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Subject: Makarovia! Sure! I Know Where That Is! Chapter 20 Malta’s Nightlife Story: Makarovia! Sure, I Know Where That Is Chapter 20 Malta’s Nightlife 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 have a good night at the Birdcage. They then head off to go pick up Yuri and Boris. Malta’s Nightlife It was fun at Anchor Bay. However, a place that catered to tourists was not a good idea to eat. Prices were usually inflated and…it’s just a bad idea. I don’t care what country you’re in or what country you’re from, people are opportunists. Pirates. I meant what I said about Mercea. He was approaching that time in life between a teenager and an adult. Much of that innocence with the people in Makarovia was due to the isolation. Mercea had chosen to continue his mandatory two years after graduating high school. He had to impress Yuri and Mikell or Mercea wouldn’t be here. You know Yuri. I wondered what he did during those awkward teenage rebellion days. Or any teen in Makarovia. How did they rebel? Running away in the late Fall through early Spring would be deadly. Not just going to parties and drinking. They needed a way to get there and back. They were isolated a lot from the world. Cable and satellite media only recently became available widespread across Makarovia. Again, apologies to everyone, but the palace and palace offices had priority. They got it first. Then spread over Stryia and the Skoal and so on. Peter said the cable worked great! In the summer. Oh, and if there was a summer storm it would go out…and pretty much from November to April because of the overcast sky in the winter. Olek the First couldn’t work that way. Neither could his son Olek the second. His subjects were counting on him. He had a backup system installed and a backup for the backup. Even a dial up in emergencies. There were some phone lines buried that connected them with the Ukraine, Romania, and Hungary. All that I wrote about is why Mercea was so special. He had the size and strength of a man. He did well when training. This man/boy still had child’s wonder. I like unusual things. Like a man big enough to pulverize a room full of men. You would fear him if he got angry but hardly ever did and never yelled. Pano or Mikell. Mercea was becoming a grown man, but a gentle man and yes, some explicit jokes or innuendos made him blush. Peter did, too! That had that spirit and trusting soul I hoped Mercea kept a while. He was a part of the team. Yes, he was. He was like everyone’s favorite kid brother. They were to guard Peter and me, but as said before. The Greeks knew about it and used that affection to make better soldiers. They would fight until death for all of us. Including Mercea. Yes, they have a very dangerous job to do. Sticking their necks out was part of that job. I didn’t want anyone hurt. Definitely not killed. Peter and I were protective of them! Mostly me. I was the one worrying about fair treatment with long hours and days off. Once Peter saw it, he was just as protective of them. It just how things were. He appreciated what was done and even thanked whoever had done it, but didn’t see past that. It was Boris and Yuri that helped him as he saw them as a person with their own life and struggles. I am also very aware of the portrayal I’m giving of our lives is done without a lot seriousness. We also acted with a lot of jokes and are just plain silly. Why? It was a coping mechanism the very serious things deal with times it had to be. We have been shot at several times, threatened to be kidnapped and don’t forget the bombs. The bomb in the truck that wanted to get into the palace, the bomb in the missile sent and thrown under the car in London. Yes, we had fun and were often to remain sane. Luke who had stepped away to make a phone call came back. “Sorry,” he smiled a little sheepishly. “I needed to check on someone.” Peter frowned. “You said everybody that was family were elsewhere and you no longer…” I elbowed Peter in the gut and covered his mouth. “Which is none of our business.” I smiled at Luke. “Sorry, he wasn’t exposed as much to very many others and forgets his manners.” “I called the Duchess.” Luke admitted. “You called to speak to someone on the Duchess.” Mikell asked to clarify. “Not the ship itself.” “I did that, too.” Luke grinned.. “You spoke to the ship? I asked. “Does she talk back to y9u?” “She sure does,” he pulled his phone out. “I’ll show you.” He tapped on his screen. “Pulling up the app and logging in.” Then showed us the screen. “I can ask anything I need to know like percentage of fuel left, pressures, the generator’s power levels…anything and the Duchess tells me.” I grinned at what Luke told us. “You really do talk to the Duchess!” “All day long. I use my desktop in my office or any computer on board.” Luke put his phone away. “I rarely leave her.” He smiled and clapped once, “What did I miss?” “Quite a bit,” I replied. “Nothing important.” Peter looked at his watch. “It’s after two…” We all turned at a gurgling sound could be heard from Alec’s stomach. It was pretty loud. I looked at Alec who was looking very embarrassed. “Don’t tell me there’s a protocol for that, too.” Peter looked at Luke. “Is there a good place to grab a meal that you know of? It can even be fast food.” “NapolEat.” Luke said quickly. Both Peter and looked confused. “Napoli? Like Italy?” Luke shook his head grinning and said it again but each syllable. “Na-pol-Eat.” “You did that on purpose.” I stated. Luke chuckled. “I did. You said fast food. Pizza, hamburgers, fries and all that are served there. He’s quick, it’s usually very, very good and within walking distance to the Duchess.” He shrugged. “We’re going south to Borg In-Nadur and it’s on the way.” Peter nodded. “Sure.” He went over to Alec and threw arm over Alec’s shoulder. “This man has got to eat.” “According to what we heard it’s imperative.” I joined Alec and Peter. “He’s wasting away to skin and bones right before our very eyes!” I pointed at Mercea. “And that means all of you eat. I know it’s been six or seven hours since ate or drank anything.” I growled. “Don’t make me use the scepter.” Peter looked puzzled. “What’s that?” “You know, a scepter,” I explained. “A long stick thingy usually made of gold and can have all those jewels…It’s a magic wand used by kings and queens when giving laws and knighting people.” “They do?” Peter backed his head back an inch. “Oh, you mean skypetr!” “That’s what I said, a scepter.” “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one.” Peter thought out loud. “Olek never has until he knighted anyone until you became an Earl. Dad I don’t think he has. Aren’t knights made with a sword?” Peter asked as we went toward the car. I nodded. “Yes, it’s a symbol of power.” I looked at Alec. “I’ve seen it used in other ways like bonking on the head when someone won’t listen.” “Where?” Peter challenged. “Bugs Bunny.” I said simply. Luke was right. It was in walking distance from the Duchess. Then again, what on