By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the author)

Edited by Will B

Chapter 41 - The Reception

This is Brian.

When I came out of the bathroom, my clothes were arranged on the bed. I hadn't heard anyone come into the room while I was in the shower. I thought, `This is rather eerie.' I figured `oh well' and put on my briefs. I had just gotten them on when there was a knock on the door.

I called out, "Enter."

Jaime opened the door, "Brian, you didn't answer when I came in to put out your clothes. I guess you didn't hear me talking to you with the running water and your singing. I guess that's what you would call it. It's sure a good thing that you are a talented artist because you will never make any money as a singer."

I started to give Jaime the finger but decided that he was trying to get me to react. I thought of a way to get revenge, "You're probably right, Jaime; I'll make my fortune when I sell the painting that I did this morning of you and Matthew while you were still asleep."

I hadn't shown that painting to anyone yet. I retrieved the painting and showed it to Jaime. The look on his face was priceless. He was practically stuttering, "Brian, you wouldn't put that painting on display would you?"

I looked at the painting with Jaime's arm around Matthew and there was absolutely no question where Jaime's left hand was. It was under the sheet just below the waist of Matthew. I decided to rub it in, "Yep, I think this is probably the best painting I have done since I have been here. I think, I'll ask Mr. Johnson to make it the centerpiece of the display."

Jaime was almost begging, "Please, Brian, I'll do anything."

I wanted to laugh but restrained myself. Instead I smirked, "Anything?"

Jaime realized what he had said, "Well almost anything."

I looked at the clock, "Jaime, we'll continue this discussion later. Now help me get ready. I'll probably be the last one to be dressed. Who's helping Ben and Grant and your Dads?"

Jaime chuckled, "Shamus is assisting your brother and Grant. I had already lain everything out for the Dads. They are so used to being dressed like this that they don't need any more assistance. Now let's get with it. Shamus and I are due at the embassy shortly."

I looked at Jaime, "You're going to the reception and dinner dressed like that?"

Jaime laughed, "They have our uniforms waiting there. Rafey asked us to come help serve the drinks and cocktails and then help serve the dinner. The Dads had no problem with us doing that. We figured that way we could make sure you didn't get into anymore trouble."

This time I did give him the finger.

When I was dressed, he looked at me and straightened my tie, "Brian, you are quite handsome when you are cleaned up."

I grabbed the painting of him and Matthew and went downstairs. Everyone was assembled, and I held up the painting of the two guys, "This painting is going to be the centerpiece of my exhibit. What do you think?"

This is Ben.

I could tell that Brian was up to something. He walked around showing everyone the painting of Jaime and Matthew. Uncle Rod asked, "You mean that you received Jaime's and Matthew's approval to do such a painting?"

Brian countered, "Uncle Rod, you are being a little presumptuous aren't you. If you look closely no one could tell who the people are. I deliberately did it so no one would know the identity of the two people except those of us who know them. People will visualize themselves in the picture."

Uncle Hank spoke, "Everyone, I agree with Brian. It's a wonderful piece of art. I guess I had better check more closely. I hadn't realized my eldest son and his friend had such beautiful bodies. I guess I need to pay more attention."

Brian pulled out the painting he had done of Shamus, "Uncle Hank, your youngest son ain't too shabby either. We should advertise on one of those Internet sites and see which of them brings the best price." Brian looked at Jaime and Shamus, "I thought you were supposed to go help at the embassy. You better leave before I get into anymore trouble."

Shamus and Jaime left for the embassy and all of a sudden Brian realized that the three of us were wearing white dinner jacket and Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod had on black tuxedo jackets, "Why are we dressed in white jackets and you have on black. Are we going to be sacrificed?"

Both Uncle Rod and Uncle Hank were laughing at Brian's comment, but Uncle Rod answered, "Brian, we're too cheap to buy a white jacket. You'll fit right in. I'm guessing the split between black and white jackets will be 50/50."

We went to the limousine and it seemed funny for Uncle Rod to be driving, but he was, and Brian was sitting in the front with him. When we got to the Masons' house, Brian hopped out and went to tell them their ride was there.

Minister Mason opened the door and Brian shook his hand. Vicky and her Mother appeared. Brian ushered them to the limo. Vicky looked so stunning in her emerald green dress. It really made her eyes stand out and highlighted her auburn hair.

Brian was like a chauffeur. He assisted them into the limo. He climbed into the front again and I could almost see his mind working. He opened the sliding glass between the driver's compartment and the passengers, "Sorry we ain't got any champagne tonight. The bosses have been too busy to buy any."

I watched as everyone was laughing, we pulled up at the gate of the embassy. Rafael was there with the guards. He looked in the limo, he had a checklist, "Oh yes, I see that Minister and Mrs. Mason and their lovely daughter are here. Vicky, you should wear green more often. I bet you could melt a lot young men's hearts. Oh yes, here are Mr. Cox and Mr. Peters."

Rafael pretended like he was going down the list, "Oh, you must be the punks that Senorita Maria and Miss Inga invited."

He pointed at Brian, "I don't see anyone on the list that seems to fit your description. I'm afraid I must ask you to exit the limo so we can do a strip search to make sure that you aren't carrying any concealed explosives."

Brian climbed out of the limo, "Very well Senor Ortiz, but retribution will be forthcoming when your ugly body is exposed permanently to the world. I'll even title the painting, `Rafael'"

Rafael hugged Brian, and they helped the ladies depart the limo. One of the guards took the vehicle and parked it. Rafael turned to Grant and me, "Your young lady friends are awaiting your arrival."

When we entered the embassy, there were a large number of dignitaries there. Maria and Inga met us at the door and took us to the receiving line.

This is Grant.

This is another first for me. I had never been through a receiving line and I was going to not only meet Inga's parents but the President of the United States and his wife.

We watched as Minister and Mrs. Mason went through the line first, followed by Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod. Ben motioned for Brian and Vicky to go next.

For some reason Brian preceded Vicky, but that was what Vicky wanted since Brian already knew President Smith and his wife. Brian was a work of art in action. He approached Maria's father and shook his hand, "Ambassador Montoya, it's so good to see you again. Thank you for inviting us tonight."

He moved to Maria's mother. He took her hand and kissed it, "Senora Montoya you are looking extremely stunning tonight."

He moved to the next gentleman. He stood and raised his arm like a Nazi salute, "Hail to the Commander in Chief, Uncle Mickey."

President Smith returned the salute, "Hail to Lord Brian, king of the zoo."

President Smith grabbed Brian and hugged him. "I've been hearing some wild tales about your adventures here in England. I'll probably have to do some major damage control after you leave the country."

All eyes in the room were focused on Brian. Brian was undaunted, "Never fear Uncle Mickey, they will miss me. I would like to introduce you to Lady Victoria Mason, but you can call her Vicky for short."

Brian moved to the next lady, and hugged her, "Aunt Georgia, you're looking gorgeous as always. Where are Jack and Julie?"

Mrs. Smith laughed, "They are in Fremont with their grandparents for the week. We are going to go collect them tomorrow and spend a couple of days on the farm."

When Mrs. Smith was introduced to Vicky, her first comment was, "Vicky, you look absolutely beautiful in that color."

You could almost hear Brian saying `Yes' under his breath as he moved to Inga's father and started working his charm. Brian put his pointer fingers on his temples, "Oh yes, you have to be Inga's father, Judge Sandberg. Gotta tell you sir, the picture of you on the internet does not even begin to do you justice. You need to talk to the public relations people and tell them that you want a better picture."

Inga's father was practically bent over laughing. Brian moved to Inga's mother, "You have to be Inga's mother. It sure is easy to tell where she got her good looks. I guess her brothers missed out."

