I think of you all the time, Daniel. Our love is still strong.
(Sorry, guys, had to research some of this.)
Fourth Semester, Part 1
During those days we got to know Mario better.He and Mom were…discrete with their affection.I found that charming and…a little irritating.They obviously cared about each other…it was obvious they were in love!Were Peter and I that discrete?Were Olek and Helga?No!Kiss her damn it!Peter and I came down for the evening meal and coming into the communal room…where the two broke up when we came in, stepping away a little from each other instantly.Embarrassed?
Peter chuckled.“Really, Mom?”
They looked almost embarrassed as they looked at each other.Mario smiled.“Well, we didn’t want to shock anyone.”
“Affection is never shocking.”I said to the man.“It’s what we do.I’m glad you have a connection with Mom.We aren’t shocked or surprised.”
“Well, Alla was concerned for Petro.”He realized what he’d said.“Sorry…to Peter.”
Peter nodded walking over to them.“I admit it.”He said to Mario.“I am very protective.Especially with people I love.I don’t want Mom hurt.”He grinned and put his hand out.“I will be watching.”He grinned at me.“Someone special reminded me, Mom isn’t stupid.”He looked back at Mario.“She trusts you.She trusted who I brought.How can I do less?Welcome to Makarovia, Signor Basso.”
Mom smiled more at Peter as she walked closer to Peter.“Thank you, honey.”She said kissing him on the cheek.
Mario grinned coming closer to us.“I think, you should call me Mario.”He shook Peter’s hand.
Our time was growing short this trip home.We were taking Drew and Wayne back to England on the way.The last three days were nice.Drew was just thrilled that he wasn’t taking any military transport back to England.The holiday season in Makarovia…really most of East Europe, lasted a good while.The atmosphere became less…frantic.Frantic about getting that something special, be them young or not.In many ways, it made things nicer.There were separate days celebrated for different parts!The religious parts had a day of recognition all its own.And Peter and I would miss that last days of Christmas in Makarovia.
We said good-bye to family and friends, promising to come back.Peter and I sort of had to.We were getting married here.We said our good-byes in the palace.It was cold, gray and sort of dark outside still.We bundled up again and got in the SUV to take us the short distance to the private airport that housed the one plane used by the Makarovian royal family.
Drew pointed to the plane as we got out.“See?They are doing the de-icing thing.That’s what I like to see.”
Wayne nodded.“It makes him feel better.”To which Drew gave him a little pinch in Wayne’s side.
The flight to London wasn’t long.We didn’t have time really to visit but had to return to Boston and catch up with what we missed being in Makarovia.
“We’ll see you soon.”Peter said to our friends.“We’re coming back in March to be on that Graham Norton show.”
I pointed my finger at the two of them.“But you owe us a visit to Boston.Are you going to deliver?”
Drew chuckled, laughing.“I meant to before…”
Wayne bumped Drew’s shoulder gently.“We will, I promise.”He glared at Drew.“Or I come alone.”
Drew grinned.“Well, there you have it.”He hugged us.“We’ll be there.”
We flew back to Boston and walked into our home wearily, I was no longer awestruck by the grandness this house, but there was the comfortable familiarity of a place I had become used to.The feeling of being safe here.It was home.We were greeted by Boris at the front door.
“Welcome home!”Boris greeted happily, having gotten used to me and he hugged me without prompting.I was delighted he felt that with me now.
Peter hugged Boris, too.“Thanks, Boris.”
I looked at Peter.“Understand when I say this.”I said cautioning him first.“I love Makarovia, but it’s good to be back and knowing I’m staying a while.”
Peter nodded.“For a couple of more years at least.”
I looked back inside the house as Yuri hurried across the foyer.
“Sorry, I would have been here…” he thumbed back to the house’s interior.
Not wanting or caring what he was going to say, I saw his happy smile and said.“Yuri!”I greeted happily hugging him, too.
“Welcome back!”Yuri chuckled hugging me tightly.
I smiled as I felt the strength of the hug.He had missed us.Gone was that protective Russian born Makarovian that was just doing his job.He was a friend and family.Both he and Boris.“Thank you.”
“If you want anything, I’ll make it for you.”Boris said to us to be Boris.The man was almost…motherly…in a masculine way.
“Thanks, Boris.” Peter said, “I just want to relax.Maybe later.We’re still on Makarovian time and it’s late.”
“You know how to reach us.”Boris smiled.“It’s good to have you back.”
Resetting our biological clock just had to happen.We arrived back on the weekend, so we would have a few days to adjust.Getting back into the swing of school was…tricky.We got our assignments by email and internet, and we had done assignments as we could.We had only missed the first couple of days, so not bad.However, like most classes at Northeastern, no prepping was done.They just began teaching immediately after maybe five minutes.Northeastern had also adjusted to us.Now, seeing us arrive with our security was not new for anyone now.Since Christmas in Makarovia was on the seventh, we really didn’t celebrate it much in the United States but instead went to class as always.
As our days resumed their regular courses, Don Wilson came to us as we came in one afternoon from classes with more requests for appearances for interviews and guest appearances.“And don’t forget, you have the Ellen DeGeneres Show the beginning of this next month.”
Peter sighed a bit weary, but nodded.“Yea, that’s right.To talk about the upcoming wedding.”He looked at me.“We should elope.”He said grimly.
I chuckled.“Hey, I’m with you, Peter, but there are a lot of people wanting to see this happen.”I shrugged.“We can do that, but we’d still have to have the ceremony.”I pointed out.
“Sometimes, I just want it all done.”Peter moaned.
Don smiled.“I want to see it.”He shrugged.“It’s the first of its kind.You almost have to do it now.”He said and walked back to his office.
I turned Peter to face me.“This is our wedding, Peter.However, it’s become more of a statement.For the world and for Makarovia.”
Peter nodded a little sad.“I just want to marry you, that’s all.”He smiled at me.“I love you.I wanted to join our lives.”He shrugged lightly.“I’m not really caring about any statement.”
I smiled at him.“Thank you.”I put my arms around him.“All I wanted was to get a good grade.”I groused.“My very first class at Northeastern I was assigned the first assignment to this great guy in back of the class.How did I know all this would happen?”I pulled him in for a kiss.“I’m happy you want to marry me.”
Peter returned the kiss gently.“I love you, Prince Eric Ivanov of Makarovia.”
I let out a grunt.
Peter chuckled pressing his forehead against mine.“Sorry, Babe, but that’s sort of attached to you now.”He kissed me quickly.“You’ll have to use it.” Then he took my hand and led me toward the kitchen, not the stairs.“Coffee.I want coffee.”
Classes were tough.The subjects weren’t supposed to be easy, otherwise there’d be no need for classes.We had our patterns for study down and knew what we had to do to stay up on our studies.Everything in Boston resumed, including Boris’ continued doting.Coffee offered even when we didn’t think about it.Even meals brought to us when we got tunneled in what we were studying.It wasn’t fair, I know.Most all of the students out there that didn’t have this…privilege.I made sure I made it a point to thank Boris and Yuri whenever they did something for Peter or me…which was often and sometimes several times a day. It wasn’t long before the trip to California was to happen.We were fly to Los Angeles and would be put in a hotel in Burbank where the show was taped.It would be aired later that month.This was a special taping to be aired just before the wedding along with some other guests.We again were to arrive with a few security guards with us, Yuri insisted he be with us, two from Makarovia and four from the American Security.I suggested Yuri bring Boris with us.
“He won’t go.”Yuri said a little dejectedly.
“It’s just a few days.”I said to Yuri.“He can be gone for those few days, can’t he?”
Yuri nodded and scratched his ear absently to think how to explain.“Well…Boris is afraid something will come up and he needs to be there in case something is needs to be done.”
I hadn’t thought of it.Didn’t they do things together?I put my hand on Yuri’s chest.“Wait.”I said.“Does he ever leave the house to do more than shop?”I looked at Yuri who wasn’t looking at me and that answered my question.“Oh, Yuri!You don’t take trips with your husband!?”
Yuri nodded.“We do…sometimes.”He looked sheepishly.“We take a weekend or something…we did when you were in Makarovia during the summer.”
“Yes, when you weren’t off training for something or he was.”I shook my head.“Are you two coming to the wedding?”
Yuri threw his hands out helplessly.“I’d love to, but…”
“No, no, no!”I shook my head.“I can almost guarantee there will be nothing going on in the United States that has anything to do with Makarovia when Peter and I marry.You and Boris are coming!”I said firmly.“And after that’s over, you and Boris are going on a honeymoon.”
