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R. Eric

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16,109 Almost Divine

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. Bringing Home Lola

    The situation with Lola was eye opening for me. She and Aunt Pearl were almost the same age. I was feeling encouraged that Lola was going to have to agree to come to live with Rain and me. Lola would not be alone now and she and Pearl hopefully would get along. Rain spent as much time with Lola as he could. I did, too, but he was her grandchild! There were concerns about overtaxing her. I spoke with her doctor to make plans for her transport to Charleston. There were planes that could be used to do that, but the doctor was concerned about the cabin pressure and travel so long to get her there. We also needed to arrange for the doctors at the Medical University in Charleston to be aware and ready for her arrival. I had called Kyle as we flew to the airport on John’s Island what had happened and why I was going. I called Tom to let him know why I would be gone for a while. Tom was a damned good manager and I had really nowhere near the experience or time with hotels. I was the owner, but he was boss. I knew that. I even made a point to myself that he would get a raise. I had raised his salary when I bought the place from Aaron Winehause to prove to Tom I had every confidence in his ability to run the hotel and do a wonderful job. His tough no-nonsense approach to the staff was a little hard to take for some, but he got efficient and positive results. The hotel was beginning to show its potential to make a profit…for me. Of course, it was. I bought the hotel outright. I had no illusions about who knew who was more qualified to do the job. That was Tom, not me. The large sums of money I had invested in the hotel, the house…and let’s be honest. What money was given? I bought the hotel outright. It wasn’t financed and I paid for the renovations. Same with the house. I didn’t even buy Bonnie Glenn! It was just…well, it was still in Pearl O’Grady’s name, but my name had been added to the deed and I was named in the will of Pearl that I would get it. The biggest investment was the hotel. I bailed out Mark and invested in his family’s company. I could make mistakes. I did with Susan! Having won the money didn’t win me more wisdom. I needed to be careful. During the time that Rain was visiting with Lola, I had a lot of time to think. I knew not to give into the hype surrounding me. Was I the luckiest man in the world? I reviewed the past year and a half. I won money, I met Rain in club in Las Vegas by chance. We, the Powerball and I, hadn’t planned to go there. I decided that…I meet a man that…I admit, I hadn’t expected to, who would become more important to me that anyone…even Kyle. Things were going very, very damned well for me. I kept telling myself to keep my head and not rest in the thought that I deserved it. I didn’t. I was in a private waiting area in the hospital. There were two additional men here now in charge of my security. I felt sorry that they had to wait for us. One sat with me, while the other was with Rain waiting outside Lola’s hospital room. I couldn’t just go get a cup of coffee or wander around. People recognized Rain and me now. Our lives had really changed. It was evening and I was bored with the stupid magazines always left in hospital waiting areas. I had a tablet with both Internet, TV, games and access to a library of books to read, but I didn’t have the interest right now. I heard the door open as one of the two guards let Rain in the room. “How is she?” I asked Rain who sat down letting a slow breath out wearily next to me, throwing his arm around me. Rain grimaced putting his head against mine. “She’s tired.” He said sadly. “In many ways, it’s almost like she’s giving up.” He shook his head. “She’s not the Lola I grew up with.” “She isn’t.” I agreed. “But she’s still Lola. The woman that raised you. For her to survive, she will have to come with us. It will be an adjustment for her.” I put my hand on his knee. “She’ll get the best care.” Rain nodded and smiled at me. “I know she will.” He leaned in kissing me gently. “Thanks.” “She’s family, Rain.” I said simply. “People like Kyle, Aunt Pearl, you…you’re all family. If something needs to be done. We’ll do it. No thanks are needed. It just will.” “Yea.” Rain stretched and rubbed his stomach. “I’m hungry.” “We can go to the cafeteria.” Rain shook his head. “It’s after visiting hours and Lola’s asleep.” He stood up and reached for my hand. “We can go to a restaurant or just go to the hotel and order room service.” “Sure.” They got Lola stabilized and once we got word from her doctor it was safe to transport her, I made the arrangements with Medjet. They had planes that were ambulances that flew you where you needed to go. They would be equipped with a doctor and two nurses. Rain was flying with her. The security men and I flew back in another plane. The advantage here was, it would be direct flights. No stopping in any other city. Getting her ready to go, she was reacting to all the people that were hovering about her, moving her to a stretcher to take to a helipad to get her to the plane. “My goodness.” Lola said as the IV was hung and she was wrapped in a blanket and strapped in. “All this for me?” Rain rolled his eyes. “Yes, Lola.” He sighed learning closer. “For you, because you’re important.” Lola shook her head about to deny what was happening. “I am…” “To me you are!” Rain said firmly. “So, just…” he waved at her, “deal with it, damn it.” Lola simply huffed and folded her arms over her chest as she resolved to the situation. The interaction between Rain and his grandmother was actually very humorous. I had to squelch the laugh that was building in me. We flew back to Charleston where I met both Lola and Rain at the hospital. They landed and were taken again by helicopter directly to the hospital. When I arrived, I met Rain speaking with some of the medical personnel that would be caring for Lola. “…she will take time to rest.” She smiled at Rain. “She had a heart attack, but for woman her age…” she saw Rain’s face grow in concern and she hurried to explain, “she is in eighties. Her cholesterol and plaque levels are to blame. However, in spite of that, her overall health is pretty good otherwise. The heart attack can be dealt with and other issues…blood sugar and blood pressure are high. She needs to lose a few pounds and there is the blockage we will deal with. She still has about forty percent damage to the heart, which is why we’re going to do the permanent bypass. There are two arteries damaged and we will do the double bypass. The surgery will be when she has been stabilized more.” The female doctor in her fifties was explaining. Again, eyes widened seeing me. (It was just going to happen now. We had been followed around the world. People knew us.) She had enough professionalism to not react more. “But she’ll get better?” Rain said carefully for reassurance. The doctor smiled. “I won’t lie. Her age is a factor. If there was no chance…we wouldn’t have agreed. She is really at the age where we decide what’s best to do. Do the surgery or just make her comfortable. Her doctor in Eureka told us she was a strong woman. The chart he sent on her history shows promise.” Rain nodded. “Yes, she’s very strong…always has been.” “This could add a few years more.” The doctor said. “If she follows directions, she could make it into her nineties.” “She needs rest for now. Go home and rest.” She looked at the clipboard she had in her hand. “We’ll call if there’s any change.” I took Rain’s hand. “We’ll be nearby.” I told her as I pointed to her clipboard. “My name is on there?” Rain nodded. “Of course!” He answered for the doctor. “We’ll be married in a few months. You are a contact. My next of kin.” He jutted his head toward Lola’s room. “That doesn’t necessarily mean you hers, so I added your name.” The doctor touched Rain’s arm. “Your grandmother is in good care.” We did go home, to the hotel. It would be closer if there was a problem. We traveled around the world, but this past week all this sort of travel was more tiring. The difference being that this hadn’t been a pleasure trip. We hadn’t rested at all. As we got ready for bed, I watched Rain move a little slower. I knew it was not because of fatigue, but what was playing in his mind. Platitudes and saying things like…it will be alright…served no purpose. As he sat on the side of our bed as I put my hand on his back gently. He turned at the touch. I brought him out of those thoughts a moment. “There are times…having money does no good, Rain.” I said quietly. “Lola will get the best care.” I assured. “I was given money for a purpose. Not just for me. I’ll use all of it to keep Lola in this life a year more…or a decade. We’ll do that. No price is too great…for you without question…as I would for Kyle and Aunt Pearl.” Rain smiled sadly as he moved back, pulling me down with him. “You know what’s really great?” I shook my head. “You really, sincerely mean that.” “I do.” I said. We still had passion, but this time…our love making was assurance to both of us that we would always be together. We weren’t alone. The next few days were the trips to and from the hospital. The fact that I had chosen those numbers was not forgotten. I was asked many times for interviews by the media, be it magazine or television…my required posting of how things were going with me was done. I did post occasionally and was followed when I did. It was now more out of habit. After