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Subject: Makarovia? Where the Hell Is That!? Chapter 1 Northeastern University Story: Makarovia? Where the Hell Is That!? Chapter 1 The Freshman Year Begins Author: Eric McQueen (mcqueen.richarderic@) Adult Readers, Sexual Situations, Sex Freedom of expression is precious. To do that Nifty needs help. Your donation is greatly desired. Give to fty/ or this story ends and all the os! That would be a crime! A young Soun man goes to a University in Boston. He meets ano student and toge they begin a project for their grade. They fall in love. The Soun young man finds out a secret about his project partner. Northeastern University The Freshman Year I drove up the East Coast, heading for my future. I was tired. I’d driven a long way and was nearing where I hoped my future would begin. My car was doing well cruising up Highway 95. Behind me was my home, Charleston, South Carolina, and I had been through some big cities Washington, DC; New York, even Providence. Now I was reaching Boston! But more important…Northeastern University. It was just South of Boston, and the best school for what I wanted. I wanted to bring industry into the twenty-first century. I wanted to make them not only successful but green. Economically sound as well as ecologically sound. I was 24 and yes, I was late getting my college education, but I had some setbacks after high school. My fa had passed away some ten years ago. Mom had gotten sick with cancer in my senior year of high school. So, I stayed and helped her until she lost her battle with cancer. Add a year to sell the house and close things up. Once that was done, I was told by Mom before she died to spend the money and get the car and go start my life. I had been accepted in several Universities, but this one was the best for what I wanted to do. I was both anxious and nervous about it, but mostly excited I began my life. People can say it’s what you know ra than who you know, but if I didn’t have Grandma, I would be in much sorrier shape than I was then. Let me explain. My Grandmo was Katrina Sams. She was a ballet dancer. Not just any ballet dancer, oh no…she was the Prima Ballerina for the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia in her late teens and early twenties. She met my grandfa and he helped her defect. Then she was the Prima Ballerina for the New York Ballet Company. She was very, very good. When she was in the New York City Ballet she had a friend, Carla. Carla and Grandma have since put their ballet slippers up and retired, but Carla owned an apartment building in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston I needed to be. Carla told Grandma that normally, she didn’t rent to college students, but as they were friends, she’d bend the rules. See? In this situation, it was who Grandma knew. That was where I was heading. I loved the new car; it was a cherry red Cobra! Mustang! It had everything, including GPS. I was directed to this old building. Old, but very nicely kept up. It was only two blocks from the Northeastern campus. Surrounded by nice shrubbery and flowers, I looked at it and loved its appeal. I had been told it had been a hotel at one time but converted in the 1950s into an apartment building. It was very nice. I went in and looked at where I saw the manager’s office was. Correction, it wasn’t an office, but an apartment. Carla lived e. I rang the bell and in a few minutes, the door opened a crack. The chain clinked but remained hooked to keep anyone from storming in. I saw a part of a woman’s face and one blue eye clearly. “Hello, Mrs. Bowers,” I said. “I’m Eric Richards. Katrina Sams’ grandson…she called…” I jumped a bit when the door slammed shut and then thrown open wide. “My god! Eric! It’s nice to meet you!” The woman greeted as if I were an old friend. She wasn’t fat, but…pleasingly plump? Her hair was done upon her head and blonde. Like I wouldn’t doubt that was her real color? She was in her sixties. Grandma was 72, and I remember Grandma saying Carla was ten years younger. The floral dress wasn’t ugly, but…. “Welcome to Boston.” I nodded. “Thanks.” “I haven’t seen your grandmo in…” she thought. “Must be fifteen years now. Does she still run that school?” I nodded. “Still runs the school.” Grandma opened a ballet school when she and grandpa moved to Asheville, North Carolina, teaching local mountain children ballet, but unlike Carla, Grandma was still trim and could still stand on pointe. I will tell you now, I am not…and never would be a ballet dancer. Not that I thought guys shouldn’t dance ballet; that was fine. All of the guys that did dance ballet were in great shape and do you want to risk pissing them off? You might want to reconsider calling them names or anything. They would and probably could kick your ass. Pointe? That thing ballet dancers do, standing on the toes? I tried it at ten and gave it up a few minutes later declaring it was just unnatural. Nothing that odd and hurt so much could be a good thing. “Okay.” Carla reached in a got some keys. “I’ll take you up. Now understand, I don’t rent to college students as a rule. Your grandmo said you were twenty-four, right?” “I stayed home after high school with a sick mo. I’m starting late.” I explained. Carla looked with a face of regret and sympathy. “I’m so sorry. You’re grandmo said Betty got cancer.” I nodded. “She did.” Carla nodded. “Well, that says a lot about your character if you stayed home with a sick mo. I don’t rent to college students because I don’t allow those wild parties of any kind in the apartments. College kids can be so loud and reckless. All of my tenets are young working men and women. A lot of young lawyers and professional types starting out…most are graduates from the university right here.” She smiled. “Of course, you’re free to have anyone over you want, just remember to keep the noise down.” She led me through a nice lobby. I noted her gait; you could recognize a ballerina by how she walked, just like Grandmo. The poise and gait were drilled so deeply you just did it naturally after so many years. The building’s interior had a lot of polished wood and brass. The carpet was a deep, dark red. There were stairs, also polished wood, but the deep red carpet in the center where e was traffic. She led me to a little elevator. “You’ll be in 3C.” She closed the wooden door and then the metal gate door and pressed the third floor. “The elevator is old, original to the buildig when was built in the twenties. I don’t have the heart to replace it. The whole building was done in the Art Deco style, so a lot of wood and brass. There are times the elevator will stop working. Just be aware of that.” Once on the floor, it was a short walk and she opened the door. “Here we are.” It was indeed tiny, but e was only me, so no problem. It was a long apartment, not that wide. There was only one window to the right in the kitchenette/dining area. It was a furnished apartment having the small table and two chairs were e to eat around, a little range/oven and a refrigerator was e and the whole kitchen area was in the right corner. There was an iron stove in the middle to the left of the entrance. I assumed it was for heat. There was a couch/day bed that at the moment was a couch. She explained it would expand to make a bed if I needed more room and e was a desk in the middle area but essentially, it was all just one room. A door that led to a long closet and ano door at the end of the closet to a bathroom. The impression I got was, they had some room left, decided to add ano apartment as an afterthought. Here it was, the afterthought. “This will do great, Mrs. Bowers,” I said smiling at the room. It was cozy! “You have a neighbor above, a lawyer, very quiet. A neighbor below, a secretary. The divisions are sturdy, but noise can penetrate.” I nodded knowing what she was