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Subject: Makarovia! Sure, I Know Where That Is! Chapter 13 The Wedding Story: Makarovia! Sure, I Know Where That Is Chapter 13 The Wedding 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 get married!! Hitched! The ball and chain is now attached! They have never been happier! Oh, yes, and Eric gets a crown. He becomes His Highness Prince Eric Ivanov! We all can bow. He hates that. Yes, I’ve got a fetish. At least in Makarovia the wedding and coronation happen in the same hour. The Wedding Now, I was nervous! Peter and I weren’t separated from each other before the wedding. Jori came to see we looked right. I no longer cared about what he was getting from this. I turned the television on to see what the networks were saying about the wedding and us. Unlike other royal weddings you may have seen there were no special vehicles to bring us together to marry at a church. There weren’t the crowds of people waving, lining streets to see the royal couple. We were just coming downstairs. That didn’t stop the people in Stryia, Skoal, or other towns from setting up celebrations in the streets, pubs, or taverns from putting things together so they could party as well. There were undergrounds, too, but after so many months trapped indoors, even with the new freedom of the underground, they wanted to party outside! Other businesses were closed as it was a holiday. Flowers were blooming and the grass was green. Yeah, they partied outside! There was even a crew at the Grotto where the mayhem was just getting started. It was packed there. They showed the countdown clock that now was less than an hour and the hundreds of people, if not thousands, excited about what was happening. There were many gold crowns worn by many made of paper or plastic as the cameras panned across the men and women as they whooped it up. Yes, there was drinking there and would be this whole day, but they were happy to be there! The only ones working today not in the pubs, taverns, and bars were those in the military and police that were assigned to work. When their shifts were over, I’m sure they would join the party. Others would take their place to keep the peace. Oh, and those serving the people there to party worked. Danilo and Dimitri were making big money today! No one was mining, schools were out and those in the military from any nation were welcomed to join the festivities and party with the Makarovians. Seeing the different shots of all those people just hit me. I came to a small country of two million people, which soon became three. My exposure to them was limited. Now, I saw the crowds and I was feeling overwhelmed a little. I had engaged most all of these people, the Makarovians I saw on the screen. I was marrying Peter, but these people, too. “Eric?” Peter said softly. We had gotten partially dressed with the shirts and pants. He came over slowly. “Is everything okay?” I nodded and waved at the screen. “Look at all these people!” I marveled at the number, but they were now celebrating because of Peter and me. Those crowns they wore and the countdown clock said that. It wasn’t just an excuse to party. Then I noticed the pictures of Peter and me some held and when the television cameras came toward them they hooted and waved the pictures of us. Shouting in Makarovian “My lyubymo vas, Petro ta Erik!” We love you Peter and Eric. Some had pictures of just me. “My lyubymo vas, Erik!” They said they loved me! Peter put his arm around me from behind as he chuckled and said in my ear. “Still worried that they might reject you?” I smiled at the screen. “No.” I said confidently. “I’m just more determined to not let them down.” Peter kissed me on the ear. “You won’t.” He smiled. “Right now, you’re more popular than Olek, Mom, or me. They’d make you prince whether or not you marry me.” I spun around at that. “Oh, no, Peter Ivanov. You and I are getting married. Those hoops I said I was willing to jump through to get you. This is just one of them.” “You’ve got me now.” Peter said kissing me. “Yeah, well I’m locking you in legally.” I chuckled. “You’re mine, Baby.” I kiss him. “No, no, no!” Each word was short as Jori came quickly over speaking in that very French way. “You’ll wrinkle you shirts!” “We’ll wrinkle it wearing it!” Peter chuckled at Jori. Jori nodded. “Oui Monsieur, but first you make an impression. I have a reputation to keep!” He said for the countless time. Peter and I laughed lightly at that. Peter leaned closer to me, kissing me. “How is that?” Jori was a nice looking man in those middle years. Not a damned thing wrong with that. Peter glanced at Jori. Jori stood about five and a half feet. Most men were handsome in their middle age and seniors. These men turned my head from their thirties until their eighties. While I wouldn’t say he was a hunk, he was in that area between handsome and cute. I had my own rating categories. He was human. He sighed and touched Peter on the arm. “That’s fine.” He said seriously. “I don’t mean to cause pain in any part of anyone’s body. Understand, I am so privileged to be chosen for this honor of dressing the men of this family.” He chuckled. “I make suits and clothes for the men in Makarovia. Occasionally, there is an event I can do for the men of Makarovia.” He smiled, “You two and Olek…I’ve been entrusted to help you make a good impression in the world. First Olek with those many dignitaries and now there are millions of people in this world will see you.” He nodded. “Sometimes I take the job too seriously. I know, but you are representing Makarovia…” He motioned to the suit jackets we haven’t put on yet and waved over us. “In what I designed for you to wear.” I started it, but Peter joined me as we hugged him. “We understand and what you’ve done is so appreciated.” Peter said. While we were talking about it. I asked. “What do you get from this work you do? I don’t care, but you get more than financial compensation. You’re breathing changes when doing this. You get a physical satisfaction, don’t you?” Jori’s eyes widened. “What!? I would never…” I touched him gently smiling. “Relax, my friend. I know you didn’t and wouldn’t. You do get some sexual pleasure, don’t you?” The Frenchman turned a little pink but nodded. “Yes.” He shrugged helplessly. “Porn is fine. Human forms are beautiful. A naked man is arousing.” He chuckled. “But I am more aroused by the well-dressed man. Those hinted attributes under the fabric, those lines that speak of what’s underneath.” He was getting worked up talking about it. “Even my husband knows we start with clothes on before we do anything.” He smiled and shrugged. “It’s foreplay.” “Okay,” I said simply. “And don’t forget the money you’ll make when they want a suit like any of ours.” Peter grinned. “Yes,” Jori nodded with a grin. “Don’t forget