Buckingham Palace, it's origin dates as far back to the year 1705 when it was conceived as a town house for the Duke of Buckingham. Over the years, other British monarchs took to this royal residence and in the nineteenth century, it was expanded to become what would be seen today by the eyes of the people. In 1837 upon the ascension of Queen Victoria, it became the official royal palace of the British monarchy.
Many of the peoples in other nations are unaware that there are special times throughout the year that the public is allowed access for very special tours to give people a glimpse of the grand estate of perhaps the world's most powerful family. Only a handful of rooms are on this tour, but it never the less allows those lucky enough to be on this tour a once in a lifetime glimpse into the world of the British aristocracy.
"And we're really
going to go inside?"
Despayre was standing at the gates before the royal palace, his hands wrapped tightly around the bars to the point his knuckles were white. His face was firmly set between the bars and his gray eyes gazed at this grand sight before him with unabashed excitement. He turned his head and looked back to Synn who was standing stoically, as if the prospect of seeing such a thing was vastly unimportant to him. The same chilly breeze that whipped Despayre's long hair around, caused Synn's long jacket to waft faintly as he tucked his hands inside of the coat pockets.
"Yes, Joshua." Synn replied. "We won't get to see a lot, mind you, but what we will be allowed to see will be a privilege all to itself."
"That's fine!" Despayre turned back away from the rest and stared intensely at the Palace, his plush buddy Angel tucked snugly inside of his own jacket to be shielded from the winds. The weather forecast had called for a chance of rain and the chill air combined with that, made Despayre wary about the chances Angel might get sick.
(Teddy bears make the worst patients you know!)
The rest of the Seven Deadly Sins stable were also a part of this tour, standing at the forefront of the crowd gathered, a blend of the people of London, as well as tourists from across the globe. As Shane was emerged in a discussion with Gabriel and Rage, Fantasia stepped forward and tapped her forefinger along Synn's arm to draw his attention away from Despayre.
"He's pretty excited about this, isn't he?" She asked with a smile to her tones that matched the one on her lips.
"He is." Synn nodded, a look of pride in his eyes that anyone could see, but few might understand. "Ever since you showed him that movie 'The Queen', Joshua's been fascinated by the woman. A couple of years ago when we worked for the AWA, we were here in London."
Fantasia nodded, "I remember. He wanted so badly to come to the Palace and see the inside."
"Yes," Synn concurred. "It broke his heart when I had to tell him they weren't giving tours at the time. Took a lot of time to console him and promise him we'd try another time if we were ever in London again."
"So how'd you arrange it this time?" Fantasia smirked. "Call ahead and work with the Royal family to get us the tour scheduled?"
Synn cast a smarmy look over his shoulder at the petite fireball of a redhead and arched a single brow. "I'm good, Fantasia, but even I'm not that
good." he turned back to watch as Despayre had pulled out a souvenir map of the Palace interior and held it before him so Angel could see it too. Synn continued, "I simply lucked out. I did a little web searching for the tours when this show was first announced. It just so happened one was set for today..."
"And that is why you insisted we arrive in London over a week early?" Fantasia finished with a smile, understanding. She shook her head and laughed gently. "You are spoiling this boy rotten, you know that?"
"Ah well, I wouldn't be Synn if I did otherwise." Was all Synn could say to answer her 'charge' against him.
This was when Despayre finally broke away from his claimed front spot at the head of the line at the gates and approached them with the map held out. He looked up at Synn and asked with enthusiasm, "Angel said we might meet the Queen! Is that true?"
"Oh Despy," Fantasia started to say. She knew all too well how important it was for tourists to get to at least see a glimpse
of Queen Elizabeth, but to meet her? "I don't know."
Despayre's eyes fell to Synn who added, "She is a very busy woman, Joshua. I suppose anything is possible, but I have to admit it's doubtful. She has so much to keep her occupied. You understand, don't you?"
Despayre frowned as he attempted to contemplate the logic. A sigh escaped his lips gently as he shrugged his small shoulders, and he said, "I guess. Angel said it was a long shot anyway." He then turned to one of the palace guards and the others' heads turned to watch as Despayre hopped over to the one guard standing stoically at his post inside of the fence, and Despayre asked, "Do you think we'll get to meet the Queen?"
He stood and waited for a response, but none was forthcoming. the guard stood straight and stared ahead, his eyes unwavering and body not moving.