saying over and over. “Got it. No noise.” She smiled patiently. Then her hand stroked my face with loving familiarity. “You look a lot like your grandfa. He was a very handsome man. You’ve got his same black hair and brown eyes.” People often told me that. “I take it as a compliment.” Then I smiled. “I’m here to get a degree. Not to party, so we should have no problem.” Carla laughed as she knew better. “You come from Katrina, I can see that, too. She had a wild streak, but I’m sure we’ll get along fine.” She handed me the key. “There’s a parking space labeled with your apartment number. Don’t park in any o space. If anyone is in your space, let me know. Laundry is on the ground floor and e is ano elevator toward the back to bring your stuff in.” “I have clothes and my computer. That’s it.” She nodded. “There is a cable service. I’ll give you the number. They provide internet service and TV.” Moving in was not hard. The elevator toward the back was a little bigger, but not much. It took five trips to bring everything up, call the Cable Company and get things in place. It was Friday, orientation was on Monday. The thing about the Cable was, everything was already e, all they did was activate it with my name. I had a credit card, so no problem e ei. O than my car, my computer was the most expensive thing I owned. It was a laptop with a docking station. I could take the laptop and go, or when I was home, plug it back in and it expanded the memory, charged the battery, and had a separate twenty-one-inch monitor. The monitor was what I used to watch TV. The kitchen had some pots, pans, and limited plates and silverware. I needed groceries. I searched for the nearest grocery store and got some provisions. I was not wealthy by any means. The money from the insurance policy Mom left me with, and the sale of the house and property made most of my tuition and living expenses, but I would watch it carefully. Moving was not hard, but I was tired. So, I chilled out the weekend. Then Monday came and I went to Orientation. There were those tables set outside as it was still warm, Fall had not gotten here yet. I stood in line to get my class schedule and syllabus. As the many students did the new student thing, excited and making new friends. The campus was nice. There were different schools for Fine Arts, Engineering, Law, and os, spread across the few blocks. I did feel a little uneasy. I was a freshman, but older than some of the juniors and seniors. All it took was one friendly guy that handed me my schedule. The usual pleasantries and he sat back and smiled at me. “You sound a little Soun.” He drawled his own unique accent heard clearly. I shook my head. “No, that’s incorrect.” Then I smiled. “I’m not a little Soun, I’m very Soun. From what I’m hearing from you, you’re Soun, too.” He grinned. “I’m guilty. Where are you from, Eric Richards?” I nodded. “I’m from Charleston, South Carolina.” He grinned. “Ted Dawe.” He stuck his hand out. “Tuscaloosa, Alabama is where I’m from.” His accent was clearly Soun and his size and build under his t-shirt told me he was a jock. Football would be my guess about the big blond man. “Pleased to meet you, Tuscaloosa.” I shook his hand. “The school is having a welcoming party, but we’re having a Return Party of our own on Friday. You should come.” I smiled. “But I’m not returning.” “One party with those…” he did finger quotes, “just out of high school and on their own…group is more than enough.” Ted chuckled. “The students are older and you might feel more welcome e..e.” I nodded. “Okay. I will.” I was thinking he was friendly enough and likable. There was no better way to get to know people than a party. But like most Ivy League schools…e was a very little preamble, classes started immediately almost the moment you sat down the first minute. I got a glimpse of my classmates. The usual jean clad late teens and early adults of all kinds, all states, and cultures. My first class was my Economics class and I was one of eighty students in that morning class with one of those theater-like seating across the wall, the professor on a raised section in the front and center behind a desk. The professor, a balding man in his forties stated with a bang. “Welcome to class. I’ve assigned partners for a project due at the end of the term. That project will be a third of your grade. Let me state, no one is going to hold your hand here. If the partnership isn’t working, let me know in the beginning and I will reassign you, but do it quickly. Be certain that’s what you want because you don’t want to get a bad grade, not because you don’t think they’re cute enough. No one will make you come to class or pay attention. I will present the information. What you do with it is up to you.” He looked at some papers on his desk and held it up putting his reading glasses on to read the print that was too small without them. “There is one exception. Mr. Richards.” He looked us over to see if I was e. I looked up. Why was he calling my name? This was day one and only the first fifteen minutes into the class. “Yes?” “It says here you speak Ukrainian?” “I do.” “Fluently?” “I have most of my life,” I answered wondering why he was asking about that. “And Russian.” Thanks to grandma. “We have a student, Peter Ivanov who may need help. He is fluent in English…conversationally, but some terms and translation may be required. He might do fine without you, you might not know some of the terms. That’s why I assigned you two as partners to help him find out. Do you object?” My only problem was…who was he? “No.” “Fine.” The professor said. “Peter is e in the back.” He pointed to the back of the class. I looked back to find out who he was. One person stood out from the os. He was dressed in black with black hair that could use a comb, not to mention style. He was pale. The o thing was he was older than the os, like me. He looked about twenty-five. My heart ached for him…he had very bad acne. Not just a few zits, but his face was covered in them. Then the professor went on. It was after class when I approached Peter. He was talking with ano man. The o man was in his thirties, close-cropped hair that was thinning at the crown. This man Peter was talking to had a look that said military kind of. I heard Peter say, “I can go and come on my own to class.” But it wasn’t Ukrainian…not exactly. It was a lot like it, but…for instance, the same sentence. If you heard, a lorry overturned on the m5 but I had to get petrol to get home versus a truck overturned on Highway 5 and I needed gas. It’s the same language, it was the words and accents were different. The message was the same. So, he spoke a similar language as Ukrainian, but different enough not to be, but I understood him. I approached Peter. He was nearly six feet to my five feet and ten inches. “Peter?” Peter turned questioningly. I greeted him in Ukrainian. “I’m Eric Richards. I was assigned as your project partner.” Peter nodded. “I told them I can speak English.” He said in heavily accented English. “I’m sure you can,” I said in English. “The professor just wanted to be sure e were no translation problems.” Then I switched back to Ukrainian. “Personally, I don’t get a lot of chances to use Ukrainian. Only my grandmo and mo spoke it.” Peter smiled a little tightly. “I am not Ukrainian. I am Makarovian.” He wasn’t rude, but…e was something else going on. “I’m afraid I don’t know where that is.” “Not surprising. Most people don’t.” Peter said. “It’s a small country. We are west of Ukraine, east of Hungary, Poland, and Serbia. North of Romania. Most of the world has forgotten us.” He said a little bitterly. I nodded. “That explains the accent, sort of a mixture of all of those countries.” Then I sighed. “We were assigned a project. Do I go back to the professor and tell him we’re not doing it toge?” Peter closed his eyes and let out a sigh. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have been rude. Demands are…” he was thinking and nodded. “Of course, mezitli escort we’ll do it. No problem.” I felt a little better. “Meet at the library? Say Wednesday? Eleven o’clock?” Peter nodded. “I’ll be e.” He was interesting. The truth was he was a paradox. What he wore showed no real style, he wore loose, baggy clothing, mostly black. His eyes were a grayish green. If it weren’t for that acne, he would be very good looking. There was something about him that told me he was trying to make himself invisible. We met that Wednesday decided on what we were going to do. Then Friday came and the party for the returning students. The party was in a frat house. There were students all over this house…and of course, flowed with beer. I didn’t really drink. There was nothing wrong with drinking I just didn’t care for the taste of beer, but I took one and that would be the only one I would sip on. “You came!” I heard Ted’s Alabama accent behind me, his arm around a pretty young brunette, a good foot, and a half shorter than Ted. Ted pointed at me. “Amanda, this is Eric Richards. Eric, my fiancé, Amanda.” “Hi, Eric.” She greeted. “Gotta be sure all Souners are welcome,” Ted explained. We exchanged some o topics, where we were from, what we were majoring in. The party was not much more than a high school party. Only the students were old enough to legally drink here. They were rowdy and made messes. That was universal. I met some of the os that were in Ted’s fraternity. All jocks. They were on the football team. Nice guys…with the exception of one. He might be a nice guy, but tonight, he was drunk. Some people that drink…they get a little nasty or pushy. A space opened beside me on the couch and suddenly a guy leaped from behind it and landed next to me. “I don’t remember you.” The guy said. I sipped on the beer. “That’s because this is my first year.” The guy was nice looking enough. Dark brown hair and well built. His accent, even drunk said he was not too far from home here in Boston. “Oh. Where’d you transfer from?” “I’m not a transfer.” I shook my head. “I’m a freshman.” “Really?” He asked. “I thought you’d be a junior or senior.” “I started late.” He finished the beer he had. “Better late than never.” Then he caught me completely by surprise. “Ya wanna have some fun?” I didn’t understand, but he was leaning in on me, toward my face. “What?” I asked backing up a little. “Are you into girls or boys?” He asked. “Maybe both? I like guys.” I knew I was in a state that was the first to legalize gay marriage. I appreciated that he felt free to say he liked men. “I don’t even know you.” I objected. He shrugged. “We can solve that problem.” He pointed up. “My room’s upstairs.” I nodded. “I appreciate the invitation, but no…” “No!?” The guy looked incensed! “No?” I swear he looked like he would hit me. Clearly, he was drunk, but we weren’t alone, so I wasn’t scared of him. Everything about him said, how dare I say no!? He was starting to get up. A large hand came on his shoulder pushing him back down. “He said no, Brad,” Ted said firmly. “Male or female; no means no.” “Get off me!” Brad jerked his shoulder away and got up quickly. “You’re drunk, Brad,” Ted said. “Just stop it.” “I am not drunk!” He got up and swung at Ted, who merely dodged the swing and blocked the o punch. “You are if you think you have a chance in hell of fighting me and winning.” Ted chuckled; then looked at his friend seriously. “Now, knock it off.” Brad walked away in a huff. “I’m sorry, Eric.” Ted began embarrassed. “Don’t tell me.” I chuckled. “He’s a nice guy when he’s not drinking. I wasn’t too worried.” Ted chuckled. “No. He’s just more tolerable when sober. He’s always an ass.” Ted was bigger than most everyone; including Brad. I liked Ted. He was a good guy. The week began again. That Wednesday I met again with Peter. That man was with him again, but I didn’t want to pry. Well, I did want to pry, but I didn’t want to offend him. Peter was always….so formal. He didn’t seem to have a lot of confidence or just had low self-esteem. It was as if he couldn’t allow himself to relax. It seemed a struggle at times to get him to smile, but he would if I kept trying. Then that afternoon he asked the first question not related to our project, but personal. “How is it that you can speak Ukrainian and Russian?” He was reaching out, I thought. “My grandmo was born and raised in Kiev.” I answered. “She taught my mo and they taught me, thinking it would pay off one day.” “But your mo was born in America.” I nodded. “Grandmo defected from the USSR fifty years ago.” “So, she was a citizen of the Soviet Union. What was it she did?” “She was Prima Ballerina with the Bolshoi.” I explained. “She, with the help of my grandfa, defected while they were on tour in New York City.” I watched him nod as he listened. “Tell me. Why are you here?” That question surprised him. “I wanted to be educated in the West.” Now, most Eastern Europeans lumped all of the Western Countries in one whole. That includes Great Britain, Germany, France, and the United States in that same whole. “So why America? There are o good schools in England, Germany, and o countries. Why here? Why this university?” Peter almost looked embarrassed. “I see programs from American TV. I see how they walk, talk….so proud. I think if I can bring just a little of that back with me.” He sighed. “My country has been ignored since the beginning. Makarovia was independent once; then part of the Soviet Union; then part of Ukraine. We aren’t a very wealthy country. We have iron and mines. All of which is about to change. My government wants to be sure we can handle it.” “Okay,” I said slowly. “That sounds good, but why here? Why this university in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States?” “I research, it’s the best school for what we need.” He shrugged. “To interact with os from the West, I need to know how to be from the West.” I nodded again. “You want to become like an American.” Peter nodded. “Yes.” “Don’t you think you need some help doing that? Like from an American?” Peter bowed a little ashamed but then nodded. “I suppose I do.” “Could you relax a bit?” I asked smiling at him. “You’re a nice guy. Peter. I like you. Let’s start being…I don’t know…friends maybe?” Peter’s eyes grew. “You like me?” “Why shouldn’t I? I’ve seen nothing I don’t like. You’re a bit reserved, but you’re nice.” He looked very uncomfortable now. “I’m not really here to make friends.” “Then you could study online.” I didn’t understand that. “Okay. Being here tells me you want to make friends. Would you like to have one?” Peter chuckled. “Sure.” I threw my hands out. “Then, I’m your man!” Now Peter laughed. “I don’t know….” “Oh,” I grinned. “You don’t like me, is that it?” Now he was really laughing. “I like you just fine…but…” “Your boyfriend won’t approve?” I dared to traverse the tricky subject. “My boyfriend?” Peter asked surprised. “That guy who always escorts you to school and takes you home. I’ve seen him every day.” I explained. “He drops you off and picks you up…” “Yuri!?” Peter asked. “He’s not my boyfriend….” He seemed to be thinking what to answer about that, almost guarded. “He was sent by my country…to protect me.” I nodded. “So, can we go out and do something? As friends?” “What do you want to do?” Peter asked hesitantly. “Well, for starters. I’ll help with the American part. You gotta ditch the wardrobe. It’s too…Goth. Not that Goth is bad, but…” Peter looked down at his clothes. “Too Goth? What is that?” “You look like a vampire, Peter,” I said. “But since the sun is out and you’re here out in it, you can’t be.” “I’m not.” Peter chuckled. “What should I wear?” “Jeans and a regular shirt?” I stood up. “Tell Yuri we’re going shopping. Can you do that? Then we’ll get something to eat.” Peter rose, thinking about something he was working up to say to Yuri. Then he shrugged. “Okay.” I didn’t mean to, but I overheard him talking to Yuri. In Russian, don’t forget I understand that, too. “Это вся причина я здесь.” Telling Yuri that was the whole reason he was here. Peter stressed in Russian. “Now stop it. You are my guard, yes, but I’m going out with a friend I made here. I will be fine. You’re my guard, not my jailer.” “So where do I pick you up?” Yuri asked. That’s when I turned the corner. “Моя квартира.” I said in Russian for my apartment. I gave him the address. “Don’t tell me…he has a curfew.” Yuri didn’t know I could speak Russian. He was startled. “No, he doesn’t, but I am here to keep him safe.” I nodded. “Okay. I’m taking him to Walmart and the Mall. How is that dangerous?” Yuri looked flustered. “I don’t know where those are.” “He’s free to come and go, right?” I asked. “Of course, but…” “You watch him all the time,” I said. “Be with him everywhere?” “No.” Yuri sputtered. “He is unfamiliar with this part of the world.” “Well, this is how to be becomes familiar. You’ve heard of GPS?” I asked. “I didn’t know where they are ei, but I found them. He’ll be fine. You’ve got a cell phone?” I asked Yuri. “Yes,” Yuri answered. “He’ll call when he’s ready,” I said. Peter smiled as I pulled on his arm and headed out. As always, I walked to school. That’s why I chose the apartment I had. I didn’t have to drive. Peter was a guy and liked the car I had. They just appeal to our testosterone. It did mine. So, we drove to Walmart and e I pointed at many pairs of jeans and shirts. “You can afford this?” I asked. “Do you want to do this?” “Sure.” Peter nodded. “How tall are you?” I asked. “One hundred and eighty-five centimeters,” Peter answered. I looked at him in disbelief. “I forgot. The metric system. Okay.” I got a pair of jeans and held them up to him. “Try these on.” “Where?” I pointed to the booth. It took a few tries, but we got the right size. Once that was done and we knew what size, we got several pairs of jeans and trousers and some shirts. “What is your budget?” I asked. “Can you afford this?” “I have the money; I just haven’t gone out and bought.” I nodded. “Good. We’ll stop at a couple places at the mall, get you some good clothes. In case you date.” Yes, I was testing him. “Date?” Now I was really not understanding. “Is e ano language I should use? Date. You know, you see someone you like, ask them on a date to get to know them better that could lead to more?” I looked at him. It wasn’t that he didn’t understand me. It was as if the concept of dating never occurred to him. “Oh, Peter, haven’t you ever been on a date?” “I haven’t been able to,” Peter explained. “My life has…o things.” “I’m sorry.” I realized I had no business judging him. “I didn’t know. Well, now…if you want to…you can.” Then I looked at him again. I wondered if perhaps he couldn’t. “Can’t you?” He shrugged. “Who would date me?” He asked sadly. I was saddened by this admission. He wasn’t a bad looking man. He did have very bad acne, but he wasn’t an ugly man at all. I had begun to like him very much. “Now, why do you say that?” “Look at me!” Peter growled pointing to his face. I sighed sensing it may have played a lot on his self-esteem. “Okay. Let’s talk about that. I am your friend. We agreed. Have you seen a doctor?” He nodded. “I’ve done everything. Those creams and watching what I eat.” “Peter, e are many kinds of acne. Yours could be treated.” “I’ve had them for years. I was about twelve when they first came.” Peter admitted. “I’ve used many creams and o products.” “It’s a medical condition,” I said. “I don’t know how you’re covered, medically, but can you afford to see a doctor?” Maybe they didn’t have access to good medical care in Makarovia. They send him overseas for a good education, but no medical? Something wasn’t adding up. Peter shrugged and then nodded. “Okay, e are a lot of different kinds of acne, the creams may not be the right medicine,” I said slowly. “We’ll make an appointment for you.” Peter looked at me doubtfully. “Where?” “This is Boston. There are medical schools all over. I’m sure someone has an answer.” I assured. As I said, he was a paradox. He was shy to the point he was nearly invisible. Yet, when confronted he was well mannered, almost regal. I was puzzled about his government sending a guard with him. Why? And I didn’t want to admit it yet, but I was beginning to be attracted to him. At the mall, it was almost like he had never been to one. He was astounded by the food selection. We ended going to three places! One Cajun, one Asian and one for dessert, but the longer I spent with him, the more I liked him. We ended going to a couple of clothiers, Hot Topic, Abercrombie and Fitch. It was while he was trying on the pants and shirts, I noticed he wore things loose, giving no clue he was in good shape. Athletic even. Then we went back to my apartment where he called Yuri. Now, I was curious about his country. I didn’t know it. So, I internet searched it. Makarovia was a country that was in the Carpathian Mountains. It was a lot of mineral resources, mostly iron. As he said, it was independent, then taken by the Ukrainians; then when the Soviet Union liberated Ukraine from Hitler after World War II, it was used for the iron. When the Soviet Union dissolved, it was left floundering for a place in the world. It was a country about the size of New Hampshire. Hitler had promised to free it from Ukraine, but ended up using the Makarovian people as laborers to get to the iron. Makarovia was a place that harbored the unwanted in a series of caves that came about because of the mining. Jews, Gypsies, and Homosexuals were hidden in these caves. It was a Monarchy. There was a picture of the royal family, but it was ten years old. The king was Olek Ivanov and about thirty in the picture. I sat back seeing the name. But Ivanov was a popular name. Then I looked at the Queen, how she was very beautiful and about ten years older than the reigning king. She was the dowager queen. She was the king’s widow. Olek was her stepson. She was Russian. Alla Ivanov. They sat on thrones, beside her was a young man who was fourteen, maybe, at the time. Now I was a little uneasy. The picture wasn’t the greatest quality, but the teenager had the same black hair as Peter. And they did look a little alike. Blowing up the image on file didn’t help clear it up. Was the Peter I knew, this Peter in the photo? He was from Makarovian! It couldn’t be. When Peter and I met again. I didn’t say anything then, but looking at this man, I was more suspicious. He needed to trust me and he would have to tell me. We went to the doctor, who told him… “This is one of the worse cases I’ve seen.” The doctor said. “If not treated, it will scar.” The woman smiled. “But we have a treatment. It will take a few weeks to clear, but it should do the job.” The acne spread down his neck to his chest and back. I watched as the blemishes began to fade over the next two weeks, but Peter started to…relax. He liked spending time with me. “Okay.” I grinned. “You’re looking so much better. Now, let’s get a haircut.” Peter touched his hair. It was short, but again, no style. “It’s not long.” I nodded. “And has no shape. Let’s go.” When the girl cutting his hair turned him around, I knew I was in trouble. He was gorgeous. “Wow.” I managed after seeing the results. Who was that sculptor that fell in love with his statue? I didn’t create Peter, but I got him help. Was I doing that? Pygmalion? He looked at his reflection. “Does it look okay?” “Yes,” I answered. “You are a real lady killer,” I said in English. He blushed, and with his pale complexion, it was too easy to see. “I am not killer of ladies.” He said in English with the accent that was Russian…Ukrainian….Makarovian…whatever! He had an pozcu escort accent! I gave him a friendly shove. “You know what I’m saying.” Peter liked coming to my apartment. I would often fix dinner and we’d have a good time. I was wondering if he was Peter from Makarovia…the prince. He liked what I cooked. Hamburgers! I was liking him more and more. He liked spending time with me. What’s more important, he was relaxing more and more with me, letting me see the real Peter. Then one evening, after we were clearing up what we’d eaten. We were relaxing on the sofa. “Peter, we could do something at your place,” I suggested, and yes, I was fishing. Was he that Makarovian prince? He had the opportunity to tell me, but… He got a little stiff, going back to the Peter I’d first met. “That wouldn’t be….convenient.” “Why?” I looked at him and decided to risk it. He wasn’t telling me on his own. So, I asked. “Because you’re royalty?” Now he sat up straighter. “What?” “Are you Prince Petro Ivanov?” I asked. He bowed his head. He didn’t want to reply and got up, but didn’t leave. “If you’re not, fine,” I said. “If you are, how is that a problem?” “Please don’t tell anyone.” Peter urged. I shook my head. “Why? You’re a prince!” Peter shook his head. “I wanted to just be a guy here.” “Why?” “Everyone expects things from me after they find out. I was raised in a secured home, taught by tutors. I would like to be just Peter.” I nodded. “I can’t understand why, but I didn’t live your life. Anyone with a computer could work it out. I did! It will be found out and broadcast on the news.” Peter walked over. “But until that happens…when I first met you, you didn’t know who I was, did you?” “O than Peter Ivanov, no.” “And you liked me then, right?” I frowned. “I did. I still do.” “We’re not like the royal family in England. I’m no Prince William of England.” Peter said. “I’m more like a poor Prince Harry. My bro is King. We are a poor country, but now, we have something a lot of countries will want. The repercussions are hitting us now. The money will be no problem soon if we can keep our independence. That’s the problem.” My eyebrows rose. “Oh?” “That’s one of the major reasons my bro wanted me to get an education in the West. That’s why he’s negotiating with your President and the Prime Minister of England now.” Peter explained. “If word gets out, Ukraine will want us back, and we don’t want to go back under them again. They didn’t want us before, now that we have something they may want part of…they will take us back.” He shook his head and laughed, but with no humor. “I mean, take us back or just take what we have and not even ask for it.” I was unsure what to say, but… “So, hiding the fact that you are Petro Ivanov was for security reasons?” I saw him look very unsure of what to say. “We have to be careful.” He said. “My bro Olek is king and he couldn’t come for the education. So, he sent me here to be educated here.” He sat heavily. “I made friends with you…you didn’t know who I was, I wanted to keep that friendship as friends between Peter and Eric.” He looked at me. “Do you understand?” “I see.” I thought a moment and then shrugged. “Well, nothing’s changed. I’ll keep it a secret. You’re still Peter, to me.” Peter visibly relaxed and grinned. “Thank you.” I grinned at him. “So, do you want ano hamburger?” He was a prince. Well, that sort of put a damper on my hopes about Peter and any future with him. He might have been receptive, but e would be no future. How could e be? I was assuming the same rules I had learned applied for this situation were just…it wasn’t done, but what did I know? I knew e were plenty of royals that were homosexual…but kept quiet about it. Usually. What was it they have in Makarovia that was now so important? The weeks were passing and I couldn’t help it. I liked Peter. What I saw was even as his face…and I assumed the rest of his body as I hadn’t seen his body…was clearing of that horrible acne he had. I figured with that one hurdle being taken care of his self-esteem would improve. The os at Northeastern were noticing Peter’s improved appearance. He was a handsome man, but Peter preferred to spend his time with me. He would come over and study at my apartment. I didn’t mind, but…could I be just a friend to the man? He was active. He was doing something…hockey probably. Ice hockey, thinking where Makarovia was on the map. They had cold, cold winters. That’s what I read. I was a runner. Track and field were what I preferred and I did run often. Yuri was still watching Peter carefully but was giving Peter more freedom and space. I was curious often, but I really didn’t pry. If e was something I needed to know, I might mention it, but let the o person tell me if they wanted to. Peter was beginning to drive me crazy. He was only irritating in that…he liked me, I could tell. Did he make any moves on me? No. Still…if his time with me said anything to me. He enjoyed my company. He would help me financially…as in he would bring over groceries and even cook…only twice. After two meals he cooked…I insisted I cook. Was he my friend because I knew who he really was? Did he feel safe with me? Sure. I could accept that. I was getting frustrated. It was a small apartment and we often would touch, whe we wanted to or not…it would happen as we passed each o. He had the nicest smile and my thoughts were telling me to touch him more! Damn it! Usually, I’d have to take care of it myself to get my erection down after he left! When he brought some more things I needed to wash, he brushed my arm. He was sending lightning through me. Did he do it on purpose? This had to stop one way or the o. I let out a frustrated groan and turned quickly. “This may end us as being friends, but…I’m gay and I’m really very attracted to you!” He wasn’t offended. He knew! “I thought you could tell I was attracted to you. I like you very much.” Then he got a little bashful. “My life has been sort of complicated and…I wasn’t kidding about never dating. In a situation like this, I didn’t really know what more I should…” I nodded, but right then…I didn’t really care. I pulled him close and kissed him pretty intensely, pressing my lips hard against his, which only took not even a second before he was kissing me back, just as intense! His arms went around me pulling me even closer to him. I felt his hands travel over my back as mine was going over his, and I liked what I felt e! He was warm, solid, and getting warmer as he was breathing harder. There was a surge I felt. Desire and yes, I was getting light headed. This was dangerous because now, I didn’t want to stop. I pushed him slightly away as I caught my breath. “We need to talk.” I managed in a croaking voice. “You want this, don’t you? You kissed me.” Peter asked and I sensed the Peter I’d met when we first met come back, the less confident Peter. “I do!” I almost whined. “Oh god, I really do, but…how will this work?” I asked. “Are we just fooling around? You may have obligations I wouldn’t know about.” I looked in his grey-green eyes as I saw the apprehension e. “I’m not saying no, Peter, but…if we do this, e will be emotions involved for me.” I sighed. “I’d love to get to know you that way.” Peter nodded. “Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?” I waved at him. “But you’re more…” e was no o word, “complicated.” Peter nodded a little. “You see that.” He said sadly. “I would like to have someone in my life, but it will be complicated.” He let me go and started to walk away. “Being just Peter was great! You and I became friends without the swinging pendulum. I can’t tell you what’s ahead because I’ve never done this before.” He sat on my daybed. “I was hoping the someone in my life could be you.” “You’ve never done this before? You’ve had sex before with a guy.” Peter chuckled. “Not a lot, but e were…a couple in the past, but nothing serious.” He looked at me. “I was hoping…it could be serious with you.” He said hopefully. I came and sat