“But…” Yuri was about to object, but it wasn’t very forceful.
“No!”I said simply.“By then I’ll be Prince Eric.Do I have to make it a royal command?”
Yuri grinned, laughing.“You can do that now!”
I nodded.“Yes, but at that point, I would have more power.”I thought a moment thinking where they could go.“I’ll ask Mom.”And then I shrugged.“Hell, I can ask Mario himself now.I’d insist you go somewhere.Mario Basso has a beautiful exclusive island you can spend a week or two.”I grinned at Yuri.“You and Boris don’t even need a swim suit.Mario’s going to be at the wedding and so will nearly everyone else.I’ll check and see if it’s free.”
“Boris will object!”Yuri smiled.
“Yuri, I love you and Boris to death.”I growled tapping him gently on the chest.“Don’t make me hurt you.”I watched Yuri’s eyes widened, but he smiled.He wasn’t threatened at all by me.We all know Yuri could kick my ass without breaking a sweat.“If you want to, tell Boris it’s because I said so.”I waggled my eyebrows.“Or you can just use your charms on him.I know that will work.”
Boris did grudgingly agree to go with us.He complained, but I said to him, I wanted people there I loved and trusted.He was coming…end of discussion.Yuri didn’t think we should go commercial, but the Makarovian plane was being used.That and we had so many going and their luggage, weapons…so a plane was chartered.
It was a nice flight and we landed at a smaller airport in Burbank.Not Los Angeles or LAX as everyone knows!We were again picked up by several vehicles as there were a number of us going to the hotel.The Amarano.It wasn’t a tall hotel, only four stories but we were occupying a whole section on the fourth floor for security reasons.I will say, many hotels went with a theme.Family friendly hotels, having children there a lot had carpets that didn’t show dirt or wear.Not the Amarano, the lobby was light colored with a stone floor and most everything was white or off white.Even the suite Peter and I got was in that same hue but had dark leather coffee table around which was the couch and chair in the light colors.The bedroom was the same.
We were to be at studio the next day, but we did enjoy being there that night.Though, Yuri being who he was, didn’t like the idea of us going to the restaurant.The Privato was more for the more…intimate dining. Subdued lighting and tables that could seat several or just two. There were ten of us, if you counted those that were security and I did. Yuri called down to make sure we could be accommodated.They knew we were coming ahead of time. He was told to give them a half an hour.They would be ready.
We dressed for dinner.I mean, as in a shirt, tie and jacket.Not formal exactly, but Peter grumbled as he tied his tie.
“What’s wrong?”I asked Peter, but could see it on his face.
“All this pretense, just to get something to eat.”
I nodded coming over to him slipping arms around him.“Well, you look amazing.”I assured kissing him.
He chuckled.“You’d think so if I were in jeans.”
“You do then, too.”I shrugged.“I think you look amazing when you have nothing on at all, but…you can’t really dine that way.”I grinned.“Not here.”
He put his arms around me.“I think you look amazing too.”
“We represent Makarovia.”I pointed out.“Not just our marrying.If it was just you and me…that would be fine, but we want to make a good impression for Makarovia, for your mother and for your brother.”
“All yours, too.”Peter nodded.“So, let’s do this.”He rubbed his stomach.“If I weren’t so hungry…”
“Come on, Prince Petro.”I said taking his hand and led him to the door.
I don’t think the other diners were prepared for the group of men to come in at that time.For us, this was late dining.They were three hours earlier in the evening.It was seven in the evening for California, but it was ten in Boston.Way past dinner time.They might have been used to seeing celebrities, especially in Burbank, but there were a few whispers and comments as we sat at a large table.I insisted again that Boris, Yuri and others sit with us.There were two that would remain on alert as we dined.This was again, a whole new world for me…and for Peter.He’s not been out of the palace!Not until he’d come to Northeastern.I will say, none of those that commented or whispered came over to bother us.They wouldn’t dare.We would just have to endure the many stares.
The next day, we were visited by a dark haired man in his late forties, maybe early fifties (?) and woman, late fifties or early sixties (?) a few years older who identified themselves with the show itself. The man was Andy Lassner and the woman was Mary Connelly, both were some of the Executive Producers of the show.They were let in by Yuri.
