makarovia-II-12

Ben Esra telefonda seni boşaltmamı ister misin?
Telefon Numaram: 00237 8000 92 32

Hardcore

Subject: Makarovia! Sure, I Know Where That Is! Chapter 12 Getting There Story: Makarovia! Sure, I Know Where That Is Chapter 12 Almost There Author: Eric McQueen ail) Adult Readers, Sexual Situations, Sex Freedom of expression is precious. To do that Nifty needs help. Your donation is greatly desired. Give to fty/ or this story ends and all the others! That would be a crime! Peter and Eric enjoy the night just before the wedding. The Bachelor Party! Sorry, no strippers. Almost There We were putting the final touches to what we had put on. Jori had made us these suits that fit well. I chuckled to myself thinking his constant comments about his reputation, he was safe. The suits weren’t tuxedos, but nice looking suits. Both were a dark blue, but Peter’s was lighter. Jori had explained the due to Peter’s fair complexion, he would look better with less of a contrast. Jori was talking about seasons and what season I was…what!? A suit was a suit. I knew doubled breasted and regular suits. That’s it. Styles were like colors to me. Is it white or eggshell? Was it purple or grape? I didn’t know! More important was, I didn’t care. Peter walked in from the bathroom putting his coat on. I don’t just repeat things quoted, but…clothes do make a man. He was gorgeous! I know, I’m bias, but that didn’t make that not true. Peter smiled as he saw me staring. He did a turn holding his jacket open. “Do I look alright?” The obnoxious part of me surfaced again. “No. You don’t.” I had to pinch myself to keep from laughing as Peter looked down to see what he’d missed or had done wrong. I walked over pulling his face toward me and kissed him tenderly. “I shouldn’t let you out of this room. I’ll lose you. You look too good.” Peter smiled. “I will lose you to General Burke. He couldn’t resist you now. I don’t care if he’s straight or not.” There was a knock on our door. “Come on, guys,” Drew’s voice came. “It’s your last night as free men. You’ve got a whole bunch of people that want to see you. Some came a pretty long distance.” Peter looked up, but didn’t let me go. “Come in. The door’s not locked.” Drew and Wayne came in the room and I have to say, these two happy men looked very different to me than before. They had come for the Proposal, but I really only saw Peter then. They had dressed nicely I’m sure, but now I noticed. Drew was a reporter, but usually filmed and sought out his stories himself. My first impression of him by television and photographs, he was a man that loved the outdoors. His blonde hair was often a disarray on his head and windblown. He had a charm about him giving him a bad boy appeal. Now, his hair combed and well groomed. The suit he wore was a sharp black. Wayne was often the more serious of the two and was also in a black suit. His black hair was also well groomed. “We didn’t want to…” Drew waved at us, “…interrupt anything.” He grinned with a bounce. Wayne’s eyes rolled. I knew Wayne did that often over the years with Drew. “You’re leaving out the part about barging in being rude.” Drew nodded and jutted his head at Wayne, but his smile never faltered. “That, too.” The comic and straight-man routine wasn’t an act. It was really who they were. We heard footsteps from the corridor as Olek and Helga walked in. “Well, Peter,” Olek smiled at us. “Are you ready?” “Don’t you all look handsome?” Helga smiled. She looked amazing! Here it was again. Her dress wasn’t pink, coral maybe? It was without straps to hold it up or sleeves. To the floor it went and though she could move easily, it was pretty close fitting, not with all that flowing cloth. Her shoulders were bare so the necklace she wore would show up. They were diamonds, but not big or gaudy. They were designed to look like snowflakes that hung around her neck. The earrings matched her necklace and her bracelet. Her thick brown hair was put up on her left side and cascaded down her right side. There was a jewel clip holding it up. Even in the dark lights of the evening they glittered. She…was a queen, even if she hadn’t had a wedding or coronation. “Whoa!” It just slipped out of my mouth as I stepped back a pace. She could have been a model as well as Mom! “I take that as a good whoa?” Helga asked. Drew was nodding and answered for me. “Yeah, that was a very good whoa.” Olek looked like he did the first time I met him. He had the black tuxedo on, the white shirt, bow-tie, and cummerbund. The red sash was under the coat that went from his right shoulder to his left waist. The medallion that told people he was king of Makarovia with the coat of arms with the two dragons holding the shield with the lion on it. The words in Latin “Honor Virutis Preamium” Honor is the Reward for Virtue, circling the medallion, hung on gold chain putting the medallion right over the sash on his chest. He was handsome. He looked…well, like a king! “We,” Olek pointed at Peter and me, then to himself, “are going to be announced to everyone.” “Where’s Mom?” Peter asked. “She’s with Mario, but will meet us to be announced.” Peter said. “You two,” he pointed at Peter and me, “are why everyone is here this weekend.” He looked at Helga and almost pouted. “I still think you should be announced, too.” Helga’s smile was instant. “I know, Sweetie, but announced as what? Your girlfriend? When I have an official title from Makarovia I will.” She grinned. “I am going to be your wife. I’m not yet. I don’t want to be the Royal Mistress or even Consort.” She took his arm. “That old king, wife, mistress and consort thing makes me feel like a slut.” She saw Olek’s eyes grow. “You can give me an honorary one, but I’ll still know it’s not real and so will everyone else.” Olek smiled weakly, but nodded. “Okay. We need to come up with something to make it official.” He told her. Wayne stuck an arm out and so did Drew. “We’ll escort you downstairs, My Lady.” Wayne smiled to her. “It will be our privilege.” Drew added. He glanced back at us. “See you downstairs.” We walked to where would descend the ornate stairs to the Gallery. Other Royal Families had balconies to wave at people or on raised perches. This sort of thing was new to Makarovia. What we had seen before was nothing compared to what was there now. The reason for the Gallery was to hold the citizens of Makarovia to be addressed by their king or queen. The weather again was the reason for the Gallery. If the citizens needed to know something and there was the snow they could be all addressed here and protected from the weather. I learned that in the past, such gatherings happened as word was sent out a gathering was needed. A written message would work as long as the recipient could read. They would come, the ones farther out early. They’d stay in those rooms we had guests now to stay in. In the past centuries they gathered Makarovian Mayors, nobility and any others that could make it to tell of an approaching threat. That was usually war. The citizens could go back and prepare their village by hiding treasures and even people. I learned that several powers came looking for young men. Not for sex necessarily, but as soldiers. They were used as cannon fodder. Disposable people to save the real armies’ losses. They would take boys sometimes as young as ten! Only if these people could find them. When the snow and ice let these horrible men get to villages, they would see no young men. The villages would consist of women, small children, and a few men too old to use. The Gallery was crowded now! I did wonder if the stone floor and supports could hold the weight. It seemed fine. Many well-dressed people stood looking up as a man I saw occasionally at the Palace walk up a few steps and turned. There were quite a few Marines there now at the bottom of the stairs. All in formal dress uniforms, but still armed. Ten on each side closing ranks as the man had gone up. There were the sounds of conversations as the man began. “Ladies and gentlemen,” his voice came loud. I hadn’t seen a mike, but he must have had one for the full, clear volume. “Makarovia welcomes you as we celebrate the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince Pedro.” He spoke in English. It was accented, but he was understood. Most everyone down there were people from countries that spoke primarily English. Mom came over quickly from down the corridor. “Sorry, I’m late.” She wore a gown that was white, but had this sheer, silky overlay of material that had delicate gold designs on it. She was the only one of us wearing a crown, her tiara. This time her hair was up on her head. A ring of pearls went around her neck and there were one on each earlobe. “You’re Queen,” Olek shrugged. “You were delayed. You can’t be late.” She smiled at that as her eyes came to us. She brought Peter and me in for a hug and commented approvingly on our suits. All this extravagance had me wondering about the people of Makarovia. They couldn’t afford this sort of thing. Peter and I discussed this and Queen Alla had said before we were interviewed for television. It was a demonstration. To show the world’s countries what Makarovia was and capable of. This country would look proud. I had seen a show where a wealthy man was facing financial problems and nearly broke. He threw a lavish party. He showed his business partners, friends (and enemies) that he was on top. It showed confidence. The best food and wine, his wife had on an expensive gown. He was still on top. “Million dollar spit in the ocean” was explained. All cards on the table. Investors were assured he was solid and would recover. Really, Peter’s and my approaching marriage was being used. Yes, things were tough for us now. Not financially, but as a country. Things had been done to show Makarovia’s strength and resolve. The finely dressed officers down in the Gallery told that. The United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, and others were telling everyone they believed in and would support us. Yes, we had something they wanted and needed. They would make sure we would be protected. No more cowering from the world. Makarovia was taking a major position in the world. Now and tomorrow. I looked at the many faces. There were Makarovians in the crowd and dressed just as well as the rest. Many had sacrificed to be here. They weren’t as poor and simple as they had been. I didn’t know about the employment situation now, but there were jobs for everyone in Makarovia. They had more jobs than people when I first came here. Would that change? Sure. Two people wants a single job. One would get it, the other wouldn’t. Makarovians were resourceful. The one that didn’t get the job would get another. Makarovia wasn’t Utopia. No one’s perfect, but we would do what we needed to try to be. “Presenting, His Most Royal Majesty, King Olek Ivanov, the Second of Makarovia.” The man waved back up