Facing Your Destiny by Leoslove
RetiredSummary:

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Seven years on the run, and a bullet with someone else’s name was all it took for Angel to finally meet the man of her dreams, a ridiculously handsome, overly possessive Russian mobster named Aleksey who would kill anyone to keep her.

 

This is the THIRD edition in the "Unbreakable Bonds" series.

 

The main characters in this story are formally introduced in Chapter 97 of "Love Reawakened."


Categories: Original Fiction Characters: None
Classification: None
Genre: Drama, Erotica, Family, Friendship, Romance
Story Status: Active
Pairings: None
Warnings: Adult Situations, Drugs/Drug Use, Extreme Language, Graphic Violence, Homosexuality, Original Characters, Rape, Sexual Content , Strong Sexual Content , Work in Progress
Challenges: None
Series: Unbreakable Bonds
Chapters: 46 Completed: No Word count: 156583 Read: 188749 Published: June 18 2012 Updated: June 04 2018
Story Notes:

"Copyright goes into effect automatically, even if a work is not published. For works created in 1978 or later, copyright protection persists for the life of the author plus 70 years."

Please, do not copy this story to any other sites. Thanks!

The main characters in this story are formally introduced in Chapter 97 of "Love Reawakened."

http://valentchamber.com/viewstory.php?sid=1901&chapter=97

1. Cast Pic Page by Leoslove

2. Inevitable... by Leoslove

3. Reclaiming What's Rightfully Mine... by Leoslove

4. Meet & Greet... by Leoslove

5. Welcome To My World... by Leoslove

6. Hello and Goodbye... by Leoslove

7. NO TITLE... by Leoslove

8. Unfinished Business... by Leoslove

9. Off The Map.... by Leoslove

10. A Little Talk With The Man Upstairs... by Leoslove

11. Peek-A-Boo... by Leoslove

12. 7 Days... by Leoslove

13. I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me... by Leoslove

14. Birds & Paradise... by Leoslove

15. Back To The Beginning... by Leoslove

16. Moons Over Stars... by Leoslove

17. Nothing Lasts Forever... by Leoslove

18. Stop The Presses... by Leoslove

19. Plans and Planes... by Leoslove

20. Do Not Run... Do Not Hide... by Leoslove

21. Dead To Rights... by Leoslove

22. The Cost Of Freedom... by Leoslove

23. Betty Wright Vibes... by Leoslove

24. To "V", Or Not To "V"... by Leoslove

25. Life After Death.... by Leoslove

26. Speak Now, Or Forever Hold Your Peace.... by Leoslove

27. No Greater Love Than This.... by Leoslove

28. Two To Go... by Leoslove

29. May God have mercy on all of our souls... by Leoslove

30. What Goes Up.... by Leoslove

31. "You Owe Me... Big!" by Leoslove

32. Deliveries, Diapers, And Decisions... by Leoslove

33. Batter Up! by Leoslove

34. I'm Back!!!! by Leoslove

35. All's Well That Ends Well... by Leoslove

36. Pills & Potions... by Leoslove

37. Time's Up... by Leoslove

38. You ARE The Father... by Leoslove

39. What's Done In The Dark... by Leoslove

40. Picture Update by Leoslove

41. In The Flesh... by Leoslove

42. That's What Friends Are For... by Leoslove

43. I Got You Babe... by Leoslove

44. Fuck me twice and call me Sally! by Leoslove

45. Alley Cat Fights... by Leoslove

46. A Wedding And A Funeral? by Leoslove

Cast Pic Page by Leoslove

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 

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Natalia

 

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Andrei

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Uncle Peter

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Aunt Miranda

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Kevin

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Tanisha

 

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Ketrina

 

Inevitable... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

The main characters in this story are formally introduced in Chapter 97 of "Love Reawakened."

http://valentchamber.com/viewstory.php?sid=1901&chapter=97

Angel pulled off her heels four steps through the door. The clicking sound only served to compound her migraine.

Aleksey stood still at the door's frame, and watched Angel head upstairs before bellowing Natalia's name.

The longtime maid appeared quickly and seemingly out of no where. “Yes, Sir.”

“Bring two glasses of Romane Conti up to Ms. Angel’s room in ten minutes.”

“Yes, Sir.”

He made it as far as the bottom stair before changing his mind. “Make that fifteen.”

She bowed and headed for the kitchen.

He climbed the stairs slowly. She hadn't said much the entire ride home from the meeting, and it concerned him.

He slid his hand down the door, then knocked softly.

“Yes?”

“It is Aleksey.”

“Come in.”

He opened the door and out of the corner of his eye spotted her standing in front of her double walk-in closet wearing only a camisole, underslip, and what he believed to be a thong. He, unapologetically licked his lips when the slip fell to the floor. 'Definitely a thong.'

“I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

His eyes roamed across her uncovered backside as she bent down to pick up the slip. He made no attempt to hide his perusal, not even when she turned and caught him in the act. She cocked a brow at his dalliance, and he playfully returned the gesture. It was a game she wasn’t in the mood to play, so she gave him a faint smile and continued to search the closet for comfortable clothes.

“I’ve been wondering if I made the right decision, you know allowing Melanie and Val access to Destiny so soon. What do we really know about them?” After settling on a long, red plush robe, she sat down on the bed bench and stared out the window. He stood at her side uncertain if she was venting or actually wanted him to speak. “Uh, Aleksey.”

“Yes?”

This is the part where you give me your opinion.”

He cleared his throat and answered, “Okay. I think what you did was fair.”

“But, what if they aren’t as nice as they seemed at the meeting? What if they end up hurting her?”

He motioned toward the bench and sat down after she scooted over. "I think that is your fear talking.”

She looked up with glassy eyes. “Do you really think that's all it is?”

“Yes. Marat has vouched for these people, and he knows that it is his head and theirs on the line.”

A wily smile accompanied a twinkle in her eyes. “What do you mean?”

He kissed the side of her head. “That is not for you to worry about.” He stood at the sound of a faint knock on the door. “Come in, Natalia.”

She silently placed the tray of beverages on the dresser and walked back out in kind.

Angel picked up one of the glasses. “What’s this?”

“A little something to help you relax.”

“You think you know me, don’t you?”

“Yes, but I am still learning. You are my teacher, and I am more than willing to learn everything about you.”

She set the glass back down on the tray and glided over to him with a smile. “Is that right?”

He smiled back at her and nodded. “Is there something that you would like to teach me?”

“Yes, but unfortunately we don’t have time.” She turned around and he caught her by the hand.

She inhaled a sigh when he bought the dainty appendage to his mouth. “You always say that we do not have time, but we always do.”

She watched through heavy-lidded eyes as he concentrated on one finger at a time. “Having time, and making time are two different things, Aleksey.”

He removed her finger from his mouth with a sounding pop. “Maybe for average people, but as we both know, I am not average by any means.” He pulled her closer until their bodies were aligned. With both hands, he pressed her pelvis against his building erection causing a soft moan to rise from her core. She leaned back just enough for her fingers to clumsily attack his belt until he reached down between them and in one motion freed himself of the contraption.

His thumbs hooked in the side of her panties only pausing when they got stuck on the fullness of her backside. She wiggled her hips and held on to his broad shoulders as he bent his body to the side and slowly peeled them down her long legs. He placed his hands on her waist and turned her around so that he could stare at her perfectly shaped globes right before he smacked one and then the other. She groaned when he grabbed her left hand and slipped it passed her flat stomach and down to her dripping center. She fell back against him as he forced her to pleasure herself. When her orgasm approached, he pulled her hand away and brought her fingers back to his mouth. She looked over her shoulder and watched as the tip of his tongue hungrily removed all traces of her essence. He flinched when her fingers without warning formed a sheath around his thickness. Before he could stop her, she turned and dropped to her knees. He watched with dreamy eyes as she delivered repeated tongue kisses from the head to the base and back again. She readjusted her hands and mouth as his member continued to grow. It was larger than she remembered. When she began fondling his heavy sack, he pulled her up in one motion. Her legs quickly wrapped around his waist, and her mouth fastened to his as if it were a magnet.

With eyes still closed, he walked over to the bed and laid her down; never allowing their lips to separate. Their fingers tripped over each other as they attacked the buttons of his shirt. She opened her robe slowly starting from the bottom. There were many things to appreciate, but the focal point of his attention was the place his body called home. He kicked out of his pants and underwear simultaneously, then proceeded to climb on top of her and remove her robe. There was only one thing that stood in his way. He gave her a smoldering look that almost consumed her all while running his fingers across the top of her camisole. He then toyed with the strand of hand sewn pearls and beads that stretched across the length, and gazed into her eyes as he placed his hands on the corners of her top. Without warning, he deliberately smothered her scream as he ripped the soft material apart, releasing her breasts in the process.

Before she could reopen her eyes, his tongue lazily blazed a slick trail down to each breast, then back up to her quivering mouth.

His mouth continued to swathe hers until he realized that his full weight was pressed down on top of her much smaller frame. He raised up slightly until he felt her feet press against his backside. With his eyes, he questioned her movement. She answered by locking her arms behind his massive back, and pulling him back down on top of her.

“I am too heavy.”

“Don’t move.”

There was a pleading in her eyes that drew him in. He considered her plea, and offered a compromise. “Just a little. I do not want to hurt you.”

“You’re not hurting me, Aleksey.”

“Please, just a little.” She sighed, but released her hold. He raised himself on the strength of his forearms, but allowed his lower half to remain flush against hers.

When he raised his head, she kissed a path across his jawline up to his ear. The things she whispered to him resulted in an instant blush forming across his entire body.

“Angel.” The breeze from his whisper felt like a gentle kiss against her cheek. He rolled over onto his back and surrendered not only his body, but also complete control to her. Almost immediately after she lowered herself onto him, he became flooded by a sea of emotions; all ending with a revelation that not even time could have prepared him for. His heart raced to an unnatural speed as he realized that for the first time in his life... he was in love.

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6 days later…

The receptionist ambled from behind her desk. “He’s ready to see you now.”

Gavin inwardly fought with his nerves as he entered the cluttered room.

The man looked up briefly. “Please, have a seat.”

“Thank you.” Gavin clutched his hat as if his life depended on it.

“It says here that you graduated top of your class.”

“Yes, Sir. I did.”

“And, you’ve done a lot of volunteer work.”

“Yes, at various clinics in low-income areas.”

“Mmmm.” He flipped over to the next page. “And, your last job… you were terminated. Can you expound?”

“I was falsely accused of sexual misconduct by a woman who was never my patient.”

“Were you able to prove that she was never a patient of yours?”

“No. She claimed that she used a fake name.”

“Mmmm.” He stared at him over the rim of his glasses. “But, you were still fired?”

Gavin shrunk down in his seat. This was his sixth interview, and the sixth time he was asked about the situation. “Yes. I was.”

“Do you have any history with your accuser?”

“I don't even know her real name.”

“Did you at least ask who filed the complaint against you?”

“Yes, Sir. They still wouldn’t tell me who she was. They said that since she was a victim, they were unable to give me that information. I just wanted to know why she went after me.”

Mr. Jenkins flipped through the file to one of the last pages. “I have a name.”

Gavin shot up in his chair. “You do? How? I was told that they couldn’t release that information.”

“No. Not to you, but since I was conducting a complete background check, I was able to get a copy of everything.”

“Who is she? Why did she lie?”

“I have the who, but I don’t know why she… lied. You really didn’t do it did you, Son?”

“No. I swear on my life I have never done anything inappropriate with a patient.”

The man leaned back in his office chair and rocked a few times before exhaling sharply. “Does the name, Bianca Monroe ring any bells?”

“Bianca Monroe? That sounds like a…”

“Stripper? Porn star? Yea. I thought so, too.” Gavin nodded, but didn’t look up.

“About the job...”

“Son, I would like to hire you, I really would, but with this floating over your head, it’s just bad for business.”

Gavin headed for the door. “Thanks anyway.” When he closed the door, his smiled drained away slowly. ‘Bianca Monroe? Who the hell are you, and what the hell did I ever do to you?’

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Gavin slammed through the front door. With the allegation against him, no one wanted to touch him. ‘Bad for business.’ He threw his briefcase down on the sofa and headed straight for the kitchen.

“Hey honey. How’d it go?”

“Just like all the others.”

“Things will get better.”

“I used to think so.”

“Don’t give up. Something is going to come through. What about the connections Leo gave you?”

They won’t even touch me. I’m a liability.”

“I’m sorry, Gavin.”

“Me, too. What’s for dinner?”

“Spaghetti.”

From behind, he enveloped her in his arms and delivered a quick kiss to the ticklish spot on her neck. “I've always liked your spaghetti.”

“Oh really? I can think of something else you like, too.” She wiggled against him.

He frowned at his watch. “Can I get a rain check?”

“You have a meeting?”

“Yea.”

“I am so proud of you, Gavin.”

“Thanks. I'm gonna grab a quick shower then head out. I should be back in a couple of hours.”

“Okay. Dinner, and I will be waiting.”

“Sounds good.” While he was taking his shower, the wise words from a poster at his favorite AA meeting spot popped into his mind. "If you keep doing what you've been doing, you're going to keep getting what you've been getting." 'Something's got to change.'

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Gavin's sponsor spotted him coming through the door. “Hey, Gavin. How are things going?”

“Good.” He shook his head. “That’s a lie. Shitty. Things are really shitty.”

“I take it things are still tough on the job front. Look, don’t feel bad. It’s a recession. Lots of people can’t find jobs these days.”

“That’s just it -- I’ve been offered a job -- a great job… It’s just in another state.”

“A fresh start might be just what you need.”

“I thought so too, but now that Melanie's found her little girl--”

“She doesn’t want to leave.”

“I couldn’t even bring myself to ask her.”

“But, what about you? When is Gavin going to do what’s best for Gavin?”

Melanie is what’s best for me.”

The man patted Gavin on his back and laughed. “You’ll learn, man. You’ll learn.”

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“Hey, Val.”

“Glad to see your Caller ID is working.”

“I don’t need Caller ID. What’s up?”

“I apologize for calling you so late, I just wanted to know if you heard anything from Melanie or Aleksey.”

“No. Have you?” She put the plates down on the table and grabbed a seat.

“No. As far as I know we’re still on for tomorrow. Uh, is Gavin going?”

“No. I thought it would be best if it were just you and me. Why? Are you planning on bringing your grandma?”

“My girlfriend is not that old.”

“Fine. Your great-aunt.”

He sucked on his bottom lip. “Are you jealous?”

“No.” She scoffed at the insinuation. “Why would I be jealous? I have Gavin.”

“And, how are things going with you two?”

“Great! Things are going great!”

“You’re lying.”

“No, I’m not... Okay, he’s having a little trouble finding a job, but other than that, everything’s fine.”

“Well, I could give him a job at my studio… cleaning floors or something.”

“Ha! Ha! Ha!”

“What? I’m only trying to help. I mean, somebody’s got to take care of you.”

“Well, he doesn’t need any help. He’s doing a great job taking care of me all by himself.”

“Well, good for him.” He didn't bother hiding the disgust from his voice.

“Anyway, what time are you picking me up?”

“If we leave now--”

“Not gonna happen. I’m expecting Gavin home any minute.”

“Really? And, what do you two have planned for the night? A couple of rounds of Parcheesi, or how about Scrabble?”

“You think you’re really funny, don’t you?”

“I’m not trying to be. It’s just that you used to have fun, and now you’re… boring.”

Boring? Oh, I got your boring!”

“Lanie, I'm just calling it like I see it.”

“Then, you need glasses.”

“Admit it, we used to have fun together.”

“Yea, when were kids at summer camp.”

“And, even in Jamaica the sparks were still there.” Her retort came in the form of a short sigh. “I felt it, and I know you did, too. Look, I know Gavin has done a lot for you, but that doesn’t mean you owe him your life. It’s your life.”

“And, I chose Gavin to be in it.”

“And, you chose wrong.”

“Who are you to say?!”

“I’m the man who never stopped loving you!”

She jumped at the sound of the front door closing. “Look, Gavin’s home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Will you at least think about what I said?”

“Fine. Sure. Good bye.”

She tried to hang up before Gavin walked in the room, but it was too late.

“Hey, babe. Who was on the phone?”

“The phone? Oh, that was just… Dani.”

“Oh, how’s she doing?”

“She’s great. Everyone’s great. I hope you’re hungry, I made too much as usual.” She hopped up and ran into the kitchen.

“Yea. I’m really hungry.” Unfortunately for her, Gavin could always tell when she was up to something. He grabbed the phone and scrolled through the list of callers. “So, what did Val want?”

“What?” She lingered in the kitchen, hoping that he would drop it, knowing that he wouldn’t.

He quietly entered the kitchen and stepped directly behind her. “I asked--” She jumped at the sound and proximity of his voice. The ceramic dish slipped out of her hands and crashed to the floor.

“Damn! Well, there goes dinner.” When she bent down to pick up the largest chunks of the bowl, he grabbed her arm and pulled her right back up.

“What’s going on, Mel?”

“You scared me, that’s all.”

“You know what I mean.” He held up a hand when she tried to speak. “I get that you and Val have a connection because you share a daughter, but this…” he held up the phone, “you lying to me... I'm not putting up with that.”

“I just wanted to sit down and have a decent meal with you without all the looks you give me every time I mention Val or our daughter for that matter.”

“I don’t give you looks.”

“You’re doing it right now. I chose you, Gavin.”

“Why?”

“What?”

“Why did you choose me?”

“We’ve been over this.” She tried to walk away and he stopped her.

“Well, tell me again.”

“You’ve always been there for me when I needed you. You’ve always had my back, and I want to have yours while you’re going through this struggle.”

“What about love?”

“I love you -- you know that!”

“You didn’t say it, though.”

“I tell you every damn day and night! What is this?”

He folded his arms over his chest. “It’s truth time.”

“Okay, I didn’t tell you that I was talking to Val. Is it really that big of a deal?”

“No, but let’s be honest for a minute, Mel. Things haven’t been the same for us since he came back into your life. Hell, since I lost my job. There’s been a wall between us. At first I thought you built it, but now I’m not so sure.”

“What do you mean?” She pulled him into the living room, and down on the sofa.

“I mean, we’ve lost something that I don’t know we can ever get back.”

“Where is this coming from? You didn’t feel this way before you left for your meeting.”

“Melanie, I’ve been feeling this way for a while; I just didn’t have the courage to tell you. I love you, and I believe that you love me, but you know as well as I do that something's missing between us.”

“Is this because you haven’t been able to find a job? I told you baby, something will come through.”

Something already has.”

She stood up and placed her hands on her waist. “So, this is what it's really about. You want to take that job in Connecticut.”

Kentucky, and yes I do. It’s the only place that’s willing to hire me, Mel.”

“But, what about us? Do you expect me to just pick up and leave after finally finding my daughter? You know I’m going to meet her for the first time tomorrow.”

“I know, and no I’m not expecting you to pick up and leave. Mel, we’re at a cross road. You can’t leave, and I can’t stay.”

“But, I love you.”

“And, I love you.” He wiped the sudden tears that clouded his vision. “I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I didn’t, but we can’t keep going in circles. By now we should both know that no matter how hard we fight it, we’re always going to always end up right back here.” He gently pulled her back down on the sofa. “If I stay, I’m gonna resent you--”

“And, if I leave, I’m gonna resent you. Why does everything have to be so damn hard?!”

She shoved her face into the warmth of his shoulder, and he wrapped his arms around her. “I don’t know, baby. I wish I did.”

She pulled back out of their embrace. “So, what now? You just leave?”

“Basically. They won’t hold the position open for me forever. If I had followed my mind instead of my heart, I would have left then, and we wouldn't have to relive this pain all over again.” He brushed his fingers across her damp cheek. “I'm sorry I was being selfish.”

Selfish? I was the selfish one. I knew you needed that job, but I couldn’t let you go. I... I still don’t know if I can.”

He held the side of her face in his palm. “Mel, if it was truly meant to be, don’t you think we would have gotten it right by now?”

She laughed softly. “I guess you’re right. My father used to say that things always happen for a reason.”

“I believe that's true.”

“Then, why the hell did you walk back in my life just to walk back out?”

“I don't know.”

“Well, will you please point me in the direction of whoever the hell can, because I am confused as fuck!”

“Mel! I almost forgot that you can curse like a sailor.”

She completely ignored his lame attempt at humor. “What am I going to do without you?”

He gathered her hands in his. “You are going to get to know your daughter, spend time with her, and be the best mom she could ever dream of.”

“And, what about you? What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to help people who need me.”

I need you.”

“No, you don’t. You’re a lot stronger than you know. I see it, and so does everyone else in your life. Come here.” She folded in his arms. “You’re going to be just fine without me.”

Quiet sobs overtook her. “This hurts so bad, Gavin.”

“I know, Mel. It hurts me, too, but one of us has to call it.”

She sat back and laughed. “Call it?”

He shrugged, and bit back a laugh. “What? Doctoring is in my blood.”

She sighed heavily, and wiped away her remaining tears. “So, when are you leaving this time?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?! But, we just discussed it.”

“I know, but there’s really no point in putting it off.”

“I never thought things would go like this. We were supposed to make it.”

“And, we will… just not together. You tell Val that if he hurts you, I’ll kill him.”

Val? Val has nothing to do with this. He and I aren’t--”

“Mel. Seriously, I know.”

“Know what?”

“I know that your feelings for him have only grown since you told him about the baby you two created. And, although you've tried to fight it, I know that you love him.” He stood up and softly said, “I told you I was selfish.”

“But--”

“No, buts. Maybe, it was supposed to be like this all along. I don’t know, but I do know is that I will always love and care about you no matter if you end up with Val, or someone else.”

“I won’t be with anyone else.”

“Mel, come on. You’re beautiful and smart; you have so much to offer. Don’t sell yourself short. Guys are going to start swarming around you the minute they find out that I’m out of the picture.”

“What if I told you that I don’t want anyone else?”

“It wouldn’t change anything... I saw this coming, and if you would be completely honest for a moment, you know you did, too.” She stared into his eyes and nodded. “I have a few calls to make, and bags to pack. Hey,  since this is our last night together, how about I take you out one last time?”

“I’m not hungry.”

For me? Will you go for me?”

“Fine. I can’t believe you’re so calm about this.”

“Mel, we're doing the right thing. It's for the best.” He touched her face, then sprinted up the stairs, closing the bedroom door behind him. It didn’t take long before he was overcome by tears. With his back against the door, he cried until he felt sick. He rushed to the bathroom and dry heaved until he was dizzy. He stood up and splashed a hand full of cold water on his face, then headed back out to the bedroom.

Melanie yelled up the stairs, “Hey, I was thinking that we could go to that little Italian restaurant we always talked about going to.”

“That sounds great.”

“I’ll finish cleaning up the mess in the kitchen, and wait for you down here.”

“Okay.”

'This is it.' After confirming that the job was still his, and making travel arrangements, he grabbed a suitcase and filled it with only his essentials. With his suitcase in hand, he slowly descended the steps and optically scanned everything from the scratch in the banister to the ugly painting she just had to have.

“Mel?”

“Yea. I’m ready.” She dried her hands and tossed the towel in the sink as she headed out of the kitchen. “What are you doing with that?”

“My flight leaves in two hours.”

“Two hours?! Couldn’t you get a later flight?”

“They're expecting a tornado to touch down in the next couple of days, so it’s kind of now or never.” He regretted lying to her, but if he didn’t leave right then, he knew that he may not have been able to find the strength to do it later.

“But, we won’t have time to eat.”

“The next we see each other, dinner's on me.”

“We won’t see each other again.”

“Don’t say that.”

“You know it's true. This is it.”

“Mel, how many times have we said that?”

“Too many, but this time is different. I can feel it.”

He couldn’t think of a single thing to say, because she was absolutely right. “I’m only a call away. If you ever need anything, you call me, okay?”

“I will, and the same goes for you... How am I suppose to let you go, Gavin?”

“Me moving doesn’t change how I feel about you. My love for you is still there.”

“It’s just not enough to keep you here.”

He dropped his bag and pulled her into his arms. “No. Not this time.” There was a loud series of honks outside. “I think that’s my taxi. I better go.”

She struggled to keep her tears at bay; he deserved at least that much. “I’m gonna miss you, Gavin.”

“And, I’m gonna miss you, too. Take care.” He dashed out the door and headed for the taxi.

“Wait! Gavin, wait!” He stopped and turned around. “I can’t keep this.”

He dropped his bag and grabbed her hand before she could pull her engagement ring off. “We already went through this, Mel. I don’t want it back. It’s yours to do with whatever you want.”

A stubborn tear rolled down her cheek and splashed on their conjoined hands. He pulled her into a passion-filled kiss that ended too soon. Without another word, he hopped in the back of the taxi and told the driver to go.

Melanie stood on the sidewalk and watched the car speed away until it was completely out of sight. She clutched her ring covered finger and trudged back into the all too empty house. “I can’t do this. I can’t be here.” She grabbed her coat and keys and headed for her car.

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Val reached over and grabbed his phone. “Hello?”

“Don’t hurt her.”

“What?” His question was drowned out by the irritating sound of the dial tone. “Who the hell?” He looked at the Caller ID. “Gavin?” He immediately tried to call him back, but it went straight to voicemail. Then, he tried to call Melanie, but she didn’t pick up. “What the hell is going on?”

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She banged on the door until her knuckles hurt.

“I’ll get it. You stay here.” Leo rushed down the stairs carrying a metal baseball bat. “Who the hell is it?!”

“It’s Melanie.”

“Melanie?” He disarmed the alarm and unlocked the door. “Melanie what are you doing--” Before he could finish asking, she fell into his arms. Neither noticed when the lights behind him turned on.

“Baby, who is it?” She did a double take. “Melanie?”

“Mommy, what’s going on?”

“Go back to bed, Alana. Everything’s fine.”

“Okay.”

Danielle descended the stairs in record time and took Leo’s place in her cousin’s arms.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know where else to go.”

“What happened, Mel? Is it Gavin? Did you two have a fight?”

Leo returned with a glass of water for Melanie. “Thank you, Leo.” She placed her hands on her laps and stared at them for what felt like a good minute. “He left. He really left. This time for good.”

Danielle scooted closer to Melanie and grabbed her hand. “What happened? I thought you two were working things out.”

Melanie wiped a few stray tears away. “So did I. He decided to take that job in Conneti-- Kentucky. He couldn’t find one out here.”

“So, he just left? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“It just wasn’t enough. What he and I have -- had wasn’t enough. From the time we were kids, he wanted to be a doctor -- nothing else-- just a doctor. I couldn’t ask him to give that up for me. I had to let him go.”

“Wow. I’m so sorry, Mel. I know how much you love him and how much he loves you.” Melanie’s phone vibrated against Danielle’s leg. “Maybe, that’s him.”

“It’s probably Val. He’s been calling non-stop since Gavin left.”

“When you say left--”

“I mean his flight will be leaving in like a hour.”

“Damn.” Leo quickly covered and uncovered his mouth. “Sorry.”

Melanie laughed once. “It’s okay. I can’t believe it either.”

Her phone vibrated again. “I can’t deal with him right now.”

“Aren’t you two supposed to see your daughter tomorrow?”

“Yea. Maybe, he's calling about that. Will you excuse me?” She attempted to stand, but Danielle placed her hand on her arm.

“You stay, Leo and I will go start a pot of coffee.”

Melanie's smile was obviously fake, but it was the best she could do. She pulled out her cell and called Val; he picked up on the first ring.

“Melanie, what the hell is going on?”

“That seems to be the million dollar question.”

“What?”

“Nevermind. I’m returning your call. What do you want?”

“I want to know why Gavin called and told me not to hurt you.”

“He did what?!” Danielle rushed out of the kitchen full of concern. “Sorry. I’m gonna take this outside.” She thought her car would provide a better buffer should she feel the need to have another outburst.

“Melanie? Are you still there?”

“Yea. I’m here. Start talking.”

Me? I don’t know what’s going on?”

“He called you?”

“Yea.”

“When?”

“About forty minutes ago. I tried to call him back, but he wouldn’t pick up, and then I tried calling you and you wouldn’t answer. What kind of games are you two playing?”

“Nobody’s playing any games.”

“Why would he tell me not to hurt you?”

“He left, okay?”

“What do you mean he left? You guys got into a fight or something?”

“No. He decided to take the job in Kentucky, and since I can’t leave--”

“That son of a bitch. He just dropped you when you needed him the most? The day before you meet your child for the first time?”

“It’s not like that, Val.”

“Then, tell me how is it, then.”

“Look, what happens between me and Gavin is none of your business. I don’t know why he called you.”

“Because, he knows that you belong with me.”

“You have got to be kidding! I just broke off my engagement, and you’re telling me that I belong with you!”

“He saw it, Mel. Hell, everybody saw it.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The chemistry between us.”

“The only thing between us is the daughter we created when we were fifteen. Nothing else.”

“You can keep denying it all you want, but it’s there. It’s always been there.”

“I thought the same thing about Gavin and look how that ended.”

“And, look at who’s still here.”

Her snappy comeback dissolved with the shooting star that suddenly passed by in the otherwise darkened sky. “What time are you coming to get me?”

“I can come and get you now.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Why not? Your last excuse was dinner. Have you eaten?”

“No.”

“Then, that settles it. I’ll be at your house in ten minutes.”

“I’m not there.”

“Where are you?”

“At my cousin’s house.”

“Fine, I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Val, wait.” He hung up before she could talk him out it -- as if she ever could.

'One man couldn’t wait to get away from me, and now another one can’t wait to see me. Can this night get any more complicated?'

“Get out of the car, bitch!”

‘Damn! I guess so.’

End Notes:

I know there are some Gavin fans who didn't want "Mavin" to end (okay, clearly I'm not good at meshing names, lol), but he is a character that I have been struggling with for months. As much as I like him and all that he has done for Melanie, he just doesn't work with the direction this particular story is going in. NOW, just because the door is open, it does not necessarily mean that Melanie is going to go to or end up with Val. With my imagination, she could very well end up with Aleksey's butler -- and no, that is not a spoiler. Since this is a new story, I didn't want to drag over too much of the old story into it, and Gavin and Melanie's history and sole existence are too etched in "LR" for me to start anew.

<>For those who read "Love Reawakened" you may remember who Bianca is, and understand now why she went after Gavin. If not, keep reading, because she's not done.<>

Thanks for the feedback. =)

Reclaiming What's Rightfully Mine... by Leoslove

Melanie was too emotionally drained to be scared.

The masked man tapped on the glass with his gun and repeated his command. “I said, get out of the car.”

She slowly opened the door, forcing him to step back. She raised her hands so that he could see that she was unarmed. “The keys are inside the ignition.”

Without a word, he pushed her back and proceeded to climb inside her two-seater. Much to both their surprise, something snapped inside of Melanie, and she commenced to whooping his ass. She wrapped her arm around his throat, and kneed the back of his knee causing him to drop to the ground, and allowing her to get a better hold. She squeezed with a strength she had never claimed before. She dug the heel of her stiletto in his calf and refused to let up. She ripped the mask off and clawed at his eyes with her left hand while her right arm promised to choke the life out of him.

Memories that she often prayed would fade away all came flooding back at once. She focused all of the anger, frustration, and disappointment that came along with the memories on the stranger beneath her. He became every boy who raped her in college. He became her step-mother and crazy aunt. He became Gavin who left a huge hole in her heart. Hell, he became her mean ass second grade teacher, Ms. Winston who took pleasure in calling on her even when she knew she didn’t know the answer. He was the Devil himself, and that night he was going to pay.

His sobs and pleas for her to stop literally fell on deaf ears. She could see his lips moving, but she refused to allow anything to distract her from the sound of her heel meeting and snapping his bones.

Val stopped his car in the middle of the street when he saw her struggling against something that was too low for him to make out. He didn’t know what happened, but he managed to pull her off the man, and get a few kicks in before the police ran up with their guns drawn.

An older lady rushed down the street toward them. “That’s him Officers. That’s the peeping tom I called you about.” While one Officer called for an ambulance, the other one chuckled as the tough old bird repeatedly tried to strike the broken man with her cane.

Danielle and Leo ran out of the house and headed straight for Melanie and Val.

After Melanie explained what happened to the Officers and half the block who at some point all filtered onto the street, Danielle pulled her into a tight embrace and expressed how proud she was of her. Right before Melanie’s head got too big from all the praise, Danielle pulled back and said, “Next time, just give him the damn car!”

Melanie sat down on her car bumper and shook her head. “I’m tired of people taking from me... Never again.”

Val sat down next to her, right up against her, and smiled.

She nudged his arm and asked, “What are you smiling about?”

“You. Tonight, the real you finally showed up.”

“What are you talking about?”

He reached around her and pointed to the blood soaked ground. “This is who you are -- what you’re capable of. You always had it in you, and that bastard just unleashed it. I’m proud of you, Lanie.” She pulled against him so suddenly that they both lost their balance and slipped to the cold, wet ground below. They laughed so hard that tears formed in their eyes. When her tears began to stream down her cheeks, he got concerned. He pulled her up as he stood to his feet.

“Hey, are you okay?”

She smiled and nodded her head. “I’m fine. For the first time in a long time, I’m really fine.” They joined Dani and Leo on the porch and watched as the screaming man got loaded into the back of an ambulance.

Melanie grabbed and squeezed Danielle’s hand, and Danielle knowingly squeezed back. During her attack on her would-be attacker, something broke inside of Melanie, and not in a bad way. She, just like Danielle many years prior, reclaimed herself, her true self. That night, she annihilated the cocoon of neediness and insecurity that she allowed herself to be trapped in for most of her life, and emerged as someone not to be fucked with. 


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She clawed her way up the headboard until he hooked his arms around her thighs securing himself between them in the process.

He looked up long enough to smile and ask, “Where are you going?” Then, his head once again disappeared as he gripped her throbbing pearl firmly between his lips. She cried out as the tip of his tongue swiped back and forth across her stiff clit over and over. Her release was primal, and it shook him to his core. He was so close to expelling his seed without even having entered her that he had no choice but to let her go. She placed one hand loosely over her rapidly beating heart as she made several attempts to catch her breath.

Aleksey stood up and headed to the custom built mini bar, and Angel licked her lips at the sight of his manhood laboriously swinging back and forth just inches from his knees. She didn't realize that she was playing with herself until she felt her nipples being tweak and looked down to see that it was by her own hand. Just the mere sight of Angel touching herself was almost enough to make his body cum. He looked down and watched his spear repeatedly twitch. He closed his eyes as it ached to be touched -- to be inside her. Every nerve in his body yearned for her. He held his hand inside the metal bucket of ice until it was numb. Then, he leaned back and wrapped his hand around his masterpiece until his erection started to diminish.

After reclaiming control, he made the foolish mistake of giving in to her silent plea for him to look at her. He could hear her command in his mind just as clearly and loudly as if she had spoken the words aloud. From the moment their eyes locked, his body became hers. No matter how hard he tried to look away, he couldn’t stop staring as three of her slender fingers disappeared deep inside her opening.

After bringing herself to the brink of another orgasm, she removed her fingers with a low moan -- a moan that beckoned for him to, "Come closer." He was under her spell. With his dick still in his hand, he rushed to her side and picked her up, placing her on top of him. She shivered as the heat of her pussy and the cold of his dick slowly cancelled each other out. His hands gripped her waist as he slammed her down on top of his erection harder and harder with each thrust.

“Fuck me, Aleksey! Yes! Take this pussy!”

He had never heard her speak to him that way. She was completely uninhibited, and he loved it. He released her small waist and placed both of his hands on her full mounds. She bucked against him each time his strong hands delivered a powerful smack. Instead of reprimanding him verbally when he got carried away and smacked her too hard, she clamped down on his dick with her vaginal muscles so strongly that he couldn’t move in or out. As an attempt to make amends, and to get her to relax her hold, he reached back with both hands and gripped the rails on the headboard, once again relinquishing control. She smiled and proceeded to bounce on him like a pogo stick. She couldn’t help herself. He brought his hands back down and placed one on her reddened cheek, and the other on her left breast. He caught the protruding nipple in mid-bounce, and leaned forward so that he could capture it in his hungry mouth. He sucked on it until her inner walls spasmed around him. It was nothing more than raw sexual energy that fueled them to keep going.

He released his hand from her backside and placed it flat against her stomach. They shared a devilish grin as that hand slid downward toward her throbbing center.

“So tight. You are always so tight for me.” His words were delivered to her ears in small puffs of air.

“No one but you, baby.” She bent down and sighed as her clit brushed against his fingers. With her mouth only inches away from his, she breathed the words, “Only for you, Aleksey. Onlyforyou.” Her declaration was his undoing. He came so hard that he lifted them both up off the mattress. They barely heard the warning of the frame breaking right before the bed collapsed in a heap on the hardwood floor. He wrapped her in his protective arms as she fell against him. His dick, while still inside her sprang back to life when one of her nipples rubbed against one of his own.

When she opened her mouth to speak or scream (he wasn’t sure), he smashed his lips against hers and deliberately sucked the intention right out of her. They both panted as they came up for air moments later. He rolled them over until he was on top of her, then proceeded to fuck her harder than either imagined was possible. He pumped inside her like he was searching for something… and, maybe he was.

She knew from experience that she was in for hours of pleasure. Fuck Viagra. The doctors needed to bottle him up for the weak ass masses. She held onto his shoulders and enjoyed the ride, thoroughly as they once again got lost in each other.

The staff knew better than to bother Aleksey when he was fucking. Nothing short of death, or a good nut could stop him, so they kept Destiny occupied, while he occupied her mother.

Minutes short of three hours later, he fell on top of her completely drained. Too drained to even roll over. She used the opportunity to feel his weight on her, all of his weight. It was something he rarely allowed, and never for more than a few seconds after they finished. She was small compared to him, and the last thing he wanted to do was hurt her. He buried his face in her chest as he attempted to garner enough strength to move.

“I’m too heavy.” Although his words came out muffled, she knew exactly what he said because their love making always ended the same way. He was too afraid to stay on top of her for too long because he was certain that he would hurt her, and she never wanted to let him go because she craved the security that his weight offered.

“You’re not too heavy, Aleksey. I love it, and I love you.”

He mustered just enough strength to lift his head so that their eyes met. “Say it again.” Whenever he growled demands at her, it always made her pussy wet, and in this case, wetter.

“I love you.”

“Say it again.”

“I love you.”

“Again.”

“I love you.”

He playfully scooped her up in his arms and rolled them over until he was on his back and she was on top of him. “Did you see that?”

She wiped the sweat from his brow. “See what?”

“What your love can make me do. With your love I can do anything. Anything.”

Tears formed in her eyes to the point where he was just a blur -- a sexy blur -- but, still a blur.

“Why are you crying?” He looked down as her tears splashed onto his chest.

“Because, that was so sweet.”

He raised her head and placed a slow kiss on the point of her chin. “You are so sweet.” He licked her neck and allowed his tongue to linger at one of her many hot spots. “Very sweet.”

His private cell rang out from inside his jacket pocket, and after receiving a nod of approval from Angel, he rolled out of the broken bed to retrieve the interruption. Once he stepped back and took note of the damage that their passion created, he couldn't help but laugh. However, his mood became serious the moment he answered the phone. “What?!”

“Sir, the man we have watching Melanie and Val reported that she was attacked tonight.”

He sighed and headed into the bathroom for privacy. “Was it mob related?”

“No, Sir. It appeared to be some low-life who wanted her car.”

He released a long sigh of relief. “Is she okay?”

“Yes. She actually turned the tables, and beat him up. From what I was told, she did a good job.”

Aleksey chuckled deeply. “Well, that is surprising.”

“How so, Sir?”

“She seemed -- I don’t know-- like a little mouse when I met her. I did not know she had it in her... Well, good for her.” The man waited for further instructions, but received a clicking sound, and then the dial tone instead.

When Aleksey emerged from the bathroom, he found Angel getting dressed.

“What do you think you are doing?” He rushed her from behind and lifted her up in the air.

“What does it look like?” She laughed as his hands snaked around her midsection and squeezed lightly. “Put me down, Aleksey.” She fought to get the words out through a fit of giggles.

He put her down upon her request, and pulled her over to the fallen bed. “Look at what you have done.”

She pulled away and ran to the other side. “Me? How about you?”

“Me? I was an innocent bystander.”

“Bystand-- Bystander?! Ha! You just fucked me for how many unrelenting hours? And, you have the audacity to call yourself innocent.” She pretended to be surprised and offended all at the same time.

“I am very much innocent. Would you like to know how?”

“Oh, I gotta hear this.” She grabbed a chair and placed it directly right in front of him. Then, after sitting down and folding her arms tightly across her chest, she motioned for him to proceed.

I was standing right over there,” he pointed to the mini bar, “trying to contain myself when I heard you whisper for me to come closer.”

She held a hand up. “I never said that -- I thought it -- but, I never said it.”

He waved his hand dismissively. “Does not matter -- it came from you.” He quickly got back into character. “And I, being the loving, obedient --”

“Hold up! I gotta stop you there.”

“Shush. I was getting to the good part.” She laughed and sat back in the chair. “Where was I? Oh, yes. And I, being the loving, obedient boyfriend that I am followed your command to come closer, and that’s when you fucked me without mercy causing the bed to break. I rest my case!”

He turned around and headed for the bar with a smile, and turned back around at the sound of slow clapping. “Is that all you got?”

He looked down at his nude form. “No. I have much more to give.”

She rolled her eyes and quickly closed her legs. However, it was too late, the fire had been rekindled. She watched in amazement as his thick spear inflated to full form. “Damn… I can't believe all of that fits inside me.”

He took a sip of his drink and licked his lips before answering, “Every inch.” He put his glass down, and stroked his building erection under her watchful eye.

She slipped her hand down to her own center and strummed the tip of her index finger against her clit.

“Open your legs, Angel.” His eyes never left her finger.

She slowly opened her legs, then snapped them back together.

“Open them.” The intensity in his eyes would have scared anyone else shitless, but she knew the desire that laid beneath the surface -- she fed it purposely.

She shook her head, and slipped her finger in her mouth, moaning loudly as she savored their combined essence.

“Open them.” His voice weakened. She defiantly shook her head again, but allowed her legs to part slightly at the knees. “Fuck!”

To give him back just a little of the control, she placed her fingers inside her pussy, and matched him stroke for stroke. He picked up his speed, and she did the same. Her tongue slipped across her lips as clear, delicious fluid began to leak from the tip of his member. She fell to her knees, and crawled over to him like a panther preparing to attack. He closed his eyes, and released his organ. The glasses rattled as his body shook violently against the bar when he felt the inside of her mouth envelope his manhood little by little. She hummed softly as her fingers traced up and down the trembling muscles in his thighs.

He opened his eyes, and watched intently as her tongue swirled around him. With both hands, he gripped the back of her head. “Baby. This is too much. Too good.”

She hummed louder, triggering chill bumps to form across his body.

“Please, I can’t -- Get up. Please.” She closed her eyes and continued. Although, he enjoyed what she was doing to him immensely, he never liked for her to be on her knees kneeling down before him. She was a Queen in his eyes; his Queen. “Please, baby. It is coming. I cannot fight--” She squeezed his sac and prepared her throat for its reward. Stream after stream filled her mouth, and she happily took it all in. In the past, she always hated swallowing mainly because of the taste, but with Aleksey it was different; he always tasted sweet and tangy. Tropical.

He placed his elbows against the bar and leaned back with what little strength he had left. “You are dangerous.”

She licked her lips and asked, “How so?”

“You weaken me in every possible way. I cannot resist you. I do not even want to try.”

She planted tender kisses on his chest, and with widened eyes looked up and asked, “Is that a bad thing?”

He pulled her against him. “No. I suppose not. You are the best thing in my life -- you and Destiny. I am better for knowing you both.”

She laid the side of her face against his chest, and sighed contently. “And, we are better for knowing you.”

“I love you, Angel. I love you more than I have loved anyone before.”

“And, I feel the same way about you. I’ve never felt so safe and loved in my life. I think I... I think I need you, Aleksey.” Neither the words, nor the realization came easy for her. She hadn't needed anyone except Destiny since she moved out on her own at the age of sixteen. And, although it might seem strange, needing him was much more scary than loving him. Love was simple. She knew that she could always love him and walk away (if he let her), but for her to need him -- it meant that she would never be able to walk away from him, even if he let her go.

He smiled and kissed the top of her head. “I know I need you... I will do anything you ask of me, but let you go.” His arms squeezed tighter around her, and his smile faded away. “You are mine, and I will never let you go -- never.”

She was certain that if anyone else had claimed possession of her like he had she would have been terrified, but coming from him, she felt a sense of comfort -- comfort in the fact that just as she belonged to him, he also belonged to her.

End Notes:

Thanks for the feedback. =)

Meet & Greet... by Leoslove

“What is that?”

“Turnip and mustard greens.”

Two types of greens?”

“Yes.” She swooped around him and handed Natalia a bowl of fresh vegetables to chop.

“Why two?”

“Because they taste good together.” She grabbed the lid out of his hand and hip checked him away from the stove.

“What is this?”

“Hot water cornbread.”

“Mmmm. And, this?”

“Smothered chicken in brown gravy.”

“And, the vegetables -- they look fresh.”

“They should. They’re from your garden.”

When he snatched a slice of tomato from the cutting board and smiled at Natalia, she was too shocked by his sudden playfulness to smile back. Instead, she gave him a reverential nod.

My garden, huh?”

She smirked at his attempt to cover the surprise in his voice. “Did you even know that you had a garden, Aleksey?”

“I may have heard mention of such once.”

Mention? Oh, no. You have to see it.”

“Is it that nice?”

“It’s beautiful… Almost as beautiful as my Grandmother's.”

“Almost?”

“Yea. Her garden was the best in the world, and I’m not being biased. She had every kind of fruit and vegetable you could imagine. And, her flowers... they were magnificent. She was truly gifted.”

“And what about you?”

“Me? I’ve always wanted a garden, but having lived in apartments all of my adult life, and then running from place to place with Destiny -- it never became more than just a dream.”

He took another slice of tomato and whizzed around the counter just out of Angel’s reach.

“And, what is that?”

“What?”

“In the oven. It smells heavenly.”

“Those are a couple of my grandmother’s sweet potato pies, and a peach cobbler. Destiny and I are the only two people left who know the recipe.”

“Maybe, you can tell me, someday?”

“Only if you’re really good.”

“Oh. I can be really good. I have a broken bed to prove it.”

“Aleksey!” She looked over at Natalia who had a small smile on her face. “Why don’t you go watch the game with Destiny?”

“But, I have more questions. Like, what is that right there?”

“It’s fried okra.” He made a sour face. “You’ll love it; I promise. Now go. I’ll explain everything else at dinner.”

“Am I distracting you?”

She flashed him a smile. “You wish. Now go.”

“Fine. Fine.” He grabbed one last slice of tomato. “I never thought I would see the day that I got kicked out of my own kitchen.”

“Well, now you have. Go.”

“Fine.” He stole a quick kiss and was out the door all before her towel could smack his behind.

Angel sighed and floated back over to the stove. “That man is something else.”

After Angel made Aleksey give the house staff set hours, she and Natalia were able to spend more time together getting to know each other. They went shopping and gave each other makeovers; all the things friend-girls do. And, since they were pretty much the only friend the other had, confiding came with the territory.

“How are things going with your daughter?”
 
“Not so good. I think I should have named her Tribulationis.”

“What does that mean?”

“Trouble.”

“I’m sure she’ll grow out of it.”

“She is twenty years of age. I do not think so.”

“Give her more time.”

“I try, but she is in under her head.”

Over.”

“Sorry?”

“In over her head.”

“Yes, that is it. I do not know how much more I can help her from here.”

“Well, why not bring her here?”

“To America?”

“Yeah. It’s the land of opportunity, and you’re here. She’s probably just been missing you, and that’s why she’s been acting out.”

“Maybe… But, I do not know where she would go. I do not think Mr. Moroskov would allow her to move in here. He is very strict man.”

“You leave Mr. Moroskov to me.”

“I do not want to be burden.”

“Natalia, you’re family.”

“No. I am employee, and I must remember my place.”

“You are my friend, and your place is here, and if you’re here, your daughter should be here. I’ll talk to him. He’ll understand.”

“I not hold my air.”

Breath.”

“That, either.”

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“So, who are we rooting for?”

“I don’t know, yet. I usually yell for the team that’s not doing very well.”

Aleksey pulled Destiny onto his lap. “So, you like the underdogs?”

“Yes. That’s what mommy says. Is she still cooking?”

“Yes.”

“Did she tell you about the secret pies?”

“No. Not, yet.”

“A dash of vanilla, and a little coconut water.”

“Vanilla, and coconut water? That is good to know. Thank you for trusting me.”

“No problem, Daddy.” Destiny snuggled her head against Aleksey's hard chest until she found a comfortable spot.

Before he could wrap his head around what had just happened, his butler interrupted his thoughts.

“Sir, your guests are here.”

He turned around slightly, not wanting to disturb Destiny. “Please, come in.”

Val and Melanie looked at each other before taking a step.

Not knowing what to say, Melanie blurted out, “We brought wine.”

When they made it to the front of the sofa, they both froze. There she was, their daughter. The little girl they created. Val fastened his arms to his sides, and fought the strong urge to pull her off of his lap, the man she called, “Daddy”.

“Destiny?”

She looked up into Aleksey's eyes. “Yes?”

“Will you please go get your Mommy?”

“Yes.”

She stopped and looked at Val and Melanie. For a moment they thought she somehow recognized them, until she straightened her tilted head, smiled, then headed to the kitchen.

Val stood in front of the TV, purposely blocking Aleksey's view. “You have a nice home. How long has she been calling you Daddy?”

Melanie smacked his arm with her free hand. “Val, stop it! We didn’t come here for this.”

“I know, but I was just wondering. Here were are -- her real parents and she refers to them as Mom and Dad… Excuse me if it doesn’t sit right with me.”

Aleksey stood up and glanced at the door before speaking. “I understand your concerns, but it came as a surprise to me, as well. She had never called me Daddy before.”

“But, you didn’t correct her.”

“Should I have?”

“Well, yea considering that I’m her real fath--”

“Hey! Melanie, you look fabulous.” Everyone turned their attention to Angel, and Destiny who stood by her side.

Melanie shoved the bottle of wine at Val and reached out and hugged Angel. She wanted more than anything to hug her little girl, but refrained. “You look amazing, Angel.”

“You’re too kind. I’ve been in the kitchen since I woke up.”

“Well, I can’t tell. You and Aleksey have a very beautiful home.” She fixed her sight on Destiny.

Angel could see the forming desperation in her eyes. “Thanks. After dinner, if you’d like I can give you a tour.”

“I would love that.”

Melanie's eyes never left Destiny's. Feeling uncomfortable, Destiny grabbed Angel's hand and led her to the sofa; Melanie followed closely behind.

“Why don’t we all have a seat?” The men were the last to sit, and they too stared at each other. Something was clearly going on, and Angel was more than a little curious as to what it was.

Destiny sat on Angel’s lap and whispered, “Who are they, Mama?”

“They are mine and Aleksey’s new friends. Melanie and Val.”

She ducked her head and softly answered, “Oh.”

Melanie stood in front of the little girl and extended her hand. “Hi. It’s very nice to meet you.”

Destiny stared at her for a couple of seconds before accepting her hand. “Nice to meet you, too.”

Val joined Melanie and performed the same gesture. “And, I am Valentin, but everyone calls me Val.”

“Nice to meet you, Val. Mama, can I go to my room and play?”

Angel tried to ignore the disappointed looks on her biological parent's faces. “Sure, but dinner will be ready soon.”

“Okay.”

“It was really nice meeting you,” Melanie almost shouted as Destiny made her way to the door. Destiny turned around and smiled -- she had Val’s smile -- and raced up the stairs.

“She doesn’t like to be around a bunch of adults.” Angel hoped she came off as apologetic as she intended. “Please, have a seat. So, how have you two been since we last met?”

“Melanie got attacked last night.” Val grabbed a handful of pretzels from the dish on the table in front of him, and sat down across from Aleksey.

“Val!” She shot him a sharp look. “It was nothing. I’m fine.”

Angel turned to face her with a genuinely worried look in her eyes. “What happened?”

“Some guy wanted my car, and I wasn’t going to give it to him.”

Angel leaned forward. “So, then what happened?”

“I beat him down, literally.”

Val looked at Aleksey and said, “You would have been proud.”

Aleksey crossed his leg at the knee and asked, “Why is that?”

“Considering what you do for a living.”

All eyes were on Val. Angel swallowed hard, and Melanie began to pray.

“And, just what do you think I do for a living, Valentin?”

“Do you really want me to say it?”

“If you feel the need. I do not apologize for who I am, or what I do.”

“Yea, I bet.”

Aleksey released a short-lived chuckle.

Melanie jumped to her feet and turned to Angel. “Soooo? About that tour?”

Angel stood up and reached out for Aleksey’s hand, and Melanie grabbed Val’s. Val grimaced in pain as Melanie squeezed his fingers with all her might.

Halfway through the door, she yanked Val down to her level, and whispered, “If you do anything to mess this night up, I will never forgive you. She doesn’t know us yet, and if you keep carrying on this way, she may never. Now, get your head out of your ass and grow the fuck up.” She had just finished her warning when Angel looked back and smiled.

“Is everything okay?”

Melanie gave her a toothy grin. “Everything’s fine. So? What do we get to see first?”

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Dinner was a blast. Val and Aleksey shared a joke or two before the dessert was served. And, Destiny even opened up a bit to the strangers who grilled her with question after question about her likes and dislikes.

After Destiny went to her room, and the men went back to the den, Angel led Melanie over to the sitting room.

“You outdid yourself, girl... How about next time I cook?”

“It’s a deal. Natalia’s putting a couple of plates together for you and Val.” Angel's curiousity was starting to get the better of her. She wasn’t sure how to ask, so she just went for it. “What did Destiny and I walk in on earlier?”

Melanie took in a superficial breath. “Well, when we came in the room, we heard Destiny call Aleksey Daddy, and I guess it kind of messed with Val a little.”

Angel smoothed down her curling edges, and sat down. “Oh, I see.”

“Yea. We just weren’t expecting it that's all.”

“Neither was I.” Angel was speaking mostly to herself.

“Excuse me?”

“This is the first that I’ve heard of Destiny referring to Aleksey as her father. I didn’t know she felt that way. I mean I know they’ve gotten close over the passed few -- Well, it’s just surprising.”

Melanie sat down in the chair next to Angel. “If you don’t mind me asking; how long have you and Aleksey been seeing each other?”

“Why?”

“Well, if she’s never called him Daddy before, I was just wondering how long you two have been together.”

“Probably not as long as you and Val.” She took a sip of the wine that Melanie and Val brought and hoped that she wouldn't bring up her and Aleksey again. The last thing she wanted to do was talk about their relationship, especially how it began. She snatched her hand down when she realized that she was subconsciously rubbing her scar.

“Uh, Val and I aren't together.”

“What? You two seem so close, and you’re wearing an engagement ring…”

Melanie looked down at the shiny reminder. “I was engaged to someone else up until last night. I guess I haven’t really given much thought to taking the ring off, yet.”

Angel smiled at her sympathetically. “I’m sure you’ll do it when the time is right. Do you mind if I ask what happened?”

“It’s a long story.”

Angel looked through the glass wall and laughed as Aleksey and Val high-fived over a touch down. “It seems we have time.”

Melanie laughed with her until certain feelings that she wasn’t ready to acknowledge crept in. “I don't think I'm ready to talk about everything just yet.”

Angel nodded. “Okay. If you ever need to talk, I’ve been told that I’m a great listener.”

“Thanks... Who’s she?”

Angel looked out to where Melanie was pointing. “I don’t know. I guess she’s a friend of… Aleksey.” Her eyes tightened into tiny slits as the unknown woman walked up and planted herself and her mouth on Aleksey.

“Well, they must be really good friends. Do I see tongue?”

End Notes:

Now, you all KNOW I had to throw in a little drama!!!! LOL!

Thanks for the feedback. =)

Welcome To My World... by Leoslove

Aleksey grabbed the woman’s wrists, and in one swipe slid them down the sides of his face. He continued to squeeze the fragile bones right up to the point that he knew they would snap. “What the hell are you doing here?” Regardless of how soothing his bass filled voice sounded in her ears, she could tell by the malevolent look in his eyes that she had made a deadly mistake by going there.

“I... I missed you, Aleksey.”

You missed me? I told you to never come back here, yet here you are. Now, what do you suppose I should do?”

She flinched as he squeezed her wrists harder. “I’m sorry. I’ll leave.”

He smiled for Val’s sake, and whispered calmly in her ear. “Yes, you will leave, but not in the same condition you arrived.” She gasped and he continued. “If you do not make a scene, I may even allow your death to be painless.” Still smiling, he looked into her hopeful eyes. “Naaah.” He released his hold at the sound of Angel’s voice.    

“Aleksey, what the fuck is going on in here?! Who is this bitch?”

He stood up without warning -- purposely causing the woman to crash to the floor. “Angel, my love, this is nothing to concern yourself with. She is just a misguided soul who made an unfortunate choice to come to our home... Did she come with you, Andrei?”

The tall, formally unseen man stepped out from the shadows. “It has been a while.” He casually looked around the room. “You have done well for yourself.”

“Answer the question.”

“Such impatience. You always did take after your mother.” The dark figure shook his head at the look of unrelenting hatred in Aleksey’s eyes. “Fine. Yes. She came with me.”

“Why would you bring this trash into my home?”

“Trash?!” Figuring she had nothing left to lose, the woman carried on. “Was I trash while I was fucking your brains out for five years?!”

Aleksey's laugh started and stopped within seconds. “You were always trash, and trash always goes out, never in. Learn your place.”

Angel stood in between Aleksey and the woman, and assessed their shared looks. “Aleksey, who is this bitch to you?”

“Bitch?!” Val grabbed the woman as she lunged for Angel.

Melanie mumbled, “Oh, hell no”, and placed one hand firmly on the doorframe as she took her heels off with the other. She flung her shoes behind her one-by-one, and took a spot next to Angel. 

Fortunately, and sometimes unfortunately, Angel and Aleksey had a lot in common, especially in regard to their temperament; disrespect was something that they would not tolerate from anyone, not even each other.

Angel walked forward and stood toe-to-toe with the man she had quickly given her heart to; an action she was starting to regret. “Aleksey, you better start talking before I hurt her.”

That was all Natalia needed to hear. Job be damned, she rushed into the room with a dirty frying pan fully prepared to start swinging.

Normally, Angel would have erupted in laughter at the sight, but this situation was anything but normal.  She placed her eyes back on Aleksey and asked Natalia to join and keep Destiny upstairs. Angel not only took a mental note of her pause, but also the unmistakable look of disdain and familiarity that Natalia gave the still unnamed woman. Oh, they would talk later.

With Destiny taken care of, Angel turned her full attention back to the matter at hand. “Who the fuck is this tramp, Aleksey?”

The woman scoffed and leaned back against Val. “I am nobody’s tramp. And, since we’re asking questions, who the hell is she?

Aleksey looked toward the door and locked eyes with his right hand man. Without so much as a nod, Marat asked Melanie and Val to follow him out.

Melanie began to protest, but Val stopped her. Before he left, Val turned and looked at Aleksey. “YA ne zabochus', chto Vy delayete zdes' segodn'a vecherom, stol' zhe dolgo, kak eto ne trogayet moyego rebenka.” (I do not care what you do here tonight, just as long as it does not touch my child.)

“Vy imeyete moye slovo.” (You have my word.) With that, Val closed the double doors behind him and left for the hotel with Melanie.

Angel’s patience had run out some time between the kiss and the attempted attack by the seemingly crazy chick who had began stalking the floor like a caged animal.

Angel folded her arms and cleared her throat, commanding attention. “Okay, first of all, I don’t understand all that yatta yatta. The least you all can do is speak English. Secondly, Aleksey you still haven't explained who this trick is, or what she’s doing here. And thirdly, who the hell is this Dracula looking motherfucka who keeps staring at me?!”

Aleksey smiled at the amusing, yet fair description of his older brother and pressed a small red button next to the door. Angel jumped when a thick burgundy hand embroidered tapestry accompanied by a metal sheet lowered from the ceiling down to the floor and covered the glass wall completely. Aleksey turned back just in time to see Andrei slink behind Angel; lust dripping from him like blood.

“Well, it seems that you have taken on yet another fetish, little brother.” When he lifted his hand to touch her cheek, she swiftly smacked it away. Andrei chuckled and shook out the sting. “Oh she's a feisty one.” Angel stood her ground even as he molested her entire body with his eyes. “Honestly little brother, I had really hoped that you would have learned to bed your whores somewhere out of your house by now.”

Without saying a word, Angel slapped Andrei so hard that the sound echoed through the thick fabric of the tapestry, and bounced off the metal sheet behind it. Before his raised hand could make a retaliatory strike against her, a loud shot rang out and he fell to the floor.

Certain that the shot came from behind her, Angel turned around and not surprisingly found Aleksey standing still with a smoking gun in his right hand. For a moment, everything appeared to be happening in slow motion, that is until Iyanka’s scream brought everything back to its rightful pace. Annoyed with the entire situation and Iyanka, Angel walked up and backhanded her into a stunned silence.

Aleksey stared at his brother for only a moment before pressing a button underneath his desk; she guessed the same desk that he got the gun from. Within seconds, Marat and five guards entered the sound proof room with their weapons drawn.

Once Aleksey pulled Angel against him and nodded once at his brother’s motionless body one of his men bent down and out of formality checked for a pulse. Five seconds later, he shook his head, confirming what everyone already knew. One shot between the eyes -- there was no coming back from that.

Angel slid her hand around Aleksey’s back and reached down to the hand that still held the gun. Before she handed it over to Marat, she almost shyly said, “I know I don’t have to tell you to get rid of it, but…”

Marat nodded. Although he didn’t say anything, his eyes reflected the new found respect he had for her. “What happened?”

Aleksey shook his head until the fire extinguished in his eyes. Then, he slowly shrugged, and as if relaying something as uneventful as the time calmly stated, “He was going to hit her.”

There was no love lost between Marat and Andrei. Marat had always hated him, even when they were kids. Andrei was a bully who made it his life’s mission to prey on those who were weaker and smaller than him, and as far as Marat was concerned, he finally got exactly what he deserved. “What do you want us to do with the body?”

Aleksey, glared at the brother he could no longer remember ever loving, and with a flick of his wrist coldly stated, “I already sent his soul to hell -- do what you will with the rest.”

Marat turned and looked at Iyanka. “And, her?”

Aleksey pulled away from Angel, and walked over to the shaking woman, now turned witness. “YA skazal Vam nikogda ne vozvraschat's'a s'uda.” (I told you to never come back here.)

“YA sozhaleyu. YA uyedu teper'.” (I am sorry. I will leave now.)

Aleksey's head shook at her foolishness. “YEsche raz, Vy primknuli k nepravil'nomu bratu.” (Once again, you sided with the wrong brother.) He leisurely strolled back over to Angel and nonchalantly said, “Ubejte yeye.” (Kill her.)

Angel didn’t have to know Russian to understand that Aleksey just ordered Iyanka's death.

Before everyone got to work cleaning up Andrei’s final mess, Aleksey pulled Angel out of the room, and to the side patio just off the kitchen.

“Where is this garden you were telling me about?”

Angel pulled back out of his embrace, and looked at him as if he had suddenly gone mad. “Were we not just in the same room? Did you not just kill your own brother? And, did you not just order that girl to be killed?”

Aleksey smiled, and gently touched the side of her face. “You still ask too many questions.” His small attempt at humor fell flat. He broke off one of the few roses that did not have any thorns attached, and placed it behind her ear. She removed it and stood firm. “Come.” He pulled her through the trail of rose bushes that led out to an open field. “This is my life, Angel.”

“But, your brother, Aleksey -- you just killed your brother.”

“Because, he was going to hurt you, and he was only my brother in blood.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Andrei stopped being my brother the moment he executed our father.”

“Wait. What?!”

“He always envied our father and the power that came with his position in the organization, and when he turned twenty years of age, he killed him -- shot him right between the eyes... with Iyanka’s help. Unfortunately for him, when the other family’s found out about his betrayal, they refused to let him take our father's place. Instead, I was presented with the opportunity when I reached proper age.”

Opportunity? To do what? Kill people?”

He allowed himself to lament for only a second. “It is apart of what I do, yes. Andrei has done many terrible things to many people, his latest crime was going after you; tonight he paid.”

“But, with his life, Aleksey?”

“Yes. After he killed our father, I promised our mother that I would not retaliate against him. I only made that promise because our father had been beating our mother for as long as I could remember. I was glad that he was gone, but not by the hands of his viperous son. Andrei’s actions set in motion a struggle for power that destroyed countless families, including our own. Shortly after my mother made me promise to spare him, she took her life, and the life of my little sister. She felt that they as women were nothing without my father as the head of our family.” He looked back at his fortress and whispered, “I could have taken care of them.” He allowed his anger to consume his tears. “I lost everyone I ever loved because of Andrei.” He took his suit jacket off, laid it across the stone bench, and offered her a seat on top. “I know I should have never let you in. I was selfish. I knew I had no right to include you in my life -- this life. ”

“Aleksey--”

“It had been so long since I allowed myself to love anyone that I did not recognize it at first, but now that I have, I cannot let you go. I need your love more than I need air... Marat once asked me if I was using you to fill a void, and at the time I had no answer.”

“And, now?”

“Now I know that you can never fill the void that I once had, because you erased it completely. The moment you and Destiny fell into my life, I became whole. You saved me.” He looked up at the perfectly aligned stars. “Do you know that tonight she called me her Dad?”

“Yes.” Angel watched him as he continued to watch the stars. “Melanie told me.”

He sat down next to her, and took her hand in his. “Val said that I should have corrected her. What do you think?”

“I understand how Val and Melanie feel, but her acceptance of you will not interfere with her acceptance of them. Destiny does not take to people easily, and for her to think of you as her father, it means a lot… I think if you were to tell her not to -- she would see it as rejection.”

“So, I did the right thing?”

“Yes. Nothing is more important than what and who Destiny wants. There is no guarantee that she will accept them in her life as her parents or anything else, and if that’s the case, I’m not going to force her.”

“Do you think they will walk away if she asks them to?”

“Would you?”

“No.”

“And, I don’t expect them to, either. However, as the adults, we have to put our feelings aside and give Destiny what she wants, even if it hurts.”

“What if she wants them?”

“Then, I’ll have to pray for the strength to let her go.” Once again, tears clouded her vision.

“Destiny loves you with a love that is reserved only for a mother -- no one can take that away.”

“But, what if she doesn’t understand?”

“Then, we will help her understand.” Without looking at her, he decided to finally ask what he had been wondering since the day she woke up after being shot in his place. “Does my life scare you?”

She looked at him sideways before answering. “Aleksey, I was a cop. Remember? I saw worse shit than that on my first day as a rookie.”

“Can you truly handle me, and all that comes along with my life?”

“You didn’t see me running for the hills did you?”

“No. You handled everything very well; better than I would have ever expected.”

“Why? Because, I’m a woman?” He smiled when he caught her playfully scowling at him.

“No, because what you saw tonight would not be easy for anyone, especially for someone with such a pure heart.” He focused his sight on the flawlessly manicured grass at her feet. “I do not ever want to take that away from you.”

“Take what? My heart?” She laid her head on his shoulder. “You already have it.”

“No, my love.” He kissed her fingers and placed them on his chest. “The goodness that surrounds your heart.” He looked down at her fingers as they gently timed the beating of his heart and blushed as the beating picked up speed under her loving touch. “How can I let you go? Tell me.”

“Aleksey, you’re acting like I’m asking you to.”

“But, tonight…” He sighed, unable to continue.

She turned his head until his eyes met hers. “Tonight, I once again came face-to-face with a very realistic view into your world, the very worst parts of your world, and baby, I’m still here.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you still here? Why haven’t you left me?”

“You mean besides the fact that you’ve made it abundantly clear that you won’t let me leave?”

His eyes tapered slightly. “Was that a joke?”

“Well, if you have to ask…” He tried to hide his smile, but she noticed -- she always noticed. “All kidding aside, if tonight was you at your worse, I honestly believe I can handle it. The way you love me is fierce. You protect me without pause. Who wouldn’t want that kind of love?”

“But, my methods--”

“Are a little dated. You know, these days people usually talk before they kill, but we can work on that.” She waited in vain for a reaction. “Um, that was a joke.”

“Ha. Ha.”

“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes and reclaimed her hand.

“Angel, you deserve better. Destiny deserves better.”

“I don’t know about me, but Destiny definitely deserves better -- better than both of us.”

“You are considering letting her go; aren’t you?”

“No.”

He searched her eyes with the help of the moonlight. “You are lying.”

Her response, “I know,” tripped over her trembling lips. She stood to her feet, and wrapped her arms around herself, more for comfort than warmth. “Since the day I agreed to meet with them, I’ve been trying to prepare myself for the possibility that Destiny may in fact choose to be with Val and Melanie. Aleksey, I’ve dedicated my entire life to her. What will I have if she leaves?”

Me. You will always have me. I know that I am not a consolation prize in comparison by any means, but all that I am is yours.”

“And, I am yours.”

She welcomed his muscular arms around her waist. “Angel, I need for you to understand something. I made a vow to myself long ago that if I was ever fortunate to find love --real love-- that I would honor and protect it at all costs. You have given me real love, and I will honor and protect it always. No one will ever hurt you or Destiny and live.”

Supposing that it was because she had spent so many years being the protector, she had grown to welcome his protective nature. “It's getting late. I need to tuck Destiny in.”

“What about the garden?”

“It will be there tomorrow.”

“Yes, but will this?”

She moaned when he pressed her hand on a familiar spot. “Aleksey...”

“Tell me, have you ever made love in a garden before?”

She giggled and pulled her hand away. “No. I can honestly say I have not.”

“Then, what are you waiting for?”

“Are you serious?”

Her mouth watered when he unzipped and dropped his pants, allowing his heavy erection to spring forth. “Do you really need to ask?”

“But, the garden?”

“You said it is beautiful.”

“And, dirty.”

“I like getting dirty.” His smile was contagiously naughty.

“Isn't there anywhere else we can do it?”

“There is the horse stable.”

She looked him up and down. “You would fit right in.”

“Now, that was a good one.”

That was the truth. Aleksey, you already took my breath away once tonight, I'm not trying to hold it while we make love amongst a bunch of funky horses.”

“The smell... I did not consider that. How about... the grotto?”

Her eyes lit up for a fleeting moment. “Wait. Aren't there cameras in there?”

He was beginning to leak. “Woman, will you please work with me? I swear if you do not bend, I will take you right here.”

Her eyes twinkled at the thought. “Right here? In the middle of the open field?” He stood perfectly still as she began removing her clothes. “Are you scared, Aleksey?”

“No. I just thought--”

“Less thinking, more stripping.” She hooked her thumbs in the sides of her panties, and screamed when she noticed Marat standing directly behind Aleksey.

His hands snapped over his eyes. “I am sorry. I did not see anything.”

“Marat, this better be damned important!”

“It is, Boss. It cannot wait.”

When they were both fully dressed, Aleksey ordered Marat to turn around and explain. “What is it?!”

Marat slowly turned around and cautiously removed his hands from his eyes. “There was a wire.”

Angel's stomach dropped.

Aleksey stepped to Marat showing no emotion. “A wire where?”

“On one of the bodies.”

Refusing to allow fear to overtake him, he closed his eyes and calmly asked, “Whose?”

Marat glanced over at Angel whose her fear was abundantly apparent. He strengthened his stance as his eyes returned to meet Aleksey's cold stare. “Andrei's.”

End Notes:

Thanks for the feedback. =)

 

Hello and Goodbye... by Leoslove

The previous night felt like a dream and a nightmare all rolled into one. After Marat found them in the field, he and Aleksey spent hours talking in his office even long after Angel tucked Destiny in.

When Aleksey finished, he quietly slipped into his bedroom, undressed without saying a word, and took out all of his frustrations on Angel's body in the most loveliest way. She woke up four hours later, somewhat sore.

As usual, her hands automatically reached out for him, however this time her search came up empty. “You’re packing?” She rubbed her eyes in hopes that she was still dreaming.

“Yes. I planned to wake you before I left.”

It was then that Angel realized she was shivering. The room was always cold without him near. “Where are you going?”

“Russia. I have to meet with the heads of the other families.”

“Why?”

“Because, they summoned me, and I cannot turn them down.”

“This is about your brother, isn’t it?”

“Amongst other things.”

“Like me and Destiny?”

“You both came up.”

“Why?”

“Because, they have knowledge of you and they want to know more.”

“Aleksey, are we in danger?”

“No. They do not wish to harm you or Destiny, and even if they did, I would not allow it.”

His declaration almost evoked a smile. She slid her legs off the bed, and stood next to him. He grinned when she grabbed one of his shirts and began helping him pack. “How long will you be gone?”

“I cannot say for sure.”

“Estimate it for me then.”

“A week, maybe two.” She sat down and sulked on the edge of his bed. He smiled. “You are going to miss me, yes?”

“You know I am. Will you miss me?”

‘I already do.’ “Yes. Of course I will miss you.”

She had been longing to ask him something, and then seemed like the perfect time. “What if they don’t approve of me?”

“What?” Her question caught him off guard. “Baby, I approve of you.”

“But, what if they don't think I'm right for you?”

“This is my life and I will live it as I see fit. What I do with and for them is business. You are personal.” He stepped back and studied her. “What is this really about, Angel?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yes. You do.” He pulled her up and stood her in front of him. “Tell me.”

“I want to go with you.”

“Like I said, Angel, this is business. You cannot go.”

“I can stay in the hotel room or something.”

“Why? Why do want to go?”

“I’m going to miss you.” The tears she fought so hard to hold back expelled from her eyes in one big rush.

He pulled her into his arms and patted her head as it lay on his chest. “Baby, I am going to miss you too, but I will be back soon.”
 
“You promise?”

“I promise.” He tilted her head up to face him. “I told you that I will never let you go, and I meant that. I will be back before you can miss me.”

She blubbered all over his shirt. “I already miss you.”

He chuckled and held her tighter. She was the strongest woman he had ever met, but when it came right down to it, he was her weakness, and she never tried to hide it.

“What will you do while I am gone… besides, miss me?”

She lightly smacked his arm and pulled out of his embrace. “I don’t know. I guess go shopping with Nat, and spend the rest of my time with Destiny.”

“But, what about you? What will you do for yourself?”

“I don’t know.”

He continued folding and packing his clothes. “You should. Everything you do is wrapped around someone else. When are you going to do something just for you?”

She shrugged and repeated her previous answer, “I don’t know.”

“Mmm hmm.”

“What does mmm hmm mean?”

“Nothing.”

“Aleksey?”

“Yes.”

“What will you be doing while you’re in Russia… all alone?”

“Handling my business.”

She quirked a brow. “What kind of business?”

He rolled his eyes, something he picked up from her. “Is that your way of asking me if I will cheat?”

“Well, yea.”

He zipped up his bag, and placed it on the floor. “Woman, do you not know that you are enough for me? For all of me?”

“I know your appetite, Aleksey. How are you going to handle not having sex for two weeks?”

He frowned slightly, feeling a little insulted. “I am not a whore.”

She bit the inside of cheek to hamper a smile. “I never said you were, Aleksey.”

“Then, why do you not believe that I can go two weeks without sex?”

“Because, we have never gone two weeks without sex. You are always either sneaking in my room, or I’m sneaking in yours. The longest was a day, and that’s because I was taking care of Destiny when she had that twenty-four hour bug.”

“I can do this.”

“Well, it’s not like I’ll know if you don’t.” Her head dropped.

“Baby, I will not cheat on you. You have my word. Do you trust me?”

“I don’t really have a choice, do I?”

“Yes. You do. You can choose to trust that as your man I will keep my dick to myself until I can get back and give it to you.”

“Damn, Aleksey.” She placed her hand between her legs. She loved when he talked like that, and he knew it.

“What will you do without me for two weeks?”

“I don’t know. I guess I can find a little tender something to keep me occupied.” She attempted to walk away, but he caught her arm.

“Not funny, Angel.”

“What? Not even a little.”

His blue eyes turned cold, and every muscle in his face tightened as he shook his head.

“I’m sorry.” She tried to pull out of his hold, but he refused to let her go.

“Whether we are together or not, any man who ever touches this body,” he looked her up and down, “will die for it.”

“Aleksey.” She pulled out a half smile, and waited for him to do the same. His eyes never changed, and she realized then that he was not kidding. “It was only a joke.”

“Like I said, it was not funny.” He let her go and returned back to his closet. The mood in the room changed, and she was unsure of what to say or do next. How do you top a promise to kill any man you would ever be with? With his back turned, he asked, “Did I scare you just now?”

She sat back down on the bed and toyed with the zipper on his suitcase. “A little.”

“Good.”

Her eyes widened. “Good?”

“I do not want you to have any doubts as to how serious I am. I will not share you with anyone but Destiny, and I will kill anyone who tries to take you away from me.”

Her heart skipped a few beats. She knew he was serious… dead serious. “You have nothing to worry about, Aleksey.”

“I know.” He turned and smiled. The ice had finally melted.

“Aleksey?”

He put his shaving kit in his carryon bag and walked over to her. She beckoned for him to bend down with her index finger. When he was face-to-face with her she smiled and calmly said, “Just so we’re clear, I will kill you and any woman who ever touches this,” she reached out and grabbed his dick in her hand.

His smirk slowly developed into a smile. “I know.” She gave him a firm squeeze, and licked her lips as he got hard literally in the palm of her hand. He pulled her hand away and dropped to his knees. Just as he spread her legs apart, someone dared to knock on the door. “What?!”

“It’s time to go, Boss. Hi, Angel.”

She smiled and yelled, “Hi, Marat,” through the door.

Aleksey stood up, and adjusted himself.

“You don’t have a secret wife up in Russia, do you?”

“A wife?” He laughed.

“It’s not funny.” She smacked his arm hard. “Stop laughing.” She smacked him again.

“Baby, the only wife I will ever have is you.”

He opened the door and stood back as Marat carried his luggage out to the hall.

‘He wants to marry me?’

“Baby, I have to go.”

“But--”

“I will be back before you know it.”

She stood in the middle of his room knowing that there wasn’t a damn thing she could say that would make him stay.

As if reading her mind he said, “If I could stay with you I would, but business is business, baby, and these are not the type of men you keep waiting.”

“Just go.” Her lips trembled as she attempted to force back a stream of tears.

“Are you mad?”

“No.” The pout on her mouth said something entirely different. It was adorable, and made him twitch down below. “You know I love when you do that.”

“Do what?”

“Pout. It is sexy.” He smiled, and winked at her.

“Don’t try to butter me up.”

“I am not trying to butter you up. It is the truth. The.cold.hard.truth.”

She looked down and watched him grow. “See, now you’re being cruel.”

He laughed and pulled her into another embrace. “How am I being cruel?”

“You’re not even giving me one last fuck before you go.”

“Is that what you want? Me to fuck you?”

“Yes.” Her voice was low and shaky.

“Last night was not enough?”

“I can never get enough of you.” Her voice poured out sweet like liquid sugar.

“I feel the same way.”

“Boss!” Marat yelled from the end of the hall.

“I need to go.”

“This sucks!”

“You sound like Destiny.”

“I know, and what am I supposed to tell her?”

“Nothing. I already told her.”

“And, how did she take it?”

“A lot better than you.” He spanked her for growling at him.

“See, there you go. I’m already wet.”

“Damn.” He licked his lips. “You are wet for me, baby?”

“I’m always wet for you, Aleksey.” She used a soft tone that she knew he couldn’t resist.

“That is not fair.” His body responded the only way it could. He picked her up in his arms, and caught her legs when they wrapped around his waist.

It felt like fireworks when their lips finally touched.

“Boss!”

“Damnit, Marat!” She looked over Aleksey’s shoulder and cringed at the shocked expression on Marat’s face. “Sorry.” She slid down Aleksey's tall frame, and buried her face in his chest.

“I’ll be in the car.” He blinked a few times, and walked out of the room.

Angel could have kicked herself for yelling at him. “He looked hurt.”

“He is tough. He will be okay.”

“This is so unfair.”

“I know, but I will call you every morning and every night.”

“I don’t even know the time zone in Russia.”

“I will call you at 7:30 every morning, and 11:00 every night, your time.”

“It’s not enough.”

He smiled to himself. ‘She is really going to miss me.’ “Okay, and I will text you throughout the day.”

“That’s still not enough.”

“Woman, what else do you want from me?”

“Everything.”

“You already own my heart, what else could you possibly take?”

‘Your last name.’ “I don’t know.”

He pulled her closer and branded her neck with his teeth. When he was done he looked at his work. “This should keep all the men away.”

She touched her neck and sighed at the sensitivity. “Would it keep you away?”

He looked her up and down. “You’re right.” He went to work on the other side, before nibbling his way down her chest. He pulled her favorite night shirt down at the neck, and left marks on both breasts. When he dropped to his knees and went for her panties, she grabbed the back of his hair and stopped him.

“That’s enough, Aleksey. Trust me, the only one who's going to be looking at me down there is you.”

“I just want to make sure.”

“Do you trust me?”

“Of course.”

“Then all these markings are totally unnecessary. How would you feel if I marked you?”

“Like fucking the shit out of you. You know I like it rough.”

“See, now you’re just fucking with me.”

“No. I am not. Look, if you wanted to leave your marks all over my body I would not care because my body is yours to do with what you want. You are the only one who is tripping.”

Tripping? Okay, no more late night BET for you.”

“What? I cannot say tripping?”

“Actually, it sounds kind of sexy, which is another reason why you shouldn’t say it, or go.” He tilted his head and gave her a look she knew all too well. “Baby, I know, 'it’s business', but I’m wet.” She pulled her panties down and stuck a finger inside herself. She smiled seductively when she held it up to his face, and said, “See?” He greedily snatched the digit and placed it in his mouth. “How do I taste, baby?”

He closed his eyes and sucked until her finger was completely void of her essence. “Lay down.”

“But, I thought you had to go.”

“I do, but your pussy is like a drug, and I need it, baby. I need it bad.” He closed and locked the door in case Marat came back.

She laid back on the bed and removed every item of clothing from her body. She knew he would have to make it quick, and that would only serve to frustrate him. He was about to punish her body, and she honestly couldn’t have been happier.

He pulled his pants and boxers down, and released his beast. After stroking it a few times, he entered her. No foreplay, just straight fucking. She wasn’t big on foreplay, anyway, he was. He could never get enough of her or her body, so he would always take his time, but there was no time. His soul howled as he fucked her without mercy. She wanted it, and he needed it. She was right, two weeks was a long time, and although he could never see himself cheating on her, a reminder of all that he had at home wasn’t going to hurt.

She came within minutes of him entering her, and he continued to pump until his own release came shortly after. It was the quickest he ever came, and although he was happy, he was no where near satisfied. For the first time in his life, he regretted getting involved with the organization. He regretted anything that would take him away from his love.

He pulled out of her, still hard, and stuffed his dick back in his boxers. She laid back and watched as he pulled his pants up and fastened them together. He glanced at his watch, and said the words she had quickly grown to hate, “I have to go.”

She lost her battle with her tears again, and he held her until she pulled away. “Be safe.”

He tilted her head up toward his and forced her to look at him. “I will. Stay with your guards.”

“I will.”

“I mean it, Angel.”

She hated having guards; they limited the little freedom she was given. “I will, Aleksey.”

“If you need anything, you call me immediately.”

“What are you going to do from Russia?” She rolled her eyes, and tried to back away, but he caught her and held her in place in front of him.

He made sure he had her full attention as he stated, “My reach extends across the globe.”

She looked into his eyes, really looked, and knew that he wasn’t kidding. By himself he was a force to be reckoned with, and she could only imagine what he could do with the manpower of the other bosses behind him.

She wanted to tell him not to go -- that him leaving was going to rip a hole in her heart, but she knew that it would not only be useless, but also selfish. Instead, she choked out, “Be good.”

He smiled and spanked her once. “I’m always good.”

“You better only be good to me.”

He pecked her lips. “Only you.”

Him leaving was hard on both of them. He willed his feet to move toward the door, and after a few minutes of them staring into each other’s eyes they complied.

She refused to follow him out, and instead stayed in his room until the sun came up. He would call when his private jet landed in Russia. The private phone that he bought her stayed glued to her hip and would continue to until he was back in her arms. After crying until her eyes hurt, she peeled herself out of his bed and away from his pillow (which still held his scent), and headed to the kitchen to have breakfast with the only other person who could put a smile on her face.

“Mama, is Aleksey gone?”

“Yea, baby. He’s gone.”

Destiny took a bite of her toast. “I’m gonna miss him.”

Angel stroked her hair and watched her eat. “Me, too, baby girl. Me, too.”

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Melanie wrapped her pillow around her head and pressed the ends over her ears as the incessant ringing of her cell phone continued to blare. “Stop.ringing!” Whoever it was stopped calling as if they heard her. Once she got settled in the bed again, the ringing started back up. She grabbed her phone and answered it with a snap. “Who the fuck is it?!”

“Well, damn! Good morning to you too, Sunshine.”

“Val? Do you realize what time it is?”

“Yes. It's the time that normal people have breakfast.”

“What?” She pulled her hot pink sleep glasses up over her head and shrieked as the sun assaulted her eyes. She mumbled, “Fuck,” under her breath and squinted at the clock on her phone. “9:37. Sorry. What’s up?” She threw the covers back, and slid her feet into her hot pink slippers.

“I want to have breakfast with you.”

She stumbled over to the window and pulled the curtains closed. “Sorry, Val, but I don’t really have an appetite right now.” The mere thought of food made her want to hurl.

“Are you still buggin’ about last night?”

“Yea. A little.”

“Well, let that shit go.”

“Val, I don’t even know what came over me.”

He realized then that they were talking about two different things. “Look, we were both drunk, and horny as fuck.” He smiled as he thought about what led up to their encounter. She was scared, and he was highly pissed about what happened at Aleksey’s so they decided to stop at the hotel bar. After a few hours of tossing back shots and various other drinks, they stumbled up to her room, and had sex for the first time in a long time. When it was over she cried, and he some how made it to his room.

“I’m sorry.”

“Stop apologizing. I’m not complaining. It was… nice.” He shrugged and closed his eyes. He knew it was a direct blow to her ego, but it was the best word he could use to describe what they had done.

“Nice?” She turned back around and caught a glimpse of her nude self in the floor length mirror before slipping on her robe. “Nice?”

“Yea. I mean it was… cool.” He shook his head.

“Fuck you, Val.”

He erased the smile from his face so that he could keep his voice even as he delivered his next insult. “You already did, and again, it was cool.” He could feel the heat coming through the phone.

“Fuck you talking about? You remember that Mya song, 'My Love Is Like Whoa'?”

“Yea.”

“That was written about me, so I don’t know why you’re lying.”

That was it. He laughed until he choked. “If you say so, girl.”

“I don’t know what the fuck you’re laughing for. As I recall you were the one screaming like a little--”

His laugh ended abruptly. “Don’t say it.”

“Bitch!”

“Fuck you! I was only screaming because you bit the shit out of me. What the hell was that about anyway?”

“You bit my nipple, so I figured turn about was fair play.”

“That shit was foul.”

“Well, it wasn’t the best sex I ever had either!”

He gripped his stomach. ‘Low fucking blow.’ “I was talking about the biting.”

She unsuccessfully held back her laughter. “Um, me, too.”

“Fuck you, Lanie.”

“Never again, Val.”

They both paused, then laughed openly. He adjusted the waist band on his boxers, and sat down in the arm chair facing the door. “What the fuck happened to us?”

“What do you mean?”

“How can the sex be better when we were kids. I mean last night was --”

“Awful?”

“Horrible.”

She searched through her closet for something to wear. “Well, for one, we weren’t drunk as shit. And two, we didn’t have the grown up issues we have now. We were free to fuck when and however we wanted.”

“Yea, that’s true. I guess being distracted by the shit that went down at Aleksey's house didn’t help.”

She closed the closet door and sat back down on her bed. “Yea. I just couldn’t shake it. I tried to stay in the moment -- I really did-- but I kept thinking about what probably happened after we left, and our little girl being caught up in all that mess… I mean, you’re probably better in bed than I even remember, but I just couldn’t get into it.”

“I feel the same way… You know Lanie, we could always try it again, just to --”

“Not gonna happen, Val. You blew it.”

He shook his head and renewed his thoughts. “Speaking of blowing, what the fuck was that shit you tried last night?”

“What? I never claimed to be an expert.”

“And, I suggest you never do, because that was the worst blow job I ever got.”

She took in a deep breath, and made a face at the phone. “Well, let us both be glad that we will never have to experience anything like that again.”

He smirked and sat sideways in the chair. “I know I am.”

She rolled her eyes, and her neck. “Well, so am I!”

There was a long silence between them before he asked, “What are you wearing?”

“Val!” Her face burned with embarrassment. “What are you wearing?” They both laughed uncontrollably, then made plans to meet for breakfast.

Things were finally back to normal between them. Neither pain, nor secrets stood between them anymore. Having sex under the circumstances they did was probably a mistake, but it didn’t interfere with their ability to be completely honest with one another. Whatever they once had was officially gone, but that would never stop him from fully caring about her and vice versa. Maybe, they would try going the romantic route again, but at that moment being friends… being good friends was enough.

End Notes:

Things are about to get CRAZY. All I can say is, hold on! Thanks for the feedback. =)

NO TITLE... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

I had to get this out of my head so I could concentrate on updating the other stories. Happy reading! =)

3 days later…

Angel happily woke up to the sound of her phone ringing under her pillow. Aleksey had been true to his word. He called every morning at seven-thirty, and every night at eleven.

“Hello, my love.”

He could hear her smile through the phone. “Hello, my Angel. Did you sleep well?”

“As well as I could without you. How did you sleep?”

“It is only six-thirty in the afternoon here.”

“Oh, that's right.”

He slid the tray of fruit off of his lap, and placed it on "her side of the bed". “What do you have planned for today?”

“More shopping with Nat.”

“Where?”

“A little boutique that we found on our last shopping trip.”

“Really?”

She knew that tone. “Your men have already checked it out, and we’ve paid the owner to open the shop for us after hours.”

“Good job.”

“You taught me well.”

He pulled his erection up well passed his navel, and rolled over onto his stomach. “I miss you.”

She recognized that tone, as well. “I miss you, too. When are you coming home?”

“In a few days. They are getting closer to whoever put Andrei up to wearing a wire against me.”

“That’s great news.”

“Yea.”

“Aleksey?”

“Mmm?”

“Do all the rooms in the house have audio jammers?”

“No. Just my office, the den, and a few other rooms that I conduct business in. Wait. What do you know about audio jammers?”

“You keep forgetting that I was a cop. We bugged places all the time... Have you been a good boy?”

He appreciated the new direction of conversation. “Yes. I have been keeping my dick to myself.”

“Good.”

“Have you been a good girl, or do you need a spanking?”

She sighed. “You know I get wet when you talk like that.”

“Answer the question.”

“I’ve been a good girl.... but, I could still use a spanking.”

“That is what I wanted to hear, and I cannot wait to give you that spanking.”

She licked her lips, and called his name.

“Yes.”

“Are you hard right now?”

“You know every time I think of you I get hard. Are you wet?”

“You know every time I think of you I get wet.” She sat up and pouted. “This is torture.”

“What is, baby?”

“You not letting me touch myself.”

“You can wait.”

“No. I can’t.”

“Fine. You will wait.”

“I don’t know why I let you treat me this way.” Her words were mumbled, but he heard her clearly.

“You let me treat you this way because you love it.”

“I don’t know why, though. I’ve never been subservient to anyone before.”

“I do not like that word.”

“Fine. Passive. Aleksey, I have never even allowed guys to lay on top of me while we made out because I didn't want them to have any control over me, but when I'm with you, I want you to do it all the time. I want you to use me, take me, and I don't understand why. I never would have dreamed that I'd let let alone need for you to do to me the things that you do.”

“You are safe with me, Angel. You know that no matter how hard I push your body, I will never break it or you. That is why you can be passive with me, but you know that there are times when I am passive with you, too. I always let you take control... for a little while.” He covered his chuckle with a cough.

“But, all the spanking…”

“It is a part of it. You like living on the edge, and from what you have told me about your past, you always have. You like danger and pain, and that is okay, because I do, too. Hell, I have the permanent scratch marks on my back and arms to prove it.”

She blushed, and held her head down. “I’m sorry.”

“There is no need to be. I love when you lose control.”

“Really?”

“Yes. It fuels me to keep fucking you until I have nothing left. I need for you to lose control.”

She didn’t know why, but his words sparked something deep inside her. She felt a shell breaking away, and couldn’t wait for him to come back home so that she could show him just much control she was ready to lose. “Baby, why didn’t you ever tell me that?”

He shrugged, and popped a grape into his mouth. “Sometimes, you get shy, and I do not want to embarrass you.”

“Well, sometimes I get a little unsure of myself. I haven't been with a lot of guys. In fact, you’re the second.”

“Who the hell was the first?!”

“Why? What are you gonna do? Kill him?” When she realized that she was laughing alone she quickly said, “Baby, I was kidding.”

“I do not like thinking about you with another man; it pisses me off.”

“Why? I wasn’t with you then. We didn’t even know each other existed.”

“I do not care. I want to be the only man who touches you, who makes you cum.”

Her hand slid down to the top of her panties. “And you are.”

“Move your hand, Angel.”

“How did you know I--”

“I know you.”

She giggled, and did as she was told. “I can’t wait to feel you inside me again.”

“And, I can’t wait to be inside you; you have no idea how much. I have already ordered another bed because I am going to fuck ours up.”

She giggled again. “So, you finally admit that you broke the other one.”

“No.”

“Aleksey, just admit it.”

“No.”

“Aleksey.”

“Stop whining. How is Destiny?”

“She’s good. She misses you, though.”

“I miss her, too. I bought her a few things.”

“Like what?”

“Stop being nosy.”

“What?!”

“You heard me. I bought you a few things, too.”

“Like what?”

“There you go, again.”

“Stop playing and tell me.”

“No.”

“Is that like your favorite word or something?”

“What?”

“No.”

Maybe.” She let out a loud frustrated sigh. “Are you still horny?”

“No.”

“It worked.”

“Ugh!” He chuckled, and she groaned.

“I have a meeting in a little while. I will call you back at exactly eleven. I love you.”

Her smile returned. “I love you, too.”

She laid back and did a happy dance in the bed for a few seconds before placing her phone on their nightstand. With his permission, she moved all of her things into his room, and she couldn’t wait until he got back to see what she had done. He had long before given her the go-ahead to do whatever she wanted in regards to decorating any room in the house except a couple that she was not allowed to go in. Since he was being so generous, she never bothered to question why.

She spent the rest of the day watching all of Destiny's favorite TV shows with her, reading to each other, and playing video games together. They filled up on the snacks that Natalia provided, and when it was time for Destiny to go to bed, Angel kissed her and promised to see her in the morning. She tucked her in, brushed her curls back with her hand, and gave a somewhat longer kiss on the cheek than usual. She loved that little girl more than her own life, and there was nothing she wouldn’t do for her.

She clicked the switch on her night light, crept out to the hallway, and headed straight to Natalia’s room. After knocking a few times, she stood back and waited for the door to open. “You ready?”

“Almost. I have never been shopping after hours before.”

Angel sat down on the bed bench and twisted one of the bright gold buttons on her jacket. “To tell you the truth, neither have I. It’s amazing what a little money can do.”

Angel's smile dropped into a tight frown when Natalia pulled her brassy hair up into a ponytail. “Wear it down.”

Natalia looked at herself in the mirror. “Are you sure?”

“Yes. I can’t wait to take you to the salon tomorrow. I want to see what your hair will look like straightened. I know it’ll look gorgeous.”

Natalia scoffed. “That is a bit of a stretch.”

“You are a beautiful woman, and I know a certain bodyguard who feels the same way.”

Natalia's blush was overtly evident. “What are you talking about?”

Angel shook her head. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve seen the way you two look at each other.”

“I do not know what you mean.”

Angel quirked a brow in disbelief. “Nat, if you turn any redder, I’m gonna take you out back and plant you. Why are you so embarrassed? It’s only natural. A lot more natural than Aleksey and I.”

Natalia removed her ponytailer and turned around to face Angel. “What do you mean? You and Mr. Moroskov have a wonderful relationship. I have never seen him so happy.”

“What we have is great, but we’re different, you know?”

“If you mean skin color, I would not worry. That tramp, Iyanka was the only Russian woman I have ever seen him with. He likes brown women like you.” She nodded her head firmly.

“You mean he’s only dated Black women?”

“Yes. That is I believe his preference.”

“So, that’s why no one seemed to be surprised when Destiny and I moved in here... I always wondered.”

“We are all used to seeing pretty brown faces coming and going around here, but we are glad that yours and Destiny’s have stayed. The others were not so good for him.”

“What do you mean?”

“Nothing. I should not have spoken. It is time for us to go, yes?”

“Nat. What did you mean?”

She sighed and turned back around to face the mirror. “He used to deal with trashy women. Loose women. Not good for relationship, only sex.”

“Did any of them move in here?”

Natalia’s hands fidgeted nervously. “A few.”

“Mmmm.”

“I should not have said anything. I am sorry.”

“Don’t be. It was his past. It’s alright.” She was lying and both women knew it. Sure it was his past, but she always thought that him moving her and Destiny in with him meant that they were special. Doubt had crept in. “Was he possessive with those women?”

“I do not understand.”

“Did he treat them like he treats me. Was he as protective of them as he is with me?”

“No. They were free to come and go as they pleased. They were toys to him. When he tired… I should speak no more. Surely, it is time to go.”

“Spill it, Nat.”

“Okay. When he tired of them, he threw them out.”

“Damn…”

“With you he is different man -- much different man. He loves you, and anyone can see. He guards you and keeps you away from his business as much as possible -- that is another sign. He wants you to stay. He fears for your safety; he did not with the others.”

“What do you mean he fears for my safety?”

There was no going back. “He is a very dangerous man who has made a lot of enemies. That is why you must be protected at all times. I have heard him tell Marat of his fears.”

Angel leaned back and processed everything that she was told. “What about Iyanka?”

“Skank!”

“Natalia!”

“She is -- was.”

“Where did you learn that word from?”

“I watch Young & Restless for many years. Help me with my English.”

Angel fell out laughing. She was back. Her happy mood was back. “Let’s go.”

They locked arms and headed out of Natalia’s room and to the awaiting Black SUV outside.

When they reached the boutique, three of the four guards who rode with them exited first and did a full sweep of the shop. When it was deemed clear, Natalia’s crush opened the back passenger door and helped the ladies out. Angel exited first, and noticed how he held onto Natalia’s hand a little longer than necessary. She smirked, and kept her giggle to herself. He went inside with them, while the other guards posted outside.

There were several racks of clothing and accessories lined up waiting for them. The owner pointed out several things that she thought they might like, then headed to her office upstairs.

Natalia began trying on outfits, and Angel constantly redirected her to the sexier outfits which brought a smile to Viktor’s face. Occasionally, he would turn around and let his eyes connect with Natalia’s when she came out of the dressing room. He trailed her reflection in the window, and would silently express his opinion by shaking or nodding his head about her clothing choices. Once she caught on, she began holding the clothes up and glance his way. What he didn’t like she put back, and what he liked she tried on. 

While they played their little game, Angel's eyes wandered around the store. She always wanted to own her own boutique and the one she was in seemed perfect. She slipped to the back, thinking that the owner wouldn’t mind. She never told anyone, but when she was younger she dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, and she was only going to sell her clothes and accessories in her shop. Being amongst all the fabrics and designs rekindled her dream. She got so wrapped up in making mental notes about she liked and what she would change about the store that she lost track of time.

After about an hour, Natalia left a flirtatious Viktor and headed to the back to get her best friend-girl. “Angel. It is getting late. I think we should go.” She headed further into the room. “Angel, I think we should be leaving. Angel?”

She searched the room, and screamed out her name -- alerting Viktor and the other guards.

“What is wrong, Natalia?”

She began sobbing profusely.

“Where is Ms. Angel?”

She could only shake her head. The men tore the room apart looking for any signs of her.

Viktor pulled out his cell phone and started dialing a series of numbers. “Fuck! Aleksey is going to have our heads.”

Two of the men pushed the back door open and searched the alley. Tomas stopped when he saw something sparkling out of the corner of his eye. A shiny gold button. He rushed over to pick it up, then looked around the alley one more time before heading back inside. “Natalia, does this look familiar?”

Her eyes widened and a scream expelled from her belly.

Tomas wiped his face with his hand as Viktor headed upstairs to the owner's office. “Damn!”

The guards rushed upstairs to join him as Natalia slumped to the floor blinded by tears.

Tomas glared at Viktor. “You didn’t hear anything?”

“No.”

“How the hell can that be? You were the only one in here. What the hell were you doing?”

Viktor bucked up and shouted, “I was guarding the women!”

“Obviously not! This bitch is dead, and Angel is missing. Fuck! Aleksey is going to kill us all!”

Aleksey checked his phone to make sure he had dialed the right number. She usually answered on the first ring, no later than the second. He checked his watch. 11:01. “Where is she?”

He hung up and called Natalia’s phone. She answered it with a shout. “Angel! Is that you?!”

Aleksey’s body stiffened. “Natalia?”

“Mr. Moroskov? I am so sorry. I did not know this would happen.”

He sat up slowly, and gripped the phone tighter. “What happened, Natalia?” He was calm. Too calm.

“W-we were shopping and she’s gone. I do not know where she is.”

He felt his heart jerk in his chest. “Who is gone?” He closed his eyes and waited for an answer.

“Angel. She’s g-gone. We c-cannot find her.”

His voice came out in a roar. “What the hell do you mean she is gone?! Where the hell are the guards?!”

“Upstairs, in the owner's office.”

“Go. Get. One. NOW!” He grabbed his passport and wallet and headed for the hotel lobby. He didn’t give a damn about anything else.

“B-boss?”

“Where is my WIFE?!”

“Sir--”

“Don’t Sir me. Where the hell is she?!”

“We don’t exactly know.”

Everything in Aleksey stopped. His breathing. His heart. His life as far as he was concerned. “If she is not found ALIVE and SAFE by the time I get home, I will kill each and every one of you, and everyone in your entire lineage. Do you understand me?!”

“Yes, Sir.”

Once Aleksey hung up, he immediately dialed the pilot's number and instructed him to have his ass at the airport within five minutes. He then called Marat and told him to grab his passport and meet him downstairs in the hotel lobby. Marat had no idea as to what was going on, but he knew whatever it was, it wasn’t good.

Marat’s jaws tightened as Aleksey explained the situation on the way outside. Neither thought to order a driver to the airport and it would have taken too much time anyway. Just as a man was about to enter a black Town Car, Marat flashed his gun and told the man to move. The man began to say something but stopped when Aleksey turned around, draped in a black trench coat. He knew exactly who he was, everyone in Russia did. He quickly stepped back and put his hands up. Aleksey slid in the back, while Marat commandeered the front next to the frightened driver.

Marat said only one word. “Airport.”

On the way there, Aleksey called the Boss of all bosses, and explained the situation. When he was granted unnecessary permission to head back home, he scoffed under his breath. What the Boss of all bosses didn’t realize was that the call was nothing more than a courtesy -- Aleksey was leaving whether he approved or not.

Mr. Kolovskiy expressed that he would do whatever he could to assist him with the search for Angel, and for that Aleksey was grateful. He also made him aware that some information regarding his late brother would be coming in soon, and although it was no longer a priority, Aleksey thanked him for that also.

Shortly after they boarded the plane, Aleksey decided to try Angel’s phone again. Marat watched with limited hope until Aleksey shook his head and put his phone down on his lap.

Two hours later, Angel woke to the sound of voices she didn’t or couldn’t recognize. She tried to yell, but her mouth was covered with something that felt and tasted like a rag. When she went to remove it, she realized that her hands were bound behind her back. Trying to see anything through whatever was tied around her eyes was useless, but it didn’t stop her from trying. She wiggled around and belted out repeated muffled screams until she heard footsteps approach.

“She’s awake.” He sounded American.

The steps doubled, and got closer. She prepared herself for everything that crossed her mind. A few seconds after she felt the presence of someone behind her, the blindfold fell away. She was careful to open her eyes slowly, allowing them time to adjust to the bright light. The moment her eyes focused, she shut them back closed.

“Come on, Sweetheart. Let me see those beautiful brown eyes of yours.” Although the man who squatted down in front of her was smiling, she knew evil lurked just beneath the surface.

She closed her eyes in defiance until the man behind her yanked down hard on her hair.

“That’s it... Beautiful. Just like in your pictures.”

‘Pictures? What pictures?’

“I bet you’re wondering what you’re doing here. I know I would be.” She stared at him as he paced in front of her, never taking his eyes off of hers.

She nodded slightly.

He glanced behind her and barked, “Take that off.” The other man removed her gag, and wickedly smiled as she gasped heavily for air. The man who appeared to be in control walked over to a nearby table and poured what seemed to be water into a clear plastic cup. “Sorry about that, but you bit off one of my men’s fingers,” he put the cup down and held up his freshly manicured hands, “and I happen to like mine just the way they are.” She thought she tasted blood. He held the cup to her lips and grinned as she sniffed it before taking a small sip. “You can do better than that.” He smiled again, and she took another small sip. Her eyes clouded with contempt, and it amused him. He downed the remaining water in one gulp. “You may ask any questions you have.”

She only had one. “Do you know who I belong to?!” She struggled against her restraints.

“As a matter of fact I do, Angel, and he’s the reason you are here.”

End Notes:

Thanks for the feedback. =)

Unfinished Business... by Leoslove

“Hold still. I just have one more ponytail to do, and then we’re done.”

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Aleksey had Natalia call Melanie and Val the day after Angel was taken three months prior. He knew he couldn’t focus on taking care of Destiny by himself while trying to find Angel. There had been no word or clues as to where she was, or who had taken her, and he of course blamed himself. “If only I had let her go,” were the first words he thought when he woke up, and the last words he thought when he went to bed. He hadn’t really slept since Angel disappeared. The constant nightmares would jolt him right back up, so he napped only for a few minutes each night.

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Melanie grabbed a mirror, and handed it to Destiny. “So, what do you think?”

“It’s good.”

“But, not as good as Angel would have done?” Destiny slowly shook her head. She could tell that although Destiny put on a brave face, she was hurting. “Let it out. If you need to scream or cry, go ahead. It's okay.”

“I have to be strong. My mommy would want me to be strong.”

“And, you have been, but even strong people cry, Honey.”

“Not, Aleksey. He’s strong, and he doesn’t cry.”

“I cry for your mother everyday.” They both turned to find Aleksey leaning against the opened door.

Destiny pulled away from Melanie and ran into Aleksey’s arms. He picked her up, and placed one comforting hand on her back, and the other on the back of her head. Melanie smiled sadly and said, “I’ll give you two some time alone.” As she passed them, she felt a gentle tug pulling her back. She turned around and saw Destiny’s little hand latched onto her sleeve.

“Don’t go.” Destiny’s eyes were brimming with unshed tears.

Melanie wrapped her arms around both Destiny and Aleksey. After a minute or so, Aleksey walked over to the couch still holding Destiny in his arms. She sat on his lap, and snuggled into his chest.

Melanie couldn’t help but feel the love between the two. “Any word?”

He shook his head. “I don’t understand. I would have thought…” He lifted Destiny's head and saw the sleepiness that settled in her eyes. “Natalia!”

She was there within seconds. “Yes, Sir.”

“Please, take Destiny to bed.”

“But, I’m not sleeee…” She was out before she finished her sentence.

He whispered, “Go get Marat.” When Marat came in, Aleksey handed Destiny to him after giving her two heart-felt kisses on her forehead -- one from him, and the other from her Mama. When Marat, Destiny, and Natalia left the room, he returned back to his seat next to Melanie.

“I know this is hard, but Destiny’s counting on you to help her get through this. If Angel doesn’t come ba--”

She could have sworn that she saw icicles form in Aleksey’s eyes. He took in a sharp breath and tried to compose himself just as he knew Angel would want. “Don’t you ever say that she isn’t coming back.” He dispensed his words slowly as if they hurt him to say.

“I-I didn’t mean it like… I’m sorry. It’s just -- it’s been three months and--”

“Get out.”

“What?”

“Get out! I do not care how long she has been gone; she will come back!”

Melanie grabbed her purse and stood up slowly from the couch. “I’m sorry.”

“Just go.” He walked over to the bar and placed his palms on the counter. When he felt her presence leave, he grabbed a glass and shattered it against the wall. Marat slowly opened the door, and peeked around. “She does not believe that Angel will return.”

Marat never understood how Aleksey could always tell when someone was in a room with him and who they were without ever bothering to look. “She’s wrong, Aleksey. Angel will be home, soon.” In all honesty, he wasn’t sure if he believed that anymore, but if it kept his friend and boss from self destructing, he would say it a thousand times.

“Nothing. Three months Marat, and nothing. I thought that I would have gotten a ransom request, or something by now.” He shook his head. “I don’t know where else to look. She may not even be in the country anymore.”

Marat sighed and looked around as he tried to think of something encouraging to say, but it had all been said before. It was a slim chance that they would ever find Angel, and an even slimmer chance that she would be alive if they did.

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“Hey, how did your day with Destiny go?”

“Great, until I opened my big mouth.”

“What happened?”

“I practically told Aleksey that Angel wasn’t coming back.”

“Why'd you do that? You know he’s barely hanging on as it is.”

“It just came out, Val. I was trying to be supportive. I was trying to help him realize how much Destiny needs him and how much more she’ll need him if Angel doesn’t come back… The way he looked at me -- I thought I was a dead woman.”

“Did he touch you?!”

“No. He just told me to leave. Hell, I would have told me to leave. I was just trying to help, but I shouldn’t have said what I did. I hope he can forgive me.”

“I’m sure he will. We’re still supposed to take Destiny to the park tomorrow.” He bumped his shoulder into hers. “Everything will be fine; you’ll see.”

“I hope you’re right, Val. We’ve come too far for things to get blown all to hell now. Destiny has really taken a liken to us.” She blinked hard a couple of times before looking up at him. “Do you think Destiny will ever accept us?”

“She’s already accepted us.”

“I mean as her parents. If she were to someday find out, do you think that she will ever really accept us?”

He had asked himself that same question not too long before. “To be honest, I’m just happy to be in her life. I’m not trippin’ off the title thing anymore. In my heart, she will always be my daughter, but if she only sees and accepts me as her Uncle, I’ll be okay with that. Around this time last year, I didn’t even know that I had a daughter, but now I get to see her whenever I want. Shit, I’m happy.” Melanie raised both brows. “Lanie, she’s hurting because the only mother she’s ever known vanished, so you, me, and our claim on her don’t mean shit right now.”

“But, what if Angel doesn’t come back? Are we just going to let him keep her so she can end up like Angel some day?”

“If it comes to that then we’ll do what we have to do to get our little girl, but in the meantime, she needs to feel safe, and right now she feels safe with Aleksey.”

“If he was so damn safe then why didn’t he protect Angel?”

“To be fair, this didn’t technically happen under his watch. His men fucked up.”

She stood to her feet and crossed her arms over her chest. “I can’t believe you of all people are defending him.”

“Hey, I’m not defending him. I’m just saying--”

“Forget it. I don’t wanna talk about it right now.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.”

He patted the seat cushion next to him and waited for her to sit. “What do you want to talk about?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then, let’s not talk.” He grabbed the back of her head and pulled her into a kiss. He was surprised that she didn’t pull back, and she surprised them both when she climbed onto his lap never letting their lips separate. She released a guttural moan when he slid his hands up and down her back, stopping only to unsnap her bra. Unsure if it would mess up the mood, he regrettably broke their kiss to remove her shirt. When he couldn’t get it to go over her breasts, she inched back just enough to remove the damn thing herself.

When she moved in closer to reconnect their lips, he grabbed her arms and looked soulfully into her eyes. She nodded and said, “I’m sure, Val.” Then, she broke free of his hold, and smashed her lips against his, forcing her tongue into his mouth.

Once she released the buttons from his shirt, she used her hands to roam all over his chest. She gasped inside his mouth when he grabbed the back of her thighs and tossed her on the sofa next to him -- standing up in the process. She licked her lips and watched keenly as he snatched his shirt off exposing his six pack. “Oh my damn…”

When he went for his pants, she sat up and stopped him. Feeling a sense of frustration, he closed his eyes and thought, ‘I knew this was too good to be true.’

She smiled sweetly and said, “Let me do it.” His eyes stretched open as she went to work unbuttoning and unzipping his pants. He parted his legs and waited patiently for her to finish pushing his pants and underwear down until they landed at his feet.

She damn near drooled when his erection smacked her in the face. It was then that she began to realize just how drunk she was the last time they had sex, because she didn’t remember it looking that damn good, or big.

He kicked out of his jeans and underwear, then lifted her face up until their eyes met.

“Are you sure about this?” She winked and lowered her head until he was fully engulfed inside the warmth of her mouth. “Fuuuuck, girl.” He looked down through slanted eyes and watched her head bob up and down on his dick.

With both hands on the base, she twisted in opposite directions. He smacked her ass, and could have sworn he grew another two inches from the sensation of her moan. He didn’t know when the fuck she developed those skills, and he really didn’t care; all he knew was she was making up for that whack ass blow job she had given before, and he would forever be grateful.

She popped up with slurp, and continued to work him with her hands. “Are you ready?”

“Who are you?”

She laughed and released him only long enough to remove the rest of her clothes. She stood on her knees before him completely naked, and he took a couple of steps back so he could take it all in. He mentally cursed the darkness that hid her body from him before. “The lights are staying on tonight, baby.”

She laughed again. “Whatever you say, Val. Whatever you say.”

She pulled him into a deep kiss, and he pulled back. “No, really. Who are you?”

She shook her head with a smile, and pulled him down on top of her as she slowly fell back onto the couch.

Her legs wrapped around his waist, and their hands groped each others bodies somewhat reminiscent to their very first time. She suppressed a deep urge to scream when the head of his penis slipped between her lower lips and pressed hard against her clit.

They grinded their bodies together until they were both slick with perspiration. She bit her bottom lip in anticipation when his hand slipped down between them.

“Wait.”

He opened his eyes and froze. Only the head of his penis had entered her, and she was involuntarily massaging it with her inner muscles. “Wha-what is it baby? Do you want to sss-stop?” Sweat dripped from his forehead and pooled onto the center of her chest. His dick began to ache from the pressure of his hold so he let go and held his body above her with both arms.

“Condom.” She was so torn between doing the right thing and doing the thing that felt that best that her single request came out barely above a whisper.

“What baby?” The head of his dick was trapped just inside her, and he knew that if she didn’t speak the fuck up he was going to have to take that plunge, literally, whether she was ready or not.

“A condom. We should use a condom.” She tapped his arm, and he rolled off of her and onto the floor.

“Damn. Now you think of this shit. Baby, we didn’t use one before.”

Her eyes shot open. The mood was gone. “We didn’t?”

“No. Don’t you remember? You jumped on top of me and started riding. You came in like two minutes and told me to get the fuck out.”

“I did?” That wasn’t the way she remembered it. Hell, who was she kidding? She barely remembered it at all. “I’m sorry.”

He ignored her apology and reached for his pants. “I have one in my wallet.”

“Val?”

“Yea… Here it is.” He pulled it out, and tore the wrapper open with his teeth all in a matter of seconds.

“Val?”

“What baby?” He slid it on, and crawled over to her.

“I kind of don’t want to do it anymore.”

He stood on his knees in front of her. “You’re fucking with me, right?”

“No. The mood just passed.”

“Well, tell that motherfucka to pass right the fuck back! You are not doing this to me again.” He sounded like a little child, and he couldn’t have cared less.

“I’m sorry.”

He shook his head and stared at her slit. “No. You’re not, but you will be.” She yelped as he snatched her thighs off the sofa and placed them over his shoulders. He dove into her pussy tongue first, and didn’t stop until she ordered him to fuck her.

She voluntarily slid down to the edge of the sofa and closed her eyes as he reentered her. It didn’t feel quite as good with the condom at first, but the way he fucked her made her eventually forget that he had one on.

He grabbed her arms, and held them to her sides when she started pounding on his back nearly fucking up his mood. He hit her G-spot and felt her whole body go limp. He took advantage of her still state and yanked her down on top of him. He let go of her hands, and rested one of his own behind his head; the other went to her ass.

She flattened her hands and placed them on his pecks while her lower half performed what felt like a tribal dance.

She howled when he smacked her ass, and told him to do it again. This wasn’t the Lanie he remembered, but he was loving who the fuck she had become.

She bounced on him until her legs spasmed and gave out. She held on loosely as he pressed her against his chest and flipped her over onto her back. He only had one condom, and he planned to use the hell out of it. She held on for dear life as he hammered inside her, hitting every sensitive spot her body had to offer.

“Up!”

“Huh?” She didn't understand.

Refusing to waste time talking, he wrapped one arm around her back and braced himself with the other as he rocked backwards into a sitting position. With his back resting comfortably against the bottom of the sofa, he slammed her down hard on top of him. His eyes closed shut as he pumped in and out of her rivaling the speed of light. She cried out without abandon when her orgasm overtook her. She tried to tap out, but he wasn’t finished with her.

When she was finally able to gain some semblance of control, a second orgasm hit her harder than the first. He grabbed the back of her head and forced her mouth against his. His plan was to give her one more orgasm, and he soon got his wish. Her pussy involuntarily locked down on his dick, and refused to let go.

“Shiiiiiiittttttt!!!!!!” He screamed at the top of his lungs as she forcefully extracted what felt like every seed he would ever produce from his body. Just when he collapsed, she got a second wind. She refused to stop even when sensitivity set in. “Get off.” He buried his head in her chest. She laughed and kept bouncing.

He pushed her off, and groaned when he slipped out of her constrictive hold. She smiled with satisfaction as he rolled over to his side, and held his dick until the throbbing subsided.

“You okay, Val?”

“Fuck you.”

“Are you sure? You look like you could use a minute.” She choked on a laugh, and he glared at her.

“You tried to break my shit off.”

“No. I was just trying to break you off -- you know-- like you did me. By the way, thank you. I really needed that.”

“No fucking kidding. When was the last time you got some?”

“Before our last time? It’s been a while.”

“Shit, it felt like years.”

“Damn, stop complaining. You know that was the best you ever had.” She placed her hands on her hips and waited for him to deny it. “Yea, that’s what I thought.”

“I fucking feel violated.”

“Aw, poor baby.” She moved toward him and he held his hand up.

“Don’t come over here with that bullshit. My dick is fucking hurting right now.”

“You want me to kiss it and make it all better?” She just had to mess with him.

“Payback is a motherfucka, and I will get mine, girl.”

“You gotta catch me first.”

Before she could stand, he was on her ass. She flew back and he toppled her. “I don’t hear you talking shit now.” She reached down and grabbed for his dick but came up with the condom instead.

“Ewwwww!!!!”

“What the fuck you ewwwing for? Would you rather it be inside you?”

For some unexplainable reason, the thought turned her on. “What if I did?”

He eased up off her a little. “What? You trying to give Destiny a little brother or sister?”

“Maybe.”

“Don’t fuck with me. You know you ain’t ready for that, yet.”

“How do you know?”

He pushed up off of her and stared. “Are you trying to tell me that you want to make another kid?”

“Yea. I think I am.”

“This ain’t something you can just think about. You gotta know for sure, because you will not be getting rid of this one no matter what.”

“I didn’t get rid of Destiny.” She frowned and backed away from him.

“I know, baby. I’m sorry.” He pulled her into his arms. “I just want you to really think about it. Fuck, we could get married and divorced and never have to see each other again, but if we have another kid, you ain’t never getting rid of me.”

“I know, Val.”

“Do you?”

“Yes.”

“Fine, then let me think about it. Okay?”

“Okay.” She gave him a small smile, and quick kiss.

“There’s one thing you gotta know, Lanie.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m not a fucking sperm donor. If we decide to have another kid, we got to be together -- really together. Can you handle that?”

“Yea, Val.”

He looked into her eyes for a moment. “We’ll see.” She gave him another peck and stood to her feet. “Where you goin’?”

“To take a shower.” She stopped at the door, and looked back at him over her shoulder “You comin’?

He shook his head. “You go ahead. I’ll wait until you’re done.”

She poked her lips out and said, “Suit yourself. If you change your mind, just come in.”

He nodded and waited for her to close the door to get up. In the last three months, he had fallen in love with her all over again. Everyday, it was something new that sparked a deeper level of love for him. The thing was, he wasn’t sure if she really felt the same way. He didn’t doubt that she wanted to have a baby with him, but he questioned her motives. The more he thought about it, the more he wondered if she was trying to recreate the life they should have had with Destiny. He always wanted a future with her, so he hoped with everything he had that she wasn’t still trying to live in the past.

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Aleksey laid his head down for no longer than a minute before he was awaken by the sound of music. “Please, turn that shit off, Angel... Angel!” He quickly realized that the music he was hearing was actually a ringtone on Angel's cell phone. He snatched it off the same dresser that she had left it on three months prior, and carefully pushed answer. “Angel, is that you?”

There was a laugh on the other end. “Now, why would my baby want to talk to someone like you?”

“Who is this? I swear if you hurt her --”

“You ain't gonna do shit. Look, I'll call back when you're in a better mood.”

“Wait! Please!”

“I don't believe it. I got the almighty Aleksey Moroskov begging me. I almost feel honored.”

“Where is Angel? Is she alright?” He some how managed to keep his composure, even though he was ready to rip the head off the person on the other end. In fact, that became his new mission in life, right after getting Angel back.

“She's fine, and I mean that in every possible way, but you already know that.”

“I want to talk to her.”

“And, what's that supposed to mean to me?”

“Please. Let me talk to her. I just want to know that she is alright.”

“I guess it couldn't hurt.”

Aleksey pressed his ear to the phone, and waited for the moment he had been praying for.

He heard some scuffling sounds in the background right before someone picked up the phone. “Make it quick. Just hi and bye. Got it, girl? Okay, here she is.”

“Aleksey, I'm preg-- ”

End Notes:

Thanks for the feedback. =)

Off The Map.... by Leoslove

Aleksey charged into the weight room. “Get those tech guys here now!”

He threw the phone at Marat. “Aleksey, what is it? What is this?”

“It’s Angel’s phone; she left it here the night she… I got a call from the bastard who has her.”

“What?! Did you speak to her?”

“Yes. She’s… she’s pregnant.”

“What?!” Marat damn near had a heart attack.

“That was the last thing she said before the line went dead.”

He hopped off the machine. “What do you need me to do?”

“I need you to call every tech guy we have. I need them to track where this call came from.”

“I’m on it, Boss.” Marat always knew which Aleksey he was dealing with, and addressed him accordingly.

Forty-five minutes later, seven guys with high tech support skills sat around one of Aleksey's private rooms with electrical equipment and several lap tops in front of them. Aleksey paced the floor with his hands behind his back as he made it clear that they would each die if they didn’t find out where she was by midnight. Marat laughed to himself as their fingers began typing away for their lives sake.

“I got something.” One of the guys held up his hand as Aleksey and Marat rushed over.

“What? Did you find her?”

“I think I have. I was able to trace the call to this area, but according to the map of the city, there’s nothing there.”

“Print it out. Marat gather everyone. We are going there now.”

Marat knew that there was no point in arguing with him even if the evidence proved that she probably wasn't there. “You got it, Boss.”

“You,” he pointed to the only one who was able to help, “come with me.”

Three cars full of Aleksey’s men were on the road within the hour; the location was two hours away. Each car remained silent as everyone made their peace with God.

The tech guy, Steben kept his head down, and his eyes on his computer the entire time until his computer began beeping erratically. “This is it!” He looked out the car window at what appeared to be an abandoned factory. “According to this,” he lifted his laptop, “that building was torn down five years ago.”

“Well, according to this,” Marat grabbed Steben by the top of his head, and forced him to turn back toward the window, “it’s still here.” He smacked him on his shoulder. “You did good, kid. Stay here.”

Everyone quickly exited the car (except Steben), and began unpacking the arsenal they brought. They all donned their military bullet proof vests, grabbed multiple weapons, and headed toward the entrance. No one was sure if it was the right place, let alone if they were walking into a trap, but Aleksey was determined to either go home with Angel, or never go home again.

With ear pieces in place, several of the men secured the building from the outside while the others, including Marat and Aleksey slipped inside an empty room through an open window. Aleksey and Marat looked at each other and thought the same thing, “Amateurs.” Taking nothing for granted, the other men slipped into the hall first and signaled for Aleksey and Marat to join them. Right before Aleksey exited the room, gun fire rang out. Two of his men fell before him, one of them being Marat. He dragged his friend into the room and shut the iron door. The other men continued firing back while Aleksey checked his best friend.

“Where are you hit?”

“Chest.”

Aleksey looked for blood, and laughed when he found none. “You are glad that you listened to me this time, yes?”

Marat sat up slowly, and smiled. “Yes.” Aleksey carefully helped him to his feet.

Soon after the gun fire ceased, they got an ‘all clear’ call from outside. Aleksey went for the door, but Marat pulled him back and exited first.

Three of Aleksey’s men met them outside and led them from room to room.

“The south side is clear. No sign of Ms. Angel.”

Aleksey’s eyes closed briefly.

“East wing clear. No sign.”

Aleksey ripped his ear piece out and ran up the metal stairs. Marat wanted desperately to yell after him, but instead followed him with his weapon drawn. They agreed to check each of the four rooms together. When they opened the third door, bullets ripped through the air almost catching Aleksey in the face.

“So, you finally found me!”

“Where is Angel?” Aleksey’s voice was steady despite how he was really feeling.

“She’s right here, so I suggest you stop shooting before she gets hurt.” His laugh sounded twisted and demented. “But, then again, she’s already been shot because of you. Isn’t that right?”

“Let her go. This is between us.”

“You’re right, it is, but no, I will not let her go. You want her, come and take her.” More gun fire followed his challenge.

Marat whispered, “Do you recognize his voice?”

Aleksey shook his head, and mouthed the word, “You?”

Marat shook his head.

“What do you want?”

“I want everything. I want everything that you have. Angel was only the beginning.”

“Why?”

“Oh, you mean you don’t remember me?”

“Should I?” He and Marat moved around quietly as they tried to get a view inside the room.

“Your father and brother would, if they were still alive.”

“What do they have to do with this?”

“Your father took everything that belonged to my father with the help of that disgrace of a brother of yours, and now I’m going to return the favor.”

“I can assure that I had no part in whatever my father and brother did to your family.”

“Do you really think I give a damn?!”

“If this is about payback, you are going about it all wrong.”

“Now, you’re gonna tell me how to run my business?”

“Who are you?”

“I am Afanasiy, son of Bogatir, and brother to Grigory, also known to you as Viktor.”

Marat’s hands suddenly ached to be around the throat of the one known as Viktor.

“So, you sent your brother into my house?” Aleksey’s throat constricted with each word.

“Yes. His name does mean ‘watchful’, and he kept a good eye on our sweet Angel for me while you were out of town, just long enough for me to grab her.”

Angel sat in silence, not wanting to believe what she was hearing. Viktor not only misused her trust, but also Natalia’s affections.

“Who else have you sent into my home?”

“If there are more, you will never know.”

“Enough of these games.” Marat pointed to large shard of broken glass against the wall. It pointed slightly into the room, just enough for them to see who they were dealing with. Who they didn’t see was Angel. They could not make a move without knowing where she was. “How do I know that you still have Angel?”

“I told you that she is right here.”

“You have told me a lot of things, it does not make it so.” He wasn’t certain if taunting the man would hurt or help, but he knew that he had to try something.

“My word is no good to you?”

“You take a woman and use her to exact revenge against me for crimes I have not committed... No, your word alone is no good to me.”

“It was good enough for your brother.”

“My… my brother?”

“Yes, Andrei and I became close through the years. Of course, he had no idea who I truly was, but that Iyanka was more than eager to help.”

“You sent them to my house that night?”

“Now, you’re starting to get it.”

“And, the wire?”

“That was me, as well. I figured when neither of them came back you had killed them, so I had to up the stakes.”

“By taking Angel?”

“Yes.”

“How long have you been in the states?”

“I was sent here after my father was murdered by your brother sixteen years ago today.”

“How did you know I would find you on this day?”

“I didn’t, but I guess it was just fate.” He turned around and ran the barrel of his gun down Angel’s face, and she whimpered.

“Angel?!”

Afanasiy motioned for her to remain silent. “Is that proof enough?”

“No. How do I know that you have not hurt her… or the baby?”

“Why would I hurt my own child?”

Marat held Aleksey back.

“He’s lying Aleksey. We never--”

The next sound was that of someone being struck. Aleksey grabbed Marat's weapon and went into the room with both guns blazing. He waited for Afanasiy to run for cover before lowering his weapon and connecting a shot to both of his arms and legs. He then walked over to the fallen man and kicked his gun away. “It’s clear.” Marat called for the other men, and rushed into the room to untie Angel.

Aleksey stood over Afanasiy. “You?”

“Yes. ” He coughed and tried to scoot away.

“You were supposed to be dead.”

“Why? Because, that’s what Kolovskiy wanted? My mother sent me to America to keep him from killing me.”

“And, you’ve been plotting against me ever since?”

He spat on Aleksey’s steel toe boots. “Before.”

“You should have stuck with going after Andrei.”

“But, where would be the fun in that?”

Aleksey shot the right side of his chest, as Angel and the others stood back and watched. With a look of total disgust in his eyes, Aleksey stepped closer and looked the man over. “You are fucked up in so many ways, starting with your name. Afanasiy… You are not immortal, I guarantee it. Now, let’s look at my name -- Aleksey, defender.” He reached back for Angel’s hand, and she came willingly. “I will defend this woman, my woman until the end of time, and in this case, the end of your time.” He took a step back and pointed his weapon.

“Stop!” Once Angel had everyone's attention, she went for Aleksey’s gun. Wearing the same look of confusion as all the others, including Afanasiy, he pulled the gun back just out of her reach. The look in her eyes changed in a flash as she reached for the gun again. That time, he smirked and placed his gun safely in her hand.

Afanasiy boldly smiled at Aleksey. “I told you she was mine.” His smile faded slowly when she turned and pointed the gun at him. “Baby, what are you doing?”

“How many times do I have to tell you that I BELONG TO ALEKSEY?!” The first round landed in his arm right above the spot that Aleksey had previously shot him. “You held me here prisoner away from my daughter,” for that she delivered a swift kick to his side, “and the love of my life for some vendetta that he didn’t even have anything to do with?!” She stalked around him, deciding where she would deliver the next shot. Knee cap. His screams brought joy to her blackened heart. “You kept me here even after we discovered that I was pregnant!” The other knee. “You wouldn’t let me see a doctor because it might have screwed up your plan. Because of you I could've lost my baby!” Right shoulder blade. “Death is too good for you, but seeing as it is the only way to deal with people on your level, allow me.” Between the eyes. They were all shocked into silence by what they had just witnessed. Angel didn’t take her eyes off of Afanasiy until Aleksey pulled her into his arms. He slowly unwrapped her fingers from his gun and handed it to Marat.

“It is alright. You are safe now.”

“How did you find me? He said this place wasn’t even on the map.”

“It was not, but fortunately for us, I only hire the best… with one exception.” His eyes turned cold as they shifted toward Marat again.

“It is already done.”

Aleksey closed his eyes and breathed. He wasn’t ready to move, but he knew that they would soon have to. He tried to peel Angel off of him, but she wouldn’t budge. “Baby, we must go.”

“Go where?”

He lifted her chin, and looked lovingly into her eyes. “Home.” She already knew the answer; she just wanted to hear him say it. She turned to walk toward the door, and that’s when he got his first look at the bulge coming from under her shirt. He grabbed her arm and pulled her back in front of him. He pointed to her stomach. “This --”

“Is yours. He didn’t touch me, except for a disgusting kiss or two.” She looked back at the leaking body behind her with disdain. “I was already pregnant. I told you I needed more birth control pills.”

His eyes slowly rose to meet hers. “We are going to--”

“Have a baby.”

He snatched her into an embrace, and shooed his men away as they tried to inform him that the car was ready. “I am going to be a father. Me? A family? I will have a family of my own?”

“Yes, Aleksey. A family of your own.”

For the first time, he cried in front of his men. They each turned around like dominoes, and pretended that they hadn’t seen anything. He didn’t care; that moment was worth crying about. He turned toward Marat again and said, “Doctor.”

“Done. Popov is waiting at the house.”

Angel pulled Aleksey down to her height and whispered, “Not Popov. I think he’s seen more than enough of me. I don’t want him looking down there.”

Aleksey laughed for the first time since she had been taken. “Marat, get a female doctor… Unless, that’s done, too.”

Marat laughed and said, “No, but I’ll get right on it. Right now we need to leave so they can get to work.” He pointed behind them to a group of men in HAZMAT suits.

Aleksey reached for her hand and bowed. “Are you ready, Milady?”

She giggled, and he realized just how much he had missed that sound. “I am more than ready.”

He decided against picking her up and carrying her down to the truck only because he wanted her to experience the full extent of her freedom from that place, and that included walking out of it by her own free will.

When they reached outside, she looked up and smiled at the stars. Then, she inhaled the putrid smell of smog and smiled at that, too. After being cooped up under the control of someone else, she was grateful for all that outside had to offer, even if it brought on another bout of morning sickness.

She snatched her hand away from Aleksey's, and ran to the back of the truck. Her action perplexed him until he heard the sounds of heaving mixed with gagging.

He smiled at his men as he happily went to help. “Morning sickness?”

She nodded, and continued to regurgitate. He held her hair with one hand, and rubbed her back with the other.

After a few minutes of dry heaving, she gave him a thumbs up. She held her hand on her chest until the pain subsided. “I’m okay. Let’s go.” Her words were breathy at best. She was still trying to get it together when she grabbed Aleksey’s hand and pulled him to the side of the truck. He helped her inside, and then with her seatbelt. Normally, she would have demanded her independence, but she knew that he needed to do something to make up for not being able to help her for so long. She never once blamed him, and she made plans to soon let him know. After he buckled up, she laid her head on his shoulder, and placed his hand on her stomach.

“Was that?”

“Yes.”

He looked at her, and shook his head. “You are real? This is real?”

“Yes, Aleksey. We’re real.” She looked up, and caught a glimpse of light in his eyes.

“I have imagined this moment so many times… I can hardly believe it.”

“We’ve earned this, so enjoy it.”

“I will; I promise. I just cannot--”

“Shhhhhh. This isn’t a dream.” She snuggled deeper into his arms.

 “A baby…”

“Yes,” she smiled, “A baby.” He continued to rub her stomach even after she had fallen asleep.

“A baby?”

“I said, shhhhhhhhhh.”

He laughed quietly, and continued to rub his son or daughter. Soon the kicks stopped, and he was certain that their child had fallen in the way of his or her mother.

That was the first night that he actually looked forward to sleeping, although he was pretty sure that the excitement would keep him up for yet another night. He looked out of the window and silently thanked God that his Angel would finally be returning home where she belonged, plus one.

End Notes:

Thanks for the feedback. =)

A Little Talk With The Man Upstairs... by Leoslove

“Should we wake her?”

Angel smiled at the small figure laying before her. “No. Let her sleep.”

She and Aleksey tiptoed out of Destiny’s room, and reentered the hall. She stopped and ran her hand up and down the door. Without turning around, she whispered, “I knew you’d find me.”

Aleksey, had already headed to their room across the hall. “Did you say something?”

She turned around with a smile. “I knew you’d find me.”

“It was my fault that you needed finding.”

She kissed the palm of her hand, and placed it flat against Destiny’s door just before heading into the room she shared with Aleksey. He stood in the threshold  for a few seconds before following her inside and closing the door.

She laughed a little as she looked around the room. “I never got to finish.”

He walked up behind her, and held her at the waist. “Now, you will have all the time in the world.”

“Thanks to you.” He tried to remove his hands, but she latched on to them with her own. “This is not your fault, Aleksey. He was after you for all the wrong reasons.

“If you did not know me--”

“If I didn't know you, I would be miserable, Destiny wouldn’t be nearly as happy, and we wouldn’t be expecting our first child together.”

“Yes, but--”

“Stop!” She pulled out of his arms and stared him down. “I have been trapped in a hell hole for the past three months,” she held up her hand when he started to speak, “and the last thing I need is to finally come home and have to pump you up. We both know that I don’t say things that I don’t mean. I.don’t.blame.you. This wasn’t your fault, and I’m every bit as much in love with you now as I was before this mess happened -- if not more, so stop sulking and love me damnit!” Giving her little speech used up whatever little adrenaline she was riding on.

He swooped in to pick her up. “I’m sorry. I know that you do not need this.” He laid her down on the bed and began to undress her slowly.

“I’m not gonna break you know?”

He looked up and smiled. “I know. I will forever know.”

“Good... Baby?”

“Yes?”

“If I wasn’t so exhausted I would so be jumping your bones right now.”

He laughed as if there was no tomorrow, then slouched down to the floor. With his back rested against the side of the mattress, he reached up and grabbed her hand. “I have missed you.”

“I’ve missed you, too, and I almost forgive you for our last conversation.”

He pulled up and sat on his knees beside her. “What do you mean? I’ve run that conversation over and over in my head; I did nothing wrong.”

She sat up and reached for a pillow to place behind her, and smiled when he beat her to it. Finding a comfortable spot wasn't hard after sleeping in a chair for three months. She plopped back and sternly said, “You refused me.”

“I what? I would nev-- Oh, you mean that.”

“Yes, that. I was so damn horny, and you wouldn’t even let me touch myself. If you wanna beat yourself up, do it because of that.”

“But, baby, I only wanted you to wait for me.”

“And, I’m still waiting.”

“And, you will continue to wait.”

“I thought Marat was supposed to have a doctor here waiting for us.”

“He tried, but since you wanted a female doctor we will have to wait until they can be thoroughly checked out. Tomorrow, I promise.”

“Good.” She refused to fight her yawn.

“Ready for bed?”

“I should really shower first.”

“Tomorrow.”

“But, Aleksey--”

“Tomorrow.” He stripped down to his boxers, climbed in the bed, and wrapped himself around her.

“You have no idea how much I've missed your arms.”

“I have missed everything about you.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve missed everything about you, too, but being safely tucked away in your arms was what I missed most while I was away.”

Away? Is that what we are calling it?”

“Well, I was. What did you tell Destiny?”

“...That you were away.”

She turned on her side to face him. “And, you mean she bought that?”

“No, but she went along. What will we tell her when she wakes up?”

“I don’t know. Hopefully, she will be so excited about the baby that she won’t care.”

“Yea... Has she ever said that she wanted a little brother or sister?”

“Only everyday since she could talk. Well, maybe not that long, but yes, she definitely wants a sibling.”

“And, now we are going to give that to her.”

“Yep, in another… I don’t even know how far along I am… not really anyway.”

“Won’t the doctor be able to tell us?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never been pregnant before.”

“Well, this will be a new and exciting adventure for both of us.”

“Yes, it will.” She yawned again.

“Go to sleep.”

“That’s what my body keeps telling me, but my mind keeps replaying how you rushed into that room firing off not one, but two guns; that was some sexy shit.”

He smiled and held the side of her face in his hand. “I’m glad I could turn you on in our time of danger.”

“Baby, you could turn me on during a damn mammogram.”

“A what?”

“Nevermind.” He turned completely on his side and stared at her; she watched in silence as tears pooled in his eyes. “What’s wrong?” She stroked his back.

“I wanted to die when I found out you were taken. I did not want to live without you.”

She scooted closer, and wrapped her arm around him. “Please, don’t say that.”

“It is true. Before you came into my life, I did not know what it was to love so much until it hurt. I am nothing without you.”

One-by-one, tears slipped from her eyes onto her pillow. “It hurts me to hear you say that. You are everything, Aleksey, with or without me. You are everything.”

He pulled her on top of him as they cried together. “I cannot let this happen again. I will not survive.”

“Aleksey, the only ones who saw this coming were the fools who planned it.”

“If I were here--”

“Then, it would have just happened at another time. He was crazy, Aleksey. He planned to go after you years ago. Only death would have stopped him. I’m just grateful that he chose me and not Destiny.”

“Destiny?”

“When he found out that she and I were living here with you, she became his original target, but since he knew that he could never get her alone, he grabbed me instead.”

He placed his arms at his side, and quietly gripped the blanket. “I am so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault. I knew the risks.”

“But, you did not believe them. It had not been your reality, yet. I knew better. I knew better than to let you leave the house without me.”

“I wanted my freedom, Aleksey.”

“And, how did that work out for you?”

She leaned forward, and glared at him. “Well, it's good to know that you’re still a smart ass.”

“I am not.”

“Yes, you are. I knew it the first time we spoke.”

“Ah, I remember that day well. You bit my head off for giving Destiny her own room.”

She peeped up at him with one eye. “I had no idea that we would be staying here, and I didn’t know or trust you completely. I didn’t know what your intentions were.”

“Now, you do.”

She nodded and closed her eyes. “Aleksey, I’m exhausted, but I can’t seem to fall asleep.”

“It is because we are not doing what we would normally do to knock you out cold.”

A smiled spread across her face. “We could--”

“Wait for you to see a doctor.”

“That’s exactly what I was gonna say…” They looked at each other and laughed.

“We never really talked about it before, but have you ever wanted kids of your own?”

“Not really. After Destiny came into my life, I always thought that she was enough. I was single and alone, and it was hard enough trying to raise her under the radar all by myself. I didn’t see you or anyone else in my future… I thought it would just be Destiny and me for the rest of her adolescence. Then, sometime after she went off to college, I would focus on myself again.”

“Why?”

“Why what?

“After she went to college? There are a lot of single mothers who date and get married. Why did you want to wait?”

“No matter how lonely I got, and believe me, I’ve been lonely, Destiny always came first. I didn’t want her to see different men coming in and out of my life, and that’s partly why I was in such a rush to get the hell out of here.”

“You scared me more times than I will ever admit.”

She turn over on top of him, and placed her chin on the backsides of her hands. “I scared you?”

“Yes. When you spoke of leaving… I would get scared. I always knew that I could force you to stay here, but I did not want to do that, so I had to make you fall in love with me so that you would want to stay.”

“Oh, you made me fall in love with you?”

“You did not do so willingly, did you?”

“I guess I did kind of fight it, but you’re just so darn cute.” He blushed when she pinched his cheek.

“You remind me of my grandmother right now.” He gently removed her hand with a smile.

“Tell me about your family, Aleksey.”

“Some other time.”

“You don’t want to talk about them, huh?”

“No. Tell me about yours.”

She flipped back over, and wiggled until her back was comfortably against his hard chest. “Some other time.”

“One more thing we have in common.”

“I guess so.”

“Well, the past is of no consequence--”

“Uh oh, look at you using big words.”

He spanked her hips, and continued. “As I was saying, we are creating a beautiful present and future, so there really is no need to look back.”

She held his hands in place on her hips. “You’re right, again... Aleksey, I wanna get married.” She closed her eyes and waited.

“We already are… in my heart.”

“I’m not talking about in your heart. Hell, I’m not even talking about right now -- just sometime before this baby is born… You have no idea how horribly I was treated because I was a single, unwed mother. There are a lot of narrow minded, judgmental people in the world, and I was treated like crap by what felt like all of them. I get that it's more acceptable to be married first, but they didn’t even know my situation and they still said hurtful things, even to Destiny.”

She rubbed his hands to calm him down. “Like what?”

“You know the standard, things like bastard.”

“Someone called her a bastard?”

“Yes. Fortunately, she didn’t know what it meant, so it didn’t hurt her, but it pissed me off… I’ve lost so many jobs behind that little girl it ain’t funny.” She thought back to a few instances and laughed. “Okay, maybe a few were funny.”

“So, you do not want the same for our child?”

“No, especially after what happened tonight.”

“It changed you?”

“No, it reminded me. I had forgotten who I was and what I’m capable of, and tonight brought it all back. That’s why your life has never scared me.”

“You’ve… killed before?”

She felt her eyes glaze over. “Yes.”

“Why?”

She shook her head and pushed back the memories. “Can we talk about something else, anything else?”

“I understand.” He slipped his hands out of her hold, and wrapped his arms around her chest. “How about this baby of ours?” He stretched his hands out and placed them over her stomach.

“What do you think, boy or girl?”

“I honestly think it is a girl.”

“What do you want it to be?”

“A boy.”

She smacked his hands. “Aleksey! You’re not supposed to say that.”

“Why not? You asked.”

“The proper answer is healthy.”

“I want him to be healthy.” He smirked at her gasp.

“Men!”

He rubbed her belly, and kissed the top of her head. “You know I do not care, much.”

“Much?”

“Much.”

“I have a question.” The tone of her voice caused his hands to still.

“Yes?”

“If we do have a boy, when he is old enough will you--”

“No.”

“I didn’t finish asking my question.”

“I know what you are going to ask, and the answer is no.”

“But, what if he really wants to?”

“No child of mine will get into this business. It is bad enough that he will be born around it -- for that I will forever be sorry, but I cannot change the past.”

“I hope you mean that.”

“I do, and if I forget, I will always have you there to remind me.”

“With an iron fist.”

He laughed despite the sincerity of her words. “I know that is true. After this one, how many more will we have?”

“Aleksey! Let’s get through the diaper duty on this one first, please. I’m telling you, diapers and all the night feedings are no joke. Destiny cried every night for the first six months that I had her. Thankfully, I had enough in my savings to hold us over because there wasn’t a daycare in the world who would have taken her… or, that I would have trusted. I remember when she started Kindergarten -- I sat outside that classroom everyday for over a month just to make sure that she was okay. Has she been continuing with her tutoring?”

“Yes. She chooses the time.”

“Aleksey, she has to be on a schedule. If she was in school, she couldn’t pick when she wanted to be taught.”

“That is true.”

“Have you heard from Melanie or Val while I was away?”

He shook his head at her choice of words. “Yes. They have come here almost everyday to help with Destiny.”

“And, how has Destiny responded?”

“She likes them very much.”

“That’s good. I really want them to get to know each other.”

“They have.”

“How about you?”

“What about me?”

“How were you handling things with Destiny while I was away? Or, do I even want to know?”

“I was lost.”

“Aleksey--”

“I know you would like to think that I would be able to handle your… absence, but I could not. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that you were out there waiting for me to find you, and that little girl across the hall. If something had happened to you--”

“Don’t go there. I’m fine.” She tightened his hold on her stomach. “We’re fine. You found us, and I never doubted that you would.”

“Never?”

“No, never, especially after I told you about me being pregnant.”

“That was a nice touch.”

“It lit a fire under your ass, huh?”

“Like you would not believe… Did you know that you were pregnant?”

“No. I think it happened the last time we were together.”

“You just had to have it.”

“Yes, I did, and you wouldn’t believe how much I want it right now just thinking about it. I have never seen you work so hard to cum before.”

“I never want to have to rush like that again. I wasn’t built for the quickies.”

“Boy, do I know it. I thought you were gonna split me in two.”

He sat up, pushing her up with him. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because, it felt good. There’s nothing wrong with a little pleasure and pain, remember?”

“But, in two? -- We should not have sex until after you have this baby.”

“Fuck that! I swear if you try to hold out on me I’ll--”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’ll... I’ll take it!”

“You are going to take my dick from me?” He quirked a brow and smirked at the thought.

“Yes. You always say it’s mine, anyway... Don’t say shit if you wake up in the middle of the night feeling completely drained.”

“You are going to rape me?” He laughed.

“If that’s what you wanna call it.” She folded her arms over her chest, and pouted.

“Now, what if I were to steal your pussy from you?”

“You can’t steal what’s already yours.”

'Damn.' She felt him getting harder beneath her. “We need to change the subject, now!” He shifted her body to allow him more room to grow.

“Why? It was just getting good.”

“Stop that.”

“Stop what?”

“Moving your ass on my dick.”

“I can’t help it. It feels so natural.”

He leaned back and groaned. “It is, but it is not right. We must be sure that the baby is okay first.”

“He or she is.”

He gripped her waist and tried to hold her still, but her ass cheeks took turns flexing against him. “Where did you learn how to do that?”

“HBO back in the day. You’ve never watched Real Sex?”

“No. I was too busy hav--”

“Shut that shit all the way down. I don’t want to hear about you being with anyone else.”

“I know. I am sorry.” She picked up where she left off. “Angel, you really should not do that.”

“Why? It’s fun.”

“Torturing me is fun?”

“Yep.”

“You are mean.”

“No, I’m not.”

She bounced a couple of times. “Yes, you fucking are.” He picked her up and sat her on the bed next to him.

“Did I hurt it? Let me see.” She loved teasing him.

“I have three months of built up sexual frustration inside of me,” he leaned closer until they were face-to-face, “Do you really want to play this game with me?”

She kissed the tip of his nose and leaned back. “You know what? Suddenly, I think I’m ready to go to sleep.”

“That is what I thought.”

She turned her back to him. “Don’t think you’ve won, though. This is just a temporary retreat.”

“You can call it what you like,” he turned the light off on his nightstand, “I am not not going to touch you in that way until a doctor says that our baby is okay, and you can handle how we do what we do.”

“I know. I know. See, this is what kids do -- block.”

“Cock block?”

“Exactly.”

“Destiny does no such thing.”

“That’s because your staff--”

Our staff.”

She smiled. “Our staff keeps her busy during our times together, but this one here is along for the ride whether we like it or not.”

“Well, I for one like it. We have forever to fuck each other, but this child being inside of you will only happen for a few more months.”

“You’re right.”

“Wow, I can get used to you telling me that I am right.”

“I suggest that you just shut up, and enjoy it; I will probably never utter those words again.”

He pinched her backside. “That is what you think.” Using a gentle tug, he pulled her into his arms. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given me.”

“Aleksey, I haven’t given you anything, yet.”

“I was talking to God.”

End Notes:

Thanks for the feedback. =)

Peek-A-Boo... by Leoslove

Destiny rolled over, and continued snoring as Aleksey stood back with one foot planted against the wall, fighting back laughter. Angel was not as strong.

“What’s so funny?” They remained silent as Destiny rolled over facing them. Her eyes peeled open slowly, and quickly shut back closed. “Am I still dreaming?”

“I asked myself the same question this morning. She assures me that she is real.”

Destiny’s eyes flew back open, as did her arms. “MOMMY! You’re back! Where were you?”

Angel glanced back at Aleksey over her shoulder. “I, uh had to take care of some business, but enough about that, let me get a good look at you.”

Destiny jumped to her knees, and pranced around the bed in her newest pair of pajamas. Angel forced her tears to dissipate between jumps. “Have you grown?”

“That’s what Mr. Yury and Ms. Natalia said.” She continued jumping until Angel tackled her and held her still. Destiny screamed with laughter when Angel added a few well placed tickles -- actually, one was not so well placed. She jumped up and grabbed her stomach; Aleksey rushed to her side.

“I’m sorry, Mommy. I didn’t mean to kick you.”

Angel sucked in a deep breath before responding. “It’s okay. I’m okay. It just hurt a lil-”

“WHAT IS THAT?!”

Angel and Aleksey looked down and smiled. “This,” she molded her shirt to her stomach, “is my other surprise. We’re gonna have a baby!”

Destiny shook her head in disbelief. “A baby… is inside you?”

“Yep. You wanna come say hi to your little brother or sister?”

Destiny was up on her before she had a chance to get her bearings. “Hi, it’s me, Destiny. I love you, and I’m gonna help you. I will feed you, wash you, change your… okay, maybe not change your diapers, but I will teach you how to play video games and read -- lots of stuff, so hurry up and come out.”

Angel cupped Destiny’s face with her hands. “We don’t want him or her to come out too soon.”

“How long does it take for a baby to cook?”

Aleksey made a gagging sound. “Grow, vozl'ublennyj. Grow.” (sweetheart)

“Grow.”

“The best time is nine months, but some babies are born earlier, and some later.”

She leveled herself with Angel’s belly. “Take all the time you need. We’ll be here waiting.” Her eyes roamed back and forth between Angel and Aleksey. “Can we go shopping for the baby? I want to buy him a toy.”

Him? You, too, huh?”

Destiny looked up with a blank expression. “I think it’s a boy.”

Aleksey pulled Destiny to him; she leaned back against his legs. “Two to one, Angel.”

“Hey, I haven’t cast my vote, yet.”

“Well?” Destiny and Aleksey asked at the same time.

“I don’t care, as long as he or she is healthy.” Both Destiny and Aleksey rolled their eyes in harmony.

“Really?” Again, in unison.

“Okay, I’m really gonna need you two to stop hanging out together so much -- you’re starting to creep me out. As a matter of fact, I think I better get out of here before I turn into one of you.”

Aleksey picked Destiny up and shifted her around on his shoulders. “But, what about shopping? Can we go, Mommy?”

Aleksey answered first. “I think your Mommy needs her rest. A doctor will be coming soon to check out the baby.”

“Cool! Can I watch?”

Without turning around, Angel said, “I don’t think you’re going to want to see this one. Maybe, during an ultrasound.”

“What’s that?”

“That’s when they take a look at the baby. They even give out pictures.”

“Do you have any pictures of when I was inside you?”

Aleksey could see Angel’s shoulders stiffen. “Hey, why don’t we let your Mommy get a little more rest while you and Natalia fix her a surprise breakfast?”

“But, it’s not a surprise -- she’s standing right here.”

“The surprise will be what’s in the breakfast.”

“Ohhhhhh, I get it.” He grabbed her hands and helped her slide down until she was close enough to jump the rest of the way. “You’re going to be completely surprised, Mommy. I already have some ideas in my head.”

Angel turned her face away from Destiny’s view. “That sounds great.”

“I’ll come get you when it’s ready.” She raced to the kitchen before the first tear dropped.

Aleksey opened his arms and waited for Angel to fall in. “Don’t cry, moj sladkij Angel.” (my sweet)

“I knew this pregnancy would prompt her to ask questions.”

He placed his chin on top of her head. “As did I. Do you wish to tell her the truth now?”

“If I tell her now, she may think that this baby will be her replacement.”

“Well, that is not true.”

“No, it’s not, but she's seven, she may not understand that. There are children much older than her who resent new babies. Sure, she loves the idea of having a new sibling now, but wait until he or she gets most of the attention that she has been getting all this time. I don’t know when the right time will be.”

“When it comes, I am sure that we will know.” Before Yuri, the butler could say a word, Aleksey acknowledged his presence.

“Sir, Madam, the doctor is here.”

While Angel remained in Aleksey’s arms, they turned around to face him. “Thank you, Yuri. Please, show her to the room.” Yuri walked away, then stopped. “The other room.”

He nodded again, then shuffled off.

Aleksey spoke before she could ask. “Yuri is not getting around like he used to. Maybe, it is time for him to retire.”

“Yea, that’s nice. What other room?”

“It is a surprise.”

“No offense, but I don’t think I can put up with any more surprises.”

He pulled her down the long hallway, and through a smaller separate hall. They stopped in front of a door that he had passed by, but never opened during her initial tour of the house. “You will love this one. Close your eyes.”

She huffed, but obeyed. She listened as the door slowly creaked open. He grabbed her hands and led her forward. When she was beyond the threshold of the door, he instructed her to open her eyes.

“Oh.my.goodness! No, you didn’t!”

“Yes. Yes, I did. Do you like it?”

Like it? I love it! When did you do this?”

“Natalia actually had my men start working on it when she was made aware of your pregnancy. It was completed the same day.”

“But, the equipment…”

“She did her homework.”

Angel looked around the room in awe. It completely resembled an ob/gyn’s office down to the fetal/maternal monitor set off in the corner.

“I’d say so.”

A small brown skinned woman came out of the bathroom still drying her hands. “Hi, I’m Dr. Alicia Kuznetsov, but you can call me Dr. K for short, or Alicia.”

Aleksey eyed the woman as she turned on some of the machines. Taking a chance he asked, “Sluchajno Vy govorili by na russkom yazyke?”

She turned with a smile. “As a matter of fact, I do speak Russian. My husband is from Buguruslan, in Orenburg Oblast.”

“Ah, I know exactly where that is.”

“He moved to America around the same time that I moved here from Brazil. In fact, we took English lessons at the same adult school; that’s where we met.”

“That is very interesting. What is your husband’s name?”

“Nikita Petrovna Kuznetsov.” She tapped the table, and Aleksey helped Angel up. “I must admit, I was a little surprised to have received a call from your people. I did not know that my humble practice was on your radar.” She handed Angel a gown to change into.

“Well, my wife,” Angel cleared her throat, “my Angel preferred a female physician, so I put my men to task finding and clearing one for her. You have heard of me?”

“My husband has, and by extension so have I.”

He stood in between Angel and the Doctor as she changed out of her clothes. Angel shook her head and whispered, “She’s going to see everything, anyway.” He nudged her, and continued to lean against the table. She smiled, and continued undressing.

“So, did you have any apprehension coming here today?”

“My husband assured me that I would be under no danger.”

“Ah, do I know your husband?”

“He said your mother was his teacher when he was a young boy.” Aleksey’s imperturbable manner faltered for only a moment. Angel looked back over her shoulder after she felt his back tense against her. “He brags on her constantly. Your mother is actually the reason he became a teacher.”

Aleksey choked back his emotion. “Is that so?”

“Yes. He mentioned her in his college graduation speech; he was the Valedictorian of his class.”

Aleksey stood straight and nodded. “Impressive.”

“Indeed. When I told him about the call to come here, he insisted that I assist the son of the woman who helped make him what he is in any way that I legally could.” Her wording didn’t escape neither Aleksey, nor Angel.

“I’m ready.” Angel happily laid back on the long table.

Dr. K sat down on the stool, and rolled her way over to her newest patient. As she lowered the table, Aleksey silently stood by Angel’s side; she gave his hand a tight squeeze and looked up, but his eyes and thoughts were elsewhere… in deep thought about his mother, most likely.

“Please, open your robe, Mrs. Moroskov.”

Ms. Morgan.”

Aleksey chimed in. “Soon to be Mrs. Moroskov.”

Alicia looked up with a smile. “Congratulations. Have you set a date?”

Angel kept her eyes straight ahead. “He hasn’t officially proposed, yet.”

Alicia looked up at Aleksey who bore a slight blush. “Give him time.”

He gave her a small nod.

“Well, let us begin.”

Alicia started off with the typical examinations -- breast, and vaginal. Aleksey took a seat as far away as possible. Seeing another woman fondle Angel wasn’t quite the experience he had once or twice imagined. After she drew a couple of blood samples, she asked Aleksey to wheel the ultrasound machine a little closer to she and Angel.

After the machine was placed to her liking, he rushed back over to Angel’s side and held her hand tightly against his chest.

Alicia removed the gel from the warmer, and smiled at Angel. “He thought of everything.” She remained quiet, but made a mental note to thank Natalia immensely when they were done. Alicia squirted the transmission gel in only one small area of Angel’s abdomen, and used the transducer to spread it out evenly across. 

She measured all of the baby’s organs. Then, she quietly measured the heartbeat rhythm.

After a few agonizing minutes Angel blurted out, “Is everything okay?”

Alicia smiled and pointed to the screen. She cheerfully pointed out the four chambers of the heart, the stomach, liver, and kidneys. She showed them their baby’s head and all of the facial features, as well as each foot and toe. “Your baby is in the perfect position to determine the sex. Would you care to know?”

“Yes!”

She wasn’t sure who said it first, but it was clear that they were both in agreement. “Well, according to this area right here, you’ll be having a little boy in about twenty-two weeks.”

Angel’s free hand flew over her mouth to squelch her scream. She looked up at Aleksey and instead of seeing the smug, told-you-so expression that she was dreading, she saw admiration and love, and for a brief moment, tears; they dried up almost immediately as if by demand, but the look of admiration and love remained.

“A son.” He brought her hand to his mouth and smothered it with a kiss.

Alicia tried to keep her eyes glued to the monitor, but she couldn’t help but take a few quick glances at the loving couple. “Everything looks great. I’ll send the blood samples to the lab so that they can run a few tests, and after that I’ll see you in a couple of weeks with the results.”

She handed Angel a towel for her stomach and began packing her belongings.

“Thank you so much, doctor. We really appreciate you taking time away from your practice to see me.”

“It was my pleasure.” She pressed a few buttons on the machine, and stood back. “I made two sets of pictures, one for each of you.”

They fawned over the pictures in silence. One was of their baby sucking his thumb. Another was of him yawning and stretching. The last was of him laying his head on one of his little balled up fists. Pride swelled up from Aleksey’s core as he held the proof of his son’s existence. He realized then that Angel was right; it didn’t matter what gender the baby was, he just wanted a healthy baby.

Angel studied the pictures thoroughly. “This is amazing. You can see everything, even little hairs all over his body. I didn’t know ultrasound machines could do that.”

Alicia grabbed her bag and smiled. “Well, they can when they are the latest in technology. A 4-D machine? Very impressive, Mr. Moroskov.”

Nothing but the best for my Angel, and our son.” He tried not to choke off the emotion of his words.

“Well, in a couple of weeks I should have the results back from your tests, and we can take another look at your little one.”

“That sounds good, doctor.” Angel never took her eyes off the pictures.

“No problem. You can both fill out the medical history forms, and either have them dropped off at my clinic or my home… since, I know you know where I live.” Her smile was for Aleksey.

He chuckled and nodded. “Allow me to walk you out.” He turned and kissed the top of Angel’s head. She was still lost in the pictures.

“Uh, Dr. Kuznetsov, about your clinic... I will pay you $100,000 a month to close it while you care for Angel.”

“I’m sorry.” She plugged and unplugged both ears with her fingers. “You said what?”

“$100,000 a month. I know that your clinic only receives about half of that, but for your time, I will double it.”

“I… I don’t know what to say.”

“Think of the improvements you can make when you return back to work with all of the extra money you will have received.”

“It’s a very generous offer, but I have to discuss it with my husband.”

“Was he not recently laid off from his teaching position?”

“How did you…”

“I checked.”

“Ah, did you know about his connection to your mother?”

“No. My report only covered the time from when he was a teenager to now.”

She nodded. “Well, as I said, I have to talk to my husband first.”

“Also, if he is eager to teach, my daughter Destiny could use a tutor; the one she has is… not so good.”

“Wow! You’re just full of offers.”

Offers that will not last.”

“I will--”

“Speak to your husband?”

She snickered and answered, “Yes, and I will let you know by tomorrow.”

“Good.” He extended his hand, and she did the same. “Thank you for looking out for Angel and our baby.”

“It was my pleasure. Talk to you soon.”

“Uh, Doctor?”

She turned around with a smile. “Yes?”

“Angel, she is fine, right?”

“Yes, completely healthy as far as I can tell without the results from the lab.”

“So, we can…” He was unsure of how to word it without offending her.

“Have sex?”

“Yes.”

“Yes. She can do anything that she would normally do outside of heavy lifting. Should she feel any cramping or discomfort, you should take it easy on her for a few days, if you get my drift.”

He bowed his head. “Gently.”

“Well, it doesn’t have to be gentle; just don’t overexert her too much. Give her small breaks in between… sessions. If I may make a personal suggestion?”

“Please.”

“Enjoy your ability to implement various positions now before she gets too round to accommodate.”

He nodded again, and added a smile. “Thank you for your advice.”

“Not a problem. You’ll be hearing from me by tomorrow, and seeing me in two weeks. Zabot'tes' g. Moroskov.” (Take care Mr. Moroskov.”)

“Aleksey.”

“Aleksey.”

He had a really good feeling about her, which surprised him considering all that they had been through recently.

When he returned to the room, he found Angel fully dressed, and still staring at the pictures of their baby.

“We did good, yes?”

“We did great. Can you believe that in twenty-two more weeks we’re gonna have a little baby?”

“I can hardly believe.” He pulled out his set of pictures. “He is handsome.”

“Like you?”

“Well, certainly not like you.”

She smacked his chest and scooted over, giving him room to join her on the table. “I love you, Aleksey.”

“Marry me, Angel.”

End Notes:

Thanks for the feedback. =)

7 Days... by Leoslove

Marriage… Angel had only a few up close examples throughout her life. Her Aunt Miranda and Uncle Peter, who have been married for thirty-four years (she still keeps count). Her Grandparents, who had been married for fifty-seven years before cancer took one, and soon after, the other. And, her parents, who had been husband and wife in name only for twenty-seven miserable years. The examples, for all they were worth had been set before her at an early age.

Listening to her parents argue night after night placed a deep-rooted fear in her that at times turned her away from the idea of ever getting married. It was only when she was around the real love of her Aunt, Uncle, and Grandparents did she open herself up to the possibility of one day finding her Prince.

He stood 6’3, dark hair, light eyes, and Russian-- hardly resembling anything that she had ever dared to imagine. He had the 6’3 down easily, and maybe even the dark hair, but Russian? She never saw that coming.  But, there he was before her, asking for her hand in marriage; to spend the rest of their lives together… So, what’s stopping her from jumping down off that table and into his arms? Two words, her past.

Everyone has one, but hers unfortunately had been keeping her in a choke hold ever since her mother told her that ‘at best, she would be some rich man’s whore’. She sat on that cold table and wondered, ‘What would Mommy Dearest think of me now?’

Her life didn’t turn out the way she thought it would; whose does? Unmarried, two kids, living off a very wealthy man. Nope. That’s not how she pictured her life at all.

Being a cop was probably the only thing she had ever done that made at least her mother proud. Angel came from a long line of cops; her paternal grandfather, his father before him, as well as his father before him. It was her own father who broke the chain that she restored. He resented the close bond that had resulted between Angel and her grandfather through their commonality, and he took it out on her every chance he got.

As if it was her fault that he failed basic training six times (she broke the previous record on the first try). As if it was her fault that he chose to spend his life with a woman whom he had only married because she became pregnant, and as if it was her fault that he stuck around and created another one.

In less than a year, seven months to be exact, her unexpected Prince had shown her what love is supposed to look like. Despite all the danger, all the possessiveness, and all of her hidden fears, he showered her with a love that rivaled even the best examples she had received.

‘He wants to marry me?’ She sat on that table asking herself that question over and over. Still, he sat patiently waiting for her answer. The various looks in his eyes were obvious: love, adoration, and the promise of a future, a good future, better than any she had ever had the courage to imagine for herself. He loved her better than any man ever could, or would. He was her only chance at true happiness, and as he sat there smiling at her, really smiling, she knew that she was his only chance as well.

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The past was tricky, and it was the one thing that Aleksey ran to and from simultaneously.

As a little boy, he decided that one day he would move to America and make a better life for his family. He was determined to get as far away from his father’s work as possible and live a clean life, free of danger, and free of sins for which he could never receive proper penance. His plans changed the day that he found his father’s lifeless body strung up in the middle of the city. That was the day he officially became a man.

He, at all of eight years old vowed to find the person responsible, and with a little help, he did. Out of respect for his grieving mother, very few people were willing to help him find a truth that they had already known. In fact, the only people who were willing to help him were the very people he wanted nothing to do with. Life is a funny thing. His father’s associates gladly supplied all the answers to his questions. All they asked for in return was his loyalty, his future, and eventually his soul.

Love… he hadn’t had any examples. There was no romantic love in his household. There was plenty of sex; that was made evident by the repeated grunts he would hear every night through the paper thin walls. He was repeatedly ridiculed by his superiors for his grand belief in the word, the idea, and the reality. He knew it existed, it had to, and he had grown determined to find it, someday.

He lost his virginity at the age of ten; a birthday present from his father’s former cohorts. The girl was sixteen. He didn’t have a clue as to what he was doing, but he was a fast learner, and she was great teacher.

By the time he reached her age, he was considered an expert. He had more women throwing themselves at him than he had time to bed. By the time he was eighteen, love had become little more than a notion -- a factor that was no longer necessary, or even desired.

As the years went on, sex lost its fascination, and the wondrousness of true love had returned. Business, particularly his business and love didn’t mesh well, it never had. Fidelity was never required, nor was it expected. It sickened him how blatant some of the men had been in front of their wives. It also sickened him how easily those wives had accepted the disrespect. He was determined to find a woman who would demand more from him, and more from love.

Angelhis Angel came seemingly out of nowhere and stole his heart. She wasn’t an easy woman. She was unlike any woman that he had ever met. She entered his world, and turned it upside down. She challenged his every word and decision, yet at the same time accepted him, and all of his preset ways, even when she didn’t understand them. She loved him just as much as he loved her, and she was everything he had ever dreamed of, in a much better package.

He loved everything about her, including her desire for independence. The women before her wanted nothing more than to be kept, and although it was never fine with him, it was all that he was willing to give. Very few women questioned how he acquired his wealth, and none of them would have ever been able to accept what and who he was, all accept Angel.

She demanded more of him than anyone had ever dared. She wanted all of him; needed it, and he gladly gave it freely. Against all logic and reason, he shared things with her that he wouldn’t have dreamed of sharing with anyone else. Trust. He always knew that she was worthy of his trust, his loyalty, and even what was left of his heart. In return, she gave him all of those things back, and much more.

Her love alone gave him a family, and a future. The only thing it could not provide was redemption. Redemption for unatoneable sins, sins that she would never know about from a past that he would never return to.

He was almost certain that if they had met any other way, she wouldn’t have given him the time of day, but fate had spoken in its usual loud and boisterous way. She was a gift from God Himself, and he would never let her go.

Back to reality. “Will I receive my answer sometime soon?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Did you hear my proposal?”

“Yes.”

“And?” He crossed his legs at the knee, and smiled. Smiles. They had become less rare since she entered his life.

“Tell me why.”

Let the games begin.  “Tell you why what?”

“Why do you want to marry me? Is it because I’m pregnant? Or, because I said it’s what I want? ”

“Neither. I am not an impulsive man by nature -- you know this, and I would never belittle something as beautiful and sacred as marriage, not even to appease you. I ask this of you because it is what I want, for us to be together forever,” he uncrossed his legs and sat up straight. “And, there is no other way.”

Her lips quirked at the sudden familiarity of his tone and insistence. “There’s my Aleksey -- as possessive as ever.”

“This is not about possessiveness. I just know what I want. Now, the question is, do you?”

Ignoring the strong desire to dispense a retort full of her usual attitude, she instead scooted closer to the edge of the table and placed both of her bare feet on his lap. She answered his question with a mischievous grin.

“Tell me what it is that you want, Angel.” Before she could answer, he picked up one of her delicate feet in his hands, and intentionally overlooked the rising of her dress.

Much to her delight, he began caressing her tender sole, and applying a gentle pressure that raised more than just her clothing. She had never been into the whole foot fetish thing, but there was something about Aleksey’s touch that set her soul on fire. She wiped the sweat from her brow, while using her other hand to support herself as she leaned back on the exam table.

Each unsuppressed groan from her needy mouth produced an inch of growth from him. Unable to continue without some sort of relief of his own, he kissed the arch of both feet, and gently brushed them away. “Tell me what you want, Angel.”

She opened her eyes, and sat up. Her heart beat matched the pulsation between her firmly sealed legs. As hard as she tried, she could not ignore the affect he had on her – the affect that he always had on her. But, back to the matter at hand.

“You know what I want, Aleksey.”

“Say the words.”

Damn him, and his demanding ways. Her legs involuntarily parted, revealing her lack of panties. “I want to marry you.”

He glanced down at her bare lips, and then up to the other set. “So, then your answer is yes?”

“My answer is yes, as long as you’re not asking me to marry you out of some archaic obligation to me, or our baby.”

He responded after discharging a deep rooted sigh. “Angel, the life that I chose long before we met has taken a lot from me, but in return, it gave me you, it gave me Destiny, and it is giving me the child that you are carrying. Marriage is a seal, a seal of my love for you and all that is to come. So, I ask again,” he reached into his shirt pocket and simultaneously got down on one knee, “will you marry me?”

“What are you doing?” She peered down at him completely astonished by the turn of events. In a matter of days, she went from being held captive by a psycho, to being truly captivated by the love of her life. “Whoa! You bought me a ring?!”

“Of course. I am a successful business man, Angel.” He was amused by her level of surprise.

“What does your business success have to do with this?”

“I am successful because I am always prepared.”

She sat back and assessed the situation. Power. She, if only for a few moments decided to savor her new found position. “One knee and everything, huh?”

He returned her smirk. “You are enjoying this, aren’t you?”

“A little.” She pointed a bare foot in his direction before placing it on top of his bent knee. Her head flew back as she pretended to contemplate accepting his proposal, and the flawless 7.5 ct. Assher Cut diamond engagement ring.

He impatiently sought mercy from his overly elated lover. “Angel, this floor is hard. Will you please hurry and say yes?”

Hurry? You want me to hurry?” She wagged a finger toward him as if disappointed by the suggestion. “A girl can’t just rush into something like this.” She began sliding down off the table. “It’s a really big decision. I-- Ah!” He could only think of one way to speed things up, and that was to bring her down to his level, literally.

She straddled his knee, and wrapped her arms around his neck for added support. They stared into each other’s eyes and shared a quiet moment -- that is until he broke the spell with a kiss. She pulled back, and wiggled her way further up his thigh, grinding herself against him in the process. “Aleksey, I know that this is the first time that anyone has ever proposed to me, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t how it goes.”

“Who says that only one of us has to be down here?”

“It’s tradition.”

“Tradition? Baby, we are not a traditional couple; we never were.”

“Well, we can start now.”

“I promise I will work on being more traditional, if you please say yes, and say it quickly. You are not as light as you used to be.”

Not even his truth laden insult could hinder her laughter. She smacked his chest a couple of times before pulling herself up into a standing position. “Well, how in the hell can I resist saying yes after hearing something like that?!”

He reached way back into his younger days, and pulled out the saddest pair of puppy dog eyes that she had ever seen. His adorableness was overwhelming, especially when he threw in a full-lipped pout.

All she could do at that point was laugh, and shake her head at his antics.  “Damn you for being so cute!” She smacked her hands against her thighs. “Now, what am I supposed to do?”

“Say yes. You are supposed to say yes.” Even as numbness replaced the sharp pain he felt in his knee, he stayed in his place, and refused to move until he received the answer he desired. Deciding to try a different approach, he freed himself of his serious nature, and instead liberated his playful side. “Say it, Angel… You know you want to.” His eyes twinkled as he all but sang the words.

She replied with a smirk.

“Is this a test?”

“Maaay-be.” He extended his arm, and swiped at her legs. She jumped out of the way just in time. “Okay. Okay... Yes.”

“Yes what?”

“Yes, I’ll marry you.” She took a step forward, and allowed him to finally place the ring on her finger. She couldn’t help but admire the way it glowed even in the daylight. “It’s beautiful.” She looked beyond the ring to see him still kneeling down before her. “Aleksey, you can get up now.”

“Actually, I cannot. It appears that I am stuck.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. It seems that you made me wait so long that the floor and I have become one.”

“Aw, poor baby.” When she reached out to help him up, he grabbed her hands, and pulled her down until her body covered his.

“You set me up!”

“Yes, it appears that I did, and this is only one of the ways that I will exact my revenge.”

“Revenge? Aleksey, it was a joke.”

“And, we both know how well your jokes go over with me.”

“And, we both know that since I’m pregnant, there isn’t a whole lot that you can do to me.” She was a little premature in her assumption.

“That is where you are wrong, my love. I can think of at least a dozen ways just off the top of my head.”

“Do they involve sex?” Her eyes grew hopeful.

“You wish.” He lifted her up in his arms before standing them both up.

She happily leaned back into his embrace, and wrapped an arm around shoulders.  A glare replaced the look of love in her eyes as she remembered one of his previous statements. “I thought I was too heavy.”

“No. No. You’re not too heavy.”

“Aleksey!”

“I am only kidding. You are very light. Like a feather.”

“Thank you.”

“Under a hippo.”

She smacked him all the way to the kitchen.

He gently placed her down when they entered her second favorite room in the house. Standing back against the wall, he watched as she quietly relaxed into all of the familiarity that the room had to offer. She beamed as her eyes landed on one familiarity in particular. “Natalia!”

Natalia looked up from her chores, and flew across the kitchen to embrace her best, and only friend. “Oh, so good to see you!”

“Careful.” Aleksey could not stop his eyes from glaring, but he did manage to control his tone. Angel was proud.

“It’s okay, Aleksey.” She pulled Natalia into a long awaited hug. “How are you? How have you been?”

“Me? I am fine. I am not the one who was ki-” She stopped when Angel squeezed her just a little too tight.

She covertly placed her mouth next to Natalia’s ear and whispered, “Des, doesn’t know.” Natalia nodded in understanding.

Aleksey took a seat next to Destiny at the island, and skimmed through his morning paper. “Isn’t it time for you to start preparing for your park day with Melanie and Val?”

Destiny looked up from her designated section of the paper, the funnies. “Yes, but I want to stay here with Mommy.”

Angel scanned the inside of the fridge before closing it with a disappointed huff. “A park day? That sounds like fun, Des. Don’t you want to go?”

“Yes, Mommy, but--”

“No, buts. Go have fun, and come back and tell me all about it.”

“You’ll be here when I get back?”

“Of course.”

“Promise?”

“Yes, baby girl. In fact, I promise that I will never leave without telling you again. Actually, I don’t think I’ll be leaving again until… my honeymoon.”

Destiny put her paper down, and attempted to raise a brow. “Honeymoon?! But, that’s for married people, and you and Aleksey aren’t--” Angel silently held up her left hand. “Is that a marriage ring?”

“No quite. It’s an engagement ring; kind of like a promise to get married.”

“Yay!” Destiny ran from adult to adult doling out congratulatory hugs and kisses before heading off to her room to get ready.

Natalia quickly placed her hand on her cheek, and blushed. “But, I am not getting married Ms. Destiny.”

She stopped in her tracks, and turned around with a huge grin. “Not yet, but soon. Gotta go!”

Angel gave Natalia a look that was riddled with teasing and suspicion. “What exactly did I miss while I was away?” Natalia’s blush intensified as she headed back over to the unpolished silverware without saying another word.

Angel inattentively attempted to do something that she had done every other morning, and that’s take her future husband’s coffee as her own.

Without so much as an upward glance, he growled, and smacked her hand away softly. “No coffee. No caffeine. It is not good for the baby.” When he leaned over the counter to offer a kiss in exchange, she shook her head slowly, and backed away.

“You have caffeine on your lips.” He quickly wiped them clean, and tried again. In blatant defiance, she shook her head again. “If I have to give up caffeine, so.do.you… that is if you want to kiss me.” Her mouth bore a very dangerous and irresistible smile.

He put the mug down, and slid it away. “It is a small sacrifice for the honor of kissing you.” While looping his fingers into the frail straps of her dress, he in a quick but gentle motion pulled her forward. As they kissed, Natalia looked back and beamed brightly at the couple.

“As it should be. As it should be,” she muttered as she skirted around the kitchen placing the silverware in its proper place.

Angel pulled back from Aleksey, and did a double take. “You’re in a good mood, Nat.”

“Yes. I am.”

“Did you find a… replacement?” She raised her brows, and winked.

“No. No. Nothing like that.” Her blush returned. “I spoke to my daughter, and she is excited about coming here.”

“To America?” Aleksey chimed in, and went back to reading his paper.

“Yes. She will be here in a few days. I have her room prepared.”

Aleksey absentmindedly reached for his mug as something in the paper held his attention. When he came up empty, he looked up just in time to witness Angel sashaying over to the sink, and pouring his coffee out. It was then that Natalia’s words finally hit him. “Her room where?”

Angel suddenly wished that she had not poured out his coffee so soon. “Baby, I meant to talk to you about that the day I… went away.” She closed her eyes to the apparent guilt that gripped his heart. 

“You are okay with Natalia’s daughter moving in here?”

“Yes, Sweetheart. They need to be together. She misses Natalia every bit as much as Natalia misses her.” He watched the wheels of her mind turn as she walked around the counter, and stopped directly behind him. Using a firm grip on his shoulders, she hoped to not only knead the tension of his guilt away, but also soften him up a bit.

“Angel, you are the Lady of this house. I will abide by your decision.” She released his shoulders only to be pulled back into position. “Under a few conditions.”

Natalia stood unswervingly, with her hands folded tightly in front of her. “Of course, Sir. Anything.”

“She will undergo a background check, as I do not know her. She will help you around the house; only family stays here for free.”

“But, Natalia is fam--”

He held up a hand, demanding silence before going any further. “She will not have guests over, and she will spend her nights here. You must keep a tight rein on her. I will not have her actions in Russia following her here. I cannot afford the attention. Can she abide?” His eyes were tight.

“Yes, Sir. I will see to it.”

“Alright, see that you do.”

Angel rewrapped her arms around his neck. “That’s it? She can move in here?”

He laced their fingers together, and pulled her around to his side. “If she abides by these rules, she can stay. If she cannot, she must leave. Simple?”

Angel nuzzled her soft lips against his neck. “Simple. We will keep her in check.”

Aleksey gently unpeeled himself from her arms, and swiveled around in his stool until they were face-to-face.  “There will be no, we. She is Natalia’s responsibility. You will take care of Destiny, this baby, and me.”

Destiny reentered the kitchen, and reclaimed her prior seat next to Aleksey. With widened eyes, she looked up and joined the conversation. “But, you’re not a child.”

“Ha!” Angel caught herself just a little too late. Destiny laughed. Aleksey glared.

After directing a menacing sound at Angel, he returned his attention back to Destiny. “You are right. I am not a child, but your mother and I take care of each other. I look out for--” His throat constricted painfully, rendering him incapable of completing his thoughts.

Although, his pain tore Angel's heart in two, she refused to allow him to continue wallowing any longer. “Des, Nat, I know that you both worked really hard to make breakfast, and we will enjoy it, I promise, but right now I need to speak to Aleksey, and it may take a while.” She scooped around Aleksey and headed straight for Destiny. “Have you eaten?”

Destiny wore the look of satisfaction. “Yes. I was the taster.” She rubbed her belly, and displayed her adorable toothless grin.

Angel kissed her forehead, and helped her down off the stool. “You may stay here, or you may go watch TV until Val and Melanie get here.” She laughed as Destiny jetted off for the sitting room. Angel then walked over to Natalia, throwing an arm over her shoulders. “Will you please bring the food up to our room in three or four hours? Uh, four hours?”

“Yes. Four hours.” She nodded, and began placing the food inside the warmer.

“You,” Angel pointed to Aleksey, “come with me.”

He nodded, but said nothing.

When they made it to their room, she shut the door with more force than necessary. Although her heart ached for him, it was clear that he was in need of some tough love. With her hands placed firmly on her hips, she asked the first question that popped into her head. “What the hell has gotten into you?”

He sat down on the bed, and stared at the floor. “What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. You, and this sullen attitude of yours. I thought I cleared everything up. What happened to me was.not.your.fault. I don’t know how many times and ways I can say it before you accept it as the truth that it is.”

“But, it is not the truth.”

She dropped down beside him. “Why isn’t it? Aleksey, you did nothing wrong. Before you even knew me, you saved me. Sometimes, I think about how easy it would have been for you to just drive off that day. You could have left me there to die, but you didn’t. Instead, you risked everything to bring me here. You made sure that I had the best possible care, and you even took care of Destiny when I couldn’t. You exposed a side of yourself to me against all reason. Your love for me is as relentlessness as your determination to keep me. To have me. To protect me. I am in love with you, Aleksey! Do you hear me?! For the first time in my life I am in love, and I’m not going to let you ruin it by dwelling on something that can’t change. We are expecting our first child together -- one of many to come might I add.” He looked up briefly. “This is a time that we should be rejoicing, but nooo, you would rather sit back and sulk every time you think about what happened. You would rather dwell on the fact that someone got to me when you weren’t here to protect me. Nevermind, the fact that I’m only here, I’m only safe because YOU saved me. If you want to dwell on something, dwell on that!”

“Why are you pretending that I am some sort of savior? I am a killer.”

For some unexplainable reason, the bluntness of his words stunned her momentarily. After deeply sighing within herself, she cradled his hardened face in her hands. She mirrored his expression, and forced him to look at her, refusing to speak until he did. “We are both killers, Aleksey. Do you think that man was my first? My second? I have killed more people without a badge than I ever had with one.” When he made a motion to interject, she placed a single digit across his lips. “I may not have killed as many people as you have, but the instinct is there, and I have come to accept that it will never go away.” She laughed softly at the questioning look in his eyes. “Make no mistake, my name has never been an accurate depiction of who I am, but yours is. Defender… With all my heart, I trust that you will defend me, Destiny, and our unborn child for the rest of our lives. I trust that, Aleksey. I trust you.”

“Even now? After everything? Even now?” He tried to look away, afraid of her real answer, not believing that he had already received it.

Especially, now. You have already proven that you would move Heaven and Earth for us, for our safety, for our happiness. I trust you, and I can’t for the life of me understand why you won’t trust yourself. You weren’t here. That lunatic waited until you were out of the freaking country because he knew that he couldn’t touch me while you were here.” She released her hold, and allowed him to look away. She continued, even as her tears threatened to strangle her words. In a voice no higher than a whisper, she made one last attempt to reach him. “I need you to be present, and in order for that to happen your mind and your heart have to be free of this guilt that you’ve placed on yourself. I need you to be free.” She positioned herself directly in front of him. She was so close that she could feel his every exhalation on her already trembling lips. She sat still with purpose. The next move would be his. The seconds they spent in each others space felt more like an eternity, but she knew that her wait would not be in vain.

She shuddered in elation when he finally allowed his hunger to take preeminence over his misplaced guilt. The manner in which he crushed his mouth against hers was archaic, raw, and exactly what she needed.

He closely followed her movements as she led him toward the head of the bed, removing her clothes in the process.

Finally free of all barriers, she laid back in the center of the bed fully ready for him to once again become the man she fell in love with -- strong, confident, and uncaged.

She murmured one word against his lips before completely surrendering herself to him. One truth-filled word. “Yours.”

He unknowingly took ownership of her entire existence the moment they shared their first kiss. Her body, her heart, and even her soul belonged to him, and always would. In return, he willingly surrendered all that he was, and all that he would ever be for her to love or destroy; the power was hers.

Her legs, as if with a will of their own wrapped tightly around his waist as he connected their bodies, making them one.

His desire to continue placing strategic markings along the crook of her neck halted the instant he was confronted with a sudden awareness that something was completely different. “Angel, are you alright?” He snapped up, and explored her eyes for the truth.

“Yes. Why?” She continued panting, and grinding against him as she lay underneath his hard frame.

“It is not the same.” His hips stilled.

“Oh, that? It comes with the pregnancy. Everything is changing.” She placed his hands on her breasts.”

His head jolted back, as he squeezed them in disbelief. “Bigger. How?”

“It’s the pregnancy.” She offered a quick kiss before once again allowing her inner walls to take advantage of his distracted state.

He slowly went from examining her breasts to playing with them. She laid back and moaned softly as he pinched and pulled on her swollen tips. She gripped the back of his head, and forced his mouth to cover one and then the other. His tongue whipped back and forth with an urgency that she hadn’t realized she desperately needed.

She licked her lips with a smile. “You are a man of many talents, Mr. Moroskov.”

He released her left nipple with a pop. “Thank you, Mrs. Moroskov.”

“Aleksey--”

“Does your answer stand?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?” He began sliding in and out of her, using long undulating strokes.

“Yes. Yes. Yes! Yes! Yes! Fuck, yes!”

He placed his mouth at the center of her ear. The heat forced the launch of her first orgasm. He waited until her body stopped shaking to make an inquiry. “Angel, is that a yes to the proposal, or to the fucking?” When she didn’t answer, he stopped moving. “Angel?” He tilted his head back so that he could look into her eyes.

She stared at the ceiling with an unusual expression on her face.  “You.just.found.my.g-spot.” Each word was released slowly, and with precision.

He resumed stroking her body from the inside out, until she shuddered harder against him than she had ever done before. He got worried, so he stopped, again.

“Are you okay, Angel? Did I hurt you?”

“I’m… fine. This pregnancy… is awesome.” She fell back into a puddle of ecstasy.

“Are you sure that you are okay?”

“I’m better than okay. That was awesome. Thank you.” She patted his arm, and pushed at his shoulder. He rolled over onto his back, freeing her, unsure as to what was happening.

“That’s… it?”

“Yea. That was good, baby, really good.”

“But, I -- I did not… What about…” She headed to the bathroom and closed the door.

“I’m gonna take a shower! I’ll be out in a bit!”

He sat up on his elbows, and looked down at what he thought was her favorite appendage of his. “That’s it?

She slowly counted to ten before running out of the bathroom, and jumping on top of him.

“Did you really think that I was going to let all of this go to waste?” She reached back, and with one hand stroked him until his eyes closed.

“I thought with the pregnancy changes you were not going to… ahhhhhh.” Everything filtered itself out. Nothing else mattered. “I need you, baby. I need… I  need...”

She scooted back until she was positioned directly above his tip. “Take what you need, Aleksey.” His eyes slipped open. “Take it.”

With a devilish grin, he slammed his hips against hers until he had completely disappeared. He was in awe of the recent nuances of her inner walls, and how the finely developed ridges welcomed and massaged him with each stroke.

She positioned her hands on his shoulders, and held on as he placed his hands around her waist, and fucked her without leniency.

The once soft whimpers that escaped her slightly parted lips turned into pillow-biting screams. He continued to pound into her pussy like it would be their last time.

Following the advice of Dr. Kuznetsov, he forced himself to take small breaks. Breaks when he would just hold her. Breaks when he would deliver small circular strokes inside her body. Breaks that would make her latch on to him with the promise of never letting go. Many intimate breaks.

He rolled them over until he was on top. After gazing into her eyes, he thoroughly kissed her lips, and both breasts, pausing to marvel at their newfound fullness. He slipped further down, and stopped when he reached her stomach. He followed the slight and spontaneous movements of his unborn child. Angel giggled when he began replacing each kick and roll with a soft kiss.

When the movements ceased, he gently continued his descent. He growled with satisfaction when her legs opened up like a blooming flower for him.

He tickled the smooth line to the opening of his paradise using only the very tip of his tongue. Her body trembled unrelentingly even when he delivered nothing more than a feathery flick. If he had not enjoyed working so hard for her pleasure, he would have been overjoyed by the new found sensitivity of her body. ‘Less work for me’, a lesser man might say.

He tenderly divided her second set of lips, and grinned greedily when he came face-to-face with the most exquisite pearl he had ever seen. She grabbed for the sheets as he kissed it like a long lost lover.

His lips smothered the precious little knob while his teeth gently grazed it from top to bottom. He delighted in the sensation of it swelling against his pert tongue. Sensing her need for release, he fastened his mouth around it and sucked until she screamed for him to stop.

She grabbed the back of his head, and pressed his lips against her throbbing core until she could no longer move. She was so far gone that it took him blowing on her swollen clit to remind her that she was still holding him hostage against her. She instantly removed her hands, and after delivering one last kiss to her center, he sat up and faced her.

As she laid on her side, he interpreted the combination of emotions in her eyes. There were tell tale signs of embarrassment, bashfulness, and even unrelenting lust. What he thankfully did not find was one ounce of regret; for that he was grateful.

After giving her a few more minutes to compose herself, he entered her once again. It was not his intention to wear her out completely, so he finished inside her with little fanfair.

“N-next time. I w-will take care of y-you. I p-promise.” He kissed the tip of her nose, and smiled sincerely as she shook through her final orgasm. She laid back, and closed her eyes. “I-I can’t believe how sensitive my… everything is. I sh-should probably call Dr. K. to find out how long it's gonna last.”

He pulled the sheet up to her neck. “Well, I should be hearing from her tomorrow, if you can wait that long.”

“Hear from her about what?” She kicked one leg out over the sheet, and placed it between her legs.

“I offered her a full-time position to work as only your doctor.”

“But, doesn’t she have her own practice, with her own patients?”

“Yes.” He pulled her closer until they were only inches away from each other.

“Then, why would she consider working for just us?”

He cleared his throat, and prepared for her response. “Well, I offered her 2.2 million reasons to do more than consider it. Plus, I offered her husband a job as Destiny’s new tutor. I fired the other one while… you know.”

“Hold up! 2.2 million dollars, Aleksey?! You offered her 2.2 million dollars? Dr. Oz isn’t worth 2.2 million dollars. Hell, I’m not wor-”

In less time than it took to blink, his eyes frosted over in a way that had only been directed at her once before. “Do not ever say that you are not worth it. Do you hear me?”

“Yes, Aleksey.” There was something about him that evoked an unequivocal compliance from her.

He captured her face in his hands, and pressed his lips against hers so hard that her own burned from the friction. Without warning, he abruptly pulled back, and stared into her tear-filled eyes. “Do you truly understand?”

“Yes.” Her voice was not her own.

“Good.” He dispensed one more kiss to her lips before standing up and scooping her into his arms.

Just like that, the mood changed, as did he. “Aleksey, what are you doing?”

“There will be no more showers for you -- only baths… and only when we are taking them together.”

“Yes, Aleksey.” She shook her head at herself.

He looked down at her with a slight frown. “What is wrong?”

She rolled her eyes, and laid her head against his shoulder. “Me, and my inability to say no to you. It’s not normal.”

“What is not normal about it?”

“I used to be so strong--”

“You mean difficult.”

Her lips twisted into a familiar smirk. “No, smart ass. I mean strong.”

He chortled, and rearranged her position in his arms.

“How is it that you make me surrender to you so easily? I don’t get it. You don’t scare me -- well, not really anyway, so what is it about you that makes me incapable of saying no? 

“I will tell you on our wedding night.”

“But, that could be weeks, months, hell even years from now.”

He sat her back down on the bed. “Actually, it will be in one week.”

“One week?” She waited for the punchline. “What will be in one week?”

“Our wedding. We will be married in exactly seven days from today.”

“But--” The sound of someone knocking on the door put a temporary end to their conversation.

Aleksey slipped on a pair of silk pajama bottoms, while Angel yanked the tangled sheet free enough to cover her nakedness. Sounding a little more brusque than he intended, he ordered Natalia to enter.

“I have brought your brunch, and I replaced your fruit. It was not so good after waiting for so long.” Aleksey placed the tray on top of Angel’s lap. 

As Natalia headed for the door, Angel called out to her.

“Yes, Ms. Angel?”

“Come sit.” They both looked at Aleksey who truly tried to hide his usual look of disapproval. After a short staring contest with Angel, he rolled his eyes, and nodded his consent.

Natalia quickly observed their lack of clothing, along with the disarrayment of the bed linens, and decided to stand.

“This man of mine thinks that we can pull off a wedding in seven… SEVEN days. Can you believe that?” She popped a melon ball into her mouth, and awaited an answer.

“Yes.”

“Yes?!” Angel choked briefly on a grape. “Is this a Russian thing?”

Natalia shook her head. “No. Not that I am aware of.” Beyond their relationship as employer/employee, they were friends, real friends who spoke nothing but their own truths. “I believe that you can have a beautiful wedding in seven days, or less.”

“Let’s not push it, Natalia.” She blinked profusely as Aleksey genuinely smiled at her for the first time that she could ever remember. He stepped forward, and spoke again. “Would you be willing to help?”

“Of course, Sir. I would do anything for Ms. Angel.”

Angel grabbed her hand. “And, I would do anything for you.”

“Well, then it is settled. In seven days, we will become husband and wife.”

“It’s settled? Just like that? I don’t get a say?”

“Yes, of course you get a say. You get to say, ‘yes’, in seven days. And, of course you get a say in regard to your wedding dress.”

“Oh! How kind of you to let me pick my own wedding dress.”

His glare and sigh commingled. “Guests.”

“What about them?”

“Would you like to invite anyone special?” Natalia slipped out of the room, virtually unseen.

“Like whom?”

“Your family, and friends.”

“No thanks.”

“But, surely there must be someone.”

“I haven’t spoken to them in years, and I don’t think they will be too interested in speaking to me now.”

“But, this is a big day; the biggest. Would you not like to share that with any of them?”

“I really don’t see the point. They’re just going to say no.”

“What about your parents? You have not mentioned them.”

“With good reason. They hate me. Always have, always will.”

Hate? That is a strong word.”

“But completely fitting. They never wanted me, and trust me, I grew up feeling that every day of my life.”

“Maybe, now things will have changed.”

“You’re not going to let this go, are you?”

“I will, if you want me to.”

“Do you really think that I should invite them?”

“I do not see how it would hurt… but, then again, I cannot understand how a parent can hate their own child, or any child.”

“Then, you definitely don’t know anything about my family.”

“If you do not wish to call them--”

“Fine, I’ll do it.”

“If you wish.” He didn't bother to hide his victorious smile.

“Maybe, finding out that they have one grandchild, and another one on the way will finally make them see that I’m not a total waste of space.”

“They said that?”

“Yea.” She grabbed an old telephone book out of her nightstand. “Coming from them, that was damn near a compliment.”

“What else have they said to you?” She could hear the tightening in his voice.

“Aleksey, don’t start.”

“Start what?”

“You know what? How about I make this call by myself?”

“You do not want my moral support?”

“Of course I do, just... give it to me from somewhere else.”

“Fine, but if they say one thing out of line--”

“I’m a big girl; I can handle it.”

He snatched a couple of strawberries from the tray. “I’ll be in the study if you need me.”

“Okay.” He made it to the door just as she called his name.

“Yes?”

“Can you send Natalia in here?”

“You want her to be here but not me. I think I am offended.”

“Don’t be. It’s nothing personal.”

“Then why?”

“Why? Because, I know that Natalia won’t try to kill them if they hurt me.”

“Are you suggesting that I would…” Her cocked brow sufficed. “Fine, but I want details.”

“And, I will give them to you, later.”

He growled, grabbed a hand full of grapes, and headed for the kitchen.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

5 minutes later…

“Marat! I have been looking for you.”

“What is it, Boss? Do you need me to do something?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. Angel and I are getting married.”

“Congratulations. What is it that you need?”

“You do not seem surprised.”

“I'm not. We all saw this coming.”

“Who is this we?”

“The staff. There is even a bet on when the nuptials will take place.”

“How much did you wager?”

Me? I would nev-- A couple hundred.” Aleksey smirked, and rolled his eyes. “Did Ms. Angel teach you how to do that?”

“Teach me how to do what?”

“How to roll up your eyes.”

He scoffed, and looked away. “I do no such thing.”

“You just did it… You’re doing it now.”

He looked up, and tapped his chin. “I am having a vision; tell me what you think. You and Destiny sharing the duties of flower girl. I think you would look good in pink, and ruffles -- lots of ruffles.”

Marat cleared his throat, and paled at the thought. “You were saying, Boss?”

“I see you do not approve. Well, maybe what I originally had in mind for you will be more to your liking.”

“What is it, Boss? Ring bearer?”

“Ah, you are full of jokes today. Well, if you prefer that to being my best man I am sure that I can make other arrangements.” Aleksey sat down in Marat's chair, and looked at him with expectancy. “If you are waiting for me to get down on one knee--”

“No. No!” He shook himself free from the initial shock. “I am just surprised that you would ask me.”

“Why? Are you not my best man? Have you not been my best man since we were little boys?”

Marat bowed his head, and as a sign of loyalty, placed a fist over his heart. “I am honored, my friend. Truly honored.”

“Good.”

Marat’s sly nature quickly returned. “Since I am best man, does that mean that I get to plan your bachelor party?”

“It is tradition, and my lady does seem to have a fondness for the traditional.”

Marat slapped his hands together. “I can definitely pull off the best bachelor party this side of Russia in a few months.”

“Well, what can you do in six days?”

“I'm sorry. Did you say six days?”

“Yes. The wedding is in seven.”

“Seven days?! You are getting married in seven days?!”

“Yes. Is that a problem?”

“No... I’m sure I can pull something together… Six days, huh?”

“Yes, six, and I am only doing this once, so make it good.”

“Of course. Will you be inviting your family?”

“Yes, as is Angel.”

Marat ran his long hands down the sides of his face. “That will be... interesting.”

“Very, but it will work.”

“Do they know about Angel?”

“No. I do not discuss my personal life.”

“Then, it will be very interesting, indeed.”

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“Thank you for staying with me, Nat. I don’t know why I’m so nervous. I can always just hang up.”

“That is true.”

Angel stared at the front cover of her tattered phonebook. “I haven’t looked inside this thing in years.” She closed her eyes, and peeled it open slowly. “I don’t really even need it. I still remember most of these numbers.”

Natalia sat down on the very edge of the bed next to Angel. “Who are you going to call first?”

“My parents. I guess that’s the right way to do it.” She picked up the phone, and put it back down. “I can’t do this.”

“Yes, you can. I am right here. Make your call.”

Angel gathered some much needed strength from Natalia, and let her fingers take over. The sound of the first ring nearly gave her a heart attack. The second ring wasn’t much better. She relaxed a little into the third and fourth rings, figuring that the voicemail was going to kick in soon.

“Hello.”

She squeezed Natalia’s hand, and responded. “Hi, Mom.”

There was a long pause. “Angel? Is that you?”

“Yea, mom. It’s me.”

“Oh my god! Where have you been? We didn’t know if you were dead or alive. You just disappeared. How could you do that to your father and I? Do you know what that did to us? Of course not. Wait until you have children of your own and they pull a stunt like this. Oh, you’ll regr--”

“Actually, Mom I already have a child, and another one on the way.”

“What?! What did you just say young lady?”

“I have one child, and another on the way.”

“I don’t believe this. Douglas, guess who finally decided to let us know that she’s alive!”

“Mom, please stop being so dramatic.”

“Not only is she alive, but she has one child, and another on the way… Your father wants to speak to you.”

‘Oh god!’

“Angel? Is it really you?”

She made sure that her smile was so bright that it could be heard through the phone. “Yes, Daddy. It’s me. How are you?”

“Now, that I know my wayward daughter is still amongst the living, I’m much better. Where have you been?”

“Daddy, can we discuss that another time? The reason I called is so that I could share some great news with you and--.”

“What is this I hear about you having two children? What’s going on with you? You quit being a cop without consulting me or your mother. You disappear for eight years, and now you pop up with not one, but two babies. Explain yourself.”

“Daddy, if you would just let me do what I called to do, I promise I will explain everything when you get here.”

Here? Where is here? Are you in some kind of trouble? That’s what it is isn’t it? You need something, so you come calling on your mother and I. Well, we can’t help you. Business is slow, and I’m just not in the best of health.”

“Daddy, I wasn’t calling you because I needed anything, and what’s going on with your health?”

“Nothing I can’t handle. If you aren’t calling because you need something, then why did you call?”

Angel looked up and saw Aleksey smiling at her from the doorway. “Daddy, I just wanted to… It doesn’t matter. Obviously, I called at a bad time. Just forget that I did. I won’t bother you or mommy again. Goodbye.”

She hung up just as the tears began to flow. “I knew this was a bad idea. Forget the whole thing. We don’t have to get married, Aleksey. Things are fine just the way they are.”

Aleksey charged over to the bed, and motioned for Natalia to move. She quickly removed her hand from Angel’s death grip, and exited the room quietly, closing the door behind her.

“Baby, I am sorry. I did not mean for you to be distressed. I thought that it would be good for you to see some of your family -- to have them here for our wedding.”

“I thought that things might have been different after all these years, but they still don’t… I wish I never called them.” She fell back against her pillow and held her knees against her chest. When he placed his hand on her shoulder, she flinched away from it.

He fought his way through a sea of conflicting emotions. More than anything in life, he hated seeing her in any kind of pain, and unfortunately there was only one way he knew how to deal with it.

She wasn't ready to let him help her, and he couldn’t stand to hear her cry. Each tear that she shed only fueled his building anger -- anger towards the two people who dared to hurt his Angel. After slipping out of the room, he searched the entire house for Marat. He finally found him in the kitchen fraternizing with Natalia.

There was a fire in his eyes that radiated throughout his entire being. “Boss, what's wrong?”

Bypassing Marat, he went straight to Natalia. “Has Angel ever mentioned her parents to you, more specifically where they live?”

“Yes, Sir. She gave me their names and addresses in the cause that something should happen to her.”

“Bring me that information now, and do not say a word to Angel.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Marat stood at a safe distance. “Is everything okay?”

“Everything is fine. I would just like to have a word with my future in-laws… face-to-face.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“Are you suggesting that it is not?”

“I-- I do not know.” He watched the determined look on Aleksey’s face as he snatched the paper from Natalia’s hands. “When do we leave?”

“Not this time my friend. I am doing this alone.”

“No! You cannot.”

“I am sorry. Did you just give me orders?” A dark cloud began brewing inside him.

“Please, forgive me. That was not my intention. I just think that it would be safer for everyone if you had someone there to have your back… to calm you down. Someone you can trust. Me.”

“I appreciate the offer, but I think I can manage this on my own.”

Marat sighed, but decided it was best to let it go.

“I will be leaving in a few hours. In the meantime, work on my bachelor party.” He watched a gleam sprout back in Marat’s eyes. “I thought that would cheer you up. I will be fine, as I always am.” He readjusted the band on his watch, and barked out a couple of orders to Marat in the process. “Call the pilot, and tell him to prepare the plane.”

With an unmistakable look of determination, Angel emerged from the hallway. “What time do we leave?”

End Notes:

Meet me in the trap- it's goin' down.

Meet me in the mall- it's goin' down.

Meet me in the club- it's goin' down.

Any where ya meet me guaranteed to go down!

Thanks for the feedback. =)

 


I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me... by Leoslove

“What time do we leave?”

We? No, no. You are not leaving this house.”

Angel followed him out of the kitchen and back into the hall. “You’re going to Miami to see my parents, right?”

“Yes.” He kept his back to her as he continued heading toward his study.

“Then, I’m going with you.”

“No. You are not. You promised Destiny.”

“I promised Destiny that I wouldn’t leave without telling her.”

“And, you have not told her.”

“I will. Look, you don’t know what they’re like, and I’m not gonna let you face them alone.”

“Angel, they will hurt you, again.” Straightaway, his mind ambled back to how detached she became from him by just a simple phone call. How hurt she became. Her tears. Her willingness to almost call off their wedding. Angel stood still and watched his eyes fill up with unadulterated hatred for her parents; a hatred that she had known all too well.

“Aleksey, I’m a big girl, and I don’t need protection from them.”

“And, I do not need you to protect me. I am going alone, and it is final.”

She placed her hands on her hips, and pulled out a neck roll straight from the third grade. “Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?! I am not Destiny, and I'm not one of your little flunkies. You don’t order me around.” He shot her a blunt look that temporarily tamed her. “Fine, outside of the bedroom.” She lowered her voice, and placed her hands on top of his folded arms. “Aleksey, this is my battle, and although it’s sweet that you want to fight it for me, you can’t.”

He closed his eyes, and procured a cavernous breath. “Okay.”

“Okay?” She leaned her back against the wall, and waited in vain for the other shoe to drop.

“You want to deal with them by yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Then, I will allow it,” he elevated a brow at her reaction, “and do not roll up your eyes at me.”

“It’s roll, Aleksey. Just roll.”

“Bezotnositel'no.” She rolled her eyes again, and waited for him to translate. “Whatever. I just said whatever… I will be right there when you talk to them, and I promise you, if they go too far, I will--”

“What will the Big Bad Wolf do? Huh?”

Her grin vanished the moment he tilted his head slightly, and stalked toward her until their shadows became one. She looked up, and watched feverously as a darkened tinge besieged his otherwise transparent blue eyes, proof that he was trying to hold back his anger for her sake.

“My sweet Angel,” he took her face into his hands and brought her within lips reach, “I will huff, and I will puff, and I will make them regret the day that they were ever born.”

She stood on tipped toes, and pecked his lips with her own, before stepping to the side, forcing his hands to linger in the process. “My Aleksey.” The brightness of her smile almost instantaneously drove all traces of obscurity away from his beautiful orbs.

“As I will always be.” He smiled in kind, and silently beckoned for her to come closer.

She stepped forward under his unspoken command, and snuggled herself into the tenderness of his arms.

He kissed the top of her head, and barked, “Go pack.” When she gripped him tighter, he slipped his arms around her, and with both hands smacked her pantyless bottom.

Still refusing to leave the warmth of his arms just yet, she asked, “How long will we stay?”

“A day should suffice, unless you want to stay longer.”

“Actually, I do, and we should bring Destiny.” She leaned back, and noted a change in his expression. “I have a couple of people that I want her to meet.”

“Like whom?” His brows crinkled with concern, his first thought was her parents.

“My aunt and uncle. They are so awesome – amazing really, and I already know that you’re gonna love them.”

He attempted to conceal a feeling of trepidation. “But, will they love me?” He looked down, and waited for her reply.

Effortlessly sensing his uneasiness, she intuitively patted, then pressed a small kiss to his chiseled chest. “Aleksey, everybody who knows you loves you.” She perceptively looked up into his eyes again, and waited for the look of uncertainty to dissipate.

Quietly dismissing his qualms, and the untruth of her kind words, he lowered his head to meet hers. While staring lovingly into her exultant eyes, he gave her a smile full of sincerity. “All that really matters to me is that you love me.”

“I do, Aleksey, and I always will.” She looked away with a frown when she felt an overwhelming urge to cry. Chalking it up to nothing more than hormones, she grabbed his left arm, and glanced at his watch. “I better go pack.”

“Alright.”

“What about you?”

“I do not need much.”

“We’re talking about Miami. You’re gonna need more than you think.”

“Please, pack what you think I will need then.”

She turned around, and stopped. “We should bring Natalia.”

“What about her daughter?”

“She’ll be here in three days, and we can be back in two.”

His lips tensed for a brief moment. “Okay, ask her to join us.”

“I have a better idea. Why don’t you ask, while I pack?”

He frowned, and shook his head. “She is afraid of me.”

Angel was a little thrown by his declaration. “No, she’s not.”

“Yes, she is. Have you ever noticed how she jumps when I enter a room, but eases when she sees you?”

“That’s because you’re her boss, and I’m her friend.”

“You are her boss, too.”

“But, it’s different; like you and Marat,” she reminded him.

His frown deepened a bit. “Marat is not afraid of you.”

“No, but he doesn’t trust me either.”

“He does so.”

“He does not. Every time, I come into a room that he’s already in, he shuts down unless he’s with you. Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s pleasant, but definitely not sociable.”

He stretched his eyes open to keep them from tightening. “I will speak to him about this.”

She placed a hand on her hip, and took a step toward him. “You will do no such thing. I completely understand why he’s like that with me. I was a cop, and he’s… not, so it makes sense for him to feel some apprehension when he’s around me. I’ll earn his trust someday, but until then, I’m just glad that I have yours.” He shot her one of his sexy smiles, and her legs crossed tightly in response. “Stop looking at me like that.”

“Like what?” His eyes danced with amusement.

“You know like what. Cut it out. We don’t have time.”

“On the plane?”

She turned around, and headed for the stairs. “I’m gonna go pack. Go talk to Natalia.”

“On the plane?” He repeated. His voice laced with expectancy.

She stopped, and without so much as a backward glance, nodded her head slowly, and proceeded to sashay up the stairs.

His cock twitched with excitement, as he looked around the hall before adjusting himself, and heading to the kitchen to talk to Natalia.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“And, he’s a boy!”

“Who’s a boy?”

“Mommy!” Angel wrapped her arms around Destiny as Val and Melanie made their way inside the den behind her. “I was just telling them about the new baby.”

“Yea, I hear congratulations are in order, and of course welcome back.” Melanie extended her arms toward Angel, offering an embrace.

After Angel returned the gesture, she unwrapped Destiny’s arms from around her legs, and walked her over to the sofa. Once she sat down, she noticed that neither Val nor Melanie had moved from their spots. “Please, have a seat.” Once they made themselves comfortable, Angel opted to make small talk. “Destiny told me how you all kept her super busy while I was away. Thank you.”

“It was our pleasure.” Val finally spoke up, his voice was a little hoarse from their playtime at the park. “And, congrats on the baby... A boy? I’m sure Aleksey’s really happy.”

“I am.” Everyone turned toward the sound of Aleksey’s strong, deep voice. “Hello Val, Melanie.”

He sat down next to Destiny, and lifted his arm around her shoulder so that she could lay her head on his chest. He had come to think of himself as her second favorite pillow.

Val looked up, feeling more than a little uncomfortable. “So…” He strummed his fingers against the sides of his legs.

Aleksey looked around at nothing in particular, feeling equally uncomfortable. “So…”

Melanie shot up in her seat. “Oh, Destiny told us that you two are also getting married. Congrats again!”

“Thanks.” Angel nodded, and retreated back into silence. The room held an awkward vibe, even more awkward than their first meeting.

“So, have you picked a date, yet?” Melanie attempted to keep the conversation going.

“Actually, Aleksey has. Seven days from today.”

“Seven?” Her brows shot up. She casually turned to look at Val. “Seven days,” she repeated as if he weren’t sitting there listening.

Val’s curiosity got the better of him. “Why the rush?” His query came out sounding a little more brash than he intended.

Aleksey’s lips quirked as Destiny toyed with his dangling fingers. “There is no rush. I just do not see the point in putting off the inevitable. Angel and I will always be together, and getting married… well, that is just a formality.”

“A formality?” Val accepted the cold glass of water from Natalia, and nodded his thanks.

“Yes. A formality. Angel has been my wife in my heart for quite some time.”

“Well, I for one think it’s sweet.” Melanie gushed over the couple as they stared over Destiny’s head and into each other’s eyes.

Just as Natalia headed for the door, Angel called out for her.

“Yes, Ms. Angel?”

“We’re going to Miami for a couple of days, and I really want you to go.”

She placed the silver tray under her arm. “Miami? I have never been.”

“You’re gonna love it! I want you to meet some of my family, my other family. Oh, and we can go to my favorite spa… if it’s still there.”

“I would love to join you, but--”

“We’ll be back in plenty of time for your daughter’s arrival.” Angel raised her brows, hoping that her last statement would be enough to convince her.

“Then, yes. My answer is yes. Thank you for inviting me.” She nodded with a slight smile.

Destiny lifted Aleksey’s arm, so that she could see Angel. “Am I going?”

Angel’s heart melted as she looked down into Destiny’s big, sad, brown eyes. “You taught her well.” Aleksey smirked, Destiny smiled, and Angel didn’t miss a thing. “Of course you’re going.” Her eyes flitted between the two conspirators before her. “There are a few people that I want you to meet.”

Destiny leaned back against Aleksey as his fingers stretched out and tickled the side of her neck. “Who, Mommy?” He allowed her to trap his fingers under her chin before attacking her with his other hand.

“My favorite aunt and uncle for starters.”

She wiggled around in a fit of laughter until Aleksey gave her a reprieve. “I’ve never met any of our family before.” Angel struggled not to look up at Melanie and Val.

“Well, you soon will, but for now I need you to go into the kitchen with Natalia and grab something to eat. We’re leaving in three hours.”

“Okay, Mama. Bye Val. Bye Melanie.” She gave each of them a heartfelt hug and kiss before trotting off hand-in-hand with Natalia.

Melanie watched as Destiny skipped out of the room, full of joy. “You’ve really done a great job with her, Angel.”

“Thanks. She’s an easy child, as I’m sure you’ve come to know.”

“Yes, we have.

 The room fell back into an awkward silence. “So, what will you two do while we’re gone?”

Melanie glanced at Val. “I’m sure we’ll think of something.”

He placed her hand in his lap, and smoothly acquiesced. “Yes, we will. We’re going to miss Destiny though.” Melanie quietly agreed with a nod.

“Well, we won’t be gone long, but you can call her if you like.”

Melanie perked up a bit. “I would, we would. Thanks.”

“It’s not a problem… I know this situation isn’t easy for either of you, and it’s becoming less and less easy for me as well, but I don’t think it's the right time to drop this kind of bomb shell on her.”

“I understand. Although, I must admit that I was tempted to tell her the truth while you were gone, but I couldn’t being myself to do it. She knows you, and she loves you as her mother, and I just hope that one day she will find it in her heart to accept me with that kind of love.”

“Well, I will not stand in the way.”

Val put his arm around Melanie, and gave her shoulder a firm press. “We know, and we really appreciate it.”

“Well, we better go so you all can prepare for your trip.” Melanie and Val stood to their feet, as Angel and Aleksey did the same.

“You can call anytime, and if I don’t answer, I’ll have Des call you back.”

“Thanks again.” They all sighed with a bit of relief knowing that things were ending on a positive note.

Angel and Aleksey walked them to the door, and waved as they drove away.

“That was nice of you. For a moment I thought you were going to invite them along.”

“I was.”

“What?!” Angel grabbed her stomach, as if Aleksey needed reminding that she was pregnant. “Well, I am glad that you thought better of it. It will be enough with Destiny, Natalia, and Marat going.”

“Marat? Since when?”

“Since you invited Natalia. I could not leave him out. He is my best man after all.”

“We’re really getting married!” She squealed, and jumped around him.

“You are excited?”

“Yes! I am going to be Mrs. Aleksey Moroskov.”

“You are already are Mrs. Aleksey Moroskov.”

“Well, in your heart doesn’t count.” She smiled at her ring. “I want it on paper.”

“Then, on paper you shall have.” He shook his head with a grin as she shamelessly ogled the flawless rock on her finger. “Come.” She walked into his arms, never allowing her gaze to wane.

“Aleksey?”

“I know that tone. Yes?”

“What tone? I don’t have a tone.”

“Spit it out.”

“Fine. I was thinking, since Destiny’s going to be with us, and Marat and Natalia are going, too… Why don’t we just get married in Miami?”

“In Miami? Is it not like Vegas?”

“No. It’s nothing like Vegas… Okay, it’s not exactly like Vegas. My family will be there.”

“But, what about mine?”

“Invite them. We could spend the whole week there.”

“And, Natalia’s daughter?”

“She has a layover in Miami anyway. It’ll be fun.”

“Is this what you really want?”

“Yes.”

“And, your parents?”

“Won’t come anyway, but at least I’ll have the family there that counts.”

“Then, we shall get married in… Miami. I guess it will make things easier for Marat.”

“How so?” She tugged at a loose button on his shirt.

“He is planning my bachelor party.”

“Oh…”

“Oh? You do not approve?”

“No. No. It’s fine.” He watched his button fly off, and roll a few feet away under her tense touch.

Fine, huh?”

“Yes, fine.”

“It is tradition.”

“That it is.”

She was too calm for his liking. “What are you up to?”

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

“You are lying.”

She scoffed at the notion. “I am not! If you want to have butt booty naked strippers gyrating all over your body, then by all means, be my guest.”

“You are up to something.”

“I am not. Have your party, and have fun. I trust you.”

He peered down at her. “You do?”

“Yes.” She reached up, and kissed his cheek.

“Well good. You should. I want no one else.”

“That’s good to know.” She stepped back, and picked up his button. “Sorry.”

“I never liked this shirt anyway.”

“But, I bought it for you.” She refolded her arms, feeling slightly offended.

“You did?” There was no way out. “Did I say I did not like it?”

“Save it.” She rolled her eyes, and headed upstairs. “From now on, you can buy your own clothes.”

“Can I still buy yours?”

“Only the ones that no one else can see.” They both smiled at thought of all the barely there underwear he always managed to find for her.

“I love you, Angel!”

“I love you, too!”

________________________________________________________________________

On the plane…

Marat unbuckled his seatbelt, and stood up the moment they got the okay from the flight attendant. “I’ve never been on this jet before. Is it new, Aleksey?”

“Yes.” Although, he turned to face him as he spoke, it was Angel who had long since garnered his attention. He leaned over the armrest, and whispered, “Are you ready?”

“For what?” He tipped his head toward the restroom. “Wait. You were serious?” Her voice came out half whisper, half gasp.

“Yes. Let us go while the others are occupied.” He reached for her hand, but she snatched it back. “What?” He was trying not to draw attention to them, but the urgency to fuck her was beginning to overtake him.

“We can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because, it’s wrong.”

“It is not wrong. There is even a club for it.”

“Well, I don’t wanna join it.”

He sat back in a huff, until an idea struck him. Immediately, he called for the flight attendant. “I need a blanket.”

When Angel turned her head to speak to Natalia across the aisle, Aleksey turned the air up on high, and purposely broke off the switch so that it could not be readjusted. Then, he somewhat patiently sat back and waited for her to notice.

Instead of mentioning the freezing temperature, she grabbed a large portion of his blanket, quickly reminding him of her behavior in bed.

“Cold?”

“Yea. What happened?” He shrugged, and looked away before she could detect his deviousness.

True to form, she outlasted everyone but him. He waited until her breathing slowed, and she was near sleep before he slipped a hand under the blanket. His fingers inched their way over to her lap, and gathered her dress up around her waist. She froze when she felt his fingers tickle her exposed slit, and then separate her folds. An unexpected moan escaped her, causing Natalia to stir in her sleep.

She bit her tongue literally when the nail on his middle finger flicked her clit repetitively. She tried to confine his hand between her legs by squeezing them together, but that only served to make him more determined to descend further.

“You will either cum on me, or with me. The choice is yours.” She reached over and felt her way blindly to his zipper. He grabbed her hand, and held it in place. His eyes drifted back toward the small private room that he suggested earlier. She closed her eyes, ignoring his advances until he thumped her distended clit. She jumped up in her seat, and led the way, letting the blanket fall to the floor behind them.

Marat focused one half-opened eye on them as they passed his seat. He grinned as his mind drifted back to the first time he had sex on a plane. Then, to the second. And, the third. Then, back to the first. ‘That was one helluva flight.’ He glanced back at the other passengers to see if anyone else was still awake, and that's when he found Natalia staring straight at him.

“Are we there, yet?” She stretched, allowing her blanket to drop to her lap. He blatantly stared at her breasts as they pressed firmly against the thin material of her t-shirt, attire that he had never seen her in before.

He smiled softly, finally raising his eyes back to hers. “Not yet. Go back to sleep.”

“I cannot now. Once light gets in my eyes, I am awake for the rest of the night.”

“Me, too.”

She glanced at the row to her left. “Where are Mr. Moroskov and Angel?” Marat nodded toward the restroom. Her eyes widened, full of understanding.

“They will probably be a while.”

“Like rabbits, those two.”

They both laughed as he motioned for her to take the empty seat next to his.

“I was meaning to tell you earlier how nice you look.”

“Really?”

“Yes.” He fingered the bottom of her shirt. “It's different, but nice.”

“Thank you.” Instead of looking away like he expected, she held his haze with such intensity that he was forced to.

“You’re welcome. I also wanted to say how sorry I am about how things turned out with Viktor. I know that you were interested in him.”

She waved her hand. “Old news. Old news. I am looking forward to meeting other people.”

“Ah, other people. That is good to hear.”

“Yes. How about you? Have you found a new priyatel' to bed?”

His soft chuckle rumbled his throat, a throat that Natalia couldn’t take her eyes off of. “No. I have not found a new playmate.”

“Maybe, in Miami?”

He licked his lips, and openly perused her body. “Maybe.” They jumped at the sound of Destiny snoring rather loudly. “Maybe, you can help me.”

Natalia’s own eyes blazed a trail down his body. Her lips parted, but her words got lost somewhere between the large muscles in his chest, and the equally erotic bulging muscle forming in his loose-fitting jeans. 

The heat from Natalia’s body pulled Marat in slowly. He bit both lips, alternating between the top and bottom as the outline of her large nipples stretched out her shirt. Just as he reached out to graze one with his thumb, the restroom door swung open, and the smell of sex filled the cabin.

Angel leaned against Aleksey as she slipped her flip flop back on. “What are you two doing up?”

Marat snatched his hand down. “Nothing. Just talking.”

Aleksey patted his shoulder as he passed him. “Could not sleep my friend?”

“No.” His eyes gravitated toward Natalia. “Not a wink.”

“What about you Natalia?”

“No, Ms. Angel. I cannot sleep. I am… too excited.” She flashed a glance up at Marat.

“Oh, well I'm bushed. Good night.”

“Good night.”

Natalia waited until everyone including Marat was asleep before boldly slipping her hand down his made-in-marble abs, and over his crotch. At the last second, she lost her nerve, but allowed her hand to hover over him. Marat, being who he was could feel her every move. Without saying a word, he placed his hand on top of hers, and pushed it down with a squeeze.

Her lips quivered when he began to grow under her touch. It had been so long, too long, and she felt as if she might burst from the excitement.

He continued to press her hand until she began squeezing him on her own. With his right hand, he reached for the button on her jeans, and waited for her to stop him. Instead, she pressed harder, granting him tacit permission.

With her pants undone, he inched his way inside, and was pleased to find a warm river awaiting him. He coated his fingers with her juices, and circled one digit around her clit until she bucked against him.

He forced her to watch as he removed his hand, and feasted on her quintessence. Getting caught up in the moment, she unintentionally grabbed him just a little too hard, and made a mental promise to make up for it later, if given the chance.

He returned his fingers to the confines of her jeans, and picked up where he left off.

To avoid another death-like grab of his precious jewels, he removed her hand the second she flung her head back in total bliss. Her orgasm climbed its way up from the bottom of her soul, and snaked its way though her chest. Marat looked back once, before suffocating her screams with his own mouth.

Not even in his wildest fantasies, did he think she would cum that hard for him, not by his fingers alone, anyway.

He waited for her to come back down before releasing her mouth, and settling back into his seat. Feeling satisfied solely because she was, he closed his eyes, and reached for her hand, totally unaware of the pair of eyes that witnessed the entire thing.

End Notes:

Crossover time!!!!


Melanie is headed to LA to spend the week with Danielle & Leo in "Love Reawakened" "It Won’t Just Go Away If You Ignore It."  Chapter 109


&


Val is headed off to NY to spend time with Maks & Brandy in Brandy & Maks - A New York State of Mind Guess Who's Coming To Dinner... Chapter 14.


 

Birds & Paradise... by Leoslove

Angel grabbed a bag of almonds from the cart by the door, and practically ran from the plane. Miami equaled home for her. The memories were endless, and seemingly everywhere.

When they finally arrived at the hotel, as hungry and tired as everyone else was, Angel was surprisingly a small ball of energy. She grabbed her purse and impatiently stood at her door, tapping her foot to all sorts of beats, none of which were the slightest bit rhythmic. Aleksey was given a five minute warning, or as she called it a ‘grace period’ to freshen up before she headed through the all too familiar streets of Miami without him.

Since Destiny was asleep when they arrived, Natalia and Marat offered to watch her, especially being that they too would most likely be napping along side her.

True to his word, Aleksey exited the bathroom freshly shaved all in exactly five minutes.

He stood at the door with a smile and opened arms, and presented himself for her approval.

“You look wonderful as usual. Now, let’s go!”

She grabbed his hand and pushed passed a few slow walking tourists to the elevator, manners be damned.

Marat had already ordered a rental car from the plane, and had it waiting for them in front of the hotel when they arrived. Once Angel spotted it, she grabbed the keys from the delivery guy, handed him a $50, and hopped behind the wheel, all while Aleksey stood back and watched from the safety of the sidewalk.

“Will you please get in?”

“You are driving?”

“Yes.”

“Give me the keys, Angel.”

“Aleksey, I know that you’ve never seen me drive, but I can, and very well might I add. Now, either get in, or get back, because I’m pulling off in 5.2 seconds.”

He begrudgingly opened the passenger door, and slid in. “Slowly, please.”

“Are you acting like this because I’m pregnant, or because I’m a woman?”

“Neither. You are acting like a teenager who just got her license.”

“So, I’m a little excited,” she shrugged, and turned the engine, “I’m still an excellent driver. I’ve never gotten a ticket. I don’t speed… much, and I promise that I will get us there and back in one piece.”

“Where is there?”

“Buckle up.”

“Okay. Where is there?”

She waited until she pulled off before answering. “My Aunt and Uncle’s house.”

“Angel.”

“Aleksey.” She glanced at him in between lane changes. “Come on, You wouldn’t have gone with me if I told you where we were going. It’s gonna be fun.”

“I should have at least showered first. I smell like plane.”

“You always smell good, even after you work out, which I’ve never understood.”

“That is not true.”

“Yes, it is. That’s why I always hug you afterward.”

“You hug me because you like when I sweat.”

“Well, I do like when you sweat.” She glanced at him again, and threw in a quick wink.

“Stop it. This is not the time to get me aroused.”

“Why? I know a park--”

“Angel!” They both laughed, and waited in traffic with a few dozen other cars.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too, but this was not a nice thing to do to me.”

“I told you that I want to see them.”

“But, you did not tell me that I would be seeing them, too.”

“Yes, I did. I told you that I wanted you to meet them… I just didn’t say right now.”

“No, you did not. I am not presentable. I look like a tourist.”

“No. You look like my Aleksey. And, since when are jeans and a button down dress shirt touristy clothes?”

“I am wearing Timberlands.”

“And, you look good in those Timbs. Baby, relax. You look great. I’m the one who looks a hot mess.”

“You look wonderful. You are glowing.”

“That’s because of you.”

His crimson blush warmed the already sun kissed car.

“Is that flattery?”

“It is the truth. Whenever I think of you, I smile. Haven’t you noticed?”

“Is that why you get a goofy look on your face out of no where?”

“I wouldn’t call it goofy.” She turned one final corner with a small pout.

“No. You are right. It is not goofy. It is adorable. Cute.”

“Thank you. We’re here!”

Aleksey looked up at the gated house. “They live here?”

“Yep. Since before I was born. I used to love to come here, and I did as often as I could mostly just to get away from my parents.”

“Will we be visiting them today, also?”

“No. I want our first day to be happy. So, are you ready?”

“No, but we should go anyway. Please, allow me to get your door.”

She waited behind the wheel for him to race around the front of the car and open her door. “Always the gentleman.”

“Well,” he held her hand and helped her out, “you are my lady.”

“And, soon to be your wife. Are you excited?” They walked back over to the passenger side.

“I am very excited. I cannot wait to have, and to hold you.”

“You do that already.”

“Oh, do I?” He leaned his backside against the car, and pulled her into his arms.

“Yes, of course. So, are you ready?” She placed her hand flat against his chest, and trailed down each rippled muscle on his stomach.

He took in a sharp breath, and licked his lips. “Ready for what?”

“To meet my family.”

“Oh.” His eyes closed involuntarily when her finger worked its way back up the trail.

She looked down between them when she felt something else that was all too familiar. “Cut it out.”

“You started it.”

“Sorry. Ready?”

He looked down at the tent in his jeans, and shook his head.

“Okay. Let’s talk about something else... Am I as big as I feel? Be honest.”

“You are beautiful, as I have always known you to be.”

“Thank you, but that’s not what I asked. I feel huge, and I don’t think it’s normal.”

“Well, Dr. Kuznetsov said that the baby is growing at a normal rate.”

“So, it’s me. I’m getting fat.”

“You are not fat. You are, what do they say? Curvy.”

“I have more curves than a roller coaster.” He turned his head and laughed. “Hey!”

“What? You finally made a good joke.” He grabbed her hands to keep her from hitting him, and placed them around his neck. “You are beautiful Angel from the inside out.” Although, she couldn’t see the beauty, she knew that he would never say anything to her that he didn’t truly mean.

The expanding curves of her body highlighted everything that he had already loved about her. Thoughts of her full hips, ass, and breasts invaded his thoughts so often that work had become an almost impossible feat. Days that he assigned for work usually ended with him calling her to his office after kicking everyone out, and making love to her on every surface of the room that her body could still contort around or across comfortably.

“Are you nervous?

“Some.”

“I’m surprised.”

“Then, we are even, because you surprise me as well.” He nodded at a small group of elderly power walkers who strolled passed them.

“How can I possibly surprise you? You know everything about me.”

“I am still learning new things about you every day, especially now that you are pregnant.”

“Very little has changed about me. I’m still the same woman you met almost a year ago.”

He palmed her ass with both hands, and looked down over her shoulder. “There are some things that have changed, not that I am complaining.” He tightened his grip, and gave her cheeks a little shake as the last few stragglers of the previous group were approaching at a somewhat surprising speed.

She leaned back in his arms, and glared at him until neither could hold back their laughter. “I’m gonna let you have that one since you’ve agreed to meet my family.”

She turned around intent on taking a long look at the house that held almost nothing but good memories, and instead came almost face-to-face with an angry older white woman who had stopped power walking long enough to make her disapproval known before trotting along with the rest of the pack.

“Love has no color, Lady!” The old woman responded by flipping Angel the bird. Aleksey turned his head, and covered his smile with a hand. “Did that old broad just flip me off?”

“Yes. She did. It is okay, though.” He held it together until she turned around and stared down the bitty who had by then reached the corner.

“No, it’s not okay. If I wasn’t pregnant, AND SHE WASN’T SO ANCIENT,” the woman scoffed at her echoing words, “I would whoop her ass.”

“My little fighter.” He picked her up with much ease, and pressed her against him until he regained her full attention.

“I don’t fight, not to say that I won’t… I just don’t, but that… oldie is asking for it. What is she like? A hundred, and still flipping people off?”

“That will be you someday.”

“It will not! I will show some decorum, couth, tact, and I WILL MIND MY OWN FUCKING BUSINESS!” Angel scowled at the woman who bent down to tie her shoe, and sprung back up, something Angel could no longer do. She swung her legs in the air, signaling for Aleksey to put her down.

“Is it safe?”

“I’m not gonna hit her if that’s what you mean.”

He groaned as she slid down his body, to the small patch of grass below. “Angel, I want you.” His tone turned lustful.

“You can’t wait until our honeymoon?” She batted her eyes.

“No. I am getting hard just thinking about it.”

“Well, please think of something else. Explaining us, and how we came to be is going to be hard enough without having to explain your erection.”

“They do know of sex, yes?” His eyes lit up as he teased her.

“Ugh! I don’t wanna think about that. They’re like my parents. That’s just nasty.”

“Do you think they have never had sex, Angel?”

“I said I don’t want to think about it. Now, back to us—”

“Yes, back to us. What are you going to tell them?” His brows dipped slightly with concern.

“Whatever they want to know.”

“Everything?”

“Yes.”

Everything?”

“Yes. Aleksey, they are not judgmental people. They will understand.”

“They will be understanding about you getting shot, and kidnapped directly because of me?” His tone accurately expressed his skepticism.

“Yes. Will they like it? Of course not, but they will understand once I explain everything.”

He sulked against the car. “They are going to hate me.”

“No, they won’t. They may be surprised… okay angry at first, only at first, but they will love you because you are loveable. Don’t be scared.”

“I am not scared.” His stance changed to one of indignation.

“Fine, the Big Bad Wolf isn’t scared. Don’t be nervous.”

“Now, that I am. They will not like me; I know this.”

“You do not know this. They are very accepting people; they accepted me into their home, and treated me like a daughter when I was growing up.”

“You are easy. I am a,” he looked around before whispering, “a mob boss.”

“Okay, I'm not gonna lie, that’s a hard pill for anyone to swallow, but because that is not who you are on the inside, they will be able to see passed it; I know they will.”

“Must you tell them everything, Angel? Can you not hold back some information?”

“I’ll make you a deal.”

He cupped her hips with both hands, making sure that his fingers reached around to touch her ass. “What is this deal?”

“The deal is, I will only answer what they ask concerning you. I won’t volunteer any incriminating information.”

“And, if they ask what I do?”

“I will tell them that you… What is it exactly that you do?”

“I… I prefer that you do not know.”

“Does it involve drugs?”

“No. I would never touch that stuff. You have asked me once before.”

“I know, but that was when we first got together.”

“Nothing has changed. I do now what I did then, just on a much larger scale.”

“Why on a much larger scale?”

“Can we discuss this in the privacy of our home? I do not feel comfortable saying certain things in such open spaces.”

“I understand. You ready?”

“No, but it seems that I do not have much say in this matter.”

“No. You don’t.” She extended her hand, and waited for him to take it.

“I am not ready.”

“Aleksey, you’re fine,” her eyes unrepentantly roamed all over his body before she continued, “and I mean that in every sense of the word.” The subtle lick of her lips that followed caught and held his attention.

“Kiss me.”

“In front of their house?”

“Yes, in front of their house; for luck.” He bent down, and puckered up.

“Okay fine, but no tongue.” He cocked his head to the side, and brushed his lips against hers.

“No tongue?”

“When we get back to the hotel, you can use as much tongue as you want,  but right now let’s keep it PG.”

“What is PG?”

“Innocent.”

“Fine; I can do innocent.”

“Oh, can you?”

“Yes. In fact, I do innocent quite well. Would you like to hear some examples?”

“No. I would like for you to quit stalling. This has to happen, so let’s just get it over with.”

He sighed a little louder than she expected, but followed her lead to the coded gate, and all the way to the front door. Very little made him visibly nervous, and no matter how much he tried to compose himself, he was obviously petrified.

A split second before her finger made contact, he pulled her hand away from the doorbell. “What if they do not like me?”

“I like you enough for the both of them. Destiny adores you, and this baby is going to all but worship you.”

He faced the door with the biggest smile he could muster, and released her hand. “Okay, press.”

She pushed the doorbell, and closed her eyes at the sound of the melodious chimes and bells. “Just remember that I will always love you no matter what.”

She jumped in excitement at the creaking sound of the door opening. “Angel?”

“Kevin?! Look at you, all grown up.”

“Yea, I am. Who’s he?”

“He,” she pulled Aleksey forward, “is my fiancé, Aleksey Moro—”

“Aleksey. I am Aleksey.”

Kevin took him in for a moment. “Yea, I know exactly who you are.”

“You do? Have we met before?” Angel tried to soothe his defenses away, but it was too late. Aleksey was on full alert.

“Should we have, Aleksey?”

“Do I know you?” His voice was laced with a cool venom.

“Nah, man. I was just messing with you.” He slapped Aleksey on the arm, and stepped back when he didn’t seem to take too well to his joke. “Is he always this serious, Angel?”

“It’s a Russian thing.” She covertly slipped her hand underneath Aleksey’s shirt, and rubbed his bare back in a soothing circular motion, a tactic that she learned worked well on men and babies alike. Once she felt him loosen up, she removed her hand, and waited for Kevin to lead the way to the study.

“They aren’t here.”

“What? We came all this way to see them.”

“They’ll be back. They just went out for dinner.” He pulled up a chair, and offered them the love seat. “So, other than getting knocked up and engaged, what have you been up to?”

“Really, Kev?”

“What? Too much?”

“Only as usual.”

“Alright, new topic. How’d you get involved with a Russian?”

“If I didn't know any better, I'd swear you had no home training. Please, forgive him, Honey.”

“Honey? Angel?”

“Auntie!” She moved off the sofa and across the room with more speed than Aleksey thought was possible.

“Peter, get in here! Let me look at you. Pregnant? Oh, my goodness.”

“What’s all the yelling about? Angel?!”

“Hi, Uncle Peter.”

“Don’t you hi Uncle Peter me. Get over here and give me some love.”

“Be careful, Peter. She’s with child.”

“Well, I can see that. Who’s it for?”

“Excuse me?”

“Who’s the father?”

Angel pulled out of his embrace and turned around to introduce Aleksey who was already standing.

“I would like to introduce you both to my fiancé, Aleksey.”

“Aleksey? What kind of name is Aleksey?”

“It’s Russian, Uncle Peter.” Angel glared at Kevin for entering the conversation. “She hooked up with a Russian.”

“A Russian? Miranda, you hear that? She done gone and got a Russian.”

“Yes, I heard. Please, have a seat. Can I get you anything?”

‘Just the hell out of here.’ Aleksey's smile was tight, and almost sincere. “No. I am fine. Thank you.”

“Are you sure? I know it’s stereotypical, but I do have Vodka. Stoli Gold; we got it in Moscow last year.”

Aleksey perked up. “If it is not any trouble.”

“None at all. Kevin make yourself useful. Three Vodkas, and a Sprite on the rocks.”

“If I’m not old enough to drink this stuff, how am I old enough to pour it?”

“Just do as you’re told for once.”

“Yes, ma’am.

“I had a dream that you were coming for a visit, and you know how my dreams always come true, but I must have woken up too soon, because I didn’t see anything about a baby.”

“Yea, well…” Angel sat back, and rubbed her belly.

“I always knew that you would be a mother some day.”

“Really?”

“Yes. The way you used to take such great care of your dollies; I just knew it.”

“Well, actually Aunt Miranda, this one will make two.”

“Two?! Twins?”

“No. No. I have a seven year old.”

“A seven year old? Why didn’t you come sooner? Are you the father?”

Aleksey coughed lightly to clear his throat. “I am the father of this baby, and I love Destiny as if she were my own.”

“Good answer. Destiny, huh?”

Aleksey beamed with obvious pride. “Yes, she is a very sweet, and smart little girl.”

“Aleksey, is it?”

“Yes.” He decided to hold off on divulging his last name just incase she wanted to Google him like Angel had done.

She turned to Angel. “Did you bring him here so that your Uncle and I could smoke him over?”

“Well, actually Auntie, I wanted you two to meet him before we get married… in six days.”

“Six days?! Why the rush? Is it a rush? How long have you known each other?”

“Give them time to answer, Miranda.” Angel looked up at the man whom she had wished many times was her father.

“It’s not really a rush. We love each other. We want to spend the rest of our lives together, and we’re already a family.”

“Okay, baby girl. If you’re happy, I’m happy. So, how’d you two meet?”

“I was shopping with Destiny, and he was a really big help.”

Shopping? Well, that’s different.”

“Yea. He’s been a big help to me ever since.”

“So, where is Destiny?”

“Back at the hotel.”

“Hotel? Unacceptable. You all will stay here.”

“Thank you, Auntie, but we also have a couple of friends who flew down here with us.”

“There’s plenty of room.”

“Thanks anyway.”

“Okay, but the offer stands. Well, where are you going to get married?”

“We haven’t really thought about it. I just wanted it to be near you and Uncle Peter.”

“You’ll have it here then. The backyard will be perfect. The flowers are in full bloom. Do you have a wedding dress?”

“No.”

“I guess no flowers either.”

“No. We weren’t planning on having a big wedding, Auntie. Just something small, and intimate.”

“Pish! Posh! You will have the wedding you used to dream about as a little girl. Hilda!”

“Who’s Hilda?”

“My new maid.”

“What happened to Gertrude?”

“She got deported. Long story, Dear.”

“Yes, Ma’am?”

“Hilda, I need you to call Marashell and tell her to come over ASAP. We have a wedding to plan in six days here at the house.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Angel waited for Hilda to take her leave. “Auntie, you really don’t have to do that. There’s not even going to be much family.”

“What about Aleksey’s family? Surely, you must be inviting your family. I would love to get your mother’s input on decorations and such.”

“My parents are dead, but I will be inviting a few other family members.”

“Okay, I’m going to need a list of the attendees as quickly as you can get it to me. This is going to be great! My little girl is getting married. Oh, what am I saying? Have you seen your Mom, yet?”

“No. I was thinking about seeing her and Dad tomorrow.”

“How long have you been in town?”

“A few hours. I couldn’t wait to see you and Unc.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear that. You do know that your father isn’t well, right?”

“Mentally or physically?”

“Both!”

“Peter!”

“She asked.” He sat back, and continued savoring the smoky taste of his favorite Vodka.

“Physically. He won’t tell us what’s wrong, but whatever it is, it’s serious.”

“Well, I’ll be sure to stop by… not that he deserves it.”

Miranda took in Aleksey’s change in demeanor. “You don’t like her parents, do you?”

He put his glass down on the coaster before him, and smoothed out his pants. “No. I do not.”

“Why is that? Have you met them?”

“No. I have not met them.”

“Then, why don’t you like them?”

“They have hurt Angel, and I have come here to find out why, and to make sure that it never happens again.”

“Protective, isn’t he, Angel?”

“Very. It’s only one of the things that I love about him.” She dropped her hand on his thigh.

“Well, Angel’s parents are not my favorite people either, so do whatever you feel you need to do to protect our Angel.”

He successfully hid the fury in his eyes from her, as he held her gaze. “I will.”

“So, Aleksey,” Peter was not so easily fooled, “I take it that you love Angel deeply.”

“Yes, Sir. I love her more than myself.”

“Oh, that’s a dangerous thing to say, young man. You give away all of your power when you love someone more than yourself.”

“I have already given her all the power… well, almost.”

Almost? That’s good. See, the trick is to let them think that they have the power.”

“Peter?”

“Yes, Dear?”

“You do realize that you have to live with me, right?”

“Yes, Dear. I was just playing with the boy.” He gave Miranda a sloppy wet kiss on the cheek, and beckoned for Aleksey to follow him out. “Let’s let the women have their time to talk about us. Do you play pool?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Any good at it?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Seeing that we’re gonna be family soon, you can call me Peter, or Uncle.”

“Okay, Peter.”

“That’s better. You like beer?”

“Yes, Si- Peter.”

“Good. Head on back to the room at the end of the hall, and hang a left. I’ll go grab us a case of beer, and you can tell me all about yourself.”

Aleksey looked back with pleading eyes, but Angel was too wrapped up in her conversation with her Aunt to notice.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“So, tell me about Aleksey, and how you two really met?”

“Aunt Miranda, I have never lied to you before, and I’m not gonna start now. I need you to listen to me with an open heart before I tell you everything. And, please know that I love him, and nothing has or will ever change that.”

“Okay, this sounds heavy. Let me get another drink.” She looked around for Kevin. “That boy is always elsewhere. Hold on.” She hopped up and headed to the bar. “Something tells me that I’m gonna need a little something.” Angel scooted around nervously as she watched Miranda pour herself a glass of Brandy. After she took a couple of deep swallows, and sat back down on the sofa she announced that she was ready to listen.

“Alright. AlekseyandImetafterIgotshot.”

“You got what?!”

“I got shot. There wasn’t much damage.”

Miranda glared at the opening to the pool room. “Start from the beginning, and don’t leave anything out.”

Back To The Beginning... by Leoslove

Angel’s eyes inadvertently dropped down toward her lap where she found a loose thread waving at her under the current of the air conditioning vent directly above them. It was a small, yet very welcomed diversion. With her eyes deliberately fixed on that single blue strand, she prepared her mind to open the gates to the memories of what had now become the best and worst day of her life.

On that fate filled morning, the sun rose particularly early, as did she. After completing a full body stretch, she headed over to the perfectly centered window in her modest bedroom, and smiled at what she was certain was the same bird that had been serenading her every morning, sometimes to her dismay.

Unfortunately, not even the cheerful chirps of the bird could drive away the song that had unrelentingly been repeating itself in her head for three straight days. No matter how many other songs she listened to, ‘He Is’ by Heather Headley would not go away. The fact that she hadn’t had anyone in her life that even remotely resembled the sentiments in that song for far too long made the tune quickly go from catchy to downright depressing. 

Destiny on the other hand was full of smiles that morning, humming her own favorite tune at the small dining table.


“What are you so happy about?”

“We’re going shopping today!”

Window shopping. Mommy hasn’t gotten paid yet, and I still have a few bills that I need to catch up on, so this is strictly out of tradition.” She piled another set of precooked, formally frozen pancakes on Destiny’s plate, and sat back as she devoured them. Destiny's top front teeth had fallen out within days of each other, and her smile had never been more adorable. “Okay, my little Gummy Bear, what are we going to window shop for today?”

Destiny shrugged, and continued chewing.

“So, it’s up to me?” She got a nod for a response. “Okay. I know the perfect place. And, if we’re lucky, they
may even let us try on a few dresses.”

Destiny’s smile lit up the tiny room. She was such a girly-girl that the mere mention of dresses sent her to a new level of heaven. She finished her orange juice, and rushed to the bathroom to brush her remaining teeth.

After styling Destiny’s hair into a simple ponytail, they headed out to the shopping district just as they had done every week since they moved there.


Miranda sat still as Angel’s facial expression contorted into something that resembled physical pain. Forgoing her desire to reach out and comfort her, she thought it best to give her time to process her thoughts.

Memories of that day always presented themselves in the form of a slide show. A series of thin clouds providing a somewhat veiled-like protection from the sun. Click. Destiny pointing to a mannequin who was wearing an outfit straight out of old Hollywood. “Glamorous,” was her exact word, which also happened to be one of her advanced spelling words for the week. Click. Holding hands, and pointing out their favorite pieces of the ensemble. Click. The sound of tires screeching to a halt. Click. A black SUV with tinted windows rolled down halfway. Click. Shiny metal flashing from the front passenger side window in her direction. Bang! Throwing Destiny to the ground, and dropping on top of her. Out...

For a moment, she allowed her body to acknowledge every emotion that would habitually accompany those particular memories. Nausea was always the first to hit. Next, was fear. And, then finally, denial.

For months, she silently suffered from nightmares that were usually worse than the actual event. Knowing the guilt that Aleksey placed on himself prompted her to endure the tortuous dreams alone. Each morning she would wake up before dawn and change into dry clothes; the night sweats were unbearable. Sometime after the kidnapping, the nightmares of that day began to cease, but unfortunately were soon replaced with others from her childhood.  

Angel’s eyes remained closed even as she felt herself being pulled into the warmth and shelter of her Aunt’s arms. Her heart leapt at the realization that for the first time, in a long time she didn’t have to put up a front to make the people closest to her feel better. She was finally free to let go, and without her even having said a single word, she knew it was all because of her Aunt Miranda.

Not wanting to let go, but knowing that she needed to, Miranda pulled back slowly, never losing complete contact. No matter how hard Angel tried to hide it from her, Miranda knew that she was broken, and this time it wasn't all because of her parents.

After one particularly heated exchange between Angel and her father many years ago, Miranda witnessed first hand Angel's propensity to shut down when she was pushed to speak about things before she was ready. So, instead of trying to persuade her into continuing, she lovingly ran the back of her hand across Angel’s cheek the way she used to when she was a little girl. Their smiles, although tight were full of mutual understanding. Miranda knew that her desire to hear the answers to the questions she once had was not nearly as important as making sure that Angel was emotionally prepared to deliver them. She pulled her into another embrace, and whispered softly against her ear, “When you’re ready. Okay?”

Angel remained silent, but nodded.

“Is this a girl thing?” Kevin always did have a way of lightening the heaviest of moods.

Angel looked over her Aunt’s shoulder, and rolled her eyes. “Must you always be a jerk?”

“Yes. Now, when can I meet my little cousin?” He rubbed his hands together nefariously.

“Why? So you can corrupt her?”

“I’m sure you’ve already beaten me to it.”

“Kevin, that’s enough.”

“Aw, Aunt Miranda, she knows I’m just playing. Right big head?”

“Big head?! Oh, it’s on!”

Miranda lifted her legs, allowing Angel room to bypass her, and chase after Kevin much like she did in that very room several years ago. She raised her glass to her lips, and smiled softly, thankful that "her children" were finally back home.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“So, how long have you and Angel been together?”

Aleksey looked up briefly after lining up his shot. “Almost a year. Three-ball, corner pocket.”

Peter stepped off to the side, and watched the ball swirl across the table and disappear. “Pretty good. Pretty good. So, you really love her, huh?”

“Yes, Sir… Peter.”

“I supposed so. Well, enough to fly out here to Miami and deal with her parents.”

“Yes. Nine ball.”

“And, just how do you plan to deal with them?”

“Civilly.”

Peter strolled to the opposite end of the table, and for a few moments studied his opponent. Aleksey didn’t hesitate to return the glare. Stare downs were common in his line of work, and one of the only usable lessons his father ever gave him.

‘In this instance, size doesn’t matter, Son. Never let your eyes leave the stare of any man who steps up to you. No matter how scared or intimidated you may be on the inside,” he tapped Aleksey’s small chest, ‘never look away.’

‘But, why Papa?’

‘Why? Because, it is a sign of weakness, or that you have something to hide.’

 
Aleksey stood at full attention under Peter’s punitive stare.

Peter had a wicked smile, and he oozed a certain cool confidence that intrigued Aleksey. If he was sure of one thing, it was that there was definitely more to Peter than what met the eye.

Attempting to gain control of the conversation, Aleksey stated the obvious. “You wish to ask me something.”

Peter put his stick down, and leaned against the edge of the table. “I wish to ask you several things, but I’ll start off with one… Why Angel?”

“I do not understand.” Aleksey dropped his gaze only long enough to place his pool stick on the edge of the table. Before he had a chance to look back up, Peter had moved with a smooth swiftness, and was standing directly in front of him. The wicked smile had returned, but this time it lacked the necessary depth to reach any other part of his face.

“You’re not good enough for her. We both know this, so why her?”

“Angel feels differently, Sir.” He waited for the opportunity to squash a fury from deep within that surprisingly never came. 

“Men like us—”

“Men like us?” Aleksey interjected, knowing full well where the conversation was headed.

Peter proceeded, completly ignoring his interruption. “Men like us don’t deserve good women.”

Suddenly, the unexplained kinship that he felt in regard to Peter started to make sense. “I suppose we do not.”

“So, again. Why Angel?”

“She came into my life at a time when we needed each other, and I could not let her go.”

Could not, or would not?”

“Both.” Regardless of the camaraderie that Aleksey felt with Peter, he wisely decided to choose his words carefully.

“How did you and Angel meet?”

Aleksey rotated his upper body and repositioned his stick. “It is a long story.”

“Well, lucky for me, we have time.” The sharpness in his pitch made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to let it go.

“Well….”

The events of that day would forever be ingrained in his mind.

It was week two in his battle for control over a certain property that held more value than the average person could ever comprehend. By all rights, it should have been his since he killed the previous owner just to get it. What he didn’t expect was that the man's brother would retaliate so quickly.

He and Marat decided to head out early to meet with the attorney’s to finalize the paperwork, and obtain the keys. Normally, he would leave such minuscule details to one of his lackey’s, but this time it was personal, and he decided to handle everything in that manner.

His bed companion took her leave soon after he finished with her the previous night, and for that he was grateful.

As usual, Natalia was waiting outside his bedroom door with a cup of his favorite Columbian coffee, an unremitting gift from a friend in the business. He opened the door with a gruff, snatched the scalding liquid from her hands, and slammed the door.

Almost an hour later, with the paperwork completed, he and Marat took one last tour of the building that would complete his quest for ownership of every major sky rise within a twenty-six mile radius.

In the eyes of his "business associates" owning multiple properties made him appear clean, and in the beginning it was the ruse that he was going for. However, as he got deeper in the mob, so did his thirst for power. He was heavily encouraged by his superiors to continue building his real estate empire, with the reasoning that he would have something to fall back on in the event that he ever wanted to become legit; as if they would let that happen. Acquiring the land in their eyes was a small way to appease him-- to keep him occupied; what they didn't know was what he planned to do with those properties made him more dangerous than they could ever hope to be

Feeling unusually exultant, Aleksey exited the building ahead of Marat, something he would normally never do. With his hand firmly on the door's handle, he quickly assessed the block from left to right. Standing completely frozen in the doorway, Marat strained his neck to see what caught Aleksey’s attention, or better yet who.

They were both caught up in the unexpected sight of a mother and daughter cheerfully heading their way hand-in-hand. For a brief moment, Aleksey transcended to a time when he and his mother would walk the streets in similar fashion, completely ignoring the taunts of the other children. He loved his mother, and wanted nothing more than to spend time with her.

Feeling slightly embarrassed for gawking so blatantly, Aleksey headed to the car, while Marat on the other hand chose to observe them just a little while longer. Aleksey opened the car door, and propped himself against the frame as the pair got closer. It was admittedly the most heart-warming thing he had witnessed in a very long time, and he treasured their moment every bit as much as he was sure they did.

He snapped back to his true form when Marat headed to the car
and briefly blocked his view at the precise moment when their playful banter evolved into a tickling match.

The unexpected events that followed proved to not only redefine each of their lives, but also bind them together forever.

“Get down, Boss!”

Moons Over Stars... by Leoslove

“That was fun.”

Aleksey sat on the edge of the bed, and pulled Angel onto his lap. “It was.” He carefully lifted one leg, and then the other, removing her shoes first, and then her thigh high stockings.

“How did things go with my Uncle?”

He glanced away for a split second. “Fairly.”

“Fairly.” She pushed his hands away from her waist, and joined him on the firm mattress. “What exactly does that mean?”

“It means that we have an understanding.”

“What kind of understanding? Did he threaten you?”

There was an adorable and unexpected flash of heat in her eyes that accompanied her inquiry. “No.”

“You’re not going to tell me anything, are you?”

“No.”

“That’s not fair.”

“It was conversation between two men, and you,” he flicked her protruding nipples, “are not a man.”

“But, I am involved, so tell me.”

“I will not. What do you wish to have for dinner?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“But, you must eat… for the baby.”

“Fine.” She rolled over, and grabbed the hotel menu from the nightstand. “I’ll take a salad.”

The bed creaked when he got up and headed over to the closet. Still dripping wet from his shower, he perused his collection of ties, finally deciding on a sky blue one that closely resembled the color of his eyes, and not coincidentally was her absolute favorite. “You will have a steak with that salad.”

“I didn’t say that I wanted a steak.” Her smile increased when she noticed his selection.

“You did not have to. Which shirt?”

“The dark blue one.” Her jaw dropped almost at the same time as his robe. She checked the corners of her mouth for drool, and watched as he strolled over to opposite end of the room completely naked to retrieve his towel, and his underwear. He never expressed shyness when it came to walking around naked in front of her, and with a body like he had, she completely understood why. “Are you planning on ordering all of my meals?”

“Only when you do not choose what is best for you, and our baby.” He nonchalantly leaned against the air conditioner for balance all while slipping on his boxers briefs, and thoroughly adjusting himself to conform to the tight fit.

“Come here.” He leisurely followed her command, and stood before her with a bold grin. “Take ‘em off.”

He wagged a finger at her, and stepped out of her short reach. “I told Marat ten minutes, and I must keep my word.”

“He’ll understand.”

“He will not. He is very hungry, and very excited to tell me about his plans for my bachelor party.”

“Still going through with that, huh?”

“Yes. Now, will you tell me what you are up to?”

“No… because, I am not up to anything. Babe, just as you will have your fun, I will have mine.”

“I do not like the sound of that.”

“Think of it this way: I’m pregnant. How much trouble can I get into?”

“We are talking about you, Angel. You can get into a lot of trouble.”

“True, but I will not.”

“I will come check on you.” His statement was cloaked in certainty.

“You will not! If I can refrain from checking on you, you will give me the same courtesy and respect.”

“This is not about courtesy or respect. Will there be strippers at your party?”

“Possibly, but if so, they will not be there for me.”

“You will see them, yes?”

“Of course, it’s my party.”

“No strippers!” He finished towel drying his upper body, and slipped on his shirt.

“No what?! I think the lack of food is starting to get to you. I’m gonna go get dressed in the bathroom, and I trust that when I come out, you will have come to your senses.”

“I will not back down.”

“I’m not asking you to.” She gave his sides a firm squeeze. “I’m just asking you to… reconsider.”

She stood on her toes, and planted an unreturned kiss to his lips. With a shrug, she scooped up her clothes, and stepped into the bathroom.

“I will not reconsider.” In her mind, both parties were going to be nothing more than a last hoorah, and she for one, planned to go out with a bang.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

20 minutes later….

“She will have the steak-- well done, with a side salad, Italian dressing, on the side, no tomatoes.”

The waitress looked down at Angel, as if waiting for her to change the order. Instead, Angel handed her the menu, and stared daggers at Aleksey.

“It will be good for you, and the baby,” he reminded.

“Whatever.”

Natalia and Marat glanced at the both of them, and then back at each other, taking full note of the tension.

“Natalia, would you like to dance?”

The focus of the table had transferred over to them. Natalia placed her hand in Marat’s, and glided onto the floor.

Angel impatiently waited for Aleksey to once again take his seat before she laid into him. “See what you did? You ran them off.” She attempted to keep her voice at an even whisper as to not disturb Destiny’s coloring at the other end of the table.

He shrugged off her accusation. “I did nothing.”

“You are so smug.”

“And, you are not?”

She leaned in over the table, and ignored the pressure that it placed on her seemingly ever growing stomach. “Are you sure you wanna go there?”

“No.” He scooted over into Marat's seat, and quietly said something to Destiny. Whatever he said incited a huge grin. She made no bones about throwing her crayon down on the table, and hopping up before Aleksey could pull her chair out. He quickly admonished her with a simple shake of his head. From the moment Angel decided to stay with him, he took on the small task of making sure that Destiny learned how a man is supposed to treat a lady, so that she would never accept anything less. He motioned for her to retake her seat, and tried it again.

“Where are you two going?”

“To the dance floor!” Destiny could hardly contain her excitement.

He had done it again. Angel dazzled him with a genuine smile, which he happily returned.

She blew him a kiss, and proudly watched two of her favorite people fill the empty spot next to Marat and Natalia on the dance floor.

“You have a really lovely family, Dear.”

Angel looked back over her shoulder to the source of the compliment. “Thank you.”

The older lady raised her drink, and returned her attention back to her husband, or son, or date, Angel wasn’t sure, and knew better than to ask.

She gratefully accepted a refill of water all while watching Aleksey shuffle around the floor as Destiny’s shiny new shoes remained firmly on the tops of his equally shiny shoes. The instant that she wished she had brought her camera, she saw the light of a flash bounce off the freshly waxed dance floor startling her for a quick moment. Aleksey’s eyes instantly flickered upward, and began scanning the room. Without a word, he handed Destiny off to Natalia.

Angel sat perfectly still and watched Aleksey and Marat waltz over to the man, all while doing their best not to cause a scene which proved impossible being that they were the tallest, and best looking men in the room.

There was only one thing that she could think of that would bring the focus off of them. It was a dirty trick, but desperate times and all…

She knocked her glass over onto the beautifully tiled floor causing a loud, distracting crash. Once she had everyone's attention, she stood up, and tightly gripped her stomach. With her eyes on Aleksey, she began wailing as if she were in the last stages of labor. When he made a move toward her, she gave him a subtle wink that thankfully went unnoticed by everyone else who all at once rushed to her side. By the time Natalia and Destiny pushed their way through the crowd, they found her sitting down slowly sipping water from a fresh glass.

“I’m sorry everyone. It must have been Braxton Hick’s contractions. I’m fine, really.” Instead of angry glares, she received many pats to her back, and well wishes in her pregnancy.

With everyone finally back at their own tables, she was able to get a view of the last spot that she had seen her future husband. To her dismay, not only were Aleksey and Marat gone, but also the mystery man with the camera.

The three ladies waited for over an hour before finally accepting --with the help of the waitstaff-- that their guys would not be returning before the restaurant closed. They had the remainder of the food packaged up, and headed back to Angel’s room.

Natalia prepared a bath for Destiny, and closed the door partially allowing her some privacy. When she exited the bathroom, she found Angel curled up on the bed with a pillow between her knees crying.

“Oh, Angel, it will be fine.”

“You don’t know that!” Angel attempted to offer an apology for snapping at Natalia, but was interrupted by a knock on the door.

Natalia patted her hand, and eased up off the bed. Angel nodded, giving her permission to check. Natalia spoke through the small opening of the bathroom door, and instructed Destiny to stay inside even after she was done bathing. Then, she closed the door completely.

Just when Natalia took a step, there was another knock on the door which made both women nearly jump out of their skin. Natalia instinctively leaned her back against the hotel room door. Then, after silently counting to five, she forced herself check the peephole.

Her hands tripped over themselves as she tried to unchain and unlock the door all at the same time. With the door finally opened, Angel was able to get a glance of who was on the other side. “Aleksey!” Her smile froze when she realized that he was being held up by Marat. She knew.

Marat laid Aleksey across the length of the bed, and slowly released the crumpled jacket that was strategically placed on the left side of Aleksey's chest. The amount of blood that gushed from Aleksey's body almost produced an uncontrollable scream that Natalia caught just in time. She slapped her hand over Angel’s mouth, forcing her into dormancy. Although, both women had seen men in that state before, it was Aleksey, and no one else could ever compare. Marat grabbed his cell phone and tipped toward the bathroom. He stopped when he realized that Destiny was not in the room. He pointed to the door, and Natalia nodded slowly, while at the same time removing her hand from Angel’s mouth.

With her senses coming back, Angel flew to Aleksey side, and replaced the soiled jacket with the towel that he had used just hours earlier to dry off.

“Aleksey, can you hear me?” His eyes searched helplessly for hers, but he remained quiet. Natalia stepped up, and placed her hands on top of the towel, freeing Angel to focus solely on keeping Aleksey conscious. Angel squeezed his hand with both of hers, and begged him to return the gesture.

The snap of Marat's phone closing overrode the laboring sounds of Aleksey's breathing. “Help is coming. Natalia, stay with Destiny; she should not see this.”

Natalia and Marat quickly traded places while Angel positioned Aleksey's hand over her heart. Several minutes had passed before Angel was able to muster up the strength to speak. “What happened, Marat?”

“The man with the camera shot him.”

“And, you let him?!” She hadn't felt that type of rage since the night she killed her kidnapper.

“Of course not.”

“Then, what happened?!”

“Aleksey thought he could get the bastard from a different angle, and before I could stop him, it was too late. The whole thing was a set up.”

“Why does this keep happening?” She already knew the answer to her question, they both did, but before he could respond, there another knock at the door. Marat grabbed Angel’s free hand, and placed it on top of the towel.

With one hand on his gun, he pulled the door open in a rush. “What took you so long?”

“You placed us at a hotel several miles from here. What did you expect?”

Aleksey’s eyes brightened slightly with recognition. “Angel.”

“Dr. Popov.” She couldn’t hide her disgust for him, and everything that he represented.

“I need you to move.”

She squeezed Aleksey’s hand one last time, and could have sworn that she felt a slight tightening in response. There were a group of people who had followed Popov into the suite, and against their suggestion that she leave, she stood firm in her decision to remain in the room, regardless of the outcome. There were so many people assisting Popov that she couldn’t see much anyway.

Marat stood behind her, and gripped her shoulders as a sign of support, and understanding. Angel considered going into the bathroom to check on Destiny, but reconsidered when she realized that her hands were covered in blood. As much as she wished that she could have removed Destiny from the situation completely, sparing her the sight of seeing someone else she loved pierced by another bullet would have to do.

After a few minutes of listening to Aleksey scream out in pain through a towel that had been placed over his mouth, Angel closed her eyes and leaned back against Marat. Thoughts of the stress that the situation could cause for her and the baby flipped in and out of his mind. He looked over the top of her head, and timed her breathing to ensure that she was okay. He willed all of his strength to Aleksey, and hoped for the best, because he knew that anything less would kill them all.

After an hour of trying, Angel finally allowed Marat to walk her out to the balcony for some much needed fresh air. She grabbed her stomach, and collapsed out of fear and exhaustion onto the chair. Marat instinctually rushed to her side.

“I’m alright.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yea, I just needed to sit down.”

“Can I get you something? Water?”

“No. I’m okay. I have to be.”

“Aleksey will pull through; he always does.”

“I’ve seen wounds on his body from other bullets, and I always managed to push the thought of him getting shot out of my mind, but this… to see him so fragile…” She broke down for the first time in front of Marat, and he looked away to keep from joining her.

“He is a strong man, and he finally has the family he always wanted. He will not die.”

His accent was the thickest she had ever known it to be, and it tickled her how closely he sounded like Aleksey at that moment. She released a loud chuckle when the realization hit him, too. “I’ll take that as a sign that you’re right.”

Marat rubbed his throat, and laughed with her. After a couple of minutes the laughter died down, and things got quiet again. “He loves you. I did not understand it at first; an ex-cop with a mobster… not even in the movies, but I get it now.”

She raised her brows, and punched him in the arm. “Well, it took you long enough.”

He rubbed his arm. “For tiny fists, they pack a little sting.”

“You have no idea.” Their eye contact lingered for a few moments longer before Angel gazed up to the full moon. “It’s always a full moon.” Marat frowned, unsure of what she meant, or even if she was talking to him. “When something bad happens, it’s always a full moon out.” She glanced back at him; he was still clearly lost. “The day I got shot? There was a full moon that night. When Aleksey’s brother showed up? Full moon. When you got shot… full moon. And, now…” She pointed upward to the glowing implication behind her method of reasoning.

“I never noticed.”

I did, and I should have said something.”

“You could not have predicted this.”

“No, but I should have known that something could have happened.”

“Surely, there have been full moons without incident.”

“Probably, but--”

“No, buts. These events were more written in the stars than the moon.” He cracked a smile, and waited for the humor of his joke to reach her.

“Did you just make a funny?”

He nodded vigorously. “Pretty good, yes?”

“And, Aleksey thinks my jokes are bad.” He nudged her with a smile, mindful of her stomach and the closeness of the armrest. “Marat?”

“Yes?”

“Why didn’t you and Aleksey bring security with you?”

“He wanted your trip to be a good one, and the presence of guards, he felt would have only been a constant reminder of the danger that awaits at home.”

“Well…”

“Finish, please.”

“With the life that you both live… the danger will follow you everywhere.”

“Yes, and now you.” That was the longest, and most honest conversation they had ever held together.

“And, Destiny, and this child.” The unbridled truth suddenly made it difficult for her to breath. She stood up, and leaned over the railing. Her hand flung back at Marat, stopping him from getting closer. “My life was so much simpler before I met him...” She whipped around toward him so fast that he was sure she would lose her balance. “Do you ever feel trapped?”

He sat back down, and ran his hands along the sides of his chair. “I used to, but I have come to accept my choice.”

“I knew this could happen, but I chose to stay, to bring children into this life, which really isn’t a life when you think about it.” She nodded her head once toward the room. “I did this.”

Marat always knew that day would come; the day when she would be forced to reconsider her decision to be with Aleksey. However, he always pictured that Aleksey would be the one to convince her to stay, not him. No matter how hard he tried to think of what Aleksey would say to soothe her fears away, he came up empty.

Everything she said was absolutely correct. For love, she put everything on the line, including the lives and futures of her children. He had seen it happen too many times; men who were once happy and complete were either torn away from their families, or their families were torn away from them. Car bombs, shootouts, it all ended the same… Unmitigated emptiness and devastation. He, once again was reminded why he had chosen to never have a family of his own.

Neither was sure as to who made the first move, but they eventually ended up sitting in silence, hand-in-hand.

After what felt like an eternity later, the balcony door slid open. Angel slowly rose to her feet, Marat soon followed. They both expected to see Popov standing before them with at the very least an update, but instead an assistant stood in his place.

There was an eeriness that surrounded her silence. Refusing to speak to anyone other than Dr. Popov, Angel brushed passed the woman and attempted to force her way through the sea of strangers, none of which would let her through.

Angel looked back at Marat who could clearly see over the heads of the others, and tried desperately to read his eyes. He gave away nothing. When he closed his eyes, she counted the seconds that they remained closed. Five. And, when they reopened, they again revealed nothing.

“Popov!” He remained shielded from her view by his workers. Moments later, her heart dropped when the hoard of extra bodies disentangled, obviously at his command. She felt Marat’s presence behind her as she stepped toward the bed, and their shared best friend. He was pale, much paler than she had ever seen anyone before. She forced her sight to descend to his chest. Movement. Slight, but very much there. She looked up at Popov, and noticed that he had not stopped moving. “Is he…”

“Alive? Yes, but barely. I have done all that I can; the rest is as they say, up to him.”

His words were cold, and unfeeling, so much so that Angel had begun to doubt that he had truly done everything that he could do to save Aleksey. “I want another doctor.”

“A what?” His look of astonishment closely resembled that of Marat’s. “Does she not know what this man does for a living?”

‘This man.
’ His words fueled her suspicions. She reached behind her, and pulled Marat down to her side, never taking her eyes off Popov. After whispering something so low that Marat could barely hear, he stood up straight and glared.

“Thank you for all that you have done, but we will take it from here.”

“But, what will you do?” Popov was genuinely surprised by the turn of events.

Marat promptly left Angel’s side, grabbed the man by his elbow, and led him to the door with his staff following closely behind. “That is of no concern to you, but please be advised, if Aleksey does not make it, neither will you.”

Nothing Lasts Forever... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Relax. Relate. Release.

 

Then, read, rate, and, review. =)

 

~.~.~.~Happy reading~.~.~.~

No sooner than the door closed did Angel grab her phone.

“What are you doing?”

“Calling for help.”

Marat, as respectfully as he could grabbed her hand before her fingers could dial the first number. “We do not go outside for help. I will think of someone else.”

“And, while you’re thinking, Aleksey could die.” She aligned her hand with his and tried to remove it. “Look, I respect the ‘code’ and everything, but not enough to let it interfere with his life, or the life that we plan to live together. So, unless you plan on shooting me, let me go.”

He released her hand, but refused to move.

Angel forced herself to glance back at Aleksey once more before resuming her call; he picked up on the first ring, as she hoped he would. “Uncle Peter, I need your help.”

“What’s going on, baby girl? That man giving you trouble already?” The humor in voice was almost welcomed.

There was no time to waste, so she started with the facts. “Aleksey was shot at the hotel.”

“Where is he now?”

She could hear his jaw clenching together. “He's in our room.”

“I’ll have someone there within an hour.” His voice was not surprisingly calm.

Despite the fact that Aleksey's breathing had been slowing down significantly, she managed to offer a simple plea in a tone that almost matched her uncle's. “Please, hurry.” He was out of his warm bed, and dressed in a matter of seconds.

Impulsively, he snatched his keys from the table, and began mentally going over the short list of people whom he could still count on; people who were still apart of his old life.

The sound of his keys clanging together jolted Miranda from her sleep. “Peter? Where are you going?”

“Angel called; she needs my help.”

She rolled over, and flipped the switch on her table lamp. “What kind of help could she possibly need... after midnight?”

“Aleksey’s been shot.”

She sprang up from the bed, and looked around for something to wear. “Is he alright?”

“He will be if I can get him some help in time. What are you doing?”

“Getting dressed. I’m going with you.”

“Baby, you know I don’t want you involved in whatever this is.”

She glided the wide opening of a flowy summer dress over her head, and slipped on the nearest pair of flats. “You never did, but this isn’t about you, this is about Angel. Poor dear. She must be going out of her mind.”

“She sounded strong, a little shaky, but strong. I’ll make the call from the car.  Let's go woman!”

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

There was a long silence in the room before Marat spoke up for no other reason than to cover the sounds of Aleksey struggling to breathe. “Your Uncle?”

“What? You thought you and Aleksey were the only ones with connections to the underworld?” They shared a brief smile before she began roaming aimlessly around the room, eventually ending up right back in front Marat. “Can you please check?”

He nodded once, and apprehensively reached for Aleksey's wrist. “He is alive.” Angel mouthed the words, "Thank you." 

“What is taking them so long? He said less than an hour; it’s been almost forty minutes.”

“I’m sure he will--” There was a knock.

“That’s probably him now.” Marat slipped his arms around Angel’s waist, and pulled her away from the door.

I will open it. Stand back.”

When he deemed her to be out of the way of possible gun fire, he braced himself against the door, and took a quick peek through the peephole. “What does your Uncle look like?”

“Just open the door!” He stumbled back against the wall when Peter shoved it open.

“Angel!”

“Uncle Peter! Aunt Miranda? What is she doing here?”

“She came for you.”

“What do mean for me?”

“While they work on Aleksey, I thought it would be best if you and Destiny came home with me. Where is she?”

“In the bathroom, and I’m not going anywhere, Auntie.”

“Sweetheart, think of your baby.”

“That’s what I’m doing.” Her eyes drifted over toward Aleksey; Miranda’s soon followed.

“I was speaking of the one growing inside you.”

“I’m not leaving.”

“Surely, this stress cannot be good for you, Angel.”

“I’m not leaving!”

Peter stepped in between the two most stubborn women in his life. “Miranda, if she wants to stay, let her stay.”

“Fine, but at least let me take Destiny home.”

“Fine.” Angel strolled over to the bathroom door, and knocked softly. Seconds later, Natalia quietly appeared.

“I added lavender to her bath; she is asleep.”

“Good. I need you to go with her to my Aunt and Uncle’s house until… just until.”

“Okay. How will we get there?”

“I’ll take you. Hi. I’m Miranda.”

Natalia nodded, and shook her hand. “I am Natalia.” She turned back to Angel. “I cannot carry her.”

“I will.” Marat squeezed through the small opening between the women, and entered the bathroom. When they reached the main door, he stopped, and locked eyes with Peter.

“I will take care of my niece, and your friend until you get back.” Marat gestured for Natalia to open the door before offering his thanks.

When they left, Angel curled up in a chair next to her Uncle. “You have guards in place?”

“Yes.”

She rested her head against one of his broad shoulders, and together they watched the trio that he brought with him set up small, but evidently necessary medical equipment-- equipment that Popov did not have. Strike two.

Twenty minutes later, a heavy handed knock on the door interrupted her brutal plans of revenge. As a precaution, her Uncle stood up and removed a glock 45 from the back of his waistband. Once he let Marat in, he retook his seat, and pulled Angel back against him for support.

He settled his thoughts, and looked down at her for a split second. “Bring back any memories?” She nodded a couple of times, but kept her visual focus on Aleksey. “I never wanted you to see that side of me.”

“I know, Uncle.” Her voice was quiet, and distant.

“You were so young.”

“I was older than Destiny.”

“Did she see this happen?”

“No… but, she has seen me get shot.”

His shoulder tensed beneath her. “Because of him?” She refused to answer. “What does he do? Be straight with me, Angel.”

“He… He’s a, um.”

“Angel.” His voice was tight, and devoid of all prior amusement.

“He’s a… mob boss.”

“Damnit!” He slammed his hand down on a surgical tray, and sent the instruments flying across the room. “How could you? After seeing what I went through, what your Aunt went through-- How could you do that?”

“I didn’t know at first.” She stood up, and led him out to the balcony. Marat made himself useful by standing guard until the others arrived.

“What do you mean you didn’t know?”

“Are you calm?”

“Don’t I look it?!”

“Uncle, please.”

“Fine, I’m calm. Speak little girl.”

“First of all, I’m not a little girl.”

He rubbed her protruding belly and laughed. “I’ll give you that one.”

After his laughter simmered, she picked up where she left off. “Unc, when I got shot, I didn’t know him. I had no clue who he was. I had never even laid eyes on him before.”

“What happened?”

“I was window shopping with Des. A black SUV pulled up, and the passenger started shooting. I threw myself on top of Des, and when I woke up, I was at Aleksey's mansion.”

“So, he saved you?”

“He could have left me on the street to die, but he brought me to his home, had his surgeon operate on me, and took care of Destiny until I was strong enough to do it.”

“You fell in love.”

“Not right away.”

“So, you fought it?”

“You know me and love, Uncle Peter.”

“So, you ran from it?”

Her laugh turn sigh dwindled with the soft breeze. “Initially, I gave him hell.”

“That’s my girl. But, then what happened?”

He happened. He insisted on taking care of me until I was completely healed, and capable of taking care of Destiny; I'm pretty sure that she fell for him long before I did.”

“So, he made you fall in love with him?”

“He would like to think so, but it kind of just happened. Even after I got scared when I found out what he did -- does, my heart still refused to shut him out.”

“And, now you’re trapped.”

“No. I’m exactly where I want to be… exactly where Aunt Miranda was sixteen years ago, by the love of my life’s side.”

“I thought her experiences would have deterred you.”

“Nope, but they did prepare me. I love him, Uncle, and I don’t think I would stop even if I could.”

“I see.” He pulled her into a long overdue hug, and walked her back inside the busy room.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“You can take whichever room you want.”

“Who are you?”

Miranda grabbed Destiny’s hand, and Destiny latched on to Natalia’s.

“I am your mommy’s Aunt Miranda, which means I’m your Aunt Miranda, too, and in case you’re wondering, this is my house.”

“Where is my mommy?”

“She’s… back at the hotel with Aleksey.”

“Oh.” She looked to Natalia for confirmation.

“I have some cookies. Would you like one?”

“No. My mommy doesn’t let me eat cookies this late.”

“Well, that’s surprising considering she and I used to eat them much later than this when she was your age.”

“You knew my mommy back then?”

“Yes, even when she was a little baby; I have pictures. Would you like to see them?”

“Yes!” Destiny wiped the remaining sleep from her eyes, and bounced on the couch in anticipation.

“What’s going on out here? Can’t a man get some sleep?”

“Well, maybe when a man shows up. Now cover your little bird chest, and go introduce yourself to your cousin Destiny.”

“THE Destiny?”

“The one and only. Go say hi.” Miranda continued flipping through a stack of old photo albums.

“Destiny?”

“Yes.”

“Hi, I’m your cousin, Kevin.”

“Cousin?”

“Yea. I guess Angel never told you about me, huh?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“I’m not surprised since I used to beat her at everything.” Destiny gave him a wearied look. “You don’t believe me?” She boldly shook her head. “Okay, name a game, and I bet I beat her at it.”

“Basketball.”

“Beat her.”

“Tennis.”

“Beat her.”

“Um….Football?”

Destroyed her. She only wanted to play flag football, but I still won.”

“Water balloon fights?”

“Okay, she won those, but it’s because she cheated.” Destiny's tiny body shook with laughter. “She did. Really.” Kevin tried to plead his case, but Destiny was laughing so loudly that she couldn’t hear him.

Miranda returned back to the sofa, and shooed him away. “I'm sure Angel will have something to say about your claims, Kevin.”

“She always does.”

“Okay, Ms. Destiny,” Miranda clutched the books to her chest, “I have several photo albums that have your mommy in them. Which would you like to see first?”

“The blue one.”

“Alright.” Miranda shuffled the books around until the blue one was on top. “Now, this is one of your mommy when she was in high school. The styles might seem a little funny considering how much they’ve changed, but she still pretty much looks the same.”

“Yea, ugly.”

“Kevin! I am sure that Destiny does not appreciate you talking about her mother like that. Apologize.”

He leaned forward, and looked directly into the eyes of one pissed off little girl. “I’m sorry, Destiny. Your mom and I play like this all the time. When your little brother is born, you’ll probably do the same thing.” When she didn’t respond, he decided to sit back, and shut up.

Miranda disguised her laugh as a cough, and handed over the blue book.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“How is he doing?”

“Well, his fever seems to be responding to the medication. Where’s the young lady?”

Angel stretched, and raised her hand simultaneously. “Right here.”

“The treatment he received previously was from a doctor?”

“Yes.”

“Mmmm.”

Angel glanced at Marat. “What does that mean?”

“Now, I’m not trying to knock a fellow physician, but it just seems to me that he would have tried to get his fever down first, or at least sterilize the wound… I don’t know.”

“So, basically he screwed up?”

“Honestly, yes. If Peter hadn’t called me when he did, I'm almost certain that he would have succumbed to one or both of those issues. Are you sure this doctor was working for you, and not against you?”

Angel’s rage spilled out from the surface of her core. Strike three. Her thoughts were once again interrupted, this time by the slight sound of stirring coming from the bed.

Angel rushed to Aleksey’s side, and grabbed his hand. “Aleksey, come back to me, baby. I need you. We all need you. Please.”

She hadn’t noticed the stray tears that had splashed down onto his hand, but he did. They slowly streamed down to the crook of his bent arm, tickling him. With his eyes still closed, he produced the most handsome, albeit slanted smile that she had ever seen. “Kiss me.”

She didn’t wait for him to ask twice. He couldn’t kiss back, yet, but the fact that he was able to ask at all was more than she could have asked for. Peter gave her a few more seconds before grabbing her by the waist, and pulling her back into her bedside seat.

“Let the man breathe, Angel.”

Aleksey’s eyes fluttered open slowly at the sound of Peter’s voice. He had been hearing voices all along as he went in and out of consciousness, but Peter’s was one that he hadn’t heard since he left his house.

Through blurry eyes, Aleksey strained to see the woman who almost single-handedly willed him to live. He continued to blink until her beautiful brown skin, and bright watery smile came into focus. Tears continued to flow down her cheeks as his breathing noticeably got stronger. Her Aleksey was back. With Marat on one side, and Peter on the other, she remained seated as the doctor continued to administer his examination.

She held Aleksey’s stare even when they flipped him over to his side to check the exit wound on his back. The pain pills, something that Popov did not provide helped him remain silent through the process. Once he was flat on his back again, she eased her way into the bed next to him, never wanting to leave his side again.

It was a struggle, but he determinedly lifted his free hand and placed it on the bottom of her belly. While staring into his eyes for signs of pain or discomfort, she raised his hand to a much busier area of her abdomen. Knowing that their son was okay brought Aleksey some much needed relief.

“Des--?” He reached for his throat, and unsuccessfully attempted to swallow a few times. After sending Marat to retrieve a bucket of ice in the hallway, the doctor briefly explained that dryness was to be expected.

Since he had been silenced, Aleksey raised both brows at Angel, and waited for her to respond. “Destiny and Natalia are with my Aunt at her house.” After glancing at the door, his next unspoken question became clear. “My Uncle placed guards on them; everyone’s safe.” He nodded, and relaxed into the pillow.

When Marat returned, he handed the bucket of ice over to the doctor who in turn handed it over to one of the nurses. With the bucket in one hand, she slithered across the bed, and prepared to hand feed Aleksey the slippery cubes. Peter and Marat concordantly stepped back, and waited for all hell to break loose. The grip that Angel placed on that woman’s wrist was shameful, although she felt absolutely none.

There was a twist, and then a snap, shortly followed by a scream. The doctor quickly placed his hand over the nurse’s mouth, and dragged her into the bathroom.

Aleksey shook his head at Angel, and laughed until he began uncontrollably gasping for air. Angel jumped up, and glared at the remaining nurse expectantly.

Not wanting to end up like her friend, she raced over to the breathing machine on the opposite end of the bed, and sealed the mask over Aleksey’s mouth; holding it in place until his breathing neared normal. When he attempted to remove it, Angel gave him a look that was eerily similar to the one that she had given the nurse right before possibly ending her career. He flashed her a smile beneath the clear mask, and did as she wished.

She leaned over and kissed his eyelids, forcing their closure. Seconds later, he was asleep.

Sounds, jumbled words, names, and what he thought was a confession dominated his dream. In the beginning, everything was thrown together, making little to no sense. The first voice that he heard was Marat's, begging him to hold on. The next was Angel’s, pleading with him to live. The final voice was that of Popov. Although, his voice was louder than the others, the meaning was unclear. Aleksey took control of the dream, and attempted to break the words down one-by-one. “I.” “Waited.” “For.” “Day.” “Revenge” “Finally.” “Mine.”  “Slow.” “Death.” “Be.” “Final.” “Reward.” “This.” “For.” “Afanasiy” “For.” “Bogatir.” “And.” “For.” “Grigory.”

Aleksey jolted awake, covered in sweat and blood.

It didn't take long for the doctor to know with certainty that he had reopened his stitches. “Please, lie down, Sir.”

Aleksey ignored him, and instead called for his right hand. Angel stood up, and traded places with Marat.

“Poshlite slovo Rossii. YA hochu doma kazhdogo, kto kogda-libo sv'azyvals'a s razrushennym Popovym; sozhzhennyj k osnovaniyu. Nikto ne zhivet.” (Send word to Russia. I want the homes of everyone who has ever associated with Popov destroyed; burned to the ground. No one lives.)

“Da, ser.” (Yes, Sir.)

Before he laid back in the bed, and allowed the doctor to tend to his wounds, he barked out one last order. “V techeniye etogo chasa!” (Within in the hour!”)

Marat grabbed Aleksey’s phone, and headed to the bathroom to make the necessary calls to put his plan into action.

Angel gave him a stern, but understanding look as the doctor removed the gauze, and the remaining stitches. He refused the pain medication that was offered to him, even though it was clear that the first dose had began waning. He, like Angel used his pain to fuel his anger.

Peter stood off to the side, feeling as though he had stepped back in time. His past was being played out right before him, and there was nothing that he could do to stop it. Angel would undoubtedly stand by Aleksey’s side, just as his Miranda stood by his. Pride unexplainably commingled with the pain that he felt for them. The road ahead would not be an easy one, but there was no greater testament to the value of fighting for true love than the decades of happiness that he and Miranda shared.

Stop The Presses... by Leoslove

Six days later...

 

“Make yourself comfortable.”

“Miranda, the boy’s been shot.”

“I know, Peter.” She rubbed the leg that Aleksey struggled to lift into the bed. “You knew what I meant. Right?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Please, call me Miranda.” She turned to her niece who was making herself busy by unpacking their suitcases. “Angel, honey.”

She hung up the last of Aleksey’s shirts, and exited the closet. “Yes, Auntie?”

“Destiny’s still sleeping --she’s such a little sweetheart-- so, whenever you two are ready, I’ll go get her for you.”

“Thanks. I just wanna get Aleksey settled in first.”

“Alright, let’s go, Peter. They need some time alone.” She got as far as the door before completing her thoughts. “Angel, dear?”

“Yes, Aunt Miranda?”

“I know this is probably a crazy question but, by any chance is the wedding still on?”

“Of course!”

“Thought so.” After a quick wink, she and Peter left what would be Angel and Aleksey’s bedroom for the remainder of their stay.

Angel grabbed the bed rest pillow that had been taken from one of the other bedrooms and placed it up against the headboard.

After staring at Aleksey for a few seconds, she pouted, and scooted close to him on the bed. “You scared me.” She had been holding it in since the night he was shot.

He panted through the pain as he pulled himself up into a sitting position. “How did I scare you, my love?”

“I… I thought you weren’t gonna make it. I thought I was gonna lose you.”

“I would never leave you.”

“Well, you came pretty damn close.”

“Come.” She gently laid her head on his good shoulder. “I am sorry that I scared you; it will not happen again.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because, I have taken precautions.”

“Precautions? What does that mean in your line of work. There will be others; you know it, and I know it, so please don’t try to appease me with a fallacy-- it’s insulting.” She pulled away from him, and headed back to their luggage.

“I did not mean to insult you, Angel.”

“You wanted to make me feel better?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you can’t!”

He could easily read the frustration, anger, and fear written on her face even from across the room. “I am sorry, Angel. If I had known, I would have never brought you here.”

“It's what I wanted, and you couldn’t have stopped me.”

Briefly changing the subject, he stated what had been on his mind from the moment he got his affairs in order. “You should see a doctor.”

“For what?”

“The baby. I know that you have been stressed about this situation.”

Situation? Aleksey, you were shot. You almost died right in front of me. I… we could have lost you. Situation.” He watched her walk back over to the closet in silence.

“I do not know what else to say. This is my life.”

“Wrong, Aleksey. This is not your life, it’s our life. We’re all apart of it now.”

“You are having regrets?” He rested both of his arms on the pillow, and awaited her answer.

“No. I don’t regret being with you, but sometimes…” She toyed with the idea of ending the conversation before she said something that she couldn't take back.

“Finish. Please.”

“Okay. Sometimes, I regret this, what you do, the risks that you take. Is it worth it, Aleksey? Knowing that you could be taken away from me, from our children. Is this lifestyle worth it?”

There was soft knock on the door.

“Who is it?!” Annoyed by the untimely interruption, Angel yelled a little louder than she intended.

“Natalia. It is Natalia.” Her voice was much quieter in comparison.

“Oh, come in Nat.”

Aleksey, out of habit straightened himself up in the bed as much as possible, pushing through the pain that had come back.

“I am sorry to interrupt, but I could hear you in the next room.”

“I’m sorry, Nat. Did we disturb you?”

“No, no. I was awake, but Destiny is still asleep, and I am certain that you do not want her finding out the details of what happened.”

“You’re right. Thank you for letting us know.”

“It is not a problem. Sir, how are you feeling?”

“Much better, Natalia. Thank you for asking.” She bowed, and headed back out of the room.

When Natalia closed the door, Angel realized that Aleksey hadn’t eaten since the previous night. “Are you hungry?”

“No, but you should eat. Go. I will be fine.”

She shrugged, and plopped down on the end of the bed. “I’m not hungry either.”

“You must eat, for the--”

Baby. I get it!”

“Please. I know that you are upset at me, but you must still take care of yourself.”

For the baby. I said I know.”

“No. Not just for the baby, for me, and Destiny as well.”

“And, what about you?”

“Excuse me?”

“When are you going to start taking care of yourself for all of us?”

“I do the best I can, Angel.”

“Is getting shot doing the best you can?”

“It was a set up.”

“There are people who want to kill you, Aleksey and I don’t know if I can…” Her thoughts drifted.

“Can what? Can what?!”

“Just forget it. I’ll go get you something to eat.”

“Angel, wait.” She stopped, but kept her back to him. “I love you.”

“I love you, too Aleksey.” She turned the knob, and painfully took her leave.

There was another knock on the door, this time much stronger. “Come in, Marat.”

He opened the door and looked back at it in amazement. “How did you know?”

“I always know.”

“True. You must teach me that trick someday.”

“It is not a trick, it is a skill. Now what can I do for you my friend?” He scooted up a little futher in the bed.

“Nothing. I was just coming to check on you.”

“As you can see, I am fine. How did things go?”

“Everything has been taken care of. Nothing stands.”

“Good. And, Popov?”

“Is being held at a private facility.”

“How did you find one so quickly?”

“Peter. It seems that you two have quite a bit in common, or at least used to.”

“Yes, it seems that way.”

“Oh, Natalia’s daughter is coming today.”

“Really? She did not mention it when she came in earlier.”

“She probably did not want to bother you.”

“So, how are things with you and Natalia?”

“Sir?”

“The plane… Have things progressed since your little dalliance on the plane?”

Marat looked up, and squinted under the pressure of Aleksey’s all too knowing smile.

“I am sure that I do not know what you are talking about.”

“And, I am sure that you do. I am not angry.”

“You're not?”

“No.” He waved his hand.

“But, what about your rule about employees fraternizing with each other?”

“You two are more like family.”

“Really?”

“Yes. So, have you gone further?”

“No. We’ve been kind of busy.” He pointed to the freshly applied bandage on Aleksey’s chest.

“I see.”

“And, what exactly did you see?”

“You making Natalia the... happiest that I have ever known her to be.” Marat held his head down, feeling surprisingly bashful. “You have feelings for her? Besides the obvious, I mean.”

“She’s special.”

“That is not what I asked.”

“I care for her.”

“Mmm.”

“Okay, I like her. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

“Do not hurt her.”

“I--”

“She is very dear to Angel, and what is dear to Angel is dear to me. Regard her with the highest respect, or leave her alone, now.”

“Is that an order?”

“Yes, and I hope it is the last one that I will ever have to make concerning your love life.”

Love? I said nothing about love.”

“It is there.”

“Where?” He looked around himself. “Where?”

“Do not worry, I will not tell.”

“There is nothing to tell. I said nothing about love, you did. Love? Ha!”

“I do believe that you protest too much.”

“I do not love her. Like. Strong like is more accurate.”

“Sure.”

“I am serious, Aleksey. I only like her.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Stop it.”

“Stop what? I only stated what I see.”

“Well, there must be something in your eye.”

Aleksey chuckled, and placed his hands over his chest until the pain subsided. “Have you been able to reach my family?”

“Yes. All are coming to the wedding. Uh, I guess this means no bachelor party?”

“Have your party, Marat.”

“But, what about you?”

“This party was always for you, anyway. Enjoy.”

“It will not be the same without you.”

“I know, but I am sure that you will tell me all about it, so it will be just like I was there.”

“Not the same.”

“Well, when I am better we will throw another party. How about that?”

“Angel will not go for it.”

“I know, but it was a nice thought.” Their laughs tapered off when Angel and Natalia reentered the room.

“What’s so funny?” Angel placed a tray of food next to Aleksey’s pain pills.

“Nothing, my love. Just men talk.”

“Oh joy.” She gave him a lingering kiss that indicated all was forgiven. “Nat’s daughter is coming today.”

“Yes, Marat has told me. Are you excited, Natalia?”

“Very, Sir. She is looking forward to meeting each of you.”

“That is nice.” Angel fed him a small piece of bacon, and handed him a glass of orange juice after.

“My Aunt Miranda has volunteered to show her around Miami once she gets settled.”

“That is very nice of her.” He attempted to feed her a reciprocatory piece of toast.

“I already ate.”

He held the buttery flavored bread up to her lips, and said, “Eat more.” She decided it would be easier to pacify him by taking a small bite. “More.”

“No. I’m not hungry.”

“Marat, call Dr. Kuznetsov.”

Angel slid off the bed, taking the tray with her. “For what?”

“For you. I want to make sure everything is alright.”

“I’m fine. We’re fine. I just don’t have an appetite; it’s not that big of a deal.”

He smiled, and ordered Marat to call.

“On it.” Marat grabbed Natalia’s arm, and escorted her away from the impending fallout.

“Aleksey, I just told you that I’m fine.”

“Correct me if I am wrong but, you used to be a cop, not a doctor. Yes?”

“Yes.” She returned the tray to his lap, and sat down next him.

“So, you are not capable of knowing if you and our baby are truly fine. Yes?”

“Oh shut up.”

“Shut me up.”

A twinkle formed in his eyes as hers glazed over giving way to the lust that always burned inside her for him. “Don’t start what you can’t finish.”

“Finish it for me.”

“See, you need your own room.”

“That will not work.”

“And, why not?”

“Because, I will need you.”

“For what?”

“Help.”

“What kind of help?” Her brows raised in anticipation.

“All kinds. All kinds.”

“Like?” Before Aleksey could answer, there was an interruption at the door.

“Can I come in?”

“No!”

“Come on, big head.”

“Ugh!” Angel hopped off the bed, and swung the door open. “What do you want?”

Kevin repeatedly tried to peek around her to catch a glimpse of Aleksey. “I just wanted to… uh, know what time… You--”

“Come in… Nosey.”

He didn’t have to be told twice. “Hey, man. So it’s true?”

“What is true?” Aleksey removed the tray, and reached for his pills.

“You really got shot?”

He looked at Angel briefly, and waited for her nod. “Yes, it is true.”

“Cool.” Aleksey’s jaw clenched. “I don’t mean it's cool that you got shot, I mean it’s cool-- Angel help me out.”

“No. I think you’re doing a great job.”

“Whatever. Check it out. If you need anything, Aleksey, I’m your man.”

“Really?” He swallowed a couple of pain pills, and chased them down with the remainder of his juice.

“Yea. I’m pretty good with a gun.” Angel smacked his chest, and ducked before he could swing back. “I go to the range with Uncle Peter sometimes. I got three bulls eyes just last week.”

Angel couldn't resist scoffing at him. “Three? Out of how many?”

“That’s not important. The fact is I can shoot.”

Aleksey smiled at them both, and winked at Angel. “I will keep that in mind.”

“No you will not. Don’t encourage this fool.”

“Why all the names, big head?”

“I can’t stand you... That’s why Destiny beat you in basketball.”

“She cheated! Both of y’all some cheaters.”

“Nice try, but I have a couple of witnesses who tell a completely different tale.”

“She paid them off.”

“With what? Her Bratz collection? Boy, just admit it, girls are better than boys.”

Aleksey’s interest was suddenly peaked. “Is that so?”

“Yea, it is.”

“Would you care to wager?”

“What are you talking about?”

“When I am feeling better, how about we play a game of two-on-two?”

“Oh, you don’t want none of this, honey.”

“Actually,” he reached for her skirt.

“Okay, y’all about to get nasty. I’m out!”

“Kevin, wait.”

“What? I don’t want to watch this.”

She sucked her teeth, and smacked him upside his head. “Natalia’s daughter is coming today, and I was thinking that since you two are about the same age, you could show her MIA from a younger perspective.”

“She’s coming where? And, what does she look like?” He folded his arms, and held his head up in the air.

“She’s coming here, as in this house, and she’s gorgeous, better than you’ll ever get.”

“You must not know who I am.”

“Oh, I know who you are big bird. So, you gonna do it or what?”

“I’ll do it. I can’t subject another person to the oldness in this house.”

Oldness? Let me go tell Auntie about this oldness; I’m sure she’s gonna love it.”

“Hold on now. I was just playing. What time is she coming?”

“I’m not sure. Auntie is taking Natalia to pick her up from the airport, so just be ready to roll with her.”

“I am ready.”

“Not wearing that you aren’t. Change.”

“Is she this bossy with you, Aleksey?” He quietly smiled, and looked away. “Thought so. You need to work on that, girl.”

“Whatever to both of you. Now go get dressed into something that's from this decade.”

“You just mad cause you don’t know vintage when you see it.”

“Riiiight. That must be it. Go.”

“I’m going. I’m going. You ain’t gotta push. Aleksey? You sure wanna marry this… this--”

“This what?” Aleksey sat up, and stared him down.

“Nothing. I’m gonna go change. See ya!”

Angel closed the door behind him, and laughed. “You sure know how to clear a room, babe.”

“I did not mean to scare him off.”

“Sure you didn’t.”

“I did not, but now that he is gone, let’s get back to--”

“Planning our wedding. You know Auntie’s still waiting for your list.”

“But--”

“No buts. Do you at least have a number?”

“Marat knows; he made the calls.”

“Did anyone say no.”

“He said everyone is coming.”

“That’s good… Do you think you’ll be better in time?”

“Of course. Let me show you.”

“Aleksey, cut it out.”

“Fine. I will save it for the honeymoon.”

“Yea, you do that. Um, babe?”

“Yes.”

“I kind of wanted to see my parents today.”

“Without me? Unacceptable.”

“Aleksey, I know you want to be there, but I really just want to get this over with. What are you doing?”

“Getting ready.”

“The hell you are! You already popped your stitches once; you’re not doing it again.”

“You are not going alone.”

“Okay, I’ll wait a couple of days. Please, just get back in the bed.”

“I need to stretch my legs.”

“That’s not all you need to stretch. Cover that thing up.”

He smiled when the tip of her tongue traced her top lip. “Walk with me.”

“Where?”

“Around the house. Outside. I need fresh air.”

“No. You need to rest.”

“I have been doing that, now I need to walk.”

“You’re restless.”

“If that is what you wish to call it.”

“Please, rest a little longer… for me.” She rubbed her belly for good measure.

“Fine. For you, but I really need to get out of this room.”

“Why? Is it too girly for you?”

“Yes!”

“This was the room that I used to stay in when I would spend the night.”

“Ah. That explains all the pictures of you on the walls… a shrine.”

“It is not a shrine. I just liked taking pictures, that’s all.”

He slipped around her, and continued touring the room. “I like this one.”

“Which one?” She slid in front of him. “Oh, that was Halloween. Uncle Peter was pissed when I got back.”

“Why?”

“When I left the house, I was wearing a cute little cheerleading outfit that he barely approved of, but when I got to the party, I changed into that sexy nurse’s costume. When the party was over, I couldn't find my original outfit, so I had to come back here wearing that. I had never seen him so angry in all my life; it almost made me want to go home.”

“He was protecting you.”

“Yea. He always thought of me as the daughter he never had.”

“So, this party--”

“Don’t start.”

“I was just going to ask if you had fun… and with whom.”

“Yes I had fun, and my first kiss.”

“With?”

“David Jackson. He was foine! And, could tongue kiss like none other.”

“Oh, really?”

She whipped around and made him sweat for a few seconds before admitting the truth. “I’m kidding. I hung on the wall like a painting along side my bestie, and watched everyone else have a blast. I didn’t really come out of my shell until my sophomore year in high school.”

“Uh huh.”

“You should get back in bed.”

“I will, after you explain this picture.”

“Oh, that? It’s nothing.”

“Is that David Jackson?”

“No. That’s Tommy Black.”

“Another boyfriend?”

“Yea. After David dumped me for some big-boobed airhead, I moved on to Tommy. He was a sweetheart for sure. Always carried my books to class, pulled out my chair in science, just all around great guy.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Bed.”

“And, this guy?”

“I promise I will answer all of your questions after you get some rest.”

“Lay with me.”

“Aleksey.”

“Just until I fall asleep.”

“You’re tired? See, I knew you walking around was a bad idea.”

“It is a side effect of the medication.”

“Oh... I knew that.”

“Sure you did. Come.”

“You know I love when you say that word.”

“What word?”

“Come.”

“Then by all means, cum.”

“Aleksey, you are such a perv.”

“I am not a perv… What is a perv?”

“A pervert.”

“I am no such thing. I love my wife,” she cleared her throat, “my soon-to-be wife, and I want to pleasure her; that does not make me a perv.”

“You're right, baby. I’m sorry.”

“Good. You should be… Now, cum.”

“I take it back, you are a perv.”

“Fine, but I am your perv.”

“Yes, you are.” She rolled over until their sides touched. “Go to sleep.”

“Sleep with me.”

“But, I’m not… okay. Close your eyes.”

She waited until he closed his before closing her own.

The past week had been a complete whirl wind, and although rest was something that they both needed desperately, it would not soon be coming for Angel. Her mind reeled from the events that had taken place, and against her will, she began to picture it happening again and again. She wondered how many times she and her children would suffer through that kind of fear and uncertainty. She wondered if true love would ever truly be enough. If she lost him… she cut her thoughts off, and stared at the ceiling.

“You are not sleeping.”

“I can’t.”

“It will happen. Close your eyes.”

“No. I mean I can’t. I can’t go through with this.”

End Notes:

**** Updates have been made in the 'Cast Pic Page'.****

Plans and Planes... by Leoslove

“What do you mean you can’t? Are you—”

“Can we come in? Someone really wants to see you both.”

“I swear this place is like Grand Central Station.” Angel pushed herself out of the bed, and directed Aleksey to cover up. “Come in.”

“Mommy! Aleksey!”

“Hey, baby girl. Have you been behaving for Aunt Miranda?”

“Yes. She’s nice.”

Angel looked up at Miranda and shared a smile. “Yes, she is. Have you eaten yet?”

“Yes. I just finished. I missed you and Aleksey so I wanted to see you.” She leaned in closer to Angel, and whispered loudly, “Aunt Miranda said Aleksey’s not feeling too good so I shouldn’t get too close.”

She covered her mouth at the sound of rumbling laughter. “I have been better, but I think I can manage a slow hug.” Aleksey glanced over at Angel as Destiny inched her way over to him, and eased her tiny arms around his neck. “I think this is just what I needed. So, how has your time been here?”

“Fine.”

“Only fine? So, you were displeased in some way then.”

“I just missed you and mommy, but I had Ms. Natalia and Aunt Miranda to keep me company, so it wasn’t too bad.”

“Well, I am glad that it was not too bad.”

While they chatted, Miranda observed how quiet and standoffish Angel had been since she and Destiny walked in the room. She joined her at the over-sized nightstand, and leaned into her. “Did Destiny and I interrupt something?”

Angel kept her eyes on Aleksey and Destiny while nodding her answer to her Aunt. “I think I was about to call off my wedding.”

“Why?!” Aleksey and Destiny both jumped at the sound of Miranda’s bellow. “Please forgive me. We’re going to take our conversation outside. Be back.” Miranda pulled Angel out to the hallway, and closed the door behind them. “Now why would you do a foolish thing like that?”

“Auntie, do you know how close he came to dying?”

“Yes, but—”

“I don’t know how many times I can do it.”

Once Miranda pulled her down the hall and into an empty bedroom, her facial expression changed to one that was normally reserved for Kevin. “I know it’s scary now, but it’ll get better; you’ll adjust.”

Adjust? But Auntie, why should I have to? This is not the life that I pictured for myself when I was a little girl, you know that.” She threw her arms up, and sank down on the bed bench.

Miranda's face grew tighter. She clapped her hands together, and purposely towered over her favorite niece. “Okay, Angel. Let’s go over the facts. Was Aleksey not a mob boss when you met him?”

“Yes, but—”

“And, did you find out that tidbit of information before or after you fell in love, and had unprotected sex creating this wonderful child inside of you?”

“Before, but—”

“So, then for the sake of all that is holy, please tell me what exactly has changed, because it surely sounds as though it was not him.”

“Well, damn. I guess you can take the lady out of the courtroom, but you can’t take the courtroom out of the lady.”

“Watch your mouth, and answer the question.” Her brows raised as she waited.

Angel remembered exactly who she was dealing with and straightened up. “I don’t know. I… I just don’t feel like I can go through with this.”

This what? Is it the wedding?”

“No... I don’t know.”

“From what I’ve been able to gather from you and that tight-lipped Natalia, you and Aleksey have been living together as if you were husband and wife practically since the day you and Destiny moved in. So I’ll ask you again; what has changed?

“Auntie, Aleksey has never almost died in front of me before.”

“Little girl, do you have any idea how many times I wanted to leave your Uncle Peter because of his repeated involvement with danger?” Angel shook her head. “I lost count at seventeen.”

“Seventeen?!”

“Yes. Seventeen. I have seen that man through more tragedies than I would wish on our enemies, but I’m still here, and I never left.”

Angel still couldn’t shake the number. “What in the world made you stay?”

“It’s simple, darling. I knew that no matter how bad things were, I would feel ten times worse without him.”

Angel chuckled in disbelief. “That’s it?

“Yes. That’s it. Let me ask you something else. If things ended with you and Aleksey today or tomorrow, how would you feel?”

“Horrible.”

“Okay, and how do you feel when you’re with him?”

Angel’s eyes lit up, and her heart began to race at the mere thought. “Unbelievably happy. Happier than I ever thought was possible. Like my life is complete. Like—”

“I get the picture.” She smacked Angel on the leg, and traipsed over to the floor length mirror. “You’re not the cause, you know.”

“Huh?”

“Of his issues with ‘misfortune’. If you left him, his enemies would still be after him; the only difference is, he wouldn’t have you to push him to fight back.”

“He doesn’t need me for that, Auntie; he’s strong.”

“You know? I bet if we were to ask him if you had anything to do with him making it that night, he would say yes.”

“But, he can’t live for me, any more than I can live for him.”

“I know that, and I’m pretty sure he does, too.” She turned around, and stared at Angel. “There’s something you’re not telling me. What is it?”

“Nothing. I told you everything that you need to know.”

“Well, then tell me everything that I don’t need to know.”

“I just don’t want to lose him.”

“Sweetheart, is it that you don’t want to lose him, or that you don’t want to lose him on terms that are not your own?”

“I don’t understand.”

“It's very simple. If things end with you and Aleksey, do you want to be the one who ends it, instead of waiting for something like what happened to happen again?” Angel was clearly still in a state of confusion. “Girl, is this all about you wanting to be the one in control of this situation?”

“I... No! I just want us to be a normal couple living a normal life.”

“Well, you can hang that up! You chose a man who is almost identical to the man your Uncle Peter used to be.”

“But, Uncle Peter got out. Maybe—”

Miranda bent down and cupped Angel’s face in her hands. “Sweetheart, despite the similarities, they are still very much different. Did you really think that you could change him once you were together?”

“No. I don't want to change him. I love him just the way he is; it's just his lifestyle…”

“Mmm... It’s finally starting to set in.”

“Yes, and I feel like if I don't get out now, I'll never be able to.”

“Angel, you are carrying the child of a mobster; your chance is gone.”

“I don’t believe that! There has to be a way.”

“A way to what? Do you think you can just up and leave a man like that? Like his enemies won’t seek you out and use you as leverage against him?”

“Auntie, what am I gonna do?”

“I can’t answer that for you, but I will tell you this; if you want to leave him, and I mean if it’s something that you reeeally feel that you must do --I can’t believe that I’m about to say this-- I will do everything in my power to help you, but it must be between us, not even Peter can find out.”

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“Today’s the big day, yes?”

“Yes. I am so excited, Marat.”

“As am I… for you. I know that you have been missing your daughter very much.”

“Yes; very much.”

“Well, I am sure that she is as lovely as you are.”

“Thank you. I just hope that she has not changed too much. I have not seen her in a very long time.”

“Well, we all must grow up some time. You know, I was thinking that maybe while your daughter is getting settled in that I could take you out for a nice dinner tonight.” He continued sipping on the coffee that she had offered to him moments earlier; she always knew how to make it to his liking.

“That is a very nice offer, but I would like to spend as much time with her as possible; it’s been so long.” She winked, and gave him a once over. “I am sure that you will find something or someone to occupied your time.”

Occupy, and yea, you’re right… I’m sure I will.” He grabbed his cup, and headed for the door just as Kevin was attempting to walk in.

“Hey! Watch it!” Marat checked his shirt for stains, and brushed passed him.

“What’s his problem?” Natalia shrugged, and finished washing the final dish. “You know we pay people to do that?”

“Yes, but she was not here, and I too get paid for this so…”

“Right. Where is everyone? I thought we were supposed to be picking up your daughter.”

Natalia checked out his outfit, and noted that it was very different from how he’d been dressed previously. He looked suspiciously mature; completely opposite of what she had thought him to be. “You look nice.”

“Thank you.”

“You are welcome. I am sure that your Auntie will be down very shortly.” She put the plate away with a smile.

“You’re really excited, huh?”

“Yes. She is my only child. I miss her. I love her.”

“She’s lucky then.”

I am lucky one. Where are your parents? If you do not mind me asking such.”

“Army.”

“Army?”

“Yea. They both dumped me off on Aunt Miranda and Uncle Peter when I was ten, to serve their country, and I haven’t seen them since, not even after the divorce.”

“Our country.”

“What?”

“This land, is all of our country, and it is great.”

“Yea, if you say so. Look, tell Aunt Miranda that I’ll be up in my room waiting.”

“Okay.” She looked at the door long after he had gone, and hoped that she hadn’t said anything that offended him.

On the way back to his room, Kevin pulled his phone out and checked for missed calls. “I knew it!” He waited until he was in the privacy of his room to call back.

“What took you so long?”

“Girl, chill out. I just got your message.”

“Well, maybe if you would leave your phone on, you would know when I call.”

“You called to nag me?”

“No.”

“Then, why did you call Big Daddy?”

Big Daddy? Boy, leave them drugs alone.”

He stared at his phone while she laughed. “Whatever, girl. You gonna tell me why you called me, or what?”

“I wanna hang out tonight.” She put her phone on speaker, and picked at her chipped nails. “I was thinking that maybe we could go to that new club over on Sixth; the one that Felicia was bragging about getting in.”

“Can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I got something to do.”

“Like what? Or, should I say who?”

“It’s not like that, and why you all up in my business. I thought you had a man.”

“I do, but—”

“Then why you sweating me?”

Sweating you? Who talks like that anymore?”

“Whatever. Look, I got plans.”

“With who?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but a friend of my cousin’s daughter is coming here from Russia, and my cousin asked me to go with my Aunt to pick her up.”

“Yea, I bet.”

“What’s your problem? I swear if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you liked me, or something.”

“Un! Wrong answer, but thanks for playing.”

“That’s why you probably ain’t got no man.”

“I do, too!”

“Then, how come no one’s ever seen him?”

“Because, he’s busy. He has a job.”

“Doing what?”

“Um, that’s none of your business.”

“Riiight.”

“Anyway, when are you supposed to be going to the airport?”

“Soon. Why?”

“No reason. So, what if I drop by later?”

“I thought you wanted to go to the club. What? Yo man working?”

“As a matter of fact, he is.”

“Mmm hmm.”

“You are such a dick. So, can I come over or what?”

“Yea. I’ll call you when I get back.”

“You better… So, what does home girl look like?”

“I don’t know. I never met her before.”

“She’s probably ugly.”

“Please, she’s probably hot. Her mama is… to be old, I mean.”

“Ugh! I really can’t with you.”

“Can’t what? You know you love me.”

“I what?”

“You heard me. That’s why we’re such good friends.”

“Yea, friends.”

“Kevin! We’re ready!”

“Hey, I gotta go. I’ll call you later. Bye.”

“Yea... Bye.”

End Notes:

New characters = New drama

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Run... Do Not Hide... by Leoslove

He found her outside on the patio overlooking the hills, near the basketball court. He clutched his chest and bent down slowly to pick up the ball, gripping it in the palm of one of his very large hands. Instead of making what he knew would be a sure shot, he chose to focus his attention on her, as she continued drifting deeper into her thoughts, which he was certain were about him, and their future.

Doubt was to be expected, he just assumed that it would come much sooner. She was his everything, and just as he had warned her almost a year before, he would never let her go.

Still, he took her feelings and fear into consideration, mainly because she wasn’t feeling anything that he hadn’t felt before. He had never outwardly admitted it to anyone other than Marat, but he too feared for her safety, and the safety of their children, and the children they would have in the future. He believed all of his promises to keep them safe, but mistakes happen, and the previous night served as a cruel reminder.

He watched her focus on something off in the distance, something that he could not see from his vantage point, so he waited; waited for her to notice him, just as he would always notice her.

“Come closer.”

She noticed. “I was waiting.”

“For?” She never turned around.

“Your permission.” He released the ball, and kicked it toward the court.

“You don’t need my permission. We both know who is really in charge of our relationship.” He remained silent. Although the sun was in the beginning stages of setting, it was still shining too brightly behind him for her glance to linger. She tapped her watch, and counted back the hours. “Have you taken your medicine?”

“Yes. Before I came out here.” Her concern was warmly welcomed.

“You should be resting.” She continued to stare straight ahead.

“I was looking for you.”

“Why? Did you need something?”

He shook his head, knowing that she could see him out of the corner of her eye. “Not something. Someone.”

“Aleksey—”

“I need my wife.” She turned to face him with a smirk, just as he had known she would.

“I’m not your wife.”

“Not yet?”

“No.”

They were each safely testing the waters; choosing their words carefully.

“I love you, Angel.”

“I know, Aleksey, and I love you, too.”

“Do you?”

“Yes, of course.” She looked into his eyes, allowing him the same privilege.

“Then, why have you been avoiding me all day? Why are you having second thoughts about marrying me? Why?”

“I have not been hav—” She knew better than to lie to him. “I needed time to think. Time by myself.”

“Have you had enough time? Have you come to a conclusion?”

“No… I don’t know.”

“Which is it?” He tried and failed to keep the sound of trepidation out of his voice.

“I don’t know. There’s a lot to consider. I just need more time.”

“Our wedding is in a few days. Will it take longer than that?”

“I don’t know. Like I said, there is a lot to consider.”

“No more than before.”

“What?”

“Nothing in our life has changed since you accepted my proposal.”

“Hello?! You got shot.”

“You have seen my body, Angel -- all of it-- it was not the first time.”

“I know, but you almost didn’t make it. Have you ever been that close to death before?”

He inhaled deeply, and released it quickly. “No. I have not been close to death before.”

She drew her knees up to her chest, as closely as her stomach would allow, and followed a particular cloud that was passing by much too quickly. “I can’t live without you, Aleksey.”

“And, I will not live without you.”

“Because you love me.”

“Yes, and I need you. You are everything to me. You a part of me.”

“Before, when we first met, how did you feel?”

“I do not understand your question.”

“How did you feel? Why did you want me and Destiny to stay? Why did you bring us to your house?”

“Have we not been through this?”

“No. You never really told me why?”

“Fine. The decision to bring you to my home, to help you was impulsive; a first for me. I had never made an impulsive move before in my life until that day.”

“What about that night?”

“Yes. I was moved by impulse then, too. I felt that my family was in danger, and I moved against my better judgement. I was impulsive, and it almost cost me everything.”

“I make you impulsive?” The cloud moved on.

“You bring out all kinds of emotions that I had never allowed before; including trust. I trusted you with everything; my life, my freedom, my heart. Everything.”

“And, I trusted you with the same.”

“But not now?”

“Yes, even now.”

“That is not true. You do not trust me with your heart, because you are trying to take it back, but it is mine.”

“Always…” Her voice trembled as tears flowed freely.

He pulled her hand toward the slightly elevated rhythmic beating in his chest. “Always.”

“I’m sorry.” She snatched her hand away, and stood up abruptly, leaving him at the table in confusion.

“What is it, Angel? Why are you hiding yourself from me?”

“I’m not h-hiding.”

“You have been distancing yourself from me all day; I must know why.”

“I’m scared. Okay? I can’t explain it, not even to myself. I know what I signed up for, what I agreed to, but that night changed something inside of me, and I don’t know if I can get passed it.”

“I am scared, too, Angel. Just as you almost lost me, I almost lost you, and Destiny, and our son. It scared me, too, but what I will not do is let my fear keep me from living the life that I have always wanted. This, what we have created together is what I have dreamed of since I was a little boy, and I will not be denied.”

Denied? I’m not property, Aleksey. Hell, I’m not even a damn dream. I’m real, and I have real feelings and one of them is fear; fear that I cannot let go of as easily as you apparently can.”

“Is that what you think? That I have let it go? No, Angel; it is here,” he pointed to his heart, “and here,” he pointed to his head. “I have everything to live for, and everything to lose, but I will not let my fear keep me from you, any more than I will let your fear keep you from me. We will get through this just as we will get through everything, together.”

She closed her eyes, and leaned against the brick wall behind her. She knew he was right, and that she was being foolish by allowing fear to dictate her future and her happiness, but it was still there; the danger, the threat of death, not just for Aleksey, but for them all. His enemies were now hers, and would always be.

With, or without him, their lives would forever be tied, and for the most part, she was okay with that. What was troubling her was the fact that everything that they had built together all started, and almost ended the same way, with a single bullet, and that it would only be a matter of time before it happened again.

Her eyes fluttered open at the sound of him rustling toward her. He knew exactly what she needed; the strength that he had borrowed from her the night before.

“Please, do not run from me, Angel; do not hide.”

Finally allowing herself to crumble in the safety of his arms, she made a vow that she planned to keep until the end of time. “I give you my word, Aleksey; I will not run.”

Dead To Rights... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

 

Long after their emotional breakthrough, Angel and Aleksey continued sitting on the patio talking about everything from who they thought their son would look like to who they thought would cry first at their wedding.

After spending several minutes convincing her that their day would be perfect, his pain meds began kicking in. He had been showing signs all along, but it wasn’t until he began nodding off that Angel suggested they retreat to their bedroom.

After standing up and getting in a good stretch of her own, she instructed one of the guards to come over and assist Aleksey to their room; her instructions also included carrying him if necessary.

Although, Aleksey could barely stand on his own, the prospect of being carried by another man made him hell-bent on going it alone. He called it determination. She called it stubbornness. After going back and forth to the point of exhaustion, Aleksey finally agreed to allow the guard to follow them to their room, just in case

Angel and the guard both kept a safe distance and allowed Aleksey to lead the way for his ego's sake. Once there, Angel thanked the man for his patience and sent him back to his post, while Aleksey passed out at the foot of the bed. 

She looked up to the sky colored ceiling and wondered how in the hell she was going to get him further into the bed, and into a more comfortable position.

His strong legs, which seemed to be purposely stretched wide open presented an opportunity for her to do exactly what they would normally be doing around that time, or any time for that matter. She shook the thought away as best she could, and ignored the swelling of her clit.

She kneeled down before him, one of the few things she did that he openly hated, and removed his shoes, one by one.

“Only you would be walking around fully dressed one day after getting shot.”

After discarding his shoes, she pulled herself up and stared down at him. The swelling returned.

Figuring that in his current position the only way for her to remove his pants would be to straddle him, she gently and happily climbed aboard. Within seconds he began to rise underneath her, and out of nothing more than sheer habit, she began grinding against him; or at least that’s what she told herself. After a few seconds of rubbing her bare clit against the bulge in his pants, she could have sworn that she felt him grinding back, so she froze.

After a few moments of complete stillness, she concluded that it must have been nothing more than wishful thinking on her part, and continued on with her original task.

After unfastening his belt buckle, and unsnapping his pants, she went for his zipper. More grinding. This time she was certain that it was coming from him, so she froze again, as did he.

She stood on her knees slightly above him, and pulled his zipper down over his bulge as far as it could go. It was then that she was presented with another problem. Since he was flat on his back, there was no way that she could completely remove his pants. She considered trying to turn him over on one side, but then concluded that the movement alone could cause his stitches to possibly reopen.

Enlisting the help of the guards was out; he would have everyone’s head if she allowed any of them to see him in such a vulnerable state.

She toyed with the idea of leaving him in that position until he woke up on his own, but the fact that he insisted on holding her against him every night since her return forced her to reconsider, especially when she thought back to the time he actually fell out of the bed searching for her in the dark. She had only gone to the bathroom, but he panicked and ended up with a deep laceration on his left knee. Being that they were not in there own room, and he was on the opposite side of his normal bed placement, it wasn’t a risk that she was willing to take.

Running out of ideas, she slid out of the bed and stood directly in front of him. He was undoubtedly the sexiest man she had ever seen in her life. Even in his current condition, her desire for him was almost unbearable. The many pleasurable things he was capable of doing with his tongue -- his fingers. She squeezed her legs together, and began to pray.

“If you weren’t asleep... the things I would do to you--”

“Like what?”

She jumped back, and swung at him simultaneously. “I thought you were asleep!”

He sat up on his elbows and donned an adorably deviant smile. “I know. Now please continue.” He patted his lap, and spread his legs a little wider.

Momentarily ignoring his lap and his request, she glanced back at the door, and pointed. “So what the hell was all that out there?”

He sat up completely, but allowed his legs to remain open, presenting an invitation for her to do with him as she wished. “I may have embellished how truly tired I am. But, how else was I supposed to get you to come to bed with me?” Before she could answer, he yanked her down on top of him, and unleashed a kiss that was so powerful, so full of passion that all she cared about -- all she was capable of caring about was being with him in that moment.

“I love you, Angel.” Although he expressed his love for her often, there was something about the way he said it that particular time that brought her to the verge of tears. It was as if he desperately needed for her to not just hear his words, but to listen to his heart.

After she was certain that could speak without breaking down, she repeated his sentiment. When she attempted to get up from his lap, he grabbed her wrist, and held her still. A split second before she questioned why, he dispensed one more kiss to her flushed lips and released her.

Solely with the interest of lightening up the mood, she smacked his arm, and playfully stated, “If you wanted to get me into bed, all you had to do was ask.” She served him a wink and a smile, and headed over to the closet where she began to undress.

He leaned back and watched the show. “I know, but my way was much more fun.”

She turned around wearing only a devilish grin. “And that’s why I should have ordered the guard to carry you over his shoulder, caveman style.” She giggled loudly at his expense. “Now that would have been fun.” The deadpan look in his eyes told her exactly what he thought of her idea. “Speaking of guards,” she quickly changed the subject, “I’ve been meaning to ask you what happened to the other ones.”

“Which ones?” He stood up, and slowly peeled out of his dress shirt.

“The ones who were around when Destiny and I first moved in. You know: Tomas, Roberto, I already know what happened to Viktor, but all the others -- when I came back they had all been replaced. What happened?”

“They are no longer around.”

“What do you mean? Did you send them somewhere else?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes.”

Her heart sank a little lower in her chest. “Aleksey, please tell me that you did not do what I think you did.”

“I do not know what you think I did.” He examined his shirt closely, and discovered a few specks of blood just underneath the pocket.

“Did you… Are they dead?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“They did not protect you.” He was so matter of fact about it that for a second she forgot who she was dealing with.

“All of them?”

“Yes.”

“Even Tomas?”

He marched over to the bathroom, and dumped his shirt in the hamper. “Yes. Even Tomas.”

“But, I liked Tomas.” She had never told him, but he was her favorite.

“I liked Tomas, too, but he did not protect you.” She detected a hint of remorse in his voice; it was small, but still there. “Even after you were taken, I gave them a chance to save their own lives... all they had to do was find you, and bring you home safely before I came home, and as you know, they did not.”

“But--”

“Angel, my love. I gave them one job while I was away, to protect you and Destiny; they failed.”

She slipped into his favorite piece of lingerie, minus the matching panties, and strolled back over to the bed. “Sometimes…” She became suddenly unsure if it was a thought that he was ready to hear.

“Sometimes what?”

“Sometimes… you scare me. Not you, but what you’re capable of.”

He pulled back the covers for them both, and opened his arms to her. “You, Destiny, and our son -- there is nothing that I will not do for any of you, or to anyone who causes you harm. You must know that my family will always come first, before business, and before friendship.”

She snuggled as closely against him as she possibly could, feeling safer than she had felt in a long time. “Tell me about your family.”

He gently rested his chin on her shoulder. “What do you wish to know?”

“Who’s coming to the wedding? And, what are they like?”

“Well, I have left the inviting up to Marat, so even I am not certain as to who is coming, but I suspect that my Aunt Alina will be here, along with a few others.”

“Tell me about them -- your Aunt. What’s she like?”

“Well, she is not my blood Aunt. She took me, Marat, and quite a few other 'delinquents' into her home that had no where else to go.”

“So, she was like a den mother?”

“A what?”

“A den… nevermind. Continue.”

“Yes. Well, she treated all of us equally, and as we got older we each vowed to take care of her -- see that she wanted for nothing.”

“How come you never told me about her before?”

“She never came up in conversation before.” There was a slight smile in his voice.

“Aleksey--”

“Okay. I planned to take you to Russia to meet her.”

“Really?” She perked up a bit.

“Yes. I have told her about you, and she is excited.”

“Do you really think she’ll like me?”

“Yes. She has only wanted the happiness of her children.”

“That is so sweet.” He blushed. “Okay, now tell me about your cousins.”

“There are not many.”

“Well, tell me about them.” She placed his hands just under her belly to relieve some of the pressure.

“Well, I have not spoken to them in quite a while, but I send money. I always send money to make sure that they have what they need, and stay out of the business.”

“That’s generous of you.”

“No. Not really. I just do not want them to take the same path that I did; it is not an easy one.” Even in her silence, he knew that she had something to say. “Tell me.”

“Tell you what?”

“Whatever is on your mind?”

“I was just wondering if you could go back and not make the same choices, would you.”

“Honestly, I have considered that many times, and my answer has changed almost as frequently; well, until I met you.”

“Me? Why?”

“If I had not made the choices that I made, I would not have come to America; there would have been no need. I would not have been at that building at the precise moment when you and Destiny were walking down the street looking at… dresses, I believe.”

“You saw us?”

“Yes. How could I not? You were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen; breathtaking.”

“Okay, now you’re putting too much on it.”

“I am not! You were gorgeous; still are.”

“I remember that day very clearly, well most of it. I let Destiny style me as I did every time we went window shopping. I was wearing... an old dress that looked like it was straight out of Mardi Gras, some shoes that had no hope of matching, my hair… my hair was pinned up into a crazy ponytail. Please, I looked a hot, steaming, funky mess.”

“You were beautiful. You are beautiful.”

“You were blinded.”

“By?”

“I don’t know. Maybe, it was all the colors on my dress.”

“The colors?” He kissed her neck repeatedly until she tilted her head and cut him off. “It was not the colors. It was you. You were beautiful, and the way you and Destiny interacted, the playfulness caught my attention.”

“Why?”

“It reminded me of my own relationship with my mother before...”

“Before your brother killed your father?”

“Yes. Before that day, we, she and I were happy. We would go to the market together, play together, and sometimes just think in silence. She was my world. My solace in an otherwise fucked up place. The instant my father would come home everything would change… The light in her eyes would dim. She became hollow, sad.”

She tightened his grip on her belly. “I’m sorry, baby. We don’t have to talk about it.”

“No. It is okay. I do not ever want you to feel the way my mother felt.”

“I don’t Aleksey. I don’t. I know that you love me, and you want me to be happy.”

“But, I do not always make you happy.”

“No. Not always, but that’s not your responsibility.”

“As your husband,” she surprisingly did not interrupt, “it is my responsibility to see to your happiness.”

“Wrong.”

“How am I wrong? Should I make you miserable?”

“No. Of course not, but if I am not happy with who I am as an individual, there isn’t anything that you or anyone else can do to make me feel that way. It all starts and ends with me.”

“I suppose that somewhat makes sense… a little.”

She popped his hands and laughed. “You just can’t admit that I’m right. Can you?”

“I guess I will let you know when it happens.”

“Aleksey!”

“I am only kidding. You are right, this time.”

She looked up and quirked her brows at him. “You are such a--”

“Kiss me.”

“No.”

“No? You are denying me?”

She grabbed ahold of his right hand and slipped it beyond the dip of her belly. “No.” There was a seductive purr that surrounded that single word.

“No?” His fingers ventured further under her painstakingly slow guidance. “No?”

“No. Although, we really should not be doing this.”

He curved his index finger until it was just beneath the fullness of her clit. “We should not? Are you sure?” He flicked the little bud until she cried out.

“Don’t you think we should wait until you get cleared by your doctor?” He flicked it again. “Please, baby. We should wait.” Again. “Oh my god! I’m gonna cum.”

“Cum for me, Angel.”

When his finger mimicked the normal speed and motion of his tongue her body began convulsing uncontrollably. After a minute or so, she shuddered a few more times, and collapsed back into his arms.

“Wait, huh?”

“You are so damn cocky.”

“Yes, and speaking of--”

“We are back!!!!”

“Fuck!”

Angel laughed, pulled the covers up, and called for Natalia to come in.

Knowing how Angel and Aleksey get down, Natalia opened the door very slowly, giving them ample time to prepare. “My daughter--come-- is here!” She stepped back and made room. “This is Ketrina. Ketrina, this is Mr. Moroskov, and soon-to-be Mrs. Moroskov.”

“You can just call me Angel.” She jumped, and almost lost her grip on the sheet when Aleksey pinched her hip underneath the covers. “Mrs. Moroskov will be fine.” She pinched him back just because. “How was your flight, Ketrina?”

“It was fine. Long, but fine. Thank you.”

“Well, I was thinking that tomorrow --if you’re feeling up to it-- we can have a Girl’s Day at my favorite spa; get to know each other.”

“That would be very nice. I have never been to a… spa.”

“Oh, well you’re gonna love it. I’ve been trying to get your mother to go with me for a while now. Maybe, together we can get her to loosen up a bit and join us.”

Ketrina looked back at Natalia for translation. “Rasslab'tes'.”

“Oh, relax. Yes, I am sure that my mother could use some relaxing time.” She frowned and quickly added, “Not that she complains. She loves her job; loves what she does. She does not complain ever.” She closed her eyes, fearing Aleksey’s reaction. Everyone knew of his reputation in and around Russia. He was a legend; a legend whose wrath she did not want to witness first hand.

“It’s okay, Ketrina. We knew what you meant. Right, Aleksey?” She tried to induce a smile out of him by conspicuously rubbing up against his thigh, but that only reinforced his thoughts -- thoughts that did not include Natalia or her daughter. 

“Yes. Sure. Ketrina, you must be tired after your flight. We will see you in the morning. Good night.” 

After glaring at him for a few seconds, Angel pulled herself together. “Please excuse him, Ketrina. It’s late, and he’s just a little cranky. We will see you in the morning. And, Nat?”

“Yes, Ms, Angel?”

“You are going, too.”

“Yes, Ms. Angel.” Natalia smiled, and nodded as she closed the door.

He rolled over to his side and pulled her close. “Now, where were we?”

“You know, you can be so rude sometimes.”

“I was rude?”

“You know very well that you were rude. How is Ketrina supposed to feel welcomed in her new land if her new boss is being overly dismissive, and  rude?”

“I am sorry.”

“Don’t tell me. Tell her.”

He moved further down in the bed, and looked up at her with a sincere grin. “I will not.”

“Why? Is your ego more important than making a young woman feel comfortable?”

“I am sure that she will get over it. In fact, she has probably forgotten all about it, just as I am trying to do.” He nipped at her collarbone.

“Stop that.”

He laid back in a huff, clearly in the beginning stages of frustration. “Angel, we must set boundaries. She is an employee.”

“But, she’s also Natalia’s daughter.”

“Who is also an employee. I have no loyalty to either of them. What I do for them, I do because of you. Natalia is alive because of you. Her daughter is here because of you. You are who I will be nice to. You are who I will apologize to… should the need ever come up, and speaking of coming up... What are you waiting for?”

“I’m waiting for a doctor to tell me that it’s okay. Aleksey, I love you every bit as much as you love me, and I am not going to risk your health or your life -- no matter how wet I am right now.” She wished that she had kept that last tidbit of information to herself.

“You are wet, Angel?” She loved the way her name rolled off his tongue.

“Yes, Aleksey.”

“This wetness… May I see it for myself?”

Even though she was drowning in temptation, she still managed to cling on to what little willpower she had left. “Not until after a doctor says that you are ready.”

“But, I am ready. See?” He whipped back the blanket, and put his erection on full display.

“Hold up. When the hell did you remove your pants?”

“I have my ways.”

Apparently, but my answer is still….” He wrapped her hand around the base of his thickness. “Please, Aleksey. It’s for your own good.”

You are for my own good, Angel.”

He removed her hand, and began stroking himself slowly, almost tortuously just the way she liked. “That is the meanest, low-down thing you can do to me right now. I wasn’t this mean to you when you made me wait.”

“What am I doing that is so wrong? Mmm?” He picked up his pace, and stared just short of her soul. “If you will not please me, then I must please myself. Is that not fair?”

“But, Aleksey.”

“Yes, my love.”

“It’s so big.” She couldn’t take her eyes off it.

“Yes.”

“And hard.”

“Yes.”

“Aleksey.”

“Yes, baby.”

“I… I…need.”

“What baby? Tell me. What do you need?”

“You.” She pushed him back on the bed and straddled him. When he gripped her thighs she knew there would be no stopping him. Choosing to simply accept her fate, she arched her back, placed a firm grip on his legs, and prepared herself for the fucking of her life.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“So, what do you do to have fun around here?”

“Mustard or mayo?”

“Both.”

Kevin pulled both jars out of the fridge, and placed them in front Ketrina, before settling on a bag of chips for himself. “Well, there’s a lot of clubs around here, night clubs.”

“I have always wanted to go to one.”

“They don’t have clubs in Russia?”

“Yes, in some cities, but I am sure that they are not as popping as the ones out here.”

“Poppin’?! What do you know about what’s poppin’?”

“I am heavy into the American culture.”

“Oh, is that right?”

“Yes. I like the rap, and the r & b, and some of the pop.”

“Huh. Well, who are some of your favorites?”

“Jay-Z. I like him very much, and his beautiful wife, Beyonce.”

“You mean my future wife, Beyonce?”

Ketrina took a bite of her sandwich and laughed. “You are very funny… I like that.”

“Really.” They stared at each other for a few seconds before they were interrupted.

“Kevin?! I have been looking all over this house for you. Hi, Ketrina. You have a visitor.”

“Who?”

“Me.”

Kevin would’ve known that voice anywhere. “Hey, T. I was just about to call you… after I finished eating of course. You hungry?”

“No. I just came by to say hi, and to meet your new house guest.” She raised a brow and smirked at Ketrina, who surprisingly returned both gestures.

Remembering her manners, Ketrina wiped the smirk off her face, and extended her hand. “I am Ketrina.”

“Ketrina? That’s a nice name. So, when are you leaving?” Tanisha sat down next to Kevin, and waited earnestly for an answer.

Ketrina looked to Kevin for an explanation of his friend’s boorishness, but he was too busy staring at Miranda, silently pleading for help to notice.

Miranda had a plan of her own which was to let him stew in his own mess for a change. She said her good nights, and made a swift exit.

Kevin followed her to the threshold of the kitchen until she was out of sight. When he turned back around, he noticed that he had garnered the undivided and suddenly unwanted attention of both ladies. He nervously flashed them both a grin, and took his seat. “So, um? Where were we?”

“I was just asking Kuntry when she was leaving.”

“Ketrina.”

“Excuse me?”

“My name is Ketrina.”

“Oh, what did I say?”

“Kuntry. That is not my name.” The tension was high, and definitely more than Kevin was prepared to handle.

“T, Ketrina will be staying here until the wedding. Then, she’ll head to California with her mom, my cousin Angel, her daughter Destiny, Aleksey, and all of the guards who are hiding around every corner… Yep, every corner. Just waiting for some ish to pop off so they can break it up… Yep...” He crushed a few chips in his mouth, and nodded to nothing in particular.

Tanisha grabbed a napkin off the counter and smiled at Ketrina as she proceeded to brush the fallen crumbs off of Kevin’s chest. “You always were a messy eater.”

He grabbed the napkin and finished the job. “Yea. Thanks.”

“So, Kuntry--”

“T!” Kevin couldn’t believe how she was behaving.

“I’m sorry. Dang! I was just playing with the girl… She can obviously take a joke; I mean look at her.”

“That’s it. You gotta bounce.”

“What?! You’re kicking me out? Your best friend?”

“Yea, and you can come back when you start acting like my best friend. Good night.”

“You know what, Kevin? -- Forget it. As a matter of fact, you can forget me.” She zipped her jacket up, and headed for the front door.

“Wait… T, wait!” She sped up until he tackled her. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Me?! You’re the one who’s throwing away a lifelong friendship for some White chick you just met. You know I never woulda thought that you would be a…”

“A what? A what?”

“A sellout! But, if that’s the kind of girl you like, then by all means let me get my Black ass outta her.” She opened and closed the door before he had a chance to react.

“A sellout? Me?” He reached for the knob, but was stopped by a large hand behind him.

“Let her go, son.”

“But, Unc, she thinks I’m a sellout. I would never…”

“I know, and she knows it, too. She’s just hurt. Man, I knew this would happen, and your Aunt tried to warn you.”

“Warn me about what? I didn’t do anything.”

“You and that little girl have been beating around the bush since you first met in what? The sixth grade?”

“Fourth.”

Peter shook his head at him. “I don’t know why you both haven’t just hooked up already. Hell, it’s obvious how you feel about each other.”

“We’re friends… At least we used to be.”

“That girl ain’t going no where. She’ll be right back over here tomorrow, acting like nothing happened.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“How? I’ve seen y’all do this dance so many times that I lost count. She’ll be back, but you better be prepared to either cut her in, or cut her out because that pretty little thing in the kitchen is obviously interested in you.”

“How’d you--”

“Boy, you know I got cameras all through this house.”

“You were watching us?”

And listening, so make up your mind. I can’t have you making me look bad.”

“But, what if T and I go for it, and it doesn’t work out? What if she ends up hating me?”

“It can’t be any worse than this back and forth thing y’all keep doing. Look, give her some time to cool off, and then let her know what’s up.”

“It ain’t that easy, though.”

“Yes, it is. Let me ask you something.”

“Sure.”

Peter reeled him in by both shoulders. “Have you hit it, yet?”

“Unc!”

“What? I’m just askin’. Damn, you acting like you a virgin or something.” Peter quickly tried to clean it up when he realized that for the first time in his life, Kevin was quiet. “Not that it’s anything wrong with being a virgin. In fact it’s a good thing, real good.”

“You can stop lying, Unc. I ain’t a virgin.” Peter coughed to cover his smile. “It’s just, I don’t even think I can go there with T. She’s… I don’t even know how to put it words.”

“I think I get it, but just be prepared to choose.”

“What?! I just met Ketrina tonight, and everybody’s acting like I’m screwing her.”

“You better not be!”

“Aunt Miranda, I was just saying--”

Peter ran his hands down the sides of his face. “Go back to bed, babe. I got this.”

“Fine, but Kevin I better not catch you foolin’ around with that girl, not in this house.”

“I don’t even know that girl, Auntie.”

“And, when has that ever stopped you?”

He stuffed his hands in his pants pockets, and smiled sweetly. “Good night, Auntie.”

“Good night, Kevin.” She turned, and stopped abruptly, remembering who she was dealing with. “I mean it, Kevin. Not in my house. You wanna have sex here, get married, and then we’ll see.”

“But what about Angel? She ain’t married yet.”

“Aleksey is in no condition to even do that type of thing right now.”

“Well, either he’s a fast healer, or they got the HBO up on blast because somebody’s in there fuc--”

“Watch your mouth boy!” Peter smacked Kevin in the back of his head so hard that he had to blink to see straight. “Miranda, let’s go to bed.” She stood still with a look of anger that Kevin had not seen since he got arrested for “joyriding”  when he was sixteen. Peter remembered that look, too and tried to coax her up to their room before all hell broke loose. “Come on, baby. He didn't mean it.”

Her stare didn’t waver, nor wane. “I know this little boy was not about to say what I think he was about to say. Not to me!”

“Baby, let it go. He knows better. Ain’t that right, K?”

“Yea. I’m sorry, Auntie… I love you.” He flashed her smile that would normally work, but not that time.

“Kevin, I may not have brought you into this world, but don’t think for one second that I will hesitate to take you out of it.” She left both men standing there completely speechless as she headed for the stairs. “Boy must have lost his damn mind talking to me like that. Me? Oh, hell no! I have half a mind to…” They were both grateful that her words trailed off when she hit the top of the stairs.

“Thanks a lot, boy.”

“I’m sorry Unc. I didn’t mean to say that. You know I would never disrespect her.”

“No. What I know is that Angel and Aleksey are gone be the only ones getting it in tonight. I had plans, man. Plans! Shit!”

“I’m sorry, Unc. Look, let me go talk to her--”

“You just tryna die, ain't you?” He couldn't help but shake his head. “I’ll go deal with your Auntie while you go deal with that girl in the kitchen. And don’t forget,” he looked back and whispered, “no fucking in this house… Take her to the boathouse.” He slapped Kevin on his shoulder and laughed.

“Unc!”

“What? Look, if the opportunity arises, that’s the place to handle your business.”

Kevin was starting to feel a little sick by the turn of events, and the conversation. “Right now, I really just wanna go to bed… alone.”

“You good on condoms?”

“Unc, you ain’t hearing me, man.”

“I heard you. Now hear me: It’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them.”

“I know, and I’m good.”

“Well alright. I’mma go on upstairs and try to open up Ms. Fort Knox.”

“I really didn’t need to hear that.”

Peter laughed, and headed up the stairs. “Hey, if I’m lucky, that won’t be all you hear.” He turned around just in time to catch Kevin gripping his stomach and running back toward the kitchen.

“I thought that you were not coming back. I cleaned the dishes.”

“You didn’t have to.”

“I know, but I guess I better get used to it since it will be my new job.”

“Your new job?”

“Yes. That is one of the conditions of me being allowed to come here. I must help my mama.”

“That’s messed up.”

“Well, it beats living in Russia without her.”

“I guess.”

“So, where are we going?”

“What?”

“This is the city that never sleeps, right?”

“Uh, naw. That’s New York. Miami is a close second, though.”

“Then, where are we going?”

“It’s late. Don’t you wanna get some sleep? We can hang out tomorrow if your mom says it’s okay.”

“I am an adult. I do not need my mama’s permission.”

He looked back at the camera. “You may not, but I do. I have my orders.”

“Orders?! If I wanted to follow orders, I would have stayed in my homeland. I came here to have fun.”

“I understand all that, but I’m not trying to get killed.”

“Killed? By who, Mr. Moroskov?”

“Naw? He wouldn’t touch me. He’s marrying my cousin.”

“That is right. That does make you neprikosnovennyj.”

“What?!”

“Sorry. Untouchable.”

“Yea… I guess so. Let’s go to bed, and I’ll think of some possible places that we can go to tomorrow night.”

“Okay. Where is our room?”

Our room? You really are tryna get me killed. Your room is right next to your mother’s. Down the hall, fourth door on the right.”

“And, where is yours?”

“Waaaaaaaaaay upstairs. Next to my Aunt and Uncle’s, and some of the security.”

“That is shame.”

“Why?”

“Because, I might get lonely… need someone to talk with.” He didn’t know why he hadn’t noticed it before, but her lips formed a permanent pout when she spoke, and it was starting to pull him in.

“Yea, well maybe we could...”

“Kevin! Let that little girl go to bed!”

He forgot about the intercom. “Well, I gotta go. Sleep well.”

She planted a soft kiss on his cheek, and turned to walk away. “I will.” She threw in an extra wiggle when she realized that he was watching her.

“Kevin!”

“I’m coming, Auntie!” He took another glimpse at the hallway before hightailing it upstairs and out of danger.

Once he was in his room, he decided to take a chance and check messages before shutting his phone off for the night. “Unc was right.” There was a lone text message in his inbox from Tanisha. The message was brief, and to the point.

“I’m sorry for the way I acted, K. I don’t know what got into me. My mom always says apologies are best done in person so I’m here… at the boathouse. I’ll be waiting. -- T”

“Shit! How am I supposed to get outta here with my Auntie sniffing around like a damn bloodhound?” He nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard a knock at the door. “I didn’t mean it!”

“Mean what?”

“T? What are you doing in here?”

“I came in through the back. One of the guards let me in after he took his sweet time searching me. He better be glad he was cute.”

Kevin hopped up and ushered her inside his room, locking the door behind them. “Do you have any idea what would happen to us if my Auntie found you in here?”

“K, you’re almost twenty-one. When are you gonna start acting like it?”

“Have you met my Aunt?”

“Oh, yea... Damn. Nevermind.” She sat down on his bed, and waited for him to do the same. “I just wanted to apologize for my behavior, and the things I said. I was wrong. I had no right to go off on you, or Kahuna.”

“T…”

Ketrina.” She rolled her eyes, and grabbed his hand. “So, we cool?”

“Always. Now, you better get outta here before--”

“Kevin! Who are you talking to? Boy, open this door.”

“Fuck!”

End Notes:

Ketrina's pic has been added to the "Cast Page".


~.~.~.~.~Reviews are always appreciated.~.~.~.~.~

The Cost Of Freedom... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

I know I have not updated twice in one day in A VERY LONG TIME, but I had to get this out of my head before I could move on.


~.~.~.~.~Happy Reading~.~.~.~.~

Tanisha and Kevin quickly surveyed the room. There weren’t many options, but jumping out of the window seemed just a little bit better than facing Miranda.

“Kevin! Open this door, and don’t make me say it again!”

“Yes, Auntie.” He pointed to the closet, and waited until Tanisha was safely tucked away before opening the door.

“What took you so long? And, where is she?”

“Who?”

“Boy, don’t play dumb with me. Get out here.” She heard the closet door squeak open, and she was more than ready, or so she thought. “Tanisha?! What? Oh, hell no.” She pulled off her slipper and pointed at the door. “Get cho narrow behind out of my house, and don’t you ever even think about coming back! Disrespectful heffa!” Tanisha tried to time her escape, but what she didn’t know was that she was messing with a pro. The moment she thought she was safe, Miranda lit her ass up with the bottom of her slipper and didn’t stop until she was out of reach. Luckily for her, Miranda slipped on the rug, and lost her at the stairs. “And, where the hell do you think you’re going?”

Kevin turned around, and headed back into his room. “No where.”

Wrong answer. You can pack your shit up and follow her little ass right on outta here.”

“What?”

“You heard me. Get out!”

“But Auntie…” Tears seemed to flow from every direction.

“Miranda, honey calm down. Let’s be reasonable about this.” No one heard Peter enter the room, but Kevin was sure glad to see him.

“You’re taking his side?”

“No, but let’s at least hear the boy out.”

“I don’t want to hear anything he has to say.”

“Miranda, think about it. He doesn’t have anywhere else to go.”

“Please! He’s grown enough to have some fast assed little girl in my house; I’m sure he’ll have no problem finding somewhere else to live.”

“Please, Auntie. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t wanna hear it. Start packing.” She stormed out of the room, and ran right into Angel and Aleksey. “Y’all can go on back to bed. There’s absolutely nothing to see.” She strutted to her room, and slammed the door.

Angel and Aleksey continued on to Kevin’s room, or what used to be.

“Is everything okay?”

Peter patted Angel on her back. “You know how your Auntie can get sometimes; it’ll pass.”

In the meantime, Kevin dragged a set of luggage down from the top shelf of  his closet. “She doesn’t want me here.”

“Son--” Peter reached out to Kevin, but he walked away.

“It’s cool, Unc. She’s right. I’m grown. I’ll figure it out.”

“But, Kevin--”

“Naw, Angel. I’m good. I’ll be okay. You just concentrate on getting married to The Russian.” He wiped his face and smiled at Aleksey. “Be good to her. We play around a lot, but I love her.”

Angel stepped up and wrapped her arms around him. “I love you, too.”

They all stood back and watched Kevin pack up his life. It amounted to more than he had room for, but he managed to get the most important items stuffed away.

“Well, I guess that’s it.”

“Kevin, where are you going to go?”

“I don’t know, Angel. I guess I’ll sleep in my car until I figure it out. It’s not like I’ll be the first person to do it.” He turned to face his Uncle Peter. “Unless Auntie’s taking that back, too.”

“No, Son. The car’s yours. Look, just let me talk to her, smooth things out. I know I can get her to change her mind.”

“Naw, Unc. She doesn’t want me here, and I don’t want to be here.”

“The hotel; you can stay there.” Aleksey’s voice was kind of startling, especially since he hadn’t said a word since he and Angel climbed the stairs. “It’s paid for. You can stay there.”

Peter stepped in between Aleksey and Angel. “Paid for until when? He can’t stay there forever.”

Aleksey looked at Angel who bore a look of expectancy and gratitude. “If things are not settled by the time our wedding is over… then, he can move in with Angel and I. We will take him.”

Angel jumped on him, causing them both to lose their balance. “Really? You mean it?” She kissed him all over until he groaned. “Oh my god. Your stitches. I’m so sorry.” She tried to unbutton his shirt, but he pulled her hands away.

“It is okay. I am fine. Must be time for my next dose.” She stepped closer and kissed him again.

Peter stared at Aleksey for a few seconds before asking to see him in private. Aleksey followed him out to the room directly across the hall, while Angel and Kevin practically jumped for joy.

“Yes, Peter.”

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“Helping. The boy has nowhere to go, and Angel cares for him deeply.”

“But California? Come on. You know with your lifestyle… How long do you think it’ll be before something happens to him? He’s like a son to me. I can’t just let you take him.”

“If he does not go with me, then where will he go?”

“I don’t know right now, but I’ll think of something.”

“The decision should really be his.”

“But, he’s just a boy.”

“I’m almost twenty-one, Unc.” They both turned to face the door. “I know you love me, and you’re concerned, but I think this is the right move for me.”

“Son, you don’t have all the facts.”

“Yes, I do. I know that he’s a mob king, or something, and I know that he got shot because of it. All that sounds cool in the movies, but that’s not what I’m about. Think of it this way: I can go to UCLA or USC, and I’ll have Angel looking out for me.”

“That’s right.” She slipped from behind him, and punched him in the chest. “Uncle Peter, I’ll take good care of him.”

“I know you will, baby girl, but…” He looked around the room. “I guess I’m outnumbered. Kevin, if this is what you really want to do, I’ll stand behind you, but if it doesn’t work out--”

“It will, Uncle. It will.”

“Okay, then. Not that you need it, but you have my blessing.”

“It means a lot.” Kevin pulled Peter into a tight embrace, and fought back a second set of tears.

“Take care of him, Aleksey.”

“You have my word.”

Peter nodded and headed back to his room.

Angel playfully punched Kevin in his arm, and jumped back. “So, are you ready?”

Kevin smiled sadly at his old room. “Yea. I guess I am. Hey, I really wanna thank you for letting me stay in the hotel and move in with you guys, especially you Aleksey. I know we don’t know each other, but it was really cool of you to…” He started getting choked up again.

“I know, and you are welcome. I will have a couple of guards escort you to the hotel, and stay there with you until the wedding.”

Angel wrapped her arm around Kevin’s waist and pulled him against her. “You are coming to the wedding, aren’t you?”

“You heard Auntie.”

“She’s mad, but she’ll get over it, and even if she doesn’t, I still want you to be there.”

“I know, but--”

“No buts. You must have forgotten how stubborn I can be. Tell him, Honey.”

“For the sake of us all, please come, or we will never hear the end of it.”

Kevin held his hands up and laughed. “Okay. If Auntie lets me through the door, I’ll be here.”

“Good enough. Now, me and this little one need to get some sleep. I’ll call and check on you tomorrow, String Bean.”

“Thanks, Big Head.”

She gave him another hug, and headed back downstairs to bed.

“I will talk to the guards now.”

“Uh, Aleksey.”

“Yes?”

“Are you really a Mob King?”

Aleksey stared him down, and left without saying a word.

“Damn. I guess that’s a yes.”

Betty Wright Vibes... by Leoslove

After giving him a final hug, Peter walked Kevin out to his truck, then solemnly headed back to the house.

From the moment he opened the door, Peter was hit with the fact that the only son he would ever have was now gone.

After attempting to shake the thought away more than a few times, he shrugged his coat off and made his way back up to his bedroom where he’d hoped to find Miranda sleeping. He loved her, but her behavior pissed him off.

He pushed the door open slowly and of course found her sitting up in the bed, undoubtedly reading something that pertained to law.

“Where is he?”

“Gone. Just like you wanted.” He could always easily hide the anger in his tone, but it was his face that would undoubtedly give him away. Without looking directly at her, he strolled over to the closet and began getting undressed.

“Well, did he at least take an extra blanket? It’s kind of cold out tonight, and I know his truck is gonna be freezing.”

Peter stepped further inside the walk-in and took a few deep breaths. “He won’t have to worry about that.”

“And, why is that?” After dog-earring the last page that she had pretended to read, she placed her book down comfortably on her lap. He was angry with her, that much she could sense, but there was definitely something else going on.

Peter slammed the closet doors shut, and snatched a pair of pajama pants out of his dresser. “BECAUSE… because, he won’t be sleeping in his car.” Still pissed, he hopped in the bed with his back facing her. 

He may have thought that he was punishing her, but she loved his strong, muscular fully tatted back. The security of the broadness alone almost always made her swoon; unfortunately for them both, this was not one of those times. Slipping back into her days as a lawyer, she did away with her glasses, and studied his body language; it was a skill that helped her win each and every one of her cases. In fact, she was undefeated all the way up until she was disbarred for helping one of her clients elude the law. With her eyes zoned in on the back of his head, she began her examination.

“Peter, where will Kevin be sleeping tonight?”

He shoved his lips against the pillow, and answered, “The Viceroy.”

Her eyes tightened instinctually. “Will you please repeat that?”

“The Viceroy. I said the Viceroy.”

Miranda toyed with her bottom lip, something else she used to do in court, but only when she stood before male Judges. “And, how exactly is he paying for his room at the Viceroy?”

Dejafreakingvu!

“Miranda, everything has already been taken care of. Good night.” 

“Peter, did you—”

“No. I didn’t, and it’s only because I didn’t have to. Good night.”

“Then, please explain how a twenty year old with no job, and no savings could afford to stay in a place like the Viceroy.”

“Babe, it’s already been taken care of. Can we just leave it at that? I’m tired.”

He hit the switch on his lamp and closed his eyes, hoping that she would do the same, but knowing that she wouldn’t.

“Who paid for the room, Peter?”

“Oh come on!” He grabbed at the switch, almost knocking the lamp over. “You wanted the boy out, and he’s out. Now, good night!”

Miranda, completely unfazed, calmly readjusted her pillow and continued as if his little outburst never happened. “Peter, you know exactly how this goes. Who.paid.for.his.room?”

He sat up and eyed her impatiently. “If I tell you, will you let me get some sleep?”

“Of course.”

“Fine. He’s staying in Angel and Aleksey’s hotel room. It’s paid up for the week, and since they’ve been staying here, it’s just been a waste. There,” he kissed her forehead and rolled back over, “Good night.”

“And, where is he going to stay after the week is up?”

“Miranda.”

“What?” She shrugged. “It’s just a follow up question. Proceed.”

“This ain’t court, RiRi.”

“And, you’re not on trial, darling. Now, please answer the question.”

“You know I hate when you grill me.”

“You used to find it sexy.”

“That was back when you used to represent me.”

“Well, we both know that will never happen again, so just answer the question.”

“I forgot what it was.” He turned around and smiled at her glare.

Where is Kevin going to stay once Angel and Aleksey go back to California?”

“He’s… gonna move to California with them.” He closed his eyes and waited for her to explode… Nothing…. “Did you hear me?”

“Oh, I heard you. I’m gonna kill him!” She rose from the bed, and headed straight for the door.

“Baby, he’s gone.”

“Well, then I guess I’ll just have to start with Angel.” The serene look on her face completely contradicted the anger that he knew was just below the surface. He jumped out of the bed to stop her just as she stormed out of the room. “Angel!!!!”

Her eyes shut at the sound of her name angrily echoing throughout the house. “Kevin.” Without looking, she reached over the side of the bed and fished around for her slippers.

Aleksey, still high from their last session rolled over and grabbed her wrist. “I can speak to her if you wish.”

“I’ll go deal with her. You rest.”

He eased back onto his side of the bed, and silently winced. “If that is what you want.”

“It is.” She scooted over and gave him a quick peck on the lips. “Rest.”

“I will.”

It didn’t make any sense for everyone else to be disturbed by her Aunt’s ranting, so Angel grabbed her robe off the edge of the bed and rushed out into the hall.  She swung the door open and just as she figured, found Miranda standing right outside.

“Hi, Auntie.” Angel grabbed the belt on her robe with one hand, and closed the bedroom door with the other.

“Don’t ‘Hi, Auntie’ me. What is this I hear about Kevin moving in with you and Aleksey?”

“Auntie, he had no where else to go.”

Miranda snapped her fingers, and pointed down the hall simultaneously. “Kitchen. Now!”

Peter waited at the top of the stairs until both women were out of sight before he headed to see Aleksey.

The second he lifted his hand to knock, a deep scream escaped from inside the room. He bypassed the courtesy of knocking, and instead barged in.

“Aleksey?” He looked around the room, but found no one.

“I am in the bathroom. Ow!”

If Peter didn’t already know the layout of the room, Aleksey’s grunts would have surely led him there. His eyes landed on Aleksey who was slouched over the sink, with bloodied fingers.

“It seems that my stitches have popped open.”

Peter raised his brows and chuckled out of disbelief. “Again?” Before Aleksey could offer a reason, Peter grabbed a towel off the rack and handed it to him. “Didn’t the doctor tell you to take it easy for a few days?”

“Yes, but Angel is very—”

Peter interrupted in mock disgust. “You know she’s like a daughter to me, right?” Aleksey accepted the towel, and nodded with a smile. It was then that Peter glanced back and assessed the room. Not one speck of blood anywhere. “I take it she doesn’t know about this.”

Aleksey pressed the towel over his wound and shook his head.

After walking Aleksey over to the bed, Peter called the doctor. Once he recieved instructions and a time frame of the docs arrival, he relayed them both to Aleksey. “He'll be here in fifteen minutes, and he told me to tell you to lay down and keep pressure on it until he gets here.”

Aleksey folded the towel and pressed down harder. “I am sorry about all this trouble. I have never had stitches open up so many times before.”

“You were never with Angel before… or were you?”

“No. She has never seen me like this.”

Peter's face grew stern. “Well, I might as well get this off my chest.” He picked the blanket up off the floor and motioned to the bed. “May I?”

“This is your house.”

“But, this is yours and Angel's bed… You know on second thought, I think I’ll stand.” Both men laughed as Peter noticeably tried to gather his thoughts. “Aleksey, you have possession of so many people I love, and as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s hard for me to trust you with their lives, especially after something like this.”

“I can imagine.” Aleksey pulled the towel down to see if the flow of blood had slowed.

“I guess what I’m saying is, if anything happens to any of them I will hold you personally responsible. Now, I know you’re a big mob boss and all, but I’ve been doing what you’re doing since before you were born. I will find you, and put an end to you and everything even remotely associated with you.”

“I would expect nothing less.”

There was an icy silence between them that sealed their understanding. “Well, he should be here, so I’m gonna go wait outside. Lay down and relax, and keep applying pressure.”

“I will. And, Peter?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you, again.”

Peter nodded and left.

<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>

“Sit.”

“Auntie—” Miranda whipped around with a look in her eyes that shut her down.

“Explain.”

“Explain what?”

“Oh I don't know... How about why you're letting Kevin stay with you and more importantly Aleksey! You know he can’t handle your new lifestyle.”

“Auntie, do you really think that I would let him get involved in Aleksey’s business?”

“Right now, little girl, I don’t know what to think.”

“Auntie, you know me.”

“I thought I did. You knew what I went through with your Uncle, and then you turned around and got with a man almost exactly like him... I still don’t understand that one.”

“Auntie, it’s not like I went out looking for him; he just kind of... showed up.”

“And, you couldn’t walk away?”

“No.”

“Because he wouldn’t let you?” Angel hung her head down. “Mmmhmm.”

“Auntie, I love Aleksey, and although sometimes I get scared and I question what I’m doing with him, I never truly want to leave. He is apart of me, a huge part, and even if I did leave, I would only end up coming right back.”

“But, Kevin’s just a kid.”

“He’s not a kid, and he hasn’t been a kid for a very long time.”

“Ha! I can’t even get him to grow up long enough to get a damn job.”

“Is that what this whole little drama was about tonight? You were trying to push him out of the nest?”

“I thought that if he had to find his own way even just for one night that he would see how hard it is in the real world, and that he would finally straighten up.”

“But, Aleksey and I ruined your plan.”

“Yes. You two unknowingly became his back up plan, and now I’m afraid that he’s never gonna grow up. You know at some point, we’ve got to stop saving him.”

“I understand what you were trying to do, but Kevin’s just as stubborn and determined as the rest of us. He would have just made it some other way. At least if he’s with me and Aleksey, we can make sure that he goes to college, and maybe get a little side gig to help pay for his essentials.”

“A side gig?”

“A legal one of course.

“Like at a burger joint?”

“Well, I was thinking more along the lines of helping around the house, taking Destiny to and from school, and once he proves that he’s responsible, maybe get something on campus.”

“I see you’ve given this some thought.”

“Of course. Trust me, Auntie. Kevin will be fine.”

“Well, it’s not like I have a say in the matter, any way.”

“No. You don’t.”

“Well!” Miranda clutched her chest, feeling somewhat offended.

“I didn’t mean it like that. It's just you’ve raised us so well that even though we may make a few mistakes here and there, we will always do the right thing… eventually.”

“I guess I haven’t done such a bad job.”

Angel stood up and twirled around. “Actually, you’ve done a fabulous job, if I must say so myself.”

Miranda playfully swatted Angel on the backside. “And, of course you must.”

“Of course! So, are we good?”

“Yes, we're good. Just keep an eye on him. And, if he gets out of hand, you call me, and I’ll be on the next thing smoking.”

“I’ll keep that threat in mind.”

Miranda pulled her into a hug, until they were both laughing to the point of breathlessness.

<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>

The doctor made a face and slowly peeled the towel away. “You know you’re starting to make me look bad.”

“This will be the last time.”

“Uh huh.” He pulled out his bag and proceeded to clean and sterilize Aleksey’s chest. “Peter, where did you find this guy? Now, I’m not one to tell you how to run your business, but surely you can find guys who aren’t so sloppy.”

Peter laughed and stepped forward. “I don’t think I’ve introduced you two. Please, forgive me. Doc, this is Aleksey... Moroskov.”

The Doc removed his shaky hand from Aleksey’s chest. “Mmmmoroskov?”

Aleksey crinkled his brows and masked his pain. “Yes. Moroskov.”

“As in THE Aleksey Moroskov?”

“I am only aware of one, and that it is me.”

“I had no idea. Man, you are a legend. The things you’ve done… The vengeance. Man, it’s an honor. I’m stitching up Aleksey Moroskov.” He was all smiles until something dawned on him. “Damnit, Peter. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I thought you would have figured it out by now.”

“How? There’s no pictures of him, only stories.” He looked back at Aleksey in awe. “So, are they true? The stories I mean, are they true?”

“Yes, now back to my stitches.”

“Oh, sure. Sorry.” Doc happily got right back to work with (as Peter called it) a shit eating grin to boot.

Peter pulled up a chair as Aleksey answered all of Doc’s questions. It became apparent with each answer that Peter finally had someone in his life whom he could trust enough to swap stories with... Family indeed.

<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>

Angel and Miranda sat opposite of each other at the counter, and shared a tub of ice cream.

“So, Angel, how are the wedding plans going?”

“Since you’ve completely taken over, I should be asking you.”

Miranda put her spoon down and reached in a drawer under the counter. She didn't stop until her fingers brushed against a legal note pad that held a long list of events, times, and names. Angel was oblivious to the fact that Miranda and Marat had been working closely together to insure that the wedding went off without a hitch.

“What’s that, Auntie?”

This is your itinerary for the next few days.”

“My itinerary?” She put the spoon down and grabbed at it, but Miranda was too quick.

“Not so fast.”

“What? I can’t see it?”

“Not yet.”

“Why not?”

“Because, there are a few surprises in here that you won’t need to know about until it’s too late… I mean until it’s time.”

“Okay, now I really wanna see that book.” Angel rose up from her stool and rushed around the counter just Miranda jumped up and switched sides, book in tow. “Auntie, come on. Stop playin’.”

“I’m not playing.” Miranda continued bouncing from one foot to the other.

“Auntie.”

“Niecey.”

“Just a peek?”

“No. I promise that I will tell you everything that you need to know, right before you need to know it.”

“Okay, does any of this secrecy happen to involve a bachelor or bachelorette party?”

“Girl, what part of surprise do you not understand.”

“Can I at least get a hint?” She tilted her head and batted her eyes.

“Please, that hasn’t worked since you were seven. And, no you cannot get a hint, but what you can get is your tail back to your room before your soon-to-be comes looking for you.”

“Fine, but I still wanna know.”

“And, the Devil when in Hell will want ice water. But guess what?”

“What?”

“He ain’t getting that either. Good night.”

Angel covered her smile with a smirk, and headed back to bed.

<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>.<>

“You’ll never guess where I am?”

“Where? The hospital?”

Kevin sat up in the ridiculously deep over-sized bed. “Why would you say something like that?”

“Because, your crazy ass Aunt tried to send me to one!”

“Yea, I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s not your fault. I shouldn’t have pressed my luck by going over there.”

Kevin’s channel surfing slowed to a stop when he got to the Playboy Channel. “And, why did you come over?”

“I wanted to see you. Um, Kevin what’s that noise?”

“Oh, nothing.” He quickly hit the mute button, putting an end to the lascivious sounds of ecstasy blaring from the big screen. “What were you saying?”

“You’re watching porn?!”

“No, I’m not!” Heat fused with embarrassment consumed his entire body.

“Yes, you are. It’s okay. I watch it, too sometimes.”

“Really?” His interest was peaked.

Attempting to change the subject, she quickly stated the forgotten. “You never told me where you are.”

His mind stopped wandering long enough to realize that she was right. “Oh, yea. I’m at the Viceroy.”

“Doing what?”

Living. Since my cousin is staying at my hou- My old house, they’re letting me crash here until the wedding.”

“For real?! I always wanted to check that place out. Is it as fancy as it seems?”

Fancier. As a matter of fact, why don’t you come over and see it for yourself?” His eyes flickered back to the TV screen. “It's not like I'll be going to sleep any time soon.”

Tanisha thought about his offer for a couple of seconds. “I don’t know about that, Kevin. What if your Auntie comes over? I ain’t tryna catch another beat down. Shit, those little ass slippers hurt.” She reached down and rubbed her backside. “Are you laughing?”

“Noooooooo.” He couldn’t hold it in any longer if he wanted to, and he really didn’t.

“That’s messed up, Kevin. I didn’t laugh at you all those times she whooped you in front me.”

“I was younger then. You just got a grown ass beat down!” His laughter kicked up a notch.

“Fuck you!”

“When?”

Their playfulness came to an abrupt halt. “What?”

“I asked when.” Even over the phone, she could always tell when he was bullshitting her, and this time he was doing anything but.

She held her breath to stop her heart from racing. “K, you know… Um, I thought that we agreed to—”

“I didn’t agree to shit. You said you wanted to be friends. Then, you took it back, and we’ve been going in circles ever since. T, tell me… What do you want?” The time had finally come, and she was terrified. “T? What do you want?”

She stood to her feet and took a good hard look in the mirror. The wavy watery images that reflected back didn’t obstruct the view of her heart. “You, K. I wanna be with you.”

He hit the power button on the remote, and swung half-way out of the bed. “Well, it’s about damn time.”

She literally choked on a laugh and fell back down on her bed. “You’re so fucking romantic.” She checked her nails, just as she did every other time she was nervous. “Now, um, it’s your turn. What do you want?”

You. I want you, Tanisha. Now, will you get cho ass over here so I can show you just how much?”

“What?!”

“You heard me. Come over. I know your mom won’t trip, so grab a change of clothes and get over here now.”

“But, Kevin—”

“T, we don’t have to do anything. I just wanna be with you. Is that alright?”

She tried to contain her giddiness. “Yes! I’ll be right over.” She hung up before he had a chance to say anything else, not that there was really anything left to say.

She scooped up an arm full of clothes, tossed it in a backpack, and prayed that there was at least one top and one bottom in the bunch.

Half-way out the door she turned back and headed to her nightstand. Her heart began racing again as she slid the bottom drawer open with the tip of her shoe. With one eye closed, she reached inside and grabbed a condom. Other than making balloons with her friends, she had never really given them much thought. She was a virgin, and planned to stay that way until she was either married or at least really in love. She was certain that she loved Kevin, but in love? She wasn't convinced.

Anxiety kicked in big time, and she considered calling the whole thing off.

“Sure, he said we don’t have to do anything, but he's a guy, and they all say that just to get girls to let their guard down... But, Kevin’s not like that… Is he?” She slammed herself back down on the bed and tried to calm her nerves. “It’s just sex. No big deal. Right? Right?”

Trying to convince herself that sex was no big deal was pointless because not so deep down inside she knew it was a load of bull. She had come close to turning in her ‘v card’ more than a few times, but she always stopped before things went too far. In fact, pushing guys away is exactly how the rumors of promiscuity all started. Bruised egos soon turned what she once thought of as nice guys into spiteful liars. No one would have believed her if she tried to say anything different, so she didn’t. Not even Kevin knew the truth, and the great thing was, he didn’t need to know. For the most part, he accepted her for who she was, even when it drove him crazy.

“That’s it.” She stuffed the condom in her front pocket, and closed the door behind her. “Tonight is the night.”

End Notes:

So, should Tanisha maintain her membership in the "V" club, or turn that bad boy in? Cast your vote.

 

To "V", Or Not To "V"... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

It was unanimous!!!! =)

Kevin’s nerves began rattling the second he hung up with Tanisha. The confidence that he had displayed on the phone was gone, and he couldn’t have been more ashamed of his behavior. She had been his best friend and confidante since they were kids, and there he was making advances on her like she was just some random chick.

His thoughts drifted to a warning that his Uncle gave him when he was fifteen; actually, it turned out to be Peter’s version of “The Talk”. He said, “Son, the sex is always good during the act; it’s the time after that really fucks people up.” Kevin didn’t get it then, but he definitely understood what his Uncle meant after that call.

There was no doubt in his mind that the sex would be amazing between he and Tanisha, but whether or not it would be worth it after they put their clothes back on was the question that kept playing over and over in his head.

He kicked his shoes off, did a full on free fall in the middle of the bed, and sulked until a hard knock on the door forced him to get up.

After doing a double take at the peephole, he swung the door open with both brows raised.

“What are you doing here? Wait, how did you even—”

“I snuck up to your room, and heard your family discussing your new living arrangements.” Ketrina smiled and patted one of the guards on the cheek before letting herself in.

Kevin scanned the hallway, and quickly closed the door behind them. “What are you doing here?”

“I told you that I wanted to hang out tonight.” She began to unzip her leather jacket almost in slow motion.

“Yessss, and I told you that we couldn’t.” He tried to look away, but his curiosity got the better of him.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Getting men to do exactly what she wanted was a skill that Ketrina learned soon after her mother departed for America. In fact, it wasn’t long after Natalia’s departure that Ketrina’s role models changed from the teachers who tried to mold her with traditions that in her mind were antiquated and beneath her -- to the girls who showed up day after day wearing the latest fashions and tossing around large stacks of cash all while flashing a wicked smile.

Tired of wearing the hand-me-downs of her older cousins, she approached the clique two days after Natalia left and asked them in her own subtle way how she could be a part of whatever it was that they were doing. Her question was answered with a smile and a black business card that had nothing more than an address and a time (9:30 pm) embossed on both sides.

The rumors about how the other girls received their goods had been floating around the campus for months, but that didn't deter Ketrina in the least. All that mattered was they could help her get every bit of monetary happiness she felt she deserved, consequences be damned.

After school that same day, she conned one of the boys in her last period class to take her by the address on the card. They both nearly passed out when they saw the size of the place; it had to have been a castle, or at the very least a mansion; either way, it was better than anything she could have ever even dreamed of. She gazed beyond the meticulously clean gates to the metal doors that she would be soon be entering later that night.

After falsely reassuring the boy that he would receive the blow job of his life the next day, she had him drive her home where she would spend the next few hours preparing for a night that she would surely never forget.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

With Kevin’s focus solely on the slow movements of her zipper, he didn’t notice how empty Ketrina’s eyes got, or how the rest of her body went on autopilot. To feel something real for the first time in a long time, she searched for a small corner of her heart that wasn’t tainted, but unfortunately for him, came up empty.

“You know Kevin, now that you have your own place it will be much easier for us to… get to know each other better now.” She had learned from experience that a man would only wait for so long before he would lose interest, so she decided to put an end to the game. He waited in silence as she leisurely stripped her jacket off, exposing an all too small tank top that strained against her large, thick nipples.

“Ketrina.” He reached down and adjusted himself without shame.

“Yes, Kevin?” She dipped her head slightly, adding a seductive smile.

It was beginning to be too much. He licked his lips, and turned away. “I can’t do this right now. I have plans.”

“Plans?” She let her jacket drop to the floor, and laid back across his bed.

“Yea.” He cleared his throat in hopes of removing the unexpected dryness.  “Something came up.” He took a step back and tried to ignore her long smooth legs, and barely there skirt. When his eyes finally reached her crotch, he was almost grateful to find that she was wearing panties, although they didn’t exactly serve any real purpose being that they were soaked and now see-through. After staring for a lot longer than he should have, he wiped his mouth and took another step back. “You gotta go.”

When she began to spread her legs open, he jumped into action and snapped them shut. “But Kevin, I thought that we could spend some time together. Can you not cancel your other plans?” She placed her hands on top of his as they remained firmly pressed against her knees.

Chalking it up to being a man, he considered her offer for all of two seconds, and then slid his hands out from underneath hers. “I can’t, but maybe we can hang out tomorrow.” He picked her jacket up off the floor, and handed it to her while looking away. “But for now, you seriously gotta go.”

She grabbed her jacket by the collar, and pressed it against her chest. “But…” Her plan wasn’t working, and since she had never been turned down by anyone before, she didn’t have a backup.

“I’m sorry, Ketrina. I know it’s rude, but you really need to leave now. I have someone coming over.”

“Her.” It was all starting to make sense.

Her, who?”

She made a face that not even she could hide. “The one who is truly rude.”

He checked his watch again. “You mean Tanisha?”

“Yes! That is the one.”

“Well, yea. She’s coming over. So…” He knew she would be there literally any minute, and after getting kicked out of one home, the last thing he needed or wanted was for Tanisha and Ketrina to get into it, and get him kicked out of his new one.

“It is not a problem. I am certain that I can find someone to spend the night with.” She slipped her jacket on, zipped it up, and stomped toward the door.

Putting thoughts of Tanisha aside for a moment, he had to know one thing. “Does anyone even know you’re here?”

“No. As I said earlier, I am an adult, and I do as I wish.” She huffed and continued making her way to the door.

He got a mental flash of the drama that her sneaking out would cause, especially if they knew that she came to see him. “Ketrina, you gotta go back to the house.”

“But, I am not ready. I want to experience Miami, and all that it has to offer.”

“Trust me, you don’t want that. Now, go home. Please.” He reached around her and placed his hand on the door knob.

“I said I am not ready.” She folded her arms in protest, pressing the soft leather against her chest. He tried to contain his erection when the unmistakable outline of her nipples began peeking through, but it was hopeless.

After changing his stance in an attempt gain some relief, he brought the focus back to the matter at hand. “What are you gonna do when your mother realizes that you’re not there? Remember, you staying in America isn’t written in stone. They could still send you back. Aleksey could still send you back.”

She rubbed his arm, and batted her eyes. “But, you are his family. Surely you could speak to him on my behalf.”

“Aleksey and I aren’t family yet, and I don’t know if he would listen to me, anyway. Look, if you go back home right now, maybe you can sneak back in and no one will find out.” He knew it was a lie, but at that point he was willing to say just about anything to get her out of his room.

She weighed her chances of being sent back to Russia if she got caught, and came to an obvious conclusion. “I will go back.”

He opened the door feeling relieved. “Good. Now, whatever you do, don’t mention that you were here. I’m in enough trouble. Okay?”

“Okay. But, about tomorrow night, I mean, if I am not back in Russia, can we hang out then?”

He grabbed her arm and backed into the doorway. “We’ll see, but for now I need you to—”

“Kevin, what is she doing here?”

‘Shit!’ “He-hey, T. She was just leaving. Isn’t that right, Ketrina?” He pulled her passed Tanisha and out to the hallway.

“But, what was she doing here in the first place?” Her mind started racing. “Hold the fuck up! That moaning I heard earlier; was that her? Oh, hell naw!” She reached for her earrings, but quickly remembered that she wasn’t wearing any.

“No! That was the TV, I swear. She just got here a few minutes ago. I told her I had plans with you, and that she had to go. That’s all that happened.”

Tanisha looked at Ketrina for confirmation. “Well?”

Ketrina scoffed, and rolled her eyes. “Well, what? I do not owe you an explanation. I do not owe you anything. What Kevin and I do is none of your business. You are just friends.” She practically dared Tanisha to say anything differently.

After thinking back to the promise she made to herself years ago which specifically forbade her from fighting over a guy, Tanisha worked the muscles in her neck a couple of times and nodded her head in agreement.

“You are absolutely right. You don’t owe me anything.” Her eyes then immediately cut to Kevin. “You on the other hand… I never would have thought that you would play me.” She put her hand up, stopping him from speaking. “It’s cool.” The guards prepared themselves as she reached inside her pants pocket and pulled out the condom. “Here!” It whipped across the hall, and slid down his chest. “You can use it on her, because whatever this is, or should I say was between us is over!”
 
“T, wait!” Kevin chased her down the hall with two of the five security guards on his heels. “Listen to me!”

He ducked when she swung around with her arms stretched out, clearly hoping to hit him in the process. “What is it?! What? Were you expecting us to have a threesome?”

“A three-- Girl, I would never play you like that. Come on. It’s me.”

“Yea, well which ‘me’ am I talking to? The player? The pimp? Or, the guy who used to be my best friend?”

Everything that she was saying hurt him deeply, but the friend comment hurt his soul.  “What do you mean used to?”

Ignoring the pain in his eyes, she moved forward until they were face-to-face. “You heard me. I don’t want anything to do with—”

He decided at that moment to do what most guys would in his position -- shut her up with a kiss.

Ketrina and her escort left quietly, leaving behind four overly interested guards who were eagerly waiting to see what would happen next.

“I’m sorry, T. I swear I didn’t know she was coming over here, and I really was kicking her out when you came in. I don’t want her.”

Tanisha dropped her bag at their feet, and looked down. “Who do you want?”

He smiled in a way that only he could, and lifted her head until their eyes met. “You, T. I only want you.”

She shifted in her stance, and placed both hands on her hips. “Just for sex?” He shook his head and smirked; her defenses were firmly back in place.

“Maybe someday, but for right now I just wanna be with you.”

The fire in her eyes burned brighter. “As what?”

“What do you mean?” He staggered back against the wall, still feeling slightly high from their kiss.

“What’s my title, K?” She knew she was taking a chance by forcing his hand so soon, but as her grandfather used to say, “Big risks, garner big rewards.”

Damn, it’s like that already?” He pushed off the wall with one foot, and took a small step toward her.

Damn, why you acting like I mentioned marriage?” She punched him softly, and headed back to his room. Each of the guards turned their heads simultaneously when she passed, as if they hadn't blatantly been eavesdropping the entire time. After waiting for Kevin to grab her bag and join her, she closed the door behind him and continued with the conversation. “I just wanna know what I am to you.”

“What do you wanna be?”

She gave him the hand, and sucked her teeth. “Don’t go there, okay?” She removed her bag from his shoulder, and stopped just short of tossing it on the bed until after she assessed the condition of the sheets.

Following her gaze, he knew exactly what she was doing. “I already told you that nothing happened between me and Ketrina. And, what do you mean don’t go there?”

She squinted at him almost in disbelief. “Stop playin'. Am I your girlfriend, or are we still just friends?”

“Why do girls always have to label every damn thing?”

“Because, we’re smart. Now, answer the question. Are we together, or not?”

“Yes. We are together.” She let out a shrill that could have awakened the dead. When the guards barged in with their weapons drawn, Kevin reached back for Tanisha, but she was already hiding behind him. “It’s okay. She just got a little excited.” One of the guards maintained a frown as he searched the room. Once he was sure that everything was okay, he gave the others some kind of signal and followed them out as they each went back to their posts, mumbling something in Russian.

Tanisha peeped over Kevin’s shoulder once they left and stated the obvious. “You need to go lock that door.”

“I can’t.” He straightened the bed covers before taking a seat at the edge.

 “Why not? This is your room, right?”

 “Yes, it is my room, but they have to be able to come in and out whenever they need to.”

“And, why the hell is that?” She kicked her heels off toward the bed, dropping down a good four inches.

“In case something happens.” He resisted the urge to tease her about her height or the lack thereof and instead placed her shoes neatly at the foot of the bed beside him. “Come here.” He patted a spot next to him.

She took another glance at the bed and decided to join him anyway. “K, I know your Aunt is crazy, but guards? Really?”

“Girl, the guards aren’t here for her. Look, everything’s fine. There is absolutely no need for you to trip.” He pulled her smooth brown legs up on his lap, and traced an imaginary line all the way down until he got to her feet. When he started tickling them, she slapped her hands over her mouth to cover her screams.

“Kevin, stop.” She pushed him away, and stood up. “Four men just pulled guns on me, and you seriously don’t think I should trip?”

“It’s complicated, but I promise I’ll explain later. Relax.” He tried to pull her back to the bed.

“Kevin, four men… How the hell am I supposed to relax?”

“T, they weren’t gonna shoot you.”

“And, you know that how?” His calmness seriously annoyed her.

“Like I said, I will explain everything later.” He reached over for the hotel menu when his stomach growled. “You hungry?”

 “A little.” She emptied the contents of her bag on the bed, and rifled through it. “Damn!”

His eyes stayed glued on the overpriced menu. “What’s wrong?”

“I didn’t bring anything to wear.”

“T,” he glanced up, “I’m looking at a gang of clothes. Just pick something.”

“But, these are all shirts.”

“Huh?” He put the menu down, and grabbed a few of the things that were closest to him. “Why the hell would you just bring shirts?”

“Hey! You didn’t exactly give me much notice, so I just grabbed a bunch of stuff. I didn’t know they were all tops!”

He nodded his head toward the closet, and picked the menu back up. “I’m sure I have something you can wear... Hey, you wanna try having Sex On The Beach?”

“What?!” She turned around, and blushed when he waved the menu at her.

“Girl, get cho nasty mind outta da gutter.”

“Shut up.” She rolled her eyes, and joined him in a brief laugh. “Anyway, since you’re paying, I’ll eat whatever you order.”

He perused the menu a little longer, and picked up the phone. “Yea, room service? Hi, I’ll have a double order of escargot, and... a double order of calamari… Yea, I know it’s squid, lady. Forty-five minutes? Cool. Thanks.”

Tanisha emerged from the closet with a look that came very close to the one she had gotten from Miranda not too long before. “I know you did not just order that crap for me.”

“Crap?! Girl, I just ordered the finest food you will ever get in your life.”

“Kevin, call them back right now and tell them you changed your mind.”

“Sorry, no can do. ‘All sales are final’. They’re probably cutting up that squid into tiny rings as we speak.”

“I’m not playing, Kevin. Change the order.”

“I can’t.” He held up the menu, and showed her the fine print. “All meals are cooked to order. Cancellations are not accepted.”

“Dang, Kevin. You know I don’t eat no damn esthergotcaught, and calamazoo type shit.”

All he could do was blink profusely to keep from laughing. “Uh, T. It’s escargot, and calamari.”

“Do I look like I give a damn? K, I eat burgers and fries; simple shit. Come on now!”

“Yea, I know... and that’s why your burger and fries will be here in a few minutes. I preordered them for you.” He bounced his eyebrows up and down a few times and asked, “Who’s da man?”

“You da man.” She jumped into his arms, and smothered him with kisses until his hands began roaming around her body. “K.” She raised up and pulled her shirt back down.

“Sorry. Habit.” He gave her one of his ‘Kevin’ looks, and all was forgiven.

“I’m sorry, K. I’m just not ready, yet.”

“And, I respect that. We won’t do anything until you’re ready.”

“Promise?”

“Of course. I love you.” His entire body stiffened as if it had gone into shock.

“Did you just… K?” He wasn’t the only one who was surprised. Never in a million years did she expect those words to come out his mouth, and it was obvious that he didn’t have any intent on releasing them.

“I… Did I…”

“You said you love me.”

“I said I…”

“Yes, you said it. Did you mean it?”

He was still obviously in shock. Never had he said those words to anyone outside of his family, and it caught him completely off guard. He tore his eyes away from her, and evaluated the situation, and his feelings. It was no secret that he had always loved her as a friend, but they both knew that wasn’t the kind of love he was talking about. He sat perfectly still, and tried to pinpoint when or if his feeling for her evolved into something deeper. The truth hit him all at once.

“T, I—”

“Room service!”

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

“Oh, where can she be, Angel?”

“Try not to worry, Nat. I’m sure she’s safe.”

“But, she is new to the country, the city. What if someone took her?” Natalia’s eyes slyly drifted over to Aleksey. It was obvious that he was preoccupied. The pain pills had once again began working their magic, and as usual left him feeling drowsy.

“Hey Nat, didn’t you say that she used to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night in Russia?” Angel attempted to mask the pain in her abdomen by leaning against the counter.

“Yes, but this is not Russia. She does not know how things work here America. So much danger. Are you okay?”

Angel quickly removed her hand from her stomach, but not before Aleksey noticed.

“What is wrong? Are you hurting?”

“No, I’m fine, Honey.”

Angel…” It was clearly a warning.

Aleksey… Seriously, I’m okay. It was probably just something I ate.”

“Are you sure it is not stress?” His glance drifted toward Natalia. “It is stress, isn’t it?”

“No, it is not… stress.” She winced and tried to turn away.

“I knew that Natalia’s daughter coming here was a bad idea.”

“It’s not that. I’m fine. Really.” She turned to Natalia. “And, I’m sure that Ketrina is fine as well. At least she took a guard with her.”

“Yes,” Natalia rubbed Angel’s back, “but he is young, and most likely unknowing.”

“Unknowing about what?”

“How my daughter works. She is very, um,” she tried hard to think of the English version of the word, “hitrost.”

Angel looked between Natalia and Aleksey. “What? I don’t understand.”

Aleksey stood up and leaned the bulk of his weight against the kitchen counter. “Cunning. It means cunning.”

“Oh.” Angel stood up and kissed his cheek just as he yawned. “Babe, why don’t you go back to bed? I’m sure Ketrina will be back soon.”

“Good, that way she will not have time to completely unpack before I send her back home to Russia.”

“Oh, Aleksey!”

“Angel, I warned you both what would happen if she began causing problems. It has not even been twenty-four hours since her arrival, and she has already caused you pain, Natalia to worry, and do not think that I do not know what she has been up to with Kevin.” He fought back another yawn, and sat down.

“Aleksey, you’re obviously in no condition to...” His eyes drifted shut.

“Ah, I see he took his pain pills.” Everyone, but Aleksey turned around to face the door.

“Uncle Peter, what are you doing up?” She stuck her cheek out, and waited for a kiss.

He gave her a sloppy wet one, and pointed to the camera above the chandelier with a wink. “What’s going on?”

Ketrina, Natalia’s daughter snuck out of the house with one of the guards…” She turned to Natalia. “You don’t think that they… do you?”

“No.” Natalia brushed the thought aside. “She would not… At least I do not think that she would... I guess I do not know what she would or would not do anymore.”

Peter patted on her the back and motioned for one of the guards to help him take Aleksey back to his room.

A few minutes later, Ketrina casually strolled through the door just as the guard returned, sans Peter. “What is going on?”

Natalia rushed to the side door, slamming it shut. “Where have you been?! We have all been worried sick!” She pulled her only child into an unrequited hug.

“Oh, I have just been out and about. Seeing the city.”

Natalia slowly pulled back, releasing herself from the one-sided embrace. “You have been seeing the city while we have been up thinking the worse.”

“What is all the noise about?” Miranda wandered in the room, still gathering her robe around her.

“Nothing, Auntie. You can go back to bed. Everything’s fine.”

“Well, it doesn’t appear that way. Your friend is obviously upset.” She took in Ketrina’s attire. “And, I think I know why. Where exactly are you going dressed like that at this hour?”

“I, uh…” Ketrina looked at her mother for assistance, but Natalia walked away, and stood next to Miranda.

“She was just coming in looking like that at this hour. And, you never told us exactly where you were.”

“Yes, I did, Mama. I said I was looking at the city.”

“Where exactly?”

“Mama, please. I do not want to get him into trouble.” Her eyes swiftly connected with Miranda’s.

Him who?!” Miranda already knew, but she wanted to hear the words.

“Kevin. I was with Kevin at his hotel, in his room.”

A sounding echo filled the room as they unanimously yelled, “What?!”

“I did not want to say, but if you insist.” She turned her back, and sighed. “I was with Kevin tonight, and it was very special.”

Miranda grabbed Ketrina by the crook in her arm and swung her around, wiping the smirk right off her face. “You’re saying that you were with my nephew tonight?”

“Yes. I was.” Ketrina had dealt with worse women than Miranda, so she had absolutely no problem standing toe-to-toe with her.

“And, what exactly did you and Kevin do?”

Before or after Tanisha showed up. Oops!” She covered her mouth, and feigned remorse.

“Tanisha?! I knew that little girl wasn’t done with him.”

Angel jumped in front of the bullet that was Miranda, and tried to hold her back. “Auntie, calm down. I’m sure it’s not as bad as it seems.” She glared at Ketrina. “You know how close they are. He probably just needed someone to talk to.”

“Yes, I am sure that they are talking right now.” Natalia nudged Ketrina into a brief silence. “Well, I am very tired. So, I wish you all a very good night.”

Miranda turned around and in a flash was right back in Ketrina’s face. “Hold on little girl. You never told us what you were doing in Kevin’s hotel room.”

“I, um, was there to check on him. I heard the argument that you two had, and since he was so nice to me when his friend was so rude, I thought that the right thing to do would be to check on him.”

“Would it not have been simpler to just call him?” Miranda tapped her slippered foot in an effort to soothe the urge to pick up with Ketrina where she left off with Tanisha.

“Oh, yes, but see... I do not have his number.” She shrugged and smiled, believing that she had said enough to get herself out of the trouble that she was striving to get Kevin and Tanisha in.

“Mmhmm.” Miranda looked her up and down and could see the lies written all over her. “Well, you go on off to bed; we’ll finish this in the morning.”

“Okay.” Ketrina curtseyed and headed straight to her room where she found Aleksey and Peter impatiently waiting.

Peter pulled out a chair from the computer desk and she quickly took a seat. Her nails dug deep into her thighs as Aleksey knelt down beside her.

“I see that you are already becoming a problem, Ketrina.”

She shuddered as the heat from his breath blasted against her cheek. “Sir?”

“But please, do not fret.” He smiled, and slowly slid his hand from one side of her face to the other, resting the palm tightly between the bottom of her ear and her neck. “I am an excellent problem solver. Peter?”

“Yea?”

He pulled Ketrina against him by her throat and whispered, “Shut the door.”

End Notes:

We all know how seriously Aleksey takes the safety and happiness of his family; however, information is power, and Ketrina has a lot of it.

Life After Death.... by Leoslove

 

From the moment Aleksey pulled Ketrina close, she wished almost more than anything that she could close her eyes as the darkness of his soul surrounded her, but their shared culture forbade her to respectfully look anywhere other than at him as he spoke.

When he stood up and walked over to Peter, she used that time to think of a way out, but her mind could only focus on the multitude of bodies that she had seen in the streets growing up, most by his command.  

In Russia, there were quite a few thugs who had flexed their muscles during Aleksey’s time in America, but not a single one ever held a candle to Aleksey. There was The Bloody, The Great, The Hatchet, and many, many others, but Aleksey was always in a league of his own, never requiring or knowingly acquiring a nickname. The way that he carried out his acts of vengeance spoke for itself, and sparked fear in the hearts of anyone who dared to mention him. A legend indeed.

Ketrina had been on a different path in her life since the day Aleksey handpicked her mother to work for him. Instead of taking advantage of her prepaid education, she decided to become schooled in the art of seduction from some very powerful people. None of that mattered now. There was no amount of training or experience that could or would save her. It was clear that she was in over her head, and when Aleksey discreetly asked Peter to leave the room, she realized just how much.

Unbeknownst to everyone, including Aleksey, Ketrina didn’t come to America because she missed her mother; she was fleeing Russia to escape certain death by the hands of the very people who taught her how to use her body as a tool, instead of a temple. She closed her eyes briefly, and prayed for the first time in a long time. When she reopened her eyes, she wasn't sure if it was the prayer or her true nature that guided her, but either way, she knew immediately what she would have to do.

A wetness that she had not genuinely felt in years pooled in her eyes, not directly for herself, but for a friend whom she would have to betray in order to save herself. She wiped her eyes, and hoped that her friend would one day be able to forgive her.

She stared at Aleksey's bottom lashes as she searched for the courage to speak. “Sir, I have news -- information that I am willing to barter for my life.” Her voice was low, and more humble than even she intended.

Aleksey slipped back down beside her, and checked his bandage before chuckling softly. “Ketrina, I am quite certain that you have absolutely nothing that I want.”

She bowed her head slightly, in hopes that he would see it as a sign of respect. “Please forgive me, Sir, but I do.” She waited for him to stop her, and when he didn’t, she inhaled loudly and carried on. “I have news -- valuable news about your family -- family that you believe to be dead.”

He stood to his feet, yanking her up with him by her hair. “Vy - smelyj.” (You are a bold one.)

“Sir, I am telling truth. I am telling truth!” The hand that was entangled in her hair tightened into a fist as Peter stood guard on the other side of the door, keeping everyone back, including Angel.

Before Ketrina could blink twice, Aleksey had spun her around until her back was pressed tightly against him. She gasped desperately for air when one of his large hands snaked its way around her neck, and fastened to her windpipe. Initially, his only intent was to scare her before shipping her back to Russia, but she changed the rules when she brought his beloved family into it.

