As I approached I greeted her in Serbian.
“Good Afternoon Libena.”
She looked at me a little curiously. “Good Afternoon. Tell me what is in my bag, please.”
I smiled. “Five ten-pound notes, ten one-pound coins, a phone-card, a handkerchief..”
“Stop!” she said, “You are wrong!” She looked at my surprised face, then burst out laughing.
“Only four ten-pound notes. I bought nice perfume this morning!”
She moved forward, stretched up and kissed my cheek, before standing back and looking at me.
This is the final chapter in Book 1 of my serialized story. You may wish to read the previous chapter 1st: 11: Refuge.
The menu ‘Svetlana’, in the left sidebar contains links to all chapters. A similar menu can be found at the bottom of the post.
This story tells of a man who has adopted a life of helping homeless and vulnerable girls, and of waging a dark and ruthless private war on the human traffickers and criminals who prey on them. His chance encounter with a young Serbian woman, and his experience of her growing unconditional love for him, reveal to him that emotionally, he is as broken and beaten as the girls he is trying to help.
Warning: The story contains adult subject matter, several explicit scenes of an intimate sexual nature, descriptions of human jeopardy, and is not suitable for minors, or those who are easily offended.
The Carlson Imperative
Chapter 12: Payback
It was nearly lunch time. I left Svetlana and Katrina sipping coffee and headed for the garage. I picked up my vest and bag from the Cosworth, and entered the ‘waiting’ room. I looked at my watch, then unloaded ice and lemon from the ‘fridge into a glass, cracked a fresh bottle of tonic open and sloshed in the Gin.
I took a large gulp, put down the glass and picked up the bag. The neat hole through the tough leather shoulder strap reminded me of how close Vasilov had come to making Zee’s worse fears become reality. I poured the contents of my bag onto the table, then sat back and looked at the haul, sipping the G & T.
There were bundles of high denomination Pounds, Euros and Dollars. There was a thick wad of very high denomination Euro bearer bonds and finally a small chamois leather pouch. I undid the lacing, and tipped the contents carefully onto the table.
Twenty or so beautifully cut large diamonds winked up at me.
I finished off my G & T, got out a Torx driver from the toolbox and headed out into the garage. The house heating and air-conditioning control unit was a 19-inch rack cabinet, comprising two 6U units. I turned off the power, and releasing the bottom unit pulled it forward. I removed the top panel and exposed the empty rear of the fully functional unit. I returned to the waiting room, gathered up the booty, and carefully fitted it into the rack unit, then replacing the panel, returned the unit back into the cabinet and re-secured the screws. Finally I switched the unit back on.
I went back to the waiting room and removed the two DVDs from my tunic pocket and smashed them to smithereens with a small hammer, dumping the plastic shards in the bin. I took out Vasilov’s pistol and my own, and placed them in the small wall-safe.
I heard her come in behind me, and smelt her soft but very distinct perfume. I turned. “Hi Zee.”
She picked up my shoulder bag from the table and fingered the hole in the strap, then looked up at me. I nodded. “That, and the vest, stopped the bullet from doing any real damage.”
I opened the door for Zee to the sound of loud music, and we stood in awe, watching as the two beautiful sisters danced around the room with each other, both yelling ‘I Like It’ at the top of their voices. Constanza was sat, her plastered foot up on the sofa, watching them both, clapping her hands and laughing. The amplifier was cranked up almost full, and there was evidence on the table, apart from the Gerry Marsden LP that was already playing, that they had begun a systematic trawl through my old vinyl collection.
Zee turned to me laughing. “So much for ‘taking it easy’ Joe.”
The girls were drifting into the kitchen as we arrived in the day room. Zee pushed Constanza’s wheel chair to the table and Patricia removed a seat to make room for it. Lizzie was sat at the table beside Anna, and smiled sweetly at me as we all sat down.
After lunch I sat down on one of the sofas and watched a process of which I never tired. All of our girls had been hurt, in one way or another, and all of them recognised that. Generally there was total empathy, mixed with a natural curiosity. Sometimes there was angst as new friendships were formed, and current ones diluted. Rarely though, did we have any real problems with jealousy, but the staff on these occasions were still particularly wary.
I loved her even more as I saw the skilful and considerate way Svetlana immediately invited Lizzie to sit with her and Katrina, and it became obvious that Katrina was as struck with Lizzie’s brooding beauty, as Lizzie was with Katrina’s uncanny resemblance to her beautiful sister.
