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By MonaCK and Cathy Roberts

Sweat pouring off of his brow, Luka laid in a heap of exhaustion after another marathon night of sex with Mike -- the man he had met on board ship. Since meeting at dinner that night, the two had spent a lot of time together -- both day and night. But still...something was missing. Both knew that they would go their separate ways once the cruise was over -- if for no other reason, they knew it was not a good thing to try to maintain any kind of long distance relationship. While Luka was from Chicago, Mike and his family were from New York. And to even pretend there was enough as far as emotions were concerned to build a relationship from, would have been a foolish thought.

Once again, Luka's thoughts went back to John, and the moments they had shared together. Those were...almost like fire and ice...Luka and John complimented each other very well...and in the short time they had been together, things had grown into a rather nice relationship. And until Dave came back, Luka was quite sure that they were building something that was much more than friendship.

Dave. What was going to happen when they left the ship? Was Dave going to break John's heart again? Luka wasn't sure that John's heart could take it again...but Luka knew one thing...

If Dave hurt him again, Luka wanted to be right there to pick up the pieces.

Luka felt eyes on him, and he turned his head slightly with a small smile to hide the fact that Luka had been thinking of something...or more specifically, someone else while in bed with Mike.

"Thank you for another fun evening," Luka finally said, smiling over to Mike. "I have to say that one day we're going to soak right through the sheets if the sex gets any hotter..."

Mike laughed softly. "Do you think so? We can certainly try it, I guess. Give housekeeping something to talk about besides John and the ship's doctor. Hell, man, I'll bet they can hear those screams on the upper deck, don't you?" Mike asked, amused over someone getting that vocal during sex. Sure, he cried out, even talked a bit, but nothing like those two. He was just glad that Luka didn't have the bedroom right next to John's, or they'd never get any rest.

A smile flickered on Luka's lips as he remembered how John had once been vocal for him. "Yes. I guess they are a bit loud. They've known each other a long time, though...and I guess they've been having a very happy reunion."

Luka didn't want to think about John and Dave being vocal a few rooms over... because the more that he thought about it, the more upset he became. Luka couldn't control his feelings any more then he could control the weather. And the truth was that Luka was more attached to John than even he wanted to admit.

Mike nodded. "You like him, don't you? John, I mean. Not Dave. I saw the way you were looking at him that night at dinner, and the way you look at him in the morning when he's kissing Dave goodbye." It didn't bother Mike that he was most likely being used as an outlet for Luka's sexual frustrations. The man had a great body and a wonderful personality, and the cruise had been far better than Mike had ever dreamt it could be when he signed on for it. "It's okay, Luka. I don't mind talking about it if you want."

A flicker of emotion passed over Luka's eyes as he shifted his gaze from Mike up to the ceiling. "Yes...I...well...we were beginning to develop something...a slow friendship...building to something more. John was honest with me, he told me that he was still in love with Dave, but I thought that we would never see Dave again. We were both very surprised to find Dave on this ship when we came on board. I...well...I just want John to be happy, that's all. And I'm happy for him, if Dave makes him happy."

A slow smile spread back over Luka's lips as he looked back over towards Mike. "And besides, it hasn't been too bad for either of us that John and Dave found each other.. I can't complain about the fun that I've had so far on this trip, and we do have another week to enjoy each other before heading back to our real lives, huh?"

"This is true," Mike said as he leaned over Luka's body. "And I can think of a lot of different ways we can reach that enjoyment, too." Mike said right before he used his tongue to draw lazy circles upon Luka's belly.

"Mmm...yes. Yes we certainly can..."

Luka leaned his head back on the pillow, determined not to worry about it. But, he did set his mind on talking to Dave later that week. He wanted to make sure that Dave's intentions were honorable...and that he wasn't going to hurt John.

And as Mike's tongue continued a gentle assault on his body, soon all thoughts of John went completely out of his head. No. It was not the same as making love to John...but being with Mike was certainly satisfying enough for the time being.


