Chp. 13

"What is it?" Ryan asked. All he saw was a large boulder like rock. Nothing more, nothing less. Ryan was a bit disappointed, he wanted something more exciting, like a portal to someplace exotic, or something like a dead body.

"Ryan, can't you see, look closer!" Nicole instructed, pointing closer to the surface of the rock.

He grunted and moved closer, searching for any evidence of something, anything that proved it's difference to other rocks. He still found nothing. "I don't see anything," he said, annoyed.

"Ryan, you can't see it?" Carleen asked, walking to him.

"See what! You guys are seeing something I can't and it's not fair. This must be a joke. There's no way that I can't see something you can. Stop shitting me," Ryan yelled, scaring the birds from the trees.

"Yeah, you guys… Stop teasing Ryan.. Let's just go home, or something," Carleen said, sensing Ryan's anger.

"Ryan, you go first, you need time to calm down," Greg said, pushing Ryan away, who walked off in a huff.

"Do you really think he couldn't see it?" Nicole said, pointing to the gaping hole in the middle of the rock. The hole was filled with something not quite gas nor smoke and swirled occasionally. Around the hole were strange symbols, all underlined. She watched as Greg picked up a rock and throw it into the middle of the hole. It vanished.

"Did you see that?" he asked.

"Yeah," Kristyn said, her mouth hanging open, "That's amazing."

"I wonder where it went…?" Carleen said, walking closer to the rock. Her face was inches away from the hole.

"Carleen, don't!" everyone yelled, but they were too late. They watched as Carleen was sucked into the hole, face first.

The three teens stared at each other, mortified. Two of their friends were gone and they were the only ones that could find them.

"Uh, Kristyn, you stay here with Ryan, you "understand" him, " Greg commanded, using his fingers for quotations over understand. "Besides, if Steve somehow stumbles to your house, you have to keep him there."

"Yes sir!" she said, walking away.

"Nicole, you and I are going in this, this portal thing to find Carleen. If we die in attempt-"

"Nobody is going to die," Kristyn screeched, to the surprise of Nicole and Greg, "Now, when you guys come back with Carleen, I think I'm going to get ice cream with the boys, then bring them swimming," she said, looking around. "Oh, and just to let you guys know, you aren't going to die, trust me," she said, smiling. Finally she turned and walked away.

"Whoa, what was that about?" Greg asked.

Nicole shrugged, "Don't ask me."

The two stole a final glance around them and grasped hands, tightly.

"You ready?" he whispered.

She nodded and took a step forward, both leaning their heads in exactly like Carleen had done earlier. They both felt their world tip and fell into the hole, landing on their backsides.

"Where are we?" Nicole asked, standing up and dusting herself off. She looked at Greg who said, "Ever heard of that place in…"

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Kristyn saw Ryan a few minutes later, sitting on the concrete steps that lead the way to her house. He looked quite serious. She watched as he looked around quickly, than picked one of the daisies in the front garden. One by one he picked off the petals until only one was left. His expression was a joyful one. Kristyn stepped into view.

"Hey Ryan," she said carefully.

"Kristyn," he responded, then looked around, "Where's Nicole, Greg and Carleen?" he asked.

"Oh, they had to… Uhh, run back to Carleen's house to get her… sleep over bag. She's staying over tonight for help in geometry. Though she doesn't really need it, the bum probably has all A's."

"Why did they go and not you?"

"She said she had a few going away gifts for you, me and Steve, since Greg and Nicole already got theirs," Kristyn said.

"Really? Why did Greg and Nicole already get theirs and we didn't?" he asked.

"Since they were in the same gym class and that's the only class where the teachers don't get mad if you talk to another person. Besides, from what I heard, the gifts are pretty big," she explained.

"Oh, alright," he said simply, picking another flower.

"Ryan, are you okay?" Kristyn asked.

"Yeah… No. No, I'm not."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"I really, really like this girl. We've been hanging out a lot lately, but I don't think she knows I exist," he sighed.

"Ryan, I'm sure she does know you exist. Maybe she doesn't know you feel this way about her. You should tell her."

"No! Are you crazy! Kristyn, she'd take my heart, step on it and break it into five million pieces!" he snapped.

"Fine, Ryan, you've taken my advice before and if you don't want to now, that's fine." She glared at him, "I'm going inside to make lunch, if you want any, you can come in," she said, then walked inside.

"What have I done?" Ryan said, dropping his head into his hands.

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Carleen felt rocks against the small of her back and heard water trickling somewhere. 'Where am I', she thought to herself and opened her eyes to look around and saw nothing. She closed her eyes again, then opened them quickly. Again, nothing.

"Oh my god, I've gone blind!" she exclaimed aloud.

"Carleen?" a familiar voice said.

Carleen rolled over onto her side. She felt horrible, like a truck had hit her, then backed up and hit her again. She opened her eyes slowly and saw a familiar figure, but no, it couldn't be. She closed her eyes again and shook her head, which she realized she shouldn't have done, shaking your head when you feel like you've been hit by a truck isn't the best thing to do.

"Steve?" she called, "Is that you?"

"Yes," he responded and bounded over to where she lay.

"Steve! I've finally found you! I was so worried when you were there one minute gone the next!" she cried, flinging herself towards his body and kissing him passionately.

"Will I get a welcome like that every time you haven't seen me in while?" he asked, laughing and bringing her closer.

"No, just today, duh," she said, poking the fleshy part of his cheek, making him smile.

"So, how'd you find me?" he asked.

"Well, we were all looking for you after you vanished, which I will ask you about, so everyone paired up to find you. Kristyn searched her house, Ryan and I searched the neighborhood and Greg and Nicole searched the woods. Ryan and I couldn't find anything, so we went back to Kristyn's house, who by the way, was asleep, the bum. We were just sitting around, waiting until Nicole and Greg showed up, then the phone ran and it was them saying they found something interesting in the woods. We all went there and it was a portal thing inside the middle of some rock with really weird symbols and I went closer to look at it and I was sucked in and here I am," she explained, "Why are you not glad to see me?" she asked while fake crying.

"I'm very glad to see you, but not in these circumstances, " he said. "Now listen, what I am going to tell you is really important. The people that kidnapped me were-" he stopped and paled. "They're coming, hide, quick!"

Carleen jumped and hid behind one of the many large pillars that surrounded the place she was in. She closed her eyes and held her breath when she heard approaching footsteps.

"Who were you talking to?" a female voice asked.

"She sounds really familiar," Carleen thought to herself but stopped trying to remember when Steve answered.

"Myself," Steve answered, calmly.

"No you weren't," a second voice said. This was a man's voice, though he sounded a bit young.

"How are you going to tell me?" Steve challenged.

'Oh great, that never worked with his parents and it won't work now. He's doomed,' she thought.

"Whatever," the second voice said, "But if we hear one more peep coming from you, it's over."

"Yeah, for good," The second voice said.

A few moments later, Carleen heard retreating footsteps and a heavy door slam and lock. Seconds after, Steve found her and tightly hugged her.

"Babe, what's going on?" she asked.

"I don't know, before they realized I was awake, they were whispering about a secret that somebody had and how they were going to be able to get her back to England to take her rightful place at the thrown," he explained.

"Steve, I have something to tell you," she whispered. "The person that they're talking about is me. I'm heiress to the thrown," she said, explaining everything from when she was little to the present. "Except the queen didn't know that Henry had approved everything. It was only in the works when they first were married. Everyone thought me dead, that is until I received a message from Kyle saying he knew who I was-"

"So you mean that you're real name isn't Carleen?" Steve asked incredulously.

"No, it's Elizabeth. But anyways, Kyle was Henry's son, who I used to have play dates with. From what I heard with newspapers, Kyle tour the palace apart trying to find me. Eventually he disappeared too."

"Where'd he go?"

"I heard that he found a portal, like the one I fell into and was forced into the past, into a village in Portugal," she answered.

"Oh, so now he somehow got back into the future, well, present, and is trying to find you to bring you back to England to take the thrown, correct?"

"Well, to say the least, yes."

"He's not going to! I won't let him! You aren't Elizabeth, you are my Carleen and I'm not letting you go with him!" he whispered loudly.

"Steve, Steve, babe, listen. I have to go, if not, England will fall apart and I'll be at fault," Carleen explained.

"But nobody knows you're alive!"

"Oh yes they do! Look around on the floor, all those Star© magazines. Everyone knows that I'm still alive, it made it to the New York Times and everything. Everyone's on the hunt to find me!" Carleen said, impatiently.

"But what are you going to do when you do go with Kyle, are you sure this isn't a way to break up with me?"

"Steve, look at me!" she watched as Steve walked to the other side of the dungeon, Carleen followed, "Look at me!" she whispered again. This time, she took her hand and placed it directly under Steve's chin, raising it up a bit so he was looking at her, not the floor. "Babe, I love you, and I would never break up with you, do you hear?"

"Yes."

"I love you."

"I love you too, Carleen."

"Now, don't worry, I'll go to England for a little bit, then when everything's under control, I'll come back. Maybe I'll let you come to the palace for awhile," she said, tracing his cheek.

"Yeah?" he asked.

"Of course," she answered loyally. "Now all I have to do is find a way to get both of us back to Kristyn's house so we can get everything sorted out," she said, looking around the room. "Where did I come from?"

"Well, Carleen, when two people are in love…" Steve laughed.

"No! I don't mean that! Ew, bad pictures! Ah, thanks Steve, now I have my parents having sex on my brain. But anyways, did you see where I came from?"

"Well, I was asleep in that corner," he said, pointing to the far right corner of the room. "And you were suddenly asleep in that corner, " he said, pointing to the opposite left corner.

"So, I just suddenly appeared there, no warning at all?" she asked, amazed that she landed so gracefully.

"I did hear a soft thump, if that helps at all," he offered.

"Hmm, so I couldn't have come from the ceiling.. Maybe the side? Or even the ground," she said to herself, walking to the designated corner. She knocked on the rocky sides, scraping her knuckles, making them bleed. Seconds later, she found a hollow spot. "Steve, come here, quickly! I think I found the place! Come here!" she commanded.

Steve quickly ran over, tripping on a rock, landing sprawled on his front.

"Are you okay?" Carleen asked, grasping his hand and helping him up.

"Yeah, fine," he said. "Now, where is that spot where you believe you came from?"

"Right… here! Now, I'm not really sure what I was doing last time, all I remember is that I was leaning in to get a closer look at that portal thing and I was sucked in."

"Hm, move out of the way," Steve said.

"Why?"

"Because I'm going to take this rock here-"

"Where did that come from?" Carleen asked quickly.

"It fell on my head when I was sleeping, it woke me up and that's when I saw you," he answered. "Why?"

"That was from your brother. He threw it in."

"Oh, okay," Carleen said and moved a few paces back, cowering against a pillar, waiting for Steve to throw the later there was a large hole in the rock with a hole exactly like the one before. Mist of blue was swirling around.

"This is it! Come on, now I know what to do!" Carleen squealed. "Okay, now hold my hand and, and lean your head in close to the mist," she instructed.

He did as he was told and suddenly their world flipped. Blotches of color flew by their eyes and then it was gone. They were sitting back in the woods near Kristyn's house.

"We're home! We're home!" they both chanted.

"Come on, let's get to Kristyn's house and surprise everybody," Steve said.

"Okay."

The walk back to her house seemed to take forever, but finally they were there. They ran to the front door, ringing the bell and giggling occasionally. At last the door opened.

"CARLEEN! STEVE!" Ryan yelled, before hugging them both.

"What did you say, Ryan?" Kristyn shouted from the kitchen. She stepped into view and saw Ryan hugging his two closest friends. "YOU'RE BACK!" she shouted, hugging them too. "Come in, come in!"

The four friends walked back into the house, Ryan and Kristyn eager to know what happened. During the whole time Steve and Carleen told their stories, the audience of two gasped and laughed in the right places. Minutes later, they realized both had no mention of the rest of the group. The atmosphere became grim again.

"They're fine," Steve said. "If I know my brother, which I guess I do, I mean, I only live with him and he's only my twin, I know that he will never let a lady in his presence be in danger, and if she is, he protects her with all his might."

"Yeah, Steve's right, just wait it out," Ryan said.

"They'll be fine, let's just hope that we hear something from them," Kristyn said.

"We will. Nicole and Greg have never let us down before," Carleen said.

"Wait, I thought you were getting presents," said Ryan, furrowing his brow.

"Oh, um, nah, they're too overrated."

And the phone rang.