The sun came in bright through our windows when I finally woke up. Tony was in his normal place, right behind me. That bed was so comfortable, I hated to get out of it, but nature was calling. I slipped out and did what I needed to do, then came back to find Tony resting on his elbow smiling at me.
“Sorry. Had to go.” I said slipping back in beside him.
He groaned. “Now I gotta go too.” He got up and did what he needed to. I looked out the window at the water beyond. This was a dream. A very delightful dream I didn’t want to end.
“We’re at sea two days, so no hurries.” Tony said sliding in with me again. “We’re going to the St. Maarten first. Nothing urgent yet. We can laze by the pool, shop, go workout, get massages…whatever you want.”
I smiled at him. “I’m not good idle.”
Tony looked surprised. “Who says you have to be idle? There are thousands of things to do.” He grinned. “We’ll get breakfast…” he kissed me. “….in a minute.”
I chuckled knowing what he meant. “A minute? That’s all? Are you that hungry?”
He shrugged. “Maybe a minute or two more.” He grinned and kissed me harder and his hands were going over me.
It was more like a hour, but I didn’t mind. I wasn’t the one that would be hungry. But I was wrong I found out once we started eating! Dressed casually, I mean he had on shorts, designer of course and shirt with an over shirt worn loose over it. Different shades of blue, but his favorite color. I had on different shades of green, basically the same set up. He was saying I was between a Fall and Winter. What the hell was he talking about? I’d heard of you skin color and hair determined what color was best to wear, but I never understood this season thing. Tony did. Another rule of mine, most things I wore was solid colors. We both had canvas shoes, not that I worried, but there was a dress code when you ate in the dining room. Tony would never go to the Lido Deck for a meal where there was no such code, but it was a buffet. Again, we ate in the dining room that was much less congested at this time. They only had the first floor set for breakfast and no assigned seating. They had every sort of biscuit, croissant, muffin, scone or whatever you could think of. And every kind of bacon, pancakes, waffles, omelet or crape. Eggs benedict! I’d never had it before, so I figured why not?
“If I keep eating like this they’ll have to roll me off the ship.” I chuckled looking at the menu.
Tony chuckled. “You and me both.”
Then a new face appeared. Also nice looking, but a younger man in his twenties, but he spoke…clearly from Eastern Europe. “What can I get you gentlemen?”
I pointed at Tony and said it as Tony spoke. “Coffee.”
That puzzled our waiter. “For both of you?”
“Him first. It’ll be safer for all aboard if you do.” I said Tony glare at me, but I wasn’t looking directly at him.
I had seen a side of Tony he showed a few times, but now with the pressure gone, he was free to be himself. He shook his head, narrowing one eye. “That would be a good idea.” He told the waiter. “But just remember this. If there’s a story about a guy who was on a balcony when his husband went in the bathroom and that husband was gone when he came out. I probably threw him overboard.” The slight curl in the corner of his mouth told me he was having fun.
I smiled at Tony and grinned at the waiter. “He just talks strong. I can take him.”
Tony chuckled. “He’s right. He could. Just coffee, please?”
The waiter nodded. “I’ll hurry the coffee. Anything else?”
I nodded. “A huge glass of milk and a huge glass of apple juice.”
The waiter nodded again. “You got it.”
And as far as Tony was concerned, he found Nirvana onboard. It was at The Coffee Loft. Premium coffees from around the world! Near the pool! On the dreaded Lido deck. I mean he had to walk into the buffet area. Gad!
I bumped Tony grinning at him, seeing the look of uncertainty on his face. “It’s okay, Tony, I’ll go with you. I won’t let any of those in the buffet contaminate you.”
Tony looked at me questioning, then rolled his eyes. “I want coffee.” He said with his usual kawfee.
When we got there Tony ordered his espresso/coffee thing in a huge cup. He took it from the young man in his twenties behind the counter. “You’ll be my second best friend on this trip.” He swore to the man getting his precious coffee.
I just grunted. “Swearing love to a man you just met? Maybe I’ll go find Sasha. He can be my second best friend.” I moved to walk away.
Tony grinned grabbing me from getting away and throwing his arm around me. “You know you’re my best friend, right?” He kissed me on the temple and we began to walk away, but I stood firm. Then he looked puzzled. “Oh, did you want a coffee?”
“I don’t have your addiction, but I might. Did you consider that?” I chuckled shaking my head. “Who are you? I married this Italian New Yorker who was often so serious. I think I caught a glimpse of you a year ago.”
Tony shrugged. “I’m relaxed.”
I nodded. “I see that.” Then I turned to the man behind the counter. “An extra-large iced vanilla latte, with four shots of espresso, please?”
The man behind the counter chuckled back. “You got it.”
But Tony was like….someone else almost. He was relaxed. I guess the pressure of having not to go somewhere or do something on schedule was relaxing. With all that caffeine I knew he couldn’t sit still. We sat by the pool while we drank our coffees.
I looked about the pool as we relaxed in a lounge chair in the sun. The air was warm, but a steady breeze kept it from being hot. It was so nice to see all these men free to be who they are. Affection between two people was not evil or unnatural. Men were in pairs that we clearly together, in love and didn’t care who knew or saw. That was very liberating.
