“I have something to tell you, and you’re probably going to think I’ve completely lost my mind. You can’t say anything to anyone about what I’m going to tell you.”
“Let’s get back to my house and get into some dry clothes first. I suspect you’re going to need a drink when I tell you.”
It’s about my dreams. They’re…” Ethan broke off as Ryan suddenly appeared out of thin air.
Jordan and Ryan exclaimed simultaneously before Ryan disappeared again.
Jordan sat there open-mouthed as Ethan handed him a glass of water. “What the hell just happened?”
“Well, I was about to tell you that my dreams weren’t dreams. They actually happened. That was Ryan, the man from my dreams. He’s from the future.” Knowing that Ryan would do something to prevent him and Jordan from ever meeting Ethan told him everything starting from when Ryan first appeared in his shop.
“He walked into the shop and introduced himself then said that he found an old keepsake box and wanted to know if I could restore it. Get a double grip on yourself. The antique he gave me was the keepsake box I’d given your sister on her thirty-fourth birthday.”
“What? No way. It had to be some kind of reproduction or something.”
“That’s what I thought at first until I saw the inscription. It was the real thing, but hundreds of years old. I asked him where he’d gotten it from and he told me he’d gotten it from a place downtown called the Antique Emporium.”
“There’s no such place.”
“That’s what I told him. He said there was in his time. Chris and I just about fell over. He told us to sit down before we fell down and that he had to go but would be back later to explain everything, then disappeared like he just did.”
“I think I’m going to need something stronger to drink than just water.”
“Tell me about it.”
“I thought you were bullshitting me or something.”
“Believe me, it took me awhile to get my head around it. There was just something about him. It’s like he knew everything about me. Maybe he does. I don’t know. All I know is that I’ve never felt like this with anyone else. He treats me like—I don’t know—the most precious thing in the world. It’s like he has some power over me. Don’t roll your eyes, asshole. I’m not being melodramatic. He can do anything he wants to me and I’ll let him.
“Did I tell you I let him bareback me and let him come inside me?”
“Way too much information, Ethan.” Jordan shook his head.
“That’s what I mean. I’ve never allowed anyone to do that to me since Patrick infected me. Afterwards I kinda started freaking out. He told me he was clean. I practically yelled at him that I was not. It didn’t seem to faze him one bit. He just held me. It was incredible. I got to the point where I found myself thinking about him all the time.”
“You’re starting to sound like one of those ancient—what did you call them—romance novels.”
Ethan grabbed a pillow off the couch and threw it at him. “I’m trying to be serious here. I couldn’t wait for him to pop in.”
“Literally, it would seem.” Jordan commented. “If what you’ve told me is true,” he held up his hand as Ethan started to bristle, “and I have absolutely no reason to doubt what you’ve told me, I’d really like to meet him and thank him for curing you.”
“This is what I can’t get my head around.”
“What can’t you get around?” Ryan asked, suddenly appearing in the middle of the room, causing both men to jump out of their skins.
“You scared the crap out of me. You need to warn a guy when you’re about to pop in.”
Ryan grinned, unrepentantly. “Where’s the fun in that?” Turning to Jordan he introduced himself. “I’m Ryan. I’m really glad to meet you.” He said, extending his hand.
Jordan just stood there in shock. Just as Ryan started withdrawing his hand thinking he’d gotten the ancient greeting wrong, Jordan shook himself, then shook hands with Ryan, just as freaked out as the last time when Ryan appeared then immediately disappeared.
Ethan grabbed Ryan by his belt and yanked him down onto the couch next to him with a firm, “Sit down, jerkwad.”
“Jerkwad?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.
“It’s an archaic expression. I don’t know for sure what it means, but it sounded good. Anyway,” he addressed Jordan, “this is what I don’t get. Technically, Ryan didn’t cure me. I cured me. I’m not sure if I can explain it. Apparently, he came back in time to give me the medication that made it so the medication could be created from my blood.”
“In my job, we call it a causality loop or pre-destination paradox. What that means, and I’m not sure I can really explain it, is that something happens before whatever makes it happen happens.”
“I think I heard some kind of argument about that from an old 2D vid Ethan had me watch. It was something like someone goes back in time, kills his grandfather before he’s born. Um, how did they say it? If I go back in time and kill my grandfather before he got married, I’m never going to be born, and if I’m never going to be born how can I go back in time and kill my grandfather.”
“Stop! You’re making my head hurt.”
Ryan addressed his next words to Jordan. “You’re describing what we call the grandfather paradox. It’s only theoretical. They don’t happen. Temporal causality loops are completely different, and a royal bitch to find and fix.”
“So this causality thingy is what happened with Ethan.”
“Yeah it takes some getting used…” He suddenly disappeared in mid-sentence.
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