the stairs toward us. There was the musical procession sounding, but there was no orchestra. It was recorded. An orchestra would be hard to fit down there now. There were the clicks and flash of lights from cameras. Olek came down smiling and nodding to the people. Waving wasn’t done here. I needed a list of rules to keep up with the dos and do nots. “Presenting, Her Most Royal Majesty Queen Alla Ivanov of Makarovia.” Mom winked at Peter and me and did the slow, graceful descent of a queen. Again, with the nod, the flashing and clicks. She stood beside Olek. “Presenting, His Royal Highness Prince Pedro Ivanov of Makarovia.” Peter pulled me to him, kissed me and made his descent with the nod, clicks and flashes. He stopped beside his mother. “Presenting, from Charleston, South Carolina in the United States, His Lordship, Eric Richards, Earl of Stryia of Makarovia.” I stepped forward, mimicking the three with a nod. It felt odd for me doing it. Now there were a lot of clicks and flashes. I knew it wasn’t because I was more popular. I was new. That’s why all of the sudden interest. Peter and I were both new. It’s never been done before. Not like this. The man walked up and slipped something off his coat I hadn’t seen. He bowed to Olek and offered assistance and put the little thing on Olek’s coat. There was the mike. Olek stepped forward a bit. “You are here to be a witness to an event that is unknown to many.” He waved at the crowd. He turned to us. “My brother met a wonderful, intelligent and kind person who he invited to become a part of his life. He fell in love.” Olek looked again to the crowd. “They fell in love. Tomorrow, they are being married. I know very well this sort of marriage is wrong to some people, but not to us. I would no more tell you have to allow this in your area of the world. I wouldn’t dare. Don’t you dare tell us it shouldn’t be in ours.” He smiled. “You no doubt know why that is. Our new web-page gives detailed accounts as to the why. Needless lives and talents were lost during that horrible war, but that was just one example of why Makarovia is what it is today. It is the most recent example of the horrors still fresh in our minds and hearts. We will agree to disagree.” He smiled at me. “Personally, I welcome Eric Richards. He has already proven himself to be a great asset to Makarovia. I also welcome him to my family.” He turned again to crowd. “We’re celebrating his joining us tonight and you will witness this tomorrow.” He motioned to us. Peter reached and took my hand and we walked down to the floor. Makarovian guards lined up on both sides of all four of us and we went to the stairs that would take us to the ballroom. The ballroom was transformed. There were tables placed strategically around the room with white tablecloths and places set with cutlery wrapped in red cloth napkins. The security was needed, but not so tight. People were free to approach, under the watchful eyes of that security. Only one large table had restricted seating. The table was when the raised platform would be tomorrow when Peter and I would complete this chapter in our lives. Mario approached…with my grandmother!? I hate to say again, but she was stunning! Yes, of course I am bias, but…she was! She was in her mid-seventies! My thoughts were about that commercial I’d seen that advertised make-up for women. There was a woman says, “They say there comes an age where women don’t care how they look. I wonder what age that is.” They then show a beautiful woman putting the make-up on. Below her was her age of seventy!! My grandmother could give that woman a run for her money. Grandmother exercised often dancing her ballet. She was slender and still had definition to her body. She still had a figure. Her white hair was up in a rolled up twist at the back of her head. Not one of those little round nob-like buns women often have to get it out of the way. The dress she had on was black…or was it? As she walked tiny, refracted lights of blue sparkled. Stars in a night’s sky. As she got closer, I could make out tiny sequins on the dress. Full to the floor and a wide neck that seemed to hang from the tips of her shoulders and down her arms. Around her neck was a white metal necklace with a pendant the size of a quarter of dark blue gemstone. A sapphire. There were dime sized ones on her ears and on the ring finger of her right hand and a bracelet on the right arm. Classy. Clothes made the man and the women. “My god, grandma,” I said in a choking voice. “You look just…” I couldn’t think of a word to describe it. “Svelte,” Peter said. “It’s a French word, but now I understand what it means.” He looked at me with a grin. “I know a word used in English you don’t?” “I know the word,” I muttered narrowing my eyes. “I was too shocked to think of it. That’s all.” Grandmother chuckled. “Thank you, my dears.” She kissed us both on the cheek. “This is a once in a lifetime, special occasion.” “This is what you got done in Boston?” I asked about her saying she wanting to get somethings when we went to London for The Graham Norton’s Show. Grandmother gave us a hesitant nod. “Yes, and the one I will wear tomorrow.” She ran a hand over my face. “I am so happy for you. You’re Father, Mother, and Grandfather are so proud of you. I know it.” “Thanks.” I said. Looking at Mario, I shook my head. “Suave and svelte together? That’s very dangerous.” Mario nodded. “I agree,” he smiled at grandmother. “About the svelte part, you could easily enchant me, Signora.” He took her hand and kissed the back of the hand as he bowed. “Stai incantevole.” He said and walked off to find Mom. Grandmother almost giggled. “He is suave.” “What did he say?” I asked grandmother and Peter. “That Grandma was enchanting.” Peter smiled at grandmother, “And I agree.” There were the reporters that were still itching for that exclusive interview. Olek had told them two reporters from a network would be allowed at the pre-wedding dinner party. I saw the woman Benny had called Rose. Benny was Central Broadcasting (CBS), Rose was National Broadcasting (NBC). Peter was right. They were with rival networks. I even spotted Louis Garner, the Anchorman at the BBC that had told Drew his pursuits shouldn’t be all the fay, fag and fairy shit. It bothered Drew. A year ago, Drew got to smear Louis’ words in Louis’ face. I saw Drew enjoy that again as he passed Louis saying “hello” as he and Wayne passed by with Helga on their arms. I also saw the smoldering look Louis gave Drew behind Drew’s back. Drew said reporters were bitchy little girls. Now I saw that was true first hand. “Are you ever letting Louis Garner off the hook?” I asked Drew. He looked like he had no idea what I was talking about. “Let him off hook for what?” Wayne rolled his eyes shaking his head slightly. Sitting at the table for us, we waited for the wait-staff to come. I knew things from Makarovia were being included. When they came out I smiled at what I saw. All of the men and women wore Makarovian white shirts or blouses with the elaborate embroidery stitched on lapels, collars, and cuffs of the sleeves. No two were alike. The different colors and designs told different things. Love, family, luck or good fortune, there were floral designs…each shirt was a conversation on its own having a conversation to others. A story was told. Red or black pants. The occasional red sash tied around the waist over the shirt. No two waiters was the same, yet the designs and placement of them spoke of similarity. They were Makarovians. On the wall, over where we would take our vows, were flags. The largest one was Makarovia’s. To the left, a slightly smaller was the American flag. To the right, the same size as the American flag, was the flag of Great Britain. Slightly smaller than those flags were Germany’s and one for France. Those were the major contributors. They were getting portions of the Uranium for their own use. India, China, Japan, the various countries in Africa wanted to buy some of it. I didn’t know about the Middle East. I knew the one where their President said they had no homosexuals in his country didn’t come. Thinking about what he said just made me laugh. Laugh at the sad ignorance of the man. If there were no homosexuals, why would there be laws on the books and death penalties for people that are there and do it? Peter looked around and looked around. There were two places not filled. I knew who was missing. “I’m sure they’re fine,” I said quietly to Peter. Peter nodded. “I told Boris, he and Yuri were sitting at this table.” “Whatever is holding them up must be important.” I said to comfort Peter and myself. It was only a few minutes more for Boris and Yuri to show up. Both were dressed formally, but we didn’t have to ask too much about why they were late. Yuri had been in a fight as there were some bruises and cuts on his face. Everyone was murmuring to each other because everyone noticed. Boris was speaking confidently to Yuri who nodded. Olek, Peter, and I were beginning to stand as they got closer. Yuri nodded to us, smiling contritely. “Yes, I’ll tell you all about it.” He sat in one of the chairs for them. Olek nodded, “Okay, but are you hurt badly? Should we take you to the hospital?” Yuri shook his head. “No, no, I’m fine. It looks worse than it is.” I was concerned he was covering up that he was badly hurt. “If you say so.” Yuri sighed. “As you were being presented to the crowd,” he began, “I caught four people going through your rooms.” He told us. “They were dressed as United States Military.” He waved at the next question he knew we’d ask. “No, they weren’t military. I could tell. They were not groomed like the military regulations say they are to be.” He chuckled with a shaking appreciative nod. “General Burke would never allow that.” I looked around quickly. “Yes, I haven’t seen either David or Edmond.” “They’re here, but dealing with those four.” Yuri stated nodding. “The men that did this are going to be questioned.” He even growled. “After this.” “Do you think they are part of the Consortium?” Olek asked. “I don’t know.” Yuri said. “We’re trying to find out. We have them contained below. In a holding cell.” Peter nodded. “The surviving car bombers were held there. We know.” “They have no identification on themselves.” he shrugged. “We’re running their faces we took pictures of with a face recognition program. Generals Burke and Hammond are having the rooms searched for any device to spy or for explosives. They could be Consortium, or terrorists like the ones last year or reporters.” He listed the possibilities. “I’m concerned with the military part. They used that to get around the military who were guarding access to upstairs. The military that allowed them up were Royal Marines. The men I caught wore Air Force of the United States.” “It could be any of those things.” Olek nodded. “The timing is the thing.” “Right.” Yuri nodded. “Waiting until everybody was distracted, they were trying to locate something or mezitli escort drop off something.” He looked at all of us at the table. “No one should go back to their room until it has been cleared. Understand?” Olek looked as if he was going to get up again as Yuri approached. “No,” Yuri said waving Olek back down. “General Burke and Hammond are handling it. Sit.” He waved his hand toward Olek in a lowering motion. “This is an important night for Makarovia.” He looked at Peter and me. “For everybody.” The fight hadn’t been too long ago. The table where we sat was round and we could all see the evidence how bad it was. The cuts had stopped bleeding, but I knew the bruises would become worse. “Did you get seen by a medical personnel?” Boris’ eyes didn’t leave Yuri’s face and were full of worry. “By some military corpsmen.” Boris answered as he touched Yuri’s cheek gently. “I’d feel better if one of the base physicians saw you.” Yuri took the hand that touched him and squeezed it with a patient smile, nodding. “I know, but these medics are trained to deal with combat related injuries. I will be checked when a doctor gets here from Skoal.” He shrugged. “How could I miss this?” “They threw you almost across the room!” Boris said with his voice shaking in fear. “Now that you’ve calmed down, who knows what hidden injuries you have?” His hand again touched Yuri gently. Yuri nodded. “I’m telling you,” he said soothingly, “I don’t feel dizzy, my balance hasn’t been effected nor am I seeing anything blurred or doubled.” He chuckled. “The way they fought told me they weren’t military trained.” He looked at us smiling. “I walked away afterwards, they didn’t.” “They shot at you!” Boris said only just barely keeping his voice even. “I know.” Yuri nodded moving his head against Boris’ head, “but they didn’t get me.” I saw David come over. He was in a formal dress uniform. His tuxedo coat was blue like his regular dress uniform color. It was a short coat that stopped at the waist, a white vest over a white shirt. On his upper left chest were his many ribbons from campaigns and medals he earned. His bow-tie was white. The look on his face was the only thing that didn’t fit the festivities around the ballroom. Again, Olek was about to get up and waved down, this time by David. He stood at the edge of our table. “The men we captured are being thoroughly questioned.” He frowned. “They don’t seem to have any training for resistance from questioning.” “You still don’t know who they are,” Yuri said. “Their training could be so good they can fool us.” David nodded. “Searching the world of databases takes time. They’ll be found.” He said confidently. “It may take a few hours, but we’ll find them. A search is being done manually of the personal rooms now. We’ll do an electronics search for hidden devices like cameras, microphones…anything that could receive or send a signal.” He looked at Yuri. “You need to be medically cleared. A couple of doctors are here to do that.” “I feel bruised and a little soar…” Yuri began to protest. “To be safe.” David said. “I can’t order you.” “But I can,” Olek said bluntly. “Get checked out.” Yuri sighed. “Yes, Your Majesty.” He pushed back from the table and got up along with Boris. He waved at the room. “I just don’t want to miss any of this.” “You’ll get checked,” Boris said. “If it’s like you said and nothing’s really wrong, you won’t.” Yuri walked out unaided as people were now speaking among themselves to figure out what was going on. Drew cleared his throat, but not for phlegm. “Olek, you’ve got a room full of reporters. They saw Yuri’s injuries. They’ll want to know what happened. They will begin to make things up if you don’t.” Olek nodded as thought about what to say. He rose going to where he could be seen. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he began loud. Then he was too loud. He hadn’t removed his lapel mike. The Soundman turned it back on at Gentlemen. It startled him. “Chort, ya zabuv, shcho v mene tse bulo.” He said in Makarovian. He’d forgotten he had the mike on. Most of the time it would have been funny. He looked up and smiled. “Ladies and Gentlemen, the man you saw that was injured is a dear friend and most the most trusted man I have as security. Yuri Orlov. I not only trust with my safety, but the safety of those I care the most about. I don’t believe in cover-ups or hiding information. He came upon some people going through the bedrooms of my family and me. Yuri was injured in the struggle to apprehend them. The Gentleman in uniform is a General who has also become a dear friend. The men were captured and are being questioned right now. How those men got access to our rooms and for what purpose I do not know. A man you may know, Drew Humphries, who is a reporter with the BBC and now a good friend to my brothers and to us said you in the media will make things up if not told. You will be informed as we are informed. Refrain from speculation. You will be informed. You were promised an opportunity for one on one time to mingle with us. That is still the plan.” He smiled brightly. “My brother is getting married! That hasn’t changed. We haven’t even eaten yet! I’m hungry. Enjoy the evening.” He stepped down and returned to his seat. “That will have to do.” “That won’t last,” Drew said regretfully. “Answers will be asked for.” The servers came and began serving. There was no menu selections other than choosing a dish that had beef, chicken, fish, or vegetarian. A list what selections were on the tables with each dishes full contents listed in four languages. Served hot to each guest and was delicious. The dinner part was nearly over when we saw Boris and Yuri return. Yuri’s cuts had been cleaned and the bruising had begun its darkening. A server came instantly with piping hot plates of food for them both. Peter and I got up and hugged Yuri gently. We didn’t know if he was sore or where he was injured. His clothing covered body didn’t tell where he was hurt. “I love you, Yuri.” Peter said. “You do so much for us.” He smiled at Yuri. “From the very first day, you were assigned to protect me. From the start you proved to be my friend.” He pulled me over. “Our friend.” I nodded hugging Yuri. “If only there were more like you in the world. There isn’t, so we are blessed that we’ve got you. Peter’s right. We love you.” I saw Boris was more relaxed knowing Yuri was well enough to come here. “You, too, Boris.” I hugged Boris. “I won the fight!” Yuri said happily. “I wasn’t kidding when I said I was the only one to walk out.” He chuckled. “No bones broken, no head trauma on me…” He shrugged. “You were thrown across a room!?” Helga asked as we sat down. “It doesn’t seem possible not to have any of that.” “It took all four to do it.” Yuri nodded with a smile. “I learned more than just to fight, but how to fall. Letting me go to throw me, I could attack again. Taking a punch is as important than giving a punch.” He winked at as they started to eat. Edmond and Eloise Hammond came over at end of dinner. His uniform was white! The ribbons and medals were there. I was amazed at how many. They must had weight. She was in white gown with emerald, green designs on it. “This is just a lovely party,” Eloise said sincerely. “In spite of the fight. It was wonderful. Everything will turn out fine. The food was delicious.” Edmond nodded. “I agree. David and I have teams working on your room situation. They’re doing a thorough sweep. At this time, we haven’t found anything.” Then a mischievous little evil grin came on his face. “Is there a bachelor party?” “No,” Peter smiled shaking his head. Olek shrugged. “Well…” “What, Olek?” Peter growled slightly. “I hope I didn’t give anything away.” Edmond said guiltily. “No.” Olek smiled. “Drew and Wayne thought there should be a party. There is a gathering of guys as a….” He looked at Drew, “What did you call it? A marriage send off?” Drew nodded. “Yes. Wayne, Mario, Yuri, Boris and I thought this dinner party was a little too serious.” “It should be,” Wayne added quickly. “We were going to tell you right when you got here, but that…incident happened…” “It’s just with people who Peter and Eric have gotten to know,” Mario waved at the room of reporters. “Not strangers like these are. You are welcome to be there. You and General Burke.” Edmond smiled. “I would be honored.” He bowed a little. “Where are we doing this?” “As this will be families and friends,” Olek said. “The family room.” “What time?” Edmond asked. Olek looked at the crowd. “I think we’ll break this up before midnight. About that time.” He looked at Peter and me. “During the first hours of your wedding day.” His eyebrows danced twice. Helga smiled at Olek “A night before the wedding with drinking and gruff, explicit talk. Will strippers and porn be there?” Olek’s head gave a shrugging nod. “There will be drinking.” He motioned to the people “A lot of the ones here want a story. The others are Makarovians. This will be a party of people that care about Peter and Eric as people.” “Before that.” Peter began. “We should see the men in custody. It is possible they we may know them.” Edmond nodded, “That could be.” “I hope not.” I said to Peter. “That would be more personal.” “I agree,” Yuri said. “We don’t know who was the intended party. Was it Peter and Eric? Or was it Olek? Or even someone other than you three. An enemy to all of Makarovia?” Edmond nodded, “They’re being held and can’t get away.” Edmond bowed slightly. “Whenever you’re ready. I hate to break up the festivities.” “You’re not,” Olek smiled. “They are. We need to find out who they are.” Enemies have been made. The fact that they were looking in our bedrooms was telling me it was personal. They were in our private, personal places to find something or give something to us. Either way, they wanted to harm us. If it was about the uranium they would have tried to get in Olek’s office. Olek has a computer in his room he used to work, but again they should have gone to Olek’s office as both computers required pass codes. They could have tried to hack in, too. They were seeking information. Why? Makarovia told the truth. There were no secrets or hidden agendas. We went downstairs to the floor used to hold prisoners. It was the same cell that those two car bombers were in a year ago. There were six guards that were armed with military rifles, watching to be sure they didn’t get away. “This is turning into an annual event.” I said quietly to Peter. Peter gave a grunt of agreement. The room was just big enough for all of us to fit. David Burke was questioning them. He had taken his jacket off. He looked good dressed up, even with his jacket off. It just seemed a little odd for him to be yelling at these men so aggressively. They were dressed in standard dress uniforms that were tattered and torn in places. Hitting any of them in the face would only increase the black and blue already there. All