“That went well.” I grinned to David as the commotion started evening out. Uncle Thomas was nursing his wound as Uncles JC and Earl attended their brother.
David chuckled. “Only a little bloodshed.” He grinned at Sasha and kissed him. “I was afraid it could be yours or mine. I’m glad it wasn’t.” Then he smiled at me. “And your Dad!! He was so….”
“Wasn’t he?” I nodded laughing. “I couldn’t believe it!”
Tony growled. “And I missed it.” He complained.
I patted Tony’s arm. “And I’m so sorry about that. I’m sure there will be other events like this one.”
“But not this one!” Tony groaned.
Michael came over. His face showed he was confused or just trying to figure things out. “So, you’re gay?” He asked David.
David looked at Sasha and then to his brother. “Well, since I’m here with Sasha, I’d say yes.” Then he cocked his head to Michael. “I love a person. He is male. What’s the big deal? I really don’t call myself gay or straight, but now? Gay.”
“I just can’t believe you’re serious about it.” Michael shrugged and then looked at Sasha. “I guess if you’re here, that will make us brothers.”
David grinned. “Who knows what you look like naked!” His eyebrows bounced evilly and laughed.
Michael frowned and slugged his brother in the arm who laughed as Michael blushed. “You didn’t have to say that!”
We were all laughing at that. Sasha put his hand on Michael’s shoulder with a smile. “I’ll try not to confuse you. I wouldn’t want to kiss the wrong twin.” One eyebrow rose as he looked at David and then Michael. “You two are almost exactly alike. Almost.”
Uncle Bernie came over to us. Dad was with him.
“This is a surprise.” Uncle Bernie admitted. “But I guess it’s serious since you brought him here.”
David nodded taking Sasha’s hand who also nodded. “It is, Dad.”
Dad put his hand on his brother Bernie. “It takes little effort to see love when it’s there. You raised a good family and good children. They are no different.” He smiled at me and Tony. “I did.”
Sasha put his hand out to Bernie. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Bernie shrugged as he shook Sasha’s hand. “I guess we need to get acquainted, Sasha.” Then he looked down as Alik was squeezing in to stand between David and Sasha. “And you.” Uncle Bernie knelt down as Alik held the translator out. “I’m David’s father.” Which the translator said. YA otets Devida. Alik gave Uncle Bernie his hand as they shook hands.
It wasn’t long before our generation was gathered in the living room as always. We had an unofficial claim here that was honored over the years.
Sasha grinned looking at everyone. “So, all these people are relatives?”
Chuck smiled. “All because of two people. Our grandmother and grandfather. These are their children,” he pointed at Bernie, Dad and his mother. “Their spouses and their children and in some cases…like Sherry here, their children’s children.”
“She’s a cousin.” Sasha said trying to understand.
“She’s the daughter of David, Chuck and my first cousin. She’s Aunt Margorie’s grandchild. She is the eldest daughter of our grandparents.” I explained.
Tony put a hand on Sasha’s arm. “Don’t think about it too much, you’ll get a headache. Trust me.” He chuckled. “Let’s just say, the McKenzies will never die out. I was surprised to find they weren’t Catholic!”
“Bite your tongue!” David said in mock horror and then he grinned. “Sasha’s Eastern Orthodox.”
Rhonda burst out laughing. “Oh, my god! Let’s lay that little gem on the others later. Too much too soon would be a disaster.”
“But you’re happy.” Michael wanted a confirmation.
David nodded. “Like I’ve never been before. He’s the one.”
The part I liked was that Alik, despite the language problem, was just a kid. He played with the other younger cousins. David and Sasha watched Alik carefully. Tony worried about the future of the translator if played with too rough.
“Well, we’ll tell them to make a sturdier one.” I said simply.
Tony nodded. “And what do I do if it gets broken?”
I shrugged. “Learn more Russian? So you don’t need one.”
Later I walked up to David. “If it’s not my business…”
David grinned. “In this family? It’s everyone’s business.”
“Okay, where’s Michael’s wife?” I asked.
That’s when David frowned. “He didn’t say so, but I sensed there have been problems.”
That surprised me. “Problems? Is there someone else?” My mind was going places without a map, so I waited.
“Not with Michael, but with her!” David claimed. “I don’t believe she’s being faithful.” He shrugged. “Michael wouldn’t cheat, it’s not in his nature. She’s with her parents this Thanksgiving.”
I nodded. “I see.”
David shook his head. “Yea, what are you going to do? They can’t help it, they’re straight.” Then he chuckled as I hit him in the shoulder.
“He loved her.” I stressed him to remember.
David shrugged. “And?” He shook his head. “So what if he did? To be honest, I tried to like her, but I got the feeling she thought she was better than us.” Then he looked at some of our relatives. “She might be right, but our mothers dealt with it. Why can’t she?”
Then I saw Alik coming in tears and holding his bleeding arm. It wasn’t bad, but it needed tending. I patted David. “Okay, here’s your next problem…Dad.” I grinned as David’s eyes widened when I said that.