“We would like you both to come and meet with Ellen before the show.”Andy Lassner said.
Mary nodded.“Just to get acquainted with her and to let her know what should and should not be discussed.”
“That would be fine.”Peter nodded, speaking again in English, which he was fluent in but with an accent.“I think most any question would be alright, as long as it’s not too personal.”
Andy Lassner chuckled at the thought.“Well, Ellen is a comedian, so there will be perhaps the innuendo or comment.”
Peter looked at me and asked for clarification.“Innuendo?”
Peter nodded and smiled at them.“I am very comfortable with English, there are somethings I just need explained to be sure I understand.”
“And you’re American?”Mary Connelly asked me.
“Born and bred.”I answered readily and went to a Southern accent on purpose.“And Southern!”
Mary shook her head.“Well, I read somethings on the Website, but it’s just amazing.”
“What you’re doing is amazing.”Andy put to us.
“We are not alone.”Peter pointed to Yuri who was behind the two of them.
Andy looked at Yuri, who had let them in, but Yuri, now in his dark suit, earpiece and his best don’t mess with me face with his arms folded across his chest, Andy Lassner involuntarily took a step back a little.“Whoa.”He said and then chuckled back at me and Peter.“I don’t suppose you have much of security problem with him around.”He thumbed toward Yuri.
“Sure, no problem.”Mary stated quickly.
“This is Yuri.”Peter introduced them.“He’s the Head of Security for us here in the United States.”He saw Boris come in the room.“And here is Yuri’s husband Boris.”I watched as both were not surprised.They didn’t care.
Boris was not like Yuri, he didn’t have the sharp edge Yuri did.He was dressed in a suit looking his proper best.I swear he was more English than Russian, but… “Boris is someone that takes good care of both Peter and me.”I explained.“They are both very dear, good friends that became a part of the family.That’s why Boris is coming with us.There are others in security that will be coming, too.”
“We will ride with Peter and Eric.”Yuri stated simply, still in his tough guy mode.“The others will follow.”
Boris and I shared a quick glance, but Yuri was doing his job.
We rode with them in the limousine they brought with them, with Yuri and Boris riding with us.The others were following in the ever present SUV we’d rented.It was a quick ride to the studio and we were escorted to a comfortable room where we would meet Ellen before taping would begin.I could see that Yuri was not too comfortable.We sat in various places, on the couch or chairs.Even Boris sat on the couch waiting for Yuri.
“Yuri.”Boris said calmly to Yuri, but Yuri couldn’t or wouldn’t stop.
Yuri looked at Boris.“What?”
Boris patted the empty space beside him.“You can sit.”
Yuri looked puzzled and over to Peter and then me.“I’m worried.”He confessed.
Peter nodded.“We can see that.”He got up and stood up next to Yuri.“Do you think we’re in danger here?”
Yuri threw his hands out.“I always think you’re in danger, Peter.That’s my job.To protect you.”
Peter nodded.“And I know you.”He smiled knowingly at Yuri.“You probably spoke with people here to lay out what needs to happen.”
“I did.They told me it would be fine.I just don’t like not being the one to set things up.”He waved to the outside of the room.“This is done before a live audience.”
“Should we say no?”I asked him.“They scheduled this taping for us.”
Yuri looked almost hopeful for a second, but shook his head.“No, of course not.My paranoia is a little too much sometimes.”
I smiled as I put my arm around his shoulders.“It’s paranoia if there is no possible threat.There is a threat.That’s being cautious.”
“But I won’t be out there with you.”Yuri said.“All those people…”
“Who will be checked before coming in.”I said.“There won’t be any threats because we’re gay and marrying.Ellen’s gay and married.”
Yuri nodded.“Still.”He shrugged.
Peter hugged him lightly.“Relax, Yuri.”
That’s when the door opened and I saw the blonde woman come in I recognized.“Gentlemen.”She nodded to us, but didn’t yet approach.“I’m Ellen DeGeneres. Do I use addresses?Your Highness and Your Lordship?”
Peter looked at me and chuckled.“Does she, Eric?”
I sighed.“I would prefer not, but…” I shrugged.“Like you said, I’ll just have to get used to it.”