Constanza too, drew attention, her very real frailty bringing out the strong mothering instincts in some of the older girls. One of the Spanish girls who had been practising learning Portuguese with Zee, had taken charge, and I was glad, because as I watched her, I could see Zee looked very tired.
I walked over to her. “What are your sleeping arrangements going to be?”
I wandered into the kitchen, and re-filled my glass with Connie’s lemonade, then headed back to my seat. I sipped the drink, and shortly Patricia sat down beside me.
“Did you know I’m leaving tomorrow Joe?”
“They have enrolled me in a local school,” she said “but I would like to visit at the weekends.”
I looked at her and remembered her appearance and demeanour when she had first been brought to us by one of the other Refuges, who at the time had no space.
“Thank you.” I said.
She took me by surprise. She leaned forward, put her hand to my cheek, and kissed me briefly, but fully, on the lips, then she gave me a lovely smile. “Thank you. Thank you for everything.”
I grinned “You are very welcome.”
She got up and went into the kitchen. There were a group of girls standing close to the kitchen door who were looking at me and giggling amongst themselves, and I realised that Patricia had set me up with the kiss, probably for a dare. I shook my head and smiled as they looked at me, and several burst into laughter.
I got up and made my way to where Svetlana was sat. I bent down and kissed her, causing giggles amongst some of the girls around us.
I crossed the room and told Zee what I was doing, then headed back downstairs.
I walked up Praed street to W.H Smiths and poured over the large CD collection until I found what I wanted, then chose a pretty Birthday card with no greeting, and headed back to the basement. I made a couple of calls, one to a caterer, the other to the local Italian Restaurant, then set off in the Cosworth.
The journey to and from Waltham Abbey was uneventful, and I had felt a pang of regret that I had to return the Cosworth. I made sure that everything in ‘Grace and Pride’ was in order and left the vehicle keys on the table, before walking briskly to the M3 with the heavy holdall.
Back home in the garage, I added my weapon and Vasilov’s to the holdall and locked them in the safe, then made my way back to the basement. I sat down at the desk, pulled on a pair of latex gloves and opened up the diary. It was mostly written in Cyrillic text, but since the content was largely names, addresses, dates and times, I had no problem reading any of it. Anger welled in me as I saw Katrina’s name, that of Constanza and also Libena, together with several of those on the list of girls names Svetlana had given me.
My anger this time wasn’t directed at Vasilov, but at the long list of pederasts documented in the diary.
I got up and made myself a coffee, then sat back in my chair and pondered. The diary was undoubtedly dynamite. There were several prominent names and addresses. Trouble is, I realised that if I handed it over to the police, a long lengthy investigation would ensue, dragging in the girls to corroborate evidence, with no guarantee of a suitable outcome. I wanted more.
I opened the laptop and switched it on. There was no password protection, and I browsed freely amongst the various spreadsheets and letters I found. It became apparent that the girls were being traded using a bogus Escort Agency as a front. If the diary was dynamite, the laptop with it’s detailed payments and credit-card numbers was weapon-grade plutonium. All I needed was a delivery system, and every nasty little pervert named would be finished – for good.
First things first. I scanned every used page of the diary onto my PC, and printed out a copy to ensure that every page was readable. Next I re-partitioned the spare hard-drive in my PC and connecting a transfer cable, made an exact copy of the laptop’s hard-disk contents, checking everything was copied successfully.
I poured over the diary copy and made copious notes on it. One girl’s name stood out as a possible candidate – Libena. She had apparently been much in demand, but even better, several of her ‘clients’ were well-known members of the London socialite clique.
Again I sat back in my chair and pondered. I would have to find her again – quick, before any trail grew cold.
Charlotte Craven had greeted me warmly. “Joe. Lovely to hear from you. How are things – you are busy?”
I realised the risk I was taking, but the stakes were too high to ignore. A few minutes went by.
“Hello. Mr. Carlson?”
There was another pause, then she said softly. “You are him, aren’t you?”
I knew what she meant. “Yes.” I said quietly. “Can I trust you to keep my secret?”
“Much, much better, thanks to you. When do you want me to talk?”
“OK Libena. I’ll come for you tomorrow. Leave the refuge at 12 o’clock, and I’ll make myself known to you just outside. If you are in any doubt, ask me a question about Wednesday morning when I greet you. OK?”
