7. Castle in the air? Can’t she buy it?

September 16, 2006

Arkadiy finally figured out who’s who in his year.

Milana ruled, having a strange power based on indifference. She was always distant from everyone, minding her own business, but, perhaps, that was the reason people respected her. Her words always had weight, although she did not speak often. Kamila, on the contrary, talked quite a lot, although no one really listened to her.

Of all the locals, Terry-the-Prefect had the most influence. He was easier to Google than Smolenskaya. Terry’s family consisted of famous polititians and successful businessmen. Having inherited the best family trates, Terry ruled his own domain and called everyone, except Smolenskaya, Dany, and three more people including Arkadiy, his «brainless electorate» that existed solely to vote for him.

Hence, only the privileged were invited to Terry’s Birthday party. On Saturday his parents sent two black limos to pick up the guests, and, before taking his place in one of them, Arkadiy made sure that Smolenskaya got into the other limo. With Kamila. Fuck. Obviously, out of politeness, Terry chose to invite those, whom Milana chose to befriend.

The party at Elson’s manor, located in the suburbs of London, lasted nearly four hours, and was the sweetest Birthday party imaginable. Colourful baloons of all shapes and sizes, a huge cake with sixteen candles, a step-by-step slideshow of Terry’s childhood photos, congratulations from friends and numerous relatives. «Happy Birthday» was sung at least twenty times.

«Soon it’s gonna be fun,» Terry promised reassuringly.

Arkadiy could barely wait for «soon». Although one thing made the formal part of the party more interesting for him.

After tea everyone got a baloon which they could fill with air and release, making a wish. All the younger Elsons ran out of the house with cheerful yells. Terry followed them languidly, accompanied by his mildly bored friends. Kamila was talking to Terry’s cousins or sisters, and Smolenskaya was all alone. Arkadiy watched.

She stepped onto the lawn together with everyone else, filled her baloon with air, but did not hurry to release it. She simply stood there, looking up into the cloudless blue sky. The day was sunny and summerishly bright. Her golden jacket shone and glimmered, blending with the precious gold of her hair, and her sparkling white dress contrasted with her chocolate summer tan.

She stood several minutes, her head thrown back, clutching a bear-shaped baloon tightly to her chest.

«Why don’t you let go?» Arkadiy asked, joining her.

Milana gave a start and turned around.

«Wha-? Oh, it’s you…»

Back to indifferent, just like on the first day of school. Glanced at me and walked past.

«Yeah, it’s me. Why don’t you let go of your baloon?»

«It’s mine, and I can do with it whatever I want to do,» she looked up at the multicoloured baloons that were slowly floating in the sky, filled with hope and elated by dreams. «The wish won’t come true anyway.»

«What wish’s that?»

«A castle in the air.»

Dream of a hereditary construction magnate.

«Castle in the air?» he stared at her in surprise. «What for?»

«So that you finally learn English,» she answered with a trace of irritation. «Not a castle, an unfulfillable wish, undertand?»

«What wish?» he asked, more intrigued than before.


She turned her back on him, still clutching the baloon bear to her chest, and disappeared inside the Elson’s manor.

A castle in the air?

She practically owns the school, walking around with a Vertu in her hand, and a Rolex on her wrist. She has a gold credit card with no limits. Terry refers to her as Russian royalty.

Can’t she buy that bloody castle? I’ve got to find out.
©Smolenskaya.Moscow All rights reserved. If you want to use any part of the book, please, contact the authors.

Previous episode: 6. He was waiting for her. Smolenskaya appeared ten minutes later

Next episode: 8. You try on someone else's life for a second, and then you feel so empty in yours

Read the Russian version

Contents. Part 1