cups, better known as the Crazy Cups.

 

While Ryan was having fun with his boyfriend, another boy was looking longingly towards his prospective significant-other; debating whether this would be an appropriate moment to tell her about his feelings or not.

 

John, having come to a conclusion, joined Jessica by the ice-cream parlor. His nervousness was far too evident from his sweaty hands, which he kept wiping on his shorts.

 

“Hey Johnny,” Jessica said, licking her ice cream.

 

“Uh…Hi,” John stammered. “Jess?”

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“Would you…Would you like to…I mean.”

 

“Like to, what John?” Jessica asked.

 

“Would you like to join me on the Ferris Wheel?” John blurted out in a hurry, chickening out at the last moment.

 

Jessica smiled, “I’d love to.”

 

Her smile turned into a full grin upon seeing the look of utter jubilation on John’s face. She hooked her arm in his and together they joined the queue for the tickets.

 

A tap on John’s shoulder made him look back. Steve was standing behind him with an amused look on his face. He stopped John from turning around and handed him a rose with a quick wink accompanied by a nod towards Jessica. Understanding the gesture and mumbling a ‘thanks’, John pocketed the red rose while Steve slipped away; the whole exchange going unnoticed by Jessica.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

Steve was content with himself. He was pretty sure that John would not back out of telling Jessica about his feelings this time round and he was happy that he had helped John in this regard.

 

“STEPHEN ANDREW MARTIN!” Lisa’s shrill voice penetrated Steve’s thoughts. She was standing a few steps away from him, with her hands on her hips. The implication of using Steve’s full name was not lost to the boy and he froze in his tracks, trying to guess what had he done to attract his girlfriend’s ire this time round.

 

“That was the sweetest, cutest and the most marvelous thing you did for John. I’m so proud of you,” Lisa said, closing the gap between Steve and herself.

 

Steve heaved a sigh of relief. “Oh that! I thought John could use a nudge there.”

 

“You are such a wonderful person Steve. And that is just one of the reasons why I like you so much,” Lisa said before placing her lips on Steve’s.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

Ryan was walking towards the area where he had left Josh before going to buying the tickets to the water park when a voice behind him caused him to stop.

 

“Hello Ryan.”

 

Ryan turned, expecting to see one of his schoolmates. That was why he was taken aback to see a man dressed in all black with a hat on his head, standing in front of him instead. The man had an eerie look to him. He was not very tall, but was stocky and well built. He was wearing a long overcoat, even though it wasn’t cold at all. When he raised his head and his face came into Ryan’s view, the latter gasped out loud upon seeing the ghostly appearance of the man in front of him. Right out of a vampire movie, this man could put any Goth to shame.

 

“Who are you and how do you know my name?” Ryan asked cautiously.

 

“I know you very well, sonny boy,” the man replied. “You can call me Cornelius.”

 

“What do you want from me, Cornelius?” Ryan inwardly sniggered at the unusual name. It sounded corny to him.

 

“I do not want anything from you. Rather, I want to give you something,” Cornelius said. “Advice.  I want to give you some valuable advice.”

 

“What kind of advice?”

 

“I know you are special,” Cornelius said. Knowing that Ryan was about to interrupt him, he hurriedly added, “Don’t ask how; now is neither the time nor the place for that question. You have a wonderful gift, as is evident after you saved the Pentagon. Think about it, boy. You can save many more lives with that kind of power.”

 

“But…”

 

Ryan heard his name being called from behind him. He turned to locate the owner of the voice, but couldn’t find anyone he knew. He turned back towards the mysterious man. “But Cornelius, how…”

 

Ryan stopped in mid-sentence. The man was nowhere in sight. “Weird,” Ryan mumbled before walking away, resuming his efforts to locate Josh.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

John was enjoying himself, sitting at the apex of the ride with the girl he liked. He could see the entire park from this height. The rush of adrenaline made him forget his nervousness and he took out the rose from his pocket.

 

He looked at Jessica and once he had her attention, offered the rose to her. “Jessica, just as this Ferris wheel is at its peak, I feel the same way every time I am with you. Seeing you, my heart beats faster and whenever I am not near you, I yearn to be with you.”

 

John paused for a second and then added the words he had wanted to say for a long time. “Jess, would you give me the honor of becoming your boyfriend?”

 

Jessica was speechless. She never thought that John would be harboring feelings for her. She didn’t know what to say or do and was at a total loss for words. So she remained quiet instead.