I took another look at my watch, then got out one of the spare pre-paid mobiles, slipped on the muffler device I’d bought, and dialled the Guardian sub-editor’s number.
“He will know me as Daniel.” I said. I’m a C.I. Please get him for me, I have information related to the police raids last night.”
“One moment sir.” she said. There was a click and a brief pause, then his broad Lanarkshire accent boomed down the ‘phone.
“OK” I said, “I thought you would say that. What if I add in a full and detailed interview by one of your staff, with one of the girls named in the diary, and who was rescued last night?”
“The identity of the girl is strictly protected and for corroboration purposes only. You must make no attempt to locate her whereabouts.” I said.
I laughed quietly. “You know why. It will take them weeks, and involve exposing all of the girls to endless questions.”
“Our features editor is a smart young woman. I don’t want to trust this to just anyone.” he replied. “Her name is Sam Johnson.” he read out a mobile number. “Call her yourself to arrange where you want to meet. I’ll talk to her myself now, as soon as we are done.”
I laughed “Not far to go. The girl will be escorted by another young woman, who you must promise not to try and identify. The girl in question is Serbian, and although her English is excellent, I’m arranging an interpreter for you who I can trust.”
“You will have the laptop and diary by courier at your reception desk within two hours. This will give you a chance to work on them before the interview tomorrow.”
“Andrew. What I’m sending you will blow last night’s incidents onto the back page or beyond. There are dates, times, names, addresses, telephone numbers, VISA card numbers – all of over two hundred men. Have you heard enough?”
I ‘phoned Katya. She did not hesitate to agree when I told her of my intentions, and I told her I’d ring early tomorrow with a location to meet.
I called Tomas, asked him to get himself ready for a bike ride, and that I would be riding pillion, then cleaned both the laptop and diary with an alcohol wipe, put them into a large Jiffy bag, and addressed it. I took the SIM card out of the mobile, picked up the Jiffy bag and went though to the garage, where I wrapped a piece of paper around the SIM and smashed it to smithereens with a hammer, sprinkling the pieces into the dustbin, as Tomas came in from upstairs.
“We are going to the Guardian Editorial Offices.” I said.
I put the Jiffy bag into my shoulder pouch and donned my leather jacket, a pair of heavy sun-shades and the helmet, then opened the garage doors as Tomas started the bike. I pulled myself up behind him. He gunned the engine, and we turned into the mews.
Svetlana saw me enter the day room. She got up and walked across to meet me, putting her arms around my neck and gently kissing me. “I worry.”
We joined the other girls in the kitchen and sat down. There was still a buzz of excitement amongst the girls regarding Katrina and Constanza, and as I looked around the room I was happy to see the newcomers had been made so welcome.
Just before six, I took my cup of tea and sat down in the day room in front of our small TV. It was the third item on the news.
“Acting on information received, Police entered a house in Hampstead in the early hours of this morning to discover the bodies of several men. A large quantity of drugs were also found on the premises. Police would neither confirm nor deny the rumour that the house belonged to a member of the Russian Mafia, but have said that they believe the deaths are the work of a rival drugs gang.
In a separate incident Police were called to an address in Hackney where they found 12 young girls, who had apparently been kept prisoner for some time. The girls, all under-age, have been found temporary homes by social services. The bodies of two men were also discovered at the scene. Police will not confirm that the incidents are linked, and said that ‘inquiries are on-going’.”
Two hands gently touched my cheeks from behind the sofa, and she kissed my head before walking around and sitting beside me.
“You heard?” I said, turning the TV off.
Katrina looked up and smiled at us both as we approached the group of girls around her. Svetlana told her we were going for a walk. She got up and put her arms around my neck and kissed my cheek and said slowly in Serbian “Thank you again, Joe. I am so very, very happy.”
We stepped outside into the early evening sunshine. It was still warm, but a light breeze was blowing, just enough to keep the temperature pleasant.
“The park?” she asked.
We had walked slowly around the park as I told her about the diary and laptop and what I’d found in them. She had simply nodded when I told her that I had found and contacted Libena, and arranged an interview with the newspaper, and that I had made copies of both the diary and the laptop hard disk and sent these to the editor. I had bought two ice creams and we were sat on a bench watching the children before she spoke.
“She is good girl. Very strong, and will not betray you. This man at paper – you have given him other stories?”
I nodded. “Yes. He’s a journalist. He won’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”
She said quietly. “You are going to bring Libena to stay with us, aren’t you?”