This is Brian.

I was glad that Vicky and I were through with the receiving line. Shamus approached us and pointed to two glasses of clear liquid that were bubbling. I smelled them and they didn't smell like champagne so I gathered they were sparkling white grape juice. Vicky and I were standing watching Ben and Grant as they made their way through the line.

Uncle Mickey was giving Grant a hard time, "I've heard about you Mr. Garrison, Ben's father said I was to keep my eyes on you. I understand that you will be attending Cornell and the two ladies friends will be living in the same house with you two guys. Do their parents know?"

Grant had turned almost white. Ben answered, "If they didn't know before, they do now."

Ben hugged Uncle Mickey and Aunt Georgia and the receiving line was about to break up when the door opened and Rafael announced, "Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness Prince Philip. They are being accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Miss Chelsey Davy."

This is Ben.

Brian and Vicky immediately went to escort the Queen and Prince Philip to the assembled people. The Queen took Brian's proffered arm and he escorted her into the ballroom.

After being acknowledged, Queen Elizabeth spoke, "I heard that you were leaving tomorrow and wanted to stop by and thank you again for all that you people have done for us. Philip and I need to be going, but Harry and Chelsey will be spending the evening with you. They will provide a full report on whether you have been naughty or nice."

Brian being his normal self, "Oh, so you want me to send you a report of what your grandson and his date did tonight?"

The Queen put her hand over her eyes and it was apparent she was having a difficult time trying not to laugh, "Yes, I guess you could say something like that. I would like to visit with President Smith if I might."

Queen Elizabeth, Uncle Mickey and Prime Minister Brown were shown to a private room. They were gone for approximately fifteen minutes. Queen Elizabeth came back and took Brian's arm. "I think you'd better escort me to my car. Harry says that you are a wonderful artist. I was hoping that I might get to see some of your works. I`m surprised that you haven't brought your supplies with you tonight. It would be great to see what you could do with some formal poses. Everyone looks so nice."

Rafael was holding the limousine door as Brian answered, "Ma'am, I considered bringing my supplies, but I was afraid people would think that I was being tacky. It was good seeing you again, Your Majesty."

Brian kissed The Queen on the cheek as she got into the limo. He turned to Prince Philip and shook his hand, "It was good seeing you again, Your Royal Highness."

After the royal couple had departed, Rafael turned to Brian, "I'll tell you what Brian, after everyone is seated with their meals, I'll take Shamus and get your supplies."

Brian started, "Yeh, you just want to ..." He stopped when he remembered that Vicky was standing there. "Thanks, Rafey, I would appreciate that."

Vicky was laughing, "Bri, why didn't just say what you were thinking; yeh, you just want to play games when no one else is around."

Prince Harry was watching, "Lady Victoria, I'm surprised you would say such a thing!"

Vicky turned and looked at the Prince, "Well, maybe they want to play Backgammon or Cribbage."

Brian spoke up, "I was thinking more along the lines of strip poker."

As we were walking into the embassy, the staff was opening the door to the dining room where there was a buffet table. Ambassador Montoya announced, "Please enjoy after our distinguished guests have gone through the line." He pointed to Uncle Mickey and Prince Harry, Prince Harry shook his head no to let it be known that he would rather be seated with us peons I guess,

The head table consisted of Uncle Mickey and Aunt Georgia, Inga's parents, Prime Minister Brown and Maria's parents.

There were five other tables already filled by the time we went through the buffet line, which was still steeped with food. Jaime directed us to the vacant table which was at the back of the room. Prince Harry was sitting next to Brian. They were both dishing it out trying to get each other's goat so to speak. The rest of us were laughing so hard that people were staring at us.

People started to come to the table. It was difficult to tell if they wanted to talk to Prince Harry or Brian. The funny part was none of the rest of us felt like we were being excluded from the attention.