Randi yawned as she rubbed more sunscreen onto Maggie's back. "I tell you, I'm more than thrilled that Carter and Dave are back together, but you'd think that by now they'd run out of steam or something. Their late night love-making sessions are depriving me of some badly needed beauty sleep." The two women were taking advantage of the suite's private balcony by sunbathing in the nude. Of course, stripping off their clothes had led to something else besides lying out, but now that they were both sated, it felt good to lounge around in the sun.

"Oh, please," Maggie said, her voice laced with sarcasm. "You really think that Dave is in this for any more than a bunch of cheap thrills? I'll betcha dollars to doughnuts that by the time they leave this ship, Dave and Carter will be *splitsville* with Dave making up some lame-ass excuse for it. That boy screams no commitment. And Luka...he and that Mike character are also not in it for the long term. Which is fine. Because Luka and Carter *should* be together. The only reason why Luka's with that Mike guy is because of the way that Carter flat left him..."

As Randi finished rubbing the sunscreen on Maggie's back, Maggie took the bottle from her and began to return the favor.

Randi stretched out on the lounge chair, presenting her back to Maggie. "Carter couldn't leave Luka because they were never together, Mags, you know that. If they were a couple, then they wouldn't have been in separate rooms, would they?" Randi didn't know why Maggie was always so down on Dave and insistent on making Luka like the best thing that ever breathed.

"They might not have been officially together...but not because of anything that Luka did. Luka and John were getting closer, and then Dave came back. C'mon. Dave is going to hurt John, we both know that. I know his type. Dave is a player."

Maggie continued to massage in suntan lotion as she spoke and thought about things. Truth was, Maggie didn't know anything about Dave...but her instincts were rarely wrong. There was *something* about the guy that was bothering her.

"And you think Luka isn't? Let's see, he was sniffing pretty heavily around Carol Hathaway, not caring she was pregnant. Then he didn't waste much time taking up with Abby Lockhart, and once *they* broke up, mostly from his side, I might add, or so I heard, he took up with this French bimbo. Luka went from being tall, dark and mysterious to being Mr. Fast cars, fast lines and fast women in a very short time. Doesn't sound to me like a man willing to make a commitment to another man. Hell, until recently, he acted as if he couldn't stand John Carter, and now you've got him madly in love with the man. Get real, Mags, get real." Randi said, adjusting her sunglasses as she rolled over onto her back.

"No, *you* get real, Randi," Maggie said, sitting up in her lounge chair as she looked down towards the other woman. "Dave picked up and left the person he was supposedly in love with, without even as much as a forwarding address, even though Carter was still pining for him. Now, he comes up out of the blue, and he and Carter are all hunky dory, as if they never broke up in the first place. Do you think that Dave's even *talked* about what's going to happen in two days, when this ship goes back into port? You don't think he's gonna break Carter's heart all over again? Please..."

She shook her head, and leaned back down on the chair. Randi could be really silly from time to time.

"I'm sure they've talked about it because Carter's mentioned it to me. Dave's got a few months left on his contract with the cruise line and Carter plans to fly out here whenever he can so they can be together the times when Dave's in port. He knows it will be rough going, but they're both committed to each other and staying in touch during that time. Damn, Maggie, he's *happy*. John Carter is happy and I don't understand why you want to continually shoot him down. You weren't there when he was stabbed and everything that happened after it. You didn't see him merely living from day to day, and then finally coming alive when the two of them took up together. Dave Malucci is the *best* thing that's ever happened to Carter, but you're too stubborn to see that."

Maggie merely shook her head, and was about to say something more when she caught a flash of movement out of the corner of her eye. The suite door had opened, and Luka was walking inside, sweat dripping off of his body as if he had just come from a workout of some kind. A smile crossed over Maggie's lips as she looked over towards Randi.

"Well, regardless as to whether or not we're right or wrong, Luka's gonna get a free show in a minute if he looks towards this balcony," Maggie teased, a glimmer in her eye. "But trust me...I'm telling you...Luka and Carter are *made* for each other."

Maggie grinned. She was unable to let Randi have the last word on the matter.

"Only in your dreams, Margaret Doyle," Randi retorted as she sat up and turned toward the balcony door to see if it really was Luka returning to the suite and not Carter. She wouldn't have put it past Maggie to make a comment like that with Carter in earshot. But, it was Luka, Randi noted with a smile -- and he had spotted them.

"Hey, Luka, why don't you get out of those sweaty clothes and come out here to sun with us?" she called to him through the open door.

Luka's eyes focused towards the voice, but at first he didn't se the girls -- he had only heard them. He began to walk towards the sound, a smile on his lips. But the grin faltered as he caught sight of bare breasts? Were the women sunbathing?

"Hi, Randi...uh...I don't want to disturb the two of you," Luka said, coughing uncomfortably. The fun that the four of them had had more than a week ago was all but forgotten in the sea of activity that they had all experienced while on the ship. But Luka would have had to have been dead to not feel his body responding to the sight of a very naked Randi on the balcony.

"You're not disturbing *us* at all," Randi said, her eyes on his burgeoning erection. She smiled broadly at him. "We're not disturbing you any, are we? If we are, then we can go get our bathing suits and put them on. We wouldn't want to make you uncomfortable or anything."

Luka quickly shook his head, averting his gaze slightly. "No. No you're not making me uncomfortable. I...uh...well...I'm just not used to having such a nice view, that's all," he said as he took a step closer to the balcony.

Maggie smirked back at Luka, shaking her head slightly as well. Poor Luka. He really didn't know what he was in for. Randi could be quite the vixen when she wanted to.

"Is that a fact? Well, maybe we need a nice view of our own out here? Certainly you're not shy about lounging around naked in front of two women, are you, Luka?" Randi asked as she pushed her sunglasses up onto her head and looked him up and down. "I thought you European men were pretty easy going about that sort of thing. Guess that must be a stereotype or something, huh?"

A smile spread over Luka's lips, and he hesitated for only a moment before taking his shirt off over his head. As his hands moved down towards his shorts, he lifted a brow. "Oh, you're right, Randi," he said, as his pants dropped around his ankles. Stepping out of them, he shifted his gaze towards Maggie.

"Are you sure you don't mind?"

"Not at all," Maggie said, smiling approvingly. "I might be gay, but I'm not dead. I can appreciate a fine male body when I see one."

Kicking his pants away from him, Luka stepped out onto the balcony, and then sat down on a chair opposite them. He pointed towards the suntan lotion with a laugh.

"I think there are some parts of me exposed to the sun that have not been exposed for a while. And there are certain parts of me that I don't want burnt."

"Is that a fact?" Randi asked as her eyes went straight to Luka's crotch and his semi-erect cock. "Ah, yes, I see the area you mean." She got to her feet and grabbed the bottle of lotion, then walked over to where he sat, resting on her knees in front of him. "Well, if you'll just spread your legs slightly, we'll do something about keeping you from being burnt by the sun." As she spoke, Randi filled her palm with the sunscreen, and then waited for Luka's permission before touching his body.

Luka raised a brow, and shifted his attention over to Maggie momentarily, who was leaning back in a lounge chair, intent on sitting back and watching the show. Luka only briefly mulled this over -- it wasn't like he was attached to anyone...and he had to admit that he was intrigued with how Randi had been able to satisfy John that first night that they were all together. Parting his legs, he leaned back, and nodded.

"I think it's very important to have good sunscreen coverage...don't you," he quipped, as he looked down towards Randi.

"Extremely important. But, we've first got to make sure that the skin surface is properly prepared to take the sunscreen. We don't want this lovely cock of yours to look like a barber shop pole, now do we?" Randi said as she began to work the sunscreen onto the skin of Luka's scrotum, her eyes still on his face as he considered her offer to give him a blow job.

"Yes...proper preparation is very important," Luka said, his erection building at the sensation of Randi's hand massaging into his testicles. "I think...you should do whatever is appropriate...after all...you are much more used to nude tanning than I am. I wouldn't want to do anything wrong now..."

Oh...he was not going to complain over a nice dose of oral sex.. That had been something that John was very...very good at...and Mike was okay at...and from what he understood, Randi was quite skilled at it as well...at least based on John's reactions to her that night they had all been together.

Randi ran her hand to the base of Luka's cock, then began to slowly stroke it. "Tell me something, Luka," she asked, an evil grin on her face. "When you go down on a woman, you taste her, right?"

Luka raised a brow, a smiling forming on his lips as sexual energy began to run through his body. "It's been a while since I've gone down on a woman, but yes..,I do,..ah..,taste her when I do..."

He wondered where the conversation was heading, because he certainly was enjoying Randi's actions for the moment.

"So, if you'll taste pussy, and you had no problem having Carter swallowing your come, then why don't you? Swallow, I mean." She said, working Luka over with both hands, one on his cock and the other on his balls.

Luka's eyes popped open, and he swallowed hard as he looked down towards Randi. She literally had him by the balls, but that didn't stop Luka from speaking his mind. "I really don't think that is any of your business, Randi," Luka said, his voice strangely calm as he began the task of distracting himself from what she was doing. Yes. It felt good. But even though he did not mind this...sitting outside naked...and having someone play with his most private parts, there were some things he didn't like talking about.

Randi turned and smirked at Maggie. "So much for your theory, my dear."

Luka stood, and crossed his arms over his chest, suddenly embarrassed, as if he had been the victim of a game. "Theory? What do you mean, theory?"

He shifted his eyes from Randi to Maggie, waiting for some kind of an explanation. Because at that moment, he felt only like a fool.

Randi tugged gently on Luka's cock. "Oh, sit back down and relax. God, you men can get worked up over nothing sometimes, can't you?" she asked as she gazed up his long body to his face, noting his scowl and the cute blush on his cheeks. "Come on, Luka, sit down," she cajoled him. "I promise to give you a blow job you'll never forget, but you've gotta sit down for it."

Luka hesitated for only a moment, and then shook his head. "I don't know what you take me for, but a fool is not one of those things, Randi. I don't like being played..."

He moved his hand towards the door, looking in towards the suite before turning back to the woman in question. "I do not appreciate being used, Randi. My emotions are not a game to be toyed with. Now, if you'll excuse me, I would like to take a shower before I meet with Mike tonight..."

And without another backwards glance, Luka made his way back into the suite, stopping only to pick up his clothing before shuffling off to his room to get ready for the evening.

"Damn," Randi muttered as she returned to her lounge chair. "So close, and yet so far away." Luka's cock had felt good in her hands, and she had been looking forward to getting her mouth on him. But, he obviously had other things on his mind. Like Mike. "See there, Maggie? He turned down a first rate blow job for *Mike*. Not for memories of Carter, but for Mike. He doesn't swallow Carter's come, either. Now, tell me again how madly in love he is with the man?"

Maggie sighed, and shook her head. Maybe Randi was right...

"I don't know, Rand. I just don't know. I'm still not sure about Dave...but you know something? If it makes them happy, I guess I don't have any right to judge. Besides," Maggie said, her eyes sparking. "If you *really* wanted to do something with your mouth, I can think of a thing or two," she teased, as she turned towards her lover.


Two more days.

Two more days until things had to go back to the way they were, until John went home, until he had to get used to sleeping alone again. Until he had to try to figure out how they were gonna get through this...

Dave was trying to hurry through his chart reviews...tryin' to get everything done so he could spend as much time with John as humanly possible. He wasn't even sure when the transition had happened...when he had stopped thinking of him as Carter again and as John...just like they were before their horrible breakup.

Dave didn't want that to happen this time. No. He wanted to try to make this work...somehow. Someway.

He didn't hear the knock on the door, which is why he was surprised when he looked up to see the door open, and Luka walk in.

Eyes widening in surprise, Dave got up from his chair to meet the taller man.

"Luka? Everything alright?"

Did something happen to John? That last part was silent, though. First and foremost, he was a doctor on board this ship. And if Luka was down here...man...there had to be something *really* wrong...

Luka shook his head, casting Dave a long glance. He had done a lot of soul searching to get to the point of actually coming downstairs. After leaving the girls on the balcony, feeling like a damned fool, Luka had taken a long shower, and as usual, his thoughts strayed away from Mike...from Randi...from Maggie...and focused on only one person...

John Carter.

He was in love with John Carter. To try to make a pretense of it being anything else would have been foolish. Even though John was with Dave, John was still on his mind. Always.

How serious could it be with Dave, anyway? Luka had thought about coming down to talk to Dave a few times before, but this time the urge was almost overwhelming. And before he could question himself further, Luka found himself making his way down to the medical center.

And now, he was standing before the man.

"Luka? Luka? Hello...Earth to Luka? Are you okay, man?"

Luka shook his head. He must have been lost in his own thoughts for longer than he thought, but he found that now he was in the place where he needed to be, Luka was at a loss for words.

"I...I'm sorry, do you mind if I sit down?" Luka sat down opposite of where Dave had been standing.

Settling himself down, Dave leaned his elbow against his desk trying to figure out why Luka was there.

"I want to know what your intentions are," Luka finally said after another moment's silence. "I...I want to know what is going to happen between you and John when this cruise ends in two days."

Dave eyed Luka curiously. Why the Hell did he wanna know about him and John?

"As I told him," Dave started, choosing his words carefully, "I'm bound to the cruise ship for four more months...and then I'm comin' home to Chicago...not that it's your business anyway."

"Not my business? Not my business? Do you realize...do you realize that before you came along...before you showed back up in his life...he was with *me*? That *we* were planning on spending the cruise together? Sure, he told me he was still in love with you...and we were taking it slow, but now,,you're here..,and all you're going to do is break his heart all over again..."

"Whoa. Where do you get the idea that I'm gonna break his heart? Did it occur to you that I *love* him?"

Dave wasn't even sure why he was doin' this - arguing with Luka -- other than try to put to rest any rumors that he was in this for anything other than love. After all, John was the guy that he had remained celibate for.

"If you loved him so much, Dave," Luka stated as he stood and began to pace the room, "If you really loved him...you never would have left him in the first place. You didn't have to deal with him moping around for the months you were gone, pining for you even though you weren't coming back. Do you realize...do you realize that John was on his way to being happy again until you came back into his life? Sure, he says he's happy now...but you're *not* going to be there...if you really wanted to...you could get out of this so-called contract..."

By this point, Luka had had enough, and he felt that he had gotten his point across, so he began to move towards the door.

"You could get out of it," he repeated. "And we both know it..."

Dave, for the first time in a long time, was rendered speechless. And as Luka left the room, he swallowed hard. The truth was...he *couldn't* get out of his contract...for one simple reason.

He didn't wanna quit. Dave didn't want to look like a quitter in anyone's eyes, not ever again. It was bad enough gettin' fired from County, but he *had* to stick this out. Besides John coming back into his life, this job was the best thing that had happened in a long while.

But the fact remained, now he had to worry about the fact that Luka was pining for John on top of everything else. And as Dave thought about it some more, the more it made sense for John to be with Luka. Luka could make him happy. Maybe Dave never could. Maybe Dave was destined to work on this cruise ship forever...

And as Dave sat with his head in his hands at his desk, he sighed. There was entirely too much to think about. And the more that the thoughts built up in his brain, the more frightened that he got.

He was gonna lose John.


And there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it.

To be continued
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