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The Other Side of the Coin
Eve was having the time of her life; the whirlwind visits to girlfriends went on nonstop. Everyone wanted to hear about the dinner with Queen Elizabeth and of course Lord Michael's family. Eve ran into the English Ambassador at one of the parties she had been invited to and he introduced her to a young Frenchmen, "Lady Eve, I wish to introduce you to my guest Count Pierre Rosenberg. Pierre, I would like you to meet Lady Eve Thompson."
Pierre bowed and kissed Lady Eve's gloved hand as he said, "I was about to take a walk in the gardens Lady Eve, it would be my great pleasure if you would join me." Eve took Pierre's arm and they left the patio, as they strolled through the gardens chatting Eve became quickly infatuated with Count Rosenberg, infatuated and impressed by being with the young count from one of the most important families in Europe. Pierre was a handsome man with his nearly golden eyes, shaded by long blond lashes, his French accent only added to his grace and charm.
Before returning to the party Count Rosenberg told Lady Eve that she had been delightful company and asked if she would consider joining him for a dinner being given by the Ambassador on Saturday. Eve told him she would be more than happy to; Pierre kissed her lightly on the lips before returning to the other guests.
Peter had never entered her thoughts that evening, nor did any of her friends mention him. All were well aware of her walk in the garden with Count Pierre Rosenberg and the air was alive with gossip as whispers swirled from one young lady to the next.
Following dinner with Pierre at the Ambassador's residence on Saturday Pierre's kisses became more frequent as well as passionate, each kiss returned by Eve as she grew more intimate with this man she knew she was falling in love with.>
Eve continued to extend her stay in Sydney as the romance grew more intimate with each week that passed. Rumors of the affair reached home, Aunt Mildred was thrilled at the thought that Eve could possibly become engaged to Pierre. Her first thought being of herself and another step up the aristocratic ladder.
Eve's father was disheartened and disappointed in his daughter; he knew Eve was as much in love with the title as she was with Count Rosenberg himself. Peter would be devastated. Her father wired her asking if she had notified Peter of her change of heart and reminding her that Peter needed to be informed and she should be the one to do that and it needed to be sooner than later before rumors of her affair reached him.
Eve finally took the time to write Peter a short letter explaining how she had met and fallen in love with Count Rosenberg, and hoped that one day he would forgive her for her indiscretion and betrayal. Little did she know what a relief this was to both Peter and Martin, they no longer had to concern themselves with breaking the news to Eve about their own love.
Peter wrote back to Eve telling her he was happy that she had found a true love and wished for her to enjoy a long and fruitful marriage to Pierre. He wrote that there was nothing to forgive and he wished her all the happiness in the world. He ended with God's Blessings.
Eve barely shed a tear when reading Peter's kind letter. What a wonderful man he is I hope he truly has forgiven me; there'll always be a place in my heart for Peter.
By now the news had reached London, Michael said he was saddened but understood, Ian wasn't quite as forgiving, "I can't believe she so easily dropped the man who really loved her for a title and prestige. A wire was sent to Peter immediately telling him how sorry they were for Eve's change of heart; they added that they prayed he would still be their friend, because they loved him like a brother.
Peter answered by telegram saying that he was fine and said the he had wished Eve all the happiness she deserved; he said she was a wonderful lady and he would always think of her with love and kindness. He added that he was of course still their friend and loved both of them; he said he often thought of them as the three Musketeers.
When reading Peter's telegram, Michael hugged Ian and said, "That man is a class act, I hope Eve doesn't regret her change of heart." Ian said, "I hope she does regret her change of heart." Peter pinched Ian's arm hard, "Don't say that she's your sister and you know you love her."
Ian said, "If I'm black and blue you're going to regret that pinch."
"You'll have to catch me first." The race was on with Ian chasing Michael through the gardens.
Back in Australia as profits from the sale of their wool continued to grow Quinn, Peter, and Martin decided to merge their ranches and build a large house centered in the middle of the twelve thousand acres that now made up what they called the P.M. Q. Sheep Ranch. The money that came in from their wool sales had made them more than financially comfortable.
The three of them together designed the new house; it was finished within the next two years. The news of this grand house spread over the local area like wild fire. The men planned a Christmas party as a way of christening their new home.
As it happened their party took place exactly two years to the day that Eve had announced her engagement to Peter at her father's house. Invitations had been sent to everyone in the area as well as to Michael and Ian in London as a courtesy and one to Mr. Thompson and Mildred if they wished to come.
The cars begin to arrive around seven that evening, it appeared to be an unending line as they filed in. They couldn't believe that many people were interested in seeing their house. What Peter, Martin, and Quinn had forgotten was that Peter was still, Sir Peter Holbrook, and the impressionable locals all wanted to be there.
Their Christmas tree reached nearly three stories as it stood surrounded by a winding staircase on either side. The tree was lighted spectacularly and set the theme for the ballroom that glowed with special Christmas lighting. A small orchestra played dance music for everyone's pleasure. The evening couldn't have been more perfect until Peter spotted Michael and Ian walking through the door. He could hardly believe his eyes.
Hugs, and kisses and few tears were spilled. Peter said, "I can't believe you came all this ways, and I can't tell you how happy you've made me." Martin and Quinn knew of Ian and had heard of Lord Michael but had never met either of them. Michael and Ian I want you to meet my partner Martin and my business partner Quinn. They all shook hands and Quinn said, it great to meet you; let me get you some champagne.
Martin said, "I've heard so much about you two, but I never thought I would get to meet you. Peter talks of you all the time. I was beginning to think you were some kind of Gods or something."
Peter put his arm around Martin and squeezed him as he said, "Martin's exaggerating just a bit but not much." They all laughed.
Michael said, "Guys this place in a palace who designed it?"
Martin proudly said, "We did it ourselves, Peter, Quinn, and me."
Peter said, "Quinn is Martin's father, a couple of years ago we decided to merge our ranches together and this is the end result."
Ian said, "Well the end result is rather grand, you've all out done yourselves."
Quinn returned with the champagne and Michael made a toast to their success and happiness. It's obvious you are very happy and that is wonderful for Ian and me to see."
Peter and Martin kissed as Peter said, "You have no idea how happy. The three of us have a rare story we'll tell you about later. I hope you can stay with us for a while, I want you to get to know Martin, who is the love of my life, and his dad Quinn who is a close second."
Quinn rolled his eyes and blushed.
Ian replied, "We would love to stay if you don't mind having us underfoot for a few days."
Martin said, "Are you kidding, this is the best Christmas present we could ever have."
Michael had to ask, "Where did you find this handsome young man Peter? We had no idea you had any interest in men."
"Michael, how we found each other is part of a mystery, a mystery that will be told by the three of us when we are in private. And neither Martin nor I had an interest in men until we met. Martin felt the connection a few years ago even before we really knew each other, I felt the connection when I returned from London and met Martin as he rode up to the house on horseback. Neither of us understood what was happening between us until Quinn's rather supernatural experience. The rest will have to wait until later."
Ian said, "Well that's going to drive me nuts until we hear the rest."
Speaking of unexpected guests, in walked Cardinal Whittinger, Peter waved and went to greet him. "Cardinal Whittinger, what a wonderful surprise to have you here." The Cardinal and Peter embraced; Whittinger gave Peter an extra tight hug. The Cardinal's eyes were tear filled as he said, "Peter, we have much to talk about but first I must meet this young man you are now with."
Peter motioned for Martin to join him; Martin came over with that unbelievable smile of his as Peter introduced him to Cardinal Whittinger. The Cardinal took Martin's hand as a tear slid down his cheek.
"Martin, you have no idea how happy I am to meet you, although I have met you in a most unusual dream several years ago."
"You met me in a dream?"
"Yes, and that is a reason I'm here tonight, but that can wait until there aren't nearly so many people around, and now I need to go and give my beloved Godson and his partner a good hug."
Martin and Peter looked at one another, both of them wondering what this was all about. Martin said, "Peter you sure know some interesting people." Before they had a chance to move away from the main foyer Ian and Eve's father came through the door, another acquaintance of Peter's that Martin had heard about but never met.
Peter said, "Mr. Thompson, what a wonderful surprise, thank you for coming to our Christmas party, is your sister with you?"
Mr. Thompson said, "No, Mildred wasn't feeling her best. Please call me Emerson, we've known each other much too long for such formality."
"In that case Emerson, I would like to introduce you to my life partner and soul mate Martin."
Emerson was visibly shaken, but managed a smile has he shook Martin's hand saying what a pleasure it was to meet him. Both Peter and Martin caught Emerson's surprise at meeting Martin, or more likely Peter's introducing him as his soul mate. Peter asked Emerson if he was alright, "You seem uneasy."
"Peter there is so much I need to discuss with you, but it needs to be told in a more private setting. If I may spend the night here we can speak more privately tomorrow."
Martin was thinking if this private meeting gets any larger and less private we'll have to set up in the ballroom. Peter turned to Martin and said, "You got that right."
Martin replied, "I have what right?"
"What you just said."
"I didn't say anything."
Peter gave Martin a curious look and said, "You just said if this private meeting gets..."Peter, I was only thinking that."
Emerson stood there with a confused look on his face.
Peter said, "Emerson didn't Martin just make a comment?"
"Not that I heard Peter, is something wrong?"
Just then Ian spotted his father and came over to greet him.
"Father, what a wonderful surprise it is to see you here. Michael and I were going over to say hi to you and Aunt Mildred later tomorrow."
Emerson, looked relieved to see his son and Michael as he asked, "When did you two arrive in Australia?"
Peter was feeling a little confused himself as he thought, either I need another glass of champagne or I've already had a glass too many, I'm not sure which."
Martin said, "That makes two of us."
"What makes two of us?"
Martin said, "Two of us that need another glass of champagne."
"Martin I was just now thinking about that."
Quinn walked over and said, "You two look like you've seen a ghost."
Martin and Peter said, "Not quite, but you're close."
The party was a great success; everyone had a good time and with Lord Michael and Ian there along with Cardinal Whittinger the party exceeded their expectations.
Finally the last guests left and it was off to bed for everyone, even though the party was fun it was also exhausting.
Peter, Martin and Quinn were up before sunrise and had their home cleaned and had things put back in their proper place before any of their guests were up and about. Quinn turned out to be the family cook and was already preparing a rather special breakfast. Coffee was brewing and breakfast tea was ready for serving for those who preferred it.
With the scent of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the house the guests were soon stirring and shortly everyone was downstairs gathering in the dining room, Quinn had set up a buffet style breakfast feast since he didn't know who would be up or when. It turned out to be the perfect situation, everyone relaxed and several had seconds which pleased Quinn.
Everyone expressed their thanks for the wonderful hospitality. Following breakfast and some pleasant small talk Peter mentioned that each of them had expressed a desire to speak in private. Peter asked if any of them would prefer to not speak in front of those of us gathered at the table.
Michael was first to reply, "Ian and I are here primarily because of our love for you. Our interest in your story involving you, Martin, and Quinn was piqued by your earlier comments to us, so whatever the others decide will be fine with us."
Peter said, "Good point Michael, I think I can speak for Martin and Quinn when I say it might be good for all of you to hear our story and you also should feel free to express your opinions if you wish." Quinn and Martin knotted their agreement.
Cardinal Whittinger said I feel that I am here because of reasons connected to that same story, so I'm comfortable with everyone hearing what I might say."
Emerson said, "I came here for a different reason, but I would very much like to hear what you have to say. My reason for being here also affects all of you in some way because of the interlinking relationships that you all have formed. But your story may affect my decision as to what I say, or if I should say anything at all, so perhaps the three of you should start."
Ian said, "Father, that couldn't have been more cryptic if you had planned it a week in advance."
Everyone chuckled including Emerson before he apologized, "It wasn't planned that way Ian, it just happened to have turned out that way."
Martin started by revealing when he first felt his connection to Peter which was the day he stopped by with his dad to visit when he was nearly seventeen.
Peter followed explaining that he felt drawn to Martin two years later when Martin was nineteen and he was twenty-four. There was not an in depth description of the sex that took place nor should there have been, but it was made clear that there was a definite sexual aspect to their relationship. Each man explained in detail their confusion as to what was taking place within each of them. There was an inner turmoil they didn't understand.
Lastly Quinn told of his mystical experience before Martin and Peter found him unconscious on the floor. He related the message that he was given for his son and Peter, a message that cleared their confusion allowing them to accept the special love that was meant for them.
Cardinal Whittinger shed tears when he related his dream of two years ago when he saw Martin in a confused state searching for answers to what was happening to him. And now two years later in another dream he saw Martin and Peter together. He realized why the answer Martin was searching for wasn't given until Peter became part of Martin's life, and who better to chose to reveal those answers then Quinn, Martin's own father.
Michael and Ian also were a bit teary eyed as they contemplated the incredible depth of love that brought these two beautiful men together and how it took place.
Emerson seemed stunned at what he just heard. Finally he spoke very softly, "I believe I now understand why Eve was so taken with Count Rosenberg, at least why it may have been connected to what took place here. The driving force behind Eve's decision was of course her desire for prestige with London's aristocratic snobs. She turned away from Peter for all the wrong reasons, but it also cleared a path for this extraordinary love to come to fulfillment between Peter and Martin. Thank you all for this amazing revelation, I am much relieved and now I must start my journey back home."
Ian said, "Somehow I have a feeling there's a great deal more to your story father."
Smiling Emerson said, "You're right son, but that is a story for another time and place, I love you all very much." He stood and left the house, never glancing back.
Peter, Martin, and Quinn understood exactly what Emerson was referring to by his comment about clearing a path. There was a smile that passed among them.
Chapter 9 will follow: