Last night I dreamt I went to paradise again. I believe we can credit the encounter to Daphne du Maurier. My tour in Cyprus was at an end, but I had hung on for a month, sending my wife back to Washington, D.C., to get the house open up again and everything there back in working order and to guide one of our children into a new university year. I had stayed past my assignment rotation date to attend an artists' gathering in the Troodos mountain village of Platres. A internationally well-known naive artist lived there during her summers and held an annual week-long artists' retreat there. I had been invited to the retreat because I had just published a novel based loosely on her intriguing life and she had done the cover for the book. We got along famously, and so here I was, gathered with her artist friends and trying to keep up with the talk of light and shadow and balance and depth perception - not unknown concepts for the creative writer either, I happily realized.

The artists were dotted around in various residences in the rustic mountain village and met in the afternoons at the artist's rambling and cool house for discussions and then at 10:30 PM each evening at the central open-air restaurant to celebrate their talent in local wine and a meze, which was a never-ending march of finger foods across the table top. After this, they dragged back to their host homes and slept until the next afternoon's gathering at the artist's home.

I opted for other lodging, however. I was leaving a country I loved and wanted to make the most of every moment I could. There was a fine old, internationally known English-style hotel, the Forest Park, at the edge of Platres, high on a hill. I opted for that partially, but not solely, for its somewhat dishabille opulence but also because of the room I requested and was able to book - the suite where Daphne du Maurier wrote the draft of her classic novel Rebecca.

I had just begun to learn what my direction would be after a career of spying, thanks to the success of my novel, and I wanted to seek inspiration in the room where Rebecca had been drafted - perhaps even conceived. This had already worked well when I had managed to rent the home of Lawrence Durrell on the island's northern coast, where he wrote much of his Alexandria Quartet. So, I was seeking a muse. I would never have imagined to have also found a prince.

He knocked on my door at the Forest Park late on the morning after I had arrived and politely asked if he might just have a look at the room. He introduced himself as Gregor and said he was a student, majoring in creative writing, and wanted just to see where Du Maurier had worked the magic of her pen. Thus, he was established immediately as a fellow seeker.

Over lunch on the large, tiered stone terrace at the back of the hotel, I learned that there were several other parts to his name, with the one that really rang a bell being Hapsburg. He acknowledged he was of those Hapsburgs and was, in fact, a prince on paper, although he'd never been permitted to see what would have been his domain in Hungary if a couple of world wars had not interceded.

He was a very presentable young man of solid build, handsome features other than a very prominent jaw that I was to learn was the genetic curse of his family, pale blue eyes, and an exuberance of dark hair leaping from his head in an unruly, but not unattractive fashion. He was a wonderful conversationalist, and I was already going over the artist retreat scheduling in my mind to determine when I could possibly see him again, when he obviated my efforts. While my mind had been spinning, I asked him what he was doing here in Cyprus other than pilgrimaging to famous writers' dens.

'The contrast of sporting interests,' he answered with a winsome smile.

'Excuse me?' I asked. 'What sports would those be?'

'I want to snow ski and swim in the ocean on the same day.'

'And you can do that here?' I asked, not really believing his answer, thinking he was just being flippantly sparkly in his conversation.

'Yes. There is a minimal ski slope up on Mt. Olympus, no more than a three-quarters hour drive away from here. There's usually enough natural snow this late in the season, but if there isn't, they just make it. It's cold enough up there. And then in just about an hour I can be down at Pissouri Beach from here and swim in the Mediterranean.'

'I don't believe it.' I said, somewhat lamely. There was no reason for me to doubt him really, but I'd been in the country for years and hadn't heard about the skiing. But then the topic would rarely have come up when discussing a mostly-dusty and warm Mediterranean island. The Scandinavians came here to swim on New Years Day.

'I can prove it, if you're game,' Gregor said. 'Come with me tomorrow, and we'll ski in the morning and then go down and swim in the sea in the afternoon.'

An invitation I couldn't refuse. The artists wouldn't miss me for their afternoon session, and I'm sure they'd be as delighted with Gregor as I was if I brought him to the evening celebration.

Gregor was right. We skied in the morning on Mt. Olympus, although the slopes were such that it was more for the novelty of the activity than for the exercise or the downhill racing thrill. And we were down on the somewhat rough-rocked Pissouri Beach shore by noon. We swam for a bit and then lay out on beach towels on the shale side by side and talked of writing and European history and of art while we dried off. We studiously avoided talking of anything intimate, but our Speedos had no chance of hiding from each other our increasing interest one for the other. Gregor was well-muscled, if a little simian, with short, strong legs on a well-proportioned and slightly hirsute torso, and long arms with fine-fingered, sensuous artist's hands.

Acknowledging almost at the same time that we were hungry, we moved up to a seaside open-air café and ordered up swarmas, a luscious pita bread sandwich filled with shaved roasted beef slathered with tahini sauce. The young Greek waiter serving us seemed well-taken with Gregor and he with the waiter, and they flirted unabashedly while we ate. Gregor finished his swarma before I did and excused himself for a few moments. When I finished, I went to what passed for a men's room, which was more a hole in the ground in a section separated off the back of the café and enclosed by lattice work covered with grape vines.

I could see through the latticework as I pissed in the hole, and I spied Gregor knelt in front of the Greek waiter, who was leaning against the back wall of the café. Gregor was giving the waiter deep and rhythmic head, and the waiter was loving it. There was something about the prominent Hapsburg jaw working on a nice, hard cock that was mesmerizing. I knew that at some point in this brief encounter with the prince that I wanted some of that for myself.

The waiter returned to the table several minutes before Gregor reappeared, and the young man was smiling and humming a happy tune to himself, which well he might. I wasn't very surprised Gregor didn't appear first. He gave me plenty of time to receive and pay the bill for lunch; I had gotten the drift of who would pay earlier in the day when I managed to have my wallet out first at every turn of the skiing experience. And, of course, we drove in my BMW convertible. Gregor claimed this was because he'd fallen in love with the car, but I suspected that Gregor had no real transportation of his own. There was no loss on the lunch bill, though. The well-satisfied waiter hadn't charged for Gregor's meal.

That evening in the town square open-air restaurant under the bright stars peeking through the swaying pine trees and the cool breezes coming down from Mt. Olympus in this otherwise frying pan island at the start of summer, the atmosphere was festive and electric. Artists know how to have a good time and how to remain convivial as they sank deeper and deeper into drink. Gregor, who, of course, I brought and who, of course, was instantaneously and enthusiastically adopted by the artists, was particularly convivial with a usually very serious young abstract painter who I'd always thought took himself a bit too seriously.

About midway through the evening, which didn't end until nearly 4 AM, I noted the prolonged absence of both Gregor and the abstract painter, and it didn't take me long to find them in a small grove just steps away from the illumination of the strings of white Christmas tree lights that defined the restaurant perimeter from the stone-lined streets sloping up and down around it at precarious angles.

Gregor was vigorously pumping the abstract painter's cock with his strong jaw, and the painter was bucking wildly against him, at the height of ecstasy, no longer a bit aloof, off on some level of his own in the fireworks of passion. Gregor finished the other young man in a flooding of cum and a stifled cry of release, and I left them there, kissing deeply in the shadows.

This, of course, did not decrease my tension and anticipation as the party broke up and Gregor followed me back up the hill on foot to the towering Forest Park. I didn't question why he was still in step with me and would have gone breathless if he'd made any movement to leave my side. But he didn't; he walked me to the door to my room and thanked me very politely for accompanying him on his daily adventures and especially for bringing him into the circle of my artist friends.

We lingered there, not saying anything, and he turned to leave, not being able to continue the conversation. I was completely choked up. I wanted to ask him to come in, but I'd never pursued a man in my life and had such a strong sense of a code on this not to start now. I felt that this was when I'd start going downhill into over the hill in these male-male relationships. I didn't want to become a pitiful old man begging for it.

I watched in despair as Gregor turned and moved down the corridor. But then, just as I had opened my door and was about to move into the room - probably to be upset with myself for the remainder of the week - he turned and gave me a shy smile.

'Actually, I have no idea where I'm going,' he said. 'I made no arrangements for the night. I'm afraid it's the Hapsburg in me, the family trait of living off the people. Could you possibly . . . ?'

I swung the door open wide and we barely had it closed behind us when we were at each other, devouring each other, our hands and lips racing to discover all they could of the curves and crevices of each other - the points at which a sensuous moan, sigh, or groan could be teased out of the other.

He had my trousers off my legs, and I was experiencing first hand the honor of the Hapsburg jaw wrapped around a cock that had been ready for him, aching for him, since early that afternoon on the beach. That Hapsburg jaw for which dynasty was mocked for generations was a tumultuous love-making vessel for me. I fell back against the wall beside the door as his warm, sensuous, experienced mouth played symphonies of pleasure on my throbbing member and balls.

I came quickly, having dreamed of this all day, and then I pulled him up and turned him belly to the wall, pushed his trousers down, and pulled his dick through the wide stance he had taken with this well-muscled thighs. He groaned, cheek planted against wallpaper, and beat his fists lightly against the wall while I alternated between giving him head on his pulled-thorough cock and wetting and loosening up his puckered hole with my lips and fingers.

When his hole was gaping and he was begging for it, I frog-marched him over to the bed, pushed him down on his back, spread his legs wide, thrust inside him, and fucked him until we were both spent in great shootings of cream.

We then stripped completely, showered and toweled off together, and shared the bed, him now taking me in a slow, languid side split of divine pumping that lasted until the dawn.

We slept soundly - or at least I did. I slept so soundly and satisfied and filled that when I awoke, Gregor was gone and there was no trace of him except for a note written on Forest Park stationery and laid on what a plaque claimed was the very writing desk where Du Maurier had penned her famous novel of romance, lust, and eventual exile. In a few brief, messy, yet masterful strokes, Gregor had written of how enjoyable and memorable the time with me had been. His signature, surely the full name he was given, took up more room than the well-received sentiments he had left me with. And I remember at the time chuckling and wondering if his autograph would ever be worth what I had spent on him.

But, no matter. My prince had come - and come and come - in the most delightful and memorable way.



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