Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread II

Part 104, Chapter 1685
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Five



22nd May 1965

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin

The Charlottenburg Palace was lit up in all its glory and serving in its intended role like it did four nights a year as opposed to that of a tourist attraction the rest of the time. The spring quarterly meeting of the Order of Louise was in full swing, Kiki found herself wearing the dark blue wool dress tunic of the FSR and was trying to ignore the itch that was developing between her shoulder blades. She was rather surprised by the company that she found herself in the grand ballroom as members and their guests enjoyed refreshments before the meeting started and just what they that had ended up talking about. Cosimo De’ Medici and a tall Englishman in his forties named Christopher who she had never met before. The way that Cosimo got his back up when Christopher approached them suggested that he was of the same sort of international problem solver that Cosimo and Kat were. They claimed they were diplomats, but Kiki had lived just enough in their world to know better.

“I was just telling the lovely Princess Kristina about how fortunate it is that her time in Korea didn’t coarsen her” Cosimo said to Christopher who just nodded.

“It was not as if I would come back smoking unfiltered cigarettes and covered in tattoos” Kiki replied jokingly.

“I would hope not” Cosimo said, “For a young woman to deface what I consider God’s greatest creation would be an atrocity.”

“You think I am God’s greatest creation?” Kiki asked in reply, amused by what was clearly flattery.

“No” Cosimo said, “All young women are God’s greatest creation.”

“Is that why you’ve maintained a collection of them?” Kiki asked to Cosimo’s feigned annoyance.

“I will know that I have never given my wife or any of my mistresses cause to complain” Cosimo said with mock indignation.

“I think she has your number” Christopher said.

“I am wounded that you think that I have such low character” Cosimo said.

“I think you’ll survive” Christopher replied.

“All of that aside” Kiki said, “Just what are you two doing here anyway? Two spies at a meeting of a Chivalrous Order for women?”

Both Cosimo and Christopher looked genuinely annoyed by Kiki asking those questions. Like if she was missing something obvious.

“I prefer the term Facilitator for what I do” Cosimo replied, “Spy seems rather crude, like if I were merely an assassin lurking around in the dark with a dagger and a vial of poison.”

“Something else you ought to consider Kristine, this meeting includes some of the biggest players in the German Empire” Christopher said, “Or at least their wives. My employer as well as Cosimo’s are very interested in what gets discussed here.”

“I see” Kiki replied as she wondered if it would be too much trouble to have them both thrown out. As one of the two Dame Commanders of the Order, she knew what was going to be discussed in the upcoming meeting. She figured that the vast majority of what was to be talked about would bore them to tears and wondered if they were being punished for something. The Order had finally codified the long-discussed expansion beyond the current hundred full members and that was to be announced tonight. Then the next quarter’s charitable activities would be discussed…

It was then that Kiki felt something close around her waist, looking down, she saw Marie Alexandra smiling up at her. It was the first time that she had seen Kat’s youngest daughter since the gold medal on its white bow that she had pinned to her dress had been awarded. It was the first Lady’s Merit Cross that had been awarded since the end of the Second World War and the first nomination for an award that Charlotte had felt compelled to make. It had been Kiki’s father who had waived the normal ten-year requirement between the awarding first and second class of the medal, something that was only done in exceptional cases. Kiki had asked why he had done that, and his answer had bothered her in the months since. Because he felt that helping to save Kiki had merited it. The fact that Marie wondered if she had gotten it for biting someone, something that she had been punished for in the past, sort of put it all into perspective.

“Just who is this?” Christopher asked.

“Kat’s little girl” Kiki replied, “Who has clearly escaped from her mother.”

“The Fürstin of Berlin” Cosimo said, “Someone who you wouldn’t want to tangle with Christopher, because she happens to be good friends with your employer among other things.”

Christopher gave Cosimo a dirty look. The Italian had just implied that he worked directly for the Queen of England. It was obvious to anyone with half a brain, but it was considered rude to talk about it in the presence of outsiders and Kiki figured that it was a calculated insult as well.

“I believe that I should go find Marie’s mother” Kiki said with a smile, “Try not to get too bored in the hours ahead.”

Kiki could tell from the looks on their faces what they thought of that idea. Once again, she wondered if they were being punished for something. The next time Kiki spoke with Elizabeth of England or Marie-José of Italy she would need to ask what sort of mischief these two self-styled men of action had gotten up to that had ended with them so far out of their element.
 
Vicky has a problem of being very well known which makes it difficult for her to pursue a relationship that could result in scandal.
While Germany is apparently more tolerant ITTL about homosexuality, it is a different situation when it is an Imperial Princess.
The same sex romantic partners of famous people were described in the press with terms such as "Constant Companion" or " Very Close Personal Friend " which all but outed them without really saying so.
So what Vicky needs is a way to meet others like her in a discrete manner in a safe space where she is assured that her privacy is kept.
I dunno...yes, the Constant Companion/Very Close Personal Friend did out them without saying so, but it also provides a cover too. Quite often, this kind of thing IRL could be an open secret - people knew full well famous people were gay or bi, but as long as they didn't openly say so/kiss in public/whatever and outward propriety was preserved, people would pretend they didn't know.

Same thing could happen to Vicky. As long as she and her 'special friend' don't openly say they're gay or rub it in people's faces, and as long as she's periodically with some man at an event, everyone just doesn't ask any awkward questions and doesn't talk about it. It only becomes an issue if people can't genteelly ignore it anymore, and quite frankly...I mean, how many film stars were quietly gay and nobody guessed? Like, half the movie industry knew Rock Hudson was gay but they just didn't talk about it, and Joe Public was either none the wiser or pretended they were none the wiser until he died.

The other option, of course, is that her family finds her a suitable husband who's also gay, the two of them marry, and once that's the case nobody'll even bat an eyelid that she has a close female friend, because she's married (ditto for her husband and any guy he likes).
 
"Life long friends", "Two confirmed bachelors who share lodgings" and "Dear companions" were also used. Agatha Christie used these sort of euphemisms frequently in her books. Traditionally, lesbian relationships had an extremely slight advantage over those of gay men in most western societies, if only because anti-homosexuality laws tended to focus mainly on men. This meant their relationships could be overlooked a little more easily by society in general. After all, men are capable of all kinds of "depravity", while women were the more gentler and loving half of the species, thus showing affection, even in public, was to be expected. The result of being outed, however, could be worse: both were ostracised, men faced imprisonment for breaking the law & women faced being placed in a lunatic asylum.
 
"Life long friends", "Two confirmed bachelors who share lodgings" and "Dear companions" were also used. Agatha Christie used these sort of euphemisms frequently in her books. Traditionally, lesbian relationships had an extremely slight advantage over those of gay men in most western societies, if only because anti-homosexuality laws tended to focus mainly on men. This meant their relationships could be overlooked a little more easily by society in general. After all, men are capable of all kinds of "depravity", while women were the more gentler and loving half of the species, thus showing affection, even in public, was to be expected. The result of being outed, however, could be worse: both were ostracised, men faced imprisonment for breaking the law & women faced being placed in a lunatic asylum.
A trend also reflected in porn site searches IIRC. "Lesbian" seems to always top the ranks in supposedly "socially conservative" areas.

Marc A
 
"Life long friends", "Two confirmed bachelors who share lodgings" and "Dear companions" were also used. Agatha Christie used these sort of euphemisms frequently in her books.
Indeed.

Traditionally, lesbian relationships had an extremely slight advantage over those of gay men in most western societies, if only because anti-homosexuality laws tended to focus mainly on men. This meant their relationships could be overlooked a little more easily by society in general. After all, men are capable of all kinds of "depravity", while women were the more gentler and loving half of the species, thus showing affection, even in public, was to be expected.
Also true. And there were plenty of cases where it was an open secret. In Ireland, make homosexuality was illegal until the 1990s, but during the 80sthere were a fair few prominent individuals who everybody knew were gay but nothing happened to them. And also, academic institutions frequently protected or turned a blind eye to gay or bi lecturing staff.