four had signs that they had fought. There were no bandages covering their noses had and stopped when it coagulated to stop bleeding. David had one dark haired man by front of the shirt pulling the man closer to yell inches from the terrified man. “…and face charges for impersonating a member of the Air Force of the United States!!” David screamed throwing the man back on the slab he’d been on where David pulled him up from to yell at. David was as terrifying as General Hammond had been! The man groaned at being thrown down, grabbing his right leg. I looked at Yuri. “Damn. You weren’t kidding when you said they didn’t walk away.” I waved at them. “They couldn’t.” Yuri nodded. “That’s another thing I learned along with how to minimize personal injuries.” He waved at the men. “Incapacitate your opponents so they can’t go away. You know. For questioning later.” He bounced a couple of times, proud of what he’d done. Peter chuckled patting Yuri on the back and giving a one arm hug. “Our hero.” Olek laughed. “Good thing you paid attention that day.” One of the men turned to the other and muttered. “Watch your asses, guys. We have pigeons here.” I gasped. “On Russky!” He’s Russian. I walked toward the bars. “Ty Russky!!” You’re Russian. “How do you know that?” Olek asked. “He used the word in English for what Russians call faggots.” I said. “Russians use the word pigeon for the word faggot.” I gave a shrug. “Well, actually it’s p. i. d. g. i. n. Pidgin.” “Eric is right.” Boris said frowning. “Yuri and I heard it enough in Moscow.” “He said it to them which they would understand,” Yuri went on, “which means they might be Russian, too.” They were all in their thirties with dark hair. The one we accused looked at us and laughed. “We’re what!?” His accent was perfect. He sounded like an American. Olek shrugged. “YA mog by prosto kaznit’ ikh.” I laughed. “Ty ko rol’. Ty mozhesh’.” Two of the men recoiled slightly. David looked a little irritated. “Okay, you came in speaking English, then switched to Russian, then Makarovian, but I recognized Russian at the end, but I don’t know a word of what you’ve said.” He said. “Do you mind sharing with the class?” I laughed at David. Even in a situation like this he could be humorous, it lessened the tension. “He’s Russian in Russian. We reasoned they were too because he said it to them and they understood.” Boris added. “Then Olek said in Russian he could just execute them,” Boris shrugged. “Which Olek can do as king.” “For what!?” The man who said we were pigeons asked. “We didn’t steal anything or hurt anyone. The worst thing we can be charged with is trespassing or breaking and entering!” “Like we said,” I said. “He is king. He has that authority. He could charge, pronounce sentence and carry it out with no input from others.” Yuri chuckled. “I’ve seen him do it.” He told the men. “They understood Olek.” Peter said. “Just because we can speak Russian doesn’t mean we are Russian!” The man protested. “Well, Olek could execute you for any reason,” I said. “He can make up a reason afterward. He is the law in Makarovia. He’s has absolute power.” Olek nodded, “I remember…” he said thinking out loud, “Luke…luke something.” He was snapping his right fingers quickly as he did the Ivanov circular pacing. Then snapped his fingers hard and pointed. “That’s it! Lukoil!” He looked at the young Senior Airman at the computer. “They are a huge company there in Russia. They do Petroleum, Natural Gas and Petrochemicals. A man contacted me a few months ago.” He began thinking again and pacing and hitting himself in the forehead to knock something into place in his head to remember. “What was his name?” He asked no one but himself, really. “Vagil Alekperov?” The Airman on the computer asked. Olek turned quickly snapping his fingers again pointing at him. “Yes! That was it. How’d you know?” The Airman grinned and pointed at the screen. “It’s right here. It’s a multibillion dollar company. Almost eight billion dollars a year. They have over one hundred thousand employees.” David looked at the men we were holding. “Are you working for this Alek person?” The defiant man let out a disgusted breath. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” “Mr. Alekperov wanted make a bid for the uranium,” Olek said. “He thought I was being unreasonable refusing him based on past events with Russia. He called several times after that. I wouldn’t answer.” “Lukoil has files and ID’s on record.” The Airman said as he typed. “Assuming they are employees and eliminating female employees. It will still take time to go through the men. I will concentrate on Russia. We’re using fingerprints to find a match.” “Don’t stop the search with the recognition program. We could be wrong.” Olek looked at the accused men who was now fidgeting. “But I don’t think so.” No, these men were not professionals, but more like hired thugs. The Airman nodded. “Oh, it’s still running. Fingerprints and facial records and being searched for matches now. With a world population in the billions. It needs more time.” He waved at the computer. “If they are on record with any country, been in any government service or obtained a driver’s license. We’ll find them.” “We have ballroom full of people we’d allow to mingle and speak with us upstairs.” Olek smiled holding his arm out for Helga. “Helen is up there,” David said. “Tell her I’ll be up in a minute.” As we walked to the elevator grandmother said. “So, this a Russian corporation’s espionage? A business, not a country.” Yuri nodded. “It could be.” “What they work with is about energy,” Olek said, “Cars, heating homes and other things to make that power. The uranium could make more power.” Helga shook her head as she tried to grasp things. “So, going into our rooms will help them get the uranium? How?” “To find something incriminating on one of us?” Yuri said shrugging. “To blackmail all of us or even one of us to work for them?” Peter grinned and then said solemnly. “Well, I have a confession to make.” Olek’s brows came together. “What’s that?” “I’m gay.” Olek gave his brother a light shove as everyone laughed. Olek again went to the raised portion of the ballroom. “We apologize for leaving you, but the situation with the men that broke into our rooms needed dealing with.” He waved at us. “As promised, those in the press, a dance for just a few minutes with any of us will be fine.” He held his finger up. “A few minutes once with any of us with no repeats. And remember we’re Human and have a busy day tomorrow. For those Makarovians here and visiting guests, thank you for coming.” The people began to get up from tables and move forward toward us. The idea of a calm social setting was better than all those reporters all speaking at once asking questions. It was thought this was a better way. It was less chaotic. The music began. Not rock or anything, but classical waltzes. I recognized the first song by Strauss, but didn’t remember the song’s name. Grandmother would know. A woman came to me. “I’m first. I got the highest card.” She was a reporter from the United States or Canada. Her pretty face was the kind cameras focused on. She was pretty, but I felt her smile was practiced and put on like her wardrobe and make-up. I know my head went back a little when she said that. “You what? You got the highest card?” “To see who would be first we got a fresh deck of cards, shuffled them and everyone picked a card.” She smiled. “I got the ace of hearts! That’s you.” “And who is spades?” I sort of knew, but wanted to confirm. “King Olek.” She said simply. “Diamonds is Queen Alla and clubs is Prince Petro. The number cards are the other members of the family. That pretty clever, eh?” She was Canadian. I gave somewhat grudging nod. “It is.” It would go well if everyone followed the rules. We began dancing and was interviewed a few times. The questions were pretty much the same. How was adjusting with royal life? What were my expectations? That sort of thing. Many were from other countries like China…well, Hong Kong at least. There was South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil….you get the picture. That was why only two from a network was allowed and timed. At least the one’s they sent spoke English if not Makarovian. None of them spoke Makarovian. Many had mini-tape recorders or digital memory devices. This was happening to all of us. Including Drew and Wayne. Those were short ones. They wanted to know the connection they had with the two of us. Grandmother was interviewed and so were Boris and Yuri. All was pleasant. Then a man came up. A nice looking man in his forties with dark brown hair. Roger Murdoch. His smile was not real. He was from the Fox Network. They were known for a conservative side of the news. It was fake news had been their problem. They weren’t neutral. He was a man that preferred not to dance but just talk. The usual questions and then… “What makes you think you can help run a country? You’ve never held an office.” Roger asked has his gaze which was now challenging me. “This becoming a real prince is a political office. You will be making policy and making decisions that will affect millions of lives. You’re getting a degree, but you don’t have one yet. How do you presume to think you can do the job?” I returned his gaze as I worded my reply carefully. “That question is based on the assumption I can’t?” I asked. “Any assumptions aside, I met someone I fell in love with and that someone is in love with me. This whole becoming a prince thing was not even a consideration of mine. I hadn’t even heard of this country two years ago. I came here and found out why they are, not just who they are. They have been oppressed for decades, even centuries. Someone was always taking what Makarovia has. Their resources like iron, used for services and even their children were taken! I’m not trying to do the job; I’m doing the job. These people have been through so much. What’s on the web-pages are a samples of the strength and the heart of Makarovia. I fell in love with Makarovia.” “And he’s proving he can every day,” A voice behind me said. Turning, I recognized the white hair and smile of CNN’s best reporter. “Hello, again!” I smiled at Anderson Cooper. “Hello, again to you.” He looked at Roger. “You’re time’s up. It’s my turn now.” Roger Murdoch grunted and left. I stood wondering how I should greet him. He could tell. “Friends call me Anderson or Andy. I’d be honored if you will use one of them.” He held his arms out for a hug. “It’s good to see you, Anderson!” I said sincerely, hugging him. “You’re my favorite American reporter!” “Thanks.” He chuckled motioned to the chairs Roger and I had used. “I prefer to sit this one out. I’m not as young as I used to be. Your husband is a fine dancer. What I’ve seen, so are you.” pozcu escort “I have my Bolshoi and New York star ballerina as a grandmother.” I laughed lightly. “She began teaching