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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

CDMX - 10. CDMX • X

On his back, with Owen hovering over him, CJ failed to notice they were no longer alone. The dumbbells’ actual weight was not an issue but the bulkiness was. Stone and wooden plates were larger than iron ones, demanding a spotter to help maintain proper equilibrium.

İQue linda eres! ¿Como te llamas?”

“Liebe.”

By the time CJ dropped the weights and raised his torso, Owen was scooping their daughter from the sand. An unknown voice calling her pretty and asking her name had put the Aussie on just as high alert. Concern over their daughter around strangers was a shared sentiment.

Accessed through their hotel, Tulum’s Jungle Gym was located on the Caribbean Sea’s shore, reminding CJ of the famous Muscle Beach in Venice. However, the sandy location was where the similarities ended. In contrast to the standard weightlifting gear in California, the Mexican facility featured equipment made of wood, stone, bamboo, and rope. Resembling something out of The Flintstones, the gym would have been a perfect fit in Bedrock City.

Because they had Liebe with them, CJ and Owen had shown up early, before other guests crowded the facility. They had paid the admission price, placed the girl on the sand near them, and tried to get in some sort of workout. The novelty distracted them to the point of laughter; maneuvering some of the equipment made CJ feel like an uncoordinated ninety-eight-pound weakling.

“Come on, Liebe. Let’s go help CJ.”

Probably because he had used English, the woman responded in the same language “Hello. You must be her father, she looks a little like you.” The initial use of Spanish, combined with her accent when using English, confirmed she was Hispanic. Her body reflected what must have been hours of training and in all likelihood some surgical enhancement. The skimpy sports bra and tiny shorts left little to the imagination. “I’m Danila.” She pointed to the other side of the gym. “That’s my husband, Alejandro.”

“I’m Owen, one of her fathers.” He tilted his head in CJ’s direction. “He’s the other one.”

“You don’t sound like an American.”

“I was born in Australia, but Washington, D.C.’s home.”

“You’re a couple?”

While Owen nodded, CJ thought it was a stupid question. Had Owen not said they were Liebe’s fathers?

“Alejandro, come meet Owen, CJ, and Liebe. They’re visiting from America.”

“Actually, Danila, we live in Mexico City.” CJ had at that point stood. “I work at the U.S. Embassy there.” He was comfortable revealing his occupation but not details of his job. One never knew who might have targeted him in an effort to learn confidential information. Their encounter with the Russian spy had made him reconsider his usual openness.

“Hi. Alejandro.” The man’s bright smile contrasted with his scruffy chin’s darkness. “Hablas Español, tambien?” His fade left the sides of the scalp visible, but the crown’s hair matched his beard.

Si. I speak Spanish too. My family’s Cuban and it was my first language.” CJ tried to be discrete when checking Alejandro out. The internal chuckle was due to realizing he had appraised Danila without reservation because, in his mind, it was not even close to being sexual. He probably should not have ogled Alejandro as much as he did. “The two of you are in incredible shape. You must live at the gym.”

Alejandro chuckled. “Actually, we do. We really do live in a gym.” The man reached for the ball cap he had left atop their towels and stuck it on CJ’s head. “That’s a present.”

The embroidered logo of a bending barbell was surrounded by Gimnasio Mediterraneo. “Thank you. Is this where you work out in Spain?”

“It is, and we own it.” Danila had remained fixated on Liebe but shifted her attention to CJ for a moment. “We live on the first floor of the building.”

“You mean right next to the gym?”

“Here, hold her. I need to get a diaper and change her.” Owen handed their daughter to CJ. “She probably means the second floor, Ceej. Same as in Australia where the ground floor doesn’t count.”

Danila’s eyes lit up. “Can I help you change her? Although we’ve been trying for a few years, we don’t have any of our own.”

Owen chuckled. “Sure. But I gotta warn you her poop stinks.” Although potty training was going well, accidents still occurred.

“I don’t care. We came here hoping I’d get pregnant.”

The couple was likely in their mid-thirties and CJ wondered why she had trouble conceiving. “You should investigate using a surrogate. We did. You mentioned Liebe looks a little like Owen? That’s because his sister donated the eggs we used.”

“Oh… so he’s like the mother and you’re the father?”

Alejandro prevented either of the Americans from replying. “Come on, Dani, look at them. With those bodies, nobody would confuse Owen for the mother. Hey, CJ, while they change the girl, you mind if I work in with you?”

“Sure.”

“By the way, a surrogate wouldn’t work for us. The problem’s not Dani but me. Not enough viable sperm. When she said she hoped to get pregnant this trip, it’s because we’re trying to find a good-looking guy to have sex with her and get us a kid.”

CJ tried not to visibly react. “I’m assuming you’re okay with her having sex with a stranger?”

“Oh, yes. We’ve had threeways plenty of time. See? I’m bisexual, and we usually try to meet guys who might be interested in doing both of us.”

“Damn! Too bad our buddy’s not here. He’s bi and I’m sure he’d jump all over both of you.” CJ thought he should take a picture of the couple and send it to Chipper; he had no doubt their friend would drool.

Danila broke the temporary silence. “What do you think about them, Alex? Either CJ or Owen would give us a pretty kid.” She had the decency to stare at Liebe while uttering her proposal. “I wouldn’t mind doing it with either one. And I’m sure you wouldn’t either.”

CJ chuckled when Owen’s jaw dropped. “I have to say that’s a new one for me. Usually, it’s gay guys who want to jump in bed with us. I’m sure Owen’s as flattered as I am, but I know I speak for him when I say thanks but not really our thing.”

“Damn! Why can’t I get a proposal like that? It could definitely be my thing.”

All four turned to look at the speaker. Distracted by the diaper change and the conversation, they had failed to notice the new arrival. Somewhere in between CJ’s six feet and Owen’s six-two, with brown curly hair, and squared pecs and abdominal ridges visible through the sleeveless, spandex shirt, the man did not look like he missed many gym days.

“Hi, guys. I’m Cody. Excuse me for eavesdropping.” His glance flittered over CJ and Owen, but his appraisal of Danila and Alejandro lingered. He hunched his shoulders and shifted his gaze to his crotch. “Sorry if I’m showing, but little Cody has a mind of his own.”

“Mate, I don’t think there’s anything little about that!” Owen vocalized CJ’s thoughts. Danila and Alejandro both licked their lips.

During the conversation, they found out Cody White was twenty-nine, an archeologist, from Arkansas, and working on new excavations at Chichén Itzá.

Owen shook his head. “Oh, crap. CJ’s gonna pester you with questions now.”

“And why’s that?” Cody bent right and left, stretching before touching a single piece of equipment.

“Because I love history, and Owen has to put up with my constant need to explore. This afternoon, I’m dragging him and Liebe to the Mayan ruins in town.”

“Really?” Cody’s tone brightened. “Want a tour guide? I’ve been there a few times and planned on going back today.”

“Yes.” CJ’s fast reply made Owen shake his head again. “How about we buy you lunch in exchange for showing us around?”

Cody put out a fist to bump. “You got a deal!”

A short time later, while Owen did chin-ups with Liebe clinging to his neck, and CJ spotting, they overheard the conversation between the Spanish couple and the archeologist. Both smiled when they heard the three agree to drinks and dinner in the evening. “Someone’s getting double lucky tonight.” CJ’s whisper made Owen laugh and lose his grip on the bar.

By then, more customers had entered the gym, and they decided it was time to move on. They had promised the owners they would not keep Liebe on the premises once it got busy.

“Cody, we’re gonna take a dip, then go shower, and get changed. Give me your number. I’ll text you when we’re ready to go. One o’clock good enough?”

“Yep, that works.”

 

“How old is she? I can’t believe she ate a whole fish taco by herself.” Cody was not the first person surprised by the girl’s appetite.

“Eighteen months.” Owen retrieved a wet napkin from the diaper bag and wiped Liebe’s face and hands. “But at just under thirty pounds and three feet, she’s bigger than the average for two-year-old girls.”

