This chapter includes the end of chapter 4 which was inadvertently omitted due to me posting before the edit was complete.
The entire lobby had been cleared of furniture and the walls draped in black cloth, behind which flickered hundreds of fairy lights The same had been done for the ceiling, except the fabric was white and was draped from the walls to the chandeliers leaving the centre of the room with the landing open. All the lights had been turned off, except for the two chandeliers that had been dimmed. The reception desk was visible through an archway in the fabric that draped that side of the room. The huge doors at the patio end of the lobby had been pushed open completely, and the patio,too, was draped in black fabric, leaving the clear drop down screens overlooking the bay free of fabric. The lights of the city twinkled from across the bay
The dance floor was in the middle of the room and tables seating eight guests were set up around the dance floor and on the patio. They had either a black or white full length cloth covering and a silver overlay with stars imprintedinto the material. The tables gleamed with white crockery, crystal glassware and silver cutlery. Each table had a candle lamp that glowed softly and was scattered with gold and silver stars. The chairs were covered in silver covers and the entire look was simple, but very elegant.
Paul appeared from through the fabric archway, grinning at expressions on their faces.
"Pretty impressive hey! Even if I say so myself," looking very pleased with himself
Andrew grinned back at him.
"You've outdone yourself. It's beautiful. Absolutely stunning. How many guests are we expecting tonight?"
"Well, again space was a consideration. We did not want people to feel crowded. And, of course, the dance floor takes up room as well. So we decided to limit it to eighty guests." He grinned again. "Watch this, piece de resistance! " and pressed a button on a remote he held in his hand.
Instantly, a myriad of fairy lights strung across the gardens and the pool lit up, and the landing in the centre of the room lit up as well with fairy lights and two small spotlights. On the landing sat a six piece band including the lodges baby grand piano and pianist. They started to play softly and the evening had begun.
Andrew stood with Ryan and Paul at the main entrance greeting the guests as they arrived and advising them of their table number. Everyone ooohed and aaahed when the walked in and when the Davidsons arrived Emma Davidson exclaimed,
"Oh, how beautiful. It's exquisite, just stunning."
Paul and the chef had decided on a slightly retro theme for dinner, with a modern twist. Hors d'oeuvres were a choice of Avocado Ritz, with the avocado cut into slices and fanned onto the plate with the poached prawns and Sauce Marie Rose, or Chicken Liver Terrine with Orange segments and Cumberland sauce. The vegetarian option was a Baby Tomato and Goats Cheese tartlet. All were served, plated at the table.
The main course was a carvery with roast beef, lamb and glazed ham, roast potatoes, rice, glazed carrots, cauliflower cheese and peas. There was also grilled fish and chicken and large brown mushrooms with ratatouille for the vegetarians.
Dessert was a highlight. The room was darkened and waiters marched into the room to the beat of 'Radetskys March',carrying flaming platters of Baked Alaska, one for each table.
All in all, the evening was a triumph that would have the community talking for weeks after.
The boys didn't stay late, leaving soon after the singing of Auld Lang Syne and watching the spectacular Waterfront fireworks display. They had a flight to the paradise island late on New years Day. Blue Bay Lodge's first festive season, was over. And it had been a memorable one.
An Uber dropped them at international departures just before 8pm for their 10.05pm Air Mauritius flight. The five hour flight and a three hour time difference meant they would arrive on Mauritius at 05.10am in the early morning.
When Andrew stopped at the Air Mauritius business class counter, Ryan's comment was,
"Why am I not surprised?", imitating the voice of Tiago, the parrot from the Aladdin movie again.
Andrew grinned at him.
"Shut up you, or I'll have them put you in the cargo hold!", earning a giggle from the pretty young girl at the counter. She checked them in, handing them boarding passes for seats 2G and 2H, a window and aisle seat row, ideal for couples travelling together. They were advised that the business class cabin was not very busy for the flight and their boarding passes would also provide access to the business class lounge. Passing through the security check was a breeze and they were soon settling down in the lounge to await the boarding call. A late dinner would be served on the aircraft, so they just had coffee, pastries and bottled water while waiting.
At the appointed time they left the lounge and walked to the departure gate. Boarding had already commenced and they walked down the boarding ramp and arrived at the door, being greeted by two very friendly flight attendants, and did something Ryan had always wanted to do when boarding a widebody aircraft - they turned left into business class. Ryan was amazed at the spaciousness of the cabin and the seat comfort, particularly the legroom. When he discovered the seats were lie-flat, he was like a kid in a toy shop, just wanting to play. Andrew had convince him to wait until they were airborne.
A flight attendant came round with glasses of champagne and of orange juice - they both had champagne. - followed by warm scented face towels. The menus for dinner were on the side console of the seats and orders for dinner were taken before departure as well as post departure drinks. The in-flight entertainment system was already on when they boarded and Ryan had his on the feed from the tail camera to watch the taxi and takeoff.
Soon the doors were closed, the boarding ramp was disconnected from the aircraft and the aircraft was pushed back for departure. The engines growled into life and they taxied to the end of the runway and took off heading northeast for Mauritius. As soon as the seatbelt signs were turned off, the flight attendants began service. The ordered drinks were served with small bowls of warmed mixed nuts then the tray tables were laid with linen and the dinnerware that would be required. Within thirty minutes after takeoff, dinner was served.
The boys chatted during the meal, finishing a bottle of white wine between them, then turned their seats into lie - flat mode, donned eye shades and napped until the captains announcement that they were starting the descent into the island. Returning their seats to an upright position, they went to the cloakrooms to freshen up and then watched as the coast of Mauritius appeared ahead of them and moved closer and closer until they were over verdant green landscape with some mountains coming up on the left hand side of the aircraft. They descended through some wispy clouds and finally they flew low over the boundary fence of the airport, the slightly damp runway appeared beneath them, and they settled onto the runway with a slight thump, accompanied by the loud roar of the reverse thrust as they decelerated, before turning right off the runway to taxi back to the terminal. Once stationary at the terminal, they gathered their cabin bags and disembarked into the jetway, thanking the flight attendants as they left.
Immigration and customs formalities were accomplished with efficiency and friendliness and they entered the arrivals concourse to be met by a uniformed man with their hotel logo on his jacket pocket holding a signboard reading 'Messrs Devlin-Major', the sight of which, caused Andrew's eyes to widen and , elicit a giggle from Ryan.
"I like the new surname, but they're a little premature, I think" Andrew looked at him strangely and replied,
"Yeah, just a little."
Ryan caught the look and raised an eyebrow at the reply, but said nothing. They approached the man and when they caught his eye, he smiled and asked, "Mr Devlin-Major?" Ryan giggled again. "I'm Andrew Devlin, this is Ryan Major," Andrew replied. The man looked slightly embarrassed.
"Oh, my apologies, I must have misunderstood the concierge when he instructed me to collect you from the airport. My name is Pierre. I am to drive you to the hotel."
"No problem, Pierre, let's go."
Relieving them of their luggage, Pierre led then toward to main doors. As they walked behind him, Ryan said to Andrew,
"Drew babe, you are up to something! This must have cost a mint! Business class flights, chauffeur driven limo?"
Andrew grinned at him, "Just felt like it. I can do it if I want to, not so?"
"Yeah, it's just not like you. You always spend money for a good reason"
They reached the doors, which swished open to envelop them in a wall of humidity, even for the early hour. Ryan gasped.
"Wow, it's like walking into a sauna. How do you manage to look so fresh in that uniform?", he asked Pierre.
He grinned at them, replying,
"I don't really feel it. We are used to it. Only when it gets very bad. And the uniforms are very light as well, so it is comfortable." He stopped next to a charcoal grey BMW limousine and waved his hand at it.
"And, it is air conditioned!" He pressed his remote, the door locks thunked and the trunk popped open. He loaded all their luggage into the trunk, closed it and the opened the rear door. He waited as they stepped into the vehicle, before closing the door and walking to the drivers side, where he made himself comfortable and started the motor. Almost instantly, cool air circulated into the vehicle, bringing blessed relief from the humidity. He turned to look over his shoulder at them saying,
"There are refreshments in the refrigerator on the side. Feel free to help yourself. Do you want to go the quickest route or the scenic route? The difference is about thirty minutes."
Andrew looked at Ryan, raising a querying eyebrow. He just shrugged,
"Any one is cool by me."
Turning back to Pierre, Andrew said,
"Pierre, take us on the route you think is best. You can tell us about the island as we go. Is that okay with you?"
"Yes," he replied, "You do not want me to put up the privacy window? " he questioned .
"No leave it open. Then you can tell us where we are and what we are seeing."
Ryan reached over to the refrigerator and opened it to reveal bottles of still and sparkling water, a selection of sodas, and fruit juice. In a small locker alongside it, he found packets of crisps, a selection of nuts and dried fruit, and a selection of chocolate bars. He took a bottle of sparkling water and a packet of crisps and after asking Andrew what he wanted, handed him his snacks. When asked, Pierre said he had some water and was okay.
Turning back, he slipped the limo into gear and they glided away from the airport. He took them the scenic route, leaving the airport on the southeast of the island, and driving north along the east coast, with all it's pretty villages and towns, bays, beaches and endless views of the lagoon and the sea breaking on the reef in the distance.
The sun had risen by the time Pierre drove under the portico at the hotel where eight four seater golf carts were parked. A doorman hurried to open the rear door of the limo and they stepped out into the wall of humidity. He bid them welcome and ushered them into the cool, air conditioned lobby, where they were met by a smiling young lady, dressed in a sari, with ice cold face cloths. She then gestured towards a desk, one of several, set around the lobby, and invited them to take a seat while she checked them into the resort, explaining all the facilities and their locations. She handed them two cards, before explaining,
"These are the key cards for the doors to your room, both the main door and the patio door. You will need them to gain access to your room. Although the grounds are patrolled, it is not advisable to leave the patio doors open if you are not in the room. The doors lock automatically when you pull them closed." She gestured to the porter who was hovering close by and said, "Leo will show you to your villa. Enjoy your stay with us."
They rose and followed Leo back to the doors, where they boarded a golf cart onto which their luggage had been loaded, and he drove them down a paved path before stopping at a door.
"May I have one of your key cards please?" he requested.
Ryan handed over his card and Leo inserted the card into the slot in the door. The lock clicked and he pushed the door open and turned on the lights of a room that was nothing short of breathtaking. While Leo returned to the golf cart to fetch their luggage, the boys walked into the room itself.
It revealed itself as a large airy space with a two comfortable sofas and two cocoon-like chairs arranged in a u-shape with a central coffee table on a white tile floor, facing the windows. To the left sat a small glass-topped dining table with four chairs and behind a granite topped counter was a small kitchenette. Sheer white, full length and width curtains covered the far wall. Leo completed the last of the luggage, then picked up a remote device.
"Everything in the room can be remotely controlled, or you can do it by hand".
He pressed a button and the curtains slid open to reveal a glass folding door to a patio on which sat two sunbeds, with a small pool on one side and a hot tub on the other. Beyond that, sunlight gleamed on beach and ocean. The soft hiss of water running up onto the beach could just be heard over the air conditioning.
Leo then explained all features of the room. Andrew could see Ryan's eyes already shining at the thought of a remote controlled room. Leo turned to the right and opened a door.
"Through here is the bedroom and bathroom, also with access to the patio. The bedroom has its own remote located next to the bed. If you need anything, dial 9 or 101 for the porters desk or the reception desk. There are hotel directories in the drawers under the phone devices. Enjoy your stay with us," and left the room after thanking Ryan for the tip he had handed him and closing the door softly behind him.
They grabbed their luggage and walked into the bedroom, which was also large, with the same sheer curtains on the patio windows. Ryan reached for the remote, studied it for five seconds and pressed the button to open the bedroom curtains. He opened the doors and stepped onto the patio, taking a deep breath, noting that closer to the water, the steamy humidity wasn't as bad. The bedroom patio was separated from the lounge by the hot tub, with access to it via a narrow walkway on the beach side of the tub. It also contained two more sunbeds.He murmured softly as Andrew walked up behind him and encircled his waist.
"Oh my god, you've really outdone yourself this time babe! This is absolutely mind boggling. It's just beautiful. Just like paradise!"
"It is beautiful, isn't it. And it's ours for the next ten days. I think we must get unpacked, have a shower or maybe a quick dip in the pool, then breakfast. Maybe we should just order from room service."
"Room service will have to do. It's going to take at least an hour to get unpacked and freshened up. Losing three hours in a day sucks. You never seem to have enough time!"
"True dat, it's only 5.30am back home."
Just then, a chime sounded through the room. Ryan grinned at Andrew.
"Fuck me, we even have a doorbell." and moved towards the door which opened just before he got to it.
"My sincerest apologies gentlemen, my name is Claude. I will be your butler for the duration of your stay."
Ryan's jaw hit the floor, and he stared at Andrew.
"Butler! We have a butler! Babe!"
Andrew grinned. "Yes, we have a butler. He comes with the room, so to speak."
