What can I say, that's the way I write. Now, I'm not saying that they're all destined for greatness, but there you are.
I'm house bound this week...hey, I gotta do something besides the laundry.
Oh, and this one has some naughty bits.
The reporter, Jonathan Marshall, a well-known political writer for one of the newsweekly magazines, was politely shown into the inner offices. He had been waiting out in the reception area for about twenty minutes and was about to take the secretary up on her offer of coffee when, after a buzz on the internal phone and a ten second conversation, he was told that "The Ambassador can see you now."
Standing, he followed the young woman as she led him down a short hallway, past several open doors where he glimpsed people working. The initial impression was of a calm and hardworking office, running smoothly and with little discord. They continued down the hall for a few more yards stopping when the woman knocked gently on the only closed door he saw. Not waiting for a response, she turned the knob and walked inside, he followed.
The first thing that caught his eye was a young man standing behind a desk which was piled with a number of briefing texts, all with page markers sticking from them. He looked younger than his listed age of twenty-three, was lean, well built, particularly in the shoulders and remarkably good looking. An exceptionally attractive young man was the first impression. He was on the phone, but quietly said "I have to go, Love, I'll see you later" and replaced the receiver. Coming out from behind the desk, he had offered a firm handshake. That was good. Nothing worse than a limp handshake. He was tall, too, maybe six two and dressed neatly but casually in jeans and an obviously expensive sweater. It looked like cashmere.
"I apologize for keeping you waiting, Mr. Marshall. Sometimes it's unavoidable, I'm afraid."
Making no reference to what had obviously been the tail end of a personal call, he said, "Oh, please, it's no problem at all. It's good of you to make the time. I'm sorry, but what would you prefer that I call you? Do you go by Mr. Ambassador or Your Highness?"
"Please sit down, make yourself comfortable. Either is fine, it doesn't really matter. By nature I'm not that particular, but I'm afraid that when I'm here in the UN, we have to observe the formalities. I hope that you don't mind."
"That's understandable, sir. We all have our roles."
"Yes, I suppose that's true. Would you like something before we start? Something to drink?"
"Coffee, black would be great, if you have it."
"Ann? Thank you. She'll be back in a minute."
The Ambassador was back behind his desk, sitting in the comfortable looking leather chair. While they waited, Marshall took a moment to look about the room they were in. The office was comfortable but not in any way ostentatious. It wasn't that large and had very few things that could be considered frivolous or unnecessary. Nice windows and a good view of the river, but just a couple of nice paintings on the wall and a few personal photos on the desk. They were facing the Ambassador though, so he couldn't see whom they were of.
"Are all of your staff here Atlantean? I've been curious about that."
"No, most of them are, though. We have several assistants who are from the surface; Ann whom you just met is one. We find that we're still so new here that there are almost no people we can hire who speaks our language, so we're limited by that. On the other hand, we are still learning the customs here ourselves, so it helps to have some people around to explain things when it gets confusing."
"That's interesting. What sort of things get confusing for you?"
He laughed. "A lot. We know about major things, of course--national holidays and history and major works of art and literature and the like, but it seems to be the little things that trip us up. Things like social customs, trying to get used to the foods, social and cultural references. Things that you would have grown up with and take for granted that we have no knowledge of. TV shows, fads, sports, which clothes to wear when--that sort of thing."
Ann returned with a cup of coffee for Jonathan and a bottle of water for the Ambassador. They thanked her and as she turned to leave was asked, "Would you mind if I asked your assistant some questions also? I mean if it's all right with her?"
"I've no objection, if she's willing. It's up to you, Ann."
"I'd appreciate that, perhaps after we're finished in here if you're not busy?"
She smiled, slightly warily and nodded. "I'll be outside when ever you'd like to talk."
He turned back to the Ambassador. So far his initial impressions were about what he had expected: an intelligent, articulate young man. Polite, of course, Ambassadors were always polite. They had to be, it was part of the job. The accent was pleasant, almost musical and quite soft, as was the voice itself. He was glad that he'd been warned about the eyes, though; they took some getting used to. You didn't see purple eyes too often. He tried to decide what shade of purple they were, but they seemed to change with the light. At first they had looked almost violet, but then they had lightened to a sort of amethyst, sort of like the color of his sister's necklace. They were piercing and intense and deep, they caught you and held you. They were something. Purple eyes, that was a new one. Good thing they were off set by a smile.
OK, he'd start by lobbing a few soft balls.
"I understand that you have become quite the social catch among the local hostesses, between you being an Ambassador, a prince and a single, young good looking guy, I guess you're on everyone's "A" list. How does that make you feel, your Highness?"
He actually blushed. Good Lord, a diplomat who was self-conscious. That was another first.
"I'd really rather not go into things that are quite so superficial, Mr. Marshall. I'm here representing my government in negotiations that are of some importance. I'd prefer to focus on that side of things, if you don't mind."
Good boy, he thought to himself. It would seem the young man wanted to be taken seriously. "Of course, Your Highness, if you prefer. You must realize the fact that you are young and single does impact your work to some degree, though."
"Only slightly, I would hope." He shrugged slightly. "I have no control over my age, but my government wouldn't have sent me here if they didn't have confidence in my abilities."
"I don't think that anyone questions your abilities, sir. Everyone who I've talked to has spoken quite highly of you both personally and professionally. You are known as being very private, though. Forgive me, but you are single, aren't you?"
"I can't think why that matters one way or another."
"Only because an Ambassadorship comes with any number of social obligations attached. You're showing up with a wife or girlfriend impacts people's impressions of you."
"Part of the job, you mean?" He shook his head dismissively. "You heard the end of that phone conversation. I'm involved with someone who prefers to retain their privacy and I respect that. Being with me doesn't make them public property. I do my job and then go home."
"End of subject?"
Now Marshall really wanted to get a look at those pictures on the desk. "OK, let's move on." The Ambassador nodded, possibly in some relief. "I understand that you're in negotiations with a number of nations to export technology concerning hydroponics and aqua farming of fish, how are those coming along?"
"So far pretty well. For obvious reasons we have vested interests in maintaining the ecology of the waters."
"Is it true that your nation had experienced a growth in birth defects and incidence of cancers that are linked directly to pollution?"
"Yes, unfortunately that is true. The numbers are becoming alarming, we have to begin to contain the problem immediately. If you wish, I can have one of the others give you the studies and findings before you leave."
"Thank you, that would be helpful. In your opinion, what is the largest misconception on the surface concerning your nation?"
"That we're not human and that we're stupid." The statement was made matter-of-factly.
"The truth sometimes is."
"Does it anger you?"
"Sometimes. Mostly it saddens me. We have a civilization that predates any on the surface. The Romans, the Egyptians, the Babylonians all descended from us. We have art and music, philosophy, theatre and science that the surface nations have no concept of. We're trying to change that."
"You're speaking about the exhibitions that are opening at the Met this week?"
"Yes, among others."
"I understand that you were the person who suggested that your ships join in the parade during Fleet Week here in New York, is that right?"
"Only partly. The ships had already been invited, I merely suggested that instead of the modern ships, it might be more fun to have the old tall ships come in."
"That was quite a PR coup. Seeing those, what was it--six big sailing ships come up the Hudson, sails full and flags flying were a sight. Then when they fired that salute at Ground Zero, I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. I take it that was your idea too, but I've heard it criticized as being calculated. Do you agree?"
"No, I don't. It was planned, obviously, to make an impression, but it was simply a way to introduce ourselves to New York."
"Your navy doesn't really use them anymore, do they?"
"They're show pieces, living history. Working museums, if you will. Our past and our heritage is important to us, we try to maintain it where we can"
The Ambassador paused to sip his water. "That reminds me. How difficult is it for you, physically, to work here? I've heard that you have to rotate your staff every six months or so for their health."
He paused, considering his answer. "We've lived in the ocean for over five thousand years, because of that, our bodies have made some adaptations. We find that by watching our diets and taking various vitamins and the like, we can work here for some period of time."
"Longer, actually, we just try to err on the safe side. I've been here, with breaks to go home when needed, for about ten years now."
"And you're healthy, sir?"
He smiled and spread his hands. "As you see."
"You look fine to me, your Highness. Your 'friend', the person you were speaking with when I came it--is this person from your country or from the surface?"
There was a slightly annoyed pause. "Mr. Marshall, I said that I don't wish to discuss my personal life."
"I'm sorry, you did...surely that's not a big deal though, is it? I mean, you're a popular guy, I know our readers want to know who you're attached to."
"I've been involved with someone here on the surface for several years. That's as far as I'll go."
Marshall smiled. "No gender?"
There was no answer.
"Do you and this person cohabitate?"
"OK, I'll drop it."
A nod. "Good."
"A few weeks ago there was an unfortunate incident here involving an unstable young woman who broke into these offices and killed three people. The evidence seems to indicate that you were her intended victim, though you weren't here during the actual attack. Would you comment on that?"
"There's little that I can say beyond the obvious. Evidently, she had some history of stalking and harassment. She was not well and her delusions led her to kill innocent people. It was tragic and shocking. We are all still quite upset by the entire thing."
"In the news footage taken immediately after the shootings, you were seen, forgive me, with tears on your face. Many commented that those pictures of you, although the circumstances were tragic, would go further to humanize your...country than anything else that's been seen or done. Do you think that might be a positive outcome of this?"
He was silent for a moment, remembering. "One of the women killed worked as a secretary here. She was young, about my age and recently married. She was expecting her first child. When I got up here, she was still alive and asked for me. I did what little I could, held her hand. She was--kind to us and always treated us as...normal. The entire staff had been at her wedding just six months before." He looked up at the reporter. "I believe those are the pictures you're referring to?"
"Yes, I cried. Yes, I'm human. We're all human." It was stated matter-of-factly, softly and detached.
The interview continued for another ten minutes or so, touching on various treaties that were in progress and a state dinner that was scheduled for the embassy in Washington during the next week. His questions answered, both men rose to shake hands again.
"Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Your Highness. It's kind of you to do so."
"It's been my pleasure, Mr. Marshall. I look forward to your article. Good afternoon." He was dismissed.
He decided to take the bull by the horns. "Before I go, would you mind terribly? I was wondering whose picture is on your desk. You'd be surprised how much you can tell about a person by who makes that cut."
The prince seemed surprised and considered for a moment, then shrugged slightly and turned the double frame around to face Marshall. They were both candid 5x7's, color and looked like they had been taken on some vacation. One was of an astoundingly handsome young man, dark hair and startlingly blue eyes, about the same age as the Prince. Deeply tanned and wearing jeans and an old tee, he was sitting on a beach, his knees up in front of him and his hands lightly crossed around his legs. He was smiling at the camera--or more likely the photographer--in pure happiness. The second picture was of the same young man sitting with the Prince on a stonewall, both shirtless, barefoot and wearing jeans, relaxed and laughing.
There was no answer, just a steady look.
"It's OK. I'm not going to write that. Some people are stupid enough to think that it matters." He stopped. "I live with a man, too."
A nod, a small smile, "Thank you."
The reporter left, stopping by the secretary's desk as he went by. He sat in a chair beside the woman and asked his first question.
"So, the Ambassador seems like a nice young man. Do you enjoy working with him?"
"Yes, yes I do. He is quite wonderful. He's smart and gentle and very kind, but you must have noticed that when you were talking with him."
"I did. He makes a good impression. Are all of the Atlanteans as well spoken as he is?"
"They're all nice people and smart, if that's what you mean. The Ambassador won't have anyone here who is a problem to get along with. He prefers to work with people who are congenial. It makes the day more pleasant."
"Yes, I would think that it does. Just out of curiosity, have you met his other half? You know, the person he's seeing?"
There was a silence. "No. He doesn't ever talk about his personal life."
"Did he ask you to say that?"
"...No. It's my decision. He's a nice man and I wouldn't like to see him hurt in any way."
He nodded and stood to leave.
"Look, these are good people trying to get some important work done. Don't stop them because of something that doesn't matter, OK?"
Nodding, he left.
About seven that evening the ambassador was in his kitchen cutting up vegetables for a stir fry, his mind going over the day when he felt arms snake about his waist from behind, his neck kissed and tongued quite completely.
Turning, his mouth was captured in a kiss that deepened almost immediately, tongues sliding against and around each other seductively. Their hands caressed and glided along hard back muscles, groins pressed together.
"I missed you all day. After you called I was looking at your picture when I was supposed to be concentrating on an interview with some reporter. If we go to war because I'm distracted, it's your fault."
"You know that you charmed him just as you enchant everyone you meet."
The kissing continued, and the Prince lifted the tee shirt over his lover's head, the flesh warm underneath, responding to his touch.
"He saw your picture. He asked about you."
They broke apart just enough to speak, their arms still around each other.
"He figured out that we're friends, but I don't think that he knows who you are. He made a comment that I shouldn't worry. He seemed...empathetic."
The kissing started again, with more intent. "That's good" was murmured into his mouth. The newcomer then lifted the sweater the reporter had so admired off, giving him access to his lover's chest and shoulders, their skin rubbing an almost unbearable friction as they stood embracing, deeply kissing.
Laughing quietly he protested mildly, "Don't drop that on the floor, it's cashmere."
"I'm rich, I'll buy you another." Four hands were now working at jeans buttons and zippers, sliding down, exposing erections and sacks and hair. "Not in here."
His lover took his hand, their bodies still in contact, going to the living room. They made it as far as the couch, jeans and underwear dropped along the way. Naked they fell in a tangle of limbs and mouths and hands, touching and feeling, stroking and groping each other with greater and greater urgency.
They were rubbing, needing to move forward with this. Though they had made love less than twelve hours ago, they couldn't wait any longer.
A gasp, "Rob, please, I need..."
"What do you need?" A smile as he suckled the right nipple, pinching the left between his fingers, his hip grinding the two hard cocks against each other.
"I need...you...now." He reached for the tube of gel they had left on the table last night. Opening it he rubbed some on his lovers shaft while the other's hands and fingers opened him in preparation for joining.
"Now--please. Now." He rolled onto his back, his legs wide and raised to allow easy entrance. He felt the head press against him, felt the pressure and the momentary flinch of pain and then he was covered by and surrounding the beloved body. They moved into the ancient rhythm, as familiar to them as was each other's bodies. Their breathing coming in gasps, their skin slick with sweat and effort, the one below came first, unable to wait, his cock being rubbed by his lovers belly, his arse being pulled and filled with each thrust. After he gasped out his climax with his spend pulsing between them, the muscle spasms put his partner over. Often he would shout, cry out as he spilled, this time he simply gasped into his lover's mouth, all the more moving for it's restraint.
Afterwards they lay together, still joined, still embracing while their breathing calmed to normal.
"The reporter today asked me if it bothers me that I'm considered a draw on the diplomatic circuit because I'm single."
"What did you tell him?"
"I fobbed him off. I couldn't think of a tactful way to say that in fact I consider myself married." He stroked the face next to his, less than two inches away.
Blue eyes looked intently into his for a minute. "So do I."
A pause as both considered the same thing. "It's not legal here, is it?"
The look was sad now. "No, not here. Not yet."
"Yes, so do I." This time the kiss was tender.