that. Only, the increase in business means I’ll have hire some help.” “So?” I asked. “Do that.” “Yes, but just because someone can sew does not mean they work for Jori.” Jori said a little haughtily. “You could teach them?” Peter suggested. “That takes time.” Jori whined. I held up my hands like they were scales. “You take a little time out to teach someone.” My right hand lowered a little as my left hand rose in equal distance. “Or you make more money if you do.” My left hand went down and my right came up and they teetered, but my left was lower like a scale. “I don’t know. That one seems to outweigh the other.” “Yes,” Peter smiled at Jori, “but you may have to expand. Too bad there’s no location where you could do it in spite of the weather.” His eyes suddenly widened. “Oh, wait. There is. The Underground! I’m sure the spot next to the Gourmet Coffee Shop…” “Okay!” Jori chuckled. “I get it. I’ll start interviewing some people.” “The size and how much you will determine.” I added. “Knock, knock!” Olek’s voice came as he opened the door. “Are you about ready?” He looked and saw Jori. “Oh, you’re busy. I’ll come back.” He rushed and was quickly going away to avoid Jori. “Votre Majesté,” Jori said smiling, “you need help in your suit, too!” Jori hurried after Olek. “S’il vous plaît.” He took off after Olek. We saw what was happening downstairs on television. The various networks had coverage. Anchormen and women stood often with the Gallery seen behind them. Even that Garner guy from the BBC that told Drew about the fay, fag and fairy shit was there. Somehow it seemed to be disloyal to Drew to watch him. I turned to CNN. The scene showing the Galley up above to show the crowd forming. Men and women with the red pants or skirts with almost blinding white shirts served drinks and tidbits to eat from trays as they wandered through the crowd. These were Makarovians. “All of Makarovia is waiting to herald this new addition to the royal family as Eric Richards marries His Highness Prince Pedro of Makarovia.” Andrew’s voice said. “The entire world is waiting to see the first same gender marriage between a member of a ruling family marry someone they love. Makarovia is a country that has welcomed many of the unwanted people of Europe. This is a unique marriage in a unique country.” The screen now showed the street parties that were happening at the moment. Men, women, and children were enjoying the party. A little girl and her friend or sibling were eating cotton candy with faces that had been painted. She was a cat; the little boy was a dog. They looked like they were having fun. Suddenly the little girl who was about six was being asked some questions. “Are you having fun?” The unseen reporter asked and someone asked the same in Makarovian. “Tak.” The little girl answered shyly. A voice answered for her in English. Yes. “What’s happening today? Why is everyone so happy?” “Knyazʹ Petro odruzhuyetʹsya!” The little boy about the same age next to her piped in. Prince Pedro is getting married. His tone of the answer asked why the reporter didn’t know that. “And this a good thing?” The reporter asked. “Tak!” The tone from both said, of course. Then a young man and woman were asked. English was learned and later developed among adults. “It doesn’t matter to you that Prince Pedro is marrying a man?” Both of them looked puzzled. “Why would it?” The young man answered in accented English. “I think it’s great!” The young woman said happily. “Since His Lordship came to Makarovia, things have really turned around for Makarovia.” Her smile brightened. “He comes, the uranium begins coming out of the ground, money goes into our economy, the underground begins.” She shrugged. “Love is love! Prince Pedro loves him and Lord Eric loves Pedro. It’s a match made in Heaven.” I was surprised. “I had nothing to do with any of that.” Peter grinned. “It’s attributed to your showing up. Whether you did it or not.” I shook my head. “No, I’m not taking any of Olek’s thunder. He did all that.” Direct translation from English to Makarovian or vice versa often didn’t work well. Like green for ecology. I was going to explain, but Peter’s hand came up as he thought on his own. It took a minute or two. “Okay, I give. What does that mean?” “Stealing his praise or accolades.” I chuckled. “Taking credit.” Peter’s head went back slightly. “How does…” His forehead wrinkled as he tried figure it out. “I was going with Zeus or Thor with lightning and thunder. How…” He shook his head. “Never mind, you can explain it to me later.” Jori spent a little time with Olek. He would be at the front first. There was a knock at the door. Since no one could just get up here we told them to come in. Grandmother came in. “I just wanted to see you before the ceremony.” She said smiling at me and Peter. Just like she had done the night before, she was stunning. This gown was blue, too, but it was light blue at the top that darkened on the way down to an almost navy blue, but it was gradual. Her right shoulder and arm was bare. At the neck on her left side it cascaded from her shoulder down her arm. The sleeve, when you realized there was a sleeve was just there and the color fade was true there as well. She had a little clutch bag of blue the same as the dress. Her neck had a necklace that sparkled with light blue stones. The same for her earlobes and wrist. Her hair again was done up on the right side, but curls came down her left. “Grandma!” I blurted astonished. She curtsied. “If there ever a moment I needed to dress up…this is it.” She chuckled. “I take it you approve?” I was nodding wholeheartedly. “Yes, I do. You look fantastic!” Grandmother touched her hair even though nothing needed fixing. “Today, I become the grandmother of a prince. That doesn’t happen every day.” She came over to me. “I came to say, your grandfather, mother, and father would be so happy for you. I am.” She brought me in for a hug and kiss. She looked at Peter and stuck her hand out to him. “You,” She smiled as she brought Peter in with us. “You love my grandson. I have no doubt in my mind about that. He loves you, too.” She looked at me. “This was not one of the ramifications I wanted you to consider.” She hugged us. “My grandsons. I want the best for you both.” She kissed us both. “I’ll be in front.” Jori came back and got us in our suits. Tuxedos, really because of the satin and waistcoats. This time, we both had on those red sashes across our chests. Peter had joked that he would be waiting down front, but we were both entering the ballroom at the same time. Peter was wearing his coronet down the aisle. I’d get mine after the wedding portion was done. The clock in our rooms said five minutes until three mezitli escort o’clock and there was a knock on our door. Six guards were taking us downstairs. The nervousness and weight that I hadn’t felt, I did now. We proceeded to the stairs to take us down. There were cameras both video and flash photography in the Gallery. Everyone one there as a guest was down in the ballroom waiting. There were the flashes as we descended. The whirring of the mechanical parts of cameras as those pictures were taken and got ready for the next one. Whether it was digital or film no opportunity was wasted. Neither Peter nor I were above the emotions of what was happening. We weren’t solemn, but were not all smiles right now. Okay, he did steal a glance at me and smiled. Then to the floor where the ballroom was. This room was crowded with people, all dressed in their finest. Elegantly dressed men and beautiful women waited. Guards stood around the room, but a line of well-dressed Makarovian guards in dress uniforms lined up forming two rows making an aisle down to the front. There was the sound of a pipe organ that announced the time had come. All of the guards withdrew their swords turning to face each other as they knelt on one knee. This gauntlet of drawn swords in the hands of white gloved hands on serous faces turned to us as that pipe organ began this proud and grand processional. It was done this way because of needed space required. It was a real pipe organ that blasted the notes as all faces now turned to see us enter following the red carpet runner to the raised portion where Olek and a priest waited. There was no groom’s side and bride’s side. Technically, I was on what was the groom’s side, but Peter was certainly no bride. We had been told and told not to rush things as we came down the aisle. Now, the ballroom seemed bigger as we walked. I felt something touch my right pinky causing me to look as Peter took the hand and squeezed it. He grinned at me. I held his hand more securely and brought it up, kissing it. No one said I couldn’t. Decorum. Good taste and all that. Whatever. Peter looked great to me. To make things easier, again, as we did last time, people were asked to stand. It gave people more room. Those that needed to sat. I thought of the maximum occupation and even wondered if we had a fire marshal in Makarovia. The possible missile attack brought that up in my mind. It’s amazing what comes to you when. I had another Julie Andrews moment as we approached the raised area. Come on, no one’s that straight! Only, I could not and would not wear that dress with that cathedral length train. I don’t know how you solve problem like Maria, but start off with some young Christopher Plummer is a good place to start for me. I’d climb every mountain to get to Peter! European customs and practices were spellbinding. These went back centuries. Countless men and women had joined lives like this. Peter and I got to the foot of the steps to go up on the raised portion of the platform. Olek was smiling so much, I wondered if he felt uncomfortable. Here, he wore his formal crown. The signature red sash and medallion in place. Mom was always beautiful and her gown this time was white until you realized she had gold designs over it. Her hair again was down, but came in cascades of blonde tresses. Her tiara was sparkling as always. The wedding towel was brought out and spread before us on the floor where Peter and I were to stand. Both Peter and I bowed before the priest who wore formal robes of blue with white symbols on it in the form of white crosses. I hadn’t crossed myself in a long time, but it came back to me. I respected the belief, but just didn’t follow it as much anymore . Did they have it right? I don’t know. We crossed ourselves and got on our knees on the towel. The priest now said the blessing I said he was going to in Latin. One more time, the prayer was for us, not the marriage. We heard the call of command from the guard entrusted to do that and all the knelling soldiers stood, put their sword back in its scabbard, their boots clomped together and they did a left or right face to face forward. The uniformed boot made a sharp sound as they moved. Precision. Makarovian military weren’t slackers, just often outnumbered. Things were now quiet with our guests. Why is it there was always that cough. If the throat’s dry, drink water or if its something else, take a cough drop. Maybe they did or it would have been worse. The poor person. “My brothers,” Olek said to us smiling, loud enough for all to hear. He had on that lapel microphone. “You all know that two years ago Peter went out in the world to better prepare Makarovia for the world. In doing so, he found someone willing to join him to do that. A year ago, Eric Richards went through the Proposal and pledged to serve all of the people of Makarovia, not just marry Peter.” Olek nodded. “So, before this begins, I have to ask. Has he done as he promised?” The crowd had many guests, but also mayors and chosen citizens of Makarovia. “Yes.” The reply was almost saying hurry it up. Olek chuckled holding his hands up. “Okay, okay. It has to be on record.” He smiled. “Do you approve of this marriage?” “Yes!!” Came the reply. I could have sworn I heard a “hell, yeah!” I saw Peter give me a “see?” sort of look. Olek bowed to them. “I’ll just get out of the way then.” The man that stepped up was the judge. Alexei Mitika. In his late forties, he was a nice looking man. He had on his black robe worn when doing that job. This time, he was smiling. “I can not tell you how happy I am to be doing this. When the man who would become my husband here and I arrived, it was tough at first.” He held his hands up. “Not because we weren’t welcomed, but the weather!” He chuckled. “We learned about preparing ourselves.” He smiled. “It was damned worth it. Not one of these people rejected either of us. We were welcomed with open arms!” He reached out and touched Peter. “Now, Prince Pedro has returned with someone special. He wants to marry this person. We are so happy for him.” He touched himself on the chest. “I’m happy for him. The beginning years can be the sweetest.” He chuckled. “As this is no ordinary marriage, this isn’t an ordinary wedding. However, are there individuals that give these two men to each other?” My grandmother, Drew, Wayne, Boris, Yuri, Olek, and Mom spoke up. “We do.” The judge nodded. “Alright.” He looked at Peter and me. “Who’s first? You have some words for each other and us.” Peter smiled at me. “You just couldn’t let it drop, could you?” He chuckled pressing his hand to his chest. “From day one in that class, you pursued me. Me. Not Prince Pedro, but Peter Ivanov. College student. I was so shy. You were determined I’d laugh and we would become friends.” He gestured helplessly. “I did, do, and we are. I have never encountered a man like you. You never backed down. You burrowed into my life and won’t let go. You drew me out. Even when I was covered from head to toe with that…” H sought