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R. Eric

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About R. Eric

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    Manic Poster

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    Charleston, South Carolina
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    I write...A lot.

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  1. So I’ve been baiting teasing you and you don’t respond? I guess you survived the hurricane. You could at least Like something so we know you’re okay!  ;–)

  2. R. Eric

    Chapter 1

    The message to the other vampires out there went out and I knew there would be resistance, but I had not expected so many would be welcoming. It just took a day or so before we were getting messages from around the world. There were a lot more vampires out there than any of us realized. George, Colin, Ruben, Mark and I were looking at the number of replies we’d gotten and were watching as the number grew. These groups were isolated, but the program Stan used was bringing them all here at once. I guess they didn’t really talk much with each other. Stan was beginning to panic. “I can’t do this by myself!” He almost wailed as he waved at the computer. “There are hundreds of replies. I can’t even begin to determine if they want help or not…” he looked at us with wide eyes, “…and this is just day two!” Mark was patting Stan’s back and nodding. “I’ll help you.” Stan shook his head. “You won’t be enough! You can barely type!” Ruben looked as more were coming in and his eyes widened, too. “Jesus, look at them.” He looked at us. “Are there that many vampires out there? I only knew of Uncle Alex! There was the man that turned him, but that was in Europe! There are hundreds, if not thousands!” Colin nodded as he was thinking. “These were people that were in the other…” he waved out of the building. “…whatever they call the vampire centers call themselves…they were contacts with these groups.” Ruben pulled up a message. “What is this? Russian!?” “I’m not concerned about the languages, Mr. Chance. Buddy can translate that.” Stan moaned. “I’m talking about the number of them.” Mark pulled Stan close. “Deep breaths. Take deep breaths.” He grinned because even though Stan was having a minor panic attack, he was also thrilled. “It will be alright.” George shook his head as Burke came in. “John, did you know about all these vampires?” Burke came over and saw the computer screen. “No, I only had those few on file.” He shrugged. “But it’s possible. Vampires are used to being resourceful. Hiding isn’t the hard part because it’s natural. We knew there were others. I had no idea there that many.” George nodded and touched Stan’s shoulder. “I’ll ask some of the other staff here that are doing other jobs to help you. We have secretaries, file clerks and many others that know about us that work here. They can help.” He chuckled. “Relax.” He looked at Ruben. “I know the family members of Marissa are being held somewhere and I don’t want to know where. We’re just not breaking too many laws, are we?” Ruben shook his head. “No.” He frowned. “They were breaking laws by aiding Marissa. Who are they going to complain to about their rights being violated?” Colin nodded and raised his hands to stop everyone. “Okay. They obviously want what we have.” He began to pace again in his circle. “We’re going to have to sort these by country and whatever group they’re with.” He looked at George. “I know you want every vampire out there to have the serum. Will we have enough?” George shrugged as he thought. “The chemicals are a little complicated, but not hard to make. It will take some time, but we should be able to make enough. We wouldn’t be able to give all them as soon as they may like, but we can do it.” I nodded. “I know that Holm’s Laboratories is making money, but all this is going to cost. Can we handle all these people?” Colin gave a frown. “We shouldn’t handle it all by ourselves. If the other…whatevers…want it, they need to pay.” He said logically. “Are we giving the serum free?” I asked. “I gave the serum to Colin when I first met him, but never inserted the disc. I could learn, but can’t they give it to their own people? Doesn’t the serum have to made with each vampire’s own blood?” George nodded. “It does.” “And there is manufacturing and distribution…” I pointed out. George nodded again. “Yes, but each…whatever…” I rolled my eyes. “Just call them Vampire Capitals.” I shook my head. “George, you’re a genius, but naming things is a problem for you.” George grinned. “Your husband wasn’t much better than I was.” Ruben had been staring at the screen and turned and looked…amazed. “There are so many of them!” Colin smiled at Ruben. “On a world that numbers in the billions, you’re upset by a few thousand vampires?” “Or…” I said. “They could be like you, Ruben. They are regular humans that have members of the family that is a vampire.” “We’ll need to go through these and find out.” Colin nodded and turned away and sighed. “We’ll need to find out about their past. Are they still human?” I took his hand. “I’d say they are a little. They replied to the message on a computer. That means they’re thinking.” I looked at George. “But you still want to keep the serum secure, don’t you?” George thought a minute nodding. “It’s our leverage.” He scratched his red head as he thought. “We can make the serum here. We’ll send the serum to the…” he was working it out in his own head. “…Vampire Capitols and instruct them how do make the disc for each vampire and insert them.” “And they can’t just study the serum to make their own?” I asked again. “It’s a complicated formula.” George said shaking his head sighing. “It won’t work right if not done correctly. This will be a venture that will take some time.” Colin smiled. “Well, we know we’re not alone now.” He patted George on the back. “We’ll just have to visit these Vampire Capitals. They really can’t come to us.” “If it proves to be a good thing…” I added. “We will have additional personnel.” “And we have the others that are not human still to deal with.” Colin pointed out. “Wild ones here and over there.” He looked at George cautiously. “This is what we wanted, isn’t it?” George wasn’t happy, but then he rarely was when dealing with the whole vampire world. “What we want; is to get rid of this mess and become human again.” He looked at Burke who smiled at George. “And until I do that, we’ll just have to deal with it.” Colin smiled as he turned to me. “I wanted to take you to these places on a honeymoon.” He said sadly. I put my arm around him. “Who says we can’t do both?” I looked at the monitor screen as the world turned. “Where will we start first?” Colin brought me into him as he rested his lips against my forehead. “I guess England. That’s where Marissa came from according to her.” “Are we doing this alone?” I asked. Colin thought. “I don’t think we should. We can take Gabriella, Alex and Willie with us.” Then he smiled, “…and your mother.” He added with a shrug. “Your mother can be there to show that humans and vampires can get along.” He looked at Ruben. “We should discuss this with the others.” Mark nodded. “I’ll let everyone know.” He patted Stan. “You’ll have help, baby.” He assured kissing Stan quickly. Colin and I went to the holding cells with Marissa and Adrian. Neither of them were a threat to anyone now. When we met Marissa, she was so confident in her position as First Vampire. Now she seemed like a lost child. She sat on the bed she used, looking without interest at anything. We were not so cruel to give her nothing to do. We had given her some books to read. We looked at her from behind the observation window. I shook my head. “She could have done so much.” Colin cocked his head as he looked. “So much of her life was about being First Vampire. That was