I talked with Sasha and found out what Alik liked to do. Tasha and Alik were coming in two weeks. I found out he liked puzzles I got some puzzles I thought he would enjoy and some with letters so he could learn them.
Learning Russian was taking a turn for the not so pleasant. I was having trouble with Russian letters! There were thirty-three! There were two B’s. They weren’t B’s exactly, there was the B that was the buh sound, but there was another that had the veh sound. The first of those letters looked like a number and not a letter at all. There were two letters that had no sound! How the hell did the crazy language evolve? And there were other letters that had no English similarities! And word structure and sentence structure was hard and seemed impossible to me! I tried!
Sasha came home one day and I just blew up. “Russian letters and shit make no sense!”
Sasha laughed at me in surprise. “And English letters do?” He grinned sitting beside me at the computer I was using. “They’re just different. You learned Italian.”
I nodded. “But they were at least Greco-Roman! The Roman side of the Greco-Roman of the alphabet. Now, I’m learning a language that’s…just alien!”
Sasha laughed heartily. “You know there’s a Russian Alphabet song, just like in English?”
I grumbled. “I figured, but I’m learning Russian. I figured I’d skip that.”
Sasha shook his head. “Not if you want to learn.” Then he pulled up the website. “And there’s one to learn numbers. Children learn them. You should.”
I sighed. “I am a child when it comes to the Russian language. Okay, I’ll learn the damned songs.”
“You don’t have to with that translator.” Sasha said simply.
I looked at Sasha surprised. “And should something go wrong with it?” I grinned. “Well, it will give Alik and me a chance to get to know each other at least. I’ll teach him English and he can teach me Russian.”
“You have a very good heart.” Sasha smiled. “That you’re willing to do this.” He smiled. “I didn’t thank you.” He pointed out defending himself.
“Maybe you should as I’m learning Russian.” I grumbled. Then I smiled again at Sasha. “And you’re English is getting much, much better. You’re using conjunctions!”
Sasha frowned. “Conjunctions?”
I nodded. “You’re using A and the, and or while as well as others. Very good.”
Sasha ducked a little. “There is no real safety net here.” He explained. “When I worked on the ship, I had many friends that when I stopped working, spoke Russian. Here, there is only you and Tony. I’m being forced to learn.”
I nodded again. “Which you need to make me do. Just as Tony did when we spoke Italian at home to make me learn. You have to do the same.”
Sasha agreed. “That won’t be a problem for me. But you’re learning Russian quickly. That is wonderful.”
I sighed remembering what Tony asked of me. “Okay, what’s happening in your love life?”
“My love life?” Sasha asked and then nodded as he got it. “Oh, yes…I am very intimately involved.”
I didn’t like that, and the way he said it sort of threw me. “With who? Not that it’s my business again.”
Sasha held up his right hand and showed it to me. “We have been involved for decades.” Then he grinned at me holding it to me. “Want to shake it?”
I hit Sasha lightly in the back of the head. “Eto ne smeshno, ty, glupyy russkiy.” I said telling him; that wasn’t funny, you stupid Russian.
Sasha burst out laughing. “It was funny!” He looked at me. “You’re asking about what’s happening with David.”
I shrugged. “I hope so. I’d like to think there was. There was chemistry between you two.”
Sasha nodded. “I’m learning about how things are said in this country and what I understand about what you said, yes, there is chemistry between us. He’s a very good man.”
I nodded. “I told you that.”
“He’s planning to come back the weekend before Tasha and Alik get here. He wanted to leave Tasha and Alik to us. To me.” Sasha said.
“And Alik will understand you dating a man?” I asked.
Sasha nodded. “As he understands Tasha is dating men. He knows there will be nothing between Tasha and me.”
I smiled. “Good.” Then I looked back at the computer. “I guess I need to learn more.” Then I stopped. “Oh, Tony and I are going away for two weeks at the end of October and beginning of November. We’re leaving that Saturday the 23rd. We’ll be back November 6th.”
Sasha nodded. “Another cruise?” He grinned.
“Rome and various cities in Italy maybe.” I grinned. “Between my birthday and his. He turns forty then.” I answered. “I don’t know what you’ve got planned Thanksgiving…”
“The twenty-fifth. We’re going to the McKenzie home place. You and Alik should think about coming.” Then I smiled. “If David hadn’t already invited you.”
Sasha looked a little uncertain. “He hasn’t.”
“Sasha, I will say I’d love for things to work out with you and David. I’ve said it before, but if for no other reason, I’m inviting you as a friend. Maybe it will help you decide if you want to join our crazy family. You’ll see McKenzies at their best and worst.”
Sasha nodded. “You really want me to seek a relationship with David.”
“I want you to find someone.” I stressed. “No man should ever be alone. Humans weren’t made to be that way. I hope it could be David, but if not, you’re a part of my life and will always be included from now on. Got it?”
Sasha grinned. “From what you’ve said, it will bother some of your family there.” He said. “I think you like doing that.”
I nodded. “I do.” I grinned. “It is fun. But I don’t ever want you to be hurt. Especially you’re feelings.”
“YA bol’shoy mal’chik. YA mogu s etim spravit’sya.” Sasha claimed saying he was a big boy and could handle it.
I smiled, but was dead serious. “YA vsegda budu zaschishchat’ tekh, kogo ya lyublyu. Eto otnositsya i k vam.” I told him I was protective of those I love and that includes him.
“And you worry you can’t learn Russian alphabet?” Sasha smiled. “You said that almost perfectly!”
“Speaking is easier than spelling or writing Russian.” I said. “So, it was perfect? But only almost?”
He chuckled. “We need to work on the accent and a little on pronunciation, but yes.”
I smirked. “It was a year before I had my first dream in Italian, I had to wake Tony to tell him. When I have my first dream in Russian, I’m going to tap dance on your head!”
Sash laughed at that. “I look forward to it. How’s Tony doing?”
I grinned. “He’s trying. At least he has the translator.” I turned back to the computer. “Who’s sponsoring Tasha?”
“She has family here. They are sponsoring her. They live in New York. But that will happen after we get Alik out.”
“New York?” I grinned. “We have family in New York, too. Maybe we can see them next time we’re there.”
Tony insisted I plan our next trip, but I knew so little about Italy, so I asked him a lot about where we could go. I finally said Italy, more specifically Rome, had to be a stop. We should see other parts of Europe or even Greece. I asked where he’d want to go that he’d never been. He said he’d never been to Athens or any city in Greece, so that was where we were going. Then I found the place to go.
The next weekend David came early on that Friday. The man that arrived was a little different. He was still the same David, but he matured a lot. That would have happened anyway, but I have to give Sasha the credit of causing it to happen as quickly as it had. David hugged me when he got there. I took him up to his room. The first door he looked in, his eyes widened. It was redone for a six year old. There were toys around, the puzzles I got and books in Russian and English. Art work of various superheroes on the wall and paintings.
“Alik’s new room, I presume?” David smiled.
“No, I did it for you.” I griped. “Of course for Alik.”
David nodded. “It’s really happening, isn’t it?”
I nodded also. “It is. Tasha will be in the room Sasha’s in now, but only while she’s here. Then he moves back after she leaves.”
David smiled. “I hope it goes smoothly.” He looked at me a little wary. “I hope he likes me, if Sasha and I work out.”
“If you do, he’ll love you.” I assured.
It was later David was getting things together as we made dinner.
“When I say this…” David began. “…understand, I’m just voicing.”
I stopped and nodded. “Okay.”
“Sasha will be the first….serious person I’ve been involved with.” David said slowly. “And I want it.” David assured quickly. “I want a good relationship as you and Tony have. We won’t be playing if we have sex.”
I shook my head. “No, you won’t.” I put my hand on David’s shoulder. “It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but it will be serious.”
David nodded, but he knew this already. “We won’t be just having sex.”
“I hope not.”
“And he’s uncircumcised.” He grinned.
My eyebrows rose at that. “Well, it’s just an educated guess as I’ve not seen his dick, but I don’t think they do that in Russia as standard for boys. We all know Sasha’s dick works since he has Alik. Unless there’s a medical reason and he hasn’t shared anything like that he won’t be, but surely you seen an uncircumcised dick before.”
He nodded, chuckling. “Dad, and I suppose all our McKenzie dads weren’t; being born in the country. And there were some guys at school in the shower, but…” he shook his head. “…none I ever touched.” He looked at me. “Is Tony?”
I smiled. “Next question or statement.” It was none of anyone’s business. “But you’d be willing to live in a permanent relationship? I think you both deserve that, if you both want it.”
David nodded. “If we loved each other, sure.”
“Have you told your parents you’re dating men?” I asked.
David chuckled. “Mom knows I’ve been out with guys. Dad knows I’ve fooled around with a few guys…”
“Would they be surprised?” I asked.
David shrugged. Then he looked at what we were doing. “We’ll see when it happens. What are you making?”
I chuckled. “The American Southern man’s version of Italian macaroni and gravy.”
David was lost a second and then smiled. “Oh yeah, spaghetti and meat sauce.”
“Never say that around Tony.”
David shook his head laughing.
“I invited Sasha to bring Alik to Derby for Thanksgiving.” I said to David, whose eyes widened. “He’d come for sure if you haven’t offended each other and you invite him.” I looked at David. “He needs to meet the McKenzies eventually. Whether as Tony’s and my friend or your….whatever…friend, boyfriend, partner or significant other.”
David chuckled. “Friends is a little platonic; boyfriend is a little middle and high school, but partner is a little more permanent…I don’t know if we’re even more than friends now.”
I smiled putting my arm around his shoulder. “I say you are friends and heading to boyfriend perhaps. Permanent will depend on you.”
Then Tony came in the condo. “Two of my favorite McKenzies!” He grinned coming over. “Mind if I greet my favorite McKenzie?” He asked, but leaned in kissing me. “Hi, my favorite person.”
Grinning at Tony, my hands traveled into his hair. “Hello, yourself, my favorite person.” I stood back a little. “You had a good day, I can tell. Make a million today?” I asked.