Dad, Mom and grandma came over as we were starting to eat. And that was always a challenge. Not that there was a lack of food. In fact, there was always so much we feared no table would support it all. We ended setting them on folding tables outside to hold it all if the weather was nice. Finding a place to sit was the issue. I’ve had many a dinner standing up here.
Dad smiled as he sat near us with Mom. “Any more languages you plan to learn, son?”
“And when do you find time?” Mom asked.
Tony just bowed to me to answer that. “I’d like to know that myself.”
I just didn’t understand the fascination. “It wasn’t difficult. There are programs now that make is easy. I learn when it’s necessary and it was.” I said simply. “And use it!”
“But Russian!” Grandma said marveling. “From what little I’ve seen it doesn’t look easy at all.”
I shrugged. “They’re just sounds we agree mean something. Putting them together so they’re understood isn’t that hard. Now, their alphabet…”
Tony chuckled. “And here we go again…” He shook his head.
I looked mockingly annoyed. “Well, it is just…bizarre! I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with the written form of Russian. But speaking isn’t hard.”
Dad nodded. “If you say so.” He chuckled and then looked over at Bernie, Aunt Judy with David, Michael, Sasha and Alik. “Things look pretty calm over there.”
I looked as Sasha was helping Alik with the translator and saying something back to Aunt Judy. Alik had cut his arm and was wearing his bandage with pride. “I think they’ll be just fine.”
Dad shook his head. “Now if we can get Thomas to acknowledge his grandchildren.” He chuckled.
Tony looked surprised. “He has grandchildren?”
I nodded. “He doesn’t think so, but…his daughter has two children in her house.”
“What’s the problem?” Tony asked.
I shrugged. “Nothing. It’s just Uncle Thomas can’t accept them. They’re biracial.”
It only took a second before Tony nodded. “Oh, I see.” Then he brightened. “So, I’m not the most surprising other!”
I grinned. “Oh, you were for a while. Heather, Thomas’ daughter never brought her husband here and I know she married him. And until Sasha came, you were the most surprising other!”
Tony grinned. “I certainly surprised my family when I brought you home.”
“Oh?” Mother asked.
I chuckled. “They all expected me to be a redneck.”
Tony grinned. “I almost thought you were! The only thing missing was the faded ring on the back pocket of your jeans from your Skoal chewing tobacco! You drove a truck and wore the t-shirts….”
“Which I still do! And I’ve never chewed tobacco. Never.” I swore to Mom and then looked back at Tony. “And what’s wrong with Bubba?”
Tony chuckled. “Nothing…now.”
“It’s a classic! It’s a 1963!” I pointed out. “They can’t make a truck like that anymore.”
My grandmother and parents were laughing at us, but Tony just smiled and kissed me.
“I love Bubba.” Tony said. “But you made an impression with Dad!”
I nodded laughing. “I wasn’t wearing shitkickers.” Then I looked at grandmother. “Sorry, Grandma, but that’s what he called them. He thought we all wore them.”
Grandmother was laughing as she shook her head. “There’s nothing wrong with being raised in the country. And in the mountains!”
Tony nodded. “And you’re absolutely right.” Then he grinned. “And it’s not wrong to be raised in the city. Even if it is New York City.”
“It’s just that most people don’t see what brought us together.” I added.
“God?” Grandmother suggested, but looked at my father.
Dad merely shrugged. “Could be.”
Dad had really come a long way.
David was thrilled when we offered to take Alik home so they could take the rest of the weekend to do….whatever.
Tony drove as I dealt with Alik. I grinned at the boy. “Other than the cut on your arm, did you feel okay today?” I asked in Russian.
Alik nodded showing me his bandage. “Yep! It was fun! There were a lot of people there.”
I chuckled telling Tony what Alik said.
“I know.” Tony groaned in Russian. “A lot of people.”
“Where’s Dad and Uncle David going?” Alik asked. “They are going somewhere else?”
I pondered what to tell him. “They went off to do spend some time together. Alone.”
“Why?” Alik’s brow said he was confused.
“They need to be together.” I explained. “They can do…” I grinned at Tony who was understanding some of what I said in Russian. “….adult things.”
“Like what?” Alik asked.
I chuckled. “I’ll tell.” Then grinned. “When you’re a teenager.”
“Why won’t you tell me?” Alik didn’t like the answer.
I smiled. “Because the answer is something your father should tell you or even David. And the answer I give will only lead to more questions. You should be near being an adult to understand.”
“Okay.” Alik slumped back in the seat, unhappy, but he seemed resolved to the situation.
Tony stretched out beside me that evening. And of course he knew what he was doing as he lay close to me. I grinned as he made a point of having to get something from my side of the bed and therefore had to reach over me and I get his scent.
I pulled him down on me grinning. “You don’t have to be that coy. You try to make it seem like you’re testing me. You know you don’t have to. Just tell me you want to have sex. I’m here and willing. We do almost every night.”
Tony chuckled. “Yeah, but it’s kind of fun this way. Temptation and all.”
