September 27, 2006
Smolenskaya was reading her ecological report at the front of the class. It was much more interesting to listen to her than to the science professor. Her speech was livelier, her voice softer. Her pose and gestures were of great importance too.
Okay, stop the bullshit. I just like looking at her. And listening to her. I like the way she talks, she doesn’t torture thoghts, neither at school, nor in normal life. She easily finds the right words, and makes everything’s clear and relevant.
September was coming to an end. Arkadiy finally understood the ways of the school. He usually sat with Gena, although occasionally Terry took Gena’s place, because Gena’s schedule was somewhat different from Arkadiy’s. Milana, on the other hand, studied everything Arkadiy did.
All Russians attended the Fundamentals of Business; Gena and Kamila ignored economics, but Milana loved it, and Arkadiy had to, even though Smolenskaya was never available. She sat with Kamila, Dany, Teresa, or somebody else. Anyone, except him.
When Leyla returned two weeks into the school year, Milana chose to sit with her nearly in every class.
Milana had a special kind of relationship with Leyla Nelmina, sort of competitive friendship. Leyla’s family business was also construction, and though, according to Terry, it was not as big as the Smolenskiy empire, Leyla’s ambitions were far from modest.
Leyla was an active, decisive, and dominate brunete with strong character and firm beliefs. Milana was… Milana. Authorative, but indifferent, gliding through school with vague interest, minding her own business.
Milana also loved art. Arkadiy did not have a choice. He took music lessons together with Gena, while Milana drew watercolours and studied famous artists. She took all of her subjects very seriously, except for history, where she sometimes slept, and math, where she kept a low profile. In every other class she was the star and the boss.
She talked to him occasionally, when it was necessary, answered his text-messages if he had trouble with lessons, and that was the limit of their closeness,nothing near to the promissed fun.
Arkadiy wished it would be like that with Kamila. A month of her intense attention was getting on his nerves. Gena was not of much help: all he did was laugh and joke. Arkadiy thought of that night in the club. He wouldn’t mind repeating it, only without the broken nose, and with a bigger dose of Smolenskaya.
Milana finished her talk.
‘Excellent,’ said the professor.
She returned to her desk, smiling.
Legs, legs, legs. Legs and brains. It’s good that she has legs, it’s bad that she has brains. Wish we were in Ritz again…
In science and math Milana was always with Dany. Things didn’t work out between Arkadiy and Dany from the start. Dany was the leader of his group, where «levels of intellect», as Smolenskaya called them, were valued higher than money or cool parties. Smolenskaya was constantly in the company of Dany and his friends, older guys and girls, the A-levels.
Fucking boring. What does she see in them?
Arkadiy felt at ease among those who valued levels of fun and prestige. His father made a generous money transfer, Arkadiy bought himself a new Vertu, and kept Milana’s Nokia as a souvenir or a last resort. He also found some useful contacts.
Gena was friends with Misha Strogov from the seniour year. The three of them often hung out together, united by similar understanding of good life.
Misha was 18 years old, collected cars, and was an expert in matters of paries and girls.
‘Why aren’t you with Smolenskaya?’ he asked during lunch, when Arkadiy was once again watching Milana.
‘She doesn’t want to be with me.’
‘Did she say that?’ Misha seemed puzzled.
‘Nope,’ Arkadiy frowned, remembering the precise word. ‘She gave me a choice: no fun and no fuck, or fun without fucking!’
‘What?’ Arkadiy looked at him, finding nothing funny in his austere existence.
‘Don’t let her screw with your brain. She wants you. Obvious as fuck.’
‘She doesn’t want to cross Kamila,’ Arkadiy quoted Gena.
‘Kamila?’ Misha looked at Volkova in interest. ‘Kamila can be distracted. You know what? I’m gonna help you, bro.’
- 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