Journey of Rick Heiden Ch. 20
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All Rights Reserved © 2018, Rick Haydn Horst
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
This novel contains 50 chapters.
Having settled on a plan, a general sigh of relief had overcome us all. Many of us had stayed awake most of the night, so it didn’t take long before we fell asleep. David bunched our jackets behind him against the side of the van, and I leaned against David with his arms around me. That had become my favorite way to sleep regardless of the location or circumstance, and I know he enjoyed it.
At eleven o’clock, we stopped for lunch in Geneva, Switzerland. We wouldn’t stay long, so we chose a bistro at random. It proved itself suitable and filling, even with their predictable cuisine, not that David, Cadmar, or Aiden would notice. The menu had no photos, and since they wouldn’t know a fondant from a fondue, I made recommendations for them.
As for the location, I wanted one on the lake if for no other reason than to remind us of home. I knew the gesture would not have gone unappreciated by Pearce and Cadmar. I wanted to keep our spirits up, and the boredom of an 18-day journey aboard the ship might have drained us all.
“How much longer before we get there?” Maggie asked Julien as we climbed back into the van.
“According to the internet, about six hours,” he said.
“How do you feel, Rocke?” Cadmar asked, standing there with the drone case in his hands. “If you need to stop halfway to stand up for a few minutes, that’s fine with us. Don’t think you must drive straight through.”
“Thank you for asking, but I feel fine,” he said, “I slept well last night, and it’s a pleasure to have stamina again. The cancer made me ill for some time before the treatment cured me.” Rocke paused for a moment and reached up to grip Cadmar’s shoulders, staring him in the eyes. “Anything that any of you need from me, I am here for you. You want me to drive all over the world or swim the length of the Grand Canal; whatever you want, I will do it.”
Cadmar stared at him for a moment, but there was no doubt of Rock’s sincerity. Cadmar hugged him, thanking him for being there.
David took my hand and pulled me into the van. “And, what about you?” he asked. “Have you slept enough, or will we get back to it?”
“If we sleep all day, we won’t sleep tonight. Would you mind if we stayed up all night?” I asked.
He smiled knowingly.
I shook my head. “I should have known better than to ask.”
Rocke stopped at the halfway point for a bathroom break at an Autogrill rest stop on the autostrada. Back on the road, however, the last three hours flew by. We woke up just before arriving at our parking destination in Mestre. From there, we would ride ten minutes by train to reach Venice.
We grabbed our bags and crossed the street to the station, where Julien used the kiosk to avoid the lines for our tickets. We validated them and boarded the next train to the island. Among our group, only Rocke, Julien, and I had a previous visit to Venice. I looked forward to showing David around. As the train entered the causeway over the water, we could see some of Murano in the distance.
“I’ve seen photos of San Marco Square,” said Cadmar, “but apart from that, what makes Venice so special besides the water?”
“Its beauty,” I said, “its artistic style, the fact that it took a great amount of human ingenuity to build it. Only one Venice exists; people have often tried to imitate it, but no imitation could do it justice.”
I had never visited Venice with someone I loved. So, I had never experienced its so-called romantic side. I wondered how different an experience I might have.
The train pulled into the station, and we hopped off. Visitors packed the train station, and they would do so often throughout the weekend, providing the train workers hadn’t gone on strike.
The newcomers in our group found the architecture and the ambiance of Venice impressive. Although for myself, having seen Jiyū, I couldn’t say the same. The beauty of Venice didn’t compare to One City for me.
The Italians called the Venetian equivalent to a bus, a vaporetto. The good-sized boat could pack about 230 passengers, so by no means could one describe it as dinky. We picked up our three-day vaporetto tickets, courtesy of our benefactors, and went to board one. It would take us from the train station through the entire length of the Grand Canal to San Marco Square, but as we reached the turnstile, Pearce balked on us. He refused to get on.
“You don’t understand,” he said. “The likelihood that the choppy water last night caused the rest of you to become motion sick is rather good. On a casual boat ride and calm water, you may not have that difficulty. I have always had motion sickness problems, and they maraş escort can’t seem to fix that back home. Got a pill? I’ll happily take it, and if you give me half an hour, I will join you with pleasure. If not, I insist on walking.”
