Tony and I signed the papers to buy our little island and Tony didn’t waste time getting a crew out to fix the bridge to begin tearing it apart and replacing it with a new one that was sturdy.We were deciding what sort of house we wanted and we went to an architect to come up with the design and I should have known, Tony wanted a good one.You didn’t expect just anyone.And of course, the architect was gay naturally.But he was in Charlotte and I got to break in my new Bronco!It drove like a dream.This architect was in his fifties and trying look like he was in his thirties, but not an ugly man, Robert Castil, he was known here in South Carolina and pretty well throughout the East Coast.His black hair was professionally done, but he and Tony had been deep in discussion about what Tony thought the house should be and I just listened.
I sat with Tony as they discussed the possibilities when Tony looked at me.“Well?Aren’t you going to say something?”He almost sounded annoyed.
I shrugged.He was a little annoyed I wasn’t contributing.“You two seem to have it under control, what should I say?”I smiled.
Tony sat back frowning.“It’s your house, too.Tell Bob what you want.”
I pulled Tony in a kissed him.“Thank you.”Then I turned to the architect.“All I really need is space.Whether it has this wood, or that wood…I don’t care.Granite?Whatever.I just like big rooms….space.”I looked at Tony.How long had we been married?“We said it wasn’t to be a big house, so are we having any extra bedrooms?”
Tony shrugged.“I was thinking two other bedrooms.I’d use one as an office when we have no guests, which I plan not to have any at all!”He grinned.“It’ll be just you and me.”
Robert Castil chuckled.“A love nest?”
Tony nodded grinning.“Absolutely.”
“I know things need to be decided, color and what you use and all that….stuff…”I leaned toward Tony.“You saw the house I was raised in, you saw the house I lived in when we met.I don’t care!I just like being with you.”I said bumping our heads together.“Be there and I’m good!Why would I change now?”
Tony chuckled.“You can rest assured, I will be there.”And then his face lit up and turned back to Robert.“Oh!And windows!A lot of windows to take in the view!Big open windows that let it all in!And one of those Southern wrap around porches!!If not, along the back where we have a view!”
And that’s how it began.Bob, as he preferred and Tony were back at it.I was almost jealous.
Back at work, the other employees were always asking about Sasha, how he was, when he was coming back…
“When he can do it!It’s hard to wait tables with crutches!”
The Civil Suit with Belle came and of course, Sasha and I had to be there.Belle was still not understanding what the was the big deal and his lawyer was not looking happy.There was nothing Kincaid could do but protect Belle’s rights, which at the moment were very few.Belle had on the suit and I couldn’t even begin to guess the price, but he looked around like he couldn’t believe he was here.David, of course felt it his duty to be there as well to see justice done.The judge was as lenient as the first judge was.Belle had agreed to the bench trial to save on adverse publicity.I had no idea what was in Belle’s past, nor did I care, but the decision would be final.No appeals.The judge reminded me of a TV judge I’d seen.Male and nice looking, I’d heard he was a police officer like I was before he went to law school.
“In view of the evidence presented at your trial, Mr. Belle.The laws in South Carolina are to protect people and in view of the death from those decisions, compensation for damages, I order all hospital bills and debts incurred because of this incident that payment be one million dollars…”
“What!?”Belle let the shriek out in shock looking at Kincaid as if expecting him to object, but Kincaid wouldn’t even look at Belle.
“….each.”The judge said firmly.“Now further, because of your reckless regard for the lives of others, you are further ordered to pay five million dollars…”
“That’s outrageous!”Belle screamed holding his head.
“…each!”The judge continued and stood looking down at Belle.“This crime was so needless and grievous, I wish it could be more.You have this opinion you’re above the law!I’m telling you, you’re not!”
“How can I pay that?”Belle moaned.“That will break me!”He looked at Sasha.“He’s not even American!”
“And?”The judge asked.“He is a human being that died!We got him back!Too bad we couldn’t do that for your wife.And this will hardly break you, but what do you need all that money for in prison?”The judge shrugged.“I’ve seen your holdings and bank accounts.You could sell one of your expensive homes or even a dealership or two.”The judge hit the desk with his gavel.“It is so ordered.”
Tony smiled, but it was a sad grin.He put his arm around me.“We didn’t want to do this, but we had to.”
I nodded.“I know.”I looked over as David was comforting Sasha the same way as Tony was for me.“It’s just a shame this had to happen.”Then I smiled as David managed to get Sasha laughing at something.“Now we can concentrate on some happier things a while!Like another wedding!”I grinned at Tony.“I seem to remember a promise you made to David.”
Tony’s eyebrows rose.“Oh?”
“You promised David a honeymoon if he got married.You also promised Sasha.Now you can do it for them both!”I said happily.
Tony grinned scratching his chin.“I did, didn’t I?”Then he shrugged.“They have the money now…”
I grabbed his arm.“Tony Delveccio.”
Tony chuckled.“Okay, okay.”Then he pulled me close.“And what about ours?”He asked pressing his forehead to mine.
I was surprised.“We’ve had three!”
“And?”Tony smiled kissing me gently.“According to you we haven’t left our first one.You and I got the first one, I got the second one, the you had the third one.I guess it’s my turn again to choose.”
Back at the condo we sat for dinner again, baked Ziti again with the garlic bread and all that.It was nice to have our family together.I would miss this when we moved out.
“Have you told…” I looked at Alik and then back to David and Sasha.
Sasha chuckled.“We’ve been sort of busy.”
David looked surprised.“I haven’t even graduated yet!”
I nodded.“But you will next year.Don’t you want to make an honest man of Sasha?”
“Alik.”Sasha chuckled and smiled at his son.“I was thinking I would add David to our family.”He said in Russian so there would be no misunderstanding.“You know I love Uncle David.”
“Sure.”Alik looked confused.“But we are family now.You said he was.”
Sasha nodded.“We are, but I was thinking…I’ve asked Uncle David to marry me.”
David chuckled touching Sasha’s hand.“Well, I asked you.”David smiled as he spoke Russian.
Sasha rolled his eyes.“Whatever.”He said in English and then went back to Russian.“The point is, we’re getting married.Uncle David will no longer be Uncle to you, but another father.”
Alik looked at them and shrugged. “Okay.”
The mind of a seven year old is an amazing thing and without anyone ever telling him men shouldn’t love or get married, he just accepted it.He knew and loved David, so no problem.
“And have you thought about where and when?”Tony asked.
David and Sasha looked at each other and then David shrugged.“I proposed in a hospital room.Not the most romantic place…”
“I wouldn’t even think of marrying him in Russia.”Sasha grimaced.“And with no real family there now…”
“We can’t do it at the McKenzie Homeplace.”David added.He grinned.“The mountains was your home, but not mine.And as wonderful as that was….maybe something a little more private?”
Tony shrugged.“How about a cruise ship?”
Sasha frowned.“I worked on one for years.”
Tony chuckled.“Only you’ll be a passenger on this one.No more kissing butt, they’ll be kissing your butt!”He was keeping it light for Alik.
David brightened as he thought of it.“I’ve never been on a cruise!”
I waved at David.“And there you go!A cruise virgin on his first cruise!What can be better than that?”
“We’re picking up the tab for this.”Tony added.“I promised David if you or he ever married anyone.The wedding is yours, but I said I’d get you the honeymoon.”
Sasha and David were both talking now.“You can’t!”“You don’t have to do that!”
“Why not?”I asked smiling.“Besides, a promise is a promise.”I just smiled.“It’s something to think about.”