Posts Tagged ‘art thieves’

“A Kapitany”, a novel. Chapter 27

June 6, 2017

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WARNING:  SEX SCENE AND OTHER STUFF  YOU DON’T WANT THE KITTIES TO READ.

 

Eight years ago I started to research and write this novel.  It was an encounter between an American woman and a Hungarian man that blossomed more than expected by this writer.   She was innocent of all knowledge about this setting, and he was a Dom.  Not any way innocent of the BDSM scene, world.  In a year and a half I learned more about this ‘scene’ than I wanted to.  Now I can laugh at the presumptuousness of  men who claim to be Doms….the women are more able to evoke sympathy from me. Sometimes. It is hard to watch a women subject herself to  form of slavery.

In any case, I set this story in Hungary and Paris.  Vadas Dohendy is in his early 60’s, tired of life, and an art thief.  He doesn’t break into museums at his stage of life, but it’s basically a well oiled insurance fraud scheme.  Elizabeth is in her 50’s and bound up unexpectedly in the snares and personality of Vadas. In Vadas’ attempt to leave the field of art thievery, Elizabeth is abducted by his arch enemy, Miklos.  A man he has worked with for over 30 years.  Elizabeth is recovering but the ‘insult’ to Elizabeth (almost killing her) is seen as beyond the pale by Vadas.  Hence, warfare breaks out in Eger, Paris and other places in Hungary.

This was a lot of fun to write….and I finally finished it 2 years ago. But I haven’t done a proper editing and will have to  soon.

Soffia is a character from Vadas’ past.  A Domme, but has become friends with Elizabeth.

Lady Nyo

 

A Kapitany, Chapter 27

 

“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 are 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 was telling the truth, 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 the gun.”

“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.  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 one of the larger vest pockets. 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 up working on some papers and came upstairs late. Elizabeth had gone to bed and was just falling off to sleep. 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 know it.”

“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 and this is 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 out 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.

 

“Now, Elizabeth, we go slow. Just a little and you tell me if I hurt you.”     Elizabeth shifted in his arms. After a few minutes, she was ready enough.
Vadas didn’t lose any time. He gently pushed into her. Not meeting objections, he began to make love with his old vigor. He rolled over on her and sat back, pulling her hips up onto his thighs. Elizabeth moaned and watched him illuminated only from the feeble moonlight that came from the windows. Here was her old Vadas, as strong as a horse.

“Ah, fuck me, Elizabeth.”

It didn’t take long for either of them,  with Vadas rocking into her and Elizabeth lifting her hips to meet him. Panting, Vadas lay over her, drained of energy. Elizabeth smiled. Miklos hadn’t won. She had healed and picked up the important pieces of her life. Vadas tonight proved that. His cock was one of those important pieces. Oh, how she had missed it!

“Elizabeth”, Vadas said quietly. “How come you never ask me for anything? You know I will give it.”

Elizabeth was half asleep, wrapped in his arms under a blanket. The heat from his body almost made it unnecessary. She wondered what she should say.
“I don’t need anything, Vadas. You are generous enough to me. 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 won’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. But 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 we are wed. 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 night. “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 for her safety from Miklos. She already knew Vadas would not listen to her. She knew he would continue to go after him. She knew 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 pays.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2017

 

 

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 20

October 9, 2015
from website: halfhearted dude...and thank you.

from website: halfhearted dude…and thank you.

About 8 years ago, I started writing a novel.  I had a vague idea about the story, but a stronger idea about the characters.  It started out as a novel about BDSM, but I knew nothing about the subject.  However, I did know a real sadist: a ‘sexual’ sadist as he claimed, and not ‘your usual garden variety sadist.” (His words).

I had joined an online writer’s group.  You find all sorts of people in these things.  Some normal and some very strange.  Some good writers and some hacks.  You learn a lot about other worlds out there and if you are lucky, you learn something about writing.

Corresponding with some of these writers gave me the opportunity to observe human nature or perhaps the sadder side of human nature.  It did give me a few characters for the novel, and perhaps those two years were worth it, if only for that.  As one good friend said: “Can you afford the therapy you will need just knowing these folk?”   He was right: they do leave nightmares.

Chapter 20 of “A Kapitany” (which I used to think meant  “Master”  in Hungarian, but I have been informed means “Captain”…..still works) sets a scene between the two antagonists:  Vadas Dohendy and Milkos Fargas  (Vadas in Hungarian loosely means “Hunter”,  and Fargas means “Wolf”) have been partners in art crime for a least 30 years in Europe.

 Vadas has met a woman (Elizabeth) and wants out:  He is tired of the life, and wants to settle down with Elizabeth and his vineyard in Eger, Hungary.  They are both ‘Doms’, but Milkos is even more of a control freak. A dangerous man, indeed.

He is out to hit Vadas where it will hurt most.

Writing  chapters of sex and violence was a challenge.  The extreme nature of both themes was unknown territory.  However, the book is now completed, and except for the usual rewriting of chapters, will be published next year.

Lady Nyo

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 20

It was well after one in the morning when they met in Miklos’ study. Vadas always liked this room, with its dark wood paneling, book cabinets, and the long windows that gave an almost panoramic view of the countryside. They were on the second floor of the house, in a corner room, with Miklos sitting behind an antique desk. He had placed a bottle of whisky before them. Both were into their second drink.

“This little woman, this Elizabeth. She is a bit different from what you usually have on your arm, no?”

Vadas swallowed his drink before answering. “She is, Miklos. She is different. She is deeper than the usual fare.”