a year of telling everything…almost…I was glad it was now at my own time. Now, the focus on my life was Rain. His focus was now Lola. I began thinking more about what I would do with the money. Buying the hotel was my biggest purchase so far. There was still a lot I had to think about what I’d do. Like I said, it shouldn’t be just for me. We visited Lola every day. Her surgery and recovery would take more than a month or two and she would have to be monitored. Rain and I did pretty much move to the hotel. Even Lucky was moved to the hotel. He was our dog, so of course, he did. The morning that Kyle came to the hotel with Lucky and Aunt Pearl, we greeted them in the lobby. Lucky saw Rain and me…those feet started scrambling on the slick marble floor, but he had no traction. His tail was nearly invisible he was so excited! Kyle released his hold on the leash as he hurried to us. Scooping him up, he couldn’t decide who he wanted to lick more. Aunt Pearl smiled as she got closer. “How are you two?” Rain nodded as Lucky wasn’t done with him at the licking. “We’re fine.” “And your grandmother?” Kyle asked. “Lola is a stubborn, opinionated, old flower child.” Rain shrugged. “She’s always complaining about all the attention on her.” “And she didn’t give any of that to you!?” I chuckled. Rain bowed his head with a smile scratching his ear. “Well, it could be heredity.” “We’ll talk to her doctors, but we will probably have to add some things to the house.” I said looking at Rain. “If they can, get her recovered enough, she’ll recover better at home.” Now that all the required world city visits were done, things had calmed down Rain and myself, I was thinking what I should do with the money. There were always charities, but which one? There were good ones with great causes, but I wanted it to be good ones where the money went to cause, not those that ran the cause. The hotel was booked! Most all of it was now finished and we were at nearly one hundred percent occupancy for the year! Tom was the manager, but his demands on the employees for doing that job just got more. He wasn’t fair, but...as I told him; pay them accordingly. If they did the job and fulfilled the requirements, pay them, for superior service...they got superior pay! That was fair. We were to meet and exceed any hotel standard…cleanliness, friendliness, courtesy, bedding…guest servce received by the staff was the only way we would get and keep the five stars we wanted to get. Tom would love to have a seven star, but that was only a few hotels in the world for now. Really, I didn’t think we could do that, but it was good to aim for it. There were the slang slogans for the hotel all having to do with getting Lucky. Not our dog, if you don’t get that. Rain pretty well had to drop the courses he was taking because of demands on his time. He didn’t want to be committed and not be there if Lola needed anything. There was also the wedding that needed planning, but neither Rain or I really wanted to go anywhere. I didn’t want to become one of those...houses everywhere kind of person that used it a couple of weeks a year. I did call Richard Fry in Australia to find out if the house we’d stayed in was still for sale. It was. I did buy that one. The sale was started and now I had two homes. That was enough for me. I swore to be back for more than a couple of weeks a year. That still left me more than half of the winnings to go. The past year was basically one big party. It was fun, but now reality was sinking in. I was given this…gift…for a reason. I wasn’t particularly religious believing in one doctrine, I didn’t believe any one philosophy was absolutely right. I felt we were more than just self-aware. I didn’t have answers. God or fate…something allowed me to have this win. Now, what to do? Lola was taken into surgery after a week. That was the longest day I had been through. Rain would pace and worry constantly. He was very quiet and there were no words I could come up with to ease this worry. He was just going to have to go through it, but I was just there at his side quietly supporting him. How could I do less? They began the surgery when the sun was barely a sliver of orange-gold on the horizon and finished after it had set in the West. Aunt Pearl and Kyle came to check on us, but really…it was just Rain and me. We had reports given periodically, but when those doors opened…a very, very tired surgeon came out in a fresh set of scrubs. Both Rain and I rose, but the doctor’s face was not glum…nor was it happy. “Well, she weathered the surgery pretty well.” The doctor said as he nodded reluctantly. “Her age is a concern. The next few hours will tell the tale. It she manages to hang on a day, that will improve her chances. She’s in recovery. You can see her but keep it to a few minutes.” Having all that money was now, not as glorious as it had been. All the money I had couldn’t change some things. We could still lose Lola. I could lose Aunt Pearl or Kyle. I shuddered when I realized I could lose Rain! Lola made it the day and then the week! She was an amazing woman. Stubborn! Just like Rain…or rather, Rain was just like Lola. It was as I went over some plans to improve things at Bonnie Glenn I got my…idea. It was really given to me. I was having an elevator installed in the house to keep her from having to climb stairs and overdoing it. I had a room set up for her to recover in at Bonnie Glenn. Two of the men installing the elevator were talking and didn’t know I overheard them. “Will you look at this place!” One of the laborers said to the other. “It belongs to the Luckiest Man in the World!” His friend said chuckling. “Of course, it has to be spectacular.” “I know this is a new structure but this planation was built from the labors of people enslaved for a century or more.” The first man commented sadly. “Too bad they didn’t see this sort of reward.” It was like…I don’t know…a lightning bolt…a message from God him or herself!? What or whoever was in charge! I called Aunt Pearl and Kyle. We met in the office I used and told them what I had in mind. I asked Aunt Pearl if there were records of people that were kept here as slaves. She nodded. “There are records, limited, but…” she shrugged. “There is the family Bible which I still have. It is more of a history of Bonnie Glenn of births and deaths…and slaves. It’s very old, but has the names of some of the slaves, their children and their children. A record to keep an accounting of events.” “Can we research and find their descendants?” I asked. Kyle thought and shrugged a reluctant, grudging nod. “I suppose, but why?” “Kyle.” I looked at him wondering why he wasn’t see it. “These were people. People that worked to make this a prosperous plantation. What happened was horrible and I can’t undo it. There is no compensation that will make any form of restitution, but I can at least give their descendants something. Payment for what their grandparents did…even though they had no choice!” Kyle held his hand up to stop me. “Wait…you want to what?!” He stood up shaking his head as he thought. “I know what you want to do, but…how do we narrow it down!? There must be hundreds of people…thousands now…how can we work out who gets how much?” I threw my hands up, understanding the frustration. “I don’t know, but you have a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. Justice. You know slavery was wrong, but there were slaves! There has to be something…even if it isn’t much we can do…we should do something to say, I’m sorry!” Aunt Pearl frowned. “Then I should be the one to say it.” She said quietly. “It was my family that did it. We profited from it.” I nodded. “So, be a part of this, but I was given the money. Why?” I waved at the surrounding house. “I have this wonderful home! I have a hotel that is making money! I didn’t finance any of it, I’m still in the black. I’m buying that wonderful house in Australia. I’m good! I just feel I need to do something with this money that has purpose. More than just feeding hungry, that will always be a need, but maybe my doing this is just that. Doing something good with it.” Kyle gave a slight nod. “Well, Germany did apologize to the Jews for the Holocaust.” He sighed. “There are been a few attempts at apologies to African-Americans for slavery.” I nodded. “And this will just be one more.” I got up walking over to him. “Is it possible to say I’m sorry enough?” Kyle shook his head. “I suppose not.” He sighed. “I’ll start working on it.” He looked at Aunt Pearl. “Can I get the Bible you have…or get a scan of what’s there?” “Certainly.” She nodded getting up and paused. “Do I bring it to you or…” Kyle waved her to head off first. “After you. I’ll follow.” He pulled his phone out. “I’ll take a picture.” Rain came out Lola’s hospital room blowing a breath of exasperated air. He looked up seeing me and smiled. “She’s getting better.” Rain said chuckling. “She’s becoming more of herself.” I grinned. “That’s a good sign, right?” He nodded coming to sit by me, kissing me as he stretched out in the chair. “Yep. She’s too feisty to die.” He threw his head back and sighed. “You need rest, baby.” I put my hand on his leg. “I know you want to be here, but I don’t want you to suffer.” I smiled at him. “Please?” Rain nodded. “Sure.” He waved at Lola’s room. “She’s asleep anyway.” He pulled me toward him kissing me gently. “You’ve been great.” I frowned. “She’s family, Rain. How can we do less?” He shook his head. “No, you could.” He pressed his forehead against mine. “But that’s not who you are.” He rose from the chair. “Let’s go home.”
  2. Chapter 80