Uncle Mickey came to the table, "Guys, I have a proposal for you. You are scheduled to fly home tomorrow and we are going to be leaving from Mildenhall AB at two in the afternoon. Why don't you join us on Air Force One. We are going to be flying direct to Offutt AFB and then be taken to Fremont in a helicopter. That way you won't have to change planes several times, and I'm sure going through customs at the base would be much easier than in Newark."

Brian's mind must have been working a mile a minute, "Uncle Mickey, how are we going to get to Mildenhall AB? We haven't a clue where it is?"

Uncle Mickey shrugged, "I am giving a speech at Cambridge University in the morning at 10:00, or we could take you, but I'm sure your things aren't packed yet."

Uncle Hank had been standing there, "Brian, we'll get you to Mildenhall on time. Don't worry your young body about it."

Shamus came in with Rafael and handed Brian's supplies to him. "Here you go sir, I think everything you need is in your backpack and I burned the pictures that you did of Rafael and me."

Brian looked at Shamus, "Please don't even say that in jest."

We got up from the table and moved to the main room again, The musicians were in place and started to play a waltz. Brian led Vicky unto the dance floor and you would have thought they had been dancing together forever. After the first dance was completed, Brian went and asked Aunt Georgia to dance while Vicky danced with Uncle Mickey.

This is Grant.

Well another first for me was about to happen. I had never danced before so I had no idea what to expect. Ben sent me a silent message, `Grant, just watch what Brian and I do, and I'm sure Inga will be able to follow you and help you.'

Inga and I started to dance and I explained, "This is the first time I have ever danced in my life, so you will need to help me."

I watched Ben and Brian and they seemed to be moving like they were gliding around the dance floor. I tried to mimic what they were doing and must have done a credible job; because, as we were leaving the dance floor Inga laughed, "Well, you sure would have fooled me."

When Vicky and Brian started to dance with the Smiths, Ben and Maria started to dance with Maria's parents. So Inga and I did likewise and danced with Inga`s parents. When we finished the dance, Mrs. Sandberg complimented me, "Grant, you are a very good dancer and are easy to follow."

That made me feel good. The next dance started and Brian and Vicky were dancing with Vicky's parents. Ben suggested that perhaps Maria and Inga could dance with Uncle Hank and Uncle Rod. Ben and I were standing talking to the Smiths.

Ben and Vicky approached Chelsey and Prince Harry. When the band started to play it was a polka. Prince Harry shook his head no, so Chelsey and Brian took off. Everyone was standing and clapping in time to the music. When the song ended, Chelsey and Brian approached the band leader and he nodded.

They started to play the Charleston and Chelsey and Brian were having a wonderful time. When they finished, everyone applauded. The band took a break and Brian went into his artist mode. There was an arch at one end of the room next to a window. Brian used that as the backdrop for all of the paintings that he did. Of course the first one was of Vicky and she was leaning against the pillar looking out the window.

The second painting was of Prince Harry with his foot on a chair and right hand in his jacket. He appeared to be winking to Chelsey and motioning for her to come closer. The third painting was of Ben and Maria and they appeared to be singing to each other.

Brian posed Inga and me as if we were young kids who were fighting. He caught everyone by surprise when he had President Smith and Prime Minister Brown sitting at a table with their fists clinched. He made them seem like they might be arguing. When he finished that painting, he announced, "We need to go. We need to pack for tomorrow and I have an engagement to run in the morning and then I have to meet with Mr. Johnson before we meet President Smith at Mildenhall."

Surely nothing else can happen today, can it?

Author's comment: If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you want to visit www.tickiestories,us.

Will's comment. I have nothing to say except I love this story. So there!

One Editor's Notes: Well it looks like the trip to England is almost over, That was quite an adventure. I don't know if Brian should say anything about nothing being able to happen, since it seems that when someone says something like that, there almost always seems to be something else happening.

Let's hope that whatever it is it will be a good thing, and let's hope it will not be long before we find out what it is.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher