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    R. Eric
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North Meets South, Worlds Collide - 76. Chapter 76

You never stray from my thoughts, Daniel. You'll always be in my heart. I love you. Believe that.

Tony and I did dress for dinner that night. It wasn’t a formal night, but we did dress a little formal. We did it just because. Arriving at our table, we were greeted by the other familiar faces we’d come to know.

Louise and Ben smiled and even rose as we got to the table. “Well…” he said grandly. “I’m sure all is well with the two of you. It’s written all over your faces.”

Tony nodded as we sat. “Very well.”

“We had…some things that came up…” I began to explain our absence.

“No.” Rene chuckled holding his hands up to stop me. “No need to explain. You came with the other. Not with us.” His French accent heard, but spoke English well.

I nodded smiling at them. “We did miss you, but…we did come here together.”


We did leave the table to go out on deck. Again, we agreed to talk about what was on our minds about this possible illness Tony might have. He had something, but we didn’t know what that was yet. It was a warm night and there was a cool breeze that kept it from being too warm and the ship was not a party ship, so it was quiet as we strolled on deck.

“I will say this, Tony.” I began pressing more against him. “I don’t want to ruin the mood, but…when I was in that accident almost a year ago…when I was in danger of dying,” I began, “and our time together was in question. Now, with whatever is going on in you now…I have changed.” I smiled at him. “I realize we don’t have the luxury of thinking we will always be together.” I saw him look a little wary and I raised my hand. “No…let me finish.” I grinned kissing him gently. “I love that we are together…now. I’m enjoying that fact more.” I shrugged. “As I said, we’ve been worrying about the ride and we don’t have the saddle, but we have calmed down. We’ve been taking the fact we will be together for granted…at least I was. I’m not doing that now.”

Tony smiled bringing me into a heartfelt embrace. “No, I’m not taking us for granted either now.” He said squeezing me tighter in the hug. “You are so important to me.”

“I know. You are to me, as well.” Rubbing his back and stepped back a little bringing my hands up to cup his face. “I love you, Tony. I cherish our time together.”

Tony chuckled lightly. “So, do I.”

I felt Tony’s arm got tighter around me as I felt his lips pressed against my head. “I’m having a really good time, Baby.”

The smile on my face was genuine. The truth was, we didn’t know what would happen. We didn’t know anything except there was…something. We weren’t jumping to any conclusions, but it was making us appreciate our time together. I knew I could no longer take it for granted. “Me, too.”

We did go to the G32 where we danced together. We had a great evening which we took back to our stateroom and naturally made love a few times.


We had Ivan’s and Katya’s email addresses and phone numbers. With the added Wi-Fi we could send them messages even though we were on the same ship we might not see each other. The Queen Mary was a big ship!

Tony jumped and let out a slight yelp when he got the vibration from his pocket. It hadn’t really gone off much while we were onboard as Tony had used the computer in our stateroom to do…business and stuff. He looked to see the voicemail indicator. Seeing who it was from he grinned. “Ivan.” He told me.

“My good and dear friends!” Ivan’s boisterous greeting began happily. “We could meet? Plan for today or tomorrow? We will be at Sir Samuel’s at 3pm. Meet us there if you like. We will plan? Yes? I would send a text, but I’m not sure what you would get. My phone sends texts, but it’s in Russian. This is easier. You send a reply, will it be in English? Let us know!”

Tony smiled, chuckling lightly as we listened. “It’s just a shame he’s not a happier man.” He shook his head.

I nodded with a chuckle. “We should all be as unhappy as he is.”

Tony called back, but handed me his phone to leave the message, saying I spoke Russian better that he did. “Besides, he likes you better.” He grinned.

I looked at Tony, knowing he was teasing me. “Oh, yes, I spent that whole evening at the Black Hide in Brisbane and monopolized all the conversations with Ivan.” I growled. “Poor Katya and I were just forgotten.”

Tony nodded. “Yes, you were both forgotten.” He said mockingly dour and then said simply. “It was business!”

I nodded. “Right. It was business. He and Katya’s, yours and my sexual positions were business.” I grumbled with a smile.

Tony blushed a little. “Well, there were other things we talked about.” He said sheepishly.


We met Ivan and Katya at Sir Samuel’s and had our beloved coffees and went to the conversation area that looked out over the water as we sailed.

