Ten Years Ago
Brooklyn, New York
“PLEASE,” I WHIMPER AS his fingers lazily pump in and out of me. He grins wickedly, a look I love on his handsome face.
“I want you to beg for me, moyo zolotse,” he murmurs huskily.
My gold—his gold.
I shiver when he calls me that—every. single. time.
“I’m begging you, Kirill. Please, please, I need more. I need you,” I cry out. He chuckles before smothering my lips with his hand.
We are in my dorm room, the all-girls dorm. No boys allowed after ten in the evening, yet here Kirill is, in my bed—after midnight. He never follows the rules. Honestly, I don’t think rules apply to him in general.
Kirill does what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants. No man, woman, or child could ever stop him or tell him differently; and if they try? He shrugs them off and does whatever he wants to anyway. His no bullshit attitude is what drew me to him. A shy virgin when we met, he melted my panties before I even knew what was happening. He made me addicted to his hands, his mouth, and his cock. I am starving for him on a twenty-four-seven basis.
“Then you shall have me, krushka,” he mutters. Babydoll. He slides deep inside of me, slowly filling me.
I groan at the sensation of his cock stretching me. I will never tire of this feeling, of him on top of me and inside of me, of his dark gray eyes focused solely on mine, and of the way he makes me feel.
“Kirill,” I breathe. He quiets me with a hard kiss before he pulls out and thrusts back inside.
Kirill’s fingers dig into my hips as he slams in and out of my body, my breasts bouncing with each thrust. His eyes never leave mine. He is focused, and he is intent on showing me something—what, I don’t know.
I shiver when one of his hands leaves my hip and his thumb presses against my clit.
“Come on my cock, Tati” he mumbles, his voice deep and raspy. I know that he is close to the edge.
“Yes, Kirill,” I breathe on a sigh, closing my eyes as I arch my neck back.
I shouldn’t have closed my eyes. I should have kept them open. Had I known it would be the last time I would watch Kirill come undone inside of my body, I would have watched every. single. second.
“Oh, God,” I whimper as I come, my eyes pinched tightly and my body shaking beneath Kirill’s strong frame.
He takes his hand from my clit and buries it into my messy blonde hair before he wildly fucks me—hard. No rhythm, no rhyme, just primal and animalistic. When he finally comes, he buries his face in my neck and fills my body with his climax.
“Ya budu vsegda lvublt tebya,” I hear him mutter against my skin. We fall asleep wrapped in each other’s arms, and I wake alone the next morning.
Kirill and I were together for six months.
I thought we were happy.
I thought we were in love.
I thought I was going to marry him and be his wife.
I never thought the FBI would be at my door, explaining to me exactly what he was—who he was. I wanted to go to him, to ask him exactly what was happening, but they wouldn’t let me. I had a choice to make and I had to make it immediately.
I was young and scared.
I made a choice.
It was the wrong choice.
I should have stayed with him—trusted him.
Kirill’s last words to me were a mystery, since I didn’t know Russian. Kirill was very Russian. I went to the library and combed through Russian to English phrases. A poor old soul helped me. I asked him what Ya budu vsegda lvublt tebya meant and he looked at me with wide eyes and said—I will always love you.
I broke down and cried.
He would always love me?
I left him.
I was scared.
I was desperate.
I was pregnant.
San Francisco, California
I DON’T REMEMBER MUCH about my father. He is this mysterious man that I have glimpses of in my hazy memory banks. I remember his thick, Russian accent and his light, blond hair. I remember his dark eyes and how big and scary he was. He never smiled, and he never played with me.
“Tatyana,” he calls. I run over to him obediently.
“Yes, papa?” I ask, looking up to meet his gaze. His dark eyes are trained on me.
“I will be gone for a long while, Tati. You must behave, be a good girl for ma,” he orders. I nod. I am always a good girl, the best girl.
“Yes, papa,” I whisper with a smile on my face.
“You are special, my Tatyana, do you know this?” he asks.
Then he does something he has never done before. He sinks down, crouching in front of me, our eyes leveling. I inhale and smell the cigarette smoke that still clings to his suit.
“No, papa,” I say softly. He smirks.
“You are. Stay a good girl, listen to your ma, and always do what is expected of you. One day you will find out just how special you are in this life. A beautiful little shakhmatnaya figura,” he murmurs.
I look at him with confusion until he touches the tip of my nose with his finger, straightens, and walks away from me.
I never saw him again.
Years later, I asked my Russian boyfriend, Kirill, what shakhmatnaya figura meant, and he told me it meant chess piece. My own father called me a chess piece. To this day, I still do not know what he meant by the words.
My daughter, Kiska, will never know her father, either. Except it was by my own doing, not his. Kirill Baryshev, the love of my life. Leaving him was a foolish thing, the biggest regret in my life but I did it out of pure fear, nothing else.
I believed what a man in a fancy suit told me. I blindly believed him, instead of simply asking Kirill. I was young and so very dumb. Now that I look back, I realize it. But hindsight is twenty-twenty. If I could go back, I would change everything about that cold winter day where I packed my bags and disappeared, vanishing into the night.
I hike my duffle bag higher on my shoulder and put my head down, hoping nobody will notice me as I walk through the Tenderloin area of San Francisco. I have to work tonight.
I’m a dancer.
I hate it.
No, that’s not true. I hate the way it makes me feel sometimes, but I can’t deny that without it, my daughter and I would be destitute. So no, I don’t hate dancing, and I’m good at it, so there’s that.
But when you run away because of rumors, when you don’t finish that pointless Classical Studies degree, and you’re eighteen and find yourself a single parent, you’ll do anything to feed and clothe your child. I became a topless dancer in a city too expensive to live in so we could merely survive.