Miklos laughed. “Ah, my friend, if you are looking for this ‘deep’ you must be feeling the creep of age in your bones.”

“I am, Miklos. It’s been coming on for years. My life has caught up with me.”

Miklos finished his drink and poured another for both of them.

“So”, Miklos said quietly. “You are feeling old. We all get to feel old if we are lucky. To be lucky is not to die young.”

Vadas raised his glass to Miklos.

Miklos drummed his fingers on the surface before him. “You were good with the women, Vadas. They flocked to you like pigeons in the park. You had more than your share if I remember right.”

Vadas smiled and sipped his drink. Miklos always drank heavily and could hold his liquor. Vadas drank sparingly with Miklos because he knew his game. Tonight he needed his wits about him.

“I see this Elizabeth is wearing Marta’s bracelet. No other woman in my memory has been seen with it. So, tell me, Vadas, what is so special with this girl?”

“Nothing much. She’s a woman innocent of our ways. She has no experience in these things. That has a certain charm.”

“But to give her that bracelet, Vadas? This means more than she has charmed you with her innocence. I hear she wasn’t the best of submissives, so you think making her your wife will improve her behavior?”

“What you have heard is probably from those two jackals who keep circling about. They know little, and Alexandra knows nothing.”

Miklos laughed. “They are rather like jackals, my friend. They move in for the kill before it is decent. They themselves were bad slaves as I remember.”

Vadas gave a wry smile. “Considering you trained Alexandra and I Soffia, I think the failing was on our side.”

“Well,” said Miklos with a shrug, “both of them have served a purpose, wouldn’t you agree?”

Vadas laughed. “Everyone in our lives, Miklos, has served a purpose.”

“But what about this Elizabeth? Why would she of all women interest you?”

Vadas pondered his answer. “I don’t know, Miklos. She was just the usual girl at first. I had my way with her, but something else developed. I won’t say love, but then again, what is love to us? Over time she was willing to trust me. She trusted my decisions for her, even to take her from her home. Not to say she wasn’t a brat at times, but she was pliable.”

Vadas sipped his drink. He had not said much but knew Miklos could read between the lines.

Miklos looked through half closed eyes at Vadas.

“So you are saying you were training her for yourself, and not someone else? “

“Yes. It was an indulgence and also an experiment. She charmed me how she saw the world. She wasn’t jaded. Our society, our friends, Miklos, they are too corrupted, too deep in the mire. Elizabeth was, well, just innocent of our lives. She probably never will understand what we are. Or what I have done with women. Or why.”

“You think you can recapture your life through the innocence of this woman?”

“It’s more about changing my life, Miklos, and this is why we are talking tonight.”

“What is it you want from me?”

“I want out, Miklos. I don’t want to work for you anymore. I don’t want to fence art and I don’t want the continued risk to life. I want to retire to my vineyard and I want to grow old in the hills above Eger.”

“And this Elizabeth has agreed to be with you?”

“Elizabeth has not agreed to anything, Miklos.” Vadas put his glass down on the desk and scowled.

“Hah! That is a strange place for a man like you to be. Perhaps you can persuade her with a little pressure applied at the right places?”

Vadas laughed. “That ‘little pressure’ you are talking of would send her scurrying back to the States.”

“So, it seems you have lost your interest in dominating her? You are expecting a different kind of relationship and life with her?”

“I don’t know what the future holds, Miklos, but I do know that I am tired, bone weary of life as it is.”

Vadas finished his drink. “What do you want Miklos? What do you want from me for my part in the business?”

“What do I want? Ah, Vadas my old friend. Why would you think I would want anything? You have grown rich from our partnership and so have many others. I am stunned you would want to leave what we have built up so carefully. Do you really think you can walk away from all this and be happy and contented among your vines?”

“We have both grown rich, Miklos, and so many others, as you say. We have kept ourselves in very good fashion, but for me it’s over. I am too old for this. Let Alexandra or Soffia take up my place in the business. They will be good at it. Perhaps it is a time for a change here, no?”

Miklos leaned back in his leather chair. “You are not going to walk away so fast, my dear Vadas. You might be having a mid-life crisis. Have you considered this?”

“Miklos, bottom line. What do you want for my leaving? If I can, I will give it to you.”

“What do I want? One, I am deeply hurt you would want to leave our partnership. Two, if you are serious, I want an exchange for losing you. I don’t want money, I want property. You decide on what property.”

“Let me think on this, Miklos. This whisky is clouding my brain. I will give you an answer as to what I feel fair in a few days. Let me think on this. And I am serious, Miklos. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m not.”

Vadas left Miklos in his study and went back to what remained of the party. Some of the guests had departed, and some had disappeared into the guest rooms above the main floor. He spotted Soffia and walked up to her. She was yawning and looked tired.

“So, you were with Miklos a long time, Vadas. I hope your conversation was cordial. You know how both of you are together. Two wolves with very bad dispositions.” Soffia laughed. “I can smell you were drinking.”

“You don’t sit down with Miklos without a drink to steady your hand.”

“Well, did you get what you wanted out of him, Vadas? You know how hard he is to best.”

“What we discussed is between two men, Soffia. You are a Domme, but you still are a woman.”

“Oh! Am I to take that as an insult, Vadas? You men are so full of yourselves. Perhaps a woman knows more about women than men ever will know?”

Vadas pulled Soffia to him and kissed her on the forehead. “You know, Soffia, I respect you and admire you. In fact, I pushed for you to replace me.”

“Replace you? What do you mean?”

“I want out, Soffia. I want another life, a quiet life, one with Elizabeth and my grapes. I am too old and tired to continue to do what Miklos demands. I want to be my own man, with no attachments to my old life. Can you understand this?”