    No. Kindergarten!!!
  3. Chapter 80

    Not my Grandpa, he knew it was there. He always shared things with me. I would drink from his tea or water, not sanitary, but...I was little! It was a hot day and I came around the corner. I saw that jar of "water" with the beads of water as was cold and I was thirsty. I just took it and drank. I gagged, hacked, coughed...it was horrible!! That was one of the few times I heard my grandmother cuss!!! "Damn it, Theodore! You know better than to drink that around the grandchildren!!" Yes. My first lesson about Grandpa's "No-no water!"
  4. Chapter 80

    So did mine!!! For medicinal purposes, of course. I was five when I learned about his "no-no" water.
  5. Chapter 80

    Thanksgiving: Part 2 The family dinner, with a short break to go home, sleep, get up, go to Mass or our services in Manhattan and back again for lunch made it one long day! The Delveccios were good cooks, but also good eaters. It was a wonder no one was fat! We had a great time. Kathy insisted we were taken to the airport by her that Monday morning. Compared to what distance we traveled, the few hours to Charleston was just short. We walked into our home in Charleston after a month away. It was the middle of the afternoon, so we weren’t surprised to find it empty. My cousin David was probably at school, as was Alik. Sasha was somewhere…he was out. I sighed looking around the condo with a renewed appreciation of the place. “I had a good time, Tony,” I him into a kiss, “but I’m glad we’re home.” Tony hugged me. “I know the feeling.” He looked around the condo. “It’s in better shape that Mama’s and Papa’s when we found it.” I smiled with a shrug. “Sure. Sasha lives here.” I said as that explained it all. Going to our room we saw it was neat and had been left alone. It didn’t take long for us to unpack the bags we brought with us. The things we bought at various places in and around Australia hadn’t arrived yet. The first back was Sasha. He opened the door and looked at us in delighted surprise. “We were expecting you until tomorrow!” He said almost rushing toward us and we did the hug and greet. “Welcome back!” We sat with him catching up on things a bit then Alik came home and again eyes widened and he smiled. “Дядя Митч, дядя Тони!” He said saying our names loud rushing to us. “Ты дома!!” I chuckled hugging him. “I’m sorry, who are you? You must be a neighbor’s boy. You can’t be Alik. You grew!” Sasha laughed. “English, Alik?” He reminded. Tony nodded. “Yes, we’re home.” I looked at Sasha. “Don’t let him forget who he is, Sasha. He is Russian.” I took Tony’s hand. “We were going from English to Italian in New York.” I shrugged. “We can do that here in Russian and English. It will be natural.” Sasha nodded. “Sure, but he needs to use English as much as possible to learn it.” Tony grinned at Alik. “We were asked to give you this.” He went to the counter and handed Alik the large brown envelope. Alik took it opening it and smiled at the various photos of Ivan, Ivan and Katya, Ivan, Katya with Tony and me and the large folded poster of Ivan as the Raging Bull sighed by Ivan. There was even a handwritten letter addressed to Alik by Ivan. “Wow.” Alik said ogling the pictures. “And this was given to us to give you.” I produced the box Ivan gave us. Alik opened to box and inhaled slowly. “Ой! Вау, вау!!” He said with reverence in Russian, touching almost reverently as he held the mask. “Yes. Wow.” I chuckled. “He is wow.” I agreed. It was nearly dinner time when David finally showed up. Again… “Mitch! Tony! You were to be here tomorrow!” David said happily and we did the hug and greet. We were creatures of habit. Sasha was, as you know, an excellent cook. He made something unexpected. Hamburgers! Complete with French Fries! Maybe not very Russian…I think, but they had McDonald’s in Russia and other places now. It was good! Very juicy. “So, now you two are even more married than before.” David chuckled. I frowned, but my eyes held humor. “How can someone be too married?” “By having to divorce if you split up.” David pointed out and hurried on. “Not that you two would! I was there. Vows, until the end of time. You would never do that.” “It’s just…easier.” Tony shrugged. “You know they would tax the hell out of Mitch or me if we weren’t.” David nodded quietly asked the question. “Do I ask yet?” I glanced at Alik who was marveling over what he got from the Raging Bull...the mask right there. I didn’t want to alarm or worry him. “There isn’t much to tell yet.” I sighed. “We’ll know more after Thanksgiving.” Tony said calmly. “I see the doctor after that.” Sasha scowled and David sat back a little but hearing the word doctor that really answered the question. “It is possibly serious?” David asked. “We don’t know.” I shrugged and said calmly. “If was too serious, we wouldn’t have been able to go.” I didn’t want to say what we feared it was. Tony nodded and tapped his upper chest. “I have something here. We don’t know what exactly, but…we sort of do,” he smiled at them. “Mitch and I mulled this over the past month. If it is…what it might be…you two are the closest family and friends we have. We’ll keep you informed.” I was relieved that Alik was still mesmerized by what he got from Ivan to really pay attention to what we had said. “We are family.” David said nodding. “Of course, we’ll be here.” It did sort of put a dampener on the evening, but not enough to spoil it. By Wednesday, we got ready to go to the McKenzie’s Homeplace. I even booked another couple of rooms and the Ellerbe Springs Bed and Breakfast for Sasha, David and Alik. Booking wasn’t too difficult there. Since all five of us were going to the same place, we all rode in Tony’s bigger Mercedes. Since Tony and Sasha were the bigger of the four adults, they sat up front. Alik between me and David in the backseat. Of course, Tony thought we should take both vehicles for the luggage, but I told him he could only bring one, there would be room. Naturally, he chose the largest suitcase to be his one. The woman at the Ellerbe Springs Bed and Breakfast, actually looked happy when we all checked in when Tony and I entered holding hands. She was an older lady in her mid-forties. It was obvious. Tony and I had a history here now. David and Sasha checked in to the same room that had a king-sized bed and Alik was thrilled he got one for himself but next to his father’s and David’s room. David and I looked like brothers and we were all family. The McKenzies were known here. I don’t know if she was pleased because she accepted that we were in relationships and didn’t care and was happy anyway, or…and let’s face it. Gay men do set trends sometimes. The idea that the Ellerbe Springs Bed and Breakfast was going to be a gay-friendly Bed and Breakfast may have gotten her excited at potential rewards financially. Now, there were two gay couples!! This was a rural area and there were many things on display, artfully arranged to add a certain charm. Alik was curious and asked about some of those things to Sasha, “Что это?” what is that in Russian, but Sasha didn’t know some of the names. I looked and laughed. “Я довольно свободно владею русским языком, но я не знаю всех названий сельскохозяйственного оборудования.” I said saying I knew Russian, but not all names of farm equipment. Sasha chuckled. “Я тоже нет. Я городской мальчик.” He said he was a city boy. He wouldn’t know either. I pointed to one that looked like what we envisioned the grim reaper carried with the long blade. “Это, я знаю, называется…a sythe.” And explained what they did. I glanced over as the woman’s eyes grew. Not only were they becoming a gay-friendly Bed and Breakfast, but an international Bed and Breakfast? I grinned at her. “Do you remember the movie in the 60’s with Carl Reiner, The Russians are Coming?” I chuckled at her as she nodded. I pointed at Sasha and Alik. “Here we are.” “But you’re not Russian, you’re a McKenzie!” She said and pointed at David. “So is he! You speak Russian?” “I’m not Italian either.” I shrugged. “But I can speak Italian.” “Sì, lo sei!” Tony said instantly with a smile saying I was. “You’re a Delveccio.” I grinned at Tony as he walked to me after signing the registration and took my hand. “Grazie, cuore mio.” We watched her eyes widened more. “It’s a beautiful world out there.” We checked in our rooms and then drove over to the McKenzie Homeplace which hadn’t changed much in almost a hundred years. You don’t realize it…until it’s gone, but here you didn’t hear that drone of constant noise in the background like the sound of cars, planes and other things in urban areas was not here. The only sound now was the sound of wind moving through those tall pine trees…so quiet you could hear the voices from inside as the