the main island of Malta wasn’t really? It was midafternoon, the late lunchers had gone and the early dinner people hadn’t arrived yet. It was a nice place. Very clean. I know, it’s little things I get impressed with. This could have been in several countries, the United States, Canada, Great Britain…it even smelled the same I bet. The smell of fresh garlic, with rich of sauces and cooked meats worked better than any air freshener. If Glade or Febreze had this scent bottled, I’d buy it. There were only three diners here. Two, a young man and young woman, were making a connection of romantic nature. (That was a pity, he was cute in his early twenties. I know, that had to happen to keep the species going. He’s just a sacrifice I’m willing to make. We were in the billions now. I think we’re safe.) The other was eating her lunch alone in no rush. Luke approached a man in his twenties who was writing something on a clipboard near the register. Luke stooped a little to see more of his face. “Jai?” Looking up this man smiled, but also confused searching his brain for a man he should know because this man knew him. “I’m Chris’ father.” You saw the porch light come on and he recognized Luke now. “Hi, Mr. Agius!” Words were necessary for clarification. Right now it wasn’t needed. They were both speaking in English. It was an official language of Malta. Maltese, too, but…even the menus were in English. I could see one. No small print to translate what you couldn’t read. Just English. We were on a small island. If you owned a business here. It was more likely they were natives of Malta. Even more likely would know each other. People you didn’t know were tourists. We were introduced again and the usual reaction. We had burgers and fries! I almost felt like we had gone back to United States. A hamburger is just a hamburger, right? Au contrarie! No, Henri did teach it to me. Ms. Dowd in French class used it a lot. I understood why Luke recommended it. Delicious and juicy. The Napoleat Burger was a burger with two slabs of meat that would shame burgers in the United States. Dad told me there was a chain that had the slogan “it takes two hands.” Not anymore. Well, this one was! Fingertips didn’t meet around this sucker. Oh, yeah, the small island part. Luke and Jai’s father were in school together. Luke’s son Chris went to school with Jai. It’s not that unique so not that small. It would be remarkable if they went to separate schools. “None of these signs are in Maltese.” I said to Luke. “Is Malta changing over to English?” Luke chuckled, but shook his head. “No. Your markets, repair shops and businesses for the people of Malta will have both. It’s spoken, but the same rules you follow applied here. You don’t speak Maltese, so English is used.” He waved outside to a large cruise ship was waiting for its passengers. They had time. “Almost everyone speaks English, especially on those ships. Usually they’re from England, Canada and the United States.” “What about France and Germany?” I asked. “Who can speak English.” Luke nodded. “It’s a common language. Our children can speak it pretty early and taught English from primary school to tertiary school.” He looked at some of the guys. “That’s a special high school where they can take college level courses when the student qualifies.” I muttered. “Yeah, I consider myself lucky. I learned Ukrainian at the same time I learned English. Then in kindergarten I was taught Russian.” I shrugged. “It’s a shame we aren’t taught others.” I waved at Peter. “He speaks Makarovian, Ukrainian, Russian, German…” “Not fluently.” Peter said. “You can get around in Germany!” I said. “You can ask for the bathroom and understand the answer when they tell you. Most United States citizens barely speak English properly. Another language? I read where after an influx of people South of the Border spoke Spanish and many resisted that.” I looked at them. “We’re guilty of it, too.” “Why?” Mikell asked. I smiled. “Peter’s and my wedding was in English. So, everyone could understand it.” Mercea was having no problem with the new freedom to speak and asked. “Why is Makarovian and Ukrainian the same and yet we have hard time understanding each other?” “Isolation.” Peter answered. “I’s plumb tuckered out.” I smiled at them and my Southern Drawl turned up to maximum. “It’s a mite nippy out. When’s vittles?” Now, Luke, Alec, Mikell, Mercea and Peter were staring at me. “What language was that?” Peter balked. “That wasn’t English.” I chuckled. “Yes, it was. Those bootleggers on Dad’s side spoke that kind of English. If left alone longer it would become another language. Just like Makarovia, they had very little contact with world at large. Makarovia did it longer and became a language in itself.” Peter nodded with a grin. “What did you say?” “That I was exhausted and it was cold out and when’s dinner” Peter shook his head. “That didn’t even remotely sound like what you said.” “I know.” I smiled at Luke. “The media is helping. It won’t be long for an official world language emerges. English? Maybe. We’ll see.” We let Jai take a few pictures. The other patrons there and two more arrived and got…whatever. Yet no one left. The romantic couple looked and were saying things to each other. They were talking about us. I knew that. I went through a period where I felt everyone was talking about me. Paranoia of many tween years, eleven and twelve years old, when puberty really begins…I just knew people were talking behind my back and saying nasty things. “Why?” Grandma asked me. “What is it about you that makes you so important that people would nothing better to do than to talk about you?” She asked kindly and not irritated, but her words caused me to see things as they were. This time, it wasn’t conceit or paranoid. They were talking about us! Hopefully, not the nasty things part. You’ll have to ask them. Peter and I posed with a hamburger about to munch on the and struggling with the size. We told Jai we said “delicious.” We said we were fine with him using our faces to sell more. It was free advertising. Jai wasn’t a fool. We went to Borg In-Nabur. I try to give you a visual reference when I say this. The shows that show ruins of a forgotten past. Science Fiction love that. The explorers find conclusive evidence an intelligence to build something in a place we couldn’t possibly have been? This was Earth! It still had that haunting alien feel. To me. I didn’t monopolize the time either. Maja and I had pretty well talked about the people here in the past. Then to the Tarxien Temple. Another structure where slabs of rock were placed. I am talking about tons each! Placed by the people of Malta? How? Those were the questions and men and women worked hard to figure the answers out. We got back to the Duchess at twilight. Not dark and not lit either. “You have two beautiful homes.” Peter said to Luke. “This one,” he pointed to the white mezitli escort deck and out the windows at Malta. “And that one.” “Thank you for taking the day, showing us around,” I said. “A