Not so much a warning for this chapter. I’ve had a lot of fun writing this book, especially these later chapters. I began “A Kapitany” in 2007, but deserted this novel after Chapter 14. BDSM is an enormous field of study and frankly? Other work got in the way. However, with the support of friends and readers in this lifestyle, I was encouraged to finish this book. The theme has changed over the course of writing this book and I feel on more solid ground now. I hope to publish this in the spring, or perhaps early summmer. Thank you John Taurus and others who are reading and giving advice. Their experience in this world is a great help in writing this novel. There is a sex scene i have eliminated towards the end of this chapter. Don’t want to raise any hackles.
“Soffia, I need a favor, darling. Yes, I know, your Vadas only calls when he needs a favor. Soffia, listen to me. I must come to Budapest.”
Vadas grimaced and pulled at his cigarette. Soffia could be a hard ass and right now she was being just that. He shifted the phone on his shoulder and stretched his legs.
“I have several things to do in Budapest. What I need is you to come here and stay with Elizabeth. No, she is much better, she is walking around. Yes, she is better, but I don’t want to leave her alone right now. I still don’t know where Miklos is, and I don’t want him showing up here when I am gone. No, I have men posted to watch, but I don’t want to alarm her.”
Vadas held the phone from his ear. Soffia was full of grievances this morning. He wasn’t in a mood to listen.
“No, darling, I haven’t told her yet you are coming. I thought I should ask first. Yes, I know, Soffia, I take great advantage of you. I will make it up. What? You pick. You know your Vadas will buy what you desire. I always have, darling.”
Vadas blew smoke towards the ceiling. “Listen, Soffia, Elizabeth has agreed to marry. Yes, I am speaking the truth. No, I didn’t burn her passport. No, I didn’t break her arm, funny lady.”
He rolled his eyes. Soffia was chattering on. “Look, you can help with planning the wedding. What? Yes, it will be a wedding. A big wedding. You will be maid of honor or whatever they call the woman next to the bride. Where? Some church in Eger. You take her around and show things. You can buy the dress, and another one for you. Yes, like last time. I trust you, Soffia. She will be a pretty bride. You both will be pretty brides. What? I’ll marry you off to one of my men, ok? You will like living in the countryside. No, I am teasing, Soffia. I know you are too sophisticated for these men around here.”
A few more minutes and Vadas got what he wanted. Soffia was coming out by car and would stay with Elizabeth for a few days. This would give him the time to go to Paris, see his lawyers and visit the old aunties. They were his only living relatives. It was crucial he at least visit and invite them in person. They held some important purse strings.
At lunch Vadas asked Elizabeth what should be done with the frescos.
“For now? Nothing, Vadas. First secure the roof. Anything done before that would be pointless. Then fix the plaster in the ceilings. It’s rather scary lying under that ceiling in the bed. It could all give in at any moment. But the frescos should not be touched. They are too valuable and historic for any hands besides professional conservators. And that would cost a lot of money.”
Elizabeth pushed around her salad. She still wasn’t eating much.
“Probably the damp in the house doesn’t help. Fix the windows in the rooms where there are frescos. Where there aren’t, board them up properly. They will be costly to fix anyway. Those sashes have to be custom made.”
Vadas smiled over his coffee. “You have been thinking, no? You speak good sense, Elizabeth. Now, I have a plan. You do that stuff on the internet, you know, press those buttons, and find the people who can fix the roof first. You can go into Eger and ask. I would start there first.”
Elizabeth looked doubtful. “Vadas, do you remember I don’t speak Hungarian? They would laugh at me first, and then throw me out.”
“Well, I have a solution. I have asked Soffia to come up for a couple of days. Now, listen to me, Elizabeth. I have to go to Budapest for a couple of days, on business only and no you can’t come. I will be racing all over and you will not be able to keep up. Plus, I have to call upon my old aunties and invite them to the wedding. You and Soffia can plan the wedding, you two girls. This is woman stuff, and it best left in your capable hands. Four capable hands.”
Elizabeth still looked doubtful. In fact, she looked upset. Vadas guessed what was worrying her.
“Listen, Elizabeth. Soffia has promised to be good. She has promised not to get you under her or whatever she does. Ok? No hanky panky from her. Plus, she is Hungarian and can help arrange the workmen. It will be fun. You won’t even miss me and I will be back before you do.”
Elizabeth said nothing. She continued to push her food around the plate.
Vadas sat back and watched. “Do you remember, Elizabeth, when I told you I would feed you? That you would eat from my hand only? Do I have to do that now? You are going to look like a scarecrow at your wedding. What man wants to sleep with a woman who is skin and bones? The winter, Elizabeth, is hard in these hills.”
Vadas had no trouble with his own appetite. He cut up his meat and held out his fork. “You come here, Elizabeth. You eat this. Then you eat another mouthful.”
Elizabeth looked at him, her eyes filling with tears. “Vadas, I’m scared.”
“What? You scared of meat?”
“You know, you must know. What if Miklos comes back when you are gone? What if he comes here? Soffia is no defense against him. You know that.”
Vadas sat back and patted his knee. “You come here Elizabeth and I will explain something.”
Elizabeth knew his behavior made her look like a child, a ‘good girl’ in his terms. But she was scared and the news he was going away put her on edge.
She sat on his lap and Vadas wrapped his arms around her. He had this habit of humming off key when she was close by, and Elizabeth found it strangely comforting.
“Now look, Elizabeth. You and Soffia will be safe. I have men here you won’t see. But anyone who approaches by foot or car will be known. These men are hunters and they know this particular prey. And you are wrong about Soffia. I would rather go up against two men than Soffia. She is a good shot, too. I will give her a gun. Hell, you can have a gun, too. Ok? Dry your tears and eat this good food.”