by him. “So, you weren’t planning to just slap a condom on and just…do it.” Peter looked at me surprised but smiled. “I can…” he chuckled, “just do it, but…I would welcome the opportunity to find out if e could be more. I think e could be.” “You think we could get serious?” I asked a little…well…those of us that are gay is becoming more accepted, but… “What do you think we can be o than secret lovers? You can’t marry me.” Peter nodded. “Not until someone proposes first.” He smiled. “Peter, you are in a royal family!” I said like that would be enough. “So?” “So!?” I repeated. “You said that things were about to change in Makarovia. Why?” Peter looked now like he was battling something else. “It is going to change.” He turned to me. “I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone…” he sighed. “We have uranium; a lot of it.” I gave a shrug. “It’s found o places. I can see where this would be profitable for Makarovia.” Peter held a finger up. “If we are kept independent. That’s the problem.” “Let’s go back to the whole gay thing before we go to the o problem,” I said. “You can’t be out!” I stated. “Out?” Then he nodded as he thought what that meant. “Oh, yes, out. My family knows I’m gay. I am out.” “That can’t be okay with them!” Peter looked confused. “It doesn’t matter if they are okay with it or not. It is just the way it is. You said you looked up Makarovia on the Internet. You saw our history, didn’t you?” “Hey, I read over it, but I don’t remember seeing anything about it being okay for a prince to be gay in Makarovia.” I growled. “When you first said where you were from, my first thought was, Makarovia? Where the hell is that?” Peter chuckled again. “You read that we harbored all the unwanted that came to us, from o parts when Hitler was doing his ethnic cleansing?” “Yes.” “We hid everyone…including homosexuals.” He shrugged. “When the war was over, if they wanted to, they were welcome to stay.” “You welcomed them.” “Sure.” Peter nodded. “Homosexuals, Jews, Gypsies…everyone that wanted to stay; were welcome to stay. We didn’t just tolerate them. They became a part of Makarovia. Life was hard for a while and many did stay, but it wasn’t easy. The USSR came in and…we were left alone…as long as we kept the iron coming.” He looked at me hopefully. “I don’t know what life will be like with me.” He confessed. “But if you’re worried about my bro or mo not accepting you because we’re gay…forget that. It is. They know that. We’ll ei date…like each o enough to explore the possibility of something more serious, or go our separate ways.” He rolled a little closer. “To see if it can work…” he hesitated. “How about you attend a Makarovian function?” “Like dinner or something?” Peter nodded. “If you can wea what’s happening…” “I’ll go as your date?” Peter nodded. “Are you willing?” “Why not?” I threw my hands out. “It must be here; it can’t be in Makarovia.” Peter shook his head. “No, but it won’t be here. We’re meeting with some o political heads. It’s in Washington, D.C….at the White House.” “The White House.” I hated that I kept repeating what he told me, but this was…blowing my mind! “The President of the United States’ White House.” I didn’t want to know, but I’m sure my face told him what my mind was going through. “The President of the United States.” “We’ve asked for this and some o countries to help us. They would have access to what we have if they help us keep it!” Peter said. “This dinner is part of that to get support.” He looked at me curiously. “Is that a problem?” “It’s not a problem, but it’s a very big deal!” I said. “There will be security questions and clearances…” “You’re not a criminal, Eric,” Peter said simply. “You’re not a terrorist. You’ll pass. Will you come with me? I’d like you to be e.” This was happening so fast. I was getting a bit overwhelmed. “It’s formal.” Peter nodded. “It is.” “I don’t even have a tux!” Peter shrugged. “I know e’s a place here where they rent them.” He could see I was…in a state of disbelief. “I trust you, Eric. I’ve told you things no one knows except for those in government know about.” He moved again close to me. “I like you, Eric. I’m falling in love with you, but if it’s too much…” This time, I slowly leaned in kissing him gently. I looked at him. “I will go with you,” I said softly. “With you,” I said. “I’d love to be with you. This is just a huge responsibility. Forgive me, I am just having the issue with that.” “It is.” Peter nodded; his face so close I could feel his breath. “I asked you because of how I feel about you. I think you can handle it, or I wouldn’t have asked.” “You want a relationship with me,” I said to be certain. “I hope we can have one. I believe we will if we both want it.” Peter nodded. “We can try.” “You’re willing to move on with this…relationship?” He shrugged. “We sort of have to.” He grinned. “We kissed. It’s kind of an obligation.” I pushed him back on the daybed. “Want to do kiss again…” I smiled, “and maybe something more?” “Definitely.” Peter kissed me again, slow and with desire again flowing, not only through me but through him. Due to having gotten him new clothes that were…tighter fitting, I felt the front of his pants grow harder. “Touch me,” Peter said softly. I didn’t need to be asked again as I was pulling on his shirt to get it off. I never really got a look at him outside of clothing, but I wasn’t disappointed as I gazed over his bare chest. He worked out or something. He hadn’t spent a lot of time in the sun so his skin was a little pale, but his chest was lightly covered with very black hairs that showed up in sharp contrast. I sat up more and pulled my own shirt over my head. Peter smiled at me. “You’re so beautiful.” He said as his hand went over my equally bare chest. “I am feeling…more affection for you.” Then he sat up a little. “You have what we need?” “Well, I have lube…for…” I said did the motion with my hand indicating jerking off is what I used it for. “I even have condoms…in the hope I would find someone to use them with.” Peter chuckled. “I know about…” he did the same motion I had given him. “I’m clean. No diseases or infections. You don’t have sex with anyone else, you don’t sleep around…” “I don’t have any diseases or infections ei,” I said. “You want to make love?” Peter smiled a little softer. “I do.” Then…Makarovian was similar to Ukrainian, but he used a term I had to ga the meaning. “Do you wish to отримувати любов or ай любові?” “Was that bottoming and topping?” I asked in English to be sure. Peter’s eyes grew humorous as he had to think about what I meant. “Yes.” “With you? Both.” “I do, too,” Peter said pulling me down more and kissing me with desire sending more sensations through me. “I do have one thing,” I said smiling as I unfastened my pants. “Oh?” “It’s kind of a fetish.” I grinned and lowered my head down, raised his arm and stuck my nose in his armpit and darted my tongue in his hair e making him yelp a laugh as he was apparently ticklish. “Will you let me do that?” Peter chuckled. “You just did!” “Can I do it again?” He nodded. “Sure. You’re not into pain or anything, are you?” I frowned. “How could I ever hurt you?” I shook my head. “No, I don’t get any pleasure from pain, giving or receiving.” He nodded, smiling with relief. “It’s been a few years since I had sex with anyone.” “Same with me,” I confessed. “We’ll take it slow. This will be our first time toge. Not sex. I want to make love with you, Peter. We won’t just be having sex.” “That’s what I want.” I got up. “It’s getting cold out,” I said. “I’ll start the heater up and get the lubrication.” Peter sat up and began unfastening his own pants. “We’ll need escort bayan heat a little…” he looked at me, “I want us naked a while.” I laughed. “I want to see you, too.” The heat on and lube, I had removed the rest of my clothes as I walked back. I saw his eyes as he looked at me. “You’re