“I heard you say she was conceived using your sister’s egg. Guess she got the height from both sides of the family.”

“My dad’s even taller than me, so yeah, she has good height genes.” CJ had held Liebe on his lap while she ate but her squirming meant she was ready to move. “And she has enough energy to keep us on our feet.”

Unencumbered by their daughter, Owen had finished eating first. It was common for one of them to hold Liebe while the other one ate faster. “Give her to me, Ceej. Finish eating.”

“I have a question, Cody.” CJ bit into his last taco and spoke while chewing. “You work at Chichén Itzá, but you look too young to be in charge. What’s your role?”

“Ha! I’m so far down the chain I may as well be buried with the relics we’re trying to dig up. I’m working on my doctorate at Penn State, spending a year here in Mexico doing research for my thesis.”

“We’ll have to look you up when we get the chance to visit that place.”

“Any idea when that’s gonna be?”

“Probably spring. We’ve been in country for like a month. This is our first outing away from Mexico City, but as I mentioned, I like to explore.”

“You should go on the equinox. It’ll be pretty crowded, but I can sneak you in close. We reserve space for friends and underwriters. Bring some buddies if you want.”

Owen held Liebe a bit tighter against his side. “CJ’s all about getting special access. You may just regret the offer.”

“I can’t believe you’re using our daughter as a shield. Asshole!”

“Ceej, grown-up word.”

“Sorry, Liebe.”

 

“Tulum was built as a seaport fortress. We’ll hit the beach later, so you can see the steep cliffs providing protection from the east.” Cody pointed at a three-foot, limestone wall surrounding the site. “Those are the remnants of the fortifications enclosing the rest of the city on its three, landward sides.”

Owen, holding Liebe’s hand, followed CJ and Cody. “When was it built?”

Cody had shown some sort of identification while CJ paid for their admission, and they had been handed clip-on tags providing preferred access. “Archaeological evidence suggests the site was first inhabited around the middle of the sixth century CE. Although it’s estimated the population never rose above 2,000 inhabitants, it remained occupied until shortly before the end of the fifteen hundreds.”

“Let me guess, the Spaniards.” CJ relived the earlier conversation with Owen. “The diseases they brought killed most of the population. Even before the conquistadores began any massacres.”

“Close enough.” Cody pointed at their passes when an attendant in front of El Castillothe site’s primary structurementioned they could go no further. They were allowed to pass. “Over a period of seven centuries, rulers came and went. The city we know as Tulum was transformed by each new generation of inhabitants and their respective styles and influences.

“As a result, like other Mayan ruins in Yucatan, many structures blend different architectural styles, depending on the epoch in which they were built or expanded upon.”

Instead of climbing the pyramid using the front steps, visible to the milling crowd, Cody directed them to a side entrance. “We don’t want tourists asking why we’re allowed inside and they aren’t.”

Owen picked up Liebe and carried her through the narrow passage as they ascended. “It’s all limestone?”

Cody nodded without looking back. “There may have been wooden or textile details, but those have disappeared.”

“Careful, Munchkin. Those stones are sharp.” CJ had intercepted her hand when she tried to run it along the wall. “Cody, was this built as a tomb? Or was it one of the temples where human sacrifices were performed?”

Cody looked around and smiled. “Someone’s been watching Smithsonian Channel documentaries. Neither as far as I know, but I’m not an expert on Tulum. El Castillo’s the city’s main pyramid, and was used as a lighthouse.” They had reached the top and stood in a small room. Cody pointed at two windows on the water-facing wall. “Those allowed sailors to navigate the bay at dusk. If as they sailed in they could see daylight through both, they wouldn’t crash into the reef hiding just below the water.”

“I don’t put much stock into alien visitor theories, but I can see how similarities between ancient cultures could lead people to believe in them. I mean we’re visiting pyramids and a lighthouse. Are we in Mexico or Egypt?”

“Math, CJ. It’s all mathematics and celestial observations.”

“Damn! Not my department. For math and space, you need my brother. He’s the one studying aeronautical engineering.”

Cody leaned against a wall and crossed his arms and ankles. “You guys have a lot of siblings?”