a word, “horrible condition, you saw me. You didn’t feel sorry for me, but sought a solution. I fell in love with you. I’m still falling in love with you.” He was nodding. “Yes, you have a connection with this part of Europe. Fitting in here was not that difficult for you. You made us fit in with you. I don’t regret a thing. You’re smart, speak well and never once backed off. I know we’ll have a great life, Eric. I love you. I want to marry you.” “Okay,” I sighed. What he’d said was so sincere and he meant every word. I took a deep breath. Like it or not, the old me just kicked in. “This has been nice, but I changed my mind.” I turned like I was leaving many here gasped and began murmuring. I turned back grinning. “Just kidding! I told you, whatever I need to do I will do so willingly to make you mine. I want you, Peter. In all that I do from now on, I want you there. You.” I patted him on the chest. “I love you, Peter. It started at Walmart!” I watched as his eyes grew and then rolled away at that. “You didn’t see what I did. A sweet soul. So loving and kind. I couldn’t let you go.” I grinned. “I love you. More important, you love me.” I waved at the judge. “So, let’s do this so he can get his life back with his husband.” I looked out at the people. “Sorry for what I said just now about changing my mind. That would be hilarious, wouldn’t it? It’s a part of me I normally keep under tight control.” The judge chuckled as he shook his head and pressed on. “Do you, Prince Pedro Ivanov take this man to be your lawfully wedded spouse? To be your best friend, confidant, and life partner from this moment on? Through good times and bad, whether in sickness or in health, poverty, and wealth? From this moment forward?” Peter looked at the sky and I must be rubbing off on him. With a scrunched up eye, he let out an “Uhmm,” and shrugged. “Sure. Why not?” I bowed my head briefly. “That’s very big of you.” Peter shrugged at me with a smile. “Some people came from so far away. I’d hate them to go away with nothing.” “And do you, Eric Richards, Earl of Stryia. Take this man to be your lawfully wedded spouse? To be your best friend, confidant, and life partner from the moment on? Through good times and bad, whether in sickness or in health, poverty, and wealth? From this moment forward?” I shrugged. “Sure. What the hell?” The judge rolled his eyes at that. He reached for Olek. “Rings?” “Sure,” I nodded as Peter grinned. “We’ll take two, please.” Peter added. The judge again shook his head. “You two deserve each other.” He muttered. “We do.” Peter said grinning. “It’s so boring if we didn’t,” I added. “Who wants that?” The judge grinned putting one in Peter’s hand. “Repeat after me. With this ring, I do this as your spouse.” He looked at Peter. “I mean, as you slide the ring on Eric’s finger.” “I got that,” Peter smiled sliding the ring on my finger. “With this ring, I do this as your spouse.” The judge looked at me and instructed me to do the same thing. “With this ring, I do this as your spouse.” The judge nodded and bowed to Olek. “Kneel please, Eric.” Olek instructed. Mom came over with a coronet on a pillow. Olek raised the coronet over my head. “Do you, Eric Ivanov,” Olek asked, “solemnly promise and swear to govern the people of this kingdom of Makarovia according the statutes in Parliament agreed on and laws and customs of the same?” “I solemnly promise to do so.” I said. This was where any religious portion came in. Mom brought a large Bible over. I placed my hand on the Bible. “These things which I have before me promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.” It was the same if an atheist was sworn in court before testimony was given. “Rise, Prince Eric Ivanov. You begin your work as Prince of Makarovia!” Olek put a hand on both our shoulders. “My brothers, are married.” The crowd was now clapping, but Peter tapped the Olek’s shoulder. “You forgot something.” Olek looked puzzled. “No.” He thought a second. “I don’t think so.” Peter nodded. “Yes, you did.” He grabbed me and pulled me into a kiss that would melt iron. It was a long kiss. That was another tradition, remember? The length and passion of the kiss said how long our love and marriage would last. From the kiss, we’d be married a looonng time and it be a passionate marriage. “Oh,” Olek smiled. “As if you needed prompting for that? I didn’t forget, we just haven’t gotten around to it.” “A more perfect wedding I couldn’t have planned better.” Grandmother said proudly as she hugged me and Peter. I laughed. “We came. We saw. We married.” She took my left hand and looked at the ring there. “Yes, we really did marry just now. This almost seems anticlimactic.” Grandmother nodded hugging me more. “Like Christmas morning. He’d delay opening the presents as long as he could…” “I did!” I agreed. “It was just so…delightfully agonizing.” “He enjoyed the anticipation.” “When it was over, it was over!” I reminded them. “I hate that.” “Once he held out until 8pm!” Grandmother explained further. “Finally, I had to say it was time or we put it off until the following year.” “Just that one time,” I argued as Grandmother squeezed our cheeks together. “He has a lot of impulse control,” Grandmother nodded still hugging me. “So,” Drew said. “I have to bow now or something?” He asked grinning. “Do you have to now?” I asked. “Nah,” Drew said. “There’s your answer.” I grinned. It was all in good fun. Yuri and Boris came up. “Your Highness,” They said together and bowed. “Knock it off,” I grumbled. “Yes, Your Highness.” They again answered together with a bow. I squinted an eye at them. “It’s a good thing I love both of you. That doesn’t mean you will be spared the rack.” Yuri looked at Boris and thought. “Is there a rack? I couldn’t begin to guess where it is.” “We’ll build one!” I said. “I’m sure there is a schematic on file.” I waved at the thought. “I saw one when looking things up like the torture fork. We can revive that, too.” Yuri nodded slightly. “You were looking that up, why?” “To know.” “Uh, huh,” Yuri said with his eyebrows coming together as he tried to figure it out. “I see.” “We’re not moving again, are we?” I asked Olek. Olek shook his head. “No.” His head looked inquisitive. “Why?” “Just making sure, Mr. Ivanov.” I waved my fingers in that gimme motion. Olek chuckled. “Okay, Mr. Ivanov. Still want to kick the tires to see, Mr. Ivanov? The name is now yours whether you like it or not.” “It’s good thing I do like it.” I pointed out. “Eric Ivanov.” I shook my head. “Still, it’s alien enough. I need to get used to it.” Olek nodded. “We’re happy to oblige!” He looked beyond me. “Your public awaits!” pozcu escort He waved at the camera. I turned and bowed grandly at all of who I knew were gathered on the streets, taverns, and the Grotto. “Thank you for your continued support. I feel humbled by it