Maltese eye of what’s here.” Luke nodded with a grin. “I enjoyed that. I had fun!” The sound and tone was having “fun” was not what he expected and was surprised he did. “We’re going out tonight late. You’re welcome to join us.” Peter said. Luke laughed. “That I won’t be able to do. I would, but when you get back at two or three in the morning, I have to take the Duchess out. I’ll need to be awake for that, but thank you.” He smiled and headed upstairs. Peter hugged my shoulder against him, leaning toward my ear. “Henri will be difficult, but we know he goes off the ship to go to the market. We can get him doing that. How do we get Luke? He never leaves the Duchess!” He kidding. I think. I chuckled. “Henri knows where everything is in his galley.” I waved in the direction of the bridge. “I don’t think Luke would survive. A landlocked country and nowhere for the Duchess? His chances are slim to none.” “You’re right.” Peter muttered. “If we’re good guests,” I said. “Maybe future Step Aunt Maria will be more ready to let us use it. That proves one thing.” “What?” “They are no longer strangers, but our friends.” I said. “Friends that we’ll miss. We’ll want so see them again and maybe have the family have this and would love them, too.” Peter nodded. “The whole Ivanov Family, Basso and Sams would fit well on the Duchess.” Then he frowned down at me “So, tell me. How the Hell is what you said at lunch English?” I laughed and spent the next few minutes explaining how it was English to Peter “This was the last dinner on the Duchess.” He said after my explanation. “I mean, last as in just us.” “So,” I smiled. “Once more?” Peter nodded. “There will be other times, I’m sure, but…” he paused. I nodded, “…not on our honeymoon.” “Yes,” Peter chuckled softly.” “I think that would be wonderful.” I smiled. “Another time today. I am so in love with you, Peter. It just keeps growing.” Peter put his arms around me. “I know you love me. Not a day goes by where I even doubt that. It does keep growing. You’re a part of me. I am in love with you.” I kissed him gently. “I know.” Dinner was again by candlelight and soft music in background. Once again Henri held himself back. He started us with Bouillabaisse. A fancy French name for fish soup. It had things in it like crab and shrimp. This one was lighter than some I’ve had. Some are really stews. They can be so heavy with a lot things. It was as all meals served by Henri were, delicious. Something he called Garithse Yiouvetsi. It was a Greek shrimp and pasta recipe. The Italians called such dishes macaroni and the meat sauce gravy. I wondered if it was the same for Greeks. I was going to ask. Again those wise sages in my life, Theodore and Katrina Sams guided me. If it’s important enough, you’ll remember to ask. Then you’ll know. It must not have been important. For I didn’t and don’t. Yet, I live! I had told Mikell the name of the club I would like to go to. “What’s the name again?” Peter asked. I grinned and said in Makarovian and then English. “Ptashyna kliltka. The Birdcage.” Peter thought and…he does not have a poker face any more than I do. There was the same sudden change on his face when he “got something.” All the lights of the house came on, not just the porch lights. “Oh, like that movie with Robin Williams and…and…” he snapped his fingers quickly to remember. “What was his name?” In that of telling me it was on the tip of his tongue and should remember. How long do I let him struggle in the water before I threw him a line? Peter pounded his own head like that would knock the damned answer loose. I laughed and said. “Nathan…” I said the name slowly. “Lane! Nathan Lane!” Peter said in triumph. “We watched it twice.” I nodded. “It’s a mandatory see for any homosexual male. That and To Wong Foo. If there’s an exam for us to take. I know those two will be on it. Oh, and there’s Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.” I looked at Peter. “I don’t think you’ve seen that…” “Is it?” Peter asked. “Is it The Birdcage?” “I never saw much of the club on the Birdcage!” I said helplessly. “It had a stage and runway and two shots club layout seating wise.” I smiled. “The people of Malta were not always as accepting of us. It was twenty or thirty years ago they had to go to secret clubs and bars, too. When it ceased to be a problem they thought that was enough if everybody was accepted in a bar. Gays included. There are written testimonials of how it felt walking in holding hands with his partner. He was uncomfortable doing that. A club for them, wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Still the same laws. Everybody is welcome. Only this club welcomed straight couples into their club.” I watched his face as I spoke. “Get the difference?” Peter came toward me and titled my head back a little. “You’re still breathing normally.” He observed to see more of my eyes. “No dark circles under the eyes, They aren’t bloodshot. ” He waved at me. “How do you know all this?” I nodded chuckling. “I read.” “Apparently.” Peter muttered, “When?” I grinned. “I looked up more than the sites on Malta.” I shrugged. “I think it’s important to know. Like we did in Montenegro. We still went but knew there would be resistance.” “So,” Peter began. “It is a birdcage but not the Birdcage.” “Right.” You know those scenes in movies or TV where this group of well-dressed men form a posse or entourage and walked into where they knew the world was theirs and showed an easy confidence knowing everyone knew that and nothing would be denied? I love those, too! It’s great in fiction, but that wasn’t us. The security agents wore their suits and dark glasses. Oh, yes, there DFWM faces ready? Remember? The don’t fuck with me face? We were eight men walking up to a man letting some in and others to wait in the usual line. I thought that only happened in a few places in the world. This was one I guess. I looked on Mikell went to the man. Again, verbal language wasn’t necessary. Mikell spoke telling who were. The man was a bouncer. He looked at Peter with an “are you serious expression. Mikell something made him pull an almost invisible microphone closer. It was attached to his head. How close did it need to be? It was only seconds before a casually well-dressed man came out in a hurry. Mikell said something a little heated. The man said quickly “no, no, no.” He moved quickly toward Peter and me. We were instantly surrounded by our security agents. That made the man stop. “I am so sorry, your highness,” the man said. “The manager passed me a message you were coming. I didn’t believe it.” “He does this sort of thing a lot?” Peter asked. “Lie?” “He gets excited when a celebrity comes to town.” The man admitted. “When he told me, I thought it was a joke Jack and some of the men working for me were pulling.” The man smiled. “I’m Don. Donald Hulholland. I own the Birdcage.” “I was the one that called.” Mikell said in Makarovian. “I understand English, but sometimes miss undertones. ” He went back to English. “I just told him that the