Claude smiled at them and said,
"I apologise for not being present when you arrived. It seems your arrival was relayed to the wrong butler. My sincerest apologies. Is there anything I can be of assistance with?"
Andrew and Ryan smiled at him, aware of his discomfort at not being there to meet them. Andrew held out his hand,
"It's not a problem, Claude. I had actually forgotten that the villa came with a butler. We were just about to unpack, freshen up and order breakfast. I'm Andrew Devlin and this is my partner, Ryan Major."
Claude rubbed his hands together.
"Welcome gentlemen, it is a pleasure to meet you. Right, two of the three I can help you with - unpacking and breakfast. The refreshing you will have to do yourselves," he grinned.
Andrew and Ryan laughed, before Ryan asked,
"The unpacking I get, but how can you help with breakfast?"
"Well, you can go the the pool deck restaurant or you can have breakfast here".
"We had just decided to order room service. After the redeye flight, we just want to shower and relax".
Claude moved to a cabinet against a wall in the lounge and brought back a menu.
"This is the breakfast menu. Choose what you would like and I will place the order for you"
.Ryan wanted a full English, and Andrew ordered Eggs Benedict, with a jug of fresh orange juice, a platter of fresh, sliced fruit, some croissants and pastries and a bottle of champagne. Claude walked to the phone, keyed the handset and when the call was answered, placed their order, verifying that it would be delivered in thirty minutes. Then he seemed to be everywhere at once. The boys just stared in awe. He turned on the taps in the bathroom, then moved to the bedroom.
"I recommend you just wear the bathrobes that are hanging in the bathroom. While you freshen up, I will get your clothes unpacked, then set the table for breakfast. Do you want to dine at the dining table or on the patio?"
Andrew answered quickly,
"On the patio would be perfect. Ry, go ahead, I'll join you in a sec."
Ryan disappeared into the bathroom and Andrew beckoned Claude out of the bedroom to the lounge.
"Claude, are you aware of the plans for later in the week?", Andrew queried.
"Oui, Mr Devlin, I am. The general manager and the events manager have briefed me."
"Good, well done. I will leave you at it."
Andrew joined Ryan in the shower, both feeling a little odd, that there was a stranger in their private quarters while they were having a shower. When they emerged, fresh, hair still damp, in soft white bathrobes and loafers they also found in the bathroom, Ryan stopped dead in his tracks and muttered,
"We need to get ourselves a permanent butler."
The change was remarkable. Clothes were neatly hung or folded in the cupboard and dresser. The empty luggage was nowhere in sight. The table was covered with a white linen cloth with white serviette fans. Silver cutlery and crystal glassware glittered on the cloth, with a silver vase holding a single red rose along with a jug of orange juice. A serviette covered winebucket on a stand stood next to the table. On the cabinet just inside the door, the fresh fruit and pastries sat on platters with butter and preserves.Claude was just placing two cloche covered plates at the place settings. He looked up as they entered the room and smiled.
"Ah, welcome. Perfect timing! Gentlemen, your breakfast awaits".
He pulled back one of the chairs and gestured for Ryan to take his seat, then moved to the other side and did the same for Andrew, then flicked out the serviettes before placing them on their laps. He removed a serviette from a basket to reveal some toast with butter, then presented the bottle of champagne for Andrew's approval, before uncorking it and pouring a little into the glass for Andrew to taste. It was excellent. He poured champagne into Ryan's glass, then into Andrew's and placed the bottle back into the cooler before draping the serviette over it. Then, standing next to the table, he reached over, grasped the knobs on top of the cloches and lifted them with a flourish to reveal their meals.
"Bon Appetit, gentlemen, enjoy your meal."
"Thank you, Claude, this is beautiful.", Andrew replied.
"You are most welcome." and disappeared into the villa.
They topped up their glasses with orange juice and ate slowly, enjoying the idyllic setting.Ryan looked up from his plate, his blue eyes swimming with unshed tears.
"Thank you my love. This is so much more than I was expecting. I love you".
"I love you too, more than you can ever know."
They finished the meal and the bubbly, with Claude appearing to fill up their glasses. When they were done, he cleared the table to just the cloth, flower vase and side plate with a dessert knife and fork, before setting down cups of coffee with a small jug of milk and sugar, the pastries and the fruit.