“But you always tempt me.” I grinned as I rolled us over. “There are just some places we can’t on the temptations.”
Tony shrugged. “I’d be willing to risk it if we did.” He grinned.
My hands went over his chest, the hairs again working their magic causing me to become more aroused as the tickled my fingers. “Oh really? I might take that action.” I kissed him deeply. “Now, for the best part.” I grinned and flipped us over. Making love now was a way of connecting. Sex? Sure, but we were joining on a very basic level. He knew me and I knew him.
The next few days were busy. Sasha and David returned and we went back to our jobs. Special events were always planned for this time of year. Company and personal holiday parties and the occasional wedding. I should have known what would happen. It was that Friday night. I was winding up my shift for the day, but there were things that needed doing before I counted it a day.
That was when I was doing a final check before leaving as the front desk was still checking guests in. And I heard it.
“Mitch!” It was a voice I knew and turned to the man checking in. Ted. Since he and I broke up, I really had not thought much about the man. He was still handsome. His coloring was that of caramel and his head right now was shaved. “You work here?” His mother was African American so he had a lot of features from both ethnic groups. His hair annoyed him so he always shaved his head.
“Ted.” I greeted less than enthusiastically. “Yes, I work here. You’re here for a job?” I noted his equipment bag with his luggage.
“Yes, a wedding, naturally.” Ted grinned. “I knew you worked in hotels, but I didn’t know which one…still, it’s good to see you.”
I smiled. The memory of how we broke up suddenly came back. He’d been in a particularly bad way. As I said, he was what I called manic aggressive. And he was boarding heavily on the aggressive side that day. He’d never hit me, but there were times I thought he might, but then I knew how to protect myself and he wouldn’t be standing if he ever tried to hit me. What to say? So, I was honest. “I’d like to say it’s nice to see you, too, but I really don’t know what to say. I just remember the last conversation we had…loud. I remember walking out of our home and lives that day. You still look good.” I could say that. “It’s been a few years.”
Ted bowed his head a little sheepishly. “Yes, that was a pretty bad time for me…”
“Yes it was.” I agreed with a little laugh, but I had no humor in it. “But that’s fine. I wish you well.” I said and was about to leave when he reached out and stopped me.
“Come on, Mitch.” Ted said in a droll. “It wasn’t all bad.”
I looked down at his hand on my arm. “It wasn’t all good, either. And really, I don’t care. I’m fine now. In fact, I’m more than fine. What happened was the past and I want to keep it that way.” I said a little coldly.
Ted raised his hands in surrender. “I was going to suggest a drink to catch up.”
“Catch up?” I asked. “Why?” Then I sighed. “Okay, since we broke up, I’ve met someone and married them. I don’t just work here. I am one of the managers.”
Ted looked shocked. “Married!?”
“To a great guy.”
Then Ted nodded. “Oh, you mean a gay marriage. Which is what….nothing?” He grinned with a light chuckle. “You’re not married then.”
My eyebrow rose as I nodded once. “You can say what you like. I need to go home, so please excuse me.” I turned to walk away when he put another hand on my arm holding me still.
“I’m sorry about what happened between us, but we can still be friendly.” Ted said hopefully. “I’d love to meet this guy.”
I looked as Tony came in and stood at the entrance of the lobby waiting for our night to begin. We had made plans. I pulled Ted’s hand from my arm. “You want to meet him, he just came in.” I waved toward Tony, who right now had seen a little something that made him frown. I motioned for him to come over. Tony walked over. I was always proud of Tony, but now he was fabulous. That spectacular suit and his well-groomed looks and this time, I was glad he took pains to look like he did. Hands out of his pockets as he came over ready to face this challenge he didn’t know.
“Tony Delveccio.” I waved at Ted. “Meet Ted Scott.”
Tony’s eyes grew when he heard the name. “Ted? You’re former Ted?” He frowned as his eyebrows came together. Don’t mess with an Italian. Mob or not!
Ted looked unprepared. He dropped contact with me.
“Ted Scott, meet my husband, Tony Delveccio.”
Tony growled. And I mean he actually growled! He leaned in closer to Ted. “Please don’t touch my husband. You had your chance and blew it, so keep your hands to yourself.”
I took Tony’s hand. “That’s alright, Tony. He’s not gay. At least not out loud.” It was interesting that Tony put his arm around me, not in love…I mean he did love me, of course, but now he was staking a claim. “It was the main problem with Ted and me. He just couldn’t tell anyone. Even those that knew we were a couple, like his brother, sister and even his mother! They all knew.”
Tony nodded. “So you told me.” But his eyes never left Ted’s eyes except to look at what Ted had brought. He also looked at Ted’s luggage. “Well, you’re here for a job. Have a good time.” Then Tony kissed me. We’d kissed in front of people before and certainly in the hotel in front of the employees, but again, it was love, but it was also a stake. “If you’re ready to go. We have reservations in forty-five minutes.”
I grinned. “I’ll get my coat.” I said walked back to my office and got my coat and things. “Let’s go.”