me to dance as I was learning to walk.” Anderson chuckled nodding. “I’ve seen her in New York right before she retired from the ballet. My mother saw her often. She loved the ballet.” Unlike the other reporters, he wasn’t anxious to get his questions asked. “How are you?” Anderson asked me. “How are you really?” I nodded. “I’m fine.” I looked at him. “Roger was right.” I looked at Anderson. “I trust that what I tell you, you won’t misquote.” Anderson looked almost hurt. “You chose me last year why?” I nodded. “Yes, I did.” I reached over and touched his hand. “I’m sorry. I had faith that you would report the truth. I have that faith now.” I shrugged. “I’m just very aware of the responsibility I’ve been given. The longer I’m here, the more I feel that responsibility. It’s can be frightening. I can’t let these people down.” Anderson smiled and pointed. “That tells me you won’t!” He laughed lightly sitting forward resting his elbows on his knees. “You know it will depend on how you view the job. Don’t lose focus.” He shook his head. “Don’t allow yourself to go down that road and lose that focus like many do, including the ones in my family, thinking you deserve it.” I chuckled. “I do understand that.” Anderson nodded. “Good.” He was relaxed and so was I. “Being part of the Vanderbilts was something I didn’t have a choice about. I was born from one. You are becoming an Ivanov and be given prestigious status.” His chuckle was a little uneasy as he remembered something. “Being raised where you don’t worry about things like monthly bills sounds great. It’s also a trap. My great, great, great, grandfather started it. When you can pretty much have whatever you see and you know it’s because of the money you have, not because of who you are. Children indulged in that having doors opened and preferential treatment because of who they are gets pass it down generation to generation.” He sighed. “You lose touch with those that do struggle in their daily lives. Don’t lose your awareness.” I nodded. “I think about it all the time.” I admitted. “Some of this,” I waved at the ballroom, “I think is over the top and unnecessary. I’m told it is necessary to show to the world.” He laughed. “Have you ever heard of the Vanderbilt parties?” He held his hand out to me to stop something. “When I say this, it’s a compliment, not a competition. This,” he waved at the guests, “is modest compared to some I’ve seen in pictures and have been to with family.” “Your family is American Royalty.” I said simply. “I read that on several web-sites.” Anderson nodded. “That’s what they say.” “But you don’t have Vanderbilt money.” I said. Anderson shook his head. “I was raised and schooled on Vanderbilt money, but no, I wouldn’t take it. Why would I? I earned what I have. Your situation is different from mine in that you are showing the world Makarovia. Not you.” He grinned. “I’ve never seen your future mother-in-law or brother-in-law dressed up elaborately if they aren’t at a party like this.” “That would be ostentatious.” I’d heard it before. Anderson looked at his watch. “Well, my time is up.” “What number heart did you get?” I asked. “I lost count.” “I got the two.” I smiled. “Then you are the last.” I waved at the seat. “Please stay, Anderson. I like you. You give good advice.” He nodded sitting back relaxed and smiled at me. “I like you, too.” I sat talking with Anderson when Olek came to the table we had deserted a while ago. He slumped down with a sigh in a chair by us. “The next occasion like this,” Olek said. “We need to rethink this mingle and dance thing.” He smiled. “I’m am…” he looked at me and Anderson confused, “What is an English word for tired?” Anderson and I chuckled. “There are several.” I said. “I think pooped is the one you’re looking for here.” Olek nodded. “Yes, that’s the word. Pooped. Light, but conveys the idea of a good type of tired.” He smiled at us again. “I am pooped.” “Olek, have you met Anderson Cooper?” I asked. Olek nodded. “He was fourth for me.” Anderson nodded. “I got the Jack of Spades for him.” Peter came back and sat with us. “Hi, Anderson!” “Hi.” Anderson replied and turned to me. “I got the nine of clubs for him.” He looked at his chair. “I’m probably taking someone’s seat.” “We have other chairs.” Olek said simply. “Stay if you want to. Anyone interviewing more than once is allowed to stay.” He looked around quickly. “I’ve had some that have interviewed me a few times. I hope they didn’t hear that.” I looked at Anderson. “Are you with someone here we should bring over?” Anderson shook his head. “Nah, the crew CNN sent with me are fine.” He shrugged. “I didn’t choose any to show any preference between them. So, no.” It was nice to see him being less the professional journalist and just a guy. He was relaxed with us. “How soon do you have to get up in the morning?” Peter asked. Anderson physically waved that away with a swipe of his hand in the air. “My internal clock is out of whack. I’ll be up for an update at eleven in the morning.” Olek’s eyes grew. “Out of whack? I’ve never heard that.” I chuckled. “No one’s said that to you?” Olek put his hands out helplessly. “Apparently not. Is it like crazy?” He looked at Anderson. “I’m not saying you are, but…” Anderson laughed. “No, my body is still on Eastern Standard Time. It’s only about nine in the evening there. My body has to reset.” Olek was nodding as Anderson was explaining. “Oh, I certainly understand that.” Peter chuckled as Olek learned a new phrase. “I asked because I was going to invite you to our Send Off party after this.” Anderson grinned. “It’s a Bachelor Party?” Drew came over. “It is a party and they will be bachelors. Yes, it’s a bachelor party.” “Yes, yes,” Peter said and looked at Anderson. “To all that. Would you come?” “It’s a party with just friends.” Olek added. Anderson chuckled. “I’d love that.” People were coming back as they finished their interviews. I looked over at my grandmother. She was popular. To me, she was Grandma, but she once was a celebrity of her own in the past. That connection to me and my new family wasn’t brought up. She had been the Queen of the Ballet! Even Anderson knew who she was and said his mother had often seen her, but what happened next I never would have expected. Grandmother came over with a smile. Anderson and I stood up and as she got closer she smiled at Anderson. “Hello, Anderson! It’s wonderful to see you again!” Extending her hands which Anderson took and they kissed cheeks and hugged! They didn’t just know about each other, but knew each other! ‘It’s good to see you, Miss Katrina.” Anderson said her name as a child would address a friend who was older. “The last performance I saw was Sleeping Beauty. It was as always spectacular. I was a lot younger then.” Grandmother gave a soft grunt of acknowledgment of that. “I was, too.” She then smiled again. “Wait.” I held the time out signal with my hands. “Time out. You knew Anderson before?” I asked grandmother surprised. “You saw the interview we had with him, why didn’t you tell me?” Grandmother shrugged. “I didn’t think of it. I’d seen him often with his mother when he was younger. His mother a patron of the arts. She frequented my performances. Sometimes he’d come with her.” She looked at Anderson. “I am sorry you lost her. She was a good soul.” Anderson nodded. There was a brief look of pain in his eyes. There would be. She was his mother. I knew this pain having recently lost my own mother. “Thank you.” He said. “It’s hard. I know.” Then I smirked at Anderson. “Okay,” I said, “you two met when?” Grandmother chuckled. “Quite a few times. From when he was this…” she held her hand to her waist, “to this.” She waved to Anderson. Anderson ran a hand through his hair grinning. “I still had dark hair then.” “I think you look great with silver hair.” Grandmother ran her fingers in his hair. “You’re more handsome than ever.” I shook my head at them in a grudging nod. “You are so going to that party tonight, Andy!” I gave him a playful shove. “I told you about her was in that interview last year!” Anderson laughed. “Yes, you did, but only said where she was from, not who she was! There have been a few defecting Russian ballet dancers.” He shrugged pointing at us. “I wasn’t there about her, but about you and Peter. I didn’t think of it. I had a limited time to get to things.” He explained grinning grandly as he said it. I slowly nodded. “I will except that. For now.” I looked at grandmother. “Is there anyone else you may have forgotten to mention?” Grandmother smiled giving a slight, grudging nod. “I’m sure there are.” Her eyes twinkled at me. “I had a life, you know? I’ll mention it when the next one comes around.” I adored that woman. As this part of the pre-wedding party came to a close, I did notice that the male portion of the Ivanovs were missing. I still had Peter, so I was good. I knew what they were doing. I’ve drank before and gotten wasted only a handful of times. I really didn’t care for beer. I would try to not get too drunk and hurt in the morning. It would be unthinkable to puke at this wedding. The world would be watching! Unforgivable! I chuckled at a thought. Seeing a drunk General Hammond might be worth it. David Burke I could imagine. I didn’t see either of them as a mean drunk, but you never knew. Then I saw Fedir Hycha, the man who located the missing files and pictures about the Holocaust Survivors, come over, followed by his husband Kurt. “Fedir, Kurt! Hello, my friends.” I greeted them rising to do what I do. Hug. Peter did the same. “This our friend Anderson Cooper.” I waved to Anderson. “My grandmother, Katrina Sams.” Hands shook and all that, Fedir looked at me. “You know what’s going to happen, so let’s go.” He looked at my grandmother. “They didn’t exclude you, Mrs. Sams.” “To attend a men’s party?” Grandmother chuckled. “I’ll pass. Beauty sleep and all that. You boys go on.” She got up and kissed my cheek. “Have a good time. We’ll see you tomorrow.” She kissed Peter’s cheek and headed off. We got up to the palace’s main floor and headed away from the media stragglers from the party below. Rounding a corner, we saw a line of Makarovian guards at the door of the family room. There was a recessed door? It was never closed before. I didn’t know that. As we got near, it slid open a little. Olek’s head came out and asked. “Are they…” He saw us. “There you are!” His head disappeared and we heard. “They’re coming!” There was a whoop in Drew’s voice and some other voices speaking English, Makarovian, Russian from Yuri and Mario’s deep Italian accented voice spoken English. They didn’t sound like a group of grown men right now. Teenage boys maybe. “English, Gentlemen.” Wayne urged, “for the language challenged Englishmen!” “And American!” David added. “Hey! I’m outnumbered here!” Anderson grinned at the sounds that were supposed to be hushed, but weren’t. “Do you really want to go in there?” He