headlines will likely be on the visit. Who and where and who refused.” “I’m not refusing!” Mr. Hulholland said quickly and bowed as reluctantly admitted. “I am stalling you to give my people get things ready.” “Which could be actions in futility.” I smiled pointing at Mikell and the others. “They have to approve of it.” “Could they do that now?” Peter asked. Mr. Mulholland waved toward the entrance. “Of course!” This time Alec and Mercea were to check. Those wanting to go in were speaking with whomever with them. Were we who they thought we were? I heard so and so said we were at Napolieats. Really? Pretty much make something up. It fits. The people inside already were probably very curious as to what was going on. We the two that came in lovers? This took a little bit longer. Mercea came out. “One couple is refusing to cooperate. Otherwise, it’s fine.” “Who?” Mr. Mulholland asked quickly. Indignant. “Show me!” We followed Mercea in and Mr. Mulholland saw the couple sitting firmly where they were. I hated doing it. They found a table and wanted to keep it. Who were we to force them out? I admit, it suited us perfectly. Near the emergency exit and the upper last tier of seats the surrounded a stage. If there was a performance. It was a good sized club. There were other tables. The music thumped that beat causing your heart to match it. “Can I tell them?” Peter nodded. “We didn’t come here to be seen or not be seen. Sure, tell them.” Don Mulholland was a nice looking man in his late forties, but looked like he descended more from England, France, or Germany. His skin was more like Peter’s and mine. There wasn’t the olive tone or black hair. I take that back, he had black hair that were turning gray at the temples. Greek and Italian men didn’t normally have the premature gray hair. Mario certainly didn’t. Mr. Mulholland went to the DJ’s table demanded something and was handed a microphone and the music was killed instantly. “Max!!!” Everyone looked at Mr. Mulholland. Including Max who was surprised. “You…” he said something in a language I didn’t know. “You…” again the language I didn’t know, but they weren’t compliments. “I am not losing any business because of you.” He shrugged. “I know you were asked to move by that gentleman, beside you but being the asshole you are, didn’t want to. That man has a few friends that can persuade you. Well, I telling you have to or I cut you off now and forever.” They knew each other, that was clear. Max and his date stirred. “I mean now, Max.” He looked at us. We were in shadowed in darkness. “I was told, but didn’t believe it. Until they showed up! Two Saturdays go, His Highness Petro Ivanov married Eric Richards, a man born and raised in the United States’ South and is His Highness Prince Eric Ivanov and they are standing right there!” Someone was working a spotlight. Poorly. Finally came to us. We had removed the glasses so they could easily recognize us. That made several people gasp. That it impossible for us to see anything. We out those glasses on and I’d gladly do a commercial for them. Free! It cut the glare down a lot. Many that had been dancing were stared, those in booths or sitting at the bar stared. Peter went down and reached for Mr. Mulholland’s microphone. He grinned. “We didn’t want to interrupt you date or plans.” I added. “And wouldn’t just toss you out a good seat because we can. We will tell you why if you want. There is a reason, I promise.” “May we join you?” Peter asked. The response was a thunderous from all around us as they applauded and cheered us on from…everyone! I walked over to Mr. Mulholland. “I’m sorry about that. We didn’t mean to cause problems.” “You didn’t,” Mr. Mulholland said, “Max did. He’s a thorn in my side sometimes. Always has been.” He shrugged. “And not because of alcohol. He just is.” Peter shook his head. “I still don’t know how you thought it was a joke. Rumors heard, a phone call and later…” “Yeah, well,” Mr. Mulholland began embarrassed. “I’m guilty of it, too. It’s harmless, but they’ve gotten so complicated, you need others to help.” Mr. Mulholland shook his head. “I was going to show him I wasn’t fooled a minute. I guess you did.” I chuckled. “I’d say you were. At least you’re friends enough to do that together.” Peter nodded. “That’s nice to hear.” Mr. Mulholland nodded and looked at us. “Understand when I say this.” He smiled. “I’ve seen everything that you’ve done on television or show about you two. You are Prince to Makarovia, but know…there are a few of us see you stepping out for us. I am honored and added my name to the counter. You’re our Ambassadors. Your visits are making headlines, good and bad.” We hadn’t watched any television and didn’t know. “Like who?” I asked. “What counter? Headlines?” Mr. Mulholland chuckled. “Podgorica and the mayor of Montenegro. Muscosa and a Zdravko Cimbaljevic almost came to blows over how Montenegro was embarrassed and should be embarrassed on how they appeared as lousy hosts and it was going to change. Almost like an adult to a child for their naughty behavior. Ashamed. Then there was Athens. He shook his head. “This really big man who owns a place Big’s. He was very big so it was the aptly named. The shows you did with Anderson Cooper and Ellen Degeneres. And shows about your family. They even got footage of your grandmother when was with the Bolshoi. She was hot!” He was a person that liked both. Hearing it said…she was my grandmother! Grandmother. “She was a beautiful dancer. That old footage of her in her teens was mind blowing. You are stepping out for millions of people. That tally was in the hundreds of thousands. No Makarovian was included, you are their prince! It will be in the millions!” Mr. Mulholland shook his head. “It’s on your website.” “Our website?” Peter asked dumbfounded. “Who put the website up?” Mr. Mulholland smiled said something to a passing employee who nodded and raced off. “You don’t know, do you?” Mr. Mulholland smiled bigger. “It claims to be approved by King Olek himself…and the people of Makarovia.” The employee came back with something tucked under his arm and handed it to him. It was a laptop, but one I’ve only seen on TV. One you can type on a super thin keyboard or fold it back over the CPU and it becoming a touch screen. Hell, the whole thing was super thin. I worried about breaking it. Mr. Mulholland tapped quickly and showed us the site. “The Official Website for Prince Petro and Prince Eric Ivanov.” I read aloud. “It came out last Monday.” Mr. Mulholland chuckled. “You must have been busy.” Peter looked asking for permission with his expression. Mulholland nodded. Peter tapped and soon pictures of Peter and I appeared in formal dress with the palace’s elegant interior with the curved staircase as the background. Standing facing each other at the altar or podium. Our walk down the aisle newly pozcu escort married. There were pictures of the bachelor party! Shots of everyone including Anderson Cooper. They were happy pictures and we hadn’t gotten drunk yet. “Only person could