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+-{Emerson & the Lion}-+

+-{Chapter 11}-+

“Why are we here, my love? There are juice places closer to home and it is 115 degrees outside by your temperature,” Ali signed in swift, fluid motion as though he’d spoken through his fingers all his life. He was following me up a side street as I led him to the juice bar.

“You forgot?” I signed back to him with a sigh. His phone was glowing with text messages in his hand, but he couldn’t turn away from the disappointment in my eyes. “We met here.”

“Two years ago today,” Ali interrupted and finished my thought as he awakened to the memory. “I know, my love, this is where you met me. I met you earlier when I saw the video of your dancing and then watched over you as you came to Satra. I fell in love with you before I bought you juice. I knew before you met me that you would be mine for life.”

“Nice save,” I joked. I thought back to that day when the juice guy was so mean to me and I had no idea how any of this worked. I had no way to communicate with him beyond pointing.

+++ +++

It was hard to sleep that night. Ali had taken me for a nice dinner and the next morning we were taking the early flight to London and then another one on to New York City. I’d never been there. Ali had business and Samir and Caleb were coming to stay with us there for a week.

I hadn’t been back to the U.S. since I’d left it over two years ago. I’d gotten used to the scorching heat of life in the desert, along with the sights and smells of Arab life. Ali kept asking if I was excited to be going home, but I pointed out that I’d never been to New York and it was still very far from California.

“Do you want to extend our trip and spend a few days in California and see your home place?” He asked me last night.

“No,” I signed sadly. “I don’t have a family. What would I go back and see?”

“Your family is here. You belong with us. This is your home, my sweet Emi,” Ali signed and hugged me.

We made it to the airport on time and were quickly ushered around the security lines and into the first class section. It was one of those two story airplanes with a bar upstairs and our seats were in a private lounge area that had a few plants separating the private areas. I tried to move one just to see if it would slide around when the airplane took off, but it was secured to the floor.

“My baby gets into trouble,” Ali signed. He shook his head disapprovingly, but laughed.

We curled up in adjoining leather seats that reclined flat and the steward brought us a large blanket with the Satra Air logo plastered across the front. It was new and fresh out of a bag. Ali went to the bar and got a drink for himself and some juice for me. By the time the plane took off, I was already half asleep with my head in his lap as he checked business emails on his tablet. He held me tightly with one arm until the plane leveled off in the air.

I didn’t see much of London. I was waking up in his lap when the plane touched down. Ali had fallen asleep sitting up against the pillows that lined the wall. All we did was walk around the lounge to stretch our legs as people got off and new people got on.

We had lunch somewhere over the Atlantic. Ali had them specially make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich just for me along with a tray of sliced vegetables. By the time we landed in New York, I was ready to run a mile and breathe some non-airplane air.

They split us up at immigration. Ali wasn’t a resident of the U.S. He tried to explain that I was deaf and needed to stay with him, but that just seemed to raise alarms with the lady directing the line. She pushed a button on the radio strapped to her collar and soon there was someone there signing that I needed to come with him for special processing. Ali was furious, but he knew his name, wealth, and position had no power here.

“It is your country, they will not hurt you. I’ll wait for you at the exit, my love,” Ali signed.

The interpreter agent understood his signing, and I caught him giving a look of disgust. He pointed for me to follow him.

It was so strange to me to be in a place where Ali was not in control. In his country he was the lion. He roared and people scurried. Here he was just another foreigner who had to go through separate checkpoints than citizens.

I had to wheel the suitcases that were mine and follow him to a small room. Another agent came into the room and the interpreter translated for him. He went through everything. He asked me about everything from my toothpaste to my tablet computer. He asked why I had been out of the country for so long and how I had received a resident visa from Satra when I went there as a student.

“Your paperwork shows that this family adopted you. And now you’re bringing them here? Are they planning to stay permanently?” he asked.

“No, he is a very powerful man there. He is only here for a business trip and brought me with him,” I signed back.

“His visa does illegal bahis not say business. He is here as a tourist. He listed no business contacts here in New York. Are you here of your own free will?” the agent asked.