Having experienced it recently, we could hardly blame him. “I have visited Venice frequently,” I said, “so I know the way, and we’ve ridden in the van for hours. Walking might do us some good.”
“I could use a walk,” Cadmar said.
“It wouldn’t bother me to walk,” said Maggie. “It’s not that far, right?”
“Nothing is that far in Venice,” I said.
“Any objections?” David asked.
“Would anyone mind if I took the boat and got us checked in?” asked Julien. “I still have our passports from yesterday.”
“Oui, me as well,” said Rocke. “I’ve seen Venice. It’s beautiful, but I’ve driven all day, and I’m a bit tired.”
“No, please,” I said. “Do what you feel best for you. I can get us there, not a problem. Oh, one last thing, though. May I know the name of the hotel?”
“The Hotel Didoni,” said Julien with a simple smile.
I gasped. “You’re kidding! We’re staying there?” I could not believe it. I knew the Hotel Didoni as arguably the most luxurious hotel in Venice and one where I had only seen the lobby. I refused to waste what little money I had to stay there. During my past visits, I would have just enough money to afford a tiny room for one night at the back of that hotel, with a view of a wall to the building next door. At that point, I would return home, having spent an entire week’s hotel budget. Julien and Rocke told us they would see us soon and departed for the dock.
“What’s the Hotel Didoni?” David asked.
“I’ve ruined enough what Julien had as a surprise,” I said. “So, I will say no more, other than to tell you that this hotel room will not require a strip-search.”
I led our group across the Scalzi bridge, following the trail of pedestrian traffic, feeling grateful to arrive in Venice on the cusp of November; autumn had far fewer tourists to contend with than summer.
We scarcely noticed the light, brisk breeze among the narrow paths between the buildings. The sun had dropped in the sky, and night would soon fall. I loved Venice at night with its beautifully lit buildings and fewer people on the streets.
The builders of Venice made its walking areas a chaotic series of pathways on a level of complexity that the underground of Facility3 could never imitate. One could find oneself “lost” in Venice, despite how easy the signage made reaching one of the main points of reference: the train station, the Rialto, or San Marco Square. I enjoyed the privilege of “losing my way” in Venice every time I visited. As we trekked to the hotel, I remarked on the signage, in case my less adventurous companions became disoriented while exploring the historical city for themselves that weekend.
I gave them a bit of a tour on the main path. They enjoyed the tidbits of information I had provided, especially the juicy bits from my own experience.
Photographs of San Marco Square could never do it justice. One had to experience and hold the square within the entirety of one’s vision. It remained as magnificent as I had remembered, even at dusk, as we saw it then. Napoleon called it Europe’s drawing-room, and I could see why, at least for the era.
“The book in our library showed a huge flock of birds here,” said Cadmar. “Where did they go?”
“The ones that remain have settled down to roost for the night,” I said, “but the number of pigeons has plummeted since it became illegal to feed them. Their acidic droppings were damaging the buildings and the artwork.”
“Aww,” said Cadmar.
“Pigeons are disgusting birds,” Maggie said, “many cities consider them pests.”
Aiden leaned into Cadmar. “They’re little more than flying rodents.” He teased, slapping his hand on Cadmar’s back. “Sorry, if that disappoints you, buddy.”
“I want to see this hotel,” said David. “Where do we go?”
I led them around the corner of the Doge’s Palace and out to the wide promenade, known as Riva degli Schiavoni, and a broader view of the lagoon.
We found the Hotel Didoni just down the walkway past the Bridge of Sighs. When we entered the building, the sight before us was breathtaking.
“Merde,” Maggie whispered.
“I feel underdressed,” said David.
“Wow,” said Aiden. “Would you call this hotel a dump, David?”
“I should think not,” he said.
The owner had given the building a meticulous restoration, and then sumptuously decorated it with revitalized and well-cared-for, period-appropriate furnishings. It had marble columns and archways, inlaid marble flooring, gorgeous textured marble walls, balconies, and carpeted marble staircases reaching the heights of the building. Anyone who thought that marble rooms sound cold and bland had not witnessed the warmth and beauty before us. As the epitome of 14th Century grandeur, the former Venetian palazzo maraş escort bayan continued to thrive as the wonderfully resplendent Hotel Didoni. Its beauty compared to those on Jiyū, but One City had no Venetian-styled buildings.
“Does anyone see Julien or Rocke?” Cadmar asked.