I had guessed that she wasn’t ready for a fuss. So I’d had Anna creep into her room early and place the card and CD at the foot of her bed, so she would see them as soon as she woke. I’d located the words on the Web for her special song, and printed them on the inside of the Birthday Card, and had most of the staff sign the card before sealing the envelope.
It was just before ten when I’d gone up to the day room with Svetlana and Katrina, and as we entered, I heard Lizzie’s lovely voice singing her song, along with The Rankin Sisters. Although all of the girls were there, no-one spoke, just listening to the beautiful song, and the haunting accompaniment by The Chieftains.
Raghadsa chun coille agus caithfead an chuid eile
He’s the fondest of lovers, sweet Jimmy mó mhíle stór
Svetlana stood beside me captivated. “That song – she sings most times, it is so lovely!”
Lizzie came over to us when the song finished, holding the card in her hand. She stood in front of me and held out her arms. I bent down and kissed her cheek, then whispered “Happy Birthday Lizzie. Did you like your present?”
He sat down as I poured Gin over the ice and lemon into the two tumblers, and sloshed in the tonic.
“A nice, neat job Joe. Thanks.”
He took a sip of his drink and asked quietly. “How did you know about the stapler?”
“Was that his own..”
He nodded slowly and changed the subject. “Thanks for the bonus of the laptop and notebook.”
“The notebook has been translated by our team and the transcription given to the Drug Squad. They are arresting his contacts as we speak.”
He paused. “The laptop was encrypted but we have already broken some of the codes. It details several well-placed FSB operatives, as well as a mine of other information. The Russians are going to be very upset. If for nothing else, your raid would have been worthwhile for that alone.”
I nodded. “Good. And talking about the FSB, have you seen these before?”
I nodded. “A bonus for the guys, and sufficient for substantial donations to two other charities, as well as our Refuge.”
He looked steadily at me. “Don’t waste time with the police. Do what you did a few months ago, and sink every last perverted bastard, by giving the stuff to the Press.”
“Do you want a look around?“ I asked, “It’s been over three years.”
We both stood and shook hands. He made a call on his mobile, and I picked up the heavy holdall I had beside me, and walked him to the garage doors. I pressed the button and the doors rolled up slowly.
I had just finished making a pot of coffee when the ‘phone rang.
“Ah, Mr. Carlson. Good Morning.” The voice was slow and deliberate, and very Welsh.
“Good Morning Sergeant. I’ve been expecting a call.”
“Yes.” he said, “I expect you have. We interviewed a Mrs. Davies early this morning regarding her missing daughter Brangwen. Can you talk?”
“Yes, of course.”
“I’ve made some inquiries about your Refuge, and it’s very highly thought of, so I don’t doubt your credentials. Can you briefly describe how Brangwen came to be staying at the Refuge?”
I told him. I also told him we knew her as Lizzie, not Brangwen. He listened without interrupting as I explained that it was only in the last three days that she had been able to tell us what had happened, and had given us her Mother’s name and address.
“I gather that it was you who advised Mrs. Davies to contact us, Mr. Carlson. Did you manage to get any information from her?”
I sighed. “Only that she finally realised that her daughter had told her the truth, that her boyfriend was sexually abusing her daughter, but that she hadn’t reported him, nor notified you of her being missing.”
“Yes. That ties in with what she has said to us Mr. Carlson. How is the girl?”
“Physically she is fine. We had a doctor check her shortly after arrival, and she found minor tearing and abrasions, but nothing that won’t heal. Mentally is another story. As you can imagine her confidence, especially with men, has been shattered, but I’m glad to say she’s improving day by day.”
“Would you say she is fit enough to rejoin her mother?”
I paused.”It’s my opinion that her confidence in her mother has been damaged as well. The girl herself would like to talk to her mother here in London, before she makes any decision.”
“That doesn’t surprise me. Are you happy to continue looking after her until such time as she may be ready to return?”
“We are. I have also offered Mrs. Davies her fare to and from London, and free accommodation so that they can meet. The only condition I imposed, was that she report matters to you first.”
“It’s a dreadful business, and thank you for your insistence that she talk to us. I have men out looking for the nasty little shit as we speak.”
“Will Mrs. Davies face charges?”
“Well, of course we could charge her, but as you may have already gathered Mr. Carlson, she isn’t very bright, and we tend to try not to punish people for their lack of mental acuity.”