"Gentlemen, I will leave you now, but will be back soon"
"Thank you Claude, that was superb. See you later"
And then they were alone. They moved the chairs next to one another and sat holding hands, legs outstretched, sipping coffee and just gazing at the sunlit sea and the faint white line of the waves breaking on the reef. Eventually Ryan yawned widely, smiled ruefully at Andrew and said,
"This jetsetting lifestyle is just way too exhausting. I am going to have a nap. Would you care to join me?"
"Yes, why not, seeing I don't have anything better to do.", Andrew smirked
"Haha, funny man. Paybacks a bitch."
"And every dog has his day."
Ryan stood up from his chair.
"Come on, this us getting far too intellectual for my brain at this time of the morning, especially after spending the night on an aircraft. Let's go have a nap, then we can explore".
Ryan closed the curtains, having fun with the remote at the same time. In the bedroom, they opened the patio doors but closed the curtains as well. Going into the bathroom, Andrew stopped and looked about him. The room was pristine.
"Ry, come and look at this," Andrew called. Ryan walked in and gaped.
"Fuck me, the guy's amazing. How did he get this done in such a short time," not knowing that Claude had phoned housekeeping to assist him. They stood beside one another brushing their teeth then lay on the bed in their bathrobes
"Welcome to paradise." whispered Andrew. All he got in reply was a soft snore.
He lay for a while snuggled up to Ryan, listening to the swish of the waves on the beach and the birds singing in the trees, before falling asleep himself.
Ryan woke just after 11.30am. Andrew was still asleep, so he slipped off bed, padded to the bathroom and got rid of his full bladder. Then he found a pair of boardshorts in the dresser, put them on and stepped out onto the patio, which now sported the two sunbeds again, walked to the pool and slid quietly into it. Immersed to his chin in the cool water, he relaxed and just let his body float to the surface of the pool. He must have dozed off because his next hazy thought was that the water was moving. He languidly forced his eyes open to see Andrew grinning at him from the other side of the pool.
"Morning gorgeous, why didn't you wake me. I could have joined you earlier?"
Ryan glanced up at the blue sky.
"How long have you been here and what time is it?"
Andrew chuckled mischievously,
"Long enough. And it's just after noon. I see our fairy godfather has been around, cleaning up".
"Yeah, I was up just after 11.30am and it was already done."
"You ready for some exploring? " Andrew asked.
"Yeah, We can just dry off, put on a T-shrt and get going. We really need to get ourselves sarongs. I saw some in a brochure for the clothing boutique in the lobby. Then we can just wrap them around us and get going"
Which is exactly what they did!. Dried off, dressed in shorts and t-shirts with thongs they walked hand in hand to the boutique in the main building and bought two sarongs each, after which they explored the property, discovering where everything was situated and where they would like to eat and drink. Then they strolled back to the villa, finding it spotlessly clean, changed into their, still slightly damp, swim shorts, grabbed a towel off the stack on the patio and headed for the beach. Claude suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
"Bonsoir Mr Devlin, Mr Major. Did you sleep well?"
"Bonsoir Claude", they chorused. "We did, thank you. Please will you call us Andrew and Ryan. We're are not formal people at all. Or if you want, my staff call us Mr Andrew and Mr Ryan."
"The hotel management do not like the staff to use guests first names, but I guess Mr Andrew and Mr Ryan will be acceptable. Thank you".
He led them onto the beach with two sunbeds and mattresses and a huge umbrella. To one side of the beds, in the shade of the umbrella stood a cooler box.
"This area in front of your villa, these beds and umbrella, are reserved especially for you for the duration of your stay. I will ensure that they are in place each day and that the cooler box has water and sodas.I will collect everything at the end of the day."
"Wow, thank you for going to all this trouble Claude. It is much appreciated. You surely don't do all this on your own do you?"
Claude shook his head and chuckled.
"No. No, Mr Andrew, the butlers have a team of assistants that work with them. We just tell them what is needed and make sure it is done to our satisfaction."
"Ah, I understand. The reason I chose this hotel to stay at, was because of the world renowned levels of service.We own a small boutique lodge in Cape Town, and have already seen many ideas here that I would like to try there. If ever you are in Cape Town you must come and visit us. We can show you around the city."
"Merci, Mr Andrew, I will remember that. If you will give me your contact number before you leave, yes?"
"Yes, no problem Claude. Now, time for some Mauritian sun."
"Yes, no problem. I almost forgot."