When we wandered farther into the lobby, Pearce saw them first. They awaited our arrival in the seating area near the front desk. Julien returned our passports and handed us our room keys. When the others got theirs, they departed to settle in. Among our group, only Julien, David, and I remained in the lobby.
When it finally came to David and me, Julien jingled the key in front of my face to entice me. “I know you will enjoy this room,” he said with a smile.
“They keep this hotel constantly booked up, Julien,” I said. “How did they manage it?”
“I don’t know, but they did,” he said. “Come on; you know you want it.”
I took the key. “Thank you, Julien.” I glanced at the key tag and gasped. “Julien, this says ‘La Suite del Doge.’ You gave us the Doge’s Suite.”
“And…,” he said.
Speechless, I suddenly felt a profusion of emotions wash over me.
“What’s the matter?” David asked.
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Why?” he asked.
“Because he knows you both will stay three nights in the most elegant suite in all of Venice,” said Julien, trying to look anywhere but at me, “S’il vous plaît, laissez avant que le regard sur votre visage me fasse pleurer (Please, leave before the look on your face makes me cry).”
The hotel had a lift, but David and I wanted to see the view from the grand staircase, so we walked up. Our companions’ rooms ended up scattered about the hotel on different floors, but we climbed the stairs to the top.
The Doge’s Suite had frescoes on the ceiling. The columns and archways, softened by luxurious draperies, highlighted the sitting, dining, and bedroom with its period-appropriate, gilded furniture. I had dreamt of having a bathroom like the one we enjoyed that weekend. The view of the lagoon from our balcony looked magnificent with the island of San Giorgio Maggiore off in the distance. Any description I could provide would poorly convey the beauty of the suite, but its beauty did not cause me to have the tears welling my eyes that day. I had an unfulfilled longing to experience a moment like that with someone I loved, and I would remember that occasion with David for the rest of my life.
David helped me remove my jacket and slid off his own. He held me so close to him, and I could feel the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. Before he could kiss me, I kissed him with as much passion and intensity as I felt at that moment. I started pulling at his shirt tucked into his pants, and he did the same with mine. We had just finished unbuttoning one another’s shirt when a knock came upon the door. Cadmar and Aiden had forced us to stop.
“This better be good,” David said to me of our intruders.
David opened the door, and they immediately noticed our partial state of undress, as well as the vexed expression on David’s face.
“Yes?” David asked in as pleasant a tone as he could muster just then.
“Julien told us- Oh…we are so sorry,” said Cadmar, “this can wait,” He held a palm outward toward us, while his other hand gripped the handle of the drone case.
“No. No. We’re on hold,” David said, “just make it quick.” He gestured them inside and closed the door behind them.
“Right,” said Aiden. “We wanted to get your input on a plan to protect the drone. Cadmar walking about the city with the drone case would seem conspicuous.”
“We felt the safest place for the drone was flying cloaked over the city,” Cadmar added, “which would also give us the use of Iris.”
With a hand on the doorknob, David spoke rapidly to hurry things along. “Sounds great. The plan has my vote. Keep your connection to Iris on and let Pearce know.” David snatched open the door, but they just stood there. “Do you have something else?”
“One tiny unrelated detail,” Aiden said, glancing at Cadmar.
“You have all the money,” said Cadmar.
“Oh!” David rushed to and dug into his bag, removing some bills. “Sorry about that, here’s twelve hundred euros. Two hundred apiece ought to get you started. Try not to spend it all in one place. Make sure to give Julien and Rocke two hundred apiece as well. Tell them dinner is on us.” Then I think he winked at them as he ushered them out the door because they suddenly had a funny smile on their faces as the door closed.
With them gone, he turned and picked me up over his shoulder, carrying me off to the bedroom. Things were going well and getting heated when another knock sounded on the door in the living room.
“These people are conspiring, I swear,” he said.
I laughed. The persistent knock sounded again.
“We didn’t use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign,” I said.
He gestured that he would fix that problem and hopped escort maraş up. He donned the white robe that we saw in the bathroom earlier and answered the door. I couldn’t hear what they said, but a minute of talking occurred, then the door snap shut, and I heard clicking sounds.
“There! The door has the sign, and I locked the door, so no more interruptions.”
“What did they want?” I asked.