few here were to preparing for tomorrow, going about various tasks with the sound of crockery and pots being moved… they were just visiting as they worked. It was cool out, but not cold and it just felt reassuringly familiar to me. We pull up to park in the large area under the pine trees as Chuck had arrived only minutes before. He and his wife Pam was getting out of the car. Nathaniel, their son…no longer a baby at all, was unfastened himself from his car seat. They were staying at the McKenzie homeplace. Chuck grinned at me waving as he walked over. “Hi, Cousins!” He said happily and again with the hug and greet thing. I looked over at his son and…I hated when they said it to me, but… “My god, he’s gotten so big!” I never understood why people said that, but now I did. Chuck smiled as Nathaniel raced over next to his father. “Yes, if you keep feeding them, they do that.” Sasha and David walked over toward us, Alik coming quickly to join us. “I know.” Sasha said looking at Alik. “They do.” “How old is he now?” I asked. “He’ll be seven in a few months. Second grade next year! Can you believe it?” Chuck said smiling as he ran his hand through his son’s blonde hair. I noticed Pam was wearing a loose top to cover another pregnancy. “And you’re having another one!” I grinned as Pam walked over. I greeted my other cousin. “You didn’t tell me in a message or anything!” “You were off spanning the globe!” Chuck shot back as he rolled his eyes. “You’re out gallivanting all around the world…” “I said we’d have another after Nate started school.” Pam said happily as she rubbed her slight swelling stomach. “And this time, it’s a girl!” “Oh, breakout the shotgun.” David laughed as Sasha’ arm naturally went around him. “You know it.” Chuck nodded and looked at us. “Still not going to stay here? There are bedrooms.” He waved at the…I’ll say again…odd shaped home built by necessity. Tony shook his head. “I don’t think they could handle it if we stayed. There would be gay overload.” “When we started speaking Russian in front of the lady at Ellerbe Springs Bed and Breakfast, we almost blew her mind.” David said. “Almost?” Sasha laughed. “I’d say it was blown.” Entering the house, we were greeted and hugged by those there who didn’t see what we were as odd. There were always the very few that didn’t greet us with more than a nod or air-kiss. These were the McKenzies that lived in the area and were helping to get things started. Others were coming the next day. Uncle Bernie and Aunt Judy, David’s mother and father, were coming the next day. Nathaniel and Alik now were playing together. There was just too many to tell about as they arrived. They came. Rhonda, Mary and Sherry were there and we visited in that converted living room we took over years ago. Sasha and David were again just…absorbed as a couple and the good natures and conversations just went on as if they never stopped. Years had passed, we had moved on and gotten older, but we were family. The evening came and it got late, so Sasha, David, Alik, Tony and I went back to the B&B. I had warned Sasha about the breakfast bell that would ring in the morning. No one could really prepare for that. The next day we went back to the McKenzie Homeplace as…it was harder to find a place now under the pine trees to park. The noise was now much greater as all the voices were heard, children laughed and squealed as they played and many having to speak louder to be heard at all! It was warm enough to set the tables outside as there was no way we could set up inside! Now most of the aunts and uncles were here, with their children and their spouses and their children. Alik frowned as he saw everyone. “And they are all related to you?” He asked David. David nodded. “All because of Mitch’s and my grandparents…they are.” Tony chuckled touching Alik on the shoulder. “Just accept it, Alik. Trying to remember who is related and how they are related will give you a headache.” Michael, David’s twin, was there again without a wife. We would find out later there was a divorce that had begun. I hated that for him. I don’t care if he was gay or straight or if he, like David, didn’t want a label, but no one should lose someone they loved. I believe he did, but having never met her, I couldn’t say she did. Again, the bonds of twins were strong and David and Michael were together again, but not really. Sasha was part of David now. Sasha understood the bond and let the brothers talk together in private. What we, the McKenzies were, were people. I saw a similarity now I hadn’t noticed before between the McKenzies and the Delveccios. Meals pretty lasted for hours!! Conversations merged and got noisy and there was the familiar chaos. No Italian, but it felt the same to me. Mom, Dad and Grandma showed up. I was not alarmed, but aware of time that was passing. Grandma used a cane now, but Tony and I were greeted warmly with the hugs and questions about our trip. Then Gary, David’s and Michael’s older brother…the one from the barn with me when kids…arrived and…he was not a new man, but back to the guy before he had the bad reaction to what had happened and hugged David, Michael, Sasha, Tony and me! Wounds were healing. And, once again the uncles were divided. Uncle Bernie, Uncle Charles, my father and their wives were on one side. Uncle Earl, Uncle Tom and Uncle Buddy were on the other. Why? Because of me, Tony, David and Sasha? Yes. We were the problem as far as they were concerned. Uncle JC and a few others were on the fence about it. Remember? Uncle JC was the one that said Tony should stay that first time. He didn’t understand how we were but accepted what he saw. The three uncles that just didn’t approve at all about us and wanted us gone for corrupting the family were standing, conspiring on what needed to be done quietly, the looks of distain clear. Most others just didn’t care anymore. Tony and I were. Sasha and David were. There was little to say about it. Who were they to judge? The fact that Gary was now friendly with us, was a little upsetting to them. Another family member converted to our side? We were laughing and talking with lunch/dinner was set out. Gary looked over as the three uncle that didn’t approve were almost whispering again together. He smiled, sighed sadly and turning and said loudly. “Oh, give it up! This is stupid!” He threw his hands out to make them see the futility of what they were doing. “What do you think will happen?” He waved toward Tony and me. “You aren’t going to change anything. Tony and Mitch are together!” He waved at David and Sasha. “So is my brother and Sasha! Your continued talk and disapproval aren’t going to break them up. Keeping this up is exhausting!! These two got married.” He said pointing again to me and Tony. “I missed their wedding! I won’t miss David’s and Sasha’s!” “And now Tony and I are legally married.” I added causing my mother and father to smile at us. Tony put his arms around me from behind. “We stopped off in Boston before we came here.” Tony said to them. “We were married there.” Gary nodded. “Good!!” He said to us and looked at Uncles Tom, Buddy and Earl. “See? They are married!” He looked at David. “I hope you and Sasha do the same.” David grinned taking Sasha’s hand. “We plan to.” Gary nodded. “Wonderful!” He looked at the three. “You can’t stop them. Why would you? Mitch and Tony didn’t give a shit if you approved or not! Give it up!” My father walked up next to Gary. “If you find what they do odd, that’s fine. Accept that it is and move on.” He looked at Tony. “My son married a wonderful person and good soul and I am proud he became a part of this family.” He looked at his brothers. “And Tony is a part of this family.” He looked at David and Sasha. “As will Sasha be and really, already is.” He looked again at his brothers. “Whether it’s right or wrong, it is! You need to stop this. Now.” I walked up to my father. “Thanks, Dad.” I said hugging him. Tony walked up and did the same with Dad. “Thanks, Dad!” Uncle JC nodded and clasped his brother, my father’s, shoulder. “Richard’s right.” He looked at the three. “If it makes you uncomfortable for you, there’s only one thing to do. Don’t come. They will. Otherwise, this stops.” He was the eldest brother and the patriarch. It would be obeyed. I took Tony’s hand. “You said I was Italian. I am a Delveccio.” He leaned in kissing me, no longer embarrassed or hesitant to do so in front of everyone. “Now, you’re a McKenzie!” Tony nodded smiling. “I am! And a Southerner! Who knew?” He raised a finger. “But I won’t say ya’ll.” He said firmly. “Not one of us…” I objected shaking my head. “Have you heard one of my family say ya’ll!?” Tony did a shrug and in an exaggerated New York Italian accent said. “I’m just sayin’!”
  6. Chapter 79