He reached into his pocket and withdrew a small one button remote. "This remote is linked directly to my pager. If you press it, a bell will ring on my pager, and I will know that you require my services. If you could just test it please, handing the device to Andrew, who pressed the button and was rewarded with a bell sounding in Claudes jacket pocket.
He nodded. "Bien, (good), I will be on my way."
Ryan grinned at Andrew,
"I'm impressed. They seem to have though of everything"
"Yeah, and then some. I had heard the service levels were good, but I had no idea just how good. The only blip so far was the confusion with our arrival."
They spent the early afternoon on the beach and kayaking up and down the length of the beach, slipping into the warm, tropical water when they got too hot. They also stood chest deep in the water with their fingers spread in front of them while tiny fish nibbled at their fingertips.. When the sun started to get too hot, they strolled back to the villa, plunged into the pool, then lay in the shade on the sunbeds on the patio, allowing the breeze to wash over them.
For lunch, Ryan ordered a cheese and charcuterie platter, and it arrived with Claude who had received word that his clients had placed an order. The hotel bush telegraph apparently worked very well. At the same time, they requested Claude to reserve a table for them in the steakhouse for 7.30pm.
In the heat of the afternoon, which became the norm, they retired to the cool, air - conditioned bedroom, where they napped, made slow, ardent love, or watched movies - often all three. In the late afternoon, they strolled down the beach toward 'The Pier', the resorts main a la Carte restaurant. Located on a covered, open sided timber pier that jutted about fifty metres out into the water of the lagoon, with a large octagonal deck at the end. The very swish venue was illuminated by softly glowing light fittings, attached to each supporting pillar of the roof. Tables were arranged on either side along the length of the structure, with more tables around a small dance floor on the deck space.
Although they were on the wrong side of the island to actually see the sun drop below the horizon, they sat on the beach sipping Long Island Teas and watched the sky slowly darken and the lights of 'The Pier' turn on. When it was dark, they slowly strolled back to the villa.
Claude had obviously been around, as the place was spotless once again and some soft lights had been turned on. In the bedroom, two sets of clothing had been laid out on the bed. Denim jeans for both of them, Andrew in blue with a soft white shirt, while Ryan's was black, paired with a shirt in pale blue. Soft moccasins were on the floor on each side of the bed. Ryan cocked an eyebrow.
"Well, you can't say the man doesn't look after his guests, and he certainly has excellent taste in clothes."
"He obviously took very good note of which clothes he unpacked from which bag. Plus,..." Andrew moved to the wardrobes and opened them, "Just as I thought, yours on the left, mine on the right. So he has a system that works.
"Well, let's not disappoint the guy. My guess is he will probably be watching from a distance to see if we agreed with his choices. I say we get showered and dressed and go eat something." suggested Ryan.
"I agree. Let's get going.There is something about this place that really gives me an appetite". They showered together spending more time than they should have under the refreshing water, before dressing and strolling to the steakhouse located in the main building, overlooking the main pool and the beach. They were ten minutes late for their reservation. Unsurprisingly, Claude hovered nearthe door, and beamed when he saw them arrive.
"Mr Andrew, Mr Ryan, good evening, you both look very smart tonight."
Andrew grinned back at him.
"Thank you, but we have this very clever gentleman looking after us, and it is thanks to his superb taste that we are able to look so good."
"Touche, Mr Andrew, but when you have a solid base to work with, the rest is easy."
He signalled to the maitre'd, who hurried over.
"Henri, these two gentleman are my VIP guests for the next week or so. Mr Andrew and Mr Ryan. Please look after them!"
"Certainly monsieur Claude", Henri replied, bowing slightly. He grabbed two menus and a wine list and ushered themto a table with a great view of the entire resort, beach and ocean on one side, the lights of the resort on the other.
They enjoyed a great meal, with Ryan satisfying his craving for steak and Andrew ordering lamb cutlets. They finished off with Irish coffees and then strolled barefoot back to the villa on the beach, with their shoes in their hands, where they hung the 'Do not disturb' sign on the door, turned off all the lights, and snuggled on one of the sunbeds, whispering to one another and enjoying the quiet peacefulness around them.
Ryan woke up, aware of a weight on his chest and a pressure on his bladder. Realisation dawned that they had fallen asleep on the sunbed, and he glanced at his Tag Heuer. It was 2am . He gently shook Andrew's shoulder.
"Drew, wake up."
Andrew murmured and his eyes flicked open.
"Wha...what the he'll, did we fall asleep? What time is it", still sounding half asleep and confused.
