Alas, their experience with eternity is disrupted, as time and a now brighter lit space came crashing back on them. Both immediately sensed that the kiss had lasted much longer than any "normal" kiss and that, during it, back on earth, something had gone awry.
"There's a disturbance in the force", Aaron said, looking very concerned.
"I feel it too.", she replied.
Without hesitating, she materialized the device Dixon had given her, out of thin air. As she randomly touched the four buttons on it, Aaron tried to mentally help make the connection, by thinking someone was surely trying to reach them.
In a moment the screen lit up and a face appeared on it. Aaron recognized the face of an associate that he had met at an annual gathering of friends, on earth. The face on the screen didn't notice a connection had been made, because she had her eyes closed, in prayer.
"Hello Bambie", he began, "What's up?"
Bambie was visibly startled, but then her eyes lit up and she began to smile.
"Aaron, thank goodness", she began, "... and this must be Petra, whom I've heard so much about. Nice to meet you sweetie. We'll have to meet for tea in New Jerusalem some time soon."
"Nice to meet you too, Bambie", Petra returned. "We sensed something was wrong down there and were hoping you'd tell us what is going on."
"It's Richard..", says Bambie. "You must have picked up that we are worried about him. He seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Nobody has heard from him, in weeks."
An awkward silence ensued, as our lovers eyes met, each of them blushing from the mixture of feelings of chagrin and charm, the pain of having lost all track of time and the pleasure of knowing why. Aaron broke the silence by informing Bambie that they could probably locate Richard, from their vantage point in New Jerusalem, and solve the mystery. He told her they would let her know what they learned and thanked her for her help. As her image dissolved on the screen, he cupped his hand behind Petra's and the two of them concentrated on making contact with Richard. Unlike their previous connection, as Richard came into view on the display screen, he was looking right at them, as if he had been expecting the call.
"Hi y'all", he greeted them with a grin.
"Dude", Aaron began, "we heard you dropped off the face of the earth. What's up with that!"
"Oh, nothing a grad student of Hard Knocks U can't handle.", he joked. "Deb started hanging out with this strange new age group and their leader convinced her that she should dump me. He kept telling her that my friends and I were a bunch of losers. He gave her a lot of expensive gifts and made her feel like she was better than everybody else. Next thing I know, I'm on the street, looking for a new place to live. I'm renting a room, by the month, in a hotel, downtown. It all happened so fast, I've been too busy trying to piece my world back together than to keep in touch with everyone."
"I'm sorry to hear that Deb and her new friend made things so rough on you.", Petra lamented.
"If it were just done to me, I wouldn't mind as much," Richard interjected, "but he and his, so called, "School of Better Living" is gaining lots of students. He promises all his students long life and prosperity, when in reality it is little more than a pyramid scam, allowing him to leach off everyone's life energies."
Petra and Aaron exchanged a knowing glance. They both felt a call to action. This "School of Better Living" sounded like the antithesis of the Great Plan for uniting heaven and earth, so they wanted to go, as a team, to investigate it. They informed Richard that they were going to come visit him at the hotel and headed back to Petra's room to prepare for the trip.
Aaron went straight to the computer. He sent Bambie an e-mail, letting her know that they had found Richard and were going to visit him. That done, he searched for any information available on the "School of Better Living". He learned that the school was founded by a man calling himself "Father Adelphi" and it had grown to thousands of followers in only a few years. Another page turned up an itinerary of Adelphi's current lecture tour.
"Speak of the devil...", he quipped, "he's giving a seminar, for the next few days, at the very hotel where Richard is staying." Petra let out a whistle, in acknowledgment, but her heed was being diverted by her pet. Izzy was vying for her attention, indicating by gestures, that she should open the door that it was pointing at.
Although she had never used it, as it's creator, she knew that this door led to what she thought of as her "whatever" room. If she wanted to prepare food, there would be a kitchen in there. Whatever her desires, this little side room would provide the perfect environment to meet them.
If Izzy, also the product of her thinking, wanted something in this room, she would naturally investigate it. As she opened the door, Izzy marched right in, matched in their convictions that this elevator car would take them straight to where Richard was. After all, she had just been wondering how they would travel back to earth when the means had presented itself.
"I think our next adventure is fixin' ta start", she said in her best imitation Texas accent.
"I'd follow you anywhere, darlin' ", he said, attempting to copy her accent. Aaron felt somewhat relieved that this mode of transportation would not make a living comet of him.
When they were all in the elevator, he took control of the buttons. Petra just smiled, thinking to herself, "It's a guy thing", that, when it comes to machines, boys want to be the ones pushing the buttons. This elevator only had three buttons, so Aaron selected the bottom one, imprinted with the letter "D".
"D is for Down to Dallas", he said, trying to sound like he had done this sort of thing before.
The elevator made the usual sort of noise, as the red down-arrow above the door lit up, but, aside from that, there was no sensation of their moving downward. Although the car was descending rapidly, there was no feeling of weighlessness, because their etheric bodies were being clothed in denser physical atoms, as they approached the bottom.