who she was. Now, that’s gone.” He smiled at me. “To think, all the vampires in the United States and Canada came from her.” He grimaced. “That thing that looks like an innocent little girl rewarded her nephew that brought her over. How many did he make? Then as the humans expanded in the United States, vampires did, too. She made almost all of them.” I shook my head. “But where did it originate?” I asked knowing there would be no answer. “Books, movies and television came up with some pretty good theories, but did it start in Eastern Europe? We know there was a man they called Dracula based on a real man. Did it start over there? Did it start in Egypt, like another story said?” Colin hugged me. “We may never know. We can ask if the others know, but really, we may never find out.” We did the same with Adrian. He was more unsettled than Marissa as he paced. The books he had been given were strung around his room. Both of them had begun eating and there were empty dishes around Adrian’s room. Seeing him was like watching a caged lion or tiger. “He will be trouble.” Colin said. “We need to find a place to house these creatures to keep them secure….and to keep everyone else secure.” I hated that I thought so, but I looked at Colin. “Maybe we should have let him burn.” “Or maybe just ended him.” Colin nodded. “There is hardly anything left that’s human in him, but he isn’t a full vampire now. He can’t make others.” We met with everyone on the task force. Vampire and humans had their say. My mother was also included as she would be with us as the human side of our visiting team. “…I think you need to be there.” George said to Colin. “It was you they saw in that message.” Ruben nodded. “Agreed, they will know you are a vampire because they can sense you are. That will be your proof. If you and Devon are there, along with Gabriella, Uncle Alex, Willie and your mother; they will know it’s real.” Stan nodded. “That was the general quest of most of the messages back, wanting to be assured it was true.” Mark sat forward. “And Colin’s ability to sense people will help big time to determine if they have things to hide.” Then he sat back again. “I think there should be an escort by us, as well.” “Us, being the FBI?” I asked. Mark nodded. “If for no other reason than to show the support of some branch of the government.” Colin nodded. “But we’ll need Stan here to handle the Control Room.” Stan grinned. “Well, that’s what those little devices you carry will do. I can be reached that way.” I turned to George. “You should go, too, George. You have the medical expertise to explain more about the serum and how it works.” George nodded and he looked at Burke. “Have you been to England?” Then he looked more puzzled. “Do you even have a passport?” Burke shook his head. Ruben waved that off. “Don’t worry about that. All of you will have passports. Uncle Alex and Willie included. I’m having that done now.” He thought. “I need to speak with my cousin, Congresswoman Chance and Senator Cook. We will need more backing.” “And personnel.” George said. Mom frowned. “I hate to be the one to conduct those interviews.” She muttered. “What sort of background is needed to work here? How will we know they can be trusted?” “There will be mistakes.” I said. “We may hire someone that will prove dangerous.” Ruben nodded. “But we’ve done this before. We’ll be as thorough as possible.” I turned to Shelly. “And I think you should be the one to go with us.” I grinned. Shelly looked surprised. “Me? Why?” Colin chuckled. “Well, I can count on you to tell me when I say something that is bullshit.” He reminded her of her comment when we were going after Marissa. Shelly grinned. “It was bullshit.” She shook her head. “But you see things very clearly.” I said. “You’re very pragmatic and smart.” She waved her hands a little helplessly. “That’s what you hired me for, but you know my jurisdiction is only here?” “But your talents will help there.” Colin pointed out. Stan grinned as he took Mark’s hand. “I guess you stay with me.” Mark grinned back. “Yea.” He squeezed Stan’s hand. “There will be other trips other places. Your being an egghead is needed here.” Colin smiled. “We’ll make the arrangements. We’ll be extending trust by telling them when we’ll be there and where. I’ll let them know if they want to be included that they will have to come to us.” George nodded. “They are vampires, so trust will be touchy with them.” “That’s why we’re extending trust first.” Colin explained. “They will have regular humans that work for them like we do that can bring us to them.” He looked at Stan. “We don’t have names to go by, do we?” Stan shook his head. “They all have screen names.” “We’ll just let them all know when and where.” Colin sighed. “They will have to come to us.” “England.” I said quietly. “I’ve passed through there. The only thing I know about England is they drive on the left, have a monarch and talk funny.” “People say we Southerners talk funny.” Colin chuckled. “It will be a good trip.” I nodded. “I hope so.” “Well! Let’s get cracking!” Colin said standing. “But first, I’m hungry.” I got up patting him on the back. “I know what we’re doing next.” After a nice dinner in Vamps, we retired to our apartment. Having finished my evening routines, I came out of the bathroom as Colin was pulling the covers down for us to go to bed. I don’t need to tell you I love the man, you know that already, but seeing him…occasionally it just hits me how much I did love that man. We had done many forms of love and sex; there was nothing taboo or not tried by us, but I walked over to him, turned him around and kissed him deeply, hungrily, which he immediately returned. Leaning in I lowered us both to the bed as I continued to explore his mouth as my hands traveled over his bare chest and sides. It was a few minutes before I stopped leaving both Colin and me a little breathless. “Not that I’m complaining.” Colin smiled as he pulled me to a more comfortable place on the bed. “But what was that for?” I smiled. “That was just me feeling that sudden urge to love you, Colin.” I explained as I scooted to the side of him, but not letting go. “I never knew I could love someone so much. It just builds until I can’t hold it in anymore.” I kissed him again. “I needed a job when I met you. That’s all.” Colin’s eyebrows rose when I said that. “And I hired you.” “And what a job I got!” I grinned as my hand went down his chest and stomach and into his pajama bottoms and caressed what I knew was now stiff there. “The fringe benefits were out of this world. If someone had told me what I’d be doing now…back then…I would have known they were crazy.” Colin chuckled. “And now?” “We’re like pioneers.” I said. “Going into uncharted territory. Let’s face it. You and I are ambassadors going to a foreign country to start talks about a global community. I never would have dreamed this up.” I kissed him again. “But know this.” I said seriously. “I love you, Colin. You may have seen your life as cursed, but in a way…” I thought. “…it was almost like something brought us together the only way it could. You were given a long life and waited for us to meet. I believe we were meant to be together, Colin. This task we’ve been given; to bring other like us together is almost too important to be chance.” Colin nodded as his lips traveled over my jaw to my neck. “I agree.” He looked at me again with those emerald eyes. “I wasn’t kidding when I said before; my life truly began when we met. After meeting you, I got Wentworth Manor back. I got my daughter back…and that one thing I dreamed of, but didn’t think I could get. Someone to love me and be with me that loves me. I love you, Devon.” I felt his hand go down and remove my pajama bottoms and he made love to me, slowly, but saying often as I invited his body into mine, that he loved me. I never doubted he did.
  3. R. Eric

