They planned to honeymoon in Cancun, but after careful research, Mark found an all-inclusive resort down the coast in a little town called Puerto Aventuras. The resort was named Barcelo Maya Palace, which Mark thought was fitting for a prince and his new princess.
They didn’t disclose their titles when reserving a suite. But checking into the resort required presenting identification. He’d hoped to remain anonymous for a few days to be alone with his bride but cringed when he reluctantly handed over his passport and diplomatic identification.
The desk clerk’s eyes grew large as she examined the card and started typing his information into the computer.
Mark leaned closer and insisted in a firm tone that she not mention his title in her reference. “Por favor no incluya mi titulo en tu notas. Senor sera suficiente.”
“Si, Your High—uh, Senor.” She handed him back his identification.
“Gracious,” Mark thanked her.
“Senora?” the clerk nodded to Lyla.
“Si, Gracious,” Mark said.
“El conserje lo acompanara a su suite.” She handed their key to the concierge and nodded regally.
Mark held his arm to escort Lyla to their room and slipped a hundred-dollar bill into the young man’s hand after he carried in their luggage.
The door barely closed behind the concierge and Mark pulled Lyla into his arms hungrily, ready to pick up where they’d left off in New York City. Or more accurately where they’d left off in the private suite to the rear of the jet they’d chartered from New York to Cozumel.
Now that he knew what he’d been missing all these years, he had no desire to do anything that didn’t involve kissing his wife.
They eventually ventured down to one of the six restaurants at the resort, and took several walks on the sandy, white beaches but mostly stayed in their suite and ordered room service.
On the fifth day after arriving at the resort, Mark’s cell phone rang. He rarely received phone calls unless there was an emergency or diplomacy assignment. He wasn’t keen on either of those circumstances but was pleased to see Nicholas Cohen’s name on the caller ID.
“Nick!” Mark answered with enthusiasm. “How’s married life treating you?”
“I could ask you the same thing, Your Highness,” Nick said. “I understand congratulations are in order.”
“Married life is heaven, if that’s what you’re asking.” Mark traced his fingers along Lyla’s spine, loving the graceful way her body was sprawled on the bed at his side. “I’m assuming that’s why you called.”
“I called to inform you that I’m thoroughly offended you didn’t invite me to your wedding considering you were my best man a mere three weeks prior.” Nick chuckled on the other end of the line. “Is it true you met her the night I got married? My younger brother regaled me with the tale when I called to check in.”
“Your younger brother tells stories,” Mark said. “And to my great pleasure I will confirm that they are all true. And it would have been easier to invite you to my wedding had you not been on your honeymoon.”
“Would you agree”—Nick lowered his voice in conspiracy— “That marriage is by far the best experience earthly possible?”
“Wholeheartedly,” Mark said. “Why on earth did we wait so long?”
“I have no excuse save my own idiocy,” Nick said. “But you hadn’t met your bride yet. Tell me her name. Jacob couldn’t remember.”
“Princess Lyla of Madain Saleh,” Mark said regally. “Formerly of the Donovan family in the kingdom of New York, which I have learned is in the northern American continent.”
“I would like to meet this princess of yours,” Nick said. “Would the two of you be available for dinner this evening?”
“Not unless you want to fly to Cancun.” Mark chuckled.
“I’d much rather take the ferry from Cozumel,” Nick said. “Considering Adele and I are standing on the deck awaiting our departure.”
“What are you doing on Cozumel?” Mark sat up in bed, pulling the sheets with him by mistake and becoming momentarily distracted when the sheets slid off his wife’s lower backside. He wondered if his hunger for her would ever be fully satiated. He reluctantly lifted the sheet over her sleeping form, recognizing her need for rest.
“We’ve been honeymooning here for a month,” Nick said. “But alas, our time on the island has concluded and our trunks are now aboard this ferry and will be transported to our new suite, which, coincidentally, is one floor down from yours.”
“You’re coming to Puerto Aventuras? Today?”
“We will be there in less than two hours,” Nick said.
“I’m not getting out of bed that soon, so you’ll have to wait to see us until the dinner hour,” Mark said.
“Understandable,” Nick said. “I’m sure we’ll need a siesta between now and then as well.”
“Nick!” Adele was in the background chastising her new husband.
“Feel free to call me when you’ve awoken from your… nap,” Mark said, “And we’ll arrange to meet you downstairs. There is a fabulous French restaurant here at the resort, which is ironic considering we’re in Mexico.”
“I do love good French cuisine,” Nick said. “Anyway, the boat is preparing to depart, and my wife is eyeing me with disdain for sharing private details about our plans for the afternoon. Ow! Quit smacking my arm. Turn around is fair play, you know.”
Adele was giggling and laughing loud enough for Mark to hear her through the phone, and he could imagine the tickle war Adele had instigated.
“I’m going to hang up now, Nicholas. Call me later.”
“Goodbye Your Highness.” Nick had laughter in his voice as the line went dead.
“Who’s on the phone?” Lyla slurred through a sleepy yawn, barely lifting her head.
“Nick and his wife are on their way from Cozumel and will be joining us for dinner,” Mark said. “Wanna take a bubble bath with me in the Jacuzzi tub?”
“Umm hmm,” she barely responded. “But sleep first.”
“I could use a few moments of sleep, myself,” Mark said.
Lyla rolled over into his arms and snuggled close. Resting her head in the crook of his arm, she mumbled, “I love you, Marcos.”
That was the first time she’d vocalized her feelings for him. He’d mentioned on the day he’d proposed that love grows over time and no truer words could be spoken. “I love you too, my princess.”