“Me too,” Zeke leaned in and kissed my forehead. “You’re more likely to attract him and have a car bomb go off.”
“Nobody makes car bombs,” I answered.
“Baby, we’re in Russia and car bombs are a real thing here.” Zeke corrected me. He did have a point; Chechens were known to build car bombs.
“So, Lucas couldn’t handle it, but you could,” I looked at Zeke for a moment.
“I didn’t see all the pictures thankfully. Only enough to know that you do not want to be involved in this,” Zeke told me.
“I knew that the moment they handcuffed me and wow, they had probably better be glad I wasn’t Aislinn Cain, imagine her stepping off a plane and being put in handcuffs when the Russians want her to find a serial killer. I can’t imagine how that conversation ends, but I’m thinking there would be blood.” I told my husband. “Now, we have to get ready, they have some big thing planned for dinner tonight. I don’t know what or why, but they hinted at it as I was making the plans to come.” I stepped away from Zeke knowing we wouldn’t get anywhere if I continued to stand in front of him in a towel.
“Because most of them haven’t met me,” Zeke answered. “They have some sort of welcome to the family thing planned tonight. The good news is it is at a restaurant, so they won’t be forcing you to eat Borscht.” I was a picky eater and could only handle some Russian foods. I didn’t eat caviar. I didn’t like anything with beets in it. I wasn’t hot on pork products or making use of an entire animal. If you moved closer to the interior parts, Russian food mixed with the cultures that was close to it, sometimes, that was better, but only sometimes, since I still wasn’t a big believer in using every part of an animal to make my food. I was very American in a lot of ways. I didn’t require fast food very often, but I was used to the way Americans seasoned and cooked. Growing up, my Irish father had not let my mother cook a lot of Russian food. Of course, I wasn’t hot on a lot of Irish food either. This is why I didn’t travel as much as people thought I should. Marrying Zeke had been lucky in the sense that I did like quite a bit of French and Polynesian food.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, no talk with Nikolai or anyone else about dead bodies tonight and if we could keep the conversation in English as much as possible, that would also be awesome.”
“You could practice your Russian,” Zeke scolded me.
“I could, but my brothers make fun of me and my mother rolls her eyes all the time when I try.”
“I learned with Alex’s help, she’s very good at it.”
“Yes, my entire family is better at being Russian than me. Kenzie is probably better at being Russian than me,” I stated. Kenzie was mostly Irish on both sides; her father had been my dad’s brother. As far as I could tell, she didn’t have a drop of Russian in her.
“Part of that is because they consider themselves Russian and you consider yourself American,” Zeke told me. I had never thought about it that way, but he was right, I didn’t consider myself Russian. My mother and her parents were Russian, and her siblings were all Russian, my brothers considered themselves Russian, even Alex considered herself Russian. I was just of Russian descent. Like being of Irish descent it didn’t mean much to me as an identity. One day, I would figure out how my spy mother had kept her Russian citizenship after she defected and how that made the rest of us dual citizens. I didn’t even think of that except when I traveled to Russia and unlike everyone else in the US didn’t have to wait for a VISA. Of course, I might also one day figure out how my strong-willed Russian mother had ended up with an abusive husband that was Irish. Or I might not. My brain was already leaning towards the probably not. I had to go make nice and pretend I cared that my Russian family was excited I had married a Tahitian. Russians could be a little strange when it came to national identity and race. Then again, since they had all given up on me ever getting married, they may just be surprised and happy it happened. Russian society was in fact matriarchal in structure for the most part. Fathers were important, and men were more likely to hold positions of power, but when it came right down to it Russians knew it was women that made their society work. As an unmarried female, I didn’t hold much sway on that society, yes, I held a position of power, I had my own company and it was successful, but I wasn’t allowed to eat at the big kids’ table because I wasn’t yet married if that made any sense. Russian society was very different from American society and sometimes the nuances of how it worked, were still beyond me.
That was probably the other reason that I didn’t feel like a Russian. My brothers and Alex had all taken Russian culture classes in college and learned from our grandparents about Russian society. Since Russians had been trying to kill me for most of my life, I had always been a little less willing to learn about Russian society. I knew enough to mind my manners, that was the important part.
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This book is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination and are purely fictitious. Any resemblances to any persons, living or dead, are completely coincidental.
Copyright © Hadena James 2016
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