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    R. Eric
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North Meets South, Worlds Collide - 71. Chapter 71

There are fictional elements I use in other stories like Blueblood. The cancer was real and these conversations and emotions happened.


I miss you, Daniel.

We decided that night to enjoy this stateroom. Now, I wasn’t concerned with how much it cost. Not anymore. We didn’t go anywhere that day. We even put the “do not disturb” sign on the door and spent all evening and night being together and made love many times.

Waking up, I answered nature’s call and came back, opening the curtains to our outside balcony on the second floor of our stateroom. I smiled at what I saw. I heard Tony moving in bed and looked as he looked up as he curled my pillow under him and he blinked at the bright morning light shining in.

“You’ll be happy to know…” I said smiling. “We’re in a city now. No nature stuff today.”

Tony grinned. “You love that stuff, baby.” He got up and walked over next to me and looked out over the city. He gave a shrugging nod. “It’s a bit smaller than I’m used to…”

I rolled my eyes and hugged him. “But you can shop and do what you want.” I shook my finger at him. “But don’t think I won’t give you a hard time about it.”

Tony chuckled. “Of course, you will.” He said kissing me. “I would expect nothing less.”

“I should order your kawfee.” I grinned and turned to go to the phone, but he grabbed me and pulled me back to him as he hands went over me.

“I feel a lot better this morning.” He smiled kissing me again, but wasn’t holding anything back. He really didn’t before, but now…

I nodded as he kissed my neck, his lips tracing along my jawline. “There was an elephant in our room. We needed to discuss it.” I said simply. I pushed him away just enough so he could see my face. “Now, we are going to enjoy this trip!” I said firmly. He was facing a potentially dangerous illness. I had heard there were stages he would go through. Talking about it helped some.

He kissed me deeper and with more intent. “I love you, Mitch.”

I hugged him. “I don’t ever tire of hearing it. I love you, too.”

He smiled bigger. “Maybe you should hold off on calling for the coffee just now.” He said as his hands were now roaming over me and we went back to bed and made love again.


Coffee was eventually ordered and we showered and got dressed. Then we went to breakfast.

“Is there something you want to do or somewhere you want to go?” I asked at breakfast. “They have shopping excursions to go on…”

Tony shook his head and smiled. “Nah, I prefer winging it.” Then he shrugged. “I looked up on the Internet the places I could go, so we’ll try that.”

“I’m with you.”


We did walk off the ship and toured around Auckland. This was not New York City, but it was a city. We went to several stores and looked at many things. I loved many of the shops with items and crafts made by the Maori people there. They were fascinating to me. While I knew they were Polynesian, they…to me had very unique appearance! There were a few handsome men, if I had been free and they asked me, I would not have turned down for a date. They were handsome people of course, but liked a lot of tattoos. I didn’t care, but not that many and over their face? I was surprised that Tony didn’t go to a more…fashion driven business. Then I thought, we’d been to Milan and bought in Manhattan for this trip, so why? We bought some beautiful pieces of art to send to my mother and father. We did buy shirts for David, Sasha and Alik and had them sent home with the great designs on the front. Those great swirling designs and we even got one of the ceremonial masks they sometimes wore, not that they needed them with the elaborate face painting they often did.

We went up and down Queen Street and even had a nice lunch. It wasn’t long when I noticed…quite happily, Tony was more relaxed and he was cutting up like he always did. We ate at the Mamak Malaysian Restaurant where…he’d been places I never dreamed I’d go, but he was looking uncertain at some of the dishes.

I chuckled as he was reading. “I gather this is chicken.” He said. “Why is it in curry?”

I laughed. “If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be Curry Chicken Laksa if it didn’t.” I said logically. “There are many other items.” I pointed to the menu. “There’s chicken or beef murtabak…”

“Murdabak…what the hell is that!?”

I laughed harder seeing the old Tony I liked was beginning to surface more. He could see it! I loved him, of course, but I liked Tony like this. “It’s fried bread, babe…” I pointed to the menu where it said that. “Tony, not everything has to be Italian! If you wanted that, they have restaurants here that are Italian! You could have had your macaroni and gravy!”

“We can do that at home!” He stated his objection loudly indignant.

I pulled him to me kissing him. This was my Tony.