and will prove myself daily.” I turned like I was going somewhere and turned back pointing a twitching finger. “No take backs!” I said in English and winked at them. The few that knew what that meant were going to be pestered for the translation. That made me happy. The transformation of the ballroom from wedding mode to reception was to me seamless. I knew it wasn’t, but done well. I then saw why. Boris was the reason. Various men and women came to consult Boris about whatever, which Boris directed. He knew his craft! I came up behind Boris. “You know, you don’t have to do this.” Boris grinned with a nod. “I do, if I want it done correctly.” I pulled him to kiss him on the cheek. “Thank you, Boris.” The reception line. Congratulations and best wishes given. Grudgingly by some like from countries in or near India. They were here and wanted a portion of what we had they would have to. Politics. I’m sorry to admit, the British Empire didn’t send anyone but General Hammond and Troops. That was enough. I saw the King and Queen of Sweden was there, the King and Queen of Spain and the King of France! He didn’t have a wife, yet. Only, he wasn’t a king, but a Duke. Same thing. He was young and good looking! He had time. I sensed the King and Queen of Sweden was here to be seen. The King and Queen of Spain were enjoying themselves and Duke Louis VI was having fun! King Felipe of Spain was very tall! Six feet and six inches I am told. A good looking man, just…tall. A foot taller than his poor wife. I wondered if she had neck strain to kiss him. I didn’t know their rules concerning public displays. Queen Letizia was a CNN anchor Television Española before Felipe. Get this, she was married before Felipe! Yes! She was his first and only wife. He was her second husband. I would remind Olek of that soon. (Sarcasm again.) Oh, the very scandal! Then Peter and I were told it was time for the first waltz. We were prepared for this. This time, I knew the piece, a soft waltz by Chopin. Marriage d’Amour. It was beautiful! A circle of people told where we were to dance. As that haunting piano begun, we clasped hands and waists and began to move slowly. His gaze was fixed on me. Mine was on him. Were there others here? They sort of got overshadowed by him. He was taller, so he began to lead and we switched back and forth seamlessly. That took practice. “I’m saying it again.” Peter said softly. “I love you.” I smiled. “Never stop.” I said back. “I love you.” “I know.” Peter said kissing me. Not all was like that. When the Weather Girls began to sing “It’s Raining Men” Wayne, Drew, Boris, Yuri, and other guys got out there and we had a sort dance we all tried to get. It was pretty much every gay man in the world’s song! It was almost like a line dance we all agreed on! It was fun! Boris could dance! And Yuri…well, he tried. He wasn’t bad, just not comfortable with himself dancing. I gave him an A plus for trying. A reception for hundreds was gotten and set out. After dancing with Grandmother, she waved to our table. “Let’s sit this one out,” Grandmother suggested with a sigh to regulate her breath. We went to the table where Yuri was speaking with Olek and suddenly stopped. It’s like a neon light on Yuri’s face!, I tensed. “Come on, Yuri. Do you think I can’t read you?” I asked sitting down. “Is it bad?” Yuri nodded waving at me and said to Olek. “See? He just knows. I can’t keep anything from either of them.” Olek nodded. “It isn’t good.” He sighed. “They tried to make good the threat about the missile. It was launched in Northern Iraq. Near the town of Dahuk.” He shook his head. “We’re still here, so…it went down over North Eastern Turkey. The town of Artvin was hit. There are quite a few deaths.” I nodded. “That’s terrible! They missed the target.” “The Levant or the ISL are saying it’s our fault.” Yuri explained further. My eyes widened. “How the Hell did we do that!? They came up with the missile, they aimed it at us and they fired it. Just because they missed, they can’t possibly explain that to a rational world.” Olek nodded and pointed at me. “Exactly, but we’re not necessary talking about the rational world, are we?” “What does Yasin tell you?” I asked as both of their eyebrows rose in surprise. “What?” I asked. “I see a man from the Middle East here? I’m not going to speak to him? He sort of stands out.” Olek nodded slowly. “Okay. He said the ISL, or the Islamic State of Islam, the Levant, is well funded. They just lack know how.” “Aren’t they still fighting among themselves?” I asked. “Yes,” Yuri nodded. “This was an attempt to extinguish any competitor.” “But they missed.” I added. “Missed or it was brought down,” Yuri said. “We don’t know.” “Or the Consortium,” I suggested. “If they did hit us. We could lose you, Olek, Peter, Me, Mom…even with England and the US forces here, there would be a gap in the hierarchy. A gap I’m sure the Consortium would love to help with.” Yuri stood up straighter. “He’s right. Until they investigate, we won’t know.” Then Yuri frowned. “There’s a change.” “Oh?” I asked. “I’m still married to Peter.” Yuri chuckled. “You certainly are.” He looked up. “Here comes Peter now.” He waited for Peter to sit. “Your trip to Tel Aviv has been canceled.” “What? Why?” Peter asked. Yuri was waving his hands down to stop the questions. “I’m telling you.” He sighed. “It was leaked…not by us,” he clarified, “but by a woman at their travel service as to when and where. Instead, you two will fly to Venice, Italy tonight. From there you will have use of a yacht. It’s in Boris’ and my names.” He smiled. “Tour Venice a day or two, but stay on the yacht.” He said firmly. “My suggestion is go down to Greece. The choice is yours. We’re very welcome there.” “We are?” Peter smiled at that. “Hell, yeah.” Yuri nodded. “Most of their gods were bisexual or gay.” “You’re making that up.” I accused. “I am not!” Yuri said. “Poseidon, Eros, Apollo, Pan just to name a few. Those were the men! Aphrodite and Artemis…” He waved his hands. “Hell, Zeus even had an affairs with guys! He began pederastia where Greek men had sex with post adolescent boys!” Peter and I were chuckling. “Okay, okay. Why do we have to travel to Venice?” Peter said. “Because that’s where the yacht is berthed and is being stocked now.” Yuri looked a little sheepish. “That’s why I said to tour Venice a day or two to give them time.” “It will give your older brother a chance to relax knowing your safe.” Olek grinned. Then he sprang up. “And you…” he pointed at me, “owe me a dance!” “I do?” I grinned and nodded. “I do.” The music went to a slow song, but Olek grabbed me up and swung me around. I let him lead. It’s what he knew how to do. “I knew, after you opened that door to that hotel room right before the dinner at the White House, I’d be seeing you a lot.” Olek confessed. “You did?” I chuckled. “Any