“See, might have started a trend.” He said as he excused himself from our table.
“Well, if we do ever get Aislinn into the country, at least she knows where to eat,” Zeke whispered to me, suddenly leaning in very close to me. His hand didn’t grab mine, instead his fingers poked at my pocket, checking to see if I had the baggy of pearls that didn’t go around the neck in there that had been destroyed on our honeymoon. As strange as it was, I did. I carried them just about everywhere, because they did seem to be good luck. However, that was also code for us. I was observant to a point, Zeke was always observant and if he was checking for good luck charms on me, it meant he had seen something he didn’t like. He passed a napkin to Nikolai. Him and Nikolai, who was a cop and former secret police officer and KGB officer exchanged a look. Suddenly, Nikolai was paying attention to things I didn’t quite see. I didn’t roll my eyes or shake my head, but it took effort… we were sitting in a restaurant of Nikolai’s youngest son. Nikolai was the department head for dealing with organized crime in Moscow. It wasn’t exactly the perfect place for crime to target, nor was it a good night since Zeke and my cousin Vasilli were both here having dinner in it.
I was convinced that if criminals spent thirty minutes a day talking out their plans with their mother there would either be less crime or criminals would be more efficient, because moms were the universe’s way of pointing out how stupid we could be. Plus, most cultures, especially Russian revered mothers and one did not win an argument with a Russian mother. I had years of experience at losing those, even when I was right.
Vasilli stood up and walked to the table next to us and asked the little boy sitting there if he wanted to go tour the kitchen. In the US when large, strange looking bearded men asked to take your son to someplace you weren’t, the police were called. Here they let their son get up with Vasilli. But maybe they sensed something was wrong or maybe they were regulars and knew Vasilii or had seen Nikolai in the papers and knew who he was and just expected someone of Nikolai’s stature to not be involved with criminals. Of course, my uncle was waist deep in criminals all the time, but this was Russia and things were different here. What I considered involved with criminals might be different to most Russians. Americans had a very narrow spectrum for right and wrong. Having one son that was a contract killer would have been a serious problem for someone who busted organized crime in the US. Of course, maybe it was a no-no in Russia too and people just didn’t notice or care as much.
Two men in track suits came to our table and stared at me for a moment. One threw his hands into the air. The other pulled something out of his pocket.
“She is not Aislinn Cain,” the one who had thrown his hands into the air said.
“No, I’m Nadine Daniels, and frankly, kidnapping Aislinn Cain is never a good idea,” I told them, pronouncing her name very slowly so they could try it themselves with better luck.
“Aislinn Cain is more of the shoot first and figure it out after everyone has bled to death kind of woman. Nadine is more levelheaded.” Zeke told them. “Now, is there something we can do for you?”
“We were told Aislinn Cain would be here eating weird foods at this time,” the guy answered. “Since she is woman and eating weird foods, we figured she must be Aislinn Cain, but her hair is too short, and she is too pretty.”
“My hair was burned off in an explosion,” I told him and Aislinn Cain is pretty too. “
“Yes, but she has scars,” the guy snipped at me.
“Yes, she does have a lot of scars,” I agreed ignoring my melted fingernails.
“Why do you want Aislinn Cain and did you really intend to kidnap her?” I asked.
“She take our cousins into custody. We want them back. She can do that for us.” The guy told me.
“If she did, I’m sure there was a good reason and she probably can’t get them out of it if they are wanted by law enforcement officials.” I told them. “Also, she wouldn’t even consider it if you kidnapped her. She’d just wait for you to fall asleep and then kill you, that’s what she is like.”
“No woman is going to kill me,” the first guy said.
“Then you obviously don’t want to kidnap Aislinn Cain,” Zeke told them.
“Nadine Daniels, you are Melina Zeitzev’s daughter, yes?” The one who seemed to speak English said.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Our cousins come to find you.”
“So, your cousins are,” I couldn’t think of a good way to say it. Zeke filled in the blank for me in Russian. I thought he said chocolate mule, but I could have been mistaken. Maybe I did need to talk to Alex about my Russian. I struggled not to snicker as the snippets of conversation, as I translated them became increasingly outlandish. To me it sounded like they were trying to use the army to smuggle chocolate out of the country and return it to Novgorod, which was about the only word I could really make out. However, I was certain that chocolate was not banned in Novgorod. Part of me was embarrassed that my husband had become fluent in Russian in a year and I hadn’t even gotten close to being passable at it in a lifetime, but that was just the way my life worked. It was to be expected.
The window across from me collapsed with a strange tinkling noise, as did the guy that had Aislinn Cain’s picture. Before I could process why those two things had happened, my chair was grabbed, and I was pulled over backward. My head landed on a soft piece of material instead of the tiled floor that it should have hit, and I saw Abram crouching next to me. He smiled and nodded.
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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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