Plus, let’s be honest. How rich you were/how rich or important your family was could be a major shield too. A wealthy gay woman would probably face less* problems as a working-class gay man would.

*less, not zero... depended on family, etc.

The result of being outed, however, could be worse: both were ostracised, men faced imprisonment for breaking the law & women faced being placed in a lunatic asylum.
Though if I understand right, it could vary. A man caught in the act would be prosecuted, no ifs or buts. A woman being institutionalised...that’d only happen if her family wanted it, it wouldn’t be automatic.

She’d likely lose her job, of course. And be ostracised...
 
Oh good, I'm not the only one with a huge grin on my face thinking "YES!!! CHRISTOPHER LEE" then?

I don't think he's started acting yet, but give him a meeting with Gerta...
 
With the lack of Nazism, what happened to Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft? Continued, unhindered research there could probably do a lot to foster a more enlightened attitude.
 
It was only very recently that Germany disbanded the illegality of homosexuality also retroactively meaning those who were sentenced in the past are now treated as people who were unjustly prosecuted by the state.

In the 50s and 60s even those gay people who were sent into a KZ In the third Reich were by and large not seen as victims of Hitler because homosexuality was illegal before and after the third Reich.

Early 80s Germany had a large scandal going on when a General was sacked officially because his homosexuality could make him easy prey for foreign intelligence services but in reality just because he was homosexual. Did not go well for the Verteidigungsminister in charge.
 
It was only very recently that Germany disbanded the illegality of homosexuality also retroactively meaning those who were sentenced in the past are now treated as people who were unjustly prosecuted by the state.

In the 50s and 60s even those gay people who were sent into a KZ In the third Reich were by and large not seen as victims of Hitler because homosexuality was illegal before and after the third Reich.

Early 80s Germany had a large scandal going on when a General was sacked officially because his homosexuality could make him easy prey for foreign intelligence services but in reality just because he was homosexual. Did not go well for the Verteidigungsminister in charge.
Forcing LGBTQA+ government employees & military personnel to hide their sexual preferences was what MADE them easy prey for foreign intelligence services. I remember seeing a documentary on homosexuality in the military (roughly 20 years ago?), in which a Swiss Army officer who was openly gay was asked about his being a security risk. He laughed and said "How can they blackmail me for being gay when everybody knows I am? It makes no sense. Now, if I had been forced to hide it..."
 
It was only very recently that Germany disbanded the illegality of homosexuality also retroactively meaning those who were sentenced in the past are now treated as people who were unjustly prosecuted by the state.
According to Wikipedia: '68 in the GDR; '69 in the Bonn Republic - that correct?

Also, as I understand it, it was only actually illegal for men - like in Britain and other countries, being a lesbian wasn't actually illegal (though it could lead to societal disapproval, ostracisation, loss of employment, being committed if your family wanted...)
 
Halfway 68 was just the reduction of 175 so it was no longer illegal but if you were convicted according to it your criminal record would still show it and there were a lot of professions you could not go into due to that. That was changed 2017 and retroactively all verdicts were canceled.

And yes, only for men.
 
Part 104, Chapter 1686
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Six



13th June 1965

Jena

As she sat on the hard, uncomfortable church pew there were times when Vicky envied her sisters’ choices when it came to religion. Kiki had stuck with being Russian Orthodox and they typically stood for services. Rea had publicly declared herself to be Agnostic and typically slept in until noon on Sunday mornings. Hardly a surprise considering that Rea was studying Philosophy.

The thought of Rea was a bit painful for Vicky. They had shared nearly everything for the first fifteen years of their lives as identical twins. Then there had come the profound rupture in their relationship and Vicky hadn’t understood what had happened or why Rea remained so angry with her until recently. She was taking Human Psychology courses at University and her Professors had insisted that Vicky needed to undergo Psychoanalysis herself as a part of that. Considering that her interest in that subject came from wanting to understand herself, it wasn’t something that Vicky had objected to. The resulting self-reflection had forced Vicky to admit a few things about herself and her relationship with Rea. Like how Rea was angry about how she had basically thrown her to the wolves at a time when Rea had needed her the most. Now, they led entirely different lives, attended different Universities in different cities and it was something that Vicky found painful.

While Vicky had avoided talking about her sexuality to her Analyst, he had implied that he suspected that something was going on. He had said that his impression was that she didn’t entirely trust him. It was the elephant in the room like always and it was something that only a few people in her family knew about. So far, they had proven to be worthy of the trust that Vicky had put in them. Vicky was aware of Paragraph 175 of the penal code, how that equated homosexuality with bestiality. Fortunately for those like her, the men who had written the law nearly a century earlier had lacked the imagination to include women. However, Charlotte had warned her that there was considerable danger from those who might consider her a sexually deviant even if she had never acted on it and there was also the public reaction to consider. Charlotte said that she only needed to ask Frau Lawniczak about what had happened to her in the United States to get an idea of how things could go horribly wrong.

The Mistress of Keys was one of the most powerful women in the Empire and she had lived her life on her own terms, but there had been a brutal episode where she had nearly come to grief because of it when she had been a Field Agent in the United States. She was also everything that Vicky wished she could be, except for the whole complicated mess that Asia had gotten herself when she had her son Heinrich. Vicky’s father had decided that because Heinrich’s father acknowledged his paternity, he was the legal heir if he was deemed suitable upon attaining majority at the age of twenty-one. The rub was that the wife of Heinrich’s father never having to see or hear about him, ever. The alternative was to let a family line die out, so even Vicky realized that her father didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. It also made Grossherzog von Hessen completely beholden to the house of Hohenzollern at a difficult time, so the move made perfect sense from the perspective of cold-blooded realpolitik.

Thinking about Asia, stirred something else in Vicky. It was the aspect of herself that she was still struggling to come to terms with over the last couple years. The fact that Vicky had realized that she had a type, one that was filled by women who flouted all the rules that would restrain them. It was also why she was attracted to Marcella, Kiki’s best friend. Both of those women had noticed that attraction and had completely different reactions. Asia had let her know she thought Vicky’s interest was sweet and had then told her that she would be happier playing with someone her own age. Zella had clumsily told her that she wasn’t a part of that scene, whatever that meant, and had done her best to let Vicky down gently. It had been Kiki who had put it in perspective for her by mentioning that an older woman had once told her that a regrettable part of being a… Vicky still couldn’t bring herself to use that word, even in her own thoughts. The regrettable part was that there would probably be many times that she would find herself barking up the wrong tree. It wasn’t regrettable so much as it left her with lingering questions. Like how exactly had Vicky ended up wired to want to go looking for that sort of tree in the first place? It certainly complicated almost every aspect of her life.

The worst part was that it all seemed to revolve around something else that Vicky envied Kiki for, the relationship with Ben Hirsh that seemed mutually supportive. Why couldn’t she have something like that? It was completely unfair that her sister could seem to throw all caution to the wind because of who she was doing it with.

“I hope that you found this morning’s service edifying, I’ve observed how deep you were in contemplation” The Pastor said as he approached her, “It is nice to see a young woman of your stature taking such matters seriously.”

“Thank you” Vicky replied awkwardly having no idea what he was talking about, hoping that he wouldn’t ask her anything regarding what he had said over the prior hour or what she thought. She had been so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she had hardly listened to any of it.
 
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The worst part was that it all seemed to revolve around something else that Vicky envied Kiki for, the relationship with Ben Hersh that seemed mutually supportive. Why couldn’t she have something like that? It was completely unfair that her sister could seem to throw all caution to the wind because of who she was doing it with.
I thought his name was Ben(jamin) Hirsch?
Typo?
 
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Six



13th June 1965

Jena

As she sat on the hard, uncomfortable church pew there were times when Vicky envied her sisters’ choices when it came to religion. Kiki had stuck with being Russian Orthodox and they typically stood for services. Rea had publicly declared herself to be Agnostic and typically slept in until noon on Sunday mornings. Hardly a surprise considering that Rea was studying Philosophy.

The thought of Rea was a bit painful for Vicky. They had shared nearly everything for the first fifteen years of their lives as identical twins. Then there had come the profound rupture in their relationship and Vicky hadn’t understood what had happened or why Rea remained so angry with her until recently. She was taking Human Psychology courses at University and her Professors had insisted that Vicky needed to undergo Psychoanalysis herself as a part of that. Considering that her interest in that subject came from wanting to understand herself, it wasn’t something that Vicky had objected to. The resulting self-reflection had forces Vicky to admit a few things about herself and her relationship with Rea. Like how Rea was angry about how she had basically thrown her to the wolves at a time when Rea had needed her the most. Now, they led entirely different lives, attended different Universities in different cities and it was something that Vicky found painful.

While Vicky had avoided talking about her sexuality to her Analyst, he had implied that he suspected that something was going on. He had said that his impression was that she didn’t entirely trust him. It was the elephant in the room like always and it was something that only a few people in her family knew about. So far, they had proven to be worthy of the trust that Vicky had put in them. Vicky was aware of Paragraph 175 of the penal code, how that equated homosexuality with bestiality. Fortunately for those like her, the men who had written the law nearly a century earlier had lacked the imagination to include women. However, Charlotte had warned her that there was considerable danger from those who might consider her a sexually deviant even if she had never acted on it and there was also the public reaction to consider. Charlotte said that she only needed to ask Frau Lawniczak about what had happened to her in the United States to get an idea of how things could go horribly wrong.

The Mistress of Keys was one of the most powerful women in the Empire and she had lived her life on her own terms, but there had been a brutal episode where she had nearly come to grief because of it when she had been a Field Agent in the United States. She was also everything that Vicky wished she could be, except for the whole complicated mess that Asia had gotten herself when she had her son Heinrich. Vicky’s father had decided that because Heinrich’s father acknowledged his paternity, he was the legal heir if he was deemed suitable upon attaining majority at the age of twenty-one. The rub was that the wife of Heinrich’s father never having to see or hear about him, ever. The alternative was to let a family line die out, so even Vicky realized that her father didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. It also made Grossherzog von Hessen completely beholden to the house of Hohenzollern at a difficult time, so the move made perfect sense from the perspective of cold-blooded realpolitik.

Thinking about Asia, stirred something else in Vicky. It was the aspect of herself that she was still struggling to come to terms with over the last couple years. The fact that Vicky had realized that she had a type, one that was filled by women who flouted all the rules that would restrain them. It was also why she was attracted to Marcella, Kiki’s best friend. Both of those women had noticed that attraction and had completely different reactions. Asia had let her know she thought Vicky’s interest was sweet and had then told her that she would be happier playing with someone her own age. Zella had clumsily told her that she wasn’t a part of that scene, whatever that meant, and had done her best to let Vicky down gently. It had been Kiki who had put it in perspective for her by mentioning that an older woman had once told her that a regrettable part of being a… Vicky still couldn’t bring herself to use that word, even in her own thoughts. The regrettable part was that there would probably be many times that she would find herself barking up the wrong tree. It wasn’t regrettable so much as it left her with lingering questions. Like how exactly had Vicky ended up wired to want to go looking for that sort of tree in the first place? It certainly complicated almost every aspect of her life.

The worst part was that it all seemed to revolve around something else that Vicky envied Kiki for, the relationship with Ben Hirsh that seemed mutually supportive. Why couldn’t she have something like that? It was completely unfair that her sister could seem to throw all caution to the wind because of who she was doing it with.

“I hope that you found this morning’s service edifying, I’ve observed how deep you were in contemplation” The Pastor said as he approached her, “It is nice to see a young woman of your stature taking such matters seriously.”

“Thank you” Vicky replied awkwardly having no idea what he was talking about, hoping that he wouldn’t ask her anything regarding what he had said over the prior hour or what she thought. She had been so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she had hardly listened to any of it.
In the past interests of possibilities do we know this Pastor?
 
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