1 in 45,000,000; looking at it Laurence thought he stood more of a chance of dying than this miracle happening to Him. For 26 years he carried this dream with him, like the prayer of faith David carried buried safely in his heart before he stood against the mighty Goliath.
Laurence La’ Forte had lost thousands of pounds, countless friendships, and still believed that even with Odds of 1 in 45,00,000; it could be him.
He survived child abuse, rape, an horrific marriage, a cheating partner, sexual harassment, racial abuse, 3 attempted suicides, being robbed, lied to, wrongfully accused, blackmailed, losing his Mother, Brother & Uncle to Cancer and having his heart broken more times than he could remember; still with the odds of 1 in 45,00,000; Laurence the optimistic and hopeless romantic, believed it could be him.
Wave after wave kept lashing against the shore of Loch near Laurence’s little One Bedroom Apartment located in the small village of Tarn on the Southern coast of the Scottish Isles. Laurence moved here 5 years ago to heal and leave the pain of all his past troubles behind in Birmingham, England which had been his home since moving to the United Kingdom at 15 in 1996 from Jamaica in the culturally forward and religiously backward Caribbean Islands.
Populated with 1000 residents mostly retirees; Tarn was one of the few villages in Scotland that fought to maintain its own identity as opposed to being developed with a leisure centre, branded stores like Tesco or Lidl for shopping. The village didn’t even have a local butchers, just 2 general stores, a garage, 3 cafés, a village hall and a golf course.
Laurence was not expecting to find love here or anywhere for that matter, he’d given up on this and any other notions of happiness, all he begged God for everyday was to win the Lottery and be able to afford himself a comfortable lifestyle while helping others. Little did he know that God, faith and the Universe were conspiring to give him more than he could ever dream of.
3,700 miles away in the cosmopolitan City of Oman in Jordan, Prince Amine Abdullah Hansarie, 28 years old and 5th in line to the Jordanian Throne was getting ready to play Polo with his friend and Tutor Layth Turner-Bren, a 30 year old heir to one of America’s uber-rich property dynasties, the Turner-Bren Property Consortium.
Both men were born on 10th November, and for their respective 20th birthday each had a Family Trust that turned them into multi-millionaires worth more than 180 million dollars.
Amine however carried a secret, one he did very, very well to cover from his family and even his best friend Layth. At times Amine felt he could trust Layth with this secret, and then something would happen, and it would assure him to keep it to himself; as if anyone else knew in Jordan, the scandal would be too great for his family, and the country. And the last thing Amine wanted was to hurt those he loved. Amine was gay, and in Jordan this meant the chances of him being happy there were non-existent.
Amine knew what he needed to do, he deserved to be happy like everyone else, there was no choice in the matter. Polo finished and as he was getting ready with Layth, he tried to figure out how to get some alone-time that evening.
“Are you heading to the American Ambassador’s Ball this evening Layth?” Amine enquired; “ yeah, and I was told you are to attend as well, as your father has arranged suitable matches for you to meet and arrange dates with. You know your parents think it’s high time you were married Amine;” Layth replied, as he pulled his fitted red & blue Ralph Lauren Polo-shirt over his Adonis-like tanned torso.
“This is exactly why I need you to cover for me and tell them I suffered from heat-stroke while playing Polo, so the doctor has advised I get rest for 2 days with no activities” Amine said to Layth; putting on his sopiest pity face which he had been using on Layth since he was 10 and it had never failed. “Fine, but if you leave the Palace grounds and get caught with one of the maids, I am not taking the fall, I don’t know why you can’t just do as your father asks, he means well you know” Layth replied.
Once Amine hit 14; Layth had realised a change in the young prince. The boys use to share quarters at one of Switzerland’s most prestigious boarding schools, and after a drunken night in and what was a very awkward first kiss for them both; Amine requested they no longer share quarters and explained that it was just the alcohol why the kiss happened. Once Layth got a girlfriend a year later, things became even more distant between the boys, and stayed that way.
Layth always wanted to know what would have been had he held onto the young prince and kissed him as if the rest of the world didn’t exist, but adulthood killed any dreams of that & buried it.
That night, after his father, mother, Layth and other siblings left to attend the American Ambassador’s Ball on the other side of the City, Amine took an early meal and asked his security detail and household servants to close his wing of the palace off so that he may rest as suggested by the royal physician for the next 2 days.
He expected his father would be requesting an audience at the end of his down-time, but Amine felt that if he did not begin his plan now, he would never have the courage to do what he need to, so that any chance at a happy life as himself would be possible.
The Raghaddan Palace in Jordan was built in 1925 and consisted of the main palatial Residence with its 15 rooms, 18 bathrooms, 2 ball rooms, 3 dining rooms, a complete administration & staff wing as well as full gym, an Olympic sized swimming pool and 4 tennis courts. As the royal family grew and changed, another 3 Houses were added for each of the King’s children called the ‘Big One’, the ‘Middle One’ and the ‘Little One’. Amine occupied the ‘Middle One’, while his older brother Prince Abdullah III, 1st in line to the Jordanian throne occupied the ‘Big One’ with his wife, Princess Amallah, and their 2 sons.
The ‘Little One’ was occupied by Princes Arain, said to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. The siblings all got on, but Abdullah and Arain always found Amine, too free-willed, a complaint Amine’s mother Queen Almuna constantly had to defend him from with his father King Amir II.
Amine was glad to be free that night, he quickly got out his MacBook Pro using his private VPN, so that palace security could not track his online activities. He visited popular global social media site Instagram. The Royal Family had registered and manicured profiles on social media, but clearly for any kind of personal space, Amine had put out secondary profiles which gave no indication he was a Prince or his true identity.
As Amar Antonio, an everyday regular citizen of Jordan, Amine could browse with ease through social media and search for his Prince Charming. He had been doing this for more than a year with no luck, but was focussed on his mission as for him, his entire life and happiness were at stake, so doing this was worth it.
The suggested profiles always seemed to bring him, guys that were too transfixed on themselves living lavish lifestyles, things Amine was used to but was intent on finding someone who wanted more than that. By one stroke of his slender yet sensual fingers he came across a profile that instantly captured his attention.
Back in the idyllic and picturesque little Scottish village of Tarn, Laurence had spent his day cleaning his apartment or what he called his little piece of heaven. Decorated in exquisite shades of brown throughout, the very essence of the place had Laurence’s spirit and his Jamaican heritage all over. After the death of his mother 8 years ago, Laurence slowly started becoming a recluse, the world and those in it seemed to possess more evil than good and Laurence a sensitive and caring soul at heart, felt he had no one left in the world to care for him. His older sister Roberta, who lived in Miami kept in close contact with him as she felt like she had always been his other mother, as she had cared for Laurence throughout most of his life.
After the last of his failed suicide attempts Laurence opened up to her and trusted her to not judge him but love him as he was, just another traumatised soul trying to be happy.
But this evening as he sat with a glass of wine updating the local poetry page he ran for the village on all the social media platforms with fresh content from the online creative portal Vocal Media (a world recognised online creative platform that allowed amateur artists, photographers, writers, poets and other creative minds to share their gifts with the world); a notification from his Instagram account popped up on his screen catching his attention.
“You have a friend request from Amar Antonio, visit your profile now to accept” it read; leaving Laurence wondering is this going be another online oddball in some bizarre sexually charged pose with his butt in the air wanting to taste the ‘chocolate experience’.
He would get at least 30 of these each week which just served to extend his block-list. For Laurence, being online was his ‘free-world’; he could be his best self; an amateur writer/poet/photographer and cook that lived on the brilliant Scottish coast for inspiration and isolation, an up-an-coming J.K. Rowling but with balls and a rich life history worth documenting and sharing with the world.
Laurence now distracted from his task, switched over to Instagram, to quickly view and block the profile, stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the picture of the person on the profile. Amar seemed to instantly tick every box he had in his mind of what he dreamed his ideal partner would be. He was slim and neatly toned in stature, with rich sleek Arabian hair, mesmerising milk chocolate coloured eyes and the warmest smile Laurence had ever seen in his life.
Laurence messaged Amar’s profile straight away saying “ Hi Amar, thank you for the add-request, do we know each other?”; “Hey Laurence, we don't but I checked your profile out and saw we are both born on the 10th November, and just felt drawn to You, I hope you are ok to be my friend?” Amine replied nervously; for some reason his heart was pounding so hard against his chest, it was making him sweat everywhere. He had done it, messaged someone he thought he could see himself with, free and happy from royal life & responsibilities.
Amine wanted to be a realist, and doubt any of what was beginning in this moment was significant, but his hopeful spirit wouldn't let him. Laurence’s profile, filled with poems, pictures of delicious meals, cakes and flowers indicated an experienced soul. It showed no pictures of partners, girlfriends or any kind of flash, just a very handsome 6ft 5 tall chocolate skinned man with dreadlocks, wearing spectacles who had a love for black cocker spaniels.
A lot of what Laurence wrote about touched Amine and gave him a first-hand insight into the person Laurence was; someone that could potentially provide the happiness Amine’s soul craved.
Laurence accepted Amar’s ‘follow-request’, and the men spent the night and the next 6 months messaging and getting to know each other. Their conversations flowed with such harmonious ease, it felt to Laurence like since talking to Amar, a new piece of unexpected tapestry was being wonderfully woven into his life that he never dreamt would be – a healthy and complete romantic relationship.
Amine could not believe what was unfolding for him also; he opened up to Laurence about his struggles with hiding who he was; he accepted and affirmed he was a gay man and deserved to write his own chapters in life far away from the entrapment that was royal life and his existence as some unwanted member of a decaying system of monarchy. All people were equal and deserved to feel that way regardless of what family they were born into; he was no different.
The challenge of the distance between Scotland & Jordan didn't trouble either man, both knew them living 3700 miles apart was only temporary and each had after acknowledging they wanted to be with each other, intended to make every sacrifice required to ensure their future together.
Amine opened up to Layth and told him about his sexuality in a very emotional and life-changing weekend trip to Paris; where he had started to make plans for leaving royal life. He could not accomplish this alone, so Layth with all his family’s contacts and properties could see to it that his plans would become reality with minimal or no effect on the Jordanian royal family.
“Amine are you sure this is your choice and you are not walking into this blind My Prince?” Layth asked; thinking that Laurence may have brainwashed Amine somehow. “ There is no other way and you know it, and strangely enough that is what my Laurence calls me, that and his Lion. I call him my Hero as he made me know and feel what it is to be loved without having to sacrifice my happiness” Amine said; feeling very confident in his answer.
He was genuinely in love with Laurence and he knew in his heart that Laurence loved him back. He was not sure this chance to be with someone would ever come along again and nothing not even his family and country would rob him of it.
Laurence sat looking at his emails in total amazement, not only had his luck changed since dating Amar, but it’s like life had decided to grant him his every desire. To start, Vocal Media, his online writing platform held a ‘Fiction Awards Competition’ which would induct 125 winners into its Vocal Creators Hall of Fame and bag each winner a whopping £20,000.00 GBP. Everything in his life was going so well, Laurence was inspired to write a story based on overcoming trauma; sharing some of his truth with the world.
His piece of work 'Two Personas, 5 Miracles & 15 Steps to Freedom' was selected as one of the competition's winners, with all the winning entries set to be published in a paperback titled ‘Vocal Stories’. Laurence now had £20,000.00 GBP to invest in a beautiful new home for him and Amar, who was putting plans in place to emigrate to Scotland, so they could begin their lives together.
At the start of the week Laurence felt so happy, that while out shopping at the local village store he overheard two of the villagers talking about the sixty million pound Euro Millions lottery draw that was to take place on the Saturday coming. He bought a ticket using numbers that were significant to his relationship with Amir, 06-07-10-11-20 then select 02 & 12 for the bonus balls.
Laurence knew there was probably not a shot in hell he would win but felt if winning the 'Vocal Media' competition could come through for him and God could see it fit to send him Amar; believing in this miracle wasn’t far-fetched at all.
The email he sat staring in shock at read clear as a Scottish fresh water spring:
“Dear Mr. La Forte:
It is with great pleasure that the National Lottery company write to inform you that you are one of two Jackpot Winners for the draw which took place on Saturday September 6th, 2019.
The jackpot amount was a total of £60,000,000.00 GBP, of which your share is £30,000,000.00 GBP [which is subject to the relevant tax charges from the Her Majesty’s Revenue Collection Service, the HMRC].
Please contact us by email or on (+44) 0300-333-1943 or by return email to arrange a date for us to visit and collect the winning ticket and your personal information so as to arrange the transfer of your winnings as soon as possible?
You will also need to let us know if you wish to have a press event accept your winnings or to keep your identity private, so as not to alert anyone to the nature of your new circumstances.
Please do not forget to fill in your personal information on the back of the winning ticket and sign it, so that no one else can claim it.
We await to hear from you shortly.
The National Lottery
The next couple of days were a complete world-wind for Laurence, once all the arrangements had been made; the Lottery assigned him a wealth advisor for 12 weeks, her name Andromida Michaels. Her sound advice within a month saw all Laurence's affairs reset to that of a multi-millionaire.
He had put in place, funds that were to be transferred to members of his family, bought his sister Roberta a beautiful 5 Bedroom Mansion in Miami’s luxurious West Palm Beach area, and set her and her daughter up with their own business, a lovely Jamaican themed restaurant called ‘Jamaican Mi Tasty’; which formed part of a global franchise he had in development to be opened all across the UK.
Laurence found it very hard to keep all that was happening for him a secret from Amar. He chose to share the news of his ‘Vocal Media’ win with the love of his life as he felt this would give Amar comfort in the choice he had made to leave his family behind and start a life with Laurence.
How surprised would Amar be when he arrived in the United Kingdom, to be told that they would never have to work again but focus on building a strong solid relationship and happy-ever-after together.
After almost a year in planning Prince Amine Abdullah Hansarie, 28 years old and 5th in line to the Jordanian Throne instigated his escape plan from royal life and Jordan.