“This trip was a great idea.” Ivan sighed contently. “Other than that incident with Katya and that horrid man, it’s all been nice.” He smiled at Katya leaning in kissing her gently.

Katya chuckled. “He’s so relaxed.” She put her arm through his arm and rested her head against his large shoulder.

My eyebrows danced a little. “I guess you’re glad he knocked you down now.”

Ivan’s eyes grew. “She told you about that!?” He said…embarrassed? “It was an accident!”

I chuckled. “Suuure it was.” I said drinking my latte. “You are way up there,” I said raising my hand high overhead, “and she was way down here. You just didn’t see her.” I chuckled again. “I think you did it on purpose.”

Ivan grinned. “Accident or on purpose, it worked.” He squeezed Katya gently. I swear I practically saw little hearts in the air like little bubbles. “How did you two meet?”

“I wouldn’t let him in my seat at church.” Tony smiled. “He asked me to move over in the…” he thought of the word in Russian and looked at me and I shrugged, “that long seat in churches and I said no.”

“But he invited me to sit next to him.” I said happily. “And I’ve been together ever since.”

“Our…” Tony looked at me and asked in English. “Pew I understand but do you know the word for courtship?”

I had to think. I’d only seen it a couple of times. Those seldom words like pew were hard to remember. “Oh! Ухаживания!”

Tony nodded. “Right. Our courtship was only a few days.”

I grinned and said in English. “The word you wanted was Пью, I believe.” Looking at Ivan and Katya and said in Russian. “That’s the word for pew, right?”

“It is.” Katya nodded.

Tony shook his head and looked at me. “How do you remember all these words!?” He turned to Ivan and Katya. “He learned…” he looked at me. “Italian?” He asked in English. I told him итальянский. “See!? He knows how to say it! He learned Italian in just a few months!”

I chuckled. “I was motivated!” I said again, but said Я был мотивирован! “Now, the Russian alphabet was hard!” I waved my hand helplessly at the near impossible task. “That wonderful system we watch TV at home picks up Russian Stations, too! The increase in the rate wasn’t due to Showtime or the Playboy Channel. I watch it with Sasha now!”

Katya smiled at hearing that. “Really? What do you watch?”

I nodded to her. “Well, Sasha loves Let Them Speak. I watch it with him.” I said using the title Пусть говорят. “Dmitry Borisov has some pretty controversial subjects on it.”

Katya sat forward more. “He does! He had one not long ago about homosexuals. The observer Nikolay Troitsky…his blog…”

I nodded my head quickly. “Yes!! I saw that! All because of what he saw at the Berlin Pride Parade and feared that kind of filth and was coming to Russian because of the increased freedom and democracy!”

Katya was agreeing. “He wanted a powerful bomb to only kill gays!?” She said as it was hard for anyone to believe.

Tony shook his head. “See!?” He pointed to me, but looked at Ivan. “This is why he speaks Russian so well. I’ve never even heard of that show!”

I shrugged. “I have time now.” I chuckled. “Sasha taught me more how to cuss in Russian seeing that one.” I grinned. “Your problem is you just don’t use it enough.”

Ivan chuckled. “That explains why he has the accent and you don’t.”

“Oh, but I did!” I smiled. “Even Alik thought it was funny.” I took Tony’s hand. “And Tony has an accent in English, too.”

Tony looked mockingly offended. “I do not. You do.”

I nodded and pointed to his cup of coffee. “Say what that is in English.”

“Kawfee.” Tony said simply.

“Coffee.” I said looking at Ivan and Katya as if the difference was audible obviously. “There’s my evidence.”

Ivan and Katya looked at each other and shook their heads. “It sounds like the same word to me.” Ivan shrugged.

“And the people of Moscow sound the same as those from Georgian Mountains?” I asked.

Katya shook her head. “No, they don’t.”

Tony grunted. “The only Georgia I know is the Southern state next to ours.”

“There are many accents from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. Plus, you have those from Ukraine that speak Russian with a decided accent difference.”

Ivan nodded. “There are different stresses on the syllables and vowel pronunciation.” He smiled at me. “I guess Sasha taught you pronunciation from Moscow. You sound like you come from there.”

“There are dialects and mostly it’s East versus West.” Katya said simply.

“You lost me with what you’re talking about.” Tony growled. “I guess I need to watch those shows, too.”

“Learning English!” Ivan said exasperated, stressing the difficulty and switched to English. “Is not easy as cake.” I saw the glimmer in his eye when he said that in very Russian accented English.

“Ivan.” Katya grinned and switched to English. “No easy as piece of pie.”

Tony looked confused and then laughed nodding and said in English. “That’s easy as pie and piece of cake.”

Ivan smiled grandly. “Is it?” He asked in Russian.

I laughed, too. “Так и есть.” I said it is.

Tony groaned shaking his head. “Now, we’re in trouble, Mitch.”

I was laughing at what Ivan and Katya had done on purpose. “We are?”

“I really like these two.” Tony smiled. “Now, I want to take them home.”

Ivan laughed heartily in almost a booming laugh. “We want to take you home with us…to Russia.” He raised a meaty fist. “I will protect you. No one would dare to bother my friends!” He shook the fist and continued firmly. “You and Mitch , Sasha and your cousin! No one!”

“We’d be safe at least with the Raging Russian Bull!” I chuckled and looked at Katya. “And his lovely wife.”

“We are coming in January to America. We can stay a week.” Ivan said changing the subject. “If that is okay?”

Tony nodded. “We have the room.”

“We’d love to have you.” I added and looked at Tony. “I think we should wait and tell Alik until Ivan and Katya arrive.” I grinned. “It will be a surprise. You know how he always asked about what we brought him when we come back.” I waved at Ivan. “We bring them!”

“We’ll have a very excited little Russian!” Tony squeezed my hand.


All the planning, we met at the Verandah to share an elegant meal. I grinned when Ivan ad Katya arrived at our table. They were a handsome couple. She had on a gown of deep blue and her hair up on one side. Ivan wore a dark tuxedo, his beard was even trimmed and looked every bit the gentleman. A big gentleman, but a gentleman.

“I didn’t know they made a tuxedo that big!” I grinned as I hugged Ivan.

Katya chuckled as she hugged me next. “We have to have them made for him.” She explained and rubbed Ivan on the arm. “He looks very handsome in it.”

Tony and I did enjoy our dinner together with Ivan and Katya. These few days we both became very attached to them. Each couple respected the other couple’s privacy, but we did spend time together. We even took in a show at the Royal Court Theatre. We shared a night cap and vowed to see each other again. We had a few more days to go.


The next morning was very nice. I was again awakened as I felt someone stir next to me. There was no guessing about who it was. I grinned as I felt lips come to my neck and felt his hand go over me lightly in a caress.

“Good morning.” Tony said softly.

I rolled gently over kissing him more directly, but deeply and my usual way increasing the consumption of him as passion grew even in that early hour…which could have been any hour. We had nowhere to be at any particular time. “It is a very good morning.”

Tony chuckled kissing back tenderly and the his voice rumbled deeply. “Marry me, Mitch.”

I looked back at him a little uncertain. “We are married, Tony.”

Tony nodded. “Yes, we are, but I mean legally.”

“We did all we could to be legal.” I said. “They only allow it now in Massachusetts for now.”

Tony nodded. “We can go to Massachusetts on the way home.”

“It isn’t legal in South Carolina.” I pointed out.

Tony smiled. “It will be…you see that, right? When that happens, we’ll already be married.” He shrugged and then he looked seriously. “I’m not planning to die, Mitch.” He sighed. “We don’t know what this is yet. I am not giving up, but I think we need to cover ourselves as legally as possible.” His voice broke a second so he cleared his throat. “I nearly lost you once.” He nodded, knowing what I was thinking. “Yes, I am your husband. You are my husband. I just…” he struggled with it, “want to be sure we are covered. The power of attorney makes sure, but…”

“I get it.” I nodded. “Most states have a waiting period.”

“Some do.” Tony said. “If it’s a day or two…or three…we just enjoy Boston a while. Marry and then come home.” He rolled us so he was on top of me. “When it does become legal in the rest of the United States, we’ll already be married.” He grinned. “I think marrying in any state after that would be legal.” He sighed. “We are on the insurance policies as beneficiaries. The will we have has each of us, by name who gets what. There may be some tax issues waived because we will be married.” He kissed me. “I’m Italian. Worry and all that. If this is cancer, it may take a few years until…”

I kissed him quickly to stop what he was going to say and didn’t want to hear it. “Fine.” I nodded. “I’ll marry you…again.” I rolled us so I was on top. “But we deal with this together.” I shook my finger at him. “You don’t give in.”