chuckled to us. “We have to.” Peter chuckled, “but you don’t.” I grabbed Anderson’s coat sleeve. “Oh, yes, he does!” Making Anderson laugh. We walked into chaos. I didn’t see a lot of order yet as they moved to do different things. Suddenly Peter and I were wearing white wedding veils as Drew and Wayne put them on our heads. The kind of veil that was a ring around the head and the white veil behind us. “There is no bride!” Peter said laughing. “There is right now!” Yuri said loud. Anderson smiled bigger. “This looks like fun!” He slipped off his jacket and tossed it over a chair on the side and loosened his tie. The long table was slid to the side of the room with the chairs. On the table were many bottles of various alcoholic drinks. All top shelf. “As of now,” Olek said, “As king, I declare all things not fun are forbidden from this room.” He held up two empty glasses. “But first, he poured something brownish amber colored in the glasses. He looked at me. “You drink scotch, right?” “I do,” I held out my hand. “Mixed drinks the last few months only…” “I know, the first one burns.” Olek nodded. “Just a splash for now.” I glanced back at Fedir knowing how Kurt had restricted his husband’s consumption a year ago. Kurt nodded. “It’s a special occasion. A splash now, and moderation after that. If I sense any…” Fedir kissed Kurt quickly and accepted the glass with a smile. “As wonderful as things are going for Makarovia,” Olek began. “Things for my little brother are going very well. Two years ago, he stepped out of his discomfort to help Makarovia and met someone that meant something to him. In little more than a dozen hours, he will bring that someone into this kingdom and my family. I can’t wait to see what happens next.” He raised his glass. “My brothers, to a very happy future.” Glasses raised and clicked together and the contents thrown back. Yep, that first “splash” burned. My head did its usual involuntary quick shake as I swallowed. “Now,” Drew said. “We play a game. Beer pong?” “Shot Roulette?” Olek asked. Face it, all the games were drinking games. The fun was not the game’s point, really. The more drunk the guys got; the funnier things got! The game of “if you never” or “if you ever” was played where you took a drink if you never or ever. You had to trust the man answering was honest. Let’s just say, the question of who and who wasn’t gay or straight was a little blurred. It wasn’t one of the ones you would think. It was given by David. “If you’ve never kissed a man and meant it, take a drink.” No one took a drink. He was looking at me. Was this David’s way of telling me or us he had kissed a man and meant it? That no admission of anything. Of course, those of us that were gay had kissed men and meant it. Edmond, too. Did that mean Olek and Mario were bisexual? Maybe, the interpretation of “if you meant it” could be questioned. When asked if we’d kissed women and meant it. I couldn’t drink. I had meant it. Peter didn’t drink either. He’d meant to kiss her, as well. Then was the Charades! A few had gotten slightly toasted by then and acting things out was quite humorous. A lot of these were “you had to be there” things. Being drunk helped, too. It was nice to see some rather reserved individuals try to keep that reserve. Edmond and Mario were funniest in their attempts to maintain that reserve. Anderson just blended with the rest of us acting as crazy as the rest. He was hilarious at Charades! What he had tried to get us to guess was “golden shower.” Embarrassment and not wanting to act them out made it more funny! All of the things we had to make the others guess was about sex. I nearly lost it when Mario got “tea bagging.” He had to have that translated by Olek who could speak a little Italian. It was even funny as Olek spoke softly in Italian when we saw Mario get it as his eyes widened slowly as he understood. The man was turning red before he even started! Peter got “hung like a horse.” I got “pearl necklace.” David was not surprising. He got “banana hammock.” He did fine with it. Edmond was like Mario when he got “chocolate highway.” it went on and on! I know we were loud. The quick drunk was preferred as was the quick sobering. It would be. The four or five hours passed when Eloise and Helen came to collect their husbands at the agreed upon hour. They were dressed more for lounging than sleeping now. Edmond and David had insisted the guards be Makarovian to avoid as many as possible from seeing them in this condition. “I hate that they are returning to Skoal.” I said to Peter. “They’re not.” Olek said happily behind us. “They have rooms downstairs.” He shrugged. “It seemed logical.” “We don’t to destroy their reputations.” I smiled as Olek was starting list to one side. I stood him up straighter. “How many drinks have you had?” Olek shook his head. “Iduno. I lost count. How many have you had?” “Enough.” I said smiling as I pulled him up straight again. I was drunk. I’d never pass a sobriety test now, but not that drunk. “Should we send for Helga and Mom?” “Don’t bother,” Helga laughed coming in the room. “We sort of figured we better come.” Looking at Mario, he was having trouble keeping his balance, too. “Did you boys enjoy yourselves?” Mom asked looking at Mario closer. Mario nodded. “We did.” He looked at the surrounding guys. “A greater bunch of men I don’t know of.” His accent thicker. “Oh,” Boris piped in. Yuri and Boris were supporting each other. “When the morning comes and you are feeling a little hungover, come here and I’ll administer a sure way to get rid of it.” “It’s tradition!” Olek said shrugging. “We are big on traditions here.” Peter threw his arm around Olek. He looked seriously at Olek. “My big brother. My protector, but most important one of my closest, dearest friends. I love you, Olek.” Olek was drunk, too, but said surprisingly sober. “You’re one of my closest and dearest friends. I love you, too. I watched you grow up. I saw when you suffered,” he said with pain in his voice, “and it hurt me. I didn’t know what to do.” He ran a hand over his brother’s face in almost a caress. “I treated you as I would normally to show you it didn’t matter to me. You were normal. You are my brother! Then, I was gone a lot. You were left here to deal with it alone. You shocked me when you told me you wanted to go to Northeastern. You were a hermit practically, but insisted on going.” He pulled Peter closer with in a one armed hug kissing him loudly on the cheek. “I was prepared for anything, even a call telling me he wanted to come home. Instead, in a few months’ time, he meets Eric. He brought Eric to a dinner at the American President’s House!” He shook his head. “He told us nothing about what he was doing there, but the man I met showed me this new Peter! He was still Peter, but this…” He shook his brother’s face. He pulled me into his hug with Peter. “I meet Eric and I quickly fell in love with him, too.” He looked at Peter. “Not like you did, but I am in love with Eric.” Maybe the alcohol was working as he spoke with a little heavier accent. English was the language everyone understood. “How could he find someone in America that speaks the language so well? The switch from Ukrainian to Makarovian he did in only a few weeks! Whatever or whoever in charge of all things had to be involved. This was destiny! Who am I to argue?” He looked at Peter and me. “I love these two. My brothers. Today, you become an Ivanov!” He touched my face with both hands. “A welcomed member of the family.” He kissed me again. He might have been a little drunk, but meant every word. Helga came up again and smiled. “Which you will miss if you don’t get some sleep, engel.” I didn’t need to speak German to know she called him angel. Yay for Olek. I wondered what he called her. Fedir and Kurt were fine going home through the tunnels. I watched as partners helped the other to get upstairs. I looked at Anderson. He didn’t look like the top journalist right now, but was smiling at Peter and me. “You two have a great family.” I nodded. “Yes, we do.” The tie was on more loosely now and the jacket still off. The top buttons on his shirt was unbuttoned. I took the veil off. We were forbidden to remove them until this was over. “Do you need help to your room?” He stood up and stumbled a little. “I might.” He chuckled. “Which way do I go for the elevator?” “We’ll help you.” Peter assured. I got on one side of him and Peter got to the other side. Anderson looked at us and frowned. “Why are you two so lucid?” “The drink I had, I had most of the night.” Peter confessed. I nodded. “Mine, too.” I laughed. “I had maybe three or four little drinks. I’m a little drunk.” I admitted. “I’d never drive like this.” Anderson shook his head. “That’s not right. That was for you! It was a Bachelor Party and you were the bachelors.” “And we enjoyed it.” Peter smiled at me. “You did, didn’t you?” I chuckled. “I loved it. Mario was losing his English and so was Olek.” Peter laughed. “It was good to see those disciplined personas dropped a while. Tonight, they were just men.” He hugged Anderson in that masculine one armed hug men often give. “We were all family and good friends. One that was a delightful surprise.” The Gallery was almost deserted. There were a few crewmen worked quietly on somethings. I heard something about the best angle as they worked. I saw the logo on the privacy “tent” they had. CTV. They were Canadian. What secret did they have they wanted the security for? There was a wedding. Everyone knew about that. They all had those tents. Anderson wasn’t falling down and puking drunk, but we made it to the elevator and took him to his room. We got to our room and undressed. “Are you too drunk for a little love making?” Peter asked. “Never,” I said crawling into bed with him I saw his erection. “You’re not.” I chuckled stroking it. “I get erections with you just standing there. That’s why I use those boxer briefs. I love you.” “I know you do.” I kissed him gently. “I love you.” He grinned. “I know.” I don’t care what people think, but having that one person that you are so familiar with is priceless. We knew each other so well we knew what the other wanted and liked without using words now. We discovered new things and enjoyed trying new things, but now a slow physical affirmation of our love for each other was happening. It was a deep love that required that we did it slowly. I’ve painted a very positive picture of the events that happened. There were some pretty negative happening in the world. Protests were recorded. People tried to get into Makarovia and as we had no escort bayan commercial flights yet it was harder. This was Spring. There were roads into Makarovia and they tried coming in that way. At the bottom of the palace people were watched. If signs came out to protest, they were arrested immediately. People had a right to think what they wanted, but speaking out against the King