"Yeah, we did. It's just after 2am. Drew, you're going to have to move. My bladder is about to burst."
"Yeah, okay, lemme just get up. Actually, I need to go too. Let's go pee and then get some sleep on a more comfortable bed. My necks got a crick in it", Andrew complained, rolling his head around. They did what was needed, undressed and got into bed, falling asleep almost immediately, snuggled close as always.
Andrew was up by 6 am, his excitement in anticipation of the day ahead, barely contained. He padded through to the little kitchenette, naked, to prepare some coffee. A thought occurred to him that normally, the coffee should already be prepared, and wondered what had happened to Claude's usual efficiency. Padding back to the bedroom, he pulled on his bathrobe and was passing the entrance way from the door when he heard a rustle on the other side of the door. A light bulb clicked on in his brain and he walked to the door and opened it. Claude stood in the portico frowning at the 'Do not disturb ' sign. He smiled at Andrew, looking slightly relieved.
"Ah, Mr Andrew! I was just wondering how I was going to get the coffee ready!"
"Morning Claude, come on in. I have already got it going. When we put out the sign last night, I'm afraid we didn't think about how you were going to do what you had to do. Please accept my apologies".
"No apologies necessary, Mr Andrew. As a guest you are entitled to your privacy. Even I, as your butler, must adhere to that policy. But now, all is well. What are your plans for today? Is there anything you need my assistance with?"
"Actually, yes Claude there is. We will be going down to the beach again this morning, but after lunch, I need you to arrange a visit to the spa for me. Manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, the works." Andrew then proceeded to give Claude detailed instructions with regard to the spa reservations.
"Then," continued Andrew, keeping a watchful eye on the bedroom, "I need you to confirm the reservation at 'The Pier' tonight and that everything is arranged as I requested. Can you also arrange for me to see the events organiser, as per the spa schedule. I will confirm all the other arrangements with her at that time. If all is as arranged, you don't have to contact me. Only if there are any problems".
"No problem at all, Mr Andrew. The table at 'The Pier' is reserved, I checked that last nigh tafter leaving you with Henri."
"Fantastic, thank you Claude, for all your help."
"It is my pleasure, Mr Andrew. I go now to the beach to check."
"Babe, who you talking to?", came a sleepy voice from the bedroom.
"It's Claude, we were just having a chat. Get out of bed sleepy head, we need to shower and go to breakfast. I have a great day planned."
Ryan appeared wearing boxer shorts and tugging on a t-shirt.
"Bonjour Claude. How are you this morning?" He pecked Andrew on the cheek. "Morning babe, won't kiss you yet - haven't brushed my teeth. What you been talking to Claude about?"
"Plans for today! Beach this morning. And this afternoon we going to be pampered at the spa".
"Hmm, like the sound of that. but," he rubbed his stomach, I need breakfast. What is it about this place that makes me so hungry?"
"Dunno, but know the feeling. Let's get ourselves sorted and start the day with a good breakfast".
Th e day progressed as planned and they arrived at the spa just after lunch. At the reception desk they were advised that there was a slight problem. They would not be able to take their massages together. One of the masseuses had called in sick, and as their reservation was the last to be taken, they would have to have split sessions. Mr Devlin first, and then Mr Major.
"Why don't we just skip the massages? Ryan argued, "We can always come back before we leave and have a massage".
"I think we just leave it as it is. I'll have my massage, you can sit in with me or go relax in the hydro-therapy pool, then while you have your massage, I can pop in to see the GM and talk a bit of shop, then we can meet for sundowners on the pool deck when you are done".
"Yeah, okay, but it would have been nice to do the all the treatments together, Ryan complained.
"At least we are together for three of the treatments. Three out of four ain't bad!"
"Alright", Ryan reluctantly agreed, "We'll leave it as is and I will meet you on the pool deck"
"Great", Andrew heaved a huge mental sigh of relief.
For the rest of the afternoon, they were pampered like they had never been pampered before. Andrew was done by 4.30pm as planned, and left Ryan to have his massage, leaving an instruction with the spa receptionist to contact the event planners office as soon as he left the spa, while he went to see the'GM'. Who he actually went to see was the event planner. Having spent almost a halfhour with her going over all the arrangements he had made via email, Andrew felt confident that all was as it should be. While waiting for the call from the spa, he sat in the event planners office overlooking lobby and smiled as a group of people walked into the lobby and headed for the reception desk. He watched as they checked in and were led away to their rooms by porters, and when the expected call came, made a hurried dash to the pooldeck bar and by the time Ryan arrived, two Mauritian rum based cocktails with paper parasols, cherries and pineapple stood on the table. His smile when he saw Andrew could have lit up a ballroom.