other clairvoyant glimpses you’d like to share?” Olek looked smug. “Laugh if you want. I tell you, I did. I got this chill up my spine. I swear it. I just knew things were going to change from that moment on.” He grinned. “I have to say, I’ve not seen my brother this happy. Thank you.” He said sincerely. “I will strive to always do that. He makes me happy.” The song was ending. Olek got a tap on the shoulder. Turning Olek saw Drew. Olek held his hands up to lead Drew. Drew chuckled. “Not that I wouldn’t love to, I will, but can I get one in with Prince Eric?” “Always a bridesmaid and never the bride.” Olek smiled and waved both hands at me. “He’s yours through the next song.” I held my hands out and held his out, completely opposite of each other. I chuckled. “You lead.” Drew snickered. “You sort of will want me to do that. When I let Wayne lead…let’s just say your toes will appreciate it.” We had some wild songs, but now the mood just seemed to call for a lot of slow songs. The truth was most of these guests were older and night club music just wasn’t…dignified. “I have to say,” Drew began. “The day you called me to cover that Proposal was the beginning of the best year for me.” He raised a hand to caution me. “I wrote about that, now I will tell you, I want to tell the rest. This has got to be the most romantic relationship ever! Gay or straight. You can practically touch it, it’s so real.” I smiled at that. “You and Wayne have that, too.” Drew nodded. “We do, but…” he was flustered for a word. “We’ve been together for so long. I’m not complaining. Wayne’s a great man. I love him to death. He knows me so well and I know him.” I chuckled. “One day, I want to say the same about Peter.” I shook my head. “You’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. You see Peter and me in the newness of our relationship. I see that calm familiarity in yours. I want that.” I patted his back. “I chose you because of your stance with gay and lesbian…all that fay, fag and fairy shit.” He laughed at that. “You told the truth and I knew you’d be outspoken about it. I wasn’t wrong.” “I convey truth.” Drew claimed. “I reported what I saw. I thank you for trusting me to do that.” “Well,” I sought a word myself. “Thank you for being trustworthy.” “Are we going to keep going with this?” Drew asked. “Like those two gophers in those Looney Tunes?” “Tosh and Mac!?” I said happily. “The Goofy Gophers! I love them!” Drew’s eyes widened. “They have names!?” “Of course, they have names.” I shot back. “They’re from your world!” “My world?” “They’re British!” I said. “Robert Clampett was American, but Norm McCabe was British. Their names are for Macintosh.” I explained. “Mac in tosh?” Drew looked at my head carefully. “Where do you put all this?” I shrugged. “You remember what’s important. I wanted to know, so I looked it up.” I bounced. “I can name all of the Seven Dwarfs and name all the reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh.” “I don’t doubt it.” Drew threw his head back and laughed. We were still moving, but noticed the music had stopped. The next song began and I pushed Drew away. “You need to find Wayne for this song and I need Peter.” “Why?” Drew laughed. I went over and grabbed Peter and drug him to the dance floor. “Because….” and I sang! Yes, I did in English. Using the words in Makarovian just didn’t work. Remember those hoops? I could carry a tune. I would have done whatever I needed to do. “Isn’t it romantic? Music in the night, a dream can be heard. Isn’t it romantic? Moving shadows write the oldest magic word.” I watched Peter’s smile grew. “I hear breezes playing in the trees above. While all of the world you meant to be loved.” I shrugged. “Ella did it better. Or Mel or Glenn Miller…” Peter shook his head. “Not to me.” He said rolling me in his arm and the extended until we almost lost touch. He brought me in again as we continued to dance. “You mean it.” I didn’t care about anyone or anything but Peter. It was easy to be romantic with him. It could have been my imagination, but think I heard a few ladies sigh. Then they hit their husband or boyfriends for not doing things like this. “I love you, Eric.” “I know.” I said. “I love you.” “I know.” The reception was now in full swing. A lot of people wanted to dance with Peter and me. Women and men. I now knew what Olek meant about the weight of the crown. After a few hours I began to get a dull headache. Olek took his crown off, I forgot about mine. It was a thin thing, but gold weighs. I needed to put some Excedrin or something out for me next time. Hell, Aspirin would be good. Then, out came the cakes. Yes, cakes, with an “S.” They stood as tall as King Felipe! There were two. Someone made eight large round bottoms, then added as it went up. White icing with what looked like wide red ribbons wrapping around them with red roses where the ribbons were elegantly tied. But there was no real ribbon or real roses, but icing! By the third level it was wrapped in bouquets of roses. All in icing. Someone had a real talent! The whole thing could be eaten! There was humor with them. It was Peter and me, of course there would be the humor. On one cake the single groom was waving the other on the other cake to come over to his cake to join him. “Did I miss something these last few days?” I asked Peter. “I never saw or smelled them doing,” I waved at the cakes, “…all this.” Peter nodded and shrugged lightly. “We’ve been busy.” “We can’t cut this!” I objected gesturing to the cakes. “We’ll be destroying a work of art!” Peter glanced around as the guests were waiting for something. “We sort of have to.” I held him off as photographers clicked away to capture the magic of the cakes. I didn’t want to forget this. Then I noticed the first cake was rising slowly. “What the Hell?” It could never reach the ceiling of the ballroom, but it was rising. Boris chuckled coming over. “It’s on an electric lift. It won’t topple over.” He presented Peter and me with knives and that flat…whatever to pull the slice out to put on a plate. “Your first task together as a married couple.” He then brought out a plate to put it on. “Don’t do it.” I growled at Peter. “I haven’t done anything!” “You were thinking it.” I said, “Or I’ll go on the honeymoon without you.” “Spoilsport.” Peter said in English. I laughed at that. “Where did you learn that?” I asked. “I know I’ve never used it. Usually, I just speak Makarovian with you. Was it the same source that taught you about dickhead?” “Yes,” Peter admitted with a slow growing grin. “I escort bayan like Chet.” “You and me both.” We cut the cake, which hurt me. This was a mixture cake. Part was chocolate under the frosting and part was yellow french vanilla silk. Peter looked as if he was going to do it anyway, but he didn’t smear it in my face. After a slice or two, someone