so beautiful,” Peter said as he stretched out naked over the top of my bed which he had pulled out to give us more room. He had a trail of black hair that seemed to spill out of his naval and trickled down to a patch of thick black hair at his crotch. I knew he’d be uncircumcised; I wasn’t sure what country did and didn’t, but I knew the part of the world he came from, didn’t. What I also saw, was now his penis was more than ready. He was aroused and so was I. We took it slow, enjoying our bodies before we began to make love. Using our hands, tongues, and mouths to get it started. He was going to make love to me first. People who can’t see why or how men make love to each o just don’t know. There are sensations only a man can feel that are so powerful. Without getting too graphic, when he entered me, I felt every inch of him slide into me and he was not a small man in height or the size of his penis. Slowly he began pumping and I felt…we were connecting. When finished, he said he was falling in love with me, and I felt I was falling in love with him. I felt him cum in a mighty burst. Then he simply got in position to have me do it to him. Again, slowly. He was loving what he was feeling, it was on his face. Our kisses were still consuming, but as I felt my nearing climax, I told him. “I’m falling in love with you, Peter,” I said and came deep inside him. Nature was finished and things were less urgent now. We had done one of the most important thing one person could do with ano. Our kiss now was more…letting the o know how important what we’d done was to each o. “Can you call Yuri in a minute?” I asked softly. “Tell him you’re staying the night with me? I don’t want you to leave.” Peter shook his head as he smiled. “I don’t want to leave ei.” When Yuri came to the apartment this time, I was waiting with Peter who was holding my hand as the car stopped. “Yuri, we need to get a couple of tuxedos. I’ve found a couple of places online.” Peter instructed. “Let’s go.” Yuri just looked back at me questioning. “He knows, Yuri,” Peter said. “He found out by looking up Makarovia on the internet. He even knows why we’re going to the White House. It’s fine. He’s my date.” He held our joined hands up. “Why did you let me take you to Walmart?” I asked him as we started off. Peter smiled a little sheepish. “Because I didn’t know where to go or what I should look like, but as you said; I wanted to be like Americans, now I do.” He sighed again. “This money thing is new.” “Why?” He looked at me. “When we found a large deposit of uranium. Now all the countries are going to want in.” He explained. “We were offered incentives to go in particular directions. The United States offered the best.” Now it made sense. “I see.” I nodded. “Why the whole man out of sorts routine at the beginning?” Peter looked at me questioning. “What are you talking about?” “Were you always looking and acting like you were out of sorts and had no esteem.” Peter looked a little embarrassed. “Olek was the one everyone looked to for answers. He was the playboy. Not me. I was out of sorts. It was no routine.” “How could anyone stand by and watch you be in misery?” I asked. “You were miserable.” He chuckled. “I’m not miserable now.” He shook his head. “You saw me. I was pathetic.” He grinned. “Until you showed up, I was lost. Our Economics Professor did me a big favor, pair us up. You just wouldn’t give up. You drew me out. You made me laugh.” “I had to,” I said simply. “I couldn’t be partnered with you and let you be miserable! I understand this deposit gives you power and potential money, but someone had to see how bad it was with you.” “I was nineteen when they found the deposit.” He explained. “It’s a huge deposit, bigger than the one in Australia and very powerful. Mining it won’t be a problem; we’ve mined iron for generations. This is very deep. My mo was appearing with my bro asking the United States and England to help protect it. To protect us.” I shook my head. “You’re not understanding me. I’m not talking about Makarovia. I’m talking about you.” I sighed. “I hear what you’re saying about what your bro and mo are trying to do and they were busy. I understand it’s important. I’m talking about you.” I looked at him. “You tell me you were lost. You wanted to fit in with the West. Where was your family? Didn’t your bro or mo see this?” He sighed. “It wasn’t all their fault. It was mine, too.” Peter said sadly. “This is new for us. I spent all of my life in Makarovia. In the palace. I lacked the social exposure and I refused to be with o people. Being the next in line for the throne of a small kingdom, I was never made to be out with o people. I just sort of studied and well…” he looked away. “I was hideous to look at and I felt safe hiding.” “You were not hideous.” I was trying to understand. “They had to see you were not happy. I could see it right after we met.” He shook his head. “Olek was always away, doing something…the same with my mo. Mo is still very much the Queen. Olek is King and they were just better at being out with os. That was their job. Not mine.” I decided to drop it. I might never understand. “Look, Peter. I like you, really, I do.” I confessed. “But where will a relationship with me get you? You’re a prince. I’m no one.” “You are not a no one.” He shook his head. “When you asked me about being my friend, you didn’t know who I was o than Peter, correct?” I nodded. “Why?” He asked. “I liked you. You are a nice guy.” He nodded. “The fact that I was pretty well covered in acne didn’t bo you.” I nodded again. “That wasn’t your fault. It’s a medical condition. Which, by the way, has gone away now.” I ran a hand over his unblemished face. He chuckled. “Again, thanks to you. You saw the problem and made me deal with it.” “It just boed me, because it boed you,” I explained. Peter smiled. “It boed me. Not you. So, why help me?” I shrugged. “To give you the means to get out, make friends. I could see it was holding you back.” I grinned. “And I was attracted to you.” “Even with the acne?” “That’s beside the point.” I shook my head. “That shouldn’t be a hindrance to who you are. I saw that. I liked the you I saw.” Peter nodded again. “That’s why you’re here. You liked me before you knew who I was; you helped me without asking for anything in return, but friendship.” Then he smiled. “And for how a relationship would be if e is to be one with me. Would you object?” My head was spinning. We hadn’t even dated, not really o than the student union, Walmart, the mall, and my apartment. “I would be less interested if you came at me as Prince Petro Ivanov. I’d be fine if it were just Peter. I’m fine with you.” I shook my head again at the unexpected chain of events. “Pete, I came here for an education, not to enter a relationship at all.” Then I looked again at him. “It’s not that I wouldn’t want one with you, I just wasn’t looking for one, but this was…unexpected.” He kissed me gently. “I wasn’t expecting a relationship ei.” “I don’t know,” I admitted. I held my hands up. “Let’s just….get through this one date.” Then I chuckled, “though it would be hard for anyone to top a dinner party at the White House for a first major date.” “I need you,” Peter said softly. “We’ve spent several weeks toge. I do like you a lot and we are falling in love. We made love. I would have asked you out before.” He shrugged. “But this isn’t my country; I didn’t know where to go at first. My experiences have been limited socially. This isn’t my President, but I have to make a good impression for my family and for Makarovia. Just help me not make a fool of myself.” “Aw, Peter,” I said quietly. “You won’t make a fool of yourself. You’re kind and you certainly know what fork to use when.” He chuckled at that. “Why do you think you would make a fool of yourself?” Peter looked very uncomfortable. “I always fear I will. My mo is beautiful