have done this.” I muttered glancing below each photo. “AHBBCNews.” Peter said at the same time as I did. “Drew.” “It’s all positive,” Peter waved at the computer. Looking for the credits never had time to do before. “There.” Peter said. “Approved by His Royal Majesty King Olek, Ivanov the Second and Her Royal Majesty Queen Alla Ivanov.” He smirked. “I guess letting the two of us know wasn’t important enough.” “That’s Drew.” I dismissed that problem. “He likes those candid nor posed shots.” I remembered where we were and why. The crowd didn’t know what to do. I smiled not feeling really well about this news. “We hope we do a good job.” Talk about pressure. I wasn’t the only one that thought about that. Peter looked around the club. “What do we do?” He looked at the expectant faces. I grinned at Peter, pulled him into a kiss. Glancing at Mikell. “Just go with it.” I took the microphone and asked. “It would be more fun if this were club for dancing, if we had music to dance to.” Peter shrugged. “Or go down as the quietest club we’ve gone to?” Mr. Mulholland nodded to the DJ. “We apparently have done well being ourselves.” I kissed him again. “Let’s do that some more.” I grinned as the new song began. “The song is Keep on Dancin’. We do what it says!” What I had apologized to Mikell for we had to do at first as what they had to do was to put a space perimeter between us and the other dancers. Our agents had a struggle. I will congratulate them all. Those DFWM faces really gave them “is he alive?” feeling. Try to pass him and he reacts so quickly like a cobra. I don’t remind you about the Don’t Fuck With Me face again, do I? Oh, I just did! Really, I don’t that language, but…alright! Alright! No side bars. Moving on. Peter pulled me toward him. Since we’d danced many times together it seemed low and key it was a single action. I leaned forward over him like I was overpowering as leaned backward as I moved over him almost touching. (Sometimes we did.) The magic of this dance was the desire to touch , you could, but didn’t. Then I leaned back and away as Peter went to it to me. He’d pull me closer and I push away. I’d pull and he’d push away. The pelvis was gyrated as he stepped between my legs again, so close but never touching. I’d do it to him. A place we did squeeze together and spun around together. Not each a single spin, but together a spin. You had to know your partner to not step on each other’s toes and feet. We both knew and didn’t. Katrina taught me how to do it. It was like dirty dancing with guys. Not that the females wasn’t there, they were. It didn’t cross my mind to see if they were gay or something else. I knew these two women who were straight as arrows that loved to dance. She made friends with a few guys there. She loved to dance. They’d dance with her, but never went further. It could be scary at night. Men being men , they looked out for her. See that she got into a empty car. Just because we’re gay doesn’t can’t be chivalrous or just a gentlemen. We use good manners. As we hoped that perimeter was established. I will also admit that dancing energetically with a lot of people will sometimes bump you. With the guys here, slowly down to two to remind them of the limit they could go. The others sat at our table to “keep” the table. I felt now we had an obligation to sit there. We had removed that Max guy and don’t use it!? That would be a slap in the face to Max. Again, Mercea went to retrieve our drinks. Laws on drinking differ from to country to country. It recently changed and raised. From sixteen to seventeen. I think even if he was underage, I don’t think he’d be carded. He’d still be in high school. Mercea’s DFWM face was very good. It was steadfastly immobile, but had a touch of “I’m just mean” there too. Where did he pick that up that from? I knew he scared off wild animals with that face. He must have been coached to do this. Most of the time Mercea looked like he couldn’t scare a kitten. “I don’t know how I feel about the website.” Peter admitted. “We are under even more scrutiny?” I asked. “I don’t know. We were more harassed last week.” I shrugged. “I just figured that was because we made ourselves more visible.” I looked up at Mikell. “I will admit something to you. I mean you, too, Mikell.” Mikell looked down at me. “I didn’t do anything to deserve any of this.” I frowned. “I was chosen to help a classmate with English for a project due at the end of the semester.” “All I did survive being born.” Peter grinned. “I resisted the use of my feeling now.” Mikell’s eyes widened. Peter’s narrowed. “What’s the feeling?” “Comfortable.” I admitted. Now the other agents including Mercea as he put our drinks out for us. “I am very willing to do the job. It always scared me a little. I’m not afraid to do the job. If I become more comfortable, I’ll become complacent which will lead to me to think I deserve it.” I shrugged. “Because I don’t.” I shook my head. “This is not false modesty.” I smiled a little pressing my chest. “That fear is coming back, good.” “How is being scared helping you?” Peter asked not understanding. “Millions of people are depending on you and me, Peter.” I waved at him. “You’ll be trying to improve the cities, towns and infrastructure. I will be inspecting the ore processors are up to and above code and waste handled as best it can be. I can’t lose that focus to ensure I do the best I can. For Mikell, Mercea, Rolph and his beautiful wife and two precious girls…all of you. If I ever seem like I deserve it. Tell me.” Alec smiled. “I don’t think you ever could. You care too much.” Mercea nodded getting a little of his innocence back for a second. “Like you told Mikell not to come down me about Sweethaven.” He nodded as I looked at Mikell. “I knew he would go ballistic right after I said it. I saw you talking to Mikell after we got there where you talked to him telling him not to. Didn’t he?” He jutted his head in my direction. Mikell smiled, but didn’t answer, which was in a way an answer. “You made us feel part of a team,” Mikell added. “Not just agents to protect someone. We became friends. That’s more than I ever thought would happen. You make sure we have time off.” I was being honest with what I said about the fear. A little fear would help me stay focused when on task. I wasn’t afraid of people. God, no. I believe grandma passed that along with all the other things with her many words of wisdom. She told me she felt it, too. Every single time before she went out on stage she told me she had fear. In her situation these people came to see a good performance. The fear that she would miss a step or lose count of steps she needed to do was there. She couldn’t let them down. Grandpa also told me when he was put in charge of some soldiers and given orders, he feared he would get them killed. Forget that the enemy was firing on them to do just that. He didn’t want to make a bad decision that exposed the men to more danger than there was and get them killed. Being a prince now (my mind still told me that