Submission

After class I left the building as quickly as I could before Megan could ask me what I was up to . Sasha was right on my heels. When we were outside I turned to him "So where do you want to go?" "Well I would like to see your apartment if you don't mind?" "My apartment? But you've been there last week, there's really not much to see there." "Yes I saw the door and the hallway, but I want to see more of you. I will cook." "Uhm, I am not sure," I said uncomfortably. "I will make you a traditional Russian dish, ok?" "Ok, but where will we get the ingredients for that?" "You go home and be comfortable and I will bring everything to you in half an hour, is that good for you?" "Ok, I will see you then." Involuntarily my thoughts went back to Joey and how many times I had asked him too cook for me and how many times he had told me that wasn't something he would ever do. And then I thought about the fact that i had just agreed to invite a stranger into my home to cook for me even though not even my own boyfriend had been there.

He hadn't been lying. He had really taken care of everything. He had bought champagne and Russian Vodka and was bustling about the kitchen like he had never done anything else in his life. I wasn't sure I should be drinking champagne already but it just tasted so good. I was on my second glass when he came out with a plate with tiny little pancakes and some black goo next to something that looked like sour cream on it. "I have brought some caviar as an appetizer. Have you ever tried it?" "Not really, it looks, well disgusting to be quite honest with you." He laughed a dark and deep laugh. "It tastes delicious, I promise." He took one of the little pancakes and put a lot of the black stuff on it and a little of the sour cream. "Here, try one." he said handing it to me. I looked at it suspiciously "So what is this?" "It's fish eggs, basically." I really didn't want to try them, but I didn't want to insult him either so I took a small bite. The sensation was immediate and overwhelming. The little bubbles bursted on my lips and in my mouth leaving behind the salty taste of the sea. I couldn't say I liked it. But I couldn't tell him how horrible I really found it so I tried to control my facial expression and swallow as much of the gooey stuff without chewing it. "It's interesting." "You hate it, don't you?" he smiled. "That's ok, more for me." He took the pancake from my hand and stuffed it in his mouth. A few minutes later the entire plate had gone and he had a happy grin on his face. "I think I am going to stick with champagne." "That's great, I have more than enough of that." he winked at me. I don't even remember what we ate, I think it was soup or stew or something similar but it was delicious. I kept drinking champagne, he switched to Vodka after opening the second bottle of the bubbly pink stuff for me. He drank it pure out of glasses that were so cold that they had ice on the rims. "Can I try?" I heard myself ask. "What, the Vodka?" "Yeah." "Have you never had Vodka before?" "Yeah of course, but not the good Russian Vodka and never straight." "Then, ok." He poured me a glass about 2 fingers full. He refilled his glass and held it up. "To the most amazing woman that I have ever met and to our friendship. May it last as long as we are both on this earth." "I can drink to that." He looked at me while he downed his shot and I lifted the glass to my lips. The Vodka tasted pure and clean, and when it ran down my throat it felt like it burned away all of the words I wanted to say.

***

The words I should have said, when he leaned over and stroked my cheek with the back of his hand. The words I should have said, when he softly touched his lips to mine and the words I should have said when he inhaled my breath like it was the only thing he needed to exist. I wasn't there. It felt like I was looking at myself from behind a milky glass door.

I let him kiss me and tell me that I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and that he wanted me. I let him have me on his terms and surrendered under his touch. I told myself that I didn't have a choice and I let the sweet promises that crossed his lips be my excuse and become my destiny.

***

I leaned back and looked at him. "Emma," I was prepared for him to apologize to me for getting me drunk and taking advantage of the situation but he didn't. "Emma, this is what I want. I want you, more than anything else in the world. And I know you want that too, even though you might not know it yet. I will be anything you want me to be until that moment and I will do anything for you to get there fast." It was hard to breathe, the air in the room felt like water. And I was drowning in it.

I couldn't think, especially not with him being there and the Vodka and Champagne cocktail pumping through my veins. "Sasha, you need to leave now." "I will not leave, Emma." "But please," I started pleading, my eyes filling with tears. "Emma, just let yourself fall. I will be there to catch you." I had never had anyone talk to me like that, never had anyone tried so hard to be with me. I saw Sasha sitting there with his eyes fixated on mine. He could have had any woman in the world with his money and influence but he chose me. In retrospect that should not have been reason enough to do what I did next, but in retrospect him and I had probably been a horrible idea from the very beginning.

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