and been around the world. My bro is a diplomat and is very handsome. He is King. I was always in the shadows. I just need…a friend to be with me. I feel different with you. More confident.” I nodded. “I will be. I’m with you.” Peter smiled and rested his head against mine. He had some things he was dealing with about his family. I didn’t know if I wanted to meet them. Boston did have some exclusive shops. The one we went that had every major designer formal wear for men. “Makarovia is paying for my tux,” Peter said. “They will pay for yours, too. You are going to a function for Makarovia, asked to by me. We have to pay for yours.” It was fun picking out a tuxedo, but I hated that they were paying for it. I told you, he was a paradox! It didn’t make sense. He was shy to everyone, except me. He was well mannered but lacked confidence. The truth was, saying what we did to each o about falling in love, was not just an utterance in the heat of passion. I was falling in love with him. I didn’t want to hurt him, but I didn’t want to be hurt ei. We looked and did decide on a couple of tuxedos though. Sharp looking, too. We only had a week before the dinner was scheduled. And I had to give some representative of the U.S. Government my information for security clearance. The Thursday before we left, I was picked up from my apartment and got my first look at Peter’s home while here. It was a townhouse downtown. A pretty ritzy neighborhood. Peter opened the front door for me. “Here’s where I live.” He said looking to see what I thought. Well, it was no embassy, but very tastefully decorated. And while not sprawling, it was nicely arranged room wise. There was an entrance circular black and white marble-floored foyer that stood two stories. A chandelier hung overhead and a staircase spiraled up to a recessed portion above. To the left was a living room. A hallway at the end of the foyer went to o rooms. Peter walked with me down the hall to a large kitchen where a man was busy with gaing some pots and preparing to make a meal. “Boris?” Peter greeted the man, about forty. “This is…” Peter smiled at me, “my very special guest. Eric Richards. He will be joining us for dinner and breakfast.” Peter said in Makarovian. The man didn’t even blink. “Very good, sir.” He smiled. “Will e be a change in dinner time?” Peter shook his head. “No. The same time as usual.” “Welcome, Mr. Richards.” The man bowed slightly. “I pretty much take care of the house. If you need anything, just ask.” I nodded. “Thanks.” The townhouse was three stories, but Peter led me up to the next floor and into a room. Now, this was a huge bedroom. The center on the far wall was a king-sized bed. “Well, this is where I sleep.” Peter smiled. “You wanted to see the place once before. What do you think?” It looked like it came out of one of those magazines like Architectural Digest. The only thing that said it was his was his computer at the desk. “It’s nice.” I turned to Peter. “I guess this isn’t really home, is it?” Peter looked surprised. “No…but why do you say that?” I shrugged. “Nothing here says, Peter. O than the computer, e are no pictures of home, family or even a hockey stick in the corner.” Peter chuckled. “A hockey stick? How’d you know I played hockey?” I grinned. “You come from a mountainous area of some cold mountains. I did research. Ice Hockey is often played e, what else is e with ice? You look as if you do something. It gets cold e, so it just made sense.” Peter nodded. “You’re right. This isn’t home, it’s not even rented. As long as we pay the bills…utilities…your government allows us to stay here.” I looked at Peter. “Can I ask a personal question?” Peter’s eyes grew. “You’re asking that now?” “You said you’ve not been able to date,” I said quietly. “But you’ve had sex.” Peter nodded. “With two people.” He walked to the sitting area in front of a nice fireplace and sat on the sofa. “My first was when I was eighteen. He was a guard.” I nodded. “Only one for me.” I sat in a chair beside him. “Chuck. He was a football player in high school.” I looked at him and asked, “Have you ever been in love?” Peter shook his head. “I’ve been in like, but not in love…” he smiled at me, “but getting e now. It feels very different with you.” I smiled. “I was,” I confessed. “The reason I asked, as I heard you say you hadn’t dated, so I was wondering how you knew you were falling for me?” “I was drawn to you shortly after we met. I longed to touch you.” Then he looked at me with a leering smile. “You gave me many erections I had to do something about.” “That’s just lust.” “So?” Peter asked. “That’s what we’re supposed to feel for ano human being.” My eyes widened. “And how do you know that?” “I read!” Peter shot back. “Knowing what was supposed to happen…” he kissed me lightly, “and having it happen…is different. So, what happened to Chuck?” “In the United States, it is getting easier for gays to live. Things are more tolerant, but even here….a football player that’s gay? They aren’t welcome. That was Chuck’s feelings. I loved him, but…” “And you want to be sure the next time.” Peter nodded. “And being what I am, gives you doubts.” I shook my head quickly. “No, no doubts about you at all. I just don’t want to be a problem with your family…or your country.” Peter nodded. “Makarovia was always repressed. That’s why lives were accepted e more than anywhere else. In fact, Boris and his husband have been married almost fifteen years.” “He’s gay?” I asked surprised. “And married to Yuri.” Peter smiled. “That’s why I was surprised when you asked if Yuri was my boyfriend. Even when the Soviets were in power, we set policy in Makarovia. Homosexuals have always been welcome. In Boris’ and Yuri’s case, they fled Russia to Makarovia for that reason. Jews and os were also welcome, but few Jews stayed after World War II. Marriage was never really a question in Makarovia. An adult could marry ano adult and it was legal, in Makarovia.” “But not when it was part of the USSR.” “No.” He shrugged. “But we never really were a part of ei Russia or Ukraine as long as we gave them our iron. They left us alone.” I shook my head. “It seems Makarovia is more tolerant than the United States.” “Maybe.” Peter nodded. “But nowhere near as powerful.” I sat forward. “I just don’t want e to be a problem when this comes out.” I motioned to him and me. “About us.” Peter got closer to me. “We…” he motioned to include both of us like I did, “…are fine.” He smiled. “You don’t believe me when I said Olek and my mo don’t really care.” Now he did look confident. “I believe they will be very happy I’ve found someone.” He pressed his lips to mine again. He’s never been on a date…but he was a damned good kisser! “All this time, you’ve worried about my family. What about your family? How will they feel?” Peter asked. I waved that off. “Grandma’s known I was gay since I was sixteen. My parents are dead, no siblings. No problem.” Looking at him, I felt the swell in my heart. Peter nodded. “Good.” Then he looked back at the bed. “Do you want to stay here tonight?” “Why won’t I?” Peter all but stuck out his bottom lip almost disappointed. “But I like your apartment.” He said in not quite a pout. “This is nice,” I said. “I just sleep here. I’m more at home at your apartment.” “We’ll go back,” I promised as I got up and pulled him back toward the bed. “How long until dinner?” “A few hours.” Peter smiled. “Why?” I looked around the room. “Do you have lube?” He nodded as he grinned and did the motion telling me he jerked off with his lube, too. He opened a cabinet by his bed and pulled the bottle out and then tackled me and dove his lips into my neck as he began nibbling as his mouth and lips travel over places on my neck and was pulling my shirt up as I was pulling on his. Yes, I loved Peter. I had no doubt now.

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