Tony shook his head. We…don’t give up.”



I had been so…preoccupied with Tony, so, it was when we went out to lay by the pool Tony suddenly looked at me.

“You haven’t been to the Spa this week!” Tony said.

I chuckled as I lay on the lounge. “Aw, come on, Tony. That was just cosmetic. A spray on tan?” I shrugged. “Some more important things were happening. It…just slipped my mind. It wasn’t important.”

Tony shook his head. “No! You’re going.” He didn’t even wait, but grabbed my hand and I was being dragged to the Canyon Ranch Spa. “You come back darker than me. That’s a rule.”

“Since when?” I laughed.

“Since now!” Tony growled and pointed at me as we walked. “You would have before and you will now. Nothing changes.” He declared.

“Okay.” I chuckled.

As I didn’t have a set appointment, there was a slight wait before the attendant got to me, but one more time, I got the sprayed on chemicals. Got in the booth and it was…whatever had been sprayed on me with the lights there to set.

Tony was sipping on a drink he’d been brought while I was being treated. He looked up as I came out and grinned holding his arm out beside mine. “There…” he grinned kissing me, “that’s better. You are almost there.”

I kissed him. “I love you, Tony.”

That beautiful smile became softer on his face. “I know. I love you.”

“I know.”

Copyright © 2017 R. Eric; All Rights Reserved.
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You posted this while I was doing my taxes. I get a refund of all the tax deductions they took from the money my father left to me when he died: 10% for the IRS, 1% for the FTB (Franchise Tax Board – California’s tax agency). But they kept the tax that was deducted from the interest on my Credit Union account – all $23.00!  ;-)


Alix is going to be so excited when Ivan and Katya visit! @Wesley8890 is going to be thrilled! I don’t know which one of them will the happiest!  ;-)

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Love, it just flows through my heart and spirit as I read your story. The love shared between Mitch and Tony, the love they have for their friends and family, it just touches  my heart like few stories ever have. Ivan and Katya are really becoming some of my favorite people. I look forward to further adventures with them. Your gift of this story has such depth, it takes me on an emotional journey with every read. I look forward to more chapters.

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I love the story and the love that's shared between Mitch and Tony. I think it's great that they have friends like Ivan and Katya, I think Alik will be very excited about meeting Ivan the Russian Bull when they come home with Tony and Mitch. I hope that they'll be able to get married legally in Boston, I hope that their families will be able to join them for the ceremony. The love they have for their friends and family is very strong. 

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On ‎3‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 5:15 AM, droughtquake said:

You posted this while I was doing my taxes. I get a refund of all the tax deductions they took from the money my father left to me when he died: 10% for the IRS, 1% for the FTB (Franchise Tax Board – California’s tax agency). But they kept the tax that was deducted from the interest on my Credit Union account – all $23.00! 😉


Alix is going to be so excited when Ivan and Katya visit! @Wesley8890 is going to be thrilled! I don’t know which one of them will the happiest! 😉

I had to laugh about your comments about preparing your taxes.  I'm a retired CPA and used to prepare income tax returns, as well as trust and estate tax returns.  The standard procedure for distributions from some estates is to withhold 10% for Federal income taxes.  I'm surprised that your received a refund from California.  Governor Moonbeam likes to tax everything whether or not he has the authority to do so.

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12 minutes ago, WildcatLes said:

Governor Moonbeam likes to tax everything whether or not he has the authority to do so.

Governor Moonbeam has proposed a California Satellite for the second time. This time it’s much more likely to happen because not only is it much cheaper to launch one these days, but they’re now mainstream. He announced it at the recent Climate Control Conference in San Francisco.


Jerry Brown is actually a fairly moderate politician. He is not the wild-eyed radical that he is portrayed as by the national media. Many of the things he was criticized for supporting in the ‘70s have become commonplace today. He was a visionary back then and the country has caught up with most of his ideas. This is not to say I’m a huge fan of his (I didn’t vote for him when he was running for Oakland Mayor), but his reputation does not reflect reality.  ;–)

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