    Of course they were calm. They didn't do anything wrong. They knew that, so did Tony. Tony was just being...TONY. My husband always complained about the real Nick. Stating he needed a Valium before going into Nick's room. He's Italian! A New York-Long Island Italian. They are dramatic. Add gay to the situation, a gay Italian born and raised in New York!? Drama is going to happen. He's not really mad. I knew how to deal with him. Notice Nick wasn't intimidated in the least! Nor, was David. They never were.
  7. Chapter 79

    Thanksgiving: Part 1 No matter what ship it was, departure sucked. We were all packed the night before and said our good-byes to those we’d dined with exchanging emails and phone numbers. We woke up docked in Sydney. One things to remember about the Queen Mary was it wasn’t a cruise ship. Understand, it was a ship we cruised on, but the hurry up and “get off” feeling was not quite as frantic. They did have to clean our stateroom and get it ready for new passengers to occupy the stateroom this afternoon. It was as quickly done as possible, but they had people to take our luggage for us. We gathered in a lounge as our things were being gathered and taken off the ship. I was looking for Ivan and Katya. We’d seen them the day before, but...they were going home and so were we. Thousands of miles apart. I was hoping to see them one last time before we left. We sat enjoying the delicious coffees they had onboard. “Oh, there you are.” We heard Ivan’s voice behind us sounding relieved. We rose as Ivan and Katya walked toward us. “It was announced where we were to be.” I said simply. Ivan nodded waving at the ceiling. “Yes. In English! Even French and German, but no Russian.” He waved the translator. “I could not get this to translate the announcements.” Tony chuckled. “There are somethings to work out with the translator. When we have the connection with this, announcements can go through there when there is one.” Ivan nodded. “Yes, but I wanted to give you this.” He handed us a package he had. “For Alik.” Opening the box, I grinned as I pulled out…a mask? It was a deep brown-reddish leather that fit over most of Ivan’s upper face and head. The small horns would have been on his forehead but covered most of his face down below his nose, the eye holes clear, holes where he would breath through but it had the look of an angry bull and included a ring that was attached at the nose. I held it up for Tony to see. “Ivan!” Tony marveled taking the mask. “You don’t need this?” Katya took her husband’s arm. “He has others, but this was one he had when he first started as the Raging Bull.” I grinned putting the mask back in the box. “Alik will love this. Thank you.” “He’ll be even happier when you show up at our door in a few months.” Tony chuckled. Katya nodded and hugged me. “I am so glad Ivan went out in the corridor to get help with the extra starch.” She went to Tony. “We were fortunate to meet you and blessed to become such dear friends.” “We are that, Katya.” Tony assured. “We will stay in touch.” Ivan promised me. “You have my number and email address. If anything changes or we have to change this…” he said taking his phone out. “I have yours, I’ll let you know.” He hugged me. “You are our dear and good friends.” With anything, good or bad, they come to a conclusion. Our almost fairy tale like cruise ended. We checked into a hotel near the airport to take a flight the next day. We flew to Los Angeles and then on to Boston. It would take us about twenty some odd hours to get there. We were traveling just over ten thousand miles. An entire day just traveling. The flight time over the Pacific was about thirteen to fourteen hours. The flight from Los Angeles to Boston was about six, plus the several hours in LA for the layover! Tony and I were exhausted when we got to Boston!! The Omni Parker House was a grand hotel, but I was too tired to be too impressed. I gave a slight glance at the elegance. My only thought was about a comfortable bed. The theme for this hotel was…stuffy? Browns. A lot of polished wood. There was a huge lobby with the round table in the middle the brown stone mosaic on which it sat. At the desk, the young woman looked at us sympathetically. “You two look very tired.” She smiled as she began typing on her computer. “Boy, there’s an understatement.” Tony all but growled. “Tony Delveccio and Mitch McKenzie. We have a suite reserved for today.” I leaned on Tony. “I don’t even know what day it is.” “You just arrived from Australia from what it says here. You would be tired.” The woman chuckled and looked at me. “It’s Monday evening.” My eyes widened. “Whatever…we were in the air a whole day!” Tony chuckled. “Right now, our only concern is getting some rest.” I wavered. “I’m too tired to figure this out.” The woman smiled. “Well, you’ve booked a nice suite to get that rest.” She motioned to the man that appeared behind us. “Nick will show you to that suite.” I grinned at the rolling cart that would be used to take our luggage to the suite. “I’m tempted to get on that and ride to the suite.” I didn’t, of course, but I was tempted. The suite was very nice. What little we saw of it. What I did see and zeroed in on, was the bed! We didn’t even really undress, we just collapsed on it and were gone in mere minutes! Sleep like this wasn’t that restful. I remember gaining consciousness as I felt that one other person with me stir. Then heard a moan. “I feel terrible.” Tony informed me, his voice muffled through the pillow. “How do you wake up tired?” I rolled over slipping my arm around him. “This is jet lag, lag.” “Um hum.” Tony rolled to slip his arms around me as well and sighed. “What time is it?” I looked at the bedside clock. “Morning. About nine in the morning.” “We need to get that license or we wait another day.” Tony said pulled me close. “Which means we need to get up.” He smiled bringing me in for a kiss. “We’re getting married.” “Again.” I chuckled. “We are married now, Tony.” “Yes, but it’s more real.” He grinned and quickly defended. “Not that what we had isn’t real, but…” I chuckled again. “I got it, Tony.” I said sitting up a little. “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Tony grabbed me. “Where are you going?” “You said we needed to get up.” I said. “In a minute.” Tony pulled me back down and rolled on top of me. “Or two…half an hour…something.” Saying it as he unbuttoned my shirt. He shrugged. “It’s been…days!” Kissing him deeply, softly and growing in passion. “It has.” My arms going to familiar places around him. A couple of hours reconnecting with Tony and we did get up as Tony got on the phone and called room service. I heard that one important word. “Coffee!” I chuckled hearing that. Somethings were consistent. I at least waited until the coffee got there to even start the shower. Tony was doing his usual thing by inhaling of the aroma. “Well?” I asked. Tony sighed. “It’s good, but I was spoiled with Sir Samuels.” “We’ll just have to go back.” I cocked my head at him. “Do you need some more time with it? Or can we hit the shower?” Tony grinned. “A minute more.” We did make our way to City Hall Square to get the license. The clerk smiled as he started the process, which would take three days. He looked at us. “Are you having a service?” “I don’t think we planned for anything…” I began but should have known better. “I contacted a couple of friends of mine. Both ministers with the MCC. Both Pastor Terry and Rev. Pat recommended Dr. Janet Kenmore. She’s the pastor of the MCC here in Boston, I was told.” The man nodded chuckling. “Yes, she is. I see her every Sunday!” “Do you think she’d do it?” I asked. “It’s Tuesday. Are you doing it Friday?” He asked. “Sure. That would be fine.” Tony nodded. The clerk shrugged. “Of course, I don’t know her schedule, but sure, she will, if she’s available. She married me and my husband.” I nodded, no wonder he smiled at us when we applied. “Damn, we are everywhere!” I said smiling at him. The clerk nodded with a chuckle. “We are indeed.” In the meantime…” Tony grinned looking at the clerk. “Any suggestions for lunch, or dinner?” “The are many. What would you like?” We ended up going to Neptune Oyster. It was very good. “So, what will we do while in Boston?” I asked and I saw his eyes almost glisten. “No. No more shopping! I’m shopped out, Tony!” “They have some good stores in Boston.” Tony said not seeing how I missed the logic. “What could we possibly need to get?” “I won’t know until I see it!” Tony stated practically. “Fine. We’ll shop.” I grinned over my Neptune Burger as he nodded knowing he had victory. The burger which had no burger in it as in beef. It had oysters!! I frowned as I looked outside. “We flew ten thousand miles. We left Summer in the Southern Hemisphere. It will be Winter soon.” “Yep.” Tony chuckled munching on his lobster roll. “We can shop for that!” “You know, there’s history here, too.” I said smiling. “Yea, yea, yea.” We did still have to adjust our biological clocks, but we weren’t pressured to do anything. Tony did call the MCC Church in Boston. We spoke to Dr. Janet Kenmore. A nice woman in her late forties or fifties…long hair, but very cordial. She was thrilled to be asked to preform the wedding. It wasn’t going to be a big thing, just her and a witness or two. We were just making what we had more legal. “We didn’t tell anyone.” Tony stated suddenly. “Why?” I asked. “Everyone was there when we took our vows.” “Yes, but…” he looked at me. “That’s not strange?” “We’ll tell Kathy when we go to New York. We’ll tell the others during Thanksgiving.” I shrugged simply and chuckled at a thought. “Rub it in Uncle Thomas’ face.” “And Uncle Earl’s and Uncle Buddy…” Tony saying knowingly. “Sure.” I waggled my eyebrows at Tony. “That’s just an added bonus.” We did have a little vacation from our vacation. And yes, Tony was happy going to some shops and looking, but we really didn’t buy much. Our new aspect since of resolve about being in a relationship…we didn’t bother to hide it from anyone. Hey, this is Boston! Massachusetts allowed gay marriage first. No one here cared, for the most part. The threat of this unknow potential illness with Tony had made us see what was important. Tony was that for me. The wedding itself was done in our hotel suite that Friday evening. We even had the same clerk from City Hall and his husband as witnesses! The next day was Saturday so we flew to New York. We arrived at the home where Tony and his sisters were raised. Nick and our nephew David were still living there. We hadn’t really told anyone we were coming. When we walked in…even I reacted to what we saw. This was sort of shocking. Clutter? Pizza boxes with one or two pieced left in them, empty beer cans, clothes strewn about. “My…” Tony began as he gaped, “God!!” Tony gasped dropping his suitcase on the floor. I couldn’t defend Nick or David, but I grabbed Tony’s hand. “Now, Tony,” I began slowly, urging him to be calm. He spun to me. “What now Tony?” He waved at the mess. “It’s Saturday. How could…” “Remember…they are young.” I looked at the few pieces of pizza left. “It looks fairly freshly left…last night would be my guess.” “Which will attract every ant and roach on Long Island!” Tony walked slowly in waving at various…piles of trash. “Wha…how…I mean…” I pulled Tony back to face me. “Tony.” I repeated calmly. “We have enough to worry about. Don’t have a stroke on me now.” I pulled his face back again. “Tony. Look at me.” I said making his eyes come to me. “Deep breaths.” I looked at the clock on the wall. “It’s three o’clock now.” I said. “We can get this cleaned up.” Tony’s eyes got angry. “I’m going to kill them.” I chuckled and said slowly. “No, you won’t.” I bent down and got a suitcase. “We’ll go up, put these away, change and then clean this place up.” I raised my finger. “When Nick and or David get back…just remind them.” It took a few hours, but we got the place nearly the way it was when Kathleen was here. Except for the part of doing the kitchen floor on our knees. The Swiffer Wetjet worked just fine. I was putting the vacuum away went I heard someone put a key in the lock. When Nick opened the door, it was his turn to gasp. “What the…” Nick asked looking at the room he entered. Coming in the room having finished my part. “Hi, Nick!” He smiled, but was surprised. “Pop!” He sniffed the air. “Yes, your Dad’s cooking again.” I thumbed back toward the kitchen. “Doing his special Italian thing.” Nick grinned and walked over hugging me. “I didn’t know you were coming!” He waved at the house. “I would have cleaned up if I did.” Tony walked in, wearing a sink towel as an apron, holding a large spoon and frowned. “Has all the years you lived with me meant nothing to you?” “I didn’t know you were coming!” Nick said again in protest but smiled. “We had a few friends over last night and things got a little crazy and...” Tony pointed with the spoon. “The house is one thing, your grandmother is rolling in her grave right now, but…those pizza boxes!? Really, son? I don’t even think they were Italian!” He pointed where we had thrown the boxes away outside in the garbage can. “Those boxes were pink! Stephanie’s!? Who the hell is Stephanie?” Nick chuckled as he walked over hugging his father. “Stephanie is Italian, she broke off with her father’s business and started her own. Stephanie Lorenzo.” Tony shook his head as me muttered. “Aiutalo, Madre Benedetta.” He crossed himself and looked toward Heaven asking for the Blessed Mother to help Nick. “And if your grandmother saw this place…” Nick held his hands up. “I know, I know.” He grinned hugging Tony again. “I didn’t know you were coming!” “Is it okay that we came here?” I asked Nick. “Of course.” Nick answered readily. “It is the Delveccio home. Our home.” He looked at Tony. “You know, Dad, pizza now is more of a format. It doesn’t have to be the same thing all the time.” I put a hand on Nick’s shoulder and looked at Tony. “See? I said that!” Tony’s mouth dropped open in shock. “Morditi la lingua!” Tony said for us to bite our tongues seemingly appalled. “You can’t turn you back on over a thousand of years of traditions, Nick.” “Who’s turning their back!?” Nick said just as loud. It was great being back in a true Italian home! Remember, yelling meant love? “I’m just saying…” The door opened again and David walked in. “Uncle Tony, Uncle Mitch!” He looked around the room. “Damn!” “And here we go again.” I grinned as David came over and hugged me. Tony called his sister Kathy and said that Sunday lunch would again be at the Delveccio home. We were in town, but he’d made enough for everyone to have dinner. Kathy and Al came right over that night. It was Saturday evening. We didn’t know if they had plans. If there were, they canceled them. When Kathy got to the house she came in hugging Tony tightly. “Tony!” She looked over at me and rushed to me. “Mitch! Melissa comes on Wednesday. It’s good to see you, but…” “The last I heard, you guys were in Australia or somewhere like that.” Al greeted as we did the hug thing with him. “We were, but we’re back!” Tony said simply. “It really wasn’t planned too far in advance to be here.” Kathy nodded. “I got all those wonderful photos, Mitch! They were just beautiful!” She looked at her brother. “Are you staying through Thanksgiving?” “No, we have an annual command appearance at the McKenzie’s.” Tony grinned and pulled up a slip of paper. “Mitch and I got married.” David looked confused. “Okay, we were all there, Uncle Tony. We saw you and Uncle Mitch get married. You are married.” Tony nodded. “True. That’s why we weren’t making a big deal about it. This is just legal now.” Al shook his head. “In Massachusetts. Perhaps in New York, but they aren’t calling them marries.” “Civil Unions.” Kathy grunted irritated. “That ridiculous. Why argue over just a word?” “Well, when the rest of the United States catches up and lets us do it, we already will be.” I shrugged. “Do you think they will, Pop?” Nick asked. “Eventually.” Tony gave a grudging nod. “Like Mitch said, when they do, we’ll already be married.” He shrugged. “It’s more of a formality.” It didn’t take long before the usual chaotic noise, and conversations went into their usual fervor. We were blending English and Italian with ease, giving little thought as we did it. We were all…in one form or other…Delveccios.
  8. I just read the Matt Stryker story.  It was a great story.  Thanks for writing it 

  9. Chapter 27

    You are right, oh Wise One. That's exactly what she did. Good you see that.
  10. Chapter 8

    Aw, you poor man! Hi, Kev!!! Long time no see! I know, I've seen you hit a story or two. It's nice to see you still around. I love you, mister!
  11. Chapter 27

    Point of confusion; if Olek is King then Peter is (currently) the heir to throne, not second in line? Or have i missed something. I see what you're saying. Olek is what I refer to as in the number one position as king. Peter is heir to the throne. He should be called number one as heir. I referred to their positions for the throne. Olek is number one and Peter is number two, but really he gets the crown if Olek dies. What was the year 2000? The beginning of the 21st century? No, it was the 20th Century. Semantics.
  12. Chapter 27

    Peter is currently he is heir to the throne. He is second. However, because of Olek's age and being unattached before. Peter, is more like Harry until William married, was number three and would be heir of something happened to William who is second. Same for Peter. He is second in line, and considered the Crown Prince. Technically Peter is the first after Olek. Monarchies are tricky. The line of succession changes. Prince Charles is the Crowned Prince, however, Queen Elizabeth who said she will never step down and will die in office. Will Charles take the thrown, or give it to William? William really is number two. Harry was number three until William's son was born. Don't stress about it. Queen Alla really should have left her position. She acted as regent until Olek got finished with school and remained as Queen to do a job. Helga should take her place. Rules. Who needs them? But they are there. Eh. It's my world, my rules. So, there.
  13. Chapter 27