“Nope. One brother each.” Owen placed Liebe on the ground, and she ran towards the main entrance with CJ in hot pursuit. “Mine’s in Australia, and CJ’s a cadet at the Air Force Academy. What about you? Any brothers or sisters?”

“Three younger sisters.” Cody chuckled. “Thank goodness our last name’s nothing special; nobody’s gonna carry it forward.”

“Don’t bet on it, mate. I always hoped to have kids, but I never imagined at twenty-nine I’d be married, with a daughter, and planning for the next one.”

“You could always ask Alejandro and Danila to give the baby your last name.” CJ had rejoined them, with Liebe firmly in hand.

Owen gave his husband a gentle shove. “Stop being nosy.” Ignoring his own advice, the Aussie frowned when he returned his attention to Cody. “Are you really going to try and get her pregnant?”

“Hell yeah! Did you see their bodies?” Cody licked his lips. “I’m probably ninety percent gay, and when I get into a serious relationship, I’m sure it’ll be with a man.”

“But you’re still interested in sex with the wife?”

“Not so much the wife as the husband. That non-gay ten percent’s willing to do it with her, though. As long as it gets me a shot at him.” The smirk suggested it would not be a huge sacrifice.

Liebe interrupted the conversation. “Mira, Ceej.”

CJ did as his daughter asked and looked in the direction she pointed. “That’s an iguana, Liebe. It’s a lizard like the ones you’ve seen at the park. Just a lot bigger.”

“Those critters are all over the place.” Cody reached out in the animal’s direction, but it scampered away so fast he was unable to grab it. “This one’s young. What was it? About a foot long and half of it tail? It’ll get much larger and change from bright green to a darker color providing better camouflage against the rocks.”

Liebe pouted when the lizard disappeared. “I want guana.”

“It’s called an eee-guana, Liebe. It’s the same in English and Spanish.” Owen squatted to be at eye level with the girl. He and CJ always tried to explain things in an age-appropriate way while avoiding childish descriptions. “They’re pretty to look at, but they can bite and scratch.”

CJ added his own commentary. “They’re not good pets, Munchkin. This is their natural environment, but in Florida, where Aba lives, they’ve become a pest. They have escaped from their owners’ houses and made tons of babies.”

“Have you guys eaten them?” Cody motioned for his guests to follow him back down the stairs. “They taste like chicken.”

El Castillo, more than any other structure on the site, looked imposing from the waterside. Perched atop a rocky promontory, it had served its purpose centuries before and was but one piece in the Maya civilization puzzle archaeologists like Cody were trying to assemble.

Ceej, go en agua.” Liebe’s Spanglish made the adults chortle. She emphasized her desire to get in the water by pulling on her father’s hand.

“Either English or Spanish, Munchkin. Go in the water or vamos al agua.” Correcting her speech was a full-time job. But they were happy she was comfortable using either language. CJ emptied his pockets, ditched his shirt and footwear, and ran into the warm waters of the Caribbean with a squealing Liebe in his arms.

 

They had promised to contact Cody about traveling to Chichén Itzá during the spring equinox and invited him to visit and stay at their place if he made it to the capital. Monday morning they reversed their course, driving to Cancun and flying to Mexico City. Arriving late afternoon, they spent time doing chores. When they made it to bed, both were ready to sleep.

“I checked the calendar for the equinox.”

Owen’s yawn was loud. “And? Can you get a couple of days off?”

“Won’t need to, Oz. It falls on a Sunday, and Monday’s Benito Juarez Day.”

“That’s a national holiday, right?”

“Yep. We can fly to Cancun Friday or Saturday, hit the ruins on Sunday, and return home on Monday.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Owen turned on his side, wrapped his arms around CJ, and kissed the back of his husband’s head. “That was a fun weekend. I’m looking forward to doing it again soon.”

Copyright © 2021 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you to my support team, you improved the story. Any remaining errors are my responsibility. And thank you to all readers for supporting me. I hope to hear from you.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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I miss interacting with readers. And since CDMX won't be published for a while, how about a look at part of chapter one?  
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