It began with Layth Turner-Bren using his contact at the American Embassy in Jordan to create a new identity for Amine under the name Amar Osama Antonio, who was born in Jordan to American parents.
Layth then used his connections at the United Kingdom’s embassy to grant Amar Osama Antonio citizenship in the United Kingdom, ensuring that Amine could not be extradited, should his family try to, if they were at all able to find Amar Osama Antonio.
Three weeks before travelling from Paris to Scotland to begin his new life as Amar Osama Antonio; the International papers across the world reported on the brutal and unprovoked bombing of a Paris 6 bedroom apartment belonging to the heir to the Turner-Bren Property Consortium fortune, Layth Turner-Bren which saw the heir surviving the blast with minor injuries but Prince Amine Abdullah Hansarie, 28 years old and 5th in line to the Jordanian Throne dying in the tragic incident suspected to be an unprovoked terrorist attack on the western wealthy family.
The Jordanian Royal family announced pretty swiftly that in their grief; they would securely retreat into Rhagaddan Palace for two years, to mourn the loss of their beloved Prince. The Government of Jordan allowed its Royal Family to have a private funeral for Prince Amine, and with that the matter became old news within two weeks, proof money can buy the wealthy just about anything.
The flight from France’s Paris de Gaulle Airport via private jet made Amar more comfortable than he wanted to be. He had wanted to leave all his money behind but Layth insisted that he not lose all his Trust over love.
They had set up a few gifted amounts for charitable companies and organisation around the world that would be paid numerous amounts to help the poor and needy, plus a £40,000,000.00 GBP was invested in a Consortium tied to developing clean energy communities across Africa. This was the fund that Amar & Laurence would live from as when traced by the Jordanian Secret Service it would loop around leading to a dead trail and be reinstated to the royal family via their global financial insurance.
Laurence was dressed immaculately in a three-piece pearl grey tailored suit from Harrods of London. He had made the extra effort to get his dreadlocks treated, re-locked and oiled with lavender & cocoa-butter oils. He wanted to make sure that nothing would ruin this magical beginning with Amar.
As the jet taxied down the runway at Inverness Airport, the closest one to the new home Amar had purchased for himself and Laurence; he was nervous so much, he could feel his heart threatening to burst from his chest and end his truly life-changing journey, but he wouldn't allow that.
A year to the day he had first messaged Laurence was to see them now do the impossible, beginning the unimaginable; a new and prosperous life together. Amar pinched himself just to make sure this was real, as he was still struggling with the fact he was free from his family and about to be happier than he had ever been since birth.
Dressed elegantly in a bespoke vintage Armani two piece royal blue suit, a cool cream cashmere turtleneck sweater with matching BVLGARI hand-stitched suede Loafers, hair slicked back to allow the morning sun to dance in his melting milk-chocolate coloured eyes, Amir disembarked from his jet with the grace and presence of the Jordanian royal he once was. He was escorted to the VIP Private Lounge Area of the Airport where he was to meet his beloved Laurence for the first-time in the flesh.
“Excuse me Sir, are you Laurence La Forte’?” the General Manager of the Airport asked Laurence, who had been looking out eagerly to catch a glimpse of his beloved Amar as he was disembarking from his flight. His heart skipped a beat when he couldn’t make him out and everyone had left the luggage collection area already. Had he missed his flight, panic was just about to set in as Laurence heard the voice speaking to him. “Yes, that’s Me, how can I help you?” he replied.
“I am here to escort you to our VIP Lounge, Mr. Antonio is waiting for you there” the lady replied. As they walked no more than 5 minutes to another side of the Airport that Laurence had never seen before, his nerves almost got the better of him and he felt a rush of panic.
They entered a sheik and polished room with mild grey walls and earth-toned soft furnishings, all the while smelling of wild tropical fruits. At the far corner staring out the window overlooking one of the airport’s private runways stood Amar. Looking so elegant and handsome; it took Laurence’s breath away.
Amar turned and made contact with Laurence for the 1st time, and in that instant, he knew every choice made to bring him to this magical moment was right. “My Hero are you pleased to see your Prince” said Amir, wanting to savour every step Laurence made as he walked into his arms. “My Lion, I am the happiest Man alive right now” Laurence replied.
Amar’s & Laurence’s lips met for the first time and it was as if they were not strangers, but soulmates long separated by circumstance. For all the suffering life can bring to the soul, ever so often, and even with a 1 in 45,000, 000 chance of happening, love is worth waiting for. [THE END]
About the Creator
Karl A. Armistad is the pseudonym for Andrew R. Little. I prefer writing under this as it allows me to look at any body of work I complete separate to my personal day-to-existence, and safe-guards my relationships and family.