"Hi there, good lookin'. Is this seat taken?, rolling his head while batting his eyelids and really camping it up.
Andrew grinned at him.
"Not too bad yourself. Unfortunately, I'm actually waiting for my boyfriend. I seem to have lost him somewhere."
Ryan vaulted into the vacant chair.
"Well, his loss is my gain.", he began to giggle. "I think you and I could make whoopee together" at which point the both totally lost it and laughed until they had tears rolling down their faces. When Andrew finally managed to control his mirth, he wiped his eyes with a napkin and said,
"You are such an idiot, but I love you."
"And I you, my love.", He took a sip of the cocktail. "Wow, packs a bit of a punch, but very nice. I could become addicted. How was your meeting.?"
"Very good actually Got a lot of ideas and I have lots of plans. But that is for home. Right now we are on holiday. So no more shop talk."
"Okay, cool. So what is on the agenda for tonight?" Ryan asked
"Finish our sundowners, then back to the villa to shower and change. I expect our resident fairy godfather is, at this very moment, selecting our outfits for the evening. Then dinner at 'The Pier ', replied Andrew, gesturing towards the entrance to the restaurant a few metres away. "After that, we'll, let's just say we'll play it by ear".
"Cool, sounds good to me. What time is our table?"
"8pm. We should get going. Even though I showered after, I can still smell massage oil. Care to join me?"
Ryan signed the bar tab to the room and they strolled back hand in hand, shoulders touching all the way.As expected, clothes for the evening were laid out on the bed, virtually the same for both the guys. Black cotton, formal trousers, long sleeved white mandarin collar shirts, black socks and black formal shoes, polished until their reflections were visible. Finishing off the outfits were two beautiful black patterned waistcoats, one in sapphire for Ryan, the other tawny gold for Andrew.
Ryan examined the outfits.
"The shirts and the waistcoats I've never seen before. Where did they come from?"
Just then Claude knocked on the bedroom door and entered when invited to do so.
"The shirts and waistcoats I took the liberty of borrowing from a designer friend here on Mauritius. They are part of his latest collection", Claude told him.
"They are fantastic Claude. Do you think he would sell them?"
"I'm fairly sure he would. But I will ask and get back to you."
"Thank you. I suppose we better start getting ready. Thanks for your help once again"
"You're welcome Mr.Andrew. Have a pleasant evening."
"Thank you, Claude", the chorused.
At 8pm exactly, they arrived at the entrance to the restaurant. It was busy, but not crowded and the soft murmur of conversation was mingled with the clink of cutlery or glassware, and the soft tones of a baby grand being played just inside the door.
Justin, the maitre'd showed them to a table halfway down the restaurant on the side overlooking the lagoon. Andrew immediately noticed that the place settings were the same ones Claude had used on their first morning when they had breakfast in the room. The ambience was very genteel, with waiters in burgundy jackets and white gloves heating meals on a gueridon, before plating and serving the meal to the table. The service was perfect, serve food from the left, clear the table from the right. Beverages served from the right. The waiters were attentive, yet unobtrusive. Always there when you needed them, but not hovering.
At the end of the meal, once the table had been cleared of everything except for the candlelamp, flower vase and serviettes, coffee cups were placed in front of them and a waiter appeared with freshly brewed coffee and two smalldecorated boxes made from chocolate, containing a selection of friandise, which he placed in front of them. As they sipped their coffee and tasted the friandise, Ryan's eyes suddenly widened and he leaned forward to look closely into the box. Nestled between the friandes was a ring. A very shiny ring! He stared at a grinning Andrew, whose tawny eyes were the most alive he had ever seen them. Andrew took Ryan's hand, stood up and came to stand next to his chair, looking lovingly down at him. Ryan's eyes were suddenly brimming with tears. He stared in seeming shock, as Andrew took the ring out of the box and knelt down. Ryan glanced quickly around the room, and realised, just as quickly, that they had attracted a large, very expectant audience, who all seemed to be holding their breath. He quickly looked back at Andrew.
"Ryan Patrick Major, you are the love of my life. You hold my heart in your hands. You are my family, my only family now" his voice faltering slightly. "Will you marry me? Will you be my husband?"