True Agape: True Love Will Always Conquer (Chapter 3, page 1 of 4)

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Each deep in their own thoughts, they walked to Manolis' Tavern. When they arrived there, the innkeeper greeted Nikolas with open arms. The two strong men hugged like giant bears, then grabbed each other's shoulders, shaking one another affectionately. Manolis' dark brown eyes glittered with enthusiasm as he smiled under a full mustache exposing a line of perfectly white teeth. He shouted:

"Demos, bring drinks for the captain and his men."

Manolis was a robust man with rosy cheeks. His half unbuttoned white shortsleeved shirt displayed his heavy chest and neck. A tattoo, which decorated his left forearm, matched the one on Nikolas's right forearm. They had served in the Greek Navy together.

Demos served a carafe full of his best ouzo, along with black olives, marinated octopus, sourdough bread, and cubes of feta cheese pierced with toothpicks. "This one is on me," said Manolis joyfully. Before walking away, Manolis squeezed Nikolas's shoulder, reassuring him that he would return.

Nikolas filled his glass with the white ouzo and downed it all. A sign of satisfaction emerged from his lips as though it came from the deepest part of his soul. Many people from the surrounding tables bought drinks for Nikolas and the two younger men throughout the evening. "To your health! Long life for you and your children!" shouted Nikolas as he kept raising his glass. Bottoms up, again and again.

Nikolas bade good night to Manolis and stumbled back to the boat with his men, arm in arm. The strong ouzo had gotten the best of them and they started singing:

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