“Oh, just a hotel employee with an envelope for me. I left it on the coffee table. It can wait, whatever it is.” Slipping out of the robe, he left it at the foot of the bed and climbed to my side.
He kissed me then pulled me by my legs to stand me up facing the side of the bed. I could feel the heat from his cock lying against my butt cheek. He slammed my upper body onto the bed. He wet my hole with his saliva and precum, and with a rapid shove, he rammed his cock balls-deep into my ass.
He leaned over and whispered, to me grinding his pelvis into my ass. “Tight. Of all your playground equipment, do you enjoy this most? Do you enjoy this bigger cock in that little hole of yours? I had it made especially for you, you know that, don’t you?”
“Yes.” I arched my back giving him greater access. “I love your cock.”
“What do you love most about it?”
“It’s attached to you,” I said.
He kissed me and wrapped his arms under my shoulders and pulled me onto him. I could feel him throb deep within me as he ran his hands down the front of my torso. He grabbed my hips and began to fuck me. The head of his cock rubbing my prostate with every stroke. I did my best not to cum, but it only took fifteen minutes, and I came. He didn’t stop, he kept fucking like it never happened.
Half an hour later he stopped and stood me up. He cock-walked me to the window with the magnificent view in the front room. He fucked me standing there kissing my neck as I looked out the window for a while.
“I’m going to breed you,” he said.
He thrust a few more times and bred me as a good mate should. He cock-walked me again to the sofa at the end of the bed. He fucked me while I kneeled upon it. I held onto it to keep my balance. He eventually moved me onto the bed, on my stomach. He could fuck in that position for quite a long time. He thrust into me for an hour before he told me he would breed me again. When he did, he laid on top of me, his cock buried in my ass. I would have loved to stay that way until morning, but the exertion had us exhausted and starving.
We ordered food and charged it to our room. It seemed like the thing to do when one stays in the best suite of a hotel. We chatted while we had our sarde in saor and risotto al fruitti di mare. I had ordered the two fish dishes, but David didn’t know whether he would enjoy them. His semi-vegetarianism had mostly happened due to the vegan cuisine on Jiyū, not by choice. On Earth, he still ate eggs and cheese, but he refused to eat mammals. Occasionally, he ate chicken when he saw no other decent protein sources on the menu, but always avoided fish for some reason. I thought perhaps David found the endless variety of seafood dishes daunting. He enjoyed the sour sardine dish, but he couldn’t make himself eat the seafood risotto. They throw everything into it from shrimp and tuna to mussels and squid, even I found it overwhelming. In case it proved impossible to stomach, I also ordered a couple of authentic Italian pizzas with every vegetable they offered. David loved it, but then who wouldn’t enjoy a tasty pizza with their favorite toppings.
“How could you live on Earth for ten years and not once have pizza?”
“The restaurant at the hotel didn’t serve pizza,” he said.
“Well, if I had known, I would have gotten you one while we were dating.”
“We must bring this dish to Jiyū,” he said between bites.
“I foresee one problem with that. Jiyū has no mammals from which to make cheese.”
David thought for a moment. “Well, there’s always-“
“Don’t say it! I’m not endorsing a pizza made with human cheese. That’s just gross.”
My comment had him in a laughing fit for a good minute. When he finally calmed down, he told me, “I thought we could simply engineer some cheese in a lab.”
“Oh, that’s an appetizing improvement, I must say. Well, it’s half-past nine. What shall we do after we eat?”
“I don’t know,” he said, “you guide me. What do people do at night in Venice?”
“They mostly indulge in sex, sleeping, eating, strolling, drinking, or gambling.”
“For now,” he said, “you have me sated on the sex. After the pizza, however, I could use some strolling.”
While I cleaned up in the bathroom, our plans took an odd and unexpected detour.
“Rick, we need to talk,” said David from the other room.
“Haven’t changed your mind on the human cheese, have you?”
“Ah no,” he said, “you and I remain firmly locked in agreement on that. It’s this message brought to the room earlier.”
I joined him on the sofa at the foot of the bed. He handed me the note. It read:
David, You don’t know me, but you should. I have information you will want. Please, meet me in the ghetto on the bench in front of the memorial at 3:00 a.m. tonight. Please, bring Rick; I would very much like to meet you both. I mean you no harm, despite the late hour and setting.
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