else took the task over. Several someones were serving cake or we’d be there until the next day. The Generals were here with their wives. “Such as lovely wedding!” Eloise Hammond commented. “And a very elegant party.” Edmond added. “You need to thank Boris for that.” Peter chuckled. “We take him out of Boston to spare him work and he does it here.” I nodded. “He knows what he’s doing. He graduated from the Cordon Bleu.” “He was the tall man dancing during that song It’s Raining Men, right?” David worked it out in his mind. “And he’s married to the guy next to him I know is Yuri. The head of your security.” “That’s them!” I said happily. “Two great human beings.” Helen waited for something, but wasn’t getting it. She backhanded him in the shoulder. “Oh, David.” She rolled her eyes. David looked helpless. “I can’t help it! I was surprised.” I knew he was still working on his acceptance of homosexuals, gay men in particular. He really was. I grinned at him. “What surprised you with them?” David was being honest. “Boris I couldn’t tell either way, but Yuri!?” He paused embarrassed. I nodded. “Yuri what?” “I’ve sat across a desk with him. He’s a tough man. Hard as nails.” David explained. “Some of what he told me about for training, he did it on his own.” David was turning pink. “For fun!” “And a gay man couldn’t possibly do that to challenge himself.” I nodded. “He gave me nothing,” David justified. “No swish when he walks, no lisp or wimpy handshake…” Helen’s gaze hardened. “Keep digging. That hole you’re in should almost be to China by now.” “Please, don’t be too hard on him, Helen.” Peter said. I nodded. “We prefer honest questions instead of stewing on something they don’t understand and imagining the worse.” I said. “He is honest. Our behaviors are telling how to react to what we see. However, there are studies done with higher functioning animals. There is no gay gene. I don’t believe it exists. It’s during gestation we don’t get what we need. That causes the fetus’ brain to develop or not develop. A lot of behaviors are learned, too. We emulate those that attract us sometimes. There aren’t that many in Makarovia striving to be fabulous.” I’m as bad as others who stereotype people and said that in what I considered to be a gay way, “because they’ve not seen it.” I waved David off. “Human sexuality is far too complex to pigeonhole it to one cause. Therefore, neither can behaviors. Yuri is tough guy, who loves Boris.” I shrugged. “Simple.” “Are you saying Eric or I do…what you just said?” Peter asked with a growing smile. “What!?” David balked. “No! I accepted you as exceptions to the rule.” Peter nodded. “I see. Well, Yuri and Boris are, too. And Drew and Wayne…” “Cut me some slack here.” David was now much pinker. “I’m relearning everything!” “You got it.” I said. We saw Helga return to the table. She was here for the wedding, but after that had vanished a few times. Not dancing and just picked at her meal. Still, gorgeous, but pale. She leaned in and spoke quietly with Olek. “Are you alright, Helga?” Mom asked her. Helga smiled. “I’m fine.” She shook her head. “I must have been around someone sick. I’ve been ill these past few days.” She looked up. “Übel?” She asked Olek. “Nauseous.” Olek said to me, translating for her. “Any more predicable time than others?” Grandmother asked. Helga looked up suddenly. “It can’t be that. I’m on birth control pills.” She shook her head. “I take them every day.” Mom chuckled. “That doesn’t mean you’re not. The pills are not one hundred percent to prevent pregnancy. My…” she did the air quotes with her fingers, “morning sickness I got morning, noon and night with that one.” She pointed at Peter. “Are their scents you normally don’t bother with?” Helga nodded. “Olek wears this cologne I love on him. This morning it made me sick.” Mom nodded. “Feeling unusually tired?” Helga’s eyes widened. “I can’t be pregnant.” She waved between Olek and herself. “We’re not married!” Mom laughed. “If you are, any baby doesn’t care about that.” “Before we panic,” Peter whispered to the table, “can we find out if Helga is or isn’t first?” “That would be logical,” Olek muttered. Helga looked at Olek in horror. “I don’t care what you say. I can’t be an unwed mother! Not and be Queen.” Olek shrugged. “If you are pregnant, that’s what you’ll be. I’ll be an unwed father.” He took her hand. “You couldn’t have done it alone. I’ll be there.” Helga gave one of those that’s so sweet looks. Then she began to cry. I chuckled. “Her hormones are doing this.” I nodded. “She’s pregnant.” Peter grinned and said quietly. “Yay! We’ll be uncles!” “If she is pregnant and we’ll be gone!” I moaned. Olek smiled. “I’ll send the thumbs up if she is and down if she’s not.” He shrugged. “You’ll be back at school if she is.” “Toys!” Peter grinned as he hissed not wanting to be overheard. It was soon that Boris, Yuri, Peter, and I were to leave. Boris and Yuri were flying on to Sicily to take the boat to Mario’s private island, but there was one more thing. Peter stood looking at our guests. “There is a tradition where the bride tosses her bouquet into a crowd of unmarried women to see who will be next.” He reached in his coat pocket and pulled out a foot long strand of gold rope. I had the same. “Now, we were married carrying these. It had all that Ivanov magic in this.” He shrugged. “We had the generational towel that we were married on.” He and I tied them together. “Now, it’s a love knot.” “I know who to give it to,” I said taking the knot and walked right over to Olek and handed it to him. “You’re next.” Olek only looked surprised a second, but nodded. “I guess I am.” If Helga was pregnant, it was about damned time. We were heralded down to the ground floor were an SUV was going to take us to the little airport in Stryia. Our luggage had been packed and already loaded on the plane. “It will be fine, Olek,” Mom said to him. “We’ll just have to move this along.” She turned to Helga. “We’ll get one of those home pregnancy kits and we’ll go from there.” “Where does someone from here go for something like this?” I asked. I had no idea. “There drug stores.” Peter defended. “If you don’t want people to start guessing, have Helen get one in Skoal. She’ll have an excuse to visit.” “And scare David to death,” I chuckled. “You love to torture that man.” Peter said. “I do.” I readily agreed. “He gives it right back.” I looked at Olek and Helga. “If you are pregnant, we’ll be just as honest with your news as you did with Peter and me. We’ll deal with it. There are plenty of children born to kings and queens who aren’t married. Monaco comes to mind first. Prince Albert II, Juan Carlos of Spain, some with eight children out of wedlock, or more!” I turned to Helga. “In fact, you should speak with the Queen of Spain. She’s Felipe’s first wife, but her second