“How did Miklos take this news?”

“I don’t know, Soffia. I will find out in a few days when we talk again.”

“What if Elizabeth refuses to marry you, Vadas? All this will be for naught.”

“If she refuses to marry me, I will be very persuasive. You know I can be, Soffia. And even if I can’t get her to marry me, I will still do this.”

Soffia thought a moment. “I have no doubt about your persuasiveness, Vadas. I remember some of that in the past.”

Vadas left around 4am, tired and sick of the company. There were a few still drinking and loudly laughing, among them Miklos. They kept apart, each knowing the other could be moved to violence if tested. Or just given the chance.

Vadas called up one of his men and was met by a car as he walked down the gravel driveway. He could fall asleep he was so tired but too much was on his brain. He would have to consider his losses with Miklos. He knew they would be heavy. It was just one trade off for another. At least he would be starting something different. The allure of that was headier than the whisky he had drunk this night. It was time he was his own man. Miklos be damned.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2015

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 25

October 9, 2014

It’s probably confusing to post a novel in bits and pieces, but right now this book is in the state of rewrite.

It’s a novel I started 7 years ago, and didn’t ever think I could finish it, but then last year did.  It’s an ‘erotic novel’ or something that has a fair amount of sex in it, but hopefully it feeds the storyline. 

Vadas Dohendy is an art thief in the employ of a very dangerous man, Miklos Farkas. They have worked together for decades, mostly in this ‘business’.  Over the past 5 years Vadas, who owns a vineyard near Eger, Hungary, has moved away from Miklos’ illegal business and wants out. Elizabeth is American, though half Hungarian.  Vadas is Hungarian and lives in Paris and Hungary.  He has brought Elizabeth with him to Hungary, and in spite of all else, has managed to fall in love with Elizabeth.  She isn’t so sure about this man, and his activities have placed her in great danger. Miklos Farkas has raped and assaulted her, and Vadas and his men are looking for Miklos. Zoltan (an employee and friend of Vadas) was also shot by Miklos’ men in their kidnapping of Elizabeth.  Miklos was sending a loud message to Vadas in his abducting and brutalization of Elizabeth for Vadas daring to leave his business. Vadas will attempt to hunt Miklos to the ends of the earth for what he has done to Elizabeth.  Vadas in Hungarian means “the hunter” (sort of…) and Farkas means wolf.

Lady Nyo

Three days after Elizabeth was hospitalized, Vadas visited Zoltan in a different hospital. He was careful not to link Zoltan and Elizabeth’s circumstances. To do so would ignite suspicions, or make connections in the heads of the police. He needed time to figure out what to do about all this. Since Zoltan was shot, the police would have been notified, a report made, perhaps even an investigation begun. They would connect the dots soon enough.

A grizzled man with a hat pulled over his eyes visited Zoltan one morning. Either Peti or Sami watched over Zoltan. They didn’t think Zoltan was in any danger from Miklos’ men. At least not right now. They were probably scattered and hiding. At least Vadas and his men hoped so. They needed time.

It was Vadas who entered Zoltan’s room and sat in a chair by the bed. Zoltan looked pale. He had lost enough blood to need transfusions. He would be in hospital for at least another week. Zoltan turned his head from the window when Vadas came in. His face crinkled with a weak attempt at laughter.

“Even without a shave and that hat I could tell it was you.”

“How are you, my brother? Are you feeling stronger? Peti tells me you will be out of here within a week.”

“I’m weak, Vadas, like a kitten. I am sorry about Elizabeth. The men told me about her. I could do little to protect her, Vadas.”

“Of course, Zoltan, the bastards shot you. At least you didn’t die. Elizabeth is alive, but it was close.”

“Vadas, this shit is serious, this shit with Miklos. What happened there? Not for a moment did I think he would take such a risk.”

Vadas grimaced and pulled his hat off, brushing his hand through his hair. “He will pay for it. Now tell me, Zoltan, can you remember any of Miklos’ men? Do you think you know who shot you? Who acted in charge here?”

“I told Sami I thought it was the man called “the Romanian”. I heard someone say that name. He’s a big, bullet-headed man, Vadas. He was in charge. He knew what he was doing.”

Vadas cursed softly. “That sounds like Miklos. He would have a Romanian as his top man. Probably a relative.”

“I heard what you did to Barna.” Zoltan laughed softly. “I think you will take more than a finger from Miklos when you catch him.”

“Yeah, Miklos is living on borrowed time. You know, Zoltan, we can’t find him. At least not now. We think he might have been warned by Barna after we left him. We should have taken his cell. Barna probably called someone and they warned Miklos. Miklos had time to escape as we drove back. It’s like he disappeared into air.”

“Well, he’ll surface, Vadas. He won’t stay underground for long. He can’t. He’s got a business to run. Several.”

Zoltan sighed and lay back in the pillows. “You need more men, Vadas, you know that. You should go to Eger and call them together. You know what will happen here. Miklos will be doing the same thing. You don’t want to be short gunned as nasty as this has turned out.”

Vadas was thinking. Zoltan always gave good advice. They had been friends, worked together in the vineyards for over forty years. They had been boys, hunting and making trouble in Eger. Zoltan was one man Vadas trusted completely. He was right. He needed more men.

“So, how is your Elizabeth doing? Peti said her injuries were severe. What is known of Miklos, I would imagine she didn’t get off lightly.”

“An understatement, Zoltan. Her wrist is broken, she was raped and tortured. I found her hanging from a hook, out of it. Miklos left her there to die. He knew I would find her, sooner or later.  The doctors sedated her, but she’s awake and talking now. She’s in a lot of pain but the body will heal. Her mind?” Vadas pointed to his head. “Another story.”

Zoltan shook his head. He knew Miklos as long as Vadas. The level of hatred Miklos had in him-well, he would pay with his life. Miklos was somewhere on earth. Vadas would hunt him down like the boar.

“Elizabeth told me Alexandra was involved. She caned Elizabeth. They will pay. The offense was intended for both of us.”

Zoltan crossed himself. “Alexandra was always a ringyo. She hid behind Miklos in the early days, and she still jumps to serve him. She is jealous of your woman, Vadas. That is obvious to anyone looking.”

Vadas shoved the hat back on his head as he stood to leave.

“Well, my friend, you are out of the fight for now. You get better, Zoltan. Stronger. You come back to Eger and rest. I’m going to take Elizabeth there, if she will come. Right now? I don’t know what she will do, and of course, I can’t force her. A man has limits on what he can make a woman do. She can be stubborn like a mule. Like all women, no?”

Zoltan shifted in the bed and groaned. “You care for this woman. It’s been a long time since I saw that. She’s a good woman, Vadas, but you go slow. She has some shock and can’t think straight right now. If forced, she will bolt. Better hide her passport.”

Vadas laughed. He had already considered that. Elizabeth was an American, traveling under an American passport. He needed to keep her name from the eyes and ears of the American embassy in Budapest. That would be another can of worms for him. Better she marry him, and soon. At least it would change some things, and would provide some protection for her. And he would be protected in ways, too.

It was less than a week and Vadas was in Eger with Elizabeth. He wondered where to put her, since she was clearly in pain and needed help with the most basic things. He decided on his bedroom. He would sleep on a couch there, comfortable enough. He would sleep in his bed but for that damn cast. He was afraid of turning over on her.

His bathroom was better than the one attached to her bedroom. She would need help bathing and dressing. Maria Kovacs would help. He knew Soffia could be there periodically. He still wanted to run the show, to watch over Elizabeth’s recovery. He had brought her into this shit. A some point he had to concentrate on Miklos. And soon. And by him, not the police. He needed a plan. His hatred for Miklos was eating a hole in his gut. Miklos was still breathing air, not in the ground. This was an outrage he could not swallow.

********

Seven men were sitting at the table in the dining room one night. Vadas sat at the head of the table and studied each man. There were empty wine bottles all over and the men were getting pleasantly drunk.

Vadas knew they could be trusted. He had known most of them for decades. If not them, who else? All had worked in the planting of the vines and the harvest for years. A few had worked on other things, too, not legal. He was the last to cast stones. He had made his money illegally. With some of these men, he had few secrets. At times they had been part of his operations.

They were all strong and independent men, good men at heart. They were closed- mouthed men and he needed help in capturing Miklos.  They could dig for information, talk to men hanging in the taverns around Esztergom, grease some palms. He would pay well for this information. If they could, they would get it.

Andor spoke up, knocking back his wine and setting the heavy glass back on the table with a bang.

“Miklos must have gone insane. For him to do what he did? No man would tolerate it.” He turned and addressed Vadas.

“I can understand Zoltan being shot. He’s a man. He knows violence. He was in the way of what they wanted. But I saw the condition of your woman when we found her. Jesus Christ! What man would do this except a wild animal?”

Vadas looked up at the ceiling and pulled on his cigarette.

“When a man does this to a woman, he insults and injures not only the woman, but the man. He did this (Vadas made a vulgar thrusting motion with his hips) to fuck with me. With this, he defiled Elizabeth, but he also defiled me. Elizabeth was just a way to fuck with me.”

The men were silent, some nodding their heads. What Miklos did would not be tolerated by any man in the room. Some wondered at the calmness of Vadas, but those who knew him best knew Vadas never moved without a plan. The stakes were too high and dangerous.

Markus spoke. “This Romanian? Who is he? Has he been with Miklos long? I never heard of him. Barna, I did, but Barna wasn’t a leader. He was just a thug. This Romanian worries me, Vadas.”

“He worries me too.” Vadas took a long pull at his wine. “Sounds like he is a professional. Miklos is smart that way. He would size up what he wanted and get the man who could get the task done. This Romanian got the task done.”

Miklos wasn’t seen in Budapest. Vadas had his own men there and there were no reports of Miklos. It was thought he could have run back to Romania. He had many people there. Then again, he could have been in Paris. No one knew where he was.

Suddenly the room quieted. Elizabeth was standing in the wide doorway to the room. She was wearing a bathrobe and barefoot. Vadas turned and jumped out of his chair.

“Elizabeth, you shouldn’t be down here. You go back upstairs. Tonight is for the men and you are not to be down here. Understand?”

Elizabeth waved her hand in front of her face. “The smoke in this room would kill me, anyway. I heard the noise and I got nervous. I’ll go back upstairs and leave you to your drinking.”

She turned to go back and wobbled a bit. Vadas caught her and carried her upstairs.

“Look. The men are drinking and it’s no place for a woman. Get in bed and I will be up later.”

“Oh Vadas. I’m just nervous. I heard noise and I didn’t know what was happening downstairs.”

“You are not to worry, Elizabeth.” Vadas placed her on the bed, and kissed her on the forehead.

“Soffia told me you went to see Zoltan. How is he?”

“He is recovering, Elizabeth. He asked about you. Now, we will talk later. I must go back to the men.”

Vadas turned at the doorway and looked at Elizabeth on the big bed. She looked so small and defenseless. She looked like a child.