“I’m glad. The poor woman has probably suffered enough.”
“Yes.” he said. “Mind you, the Social Services take a dim view of what they see as criminal negligence. So that is all still up in the air.”
“If the girl can’t go back to her mother, then we are happy to take care of her.”
“I’ve informed the local Social Services Mr. Carlson. They may want to talk to you, or possibly come and see you.”
I had the impression that he’d said all that he was going to.
“Thank you Mr. Carlson. Good Day sir.” he hung up.
I was a few minutes early. Police take a dim view of men hanging around women’s refuges, so I took a walk down Handley Road, returning via Southborough Road, just in time to see her leaving Charlotte Craven’s 3-story house. She wore a crumpled skimpy dress, and had cheap trainers on her feet. One of Zee’s little bags hung over her shoulder.
She looked around. Across the street from her was a young man in a striped tee-shirt, and a little behind him a women pushing a baby-carriage. She turned and saw me walking towards her and came to meet me. As I approached I greeted her in Serbian.
We headed down the road and into “The Broken Chain.”
She was very easy to be with, bright and cheerful, and remained so as she recounted how she had ended up a prisoner.
The salads came, and I was reminded of Svetlana, as I watched her attack the meal with evident relish. We finished with some fruit and cream, then two coffees.
We found an unoccupied bench in the bright sunshine and sat down. I tapped the A4 folder I carried. “Are you ready for this?”
She finally rested the diary on her knees. I reached across and closed it. “I am so sorry.” I said. “I have asked too much of you.”
Her sobs drew attention from strangers passing, but my warning looks moved them on quickly. Eventually she had calmed, but still clung to me. Then she spoke in my ear. “You are first man I want to hold me. For you and other girls I will do what you ask. We will destroy these perverts?”
“OK.” I said. “Shortly, we will be meeting a young lady called Katya. She is Serbian, from Smederevo, and she is a good friend of mine. She is there to help and support you when you meet the journalist.”
“You will not be there?”
I smiled. “It is very important that this journalist does not find out my name, nor even know of my existence.”
She nodded. “Of course. I am silly.”
“The journalist is a lady called Samantha Johnson, and she is the features editor of The Guardian newspaper. She already has a copy of this diary, but she doesn’t yet know who you are. When you meet, simply tell her your name, and she will want to ask you to confirm some of the times and dates where you are mentioned in this diary. If, and only if you want to, you can tell her anything else you consider relevant about any of the men that you have met. She will not pressure you in any way.”
I paused, waiting for her to absorb the implications of what I was asking.
She nodded. “I understand. I can do this.”
I continued. “Your name, and the names of the other girls will not be published, only a code letter for each girl’s name will be used by the reporter. Also, I’ve been assured that no attempt will be made to question you further in the future, unless you wish it so.”
Again I paused. She smiled at me, the tears all gone.
I said “Wait. I have just one more thing to say before we meet this reporter. There is always a risk that someone will find out who you are and where you are staying. People are very good at putting two and two together and making five.”
I looked at my watch. “OK. A short walk from here is a small hotel. I’ve booked a room and the journalist is waiting there. Katya will be waiting in the lobby for my ‘phone call. I’ll phone her now, and she’ll meet us on the way, and walk you back to the hotel to meet the journalist. When the interview is over, I’ll see you both back at that pub we were in earlier. How does that sound?”
She smiled. “It sounds good. And then will you take me to Svetlana?”
I nodded. “Yes. I will talk to Miss Craven before we meet in the pub. You and I will return to her Refuge and get your things. She will be more than happy for you to join your friends – she has no more room, and will probably be glad of the help.”
I got out my mobile and called Katya. She greeted me and we arranged she would walk down Gore Road to meet us.
I put the mobile back in my pocket and we both got up and started walking. She took my hand and squeezed it, not letting go until she put her arms around Katya and kissed her.
I stood by smiling at them as they fired questions at each other in rapid colloquial Serbian I couldn’t fathom, then we walked slowly up Gore Road toward the hotel. A few hundred yards from the entrance I stopped and spoke.
I turned to Libena. “You can still say no. Are you OK to go ahead?”
“Good.” I said “I’ll see you both in ‘The Broken Chain’ when you’re finished.”
“Hi Joe. Second time in one week! What will people think?” she laughed.
I switched off the M3’s engine, and turned to Libena.
Katya had made us some coffee and had taken out her notes and small recorder. I poured us both coffee and sat down.