"Hel-LO!" Despayre called, waving a hand in front of the guard's face, drawing other stares and amused reactions from the small tour crowd. Despayre glanced back at his buddies in the Sins and quirked his head to the side. "Boy this guy is so rude!"
"He's not going to respond, Despy." Fantasia called gently. "He's not allowed."
Despayre turned to look at her and frowned, "How come?"
Synn answered, "It's tradition. They have to focus on their duties to the Royal Family, and nothing else. Nobody can make them act otherwise."
"Nobody, huh?" Despayre turned and looked at the guard inside of the gates. he then turned and started to approach.
Gabriel approached from behind and had a smile on his face that could only tell a person he knew something fun was about to happen. He whispered to Synn, "Oh this ought to be good."
Despayre stood just inches away from the guard inside of the gates and pulled Angel out of his jacket. He held the teddy bear up so that Angel's little black eyes were 'eye level' with that of the guards. He wiggled Angel in the air in front of the guard... "Hellloooooooooo! ... Beware the stare!"
Shane and Rage stepped closer to watch and enjoy the tourist spectacle as several others in the tour group started to watch with unabashed curiosity and amusement as Despayre continued to hold Angel up in front of the guard and he started moving his body left and right as he started to sing without shame at the top of his lungs...
"If you go down to the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic."
Despayre pulled Angel down and looked closely at the guard who did not respond at all to the display performed for him. He blinked at the guard, then held Angel back up and continued his little performance,
"Picnic time for teddy bears,
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.
See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout,
They never have any cares.
At six o'clock their mummies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they're tired little teddy bears. "
By now some in the crowd started to clap their hands along to the performance which just seemed to egg Despayre on. Even Shane and Fantasia joined in as Synn, Gabriel and Rage just watched as Despayre started to dance around the front of the guard, singing with enthusiasm...
"Every teddy bear, that's been good
Is sure of a treat today
There's lots of wonderful things to eat
And wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees, where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
'Cause that's the way the teddy bears have their picnic"
Despayre called an end to his song and performance and the tourist crowd, including all of the Sins, applauded and this snapped Despayre out of his reverence and he realized what he just did in front of a very large crowd of strangers. His cheeks flushed a scarlet red of self-induced embarrassment and he quickly ducked behind Synn's much larger frame to shield himself from the eyes of the onlookers as the applause slowly died down.
Gabriel leaned over at the waist and asked, "Did it work?"
From behind Synn, a muffled voice responded, "No! This guy's good!"
"Oh Casey, what can be said that hasn't been said a multitude of times already? Would 'so we meet again' be too cliche' to befit this special occasion? Well, I can at least admit that I am not disappointed at this golden opportunity for Despayre and Gabriel to face you once again, because it is just that; a golden opportunity. The hallowed chance to dethrone the SCW Tag Team Champions in international territory could bring much heralded acclaim to the tag team division, and to Sinful Obsession in particular. And knowing me from our shared history from the AWA, clear to SCW, you know how much I enjoy those in my care to be renowned with such fame."
"You are, after all, the biggest man in this match. So you will understand when that makes you the logical target for attack. It's nothing personal, just business. or, if I must be honest... glory. I have never shied away from telling anyone whom might pay attention that I seek the renowned with all my heart, both for myself as well as the members of my family. Nothing would please me more, than to have Gabriel and Despayre realize their goal, and walk away once again as champions together as a pairing. No team in the SCW has the common denominator that they have shared between them. No team here has such a bond. They've become more than friends, more than reliable partners. They're now family, bonded as brothers. Neither you and Jordan, nor the Aristocrats can say the same. It's a bond that can't be defended against. What each wants, the other attains. And that gold you hold so dear is their innermost desires for this very night that swiftly approaches."
"I imagine this match could be viewed by you as a chance at the proverbial 'double your pleasure' entendre. Hm? Not only do you have the chance to retain your titles in London against two of the top tag teams in the business, but you see on the horizon the chance for you to get that first ever elusive win in the record books against a team you just have never been able to put down in defeat. A shame, really that it's come to this. You see Casey, back in the AWA when our history started, the flames between our sides were fanned by the intensity of the ill will harbored. I remember that first match when you did everything you could to hurt Despayre and you ended up disqualified in doing so. As they say, water under the bridge -- and yet here we are again. Different outlooks, yet the same goals. Victory. You crave it, and you have succeeded. Sin City Wrestling Tag Team Champion, and you did so credibly. So to you I offer my congratulations, as well as my sympathies."
"After all, I know every champion wants to live on in the annals of history for as long as they can. But that one moment always arrives when the champion is a former champion, and in London, that moment has arrived for you. It is predestined, Casey. It's fate. You will return to Las Vegas as a former champion. Your attitude against us may have changed, who knows -- but the end result will always be the same. Defeat. I will accept nothing less."
There were different queues to get into from the very start of the tour to go on different aspects at different times. The members of the stable decided together that they would begin the tour with the Queen's Gallery, and end with the gardens. Being at the front of the line offered Synn and his 'family' the chance to see everything first, and no in-fighting would be permitted from the masses to push ahead from their place. Order was demanded at all times and even Synn knew better than to press his luck.
The Queen's Gallery itself was a prominent display of some of the many priceless items in the Royal Family Collection. This year there was even a heightened interest at this particular stop of the tour, as the wedding gown of the newest member of the Royal Family, Kate Middleton, would be on display.
"Woopty fucking doo." Rage murmured as they stepped through the ornate door frame and into the first step of their tour. "A wedding dress that probably shouldn't even have been white in the first place."
"Shh!" Fantasia scolded, despite the fact Rage's words rang true to her ears and amusing toward her sense of humor, as she tried very hard to keep a straight face as the tour guide spoke aloud toward those who would listen. Many in the large group listened attentively, but others (the Sins included), opted to go about the gallery and look to their leisure while listening only when it best suited them.
"Don't get any ideas." Synn whispered with an undertone of amusement as he approached Gabriel who was looking at a glass case with a dazzling diamond studded tiara adorned with rubies. "These people would skin you alive if you ever even thought about it."
Gabriel cast a glance over his shoulder and winked, "Would I do a thing like that?"
"Yes." Synn said simply. "And as amusing as the thought might be, I'd rather not have to bail you out of some European jail. Best we remove temptation." and he gripped Gabriel by the shoulder and steered him away from the display of the royal jewels.
Various paintings of grand design and detail lined the walls in their golden and ivory frames, each sculpted with enviable skill by masters of their craft. Among the great works was "Enoch, Philip and Annie In the Cave" ... "Pandora" ... "The Ride of the Valkyries" and "Titania" among many others.
Rage's attention fell to the collection of royal weaponry, among them being pistols and maces.
Despy was busy studying a display of a Man's Silver Flask, and piped up, "I bet Shane would like one of those for his birthday, huh Angel? Yeah I think so too! I dunno. The gift shop perhaps?"
Other valued treasures on display in cases were cheroot cases, meerschaum pipes and a classic English gift set, coin purses and chatelaines, a silver baby rattle fashioned in the shape of a joker, yads and torah pointers, a helmet clock and most promising, a beautiful collection of gold and cobalt demitasse cups.
Fantasia was looking on at Kate's bridal gown with obvious pleasure and she sighed in a relaxed state of mind as she said, "What I wouldn't give to try that on."
Shane slid up behind her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders and whispered, "I don't know babe. I think your body might reject a white dress."
"This name means something. History. High esteem. Glory. I know of few others who have risen to the level of competition that this man has. One of the best, if not the best professional wrestlers in the game today. I personally was thrilled when you came out of your inactive status to help raise Sin City Wrestling to an all-new level. I admit I had you pegged as a future Heavyweight Champion, and who knows? You may still prove me right. But this time, for now, it's the tag team division, and as per usual, we find you at your usual spot. Right on top as the proven best."
"Until 'London Brawling' that is. You see, this will mark a bit of history as being the first time that either Gabriel or Despayre have set foot inside of the ring with you. It is a privilege for them both, and it will prove a learning experience, I am sure. For all parties involved. They will learn from your vast years of successful experiences, and from them you will learn a little lesson in humility. You see, I've watched you for a long time Jordan. from your time in the IWA through the EFWO and right where you are now. I was there, if you recall, in the EFWO at the exact same time that you were. I've watched you because I have a good many years of experience of my own inside of the ring. Perhaps a few short to match your own, but you'd be a fool to think I don't have enough to share with Sinful Obsession to make them a credible threat against your reign at the top of the hill."
"Study. Do your homework. Despayre and Gabriel are one of the few credible teams employed by Sin City Wrestling. They've been together for a few years now. That experience will be of great value, and it is experience you do not share with Casey Williams. You can not read your partner as they do with one another. You can't predict what the other needs or is going to do so you can react accordingly. Gabriel and Despayre, however, can. And they are not without their own merits, Jordan, as I'm sure you're well aware."
"Gabriel -- undefeated AWA World Television Champion. Despayre -- undefeated AWA International Champion. Sinful Obsession -- undefeated AWA World Tag Team Champions. Gabriel -- the first ever Sin City Wrestling Heavyweight Champion, and we all know the circumstances of that championship loss! Are you beginning to see a pattern here, Jordan? Are you starting to wonder just why they have the stellar records that they do? Well, just it back and wait my friend."
"When the time comes, all will be made clear."
"Oh now this is what I'm talking about!"
Rage said aloud with approval as the tour entered the Royal Mews and they laid eyes on the various vehicles and horse drawn carriages used for state purposes by the Royal Family. Shane looked at Rage with a quirked brow and shook his head.
He asked, "Since when are you interested in old cars?"
Rage replied, "Bitch, please! There's a shit load you don't know about me!"
"Yeah," Shane replied, "Like how you've made it to the end of the tour without getting a piece of ass."
Rage turned and glared daggers at Shane who walked on with Fantasia on his arm, oblivious to the seething cauldron threatening to boil over. He turned back and started browsing around the variety of pony carriages, a Glass Coach, a Gold Stage Coach, a 1902 State Landau, and the collections of Phaetons and Victorias.
There was so much to please the tourist eye when Despayre approached the tour guide and raised his hand as if asking for permission to speak, "Excuse me, but where are the horses? I see the carriages but where are the horses that pull `em?"
The tour guide smiled her best and said, "I'm afraid the horses are in the stables. We won't be seeing them today so we might..."
"Boring!" Despayre called out and spun around to rejoin his friends in the Sins as the tour guide blinked.
The tour had went through the state rooms where the Royal Family had entertained world figures over the years, and now was on it's last stop, the 42 acre gardens of the Queen's. It was a virtual oasis of flora and wildlife, where the tourists were able to walk along the path and enjoy everything to please not only the eyes but the scents as well. One might even see the large 19th-century lake which is graced by a flock of flamingoes, the Waterloo Vase, a helicopter pad, and a tennis court.
Shane came up behind Fantasia and reached around to present her with a freshly picked lilac. She looked at it and blinked back at her man with surprise, before hissing between her teeth, "Shane, you twat! Did you just pick that out of the Queen's personal gardens!?"
"C'mon, what's the big deal?" Shane shrugged, shaking the flower in front of her to coerce her into taking it. "When's the last time I bought flowers?"
Fantasia just looked around to see if anyone saw, then looked back up at him and leaned in to answer, "Whenever you think it's going to get you some, and it always works so..." She looked back at the flower and the understanding dawned upon her and she graciously accepted it, saying, "You won't be able to walk right tomorrow sweet cheeks for getting me a flower from this
Shane turned and said, "I'm counting on it."
Synn looked up from inspecting the Napolean Vase and said, "Joshua, are you enjoying... Joshua?"
The questioning tone of the words called the attentions of Gabriel, Rage, Shane and Fantasia to look up and about, but Joshua, aka Despayre, was nowhere to be found.
Despayre walked down the long hallway of the ornately decorated wing of the Palace, his head leaned back and taking in every single richly decorated sight that was before him...
"Now I don't want the Aristocrats to think I went and forgot about them. Oh no, how could I? After all, since our first meeting in the ring, haven't we become the very best of friends? Hm? no? Yeah, somehow I'm not surprised. What does surprise me is it's not you who are opposite the ring from us and that third team, wearing the championship gold."
"As much as it galls me to admit it, if ever there was another team destined to be champions -- other than Sinful Obsession -- it would be the Aristocrats. Chett "Hangman" Hawkins and "Big" Steve Scanlon are a formidable combination of men and styles blended to be a threat to anyone they find themselves up against, and yes, that includes Gabriel and Despayre. When our two teams met, you gave my men a fight that I am reluctant to admit I did not see coming. You fought them to the bitter end, and for the Aristocrats, the end was indeed bitter. For you see, as hard as you fought, in the end, it just wasn't hard enough. After all, who was it that won that match? I do believe it was Sinful Obsession."
"And that was in a standard tag team match, with nothing on the line save for pride. Now try to imagine it gentlemen. If that was the end result with nothing up for grabs, just try to imagine what these two are capable of when championship gold is on the line. Gabriel is, after all, the Sin of Greed. he will settle for nothing short of adding more glory to his already swollen resume', and Despayre just wants to succeed when others believe he might fail. He demands to prove himself with his best friend at his side. Winning the SCW Tag Team title was written in the diaries of the Fates themselves from the moment they signed their contracts. All it would take was a bit of time."
"Despayre is patient. He waited while Gabriel took his rightful spit as King of the Mountain, knowing this time would eventually come. Despayre has become anxious ... hungry. He is a predator and come bell time, he will be unleashed."
"Gabriel and Despayre have waited long enough for their crowning moment gentlemen. The wait is now over."
"Excuse me." Despayre said timidly as he held Angel close to his body and approached an elderly gentleman in a suit and tie. "I think
I'm lost. Is the Queen on this part of the tour?"
The man looked up from the table he was signing a paper on and blinked from behind his glasses. He looked toward his left, then right, then focused on Despayre.
"I'd say you were lost young man." The elderly man said in a thick British accent. "The main tour should be in the garden by now."
"I know, that's where I was." Despayre tried to explain. "I was with my friends when I thought I saw the Queen coming inside and I wanted to say hi and introduce us, but I think I took a wrong turn and... " He looked down sheepishly and whispered despite himself, "<span style=\'font-size:9pt;line-height:100%\'>I'm sorry.</span>"
The older man looked at Despayre with a critical eye. He had served as a member of the staff of Buckingham palace for over thirty years and his was a well trained eye for any signs of trouble, and although he saw there was a unique nature to this young man before him, he could read nothing that should involve the calling of the palace security.
A door opened and a regally intoned voice spoke, "Is everything alright Harold?"
Despayre turned to see who had stepped out of the next room and spoken, and he froze. The lady was elderly with short, white hair, glasses on the demure nose and clad in a tasteful business dress. Despite her advanced years, her eyes shone with wisdom and her stature told she was one to be respected. Despayre was looking at Queen Elizabeth herself!
"No mum." Harold addressed the Queen with a respectful nod. "I was just chatting with this pleasant young lad. Seems he accidentally separated himself from the tour group and was trying to find his friends. I thought it best if I looked them up for him. Save a bit of time and headache."
"Yes, quite." Queen Elizabeth agreed and she turned and looked the young wrestler over who was by now doing everything to avoid eye contact with the world's most powerful woman, aside from standing behind the suit of armor he was next to. The Queen as well was a marvelous judge of character with her years of experience in her office, and she too could see the innocent nature of Despayre.
Just as her attendant of so many years was about to step up to Despayre to escort him away, she raised her hand to stall him. "It is almost tea time. Perhaps you would be so kind as to bring have Mary fetch it if our young man here would care to wait?"
"Certainly mum." He looked to Despayre and asked, "Might I ask what your friends look like so I will know them?"
Despayre paused, thinking. He said nothing at first and frowned for just the smallest of moments before he finally spoke up, "Tall. One is bald and looks really mean. One is a pretty redhead."
Harold smiled and gave a nod before he turned to carry out his duties. Two other men stood nearby in the Queen's private office, watching and aware. Innocent or not, their duty was the protection of the Royal Family and were keeping a close eye on Despayre.
The Queen held her hand out toward the open door where the men were and she inclined her head, "Would you join me?"
Despayre glanced up to see where she was indicating and he slowly took a single step forward and then followed her into the room, where one guard remained outside, the other retained his station behind the closed door.
"Please, have a seat." Queen Elizabeth said, motioning toward a small sofa in her study. Despayre looked at it, then at her. She shook her head slightly to ask, "Would you rather stand?"
"No." Despayre said meekly. "But it's ladies first."
This brought a genuine soft smile to the Queen's face as she nodded and walked around to the other side of the sofa and had a seat. As Despayre followed suit, taking a spot on the other side, she remarked, "I see somebody raised you properly."
Despayre looked down at the teddy bear held closely against him and shrugged.
"What is your name?"
"Despayre?" The Queen frowned. "Is that your real name?"
Despayre shook his head, "No. It's my wrestling name."
"I see." The monarch said in observance." "What is your real
This time Despayre lifted his eyes to look at her and his face flushed a charming pink as he answered her, "Joshua."
"Joshua." The Queen repeated, leaning back against the sofa with her hands in her lap. "I do like that name. Very dignified."
This compliment from such a woman made Despayre sit up just a little bit straighter.
