Those close to my heart call me Armando.
Damnation, of all the possible scenarios his vivid imagination had provided, nothing could be compared to what was happening. The gorgeous stranger was holding his hands, kissing his knuckles. They were crotch to crotch, staring at each other enthralled. Every fantasy with this man was a gladiators’ battle, and not romantic at all.
Alejandro’s fantasies were based on his previous experiences. He could not say that he had not had experienced lovers. Far from it, all those men had always been skillful. It was just that none of them ever took the time to seduce him. Enticement was within the game, not part of the luring process. Actually, he could not recall voluntarily how, many of those penetrating situations started, his memories always sprang to where the swinging was already occurring.
There was a part --a large part-- of his heart chasing Love, but he did not know romance. The whole posture of the man was beyond his comprehension. Alejandro was definitively not expecting a troubadour.
This must be a dream. He was going to wake up in his bed, in his room, in Uncle Antonio’s manor. Yes, this is the night before the departure. This entire situation could not be real.
But, I can feel his breath caressing my lips. The warm of his crotch against mine. Those burning emerald eyes.
“Are you all right? You were blushing, and now you are losing color.”
That sunny voice is real.
Alejandro pushed the man a little to straighten himself and loosed his hands from the grip.
“Thus, you prefer to be a warrior than an adventurer.” His teasing nature was kicking back. He tried to put himself back in well-known territory.
“I beg your pardon? I don’t understand what you’re suggesting, Don Alejandro.”
“Forgive me, Don Fern... I mean Armando. Fernando means daring, adventurous while Armando means soldier or warrior.”
The alluring man caressed his chin with thumb and forefinger, meditating.
“Very interesting, and what does Alejandro mean?”
Alejandro felt his face flare abruptly, in a very soft and low voice he said, “Defender of mankind.”
For some unexplained reason, Alejandro was a child who had been caught after shattering a very, seriously expensive vase.
Armando walked pensively away from him. Alejandro allowed his hands to fall to his sides and stared, following the stallion’s movements.
Armando stopped almost in the middle of the cabin and looked upward to the ceiling, maybe trying to imagine the blue sky outside. The glorious chestnut hair brushed a little pass his shoulders. Armando was presenting his back to Alejandro, but he could imagine Armando with closed eyes by his paused breathing, as in deep concentration.
“Then it makes sense. Don’t you see it?” He said this with his back still facing Alejandro. “A warrior is ought to be by the side of a Defender; specially, the Defender of Mankind.”
With the last phrase, he turned back slowly to peer at Alejandro with foreboding eyes and a sad half smile.
Is he actually implying that we’re meant to be together? He must be playing with me!
Considering this a game, this man was an extremely talented actor. His distressed bearing spoke of a hurtful realization. Of something, you might seek with your whole being for a lifetime. Except for the fact that once found, it could bring you joy and even satisfaction. However, if snatched, your life would immerse in inconsolable pain.
For sure, it was tempting to think that the impressive match of their names was some kind of prediction. Yet, altogether, it was amusingly ridiculous.
Is there truly such thing as predestination? Could it be that we crossed paths, before today, just to keep us thinking about each other?
They had not mentioned miss each other. Alejandro had been evoking Armando fiercely, but that did not mean a thing.
It’s just my little demon ruling my body. He sighed.
Maybe he just wants to mount me, and I don’t have a problem with that.
Somehow, those forlorn green eyes told a different story. There was more than manly desire. There was need. There was hope.
I might as well be imagining all those emotions shimmering in his eyes.
A hard knock on the door made them both jump and look to the door in alert. The person knocked again twice, calling their names.
“Don Alejandro? Don Fernando? May I come in?”
It was Captain Moreno.
Alejandro looked down and realized that he was not wearing his boots. Armando looked his way and indicated the blanket. Then, he put both palms together, resting one of his cheeks on them, closing his eyes.
Alejandro hurried to lie on the blanket and appear asleep. He even snored a little.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Ah, Don Fernando! I hope I’m not disturbing you. I just wanted to check on Don Alejandro.”
Armando kept the door ajar.
“He regained consciousness a while ago, but he’s back sleeping now. I think we must allow him to rest a little bit more.”
Armando forced a grin, trying not to appear too eager to discourage the man from prying on Alejandro. He cleared the door. “Would you want to take a look at him?”
The older man answered gingerly, “Just for a moment. I don’t want to awake him.” And he walked slowly preventing any loud noises. He finally stood by the youngling’s feet. “He’s a very handsome young man, so full of life. It’s interesting that my secretary put you two together, since he didn’t know you’re bound to the same place.”
What was the captain talking about?
“Excuse me, Captain Moreno. I don’t understand.”
“You were commissioned, by Doña Mariana to judge as an Oidor at the Real Audiencia of Guatemala. He’s the son of The Captain General of Guatemala.”
His lucky star was tricking him. He was not just going to spend the voyage with this man. He was going to work for his father. The Captain General was military governor over the territory; he also presided over the Real Audiencia. Maybe it was not a trick of his lucky star, but the pure and eloquent assertion of his fate, as he had inferred when the young man mentioned the meaning of their names.
This may also be an extremely hazardous road since the only advice Father Nithard gave him about his new boss was, “He is a man who does not take traitors and liars kindly. Be aware.” It might have been an insult, but also, an honest advice. Any advice was welcome when traveling toward the unknown.
“Then I think is very fortunate we are traveling together, don’t you think?” He said this with a broad smile to hide the turmoil in his mind. “He will help me to understand my new chief.”
“Certainly,” the captain smiled back, appraising him up with interest. “We are ready to raise anchor. Would you care to join the other passengers on the upper deck?”
“It will be a pleasure, my dear captain. Don Alejandro shall be fine on his own.”
And they left the cabin together, to say goodbye to Cadiz.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Alejandro lay down until he sensed nobody outside the cabin or near the corridor. Everything was really quite in his surroundings. Most probably, every other passenger was on the upper deck, waving goodbye to the carnival on the port. This was the last Fleet until August. It would have been very good to say farewell to his beloved Cadiz, but he needed a moment alone to think hard. This swinging coffin was proving to be devilishly treacherous.
The handsome stranger was destined to work for his father. Well, that would give him time to be around the green-eyed man beyond the voyage. On the other hand, any situation with this Oidor would be a boiling cauldron of snakes if discovered in the Kingdom of Guatemala. Not just the Spanish Inquisition had bloodhounds everywhere, but his father’s rage would have no limits.
Did this man truly deserve his life destroyed by a fling? Alejandro was not sure what would be the outcome of this voyage. Sharing the room with Armando would be a constant torment whether something happened between them or not. He had no doubt he wanted to run his hands through that chestnut hair. Caress the muscles that were bound to be under the well-fitted clothes. Feel that manhood inside his body.
You needed a moment alone to think deeply, not to indulge in fantasies that will certainly lead you to play with your little demon!
His little demon surely needed a penalty.
The brief minutes he shared with Armando before Captain Moreno’s arrival were a hundred pigeons fluttering inside his head. The sun was in its zenith, the cabin was getting scorching, and he needed some fresh air. Better to go up and mingle with the other passengers, before they started to think that he was sick; or even worse, a flimsy feigner.