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Subject: Makarovia! Sure, I Know Where That Is, Chapter 27 Hella Good Story: Makarovia! Sure, I Know Where That Is Chapter 27 Hella Good 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! Helga and Olek marry, and they celebrate with a night at the Grotto. Keep on Dancin’! (That was a hint.) Hella Good After sleeping in our not round bed we had for two weeks, I was waking and saw sunlight shining through those small windows. Those small windows had several reasons. They protected us from invasion and weapon fire, and it helped to keep heat in. Letting in light from the sun was very low on the list for priorities if that was on it at all. I wondered how much firewood, torches, and candles were used. In the winter, days would pass, and the sun could barely be seen. I could see enough to guess the approximate time of day. I heard someone’s breathing change and the arm around me tighten its hold on me, re-enforcing my security with our relationship. I looked at my watch and it told me it close to nine in the morning. We seldom use alarm clocks unless we had to be at class or meeting someone early in the morning. That didn’t happen for the past two weeks. “Olek’s getting married in four to five hours,” I said. Peter stretched a little to wake up. “What time is it?” “Eight fifty-two.” Peter brought me closer and groaned. “I guess we need to get up,” He sighed. “We need tell Olek and Yuri about Cosmo. They need to call the hospital in Athens.” I nodded, “There is an hour difference there. It’s seven fifty-two in Greece.” “Okay,” Peter said, wonder in his voice asked why that was important. “Morning rounds?” I suggested as a hint. “Doctors go around and check with patients and check for any change in their health, both good and bad.” I was pulled flat, and Peter slid on top of me. He manually pinned my arms in place, “Okay, I know you had some deaths and learned from experience, but you know a Hell of a lot more you could get by observation and caregiving a few people. You’ve done it.” “I told you,” I grinned. “I seriously considered Psychiatry. That requires a medical degree.” “You did say that” Peter nodded, “but you describe procedures, injuries, and illness like you more the saw it, but did them! Yourself!” I laughed, “Some I did. I got blood pressures and temperatures for those doctors for their rounds.” I saw Peter’s eyes widen, “You did.” He said to confirm. “Yes, me!” I shook my head, “By my junior year of high school. I was seriously considering getting my medical doctor degree. Grandpa had died and this was before my mother was terminally diagnosed.” I shrugged, “That year I was a volunteer after class and on the weekends. I was in Central Supply. I delivered a lot things like ted-hose for compressing the legs, foley catheters and sterilized prewrapped packages for some surgical utensils…” We were speaking Makarovian and as I said before, the medical procedures and things used the same words. “You were allowed to put in catheters?” “Not that year,” I answered. “I was allowed to watch, with the patient’s permission.” I smiled. “I caught the attention of an attending doctor,” I looked at Peter. “Do you know what an attending is?” Peter nodded, “He or she is in charge of individual patients and their care.” “That’s right,” I smiled. “He is the nicest man.” I shook my head. “He is from the Netherlands, and he had an accent making him hard to understand at times…for others. I never had any trouble.” Peter tilted his head but looked suspecting something else. “Why do I sense you’ve left something out?” “I had a crush on him,” I confessed. “How old was he?” “He was in his late thirties and early forties,” I answered, “but no, we didn’t do anything. He was married!” “So?” “I was not going to be the other person in his life! He was a good-looking man. Dr. Jon Donkervoet.” I shrugged, “He seemed to like what I did at the hospital and had me enrolled as a trainee where credits were earned that could transfer to college. He insisted I have a job there.” I shrugged, “My senior year I had a job after school and weekends.” “They allowed you to do those things there?” I nodded, “It was part of the Medical University and a teaching hospital. I did things with supervision, so nothing invasive.” “You put a catheter up dicks! That’s not invasive!?” I laughed, “Well, technically, it is internal, but…you have three holes; your mouth, penis, and anus with a long tube that joins the three holes. You absorb nutrients as food passes through and gets rid what is waste the same way and released using the other holes, but in reverse. When I put in a catheter, I wasn’t piercing the skin. Then it would have been invasive.” “Okay,” Peter said cautiously. “You’ve never done anything invasive.” “Not at first and, God forgive me,” I shook my head, “but guys were so easy. You simply a tube up his tube.” I shrugged. “Women were harder for me.” Peter grinned, “Why?” I shuttered, “I…” I began. “I’ll say this, if I had any doubts about my sexuality; that would have confirmed it. I do not like vaginas. But get this! When it began to circulate I was gay, I started to get requests from staff to put them in!” I shrugged. “I could do it and quickly to not have to look at it. The staff said who better to do than someone who doesn’t like them? I was safe!” Peter nodded with a chuckle, “I can understand that.” I shrugged, “There was Phlebotomy…” Again, the word was so similar. He knew what I said. “You took blood from a vein.” “Many times,” I said and thought. “I don’t believe a day went by I didn’t do it.” “Supervised,” Peter asked to qualify. “At first,” I nodded. “It’s not that difficult.” Then a memory came. “That’s also when my mother was diagnosed with cancer.” “You said you stayed to help care for her,” Peter said. “You have knowledge and talent for medicine, and you seem love it. What happened?” The uneasy discomfort of memories and unpleasant feelings came back, and I watched Peter’s face lose his normal expression. “When Dad died, I was a kid. I spent many hours at the hospital. I didn’t really understand what was happening. His death wasn’t quick. He got this…infection…after he was being treated for a head injury.” “You don’t have to tell me,” Peter said softly. I nodded, “I do. You’re my husband.” I swallowed louder than I usually do. “The infection was Meningitis, the inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord?” Peter nodded, so I went on. “His head injury did crack open the skull but could be treated for that. I found out later it was the viral version of Meningitis. Meaning he got it from someone who was a caregiver there who didn’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom and had a bowel movement! His head was bandaged so not exposed. It’s the only way he could have gotten it.” Peter’s eyes widened again as he quickly crossed himself, “Jesus Christ!!” Peter would say damn, Hell, and occasionally shit. Never had he said that. It was a prayer. “He shouldn’t be dead!” I shook my head, “No, he shouldn’t. They gave him medicines to stop it.” I shook my head, “All that did was prolong his death. It took three weeks for him to die.” I took a breath. “A few years later for us, Grandpa drops. Dead. That one was quick. When Mom got cancer, at first, I kept going with my schedule. Even with Grandma’s help it was just too much.” I saw my vision blur a little and tears were coming. “I began to hate that hospital and medicine.” Peter’s eyes were reddening, “I am so sorry.” He released my arms and hugged me. “I just wanted to escape death,” I confessed. “Medicine would put it back in my life. I couldn’t do it anymore. No death is easy on anyone. I’ve had a sudden death, quicker death, and a lingering death. They all hurt.” Peter didn’t say it will be alright and other trite things. Those weren’t comforting. He was there. It was almost ten in the morning when we arrived in the dining area. Olek and Helga were sipping coffee having finished eating. Everybody else went to start their day. “I was starting to worry,” Helga said. “I told Peter about some tough moments in the past,” I said a little sadly. “About the deaths of my parents and grandparents.” Olek with sympathy, “Is everything alright?” I nodded, “Yes. I promise to tell you, but there is something you should know about Cosmo.” “First,” Peter smiled, “we need coffee.” Our coffees were gotten, and two steaming plates were placed in front of us. Once we had told Olek and Helga about the possible complications with Cosmo, Olek was nodding toward the end. “Of course,” Olek stated. “Cosmo will stay here until he can return to work. No questions.” He thought a moment. “Mikell has a certified copy of the Power of Attorney with him. I’ll talk with Yuri. We should have the original here on file in the Security Office.” He smiled. “We can call it in about an hour from now.” Peter chuckled, “Just don’t forget; you’re getting married today.” Olek grinned, “I’ll forget my head before I forget that.” He looked at Helga. “It’s really a formality today.” “It can be more than that,” I argued. “You are about to do something you’ve never done, Olek.” I looked at Helga, “I don’t really know about your split with your ex-husband, but it might be gratifying if he is shown who he lost,” I shrugged. “Every little girl I know wishes to be a princess and have a big, fancy, magical fairytale wedding and I know there will be a wedding in about a year,” I squinted an eye and pointed at her, “but you; won’t become a princess. You’ll be a Queen!” Helga chuckled, “The person would pay good money to see is Marg’s reaction. She is my ex-mother-in-law.” “Gosh,” Olek said in perfect English and then back to Makarovian and added sarcastically, “A son’s mother doesn’t like his wife. I’ve never heard of such a thing.” “Oh, she more than just didn’t like me,” Helga laughed at the absurdity. “That woman loathed me! No one was good enough for Kent.” “You have a doctorate’s degree!” I said, “And there’s just a few women that can hold a candle to you in beauty,” I paused, “Mom could, but you’re both stunning!” I pressed my hand to my own chest. “I’m gay and if I can see it. She should have! You’re beauty and brains!! What more could she want?” Helga smiled and nodded, “Thank you. There is one thing in particular she wanted. Control! Control of Kent and she tried with me. That wouldn’t work.” I nodded smiling, “Because you are both German!” “What!?” Olek asked sort of smiling. “Why does that mean anything?” I wasn’t bothered at all and explained, “Germans are known to be inflexible and once in place takes a lot to get them to move. They stay.” Olek chuckled, “Who told you that?” “A German-American,” I answered instantly. “Karla.” I grinned. “I’m sure there are some agents that would be willing to find her and slap her for you.” Helga was smiling more. “That is tempting, but Karla is an American, right?” Helga stated to clarify. I nodded, “Yes, she was born in America,” Raising that finger to make a point. “She was. Her parents met and married in Berlin. They were Germans. Karla’s father and mother came to the United States on student visas to go to school.” I looked at them. “Do you know the term anchor baby? That was Karla.” Two pair of eyes just stared at me. I chuckled, “Any child born on American soil is a citizen. They used Karla to stay in the United States. Making Karla the anchor that allow them to stay.” Olek nodded, “That makes sense.” I scowled looking at Peter, “See what I mean? There is always too many damned rabbits!” “Rabbits??” Helga responded baffled. “What…” “Should I have said hasenpfeffer?” I asked. “Peppered rabbit!?” Helga was thinking and then smiled, “Do you mean hase?” “Do I?” I asked looking from Olek to Peter, “I was thought that was the German word for rabbit.” Helga shook her head laughing, “It is, but usually it has to be cooked and pepper added to be hasenpfeffer.” “Who taught you that word?” Olek asked. “From a great instructor,” I said grandly, “I’m sure I mentioned this before. The one and only…Bugs Bunny!” Helga now had tears in her eyes as now. The laughter got louder. Olek was laughing hard now holding his side as if they would burst or drop off. You may already know about good humor and health. I did that for the niece or nephew that was coming. Laughter is the best medicine. It will reduce pain, sharpen your mind, and strengthens the family. Is there anyone who doesn’t know who that famous rabbit? You might not know if you’ve never seen a television. The developed countries had TVs everywhere. Bugs was translated into many languages for people that can’t understand English to be enjoyed. “Damn it,” I said, “and we’re doing it again!!” Peter snickered, “It means a new topic comes up like rabbits from their hole and begin to pursue the new topic and lose the first one.” Again, there was that nod and two long “oooh.” “Where was I? We talked about Bugs, because we talked about of Mr. Fluffy Long-ears.” I remembered, but this more fun. I was doing it for the baby. A happy mother is a healthy mother. Comedy was almost always welcome. Peter leaned toward me and said reminding me, “The marriage?” “Yes!” I brightened, “Don’t be like my great-grandmother and great-grandfather.” I indicated with my hand going from one side to the other “She was Dad’s side of the family.” “The bootleggers?” Peter grinned. “That was only for family and close friends.” I shot back. Peter nodded, “And how many friends were made after they knew about…” he thought a second, “What do you call it? Moonshine?” “It goes by many names! And you are scaring another rabbit up. Stop it.” I looked back as Olek and Helga were still chuckling. “She married my great-grandfather at thirteen. She gave birth to her first child at fourteen.” I hurried on. “They had a judge or preacher to perform the marriage in the front yard of the house he built on the family’s land. They had witnesses but guess what happened next.” No one was answering the question. “The witnesses go home and the preacher to someone else. Great-grandmother went in to make both their lunch.” “How old was your grandfather?” Helga asked. “She was thirteen!?” “He was seventeen and in two months turned eighteen.” I grinned. I grew up hearing those tales they swore were true. I’ll just direct you to the fish story that grows bigger as it’s told. “Many of the families married each other which made hard to find anyone we weren’t related to us. When you did, you married them. Quickly. Before they get away.” “What year was this?” Olek asked. “Nineteen-twelve,” I smiled. “We shouldn’t just go back to our routine. A marriage is a life altering event.” I looked at Helga. “Why don’t we go to the Grotto?” Peter asked. “It’s in a secluded area, but there will be hundreds of people there.” “Have you ever been?” I asked. Olek used a phrase when he learned he missed something, “I’ve been busy!” “Don’t make me get Mom involved,” Peter said. There was a puzzled look from Helga. I mezitli escort pointed at Olek while looking at Helga, “He didn’t tell you?” “A year ago,” Peter began. “He had never taken time off for even a weekend in years. Mom, Eric, and I practically had to force him to take a week off!” “I know she’ll side with us,” I said. “We don’t have to give a reason we go, but I wish to. This isn’t a typical day.” “Fine,” Olek nodded, then suddenly pointing at Peter. “She and Mario go, as well.” He sighed and then got serious. “I need to tell you.” He leaned forward and rested his arms on the table. Not exactly proper royal manners, but we were family. “I got a message last night…that radical group that launched that missile at us?” He asked. Peter and I both nodded. Peter went on, “The one that hit that town in Turkey?” “Yes,” Olek nodded, but wasn’t happy. “I was sent this.” He pulled his phone out and tapped on it quickly, the turned his phone around so we could see what had to be some sort of compound. Military? There was a single launchpad of sorts there. I couldn’t tell where it was, but it was a desert country in a predawn light, but someone had recorded this to be seen. There were these bright, burning streaks that came from the sky, hard and fast. Three, and then four and five streaks as flames erupted from the ground where those streaks made impacts with the earth. The flames and explosions obscured any structures that made up this compound. “Damn!” Peter managed but was impressed by the power of what we saw. “That was where the missile came from!?” Olek gave a shrugging nod. “According to whoever this was that sent by? Yes.” He closed the video clip off. “Yuri is verifying it now.” “Who did this!?” I asked in a blurted question. “That clearly was done by people that know how!” Peter agreed. “Those extremists that sent the first missile toward us proved they didn’t know what they were doing!” Olek nodded sadly again. “Yes, but no ONE group is claiming this. The message with the video said in English, they are watching our backs.” The way Olek said it in English sounded very American. “They know it was them!?” I asked to confirm. “Or do they suspect it was from them.” Olek again gave a shrugging nod. “They say that they have proof. Those in the government of Turkey will neither confirm nor deny they were involved. It could have been the Special Forces Command, the OKK…the Özel Kuvvetler Komutanlıği…” he looked at Peter and I warily, “They do things that exceed what their regular Turkish Armed Forces will do.” “Surely, not because of us!” Peter denied. “Not just for us,” Olek nodded. “It could be for the extremists’ stupidity and retaliation for the loss of innocent lives in Turkey. Yuri is confirming what we received. Or, they could be trying to ingratiate themselves with us for a greater amount of our uranium…” I hated anyone lost a life, “How many were killed for this strike?” “Thirty-eight is the guesstimate for now.” Olek answered, but then looked firmly at us and held his finger up. “Remember, they weren’t concerned with the lives we would lose in Makarovia!” “Why does anyone have to die!?” I moaned. “Because they know they’re right and we are wrong.” Olek stated simply. “Yuri will tell us more later.” We returned to our room and quickly sent emails I said I would. Email is one of the greatest things! And don’t forget word processing! I typed out a letter and simply hit “send.” I texted all our agents to meet us to go to the Grotto. It didn’t take long for me to get messages back. They were all coming. A judge was coming to conduct the marriage. I wondered why one of the priests wasn’t. They weren’t breaking a commandment or law…wait a minute. Yes, they did. One of the no-no’s was about adultery and pre-marital sex and Helga was carrying the result of that. Peter and I came into our room. “Why is a judge performing the marriage?” I asked as we sat on the couch. “Probably because Olek won’t confess,” Peter answered. “I know Olek.” He chuckled a little with a sharp edge on the laugh. “I also know the Church’s official stance on things. Except for you and me, all sin is forgiven. Yours and mine can be, too. If we confess it is a sin and quit doing it. Olek will have to do that as well…and Helga, but they don’t see what they did was a sin.” “The priest doesn’t have to be told.” I suggested, “She’s not showing.” Peter shook his head, “Olek won’t do that. That’s hypocritical.” I nodded grinning, “I see.” “I don’t know what the church you went to did,” Peter explained smiling, “but to marry here in the Church they must be cleansed. Both need to confess to starting off clean.” He looked at me a bit concerned, “You don’t think they did anything wrong, do you?” “I sure can’t throw any stones,” I snorted. “The majority of people can’t either, straight or gay.” I shrugged. “He didn’t just use her and then discard her. What were Olek’s goals with Helga?” Peter now looked a bit dazzled by the question. “I… assume so he wouldn’t be alone.” “Were they wrong to do what they did?” I shook my head. “They did what was Human. Using the Bible, yes it was. The Bible is the best example of man’s sinful depth. It has stories of murder, sex, and incest. It makes The Young and The Restless, Days of Our Lives, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Dallas, and Knots Landing pale in comparison. You know about Lot, right? Abraham’s brother?” “He escaped Sodom’s destruction.” I nodded, “And his wife was punished for her doing what God said not to. She was turned to salt when she looked back.” Peter smiled, “I did pay a little attention in Sunday School.” “Then,” I said, “you know what his two virgin daughters did after that.” “Not that much attention,” Peter said. “They plotted,” I said. “They got him drunk and for two nights they had sex with him. Each had boys.” Peter’s eyes grew again in shock, “He was their father! He was the two boys’ father and grandfather!?” “Yep!” I shrugged. “The daughters assumed everyone was killed and they would not get husbands, so…” “How did they come out without two heads or something!?” Peter balked. “You’ll have to ask someone else that question,” I shrugged. “There’s murder and adultery all over the Bible.” Peter nodded, “You found all this interesting, so you remember it.” “I was riveted!” I said happily. “A man, who has an affair with the wife whose husband is away, gets her pregnant, tries and fails to get the husband to sleep with his wife to cover it up, and orders the poor man killed as punishment for not sleeping with her!” Peter’s mouth dropped open, “Who did that!?” “King David,” I said, “All because he saw Bathsheba taking a bath on the roof of her home.” I saw his eyes look away as he absorbed it. “I can show you in black and white. It’s in the Old Testament…” Peter shook his head, “I believe you, but I’ve never heard about that.” He nodded, “I knew about the bath. They only use it occasionally as a warning to show what happens with the sin of lust.” “That’s not surprising,” I chuckled. “Most of the churches that came from the Catholic Church do that. It’s all about a loving God, of peace, and keeping the calm. Lessons about God’s anger and vengeance are only used to drive home a point. Like the sin of homosexuality.” I pulled Peter back and brought his face to look at me. “It wasn’t told to me in my church either.” I sighed, “When Grandpa died Mom, and Grandma thought I could use a moral compass and encouraged me to go to a youth group. They weren’t in any way affiliated with the Catholic Church or the others. They were Presbyterian.” “Presbyterian?” Peter’s face scrunched a little, “But they’re…” “Some of the best-learned students of anything biblical,” I answered quickly finishing for him. “When they studied a book of the Bible, they studied a book; they dissect it. Pulling all of the stories out and examined them fully and laid everything out for all to see.” I smiled. “They didn’t try to make you one of them?” Peter asked. “No,” I chuckled again. “They showed the facts and let me decide. They examined it down to the original words and meanings in old Hebrew and Greek.” I looked around our room. “I still am not sure of their view on predestination. It’s hard to believe. All this was planned before I was even born!? I’m no Saint.” I smiled again. “I believe God allows us to decide.” Peter smiled back, “I don’t know.” The sound of doubt was in his voice. “You were heading in the direction of medicine and switched to another. Our first class was in Economics. It was both our first class at Northeastern and in fifteen minutes, we were assigned to a project we had to do together.” He leaned in kissing me. “That was kind of miraculous. Who is to say it wasn’t a planned destiny?” I rarely do this. I stood in our closet wondering what to wear. “It’s not casual, but it’s not formal either.” Peter’s voice came as he searched through his clothes, “Olek said don’t even put on a suit.” Peter was right, the clothes just…seemed to reproduce. “Would it be so terrible if someone figures it out Olek and Helga got married?” I asked. “The judge knows and all of us know…” Peter snorted, “Runaway rumors get distorted. You know that.” I gave a grudging nod, “I suppose.” I turned to Peter, “But in his office!?” I held up my hand as Peter was about to explain. “I know. It’s just to cover them legally. I understand, but…” I waved at the sun shining in the small windows, “it’s beautiful out!” “It’s their marriage,” Peter shrugged. I grimaced, “I don’t recall anyone asking us about ours!” I growled. “No, it was stand here, say this, bow here and do that…” Peter’s smile grew, “He is king.” “Yeah,” It was all I could say. “That’s right.” Dressed nicely, but not too nice wasn’t easy. We did it and went down to Olek’s office. He was speaking with a man about fifty. Gray streaked through his dark hair and concentrated at his temples. I knew many Makarovians now, but this one I knew from attending Peter’s and my wedding. Olek looked up and smiled, “Peter, Eric, this is Justice Avel Kushnir.” The man smiled and bowed to us, “Your Highness.” “He is on the Council of Judges for Makarovia,” Olek said. “He keeps things running when I’m not here. He and the other judges are me.” The man looked at Olek surprised, “Oh, no!” He said quickly. “No one could do what you’ve done. I know Makarovian Law. We can make adjustments and make amendments to the law, but you cover so much! Foreign policy with both friendly countries and enemies, you meet with the leaders of them. You have to know about uranium and mining, international business and start improvements underground. You have your hand in just about everything. Few men could do that.” Yes, he really said that, but it was said with such sincerity. It wasn’t just to win points with Olek or talk him into anything. He knew how hard Olek’s job was. He meant it. It occurred to me. “How did you get your education on the Law in Makarovia? There are no universities here.” He chuckled, “After the Soviets cleared out in 1991, Kyiv Mohyal became the greatest school of law in Ukraine. I passed a few tests and won a scholarship.” He shrugged and went on. “I worked and got my undergraduate degree and went to Law School. Makarovian Law is there. I just had to learn them.” “You came back,” Peter marveled. “Many Makarovians don’t.” Mr. Kushnir nodded and smiled slyly, “I couldn’t marry my husband there.” He chuckled. “We met in school there.” Okay. I was surprised, but I shouldn’t have been. You turn a corner and run into another couple in a same-sex relationship. Almost half of Makarovia’s population was homosexual. Remember? It wasn’t fair, but most were men. I often forgot! But it made sense! There were some educated people in Makarovia, but they were few. Almost all of those were outcasts in other neighboring countries. I stuck my hand out to him, “Their loss is our gain.” I understood using Olek’s office. It was just large enough for everyone. Olek, Mr. Kushnir, Yuri, Boris, Peter, and I were waiting. It was telling that none of the women were here at the moment. Mario entered, without Mom. Helga didn’t mention bridesmaids or anything. Seeing Mario here, I wondered if this was going to be in English. Mario was a witness, too. Could he be a witness to this if he didn’t know what was being said? “This marriage will be in English,” Olek said, “Is everyone okay with that?” I narrowed an eye at Olek, “I’m fine with the English part.” I muttered, “but can everyone in this family read my mind now?” Olek’s eyes widened, “Read your mind?” Peter chuckled pulling me close to Olek, “He said I was doing that on the Duchess.” “I think something, and he would voice it,” I explained. “And I hadn’t said a thing. What do you call that? Now, you’re doing it.” Olek laughed, “Do I say I’m sorry?” Before I could answer, the office door opened. Helga entered with Mom and Grandma behind her. Just a marriage? Maybe, but Helga had her hair arranged a little more elaborately but still long. There was no gown, but a nice dress she probably wouldn’t wear to work. Mom looked…like Mom. She was dressed up as she always was. Grandma was, too. Just a marriage. Whoever heard of that!? Even the day felt different to me, and it should. Yes, I was a romantic. When two people meet and there is this connection, I loved it! They couldn’t help it. It wasn’t their fault they were straight. (I had to put that in.) Avel Kushnir smiled and looked a little uncertain. “I was told simply legally marry the two of you.” He squinted at Olek, “Are you sure about that?” He looked at Helga. “Is this what you both want?” Olek looked at Helga and they both were having difficulty answering the question. Mom smiled, “I’d say that means they don’t want it to be just a marriage today.” “There will be a more elaborate wedding later,” Olek said. “I said it before,” I said, “today your status changes. Forever!” Peter nodded in agreement, “There should be more than just signatures on paper.” “Fine,” Olek relented. “What do we do?” “Face the fireplace,” Mom instructed Olek and Helga. She took Mr. Kushnir by the shoulders and literally walked him to face Olek and Helga with his back to the elegant fireplace. She looked at Olek, “You said you waited for Peter to come back. Is he going to be your Best Man?” “I really hadn’t spoken to them about it,” Olek grinned, “I was hoping he and Eric would both do it at the wedding. Can’t I have Best Men or Best Couple?” Yuri laughed, “You’re the king. Sure, you can!” Olek turned to us, “Will you?” Peter smiled back, “It would be an honor.” Olek hugged us both and he shook a scolding finger at me, “When you sign as a witness on the marriage license; remember, you’re an Ivanov now.” I wondered why he said that only a second. Peter looked shocked and my eyes widened in shock, “I didn’t even tell Peter! Who told you about that?” I demanded as I tried to remember who was with me at the time. I turned to Peter. “We were in Malta in the village of Sweethaven.” I quickly said. “Popeye’s Village? Peter was with Luke and…a little boy about eight ran up to me and asked for an autograph. I did pozcu escort it, but I had a lapse! I signed the wrong name. It happened once! So, I signed it again.” The others were laughing. “Once! How did you find out?” “Alec told Mikell, who told Yuri, who told me,” Olek chuckled. I huffed, “If I didn’t like these guys, I’d kill them.” “Can we continue?” Mom asked me, but she was amused, too. I looked at Helga and the judge, “Yes. Sorry.” Mom positioned both Peter and me at Olek’s side. Mom looked at Helga and asked, “Is there someone you plan to have as a Maid of Honor or Matron of Honor?” Helga shook her head and said sadly, “No. I wanted my father to walk me down the aisle. He died. My mother became a recluse and a drunk. I don’t know where my sister is…” “I told you, once it’s announced,” Olek said. “She’ll surface.” “I can tell you where my ex-husband Kent is,” she laughed with little humor. “I can tell you where Marg, his mother is. My mother was pretty destroyed when my father died. They aren’t really people you want here.” Mom smiled, “If you decide later, we can include whoever you like.” “Would you do it?” Helga asked and then looked back at Grandma, “You, Alla, and Katrina?” Mom nodded and Grandma said, “Absolutely.” Helga looked at an amused Olek. “You have two, why shouldn’t I?” She asked a little indignant. “The circumstances of this marriage aren’t that unique,” Avel Kushnir said with a smile. “When two people meet and there’s a special connection, they feel it.” He chuckled, “Well, my personal experience was, one felt it more and has to convince the other it’s there.” He didn’t elaborate about which one had to convince whom. “It becomes so obvious, that other people can see it, too. I refer to Prince Pedro and Prince Eric. Now, it is with His Majesty King Olek and the lovely Lady Helga.” She would be a Lady after the marriage is announced and after the Proposal. That’s Lady as in Lords and Ladies. Olek was very much a Grand Lord. “Makarovia views the world differently than any country I ever heard of.” He chuckled again. “We see the many sides of Humans and see love as love. Two adults want to join their lives to make one life for the two of them to share is not discouraged or met with hate. I know several current Monarchs have children outside of their marriage. The child of Olek and Helga is not something to be ashamed of and will never be.” He smiled at Olek, “A king taking ownership of the situation is unique. You don’t think the child was an error or a mistake.” Mr. Kushnir looked momentarily uncomfortable. “I’m required to ask. Is there any reason this marriage should not occur?” He looked at all of us and then smiled again, “Now that that’s done. Do you King Olek Ivanov take Helga Renee Schneider as your wife? Taking her in sickness and health, in wealth or poor and only her until death parts you?” “I do,” Olek said. I knew she probably had a middle name and now, I knew what it was! “Do you, Helga Renee Schneider take Olek Ivanov to be your husband? Taking him in sickness and health, in wealth or poor and only him until death parts you?” Neither Olek nor Peter had middle names. That was odd in royal families. I knew of a prince that had so many, his future wife confused the order of those names when taking her vows. It’s now a famous blunder received by the world as humorous. “I do,” Helga said. Avel looked at Olek and Helga, “Are there any words? Your Majesty?” “Just this,” Olek said and looked at her. “I was so caught up in what I had to do; I lost the ability to live. I was never alone, but so lonely. You came and added balance to my life. I love you. I want you to be that balance for me from now on.” Helga had to wipe her face of the happy tears that were coming. She laughed quickly and said, “I devoted my life to what I needed to do. I felt I had to get people to see me, but you did. From the first meeting, you saw me and listened. Despite those things I did to hide, you saw me. You helped me go from an Engineer to a woman. I love you, Olek.” Olek was about to kiss her, but Avel stopped him, “If you wait a minute, you’ll be kissing your wife.” He chuckled and looked at us. “Rings?” In some cases, in the past, men didn’t wear wedding rings often. Women did. (When they could get them and afford rings.) I didn’t see that as fair. She wears a symbol of belonging to him. Why shouldn’t he wear a symbol of belonging to her? The excuse men used about losing it or it getting it caught when he was working really didn’t settle things for me. I was pleased when Helga held up a simple gold band. Olek wore the ring with the Makarovian Crest on his right hand and a watch. That’s it. Olek held up a smaller one for Helga’s smaller hand and finger. Did she carry it in? I didn’t see Olek reach in a pocket. Granddad said, if you really want to know, you’ll remember and ask. It must not have mattered because I still don’t know. “Place the ring on her finger and say, I do this as your husband,” Avel instructed. Olek did. “I do this as your husband.” Avel nodded, “My Lady, please do the same for His Majesty.” Helga did it, too. “I do this as your wife.” Avel bounced, “In front of these witnesses and by my authority to do this in Makarovia. You two are married.” He grinned at Olek, “Now, you may kiss your wife!” Olek pulled her toward him and gave a pretty smoldering kiss to Helga. I once said I was jealous of Helga. I admitted it, remember? I was a little in love with Olek. He was a handsome man, strong and he was a King. Who wouldn’t be? I will also admit I’d never leave Peter and you know that. Helga treated Olek so well! She didn’t cower because he was a king but loved and supported him as a man. She loved Olek. Now, I saw them as almost perfect. Just behind Peter and me, of course! “It’s done,” Peter said, “We’ll see you at dinner.” He turned as if to leave the office. He was so convincing I almost believed he would. “Do you think I would allow this to be just a marriage?” Mom asked. “How long have you known me, Olek?” Olek nodded grinning, still holding Helga. “Since before I remember much of anything. What did you do?” “What did I do?” Mom looked at Olek in mocking offense and said, “I didn’t do anything.” Meaning she had someone else do it. Even Mario was smiling a little more, probably because he knew exactly what Queen Alla had planned. Boris stepped forward and said calmly, “I was the one to do the something.” His hesitant smile hoping it would be taken well. He almost hurried on and said, “Our king was getting married for the first time, and he is more than just a king, but a dear friend who made me and Yuri family. I couldn’t just let that go.” Yuri nodded, “I hope there is nothing too pressing to do today. You’ll probably miss it.” Olek shook his head but was smiling, “Fine. You all are determined to make sure there is more than a simple marriage. What are we doing and how many others know about this?” “No one knows, but a few others I’m sure suspect,” Yuri assured. He waved at Helga and Olek. “If you wear those rings, my security agents will know and others who see them, too and what it means.” Olek nodded again, “Well, mine doesn’t come off.” Helga raised her left hand and said, “Neither does mine.” I’ve explained the use of humor as a coping skill with Peter and me. The same was true for the rest of the family. The main reason was, we were close and very happy. Stressors and threats were all around, but not here. I’m sure some were here in Makarovia; however, all of Makarovia would protect us. Our allies here would also help to protect us. That was both good and bad. Good that they were willing to help, even if it was motivated by their own best interests. I knew both Commanding Generals were real friends so it would be more personal. It was bad because there were so many new faces in Makarovia. When I tell you, please remember why I tell you. It was easier if they were another race. Asian or African people were practically unknown here. It wasn’t because they weren’t welcome here. They just didn’t come! Asians from India were unknown except on television. Chinese, Japanese or Korean were unknown, also known on television. Most people in Makarovia were all East European and more closely related to Dracula and his people than anyone else. They were right next door! White Racial Supremacist wouldn’t like the number of homosexuals here. We had less breeding stock available. Hell! Most people didn’t come for that reason unless they were also homosexual and wanted to blend with the many others. There were conventional families here. Many Makarovians were born and raised here, too. Humor also tightened the bonds between people in a family. It did with us. Boris had made lunch…or dinner. I struggled with that before. Linner? If the palace staff talked to each other and you know they did; they’re Human. It happened. No one would betray Olek or Makarovia. The aromas that greeted me from the massive kitchen were tempting me without telling me what it was. It was something both Olek and Helga loved. Without the comedy Henri used, we were served bowls of soup. It was almost a stew with chunks of onions in it. It looked…busy. Yes, I know, I’ll explain what I mean. There were little pea-sized things scattered throughout this stew. They were small and whitish in color looking almost like that little round pasta things in a couple of Italian dishes I knew of. Tony told me it was semolina. I wasn’t Italian. Helga smiled and asked. “Is this Harira!?” Boris smiled and nodded, and Helga squealed a little and was ready to dig in. “Cure my ignorance,” I said, “What is Harira?” Helga laughed lightly and said, “It’s a Moroccan dish with lamb.” She looked up with a warning. “Many think it’s kind of spicy. It has ginger, cayenne, and other peppers in it.” I nodded, “That’s an enticement, not discouragement.” I shrugged, “I just haven’t had that much lamb.” “Why not?” Peter asked puzzled. “How many barnyards of sheep do you know of in the United States?” I challenged Peter, “How much traffic was held up because of sheep crossing the road in the United States?” I didn’t wait for a reply. “None! Cows we got, chickens we got, pigs we got, but we ain’t got sheep.” Boris gave a grudging nod, “Not that it matters, but it is more expensive meat in the United States.” He looked at Olek, “You were there the last time I served it in Boston.” I nodded, “Most everyone in the United States thinks lambs are spotless symbol of the purest innocence.” Olek shrugged but kept eating. “It’s served every morning of Ramadan,” Helga explained. “I think it’s delicious.” She was right about that the spicy part, but I’d had better. It was a slow bite of spice. Then hot plates of something I couldn’t begin to guess about. On some long, flat egg-noodle pasta were these round balls like meatballs. They were to carry the sauce or gravy. They were covered with gravy but nothing about it made it look, smell, or taste like a pasta dish I had ever had. “It’s Kaese Spaetzle,” Boris explained before we asked. “It’s a German macaroni and cheese with Hungarian spices, ground lamb and feta cheese balls.” I had no expectations, but it wasn’t anything I could have gotten in Italy or Greece. It was damned good, but nothing I thought it might be. For instance, they had. more than just paprika. That red sprinkles on food? They had sweet paprika and sharp paprika. There was even a cake. It wasn’t a wedding cake, but chocolate on chocolate. The cake was moist chocolate, and the icing was chocolate, but it was very rich tasting chocolate like Swiss or Belgian Chocolate. So rich, I knew if I had more than one slice, I’d be sick. It might be worth the risk. “This has really got to stop,” Peter groaned in a quiet voice to me. “The scale will be going in the wrong direction.” I smiled, “We can increase our activity at the Grotto in a few hours.” “And you,” Peter pointed at Olek, Helga, Mom, and Mario, “agreed to come. No taking that back.” “Grandma,” I said, “I know you’d never turn down an opportunity to dance.” “You’re right and I’m not going to now,” Grandma said. They had never been. Using a phrase Olek used often, they were busy! Our agents and friends were meeting us at the Grotto. Transport to the Grotto was the reason. Mercea and Alec were catching a ride with Rolph and Andreea. They had access to a vehicle. The need for security would always be considered important. Even in Makarovia. We had Yuri, Rolph, Mercea, and Alec, but they weren’t on duty. Yuri was always on duty even when he wasn’t supposed to be. We added four more very wary men. They were wary not just because they were guarding the entire family of Makarovia. They were under the watchful eyes of Yuri. Yuri’s reputation of absolute and almost ruthless expectations of more than near perfection was known even if he was based in Boston! As I was about to get into one of the two large black Mercedes-Benz SUVs, I saw the polished, shiny red of my Mustang and sighed a bit sadly. I missed him! He was well maintained, but not by me. It was a toy. It wasn’t needed by me now. That made it a toy and don’t go on about the status of owning a Mercedes. It did in the United States and Canada. England? I don’t know. It was function before form. These were armored. Sort of like the limousine in London. You didn’t see what was armored. They were nice and comfortable, but Mercedes was more widely available in Europe and East Europe. They were often used as utility vehicles such as trucks and taxis. There was no real “status change” for owning one. Peter heard me, looked knowing something was wrong and glanced at what I was looking at. He smiled patiently with understanding. “I’m sure one more vehicle wouldn’t hurt.” It was so tempting to do it, but I shook my head, “No, tonight we stay together.” I said reluctantly. “I know you miss driving her,” he backed a little at my instant frowning scowl and added quickly, “I meant he. It’s a he!” Peter touched me, “We can take it when we see Stryia tomorrow.” The idea of playing tourist was exciting, but with the added bonus of driving my car made it so much more of a thrill, “I just miss it.” Peter nodded, “I know.” I realized I had been with Grandma to a club, but never Mom or Olek. Mario! Could he dance? He had at the wedding, but this wasn’t going to be ballroom dancing. I’d seen him waltz with Mom, but I didn’t believe there would be music to dance the waltz at the Grotto. Could Mom? Would she? Again, we parked, but I saw the vehicles were more arranged than last time where people parked where they could under the trees. The Grotto might be more popular, now that the military from several-countries was here. We were greeted first by the rhythmic fast pulsing throb of bass. That would always because just was so prominent. Lights were coming from the Grotto’s entrance we couldn’t see yet. Beams from searchlights moved, crossed and crisscrossed to bring everyone’s attention to the party. The sky was full of stars on the nearly cloudless night, so the beams kept going. Our vehicles stopped in an area we could be let out near the entrance. People walked in groups escort bayan of two or more into the Grotto. No one wanted to dance alone! They could if they wanted to, but why? That wasn’t fun. There were a few people at the entrance. Two were Makarovian and two were military police. One from the United States and the other was the other two had to be British I knew they were because of the uniforms and the “MP” on their uniform and helmets. Makarovian. Their expressions of shock on their faces were clear. There was a status with these two vehicles, but not what you might think. They were the only ones I knew of in Makarovia. They weren’t owned by any military group but were known to be used by the royal family. And one of the MPs looked at the two Makarovians and said something to them and came to open our door. I did not have delusions about the family. We were royalty. We were famous in the world now, but many Makarovians had seen and met us some time. Is that what made acceptance simply hard to believe? It didn’t affect the two military members here that much. I didn’t know the people they had met. Peter and I got out and helped Grandma out. We could hear a little more of the music as we gathered. One of the Makarovians recovered enough to come and bow. “Your Majesty,” he turned to Peter and me, “Your Highness. We weren’t informed you were coming!” Olek smiled at him, “That shouldn’t be a problem. Is it?” The man was quick, “Not at all,” he looked at his Makarovian work partner who also bowed. “Dan would have mentioned it if he knew.” He said to confirm what he had said. His partner gave the universally recognized raised shoulders and shake of his head. He didn’t know. Peter chuckled, “We know Dan and Dimitri. They won’t mind.” “Hi, guys!” A voice boomed near us. Rolph held the hand of a lovely long, thick-haired blonde lady I’d seen in pictures. I wasn’t just saying that she was pretty. Thin and appeared to me that she exercised so was in good shape. I guess she had to with two active little girls. Rolph wore a nice purple shirt. Not lavender, grape or that sort of color, but purple. Black slacks. She wore a short, almost fitted dress of the same purple. They looked like a dance team. If they danced tonight, they were! He also had on the glasses. I wish I’d remembered mine. It was dark out and there wasn’t too much light pollution. We would be fine. They both bowed as they approached us. “Your Majesty.” His eyes, if I could see the eyes, would have sparkled as he bowed to Peter and me, “Your Highness.” He motioned toward her, “This is my wife Andreea.” He said in Makarovian. They were directed to speak English to include Mario. I stuck my hand out to her. I should remember the willingness to shake hands with some people didn’t always travel over here, especially with royalty. You don’t touch unless you were touched by them and always back away. She was a little surprised, but I had initiated it and she couldn’t refuse. “I’ve seen pictures of you shown me by Rolph. It’s good to see you in person.” “You don’t need an introduction to them, do you?” Rolph asked Andreea as he pointed at Peter and me. “You know their names.” Andreea shook her head, but smiled, “I do.” Peter shook her hand and waved at Olek, “You may recognize my brother Olek and Lady Helga.” Andreea did a little curtsy and took both offered hands. “Of course, Your Majesty,” She turned to Helga, “My Lady.” “Wait on us!” A voice asked behind them. Mercea came trotting up followed at a slower pace by Alec. Jeans and nice t-shirts on both said they weren’t on duty. I smiled at Mercea’s exuberance. It would be impossible for anyone to convince me he had ever been unhappy in his entire life. “We’d never leave you behind,” I said hugging him. I backed a little and turned to Alec, “but you…” I squinted an eye at him. Alec paused as he approached a little worried for a second. “Did you have to tell them everything?” I asked as I hugged him, too. Alec knew what I was talking about and let out a short laugh, “Oh, that.” “Yes, that.” “I only told Mikell,” he defended. “I heard it from the man that sits on the throne,” I muttered. Alec chuckled and shrugged helplessly, “You didn’t say not to!” “That’s why you’re one of my favorite agents.” Protocols and introductions were done, and we went into the Grotto. That huge monitor and screen that had the countdown to our wedding was still there. A music video of performers I didn’t know was on it. I knew movies and music groups, but this one was Russian. It was interesting that when groups hope to go global, they almost always choose English to sing in, even if it’s but no more than a phrase repeated over and over. I couldn’t follow all of them that closely. It was a lively tune by a group called Little Big. The song’s title was also in the corner. Skibidi. That was a name, not a word I knew. In the video, there was a sort of bizarre dance step they all four did. It was sort of an exaggerated strut with these arm movements in and out over their chests as they stepped. It could be a name for the dance. Makarovia’s official languages were Makarovian and English. With the large number of the military from the United States and Great Britain, English was primarily used at the Grotto. The Grotto was large and…cavernous? (Sorry, but it was a cavern.) Things had been added to improve things such as sound. They added these large flat things hung up high to keep the sound from bouncing around. The reverberation could be bad in here. Dan and Dimitri didn’t mind that we came. They were flabbergasted that King Olek and Queen Alla were here. It never occurred to either of them would come. Looking around, sure, many were Peter’s and my age. As we looked, there were a few older patrons Olek’s age. Not that he was old. A few were even near Grandma’s age. Maybe. I knew Grandma had lived a long time, but I never thought she was “old.” She has dodged that bullet and I hoped she would a little longer. There were tables around the flashing dance floor and more lights flashed down, rotated sending colored and flashing lights down on the dancing crowd like the sound you could see. “This is a great dance club!” Helga said looking at the crowd. “I’ve never been here before,” Olek admitted as he also looked around. “I’ve been told some stories…” Peter smiled at him, “I hope you didn’t expect to just sit and watch.” Olek frowned, “With…” he thought how to say it discretely, “our guest that’s coming…I didn’t…” Grandma smiled as he made it clear he didn’t want to endanger Helga or the arriving guest. They were the priority. “I think it would be alright if you two danced. Helga should keep her schedule. It will also be a great exercise.” She chuckled, “I danced just fine up until twenty weeks carrying Eric’s mother.” She shrugged, “I never gave up dance when I was pregnant. I gave up some dance steps and moves only because I didn’t have the reach I needed.” She looked Helga, “Are you in any discomfort?” Helga smiled and her hand covered the area she carried the arriving guest and shook her head gently, “Once the morning sickness has been dealt with, there’s no discomfort at all.” She brightened and said, “In fact, I can’t remember feeling better than I do now. There is always a feeling of pressure I felt every day to get things done. Deadlines to meet and stressors I had grown accustomed to. I don’t feel anything like that now. I’m just so at peace.” Mom chuckled and looked at Peter, “I felt that when I carried him. Nothing was wrong in this world.” “I had that, too,” Grandma said to them quickly. “I was told by the doctor it was the reaction to the changing hormones.” Mom was now nodded heartily agreement, “Who cares? I know what I felt.” Helga laughed, “Exactly. I know I am fortunate. I had a couple of people as friends that had just the opposite. The conditions were problematic for them from day one until the condition ended forty weeks later.” “My point