“And last, but not least, you?”
I got out the spare mobile and fed it a topped-up SIM card, attached the muffler device, and rang Andrew Donaldson’s office.
His polite secretary put me straight through when I identified myself. His voice boomed down the phone.
“Christ!” he exclaimed “It’s you we should thank. Sam will probably pull a prize for the interview.”
“One question?” he said.
I cleared away the coffee cups as Libena entered the lounge.
Svetlana was in the day room, the inevitable sketchpad in her hand, but when she saw us she came straight over and greeted Libena with big hugs and kisses. They chattered rapidy in Serbian, and I left them together and walked over to Zee.
She looked quizzically at me. “You’ve been busy I see.”
I laughed. “Only one, and I’m about to announce it now, but need to say a few words to both the staff and girls about what they may see and hear tomorrow.”
Girls were still finding their seats when I re-entered the day room. I waited a minute or so to make certain everyone was there, then went and stood in front of the wall with all Svetlana’s sketches on. She caught my eye and smiled a little nervously. In fact looking around, everyone looked a little apprehensive.
“Hi Everyone. First of all, there is no need for glum faces. This is not going to be bad news.” I paused as they visibly relaxed. “I have two things I wish to say. The first is by way of preparing all of you for what you may see or hear both in newspapers and on the TV tomorrow. I am going to speak plainly and not use any fancy words so that everyone will understand exactly what I am saying”
“As you know, London has it’s fair share of unpleasant men, by far the most unpleasant in my opinion being those, who for whatever the reason, prefer to have sex with children. Some of you here this evening have suffered as a result of these men, and I am pleased to tell you that tomorrow, and over the next few days, there will be widespread arrests by the police, of a large number of them.”
“As a result of the news coverage, the names and possibly photos of these men, will be displayed in the newspapers and on the TV. I tell you this because you may see someone who has hurt you in the past, and find seeing them again upsetting. If so, I want you to tell a member of staff, so that they can re-assure and comfort you.”
“Although you might find this news unsettling, I hope all of you will understand that this is a good thing that it is happening, that so many of these perverts are going to end up in jail, where they can’t hurt any more children.”
“If anyone is not sure about what I have said, and would like further explanation or assurance, please come and talk to me or another member of staff.”
I waited. Because there were several girls whose first language wasn’t English, they relied on other girls to help them. There was a hubbub of conversation, but eventually they quietened and looked expectantly at me.
“Now. This next announcement hopefully is a little more pleasant. Some of you will have noticed that Connie is sat amongst you, rather than cooking your tea. That is because I have arranged for all of us to have a meal in a local Italian Restaurant, to celebrate Lizzie’s Birthday.”
“You will be able to have anything you like to eat, and there will be a cake, live music and a Karaoke.”
“Thak and Pash have agreed to stay behind and look after any girls who don’t want to go out, and Connie has prepared sandwiches in the cooler. I know you will want to take the opportunity to freshen up, so let’s all meet again here just before seven. The restaurant is only 3 minutes walk away.”
The roomful of excited girls began to clear. I walked over to a hesitant Patricia. “Your foster parents have been informed, and are welcome to join us when they arrive.” I said.
Svetlana walked over, put her arms around my neck and kissed me.
We walked out of the day room, and they disappeared into the lift as I waited with Constanza in her wheelchair for it’s return. Lizzie had taken my hand, and she chatted excitedly until the lift returned.
I took a deep breath and walked through the door pushing Constanza. I needn’t have worried. The room had been re-painted and the furniture changed around, and there were now two single beds, so that Zee could stay with Constanza at night. It looked completely different.
Lizzie was quite happy to help Constanza in the bathroom, and I sat on one of the beds, listening to their happy chatter and laughter until they were ready.
I looked around at the happy, animated faces of the girls, and picked up my glass of Rioja and took a large swig.
Almost inevitably, it seemed, the ‘Terrible Two’ had been first up to sing, and the singing of the two beautiful sisters together, had brought the activities of the restaurant almost to a halt, and prompted encores from several customers.
The remains of the Birthday cake I had ordered for Lizzie was on the table in front of me, but Lizzie herself was now standing with Svetlana by her side, singing her special song. There was complete silence in the room apart from her singing and the Chieftains music, and as she finished the song, the whole room burst into thunderous applause.
“What a truly lovely voice she has.”
He looked shrewdly at me. “This work must bring you great pain, as well as joy, Joe.”