“Yes of course! He’s my… boyfriend. We are in love. I guess he listed us as tourists because we are going to see the sights here once his business is done,” I assured. That was the wrong thing to say. The agent kept insisting I’d been somehow duped by some kind of sex-trade organization or immigration scheme.

He went on and on telling me they could help me get away from him if I’d testify. I kept insisting that we were a couple and in love, and then he started to ask about terrorist connections. He kept leaving the room for periods of time and I was left with the translator who didn’t seem to want anything to do with me.

I started crying. I didn’t want to, but they kept telling me I was being stupid, taken advantage of, etc…

Finally, after the agent had gone away for a long period, another agent came in. It was a lady this time, and she simply told the translator to tell me to pack up and exit through the green door. It ended so abruptly, but I hurriedly threw everything back into my bags and took off before they could change their minds.

I wiped the tears off with my sleeve as I pushed through the door and saw Ali pacing and talking on his phone. He saw me and hung up quickly.

“This is exactly what I was afraid of. They think scary brown man with his purchased golden boy. It is why I don’t come here often. I am so sorry, my sweet Emi,” Ali signed and fumed.

“I want to go please,” I signed back, not wanting to discuss it. He nodded, took my bags, and loaded them onto a cart with his.

“I’m sorry, my love. I could not protect you from that. I hope the rest of our trip is better,” Ali signed when we were secured in the back of a black town car and cruising onto a crowded freeway wedged between dirty and crumbling old buildings. It was a stark contrast from the new and shiny city we’d left on the other side of the world.

Caleb and Samir were waiting in the hotel suite when we got there an hour later. It was a hulking old tower that New York seemed to be overstuffed with. The suite had a large living room, large dining table, and a bar stocked with liquor I’d never be able to touch. There was a terrace with tables and plants that looked out over the city. Two bedrooms flanked the living area, and the guy carrying our bags put them away in the larger one.

Caleb hugged me for the longest time. We hadn’t seen each other in months since he’d talked Samir into opening an office in Los Angeles. He wasn’t cut out for the quiet desert houseboy life. He and Samir had been on a relationship roller coaster for weeks before they left. Caleb missed his family, friends, and California. Samir was helpless and followed his heart.

Samir hugged me next as Ali went to make phone calls. He was going to make a big deal with the embassy over my airport misadventure. I filled Caleb in on what had happened and he translated for Samir. Caleb said I should sue, but Samir said that the world had recently gone through events where Arabs didn’t look so good. He seemed to understand.

“I didn’t know about that,” I said when Samir told me what had been going on. “I guess I should read the news more than once a year.”

Caleb shrugged. “Well, enough of that! We are going to do New York right,” he laughed.

Ali came out of the bedroom a few minutes later and apologized for being on the phone. He signed to me that he had to let everyone know we were here safely, and Zaid had some business he needed to run by him.

We went to our room to take a shower and nap before dinner. The room looked like it was fit for a president. There was a huge bed with white comforter and pillows, a fireplace, old art. I felt highly underdressed in my t-shirt and jeans. It definitely wasn’t Ali’s modern taste, but seemed to fit with the regal, historic city.

We showered together and then I put on a pair of briefs and went to crawl under the covers while Ali walked around the room trying to connect his laptop to the wifi. He was completely naked and I watched one lonely bead of water slide down the dark skin of his muscled shoulder. His heavy cock swung between his thighs as he looked up furiously for some kind of box on the ceiling.

He must have gotten it to work because he paused, hit a few keys, and then smiled at his accomplishment. He flopped down beside on the bed, his chiseled frame radiating warmth. I nuzzled into his side as he slipped an arm around me and got to work on some emails. I reached for his cock as it flopped over his left thigh, and tugged it a few times.

“One second, my heart, I must work,” he signed with an apologetic look. I nodded and closed my eyes against his chest while keeping my hand around the fat brown snake that comforted me. He kissed the top of my head as I settled into my rest.

I illegal bahis siteleri awoke with my head against the pillow as Ali stood across the room wearing black boxer briefs that framed his hard bubbled ass, a gray dress shirt that hugged his muscles, and black socks that went up almost to his knees. He was working a white tie into the perfect knot around his neck. His dark hair was slicked back with shiny gel.

I sat up and rubbed my eyes. I felt better and had forgotten about the scene at the airport. Ali had a similar suit laid out for me, but mine had a black, velvety bow tie. I knew I could never fill it like he did. My body was toned, but small. The suit he had for me was tailored perfectly to my body, and I looked surprisingly decent at his side. It felt silly, I never dressed up like that. He hugged me from behind in the mirror as we looked at each other longingly. I wanted to ride him right then and there, but it was getting late and my stomach was empty.

Samir and Caleb were dressed equally nice. They were waiting for us when we came out. The curtains had been closed in the bedroom, but in the living area I could see that the sky was dark while the city lights pulsed below us.

A car took us a few blocks away to a restaurant where our expensive suits would fit in perfectly. We had a round table in the center of things. The food was French, and I had no idea what to order. Ali picked out something for me, and ordered for himself. He and Samir caught up on things while Caleb and I signed back and forth to each other about our lives since we’d last met up.

Caleb told me about Samir’s success in LA, and their new offices in West Hollywood. They’d been able to get a small house just above the Sunset Strip. He glowed about how jealous all of his friends were and how much Samir spoiled him. He showed me pictures on his phone of his house and brand new Mercedes. It sounded like they were having a crazy life together out there.

“Your life is so exciting. It almost makes me wish I had that,” I signed and tried to look genuinely happy for him.

“It can be yours too! I’m sure Ali would move to LA if you wanted. You could come home and have more freedom here,” Caleb insisted.

I felt a tinge of jealousy for just a second, but then Ali reached for my hand and squeezed it. He wasn’t looking in on our signed conversation, his body just knew that I needed his touch. Maybe he needed mine as well. We were in sync like that.

“I don’t want that,” I reminded Caleb. “I don’t push Ali like you do with Samir. I like my life, my place at his side. We support each other. I’m halfway through my degree. I’m really getting into Yoga and we have our weekends at the beach house now. We even take Kadir (our dog). He likes to run on the beach with us. I like simple, calm, happy.”

I squeezed back on Ali’s hand, and he slid an arm around the back of my chair as he leaned back and laughed at whatever he was talking about with Samir. He paused for a minute and looked over at me questioningly with those are-you-ok eyes. I nodded and he went back to Samir.

“I know. You’re happy and it works for you. I just miss having you around. I can’t go back there to live, Emi. You know how crazy it drove me to be under constant lock and key with the eyes always on us. Plus the culture of the silent partner who is at home all the time. It wasn’t for me.” Caleb seemed genuinely happy with the life he’d created with Samir in LA.

As we ate, I kept looking over at Ali whose body language showed how much he missed his little brother and worried for Samir. When he felt my eyes on him, he’d look back, and then push me to eat my dinner. I could sense his discomfort with Samir and Caleb’s relationship. He had mentioned it to me a few times during our late night talks. He opened up to me in bed as he spoke and the tablet put down text for me to read and type back to. He was worried Caleb was breaking his proud brother, luring him into an unhealthy situation. Lions were not to be tamed by their boys. .

Ali held it together though, and his time with Samir seemed to be going smoothly through dinner.

After they argued over the check with each other, Ali slid out my chair and took my hand. We went to the waiting town car, and then cruised through the night lights of the glowing city. I don’t know New York or its landmarks. Ali had been there many times on business and adventures. He and Samir pointed out a few things to each other and laughed at inside jokes while I snuggled in under his arm.

We seemed to drive in circles before pulling into the valet area of our hotel again. I was ready to brush my teeth, strip down, and please my lion.

Instead of going to our room though, the elevators opened onto a different floor. I looked at Ali with confusion, but he wasn’t acknowledging me. He squeezed my hand and led me down a wide, dimly lit hallway to a large set of doors.

I looked at Caleb with the same confusion, and noticed a smile canlı bahis siteleri growing on his lips. He never kept secrets from me, and I could tell he was fighting to hold onto one. He looked away though as Ali opened the door for me.

The door opened to a completely dark room and across it was a wall of windows leading out to a decorated terrace. There were lights strung in the shapes of stars floating over the terrace which was covered in endless bouquets of white flowers. There was a white archway covered in blossoms, and sets of chairs flanking a white carpeted aisle. It looked like a wedding.

We walked to the center of the dark room and then Ali stopped me. All of a sudden the dark room filled with bright light. I blinked and squinted as my eyes adjusted.

The room was filled with people. All of the Hamad family was there including Zaid and his two men. Izem was there with his new boyfriend hanging on his arm. Dr. Hamad was there with some of his friends who had visited the house for our dinner parties. There were others that I didn’t recognize too. Caleb’s parents were there, I hadn’t seen them in years. Everyone looked so happy and they all stared at me.

I wondered for a second if I was dying. The white was my send off to heaven. Maybe Dr. Hamad had figured out some weird illness I had and they’d gathered everyone together to send me off. I don’t know why my mind jumped so quickly to thoughts of horror. I’m not usually that dark of a person. I must have given Ali very sad eyes because he quickly gave me a worried look and pulled me into his chest. He kissed my cheek and must have whispered something in my ear. I just felt his hot breath and inhaled his cologne.

“Emi,” he signed when he pushed me back gently from his embrace. He knelt in front of me like a knight returning to the castle. I noticed a few photographers snapping pictures with fancy cameras.

“You are the love of my life. My greatest power in this world is to bring a smile to your face. When I come home and see you, I know there is good in the world. When I face an obstacle, you are what keeps me pushing forward. I spent so many years wandering to find myself and what I was meant to do in this world. The moment I met you, it all became clear. You are my support, my protectorate, my cub. You are my source of life. Will you marry me?” Ali signed as though he’d practiced it in the mirror a million times.

“I’m not dying?” I signed, in shock and disbelief over this sudden proposal.

“Of course not,” he signed back. “Why would you think that? I die first. That is always the deal.”

“Then yes, ok yes!” I jumped into his arms and was rewarded with a kiss as he held me to his chest.

Ali yelled something to the room and everyone looked really excited for us.

I wasn’t used to a crowd of people looking at me, much less with excitement and love. It was too much and I buried my face in his shoulder. He pet my hair and held onto me knowing exactly what I was feeling. For two years now I’d been at his side, out of the spotlight. It was a little much.

Once everyone was seated on the terrace, Ali went and knelt down on a rug in front of the cleric who would marry us. Beside him sat a man who would translate between Arabic, English and Sign Language. Caleb waited with me inside until we got the signal and then he held my hand and walked with me down the aisle between the guests. It wasn’t one of those wedding marches where you wait and then take a step and then wait again. We just walked to the rug where Ali knelt and then Caleb placed my hand in Ali’s as I knelt beside him.

We turned to face each other and held hands as we looked into each other’s eyes. The translator was sweeping his hands to tell me what the cleric was saying. He was also speaking and I guess translating into English for the guests from the US. It seemed like quite the task. I got distracted by it.

Ali turned my attention back to him and let go of my hands. He started to sign to me in another practiced proclamation.

“Emerson, you belong to me in my own culture and now I want us to belong to each other in yours. I cannot go a day without seeing your beautiful eyes or sweet smile. I promise to make every day special for you, always put you first, defend your honor, provide for your every need, and guide you as you grow into the man I will love for eternity. My life took meaning the day I met you. Without you, there is no me. I promise to listen to your thoughts, consider your desires, and deliver your dreams. You are my love, my happiness, my beautiful bride, the best part of me. I will be honored to be your husband. I will wear it as my greatest title.” Ali reached for my hands again and kissed my fingers.

I felt dizzy, didn’t know how to respond. I loved him so much and never expected this. I felt tears running down my cheeks and he kept swiping them away with a finger and a dopey smile.

I didn’t have words prepared and certainly couldn’t construct such a speech to impress the crowd like Ali had. I looked to see more than a few tears in the audience as the lighted stars flickered above us. Ali had thought of this though and the translator tapped my shoulder to alert me that the cleric was proceeding.

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