“Vadas, I can handle a gun. I have before.”
“What? You know how to shoot? I will sleep with one eye open from now on. Eat another piece of meat.”
Just to see if she could handle a gun, Vadas took her out behind the lodge where there was a meadow. He set up some bottles as targets and loaded a large pistol. Standing behind her with his hands around hers, he told her to gently squeeze the trigger. She missed.
“Ok, we do this again. You hold the gun steady, Elizabeth. You are jerking when it went off.”
“Vadas. Let me do this without your hands all over. Let me try, please.”
Vadas backed off and Elizabeth considered the target. She closed one eye and aimed carefully. The bottle exploded.
“Good girl! That was beginner’s luck. You try again.” Elizabeth hit the bottle but the gun was heavy. It wasn’t a light pistol, but a heavy European model. The sound scared her.
“Enough, Vadas. My wrist hurts. I have shot a gun before. I don’t use pistols, so this was hard. I have my own shotgun.”
“What? You have a shotgun? What, a lady’s gun? Maybe a small gauge? Something for mice?”
Elizabeth laughed. “No, Vadas, I have a 12 gauge for bird hunting. I have another, a breech loader, I use with skeet.”
“Oh, skeet don’t taste good, Elizabeth.” Vadas laughed and shook his head.
“Each day I learn something new about you. This is good, Elizabeth. By the time we are married I will know all your secrets.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Don’t bet on it, Vadas. I have lived a long life. I have many secrets.”
Vadas took the gun and put it in his vest pocket. He put his arm around Elizabeth’s shoulder and they went back to the lodge.
That evening Elizabeth asked him. “So when are you leaving and when is Soffia coming?”
Vadas looked up from his paper. “Are you pushing me out the door? Well, Soffia is coming tomorrow and I thought I would hang around until she got here. Then I can read her the riot act again.” Vadas went back to his paper.
When Soffia arrived, Vadas brought her into his study and closed the door. They were in there for a while and Elizabeth decided to take a walk. She would see if she could spy these men lingering about. Vadas said they would be invisible, but she wanted to see for herself. When she came back in the lodge, Vadas and Soffia were by the fire drinking whisky.
“Ah, Elizabeth darling! You look good! So much better than those first few days in hospital.”
“Hello, Soffia.” Elizabeth went and kissed her on both cheeks. “It’s good to see you again.” She sat down on a small sofa. Vadas held out his whisky to her and she shook her head.
“Vadas has given me a list of things we can do and things we can’t do,” Soffia said brightly. “But we can spend his money and that is the best thing.”
Vadas sighed. “Always you women spend my money. That is constant.”
He took a deep pull on his drink. “Now Elizabeth, I have explained to Soffia something. You two go up to the house, but always take one of my men. Better to take two. One inside and one outside watching. Soffia knows who, so she leads. You go into Eger, Soffia will drive, and you will be safe there. But I have given specific orders to Soffia and you are to obey, ok?”
Elizabeth looked at Soffia. She was met by a big grin. It was clear to Elizabeth Soffia had her own plans.
Vadas must have caught something. He clucked his tongue at her. “You remember Rule Number One, Soffia. You don’t forget it.”
That night Soffia slept in Elizabeth’s bedroom. Vadas was working on some papers and came upstairs late. Elizabeth had gone to bed and was just falling asleep. She tried to stay awake until he came up, but the day’s activities and Soffia coming had worn her out. Vadas undressed by a small lamp and came in bed.
“Elizabeth, I know you are awake. I can tell by your breathing. Now listen. Soffia has her orders. She will be good company for you. I will be gone three, maybe five days, but I will be back before you miss me.”
“Ok, Vadas”, she said with a yawn. “Soffia has her orders, I hear you.” Sitting up, she asked. “Vadas, listen to me. You made a promise about Miklos. Are you going after him? Is this why you are leaving now?”
“Elizabeth. You don’t worry about what I am doing. I’m seeing lawyers, old aunties and wine clients. You will learn I have business that doesn’t concern you. Now, you be a good girl and behave with Soffia. At least tell me you will behave.” Vadas switched off the little lamp.
Sliding down the bed he pulled Elizabeth towards him. He began kissing her neck and worked his way down to her breast.
“You are warm and soft. You eat more and the bed will be warmer this winter.” He had an erection and pulled one of her legs over his hip.
“Elizabeth”, Vadas murmured, almost asleep. “How come you never ask me for anything? You know I will give it.”
Elizabeth, half asleep, was wrapped in his arms under a blanket. The heat from his body made the blanket unnecessary. She wondered what she should say.
“I don’t need anything, Vadas. You are generous enough. What do I have to want?”
“Soffia always gets something when she asks. You know I have a soft spot for women. I can’t say no. You want a car? I will buy you a nice Mercedes. I will give you a driver so you don’t get lost.
“Vadas, go to sleep. I want nothing. Perhaps when we marry we can bring my Aunt Irene over for the wedding?”
“Of course, that would be nice. You know you can ask me for anything, Elizabeth. A husband takes care of his wife.”
“I’m not your wife yet, Vadas. I will be expensive enough when I am. Think of the cost of all those sheep and a trained sheep dog. You will howl at the price.”
Vadas laughed, a deep rumbling sound in the room. “I am thinking of roast lamb right now, with a good bottle of wine.”
“Vadas, go to sleep. You are always thinking of your stomach.”
Vadas fell asleep, snoring loudly. Elizabeth fell asleep but not before she thought of what he said. She really didn’t have anything to want for, except her safety from Miklos. She knew Vadas would not listen to her. She knew he would continue to go after Miklos. As long as she stuck close to his side, she would be safe. If he could do this, Vadas could do anything. She wanted for nothing, really. Vadas always paid.