September 17, 2006
The dress was too short, and Novikov’s shamelessly confident hand was once again on her knee.
‘Hands off,’ Milana repeated irritably, counting the time left until their destination. Ten minutes or less. Will you manage?
‘Smolena Milanskaya, why’re you such a bore?’
She pushed his hand away and shifted sideways, trying not to laugh and not to get mad. Drunk. What else should I expect from him?
‘We’ll talk in the morning, Novikov.’
On the other hand, he’s not that drunk. Doesn’t even smell of alcohol. I scent cigarettes and some perfume… Mmm, smells good. Whoa. Stop right there, Smolenskaya.
‘I’m Arkadiy, actually.’
He moved closer to her.
Impudent. The main thing is to fix this mess. Things must be done quickly, accurately, and secretly. Without any complications.
Milana bumped into the car door, feeling cornered. Luckily, her phone rang.
Milana smelt of the same pleasant perfume he had scented the day he kissed her. She reacted to him in a funny way, shifting aside all the time.
At this rate she’ll soon fall out of the car, lol.
Her phone rang, and she answered quickly first in English, then switched to Russian and began mixing languages in her trademark style:
‘Yes… Да, ушла уже (Yes, I’ve left)… Family stuff… Новиков? (Novikov?).. Не знаю, где. (No idea, where he is).’
Arkadiy laughed, and Milana instantly covered his mouth with her free hand. He did not miss the chance, took her by the hand and began slowly kissing her fingers.
‘He left with…’
Milana froze and looked at him, then snatched her hand away and pressed herself into the car door.
‘Left with someone,’ she finished her sentence with a nervous gulp. ‘Okay, bye.’
She put the phone back into her clutch and stared fixedly at the line of houses flashing past them.
‘Smolenskaya!’ Arkadiy moved closer to her again.
‘We’re here!’ she exclaimed happily, adding in an undertone. ‘Thank God.’
Yes, Novikov, she’s definitely into you.
His nose was fixed by a surgeon. Exactly why the surgeon was so vigilante and unperturbed at two in the morning puzzled Arkadiy.
‘Because I called him,’ Milana explained distractedly.
‘When?’ he asked in surprise.
They were sitting in the corridor of some private hospital. Milana was looking for something in her phone, and Arkadiy was getting over his stress. The operation without anaesthetic had a strong sobering effect on him.
‘While you were hitting on me,’ she replied calmly, still looking at the screen of her Vertu Constellation.
Phone. Fuck. I need a new one ASAP.
Milana got up swiftly, he followed her towards the exit. The familiar glossy black car was waiting for them by the front door.
‘It’s the same taxi,’ he said just to say something.
‘Driver who drives me while I’m in England.’
Arkadiy looked at the Audi. Why did I think it’s a taxi? I need a personal driver too!
‘So it’s your car?’
The driver dressed in a black suit got out of the car held the door open for Milana, who took her seat elegantly and looked up at Arkadiy:
‘Get in, what’re you waiting for?’
He sat quickly next to her. ‘Where now?’
‘The Ritz for me,’ Milana replied, stongly stressing «me».
‘To take a rest from school.’
‘And you can hook up with another Melani. The night is young.’
She continued mixing Russian and English, which was even more confusing than the words she was saying.
‘The night has just begun,’ she smirked.
Little nasty boss.
‘Arnold, could you give me the phone, please,’ Milana adressed the driver. Instantly, he handed her a box, and she examined it.
‘As you ordered, miss,’ the driver said.
‘Thank you,’ Milana smiled at no one in particular, and gave the box to Arkadiy.
‘Your phone. The same provider, different number.’
Nokia. I had Vertu. Not the same as hers, but still… On the other hand, Vertu’s no different from Nokia. Only its Vertu.
‘Thanks. Can I go to the hotel with you?’
‘Haven’t you heard? I want to take a rest from school,’ she said pointedly.
‘You will rest,’ he promised, looking her in the eyes. Come on, baby, don’t be so slow.
‘I’m afraid that we have completely different ideas of rest,’ Milana turned away.
‘But we’re together now. And you like me. Now.’
‘Novikov, I’m with you now only because we’re a diaspora, and I do not want you to make a fool of yourself, and be a spot on our reputation.’
‘I don’t get you.’
‘You’re drunk, rich, and Russian.’
‘I’m not drunk,’ he argued. ‘Drunk’s when you’re a complete puking shit.’
Milana wrinkled her nose in disgust, ‘Lovely!’
The car stopped near a high building, lit with a soft golden glow.
Milana looked out of the window, then glanced at her watch and yawned.
‘Okay, c’mon. But, Novikov, I’m going to sleep. Alone. Understand? If not, you’ll go back to school and explain to Misses Thompson where you’ve been and why you smell that way. And think up a convincing lie about your nose while you’re at it.’
‘How do I smell?’
‘Like a night club.’
‘Can you stop calling me by my familyname?’ Arkadiy followed her out of the car. ‘Awesome ass.’
To his surprise, Smolenskaya laughed.
‘Merci beaucoup, Arkadiy.’
Not Novikov. That’s a success.
She spoke to the driver, while Arkadiy watched, and then they entered the hotel together. Smolenskaya had a special kind of smile that worked like a credit card. She flashed it, and was given the key without any questions.
The spacious suit had two rooms—maybe more, Arkadiy did not have the chance to count them.
‘Good morning to you,’ Milana said, shutting the door of her room.
Arkadiy looked at his big bed and grinned.
Previous episode: 9. Welcome to London, welcome to life. And Smolenskaya, my guide to life
Next episode: 11. I behave according to my status, Novikov
Contents. Part 1
- 1. Summer in France tastes of freedom. September, UK, dive into school
- 2. Long legs, model walk. Awesome, thanks dad!
- 3. «Have we met before?» «I don’t care. Totally.»
- 4. They’re so different. One’s attractive, the other’s annoying
- 5. Friday evening. Kamila talked about Novikov. All day long
- 6. He was waiting for her. Smolenskaya appeared ten minutes later
- 7. Castle in the air? Can’t she buy it?
- 8. You try on someone else’s life for a second, and then you feel so empty in yours
- 9. Welcome to London, welcome to life. And Smolenskaya, my guide to life
- 10. Novikov, I’m with you now only because we’re a diaspora
- 11. I behave according to my status, Novikov
- 12. So prim and proper, but there’s something in her that I like. What’s that?
- 13. Kamila can be distracted. You know what? I’m gonna help you, bro
- 14. Smolenskaya, Arkadiy Novikov has got serious plans on you!
- 15. Boss in a tee and shorts, testing the limits of her power
- 16. I’d rather give in to the waves than lose a fight with Kamila
- 17. She likes to rule millions and millionaires
- 18. Smolenskaya, you don’t mean what you do
- 19. I’m fifteen and I want my vanilla romance!
- 20. He’s not the man with whom I can cheat on myself
- 21. French manicure, shining diamonds, victory
- 22. At the end of October Smolenskaya changed her status on Facebook
- 23. Flowers? Teddies? Diamonds? What to give her? Fucking trouble!
- 24. Tenth of November, time for decisive actions!
- 25. Milana continued to ignore him, and so did Kamila
- 26. Let them resist, I’ll get what I want! Like with Novikov.
- 27. The Smolenskie are having a Christmas party. You’d better think of a present, if you know what I mean