husband. She was working as a CNN News Anchor. She might choices to offer.” Helga nodded rubbing her stomach. “I’ll be happy just knowing. Like you said, we’ll go from there.” She grimaced. “If I can just stop this sick feeling.” “Saltines,” Mom told her. “And lukewarm ginger ale. It worked for me.” “Eric, Peter!” A voice called from behind us. Turning, we watched Anderson Cooper jog up. “I wanted to congratulate you and speak before you leave. I saw the whole thing. It was beautiful. I’m leaving to go back to the United States tomorrow.” “It was great having you here, Andy.” I held my hand up to stop him. “I know you are a busy man. Maybe email or call? Even drop by unannounced. It will be wonderful to see you again.” “Count on it.” Anderson said firmly. I looked at the family around me. “You’re witnesses! He said he would.” “Again, congratulations you two.” He hugged me and the Peter. “Oh, do you have a private line?” Peter nodded. “Sure.” He gave Anderson the number. Anderson dialed quickly. “And the same goes for you. If you’re in New York, we’ll definitely have to get together.” He said and trotted back. “Hold it!” Wayne said. “I know who that man is.” He thumbed over his shoulder. “He’s famous! I’ve seen CNN. This friendship isn’t because of you.” He pointed to Peter, “but because of you.” He pointed at me. “Yep.” I answered. “His mother and my grandmother were friends.” “When he was there last night, I just…” Drew began. “My grandmother is famous, too.” “Yes, but…” Drew shook his head. “Aw, forget it.” Boris and Yuri came up quickly. “We’re changing on the plane?” Boris asked. “Unless you want to show up on the island like that.” I waved at his tuxedo. “Did you bring sunscreen?” Boris had pretty fair skin. “You’ll need it.” The SUV pulled out of the Castle Courtyard and made its way down a road crowded on either side of the street. They waved and cheered which we returned. Waving the little flags of Makarovia. Men, women, and children cheered us all the way to the little airport. “Oh!” Olek said out of the blue. “You might need this.” He handed me a little red book. I grinned at it. “A Makarovian Passport?” Opening it, I saw “Eric Richards Ivanov.” “And this.” He handed me another card. “This is a diplomatic identification and immunity. You are now a citizen of Makarovia.” He rushed on. “You’re still an American Citizen, but a Makarovian Citizen, too.” I looked at the photograph of me on both. “I don’t remember sitting for this photo.” “You did when we all had our website photos redone,” Mom said. “And as of today, you’re on it, too.” Peter smiled leaning closer. “You have been October the year before, but you’re one of us now.” Grandmother smiled. “I was concerned for him.” She shrugged. “We were all we had left in the world. Now, he’s got all of you. I’m grateful.” We were about to board the plane. I was aware of the various cameras and onlookers around as we said a simple see you later kind of good bye. “Yuri has the nondisclosure documents for the crew of the yacht.” Olek said. “They all must sign them.” Peter nodded. “I don’t suppose Eric or I could do that.” Olek shook his head. “Again, we owe Mario Basso for this.” He turned to the distinguished Italian. “It was a last minute change. With that travel service who leaked who was coming and when, I didn’t feel safe with you two going to Tel Aviv. Mario asked a friend for the use of his yacht.” He smiled patting Mario on the arm. “Having you to deliver the contracts would be telling them it’s you.” He came closer to us and shook a parental finger in both our faces. “You don’t even tell them until after those papers are signed and filed. You stay in the hotel suite until they are. Understood?” Peter chuckled bringing Olek in for a hug. “Yes, Dad.” “And, of course, you know where and how to do that.” I said to Yuri. Yuri grinned. “I do.” “Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton are the best legal minds in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.” Mario said. “I’ve worked with them for years. A Nicolo Cuomo will take the signed documents and they will be filed. I’ve dealt with him on many occasions.” I stood back a little from Mario as I knew the fact that I was really impressed showed on my face. “Damn, Mario.” I marveled and reached out. “Can I touch you?” I was only joking. A little. I did touch him. The man had clout! I turned to Mom. “You should have brought him around sooner!” Mario chuckled. “She did when we were ready. To do business in Italy or anywhere, you have to know how to play the game. I do.” Peter nodded. “I knew I liked you.” He stopped me knowing what I’d say something. “After the shock of my mother was dating, I did.” “They are the top law firm of the European 500.” Olek explained. “Just the name will strike fear in the hearts of Presidents, Prime Ministers and Legislature of all of Europe.” He waved as six men got out of another SUV with luggage. “Unfortunately, you need to have security. These men will go with you, but will stay out of the way onboard. If you tour around, at least four need to go with you.” Olek held his hands up to stop us. Peter wasn’t the only one that knew what would be objected to. “They will be as unobtrusive as possible.” He promised. “Sure, Olek.” I hugged him and Helga. “I look forward to finding out either way about you two. I know it will be good.” Peter pushed Boris toward the plane. “Come on, Boris. Time to start relaxing.” “And we want to see tans!” I added as I pulled Yuri with me. “We’ll check!” I put my arm next to his. “We all need this.” Taking off into the evening sky, I felt like I frequently did. No, it wasn’t bad, but Peter and I were now married. I was a prince now. It’s stupid, I know, but I was feeling a little…let down. All the drama and anticipation for this day was done. Over. That wonderful adrenaline rush was through. I needed to refocus on the next big event. Was Helga pregnant? Her concerns about being an unwed mother had merit. A woman carrying the future generation of royalty was not really wanted. Helga was no slut. She and Olek loved each other. I detested the idea of a cover up. What did they do? Olek and Helga were human and did what humans do. It wasn’t modern morality. It was human morality. It had gone on from the beginning of mankind. It would be fine. I glanced over to see Peter looking at a laptop screen. I saw the header. Venice. He was looking forward to this. I inwardly chuckled as I reached over taking his hand. “I may have said it a few times today, but…” I began. “I love you, Peter.” That high wattage smile was instantly on his face. “I know.” He held up his left hand and wiggled his left ring finger and the gold band on it. “Here’s the proof.” He kissed me. “I love you, Eric.” I did the same with my left hand. “I know.”

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