We had a great time! There was one incident that could have been…unpleasant. There was always a line when boarding as those key/ticket things had to be used to check us onboard. A good thing to do to make sure everyone was back, but if you didn’t make it back…well, catch a transport to the next port of call if you wanted to stay on the ship. They wouldn’t wait. As we were getting back on the ship with many other passengers…the lottery winners were in line as well. I don’t recall their names and I don’t want to remember. They were…middle age, but clearly didn’t think about their appearance, but looked like tourists. He was a little heavy and there were sweat stains under his arms on his inexpensive shirt. She was…well…big earrings and big hair. Should I say more? Clearly, they had problems with homosexuals when whatever conversation with his wife in a louder than necessary, used the words “disgusting queers” clearly aimed at us.

Tony smiled at me, but his smile wasn’t happy and then turned to the man. I had seen Tony happy, upset and many emotions in between, but this look he gave...Tony walked up very menacingly to this…person. Tony was a few inches taller, but I don’t think this man thought Tony could be violent. Tony was queer! We were all pansies, right? I had not seen this side of Tony before. The man’s eye grew at Tony’s expression of almost pure hatred came through loud and clear to the lottery winner. The lottery man’s wife grabbed her husband’s arm in shock. I don’t think lottery guy knew how threatening Tony could be and he didn’t expect Tony to strike back. I didn’t know Tony could look that way either! Well, he did growl at my ex…whatever he was that was Ted.

“Tony.” I said cautioning him not wanting to let go of his hand.

He backed the man against the wall portion of the entrance. “Listen to me, you stupid pig of a man!” He said loud so everyone could hear. “I’ve enjoyed being here, so far. I don’t know where you came from and I don’t give a damn. Who the HELL do you think you are?” He said raising his fist, but held back and instead got closer raising his finger to shake in the man’s face. “You think you can just cast these insults at me or my husband and there will be no consequence!?” He said louder as he shook his head. “I don’t know what sort of queer you’re used to dealing with back where you came from. Again, I don’t give a damn. This queer will promise you this, say anything again, there will be a potentially violent reaction. Stay away from us! In fact, when you see us approach on the ship…head the other way. If you say one more insult in our direction and you’ll find out what that reaction will be! Go back to your white trash, doublewide life, trailer park world; enjoy the money for now, because from what I’ve seen, it won’t last. You’ll be broke soon enough, but I promise you this, you’ll be swimming back to shore if I hear one more word from that gaping pie hole. I will toss your ass over the side!” He shouted making the man cower a little more.

“Tony you were insulting as well.” I said to him so everyone else could hear.

“What!?” Tony looked at me surprised. “He deserves a hell of a lot more!” He thumbed in lottery guy’s direction.

I grinned at Tony as I waved to the man. “Not about him…” I said putting my arm in his, “I’m talking the insult to pigs you just made! I’ve known quite a few pigs in my life, you know about me and animals. They’re pretty smart; messy, but smart.” I looked at the man. “You’re not very smart. It’s a big world and there are millions of us queers in the world. You’re in it, but don’t see it? Unfortunately, we’re where you’re from, too…poor people. We’re everywhere!” Then I said. “Now, my Tony’s Italian…and from New York City. Mobsters and all that. I would seriously consider that if I were you! You can only insult a New York Italian so long before the rest of our huge family gets involved.”

Tony laughed drawing me closer. “And we do have a huge family.” He turned back to the man and said angrily. “Stay out of our bedroom! I don’t even want to imagine yours!” Tony shuddered as he handed his card to the crewman who checked us onboard who smiled at us a little carefully. Not because he was scared of Tony, but silently approved? The other passengers boarding suddenly started applauding. This lucky couple apparently made no friends on this trip. They were toxic! Tony took my hand as we entered the bulk of the ship. The toxic couple looked like they couldn’t understand why we were being supported!


As Tony and I strolled slowly back through the luxurious area on deck 2.

“I had a great time today.” Tony said smiling. “That was fun.” He said pulling me closer as he threw his arm over my shoulders and kissing me on the temple as we went.

“I did, too.” I nodded and looked at him. “Sir Samuel’s for coffee?”

He grinned. “You read my mind.” He smiled at me. “You do that after all these years.”

“Bravo!” We heard a British accented woman’s loud voice behind us.

Turning, we saw Louise and Ben Parker, two of our friends at our dinner table.

“Hi, Louise!” I greeted our friends, waving at Ben. “Hi, Ben.”

“You showed remarkable restraint dealing with that man.” Ben said smiling. “For a minute there, I thought you would hit him. I would have.” Louise hit him lightly.

Tony looked away and then smiled back. “It really was very tempting. I really wanted to.”

“But you didn’t. He’s such a nasty, horrible man.” Louise shook her head with distain. “Will we see you at dinner later?”

Tony nodded. “We’ll be there.”

We waved them as they headed for their cabin.

“I don’t understand about him.” Tony confessed to me. “He’s rather dim. I’m bigger than he is!”

I shrugged. “I don’t know, but…gay men are not always the fighting kind. Most of us in the past were sort of…seen as wimpy.”

Tony looked astonished. “They’re not like that in New York!” He said simply.

“And you certainly are not a wimp.”


I had watched Tony as we were preparing to go here, but I watched as this cancer scare took a lot of his joy away from him. That unknown had weighed heavily on him, but we’d talked about it and I saw him start to come back. Now the weight was lessened and he was getting there, but now…I watched him smile wide and looked at me.

“We’re on the Queen Mary.” He said as he was finally getting it. The dark unknown threat had overshadowed much in his mind. I had said and knew there were stages he would go through. We would travel this path and there would many times he would get angry, deny and other parts, but for now, we had a plan and he was finally becoming aware of where he was.

I nodded and smiled. “Yes, we are. We have been on it a week.”

He shook his head. “No! I’m on the Queen Mary!!”

I chuckled at his realization of the obvious. “Yes, you are.” I said kissing him. “Welcome aboard, babe.”

I’ve used the phrase about a child on Christmas morning being excited about a present they always wanted. That kid had nothing on Tony’s jubilation!

“I’m on the Queen Mary!!!” He shouted thrusting his arms in the air in triumph and grabbed me and did a fast waltz swinging me around in happiness. He even provided the music as he hummed causing many around us to move out of our way, but they all chuckling and smiled at his joy!


We had our coffees and went up to get ready for the night. I loved that he was happy again...for now. He was so happy; the man was whistling! As I was about to get ready after my shower, he suddenly grabbed me, brought me in the bedroom and threw me on the bed and proceeded kissing me hungrily which I gave back with equal force! To hell with dinner! I preferred him! We would order room service if we needed to. We made love again!!

We cleaned up and finished dressing, fortunately it wasn’t a formal night and we were fifteen minutes late.

“Sorry we’re late.” Tony said quickly as he let go of my hand and we sat down.

Rene Girard smiled at us, but his knowing smile said he knew why we were late…or at least suspected. We were on vacation and he knew we were in love. Two plus two is four, right?

“Well, this is a special ship.” Deon said with the light French accented English and taking her husband’s hand. “It’s magical what it can do.”

I agreed. “It can do magic.”

“You’ll be doing without us again tomorrow night.” Tony said. “We celebrate our birthdays tomorrow.”

Louise Parker smiled. “That’s nice you do it together.” She looked at our other friends and told them what Tony had done to the lottery winner when we came back from Auckland. Tony was blushing, but smiling as they discussed it at length together.

Tony and I had a pleasant evening on the beautiful ship enjoying the warm weather and each other.


The next day we were at Bays of Islands. Again, we dressed, after the coffee was delivered and went to breakfast. On the way however, we found a dark headed bear of a man in his forties; I mean he was huge! He towered over nearly everything. Well over six and a half feet tall and I bet nearly three hundred pounds! A giant. With his height, that three hundred pounds wasn’t bad, but he was going to gain weight if not careful. He was…rugged, in a not bad kind of way. He was looking for…something. He was holding a shirt and something else and getting frustrated. He looked at us and pleaded.

“Help, please?” He pleaded in a very accented voice.

I smiled as I recognized the accent as soon as he spoke. “Конечно, мы поможем тебе.” Telling him of course we’d help him. I told you the Russian alphabet was bizarre.


(The rest will be written in English. So, just relax.)


The man’s eyes lit up and he smiled. “You speak Russian!?” He said surprised, but happy at this discovery.

Tony smiled and pushed me forward. “He does.” But he said it in Russian, which proved his what he just said, false.

I rolled my eyes and looked at this new man. “He can speak Russian, as you just heard he can.”

Tony nodded. “He speaks better that I do.”

“I am Ivan Belov.” The man said shaking my hand. “I speak English a little…”

I smiled. “Okay, Ivan…” I remembered what Sasha told me about Russian intolerance to gays. “I’m Mitch McKenzie.” I waved to Tony. “This is Tony Delveccio.”

Ivan nodded. “I’ve seen you two around the ship! Yes.”

“Then you know we’re together, we’re married.” I said carefully.

Ivan nodded as he smiled. “Yes! I’m glad!” He said happily. “I could see you were lovers, I’m glad you are serious!” Then his eyes narrowed trying to understand. “Why do you speak Russian?”

I was relieved at his reaction. “We have a special couple of Russians as friends…one of which is joining the family. He said most Russians didn’t really like us.”

Ivan’s face looked…embarrassed? “It is not really…accepted in Russia, but it’s getting better.” He smiled more. “You go out in the world and see it’s not so bad…or rare.” He looked at his shirt and piece of paper. “Now, if you can help me?” He held up his shirt. “This is to give the laundry instructions, but it’s in English! Where is extra starch?” He waved the form. “I need to have this shirt for tonight.”

Tony chuckled. “You could use the phone in your stateroom? Someone would help you.”

Ivan looked surprised. “I am ashamed to!” He shrugged and gestured toward us. “I get to meet you!”

I chuckled and pointed the extra starch out on the laundry slip. “You came on this ship, which is British, sailing around major English-speaking countries. Why?”

Ivan looked surprised. “Why!?” He waved at the ship. “This is the Queen Mary! I tried for years to get on her! I didn’t care where it was going, this is the Queen Mary!”

Tony nudged me gently and said. “Vedere? Te l'avevo detto.” He said to say he told me so.

I looked back and grinned. “Zitto.” I told him to shut up.

Ivan smiled. “That…I know is Italian.”

A small woman in her late thirties came out looking in the corridor. “Ivan, I told you to use the phone to get that done. We have to go!”

“Okay.” Ivan admitted embarrassed. “They come here after they find someone that speaks Russian and I have to explain…that’s too much, this was faster!”

What was surprising was the size difference. He was well over six feet tall and huge! She was a petite little woman maybe a full foot shorter and thin with blonde hair, but this huge man was a marshmallow when it came to her.

“Katya, come meet my new friends!” He said proudly. “This is my wife!” He waved to us. “Meet Mitch McKenzie and Tony Delveccio. They both speak Russian!”

Tony smiled again. “He does.” I reached back taking Tony’s hand.

She smiled and held her hand out. “We’ve seen you around the ship!”

Tony pulled me to him closer, looking at our new friends over my shoulder. “We need to leave if we’re to make the shuttle. We still need to eat breakfast.” He said in English pitifully telling me he was hungry.

“Speak Russian with our new friends, Tony.” I said in Russian and looked back at our new friends. “Well, he needs more coffee and breakfast or he’ll waste away. That is what he just said. We’ll be around.” I chuckled as Tony kept his arms around me as we walked. I waved to Ivan and Katya.


On the way to breakfast Tony squeezed me as we walked. “Maybe I should invest more in that translation unit.” He shrugged. “It works with Russian.”

“I thought we were testing the unit, doesn’t it need a better program?” I asked.

Tony nodded. “The software is being developed for other languages, but…” he chuckled. “It seems all you’ve downloaded on the computer is about Russian. And you’ve downloaded quite a bit.” He shrugged. “I see great potential in it.”

I hugged him as we walked. “Far be it from me to argue with the investing genius.”

Tony’s and my affections were not hidden by us and now, we were a lot freer. At long last, Tony got his breakfast! And kawfee!

Copyright © 2017 R. Eric; All Rights Reserved.
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Now I’m wondering why we met Ivan and Katya. I’m guessing we’ll hear more about them in the future. We probably wouldn’t have learned their names if that was just a throwaway conversation.  ;-)

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I’ve been thinking of this story a lot lately, I’m so glad you came back to it (although I understand it must be difficult) thank you!

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Another great chapter in the lives of Tony & Mitch. Aboard the Queen Mary and they're having a great time. Although Tony did have one bad day because he kept dwelling on the tests that were done before they left to get aboard the ship. Then after Tony & Mitch return to the ship they start to go get coffee and meet Ivan and Katya when Ivan is asking for help with figuring out how to order extra starch for his shirt he's going to wear to dinner that night, when Tony & Mitch  started talking to Ivan in Russian he was stunned for a moment then he asks why they speak Russian and they told him that they had 2 great friends at home who are Russian and one of them is going to be joining the family. I hope the rest of the cruise goes well for Tony & Mitch and that they don't run into the lottery winners as they are very bigoted. I want you to know that I am greatly enjoying the story and thank you for writing this story even though it's been tough on you, I feel like you're keeping Daniel's memory alive by writing about the time you had together. I hope that I'm not upsetting you by saying that it's just the way I was raised, if you want to keep someone's memory alive you either talk about the time you had together or you write about it. Again thank you. 

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