or his brother was treason! Couples like us, male and female, were approached in the underground and attached verbally. One man was going to paint something on a couple. Not in Makarovia! They were thrown out by the people of Makarovia, no police or guards needed. No one was attacking our citizen’s friends and family. It was the conservatives in the world…and I’m ashamed to say those in the USA where the most vocal. Preachers, pastors, and whatever religious leader condemned us from their pulpits. On a national and international conservative Christian news show, two discussed it sadly. They didn’t scream that we were going to Hell. Makarovia, King Olek and Queen Alla were misguided souls who didn’t see the sin they were promoting and needed salvation. Peter and me in particular. “What sort of message are we sending our children when these two, obviously lost souls are rallied around by so many people in the world? They have become media darlings for millions of impressionable young people that see them and think, maybe it’s not so wrong. Their being seduced by the glamour of what they see.” The older man asked shaking his head, using that soft voice telling people he was a meek man by not verbally attacking us. The man with him had nodded his agreement while the other spoke. “God ordained marriage to be between a man and a woman. The immorality of what they’re doing is sweeping the globe!” The other said agreeing. “Makarovia did some courageous things in Europe during those horrible years with Hitler during World War II by opening their hearts and doors to those people that suffered during that just awful Holocaust, but this is just a slap in God’s face…” Yet interviews of citizens of The United States on the streets, most didn’t care and was looking forward to watching us get married themselves so didn’t see the problem. Canada and Australia were not as bad, but the Middle East was very upset. They banned watching the wedding, cutting off any network broadcast and computer access was forbidden and even had criminal charges attached if they even tried! Sure, that always helped. (Heavy sarcasm just then, if you didn’t know that.) The next morning after coffee, we didn’t want possibly make things worse by eating too much, we saw a man I’d seen before looking for Olek, who wasn’t in his office at the moment. The man was our Makarovian IT guy, Denis Babuch, Romania’s loss because he might love a man and didn’t feel comfortable where he lived. Watching to be careful who knew and who didn’t was exhausting! He didn’t say whether he was gay or not. He was effeminate and condemned for it by others. He just wanted to be free to be himself. Here, he could be. He was a nice man! Who is to judge whether he’s man enough for anyone’s standards? Who made them the authority to be judge? Denis told us there were hundreds of threats of death from many of the countries such as Iran and Iraq. Then we met Yasin Bergir. I was shocked! Peter was shocked. Yasin was from the Middle East. The darker skin and black hair said he was from the Middle East. There hadn’t been one here before! Maybe in history, but not a couple of hundred years. Why would they come here? We had nothing in the past. That showed on our faces. “He’s fine.” Denis wrote on a clipboard as an eye caught our expressions. “He has been more than thoroughly checked.” “Yes,” the man said in English with no accent. Even with just that one word there were vowel sounds that told you someone wasn’t from the United States or Canada. He glanced behind himself to thumb at the security that was there and not really looking at Yasin, but still standing with a clear view of Yasin if needed. “And still am.” He chuckled looking back at me and Peter. “I got used to it. Even after I married Brian, they still weren’t sure about me. Sometimes I think they know me more intimately than my husband.” He was an attractive man in his mid-thirties. A bit thinner than I liked, but I wasn’t marrying him. His hair was groomed, short and had a little overhang on his forehead that I knew would be a problem to keep out of his eye if not cut. “Not that I care that you are, but how’d you get here?” Peter asked astonished. “Why did you get here?” Yasin had a charming smile. He had very white teeth. Dentists loved him, I bet. “I was a translator in Iraq for the Americans,” he shrugged. “I met Brian and we fell in love.” “That was very dangerous. Wasn’t it?” I said knowing how harsh they were with people like us. ‘Yes,” Yasin nodded. “When Brian told me he loved me,” he shrugged with a softer smile at the memory. “He promised to take me away and married me on US soil there to get me out. It was legal there. We’d be happy he promised and we have been. My parents said I was dead to them when they found out. I was disowned by my brothers and sister. I had no one until Brian came.” I smiled hearing this. Love is universal. Yasin clearly loved this Brian and I had to meet this man. “I have to meet him, but his family? It’s getting better in America, but not always accepted.” Yasin laughed. “His mother only took a day or two to get over the shock.” He chuckled with a light shrug. “Now she loves me and even asks to speak to me on the phone just to chat. His brother is a few years younger and didn’t care. His older sister said she knew he was gay for years and was glad he came around and finally found someone. She was thrilled.” “You left someone out.” Peter said. “Is there a father?” “Oh, yes. Robert Peterson.” Yasin sighed, but smiled. “Bob took a little longer,” he chuckled at some memories scratching his right ear. “He served in the US Marine Corp for sixteen years. I had to convince Bob I wasn’t a threat to Brian, his family, or the United States. That took a year and lots of on purpose family dinners for him to relax and see me as someone that really loves his son. Now he’s very friendly with me.” “I can’t imagine.” Peter said. “My family excepted Eric right when they found out about him.” Yasin nodded. “And that’s why we’re all here. Your family and country didn’t care. They saw love and are displaying that proudly to the world!” A young man in US Air Force blue came up. He bowed to us. “Forgive me, Your Highness, Your Lordship, but I preparing the daily report for Yuri and King Olek expects in a few minutes.” He looked at Yasin. “This I didn’t get.” He pointed to something on the paper. He said something in a language we didn’t know. Yasin nodded, “An easy mistake. It says not a veiled threat,” Yasin handed him the paper back. “Yuri wants one every morning.” Peter and I grinned at each other. “We know he can be tough.” I said. Yasin looked at us with a little suspicion. One eye narrowed as he smiled. “You know him.” “We love him like family.” I smiled. “We owe him our lives as he’s saved us many, many times.” Yasin nodded. “I saw the footage of the attack in London.” Yasin said. “That must have been awful, it was pretty rough!” “How’d you see that?” Peter’s eyes widened as he asked. “There were people recording it?” “No one recorded it. London has a pretty good setup with traffic cameras.” Yasin said. “So, what wasn’t a veiled threat?” I asked. Yasin looked a little hesitant to answer. “That’s okay. We can ask Yuri,” Peter said simply to ease Yasin’s worry. “He never holds back the truth.” Yasin shook his head and gave in. “There are groups that threaten us daily here. That just now was an extremist group that threaten almost daily. It would take an attack from the air to threat Makarovia now, what with the Americans and the UK forces here, they wouldn’t stand a chance.” “Thank God.” Peter said. “Speaking of whom. We’re okay with whatever, but how devote are you?” Yasin nodded with a smile having been asked many times. “I was raised with Islam, but I sort of stopped going to any Mosque before I even met Brian.” He smiled and shrugged, “I don’t have a prayer mat or bow to pray at scheduled times a day toward Mecca.” “It is the religion you were raised in,” I said now feeling sorry for him. His family failed him; his religion failed him…he’d lost his emotional security. His very foundation was destroyed. “I don’t know about your faith, but I was raised in the Eastern Orthodox Church and protestant churches in South Carolina and North Carolina. There are parts I can not agree with. I also did research about why we were so hated for loving our own gender. That and biology. I found out about the Catholics and how they assembled the Bible so it says what they want. The very first book I can not believe.” I said. “We have been shown things that tell us the world is billions of years old. It couldn’t have been made in just six days. Not that short of time. By the preponderance of evidence, I was shown it wasn’t true. Don’t give me that shit by asking how long was a day. Sunrise and sunset, that’s a day.” I began getting a little charged up as I spoke. “And Cain, after he killed Abel went to a village and got a wife.” I threw my hands up. “Where the hell did she come from? Was it his sister? Adam and Eve lived hundreds of years. Did poor Eve give birth every year? She had perfect DNA and it says they had sons and daughters and she could have twins and triplets…” “Eric,” Peter pulled me close from behind and smiled at Yasin, “He gets this way sometimes.” He said in a stage whisper. “Well, it pisses me off.” I turned to Peter. “It should piss you off, too. I’m supposed to live my life by this book!?” “Can I get pissed off about it after the wedding?” “Oh, yeah,” I grinned as he brought me even closer. “I sort of forgot a second or two.” “Just don’t forget to be there at three o’clock in the ballroom.” He hugged me. “I’ll be the guy down in front. Nice to meet you, Yasin.” He kissed me and began leading me somewhere. I turned to Yasin, “You’re staying in Makarovia, right?” “Yes. Brian’s in the Air Force and was sent here. I will be here a while to translate for General Burke and for King Olek.” He said loud to be heard. “We have to meet your Brian!” I said as we were too far away. I looked at Peter. “Where’s the fire?” “Olek and Mom wanted to explain the ceremonies again. We tell everyone I do and then you get the crown. We will be announced as married and announced as Princes then. It will be too late to back out.” “For you, too.” His grin said that wasn’t a problem. We entered Olek’s office as we heard Olek say in Russian. “… oni delayut, i eto opredeleno, chto eto prishlo iz vashey strany, budut posledstviya ot nekotorykh mogushchestvennykh stran, yesli vy prervete ikh polucheniye urana.”