Then I watched Tony get up, pull his outer shirt off and pulled the muscle t-shirt over his head. “While we’re here, I might as well get a little tan.”
I nodded and was about to do the same thing. “We’ll need sunscreen. Maybe a towel.”
Tony nodded pointing to a booth near the pool. “Over there.”
I got us both towels and sunscreen.
Tony held out his hand. “I’ll put some screen on your back. Then you can put some on me.”
I handed him the sun screen. “You know touching me will give me an erection. And my touching you will do the same thing.”
Tony chuckled. “And all these guys suffer the same with their partners. You won’t be the first.” He leaned down kissing me and then looked around. “See? No gasps, no one even noticed. We’ll be fine.”
I put some on him first and then he had me sit in front of him as he applied the screen to me. I smiled as I felt his hand run over my skin. Of course I don’t have to say it now because you know I love Tony. “Tony.”
He paused a moment. “Yes?” Then he started back.
“I know we’ve just started this trip.” I began smiling as he really covered my back too well then moved to my shoulder and arms. “And I want to go back to Rome, Scotland and other places I never imagined I’d go. I said I wasn’t impressed before other times, but you did on this trip.” I didn’t have to see his face to know he was smiling. “I like what’s happening with you.” I turned in the chair to face him. “You know I’m always impressed with you, but tell me we’ll do this again.”
Tony grinned as he kissed me gently. “I know we will. In fact, I’d love to do something I’ve never done…with you.”
My eyebrows rose when he said that.
“I don’t mean a kind of sex, I mean…” Tony chuckled. “…I’ve never been to Europe on one of those really classy ships. I’ve always wanted to go on the Queen Mary.”
I smiled. “I’m gathering it is possible. I heard it was decommissioned.”
“The Queen Mary II is still floating and new. I hear there’s no better way to travel the seas. We can go to Europe, the Mediterranean…anywhere. But we’ll need to plan, we’ll need to take time off and more than just two weeks.”
I nodded. “That sounds great.” Then I looked around. “But they don’t have gay cruises, do they?”
He chuckled shaking his head. “I’ve never heard of one, but it is the Queen Mary, so the fact we’re on her, they won’t say a word.” He kissed me again. “I’m glad you’re having a good time.”
“You certainly are.”
Tony nodded. “No pressures, just the sun, relaxation and I’m with my favorite person. I am having a good time.”
We stayed out a few hours. Then I was getting fidgety. I looked over at Tony and frowned.
“I hate this about you.” I growled pointing at him.
Tony looked shocked. “What do you hate about me?”
“I can lie in the sun for weeks and maybe I’ll get a tan. Mostly, I just turn red then as it fades and then I’ll be white again.” I pointed at him. “You started out sort of brown, now you’re even browner!! In just a few hours! How is that fair?”
Tony looked down at himself and chuckled. “I’m sorry, Sweetie. I didn’t mean to make you jealous.” He brightened. “But there is a solution.”
He chuckled nodding. “There is. The spa here does more than facials and massages. They also can give a tan to someone like you who are…pigmentationally challenged? You want a tan? Then by God you’ll have one.”
I frowned. “Not some chemical thing?”
He shrugged. “Well, yes. But I think they guarantee positive results. You can be as brown as you want.”
I thought a moment. “But I don’t want it to be rapid. I’d like it to look natural.”
Tony got up. “You can do it gradually. When we go home you’ll look like you’ve been on vacation in the tropics.”
“How long will it last?”
He shrugged. “We’ll find out.” Then he hugged me. “We’re Elite Guests, it’s a perk. We just have to ask for it.”
We went to the spa. The man there assured me he could do it several days, ending the last time just before we departed and it would last for weeks. So I agreed and had the first tanning thing while Tony got a facial.
I grinned at my reflection once it was done. I had gotten browner. Rubbing my finger over my face, it didn’t smear! Tony grinned behind me as he looked at me.
“When we get back, you’ll be browner than I will be.” Tony said happily.
These days were so blissful. The freedom we had onboard was intoxicating. Or new friends at our dinner table did notice I was tanner and even commented. All positive.
We had our formal night. All were dressed to impress other guests. Then we arrived during the night at St. Maarten. We just woke up and we were there! I’d never been to a port of call before. It was clean. On the beach and there were hotels and restaurants, shops and jewelry stores. Lots and lots of jewelry stores, I mean one right next to another! Packed! What I noted interesting were they were all run by people from India as far as I could see.
“How can they all stay in business!?” I asked Tony.
He shrugged. “They do. Here is duty free and the prices are supposed to be the best. You’ll find high end watches, clothes….just about anything available here. All duty free.”