 

The ride ended without either of them saying anything. John had lost the spring in his steps and was walking dejectedly, crestfallen at Jessica’s lack of response. He never noticed that she had stopped walking and only got to know of this fact when he heard her voice from behind him. He turned, waiting to hear it, the rejection.

 

“John,” Jessica called out again, making the boy look into her eyes instead of the ground. “Yes.”

 

It took a few moments for the reality of that one word Jessica had just uttered to sink in. When it did, John’s joy knew no bounds. He quickly covered the distance between them and took Jessica in her arms, lifting her off the ground.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

Josh was standing near the entrance of the water park, waiting for Ryan. He was getting restless by the minute due to the time it was taking Ryan. Josh really wanted to go inside and have fun in the water.

 

When Ryan showed up a few minutes later, Josh immediately began his tirade. “Where have you been? It took you a good quarter of an hour to get those tickets. I’ve been waiting and going crazy…”

 

Josh stopped his rant when he saw that Ryan was not listening to him, but was rather in deep thought; a frown that was marking his handsome features a clear indication of his tension.

 

“Ryan? What’s the matter, babe?”

 

“Huh? Nothing.”

 

“Ryan, you promised no more secrets from me, remember? Now tell me what it is that’s bothering you, and don’t give me that ‘nothing’ crap ‘cause I know that something is bothering you.” 

 

“It’s just that after I had bought the tickets…” Ryan told Josh about his strange encounter with Cornelius and his cryptic words.

 

“I don’t know what he was trying to imply,” Ryan finished.

 

“Real simple. He was advising you to go back in time and save those other planes as well,” Josh stated matter-of-factly.

 

“I can’t do that!” Ryan said incredulously. “You know that it was an impulsive decision of mine to save the Pentagon.”

 

“Yeah, and look how many lives you saved with that little decision,” Josh countered.

 

“But what if something went wrong? I don’t want more incidents as a result of my feelings and actions.”

 

“Think about it, babe,” Josh advised.

 

“I will,” he said and changed the topic, “But right now, I want to get into the water and chill out.”

 

“You said it dude!!” Josh said enthusiastically.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

The entire student body was relaxing, tired from the day’s activities. While some students chose to kick back in their rooms and take a nap, others were lazing around in the lush green lawns the campus had to offer.

 

Ryan, Josh and their group lay sprawled out on the grass, enjoying the pleasant evening. The topics of discussion were random, ranging from food to movies to class-work, teachers and the upcoming Annual Day.

 

Ryan and Josh were a little separate from the group, but not far enough so as to arouse any suspicions. Josh re-started their talk about Cornelius and his advice, trying to convince Ryan to go ahead with it. Ryan was still apprehensive about using his powers to save the planes. He had a feeling in his gut that if he changed the past any further, it would not result in something good.

 

“But Ryan, nothing bad happened when you saved the Pentagon,” Josh kept up his pestering.

 

“All right! If it gets you to shut up, I’ll do it,” Ryan conceded, finally.

 

“Great. Now is as good a time as any.”

 

“Now?”

 

“Yeah. What’s wrong? Better do it now when you have the time. Everyone’s either sleeping or out here. Go use our room; no one’ll disturb you there.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Ryan got up to go to his room. “All the best,” he heard Josh say.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

“Oh No!” St. Peter cried out. He was in the Communications Centre with Gabriel when the red light flashed on the screen, signaling an emergency.

 

“Gabe, please go and inform Goddess Sarasvati to meet me in Father’s chambers. Tell her it is extremely urgent.”

 

“But why do you need to see the Goddess of Learning?” Gabriel asked.

 

“We would be needing Her psionic abilities. Now please hurry; we have no time to lose.”

 

St. Peter and Gabriel both exited the Communication centre, the latter rushing to inform God the Father about this latest development while the former hurrying to give Lord Brahma’s wife the message from St. Peter.

 

 

*        *        *

 

 

Ryan was sitting cross-legged on his bed, ready to enter the meditation necessary for the task he was about to do. He closed his eyes and concentrated on centering his consciousness. He never noticed the silhouette of a man outside his window. Neither did he see the look of intense satisfaction cross over the man’s face.

 

Boss will be so happy once he gets to hear about our plan’s success. Cornelius thought. Convinced that Ryan was at the point of no return, he turned away from the window, disappearing into the shadows the setting sun’s rays caused.