Synn is standing with the others, each one bearing a worried expression as Synn spoke to a man in a business suit. Synn held his hand at chest level, palm down, and said, "He's about this high, with really long, black hair. Half of his head is shaved... Don't look at me like that. He really
looks like this."
Shane added, "And he'll be carrying a teddy bear."
Gabriel looked at Fantasia and asked, "Why does he keep looking at us like that?" to which Fantasia shrugged.
"A teddy bear you say?" The voice drew their attention behind them and they saw the older man wearing a smile approach them. "Would you be the friends of Joshua?"
Synn was the first to answer, quickly approaching Harold. "Yes! Is he alright? What happened? is he...?"
Harold held a hand up and said, "The young man is quite alright. He got a little lost, took a wrong turn or something such. He's quite fine and having a bit of tea while I searched for you. Come with me."
Harold turned and headed up the path and the Sins had little else options but to follow.
Queen Elizabeth was now seated next to Despayre, both with cups and saucers in hand as they carried on a conversation.
The Queen said, "Such a shame the state this world is in." She shook her head as she took a sip from her cup.
Despayre followed suit and agreed, "It is. it really is. You know what else is a shame?"
"When you sit down and your thighs squish out to twice their normal size. That's a shame."
The Queen paused a moment, baffled by this as she took a moment to contemplate his statement. Then she nodded and sipped at her tea when there was a knock at the door.
"Yes?" She called out and the security in the room reached over and opened the door. Harold leaned in and smiled,
"Ma'am," He said. "We've found Joshua's friends. Shall I show them in?"
"Yes, please." She answered, standing up. Watching for a second, Despayre did the same as the door opened wider and Harold stood inside and the Sins promptly walked in, with Synn at the helm.
"Joshua!" He scolded. "Why did you wander off like...?" And he froze immediately when he saw who else was in the room. All of them did so. Fantasia's eyes went wide and she gripped Shane's arm tightly. Rage muttered, "Holy sh..." before Shane wrapped an arm around his head an clamped a hand over his mouth. The two Brits in the group, Shane and Gabriel, held the most reverence of them all as they each found themselves long enough to place their hand on their heart and bowed humbly at the waist. Humbly being the operative term. Both Gabriel and Shane were indeed humbled by the sight of the Queen of England.
"Joshua..." Synn managed to say. "Are you actually having tea with the Queen of England???"
Despayre lowered his cup from his lips and blinked, looking at each in turn before asking, "Doesn't everybody?"
Shane looked at Gabriel and flopped his arms at his side, repeating, "Doesn't everybody!"
"Mother..." The door opened wider and the experience was compounded when in walked Prince Charles and Camilla. "I am told we have visitors?"
"Uh oh..." Despayre whispered. "It's the social climbing shrew!"
"Joshua!" Synn scolded at the same exact time Shane and Gabriel reprimanded, "Despy!"
Queen Elizabeth turned her head and said simply, "Joshua. We do not
speak of the Duchess in such a manner."
Despayre looked back and forth between them before he said, "Why not? You did."
The Ashburn Hotel
The door of the hotel lobby was opened by the doorman and the members of the Seven Deadly Sins walked in, their conversation excited and loud.
"I still can't believe it!" Shane said with a wide smile on his face. "I always thought Despy was capable of anything ... but dude!" he clapped Despayre on the back, almost sending the much smaller man tumbling forward. "You and the Queen herself!?"
"It's no big deal." Despayre reasoned with a smile, bringing the smiles to each of the others in turn.
"No big deal he says." Synn mimics. "The man has tea with the most powerful woman in the world, and he says no big deal."
A hotel clerk approached the group, and spoke specifically to Synn, "Pardon me, sir?"
"Yes?" Synn said, glancing over toward him and frowning at the disruption of their conversation.
"A woman in the waiting area." The clerk said. "Said she's waiting to see you? She says she knows you."
Rage asked, "Who the hell would that be?"
Synn shrugged as he turned to head for the waiting area of the lobby with the others in tow, "Most likely one of those comely lasses Ward or Underwood use to interview us. They told me they scheduled us something and..."
!" Despayre suddenly cried out from out of nowhere and he tore past the others.
The heads of Synn, Gabriel, Rage, Shane and Fantasia whipped around to spy Despayre jumping into the waiting arms of a woman across the lobby. Gabriel turned his head quickly to look at Synn whose color had drained completely from his features. Gabriel looked back to watch as Despayre embraced the woman with heartfelt enthusiasm and he could find only one thing to say to fit the situation...