is,” Grandma said to Olek, “trust Helga. She will be the first to know of a problem.” Then she looked at Helga, “Don’t push yourself. Your body will tell you if dancing is a good idea or a bad one. Listen to it.” “Ideally,” I said, “the female body has to make changes for the guest. Those hormones make it happen positively. There is no perfect pregnancy. Are there any drastic mood swings?” Helga shook her head, “No.” There is a fine line between being cautious and being overprotective. Olek’s concern was not being overprotective. He had a question and got an answer to that concern. Peter looked at the many dancers. Many were not dancers, but they didn’t care. They were having a good time. “The most threatening thing here is toes that are stepped on.” The song changed. It never really stopped so no one stopped. There was a familiar thump-tap of drumsticks on the edge of a drum, “thump-tap, thump-tap, thump-tap” as the song’s pace was set. Peter looked up and smiled, “I can think of no better song.” He looked at me. “Let’s show them how it’s done.” He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the dancefloor. He didn’t have to pull hard. I was willing. Now, the deep rhythmic accompaniment added to the song. “Our No Touchy, No Feely dance?” He asked quickly. “We have to come up with a name for,” I said amused. “Is that what you want to call it?” “I said it,” Peter said, “You know which dance. That’s makes it a good name.” We had done it several times. We perfected it to do a Jocks in Boston near Northeastern University. I don’t know of others who did it, but Peter and I were perfecting it when we danced. We set ourselves ready to begin. We were standing a foot apart and during the accompaniment, our right shoulders jutted forward, his right and my right, slightly and became more pronounced as the female lead sang, “The waves keep crashing on me for some reason, but you love keeps on coming like a thunderbolt. Come here a little closer, `cause I wanna see you close.” And we both did that. (If you don’t know the song, look it up when you find out and reread this section.) The dance was developed because there was no one leading. Those juts became more pronounced. I jutted into his space as he jutted into mine. Remember me telling you about dirty dancing for gays? We were perhaps an inch or less apart now. Doing the exact same dance move, whether or not we looked like we were leaning into each other’s space, we weren’t touching anything with anything. You know that would be impossible chest to chest and legs to legs. There was very little footwork as our feet didn’t really move during the dance. We did dance but tried not to touch. The song was created and recorded to make you want to dance. That was the game of this dance. Everybody could see us and wondered how we did it, that close and not touch. Defying gravity! “You got me feeling hella good, so let’s keep on dancin’. You hold me like you should, so I’ll keep on dancin’.” That’s what we did. We kept on dancing. To have the dance come out right, we had to know each other and what we’d do. I looked at Peter. He was gorgeous! I am biased. The insecure man I met September before last was gone. I did see that man when things became complicated and he was unsure about what to do, but that man was pretty well gone for good. He’d turned his life around one hundred and eighty degrees. He would never have willingly done this dance in front of strangers or family. Hell, he wouldn’t have done it at all! As the accompaniment became bolder and prominent, our moves became bold and more pronounced. Now he bent forward over me, forcing me to lower back as he loomed above me and backed as I did the same to him. It like a version of the movie the Matrix where Neo, played by Keanu Reeves contorted to dodge bullets we saw coming at him in slow motion. Yes, just like that…except, no one was shooting at us now, and Neo and the man who wasn’t a real human man, but a sentient computer program that called himself Mr. Smith; they weren’t exactly dancing. Other than that, it was the exact same. I don’t want to chase that rabbit. Peter and I learned to improvise. Halfway through the song, I could see that huge screen showed everyone at the Grotto what Peter and I were doing. We were the featured couple on the dancefloor. Then I saw no one was dancing, but Peter and me. The shoulder juts and thrusts came again as the elbow on the other arm jutted back. No touchy and no feely. When we leaned backward, that was the only time we touched; to keep the other from losing our balance and falling over. The pace of the song was very fast and energetic. I was beginning to sweat. So it was for Peter. As that song ended, that was when we did touch. Arms wrapped around each other as we kissed. Applause thundered all around us and cheers. “I love,” Peter panted, “you.” I nodded, “I know.” I panted myself. “I love you.” “I know,” Peter smiled. The unseen club DJ’s voice boomed from the speakers, “I don’t need to tell you who they are. They just came back from their honeymoon; I’d say they definitely have learned to dance very well together! That was ab…so…lutely amazing!! If I play it again in an hour or two when it gets more crowded, will you do it again? Or choose another song. Everyone needs to see that!” We would and did. “A few more dances like that and our rich meals will be taken care of,” I joked. Peter nodded, “I’m willing.” We got to our table to see happy and stunned faces. It was a provocative dance without any sexual acts. Grandma was smiling very big, “Who taught you that dance? I know I didn’t.” I shook my head, “No.” I agreed. “We are your grandsons; dancing just runs in the family.” “Wow,” Olek said raising his hand toward the dancefloor. “I mean…where…” “You learned to dance like that where?” Mom began with a cautious smile. “We made it up!” Peter explained pointing at me. “We began at Jocks in Boston and it sort of evolved.” I held up a hand, “Most dances have someone that leads, usually by a male part of the dance. This one doesn’t have that.” Peter laughed, “But I don’t recommend doing it with just anyone.” I nudged Peter lightly, “No, there are moves we do, but you have to know your partner. We know each other!” “Wow,” Olek said again. “I’ve never seen that before.” “That song?” Mercea asked a bit excited. “Hella Good,” I answered, and yes, I did it on purpose, “No Doubt.” Peter nodded and grinned. “Gwen.” Mercea nodded, “It was no doubt a damned good song! What was it? Gwen who?” This was all in English because of Mario. I laughed, “I was hoping someone would do this. I set you up. It’s not just a hell of a good song, the song is titled Hella Good. She felt Hella Good, so she would keep on dancing. The group is called No Doubt.” If it was English personally translated to Makarovian, the understanding wasn’t going in. “Gwen Stefani? American group and singer?” I hinted. That was the one thing removed from the clog that made the water flow in a gush. The understanding was seen on everyone’s face. There was again the “oh’s” from almost everyone at the table. They may not have heard her sing, but they knew the name. Olek nodded with conviction, “This is fun!” Peter chuckled, “Which you need more often. Now that you know the Grotto’s here, why not once a week? Or at least once a month.” Yuri grinned, “No doubt.” Was he agreeing or just playing with the phrase? (Those who didn’t know the song, now you do. Pull it up and read the dance portion again! That is a royal command!)

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