He looked across the room to where Patricia and two other girls were sitting.
The combo once more took their places and struck up with a slow tango. Svetlana stood next to me and took my hand. “Do You Wanna Dance?” she quipped.
The number came to an end, and Svetlana turned to the piano player. “Another plis?”
The night was warm, and I lay with only one sheet covering me, going over the events of the last 48 hours. A nagging doubt that I’d missed something had crept into my mind earlier in the evening, but I’d dismissed it so as not to cloud Lizzie’s birthday celebration.
I’d had such feelings before, and sometimes, most times, they proved to be groundless – perhaps just my unconscious mind working it’s way through a checklist. This time also, I recognised that trying to ferret out the reason for my discomfiture was a complete waste of time – it would come to me eventually, as if out of the blue, and hopefully not too late to act upon it.
I heard her enter the room, and then her lips were on mine, her hands holding my head. Her tongue swept across the inside of my lips and immediately I felt the stirring in my groin.
She moved the sheet, and gently sat astride me, again kissing me. I ran my hands along her silky thighs, under the thin nightie and caressed her lovely buttocks. She moaned, and moving her head down, she took my left nipple between her teeth and nipped it gently, before spreading her mouth and kissing my breast in a powerful, passionate movement, her head rotating, moving up and down, and it was my turn to moan.
She lifted herself slightly, and I moved, then entered her. I felt her grip me as I moved deep inside her. A shudder ran through her body and she lifted her head and gasped.
She grasped the shoulders of her nightie, and pulled it off over her head, and I eased myself up and took her right breast in my mouth. We rocked together as the spasms within us grew stronger, and she began shuddering with each stroke of me inside her, her head falling back, then moving forward, over and over.
I kissed her throat and neck, and the first of her screams was deafening. I felt her groin pressing into me with all the strength she could muster, and I could feel her fingernails biting into my back as she clung onto me, as if for her life.
There was a pause, a brief few seconds when she was perfectly still, then her grip on me became relentless, and she yelled my name and shook her head from side to side, in the final contractions of her orgasm.
I waited until she was nearly done, then simply let go of all of the pent-up passion I felt for her. I thrust into her powerfully and hard and I heard her breathe the words softly and intently into my ear.
Her encouragement unlocked even more passion within me, and she moved skilfully and beautifully in time with me, cooing her appreciation in my ear, as I gasped my way to fulfilment.
I buried my face in her breasts and screamed, while she clasped my head with both hands, and kissed my head. We said nothing, locked together, before she carefully climbed off me, and lay at my side.
My breathing slowly returned to normal, as we lay, looking into each other’s eyes.
“I am so happy.” she said simply
|« 11: Refuge|
Svetlana – Chapter Index.
Listen to Lizzie’s song: Jimmy Mó Mhíle A Stór
Bliain an taca seo Jimmy d’imigh uaim rún mo chléibh
Ní thiocfaidh sé abhaile go dtabharfaidh sé cúrsa an tsaoil;
Nuair a chífead é rithfead le fuinneamh ró-ard ina chomhair
‘S clúdód le mil é, sé Jimmy mó mhíle a stór
Bíonn m’athair is mo mháthair ag bearradh’s ag bruíon liom féin
Táim giobaithe piocaithe ciapaithe cráite dem shaol;
Thugas taitneamh don duine úd dob fhinne ’s dob áille snó
Is chuaigh sé ar bhord loinge, sé Jimmy mó mhíle a stór
These twelve months and better my darling has left the shore
He ne’er will come back till he travels the globe all o’er
And when he returns with laurels I’ll crown him all o’er
He’s the fondest of lovers, sweet Jimmy mó mhíle a stór
Raghadsa chun coille agus caithfead an chuid eile
San áit ná beidh éinne, ag éisteacht le ceol na n-éan
Ag bun an chrainn chaorthainn mar a bhfásann ann féar go leor
Ag tabhairt taitnimh don duine úd, sé Jimmy mó mhíle a stór
He’s the fondest of lovers, sweet Jimmy mó mhíle a stór
‘Jimmy Mo Mhile A Stor’ featuring The Rankin Sisters can be found on: Tears of Stone by The Chieftains.
Book 1 of The Carlson Imperative is now available as a PDF download here: The Carlson Imperative – Book 1
The Carlson Imperative is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between characters in the story, and real persons, either living or dead, is purely coincidental.