“Elizabeth, if you feel up to it, tomorrow we go to the house. You will like it. And the murals, of course. Do you have strength enough to walk around the house?”

“Yes. I feel so pointless sitting here, doing nothing. That would be lovely. Tomorrow morning?”

“Ok, I’ll be up later. I have work to do right now. You are ok now, you dream of your sheep.”

Vadas went back to the men and they argued and plotted until 2am. They were all pretty drunk when they left, but had at least agreed on a plan.

Vadas climbed the stairs knowing Elizabeth was long asleep and would ask no questions. Well, tomorrow was another day. Perhaps seeing the house would give her something to look towards. It needed a lot of work, but would take up her energies. He didn’t need Elizabeth hanging on his trousers with fear. Women were all a bother, with some interesting parts. Luckily the vines looked good, going into summer. The grapes had sense enough to grow on their own.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007-2014

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 34…..

February 17, 2013

…. with a little bad language, but only in Hungarian.

I am having a lot of fun with this novel. And, I have heard recently that Hungarians are also reading these few chapters on the blog and liking the story. That means a lot. I knew that since I started posting chapters of “A Kapitany” I had readers in Hungary. That was important to me. Some of them wrote and kindly corrected some of the sentences I used in Hungarian…a very difficult language. My father’s family is Hungarian and I was raised around that complex language, but it certainly was a boon for Hungarians to give me advice on the language.

I wanted to see if what I was writing struck a spark of recognition in these readers. Of course, it’s fiction, but every writer writes from fact and experience. Or tries to.

I have almost finished the book. It’s been a long haul but now the hard work: rewrite.

Some clues to readers who haven’t been following this story: Vadas Dohendy is an art thief. He works for Miklos Karkas, who is a bigger art thief. Vadas has left Miklos’ employ and gone back to his vineyard in Noszvaj, near Eger, Hungary. He wants a new life, and Elizabeth is his way out…or an excuse. Elizabeth many chapters back was kidnapped by Miklos Farkas and his hired thugs. Both men have their own hired thugs and are gunning for each other. Playing cat and mouse, but each has a reason to kill the other. So far, the Eger/Budapest police are waiting for them to kill each other. It makes their jobs a lot easier.

Farkas means ‘wolf” in Hungarian. Vadas means “hunter”. Wolves feature heavily in earlier chapters of this novel. Grey and black wolves. Vadas told Elizabeth that black wolves come from Transylvania and grey wolves are Hungarian. Miklos Farkas originated from Transylvania, or his family did. There’s a snarling black wolf head in the hall of the lodge in Noszvaj that scares Elizabeth every time she sees it. Vadas has it there for a reason.

Jane

A Kapitany, Chapter 34

It was raining the next morning. It pelted the roof, drummed loud enough to be ‘white noise’ coming from a cd.
Vadas opened one eye, saw the gloom of the morning and curled himself around Elizabeth.

Elizabeth woke up, yawned and stretched. “Come on, it’s morning. It’s late. Get up.”

Vadas buried his head in her hair. “No, I want to stay in bed all day. You, too.”

“Vadas, don’t be silly. There are plenty of things to do today.”

“What? You got someone to visit? You want to go shopping?”

Elizabeth yawned. “No. I have no where to go. But we could do something.”

“You can scratch my back. Massage my shoulders. Maybe you trim my toenails.” He snuggled down in the covers and tightened his arm around her.

“I don’t trim your toenails, Vadas. Even if we marry, I don’t do that.”

“What? A wife does these things for the husband.”

“I’m not your wife, yet, remember?”

“So? You are in training, no?”

“Hah. Come on, Vadas. I’ll get you some coffee.”

“Good. Bring back the pot.”

Elizabeth went downstairs and poured two mugs of coffee. On the way back she looked out the window at the top of the staircase. It was pouring outside. Perhaps Vadas was right. Perhaps it was a good day to do nothing.

Vadas was sitting up in bed, scratching his chest. Elizabeth handed him his mug and sat down in a chair by the window, sipping the hot coffee gingerly.

“It’s too wet to go visit the grapes, Elizabeth,” he said mournfully.

“Ok. Why don’t we go into Eger and see what furniture your aunts have stored in that warehouse?”

“We could do that. You could pick what you wanted for the house.” Vadas yawned. “We could also stay right here in bed.” He patted the bed beside him.

“Vadas, we don’t have a lot of time before the wedding. If you are serious about making the house livable, it’s going to take a lot of time and attention. The roofers should be coming soon, right?”

“Ah, we can go up there today and see where the rain is coming in, Elizabeth. Good idea. First, take care of your man.” Vadas grinned over his mug.

‘You are going to wear me out before we get married.”

“Yes I am. Aren’t you a lucky woman? The ló fasz is lonely.”

“You’re a maniac, Vadas. Later, sweetie, maybe this evening. I want to get some things done today.”

“As long as you remember the ‘later’, Elizabeth.”

“I’m going to take a shower.”

“Good, I’ll join you.”

“Nothing doing, Vadas. You know what happens when you butt into my shower.”

Vadas smiled, finishing the last of his coffee.

“Listen, Elizabeth, before you go shower, I’ve been thinking. The reception? We need a big place. We can rent a hotel, or we can open part of the house. You want to live there, right? Well, we can fix up the roof. We can have people come in and repair some of the rooms. We can have chairs and tables rented. We can make part of the house livable. What do you think?”

Elizabeth stopped where she was. “Vadas? Can you afford to do this? You know that roof will cost a lot of money. And we have to agree we don’t touch the murals. We need a conservator to look at them. They might be of historic value. We don’t want to rush things. Is the house even wired for enough electricity? What about bathrooms? You are planning on, what? Two, three hundred people?”

“Elizabeth. I would be expected to have at least that many. This whole village and people from Budapest and Eger. It will be a crowd. For three days.”

Elizabeth’s mouth fell open. “Vadas. Some people will have to be put up for that long. At least those from Budapest. Your aunties and my Aunt Irene for much longer.”

“We can put a tent on the grounds. We can have people from out of town stay here. It would be tight, but Maria and Janos will arrange. As for toilets? They can use the bushes.”

“Oh, stop it, Vadas”, said Elizabeth laughing in spite of herself. “Be practical. And the food? We need a wedding planner. We need caterers. We need someone who knows what to do.”

“Ok. Hire someone. Vadas pays.”

Elizabeth shook her head in disbelief and went to take her shower. Vadas picked up a paper and started to read.

Vadas’ cell buzzed. It was Andor. Miklos was seen in Eger. Vadas sat up, and swung his legs over the side of the bed.

“What are you saying? When? When was he seen?” Vadas stood up and paced while he was talking.

“Ok, ok. This changes plans for today. I have to get rid of Elizabeth. No, no. She wants to come into Eger, but that can’t happen. Yes, get Marcus and some of the other men here. I want at least two men here in the house, and two parked near the house. If Miklos is around, Elizabeth is in danger. No, I will meet you in half an hour, maybe a little more. Ok. I’ll unlock the gun cabinet in the hall. You know what to do.”

Vadas put the phone down on the nightstand. So, the bastard had surfaced and he was right under his nose. Now he had to convince Elizabeth to stay here, and not ask questions. But she would be alarmed with two other men in the house. She wasn’t stupid. She would know something was up.

Maria. She would help. Vadas threw on clothes and went down to find Maria. Janos and Maria were both in the kitchen drinking coffee.

“Good. I’m glad I caught both of you. Janos, Miklos was seen in Eger. I ‘m going there. There will be four men here, two in the house, and two parked nearby. Just in case. Maria? I need you to keep Elizabeth under your thumb. Perhaps she can help in the kitchen? I don’t want her alarmed, but these men here? She will know something’s afoot.” Vadas shrugged his shoulders.

Janos nodded. Maria wasn’t so easy.

“Vadas. Elizabeth will know. She will be scared. I’m afraid for you. Don’t do this, Vadas. You don’t know what Miklos is planning or how many men he has. Please, Vadas, don’t go after Miklos now. Let the police handle it.”

“If the police get involved, I will go down with Miklos.”

Janos spoke. “Maria. This is Vadas’ decision. You, woman, stay out of it. You just keep Elizabeth busy until the smoke clears.”

“Son? What are you going to do?”

Vadas turned in the doorway and looked at Janos. “I don’t know. Maybe beat him up. Maybe cut off his dick. Maybe I kill him. I don’t know, Janos. But I won’t go easy on Miklos. That’s if I find him.”

Vadas picked up Andor and Tomas, another man who knew what Miklos had done. Andor filled Tomas in about the sighting of Miklos. They got to Eger fast, Vadas driving like a maniac. They met the man saying Miklos had been seen. He had disappeared, though someone had followed. Vadas turned and punched the wall of a building, cursing his head off. Bad move, as he skinned his knuckles. Shoving his hand in his mouth, he looked at Andor.

“This seggfej is screwing with me.” Vadas lunged at the man, anger contorting his face.

Andor and Tomas grabbed Vadas by the shoulders and arms, holding him back.

“Vadas! Stop it. Don’t kill the messenger, you shit head,” hissed Andor.

The man went pale. He stepped back.

Vadas shook his head, recovering himself and held out his hand.

“Sorry. I lost my head.”

The man didn’t take his hand, his eyes flashing anger. Andor stepped in front of Vadas and put his arm around the man’s shoulder. He led him away and spoke quietly to him. Andor slipped something into his hand. The man looked back at Vadas and nodded.

“Maybe I should stay here and tail him myself.”

“No, Vadas. Miklos wanted you to know he was here. He’s playing cat and mouse. Go home and wait. He probably will do this again. We will get him. Just be patient.”

Vadas looked at Andor and Tomas and sighed. “You’re probably right. Miklos always was a tok feju. I just lost my head. I can’t afford to do that again.”

****

Elizabeth found the gun cabinet opened and guessed something was happening. Maria hadn’t said a word, but Janos was smoking in the kitchen, something Maria forbade him doing. They realized she knew something and tried to take her mind off Vadas’ absence. Elizabeth had already seen Marcus sitting in the hall in a chair. He nodded to her and Elizabeth could see he was armed. She walked to the gun cabinet and looked for a small pistol. Vadas’ guns were too big for her but she was damned if she was going to be unarmed. Marcus came to her and in bad English asked her what she was looking for. She said “gun” and he rolled his eyes. She opened the bureau next to the cabinet and rummaged around. She found a small .38 and opening it, saw it was unloaded. She found five bullets that fit. She flipped it closed and stuck it in the back pocket of her jeans. Marcus winked and nodded at her and went back to his seat. Elizabeth went into the kitchen, pulling her sweater down so the gun didn’t show on her butt. Maria didn’t notice, but Janos did. He smiled to himself and puffed on his cigarette. This was no helpless, dumb American woman.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2013

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 30

January 23, 2013

Budapest Balcony with flowers

I have been reading “Savage Continent”, by Keith Lowe. I can’t put this book down and have been getting up in the middle of the night just to read more. It’s about Europe after WWII and it is nothing we in the US have been taught. At least most of us. The turmoil after WWII, when nation’s borders were expanded or condensed, when people who were minorities were expelled, slaughtered by ‘ethnic cleansing’ by new and vengeful governments and citizens, where starvation and disease were even more prominent than during the war years of rations and ‘without’….this book opened my eyes and my heart.

It is not an easy book to read because the horror of what happened is heart wrenching. Since the men were off fighting a war, the majority of victims were women, children and the elderly. I encourage everyone who reads this blog to get this book. It also influenced my writing of “A Kapitany”, though only in the past few weeks. This history can’t be ignored, especially when you are writing about conditions (as in Hungary) today. The impact of war and it’s devastation in the 10 years after will impact generations to come.

Chapter 30 is a gentle chapter. No warnings. Just two elderly aunties that have seen much and survived more.

Lady Nyo

A Kapitany, Chapter 30

Vadas walked down the street in Rozsadomb, a well heeled part of Budapest. He looked for the elaborate iron grill of their balcony, and saw the geraniums in pots. Aunt Eva was the gardener. Vadas remembered his mother and Eva spading up the flower garden when he was a child. They planted cabbages and turnips. He remembered some man helping to uproot the old rose bushes. Cabbages would feed them, Eva said. Roses only smelled good.

They had lived a long time in Rose Hill. Their home was part of an old mansion, subdivided into apartments. Before there were only old people around. So many of the rich, those who had built these villas, had fled Budapest for the west. They had settled in Paris, Toronto, in London. Now Rose Hill was again an expensive residential neighborhood in Buda. Some of the former residents had moved back in the twenty years since the Iron Curtain had fallen. Many of the new owners of these places were foreigners. Vadas wondered what his aunts thought about the changes around them, these new people. The last time he had talked to them, they had bemoaned the dying off of neighbors of many years. They had grown old, and despite war and political turmoil, claimed the world was moving too fast.

Vadas stood in the street and looked at the stonework of the building. Elaborate carvings and even more elaborate iron work on the balconies. This type of construction would never be reproduced now. Too expensive. The skilled workers, stone masons and artists who produced this decoration would have died off. Tastes had changed and now efforts were put into economical and fast construction. The housekeeper appeared on the balcony. Vadas waved to her.

He rang the buzzer at the door and was let into the vestibule. He climbed the stairs to the second story, ignoring the small elevator and was met at the door by the same woman. She led him down the small hallway to his aunts.

They were sitting with big smiles creasing their faces. Vadas embraced them, kissing both on their cheeks.

“You have come! You rascal, you don’t visit us much. How many times a year, Vadas? Perhaps you are waiting for our funeral to pay your respects?” Aunt Magrit was the fierce one, and pulled little Eva around in her wake.

Vadas grinned. “You look very well, dear Margit. As well as ever.”

He was fondest of Eva, who was younger by two years. She looked so old, but then, both of them were in their nineties. They had seen so much; war, the starvation after war, displacement, casual violence outside their windows. They had survived events many others hadn’t. Aunt Eva’s eyes had almost disappeared into the wrinkles of her face.

Still they shone with tenderness.

The housekeeper came in with a tray of coffee and Vadas took a cup, placing the saucer on his knee like he did as a young boy.

“Your last letter said you had a surprise for us? Come Vadas, you know we have little time left to play riddles with you.”

Aunt Margit always had a sharp tongue. She meant well, still was a formidable woman. Aunt Eva just smiled at Vadas. She was used to her sister and all these years nothing had changed.

“I am going to marry.” He took a sip of his too-sweetened coffee.

Both women looked at him and Aunt Margit exploded in cackles.

“You? The man who has run all these years from marriage? Hah! This news is unexpected. Tell us who this poor woman is. We will warn her.”

Aunt Eva had tears in her eyes.

“Ah, Margit, leave the poor boy alone. He means well, you know his heart.”
“Well, then. Tell us about your intended and wedding plans.”

“Well, it won’t be until after the harvest. I have hopes for this year’s grapes. The wedding will be in Eger.”
“We hear you have done a good job with the vines, Vadas. Your hard work is paying off. Your dear father would be proud of you and your labors.”

Aunt Eva nodded her head. She was the silent one when Margit was around.

Vadas didn’t think his father would be proud at all if he knew how he had made the bulk of his money. The past five years had made a difference, though. The grapes were producing well, and he had expanded his clients. At least that part was good.

“Elizabeth is a few years younger, past child bearing age, but still in good shape.”

He took another sip of his coffee. “She is a small woman, sometimes quiet. She is an artist.”

“Ah, good! She will paint a picture for us! Tell her I want one of the old house and be quick about it. I won’t live forever.”

Eva laughed at her sister. “Go on, Vadas, dear. Tell us more about this Elizabeth. It is good you are marrying a countrywoman. Poor Marta. After all these years, you are going to have a wife.”

They would not be pleased when they found out more about Elizabeth, thought Vadas.

“Actually, darlings, Elizabeth is an American. But she’s half Hungarian”, Vadas rushed to add.

“What? You are marrying someone foreign? Why? Why can’t you find a good Hungarian girl to marry, Vadas?”

Aunt Margit’s cup rattled in her saucer. Aunt Eva looked confused.

“Well, simply….I have fallen in love.” Vadas put his cup and saucer on the table besides him.

“Look, she is a good girl, a good woman. She is sensible and not someone who is just out to spend money. She wants to raise sheep after we marry. I don’t understand this, but she wants to sell wool to some market. She is industrious and she will be good with clients. She is smart. And pretty.”