was an error) I would be given responsibility over millions of lives. I needed that fear to always remember they were a very high, high priority. I was honest with them from the beginning, telling them at the Proposal, Peter was my top priority. My presence was for him and all my support when with him. That fear would help keep that in my mind when I did the job. I was truly moved by the sincere words of these men. I never tried to be popular. Grandpa taught me that it was fickle and lost so easily it was less work not to waste my time on it. When I would have liked to be popular, I didn’t get it. When I wasn’t seeking and want it, I was. That wasn’t easy in those teenage years. Lisa Garner. That girl was very popular in middle and high school. What did she do? She was very pretty and blonde. A cheerleader. She had all the athletes pining for her and the girls all wanted to be her best friend. She was like a star because of all the satellites that surrounded her just fell into the gravitational pull. After we graduated she tried her luck to become a spokesperson for businesses locally on TV. She wanted to cash in on that popularity. It didn’t work. She was stuck in those high school years, didn’t change her look and…the camera didn’t really like her…and the dialogue…I know. That horse is dead. No point to keep beating on him, but you get the picture. The Birdcage had entertainers. Very good entertainers. Not someone who would lip sync some song made famous by someone else…and used that same voice to make us think they were singing it! These people really sang! Very well. I didn’t mind shows performed in drag, but whomever that was that sang the song “Won’t You Play Me, that jazz hot baby” from Victor Victoria. He would give Julie Andrews a run for her money. He was good. Most guys close their legs imagining the pain felt in sympathy with the performer. Even if it were reversed. Julie was a woman, pretending to be a man, pretending to be a woman. Reverse all that. He/she was damned good! We gave permission for photographs to be taken and hung if Mr. Mulholland wanted. NapolEasts was doing it now, I knew it. Even here on Malta people told friends by phone we were here and came to see us. The paparazzi, if not on Malta had to catch a ferry to get here. We skipped that drama. I will say, drunks in this area of the world, Italy, Greece, and Malta were a better class of drunk. There are many Americans that qualify for that class, too, but we saw in Corfu the low quality of American drunk at that club on the beach where I taught some people to shag. The dance? Anyway, there were plenty of responsible drinkers here. “We owe Mario and Maria Basso a huge debt.” I smiled at Peter. “Mario for sure.” Peter laughed a little, but was nodding. “I absolutely agree. The use of the island last year and this year. His sister’s yacht…” I leaned away a little. “And you didn’t like him at first.” Peter held his arm and shrugged. “The only thing I knew was a man was doing God knew what with our mother!” I chuckled. “God knows what?” I repeated in disbelief. Peter was nodding as I spoke. “You know what it is.” “With Mom!” Peter still nodded. “I know, I know…it’s stupid…” “It’s not stupid to be protective,” I grinned running my hand over his face gently. “You love her.” I smiled. “It can be hard for adults to except their children are sexual beings.” I shrugged. “Or that your parents are sexual beings.” I smiled at him calmly. “Do what we advise others to do with us. Don’t think about the what or how, think or why we do it. He does love Mom.” “Yeah.” Peter nodded. “He does.” We stayed some more and danced again some and have another drink, telling Mr. Mulholland for a pleasant visit to the Birdcage. We weren’t drunk, but felt good. “How long will we be traveling today?” Peter asked. “Mario’s island is above Sicily and a little to the East. If he doesn’t encounter problems we should there early morning tomorrow.” We traveled on foot. Were we followed? Maybe, but the Duchess was ready again. Once again Gretchen did a head count and let Luke know all were here. The engines rose in sound slightly and the Duchess pushed her way clear of her berth and moved slowly away from Malta. Our agents stopped being our agents as much and were friends we told “see you later.” In our quarters, I went straight to the desktop and typed quickly. Peter chuckled. “I admire your restraint.” Peter grinned. “I had no idea.” “Oh, be quiet.” I said lightly to him. “You wanted to know, too.” I typed what I’d seen. The Official Website for Prince Petro and Prince Eric Ivanov. The page came right up. There we stood in our tuxedos and the grand staircase behind us. This was not an extension of Makarovia’s Webpage. It was a site just for Peter and myself. There was a link to Makarovia’s Webpage, but there were things not related to Makarovia or what was happening in Makarovia. There was a link to the story about Podgorica. I clicked on it and saw Zdravko Cimlbajevic having a yell out with their Prime Minister or President. People behind Zdravko were yelling at people behind the President. You didn’t need to be a student of Psychology to know, even if you didn’t understand the verbal language. It was recorded by someone at the “protest?” Another clip I smiled at. Pano at his bar counter wiping whatever off with a clean white rag. Pano was even bigger on television he was interviewed by a local news network and a reporter was asking him if he was surprised by our visit. The news program was captioned in English. Pano chuckled and nodded. “You better believe it. It took a while for it to sink in they were really here.” “And they came back.” The reporter said laughing. “Yes!” Pano nodded. “They did. Two of the nicest guys you ever hope to meet.” He pointed to a wall with a large picture. I remember getting pictures taken, but this picture was blown up. Bigger than some television monitors. Pano and Barry had Peter and me in between them. Pano had to stoop to get that one. Large letters went across it. In Greek! Then I spotted on the side. “Prince Petro and Prince Eric Love Big’s.” I shook my head reading that, but felt good about it. We saw who put this page or series of pages together. “Wayne Jenkins?” Peter wasn’t really asking me. “It sort of makes sense.” I thought out loud. “He has access to all Drew’s pictures and Drew has access to the news feeds…” I said as I thought. As much as I hate to admit it, Wayne wasn’t the big moneymaker between them. Few men are content being the second income. Feeling they were being supported. A wife does that. Not men. Grandma made more than grandpa a while and was fine with it. He was a rare man. However, his views, like mine, were to support the other. I never even thought about what I was earning as a prince. escort bayan I didn’t know if I earned anything. I knew the “family” got a portion of the income that was put in an account for us so we could keep on working. Peter and I used it going to all these clubs and restaurants. Was there a limit? There had to be and who oversaw the spending? Did it run low at times? I had a lot to learn. Off topic. Right. No side bar! Got it. Wayne was the one of the two that cooked and cleaned. The only time I could see Drew pushing a vacuum was after Wayne asked him to and had to point out the areas that needed it most. Drew probably didn’t notice. Wayne had a job, but he also had the time when Drew went to a location and Wayne couldn’t. Then I saw what Mr. Mulholland meant about the counter. There were 663,416 on the counter now. It hadn’t been up more than a week! Mr. Mulholland said none of these in the number were Makarovians. I scrolled down and wasn’t surprised as a video window opened. Websites had commercials and ads. On our Webpage? I was ready to shut it down when I saw Wayne’s face appear. He smiled. “I’m Wayne Jenkins. I created all this.” He pointed all around himself, but clearly meant the Website. “I met Peter and Eric before the Proposal over a year ago.” He chuckled. “They became friends with us pretty quickly and have remained good friends ever since. They are what you see. Smart, kind, generous and absolutely honest. Two men you would proud of introducing to close friends and family. They didn’t back away from the challenge of just accepted as people.” “They did it in front of the whole world, bringing out dangerous people who have even threatened to kill them.” He being Wayne he pointed. “If you haven’t seen the attack in London, it’s right over there. It was pretty intense. They aren’t running for any office. I’m not selling anything. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, inter-sexual or pan-sexual or even straight…if there is a label you carry that makes you feel left out. Tell them that. They go where we are not welcome. They are welcomed. Whether it’s political or just to get what is wanted or needed. I want my friends to know, they represent me. They represent Drew, my husband. I want those that meet with them, Peter and Eric stand for Drew and me, too. There are hundreds signing all the time! Add your name, let them know they represent you, too!” His image closed and the counter came up that read 663,578 now. “Damn.” I let out softly seeing the number change again before my eyes. There were millions like Peter and me in the world. I knew that. Many were just different, but people! “Yeah.” Peter said softly sitting next to me heavily as if the news was too much for him to remain standing. “You said it. Damn.” He raised his hands in futility. “All because we got married!?” I turned to him grinning. “You’re still having trouble with the fact that no one’s done it before. That and a wedding at the level ours was done.” “You’re okay with it!?” Peter balked. “It doesn’t matter.” I said pulling him up. “It just is.” “Being a prince needs to frighten you to do a good job, but this you just accept.” Peter shook his head. “I don’t get it.” I nodded. “I know over here is Makarovia,” I raised my right hand, “where lives are in danger if I make a bad decision.” I held my other hand up. “Here are all those people asking me to stand up for them because they can’t be there.” I shrugged. “Or be welcomed if they did.” I raised the other hand again. “Lives,” I raised the other. “Ideals, perspectives and ignorance.” “You do want this!” I rolled my eyes pushing him back on the bed. “You found me out. I planned it from the beginning. I would go to the University, meet a prince, marry him, become a prince myself and become a symbol of acceptance for the whole LGBT community in the world.” Peter’s own eyes rolled as he rolled over me. “Be serious. This doesn’t give you fear?” “I feel the awesome responsibility they’re giving us and trusting us with.” I admitted. “But think about it. We didn’t really come out Saturday before last. We came out over a year ago. We’ve been interviewed many times on some television shows that went everywhere. We told them what we intended to do over and over. No one was gasping in surprise or shock when we did it.” “How do we act?” Peter asked uncertain. “Forget about them.” “What!?” “Stop!” I said firmly as I saw the beginnings of stress and possibly a panic attack in his eyes and on his face. “You can’t function if that’s all you think about.” I said calmly. “We have been watched a whole year and still they have elected for us to stand for them. Just be who you are.” I kissed him gently. “Don’t go backward. You’ve come so far.” Pulling his to my world mine I pressed our foreheads together. “You are my world. I won’t let you go.” He smiled. “I believe you.” We’d gotten sweaty dancing. Going to bed that way on those clean, sweet smelling sheets would be a crime. I had a thought cross my mind of the water supply. I knew there were things that desalinates and purifiers water on the Duchess and let my concern about wasting fresh water go. We took one in that morning, before we went out and took another when we returned. How many showers have you taken in a day? Peter was a different man for many people. He was still the same for me. I had to coax him out in the first weeks we met, but once he got his confidence with me, he was fine. Until the White House, but that was taken care of quickly. Being surprised by this seemingly sudden notoriety was just too fast for him to adjust his mind to quickly. Until this one, he hadn’t had anything like it months. It wouldn’t be a problem. We were never separated long. It was inevitable that there would be a conflict and we would have to. I dreaded it. Not for just him, but for me! The thought of him not with me for even a day made me queasy. I’d have talk to Wayne. Or Boris. They did that sometimes when one or both got more training. I made a point of setting my watch alarm. We showered again and went downstairs. I mean downstairs to the lower decks where the crew and our agents stayed, slept, and ate. At this particular time of day included Captain Agius. He could eat up on the bridge level, but he got along well with the crew and maintained that connection eating with them. Poor Henri! On the level with the galley he fed Peter and me. Then up to feed Luke and down to feed the crew? Henri would be exhausted. Even if he had help. They all looked up surprised. Most of the Duchess crew were in uniform. Our agents were just in street clothes. It was a long room with triangular tables where they all ate together. It smelled great down here from delicious foods. Henri came in and froze. “You’re up!” He looking like he was going to panic. “You usually don’t get up for a few more hours! It’s your honeymoon!” He thought about his options and found none. “I’m not ready!” I reached over and touched his arm. “Simmer down.” I chuckled. “Is it possible to join you? Whatever you’ve made smells great.” “It doesn’t go with the theme.” Henri said lightly. “We can skip one meal with seafood. Do you have something prepared for us that you have to use today?” Peter asked. “We know how you are with freezing making this in advance..” “No,” Henri shook his head. “Nothing like that.” Captain Agius stood a