Two other cruise ships were in port with ours. Ours was the only one with a black hull so it could be seen well. Many men from the ship had come off the ship and were now strolling as we were down the tree shaded street. St. Maarten’s thin streets did have cars occasionally, but mostly we were free to walk like it was a huge open air mall. I was wanting to find something unique…something crafted in St. Maarten to send to our parents and other family. The streets were crowded, but this was why all these shops were there. We were tourists on vacation and supposed to have extra income to spend and they wanted us to do it there. There were always those standing in front of their shops telling all of us passing by they had the best quality of anything in their shop at good prices. There was one shop that attracted my attention. They did shirts, shorts, bags, sheets…all made of bamboo! I thought how could something made of wood be soft? Well, it was! Then I saw the shirts and bags would change color in the light! What looked black and white, but then in the sunlight burst with color! It was great! I had to get a few t-shirts for David, Michael, Nick….okay, everybody! Naming them all would take too long. I got our parents the sheets and pillow cases, not the t-shirts and the sheets did not change color, but were soft as Egyptian cotton I was told. Not that I ever touched sheets made of Egyptian cotton. I had to take their word on that. All was good, until we exited the store.
I spotted Scott and Glenn across the street dealing with a man that clearly was upset about something. He shoved Glenn hard back, so hard Glenn nearly stumbled over, if Scott hadn’t stopped him from falling.
“Stupid, faggot!!” Then big man with blondish-red hair accompanied with a blonde woman shouted. Then he was about to charge again. I don’t know, my old instincts just kicked in. I was a cop once, remember? The streets were narrow, so I crossed before the man could strike with the fist he had ready.
“Larry!” The woman cried in horror to the man to stop him. “He said he was sorry.”
Grabbing the man’s fist, old training was still there. I spun Larry around.
“What the….” Larry asked indignantly. He was bigger than me, even bigger than Tony, but I knew what to do.
“I don’t know what happened.” I said calmly. “But your friend here said Glenn said he was sorry. So why are you going to hit him?”
Larry jerked his fist away. “He was feeling me up!”
Glenn shook his head. “I didn’t mean to touch him, it was an accident. I said I was sorry.”
“He’s a fag!!” Larry claimed like that explained it all.
I smiled with a nod. “And no man or woman could resist touching you, I guess.” I chuckled and shook my head. “Well, Larry….I suggest you use what’s inside your head this time. This isn’t back home. I suggest you use your eyes. I won’t let you hit my friend. Because if you do, think about what’ll happen next.”
Larry looked further indignant. “What?” And was about to hit me! This time, I grabbed his hand again, but I knew there was a cluster of nerves, if pinched correctly would cause an assailant to drop knifes or whatever they were carrying. It would hurt, but cause no permanent damage.
“Now, I’ll explain things, using small words.” I began calmly as I squeezed the nerves between his thumb and forefinger.
“Ow, ow, ow…” Larry said suddenly lowering on his knees a bit. “You’re hurting me.”
I nodded. “Yes. I suppose you were just going to tickle Glenn and me with your fists. Now,” I said quietly. “Are you listening?”
“Ow!” Larry said again trying to pry my hand from his, but I had my grip tight. Whoever she was with Larry covered her mouth, to keep from…shouting, crying out? I don’t know.
“Are you listening?” I repeated.
“Yes!” Larry groaned nodding.
“Good. I suppose you saw that big ship out there with the black hull. Well, Onboard her is about two thousand men…all fags. I know that almost all are here now.” I said smiling as I kept the pinch going. “If you hit me, or Glenn here, what will happen next is there will be charges. And I’m not sure how this country has laws punishable for assault, but I’m sure they do have them. If you hit Glenn, there will be questions and you may miss a good part of your vacation if you do. Who knows, they could put you in jail a day or two until court can hear you’re case. But I can promise, it’ll put a damper on your good times. Are you on one of those other ships?”
He wasn’t answering me, so I pinched harder. “Yes!!” Larry said in pain.
“You are listening. Good.” I said calmly and shrugged. “You may even miss the rest of your cruise if you hit Glenn, but look around.” I waved at the many faces on the street. There were many passengers from the Oosterdam here. “There are many fags around you. Now, if I let you go, you’re to walk away and let us return to having a relaxing time. I want you have a good time with your friend and we’ll forget this happened. Okay? Because I know some other moves and then we’ll both have questions to answer and I’m having a good time with my husband I don’t want to end because of this stupidity. Now, walk away.” I said releasing his hand.
Larry stood up more, glaring at me.
“Do you want to challenge me on what I said to you?” I asked Larry firmly moving forward to Larry closer.
Larry looked around at many angry faces, not all of them were the men from our ship. Others were vendors and guests from other ships and hotels. He saw he was outnumbered. “No.” He sighed. He took the woman’s hand. “Let’s go.” He said and led her away.
I looked back at Glenn who was still staring wide eyed. Then he smiled and hugged me.
“My hero!!” Glenn said.
“Wow.” Scott nodded hugging me too. “That was amazing. Where’d you learn all that…stuff?”
I chuckled. “It’s a nonviolent intervention training I got as a cop.”
“You were a cop!?” Glenn marveled. He squeezed my arm at the bicep. “That explains the muscles. I knew they were for more than show.” He grinned waggling his eyebrows.
Tony came up and hugged me. “That was almost scary, honey.”
I chuckled assuring Tony with a rub on his back. “I’m fine, Tony. It ended with no one really hurt.”
“Wait until I tell the guys at our table tonight!” Glenn laughed. “They’re going to be spellbound!”