    I remember Mr. Wrong. He was wrong for a number of reasons, not to mention he was a HE! Bill Pullman was funny. I like many movies he did. Really, I'm leaning more toward the sexual nature of people. Not homosexual, not heterosexual, but sexual. I can't make the stretch. I had words with a friend that's bisexual. He told me a fantasy. Ew. It's sex. I had to WORK for these two chapters! Work, I tell you. Was it too short? Live with it. Love you all!!
  14. The Fourth Semester. Part 2 Peter smiled at her. “Thank you for inviting us, Ms. DeGeneres. After the initial introductions, just Peter and Eric will be fine.” He said taking her hand and shook it. “My future husband is having to get used to the titles.” He said with his accent heard clearly as he spoke English. “He is having some adjustment issues.” “Then I insist on the same thing. I’m Ellen.” Then she went into this...not droll, because if wasn’t mocking, but this tone…a sort of ramble kind of distracted talk which made her famous. “Adjusting must be hard…to living in a palace and having things done for you…” I chuckled. “You have no idea.” She smiled and then went to a more serious face. “That’s why you’re here.” She said in her way. “We don’t have any idea.” Again, that was just Ellen. I laughed with a nod. “Right.” “So…” she said moving her hands slightly, “is there something I shouldn’t ask about?” She asked us. Peter looked at me and shrugged. “I don’t believe so.” He said more confirming to me and looked back at her. “Most of anything with Makarovia is pretty well known now…” Ellen nodded. “Okay. Well, someone will be coming to take you to the set.” She turned to leave and stopped turning back. “What you two are doing…” she said, “is pretty awesome.” She smiled again and walked out. “You see, Yuri?” Peter looked at Yuri with a grin as he waved at the door Ellen had walked out of. “It will be fine.” Yuri just grunted his reply. He was still going to be suspicious. The show was being readied to begin. The studio audience was getting into place. Once they were in position, mostly, there was a man that went through an explanation of some precautions, nothing major, but explained the need for the added security and they all knew why. Then another man came out to warm them up, get them to laugh and he was pretty funny. He had to be, this was Ellen! Of course, they were all seated and there were monitors facing them above their heads that had a large digital countdown. Those numbers went red when it was down to five minutes. The numbers went to zero and then the music started and no one needed prompting to applaud…they all did it anyway. Ellen began her opening monolog or speech from the circular sitting area, instead of amongst the audience as she did sometimes. She waved at the crowd, using her hands to get them to stop. “And I feel the same way about you.” She said to them as she often did. “Welcome to a very special show today. My two guests today you may have heard about recently…” she slipped into that ramble again, “unless you’re been living under a rock or something…you know of the upcoming marriage for His Highness, Prince Petro Ivanov who is second in line for the crown in Makarovia.” She got this expression…a little bewildered…but clearly Ellen. “I admit it…I had to look it up! When I first heard about it…I was saying…Makarovia? Where the Hell is that!?” There were light laughs from the audience as Ellen was nodding. “Yes, yes…see? You know.” She pointed at some of them. “I wasn’t by myself with that. We were all startled by the announcement of the discovery of this large uranium deposit beneath their soil, but even before that…we were all stunned, just stunned when it was announced that Prince Petro was not just getting married…no, he was marrying a commoner,” she was nodding again with the audience, “yes,” there was a little applause, “it’s been done, but he was also marrying an American he met in school,” she nodded again as there was more applause, “I know, it could happen and did before with Queen Kate, but he was marrying…a man!” She said putting her stunned face on. “What!? That has NEVER been done.” She was nodding as the audience was reacting to either her face or the news they all knew and they were now applauding harder. “And! It’s not being done in secret or anything but broadcasted around the world! Yes, and the Proposal was broadcasted around the world, too! And not only that! King Olek himself and Prince Petro’s mother, Queen Alla, not only didn’t object but endorses this marriage! They were proud of it!? The whole country approves!” The screens now showed Olek on the raised portion of the ballroom in the Makarovian palace. It was a good camera angle and you could hear us pretty clearly. “About a year ago, my brother went to school in the West…where he met someone very special. Having gotten to know Eric, I was so happy my brother found someone to love who is smart, but clearly loves my brother.” His eyes narrowed angrily. “For what happened last night, I will say this…no one attacks me, my family or my country. I don’t care if you don’t approve. Mind your own affairs!” Then he smiled again. “Since we got to know Eric, he has proven he will be an asset to Makarovia. His plans will go forward. This marriage will happen.” He looked at me. “Do you have words for Makarovia?” I smiled. “I do. A year ago, I didn’t even know where Makarovia was!” I said raising my hands helplessly. “Makarovia? Where the hell is that!?” I shook my head. “Which is a damned shame.” I smiled at the faces that weren’t so certain. “I get here. I love this country!! You as a people know about give and take. For a long time, you certainly know about takers. Powers that come in a take what you have…because they want it. The takers will take everything…your things, your home, your freedom and even your very lives! Why? Because they don’t agree with you? You might have been Jewish or a Gypsy…” I looked back at Peter, taking his hand, “or like many here in Makarovia; like Peter and me. What I see here in Makarovia…are givers. Givers of lives, of freedom, a place to get away from the takers…who hid people during a great war keeping them safe. You’ve done this for generations!” I waved back at Olek. “I saw a man, he is a giver. He gives his time and even gave up his personal life for a people he truly loves! No one can deny that.” I waved at Queen Alla. “I see this beautiful woman that gives her time to help the people of Makarovia with education and health services and many other things needed and just as pretty inside as out. She is a giver.” I smiled. “I meet this man…who is kind and gentle that loves me and has the most beautiful soul. I love Peter. He is asking me to marry him and become a part of Makarovia. I will do that gladly, but know this…” I stepped back beside Peter. “I will work hard to bring Makarovia into a brighter future and into the twenty-first century. He and I will work side by side to do whatever we can for this amazing country, but understand…my first priority…” I said, “is always going to be him.” I looked at Peter. “I will be at your side, we will make this country a shining example to follow, but I’m marrying you, Peter. You are Prince Petro Ivanov of Makarovia, but I marry you, Peter…when you ask me.” I grinned. “I love you, Peter. I want to spend my life with you. Together we’ll make this country the jewel to be seen the world over.” Peter’s eyes sort of glistened as he reached in his pocket and then dropped to his knee and at first, his voice cracked a little. “Eric Richards, will you do the honor of joining my life and becoming my husband? I love you. I need you in my life.” He opened the box to show the ring that had the wide ring with the Makarovian Royal Crest on it. Then he said quieter. “I love you.” Reaching down I took his face in my hand. “I will definitely marry you, Peter. I love you, too.” I said pulling him up as he took the ring out and slipped it on my left ring finger. He gave a quick sniff and leaned in kissing me gently. “Now, I’ve asked you.” “You know my answer.” I grinned. “But…” I said loudly, “yes!!” The room was filled with applause. Ellen looked at the audience who were also applauding. “The event King Olek was speaking about was the car bomb set off as an objection to this upcoming marriage.” She nodded as the people were letting us know they didn’t like it. “And see? Even Eric Richards admitted he didn’t know where Makarovia was! But he does now! We all do.” She waved her hand off stage toward us. “Welcome my specials guests, His Royal Highness, Prince Petro Ivanov of Makarovia and his future husband, His Lordship, Eric Richards, Earl of Styria…soon to be His Highness, Prince Eric Ivanov of Makarovia!” Peter leaned in kissing me quickly taking my hand. “Let’s do this.” The audience here was applauding now and standing up as Peter and I came out! Some were even bowing! Even Ellen bowed as we got to her and we bowed to her. She extended her hand shaking Peter’s hand and then mine, which was taken back by Peter afterwards. She waved us to the sitting area which we went sitting, but never let each other go. “That was some Proposal.” Ellen said. “To do that in front of all those people…who like King Olek, supports this marriage.” “Yes,” Peter nodded. “My brother and my mother love Eric. I don’t think anyone in Makarovia isn’t supporting this marriage.” He said as the people in the audience applauded again. “So, why not just do it?” Ellen asked. “Why the year and really…why do it at all?” Peter frowned and looked confused. “I do not fully understand.” He looked at me. “I found someone I wanted to join my life. I love Eric. Isn’t that what a person does when they find that one special person? Marry them?” Ellen smiled nodding. “Yes, it is. That’s a very good answer.” “The year is a tradition in Makarovia.” I said. “Essentially, it was a wedding. I married the citizens of Makarovia. During this year, I am to prove what I will do for Makarovia. I will…like King Olek, Queen Alla and Peter, will work to improve lives in Makarovia by supporting Peter.” Peter nodded. “He works very hard. He discovered all those files, letters and pictures that told the stories of many that fled the Holocaust during World War II. Getting them together so they could be on our Website, which again, he worked to get the Website done. He is also going to oversee the safety of the mines and the processors and power stations. He is doing an excellent job.” Ellen nodded. “I saw some of those files. That was pretty horrible.” I nodded. “It was, but that’s why there are so many in Makarovia who are Jewish, Gypsies and Homosexual. In fact, the homosexual population is almost half of Makarovians. They were welcomed and never asked to leave.” “It is that acceptance that is the reason my mother and brother did not object to our marriage.” Peter added. “I found out later,” I continued, “Makarovia was used to hiding people during those years and was a refuge after the war for Germans who still suffered after World War II ended. Other countries, like Russia, as well as the surrounding East European countries…it became a sort of haven for many. Some of our most trusted work for us here. Yuri and Boris are Russian and came to Makarovia for the freedom to love and marry there.” Peter smiled with a chuckle. “One couple Milo Weir and Bren Schultz, we sort of fell in love with. They escaped a concentration camp, came and married in Makarovia…they legally married in 1948.” Ellen looked shocked. “Really?” She shook her head. “I read it briefly, but I had no idea…” then waved, “that’s wonderful, but back to you two!” She waved at us. “You are getting married!!” She looked at me. “You are marrying a real prince!!” I nodded. “I know.” I grinned with a light chuckle. “I had a tough time with that myself.” She looked at Peter. “And you…you’re marrying an American!” She looked at me. “A Southerner, too, I believe.” “And what’s wrong with Southerners?” I groused with a smile. Ellen went with it. “Oh, come on.” She said in her way making the audience laugh again. “There’s nothing wrong with Southerners, but this is a fairy tale! You’re like…Cinderella or that movie The Prince and Me. Only, you’re the me and…a man! Cinderfella?” She went into her ramble making everyone laugh again. “I can only imagine what Queen Elizabeth would have said if King William…who was Prince William at the time…had brought home a man to marry…and Harry!? If Diana had lived, she wouldn’t have cared and Charles had Camila, but…” she looked at us again. “You are the second in line! For the throne!!” She said to Peter and held her hand out, “and forgive me, but…try as you might, you two won’t have a child…” she looked at us, “will you?” Peter chuckled. “We’ve talked about it.” “Well, talking is fine, but…” she waved at us again, “you both have…” she did a sort of point in our directions and not directly at our crotches. I was nodded as she hesitated. “Yes.” I grinned. “And you don’t have…” she said pointed to her own lap and hesitated again. “No.” Peter chuckled shaking his head. “Which makes my point…that means you…can’t…you know…” to which the audience was laughing at her. “There are other ways of having children.” Peter said smiling at her. “We have time. My brother is serious about someone. The burden is not just ours alone.” “You don’t have…” I did like she did pointing down at my lap, “but you have…” I pointed to her, “but a child is possible.” “Well, sure…” she said, “but we can stop off at the bank to get what we need. You can’t just stop off at a store and grab a dozen eggs! And even if you could you’d have to insert them after you put your…stuff in them and…” Peter and I were laughing as was the audience. I squeezed Peter’s hand. “Yes, it would be more complicated, but we could do it.” I said. “And even when Olek does marry…” Peter added. “Which he will, but there’s no guarantee they will conceive and we will face the same problem.” “There are many children that don’t have parents for one reason or another.” I said simply with a shrug as Peter nodded. “There are ways of doing this.” I assured her. “We have options.” We continued to talk about Makarovia and what was planned for the future, touching on the upcoming wedding and how it was going to occur. How Makarovia evolved politically and socially. Ellen let her act kind of go. “Gentlemen, we are looking forward to this wedding. It truly a remarkable thing you are doing. It is clear that there is love here.” She rose as the audience was clapping again. We rose with her. “I know I will be watching this happen, as will everyone else.” She extended her hand to us. “Congratulations and we wish you the best. This never before done marriage is important to a lot of people. Thank you for coming.” Peter gave a short bow to her, very European. “The pleasure, was ours.” Ellen shook her head. “Ooh, that accent.” She said almost dreamily. “It’s very sexy.”
  15. Chapter 26

    I'm sarcastic. I'm don't say anything mean except for laughs. I can't do that with written word to give you tone or inflections, so... "What do mean short!? I slaved for DAYS to get this down and still have more to write about the Ellen Show and the end of the fourth semester! Then there's the wedding and don't forget Blueblood, North Meets South and I've Always Loved You! I am exhausted....AND working a job. Overtime!! I know, I know, I should stick to one story,...they just...HAPPENED!!! Blame my Muse, it's all his fault." All said with love. More is coming. I swear!!

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