    Chapter 45

    We all have options. It's not my fault you don't have good taste.
  4. R. Eric

    Chapter 25

    I'm not either. In my stories I am frequently the hero. My love interest saves me, I save him. Who wouldn't love to rescued by someone that would do ANYTHING to get you back?
  5. R. Eric

    Chapter 25

    And who doesn't want that? I'm back!!! Things are looking up! Man, there are many reviews I need to go through!!!
  6. Your story-telling ability is amazing. I have thoroughly enjoyed evey chapter. I have just become your 30th follower and having now glanced at your profile, what I felt in chapter one seems to be correct - that this story is autobiographical in nature. I commend you on your strength to put you feelings onto paper for us to read and realise that the coming chapters  are going to be very difficult for you to write, as have, I think, the past few chapters. I know with absolute certainty that I am going  to have tears running down my face when the time comes, as much as I wish it does not come to that.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. R. Eric

    Chapter 3

    How can you say that? The VUN gives time off. Rick...or Ramesh, can't. Good employees are hard to come by. Stan isn't the only IT person for Holm's Laboratories, but really the only one for the VUN. Now, if they hire someone that doesn't show up... The people he hires are just lazy and have no work ethic. Anyone hired for Holm's Laboratories or the VUN are not lazy and have a good work ethic. The people with the lab and VUN are smart, too. (Yes, I included me in that.) I'm smart. I think. The VUN is expanding. There will be more. Help is coming, for George and everyone else.
  8. R. Eric

    Chapter 3

    Ah, yes. Remember, they were really the first "outsiders" to know what they did. Most of the other non-vampires at Holm's Laboratories had some connection with a vampire. The FBI was brought in with no knowledge of vampires or the threat. First there was Colin and his connection with George. They started the Holm's Laboratories. Since then they have added people and started bringing others in. Yes. George needed help, but never before dreamed of telling anyone. Finding Marissa and gaining the contacts they quickly have spread. The family is growing. What was five or six is now dozens just in the United States. Adding Kevin and even Commander Canaday...not to mention the other countries and their scientific minds. They didn't trust anyone. Now, they have to. Yes, Stan doesn't need to be the entire IT Department. George shouldn't be the only scientist or doctor. They will be bringing the vampires and forces from three countries to deal with those that took George! This is going to be a battle!!
  9. R. Eric

    Chapter 3

    We were flying from Barbados to New York. Our system of communication was being watched, or so Stan feared. His Sentry Buddies had warned him there were eyes trying to see in. Had someone done it? John had finally agreed to try and sleep on the long flight back. He had gone back to the isolated bed in closed off portion of the cabin to attempt to do that. Things were pretty tense as we rode in silence for a while. I noticed Stan was looking a little more intensely than usual. Mark sat right beside Stan, but he looked worried as he observed Stan working on his computer. Mark didn’t bother Stan right now and let Stan work, concentrating on the programs and what he saw. Stan was dedicated normally, but I could see that Stan was taking this personally and it bothered him. “Are we compromised?” Colin finally broke the silence asking Stan who was still watching his monitor. Stan looked up and just stared at Colin and blinked. Reluctantly he shrugged. “I don’t know.” He didn’t like being outwitted and was having an issue with the thought he might have been. “My programs are good. The computer system that makes up Buddy is very good. I can’t say with any certainty we were or weren’t.” I touched Colin’s arm, but looked at Stan. Mark just rubbed his husband’s back. Stan needed reassurance that it wasn’t his fault because of something he didn’t know about, so I said. “The fact is…if we were breached…whether it is Buddy or something that George did, they knew where George and John were going and took him. The people George contacted not on Buddy could be observed by these people. No one is being held accountable or responsible, Stan.” Stan nodded, but his face didn’t tell me he was convinced. “But they aren’t that smart.” He shook his head. “I feel confident our systems are secure.” He took a deep breath sitting back and waving at the computer on his lap. “When we first came to Manhattan, to Holm’s Laboratories those five some odd years ago, there was just Holm’s Laboratories and the computer which I named Buddy. George was doing a lot of research with Buddy that needed alot of memory and processing speed for sifting through genetic codes and various elements and chemicals and a sophisticated computer to analysis what he was researching. Then when we closed down Marissa and the First Vampire nonsense, we got the vampire capitals and contacts from around the world.” He pointed at Colin. “Then you sent that first broadcast and we were the VUN. We invited everyone to reply that got that broadcast, so I created fail safes and posted my first Sentry Buddies to watch for any unwanted eyes on us. Anyone can send a message to us. Then you asked to create a webpage for VUN International, I created the deeper level with tougher securities and toughened up my Sentries. I don’t think communicating Buddy within Buddy has been compromised. In fact, I’m sure we weren’t. Even our cellphones, tablets and androids are covered and secure by Buddy…Buddy to Buddy. I am certain that is secure. I had to create a way that all those scientists in other countries to be able to access the webpage while doing research on the venom and serum, but only the medical part of the VUN. Only with the approved password can any information about the venom and serum can be accessed but nothing else. I created the deeper level of security for the VUN personnel that only those like you, Devon and the others that are key with the VUN can access anything about the VUN politically or otherwise. I am almost ninety-five percent…no, make that ninety-eight percent sure no one can break in. I can’t say one hundred percent, though.” He looked out a window but wasn’t looking at the sky going by as he sighed. “Buddy is very tough. I dare say that the other organizations like the NSA, FBI, Interpol or any other organization could not break in.” He held his hand up. “That is not to say no one can.” He clarified. “These people that took George think they are clever.” I nodded. “Those PDTUs, how did they know about them and how to block Buddy from reading George?” He grinned. “They didn’t. They aren’t that clever. They knew there was something, I’m sure. The general field they created to block George’s PDTU was good, but a field to block a wide range of…things used for tracking. Once I found the...difference in the area of the plane, Buddy and I were able to crack it. The PDTU really isn’t a unit at all, the only working part is the host the PDTU is in. The person’s body can be read as Buddy can focus on the PDTU to read the host...a focal point for Buddy’s eye. They erected a field that generally blocked George’s body from being read.” He waved at his laptop. “I will be able to do more when I get to Manhattan. The delay of time is only a fractionally different, but with the main CPU, I should be able to tell where George is and access other systems and programs quicker.” Colin smiled nodding. “That’s damned clever. Devon and I knew there was a risk with anyone coming out as a vampire to the world. George should not have come out at all, but he did. Stan, you are smart. I know that any system can be compromised. I would never hold you responsible for that.” Stan grimaced with a nod, but he was still hold himself responsible. “I try to think of all the ways it could be done and find a way of protecting...” “Stan!” Colin said loud and quickly leaning forward stopping our friend. “Stop it! You are the best...programmer, operator…whatever you are…to do with computers.” Mark pulled Stan back against him pressing his lips to Stan’s temple. “Colin’s right, baby. We’ll find George because of you.” He got a nod from Stan. “Is there anymore about George’s location?” I asked. “He landed in...” I frowned as I tried to remember, “what was the name of that town?” “Yekaterinburg.” Stan grinned chuckling. “It’s a good thing Mitch did so much to get the Russian language into the Delkenzie program. I know we’ll need it.” He shook his head. “That area of Western Siberia has a lot caves and mines.” His eyebrows waggled. Colin rolled his eyes. “Sure.” He groaned. “Caves. The domain of choice for vampires everywhere.” “It just makes sense.” Mark shrugged. “They offer freedom to move and not a grave.” “He has stopped moving.” Stan said. “He’s in an isolated area in the mountains east of Yekaterinburg.” “We’ll need everyone in on this.” Colin said as he thought. “Iilya was Russian.” I pondered out loud. “I wonder if Lucian knows about this group.” Colin looked at me warily. “Do you think he would help us?” I shrugged. “The only thing I could really sense with Lucian was he loved Iilya.” I looked at Colin. “From what Lucian told me, Iilya was mentally disturbed most definitely, but Iilya loved Lucian. He got a sort of peace with Lucian. Then again, Lucian was so traumatized by life before he became a vampire and probably afterwards...they sort of fed off each other’s love. I believe that love was real...it wouldn’t hurt to ask Lucian.” Colin nodded. “Sure, I’ll get Ruben to get him back to the VUN. We’ll ask him.” He groaned as he thought of something. “I guess we need to inform the President.” “Why?” Mark asked. “We won’t be using any military forces to get George out.” “Because he needs to be informed.” Colin explained simply. “We have Dr. Canaday working with us for that reason and will get Dr. Canaday to tell that George has been taken. If we don’t keep the line of communication going, he won’t trust us.” Stan nodded. “When we do go to Russia, it would be seen as an incursion if the military is used. The President can’t and won’t authorize that. We don’t have the Russian President in the know yet, so he won’t help us.” “But the President of the United States will know what we’re doing and why.” Colin said. Mark chuckled. “Rumor is the President and the Russian President are pretty chummy.” Mark said with a grin. “Mark.” I shook my head, slightly chastising. “Who knows if those rumors are true?” I shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. He’s the President and we said we’d keep him up to date.” We landed in New York and were flown by helicopter to the VUN in Manhattan. Going quickly down to what we used as the Control Room where Stan sat quickly and began quickly typing on Buddy without saying anything to anyone there. The others were returning from their various locations. Dr. William Canaday was also there speaking with Ruben. “Now, maybe I can get more information more quickly.” Stan said to no one and anyone as he worked. Dr. Canaday looked up at Colin. “You all have stayed here.” He said a little angrily. “To prevent this from happening.” “Our lives go on, Bill.” Colin said quietly. “We have lived a lot longer with this than you can imagine.” “As I said before, Bill,” I said to him, “this situation is new and you feel an urgency with the recently gained knowledge that has been going on for them for decades and even centuries.” “We knew this would likely happen if we told the world.” Colin shrugged. “Our lives can’t be put on hold because of this. We will handle this.” “How can you handle this?” Dr, Canaday asked. “We go and get George back.” Colin said simply. Dr. Canaday’s eyes grew. “The President can’t authorize a military involved extraction.” Mark nodded. “They are not asking for one.” He waved around him, indicating the building. “There are enough trained people here to deal with this.” “And internationally.” Stan chuckled as he studied what Buddy was telling him. Dr. Canaday shook his head. “You’re a government agent for the United States.” He said to Mark. “Who won’t be going in as U.S. government agent.” Mark nodded. “I will be going to get a friend, who is also my husband’s employer.” “You are here to keep the President appraised of the situation.” I pointed out. “We are doing what we need to do.” I did notice something, though. I was looking at Ruben. His dark hair had begun to thin and I had noticed that when we met him. Now I was noticing a little more was gone and the grey was creeping higher in the temples and spreading more in his dark hair. I looked at Mark and Stan. They had both been in their early thirties and now were in their late thirties. Seeing them almost every day, I didn’t notice. Ruben, I didn’t see that often. I noticed a difference. They were aging. I looked at Colin. He looked the same as he did that day we first met five years ago. No change. I suddenly felt the apprehensive and was getting the idea of what people were wanting to get for themselves. The drawbacks of being what Colin had been made were almost gone…except for the aging thing. I was now getting my first bit of understanding about what Colin mentioned about losing people. Mark, Stan, Chuck, Shelley, Amir and Ruben were not going to always be here. When we all aged, it was just a part of life, so we didn’t think about it. Hopefully, they would be here another forty or fifty years, but we would lose them. I felt the new pang of ache as I understood that now. We gathered in a pretty big conference room, which reflected these vampires’ distaste for anything dark. Unlike many I had seen of others, this had no dark wood or anything like that. It was white. The floor, the ceiling and walls. Even the conference table was white as were the chairs and there were ten on each side and two at the ends. There was a large window on one side of the room allowing a lot of sun in and let us see Manhattan that stretched out below. The VUN with all of the couples attending, including Shelly and Chuck, the five passed years was now being seen by me with those two as well from my new awareness. Vlad, Gaius, Wayne, Amasis, Kev, Ellis and the others all spoke briefly to John who was not really responding more than a word or two, withdrawing even more into himself. Stan got to the end of the conference table and spoke to everyone. “Okay, people…here’s what I have.” Stan waved at a large monitor screen on the wall where it showed a map of some aerial shot of Russia. “This is Yekaterinburg.” Stan said. “That was the town or city that George landed in Russia.” He hit a button on his keyboard and the map moved East to an area that didn’t have much there but trees and mountains. “This is Asbest, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia. Asbest is an industrial and mining community just east of Yekaterinburg by about fifty miles. Chrysotile is what they mine for mostly.” “Wha’s that?” Ellis asked. Stan chuckled. “Asbestos.” He saw Ellis nod as he understood. “The biggest company is Uralasbest which is a joint-stock company. They also have a poultry processing plant, make ferroconcrete, as well as porcelain, bricks as well as mining for asbestos. It is just on the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains which is where George was taken. This is all Western Siberia and there are a number of mines there.” Wayne grimaced. “Yea.” He said a little sour. “Mines again.” He moaned as he rolled his eyes. Ellis shrugged with a grin. “If they ‘aven’t go’ tunnels like we did...” “Isn’t it cold there?” Shelly asked motioning to the map. “It’s Siberia!” She said as if it was inevitable. Stan nodded. “In the winter…yes, it can be very cold, but right now it’s about eighty degrees. It normally gets into the seventies or even the sixties during the day in the summer.” “All these Russian names.” Mom lamented holding her head. Stan gave a shrugging nod. “Yes, it is a good thing that Mitch McKenzie had to be able to translate Russian first. That is the one language other than English Buddy knows the best. It should be no problem for Buddy or the translators.” “When are we going?” John asked quietly not really looking at anyone and really hadn’t since we left Barbados. He had sort of been stewing silently at the table. His voice communicated his impatience quietly as he sat with his arms folded across his chest. He had listened but hadn’t commented at all. I could not imagine what kind of hell he was going through. In many ways I got the feeling from him of a caged panther being very still before he pounced to attack. Not knowing what he felt, I could only imagine Colin felt when I was taken. I know I couldn’t sit still easily if Colin were taken. “Tomorrow at the earliest, but as soon as we get things together…we go.” Colin answered. He did know what John felt. “But we fly to England first and gather some of the others like Edwin and Matt. There are others from Romania coming as well.” He looked at Dr. Canaday. “We will be taking a number of guys from here. This is…” he shrugged, “a vacation?” He smiled. “Vacation!?” Dr. Canaday balked. “To a town in Siberia!? Who does that!?” “Or...” I began, “we can say again the truth like we did in Romania.” I shrugged. “We’re working for the betterment of the Delkenzie program.” I watched Colin chuckle and nodded to him. “You have to admit, it’s a great cover story.” I grinned at Colin. “We need to thank Mitch for perfect reason to go some odd places.” “We need to invite him for dinner when we get George back.” Colin nodded at me and then pointed at John. “And we’ll do whatever we need to. George will be back with you…” he grimaced. “And us.” John nodded. “You know what I’m going through. It’s just hard to sit and do nothing just as it was for you.” Colin nodded. “I do know. We are doing something, John.” He looked at everyone at the table. “To everyone else there in Asbest, it’s the perfect reason to be there.” He looked at Stan. “However, the ones that took George will be alerted if we show up. They watched our broadcasts and know my face.” Vlad nodded in agreement. “And mine.” “We shouldn’t take the Holm’s plane.” I suggested. “We fly to London, get everyone there and we take commercial flights to Russia.” “Or charter a plane to get our equipment there.” Mark added. “Those coming to support us can fly in commercially.” Those that are coming should go to…” I frowned at Stan. “What is that town’s name that George landed in again?” Stan laughed. “Yekaterinburg.” “Yuckenburg...” I shook my head and thumbed at Stan. “What he said.” “Really...” Dr. Canaday began having calmed down, apparently. He seemed to see we were taking this very seriously. “You shouldn’t all land in Yekaterinburg at all.” He looked at John sympathetically. “I know, your husband needs to be found and brought back.” He shrugged throwing his hands out slightly in helplessness. “You are right.” He smiled at me. “I was reacting on the novelty of this old, unknown to me, situation.” He sighed. “I’ve gone over and over George’s notes and am still not clear about most of what he’s done over these decades. He needs to come back.” Kev nodded in agreement. “I have been a doctor a long time and even I can only understand some of what George has. Granted, I was not an operating doctor for almost…” he stopped knowing that telling he was a vampire was not what Dr. Canaday was told. “I figured that out for myself, Kev.” Dr. Canaday chuckled and held his hands out to stop any replies to what he was going to say. “I know, this is the new...” he did finger air quotes, “Don’t Ask and Don’t Tell.” He smiled. “I’m not asking and don’t tell me, but you have tells. You have an almost classical way...an older world reference when acting and talking…I know you are one of them. I suspect others...” Kev shrugged. “Yes, I suppose I do have tells...” he chuckled, “if I were what you think.” He shook his head and went on. “What I was saying, I didn’t practice for a while, but George has been doing this for more than half a century. He uses symbols and a kind of…shorthand for processes to keep the notes short...many of which I can’t decipher, but he knows instantly. We will bring him back.” Dr. Canaday smiled. “I am a doctor, but a military doctor. I know some military strategy. You need to go in, not together; separately as couples. Moscow, St. Petersburg and any other cities you can arrive in. Don’t come from the same place. The ones in Romania should come from Romania. The others come from say...Heathrow.” He pointed at Kev and Ellis. “You come from Gatwick. And don’t show up all in one big wave.” He looked at Vlad and Gaius. “You two and Colin and Devon shouldn’t come in on commercial flight. No passenger manifests with your names. Like you said, your faces are known. Fly to an isolated small airport on a private plane and then travel on land to Asbest.” Stan nodded. “Dr. Canaday is right.” I smiled at the commander, glad he was understanding now and giving good advice. “Thank you, Bill.” “Oh,” Stan remembered something. “Make sure you use your android, tablets or computers that has Buddy’s restricted Wi-Fi connections when speaking with each other for added security.” Gaius frowned. “Gina uses her connection to…” Gaius waved his hand, “does whatever that magical way is to talk Kelly in Scotland who is not on Buddy.” Gabriella chuckled. “I don’t think Gina is going to give away VUN secrets to Kelly.” “No, but he’s got a point.” Stan held his hand up but nodded to Gaius. “Don’t tell Gina that we’re leaving or even Nicolae as he might say something to Gina and she passes it to Kelly.” He pointed at Colin. “We need a couple of those smaller CPUs of Buddy to take. One as a backup. The Wi-Fi will go through him.” Willie sat forward. “Okay, we’ll deal with the Russian Language part. Are there any contacts in Russia we can trust?” Mom nodded. “What about Sasha Ledebev? David McKenzie’s husband? He is Russian and even served in the military for almost ten years. Can we ask him for help?” Colin looked at me and then looked back at Mom. “I believe he doesn’t need to be involved with this. Whether or not Mitch told him what some of us are, we would have to tell him about us if we did.” He shrugged. “He can be a backup for if we’re in a jam, but no.” “What about Lucian?” I asked. “He’s in transit now.” Ruben reported. “He should be here in a few hours.” “Hours?” I asked a little surprised. “Where exactly is he being held?” Ruben chuckled. “We have a facility in the Gulf of Mexico. Very nice, I’m told but away from the general public.” “Anywhere near or in...I don’t know…say Cuba?” I asked. Ruben just smiled but didn’t answer the question. “Okay.” I simply said back. “Moving on…” Colin frowned. “You think Lucian can be trusted?” “Baby, you and I both will talk to him.” I said. “Between your ability to tell if someone can be trusted and what you all say I can do to talk to people…” I looked at Vlad, “does your ability to influence or suggest work on vampires?” “I may have to push a little more, but it has.” Vlad nodded. “Then we all three will talk to Lucian.” I said simply. “Between the three of us, I think we will find the answer.” I smiled. “Besides, even with what he did and the confusion caused by the venom and Iilya, I do believe Lucian will be happier from now on. I’d like to think he would tell the truth.” I remembered the Old Ones. “This is crazy, but I feel guilty not spending time with Ralph, Iustina and Repetate. I feel like I’m neglecting them.” I saw Colin look at me with surprise. “Don’t look at me that way.” I griped but smiled. “I’m more attached to them than I should be, perhaps, but I really like them.” That was true, I was very attached to them. Mom smiled. “It’s like having three special needs children.” “That’s right.” I shrugged a nod. “Children who are very ancient but dependent on us.” I looked at everyone. “I know what they are and I know they can’t be let out, but they are human…of a sorts. I don’t know how I’d deal with being pinned up in one room with little to do.” Wayne sat forward a little. “But they made us what we are.” I nodded. “And they were made what they are.” I looked at Wayne. “Imagine you were created to just kill. You never know friendship or love. Driven by urges you can’t not indulge in. It’s that or die.” I smiled at Wayne. “I know, Ralph was the one that turned you.” I nodded, knowing that Wayne probably couldn’t understand what I was going to say. “I don’t think he knew it was wrong.” “But it was!” Wayne protested. “That thing you call Ralph destroyed my life. He and the others like him destroyed all our lives.” “Which is why we need George back.” I nodded. “He’s giving back those lives.” I urged him to see that. “No,” I shook my head, “it should never have happened. I see them as victims, just like you and Colin. They are the enemy because they were created to be that enemy. They are following what they were made to do.” I nodded. “I know, this is very personal to you and I get that. I see them as…almost innocent.” Wayne shook his head. “Innocent.” He repeated not believing it, but not really contesting it much. “You say they’re coming along.” Colin stated simply. “Explain it to them.” He looked at the others. “If there’s nothing else?” He asked. “Let’s get ready to go.” He looked at Vlad. “When Lucian gets here, we’ll need you.” Vlad did a slight bow to Colin as he stood up. “And I will be there to serve.” Colin nodded as he rose. “Let’s get ready to go.”
  10. R. Eric

    Chapter 15

    I wanted you to read this. Do I need to add that Rabbi Wolffe was an absolutely gorgeous human male! Gawd!!! Bite your wrist for control GORGEOUS!!! That black hair in waves...he was a man of many dreams. I was so pissed when I met Mrs. Woffle! Naturally, she was beautiful, too. Damn her.
  11. R. Eric

    Chapter 15

    Yes, but Israel was recognized much later in history. The Jews I know identify all of their people as Jews or....Hebrew. I'm Scottish, but I don't speak the brogue. I am Clan MacQueen!! Maybe it's just the Southern Jews? Rabbi Wolffe said that. Like you said, what do I know? I ain't Jewish. Shalom Ya'll!!!!
  12. R. Eric

    Chapter 15

    Oh. come on, Buddy! Didn't you see the Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3? Bernard, Santa's head elf was Jewish! The dispute was about Jesus being Messiah. I have friends that are Reformed Hebrew. The more orthodox don't, but they loved Christmas. Hanukkah wouldn't be the holiday it is, I'm told, except for Christmas. Santa can come down the chimney of Jews just fine. No mangers have to be there.
  13. R. Eric

    Chapter 15

    Waiting until the appointed hour to pick Chet up was…lengthy. Traffic was a factor and we didn’t want to have problems so we just drove around. We did what I hadn’t done in years as we drove through neighborhoods and looked at the various decorations. Mike finally took my hand. “Are you okay?” Squeezing his hand. I laughed lightly. “Sure. I should have done the discussion with Susan sooner.” “You couldn’t admit it to yourself. How could you tell her?” Mike smiled at me. “She moved on. She married and she seemed to forgive you.” I nodded. “Yep.” My phone beeped so I took it out to see a message from Ray wishing us a Merry Christmas. Smiling I sent him and Frank the same. “Ray sent us a Merry Christmas.” “Naturally, you sent him the same thing.” We went back to the Atkins at eleven o’clock on the dot when Wynonna was escorting the three to the door. Chet was all too ready to go. Avi and Eli were right behind him. Wynonna was still trying to get Chet to hug her, but Chet didn’t want to and pulled away from her. “I don’t see why he can’t stay the night.” Wynonna said to us. “If he does, we do, too.” Avi said and waggled his eyebrows. “Of course, Eli and I only require one bed.” Wynonna frowned. “Yes, I know.” She looked at Mike. “You married him.” She pointed to me. “I didn’t tell them.” Chet said quickly as he got to the SUV and opened a door to quickly get in. Wynonna pointed at Mike’s left hand. “You both wear matching rings.” She shook her head. “You said you were. You just couldn’t wait.” “Wait? For what?” Mike asked. “Sherry had just died.” Wynonna said sadly. “It wasn’t even a few weeks before you ran off with him.” She said bitterly. “Did you even love Sherry?” “I tried.” Mike defended. “Did she love me?” She shook her head. “I don’t know.” Tears were forming in her eyes as she waved at Chet who was getting in the SUV to get away. “He’s changed.” Mike nodded. “Of course, he’s growing up. He couldn’t be innocent forever.” “He won’t being exposed to your life!” Wynonna said loud. She waved at Avi and Eli. “Exposing him to god knows what.” “We aren’t...” Mike shook his head and sighed. “This can’t be resolved and it won’t be. We’ll bring him in the morning.” “We’re losing him.” She said as the tears came. “He was always a loving little boy and…” “And you still don’t understand why?” Mike asked as he waved at the inside of the house. “My god, your husband shot me…in front of Chet. You don’t think that sort of trauma will change Chet? He couldn’t be that innocent little boy anymore. You don’t see he has a reason not to be that loving little boy because of what you did? You still don’t admit you and Manfred caused this?” He shook his head. “Chet is being given knowledge and will make his own choices. Teaching that is based on evidence. You tried to shield him from the world. We aren’t.” Eli smiled at her patting Mike on the arm. “Come on.” He looked at Wynonna. “We’ll be back tomorrow at ten.” Once the car we rode back to the hotel. Mike looked in the rearview mirror at a very sullen little boy. “Come on, Chet. It wasn’t all bad, was it?” Chet shrugged. “No. Travis and I had a good time.” “Travis is Ronnie’s little boy.” Mike told me. “Grandpa kept trying to get me over to him.” Chet said. “I just can’t forget what he did.” “Your grandparents do love you, Chet.” Mike said again. “That was why he did what he did. He was trying to protect you.” “From you?” Chet asked. “From you and PopE?” He sighed and shook his head. “I know, you told me. They don’t approve of you and PopE being together. I got that. That is why they were trying to force you to give me to them. I know what you said, but they are wrong, Dad.” He touched Eli. “They didn’t like them either. Why? Because they are married?” Mike nodded. “That is part of it.” Eli smiled at Chet. “And there is the Jewish thing, too.” “Because you’re Jewish they don’t like you!?” Chet said. “Jesus was Jewish!” “It’s been going on for a long time.” Eli said sadly. “Intolerance is part of life.” “That’s right, Chet. It is.” Mike nodded smiling. “I’m glad you don’t understand that.” “They didn’t tell me anything! I wasn’t even told about the Tyrannosaurus Rex! Fossils! Lots of things! It is there!” Chet objected. “I just don’t feel like can trust them now. They treat me like a little kid.” He folded his arms over his chest that wasn’t so mature and more like the little kid he claimed he wasn’t now. “Okay.” Mike smiled. “After tomorrow, if you don’t want to come back, you won’t have to.” He sighed. “However, they are a part of you. If they want to see you, they will come to us.” Avi nodded. “I tell you what.” He started to Mike. “You two stay at the hotel in the morning. We know how to get there, so we’ll bring him tomorrow.” Eli smiled leaning forward in the backseat. “Sure. You can enjoy your holiday.” I grinned at Eli. “That would be great. You guys have been good friends.” Avi chuckled. “Well, at first it was just a job.” He shrugged. “It didn’t take long before it became personal.” We got back to the hotel and it was Christmas Eve. I saw what Chet had meant about the decoration contest with the many organizations and companies that put up trees as many people were still out strolling the hotel’s wide hallways looking at the many lights and trees as they wound down, enjoying the company of friends and family. There was the garland and wreaths up casting a magic to the surroundings. The soft sounds of music began to play adding to the magic as I heard Merry Christmas Charlie Brown’s song that said “Christmas Time is Here. Happiness and cheer. Fun for all as children call their favorite time of year.” In spite of what Chet had said about himself, I did see a little of the little boy as he looked at the displays and sensed the magic himself. Who didn’t? The miniature train set arranged in the lobby that traveled in a large display of a village set back…when? It could have been fifty to a hundred years ago as they had older cars and buggies out. The snow-covered ground as small figures of people walked the village streets, skated on the icy covered pond as they moved around in slow circles. Carolers in front of homes there. It was a magic in the air. All the houses were decorated giving it a Courier and Ives kind of moment, if you know those prints. The streets and avenues and it did make you feel good seeing this simpler part of human lives. Things had slowed down and the rushing pace of the world was unknown here and now. A sense of peace. Avi grinned. “I love this time of year!” He waved at the displays. “Christmas?” I asked. It wasn’t just us. Our Hebrew friends felt it, too. “Sure.” Avi nodded. “I love Christmas! It’s great!” Eli chuckled as Avi pulled Eli closer. “We even have a Christmas tree at home.” “Really?” Mike asked. Eli laughed. “Really. It is more than a religion, it’s a time of year we set aside to enjoy our family and friends having a sense of good will and fellowship.” Eli shrugged. “Why not? Jesus was born. He is part of history. Was he the messiah? I can’t answer that. I will concede there is the possibility. Does there have to be one religion or the other, but just a time to bring the best of humanity?” “That’s not very orthodox.” I chuckled. “No.” Eli chuckled again. “A Jewish man who is gay isn’t very orthodox, either.” The next morning, Mike and I got Chet up early enough to have breakfast, showered and dressed…and one more thing. “Well,” Mike said shaking his son lightly. “You should check out what Santa brought you.” “Santa?” Chet grinned rolling over revealing the image of Iron Man on the front of his pajama top. His red hair going everywhere. “They said he wasn’t real.” “Who is they?” I asked. “Grandma, grandpa and Mommy.” Chet replied. “Everybody at church.” “Oh, really?” Mike asked with a sigh sitting on his bed. “Chet, your mother and grandparents do love you. They wanted you to see the world one way. Like that village we see every year here we all enjoy. They want an idealistic way of life for you. We’ve talked about this. They took away the fantasy replacing it with another. One of the many ways was to not teach you things that could change your opinion about the world. Like telling you there is no Santa Claus.” He shrugged. “Believing in Santa…” he thought, “is fun. It is a way to encourage good behavior in everyone. He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” “Adults love to believe in Santa.” I said smiling at Chet. “I do. I know your dad does.” Chet chuckled. “But we’re in Charleston.” “So?” Mike nudged Chet and reached in and began tickling him lightly making Chet laugh. “You think he doesn’t know that?” He looked at me. “Maybe he doesn’t want his presents.” “Presents!?” Chet brightened throwing the covers back. “Where?” “Under the tree, silly.” Mike thumbed over his shoulder. “Or did you not see that tree in the living area?” Chet jumped up and raced into the living area of the suite. We heard a squeal as we came in the living area to see Chet had dove into the few presents there wrapped in colorful paper. Avi and Eli came into the living area smiling as Chet began shaking one right after the other before he began tearing quickly. He let out squeal after squeal seeing the video games, the remoted controlled car, books, a telescope and a picture. He squinted at the picture. “A bike!?” “Sure, but we couldn’t bring all of that, so it will be at home.” Mike said simply. He waved at the few video games there. “The games will have to wait until we get home.” He charged Mike hugging him tightly. “Thank you, thank you.” The moment appreciated the most was when the cart arrived by hotel staff containing our breakfast and coffee. Chet took a shower a got dressed. He took his remote controlled car to show his cousins as he left with Eli and Avi. We waved to them as they walked down the hall to the elevator. “Merry Christmas.” Mike said to me. “I love you.” I nodded. “Merry Christmas. I love you.” It was about nine in the evening when the three came back to the hotel. Chet looked a little happier than he had been the previous day. We flew back to Fort Worth after landing in Atlanta and saying good bye to Avi and Eli making sure they promised to stay in touch. “And next, we move to California for a month or so.” Mike grinned plopping down on the sofa pulling me with him. “It will be fun.” Chet nodded. “I can see Mickey?” “You sort of have to. We’ll be in the same area.” I said logiclly. “You saw him a few months ago.” “Does that mean I can’t see him again?” Chet asked. “And Buzz, Goofy and Donald...” Mike pulled him down with us. “We’ll see them again.” He brought Chet in tickling him again making him laugh and kissed the side of his son's head.
  14. Once the taping was done, Ellen again thanked us for coming on her show. The audience was applauding again heartily as we left the stage. Once back in the room we had waited in before the taping we were getting ready to part from Ellen, she stopped and held her hand up to stop us. In a very non-Ellen way she said seriously. “What you are doing is nothing short of remarkable.” Peter shook his head. “All we are doing is getting married.” I squeezed his hand. “Peter was raised not knowing there is a problem with that.” I said to her. Peter grinned at me. “I saw the show and knew about it because of the people that sought a refuge in Makarovia, but I never experienced this sort of repression and hatred firsthand. It was odd to have it happen to me. I mean to us.” Ellen smiled. “That in itself is remarkable. To see what you’re doing as something you just do. Proudly marrying that one person you clearly love. You show the world that love is love. And Makarovia may not be the biggest country, but it is the biggest country with a heart.” She bowed to both of us. “I wish you both a good life and I along with many in this world will be eagerly watching.” She shook our hands. “Thank you again.” Yuri came up behind us smiling. He waved at a large screen he and Boris had watched the show on. “That was an amazing show.” I nodded. “We tried to show the best of Makarovia.” Yuri nodded. “I say, you did.” We rode back to the hotel and once back in our suite Peter was quickly getting out of his tie with a sigh and flopped back on the bed. I sort of knew what he was feeling. He wasn’t physically tired, but he was feeling fatigue about this whole wedding that almost everyone was saying positive things about. All the attention that frankly, Peter had not experienced until recently. “How are you?” I asked slipping my tie off and walked toward him. I stretched out beside him on the bed. Peter smiled at me as his arm came around me as usual. “We’ve only got a few more months.” He turned to me, kissing me lightly. “I know we are together now, but...we’ll be married, and all this attention will lessen.” “Maybe, but you understand why it has become so noteworthy now?” Peter nodded. “I do. There are those groups like the ones that protested outside our home in Boston when we arrived. However, most people don’t seem to care. In fact, most are supporting our marriage.” I nodded. “People are finding out we are more common than they realize.” I brought him even closer pressing our foreheads together. “You are a prominent figure in the world now. We’re showing what we are is just simply a marriage.” I smiled running my fingers over his chest. “I love Makarovia. I love Olek and Mom.” I moved to straddle him. “But I am so madly in love with you, Peter. If jumping through these hoops is what I have to do to marry you, I will do it all again gladly.” “I am so in love with you.” Peter smiled as he said it softly. “We have a whole night here. What will we do until then?” I chuckled and looked out the window as the afternoon light shown through. “Well, we always do one thing pretty well and I’m more than willing now. A little afternoon loving?” “Yes, we do that very well.” Peter pulled me down kissing me gently. We did enjoy our favorite activity that we no longer had to think or plan, it was just natural. When we had satisfied that longing for a few hours, we got up and showered and decided that the restaurant was a bit much. So, we went to the pool where we had a private cabana. Of course, Yuri insisted he come. I agreed he should come with us…as a friend and family member, not as security. Therefore, Boris came, too. We were shadowed by others in our security. This was California, it was the end of winter and the beginning of spring, so it was warm. I was pleased that at least Yuri and Boris wore shorts and casual shirts. With shirt tails out! This was something I never thought I’d see. Boris dressed...casually! His hair was combed. He put something in his hair that kept it in place when working, but now…it was loose and fell a little over his forehead, not like it was when he was on duty giving him a more youthful appearance. Boris was a nice-looking man, but now…he could almost tempt me. There were security watching us, however, dressed in the dark suits and looked like security. They were a deterrent to anyone of the others at the pool that even thought of approaching Peter and me. It was sunny, so I sort of let the dark sunglasses worn by them go. I realized, this was not so much as a privilege we had, but a necessity. Not that we deserved anything, but to protect us so we could do...this royal stuff! I was getting comfortable with them now and my role in it. Yes, I was even getting used to the titles and formality. Peter and I swam enjoying the water. Conversations with each other and with Yuri and Boris were equally comfortable. I grinned at Boris as he munched on his hamburger. I had the gourmet chicken pieces. They wouldn’t just serve Chicken Fingers here. No, even the sauce was gourmet. “Boris,” I smiled at him, “I like this relaxed, fun side of you.” Yuri chuckled as he ate one of his French Fries. “He can be fun.” He shrugged. “It just took some encouragement.” Boris smiled and chuckled. “It didn’t have to take a royal order.” “So, I don’t have to make it a royal order for you and Yuri to take a honeymoon when Peter and I do?” I asked. Boris put his hamburger down giving a grudging shake of his head. “We’re talking a whole month!” He complained. “Yes, we are.” I nodded. Peter smiled at Boris. “There will be nothing Makarovian happening in Boston, I assure you. Olek will be in Makarovia. We will be in the Greek Islands. Nothing happening. You and Yuri are coming to the wedding. After that, you and Yuri can be together again as husbands.” He leaned in to Yuri. “I am making that a royal order.” He poked Yuri lightly on the shoulder. “If needed, I can tell Olek and he will make it the order of a king.” Yuri held his hands up. “No,” he looked at Boris, “you see? We have no choice.” Boris grimaced. “It’s not that I don’t want to, but…I always fear I’ll be needed.” I nodded smiling. “You are most definitely needed, Boris.” I waved at Yuri. “You and Yuri are very needed, but not much that month, if at all!” I slapped him lightly on the shoulder. “So, you can go, enjoy your time with you husband. I know you love him. He certainly loves you.” “You’re going.” Peter said grinning. “Interesting you have to be made to go on a honeymoon.” Yuri chuckled, too. “Tell them the truth, Boris.” Boris lowered his eyes and gave a nob. “I…love it.” “Love what?” Peter asked. “The work?” Boris waved helplessly. “Yes! The feeling I get when I do a good job.” “You do that, no question.” I told him. “It’s more than just a job.” Boris nodded quickly. “Much more. It’s a part of my personal pride.” He shrugged. “And you see where I work. That kitchen is the ultimate kitchen. I use good ingredients to make meals for two or banquets for dozens. And that house! I take pride in keeping that house ready for anyone or for anything.” Peter looked at Yuri. “You’re just as dedicated, but you need time for just you and Boris.” “Yes.” Yuri said, We flew to Boston the next morning. We were greeted by Don Wilson when we came in. More requests for interviews and appearances. He also reminded us of our agreeing to appear on the Graham Norton Show. The time was getting close for the wedding. I learned, it wasn’t going to be just a wedding. No. I was having a coronation, of sorts. The title of prince would be added at the end automatically, but just as I was proposed to in front of those attending the formal proposal: I would be crowned as a prince before them, as well. My name would also be changed to Ivanov. The wedding marrying Peter was what I was looking forward to and becoming an Ivanov. Not the crowning. “But you never had a coronation.” I said. Peter chuckled. “I was born a prince. Mom was when she married Dad and became queen. Olek had one when he became king. You will because of the change in your status.” He shrugged. “You’ll be a Richards when we marry, then after we are pronounced married, you will be a prince by the coronation.” “Yea.” I said weakly. Things did not settle down. Not for me. School went on a usual, but the thought about what I was doing, who I was going to be was always on my mind. We told Drew and Wayne what was going to happen, and they agreed to come the week before we were doing the show with Graham Norton. They would fly back to England with us. There were others…who were not so supportive. As favorable as many had been, there were now people speaking out about us. Don had recorded a show where we were the topic of conversation. It was one of those shows that was ultra-conservative Christian. We watched on the TV from the comfort of our couch in our room. “…this is just so wrong.” The host who was famous for standing out against…pretty much everything. Family values was his pulpit against most everything. Especially those who were gay. “This…marriage is an abomination! We should be ashamed of what’s happening in Makarovia.” Peter frowned. “What are we doing?” The host continued. “The world is celebrating something that caused God to destroy two cities. The world is on the very edge of destruction embracing this…wedding…inviting the wrath of God!” “What’s he talking about?” Peter asked. “Sodom and Gomorrah.” I sighed sadly. “Only he’s not mentioning the other three cities that were destroyed because of that event.” I shrugged. “The only thing is, he’s saying what we’re doing is why those cities were destroyed. The only mention was their wickedness. It was only when they asked to bring the angels out to know them was our sin brought into the scriptures.” “Why is love a sin?” “It’s not.” I shook my head. “They leave things out. Like adultery which was more acceptable? In order to spare the angels, Lot offered his two virgin daughters to these men to…basically rape. Nor do they mention that these two daughters after the destruction of Sodom and their mother turned into a pillar of salt for looking back in disobedience to what they were told not to look back. They also don’t mention that later, those two daughters got Lot drunk and each slept with him to conceive a son each.” “By their own father!?” Peter’s eyes widen as he sputtered. “How could they…I mean…genetically…” I nodded. “I know, but that’s what the Bible says. They only talk about our sin, which wasn’t really mentioned causing Lot’s offer of his daughters to save the angels and leave off those other sins. And Abraham, Lot’s brother was equally foolish and sinful.” I watched Peter’s eyes grow wider as I spoke. “Because Abraham’s wife Sarah didn’t believe she could have the son promised by God, she sent her handmaid Hagar to Abraham to conceive that son which they named Ishmael. Abraham wasn’t stupid, his wife sent this young thing to have sex with him. With Sarah’s permission he slept with her. Hagar and Ishmael were the one that started the whole other race that worship Allah and the wars between the Jews and Arabs even today. They take one section of one of those books and throw it in our faces, but don’t tell the whole story.” Peter looked at me with a growing smile. “And you know this? Why do you know this?” I chuckled. “In order to fight these…” I waved at the screen, “religious nuts, we need to know what they’re fighting with and fight back. It’s in the book of Genesis.” “You don’t believe in God?” Peter asked. I shook my head. “Not the God they profess to know. I don’t think we’re just evolved puddles of goo that came from globs in puddles in the very beginning of the Earth. We have minds and intelligence. We have awareness.” “But you don’t believe in the Bible?” I shook my head. “What Bible? Which Bible? There were several. All written from those written witnesses of historical events. Only this Bible was assembled by the Catholic Church. They have many testaments in their vault in Rome. Witnesses that they assembled, and they said it was going to be in the Bible, others they ignored. That was why they had to put out another book they said was the Apocrypha and there have been others since. I say release the others, translate them and maybe we’ll get a better picture. Personally, I think whatever or whoever is responsible for us is laughing at us and we’ll all be embarrassed by what conclusions we came up with.” “Why would they do this?” “Control.” I said simply. “Keep women in their place. Keep us under control. To give power to the Church and to those in office of the Church which we know they exploited. Remember the Inquisition?” “And our Church in Makarovia?” “Which one? If you’re talking about Orthodox they are a branch of the Catholic Church, but don’t take the Pope as the authority. They also don’t except the Gregorian calendar by Pope Gregory.” I smiled as Peter’s head was leaning back as I spoke. “That’s why we have Christmas and Easter on different days than the West. They also don’t except Latin. While the Catholic Church has Mary, the Mother of Christ a near god-like status…saying she was sinless. We think Mary was chosen to be the mother, but a saint or idol? That and the Catholic church Priests can’t marry. That was a bad move.” “Why did you learn this?” “Well, I was raised by my mother and grandmother.” I said smiling. “Grandmother was raised Eastern Orthodox.” I shook my head. “Why do you think I knew so many of the holidays like SviatyVechir…Svyatyy Mykolay and Did Moroz? I had to be able to explain to the others in Charleston and Asheville how we were different. Then explain how I could be gay and see it is okay.” “Wow.” Peter said shaking his head and then he leaned closer. “You should debate these guys.” I shook my head and waved at the screen. “No, he’s been this way for most all of his life. He had this knowledge that spans decades telling him he’s right. I won’t be able to change his mind, so it would be pointless.” “Still, you could help change the minds of others.” He inched closer. “I am so smart to marry you.” I gave a slight shrug. “You expect me to disagree?” I grinned as he got closer and I felt his breath on my face. He shook his head. “No. I just need you to know, I know that.” “I don’t disagree at all.” Peter’s lips touched mine, not kissing yet, but touching. “I love you, Eric.” “I know.” I said as our lips rubbed gently. “I love you, Peter.” His arms pulled me closer. “I know.” He said and pressed his lips more into a kiss. He did indeed know how to kiss…and make love. My grandmother told us she was coming also and would be here the same time as Drew and Wayne. She would go with us to England and then return home with us at the end of the taping for our last two months at Northeastern. There were also some smaller appearances on different shows, but all were local. Study was also paramount to other things. That really was why we were both here. Again, my grandmother arrived without us going to the airport to pick her up. When Drew and Wayne arrived, they dropped their jaws as they entered the foyer. “Wow.” Drew said softly. “This is a palace, too.” “It’s our home for now.” Peter smiled as our friends did that little spin. My grandmother came down the stairs to greet the two of them. “Hello, Drew, Wayne.” Drew smiled at her. “Hello, Mrs. Sams.” He held his hand out to her. “It’s nice to see you again.” “Katrina.” Grandma said to them. “Or do I refer to you as Mr. Humphries and Mr. Jenkins?” Wayne nodded shaking her hand. “Certainly, Katrina.” Grandma waved to the house. “It is a grand house, but my grandsons have made it a home.” “So, are you nervous yet?” Drew asked me. “Nervous? About marrying Peter? No.” I asked. “Well, it’s never happened with a real royal family member.” Drew said. “There was the Queen’s cousin, but you, Peter, are in line for the throne.” “You marry Peter and are crowned Prince the same day.” Wayne said. “I marry as an Earl and become a Prince.” I nodded. “Eric Richards from Charleston, South Carolina will become Prince Eric Ivanov of Makarovia.”
  15. R. Eric

    Makarovia! Yes, I Know Where That is! Sophomore Year

    I read that. However, I was first!! He's the Queen's cousin. I say, good for him. My wedding is a prince, in line for the throne. I was first! I was! He's just copying me. I was first. I was.

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