…they do and it’s determined it came from your country, there will be repercussions from some powerful countries if you interrupt their getting the uranium. He looked up and smiled waving us in farther. “Moi brat’ya tol’ko chto prishli, i u nas svad’ba. My budem na svyazi.” My brothers just came in and we have the wedding. We’ll stay in touch. He hung up and came around his desk. “Was that about the threat?” Peter asked pointing at the phone. “That extremist group?” Yuri was at another desk looking at laptop screen. “They are limited on where they can launch an attack. Even if they managed to acquire a Russian R-36, which they could fire from Iran and hit us, it takes some skills for that. They would just do it if they could. This is for everyone to panic about. ICBMs are carefully inventoried and watched. General Burke assured me none are missing from the US arsenal inventory. ” He reported to Olek. He turned to Peter and me. “Yes, it’s them.” He looked at Olek’s surprised face. “I can’t hide the truth from them, Olek, and I never hold anything back.” “Are they ISIS or Taliban?” I asked. “Or maybe affiliated with one of them?” “They claim to be,” Yuri nodded. “Those in military intelligence in the US and the UK have made contact with them and they of course deny knowing anything about them.” “They are going to launch a missile at us?” I asked. “That’s what they say they are.” Yuri nodded with a bitter smile. “Just because we’re getting married!?” Peter balked at that and started to do that circular pace he did. “I am ignorant about this, I know. I can’t understand it. What’s the big deal? Millions of guys are marrying now. Why us?” Olek smiled stopping Peter. “It’s not about your wedding. Not really. It’s a symbolic act that tells the world no one is above their laws. Even you. These guys want show whatever group they should be included in their ranks. They aren’t afraid of us.” He brought Peter close, hugging him, but grinned at me. “This is what I didn’t want to happen. Nothing can stop others’ hate, but I didn’t want it to affect you. Not today.” He kissed Peter and grabbed me and hugged me. “I wanted nothing but happy emotions today.” He kissed me. “You’re getting married!” I smiled at Olek. “Yes, but they could still launch a missile.” “Yes, they could.” Yuri agreed coming closer. “They don’t have an alliance with any country in Europe, East or West. The countries close enough have been warned about this group. Romania and Ukraine wouldn’t dare. Russia? Sure. If they don’t mind a hornet’s nest of angry countries. Claiming they didn’t know about any group in their country won’t work in this situation. They have been told. Olek was speaking with the Moldova President just now. They can’t afford to be involved; the repercussions would be too great.” He chuckled. “There are noted dignitaries here and news crews from around the world here.” He shook his head. “No. It won’t happen.” Olek looked at his watch. “You’ve got five hours left!” He bounced. “How are you feeling this morning?” Peter grinned. “Fine. How did you feel?” He asked Olek and Yuri. Olek frowned at that. “Well, it started a little rough.” He admitted and turned to Yuri. “Boris needs to patent that hangover cure. He’ll make millions!” Yuri chuckled nodding. “Yes, he would. We’re dehydrated. He starts with one of those sports drinks that replaces the water loss and adds something for the upset stomach and headache. It take a few minutes to absorb, but when it does, it works!” “There you are!” Mom said loud and annoyed from behind us at the door. There are certain behaviors that are in our genes I guess. After millions of years of conditioning a mother’s cross indignation with the fists on her hips was one of them. The fear response from her children, despite our ages, was another. “I’ve been waiting for you three for over half an hour!” Even Olek bowed to her maternal authority and he was in his forties and King! She wasn’t even his biological mother. She had been there after he was just entering his teens, so in a lot of ways she was his mother. The only one he remembered. “Sorry, we got caught up with things here.” Mom was a beautiful woman even in a nice, but simple dress. No one would guess she was in her early fifties. “Well, come on. Things need to be ironed out for the wedding and coronation.” The wedding, as you know, was not a religious ceremony. The man performing the wedding was a judge. He was from the Ukraine, but was attracted to men. He was treated nicely when he was here. It was nice to be somewhere there were so many of us. He came here to get away and met someone here. An educated man in Makarovia!? We practically begged him to stay. That was seven years ago. He and his husband were very happy here. In fact, he ended up bringing three other couples to Makarovia, One was a doctor! Yes, ladies, one lawyer and the partner was female. The ceremony followed the religious service to a degree. There was even a prayer and blessing for me and Peter, not for our marriage, but as people. The towel. I didn’t fully understand it at first. Makarovians did it differently than our neighboring countries. There was a single towel that all Makarovian royal weddings were done upon. It was hundreds of years old. Peter’s and Olek’s father was married on it, their grandfather, and his father…you get the picture. When they brought out the sealed bag the cloth was in, breaking the seal, air went in for the first time since Olek the First was married on it to Mom. They took this white silk cloth out that was so clean. Even the woman bringing it out wore gloves to protect it. Eastern Europe was known for their stitching and embroidery. They were famous for it. The entire towel was silk! When it was unfolded, you saw how sheer and delicate it was. Thin lines of red, blue, green, and gold made these floral designs on it. Bright enough to be seen clearly. I saw the symbol language in the design. There was a message written on it. This wasn’t a bathroom towel or any other towel I knew of. This was a tapestry! Mom knew what I was looking at as my hand moved over the delicate stitching, but afraid to touch it, following the symbols to get the meaning and what it said softly. “It’s a prayer,” She explained the stitched symbols. “Written all over the cloth. The Church may not ask for a blessing for this wedding, but all of the Ivanovs will.” I was afraid to touch it. “You want me to stand on this!?” I asked turning to them. “Just this one time for a few moments. Today.” Peter chuckled. “You sort of have to. I don’t know if we can marry if you don’t.” He looked back at Olek who shook his head sternly. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. I waved my hand at it. “I don’t want to go down in history for being the one that rips this!” “So don’t.” Peter said simply. “This is absolutely beautiful. This is true Makarovian Art! This is priceless!” Olek and Peter nodded. “Yes. It is.” They said together. As if I needed the added pressure! “Thanks.” I grumbled. “I’m serious! This is real art! It should be on display in the Gallery and seen. Not just seen by the family once at a wedding, There are ways to seal and protect it. Even from fading from light. Makarovia and the whole world should see this!” Olek looked at Mom. “I don’t mind. Do you?” Mom chuckled. “Not at all. That is Etic’s job after all. You gave it to him if I recall.” I saw Anderson Cooper having finished an update with CNN. I loved that I was allowed to walk around freely now. After they had gotten here it was hard when they first got here, but after they were all here, Olek made a law. No one in the media or with the media could approach any one of us or would be jailed and fined. Anyone hoping to skirt around that law using trickery would deal with Makarovian Law. Him. No one dared. We could approach them, but until we did, no questions or badgering. So, I wasn’t bothered by anyone. Anderson was again that top reporter for CNN. He looked great. “Hi, Andy!” I greeted my newly discovered friend. He turned from his colleagues and smiled a smile he used only with his friends. “Hi!” He greeted. “You don’t look ill, so I’m guessing you had no hangover.” “Not really.” I grinned at him. “You?” “Me?” He asked surprised. “It’s never a problem.” He gave a superior sniff. I smiled at that. “It just felt a little high school to me. Getting together for the sole purpose of getting drunk.” I shrugged, “whether we were of age or not.” Shoving him lightly. “I guess where you went to high school that didn’t happen.” “And that would be wrong.” Anderson shook his head. “Dalton had parties. The kids from the Upper East side just had more resources. The party here had a reason. Your family and friends love you and were wishing good things for you in the future. They are happy for you and Peter.” He looked around me. “You’re getting married, but where’s the other half of you?” I chuckled. “He’s never too far. He’s coming.” Last was Jori. He had that reputation to keep so he had to be sure we were dressed right. I knew he got more pleasure than he should have doing his job. I didn’t care that much, but mentioned it to Peter. Peter nodded with a shrug. “Sure, I hope he does.” He saw my surprised expression. “Jori is a sexual being and we are the same species.” He gave a slight nod. “The same gender, but we know about that now, so not an issue.” He smiled, “We don’t mate on instinct anymore. If he gets some sexual pleasure with what he does,” Peter shrugged again. “Fine. If he gets aroused by me or you that’s also fine. He’s confirming our choices in future mates.” He grinned. “You know your attracted to David. I am, too. We would never cross that line. He belongs to Helen. I’m attracted to Wayne, but he belongs to Drew. Even if that wasn’t true, I’d never just go after him. I’d have to know him first.” He cocked his head smiling. “You see guys that attract you. I know it.” “What a conversation right before our wedding.” I grinned as I walked closer to him. “Yes, I’m aroused by others.” I put my arms around him. “I’m attracted to David and Edmond. I’m attracted to Drew and Wayne, Boris and Yuri. Anderson now. I was and am with Olek. It leads to a deeper caring than just friends. I’d never hurt them.” I laughed. “And Mario!” I blew a breath in a sigh putting my head against Peter’s chest. “That man is hot!” I looked up. Peter chuckled. “Anybody else?” “There is this one guy,” I smiled. “That one night at a little apartment in Boston…as I was washing dishes that man just rubbed my arm…brushed it really. I can’t tell you the explosion of sensations went through me. Sexual tension? Hell, yeah and lust and such strong desire…” I saw his smile grow as I said that. “That first kiss was the closest I’ve ever come to a spiritual moment. I was short of breath and so dizzy…” “So was I.” Peter chuckled. “I love you, Peter! No one has aroused me like you. They never have and never will. I love you, Peter.” Peter nodded pulling me into a kiss that was mind melting and said softly. “I know you do. I love you.” “I know you do.” I said just as softly. “Let’s get married.” Peter grinned. “We should.”

Ben Esra telefonda seni boşaltmamı ister misin?
Telefon Numaram: 00237 8000 92 32

Bir cevap yazın

E-posta hesabınız yayımlanmayacak. Gerekli alanlar * ile işaretlenmişlerdir