He pressed his lips against her ear, forcing her senses to be penetrated with his every breath. Regardless of their penis size or sexual capabilities, it was always her client’s position of power that took her over the edge, and Aleksey was giving her exactly what she needed. She snapped her legs closed, and kept her smirk to herself when her thighs became moist.

Not only did her arousal fail to escape him, it also heightened his anger. “Do you have any idea what I do to people who lie to me, Ketrina?”

Still under his control, she nodded stiffly, and gurgled five words that she knew would stop him cold in his tracks. “Lyosha! She calls you, Lyosha!”

Aleksey released his grasp, and stepped over her body as it slumped down in a heap on the floor. His heart began swelling uncontrollably with a hatred that he had never felt for a female before. Peter and Marat feared the worse when things grew completely silent. They entered the room just as Aleksey began choking the life out of Ketrina.

While Aleksey struggled against them to get to her, his mind raced back to a time in his life that he had been trying for almost two decades to forget.

He had rushed home from school, anxious to show his mother his latest painting, and the wonderful grade that he had received. Before he could deliver the good news, he found a large crowd standing outside his home. He apologetically stepped on more than a few feet so that he could get a peek of what was going on. His heart sank when he made it to the front of the pack just in time to see two bodies being carried out to a truck on two separate stretchers that were made of nothing more than sticks and sheets. A cold, stiff breeze came seemingly out of nowhere and snatched his painting right out of his fingertips. It was the same breeze that also tugged at the dingy sheet that loosely covered his mother's body. Before he could run to her, someone in the crowd grabbed him and held him back. For many years, he tried to remember who that someone was, but could not. He dropped to the ground in emotional agony as the bodies of his mother and little sister were driven away to an unknown destination. With his father dead, and his brother banished, his mother and baby sister were all that he had left. Their deaths sent him into an immediate tailspin that would forever change his life.

There was no funeral; only a burial plot in the back of his house where he would years later buy a tombstone to mark the spot where his remaining family had been laid to rest... or so he thought.

Led by anger and determination, Aleksey broke free and crawled over to Ketrina who was being nursed by both Angel and Natalia.

“For your life,” he lunged at her again, but was stopped, “tell me the truth!” His voice roared so loudly that it shook the windows.

“On my life,” Ketrina grabbed her throat to stop the pain, “she is alive.”

“Who? Who is alive?!” He tried his best to break free and get to her.

“Nadya.” Angel and Natalia watched as Aleksey’s eyes grew blank, revealing nothing. With the assistance of her mother, Ketrina stood on her knees and delivered the final nail in Aleksey’s proverbial coffin. “But, she now goes by the name, Nastja.”

After Natalia gasped, Angel’s attention then went to Marat who was noticeably shaken, and finally to Aleksey who was eerily calm.  

One of the things that stuck out in Angel's mind when she had studied Russian culture was the significance of names, and more importantly their meanings.

She crawled over to Aleksey and wrapped her arms around him. “What does Nastja mean?”

He looked right through her, and whispered, “Risen from the dead.” She inwardly screamed when his pupils changed shape and color right before her, rendering him virtually unrecognizable. “Where is she?”

Ketrina removed her hand from her throat so that she could speak. “I… do not know.”

Angel braced herself when Aleksey shook himself free, and unintentionally shoved her a short distance to the wall.

He straddled Ketrina and began once again squeezing the life out of her. “Where is she?!”

Ketrina drove her nails deep into the backs of his hands in a weak attempt to pry herself free. She shook her head repeatedly indicating that she did not know until she had run out of air. Being that it had turned extremely personal, Peter and Marat stood back and waited, while Natalia and Angel on the other hand grabbed at every part of Aleksey’s body that they could to stop him.

When he believed that she had taken her last breath, Aleksey released his hold but continued straddling her as the color that had drained away slowly returned back to her face. She was still alive, and more than willing to cooperate.

Aleksey stood up suddenly, and glared down at her. “I will ask you one more time. Where is she?”

Ketrina, still struggling for breath managed to wheeze out, “Dvorec udovol'stviya.”

“The brothel?!”

Ketrina scooted away from him and into the safety of her mother. Aleksey turned around like a wounded animal, and staggered to the door. He stopped only long enough to order Marat to find his sister.

With his orders clear, Marat pulled out his cell phone, and headed to his room leaving Peter to deal with the carnage.

After Peter wrapped his mind around the magnitude of what had happened, he noticed that Angel was still down on the floor where Aleksey left her. The second that he helped her to her feet, she rushed passed him and began looking for Aleksey.

Her search started and ended at the back patio; the same place that they had opened up to each other a few days prior. He sat on the ground with his back pressed against the brick wall, completely illuminated by a full moon.

She stood still and stared down at the complete stranger that he had become. There was absolutely nothing in his eyes that even slightly resembled the man whom she had grown to love. Unsure of how he would react, she eased her way over to him cautiously. His beautiful blue eyes that often mimicked the morning sky were replaced with a darkness that could almost pass for black. He continued to stare straight ahead, even as she slid down beside him.

Given the emotional distance between them, she was surprised that he didn’t pull away when her hand purposely grazed his thigh.

To shake him out his almost catatonic state, she grabbed his hand and placed it on her belly. His first tear fell when he felt their child respond to his touch. She closed her eyes, and wrapped her arms around him as he fell apart.

After a few minutes of crying inconsolably, he pulled away and stood to his feet, leaving her alone on the cold, hard ground.

She pushed herself up, and rushed over to him. Refusing to let him emotionally slip away from her again, she pressed her belly against his back until she was certain that he could feel the life that they created pound against him.

She clung to him even when he tried to pull away. “Nobody leaves, Aleksey. Nobody leaves.

Just when he felt as though he would explode with emotion, Marat barreled through the door with news. Momentarily forgetting that Angel was still holding on to him, Aleksey stepped forward, almost smiling when she tightened her hold.

“Nadya is alive. I have men there right now tearing Gorchakov’s brothel apart.”

Angel readjusted her hand over Aleksey’s rapidly beating heart, reminding him that she was still there.

He placed his hand over hers, and gave it a gentle squeeze. He was back. “Make the arrangements.”

“It has already been done. Peter and I leave for Balakovo in two hours.”

You and Peter?” Although his tone was even, Angel could feel a rage building up inside him.

“Aleksey, I understand that you want to go but—”

“You understand? You understand?!”

“Aleksey... you are not well enough to travel. Nadya was like a sister to me also. I will find her and bring her home -- on my honor.”

Angel laid her cheek against his back and whispered, “Please.” Although her plea had softened him, it was her tears that truly forced his hand.

“Find her.”

Marat nodded at them both and took his exit.

“Thank you.” Her voice was strong -- almost startling.

“For?” He spun around, keeping her arms around him.

“For not leaving. I know how much you want to be there searching for her.”

“How did I not know, Angel? How could I have not known?” A slow sadness filled his eyes.

“Aleksey, how could you have known any differently than what you were told? You were a child. Besides, if she wanted you to know that she was alive, she would have found you. This is not your fault.”

“So, it is hers?”

“I don't know why she didn't come forward, but I do know that it's not your fault that she didn't.” She leaned back in his arms so that she could get a good look at him under the moon light. “Every month, you personally make sure that your family has food, water, clothes, and shelter. You are a good man.” She covered his mouth with both of her tiny hands when he tried to object. “You are a good man, Aleksey, and she will soon come to know this.”

“A brothel, Angel. My baby sister was in a brothel.” She wanted to tell him not to assume the worse, but that would have only insulted him.

“And, together we'll help her get through it.”

“Together?”

She smacked his arm and quirked both brows. “Did you really just ask me that?”

He looked away, hiding a small smile. “I love you, Angel.”

“And, I love you, too. We’re getting married. Come hell or high water, we are getting married. So, I want you to put all of this aside for the moment, and come to bed with me.”

“How can I possibly sleep?”

“Well, since our last rendezvous popped your stitches,” she paused when he closed his eyes. “Oh, you thought you could keep that from me?”

“I was not trying… much.”

Much? Oh, that’s really cute, but in case you hadn't noticed, we are one. I know you, just as well as you know me... Husband.”

Husband? I like that.”

I like it even more. Now, will you please do me a favor and join me in bed? Our son is tired.”

“Angel, how do you do this?”

“Do what?”

“Make everything okay?”

“It’s in the Spouse-To-Be Handbook.”

“Oh, is that right?” He rubbed her belly, and smiled openly.

“Yes. Wasn’t it in yours?”

“I do not believe that I received such a book.”

“Oh, well dear love of mine, please allow me to go over the rules...” She grabbed his hand and led him back inside. The door to Ketrina’s room was completely shut, but they could still hear her whimpering on the other side. After checking on Destiny, they headed to their own room, and relaxed until Angel fell asleep at his side.

Sleep was something that Aleksey did not bother attempting to obtain. He could not stop trying to figure out who hated him so much that they would keep Nadya away from him for all of those years, and why she herself had never come forward with her true identity to him. A thick shroud of anger returned along with the realization that Ketrina knew more than she had led them all to believe. He slipped his arm from underneath Angel’s head, grabbed his gun, and headed back to the room next door for round two.

End Notes:

The twist and turns have only just begun.

 

I'll see you all in the reviews.

Speak Now, Or Forever Hold Your Peace.... by Leoslove

Aleksey stood at Ketrina's bedside trying to hold back his disgust as she began sucking on the barrel of the gun that he had shoved in her mouth moments prior. He was astonished how even in a full state of sleep that it was first nature for her do such a thing. Unable to endure another second, he wiggled the gun around the back of her throat until she gagged. Her eyes immediately flew open only to find what she thought was the Angel of Death looming over her. 

Not wanting to involve Natalia any further, he put a finger to his lips and motioned his head toward the door. With the cocked gun still bouncing against her throat, Ketrina slowly slid her way out of the bed, and followed him outside.

Once they were in the hallway, he instructed the guard to stay at the door, and to force Natalia to stay inside, if necessary.

Ketrina began praying for her life when Aleksey without warning yanked the gun from her mouth. In silence, he pointed to a solid oak door which unbeknownst to her led to a large enclosed field deep off in the back of the house. Although, he hadn’t bothered to venture out that far before, he was certain that it would be secluded enough to suit his purpose.

“Down.”

He released her hair, and followed her movements as she sank slowly into the dank marsh.

“Sir--”

“You do not get to speak until I say so. Understood?!” The power in his voice chilled her more than the ground beneath her.

She nodded her head fervidly before he had a chance to repeat himself. Dressed in nothing more than a nightgown, she fought the strong desire to run her hands up and down her arms to gain some semblance of warmth.

Within minutes, her body began shivering uncontrollably, not that he cared.

“Pochemu?” (Why?)

“Pochemu, chto, ser?” (Why what, Sir?) Her teeth chattered together louder than her speaking voice.

“Pochemu Vy dejstvitel'no podhodili? I ne dumajte o raspolozhenii.” (Why did you really come here? And do not think about lying.)

“Sir--”

“Enough with the Sir. We both know that you have respect for no one.”

“I… I was in trouble… And, coming here to the states was my only way out.” She cowered down when he stepped to her.

“And my sister? How does she fit into all of this?”

“I met her…”

“In the brothel?” She nodded, but kept her head bowed. “And what were you doing there?”

“Working… since I was fifteen.”

He pointed the gun at the ground beside him. “Why? I paid for you to go to the best private school.”

“But, it was not enough.” Her response came out jarred, and inaudible.

“Speak up!”

“It was not enough! I wanted more!”

“More of what?” He almost admired her spunk.

“Everything!”

“Greed.” He walked around her, ignoring the mud that clung to the side of his slippers. “It has cost many their lives.”

She willed her body to stop shaking, but it was no use. Hypothermia had began to set in.

The softer side that Angel had discovered and honed was overtaken by his true nature, the nature that craved revenge. When he noticed that her skin had slowly turned to a pale blue, and that her lips were purple, his soul smiled. The downside was that they were signs that her consciousness was fading, so he would have to speed things up.

“Where is Nadya?”

“I do not know.”

He bent down and stroked the side of her jaw lightly. “Do you really want to spend your last few moments of life lying to me?”

“If you are gggoing to kkkill mememe, ththen dddo it. I hhhave tttold yyyou the trtrtruth.”

“What about your dear mother?” Her eyes shot up, doing their damndest to focus on his. “It will be a shame to kill her, but if I must--”

“Ppplease, she she she had nnnothing tttooo dddoooo wwwwith thissss.”

“This what, Ketrina? You have told me nothing-- nothing of value. Who has my sister?”

Even though Ketrina had hated her mother since the day she left her there in Russia, she did not want to be responsible for her death. “Ssssidorov.”

Sevastian Sidorov?” Her head shook violently. “Why? Why?!”

She muttered the word, “Payback,” right before her body gave out.

He begrudgingly scooped her up in his arms and carried her back to the house. Pushing passed the guard and Natalia, he rushed her in the room, and dropped her haphazardly on the bed.

Natalia's weeping continued even as he left without saying a word.

Once he was back in the comfort of the bed he shared with Angel, he sighed and placed his arms behind his head.

“Where were you?” Angel’s back was still turned to him, and her words came out muffled as if she was possibly speaking in her sleep, but he knew better.

“Fresh air. I needed fresh air.” She rolled over with her eyes still closed and reached out for him. “Dr. K will be here in six hours.”

“Aleksey, I told you that wasn’t necessary.” She rubbed her nose against his, and pulled back. “How long were you outside? Your face is freezing.”

“Not long, Dear. Not long.”

She huffed against his lips, but kept her eyes shut. “Sleep. You need sleep.”

In his early years in the business, he would go days, even weeks without sleep mainly because of his mistrust of everyone he associated with, but partly because he wanted to learn everything he could from them. Now that he was older, his body didn’t always do what he wanted it to do. It wasn't long before long he too drifted off to a quiet slumber.

After what felt like a couple of hours later, Aleksey was awaken by the sound of the door knob turning. His gun was in his hand and pointed at the door before the first step was made.

“Sir! It is just me!”

“Natalia?” The darkness of the room prompted him to look at the digital clock on the dresser. Those couple of hours were in actuality just short of half an hour. He flicked the switch on the lamp beside him, and sat up. “What is it?”

“Aleksey? Nat?” Angel slowly raised up in the bed, and through half opened eyes looked between her husband-to-be and best friend. “What’s going on?”

Aleksey’s eyes seared right through Natalia. “That is what I would like to know.”

“Ketrina is wanting to talk now. She wants to tell everything… to spare my life.”

“Spare your li-- Aleksey?” Angel didn't bother trying to hide her confusion, or anger.

“We will talk later.” He kissed her forehead and slid out of the warm bed, knowing that she would do most of the talking when he returned.

He followed Natalia out, but entered through the door of Ketrina’s bedroom first, slamming the door in Natalia’s face behind him.

“Speak.”

He quickly noted the bundle of blankets that she was covered in, and how much of her original color had returned.

“Sir--”

“Speak!”

“I met Nastya -- Nadya at the brothel--”

“You already told me that.” Patience was never his strong suit.

“Yes, well she was brought in one night, and I was given charge over her. I was to… show her the ropes.”

“Teach her how to be a whore?” He could hear the blood rushing throughout his entire body. He put his gun down on the table between them to prevent any 'accidents' from occurring.

“Yes. My job was to introduce her to the clients and help her build her own clientele.”

“How long?”

“Sir?”

“How long was my sister there?!”

“Three years. She was there for three years before…” Her voice trailed away so softly that by the time her words reached Aleksey they were nothing more than a faint whisper.

“Before what?” His head was spinning and he felt weaker than he had ever felt before in his life, but she would never know it by his stance, and the unmistakable fire in his eyes.

“She disappeared.”

“What do you mean she disappeared? No one simply vanishes.”

“There were talks, rumors of who had taken her. I only saw her once after that, when I was summoned to Sevastian’s home.” Her use of his enemy's first name did not go unnoticed.

“She was there? At Sidorov’s?”

“Yes. Our eyes met in passing, but it was her. I am sure of it. She was wearing this.” She pulled her still shaky hand out from under the mountain of blankets and held out a thin gold chain which meant absolutely nothing to him. It wasn’t until she shifted her fingers, and allowed the almost equally thin gold wedding band to drop and dangle from the chain did his heart swell with emotion. It took only one full step for him to be at her side. He eyed the gold band carefully before snatching it from her.

“She told me that it was the last thing she was able to get before she was taken away from your mother's body.”

“Taken away by whom?”

“She never said.”

As he continued to roll the ring around in his hand, he became overwhelmingly certain that it was the same cheap wedding band that his bastard of a father had undoubtedly stolen from someone else and given to his mother on their wedding day. She had treasured that thing, never taking it off, not even after his death.

“How did you get this?”

“When she walked passed the room that I was in, she dropped it, and I picked it up before leaving.”

“Have you heard anything else about her? Where she is? How she is?”

“No.”

“How did you know that I am her brother?” His eyes never left the dented ring.

“She told me. We became fast friends, only having each other to rely on.” He scoffed. “She told me that she had been presumed dead for most of her life, but that she was your sister, and of course… alive.”

“What happened next?”

“I did not believe her. I thought that she was lying, but I could not think of one reason why she would. Eventually, I did believe her, and one day while she was telling me what she remembered and what she was told by the man who raised her, she was taken away by two of the guards who must have been listening. I did not see her again until that day at Sevastian’s.”

Again with the commonality. “What did she tell you about me?”

“Nothing much, just mostly that--”

“I do not care about mostly. What did she say?”

“She said that she didn’t remember much from when you were both children, but the man who had rescued and raised her told her that it was you who killed her mother and… who tried to kill her.

The color drained from his face and the ring dropped.

He backed away, still in a daze until he bumped into the table that once separated them. “Did she believe that I… that I had done those things?”

“Yes. She did.”

“That is why she never came to me. She thought I…” His world was crumbling faster than he could stop it. He loved his little sister, and she idolized him. Who would plant those ideas in her head? Turn her against him? He needed answers.

Forsaking the ring and Ketrina, he returned back to his room and to the one person who could make everything right.

One look into his eyes was all it took for Angel to open her arms and her heart to him. His pain was unambiguous, and she wanted little more at that point than to take it all away. He fell into her arms, and let go.

With his body pressed against hers, he was able to steal bits of comfort, but it wasn’t enough. His hands roamed down to her full breasts, and their hardening nipples. His will power quickly dissolved right then and there.

He kept his eyes trained on hers as he ripped the material of her night clothes away from her body, leaving her completely exposed beneath him. His resolve was gone. He only wanted one thing, and that was to gain release.

Her understanding was made evident by the widening of her legs for him, allowing him access to every inch of her body.

As much as she wanted to --almost needed to-- she never let her eyes close for more than a blinking second.

He filled her up almost instantly, not giving her a chance to adjust to his girth. The man she was in love with turned into an animal right before her eyes, and she knew that there would be no mercy for her, or her body.

With her legs wrapped high around his waist, she began to drift off into complete and utter ecstasy. She had missed that side of him; a side that she hadn’t seen since before she got pregnant. 

She held on to his slick shoulders as best she could as he pounded into her over and over and over.

Her muscles clamped down around him as a series of orgasms overtook her. Normally, that tactic would have been enough to get him to stop, but to her surprise he didn’t even slow down.

After her body gave out due to exhaustion, she realized that she had no choice but to surrender.

Tunnel vision had clouded his better judgement. He knew there would be damage to her sweet, soft canal, but he could not stop until he was completely drained.

He was too scared to look down at her because he knew that he had given her more than she could handle, more than any woman could handle. The emotions that he was trying to hide from were all still there, haunting him, but she was his safe place, and for that reason alone he pulled out and forced himself to end her torture.

They took turns breathing until he was able to gain the strength and the will to move.

“Don’t.”

“But--.”

She grabbed the sides of his face and pressed her lips against his until his guilt and pain began to fade.

After she allowed him to catch his breath, he rolled over, taking her with him and wished that moment could last forever.

End Notes:

Mmmmm.... Wonder where Miranda is....

Reviews and Updates go hand-in-hand... The more I get, the more you get.

No Greater Love Than This.... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

We have VeMo to thank for kicking my butt into gear. LOL! Now, shall we?

Miranda sat inside her car thinking -- thinking about her past with Peter and all the times that she wasn’t sure if he would make it home in one piece. All the times she pretended to be okay with his lifestyle, and the relief she felt when he announced that he was finally "retiring" from the business -- her relief lasted almost twenty years… She had seen first hand how enticing that lifestyle could be. Hell, the excitement alone was enough to make her trade her law degree for just a small taste, and now her “son” would be forced to choose… maybe not right away, but she knew eventually his curiosity would get the better of him. Her only problem was if she tried to stop him now, there would be no later between them, and if she waited… it just might be too late.

When the hotel valet walked up to her window, she shooed him away and started her car. Things would blow up one way or another, but she was determined not to be the first one to pull the trigger.

She headed back home in silence and to an empty bed and waited for a sign that she was making the right decision.

“Auntie? Are you up?”

She looked up to the ceiling and laughed. “You sure work fast when You want to. Come on in, Angel.”

She walked in slowly, not knowing what to expect. “Going somewhere?”

Miranda removed her coat, and laid it on top of the others. “Actually, I just got back in.”

Angel walked around, leisurely perusing the room. There was a definite theme going on, and when she noticed an empty spot in the corner, it all clicked. “No way.”

“What are you talking about?” Miranda scoffed and continued preparing for bed.

“You know exactly what I'm talking about. You are not going to Russia.”

“Whatever gave you the impression that I'm even thinking about going to Russia?”

“Why are there three fur coats laid out on the bed? Come on, Auntie. Fur? It's almost summer and we're in Miami. And your luggage?”

“What about my luggage?” Miranda moved the furs back to the double closet.

“Where are they? The whole set has been in the corner for as long as I can remember. Where’s your luggage, Auntie? Huh? Where’s your luggage?”

“Stop badgering me... I put them away.”

“Where? Why?” Angel didn’t budge.

“Girl... Leave me alone.” Miranda couldn't think of anything better to say and Angel knew it.

“That's it! I’m telling. Aleksey! Aleksey! Get up here right now!”

“Little girl. I swear you and Kevin are gonna drive me mad. Now just stop all this foolishness and go to bed before your water breaks.”

“Water breaks? Angel?” Aleksey rushed to her side in a panic.

“Now see what you’ve done, Angel? Got this man all riled up. Look, it’s late. Why don’t we all just go to bed and discuss this in the morning?” She focused her tired eyes on the clock above where her luggage once resided. “Make that later in the morning.”

“Don’t try to deflect, Auntie.”

“What is going on? What is this about your water breaking?” Aleksey was on high alert.

“Nothing. My water is not going to break anytime soon, but she however is planning to go to Russia.” Angel hid behind Aleksey.

“Out of the question.”

Miranda took an audacious step forward. “Now just hold the hell up! This is my house and my life, and if I want to go to Russia, then I’m going to go to Russia and that’s that. Ain’t no sense in talking about this any further. Good night.”

“Ain’t? Ain’t?” Angel peeked around Aleksey's broad back. “Aunt Miranda, I have never in all my life heard you use the word ‘ain’t’.”

“Well, there’s a first time for everything. Good night.”

“You are not going to Russia.” Aleksey wasn’t the least bit concerned about how Miranda felt about his orders; he just knew that she would be following them.

“Angel, get this man out of my room before I hurt him.”

Aleksey smirked at her boldness. He saw Angel in her, and even more than he liked it, he respected it… not that it mattered. “You are not leaving this house.”

“Oh, I bet I am.”

Aleksey stepped to the side and took a good look at both women who almost perfectly mirrored each other without even realizing it, from their folded arms to their extended left legs. He dared not laugh, though. “I promised Peter that I would keep you safe and considering that he is putting his… he is doing a huge favor for me, I can at least do the one thing he asked. You will not leave this house without guards, several in fact.”

“Boy, I am almost twice your age and you’re telling me what I can and cannot do. You have truly lost your mind. Angel, I’m warning you. You better get this little boy out of my room before he gets hurt. Get on now.”

Angel marveled at how suddenly southern her Aunt was sounding. “Auntie, what’s really going on with you?”

“What are you talking about? You know what? I’m tired -- that’s what’s going on. Now both of you need to get out of my room.”

“Fine. It is late, and you have your orders.” Angel sucked her teeth at Aleksey’s poor choice of words.

“Orders? Orders! Did this motherfu--”

“Auntie!”

“Angel, you better get him before there is no him to get.”

“Come on, Aleksey.” Angel dragged him out of the room. “Have you lost your entire mind?!”

“What did I do wrong? I thought you wanted me to stop her.”

“I did… do, but did you have to throw in the word order?” Angel rested her sore back against the gold incrusted wall behind her.

“Was it inappropriate?”

She slapped her hand against her forehead. “You have a lot to learn. You never and I repeat never tell a Black woman that you are ordering her to do anything. Well, not if you value your life.”

“But, I give you orders.” He was clearly confused.

“Yes, but that’s inside the bedroom. Outside of it, we are equals, and every woman wants to be seen as a man's equal, whether they want to admit it or not.”

“I did not know. Maybe, I should go back inside and--”

“Lose your life? She’s not ready to hear or see you, trust me, and until she is I suggest that you steer clear of her.”

“Okay. I will, but she was right about one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“You need to get to bed. It is not good for you to be so upset.”

“I’m fine, Aleksey.”

He stood back and studied the delicious curves of her frame. “Yes, you most certainly are, but you still need rest. Let us go back to bed, and let your Auntie cool off.”

“Now that sounds like a plan.”

As she headed on to the room without him, Angel could clearly hear Aleksey spouting off something in Russian, undoubtedly instructions to the guards to keep a close eye on Miranda. Considering they were the replacements for the last guards who failed Aleksey, Angel rested assured that Miranda would have no choice but to stay put, at least for the time being.

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“So, what’s California like?”

“I don’t know, T. I’ve never been.”

“But, I thought you told me that--”

“I lied. Okay? I was trying to impress you and I lied.”

Tanisha continued folding her clothes and placing them in the dresser drawers. “So, what else have you lied to me about?”

Despite the fact that she sounded so at ease, Kevin knew better. It was a trap, and he was not going to fall for it. “Nothing.”

“Mmm hm.”

“No, really. That was it.”

“Well, what about you being with Renisha Jenkins?”

“Who told you that?”

You told me that! Now, were you really with her or not?”

“When did this turn into twenty questions?”

“Just answer that one.”

“Okay… Now when you say with, do you mean with, or with?”

“Forget it, Kevin. Just forget it!” She dumped her remaining clothes into the top drawer and stomped to her side of the bed where he was waiting for her.

“You mad, T?” She hit the switch on her lamp, and smothered herself in the duvet. They had been in each others lives long enough for Kevin to know that a silent Tanisha was a deadly Tanisha. “I only told you that to make you jealous.” It took a few more seconds, but she eventually slid out from underneath the heavy blanket.

“So, you lied… again?”

“Yea. We kissed, but that was it. I didn’t like her like that.”

She sat up and smiled. “Who did you like?”

“You, Tanisha. Always you.”

He pulled her into his arms and planted a kiss on her that left them both gasping for air.

They weren’t sure how far their love would take them, or even if what they felt was really love, but in that moment whatever it was that they were feeling was enough.

~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~:~

She fought back, but her strength was no match for Marat. They had found Nadya held up in a warehouse, similar to the one that Angel had been held captive in months prior.
 
Getting in was no easy feat, and getting out undetected was proving to be an even harder task. Marat covered Nadya’s mouth to keep her from screaming and alerting the guards, but after she bit him, he used the only weapon he had, his hands. It pained him to hit her, but he needed a cooperation that she wasn’t willing to give. Once she was out cold, he tossed her over his shoulder and carried her back out to the hallway where several guards were posted. He slipped back in the room and waited for word from Peter. The ear pieces that they used were initially on the same frequency as the guards, and before they could choose an alternate channel, they had to split up to save time; that was over an hour ago.

Although Marat had never missed a target, he couldn’t take the risk that Aleksey’s sister might get hit in the cross fire.

Almost another hour later, he heard footsteps approaching the room. Assuming that it was one of the guards coming to check on Nadya, he placed her back in her bed and hid behind the door, with his weapon drawn.

“Marat?”

“Peter?”

Marat slipped from behind the door almost in disbelief. “How did you get passed the guards? I did not hear any shooting?”

Peter smugly pointed out to the hall behind him.

Marat tightened his eyes and took a step toward the door. “But… I did not hear a sound.”

Peter chuckled and stepped back out into the hallway. “That has always been my specialty.”

Marat's gaze spanned from the guards whose lifeless bodies were now splayed out on the floor where they once stood, back to Peter who looked as though nothing had happened.

“How did you?” He so amazed that he couldn’t even finish his question.

“I’ll tell you later. Right now we need to grab the girl and --”

“Peter?” There was an almost silent shot that rang through the air. If it wasn’t for the look of surprise on Peter’s face, Marat wouldn’t have known that he had been hit.

“Go.”

There was a split second of hesitation before Marat closed the door and grabbed the girl.

As he made his way to the window, he could hear Peter fire back round for round. A loud clicking sound, indicating that Peter was out of bullets stopped Marat cold.

The plane ride over to Russia had been a long one, leaving both men with nothing but time to get to know each other. They were almost two sides of the same coin, and Marat had come to think of Peter as a mentor and a friend. In some ways, Marat felt more connected to him than he felt toward Aleksey.   

The sound of more gun fire snapped him out of his thoughts. He had two choices: he could either save himself and Nadya, or risk all of their lives by rescuing Peter.

The gun fire got closer which meant they were closing in. Marat's time was up. 

Nadya began stirring when he slipped his passport into her jacket pocket, along with his cell and a card. Her eyes fluttered open and he could tell that she was slowly coming to. He didn’t have time to repeat his instructions, so he smacked her again, waking her up in an instant. He briefly gave her the instructions that she was to run, and when she was safe she was to call the number on the card. Lastly, he explained that a private plane would be waiting for her at Terminal 6. Marat ushered her off the bed and took solace in knowing that even if neither he, nor Peter made it back alive, at least Aleksey would have his sister.

Once she was securely out of the window, Marat removed both of his guns from their holster, and exited the room in a blaze of glory.

End Notes:

I thank you all in advance for leaving a review, and welcome all of your predictions and requests.

Two To Go... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

As some of you know, my fiance has been diagnosed with heart and kidney failure due to chronic hypertension, and his health has taken my main focus, but I have really, really missed you guys. Thankfully, he's doing better, and today inspiration snatched me up by the collar and wouldn't let me go until I updated, sooooo here we go. =)

Nadya made it as far as the west gate before she ran into a guard who made it clear that he fancied her. He was a scrawny, little thing who barely outweighed her, but he was nice. In fact, he was always nice to her, especially when she first arrived; she inwardly cringed thinking back on that night.

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She had been summoned by a regular "customer" who had a few fetishes that she had learned to accept, and enjoy. However, right before they could begin, she was pulled off of him and rushed through a small hallway where she had seen her friend/mentor Ketrina waiting in the wings. With no time to say goodbye, Nadya tossed her mother’s wedding ring inside the tiny room in hopes that she would one day find Ketrina and the ring again… that was almost two years ago.

Not much had changed since her arrival. She still had no clue as to where she was, or who had taken her, and the guard, who only went by "5" was still the only person who would speak to her.

Everyday, at the same time, she would receive a slip of paper underneath her door with the same simple instruction: “Zapishite vashi yezhednevnyye potrebnosti.” (Write down your daily needs.) When she was done, she would slide the paper back under the door and wait. Never had her needs not been met, well with one obvious exception, to be set free.

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The guard was thrilled to see her outside in a different light, especially being that he was the only guard on duty, and had her all to himself.

With no outside interests, his life had always revolved around his job, and when she stepped into the picture, his life revolved solely around her. Some would call it an obsession… and they would be right.

During their frequent, yet brief talks, they discovered that he was only a few years older than her, and that they had both attended the same private school where they were taught to speak English. Since no one else would speak English with him, he was overjoyed when she showed up. Although initially his English was much better than hers, they were always fully capable of understanding each other.

“5” had been working for Mr. Sidorov since he was 16 years old, as did his older brothers before him -- he was the only one left. Whether it was for Mr. Sidorov or Mr. Moroskov, working for anyone in the business all but guaranteed a death sentence at some point, but since only one of them still lived in Russia, he chose to align himself with the evil that could reach out and touch him personally.

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She thought that she had snuck up on him, but he felt her presence, or at the very least smelled her perfume. Flowery and sweet -- almost as sweet as she was.

“What are you doing out so late, Nadya?”

“I, uh, was looking for you.”

Me? Why?”

She had no time to waste. The distance between him and the gate behind him wasn’t very far, but she knew that he would never let her get close to it without him, no matter how much he wanted her.

“I was lonely, Five.”

“Lonely?” He scoped her beautiful body in the moonlight with a lascivious grin. “That should never be. Why is it that you are lonely, and what can I do to help?”

Her smile was as fake as the bulge in his pants. ‘Socks… Definitely socks.’ “Walk with me?”

“Where? We cannot go far.”

She eyed the gate, and grabbed his hand. ‘Sweaty!’ “To the gate and back. I must get some exercise before I become heavy in set.”

“Heavy set?”

“Yes. Heavy set.”

“Oh, that will never be. You will always be beautiful.”

She tugged him closer to the gate. “And how is it that you can be so sure?”

I can tell… A man can always tell.”

“Oh.” The gun in his side holster was on the opposite side. “It is a cold night tonight. Yes?” She rubbed her arms briskly.

“Would you like my jacket?”

“Yes, please.” She gathered her shirt tightly to her breasts and batted her eyes for good measure. The sight of her round breasts and large nipples almost sent him over the edge.

"Five" attempted to remove his jacket, only to be quickly reminded that he had worn his holster on top that night. Before he made a move, he peered around Nadya, looking for other guards who would surely report him for disregarding the strict rules that had been put in place long before he had been. When he found that he and Nadya were still alone, he removed his gun from its holster, handed it to her, and proceeded to remove his arms from the constricting sleeves.

“Ever held a gun before?” He turned around when she didn’t answer.

“Yes.”

“CHto yavl'ayets'a Vami vypolneniye?” (What are you doing?)

“Leaving.” Before he had a chance to ask anymore questions, she shot him once, between his eyes.

Obtaining his gun was a whole lot easier than finding the keys to the gate. She searched every place on his body, but one. Forgoing the nauseated feeling that tried to overtake her, she closed her eyes and stuffed her hand into the front of his trousers. They were socks alright, with a pair of keys tucked deeply inside. With the keys in hand, she made her way to the gate and prayed that she had chosen the right one. “Damn!”

It wouldn’t be long before either the guards changed, or they killed the man who had set her free… The man. She had so many questions like who he was, who sent him, and where he was sending her. ‘No time.’

There was a Hummer parked outside the gate and only one key left on the ring. ‘Please.’

She sprinted to the car and tried the door; it was unlocked, and thankfully empty. When the key didn't fit, she ran her hands down the sides of the steering wheel and brushed against something that didn’t feel right.

“A button?” Although she could speak English pretty fluently, reading it was an entirely different matter. “S.T.A.R.T.”

She was so busy focusing on the button and its meaning that she didn’t see the two guards who had rushed the truck. Just when one of the guards pried the passenger side door open, Nadya took a chance and pushed the start button.

She had never driven a car before and didn’t know the gas from the brake. When she pressed her foot down on one pedal and nothing happened, she slammed her foot down on the other, sending the guard flying backward, and herself and the truck through the gates and back onto the property.

“No!” She grabbed the wheel and yanked it hard to the right just in time to crash the front end into the wall of her former room. Chunks of brick crumbled down around her, shattering pieces of the windshield, causing a cloud of dust to enter the vehicle.

Before she could come to her senses, her door jerked open, followed by a simple order. “Vojdite v zadn'uyu chast'” (Get in the back.) The man walked back inside the room through the hole that she had created and came back with man with skin that resembled milk chocolate. When they got to the truck, she kicked the front passenger door open for them, and jumped back when the heavily bleeding man was placed on the seat beside her.

“Thank you.” That voice. She knew it. It was the man. The man who had saved her. She grabbed the gun and turned to get in the back, happy to relinquish the driver’s seat when she noticed a dark shadow just over his shoulder.

“Get down!” When Marat ducked out of the way, Nadya raised the gun and took one shot, dropping whoever it was behind him.

Marat looked back and hopped in the truck at the same time. “Good shot.”

“Thank you.”

“Now buckle up.”

Marat hit reverse, and pressed down on the gas pedal until it wouldn’t go down any further.

Sparks flew off the truck confusing Nadya. “Is this bullet proof?”

“Yes. Hold on.”

Marat weaved his way through the grass covered yard running by, and over every guard who got in his way.

He glanced in the rear view mirror at Nadya who was holding on to her seatbelt literally for dear life. Seconds later, there was a long silence followed by a loud explosion just in front of the truck.

He punched the rest of the windshield out and looked up at the whirling blades of a helicopter. “Damn!”

When Marat realized that they had less than a mile before they made it to the tarmac where a jet better had been waiting, he pushed that truck for everything that it was and wasn’t worth.

The closer they got to the airport, the brighter the helicopter lights seemed to shine, almost blinding both Marat and Nadya. With obviously nothing to lose, the pilot decided to descend the chopper on top of the Hummer causing Marat to crash into a side ditch.

Peter began awakening just in time to find himself being pulled from the car onto the cold, muddy ground.

Marat failed to restart the truck, and was soon overpowered and pulled out by two of Sidorov’s men.

Nadya was removed last, by her hair.

“You will die!” When none of the men responded to Marat's warning, he repeated it in Russian.

“Vse yesche mechtatel', Marat?” (Still a dreamer, Marat?)

“Kto - Vy? Kak Vy znayete moye im'a?” (Who are you? How do you know my name?)

“CHto? Vy ne pomnite men'a?” (What? You do not remember me?)

“Dolzhen ya?” (Should I?) Marat tried his best to place the man's face, or at least his voice.

“Dejstvitel'no ne imeyet znacheniya. Vash vrem'a isteklo.” (It really does not matter. Your time is up.)

The man raised and cocked his gun.

“Wait!”

Without taking his eyes off of Marat, the man paused, allowing Nadya to speak.

“Pozhalujsta, ne povrezhdajte ih. Eto - ya, chto Vy hotite. YA proshu Vas, pozvol'ayu im idti.” (Please, do not hurt them. It is me that you want. I beg you, let them go.)

“Three” clamored out a cold, hard laugh....... then pulled the trigger.

End Notes:

I promise that I will TRY to update sooner... as well as the other stories.

May God have mercy on all of our souls... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

I know I've been a bad girl (*shame*), but between family & work, my life has been non-stop. Hopefully, the next update won't be so far into the future. **fingers crossed** Well.... enjoy!

Marat stood firm as “3” shot one of his fellow guards, and then the other. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he took the opportunity to lead Nadya into a nearby ditch. When he went back for Peter, the helicopter that had run them off the road began heading straight for them. He knew that Peter would not be able to get away in time so he ran in the opposite direction hoping to draw attention to himself, and away from everyone else.

 

He waved his arms in the air, purposely taunting the pilot. With the light of the one remaining head beam trained on him, Marat took off deeper into the woods leaving the pilot hot on his trail. With no where else to go, Marat covered his head with his arms and dove to the ground behind two oak trees. Unable to readjust in time, the blades began bending against the centuries year old brambles causing chunks of dead wood to come crashing down all around Marat. Nothing left to lose, the pilot began purposely using the the blades of the helicopter to slice through the tall, thin branches of the trees that Marat hid between. When the branches began toppling him, Marat pulled himself up and began running back toward the road. He could hear the copter struggling to pull up and looked back only once bearing witness to the copter breaking apart and falling slowly to the ground. The explosion that followed soon after sent Marat's body flying through the air and into a tree near the road that he was struggling to making it to despite his now numerous injuries.

 

Minutes later, he felt someone slapping the sides of his face. On the third attempt, he reached up with his eyes still closed and grabbed the assaulter's hand in midair. He yanked on it hard, then gently brought it to his mouth. Her scent. It was like being home... His real home. She helped him up as best she could, and inched with him toward the roadside where Peter's body once laid. Before she went off into the woods to look for Marat, Nadya ripped her skirt into shreds and tied the loose ends around Peter's wounds. When she and Marat got back, he was no where to be found. Something was definitely off, and Marat true to form reached behind his back for his favorite gun but came up empty.

 

“Glyadya na eto?” (Looking for this?) Marat attempted to make a move for the gun, but fell to the ground instead.

 

He looked up, almost humbled by his own weakness. “Ubejte men'a, yesli Vy dolzhny, no pozvol'at' drugim idti!” (Kill me if you must, but let the others go!)

 

“Ubejte Vas? Net. Eto ne sidelo by slishkom horosho s moim bossom.” (Kill you? No. That would not sit too well with my boss.)

 

“Ha! YA dumal by, chto Sidorov budet rad.” (Ha! I would think Sidorov would be pleased.)

 

“YA uveren, chto on, no Aleksey ne budet.” (I am sure he would, but Aleksey would not.)

 

“Aleksey? Kakoj biznes Vy imeyete s Aleksey?” (Aleksey? What business do you have with Aleksey?)

 

“To zhe samoye kak Vy. Teper', my mozhem vse zhdat' zdes' i obsuzhdat' moye rez'ume, v to vrem'a kak vash drug krovotochit do smerti, ili my mogli napravit's'a v aeroport i vernut' Vas k Amerike ..., gde Vy prinadlezhite. Vash vybor.” (Same as you. Now, we can all wait here and discuss my resume while your friend bleeds to death, or we could head to the airport and get you back to America... where you belong. Your choice.)

 

Marat looked up at Nadya. She was barely in better shape than he was, but their was still no sign of Peter. “Gde – on?” (Where is he?)

 

“Kto?” (Who?)

 

“Peter!”

 

“O ... yego.” (Oh... him.) 3's cavalier attitude angered not only Marat, but also Nadya. He held her back from lunging. Sensing the apparent tension along with smoke and fumes in the air, “3” decided to take the situation more seriously, after all, Marat had a reputation all of his own, and it would only be a matter of time before he regained his full strength. “On nahodits'a na samolete, zhduschem nas nar'adu s medicinskim shtatom, kotoryj imeyet, ya uveren, nachal rabotat', chtoby cekonomit' yego zhizn'. Teper', my prisoyedinims'a k nemu, ili Vy predpochitayete zhdat', poka bol'she muzhchin Sidorova ne poyavl'ayets'a i dayet nam real'nyj vyzov?” (He is on the plane waiting for us along with a medical staff who has I am sure began working to save his life. Now, shall we join him, or would you rather wait until more of Sidorov's men show up and give us a real challenge?)

 

Marat's lips curled into a slow growl. “Pozvol'te nam idti.” (Let's go.)

 

In any other situation, Marat would have refused to be helped by someone like “3”, but as he looked around the bloody tarmac, and strewn bodies, he realized that he had no choice, but he held on to every bit of his resentment the entire way. What he hated more than anything was that he had to trust someone that gave him no reason to. Hell, for all he knew, Peter could have already been dead and the man who had claimed to be working for Aleksey could be walking he and Nadya into a trap. At that point he was only sure of one thing and that was if they had stuck around that area much longer they would all surely die.

 

When they made it to the stairs of the plane, Marat stepped to the side and ushered Nadya inside first. It was just he and “3” left.

 

“Gde Vy dumayete, chto Vy idete?” (Where do you think you are going?”)

 

“YA tol'ko obeschal, chto ya poluchu Vas vseh proch' sostava Sidirova ... teper', yesli by koye-chto dolzhno bylo sluchit's'a s Vami posle fakta, ya uveren, chto Aleksey pon'al by. CHto yavl'ayets'a etim, chto Vy amerikanec govorite? Dva iz tri ne plohim?” (I only promised that I would get you all off of Sidirov's compound... now if something were to happen to you after the fact, I am sure that Aleksey would understand. What is it that you American's say? Two out of three is not bad?)

 

Marat's next words were drowned out by the sound of gun fire and armored cars heading their way.

 

While “3” was distracted by the sudden change of events, Marat climbed up the stairs leaving “3” closely behind. He didn't know if this was apart of “3's” plan, and he had no interest in finding out. With something similar to a smile on his face, he used what little strength he had left and kicked “3” in the chest and off the stairs to the tarmac below. With the stairs now clear, he yelled for the pilot to take off. Gun fire continued to ring out as the stairs rolled up and the plane ascended into the cold, night air. He did manage to make eye contact with “3” before the stairs retracted completely. Marat smiled at the comforting knowledge that “3” would soon be no more. He didn't know if he was who he said he was and he didn't care. The people whom he had vowed to protect would soon be home and that was all that mattered. Peter...

 

As if reading his mind, Nadya grabbed Marat by his rather large hand and led him to where Peter was being carefully operated on. It gave him much need relief to see the doctor's staff working to save his new friend and brother's life.

 

The adrenaline that had been keeping him going was fading fast so took a seat as the plane continued to climb higher away from the danger on the ground. They were safe and so far all alive. He had settled his battered body into the plush, leather recliner that had to have been Aleksey's doing for only a few seconds before he heard her speak.

 

“Who is Aleksey?”

 

“Excuse me?” That was the last question that he was prepared to answer.

 

“Aleksey. I heard “3” speak of him, he said that you work for him as well. Who is he?”

 

“Oh. He is my boss.” He closed his eyes hoping that it would be the end of it, but knowing that it wouldn't.

 

“Is he the one who sent you for me?” She scooted passed his aisle seat and nestled into the seat by the window.

 

“Yes.” He opened one eye at her, and snapped it back shut.

 

“Why?”

 

He almost cursed Aleksey for placing in that predicament. It was not his place to tell, yet he refused to lie. “You can ask him when we make it home.”

 

“Where is home?”

 

He eased his sore body toward her, almost amazed at her level of energy. It was very similar to Aleksey's after a fight; he was always ready for more.

 

“I promise all of your questions will be answered... later.” He turned back around just in time to see smoke blowing passed the window on the opposite side of the plane. “We've been hit.” Nadya patted her body, unsure of what Marat meant. Not knowing the extent of the damage to the plane, he yelled for her to sit down. Before he could make it down the narrow length of the aisle to the cockpit, one of the pilots instructed everyone, including Marat to take their seats and buckle up.

 

“CHto, chert voz'mi, prodolzhayets'a? YEst' dym--(“What the hell is going on? There's smoke--”)

 

“YA znayu, Ser. Samolet, dolzhno byt', byl porazhen, v to vrem'a kak ili posle togo, kak my vzletali. My okazyvayems'a pered neobhodimost''u sazhat' ... bystro. (“I know, Sir. The plane must have been hit while or after we were taking off. We are going to have to land... quickly.”)

 

"No moj drug--" (“But my friend--”)

 

“Is stable.” Marat twisted around toward the doctor's soft voice -- her English was perfect. “He is fine. In and out. All I had to do was clean his wounds and stitch him up. He should be awake soon.”

 

“Just in time for the plane to crash.”

 

“What?!”

 

Marat tried to backtrack, but the look on the pilot's face said it all. He cleared his throat and tried to take control of the situation by once again instructing everyone to sit down and strap in. The reality was that his instructions were just a formality. In a few short minutes, that plane was going to go down.

 

He headed back to the cockpit, stopping only to say a quick prayer. "Bog maya schadit vse nashi dushi." (“May God have mercy on all of our souls.”)

What Goes Up.... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

The desire to write and the inspiration to write haven't lined up until now. Hopefully, inspiration will also trickle down to the other stories as well, but in the meantime, here we go...

 

There had been no word since Marat and Peter's plane landed. He tried to busy himself with Destiny, Angel, and their unborn child, but inside Aleksey was going crazy. Since patience had never been his strong suit, he tried to remain strong and confident that things would eventually turn out for the best.

 

Angel had been glued to her cell all morning trying to reach Miranda. “Any word?” She shook her head and left yet another message voicing her concerns.

 

“Please, Auntie. Call me, any time. I'm worried about you... I love you.”

 

They were still uncertain as to how she was able to slip passed three expertly trained guards, but she did, and had not been seen or heard from since.

 

“We will find her.”

 

“Aleksey, she won't be found until she's ready to be found... I don't care how many goons you send after her.”

 

“Goons?” He chuckled and placed her once petite feet into his lap.

 

“Yes, goons. That's what they're called, right?”

 

“Not in my organization, but I understand.”

 

She quickly mellowed under his touch. “Sooo, how did your family take it when you told them the wedding would be postponed? I hope they weren't too disappointed.” She raised her upper body up on her elbows when he didn't answer. “Aleksey, you did tell them, didn't you?”

 

“I... did not.” He released her feet and ducked down to the floor.

 

“Aleksey! You told me you would handle it! Now, they're going to come all the way down here and there's going to be no wedding! What were you thinking?!”

 

“A lot has happened. I forgot.”

 

“You never forget! Anything!”

 

“Well, I did this time. I promise their trip will not be in vain. We will have a wedding.”

 

Angel slid across the large custom bed and stood on her puffy feet. “Who's getting married?”

 

“Us, Angel. We are getting married. You have not changed your mind have you?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then what is the problem?”

 

“I am not getting married unless my Uncle Peter is walking me down the aisle.”

 

“Angel–”

 

“I mean it, Aleksey. I am not walking down the aisle alone. I have sacrificed a lot for you, but not this. I refuse.”

 

“Angel–”

 

“I refuse!”

 

“But, what about your father... your real father?”

 

“I don't want that man within 100 feet of me on that day. As far as I'm concerned, he's dead.”

 

“You don't mean that.”

 

“The hell I don't!”

 

“He and my mother can both burn in – OUCH!” Angel gripped her stomach and crumpled to the floor.

 

“Angel!” Aleksey wasted no time crawling to the other side where she laid balled up in the fetal position. He scooped her up in his arms and rushed to the front room. On the way, he barked out two orders to Natalia who followed closely behind. “Tell Dr. K to meet us on the 8th floor of the Grand View Hospital, and take care of Destiny – she is to hear nothing of this.”

 

“Yes, Sir.”

 

Ketrina opened the front door for the Aleksey and Angel, and jumped back out of the way when he growled at her. All was not forgotten or forgiven.

 

“Is the baby coming?”

 

Natalia looked into her daughter’s eyes for a brief moment before grabbing the private house phone. She found a small trace of what appeared to be genuine concern. “I hope not. She is not due just yet.”

 

“Hold on my love. We will be at the hospital soon.” Aleksey gently laid Angel down in the backseat of the largest vehicle he owned, a bullet-proof, fully tinted black 2012 Escalade. He snatched the keys from his driver and pressed down on the gas pedal literally to the floor.

 

 

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Instead of checking the caller ID, Miranda rolled her tired, wet eyes and pushed delete. She knew exactly who it was and exactly what she wanted. As much as she loved her niece, all she had the strength to care or think about was her husband Peter, and until he called, she refused to see or speak to anyone else.

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“My wife, she is in labor!” Aleksey slammed the side doors of the hospital open, taking out the couple behind them. Without so much as a backwards glance, he barreled over to the front desk demanding that action be taken immediately.

 

“Fill out the forms and have a seat in the lobby. We'll get to you when we can.”

 

“Forms! Lobby?! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?!!!”

 

The rattle of the glass window between them caused the young woman to look up from her magazine. “You... You're...” She checked the picture on the wall behind her. “Oh my god. I am so sorry, Mr. Morosev... Mr. Morosey...”

 

“Mr. Moroskov. I am sorry for the delay. Please, right this way.” A short, balding man with a wheelchair ushered Aleksey and Angel to a private elevator a few feet away. As the elevator doors began closing, the woman shuddered from the icy stares that she received from her boss, and Mr. Moroskov, a name she would never again forget.

 

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While the descending fiery jet sliced its way through the smoky air, the look of terror on Nadya's face brought a strange comfort to Marat. He was in his element. His life had been dedicated to protecting others and she was definitely in need of protecting; hell, they all were. Knowing that they had minutes, maybe seconds before they hit the ground, he unbuckled his seat belt and rushed over to her side. Her tiny hand slid into his without pause. After all that she had been through --all that she had escaped from-- she refused to die. The grip on his hand tightened as she prayed to the God of her mother. In the middle of bargaining her soul for a safe landing, she heard the rustling of trees whipping across the outer parts of the plane. Together, she and Marat watched as leaves, branches, and tree roots shattered the windows, leaving nothing but twisted metal panes in their place.

 

Marat briefly turned his attention to where he had last seen Peter. He was shocked to find the petite doctor lying across his body, shielding him from the tornado-like debris that quickly filled the plane. Piece by piece, the plane divided, taking chunks away with it. Nadya and Marat braced themselves.

 

One by one, the flight and medical crew were snatched out of what was left of the plane, leaving brief trails of their final screams behind them. Marat tried to keep his eyes open and on Peter and the doctor, but the thick layer of dust and dirt in the air blinded him. He turned his head in the direction of their screams until they couldn't be heard any longer. The row of chairs in front of he and Nadya shook violently – they were next. He and Nadya locked arms, but it was no use. The suction pulled them apart from the plane, and each other.

 

After what seemed like hours, small cries for help filled the air, waking both Peter and Marat. They were alive, and gratefully not far from each other. Marat stood up only to fall back down, his left leg was broken in several places. He dropped down hard to the ground and crawled over to Peter, passing the battered and lifeless body of the doctor on his way.

 

“Help... Please, help me.”

 

Peter and Marat faced the direction of where the plane skidded to a stop.

 

“Go.”

 

Peter followed Marat's order and inched his way over to the frail voice of the woman's pleas.

 

“Nadya. Nadya! Where are you?”

 

“Help me, please.”

 

The closer Peter got, the more convinced he was that the voice was not Nadya's. It didn't take long for him to find a young flight attendant whose lower torso was completely crushed under the weight of the plane. There was nothing he could do but hold her hand and watch as the light in her eyes faded away. He got up, and began heading back to Marat.

 

“Help me. Please.” It was the voice again.

 

'It can't be.' He turned back around to see the body of the young woman stilled in death.

 

“Help me.”

 

Peter rushed to the other side of the plane where he found another woman who was also stuck; thankfully, her injuries weren't nearly as severe. After freeing her from the fallen wing, Peter felt a twinge of pain and looked down at his shoulder. With all that was happening, he had completely forgotten that he had been shot. Hell, it was the least of his worries.

 

Peter presented the young nurse to Marat and stated the obvious. “It wasn't her.”

 

Marat nodded and continued trying to stick the broken bones of his leg back inside. “Where are we?”

 

“I don't know.” Peter surveyed the land. Bodies and body parts were strewn about making him more determined to find the person they risked everything for. “Nadya! Nadya! If you can hear me–” Marat grabbed his leg, silencing him.

 

“Did you hear that?”

 

“What? I didn't hear – Wait.” Leaves began falling all around them, grabbing their attention. “What the? Nadya?!”

 

“And, I thought I had nine lives.” Marat laughed until it hurt.

 

She was alive, and suspended in mid air by a low hanging branch.

 

Peter looked around for some way to get up to her. If he climbed the broken tree, she would surely fall and so would he. There was only one other solution. “Jump!”

 

“Are you crazy?” She had a mouth full of leaves and dirt, causing her words to come out garbled. She tried to shift the weight of her body to the branch below, but the second she moved, a sharp pain shot through her leg. When she looked at the source, she immediately wished that she hadn't. A chunk of the branch that she had been leaning on was stuck through a large portion of her thigh. 

 

Daylight had barely began breaking through, making it difficult for those on the ground to see what was stopping her.

 

“Jump down! I'll catch you!” Peter planted his feet and motioned for her to follow his command. He was riding on pure adrenaline and  hoped that she would take advantage of it before it ended.

 

Nadya spat out as much of the crud as she could without moving too much. “I'm stuck!”

 

“What?!”

 

“I'm stuck! A branch has stuck my leg. I cannot move.”

 

“We just survived a plane crash, and her ass is being held hostage by a damn tree!”

 

He wasn't sure if shock was setting in, or if it was the sheer irony of the situation, but Marat began laughing hysterically, and the hysteria proved contagious. Before long, Peter and the nurse were laughing with him – that is until they each heard a faint ringing sound off in the distance.

 

Marat looked up at Peter. “Did you hear that?”

 

Peter nodded. Everyone stayed still, waiting for the sound to return.

 

“Over there!” Nadya gripped the branch with one hand, and pointed with the other.

 

Peter raced over to where he too heard the phone. It was coming from the mangled body of the pilot. He said a quick prayer for the dead and snatched the phone from his pocket. “Hello! Hello!” There was nothing but static on the other side. “My name is Peter. I was on a private plane owned by Aleksey Moroskov heading from Russia. The plane crashed. There are four survivors. Myself, Marat, Nadya, and a nurse. We don't know where we are, but– ” Dial tone. “Shit! Shit! Shit!” Peter walked back over to the small group with phone. “I couldn't hear whoever it was, but I hope to high heaven whoever it was heard me.”

 

Marat scooted back against the tree that had claimed Nadya, and together they all watched and waited.

 

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“Where is she?! I told Natalia to call her. She should be here by now!”

 

“Aleksey, calm down. I'm sure she's on her way... Not everyone drives like you.” Angel gripped her belly and smiled.

 

He returned her smile and sat on the edge of the bed with her. “You are in pain.”

 

“Wow! Really? I had no idea.”

 

He scowled to keep from laughing. Before he could respond, his phone rang. “This better be her! Where are you?!”

 

“At home, Sir.”

 

“Natalia? Did you call the doctor like I asked?”

 

“Yes, Sir, but this is not about her. This is about Mr. Peter.”

 

Aleksey kept a level head and excused himself from the room under the watchful eye of his soon-to-be bride. “What about him? Have you word?”

 

“Yes. A woman called here and said that she was trying to reach her husband–”

 

“I don't give a damn about her husband!”

 

“Sir, please let me explain.” Aleksey clenched his free hand into a fist, and remained silent. “Her husband was the pilot of the plane that Mr. Peter and Marat... Mr. Moroskov?” The muscles in his hand relaxed.

 

“Continue.”

 

“She called to check on him, but Mr. Peter answered his phone.”

 

“He is alive?!”

 

“Mr. Peter, yes. As is Marat and... Ms. Nadya, Sir.”

 

“They are all alive?” His heart began beating rapidly.

 

“Yes, Sir, but...”

 

“But what? But what?!

 

“They were in a plane crash.”

 

“Where?”

 

“I do not know. They do not know. The lady said that the phone disconnected before she could get more information.”

 

“How do you know she was telling the truth? This could be a setup.”

 

“I took the liberty of sending Artyom, Konstantin, and Rostislav to her. She will be here shortly.” She closed her eyes and waited for the fallout.

 

“Good job.”

 

“Sir?” She looked at the phone and quickly placed it back to her ear.

 

“Thank you. You handled it very well.” He saw Dr. K. rushing off the elevator, heading his way. “I must go. Keep me informed.”

 

“Yes, Sir.”

 

“Where have you been?! We have been waiting. My wife is in pain. How–”

 

“I'm sorry. I got stuck in traffic, but I'm here now.” She grabbed the chart off the door, and eased into the room only to find a sleeping Angel inside. “What was the emergency?”

 

“She was in pain. Lots of pain.”

 

“Well, she seems to be fine now.” Dr. K. checked the spikes on the transducer ultrasound print out sheet and came to an easy conclusion.

Angel woke up and rolled over onto her back. “Dr. K?”

 

“Hello, Angel. How are you feeling?”

 

“Tired, sore, and ready to go back home.”

 

“Well, I would like to do an examination, and keep you here for a couple more hours just to be sure, but from what I can tell it seems that you're having Braxton Hicks contractions.”

 

“I've had those before, but this felt different, stronger.” Angel tried to sit up, but Dr. K. patted her back down.

 

“The closer you get to your due date, the more Braxton Hicks contractions you will probably get; it's perfectly normal. Mr. Moroskov, would you like to step outside while I do my examination.”

 

Once he got Angel's approval, he stepped out into the hallway where he made a call to Konstantin. He hadn't been in the business very long, but he had proven himself to be loyal on more than occasion. “Update me.”

 

“Sir, we are tracking the pilot's phone. We should have a location within a few hours.”

 

“So, this woman...”

 

“Asenka.”

 

“Asenka, she is trustworthy?”

 

“Yes, Sir. She has been married to Timur for fifteen years. They have four children together – 6, 9, 3, and 11.”

 

“Did he survive?”

 

“No, Sir. It is my understanding that there were only four survivors; Marat, Peter, a nurse, and a woman named,” Aleksey could hear him rustling through his notes, “Nadya.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“That is what Asenka was told.”

 

“By whom?”

 

“Peter.”

 

Aleksey hung up, and smiled at Angel as he reentered the room.

 

“The wedding is on.”

 

“Aleksey, I already told you that I'm not walking down the aisle without my Uncle.”

 

His smile remained firm. "Yes, about that...”

End Notes:

I promise I won't leave them stuck forever like those people on Lost. LOL!!!

"You Owe Me... Big!" by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Well, I guess Nadya's not the only thing being brought back to life. Hey, y'all! As you can see, I've found my Swifter and started dusting off these stories. Now that my real life has calmed down, I guess it's time to start some drama elsewhere. Start popping your popcorn now because this chapter is just a teaser. Explosive revelations are soon to come, and no one will ever be the same.

 

Aleksey kept Angel in suspense all the way home, refusing to go further into detail until she was safe and the contractions had stopped.

 

“Okay, we're home now. Have you heard from them?”

 

“Yes, and they are fine – all of them.”

 

Angel jumped no more than an inch off of the ground, but it felt like a whole lot more to her. “Are you sure?”

 

“Yes, I would not tell you if I were not.”

 

“What happened? Where have they been? Tell me everything.” Angel was clearly overexcited, and rightfully so. This bit of good news had been a long time coming.

 

“I think this has been enough excitement for now. They will be home soon and can tell you everything when they arrive.”

 

“Aleksey, you know that I will not be able to sleep until I know for sure what's happened.”

 

“You will sleep, and you will have happy dreams.”

 

There was one person whose face flashed in her mind. “My Aunt Miranda. She has to know.” Angel looked around for her phone.

 

“I have sent someone to tell her.”

 

Angel took one step back, and then another. “But, how could you have sent someone if we didn't know where she was?”

 

We did not. I did.” He braced himself to be verbally and possibly physically attacked, but nothing came.

 

“I knew it! I knew you knew where she was! Thank you!”

 

Aleksey chuckled and kissed her cheek. “So, you are not angry?”

 

“No. Not this time, but let this be the last secret that you keep from me.”

 

“Yes, my love. It will be.”

 

She stared into his beautiful blue eyes and almost melted. “We're getting married,” she sang her declaration with an abundance of joy. Everything was finally falling into place.

 

“Yes, as we always were. Now I can send for my friends.”

 

Angel's smiled dipped. “About these friends... are these friend friends or business friends?”

 

Aleksey stepped away. “Both.”

 

“But –”

 

“Angel, when it comes to things like this, I must tread with caution. If I do not invite certain people it can be seen as a sign of disrespect or disloyalty and I cannot have that especially at this time.”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

“I have too much to lose, and if I have to commix my family and my business just for this occasion, then it is a sacrifice that I am going to make.”

 

“And, I have no say?”

 

“No, I am afraid that you do not.” He read the lines of fear mixed in with annoyance on her face, but on this matter he could not be swayed.

 

“Fine.”

 

“That is it?”

 

“Yes. If you say it has to be that way, then that is the way it will be.” Aleksey's smile grew triumphantly. “Just know that you owe me, BIG!

 

His eyebrows flickered and his smiled never waned. “Big?”

 

Angel looked down at his pants and fanned herself. “Real big.”

 

“Boss! Boss!”

 

Aleksey wiped his chin and sucked in an almost calming breath. “What is it?”

 

Aleksey's guard looked around his boss at Angel before handing Aleksey the phone.

 

“Fine, I'll leave. Have your little tête-à-tête. I'll be in our room... waiting.” Angel decided against giving Aleksey a preview with the guard still standing there, but she did throw in an extra shake or two on her way out.

 

Aleksey closed his eyes and cursed the day that he ever decided to get involved with his business. “Who is this?”

 

“A really good friend who wants a really big raise.”

 

Aleksey's heart felt as thought it had stopped. He cleared his throat to keep from shouting. “Marat?”

 

“Has it been so long that you have forgotten the sound of my voice?”

 

Aleksey shooed his guard away and made sure that it was a burner phone that he was using before he said another word. “A voice that I was not so sure that I would ever hear again.”

 

“Well, worse have tried to shut me up.” He laughed until the pain overtook him, forcing him to stop.

 

“My friend. How are you?”

 

“I am better than to be expected.”

 

“And Peter and Nadya.”

 

Marat's eyes found both of them sleeping soundly in the back of the plane. “They are well.” He knew that Peter would have a long way to go before he would be close to being the same, but he was alive, and it was a start.

 

Aleksey had many more questions, all of which would have to wait. “Are you out of Russia?”

 

“Yes. We made it as far as Mongolia before your once beautiful plane gave out.”

 

“Once?”

 

“Aleksey, dear friend, it is no more. We were able to trade the gold cup holders, seat buckles, and sink faucets for a new plane, not as fancy, but stable... we hope.”

 

“I see.” Aleksey loved that plane. It was an almost exact replica of the one that he had drawn when he was a little older than Destiny all the way down to the gold faucet handles, but planes could be replaced, the people on them could not. “Where are you now?”

 

Marat strained his eyes trying to find something familiar outside of the plane's window, but it was too dark. “I do not know. The pilot did say that we would have to take several detours to stay under the radar.”

 

“That is wise.”

 

Although Aleksey's voice remained firm, Marat knew his old friend was overjoyed underneath. “So, the bachelor party, it has not gone on without me has it?”

 

“Absolutely! We had all kinds of women, too. Short ones. Tall ones.” Angel sauntered back in the room wearing his favorite colored nightie. “Voluptuous ones, with big behinds and bosoms.” His eyes danced as did his future wife. She began grinding against him in ways that he had only seen in the music videos that he watched when he thought she was asleep.

 

Marat was more than a little hurt. “And Angel, she allowed this?”

 

Allowed? She participated!” His breathing picked up when she flicked her tongue across his right nipple, and then his left. “Friend, please, um, please keep me informed of every step of your journey, but I must go now.”

 

It became crystal clear to Marat that Aleksey was not only pulling his leg, but also what was really happening on the other end of the phone. “Have you two never heard of saving it for the honeymoon?”

 

Honeymoon, full moon, who cares? I must go now.” He was able to get out one more necessary sentence before he absolutely had to hang up. “Thank you.”

 

Angel raced Aleksey into the hallway to their room, and Aleksey being a gentleman purposely followed her from behind, giving her an unfair advantage and plenty of time to beat him. However, when he turned the corner to join her, he found her bent over with one hand clinched in a fist and the other gripping the wall. At first he didn't know what to make of it until he looked down and saw a streaming puddle on the floor beneath her. Everything hit him all at once and he, for the first time in his life froze.

 

“Aleksey!!!!”

 

“I am here!” He jumped in front of her with his heart nearly beating out of his chest. “What do I do? What do I do?” Every book that he had read, every Lamaze class that they had taken, and every labor and delivery video that they had watched immediately went out of the window. He was like a big Russian dear in headlights.

 

“You're going to help me to our room, go get Natalia, and then call Dr. K.” Watching Aleksey panic was so hilarious and unexpected that it had somehow calmed Angel down. In fact, she was so calm that it started to freak Aleksey out even more.

 

“Room. Call. Got it!” Aleksey picked up his phone.

 

“Aleksey? Room, Natalia, then phone.

 

“Yes, of course.” Aleksey held Angel up and walked her to their room. He dared not look back. Once she was as comfortable as possible on the bed, he bellowed for Natalia who came running.

 

“Oh my goodness! It is time. I will go get towels.” She got a good look at Aleksey who appeared to be in a state of shock. “Please, Sir, sit. I will take care of everything.” She smiled at Angel who grimaced back. Aleksey handed Natalia his personal cell phone and mindlessly dragged a chair next to the bed.

 

While Natalia searched through the numbers on his speed dial, Angel reached out for Aleksey's hand and began doing to the breathing exercises that Dr. K had taught them both. After the sixth round, color had come back to Aleksey's face and he was finally able to join in.

 

Natalia brought in a large stack of white towels and planted herself on the other side of the bed as they all breathed through the next few sessions of contractions.

 

It didn't take long for Dr. K. to arrive and after a quick examination, it was determined that the baby's head was at zero station which meant the baby's arrival could be minutes away. Aleksey had the fatherly pleasure of wheeling the mother of his children to the exam -turned- delivery room that he had set up in her absence months ago. He still hadn't forgiven himself for what had happened to her albeit in his absence, but the arrival of their latest addition fueled him with a new purpose that would not be destroyed by even death itself.

End Notes:

Well, it's showtime! The drama that has come for these two in the past will be nothing compared to what's to come. Now, I normally don't give spoilers, but since it's been so long, I will say that there may not be a wedding after all, that is when certain possible (and remember, I said possible) truths come to light... and with this story ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! LOL!

~See you soon!~

Deliveries, Diapers, And Decisions... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Well, the time has finally come!!!! Enjoy!

This day had been a long time coming for both Angel and Aleksey. Although, they had already built a family and life together, things were finally starting to feel complete. While the reality was that Angel had become a mother the moment she decided to put the needs of Destiny before her own, she still had a yearning to know what it felt like to have a baby growing and kicking inside of her, to bring that life into the world – a world that would be unfair and unkind, but also loving and protective, very much like her Aleksey.

 

Aleksey, in his heart of hearts never completely allowed himself to believe that this day would come. He had accepted Destiny as his own every bit as much as Angel had, but this baby would be his flesh and blood, his legacy – the mere thought alone had begun to overwhelm him. As a child he made a vow to his mother that he would never follow in the footsteps of his father -- neither of them knew that he would later break that vow shortly after. Through the years, he had seen trace shadows of his father’s presence pass through him mostly in old phrases, and flashes of anger, but it was with Angel’s unknowing help that he had gotten better at hiding it. She was his saving grace, as he was hers, and whether it was a match made in Heaven or Hell, it didn’t matter, just as long as she would always be his.

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Angel’s freshly painted nails dug and twisted into the armrests of the wheelchair. She tried to “remain loose and just flow with the pain” like the countless (and now worthless) pregnancy videos and books had instructed, but her body tensed into a board-like figure with each passing contraction. There was no rhyme or reason for the amount of pain that she was in, and the sudden thirst alone was almost unbearable. When Aleksey entered the final hall to the delivery room, the pain kicked up, and Angel got lost in it.

 

“Why in the hell is the room so damn far?!” She had gripped onto the armrests for so long that she had lost all feeling in her hands, if only other places on her body were so lucky.

 

Aleksey pushed the wheelchair toward the door as fast as he possibly could, but judging by her screams, it was nowhere near fast enough. “We are almost there, my love.” 

 

“SHUT.UP!” He eased the wheelchair to a complete stop and looked at Dr. K.

 

“It’s just the pain talking. Keep going.” Dr. K. had seen expectant mothers turn on the fathers of their babies so many times that it had become routine, if not comical. Judging by the whites of Angel’s knuckles she was certain that Aleksey hadn’t seen or heard anything yet. She patted his back for encouragement and pity.

 

When they finally reached the end of what felt like an unnecessary maze, Dr. K. jumped in front and opened the door to the delivery room. While her nurses helped Angel out of the wheelchair and on to the table, Dr. K. led Aleksey over to the metal sink to scrub in.

 

“She told me to shut up. She has never told me to shut up before. Okay, there was that one time, but she was really mad at me, but I did nothing this time.” He was clearly still stunned by Angel’s unexpected burst of anger toward him.

 

Dr. K. laughed and handed him a bar of chlorhexidine antibacterial soap. “Mr. Moroskov—“

 

“Please, Aleksey.” He held the surgical soap near his nose; it was such a familiar smell that it both comforted and repulsed him equally.

 

Aleksey, there is a human being trying to squeeeeze his way out of a tiny hole in her body thanks to something that you did; be grateful that ‘shut up’ is all she said.”

 

After thinking about it that way, he nodded in agreement.

 

“Drugs! I need drugs! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh SHITTTTTTTTT!!!!!” Angel had lost all abandon sometime between the front door of the room and having to climb up on a table that suddenly seemed way too high. “Where… are the freaking druuuuuuugggggsssss?”

 

Dr. K. slipped into her gloves and switched places with Aleksey. “That’s my cue. Scrub from under your nails to your elbows for two minutes; my nurse Elise will assist you.”

 

“Somebody knock me out! You, Nurse whatever-your-name-is, grab that pan over there and knock me out, I ppprooooomise I won’t tell. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!!!”

 

Now donned in full surgical gear, Dr. K. took a deep breath and prepared to have her own head bitten off. “How are we doing over here?” It was a stupid question that she used to distract every mother in full blown labor while she checked their vitals.

 

“How do you think I’m doing?! My insides are being…. ripped apart by this little Russian demon seed!!!!”

 

Dr. K. checked both heart monitors, and was very pleased with the results. “I know it doesn’t feel like it Angel, but things are actually progressing perfectly. We should have a new baby in our presence within an hour.”

 

“AN HOUR?! Have you lost… your fucking mind?! If you…. OWWWWWWWW do not take this thing out of me now… AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! YOU FUCKING BITCH!!!!!!!”

 

Aleksey finished scrubbing up just as Angel’s screaming fest took a turn for the absolute worse. He had seen her angry before, really angry, but this was not the Angel that he knew and still without question loved. “You know nurse, I think I missed a spot.” He attempted to turn around and start scrubbing in all over again, but unfortunately for him Elise had seen that trick several times in her 40+ year career.

 

“You’re good Mr. Moroskov.” She gave him a big smile and attempted to turn his tall frame back toward the curtain’s exit. “Your wife is ready for you now.”

 

‘But, I am not ready for her!’ “Nurse, if you would just look right there,” he turned his arm over and pointed to an area just below his elbow, “There. See? I missed it. I must do it all again.” Before he could attempt to take a step toward the sink, another pile of expletives stumbled out of Angel’s mouth.

 

“Aleksey! Where the hell are… you?!”

 

The nurse pointed toward the curtain. “Fine, but I did miss a spot.” He huffed and bent down just enough so that Elise could tie the neck strings of his gown. In the few seconds that it took her to finish, he attempted to mentally prepare himself for what sounded a lot like war… or a really dirty bar.

 

“Where… the hell… have you been?! I’m over here dying…. and you’re…. making small talk with a damn… nurse?!”

 

“I, uh—“

 

I, uuuhhh…. You know what? Screw you! I can do this on my owwwwwwwwwwww! Please don’t leave meeeeeee!”

 

He pushed the remainder of the curtain out of his way and rushed to her side. “I am not going anywhere. If you need to scream, scream away. I am here, as I will always be.”

 

Dr. K. ducked down on the stool between Angel’s legs and laughed quietly.

 

Per one of the nurse’s instruction, Angel tucked her chin into her chest and gritted her teeth through the next contraction. “I’m sooooorrrrryyyyy.”

 

Dr. K. popped up and offered some words of advice. “Angel, I need you to breathe through your contractions instead of holding your breath. Aleksey, why don’t you start her off? Remember, it’s ‘hee hee hee whooooo. Hee hee hee whoooo’.”

 

“Yes.” He grabbed Angel’s hand and began making the “ridiculous sounds” as he referred to them in Lamaze. The exact moment that it appeared to be working, a wave of contractions hit Angel back-to-back wiping out what little energy she had left.

 

“I can’t do this, Aleksey. It hurts too bad…...hee hee whooooo….. I can’t.” Her legs began trembling in the stirrups.

 

“It’s probably because your baby has a big head just.like.you!”

 

“What?” Angel shook her head. ‘I didn’t take anything yet, how can I be hearing things?’

 

I said it; now what are you gonna do about it, Big Head.”

 

The sting of hot tears ran down Angel’s cheeks from the pain as her cousin Kevin made his annoying presence further known by stepping out from behind Aleksey.

 

“You little bast… OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!” He of course evoked an equal amount of anger and joy from her just when she needed it the most.

 

Kevin stepped up and elbowed Aleksey. “I don’t know how to tell you this bruh, but you may never see your baby the way she’s punkin’ out. I heard you all in the hallway, ‘I can’t do it. It’s too hard. Waaa waaa waaa.’ I should have known that you didn’t have it in you, Big Head.”

 

“Shut… up… You little… Wait… until I get this baby out of me! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

 

Dr. K. looked up at Kevin and nodded. She didn’t know who he was, but what he was doing was working like magic. “That’s it. Keep pushing, Angel. Breeeeathe... Okay, now hold it.”

 

“HOLD IT?! I’ve been holding it for…. hee hee hee … 9 months, now GET… whooooo…. THIS THING OUT OF ME!!!!”

 

Everyone except Angel and Aleksey laughed, and the only reason he didn’t join in was because he was still afraid. “Okay, one more push should— that’s it. That's it! Here... he... comes.”

 

Aleksey glanced over the barrier that he had placed for himself; 10 little fingers, 10 little toes, and a penis. Everyone in the room braced themselves for the normal wailing sounds of a newborn, but there wasn’t even so much as a whimper; in fact, the room had become eerily quiet while they waited to hear… something. In all actuality it only took a matter of seconds for Dr. K. to clear his airways (both nasal and oral), cut the umbilical cord, and spank his bottom, but the anticipation made it seem so much longer. After the sound of a pop filled the room, a series of loud, yet welcomed screams quickly took its place.

 

While Angel was being attended to by Dr. K.’s assistants, Aleksey followed Dr. K. over to the examining table, never taking his eyes off of his baby.

 

“I have a son?”

 

Dr. K. briefly looked up from one of the most alert babies that she had ever delivered. “You seem surprised.”

 

“I knew that we were having a boy, you told us that many months ago, but he is here… It is real. He is real.”

 

Dr. K. continued on with her tests. “Yes, he is very real, very healthy, and very ready for his father to hold him – that is if you’re ready.” She pulled her mask down and revealed a beautifully, genuine smile.

 

Aleksey looked down into the face of his child and for a shining moment was rendered unable to speak, so he instead held out his arms. The love that he felt was as instant and equal as the love that he had felt for both Angel and Destiny. For so long his heart had been hardened, and it wasn’t until that very moment that he realized how much more love his heart had to give. A stubborn, stray tear rolled down his cheek and splashed directly onto his son’s face. He braced himself for yet another screaming fest, but was instead greeted with a mirror image of his very own blue eyes. His excitement could no longer be contained. “My eyes! Look! He has my eyes!”

 

Dr. K. looked over and smiled warmly. “Yes, he does.” After asking everyone to leave the room so that she could expel the placenta and fix the slight damage that had taken place during the delivery, Aleksey and his son waited in the hallway while his men moved everything from the nursery into his and Angel’s bedroom; he refused to spend the night without him, and although she would be tired, he was sure that Angel would feel the same way. The mere thought of Angel brought joy to his heart; he was so proud of her. He couldn’t imagine all the strength that it must have taken for her to deliver their son into the world, but she did it, and he couldn’t be more happy. He laughed to himself when his mind flashed back to one of her many outbursts. “I cannot believe that she called Dr. K. a fucking bitch. Oops! I must learn to watch my words around you little one. Hey, can you say, ‘Da Da?’”

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An hour later…

 

Angel woke up in her bedroom with her favorite (although she would never tell him) cousin resting in a chair at her side.

 

“Ugh.”

 

Ugh back.” They both settled into a much needed laugh. “How you feelin’?”

 

“Surprisingly, pain free.” Angel reached down and felt her stomach, hoping that it wasn’t all a dream.

 

“Yea, I’m sure that Dr. took one look at your ugly face and gave you something… I wish she would’ve given me something. You look horrible!” He scrunched up his face emphasizing his point.

 

“I just had a baby. What’s your excuse? Ugly.”

 

“Ha ha ha. Or should I say, ‘hee hee hee?”

 

“Very unfunny.” She rolled her eyes. “Anyway, how did you know I was having the baby today?”

 

“I didn’t. I was just stopping by to see if you heard from Aunt Miranda, and Ketrina told me that you was in here tryna become a mother, again.” He rubbed his hands together. “Now you know I wasn’t gone miss an opportunity to crack on you, especially when you couldn’t do nothin’ about it.”

 

“You are so stupid.” She looked around the room. “Where’s your girlfriend? She can come in.”

 

“And catch a case of the ‘uglies’? Naaaw, we good.”

 

“Whatever punk.… For real though, where is she?”

 

Tanisha is in Texas. You know her mom moved out there right?”

 

“I don’t keep up with you and your little so-called love life.”

 

“Well anyway, she and her mom are trying to work things out.”

 

“And where does that leave you?”

 

“Back here doin’ what playas do.”

 

“Sitting at home like all the other suckas wishing she was right there with you?”

 

“Yeaaaaaaaaa.” He wiped an imaginary tear away.

 

“Ha ha. I knew it. So, when’s she coming back?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“And you’re okay with that?”

 

“With what?”

 

“Not knowing when she’s coming back.”

 

“Yea.” He shrugged his already sloping shoulders. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

 

“You tell me, Mr. Playa.”

 

“Well, I love her so—“

 

“Wait, wait, wait. You what?!”

 

Kevin wiped the corners of his mouth. “I love her, okay. Dang! Why you gotta trip about it?”

 

“I’m not trippin’…… Kevin’s in love.”

 

“You can shut all that singing down; it’s not a big deal.”

 

“Mmm hmm.”

 

“It’s not.”

 

“Riiiiight... So, how does Ms. Thing feel about you?”

 

He hopped up and popped his collar. “Whatchu think? She loves me, too. All the girls love me.”

 

“You really are stupid.”

 

“Whatever… So, have you heard from Auntie?” He sat down and scooted his chair closer to the bed.

 

“No, but Aleksey’s been keeping tabs on her.”

 

“Then where is she? Cause she sure ain’t been returning any of my calls.”

 

“Mine either, and he didn’t say where she is, just that she’s okay. Hold up – speaking of Aleksey – Where the heck is my baby?”

 

“Somewhere witcho baby daddy.” He knew that she had always hated that term, and the eye roll that followed made it so much sweeter. “He hasn’t let that child out of his sight since she was put in his arms.” He nonchalantly, but purposely scooted his chair back.

 

She who?”

 

“Your baby.” He stood up and tapped her IV cord. “What exactly did they put in this thing? You do know who I am, right?”

 

“Shut up.” She sat up slowly. “Now, what the heck are you talking about? I had a little boy.”

 

“Uhhhh, nah. I only got a quick glimpse, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t see a pito-man.”

 

“A what?!”

 

“A pito-man. A penis. Duh?” He shook his head. “For real, what did they put in this thing?”

 

“Aleksey! ALEKSEY!

 

“Calm down, cuzzo. I was just kiddin’.” He tried in vain to shush her. “You gone make that man kill me!”

 

“Good! You playin’ too much, and I don’t know what to believe. Aleksey!”

 

“I’ll go get him. Just calm down before you pop something.” Kevin made it to the door just as Aleksey entered.

 

“Yes, my love. What is wrong?” He held the baby close to his heart like Dr. K. had told him.

 

Angel winced as she crossed her arms over her engorged breasts. “I’m fine. Is that a boy or a girl?”  

 

Aleksey growled at Kevin just for fun, causing him to bump into the edge of the door frame. “What is this about?”

 

Boy or girl? It’s a very simple question.”

 

“We, my sweet Angel have a beautiful, happy, healthy baby boy, just as Dr. K. said we would.” He didn’t understand the confusion, but he was more than certain that Kevin had something to do with it.

 

Angel opened her arms and waited for Aleksey to fill them with their baby. She checked out his little puffy face and tried to place each of his delicate features between the two of them. “Kevin, get out.”

 

“Come on, Angel. I was just playin’. Don’t be mad.”

 

Angel never took her eyes off of her baby. “I’m not. I just want some time alone with my husband and our son.”

 

Husband? Wait, did I miss something?”

 

“No.” She looked up at Aleksey briefly and smiled. “I just like the way it sounds. Now get out!”

 

“Dang! Bye! A brotha just got here and I’m already getting kicked out.” He mumbled the rest of his comments on the other side of the door where he felt safer… for a second.

 

“Well, hello again, Kevin.”

 

He gritted his teeth into a fake smile. “Uh, heeeey Ketrina. Where’s your mom?” He looked around her shoulder, hoping to find Natalia nearby.

 

“She is probably somewhere cleaning something.” She rolled her eyes at the thought. “How are things going in there?” She pointed to the door behind him.

 

“Everybody's good. They just wanted to be alone.”

 

She slithered up on and him and ran a finger down his chest. “I can relate. So, where is your little girlfriend?”

 

Tanisha? Oh, she’s fine.”

 

“I asked where she is, not how she is.”

 

“Oh. She’s probably on her way here.”

 

“That is funny because I saw on her Facebook page that she is in Texas.” She smiled at his uneasiness.

 

“You stalkin Facebook statuses now?”

 

“No, no. I just happened to notice. Just like I noticed that your page is now set to private. Did you not receive my friend request?”

 

“Uh, you know… I hardly go on that thing anymore. Yea…” Kevin hadn’t felt that uncomfortable since his Aunt Miranda walked in and found Tanesha in his bedroom. “I’m hungry. You hungry? I’mma go get something to eat.” He brushed passed her, and hoped that she wouldn’t follow.

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“Aleksey, he’s really healthy?”

 

“100%.”

 

“His eyes?”

 

“He has two.” Aleksey jokingly pointed to them.

 

“Everybody wants to be a comedian. The color – are they brown like mine, or blue like yours?”

 

“You do not wish to be surprised?”

 

“They’re blue, huh?”

 

“Yes.” He didn’t bother hiding his smile.

 

“That’s fine.”

 

“You sound a little disappointed.”

 

“No, I love your eyes.” She continued with her own examination. “How long has he been asleep?”

 

“Almost since the doctor placed him in my arms about an hour ago.”

 

Angel looked up at the clock on the wall. “Is that normal?”

 

“According to Dr. K.? Yes.”

 

Knock. Knock. Did someone call my name?”

 

“Your ears must have been burning. We were just talking about you.” Angel eased up, and for whatever reason tried to make herself presentable to the doctor.

 

“How are you feeling, Mommy?”

 

“I feel pretty good; a little tired, but good.”

 

“That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. I would like to remove that I.V. and check you out one more time before I head home. Daddy, can you hold the baby?”

 

Angel made direct eye contact with Aleksey before going any further. “Do not get too comfortable. I want him back.”

 

Aleksey kissed her forehead and grabbed their baby simultaneously. “Of course, my love. Of course.”

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Kevin palmed his forehead and wished that he had visited more often; partly, because he had truly missed his cousins, but mostly so that could be more familiar with the place and therefore shake Ketrina’s too-close-for-comfort ass.

 

“So, how long will Tanesha be away?”

 

He practically ran when they finally reached the kitchen. “I’m not sure…  Where’s the mustard?”

 

“Refrigerator. Have you been lonely since she has been gone?”

 

He released his hold on the refrigerator door and headed back to the counter. “Look, before this goes any further – you and me? It ain’t gone happen. Not to be mean, but I don’t like you like that.”

 

“Oh…” Ketrina swung herself around the counter, ending up next to him. “I did not mean to suggest that you did. I know that we are friends and I was just looking out for you.”

 

Kevin gave her the biggest side-eye that he possibly could before resuming his search for the mustard and any cold cut meat he could find. “I heard how you look out for your friends, namely Aleksey’s little sister Nadya, and I ain’t wit it. Excuse me.” He piled a jar of mustard, a package of smoked turkey, and an entire loaf of bread onto a plate and headed for the formal dining room around the corner.

 

“Kevin. I am sorry. I guess I came on a little strong in there; old habits dying hard and such. I have just been so lonely in this big house all by myself. I have not had anyone to talk to and it is just good to finally have someone around my own age here.”

 

Kevin slowed to a stop. “I get that. Have you thought about going back to Russia, where you actually know some people?” ‘Who actually like yo ass.’

 

“I have, but my mother needs me here.”

 

“No I do not.”

 

Ketrina jumped at the sound of her mother’s unexpected voice. “Mother, I did not see you there.”

 

"Kak ty mog , kogda vse, chto vy vidite sebya?” (“How could you, when all you see is yourself?) The light in her eyes changed the moment she saw Kevin. “Mr. Kevin, it is good to see you again! Have you gotten taller?”

 

“I’m afraid my days of growing are over, Natalia.” He put his plate down and offered her a big hug which she gladly accepted. “It’s good to see you, too. How have you been?”

 

“Eh, could be better.” They both glanced back at Ketrina. “So, Ketrina you have decided to go back to Russia?” She had no qualms about disguising the hope in her voice.

 

“No, I have not.”

 

“Well, I think it is a great idea. You should consider.”

 

“Vy by.” (“You would.”)

 

“Sledi za soboy.”  (“Watch yourself.”)

 

“Yes, mother.” She curtseyed and coated on an insultingly bogus smile for good measure.

 

To get out of the line of fire, Kevin picked his plate back up and headed further down the freshly polished dining room table.

 

“So Kevin, have you seen your baby cousin, yet?”

 

“Briefly. Big Head—Angel kicked me out so she and the Big Bad could be alone.”

 

Ketrina slowly licked her lips. “Lucky her…”

 

Natalia slammed the can of polish down on the table. “Do not push me!”

 

“What?! What do you want from me?! I cook! I clean! I do everything around here and I get nothing in return!”

 

In return, I let you live.”

 

Natalia jumped in front of her only child. “Mr. Moroskov, she did not mean it. Kak-kak eto rebenok?” (“How-how is the baby?”) Her heart began racing.

 

He,” he glared at Kevin, “is doing fine. Angel would like to see you, then Kevin.”

 

“We will go now.” Natalia grabbed Ketrina by her arm and tried to skirt passed Aleksey.

 

No, just you. I would like to have a word with your daughter.”

 

“Yes, Sir.” Natalia silently pleaded with Kevin to look after Ketrina in her absence.

 

“Kogda moya sem'ya ukhodit, vy budete yekhat' s nimi .” (“When my family leaves, you will leave with them.”)

 

“No, ya ... Chto o moyey materi ?” (“But, I… What about my mother?”)

 

“Pozhaluysta, ne oskorblyayte menya. Vy ne zabotites' o svoyey materi , i ona budet gorazdo luchshe bez tebya.” (“Please do not insult me. You do not care about your mother, and she will be much better off without you.”)

 

“Pozhaluysta, Gospodin Moroskov . YA sdelayu luchshe. Obeshchayu.” (“Please, Mr. Moroskov. I will do better. I promise”)

 

“Eto slishkom pozdno dlya etogo.” (“It is much too late for that.”)

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Natalia eased the door open and looked around with expectancy and a smile. “Mr. Moroskov said that you would like to see me.”

 

“What’s wrong, Natalia?” Regardless of the smile on her lips, Natalia could not hide the sadness in her eyes, at least not from Angel.

 

“Nothing – nothing is wrong.” She flicked her wrist. “How is the baby?”

 

“He’s great… Now back to you.”

 

Natalia sat down with a sigh. “It is Ketrina. She will be the death of me… No, no. She will be the death of herself.”

 

Angel pulled down the straps on her nightgown and began to pump. “What did she do now?”

 

“Most recently, she has angered Mr. Moroskov. I am so tired. I have done all that I know to do and it is never enough. Sometimes…”

 

“What? Sometimes what?”

 

“I just want her to go away.”

 

“Away where?”

 

“Back to Russia. I can do nothing for her here, and if she keeps pushing Mr. Moroskov, I do not know what he will do.”

 

“Yea… He has been expressing his displeasure with her lately.”

 

“He is talking with her right now and it is not good.”

 

“Was Kevin there?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And was Aleksey speaking to her in Russian?”

 

“Not at first, but yes.”

 

“Oh, that is definitely not good.”

 

“I do not know why she pushes so hard. There are lots of girls in Russia who would love to be in her shoes, but she, she throw it all away.”

 

“Maybe, she’s testing everyone because she wants to see who really cares about her.”

 

“I care. I have shown I care. She does not care, and I am tired. I do twice the work since she has gotten here because she just sits around on her stupid phone.”

 

“Well, that’s not fair… Maybe, it is time for her to go back.” Angel watched for a change in Natalia’s expression, but it remained the same.

 

“It is time. I can do nothing else for her.”

 

“Then I guess that’s that.”

 

The two women settled into a somewhat comfortable silence that is until Aleksey barged in with the baby in one arm and the business section of the newspaper in the other. Once in his favorite chair, he made a declaration that dared not be challenged. “Ketrina is going back to Russia, and I do not want to hear anything else about it.”

 

The looks between Angel and Natalia were just short of confusion. “Honey, we -- nevermind. You’re right.”

 

“I know that I am.” Aleksey shook out his paper and looked between the two women; he was surprised that they did not plead for Ketrina’s stay. “When my family heads back to Russia after the wedding, she will return with them and what happens to her after that will not be of my concern.”

 

Natalia stood up to take her leave. “As you wish, Sir. I ­will check on you both later.”

 

“Thanks, Nat.”

 

“You are welcome, Angel.”

 

Aleksey placed his paper down on the floor and leaned forward. “What was that about?”

 

“Oh, you mean her response to your order?”

 

“Call it what you will. That Ketrina is an ungrateful little – I will not use that language in front of my son.”

 

“Oh, your son?” She teased.

 

Our son. So, you and Natalia do not take issue with me sending Ketrina back?”

 

“Honestly, Nat and I were discussing Ketrina possibly going back to Russia before you came in.”

 

“And?”

 

“And, we agreed that it would be best.”

 

“Oh.” He had nothing further to add.

 

“I think we have each done all that we can to help her and she’s proven time and time again that she doesn’t want to be helped, but there is one good thing that came out of her being here.”

 

Aleksey’s face lit up. “Yes, and she will be here soon.”

 

“Have you thought about what you’re going to say when your sister gets here?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well?”

 

“YA dumal, chto ya khotel by nachat' s istinoy.”

 

“Aleksey!”

 

“Shhhhhh…” They both glimpsed at their son. “I was only kidding, my love. I think the best thing will be to start with the truth.”

 

“All of it?”

 

“Only as much as she can handle.”

 

“I guess that is best. I’m sure she has a million and one questions.”

 

“As do I.”

 

“I bet.”

 

When she slipped her gown back up over her breast, he couldn’t help but notice that she closed her eyes as she did so. “Are you in pain?”

 

“A little, but Dr. K. said that it’s to be expected… I will have to pump whatever he doesn’t drink to keep the swelling down. Speaking of swelling…” She squinted her eyes, and for the first time began checking out the size of their son’s head. “I guess he does kind of have a big head… must’ve gotten that from your side of the family.” She quickly turned her head to keep from laughing.

 

Aleksey tilted his own head and deliberated about the size of her dome. “I seriously doubt that.”

 

“Oh!” Aleksey shushed her again. “You have jokes, huh?”

 

“A few. Do you know that he still does not have a name?”

 

“Yes, I do. Dr. K. said that we don’t have to rush.”

 

Judging by the look on his face, that was clearly unacceptable. “He should be given a name now.” And, in his mind there was only one possible option. “Aleksey.”

 

“Is out of the question.”

 

His eyebrows furrowed slightly. “But, I like my name, and I thought you did as well.” He made his way to the side of the bed.

 

“Honey, I love your name,” she reached out and held his free hand, “but have you forgotten what you do for a living?”

 

“No.” He took a deep breath and looked down at their son’s angelic face. “I can never forget.”

 

“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean it like that.”

 

“No, no. You are right. He should not be named after me – it would only make him a target... Well, Michael is a good name, yes?”

 

“Ugh.” That was the only word she could think of to describe it.

 

“What is wrong with the name, Michael?”

 

“I dated a guy named Michael back in the police academy and he–”

 

“Say no more… Okay,” he took a seat on the edge of the bed, “are we thinking American or Russian?”

 

“With a last name like Moroskov, Honey, I don’t think it really matters.”

 

“Then, how about Sergei?” He smiled down at his son lovingly.

 

Sergei Moroskov… Mmmmmmmm…” She looked down at her brown skin. “What else you got?”

 

“Okay, how about Rodion?”

 

Rodion? What does it mean?”

 

“From a hero.”

 

From a what now?”

 

“From a hero.”

 

“Oh, how very humble of you.” She shook her head at his arrogance.

 

“I was actually speaking of you.”

 

“Awwwww, Aleksey…... You know that’s some bull.” She folded the top of the blanket against her lap with a grin.

 

“Okay, I was thinking of me, but it fits you, too.”

 

“Suuuuuure. Now, back to Rodion... I kind of like it.”

 

“Only kind of?”

 

“Is there a nickname version of it?”

 

“Yes, Rodya.”

 

She scrunched up her face and tried to imagine going through life calling her son either of those names. “Anything else?”

 

“What about… Nikita?”

 

“That’s a girl’s name, Honey.”

 

“Not in my country.”

 

“Well, it is in this one. I don’t want my son growing up being bullied.”

 

“With parents like the two of us, do you really think that is possible?”

 

“We won’t be around him all the time, so yes, at first, anyway.”

 

“Fine. What do you suggest?”

 

“How about Mikhail?”

 

He leaned back in surprise. “Why would you think of such a name?”

 

“Honestly?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“It’s the only Russian name I know.”

 

“What else do you have?”

 

“You don’t like Mikhail?”

 

“The name? Yes. The memories associated with that name? No, not so much.” It was the name of the first man that he had ever killed.

 

“Okay, how about Roman?”

 

Aleksey stood up to get a good feel of the name. He had no known enemies with that name; in fact, he didn’t know anyone with that name, at least none that were directly associated with his business. “Roman Moroskov? I like it. That is a good name. Look, he is even smiling. He approves.”

 

“Babe, that’s probably just gas.”

 

Aleksey took a deep whiff. “Ah, not just gas… I will go get Natalia.”

 

“Oh, no you will not. There are some diapers right over there in the chest, and just when did you move everything in here anyway?”

 

“Shortly after you delivered Roman, and I do not know how to change a diaper.”

 

“It’s not that hard. Let me show you.” The second she made a slight move towards getting up out of the bed, his eyes flickered to that dark shade of blue that always put her on edge. “Sorry.”

 

He nodded his head marginally in response, and just like that, he was back. “I will figure it out. I mean, how hard can it be?”

 

“Just wait.”

 

“Did you say something?”

 

“Nope. Not a word.” She grabbed the breast pump off of the nightstand again and sat back and watched as Aleksey wagered around, clearly trying to remember almost a year’s worth of information in a matter of seconds.

 

“Okay, I gather the necessary items first before I place the baby down. I cannot leave the baby unattended, not even for a second. Okay, I have the diapers – two in case I mess up. I have the wipes and baby powder. I think that is all I need.” He could feel Angel’s eyes on him, and the last thing he wanted to do was give her the satisfaction of thinking that he could not handle it on his own. “Okay, I am ready.” He laid Roman down on the changing table and began removing his onesie. His nostrils twitched with each undone snap.

 

“It sort of helps if you turn your head really fast, and get a breath of fresh air.”

 

“Thanks.” He did as Angel suggested, but there seemed to be no fresh air to be found. “Does it always smell this bad?”

 

Angel continued pumping. “Yes.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Despite the fact that he sounded as pitiful as he looked, Angel somehow still managed to keep it together. “How you doing over there?”

 

“Almost got all of it.” He had killed and tortured a lot of people in his life, but nothing compared to the sight and smell coming from his own son.  “Is this what karma looks like?”

 

“I’mma go with yes, but at least it only happens after he’s fed.”

 

Every time?”

 

“Yea, pretty much.”

 

“My god. I do not know if I can handle it.”

 

“Wait, but this is what you signed up for, Papa.”

 

“No, no. I did not sign up for this. I signed up for a cute little baby, with a new baby smell. He smells old.”

 

She laughed so hard that she lost her breath. “I cannot believe that you said that.” Pump time was over.

 

“It is true. He smells of many old men. I cannot, Angel. I simply cannot.”

 

“Okay, just finish this diaper and I’ll take care of the rest.”

 

“You cannot get up.”

 

“My people used to have babies in cotton fields and kept right on working. I’m sure I can manage to make it to the changing table. Besides, what do you think I’m going to do when I have to use the bathroom?”

 

He hadn’t thought about that. “But, I do not want you to be in pain.”

 

“I can manage. It’s really not that bad. Plus, Dr. K. did say that I should walk around to help prevent blood clots.”

 

“Okay, but not too much.”

 

“I promise. You know we didn’t discuss a middle name, yet.”

 

“Russian tradition dictates that his second name be part of my first name.” His smirk proved short-lived.

 

“I know, Nat told me, but I was thinking that we could actually do something a little different.”

 

“How different?” He fastened the second tab on Roman’s diaper and quickly disposed of his old one.

 

“Well, in America,” she felt weird saying that to him, “sometimes babies are named after people that the parents admire or love, and I think we should honor the two most important men in our lives -- men who have risked everything for us by naming our baby after them.”

 

“And these two men?” He brought a much fresher baby back over to her bedside.

 

My Uncle Peter, and your brother, Marat.”

 

He pretended to deliberate for the sake of suspense. “That is… a great idea, although Marat will never let me live it down.”

 

“Don’t you think he’s earned the right to brag a little?”

 

“I suppose.” He kissed his son’s cheek and placed him in his crib. “So, his name shall be, ‘Roman Peter Marat Moroskov. That is a mouthful.”

 

“It is, but I think it covers everyone.”

 

What covers everyone?”

 

“Dang, first, you barge into my delivery room, and now my bedroom.” Angel glanced down at her breasts to make sure that she was decently and completely covered.

 

“Well, sor-ry. I just wanted to say bye to everyone before I head out.”

 

“Come in.” Kevin apprehensively glanced behind the half-opened door and found Aleksey wickedly grinning at him. “No really, come in.” Kevin slid inside, but kept a safe distance from Aleksey.

 

“How you feeling, Angel?” He glanced back again to make sure Aleksey was still on the other side of the room.

 

“Oh, now it’s Angel?

 

“Hey, I had to say something to get you mad enough to keep going.”

 

“I know, and I thank you.”

 

“You what?”

 

“I said… I thank you.” She turned her head, displaying fictitious aggravation.

 

“Look, I gotta head out.” He bent down and gave her a gentle hug.

 

“So soon? But, you just got here.”

 

“Girl, I feel like I’ve been here all day.”

 

“Well, it feels like you just got here to me.”

 

“How about I come back to check on you tomorrow?”

 

“Promise?”

 

“I promise; that is, if it’s alright with the big buy…” Kevin and Angel both looked at Aleksey.

 

“Whatever she wants.”

 

“Then, I’ll be back.” He tapped Angel’s leg and gave her a smile that was clearly draped in sincere admiration. “I know we play around a lot, but I gotta give it you -- you did really good today. I’m proud of you.”

 

Angel forced herself not to cry. “Thanks.” Once Kevin was gone, Aleksey handed Angel a handkerchief from his pants pocket. “You and Uncle Peter are the only men I know who still use these things.” She dabbed the corners of her eyes, and ran her fingers across the monogramed letters of his initials.

 

“Well, not very many men have such good taste.” He winked, and caressed the side of her face.

 

There was another knock on the door. “Sir? Sir?”

 

He sighed out of absolute annoyance. “What is it, Natalia?”

 

“There is someone here to see you.”

 

“Tell that someone to come back tomorrow. I am busy.”

 

“Sir, I respectfully believe that you should come see now.”

 

“Fine.” The sound of Natalia’s voice woke the baby and Aleksey quickly rushed to pick him up. Once Roman was secured in his arms, he turned his attention back to Angel. “I will be back shortly. Would you like to hold him while I am gone?”

 

“No, you can keep him for now.” She slid back down into the somewhat warmth of the bed.

 

“Are you sure?” He bent down, offering her one last chance to change her mind.

 

“I am exhausted, and I already know that I won’t be able to take my eyes off of him as long as he’s in here. So please, take him, just don’t get too comfortable.”

 

He snuggled his son closer to his chest. “I will try.”

 

“Just give me an hour or so and I’ll be back at full strength.”

 

He playfully waived one of Roman’s little hands at Angel as they backed into the hallway. However, once the door was closed, he immediately reformed back to his more pensive side. “Natalia, who is so important that I have to spend time away from Angel?”

 

“Nu, ya polagayu, chto my vsegda mogli vernut'sya v Rossiyu.” (“Well, I suppose that we could always go back to Russia.”)

 

“Russia?” Aleksey spun quickly around.

 

“Tetushka ? Eto ty?” (Aunt Alina? Is that you?)

 

“Da, Lesha . Eto ya “(Yes, Lyosha. It is I.) The older, heavy set woman leaped as much as she could in obvious joy.

 

Aleksey had only been called Lyosha by two people – his mother and Alina and he had missed both dearly. He carefully, but quickly handed Roman over to Natalia and rushed into arms of his Aunt. Without thinking, he lifted the old, sturdy woman up into a bear hug and spun them both around until she laughingly begged for him to stop. Alina wasn’t his Aunt by blood, however she was the only person in his town who was willing to give both he and Marat a place to live when they had nowhere else to go; for that they would both forever be grateful.

 

“You have always been a strong one.” She smacked his arm and he blushed.

 

“Your English is quite good. You have been studying?”

 

“Da. Yes, I have prepared for this day for many years.”

 

“Well, it is here and I am happy. Where are the others?” He searched around her.

 

“They are staying at a hotel. I thought it would be best considering.” They both knew what she meant. In the beginning, he tried to hide his involvement in the business from her, but she quickly found out, just as she had always found out everything, about everyone.

 

“That is fine. So, you must be tired from your travels. Would you like to rest before we catch up?”

 

“I am little tired, but I am fine.” She peeked over to the bundle in Natalia’s arms. “Is this yours?”

 

“Yes,” Aleksey beamed with undeniable pride. “This, is my son Roman.”

 

“Roman? It is a strong name. I like it.” She looked Natalia up and down somewhat confused. “Are you the mother?”

 

“No, no. I am not.” Natalia looked down, unable to hold the older woman’s glare.

 

“No Tetushka, she is the housekeeper. My soon-to-be bride is inside resting. Would you like to meet her now?” His excitement was uncontainable.

 

Alina looked the baby over before responding. “He is dark.”

 

Aleksey chuckled. “Yes, I suppose he is. I guess he takes after his mother’s side of the family.”

 

“Who is the mother?” Alina never took her eyes off of the baby.

 

“Angel Morgan – soon to be Moroskov. I have told you about her in my letters.”

 

“Not everything it seems.”

 

 “What is that supposed to mean?” Natalia knew that she was speaking out of turn, but she had to know.

 

Aleksey surprisingly offered a reassuring pat on Natalia’s shoulder. “Nothing -- she meant nothing of it. Right, Tetushka?”

 

Alina tore her eyes away from Roman and flicked her hand in the air. “Yes, yes… just an old woman’s mutterings. I am tired now. Where is my room?”

 

“Two doors down. Are you certain that you would not like to see her?”

 

“No, some other time.”

 

Natalia looked just over Alina’s and Aleksey’s shoulders. “Kevin, you are back.”

 

“Yea, I must have left my wallet in the bedroom.” He walked up beside Aleksey. “Can I go get it?”

 

“Angel is asleep right now, but I will check.”

 

Alina kicked her suitcase toward Kevin before ordering him to take her bag to her room.

 

Aleksey had seen the look on Kevin’s face many times before from Angel, especially when she first arrived and made it clear that she did not approve of the way he spoke to the help. Before any words were able to follow the look, Aleksey jumped in and clarified their relationship. “Tetushka, he does not work for me; he -- Kevin is Angel’s cousin – he is family.” A nervous chuckle followed.

 

“Oh! He is your family… So, this Angel, she is Black?

 

“Yes.”

 

“Oh…” She folded her hands together and stared at the floor while she processed everything.

 

Kevin looked between Aleksey and Alina. “Is that a problem?”

 

Aleksey, once again came to his Aunt’s defense. “That is not a problem, right Tetushka?” He sounded skeptical, but hopeful.

 

She kept her eyes toward the floor. “Which way is my room?”

 

Aleksey grabbed Roman from Natalia’s arms and asked her to assist Alina.

 

The second the door closed, Aleksey began trying to reason Kevin. “I know what you are thinking, but she is not that way.”

 

“Well then why don’t you tell me what way she is because all I see is an old racist bit—.”

 

“She is my family.”

 

“That’s funny because I thought Angel was your family. And speaking of Angel, how do you think she’s gonna feel when Gertrude starts commenting about how dark she is? Yea, I heard that little comment. And, if you think I’m pissed, you ain’t seen nothing, yet. Trust me.”

 

“Kevin, she is not a racist.”

 

“And you know this how? Exactly how many Black people are there in Russia?”

 

“Not as many as America, but there are some… Alina is from a different time.”

 

“I know, slavery times. Get her bags… Man, she better be glad that she’s your Aunt and this is your house.”

 

“Kevin, I know that you are angry, but please do not tell Angel. She has been through enough today.”

 

“Oh, I’m not gonna say a word. I’m sure your Auntie will tell her everything she needs to know.”

 

Aleksey sighed in defeat. “I do not know what else to say other than I do not come from a family of racists.”

 

“And when was the last time you brought a Black girl home?”

 

Aleksey promptly looked away. “I have never.”

 

“That’s what I thought. Then, you really don’t know. Look man, I’ve seen her kind all my life. People automatically assume that I’m an employee. Why can’t I ever be a customer? She’s no different, and if you think she is… then, I don’t know what to tell you, but Angel is not going to put up with it. Get ready.”

 

“Get ready? I do not understand.”

 

“To choose. It might just come down to it.”

 

“No, it is not that bad.”

 

“Only cause they haven’t met yet. Let her tell Angel to get her bag or something. Your Petushka’s gone go running back to Russia.”

 

“Tetushka.”

 

“Whatever. Look, I’ll get my wallet tomorrow, if I’m still allowed to visit.”

 

“Always Kevin.”

 

“Okay,” he laughed, “You say that now. Tell Angel to call me after they meet. I gotta know how this turns out. Good luck, Big Guy.”

 

“Thanks…” Aleksey looked down into the eyes of his only son. “What if Kevin is right? What if she is racist? I cannot have that in my home – around you – around Angel. What am I going to do?”

 

He was so deep in thought that the sound of Natalia quickly rushing out of Alina’s room actually surprised him. He stopped her as she tried to slip by him. “Is she settled in?”

 

“Yes, Sir.” She was clearly agitated.

 

“What is wrong?”

 

“Nothing, Sir.” She attempted to keep walking.

 

“Natalia?” His voice was stern, but soothed in concern.

 

“Sir?”

 

“The truth.”

 

“She made some --in my opinion—some very inappropriate sayings about Angel.” Natalia rung her hands together to keep them from shaking.

 

“Like what?”

 

“Sir, I do not wish to be in the middle.”

 

“You already are. Now speak.”

 

“She referred to Angel as a,” she looked around before continuing in a whispered tone, “a… negr.”

 

“What?!” He hurriedly rocked the startled baby back into a lulled silence.

 

“Sir, there were other words. I-I-I cannot work with her. I will not.” At that point, Natalia didn’t care what happened; her loyalty would always belong to Angel.

 

“You will not have to.” He turned his back, informally dismissing her. He never would have dreamed that he could ever be so angry with Alina, but this was a line that he would allow no one to cross, not even his own flesh and blood mother – God rest her soul.

 

Timing, as it had always been was everything in both his personal and professional life, and he would not allow his irrepressible anger toward Alina to cause him to do something that he would possibly regret.

 

The day that should have been the happiest of his life rapidly took a turn for the worse. There was no getting around it; Kevin was right. Alina was a racist, which meant unless he could change her views quickly, he would soon have to choose between the woman who saved his life, and the woman who gave him a reason to live.

End Notes:

I really hope Alina sees the light, so her ass won't end up on the next flight...

See you in the next chapter! ~.~

Batter Up! by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Hola, amigas! I missed you all too much to stay away for too long, so you know I had to slip slide back in here to get my feet wet and my mojo going.

As hard as I tried, I could not go forward with this story until I gave a little back history on Alina. See you in the comments...

 

 

Aleksey reluctantly opened the door to his bedroom. He sighed with relief when he found his wife still sleeping peacefully. She was definitely Heaven sent and the bundle in his arms proved it.

 

In his business, family (or better yet, the few people whom he had trusted enough to consider family) was detrimental; he didn’t have many. Alina was his family and had been since the moment she saved him. She raised him. Gave him a home – it wasn’t much, but it beat the dirt roads and filthy stairwells that he and Marat slept in previously. She ruled with an iron fist, and there wasn’t much that they could get away with in or out of her presence. Long before he had the pleasure of officially meeting her, he had heard whispers of several elders about her. Apparently, she had a rough life and had become a hardened product because of it. Most people stayed away from her, never even acknowledging her presence, but Aleksey noticed her, just as she had also noticed him.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.1992~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

 

Her house was one of a few left standing on of a dirt road between the markets and the church. Every day at 3:00, she would sweep the dust and dirt out of her home and on to her front porch with the same battered broom that she had used for the past ten years. Aleksey never understood why she bothered sweeping considering the dust and dirt would just puff up into a thin cloud and fall back down at her feet.

 

Unlike the other neighborhood children, Aleksey would regularly walk up to her porch and sit beside her in silence until she would tire and re-enter her home. Neither he nor Alina were big on speaking unless they had something of value to say, so the silence wasn’t as awkward as some of their watchers believed. After the first couple of weeks, she would slide him a piece of hard candy on the railing without looking at him and he would retrieve it, also without looking at her. She would steal glances at him from time to time, but his sights were always straight ahead – after all, he had already learned a great deal about her long before they “met” like how when she was ready to go inside, she would pat her right foot three times and her left foot twice as if she was warming up. Remembering the teachings of his mother, he would hop up and open the tilted front door for her, all still without so much as a glance. When she was safely inside, he would sometimes return back to the crate and watch over her and her home through the night and other times he would patrol the mostly empty streets to keep the occasional vandal and street thug from targeting her and whatever possessions she kept inside. There was something about her that got to him, and even though he couldn’t quite put his finger on it, he could tell that she felt the same way. While, he was unable to comprehend their shared connection, she understood completely, and it would often lead her to cry softly through each of their shared nights.

 

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.1968~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

 

Her husband of almost twenty years had died the same day as their only son. She blamed him for their child’s death, and he could not have managed to care. Not so deep inside, she knew that he had never loved her, and it didn’t matter because she didn’t love him either. Their marriage was arranged by their parents, leaving both without a say. He had fallen in love with a beautiful young girl who had lived a few houses down from him, and in his eyes Alina would never measure up. Dalia was tall, Alina was short. Dalia had long beautiful golden locks, and Alina’s short brown tresses never seemed to grow passed her shoulders. Dalia commanded the attention of every boy and man every time she entered a room and Alina might as well had been one of the guys. Nope, she would never measure up and neither would any child who would be born from their union.

 

Alina thought that by having a son things would get better, that Boris would love her, or at least learn to tolerate her— it never happened; in fact, things got worse. He berated her every chance he got. She wasn’t thin to begin with, but after she had the baby, she never was able to get the figure back that she did have, and he never let her forget it.

 

Every day was the same. He’d come home from work, get drunk, and then abuse her and their son, verbally at first, and then physically. Boris Jr. would often times try to step in between the two to protect his mother, but eventually he realized (after several black eyes and broken ribs) that he was just not strong enough.

 

He would beg her to leave him, but she wouldn’t. She would soothe his wounds and neglect her own all while trying to justify the pain away. “He will get better.” “He will change.” “He will learn to love us.” She would rock her son to sleep each night while she recited those same lines of lies, not just for his sake, but also her own.

 

As Boris Jr. got older, the abuse worsened. Boris Sr. had a mantra of his own and it was that he had to ‘keep the boy in a boy’s place’. By the time Boris Jr. had turned fourteen, the light in his eyes was gone, and the little boy who would habitually cling to his mother for safety and support no longer had any words left to say. Even though he would never tell her, Alina knew that he had begun to resent her for choosing her husband over him and herself. The words between them were short and few and some days he would leave for school before she could hear the sweet sounds of his voice, a voice that would be forever silenced way too soon.

 

She could retell the story a thousand times and every word and detail would remain the same. She found him hanging in the middle of his room from the light fixture that had undoubtedly been placed there since before the cold war. She called for her husband, but he had already left for work. It took almost ten minutes for her to find something to use to cut him down, but it was too late -- it was too late when she found him. His body was cold, and his eyes were rolled too far back to be seen. She rocked him just like she had when he was a baby – just like she had when he asked her to take him away. The word regret could never describe what she felt, what she would continue to feel for the rest of her days.

 

Boris came home two hours after their son’s body was taken away. He sat in his chair motionless after Alina explained to him what had transpired in his absence. Still he didn’t bat an eyelash. She sat on his lap and pleaded with him to hold her; he instead pushed her down to the floor. She laid there on the floor in a puddle of tears, wailing for her son, begging for his forgiveness until Boris could stand no more.

 

“Get up! He is gone! He cannot hear your tears or your pleas. It is too late and I am tired. Fix my dinner. NOW!” A swift steel-toe kick to her side not only knocked the wind out of her, it also stunned her into silence. No tears, no crying, not even a whimper could find its way out. She repositioned herself onto her knees and prepared to crawl to the kitchen in total defeat like he had forced her to do many times before, however his next declaration sparked something inside of Alina. “Now, we have one less mouth to feed.” It wasn’t so much what he said, as much as the sick laugh that followed. Still on her knees, she kept her head forward toward the opening of kitchen, and as if by some twisted miracle she found the one item that would provide her with the strength, courage, and most importantly justice that she needed. She pushed up on her right knee and grabbed Boryen'ka’s stick ball bat from the side of the door.

 

The sight of Alina with that tattered stick brought him into a fit of laughter. “What are you going to do with that?” His laughter showed no signs of relenting, that is until she cracked the wooden rod across the side of his head. The first hit stunned them both, but that element of surprise was just what she needed to gain victory over him for the first and final time. When she finally stopped swinging, all that was left of the stick was split between being imbedded in Boris’ skull and splintered into her tired hands --both covered with blood. For the first time she felt nothing. No pain… no regret… nothing.

 

When she had regained enough strength, she dragged Boris’ limp and leaking body through her kitchen and into the backyard. It took three hours for her to dig a hole big enough to cover him, and another hour to fill in the hole.

 

She knew eventually people would start asking questions, so she decided to tell the truth which was that he had fallen in love with another woman and had left her life forever -- there were no lies. His heart would forever remain with Dalia and he would never come back to her. Everyone knew that Boris had a wandering eye, so it was immediately believed and accepted as fact by all who had heard. There would be no one looking for Boris, ever.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.2015~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

 

Twenty-three years ago, someone or something had given Alina a second chance, and she became determined to let no one and nothing ever come between them.

 

End Notes:

Trouble never seems to be too far from Aleksey or Angel, but this new "challenge" will be unlike anything that they have ever faced before.

Trust me when I say bigger truths and unseen surprises are on the way...

Thanks for reading!

I'm Back!!!! by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

First off, I want to thank everyone who reviewed that last chapter. When I say reviews/feedback fuels me to update, I mean it! Cyber space is a huge place and to hear feedback really helps me (and I think all of us who write online) know that it's not all for nothing. Here we go... =)

 

“Who is it? Who is it?” Natalia rushed to the front door before Aleksey could respond to the blaring sound of the doorbell.

“Uh, who are you?” The pretty brown lady stopped in her tracks at the sight of the unfamiliar woman’s face.

“I am Natalia, and you are?”

“I'm Geneva, but everyone calls me Gennie. I believe I have the right address.” The young woman took a step back and reread the numbers on the red brick house. “Is this the… Do Miranda and Peter still live here?” Remembering Peter’s past, Gennie thought it would be best to leave last names out of it.

“Yes, I am the… uh, fill in housekeeper. They are out of the town now.”

“That’s fine. I was told that my daughter, Angel is staying here. Is that correct?”

“You are Angel’s mother?”

“Yes. Is she here?”

“One moment…” Natalia looked around Gennie’s shoulder and caught the eye of one of the guards as she closed the door.

“Who was at the door?”

“Who?”

“Yes, who?” Aleksey was losing patience just as quickly as the fussy baby in his arms.

“Uh, there is a lady.”

“Who is she Natalia?”

“She has said that she is Ms. Angel’s mother.”

Aleksey’s head snapped in the direction of Angel’s bedroom. “Are you certain that she is?”

“No, but there is a slight resemblance.”

Aleksey grabbed Natalia's arm with his free hand and dragged her over to the wall above the fireplace. “Is this the woman?”

“Yes. That is her.”

“Shit!” He looked down at the bundle in his arms. “Sorry, little one.”

Natalia was equally curious and concerned about Aleksey’s next move. “What should I tell her?”

“Nothing. Take Roman to Maria.”

“Yes, Sir.” Natalia knew better than to question him especially with Alina and now Angel’s mother resurfacing.

Aleksey studied the door before making his approach. “Yes.”

“Let me guess, you’re the butler.”

Aleksey's pout came before his frown. “I am no ones butler. Come in.” That was strike one.

“Okay, where’s the other one? The one that left me outside in this heat?”

“You are here to see Angel?”

“Yes, where is she?”

“Resting.”

“I swear that girl hasn’t changed one bit. Same lazy, trifling… Tell her that her mother is out here and I want to see her now!” Aleksey stared. “Oh, you don’t speak English? Listen… Telllll herrrrr that her ma-ma is heeerrrreee. Did you get that, or do I need to say it sloooower? Nevermind, I’ll find her on my own. Angel!”

“Sit down.”

“Who you talking to? I know you ain’t talking to me.”

“Sit DOWN!” The boom in his voice shattered her self-confidence, and was more than enough to elicit her complete compliance. “You will not move until I tell you to move. Understood?”

“Yes… Who are you?”

“I am Aleksey, Angel’s husband.”

“Oh, you’re the unlucky bastard. Look, if I was you I would run while her eyes are closed. I don’t know you, but I'm sure you deserve better.” She sat back, crossed her legs and waited for his rebuttal.

“You will not say one word against Angel or –”

“Or what?!”

“You will not live long enough to regret it.”

Geneva witnessed a change in his eyes that only a few had witnessed before and lived to tell about it. “You… You don’t scare me. Do you know who my brother-in-law is?”

“Peter? Yes, he is out doing a mission for me.”

“....Oh.”

“No snippy comebacks? No threats?”

She knew if Peter was working for him, that she didn’t stand a chance. “I don’t want any trouble. I just want to see my daughter.”

“Why?”

“She’s my daughter. Do I need a better reason?”

“Yes, you do. The last time that you spoke to her, you had nothing nice to say, in fact, you hurt her.”

He stepped directly in front of her, leaving no room to get away.

“I don’t know what she told you, but I love her, and I would never hurt her – me or her fath…er.”

“Do not insult me.”

“Okay, okay… We haven’t always had the best relationship, but we are family and family forgives.”

“Not my family.”

“Well, technically we are family, so—”

We are nothing. You have hurt one of the few people who I would lay down my life for – that I would gladly kill for—that I will protect at all costs. Did you know that is why I came here? To kill you and your husband for hurting my Angel?”

Geneva’s heart began to race as beads of sweat swarmed around her forehead. “I am sorry for hurting Angel. Her father is ill, and it has taken a toll on me. I'm sure if I could explain that, she would forgive me and you and I could become better acquainted.”

Aleksey stroked his chin while he contemplated his options. If he didn’t tell Angel, she would be furious with him, and if he did tell her, she would most likely overly exert herself and end up getting hurt physically and emotionally.

“Wait here.”

“But, I know the way. If I could just explain –”

“I said wait here.” It took a lot more strength and energy not to destroy her than he imagined, but for Angel’s sake, she lived.

Geneva took his clenched jaw as the sign it was meant to be and stayed seated.  While Aleksey was gone, she did glance around the room. Nothing much had changed since her last visit which was several years prior. She and Miranda had never really gotten along, not even as children, and she would always resent her for taking Angel away. Angel never made her feelings toward Miranda a secret, anyone with the minutest sense of discernment could tell that if given the opportunity she would have chosen Miranda to be her mother, and a large part of Geneva truthfully would not have minded. She sat in the cold living room, waiting for what seemed like forever before Natalia finally reappeared.

“Where is she?”

“Who?” Natalia remembered every evil detail that Angel had given to her about her upbringing, and she had no intentions on being anything that resembled nice.

“My daughter, Angel. And, who was that man? Aleksey. Is he really married to her?” Geneva patted the cushion next to her, offering Natalia a seat. Natalia came closer, but remained standing.

“He is Mr. Aleksey, my boss.”

“Oh, geesh. I guess he’s just everybody’s boss, huh?” Natalia’s face remained firm. “It was just a joke. Listen, how does he treat my daughter? Is he good to her? Ever put his hands on her? You can tell me. I won’t tell a soul.”

“Mr. Aleksey treats her with respect and love.”

“Is he controlling? No offense, but I heard Russian men are controlling with their women.”

“He is not.” Natalia pitched her hands behind her back to keep from doing something that she may or may not regret.

“Well, that’s good.” Geneva sat back and recrossed her legs. “That’s good. So, moneywise, does he take care of her? I mean, he has money, right?”

“I do not know of his money.”

“Has he ever bounced one of your paychecks?”

Aleksey, who had watched and listened to the entire conversation, stepped in not a moment too soon. “Angel is asleep, but I will tell her of your visit when she awakes.”

“I can just wait here. This is very important.”

“I do not know when she will awaken so you can –”

“Like I said, I can wait.

There were only two other women who had ever dared to cut him off in mid-sentence and they were both related to Geneva.

“Aye, Mr. Aleksey, little Roman seems to need his father. I have tried everything.”

Everyone in the room looked toward Maria, the new nanny. She had been highly recommended to him by Dr. K. and he had only hoped that Angel would okay with his decision.

“It is fine. Bring him here.” He sat down on the sofa next to Geneva, almost forgetting that she was even there. “There, there. What is the matter, little one?”

“It is a boy or girl?” Geneva tried to sneak a peek.

Roman, is a boy.” Aleksey sternly tossed her a cold glance.

“Well, you can’t be too sure these days with all the crazy names people are giving their children. Wait, Angel did say that she was pregnant. Is that my grandbaby?” Feeling a sense of entitlement, she scooted closer.

“I suppose he is.” Aleksey showed no signs of caring what that meant. “Natalia, pereyti proverit' moyu zhenu.” (Go check on my wife.)

“Yes, Sir.” Natalia’s facial expression never softened, even as she made her leave. When she entered the room, she found Angel sitting up grinning at her cell phone. “Ms. Angel, are you okay?”

“Yes, Natalia! I am great!”

“Okay?”

“That was my Uncle Peter! He’s okay and he’s coming home. They should all be here tomorrow, no later than the day after. Isn’t that great?!”

Natalia noticed that the bottle of pain medication was closer to the bed than she remembered. “That is great news. So, everyone is coming back?” She blushed, and Angel grinned.

“Yes, that includes Marat.” Angel’s eyebrows bounced with glee.

“Oh, that is… nice.” Natalia smoothed out the imaginary wrinkles in her dress and kept her head down until her smile somewhat subsided.

“Mmm hmm. Nice. So, what is going on? I feel like a caged bird in here.”

“There are a few changes. Some people from Aleksey’s childhood have arrived for the wedding. One is staying here in facts.”

“Which one?”

“Alina.”

“Oh, his Aunt Alina. He has told me so much about her. I can’t wait to meet her. When did she get in?”

“Last night after you were asleep.”

“Why didn’t anyone bring her in here?”

“Uh, she was tired… long flight.”

“Mmm hmm. Anytime you start a sentence with ‘uh’, I know there is more to whatever it is you are telling me, so spill it.”

“Nothing to tell. Nothing to tell.”

“Now you’re repeating yourself? Tell me what is going on.”

Natalia took a deep breath. This family was sure to be the death of her one way or another. “I met Alina and so did Mr. Kevin.”

Kevin met her before I did?”

“Yes, he came back for his wallet or keys or something and they met in the hallway.”

“So, did they hit it off?”

‘Pochti Kto popal.’ (Someone almost got hit.) “Not exactly.”

“What do you mean not exactly? What happened?”

“She… thought he was an employee.”

“Oh, I bet he took that to heart.” Natalia looked confused. “He was pissed, huh?”

“Oh, yes. Very.”

“I'm sure it was just a misunderstanding.” Natalia’s face became stoic. “It was just a misunderstanding, right, Nat?” Natalia looked away. Whatever lovely high Angel was riding on was definitely gone at that point. “Tell me.”

“When I escorted her to her room under Mr. Aleksey’s orders, she had some not so nice things to say.”

“About Kevin?” Angel’s face tightened.

“No, you.”

“Me?! She doesn’t even know me.”

“It was more about Black skinned people in generals.”

“The bitch is racist?”

“Yes.”

“Oh hell to the naw. Help me up.”

“Ms. Angel, I cannot do that. You are healing and should be resting.”

“My ‘black-skinned’ ancestors used to drop out babies in the cotton fields and kept right on working. Bring me to the bitch.”

“Ms. Angel, there is more.”

“More?” Angel started hopping on the bed, ignoring the slight pain in her vaginal region.

“Yes, your mother is here.”

“My who? My what?”

“Geneva, she is here. Mr. Aleksey sent me in here to tell you or to see if you were awake… I do not remember anymore.” Natalia had begun wringing her hands together. She could already feel the heat from Mr. Aleksey’s anger when he would undoubtedly find out that she had told Angel about Alina.

“Could this day get any worse?”

“Where’s the bitch?!”

“Auntie Miranda?” Angel and Natalia looked as though they had both seen an angry ghost.

“Yea, it’s me. Kevin told me that there’s some old ass racist bitch up in my house. Where is she?”

“I just found out…” Angel still couldn’t believe that she was really there. Weeks of unanswered calls and unreturned messages… “What are you doing here? I mean, I know this is your house, but you left and we didn’t hear anything from you for so long.”

“Kevin told me that you needed me, so here I am. And by the way, what is your raggedy ass mama doing in my living room? She’s staying here, too?”

Angel’s lips quirked. “I just found out about her, too.”

“Girl, how are you more in the dark than I am?” She waved her hand. “Never mind all that. Where is this old bitch?”

Angel looked at Natalia for answers and Miranda’s eye line soon followed. “She is up the hall to the left.”

“I’ll be back.” Miranda stormed out of the room leaving a whirl wind of unanswered questions like where she had been. In the grand scheme of things, Angel supposed that it really didn’t matter. Both hers and Aleksey's families were either there or coming and she was certain that they were about to get a glimpse of what "for better or for worse" truly meant.

 

End Notes:

Angel and Aleksey are about to have a family reunion like no other... =)

All's Well That Ends Well... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

 

“O, net , yeshche odin.” (“Oh no, another one.”)

“Prostite?” (“Excuse me?”)

“Okh ... Vy govorite po-russki?” (“Oh… you speak Russian?”) Alina found herself to be slightly amused.

“English, Russian, Spanish, French, and whoop that ass, too.”

Alina sneered. “Interesting. Which language do you prefer?”

“Whichever one helps you explain your issue with Black people, or is it just Black people who are associated with Aleksey?”

“I have no issue with Blacks.”

Miranda’s eyes tensed. “I don’t know what kind of games you’re playing, but this is my house and I am not going to let any racist, bigoted heifas stay in my house, regardless of whom they are related to. Are we clear?”

Alina returned her glare. “Very. After the wedding,” she dusted her hands together, “I will be back in my homeland, and you can have your little house, and family.”

“Good, and in the meantime, you owe my nephew an apology.”

“I have done nothing to apologize for.”

“You assumed that he was the help just because he’s Black. Now that shit may fly in your motherland, but it’s unacceptable here in America.”

She dropped her suitcase off the bed and onto the floor with a thud, purposely expressing her annoyance. “Fine, fine where is the negr.”

“Bitch!” Miranda had lunged and latched on to Alina’s collar before Natalia could stop her. “Didn’t I tell your stupid ass that I speak Russian? Call my nephew a nigga again and I’ll break your motherfucking neck!” Natalia gathered by the way Miranda was shaking Alina that it would only be a matter of time before she made good on her warning -- whether she meant to or not.

“Mr. Aleksey! Mr. Aleksey!” She got winded as she ran around the house searching for him.

“What is it, Natalia?”

“Ms. Miranda, she is going to kill her.”

“What?! Kill who?”

“Alina.” The rasp in Natalia’s voice surprised her. She despised the woman --there was no denying that-- but she had come to like Miranda and did not know how Aleksey would react if she had done something to cause Alina harm, no matter how much she deserved it.

Aleksey handed Roman over to Natalia and raced to Alina’s room where he found her leaning over the foot of the bed with Miranda’s bent arm tightly wrapped around her throat.

“Stop!” He cleared his throat. “STOP!” His growl was back. He detached both women and held an outstretched arm toward Miranda while Alina struggled to gasp for air. “What is going on here?”

“She… is… crazy!” Alina slumped on top of her fallen luggage.

“And don’t you forget it, bitch! There ain’t nobody that I won’t kill to protect my family, not even you, Aleksey.” Her head whipped around his way.

“What, happened?”

“I’ll tell you what happened. I came in here to let this bitch know what time it is,” he looked confused, “to tell her how it’s gone be and that she owes Kevin an apology and this trick called him a nigga! OOOH!” She pounded her fist in her hand and walked in small calculated circles.

“Alina, is this true?”

Is this true? Who are you going to believe? I don’t have a reason to lie.”

“Please, Miranda. Please.” Miranda turned around, and focused on not jumping back on Alina. For the first time in a long time she was glad that she was a part of the underworld – no rules and no jail time. “Alina,” he studied the distance between he and Miranda before he turned his back toward her to help Alina to her feet.

“It is… true.”

“Alina!” Aleksey dropped his arm away from hers.

“Told you! I told you! That bitch is dirty. Get her out my house.” Miranda comically reminded Aleksey of a professional boxer the way she bounced around the floor.

“Lyosha, I did not know that word was such a big deal here in America. You know back in Russia we use it all the time.” She pleated her hands together, demonstrating her version of humility.

“It is used by some, but they are my family and—“

I am your family!” Her eyes flashed fire.

“This bitch is crazy. Hello??? Am I the only one who can see that?” Miranda leaned over in Aleksey’s direction, but his focus remained on Alina.

“Angel’s family is my family, too.” His voice had quieted dramatically as some harsh truths seemed to be revealing themselves.

“When you were homeless – on the street—where was this family? Mmmmm? Where were they when I took all of you boys in? I did not see them. Did they feed you? No. Did they make sure you had clean clothes and shoes? No. Did they comfort you when the nightmares of your family being killed woke you up at night?”

“Yes.”

“What?” Alina was clearly confused.

“Angel comforts me when all of the nightmares come from more than just that day when the bodies of my mother and sister were taken away. She is alive, you know?”

Who is alive?” Alina regrouped.

“Nadya.”

“Impossible! She is dead, along with your mother. I saw them.”

“You saw them? How? When?”

“Ittttt tis not important. Tell me more about your sister.”

“How did you see them, Alina?” Storm clouds formed in his eyes. “You told me that you did not know my family – that you had not heard of their death. How did you see their bodies?”

In my mind, I imagined them from the stories that you told. I am old and tired— my imagination is all that I have left.“

“You’re tired alright.” Miranda couldn’t stop herself from chiming in.

“Please, let her finish.” Miranda threw up her hands and stood in the doorway.

“I misspoke. I am sorry, but your sister, how is it that she is alive?”

“Another time. Rest now.” Aleksey fixed the covers and offered the bed to her. “I will check on you soon.” He kissed her forehead as she climbed onto the bed, and then followed Miranda to the other side of the room’s door.

“I know you didn’t fall for that.”

“Not for one second.” He allowed his finger tips to gently trail down the doors frame.

“Aleksey, what kind of devil did you bring into my house?”

“I do not know, but I promise I will find out. Shall we?”

Miranda took a step back while giving him a once over. “Now, I get what Angel sees in you. You are a lot like my Peter.”

“Is that a bad thing?” His smile betrayed him.

“Only for that bitch.”

Aleksey’s smile deepened, as he opened the door to their shared happiness.

Angel sat up in anticipation. “Is everything okay? I heard shouting.”

“Girl, everything is fine. We got this.” She grinned up at Aleksey. “You got a good one here.” She nodded her approval and headed back toward the door.

“Where are you going now?”

“To deal with your crazy mama…. Start praying.”

“I will…” Angel briefly studied Aleksey’s demeanor, something was wrong. “What happened?”

“Ah, nothing to worry about. Where is our son?”

“I left him with you.” Angel began to panic.

“Ah,” he snapped his fingers, “I left him with Natalia.”

“Now, I know something’s wrong. You don’t forget anything, least of all where our son is.”

“I was only teasing.” He was not.

“Don’t scare me like that. I'm so doped up, I can barely move.”

He grabbed the pill bottle off of the nightstand table and shook it. “How many did you take?”

“I don’t know… a few.”

He carefully read the label. “…One every eight hours, not to exceed three a day.” He shook the bottle again. “Angel, there are not many left. How many did you take?”

“Like I said, a few.”

He checked the label again. “There were 30 pills in here, now there are,” he opened the bottle, “one, two, three… sixteen left?”

“I noticed that, too. There must have been an error at the pharmacy. There were only twenty. So, I took…. four. I won’t take anymore until tomorrow… that’s if I even need them. Okay?” She patted a section of the bed nearest her.

“Okay, but I will mention this to Dr. K. If you are to receive 30, then you should have 30.”

“Don’t bother her. I probably won’t need any more anyway.”

“So, I will take them.”

“No!” Aleksey nearly jumped at the sound of her unexpected outburst. “I said, probably. I did push a baby out of my happy place you know,” she chuckled before continuing, “I have no idea how I'm going to feel tomorrow.”

“If you need more, I will give you more.” He tried to pull the bottle out of her reach, but was quickly stopped.

“Look, I'm a grown woman, and I don’t need you regulating my pill intake. Put them back where you got them.” He could easily tell by her breathing that her heart had begun to race, causing his own heart to break.

“Angel, I spoke to your mother.”

She removed her hand from the pill bottle and prepared for the worse.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

“Gennie, what the hell are you doing in my house?”

“Good to see you, too big Sis.” Geneva stood up to give Miranda a long overdue hug.

“Yea, yea, enough with all the niceties. You haven’t been to this house is years. What do you want now?”

“I came to see my daughter, and speaking of daughters, have you seen my granddaughter? She’s gorgeous.”

“Not yet.” After dealing with Alina, Miranda’s patience and tolerance for bullshit was at an all-time low. “Looka here, we both know how you feel about Angel, so what do you really want, and don’t bother lying to me. I’ve already whooped one bitch’s ass, don’t make it two.”

“Oh, well listen to you. I'm so used to the sophisticated, overly-educated lawyer that everyone has always compared me to. When did you get all ‘hood?”

“I'm two seconds away from snapping, and only one reach away from your neck. You sure you wanna play with me?”

Geneva could be called a lot of well-deserved things, but a fool was not one. She quickly sat down and got to the point. “Well, you know Angel’s daddy is sick and he wants to see her. It’s not looking good.”

“Gennie, we both know that Douglas cares about her even less than you do, so what’s going on?”

“Well, he wants to apologize for how he treated her all these years.”

“Where are my fur coats when I need them? Hell has clearly frozen over.”

 “Miranda, I'm serious. He’s dying.”

Miranda sat down on the sofa and rested her back against the cushions. “Well, there is a God.”

“I can’t believe you just said that!”

“Girl, save all the dramatics for the funeral. I have never liked that man. In fact, you were the only person who could tolerate him. Do you know how many times I have had to stop Peter from marching over to your house to kill him… and you for that matter?”

“You know what they say about time and old wounds…”

“Well, what do you they say about wounds that never healed? You know I don’t understand how the worst siblings that I have were able to have children and I, me, the one who couldn’t have children ended up practically raising them. Some things just don’t make no damn sense.” Miranda closed her eyes in an effort to regain her composure.

“I'm sorry that things didn’t work out that way for you, but at least you had our children to fill that void.”

“What do you know about void? Huh? What do you know about anything? You are a selfish, indignant – I'm not even going to stoop to your level. Angel knows you’re here and if she wants to get in contact with you, she will. Until then, don’t come by my house no more.”

“Fine. You sure have changed through the years, but I guess dealing with people like Peter can do that to a person.” She scooped up her clutch bag and stood up.

“People like Peter, huh? Well, I’ll make sure he knows that.”

“Make sure I know what?”

Miranda’s turn toward the front door made her feel as if she was suddenly living in a dream world. Tears jerked out of her eyes forcing the tough exterior that she had displayed only seconds prior to chip and break away. Focusing on the moment that he would return was the only thing that kept her sane and alive in his absence, but he was back, and finally all was right with the world. “PETER!!!!!”

 

End Notes:

The lies and secrets that this family is wrapped up in will be spilling for a very long time to come.

 

Keep that seatbelt buckled. ;)

 

See you in the comments. ~.~

Pills & Potions... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Hola, mis amigas! Well, we finally have a Peter sighting! This chapter is full of ups and downs (y'all know how I do), so strap in and get ready for a bumpy ride. See you on the other side....

“Peter?!” Miranda drifted toward the floor. He was still not at full strength, so he caught her by the arm and led her back over to the sofa.

“Baby? Baby?” His deep, hearty laugh brought her back.

“You’re here?” She lifted her head up slowly, scared to catch a false glimpse of hope.

“Yes, baby. I'm here.” He turned to Geneva. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I came to see my daughter. You remember her right? Of course you do. Look, I’ll come back another time. Welcome back, I guess.” With that she was finally gone.

“Miranda, baby. Come on, stop it. I told you I’d come back.”

She seemed unable to stop crying almost equally as much as she was unable to let him go. He knew that once her arms were around him like that, it was a wrap, literally. He slipped out of his Fedora and leaned back into her love. Before long her sobbing ceased and her tear-filled eyes stared up at him full of disbelief. Truthfully, there were many times that he thought he would never get another chance to see those smoky brown eyes gazing up at him, and he relished every second.

“I can’t believe you’re here.” She sat up on her own, hands folded, staring down at the floor.

“I don’t know why not. Don’t I always come home?” He nudged her, trying to snap her out of whatever she was feeling.

“You do, but this time… this time was different. No contact? Not a word from you for months! How dare you leave me like that?! I damn near lost my mind! I almost—.“ His mouth was on hers before she could yell out another word. There weren’t many ways to shut that woman up, but a kiss from Peter never failed.

The way he used his tongue to tease and chase after hers felt like hot coffee on a cold winter’s night – soothing and exceptionally gratifying.

“Am I forgiven?” He flashed her an apologetic frown that clashed with his rough exterior.

She did a double take while trying to scoot away from him in an attempt to hold on to an air of anger, but it was futile – she knew it, and so did he. “You know I can’t stay mad at you.”

That’s what I wanna hear. Now come here and give Big Daddy another kiss.”

“Ewwww. Y’all still nasty.”

“Angel!” Peter almost pushed Miranda off the sofa as he made his way to his favorite niece. “Girl, look at you. Wait, where’s the baby?”

“I had him.” Her smile was reminiscent of her five year old self.

Him? You had a boy?”

“Yep.”

“Well, hot damn! Where is he? I have to see him. Come on Miranda. Get off yo ass.”

“Excuse me?” She stood to her feet, arms folded, ready for war.

“I didn’t mean it like that.” He walked lightly over to her and unfolded her arms. “Come on, you know I didn’t mean it. I'm just excited to be home – with my family and a new grandnephew. Damn, I'm old.”

Miranda chuckled under her breath. “Come on Gramps. Maybe you two can share a bottle.”

“Oh you think that’s funny, huh?” She jogged toward the hallway, giving him time to almost catch up. She noticed how he favored his left arm, and how his right leg didn’t straighten out completely, but that would have to be a conversation for another time. He was home, and hot on her trail, just the way she liked it.

“Come on, Big Daddy. You know you want it.” When Miranda stopped, and did her own interpretation of twerking, Angel slapped both hands over her mouth to keep her laughter from bellowing throughout the entire house.

Aleksey entered the living room just as they turned left into the hallway, leaving Angel standing in the room seemingly laughing at absolutely nothing.

“What is so funny, and why are you out of bed?” He pulled up his pant legs and claimed a spot on the loveseat.

“My Uncle Peter is back!”

“I know.”

“Of course you do.” Her eyes rolled back.

“Why are you out of bed? When I came back in the room you were not there and I became worried.”

You? The great Aleksey Moroskov was worried about me?”

“I always worry about you.” The soft tone in his voice brought caution to Angel’s senses; it was completely out of character for him. In fact, the only time he ever sounded vulnerable was when spoke of the day his mother, and once presumably his sister had died. This time unfortunately, it was her who had saddened his heart.

“Aleksey…” She didn’t know where to begin.

“I know about the drugs, so let us start there.”

There… You make it sound so easy.”

“It is. You can trust me, and I must admit that it hurts me that you felt you could not do so before.”

“Aleksey, it is a part of my past. I didn’t see the need to bring it up now…I still don’t.”

He crossed one leg over the other. “How did it start?”

“I was a stupid teenager, hanging with other stupid teenagers. Someone brought some pills to a party, I took them and they made me feel better, so I kept taking them. I don’t see why this is relevant. Like I said, that was in my past.”

“And these pills,” he pulled the almost empty pain bottle out of his jacket pocket, “What about these pills?”

“I told you, they didn’t give me the amount it says on the bottle. Now drop it!”

He was about to respond when he looked up and saw Miranda standing at the opening of the hallway with an up-held hand. When she nodded her head, silently requesting that he leave them alone, he obeyed without question. In passing, she retrieved the pill bottle from his hand and headed over to sofa.

By that time, Angel had curled herself up into a tight ball, so Miranda sat down next to her and waited until her body language indicated that she was ready to receive what she was about to say. When Angel’s legs hit the floor, Miranda began.

She put the pill bottle down on the table before them and shook her head. “You could have told me that the temptation was back.”

“It’s not the same as before. I can handle this.”

“Then it is the same as before because I’ve already heard that line.”

“Auntie, I'm serious. I am not some stupid teenager trying to escape my pain. I'm happy. I have everything any woman could ever want; a man who loves me, two beautiful children and you and Uncle Peter. I have everything. I'm happy. I'm happy. I'm happy. I'm happy. I'm happy. I'm ha—ppy. I'm haaaappy. I'm… I'm… I'm…” Miranda wrapped her arms around Angel and began to rock her just as she had done countless other times throughout her life. Something was tearing her apart, and apparently had been for some time. Even as a child, Angel would always put on a happy face and hold everything inside which is what led to the drug use and abuse in the first place. That was a very dark time in everyone’s life that they would have preferred to keep in the past, but unfortunately that was one skeleton that they could not keep buried.

The sweet and familiar smell of Miranda’s perfume rushed Angel’s thoughts back to a time when she sat on that very sofa years prior, fighting to hold back tears, holding in a secret that shouldn’t have been hers to begin with. “He raped me.” Her words came out quick and quiet.

It was as if someone had sucker punched Miranda in the gut, leaving her momentarily unable to breathe. “Who? Who raped you? When? Baby girl, who raped you?” A million emotions thrashed around her heart.

“He…”

“He, who? Baby girl, please talk to me?”

“Mymymymy father.”

“Douglas? Douglas raped you?” The tears in Miranda’s eyes hit the floor at the same time the front door slammed shut. No one had seen or heard anyone enter or leave the room, and that’s how they knew it was none other than Aleksey.

“Stop him! Please, Auntie stop him!”

“What’s going on in here?” Peter rushed into the room carrying Roman in his arms.

“Aleksey! You have to stop him, Uncle Peter, please. He’s gonna kill him.”

“Kill who? What did I miss? Why are y’all crying? What’s that girl’s name? Natalie!” Natalia entered the room in the same hurried fashion as Peter.

“Yes, Sir?”

“Take the baby back to the room. Thank you.” He handed off his grandnephew and returned his full attention back to the two sobbing women before him. “What is going on?”

“You have to stop him.”

“Stop who from doing what, Angel? Will somebody tell me what the hell is going on?”

“He must have heard Angel say…” Miranda buried her head in her hands.

“Say what? Say what?!”

“That Douglas raped her! He raped our baby girl.”

Miranda sobs cut Peter as deeply as her words. He toppled over onto the loveseat, willing the room to stop spinning. Determined to get his bearings, he shook himself and looked directly into Angel’s eyes. “He…” His chest tightened with anger and fear. “He raped you?”

“Yes.” She hung her head under the heavy weight of shame.

Peter pulled her down onto an empty space next to him. “Why didn’t you tell us? We would have gotten you out of there. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that we would do anything for you?”

“I… I couldn’t. He said he would kill me if I told anyone… Kill… Aleksey! Uncle Peter, you have to stop him!” She tried to push him up to his feet.

“From doing what? Exactly what I would do if he hadn’t beat me to it? Let him die. It’s the least he deserves.” Vengeance swiftly replaced all traces of sadness that he had allowed to seep through just moments before.

“Uncle…” It was pointless. He was right, and she was finally free. Her puffy eyes found their way to Miranda who still hadn’t lifted her head. “Auntie? It’s alright.”

“No, it isn’t. I had a feeling something was going on and I confronted him about it and he denied everything. I should have trusted my instincts and fought for you. I am so sorry. Please, forgive me. Please.” Miranda dropped to her knees and crawled over to Angel. It was more than Peter could take. He hopped up and headed straight for the bar behind them and drank a breath full of Hennessey straight from the bottle.

Angel joined Miranda on the floor; it was her turn to be the comforter. Although she said everything she could possibly think of to reassure Miranda that none of it was her fault, there was really nothing that could absolve her of the guilt that had already buried itself deep inside. In that moment, everything started to add up. As a child, Angel spent every second that she could with her and Peter. She would cry when Douglas would take her back home, and it was always Douglas, never Geneva who picked her up. Douglas would guilt or force Angel into giving him a hug when he showed up, and she would always schedule and then negotiate her next visit before she left. Miranda never had any concrete proof, but something in her soul told her that something wasn’t right. She even asked Angel once, but she denied it right off the bat. Miranda was so mad at herself, that she began to shake.

“I should have killed him when I had the chance!”

Peter, whose vision had become increasingly blurry, slammed the bottle down on the marble countertop of the bar. Normally, he could handle alcohol a lot better than he was doing, but the pain medication was speeding up the process.

Angel’s laughter was so unexpected that it startled everyone, including herself. “We are a pitiful bunch.” She laughed again, this time Peter joined in. He wobbled over to them with what was left of the bottle of Hennessey. Angel grabbed it from him and Miranda snatched it from her.

The burn that hit the back of Miranda’s throat left her crossed-eyed. “Dammit! Oooh! That’s some good stuff.” She took a few more long swigs and blinked until she was able to focus on what appeared to be a full on smirk plastered across Angel’s face. “Don’t you even tink... thing... THINK about it. We ain’t done with this... um... what was I saying?” She shrugged her shoulders and hugged the bottle.

“Damnit woman, you never could hold your liquor.” Peter retrieved the bottle and held it in protective custody against his own chest.

“I'm holding it now.” She pointed a defiant finger in his general direction all while her eyes drifted shut. “Seeeeeeee?”

“Woman, can you see? Open yo damn eyes!”

Even the repeated sharp pains of stomach cramps couldn’t stop Angel from laughing. Through the years, that was how she chose to remember her childhood, but it was evident now more than ever that all of the happiness and laughter was only a temporary fix. She knew that she would eventually have to acknowledge all of what happened to her in order to truly get passed it, and she was beyond grateful that she had a support system that was willing to be with her every step of the way.

 

End Notes:

Well, I DID say there would be ups and downs, and there will be many more to come. Sometimes, I wish I could just jump ahead to the REALLY juicy stuff, but I guess we'll have to wait together.


As always, thanks for rocking with me.


See you in the next chapter...

Time's Up... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Hey!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know it's been a minute and I thank you all for your patience.


As with any break, I have to get my feet wet before I hit y'all with a series of BOOMS, so let's get started.

The side that only Angel was privy to wanted to run back inside and hold her, but then there was his true nature which all but begged to be unleashed. Growing up in his small town, he had seen many people do many things, mostly for survival, but never had he known of any man who would touch his own child in such a perverse way. He was certain that it happened, as there were many sick people especially in his line of work, but this was close to home, too close, and someone or everyone would pay-- it was only a matter of when, and how severely.

He had been keeping tabs on Angel’s family from the time he had a background check run on her, and believing that Angel would tell him all that he needed to know about her past, he chose to limit his search only to things that were pertinent to the present (a decision he had now grown to regret).

Just as he was about to start the car, the buzzing of his cellphone stopped him. He answered with a knowing smile. “You are right on time my love.”

“I know. Now open the door.” Aleksey's head dropped.

“You are not coming with me.”

“Yes, I am.” She continued to yank on the handle until he finally gave in and unlocked the doors.

“Angel, you cannot go with me.”

“And why not? This concerns me. You concern me.”

“How do I concern you when you were the one who was… hurt.” His eyes flashed red. She had never seen that before.

“He is at a hospital, Aleksey. You can’t kill him, not there.”

“Then where?”

“I don’t know…” She sulked back against the leather seat.

“You do not wish that I do this?”

“Part of me wants to do it…”

“And the other part?”

“Wants to just let this go—let him go. If he is as sick as my mother claims, then it’s only a matter of time before he croaks on his own.”

“But where is the fun in that?” Her sigh turned smile brought him some much needed warmth.

“I do want to see him, though.”

“Now?”

Right now. He is not gonna die before I have a chance to get some things off my chest.”

He gave her a hard look and started the car. “You are sure about this?”

“Yes. I have to do this now, before it’s too late.” ‘Or I lose my nerve.’

“Then we shall go.” He took her hand in his and followed the computed guide of the navigational system.

During the short drive, he would occasionally steal glances of her. Her fear was almost palpable, and it tugged at his heart. When they arrived at the hospital, he pleaded with her one last time to allow him to handle Douglas, but she once again refused.

By the time they pulled up to the valet, a succession of rain clouds poetically began bursting all around them. He tossed his keys to the valet driver, rushed over to the passenger side, slipped out of his very expensive and not coincidentally favorite suit jacket and used it as a shield to protect his soon-to-be bride. He had grown to hate that term, and it was in that moment that he made a one-sided decision. “We are getting married.”

She wrapped her arms around herself, and walked quickly with him to the outer covering of the building’s entrance. “I know.”

Tomorrow.”

“What?!” She held her head down under the stares of the people waiting in the lobby.

“I am tired of waiting. Peter is back; that was your only condition, right?”

“What about Marat and your sister?”

“She and Marat will be here tonight.”

“Don’t you wanna spend some time getting reacquainted before springing a new sister-in-law on her?”

“No. We have put it off long enough, and I will wait no longer.”

Her lips curved into a sexy smile that made him blush. “I love when you are demanding.”

“Stop that.”

“Stop what?”

“Looking at me like that. You know what it does.”

“Yes, I do.” For a moment she allowed herself to forget everything else.

“Six to eight weeks, Angel. Six to eight weeks.”

“Fine.” She rolled her eyes and led the way to the information desk -- that is until he grabbed her arm and whisked her away.

“The less people who notice us, the better, besides, I know what room he is in.”

He prided himself on knowing everything, and that’s why it all but killed her to keep him in the dark about certain issues concerning her past.

“6482.” She nodded and directed her attention toward the row of elevators which were conveniently placed just a few feet away. “Angel, we do not have to do this. You do not have to do this.”

“Yes, I do. I’ve waited a long time and I'm not going to let another day pass without at least knowing why he did what he did to me.” He understood her reasoning, but it hurt him to see her so emotionally wounded, and he was afraid of what those emotions would prompt him to do when he finally came face-to-face with the man behind it all.

They made it to the sixth floor just in time to catch a glimpse of an orderly wheeling Douglas back inside his room on a gurney.

When Aleksey brushed passed the orderly upon entering the room, it was clear that the stocky man wanted to say something, but instead he kept quiet and took his leave. Angel locked arms with Aleksey and pulled him closer to the curtain with her. When they finally made it to the curtain’s edge, she pulled it back without warning.

Her gasp overpowered the silence of the room. It was not what she expected. The man she remembered was strong and overbearing, but the man before her appeared to be anything but. His face alone looked well-worn passed its 56 years, and his body was shriveled, showing absolutely no signs of the muscles that he for many years used to pin her down.

His eyes barely shifted her way before a shimmer of recognition set in. “Callie? Have you come to take me home? Is it time to go? I'm ready now.”

Aleksey placed a reassuring hand on Angel’s shoulder. “What are you—What’s wrong with you?”

“You must be one of his daughters,” the doctor rushed through her notes, “Angel or Callie?”

“Angel.”

The doctor extended her right hand. “Well, it’s nice to finally meet you.”

“What’s wrong with him?”

“Despite our best efforts, the cancer has metastasized to his brain, so he may not be making a lot of sense. At this point, all we can do is make him as comfortable as possible, but it truly is only a matter of time before he passes on.”

Angel’s jaw dropped slightly. It was something that she expected, but to hear it aloud from someone so official made her feel something that she wasn’t ready to process. “He’s dying?”

“Yes. The fact that he’s able to speak is a miracle in itself.” She pulled her in close. “But, taking into account the speed in which the cancer is spreading, he has maybe a few days left with us.”

“He wasn’t making any sense just now.” Angel’s exterior remained cold.

“What do you mean?”

“He thought I was Callie and was asking if she was going to take him home.”

“Some days he’s had a good hour where he knows what’s going on and can even hold lucid conversations, but those times are becoming less frequent. His cognitive skills and memories are deteriorating rather quickly, so it’s great that you came when you did.”

“My mother,” Angel looked around the room, “where is she?”

“I was actually beginning to wonder that myself. We haven’t seen her in over a week. I know things like this can be devastating, but as I explained to her, he could use the love and support of his family in his final days.”

“Mmmm.”

“I'm going to let you spend some time with him and I’ll check back in on him later. See you later Douglas.” His head bobbled uncontrollably in response.

Angel continued to stare at him. “Days? You have days to live…” She stepped closer to the bed. “Why me?”

“What?”

“Why me? Why did you do that to me, your own daughter?”

“You’re not my daughter.”

“As much as I wish that was true, we both know it’s not, so just stop.”

“Callie! Callie!”

“Callie’s not here, Dad.” The word didn’t taste as bitter as she thought it would.

“I want my real daughter. Callie!”

“Then why didn’t you mess with her? Why me?! Answer me, you bastard. Why did you rape me?”

“Because you are not my daughter.”

“What are you talking about?

“Ask your mama. She knows what she did.”

“What?! What did she do?!”

“Callie, have you come to take me home?”

“No! Come back! Don’t you do this! No!” Aleksey had to almost use his full strength to pull her off of him.

“We can try again another time.”

She snatched away. “I can’t do this again. What did he mean I'm not his daughter? Was that the cancer talking?”

“I do not know.”

Without a word, she departed from the room without looking back. Aleksey rushed out after her, and again came in contact with the orderly. The man slapped the dry mop into an accompanying bucket and locked eyes with Aleksey. When Aleksey swiped his right index finger over his left brow the man nodded once and retreated to the stairwell as Aleksey continued after Angel. He found her at the elevator with her arms folded – her mind clearly somewhere else.

“I am ready.”

“What took you so long?”

“I had some business to take care of briefly, but it is done.” His tone and accent were deeper than usual-- a fact that Angel chose to dismiss in favor of much bigger issues. “Where are we headed now?”

“To see my mother.”

Aleksey knew that it was the only way to find the truth, no matter how hard it would be to hear. “Should I ask Miranda to meet us there?”

“No. I need to do this alone.”

“Then we shall go alone.”

“No. I mean alone, by myself, just me and her.”

“I do not think this is a wise decision, Angel.”

“I didn’t ask.”

 

 

There was an unexpected anger that whirled around his chest. “I will not let you go by yourself.”

 

“Fine, but don't say a word, and no matter what happens, do not get in the middle.”

“Fine.” He wasn’t sure what she had planned or even if she had anything planned at all, but he was glad that she would finally be getting the answers that she so desperately needed and deserved.

End Notes:

You ladies have NO idea how much I appreciate all of the constant encouragement to update during the last couple of weeks! The next update will either come later today or some time tomorrow.


See y'all soon.

You ARE The Father... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

#BadGirl! I know I'm late with an update, but the distractions just would not stop.


Okay, this chapter will probably leave some of you as speechless as I was when I typed it. When I say I just let my fingers do all the work, I mean it! LOL!


I'll see you in the comments,


and PLEASE leave your bow & arrows, knives, and guns in the truck.

 

 

The drive to Geneva’s house was quiet, very quiet. Angel was deep in thought as was Aleksey. She had changed him; there was no denying it, but not as much as she would have liked to believe. News of Douglas’ death hit him before they pulled out of the hospital parking lot. A simple text from a burner phone with the word “done” was received and deleted within seconds. Douglas would serve no further purpose to Angel, and Aleksey was sure that he would not be missed by anyone that mattered.

Angel barely waited for Aleksey to stop the car before she hopped out and made a dash for the front door. She had made a promise to her younger self that she would never return there, but this was crucial. The past had held her down for far too long and come Hell or high water, she was going to break free.

“Wait!”

Angel froze, arms folded. “Any other time you’re like a fucking lion, and now you wanna take your time? Come on!”

Aleksey rushed to her side. “We do this together, understand?” He looked down at her, and almost laughed at their difference in height. Angel was definitely the shortest woman that he had ever been with… and the bravest.

Her eyes softened at his command. “Okay… Together.”

As they headed up the brick driveway, it was as if time had stood still. The yellow flower pot that she had accidently knocked over after a drunken excursion was still lined up perfectly on the second step of the porch. The crooked porch swing, with its dirty cushion was still right in front of the bay window undoubtedly still blocking the remnants of the evening sun. In fact, the only thing that was missing was her little sister’s roller skates in the right corner of the yard.  

“Whenever you are ready.”

She nodded once and raised a shaky hand toward the doorbell. “I can’t do this.” She turned to walk away and stopped all on her own. “Fuck that!” She blew passed him and banged on the door. “Open up!” When she went from banging to kicking, he pulled her back.

“This is not the way. Look.” He repositioned her body toward one of her mother’s neighbors.

She sucked her teeth and sighed. “That’s just nosey old ass Mrs. Harris.”

Angel could not remember a time when that woman’s nose wasn’t stuck to the glass of her front window. Hell, the neighborhood watch consisted of her and her alone, and none of the children could stand her because of it.

“Hi, Mrs. Harris! Have you seen my mom?”

The old woman took a step forward. “Angel? Angel, is that you?”

“Yes, Mrs. Harris. How have you been?”

“I'm just fine. It’s been a mighty long time since I’ve seen you around these parts. What have you been up to?”

“Nothing much. Have you seen my Mom today?”

“Yea, she made it in about five minutes ago. So what have you been doing with yourself?” She gave Aleksey a once over. “You wouldn’t happen to be in any kind of trouble would you?”

“I wouldn’t give your old ass the satisfaction of telling you if I was.”

“What was that, honey?” Aleksey stepped back on the lawn and looked up just in time to see the upstairs blinds swing back and forth.

“I said those days are long behind me.”

“Oh, that’s good to hear.”

“Well, it was nice seeing you. Take care.”

“You, too.” The woman lingered on her porch for a few more seconds before retreating back inside her home.

Angel was so distracted by the old bird’s inquiries that she didn’t notice when Aleksey disappeared. “What happened to together?”

“Look who I found sneaking out back.”

Angel followed Aleksey’s voice to the side of the house. “Mother, say it ain't so.”

“I was just going out for some milk.”

Aleksey released Geneva’s arm. “She was going over the fence.”

“What?!” Angel cupped her face in disbelief.

“Yes. When I found her she had one leg over the fence and the other on some sort of giant dollhouse.”

“It must have been Callie’s old playhouse”

“When I went to see you at Miranda’s, you didn’t want to be bothered, so why are you here now?”

“You and I need to talk. Now, we can do it out here so all of your little neighbors can know exactly what went on in this house or you can let us in and we can speak privately; your choice.”

“Fine.” Geneva pulled her keys out of her jacket pocket and stomped up the porch stairs. “I don’t know why you’re doing this.”

“Doing what?” Angel stepped inside right behind her mother. The house smelled the same. “Do you ever open the windows?”

“For what? There’s nothing wrong with my house.”

“Nevermind.” Angel looked around the living room. The family portrait that once hung over the fireplace was gone. “What happened to it?” She pointed to the empty spot.

“I took it down. Douglas said it brought back too many bad memories for him.”

“For him?!”

“Yes. You disappeared, and Callie went off to college. The place was empty and he said it made him feel lonely.”

“I bet.”

“Are you going to tell me why you’re here or not? Don’t you have a baby to look after?”

“Like you looked after me?”

“Don’t you start that crap again, Angel. Douglas did right by you, we both did.”

“Notice how she keeps calling him Douglas and not my father.” Aleksey’s silent smirk indicated that he had noticed as well.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“I saw him today, Douglas, and he told me that he’s not my father.”

“What?! That’s just the cancer talking. Of course he’s your father.” Geneva cloaked herself in indignation.

“He told me about the affair.” Angel waited to see if Geneva would fall for it.

“Wwwwhat are you talking about? I never cheated on him. That’s a lie!”

“I know the truth, mom.”

“You don’t know shit! Get out of my house.”

“You’re kicking us out?”

“You’re damn right! How dare you come to my home and accuse me of cheating on your father? Get out!”

“I'm going to get to the bottom of this, trust me.”

“There’s nothing to get to the bottom of. I have never been so insulted in all of my life.”

“Well get ready, because this isn’t over.”

“Yes, it is.”

Geneva opened the door and slammed it when Aleksey and Angel were on the other side.

Angel pulled her hair up into a ponytail. “He was telling the truth. He’s not my father.”

“It appears that way.” He wished that he had something profound to say, but the truth was all he had to offer.

“Well, if he’s not, then who the hell is?”

“We will find out, my love.”

“One way or another.” When Angel held her hand out, Aleksey covered it with his own. “Un huh. Keys, please.”

Aleksey hid them behind his back. “What keys?”                                                    

“Stop playing. I wanna take you somewhere.”

I can drive.”

“You don’t know where I want to go.”

“But I can find it.”

“It’s a surprise... Just give me the keys.” She was clearly getting agitated.

“Okay, but I would like to make it to our wedding in one piece.”

“I promise I will return you just as I found you. Keys.”

“Fine.” He followed her to the driver’s side and cautiously handed her keys.

Once she was safely inside, he rested against the front of the car and weighed his options.

“Get in!”

He stared at her once more through the front windshield before reluctantly sliding in the passenger seat. Once he was buckled in she leaned over and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“What was that for?”

“Everything.”                     

“Then you are welcome. Where are we going?”

“To the one place in this city that has always brought me peace.”

“Where’s that?”

“The beach. You haven’t lived until you’ve walked on white sand, and swam in clear, clean water; two things that are impossible to find in LA.”

“That is true, but what if it begins to rain again?”

“Are you afraid of getting wet?”

“Not at all. Are you? Do not answer that.”

About a mile into their drive he let the top down and watched the palm trees lined along each street zip by, one after another. And, just as he began to relax, they were there. He erected his seat and looked around for the name of the beach.

“South Beach.”

“Excuse me?”

“We’re at South Beach.”

“Ah, I have heard of this place.”

Angel whipped into what appeared to be the last parking stall and waited for him to run around and open her door. Two women clad in thong bikinis sneered as she stepped out.

“Is there a problem?” They laughed, and she went into attack mode.

Aleksey caught her arm and attempted to calm her down. “They are not worth it.”

“That’s not what you said last night, baby.” When the women tripped over each other, it became obvious to both Angel and Aleksey that they were either high or drunk, or maybe both. Angel remembered those days a little too well and decided to let them live.

“It is cold.” Aleksey ran his hands along his arms.

“You’ll get used to it, and if not, there are some shops on the pier that sells everything from umbrellas to blankets.”

“We should go there now.”

“Follow me.”

In LA, he ordered everything to come to them so there wasn’t much need to go out, but it was clear that Miami was home for her, and he wasn’t sure how she would feel about leaving it again.

Armed with two large blankets in tow, he led them mid-way to the shoreline.

He expected her to join him on the blanket that he had just spread out across the sand, but instead she wrapped herself in the other one and stared at a yacht off in the distance.

“This is beautiful.”

She turned around briefly, catching his eye. “Yes, it is.”

He wanted to say something to comfort her, but thought better of it. It was obvious that she needed some quiet time to reflect on the events of the day.

Fighting the urge to go after her, he leaned back on his arms and watched as she got closer to the water’s edge. The blanket, drenched in wet, white sand dragged closely behind her and the yacht that once caught her eye was now too far out to be seen.

She glanced over her shoulder at Aleksey and he instinctually hopped to his feet.

‘Finally.’ He grabbed the blanket from her and wrapped them both safely inside. They stood in the cold sand holding on to each other until they were interrupted by the buzzing sound of his phone.

“I must get this.”

“Go ahead.” She reluctantly pulled herself out of his arms and headed for the larger blanket still planted on the sand.

“Speak.”

“She is here, Sir.”

“Who?”

Natalia lowered her voice. “Your sister, Nadya.”

“Shit!” Angel rushed to his side.

“Is something wrong?”

“We must go.”

“Okay, that’s not a problem.”

He waited until they were half way to the car before speaking again. “She’s here.”

Angel stopped in her tracks. “Nadya. I completely forgot. We should have been there. I'm so sorry.”

“For what?” He tossed the blankets in the backseat and once again handed her the keys.

“You wanted to be there when your sister arrived, but me and all my bull… I'm sorry.”

“There is nothing to apologize for. You needed me.”

“But, your sister needs you more.”

“That is yet to be seen.”

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

 

They could hear the music blasting from the house long before they reached it.

“Marat.”

Angel looked at Aleksey and laughed. “Or, it could be Uncle Peter.”

Maybe it was because they were both more than a little anxious, but the walk to the door seemed further than usual.

Aleksey squeezed Angel’s hand tightly as they approached. “Are you ready?”

Me? Are you ready?”

“No.”

The door swung opened and Marat pulled his best friend into an overdue hug.

“Aleksey! How have you been my friend?”

“You are drunk?”

“Yes. A lot.” Marat pulled back and laughed against the door frame. He attempted to straighten up when he noticed Angel. “Ms. Angel, you are beautiful like always.”

“Thank you, Marat.” She stepped inside, leaving the men to talk alone.

“She is here?”

“Yes.”

“Does she know who I am, why she is here?”

“Yes.”

“And?”

“And she is confused, but open to knowing more.”

“That is good.”

“Yes… She is a lot like you.”

“Really? How so?”

“Stubborn, strong, independent, did I mention stubborn?”

“Yes.” Aleksey’s eyes tightened.

“And that, she does that with her eyes, too.”

“Where is she?”

“With Ketrina in her room.”

“Ketrina?!”

“Yes. They have been together since our arrival. Speaking of our arrival, I thought you would have been here, my friend.”

“It was my plan, but something happened with Angel and her family… We needed some time alone.”

“There is always something.”

“This is true.”

“Are you ready to see her?”

“I do not know. What if she does not like me?”

“She is your little sister; of course she will not like you.” He smacked Aleksey on the back and led him inside where Miranda had been impatiently waiting.

“Angel told me about the wedding. Now what do you expect me to do in less than a day?”

“All we need is our family.”

“What about the flowers? What about the dress? What about the Minister?!”

“I am sure we can find a Minister, and the rest does not matter.”

“Maybe not to you, but what about Angel? This is her first wedding.”

“And last,” Angel chimed in.

“And last wedding. She deserves all of the bells and whistles that every other bride gets.”

“Auntie,” Angel latched onto Aleksey’s arm, “he’s right. I don’t need all of those other things. Our family is here and that’s all we really need… besides the Minister.”

“Well, I can ask Pastor Robbins to step in, but are you sure about everything else?”

“It would have been nice, but it’s not necessary.”         

Miranda detached her from Aleksey and dragged her into the kitchen. “I assume since you two came back together that you were able to catch up with him.”

“Yea, he was still sitting in the driveway.”

“So what happened?”

“We went to the hospital.”

“Girl, don’t play with me.”

“I saw Douglas.”

“And how did that turn out?”

“He’s dying.”

“Well, there is a God!” She stopped laughing long enough to look into her niece’s face. “Oh, you were serious?”

“Yea, and it gets worse... or better.”

“What the hell can top that?”

“He said he’s not my dad.”

“What kind of drugs is he taking?”

“Auntie, I think he was telling the truth.”

“Girl, if he’s dying, I'm sure they have him hopped up on so many drugs he probably doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going.”

“After Aleksey and I left the hospital, we went to see my mother.”

“Oh, well I can just imagine how well that went. You want some coffee? I’mma get some coffee.”

Angel shook her head and continued. “She said it wasn’t true.”

“Well, there you go.”

“She was lying.”

“Well, damn.”

“Auntie, you were around her when she got pregnant with me. Do you have any idea who could be my father?”

“Nope. She seemed to stay under Douglas’ trifling ass. Oops! I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.”

“He’s not dead yet.”

“Well, I can dream, can’t I?”

“Auntie, you are a mess.”

“And you know it.”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

Peter checked his cellphone and snuck off to the den. “What the hell do you want?”

“Why are you whispering?”

“Don’t worry about it. What do you want?”

“I’ve been trying to reach you for hours.”

“I know. I’ve been ignoring your calls for hours. What do you want?”

“Angel and her fiancé came over to visit me today.”

“And I should give a damn because?”

“Apparently, Douglas told Angel that he’s not her father.”

“And I repeat, I should give a damn because?”

“You should give a damn because it’s only a matter of time before she figures out that you are her father…. Do I have your attention now?”

 

End Notes:

I repeat, PLEASE leave your bow & arrows, knives, and guns in the truck.


#Peace#

What's Done In The Dark... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Hola, mis amigas!!! I know it's been a loooooong minute. Things are still up in the air on the personal front, but I couldn't let another day go by without posting something. I will do my best to post another chapter tomorrow while I have some inspiration flowing through my veins.

 

 

It took three years for the guilt of that night to wash away; for him to see Angel as the sweet, little blessing she was, and not the god-forsaken mistake that he and her mother had made. When Miranda found out that she couldn’t have kids, she practically adopted Angel and he ultimately did the same. Although he was eventually able to lock the dank memories of that night out of the forefront of his mind, he always knew that it would eventually come to the light.

1985:

After shattering a glass against the table, Douglas left Geneva at the restaurant to pick up the mess and the bill. After getting over the initial embarrassment, she settled into the role of victim, and made her way over to the bar where a younger man had been watching the whole ordeal. He offered to buy her a drink, and then another, and then another. It didn’t take long for her to lose count, and once a younger, more attractive woman slipped down on the stool next to him, it didn’t take long for him to lose interest.

After her fifth round of ‘I Will Survive’, the drunk edition, the bartender stopped cleaning the shot glasses long enough to call her a cab, and point her to the exit. It took almost a full twenty minutes for the nearest cab to show up and in that time the alcohol had fully begun to work its way through her system leaving her barely able to stand, let alone think clearly. She stumbled into the backseat of a car that was yellow and gave the driver the first address that came to mind.

After not getting a response after he announced that they were there, the driver put the car in park, pulled out his phone, and waited another hour for her to wake up and pay him for the drive and the wait. She mumbled something under her breath, squinted at the meter, tossed five twenty dollar bills through the glass divider and stumbled out of the car just as clumsily as she had stumbled in.

“Cobblestone… Who puts cobblestone in a driveway?” Her heels wobbled inside each of the deep crevices. After trekking through what felt like sand, she finally made it to the safety of the smooth concrete path that led to the front door. She held one shaky hand to the wall to remove her shoes, completely unaware that she was also pressing on the doorbell. The more she looked at the six inch heels, the angrier she got. She only wore them that night because Douglas liked them, and at that moment she couldn’t think of once reason why she liked him. She clunked them together at the heel and tossed one in the bushes to her left and the other somewhere over her right shoulder.

“Randa! Miranda! Open up!” Peter crashed to the floor with a loud thud. “Miranda! Open the door!” Geneva and Douglas had their fair share of arguments, but he had never walked out on her before. “Miranda! Open! I have to pee!”

“What the hell?” Peter’s first attempt to get to the door was thwarted by the sudden spinning of the room. He fell back down on the sofa and rushed his head between his legs.

“Miranda, I know you’re in there!” ‘Where else is she going to go at this hour?’ Open up!”

The chimes of the doorbell coupled with the vexing sound of Geneva’s voice was just the motivation he needed to get up and make it all stop. “Shut up! Shut the hell up!” He gripped his head with one hand and felt his way toward the door with the other.

“Peter? Peter! Open up! I need to speak to my sister!”

The door rattled under the force of his swing. “What the hell do you want?!” The blinding night lights amplified the already tortuous effects of the hangover that he had been working on since Miranda walked out on him… again.

“My sister. Where is she?” She settled up against the door frame.

“She’s not here.” She caught the door a split second before it slammed shut.

“When’s she coming back? Cause I need to talk to...” Her eyes drifted shut.

“Ah, hell. Are you drunk?”

“What gave it away?” He turned around and headed back to the sofa and his Hennessey.

She pointed an accusatory finger at the oversized bottle on the table. “Ooooh, you’re not supposed to be drinking. I’mma tell my sister. Miranda, he down here drinking and I have to pee!”  

“I just told you she’s not here and there’s plenty of bushes out there; help yourself.”

“Well, it should be.”

“What?”

“That should be my liquor.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I don’t know, but I have to pee.”

He stared at her almost in disbelief. He had seen her like that from time to time through the years and it always had something to do with a guy. He picked up the blanket up that Miranda had thrown at him some point between wanting him to sleep on the sofa and deciding that she needed to get out of the house and away from him. “Look, your sister’s not here. I don’t know when she’ll be back, and you ain’t pissing up my bathroom.”

“Don’t you like vodka, anyway?”

He stared at her again wondering what planet she was on. She stood slanted at the top step leading into the living room twisted out of her mind, tapping her foot. “Go pee.”

“Thank you!” She shuffled her way to the closest bathroom in her recollection, not even bothering to close the door.

“Where are your shoes? Nevermind.” He heard the water running and prayed that she made it in time.

“Somewhere in the bushes.”

“Whose bushes?” He slammed the front door closed and grabbed the sides of his head.

“Yours, I think.”

She brushed passed him and took a seat on the sofa. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Waiting for my sister.” She patted the cushion, inviting him to join her on his own couch.

“Like I said,” he pulled her up by her elbow, “I don’t know when she’s coming back, so….”

“Wanna talk about it?”

“With you? Hell no! Look, you have her number. Page her.” He ushered her to the door and she slipped out of his loose hold.

“Douglas left me.”

“Good for him.” He pointed toward the door.

“At the restaurant… took the car, left me to pay the check… Just left.”

“That’s fucked up, but you should go home and talk about it to him.” His hands flailed back toward the door.

“Then, the kindest young man bought me drinks.”

“You don’t say. Let me help you out.”

“Then, he dumped me, too.”

“You’re married.”

“So are you and look, we’re here all alone… On my own.. I never dreamed it would end this way. On my own. Something. Something. Something. Some-thing. On my own. Sing with me Peter.”

“Well, you finally did it.”

“Did what?” She dipped herself and nearly fell to the floor.

“Lost your entire fucking mind.”

“No I didn’t. Watch this.” On the third spin, she clipped her big toe on the stair and fell on back on her behind, hard.

Peter clapped his hands together, in spite of the pain and laughed harder than he thought he would that night. “Bravo. Do it again.”

“Fuck you, Peter.”

“Not to save your life.”

“Please,” she pulled herself up by climbing one of his tree-sized legs, “you know if you met me first, it would have been me and you, not Miranda, me.”

“I did meet you first, and I still chose Miranda.” He looked down at her, waiting for a comeback.

“Well, I wasn’t interested in you anyway – never understood what she saw in you. Yea, you’re tall and you got muscles, and you cute in a tall, bald, dark kind of way, but that’s it. You’re dangerous and and…”

“And what?”

“And she could have done better.”

He scoffed despite himself. “I can’t argue with you there.”

She followed him to the sofa and sat down with him. “The Miranda’s and Douglas’s of the world deserve better than the Peter’s and the Geneva’s. We deserve each other.”

His eyes drifted her way, but refused to make contact. “You’re dirty.”

“And, so are you.” Her hand coasted lightly up his thigh. “So are you.”

He grabbed the bottle of Hennessey off of the coffee table and put it to his lips. He watched her hand graze his crotch as he took another deep, long swig. That was the last thing he remembered before waking up the next morning, naked and next to Geneva.

Miranda came back to him a few hours after Geneva left, and Douglas was at the front door waiting for Geneva with flowers and an apology when she returned. For everyone’s sake, they decided to move forward and leave that night in the past right where it belonged.

2016

He released the single prospect of hope that alleviated some of his culpability. “We don’t know if she’s mine or not. If you slept with me and I hate you, there is no telling who else you slept with.”

She shook her head knowing that he would go there, and at the fact that he was possibly even right -- not that she would ever let either of those things stop her. If she was going down, she would not be going down alone. “Peter, she’s yours. I know it. You know it, and soon everyone else will know it.”

“Over your dead body.” He squeezed the small phone until his hand shook.

She found his threat to be predictable and tired, just like her marriage. “You can save your threats. Between Angel and her meddling husband, I won’t have to say a word. And, if I wanted it to be known, I would have said something years ago.”

“You knew that Miranda would have killed you years agothat’s why your ass stayed quiet.”

Correction: she would have killed us both.”

She was right. “Look, just keep your trap shut and don’t call me again.” He chucked his cellphone against the door before she could reply.

“If that’s how you want to play it!” Seconds later her phone began vibrating against her palm. “It’s too late! I’ll handle this on my own.”

“Ma’am?”

Geneva sat up straight as if the person on the other end could somehow see her. “Who is this?” She pulled the phone away from ear and checked the caller ID – the hospital.  “What happened? Is Douglas okay?”

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

 

Marat hobbled over to the bar in the den. “If it begins to talk back, run.” He nodded his head toward the shot of Stoli Gold vodka sitting before Aleksey, seemingly untouched. “Are you drinking because you have seen Nadya or because you are avoiding her?”

Aleksey ran the thick tip of his fingers across the rim of the glass with a squeaky swipe. “The latter.”

“Is this not what you have been waiting for?”

“Yes.” He removed his foot from the bottom rack of the stool to his left and pulled it out for Marat. “You never told me what happened.”

After a few failed attempts to get his leg around the stool given his size, he resolved to just lean against the bar instead. “Broken in five places, but it has begun to heal; we are tough, you and I. We heal fast. It comes with being Russian.”

Aleksey poured Marat a matching shot and sat it before him. “It comes with drinking Vodka.”

“That, too. To Mother Russia.”

“To Mother Russia.” They slugged back the vintage liquid with ease and enjoyed the slow burning trail that it made as it went down.

“My friend, forgive me if I speak out of turn, but you have a little sister that you have been waiting to see --that I and Peter risked our lives to bring back to you—but you are sitting here drinking with me… What am I missing?”

“I do not know what to say, to her I mean. She is finally here and I do not know what to say.” He fixed his slumped shoulders and glared at the Velcro cast covering Marat’s massive leg. “Five places, huh?” He lifted the empty glass to his lips, and placed it back down.

“Yes. It is a record.”

Aleksey poured himself another shot and slid the bottle towards Marat. “Did they not supply you with a cane or crutches?”

“They did.”

“And?”

“They were too small for me; Roman could have used them.”

Aleksey wagged a finger at him and went back to nursing his drink.

“I thought that would warrant a smile at least. Is there more that troubles you?”

“No, it is same – the same.” He was surprised that his English had faltered. “Too many Russians under the same roof.”

Marat chuckled and threw back his fourth or fifth shot of the night – he stopped counting and caring. The burn still felt good and that was all that mattered.

“She is not that bad, in fact she is very much like you.” Aleksey’s eyes lifted just a bit, settling on a bottle of Hennessey.

“How so?”

“Well, the eyes…”

“Yes?”

“She has two, and she rolls them up like you—like that!” Marat pointed at him with a laugh.

Aleksey looked away, doing his best to hide his smile. “What else? Something relevant.”

“She has your same eye color.”

“I know that. She is my sister.” He glanced at him sharply, then back at the stocked shelves.

“She can shoot. Right between the eyes.” He squinted and demonstrated with his fingers. “Ah, to that, you smile.”

“She is my sister.” His smile faded when he remembered that it was a skill that must be taught; he didn’t want to think about who taught her or why. “Anything else?”

“Yes, she is strong, very – like you. She is also determined and stubborn – also like you.” He flinched at Aleksey’s growl. “Good girl,” his voice softened. “Even with all that she has been through, she is still a good girl. Heart,” he tapped his own, “she still has one.”

It was the last part that touched Aleksey the most. As a little one, she was always full of life and light; he was grateful that neither had been snuffed out by the darkness of his world – a world that started with his father, and would end with him.

He hopped up suddenly, leaving Marat twisting against the edge of the bar top.  “Sorry my friend. I must go. Should I send help for you?” Before Marat could answer, Natalia passed the wooden doors of the room. “How is that for timing? Natalia!”

“Yes, Sir.” She hopped into the room with a bow. “How may I help you?”

“Not me, him,” he stepped aside, allowing her to get a full view of his broken friend. “He needs help to his room.”

“I do no—“ Aleksey’s head snapped back, silencing Marat.

“As I was saying, he needs help getting back to his room.”

She sized up Marat, not sure how well she accomplish such a task, but she dared not say anything other than, “Yes, Sir.”

“Good. I will see you tomorrow.” He turned to his most trusted friend and whispered, “Let her help you.” Marat nodded, knowing exactly what Aleksey was up to. Once at the door, Aleksey turned around and caught Marat off guard by making kissy faces behind Natalia’s back. Marat stumbled back and was forced to hold on to Natalia to keep from crashing to the floor. With his balance now in check and his friend finally getting some overdue happiness, Marat smiled and did something that he had been waiting to do since he got back. By the time he pulled his lips away from Natalia’s, they couldn’t seem to get to his room fast enough.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

 

Aleksey entered the hallway that housed his wife to be, his son, his daughter, an Aunt (whom he would have to deal with at another time), and now his little sister. Unable to hold Aleksey’s stare, the guard whose sole job for the night was to keep Alina inside her room at all costs looked away as Aleksey strummed his hand against the door to Ketrina’s bedroom.

She opened the door with a smile that quickly dissipated. “Out.” She obeyed without looking back.

Nadya was sitting on the bed with her back turned to him. He stepped closer and she did not move, only played with the fringe of the gold comforter. Even after he closed the door, she remained still.

“Nadya.” Without permission from the rest of his body, his hand drifted toward her shoulder, desperate to make contact. Feeling the energy change in the room, she spun around, and stared at his hand still suspended in midair.

She stood up and boldly stared into the mirrored reflection of her own eyes. “My name is Nastja.”

“Your name is Nadya; it is what mother named you.”

She watched his hand drift back down to his side. “Who are you to speak of her? To think of her memory after what you have done to her – to me?” The disgust in her tone angered him; she could see it in his eyes -her eyes- the eyes of their mother.

“And what exactly is it that you think I have done?”

“You killed her! And, you tried to kill me, but you could not, I am too strong, brother.”

“I did not kill her and I would never try to kill you!”

“You lie. You lie like a thousand rugs. I know what you did, and you will pay.”

“You know nothing of that time, nothing more than the lies that you were fed. I have done many things for which I will pay, but the death of our mother is not one. I loved her more than you will ever know; I did not harm her. I loved her.”

Her heart twitched at his words, but her eyes remained cold. “You love no one, but yourself.”

“You know nothing about me, the man that I am.”

“I know who you are, what you do, and what you have done.”

“Many people know of my reputation, but what I have done is not who I am.”

“You are a killer.” Her eyes flashed.

“Yes, as are you.” His eyes flashed back. Two could play that game.

“You have killed way more than I have.” Her bottom lip trembled.

“It only takes one murder to make one a murderer.” He watched the tremble turn into a tight pout.

“You killed her, just admit it! I am not police. I cannot arrest you. Admit it! Admit what you have done.”

“I will not confess to crimes that I have committed, much less to ones that I have not. She was my mother first! I loved her, and on the life of my son I never laid a hand to harm her.”

Her eyes flashed again, a little softer this time. “You, you have a son?”

“And a daughter.”

“A family?”

“Yes.” The look on her face slowly became indecipherable. “We have a family.”

“No.” She shook her head vehemently. “No. They are not my family. YOU are not my family.”

“We are bound by blood.”

“Those ties were cut when you killed Mother and tried to kill me. I was a child.” She shook her head again.

“As was I; I could not do such a thing.”

That was the part that never sat right with her. The small flashes of memories that she had from that time were only of him. If she were to be completely truthful, she could not even remember their mother, only small flickers of the brother that she had grown to hate. And every memory that she had of him conflicted with everything that she was told; at some point it had all become too great a burden for her mind to bear. It became easier for her to hate him than to hold on to the hope that her heart was right.

“You are lying. You are a liar.”

“I would not bring you here,” he spread his arms out, “all this way to lie to you.”

“But to kill me.” She searched his eyes.

“Or, to kill you.”

“Then why am I here? Guilt? Shame? Why?”

“Because, you are my sister and—“

“You are nothing to me! Do you hear? Nothing!”

“What’s all this shouting about?” Their attention drew to the door and the pretty brown lady who now stood in its way.

“Angel—“

“Is she another one that you have held hostage?”

“Hostage? Aleksey, what is she talking about?” Angel stepped forward and observed the woman carefully. She had her Aleksey’s eyes. “Is she?” She looked back at Aleksey. He was clearly upset, but it was not anger that she saw. “She’s… Nadya?”

“Nastja.” She eyed Angel closely. “You look like the other one -- the other one who saved me. Peter. You are his daughter, yes?”

“No.” She stood between the two siblings, astonished by their similarities. “He is my uncle.” She couldn’t stop staring. “You two could pass for twins, well maybe not twins, but wow…”

They both stood on the opposite ends of the room, arms folded, blue eyes flashing ever so slightly. She momentarily forgot about the baby in her arms.

“Here.” Aleksey reached for his son and Angel obliged.

“Sit, please.” Nadya slowly sat back down on the bed, never taking her eyes off of Aleksey or the baby. Angel sat down next to her and trailed her line of focus. “Did Aleksey tell you that we have a son?”

“He is yours… together?”

“Yes.” She looked slightly confused. “You didn’t tell her.”

“We were dealing with more pressing matters. She still thinks that I killed mother.”

“I know you did! How could you have a child with… with him?”

“Because he is kind, and loving, and a great father, and many other great things.”

“He is a killer! Did he tell you that?!”

“Make no mistake,” Angel’s tone deepened significantly, “I know who my future husband is, and I love him.”

All of him?” Her eyes tightened in disbelief.

“Yes, all of him.”

“Then you are a fool.”

Angel stood up and gathered herself together. “Let me explain something to you. Aleksey, your brother, the same brother who was willing to risk his life to get your ass out of that brothel—who sat on the back patio with me and cried,” she held her hand up stopping whatever he had to say, “when he thought of the hurt that you must have suffered at the hands of Sidibey—”

“Sidorov,” They both corrected.

“Sida-I-don’t-give-a-good-hot-damn,” she took in a deep breath, holding it momentarily, “the point is, this man loves you and he always has. Do you know that the only reason he got in this god-forsaken business was because he had nothing left after he lost you and your mother? Did you know that he dreamed of someday being able to bring you and your mother to America so that the three of you could have a better life here?”

“No.”

“Of course not, you would rather believe that he is only a killer. Well he’s not! He loves with a fierceness that cannot be rivaled, not on this earth anyway, but you would rather believe otherwise. You Moroskov’s are stubborn as hell,” she turned back to Aleksey and grabbed Roman from his arms, “and don’t either of you think for one second that I'm going to let that spirit get into my son. Fix it! Don’t you leave this room until you do.”

Aleksey and Nadya stood still, not sure what just happened. “She is a small -- how do you say? Fire cracker.”

“Yes, and she is right.” He motioned toward the bed and she responded with a slight nod. “I do not know why you and mother were taken from me, but I do know that I had nothing to do with it.”

“What was she like?”

“Who?”

“Mother.”

“You do not remember?” She shook her head slowly, a sadness filled her face. “She was beautiful, like you,” he smiled, she smiled back. “She was also sad a lot because of our father and older brother Andrei.”

“Older brother?”

“Yes, you did not know?” She shook her head again. “He was very much like father.” He tried to contain his anger.

“How?”

“Evil. They were both evil. He killed him, you know?” Aleksey fought to stay in the moment.

“Who killed who?”

“Andrei killed father. He wanted his position, so he killed him and hung him up for all to see, and it killed mother, not literally, but emotionally she died.”

“She loved him then.” She glanced at the door and thought of Angel.

“No, but she loved us, so she stayed with him. She loved art.” He randomly changed the course of the conversation.

“What kind?”

“Paintings mostly. She would take me to the museum on days when father was away… take me out of school so we could spend some happy time together. Andrei would of course get jealous and tell when father returned and then he would hit her…” he sighed and tried to keep the sadness at bay, but she could still see it in his eyes, their eyes, and undoubtedly hear it in his voice. “Then, she would take me again when he left again.” He stood up. “I told her that we should no longer go for her sake, but she would still take me, for mine.”

Nadya took in everything that he said.  She had so many questions that were left unanswered through the years, but none would come to mind except one. “What happened to you after… after?”

“I slept in the street for a while.” He thought of Alina. “I could never go back inside the house after I saw you and mother.”

“Saw us?”

“Yes. I made a painting that I believed mother would have enjoyed,” he wondered what ever happened to it, “and rushed home from school to show her. When I arrived I saw the men take both of your bodies out; first Mother’s, then yours.” His heart clenched in his chest.

“Then what?”

“I searched for answers, but as a child, no one would tell me much. I heard older ladies speaking days after. They said it was a murder-suicide. They believed that Mother poisoned you and then herself because of her grief over father, and I believed it, too. I…” He couldn’t finish.

“But, she did not… I do not think she did. Would she?”

“She did not grieve over that man, no one did, but she was sad and alone and without financial means to care for us. I heard her cry late in the night often when she thought I was asleep, so I believed…”

Nadya’s head was swirling. Every answer provoked more questions, but she was tired, her mind was tired. “On the life of your children?” Her heart ached for it to be true.

“On the life of my children.”

She sat in silence for what turned into minutes. “I believe...  I believe.”

He nodded once and joined her in silence.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

 

“Ma’am, is there someone who can drive you?”

Geneva looked around the empty house. “No. Is my husband alright?!”

“The doctors should be the one to…” The nurse puffed starkly; she would want to know. “Your husband didn’t make it. I am so sorry… There was really nothing more the doctors could have done. Ma’am? Ma’am?” She looked at the receiver and slowly placed it back on the cradle. Her head drooped a little lower. “It’s done.” The orderly removed his cold hand from her shoulder and slipped a small white envelope into the pocket fold of her scrubs. She patted her pocket, grazing his fingers upon their exit. His eyes hardened at the touch. Before she could fully turn around, he had descended back into the shadows and out of the hospital. Her fingers quickly clutched the envelope, the only proof that the mystery man ever existed.

“Help! I need help!”

“Yes, Sir. I will be right there.” With a single digit, she outlined the stack of one hundred dollar bills that filled the envelope. “But not for long.” Her days of empting bedpans had finally come to an end.

 

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

Geneva rushed to her car, cellphone in hand. ‘If Angel won’t keep her nose out my business voluntarily, then I’ll just have to come up with a way to keep her busy.She snapped her fingers together. Got it!’ She snapped her phone open and scrolled through the ‘C’s’. With a single push, she set something in motion that she hoped would fix all of her problems. “Callie, something terrible has happened, just terrible! I need you to hop on a plane and come back home now. Now!” She hung up with sly smile. ‘A wedding, a funeral, and Callie… Angel won’t know what hit her!’

End Notes:

Well, I think that was a cute splash. Now, it's time to get back to business! *evil laugh*

 

Since it's been a while, let's go back over the rules. Shall we?

 

Buckle up, keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times, and get ready for the shit to hit fan.

 

 

Picture Update by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Don't shoot me! I had to give you a short list (yes, you read right) of some of the characters to come... This wedding has been a long time coming and everyone from everywhere will be in attendance... well, maybe not everyone. *hint* More to come. See you soon!

Roman

Roman

Nadya

Nadya

Alina

Alina

Veronika

Veronika                            

 

 

Ivan Kolovskiy

Ivan Kolovskiy, Pakhan (The God-Father)

 

Evgenia Kolovskiy

Evgenia Kolovskiy (2nd Wife)

 

Marianna

Marianna Petrovich (Oldest Daughter)

 

Nikita Petrovich

Nikita Petrovich, Husband of Marianna

Marianna

Oksana Yurkovich (Middle Daughter)

 

Boris Yurkovich

Boris Yurkovich, Husband of Oksana

 

Katya

Katya Kolovskiy (Youngest Daughter)

 

 

Dima

Dimitri “Dima” Kolovskiy (Youngest Child, Only Son)

 

 

 

Sachar

Sachar Kravec

 

Anton

Anton Bogdan

 

Dahlia

Dahlia Bogdan

 

Callie

Callie

Gloria

Gloria (Glo) Kevin's Mom

 

Keith

Keith, Kevin's Step-Father

 

Benardo

Angel’s Former Partner, Detective Roberto Castillo

 

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Mina

 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sergei

In The Flesh... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Hola, mis amigas! We are getting closer to the wedding and MORE EXPLOSIVE REVELATIONS. Oooh, I can hardly wait!!!!!! Well, this should wet your appetite in the meantime.

 

Shall we?

3:47 A.M…. The next day

Geneva used the occasional flash from the swinging overhead light to scan the very small visible portion of the area around her; there wasn’t much there, save a few scattered crates, a pair of gardening shears, what appeared to be an old coffee can splattered in red paint, and from what she could tell – a brand new brown leather office chair; the store tags were still attached to the side.

As time went on, she tried her damndest to focus her thoughts on something other than the unrelenting pain in the side of her head. She came up with nothing but questions that produced more questions. How did she get there? Where the hell was there? The last thing she could remember was locking her car door, and walking through the hospital parking lot… then someone placing something dark over her head from behind. It didn’t make sense. Sure she had made a few enemies here and there, but in that moment she didn’t think that she had done anything that warranted her being kidnapped and tied to a chair. ‘This has to be a mistake.’

“I'm sure that I could square this all away. I don’t have any money, so I wouldn’t make a very good hostage.” Her nervous laugh tapered off quickly. “I'm pretty sure you have the wrong person, so if you would just let me go we could all forget that this ever happened. I promise I won’t say a word. So, if you could just…” More silence. The continuous crackling sounds of the overhead light had finally started to wear on her nerves. Her hands slowly twisted into tiny tight fists. “I know someone is in here. I can hear you! I demand that you tell me where I am! Now!” The once even breathing sounds of whoever else was in the room picked up significantly.

Figuring it was her only option, Geneva struggled against the ropes to show the other person just how serious she was, but unfortunately for her it only caused the ropes to wedge deeper into her skin. To distract herself from the pain, she rescanned the room. The walls, as well as the section of the floor that surrounded her chair were all covered in splatters of the same sickening shade of red. Her eyes broadened slowly with recognition.

“Blood! Help! Help! Someone please! You have the wrong person! I don’t have any money and I don’t know anything!”

“Oh, but you do.” That voice. That cologne.

“Aleksey?” The lights shifted, making it difficult for her to see who was coming toward her. The tap of his shoes against the concrete heightened her fear. She knew that he was dangerous, but surely he wouldn’t do something like this, at least she had hoped. She tried to stand to her feet, momentarily forgetting that she was tied to a chair.  “Aleksey? You--”

“I, what?” He rolled the office chair to the center of the warehouse, stopping it directly in front of her.

You orchestrated this?” She blinked through her tears.

“It would appear that way.” He hiked up his pant legs and eased into the flexible cushion.

If she had only known the repercussions of her actions or the allies that Angel would someday make, she would have done better – been better, but now it appeared to all be too late. She looked around at the red-stained floor again and imagined the bloodbath that awaited her. She closed her eyes, bore down on the chair and released another bloodcurdling scream for help that was met with a hard slap to the side of her face. Her head bobbled roughly from the impact. 

 

After the daze wore off she sluggishly said the first thing that popped into her head. “I thought… that you didn’t… hit women.”

 

“I do not.” He smiled and cocked his head toward an area just beyond her right shoulder. “But she does.”

 

The moment Geneva’s head tilted back, she received a raw punch to the jaw that sent her senses spinning. Upon Aleksey’s nod, Veronika whipped around in front of Geneva and delivered another thunderous blow. Aleksey’s brow rutted in disappointment. Surprisingly, the sight of Geneva’s battered face did nothing to sooth his anger, so he held up a hand -- inaudibly ordering Veronika’s assaults to come to a cease. He stood to his feet and as always, assessed Veronika’s handy work. So much damage, for so few blows. His soul was somewhat pleased.

 

“I have two choices.” Geneva’s head snapped at the abrupt sound of his voice. “I can let you live, hoping that you have learned your lesson or, I can let Veronika finish the job and end your reign of terror on my Angel.” He strummed his fingers against his cheek. “What to do?” If he let her live, he knew that she would eventually insinuate herself back into Angel’s life and undoubtedly hurt her again -- he could not have that. However, if Angel were to ever find out that she died by his orders, she would be hurt by that, as well. He warred within himself for a brief moment before coming to the only possible solution. “Veronika.” She jumped to attention. “She must never be found. Do I make myself clear?”

 

“Yes, Sir.”

 

“Good.” When he turned to head to the door, Geneva raised her head as far as she could and dispensed what she presumed to be her final words. “She’s… going to hate you… for this!” Veronika cracked both sides of her neck; her fingers impatiently itched to finish what she had started.

One,” Aleksey turned around and stepped toward Geneva, mindful of the freshly splattered blood that surrounded his leather dress shoes, “she will never hate me. Two: even if she did, she would never hate me more than she hates you. And three: she will never find out about this, so back to one… she will never hate me.” The defeated look in her eyes would have to do in terms of satisfaction – that and the fact that she would never be able to hurt Angel again. He gave the room one last look of disgust before exiting, his formerly unseen men followed closely behind.  

After exiting the dank warehouse, Aleksey rolled his eyes and wondered what was more aggravating, the irritating smell of cigarette smoke or the man whom it belonged to. Aleksey growled in Sachar’s direction, and watched in annoyance as the man threw his cigarette down, and finished it off with a twist of his boot.

“Sorry about that.” Why a lowlife like Sachar Kravec was allowed to run Florida (under close watch) was a life mystery that Aleksey would never comprehend, but it was ordered by the Pakhan (Godfather) himself, so he like everyone else had to live with it. “She is really going to town in there, huh?” Aleksey grimaced at him. His breath smelled of tobacco and something worse that he could not place. “I have heard of her. She is no joke, eh? No joke.”

Aleksey’s eyes diverted back to the warehouse. Although he could not hear anything through the thick metal doors, he would bet his own life that Geneva would not be of the living for much longer.

In their time together, Angel had met a vast majority of his brigade, but there were still a few people under his employ that he would make certain she would never come across, and that included Veronika Petrov.

 

He first met Veronika when she was not much older than ten years of age. Her brother Stephen was one of the boys that Alina took in, along with him and Marat. One night after dinner, Stephen pulled Aleksey outside and made him promise to look out for Veronika should something happen to him. It was no secret that Stephen was not meant for the business, but once his parents kicked him out of their home, he felt that his only option was to align himself with the underworld. When he was shot to death a few weeks later, Aleksey of course remembered and kept his word.

 

It all started with him sneaking her food and money on her way to school, and as the years went on he did his best to keep some very unsavory men away from her, just as Stephen would have wanted, but as she grew into her own person, it became obvious to Aleksey that she was less like her brother Stephen, and more like him. His initial attempts to steer her away from the business were widely unproductive, just as he knew they would be. Eventually, she made it known that she wanted in, and it would either be with him, or against him – the choice was his to make. In the beginning, even the Pakhan (God-father) had questioned his judgement about allowing a female to join his elite group, but on the strength of his respect for him he gave him one chance to prove him wrong, a chance that no one else had ever received. The opportunity arose almost a week later when the Pakhan entered into a situation that required a “woman’s touch”. He and Aleksey closed the double doors to his torture chamber and returned an hour later to find the bodies of their enemies dismembered and unidentifiable. From that day on, she became known as one of the most lethal women in the business, earning her the rank as a Krysha (enforcer), and also solidifying Aleksey’s position as a visionary, and more importantly, a Brigadier (Captain) in his own right. His decisions were no longer questioned, and the entire west coast was his to run.

 

Kravec on the other hand played tough guy when he was in the safety of the Pakhan and the other Avtoritet’s (Authorities), but when it was just he and Aleksey, his fear was virtually tangible. “I had my warehouse open and ready when your men arrived with your ‘package’ just as you asked, and I bought a chair from Office Depot for your comfort.” Kravec’s men could not hide the astonishment they felt at their boss’s willingness to please Aleksey. However for Aleksey, it was just par for the course.

After he had his men grab Geneva in the hospital parking lot, he needed a private place to hold her, and unfortunately that’s where Kravec came in. He rolled his eyes and grudgingly threw out a bone as he headed to his car without stopping. “Thank you for the use of the building.”  

“Never a problem, Aleksey, never.” He toddled a safe distance behind, clearly unfinished. “But, some might say that you owe me, seeing as I did you, as the Americans say, a solid.”

Aleksey stopped just short of his car, and gripped the knotted muscles in the back of his neck. Although he was supposed to have made his presence known the minute that his foot touched Miami soil (if not before), there was no way that he would allow Kravec to use that or anything else as leverage against him. “I should have let you know that I was in your state.” Kravec waited greedily for an apology from his idol, but Aleksey carried on to his car. “I owe you no more than that.”

“It is fine, fine.” Kravec trudged on nervously. “I hear that congratulations are in order, my friend.”

Aleksey stopped again, this time turning around to face him. “Thank you.”

“I hear that all are coming, even Pakhan.”

Aleksey’s forehead creased in absolute annoyance. “Yes.”

Kravec took a step toward Aleksey, only discontinuing when he noticed Aleksey’s jaw flex. “I was thinking that since the wedding will be here in my state that I could come.” When Aleksey stepped toward him, the little man leaned backward as if the wind had suddenly become too strong to bear.

This,” he pointed to the space between them, “was not a favor; it was a business courtesy, the same courtesy that I would extend to you if you were in my position. If you no longer wish to—.” Kravec jumped in front of Aleksey when he made a move toward the warehouse doors.

His arms and head shook vigorously. “No, no. It is fine… just a thought.” 

All emotion drained from Aleksey’s face as he headed back to his car this time without interruption. He wished more than anything that he did not need Kravec’s assistance, but at least there was the code of honor to keep him quiet.

The sound of Aleksey’s car tires squealing out of the lot was all that was heard until one of Kravec’s men finally found the courage to speak up.

“Boss, you should have let me do something. This is your turf.” His fingers wrapped around the tightened knuckles of his left hand with a smack.

Kravec impishly waived his silly notion away. “Worry not about this, Oleg. In the end, we will not have to lift one little digit. His love for his family will be his downfall. Watch and see. Watch and see.” They walked back into the warehouse with a hearty laugh and rushed right back out. “She is… good.” Kravec’s cheeks became hot and flushed.

Oleg gripped his stomach and quickly headed for the bushes; his voice echoed behind him. “Very!”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

5:12 AM

After spending the night reminiscing about life in Russia, Natalia and Marat finally decided to head to his room, laughing most of the way. He wasn’t sure how much of it was because of the alcohol, but he was happy that he finally opened up to Natalia and that she had soberly done the same. He leaned against the wall when they made it and waited for her to open the door.

“It is dark.” She whispered, fumbling for the light switch.

“Just as I like it.” He pinched her bottom and hobbled in behind her, luckily landing on the bed. “What the?” Natalia could feel a gush of wind from his sudden movement.

“What is wrong?” She flicked the switch and caught herself against the door’s frame. “Ketrina?”

“It is not what it looks like.” Marat tried to reason with her as she stalked over to the bed.

“Oh, it is exactly what it looks like, right daughter? She came to your room,” she picked up the skimpy night gown and threw it back down to the floor, “undressed, and lay in your bed to seduce you. Is that not right, daughter?” Natalia’s face contorted into something that Ketrina had never seen from her before, pure hatred. “She is here to seduce you, just as she has done many other men, right Ketrina?” She sat down on the bed and snatched the sheet from Ketrina’s body, exposing her. “Well, here he is.” She stood up in a flash and headed for the door.

“No. I do not want her. I want you.” Natalia stopped and turned equally as sudden. “On my honor, I have never given her cause to come here like this.” He refused to even look Ketrina’s way. “I want you, only you.”

“Me?” Her anger bubbled just below the surface. “You want me?” Natalia took a step toward him and against her better judgement glanced at her daughter. “You hear that? He wants me, not a slut like you! Get out! Get out of this home! Get out of my life! Get out!”

“What is all the yelling about?” Angel rushed into the room, closing her robe at the same time. “Oh my!” She turned toward Natalia just as Ketrina finished getting dressed. “What is going on?” She noticed movement in the corner of her eye. “Marat? You didn’t. Please, tell me you didn’t.” Her plea was genuinely desperate.

“No! No!” His hands shot up. “We came in and found her like this. I did nothing.”

“Good.” She turned to face Ketrina, anger mixed with disappointment. “Ketrina, how could you do this to your mother? To yourself?”

“It is what I do.” Her eyes waxed cold.

“But you don’t have to. You were accepted here, loved.”

“No one loves me.” Her eyes connected with Natalia’s until she could no longer stand the pain.

“Your mother loves you. Tell her Nat.” She attempted to pull her best friend closer, and was surprised when she did not move.

“I did, but no more. I can no longer love someone who lives their life to hurt me. She is nothing to me. Nothing.”

“Nat, you don’t mean that.” Angel tugged tighter on her arm.

“I should have let her go long ago, but I was stupid. She will not change and now neither will I. I wish her to be gone from me forever. I do not want to see her again.”

That can be arranged.”

“Aleksey don’t say that.” Angel rushed to his side. “This is just a misunderstanding. When things cool off tomorrow we can all sit down and discuss this, figure out where things went wrong… fix them.” Her insistent eyes searched the room hopelessly.

“It sounds like Natalia has come to accept what must be.”

“But you don’t even know what happened.” She stomped away from him, and stood back in the middle of Marat and Natalia.

“Oh, but I can guess.” He surveyed the room masterfully. “Ketrina attempted to make advancements on Marat. Am I close?”

His smugness only angered Angel. “There has to be more. Ketrina?”

“They are right. I only came in here to take what I want, and I want him.” Her eyes fleeted toward Marat. “I will leave; that is what she wants.”

“And where will you go?” Angel stepped toward her, stopping when Aleksey’s hand gripped her shoulder.

Aleksey answered for everyone. “She will go back to Russia. We have already discussed this, Angel. She will not stay here in America.”

“I can live on my own!” Ketrina’s outburst even caught her by surprise.

“You dare raise your voice to me?” Angel jumped in front of Aleksey. There was that coolness that everyone dreaded.

“She didn’t mean it, Honey. It’s early. Everyone's still tired. We should all just go back to bed and talk about this in the morning… later in the morning.” He bumped against her, still wanting to go after Ketrina, again.

“Yes, Dear.” Angel flipped around as if she was hearing things.

Yes, Dear? You are up to something. Aleksey, please don’t. Whatever it is, don’t.”

“Don’t what?”

“Whatever you’re planning ---don’t. She is still Natalia’s daughter, and no matter how angry Nat is right now, there is a bond between them that can never be broken; trust me, I know.”

“What does that mean?”

“Take my mother and I. As much as I hate her most of the time, there is still love there.  Now, I don’t know if she ever loved me, but I love her.”

“Even with all the pain that she has caused you?” He began to shift in his stance.

“Yes.” Her answer was small, but very much heard. His heart raced against her chest. What had he done?

“You forgive her?” He eyed her skeptically.

“Yes,” she flipped back around in his arms, “and in time Nat will forgive Ketrina.”

“No. This is done. Last straw. Mr. Moroskov can do whatever he wishes with her. I have not one more request for her life.”

“But you don’t mean that.” Angel’s hands reached for Natalia.

“I have done all that I can – that I am required. She is adult. She must stand and fall on her own. I wash my hands.”

“Yes, Mother. I must stand on my own and I will. I do not need you. I do not need any of you!”

The tension was cut by the squeaking sound of the box springs of Marat’s bed. The pain that he had tried to ignore finally forced him to take a seat. He scooted to the edge, his bed suddenly felt tainted.

Angel made one last appeal. “Aleksey, do something.” He stood silently, still stunned by her earlier declaration. “Let’s just wait, please.” She locked arms with Natalia. “Let’s go to your room. Okay?” Natalia nodded and followed her out.

Aleksey stood still for a few moments before calling for a guard. After whispering a few instructions in Russian, the guard led Natalia out of the room. They were all surprised that she did not offer any resistance.

“What a night, my friend.” Aleksey looked back at the bed and stood back up.

“Nothing happened.” Marat grabbed his broken leg and shifted it into the bed.

Nothing?” Aleksey’s squinting eyes were more spirited than doubting.

“No. Natalia and I came in here and Ketrina was… naked, in my bed.” He shuddered.

“You felt nothing?” He arched a brow and leaned forward.

“For the daughter? No.”

“Ah, but for the mother, yes.” Marat smiled through his pain. “Take these.” Aleksey tossed a prescription bottle at him.

“What is this?” He caught it and quickly read the label. “These are for Ms. Angel.” He started to toss them back, but Aleksey held up his hand.

“They are not good for her…” His gaze disconnected momentarily.

“Ah, I have heard.”

Aleksey’s head shot up. “Heard what?!” 

“Nothing. I heard nothing.” Marat opened the bottle, with an angry snap.

“I am sorry.” Marat refused to look up. “I am. It has been a stressful day.” Aleksey looked back at the door.

“You are telling me?” Marat ruffled the twisted sheets.

“Yes, for us all.”

“What have you been through today? The sun is barely up.” Marat’s head projected toward the hall. “Is it Alina?”

“No… No. She has been in her room—“

“Under guard.”

“Yes, where she will remain.”

“And Ketrina? Will she be under lock and key?”

“Yes.”

Marat popped two of the pills and scooted further into the bed. “My friend, you have a lot going on.”

Aleksey pointed to the messy left side of his bed. “As do you.” His brows shot up playfully.

“Ugh.” Marat shuddered once again.

“Rest; I will check on you later.”

“Thank you, Aleksey.”

“Never a problem.” ‘Problem.’ His smile dropped as soon as he closed the door behind him. He began to wonder if he had made a mistake; if his actions were too hasty. He shook off the vines of doubt and carried on to the comfort of his bedroom.

“Finally! I thought you were gonna spend the night with Marat, too.” Angel’s eyes were gleeful.

“There is only one bedmate for me.” Aleksey shrugged off his jacket and tossed it onto the desk.

“Where were you?” Angel pointed to the jacket.

“Out.”

“I figured that. Where?”

“Business.” He hoped that would put an end to her questioning.

“All the way out here? At this hour?”

Family business.”

“Oh.” She kneeled down on the bed and began unbuttoning his shirt. “And when will I meet the rest of your family?”

“Today.”

“Great!”

“You are in a good mood.” His eyes shifted toward the dresser, wondering if she had found more pills.

“No, I have not taken any more pills.” She rolled her eyes and finished the last button. “I actually think I got through to Natalia and plus, her and Marat…...” She floated down to the bed. “Finally.”

“Yes, finally.”

“You knew?” She sat back up on her elbows.

“Of course.” He removed his shirt and hung it up slowly, hoping to buy more time.

Of course you did. You know everything around here.”

“Apparently not everything… Ketrina. I should have sent her away long ago.”

“But, you didn’t for me.”

“Yes, for you, and look how that turned out.”

“What do you want me to say? You were right?”

“Yes.” He turned around expectantly.

“Fine. Aleksey Moroskov, you were right. Are you happy now?”

“No.”

“No?” She leaned back against the headboard wide-eyed, watching as he stalked over to her.

“No.” He pressed his lips against hers until he could no longer hold his breath. “Now, I am happy.”

“Good, because it is my life’s mission to please you, Oh Great One.” He smacked her hips and growled.

“Angel, what you said earlier,” He knew that he was treading on dangerous ground, but he had to know, “you meant it?”

“What?”

“About your mother -- that you will always love and forgive her.”

“I said that?”

“Yes, or something to that effect.”

“Oh, I guess I was just trying to keep the peace between Natalia and Ketrina.”

“So you do not feel that way?” 

“I don’t know. I mean, she is my mother, but if she were to suddenly fall off the face of the Earth would I be sad? I doubt it.”

“You would not miss her?”

“What’s to miss?” She pulled back the sheet, impatiently waiting for him to slip in the bed beside her. “Did you ever miss your father after, you know?”

“No.”

“You answered that quickly.”

“It required no thought. I was glad when he was gone, but…”

“But what?” She rubbed his freckled shoulders.

“But, the events that followed… I regret.” She nodded even though he could not see her.

“It’s funny how one event can change the course of life.”

“Yes.” His swallow was hard and painful. “The pills—“

“Aleksey, we already went through that.”

“Did we?”

“Yes, I was young and foolish.”

“And now?” He twisted around, needing to see the truth in her eyes.

“I was in pain, and I overdid it. It won’t happen again.”

“How can you be sure? You are breastfeeding.”

“Dr. K. said the pills are safe for breastfeeding—she would not have given them to me otherwise, and I am no longer in pain; there’s a little twinge here and there, but for the most part, I'm fine.”

“How fine?”

“Not that fine. Not yet.” He snapped his fingers and rolled over onto his back.

“I love you, Angel.”

She snuggled against his chest. “I know, Aleksey. I know. And I love you, too.”

“Everything I do is for you, for us, the family that we are building.”

“I know.” She attempted to look up, but his hand gently pressed her head to his chest.

“You promised that you would never leave me.”

“Okay, you’re starting to scare me.” She removed his hand from the side of her head and rolled over until their chests were flush against each other.

“It is nothing.”

“You’re lying to me.”

He looked down into her slanted eyes and prayed for an interruption. A knock.

‘Thank you!’ “Come in!”

“Can you yell a little louder?” Angel sat up, grateful that they had moved Destiny and Roman upstairs and into Kevin’s old room.

“Sir, I am sorry to bother you and Ms. Angel and I would not normally bother you at such an hour—“

“What is it, Adrik?”

“Ms. Alina would like to see you.”

“Tell her that I will see her later.”

“Sir, she wants to see Ms. Angel.”

“Angel? For what?”

“She did not say, but she was quite insistent.” He held the side of his face and Angel hopped up.

“Did she hit you?”

Adrik looked at Aleksey before answering truthfully. “Yes, but it did not hurt.”

“Of course not! You are all too macho to admit that anything hurts. My Uncle Peter, Marat, him,” she tossed a thumb toward Aleksey, “and now you.” She slipped on her robe and slippers before checking out his cheek.

“Where are you going?” Adrik promptly turned around when Aleksey jumped out of the bed sans his pajamas. He was by no means gay, but even his first thought was, “Damn!

I am going to end this. I’m tired of all of the friction in this house and I will not stand for it another minute.” She marched into the hallway, tripping on her slippers.

“You will not go alone.” He slipped into his pajamas and caught up with her just outside the door.

“And why not?” She had stopped to readjust her left slipper.

“Because, the last woman in your family who went in there tried to kill her.”

“I have no plans to kill her, Aleksey.” She held on to him and readjusted the right one.

“Plans can change.” He tried to step in front of her, but her arm swung out.

“I got this. If things get out of hand, I will call for a guard, or better yet, you can have a guard come in with me.”

“Or, I could come in and—“

“No. I want to hear what she really has to say and she will probably not do that if you are in the room. So you,” she tried to shove him against the opposite side of the hall, “stay out here.”

His lips twitched, desiring to say something, but thought better of it. Instead he looked down the long hallway for a guard he could trust to protect her, and to hold his own; Adrik was obviously out. “Gavril!”

“Sir?” He ran to Aleksey as if something was chasing him.

“Go in there with my wife. Do not let Alina touch her, for if she does—“

“Aleksey,” his head snapped Angel’s way, “I think he gets it.” His protectiveness always made her tingle in the most delightful way, but this was not the time.

His head turned back to Gavril. “Fine; not a scratch.”  

“Yes, Sir.” The darkness in Aleksey eyes, made Gavril wish that he had taken a restroom break when he had a chance.

Gavril slipped around Angel, careful not to touch her in any way that could be deemed inappropriate. He opened the door slowly and ensured that Alina was on the opposite side of the room before ushering Angel inside and closing the door behind them. Aleksey’s heart began racing. If Alina touched one hair on Angel’s head he did not know who he would kill first or when he would stop. The other guards removed their eyes from him, all except Adrik. He could feel him staring off in the distance, it was annoying and distracting.

“What is it, Adrik?”

“I am sorry Sir for opening my mouth. I should not have said anything.”

“It is fine. This had to happen.” Adrik’s smile was short-lived. “For future reference though, you will not discuss these matters in her presence. Understood?” The intensity of Aleksey’s glare found its target even in the dim lighting of the hall.

“Yes, Sir.” His face remained stoic, even though internally he trembled profoundly.

From the moment the door closed, nothing could be heard from inside the room and Aleksey could not tell if that should soothe or concern him. Giving in to impatience, he reached for the knob just as the door opened.

He promptly peered inside the room only to find Alina sitting comfortably in a rocking chair alongside the windowsill. “Angel.” He pulled her closer into the minimal light.

“I'm fine, Aleksey.” She swatted away his roaming hands. “We just talked.”

“About what?” He steered her back to into “their” room, longing for the day that they returned back to their own home.

“Nothing you should concern yourself with.”

Nothing I should concern myself with? Angel?”

“Do you tell me everything?” She slipped out of her robe and kicked off her slippers.

“I, uh.”

“Exactly. I’ll just say that she and I came to an understanding.”

“An understanding?”

“Yes. She will cause us no more problems, now or in the future.”

“And you are certain?” He kicked off his pajamas and slipped into the bed beside her.

“Yes. Good night.” She kissed the tip of his nose and rolled away from him. Unsure of what just happened, he turned off the light and lay back on his side of the bed, as well. He smiled to himself thinking, ‘At least Gavril will tell me what happened in there.’

“No he won’t,” she sang with her back still facing him. She hiked the covers up over her shoulders and closed her eyes triumphantly.

“How did you know?”

“I know you. Good night, Aleksey.”

Morning.”

“Oh yea.”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~. ~.~.~.~.~. ~.~.~.~.~. ~.~.~.~.~. ~.~.~.~.~. ~.~.~.~.~. ~.~.~.~.~. ~.~.~.~.~.

10:48 AM…

Miranda poured herself a cup of coffee and joined Aleksey at kitchen counter.

“What’s wrong with her?”

“I do not know. She answered the phone,” he checked his watch, “fifteen minutes ago and has been pacing ever since, but she has not said what is wrong.” He knew that it couldn’t have been Geneva, so he continued to sit back and wait.

Thirty seconds later Angel removed the phone from her ear with a frustrated screech. “I cannot believe this!”

“What is it, Dear?” Miranda took a sip from her mug and nodded happily. “This is really good, Aleksey.”

He tapped his own mug. “Nutmeg; but just a touch.”

“Ooooh, I have to try that.”

Angel stood in disbelief as Aleksey and Miranda clamored on and on about the taste of something so unimportant. “If you two are through!”

“Oh, I'm sorry, dear. Go on.” She whispered just under her breath, “But this really is good.” When Angel shot her a look, she added her final thoughts. “You… should… really… try some. What happened, Puddin’?”

Angel slapped on a deceptive smile and swung around the counter in their direction. “Are you sure? I mean I wouldn’t want to interrupt your little discussion about coffee WHEN MY LIFE IS FALLING APART!”

“Oh my goodness! We were just playing around. What’s going on?” Miranda reluctantly pushed her mug away and prepared to give Angel her undivided attention.

“It’s Pastor Robbins!”

“What is it? Is he okay?”

“Oh, he’s fine, and.in.Ber-muda! Bermuda! Can you believe that?!”

“But your wedding is tomorrow…”

“Exactly! And, he won’t be back for three days! Three! What am I supposed to do now?” Angel slumped down next to Aleksey and buried her face in his shoulder.

Miranda’s wheels started turning. “Well, that’s not exactly a bad thing.”

“Hjasfnskfjnassfsjt?”

“Huh?” Miranda lifted Angel’s limp head off of Aleksey.

“I asked, how is it not?”

“Oh, well this way we have more time to plan a proper -- or almost proper wedding. You know I’ve had Marashell on standby. She can get us flowers, a cake, and well, we may just be able to find a dress if we start looking today. This is perfect!”

Angel’s face changed from depressed and devastated to completely confused in a matter of seconds. “You’ve had Marashell on standby?”

“Well, yes. One has to be prepared for such an occasion as this.” She flitted around the room, tossing Angel’s hair rollers up in the air on one of her spins.

“Auntie, did you—“

“No, I did not and I am offended that you would even suggest that I would do such a thing.”

“What such a thing has your Auntie done now?”

“Uncle Peter, Pastor Robbins suddenly can’t do the wedding for three more days, giving Aunt Miranda here just enough time to pull off that fabulous wedding she had been going on and on about.”

“It’s purely a coincidence. I assure you that I had nothing to do with it.” Miranda reclaimed her coffee and took a suspiciously long sip.

“Mmm-hmm,” slipped from the disbelieving lips of everyone in the room.

“You three are impossible! Well anyway, I have plans to make. So if you’ll excuse me…”

“Mmm-hmm.”

“Seriously, is that what you all think of me?” Each of them simultaneously looked off at a different area of the room, refusing to answer before bursting into laughter. “Well, I am glad that I could amuse you all.” Before she could storm out of the room, Peter wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her onto his lap.

“I don’t know how you did it… but I'm sure Angel will be glad that you did.” He popped her on her bottom and sent her on her way.

“So now what?” Angel turned to the men in the room for answers.

Peter dipped around the top of her head with puckered lips, trying to find a rollerless spot to kiss. “We wait for your Auntie to work her magic.”

“You know she did this, Unc.”

Probably, but we both know that she will turn this around and make it better than your dreams.”

She sighed enthrallingly. “Yea, she will.”

Natalia cleared her throat as she entered the room. “Sir, there is someone at the door for you.” Peter and Aleksey looked at each other.

Peter spoke up first. “You who, Natalia?”

“Mr. Aleksey.” The sound of Russian chatter followed her into the kitchen before he had a chance to get up. “Sir, this way, please.” Natalia bowed and cleared the way.  Remembering that Angel had stopped Natalia and the rest of the staff from bowing at him long ago, Aleksey knew that it could only mean one thing -- Ivan Kolovskiy was there in the flesh.

“Pakhan.”

Aleksey prepared to bow, but Ivan swiped at him, and instead pulled him into an overdue hug. “How are you, my son?” Aleksey’s heart surprisingly warmed at the affectionate title.

“Fine, Pakhan. I am fine.” He searched around the room for Angel, but Ivan found her first.

This is your fiancé.”

“Yes.” Aleksey excitedly pulled her close to them. “This is my Angel.”

“Ah, she is lovely.”

“Thank you.” Angel blushed and ran her hand across the top her head. “Excuse me.” She rushed out of the room in total embarrassment.

“What it something that I said?”

“No, Sir.” Aleksey pointed to the top of his own head.

“Ah, the rollers.” Ivan’s hearty laugh threatened to shake the room.

“Sir,” Aleksey noticed someone off to the side with an unrelenting grin, “this is Peter, Angel’s uncle. This is his house.”

“Ah, Peter.” Ivan playfully wagged a reprimanding finger at him. “You made quite a mess in my homeland to rescue his sister.” He turned his attention back to Aleksey. “How is she?”

“She is fine. Thank you.”

“She is here?” Ivan asked as if he did not already know the answer.

“Yes. She is here.” Aleksey’s eyes tightened against his will.

Ivan laughed openly at Aleksey’s boldness. “You remind me a lot of myself... I will not disturb her.” He cuffed his shoulder and move on. “Peter, I was told is a great ally to behold, and is no stranger to our way of life.” He nudged his shoulder against Peter’s and relinquished another boisterous laugh.

“I do alright. Would you like something to drink?” Peter offered, heading to the bar in the den.

“Yes. Oh yes. Would you happen to have Stoli Gold Vodka?”

Peter clapped his hands together with a loud laugh of his own. “You bet I do. Follow me.”

 

End Notes:

Our girl has been waiting for this wedding (like the rest of us) for quite a while so I had to give her something a little more proper than a Vegas thrill. For those who have been wondering, Destiny will be in the next chapter; I had to deal with some grown folks business first.

Thanks for continuing to rock with a sista and don't forget to shout yourselves out in comment section. I love, love, love to hear from you!

That's What Friends Are For... by Leoslove
Author's Notes:

Hola, good people! We are one day closer to the wedding!!!! YAY!!!!

After all of the drama (and don't get me wrong, there is much more to come) I thought we could have a little fun with this chapter.

 

After that embarrassing encounter with Ivan Kolinsky, Angel grabbed ahold of the railing and took the stairs two at a time all the way up to her children’s room. “Hi, Mommy.”

Destiny quickly took cover as Angel snatched the rollers out from her hair and blindly tossed them aimlessly across the floor. Her thin fingers palmed around her head almost absentmindedly, searching for any she may have missed. “Hey, baby. What are you up to?”

“I'm building my castle, again.” She scowled at the stack of wooden blocks, very Aleksey-like before adding a corner piece.

“It's very nice.”

“Thank you, and I was talking to Roman, but I don’t think he was listening.” She jutted her bottom lip and tossed a fleeting look over her shoulder in his direction.

Angel peeked her head over the crib just out of Roman's sight. “What exactly were you telling your little brother, or is it,” she dramatically draped her back against the brim of the crib, “private?” The look she was going for was old Hollywood, but judging by the wideness of Destiny’s eyes, she was pretty sure she looked more like a praying mantis.

After the shock wore off, Destiny’s infectious laugh kicked in forcing Angel to remain in her sensationally frozen pose until she was all laughed out. “It was not a private, Mommy. I was just telling him about the wedding tomorrow.”

“Ohhhh, about that,” Angel returned to an upright position, “it turns out that Pastor Robbins won’t be able to do the wedding for three whole days,” she released her hold on the crib and plopped down on the floor beside Destiny, “so we have to wait.”

“Awww.” Destiny knocked over her wooden blocks to get to Angel. “Are you sad, Mommy?” Her little arms wrapped tightly around her.

Angel grabbed the side of Destiny’s face with both hands and looked her squarely in the eye. “Have I ever told you that you are the best daughter anyone could ever ask for?”

“Yeeeessssss.” Destiny’s giggle kicked up a notch when air whistled through the gap of yet another missing tooth.

“That’s good,” Angel pulled her into another hug, “because it’s true.” She kissed the side of her head and let her go. “To be honest though, I was sad for a tiny minute but Aunt Miranda promised to use the extra time to make the wedding even more special so,” she shrugged with a crooked grin, “I'm not sad anymore.”

“That’s GREAT!” They both lowered their heads when Roman began to cry. Destiny rushed over to the crib with Angel on her heels. “I'm sorry, Malyutka.”

“What did you call him?”

“Malyutka.” She stepped on the tips of her toes and rubbed as much of Roman as she could reach.

“And you know this word how?”

“Daddy taught me.”

“Oh really? And what exactly does maltuna mean?”

“Malyutka, Mommy, malyutka.” Destiny began to chuckle at Angel’s expense. “It means little one.”

Angel slipped her hands inside the crib and retrieved the bawling infant. “Ah, well I think this malyutka is just hungry. Isn’t that right? You need your tummy filled?”

Destiny in the way of her mother dramatically tumbled back down to the floor. “That’s a relief. I thought he was crying because I was too loud. He doesn’t like loud noises,” she informed Angel rather matter of factly and continued playing with her blocks.

“And neither did you.” Angel carried Roman over to the rocking chair.

“But I do now!” Roman’s simpering cry turned back into a full blown wail.

It was Angel’s turn to laugh. “That was for you.” She unhooked the right cup of her nursing bra and slowly rubbed her nipple across her son’s lips just like Dr. K had shown her. Within a couple of seconds his mouth began to stretch open wide with expectancy. “So much like your father.” She laughed again until his blue eyes squinted at her without remorse. “Did you just glare at me?”

“Mommy?”

“Yes, baby?” She warily peeled her eyes away from her husband’s apparent clone.

“Am I still going to be a flower girl?” Her eyes fluttered between Angel and a teetering pillar piece of her fortress.

“Well, I can’t think of anyone else I would want.”

“Yes!” Destiny quickly covered her mouth and repeated her answer in a much softer tone. “I'm gonna be a flower girl. I'm gonna be a flower girl!” She knocked down the castle again as she rushed up to Angel and Roman like a ball of energy. “Did you hear that, Roman? I'm gonna be a flower girl.”

“I think everyone heard it.” Angel used her free hand to wiggle the inside of her ear.

“Well, I did not hear. What is the news for today, Milady?” As always, Destiny rushed into Aleksey’s opened arms.

“I'm gonna be a flower girl.” She hugged his neck with a spirited squeeze.

“And you will be the most beautiful flower girl who ever lived.” He slipped his hand between her arms to loosen her grip.

“Thank you!” She planted a hurried kiss on his cheek and squirmed her way down the floor. “Mommy, when will I get a dress? I neeeeed a dress.” Her little fingers wrapped around the arms of the rocking chair.

“Can you imagine her as a teenager?” Angel slipped her breast back inside her nursing bra and began another unsuccessful attempt to burp Roman.

“Yes, and I cannot wait.” His eyes followed the dancing child around the room, loving every bit of her high-spiritedness.

“Yea, well we’ll see if you still feel that way when she starts dating.”

He shrugged her concerns away and removed the bib from her shoulder, placing it neatly across his own. “Come here my son.”

“Fine, if you think you can do a better job burping him, then by all means—”

“Buuuuuuuuuuuuurp!”

“Ewwww! Say excuse me, Roman,” Destiny demanded. When he turned his head toward the sound of her voice and blinked twice, she huffed and went back to playing with her blocks. Angel looked at each of the people in the room with disbelief and headed for the door while she still had an ounce of sanity. “Mommy, don’t forget your rollers.”

“You can use them for your towns people.”

“Good idea, Mommy.” Destiny’s brows furrowed together tightly as she strategically placed a few of the twisty things along the drawbridge and walls of her castle. Her attention was divided when she noticed Angel head closer to the door. “Where are you going, Mommy?”

“To the kitchen for a snack.” And just before her feet left the primary colored carpet she turned around to address Aleksey. “Is he still here?” Her forehead crinkled with apprehension.

He has gone back to the hotel to be with his family.”

“Good.” She continued on passed the door.

“But he will be back for the pre-dinner this afternoon.”

“Are you sure it’s this afternoon?! Why didn’t anyone remind me?!”

“Yes, it is this afternoon and he is bringing everyone with him.” He watched one hand fly to her waist and the other fasten to her forehead.

“Who is everyone?” She leaned against the wall weakly.

“Well, maybe I should not say everyone. Just his wife, his three daughters, their husbands, his son, his granddaughters –there are four I believe, and someone whom he said is a surprise for me. Then, there are some business associates: Timur Kozlov and his wife Mishka, Abram Belinsky, Anton Bogdan and his wife Dahlia, Vladimir Markovich, and Arkady Sorokin.” He put Roman back in his crib and turned back with a blank expression. “Miranda is aware.”

“Well, I'm glad someone is, and what is this about a surprise? Doesn’t he know you hate surprises?”

“Yes, but he said I will like this one.”

Her lips twitched curiously. “Oh did he?”   

“Yes.” Aleksey stretched back a long muscular arm for Destiny. “Coming?”

“No, I’m going to stay and finish my castle, and it better not fall this time.” She scooted closer and stared down the assorted blocks -- daring them to move.        

“Very well.” He studied Angel’s solemn demeanor for a few seconds before ushering her down the hall. “Come with me.”

“Where are we going?” He gathered up her up in his arms and carried her down the stairs.

“What are you doing?” Between a fit of laughter and him spinning them around in a full circle she could barely get the words out.

“We do not have a song.”

“A what?”

 “A song, for the reception.” He let her down gently and held her shoulders until she was steady. “Miranda has informed me --on more than one occasion-- that we will need a song.” He pulled her into position and began waltzing her around the room. “Not bad.”

“I know how to dance… especially when.there.is.music.”

“When I am with you my dear Angel, there is always music.” He whisked her around unexpectedly causing the hand that was once on his shoulder to slip.

“You know that’s what all the crazy people say.” She readjusted her hand firmly and locked her arms.

“I am not crazy – well maybe for you.” He glanced down and offered her a quick wink.

“Only maybe?” He spun her around again; this time she was ready.

“Very good.” His head tilted slightly, conveying a small measure of his impressiveness toward her.

“Well, I had a good teacher.”

“And who would that be? One of your plethora of ex-boyfriends?” He dipped her low in a sweeping back bend and raised her back up and off the floor in one motion. With her new height advantage she was able to see the clearness in his blue eyes, the newly forming freckles that surrounded the tip of his nose, and the complete fullness of his lips…

“Mmmhmmmmm.”

He knew that sound well, even strived often to hear it over and over. “Are you okay?”  

“Yyyes.”

“You are breathless. Should we stop?” His blue eyes quickly clouded with something she too recognized.

“Not unless you have something better in mind.” Her lips calculatingly rounded into a seductive smile.

“As a matter of fact I do have something much better in mind, but I do not know if you can handle it, being in your delicate condition and all.” She knew that his mischievous banter was nothing more than a ploy to see just how far she was willing to go.

“Honey, there is only one thing delicate about me, and it misses you, terribly.” There was a southern twang in her voice that he had never heard before; it stirred him.

“And what about the six weeks?” He wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her closer.

“You know, there are other things that you can do to her.” She slipped her tongue along the length of his closed lips with a wicked grin. “Plus, it’s been almost seven weeks.” She grinned as he mentally did the math.

“Ah, you are right.” He firmly guided her down his ridiculously toned body, only stopping to hold her in place when the large bulge behind his zipper detained her clit. “Angel.” He put her down on the floor flatly. “Once we start, I will not be able to control myself. I am going to want all of it - all of you.”

She stood still and weighed out her options. ‘He can go on for hours… Maybe I can suck him. No, my jaws aren’t that strong.’ Anal sex was out. She tried it once and regretted it ever since. “Maybe we should wait, then.” She twisted away, disappointed until he caught the hem of her skirt.

“Just know that the longer I wait -- the more damage I will do to you.”