little. “You’re more than welcome to join us.” He waved to some empty chairs. “You may need to add batter.” Cosmo laughed. “How many waffles do you have, Mercea?” Mercea looked at the two and a half eaten one on his plate. There was evidence there were more once and they weren’t those small ones either. “Ium ‘as ‘ungry!” He said protesting with a little difficulty as he still had some in his mouth. Mikell chuckled. “At least he has the good sense to eat a good breakfast and not wait until we’re out in public where his stomach announces to the public he wants to eat.” He said and looked directly at Alec. “I did eat breakfast,” Alec stated. “Hours before that!” I laughed lightly. They easily went back in that friendly banter of comrades. I looked and counted. They were all here. All of the Duchess crew and our agents. I looked at Luke. “Forgive my ignorance, Captain. What I know about large modern ships you can put in your pocket and still have a lot of room for other things.” I waved at them. “Since you’re all here not worried, I’m not worried either. Who’s steering the Duchess?” “The Duchess.” He answered smugly with a grin knowing I would react at that. “She has an autopilot. I set the heading and set the desired speed and she takes it from there.” Peter looked startled. “No one’s up there now?” “The Duchess is.” Luke smiled at Peter’s widening eyes. “What about other boats and things in the water or even just under the surface? I read a book about a disaster that had that.” Peter asked quickly like someone should check. Right now. “The Duchess sees them long before we can or even would.” Luke said calmly. He pulled his phone out again. “I told you, she talks to me. How deep the water is beneath us and and what’s down there we wouldn’t see until it was too late or not at all.” He looked at his screen. “There isn’t so much as a fishing boat within twenty clicks.” He looked at us. “There is a pod of whales five miles west. Pretty big ones, too.” Peter nodded a little less worried. “Oh, okay.” I bumped Peter lightly. “We’ve got a sunroof and cruise control on this baby! All the bells and whistles.” “I’m a self-admitted landlubber.” Peter said. “He was raised on the coast. We had enough water to get our feet wet.” He leaned toward me to be heard even if he seemed to be saying confidentially to me. “I’ll ask what whistles or bells work here later.” I chuckled. “I’ll be here. The biggest boat I had was a fishing boat with an outboard motor providing the power and steered by.” I said. “I think it could easily fit in the Duchesses swimming pool on deck.” The general mood was what I hoped would happen. “That sounds charming!” Luke smiled. “Says the man in the Lamborghini as it pulls next an old S3D.” Rolph laughed and pointed at Mikell who was nodding at hearing it. “Remember those?” Everyone else just stared not understanding. “I do!” Mikell said and tried to explain. “It was this…box thing. A tiny two door car brought in from Russia in the 1970s allowing their non-commissioned officers a way to travel in Makarovia but save gas, too. There were three just abandoned after a few years and when the Soviets left. Just left the cars. A neighbor had one he worked on until he successfully got it running and painted it bright lemon yellow. There weren’t that many cars in Makarovia then, but he had one.” “Sure,” Rolph nodded chuckling. “In the summer.” Mikell shrugged. “It’s better than most of us had!” Henri came with more batter and was going to make ours. “Did you make theirs?” I asked pointing at the table of conversations going on. “No, Gretchen showed them what to do.” I took the batter. “It will be safer if I do it.” I looked at Henri’s somewhat disappointed face. “You love to cook. We love whatever you cook. You can’t be replaced, Henri. Peter and I joked discussed ways of kidnapping you to Boston, but we can’t do that to our Future Step Aunt Maria. We want to come back to the Duchess and insist you visit us in Makarovia or Boston.” I grinned. “Or both!” Henri smiled nodding and whispered. “His cooking was that bad?” I nodded and said. “I wasn’t exaggerating. I have no idea what it was.” I looked at Henri’s Do It Yourself spread. I had more than enough for two waffles and maple candied bacon. I pointed to the juices and coffee to Peter. There were muffins, biscuits, scones, jellies, and creamy, softened butter. Peter was going to get those, but Henri brought our favorite coffees and shrugged. He was helpless not to do something. I knew Peter and made him a Southwest Texas Sized Tex-Mex omelet with chopped ham, some sausage I chopped up and cheese with Tabasco Sauce. I looked up when I noticed the conversation around me had stopped and noticed they were staring at what I was doing. Our two female crew members were laughing together not at me, but enjoying the men having a hard time with it for some reason. “Чорт!” Alec said. Damn. I looked at them curiously. “What? I simply made our breakfast. Didn’t you?” “Nothing like what you whipped up in less than a half an hour.” Mikell stated and looked at his watch. “Less than a half an hour.” “Does he do this for you often?” Rolph asked Peter. “Not as much as I used to.” I answered for Peter. “I had to.” “Why?” Gretchen asked. Peter put on a frowning sneer. “Who or what do you call when there’s a disaster like a fire on the Duchess at sea? Mayday? Does 911 work out here? You’d better know, because if I were allowed to cook you’ll be calling someone pretty quickly for help.” There was general laughter from everyone. “Each couple has one that’s stronger in one area than the other.” I said sitting beside Peter with my breakfast. “For us, it’s cooking.” I looked up at Luke. “When are we arriving at Mario’s Island, Captain?” He thought. “We’re going on the West side of Sicily. It will be the quickest way.” He looked concerned a little. “We can go faster if you need to.” I shook my head. “It’s not that.” Peter sighed. “He’s worried he might hurt Yuri’s feelings when we tell him how to do his job.” Peter growled lightly. They knew that was a concern with me. “You’re the Prince.” Mercea said not understanding. “If you think you want something, he has to make it work. That’s his job.” “Your first meeting with Yuri,” Peter began smiling. “We were going shopping and he wanted to go with us to protect me. You questioned that, even spoke in Russian which he didn’t expect. He let me go.” “You went,” I corrected. “He didn’t let you do anything.” “My point is,” Peter began again. “You weren’t worried about his feelings then.” “I didn’t know him at the time!” I said. “Now I do. I love that crazy Russian!” Luke smiled. “It sounds like you need to make a command decision.” “I don’t want to hurt his feelings.” I explained weakly. “He’s a great guy. A little stiff with protocols and…” “Wait. Back up a minute.” Cosmo said stopping the conversation. He looked at me and asked me in real shock. “Yuri…” he said specifically to make sure he was the one he knew, “has feelings!?”

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