“Not for us personally, but I did.” Tony nodded and then one arm hugged David. “Hi, David!”
“I definitely want what you two have.” David grinned back. “Good to see the love is still alive.”
Tony looked at me. “Did you book it?”
He was asking about our trip soon. I nodded. “I did. It’s more money than we spent…”
Tony gave me his look. “Don’t go there.” He growled.
“More than I’ve spent.” I corrected. I rubbed my hand over his face. “Don’t look at me that way! You remember the conversation we had about your last hang up, well, this is mine!” I kissed him again, this time taking a little longer.
“Booked? As in a vacation? Where?” David brightened. “Who are you bringing back this time?” He grinned.
“We’re taking the extension on our honeymoon.” Tony answered.
“We’re going to Ios on a private beach in Klima.” I chuckled as Tony didn’t care if David were here, he was kissing me again.
“Where we won’t have a soul nearby. We can walk naked on the beach and swim in those crystal blue waters.” Tony added. “But we’re spending the first three days in Rome. The Cavalieri! Where we had the second part of our first honeymoon. And getting the same suite.”
I looked at him smiling. “You got it?”
Tony nodded. “I told you, being a club member has its perks!”
David frowned. “I sort of hate you two right now.” He grumbled.
“You could honeymoon in Russia!” Tony pointed out.
I put my hand on Tony’s chest. “Gay men are not as well liked in Russia as we are in Italy.”
Tony shrugged. “There’s always the beach in North Carolina!” Then he brightened. “I will promise you this. When you or Sasha find the one to be with and marry, we’ll send you wherever you want to go.”
“If I marry Sasha.” David grinned.
“If you marry, you go. Sasha can marry anyone he wants, I’ll send him and whoever wherever. But for you, if you marry, we’ll send you.” Tony swore.
David frowned. “Why?”
I frowned. “Has there been another cousin or relative here as much as you, even before Sasha? No. So the answer is obvious. You like us, we like you! I’ve always liked you and Michael.”
David grinned. “Sweet!”
Tony looked at the counter at what we were doing. “No, no, no, you can’t use chopped meat alone!” He said appalled. “Where’s the veal? Are you doing meatballs?” He groaned. “I came just in time.” He shoved us both away. “Let the Italian do this and save the macaroni and gravy.”
I laughed with David. “See?” I pointed to Tony who was moving to correct my “not Italian cooking” take on cooking a real Italian dinner.
“Chopped meat?” David asked.
“Ground beef.” I clarified. “They have different terms up North.”
David nodded. “Oh.”
When Sasha came home from work, I was pleased to see him greet David with a nice kiss. There was affection there. And though Tony and I shared the table, most of the conversation was between the two of them. Tony gave me a grin as we were again forgotten as Sasha and David talked about futures. David wanted to become a lawyer, after he’d finished school he realized being more than a college graduate was needed. Sasha wanted to open a restaurant one day. He’d had some culinary training and just needed the degree.
“Well, that’s what Johnson and Wales does and it’s here in Charleston.” I said smiling. “Are you planning to open Russian Restaurant?”
Sasha shrugged. “Is there anything else?”
Tony growled. “An Italian Restaurant?”
“I’m not Italian!” Sasha said as I often did. “I’m Russian! And there isn’t a decent Russian Restaurant near here!”
“No Russian Restaurants at all!” I corrected. “You could change that. I’d come!”
“Hell, I’ve eaten his cooking, it’s good, we’ll even invest!” Tony claimed nodding. And we were all getting along just fine!
Sasha nodded with a smile. Then we got around to Alik.
“What else does Alik like to do?” I asked more for trying to be prepared for the little guy.
Sasha smiled. “He loves a lot of things, but he likes football.”
My eyes widened a little. Of course, he was a boy, so the love of sports would be in his genes. “Football?” I repeated. “Not our football, but soccer?”
Sasha shook his head. “I mean football. I’ve seen what you call football, the foot’s rarely involved! When we play football the foot is always involved! Why even call your football, football?”
I shrugged. “Beats me, we just do. I was a runner. Track and field was my game.”
“Swimming for me.” Tony said. “Just a little baseball.”
“I did track and field.” David nodded. “Oh, and basketball.”
“Hockey!” Tony said happily.
“Yes, hockey.” Sasha nodded with a smile waving his hand to emphasize his agreement. “Now, there’s a game!” Then he looked at me. “You never played hockey?”
“We had to make the damned ice here in the South. I never really had the chance to learn.” I explained.
“That’s horrible!” Sasha shook his head. Then he looked at David and completely changed the conversation. “Would you like to meet my son?”
David looked surprised. “I have an appointment with my advisor next weekend. I can’t be here when he arrives.”
Sasha shook his head. “I mean tonight.”
“Tonight? He’s in Russia.” David pointed out.
“Yes.” Sasha nodded. “But Tony arranged that I can see and talk to him on the computer. I have a call coming soon. I’d like you to at least meet him.” Then he added. “And him to meet you.”