“Wool?” Aunt Margit looked at Eva, her jaw dropping. “Does she understand the duties of a wife? Does she cook?”

Vadas laughed. “Oh, believe me. She understands the duties of a wife. I have taken her out for a test drive a number of times.”

Aunt Eva laughed and Aunt Margit blinked several times, the joke going over her head.

“As to cooking, I don’t know. Maria Kovacs has taken care of that so far. Two women in the same kitchen look like trouble to me so I haven’t encouraged this.”

“Well, that at least shows you have some sense for a man. So tell us, Vadas, in what church will the wedding be?”

Vadas knew he was in trouble now. He hadn’t given it any thought. He left these details to Soffia and Elizabeth.

“Oh, a good Catholic church. When I get back to Eger I will discuss this with Elizabeth.”

“A good Catholic church? Hah! You haven’t been to mass in years. Is this Elizabeth even Catholic?”

Vadas thought carefully how to answer. “We don’t discuss religion too much, Auntie. There has been so much on her plate. We haven’t had much time to talk about these things.”

“Have you met her family?”

“No, Eva. She only has one elderly Aunt. We will bring her over for the wedding.”

“Oh! Are her parents dead? Poor woman, to be alone in a country, planning a wedding and no one to help her.”

“Remember Soffia Horvath? She is helping her. She’s with her right now. They have been visiting churches and looking for a wedding gown.”

“Soffia! Oh, Vadas, that Soffia is not a good woman to throw at your bride. I remember her. She was quite something. Attractive, yes, but not wife material at all.”

Vadas laughed. If they only knew the truth about Soffia.

“I’m not marrying Soffia, Aunt Margit. She’s just company for Elizabeth while I am gone on business. She is serving a purpose and likes Elizabeth. Soffia is a sweet girl, don’t worry.”

They were silent for a few moments as the aunties digested this news about the intended marriage.

“I am very glad you are settling down, darling. I remember the sadness when Marta died. Oh, that poor lamb!” This from Aunt Eva.

“Thank you. Elizabeth is very different from Marta, but then again, this is to be expected. And I am twenty years older. I am different, too. Elizabeth is very curious about the vineyard and I have shown her the vines. She will adjust to being married to a humble wine maker.”

“Will this American woman want to live in Hungary? Aren’t we very different than the States?”

“She will adjust, Aunt Margit. She is in love with her Vadas and she will adjust.”

They talked about other matters, and Vadas relaxed when the conversation shifted from Elizabeth. How could they grasp anything about her? She was different, a foreigner, a woman not of their culture. But it didn’t really matter. The adjustment would be between them. And there would be plenty of it. First they had to get past Miklos. But that was still in the future. Nothing to bother the old aunties with.

“Well, Vadas. You know this news changes a lot of things. We were holding the estate for you, and you would get it when we died. But with your marriage, this changes. Would you want to live in that old house?”

“Elizabeth has seen it. I made it a point to show it to her. She has given some excellent advice on the murals and the restoration. She and Soffia are travelling around Eger right now talking to people to begin at least repair the roof.”

“Does she speak Hungarian?” This from Aunt Margit.

“No, just a little bit. That is why Soffia is so helpful right now.”

Both aunts looked at each other. “Well, she will have to learn, and fast.”

“What did she think about the house?”

“Ah, she loved it, Eva. Tears were in her eyes. She said she couldn’t marry me because I would think she was
marrying for the house.” Vadas laughed. “I convinced her otherwise.”

“Yes, said Margit, I bet you did. You always had a persuasive way with women. You know we heard stories of your exploits, Vadas. We might be old, but we still can hear and enjoy gossip.”

Vadas smiled. “Well, you don’t have to worry about rumors anymore. You will like Elizabeth. She is the soul of kindness and good sense. You will love her in time.”

They had asked him to stay for dinner and Vadas didn’t see how he could politely refuse. He wanted to drive back to Noszvaj that night but they had more to say. Aunt Margit went to instruct the housekeeper who also cooked for them, and left him alone with Eva.

“Have you given her a ring, yet?”

“No, Aunt Eva. I did pick up a box of jewelry from the lawyers in Paris, but there was nothing I saw on first viewing. I will look for something, probably in Eger.”

“Wait, Vadas. I have something to give you. I don’t know if you will like, but perhaps it will work.”

Aunt Eva left him in their sitting room, and went to her bedroom. She returned with a small box and presented it to him. In it was a diamond ring. Heart shaped, with a pave of tiny diamonds on either side, set in platinum. Vadas sucked in his breath when he saw it.

“I can’t accept this, Eva”. He looked with fondness at his aunt.

“And who am I to give it to, then? I didn’t think to give it to you for Marta, but then, it was all over so soon.

Ah, Vadas, how much our hearts were broken. We suffered along with you, darling boy.”

“It is beautiful, Eva. It is perfect for Elizabeth. She will love it. Thank you.”

Vadas embraced this tiny, frail auntie and held her long. He didn’t want her to see the emotion crossing his face. He was deeply moved.

After dinner and during the coffee that followed all meals in Budapest, the aunts told him they had another thing to talk about. They felt he needed to know this, and were wrong to hold it so long.

“Do you remember the man that came and helped your mother? He dug up the rose garden and helped her plant cabbages? It was Zoltan’s father. Your mother had a child by him. Your father was in prison, and your mother was very alone. It is hard for a women to face the world without a man, and she faced more than the world. She faced the Germans, and then the Russians. That house almost killed her. Everything weighed on her until it broke her health. That is why she died, Vadas, before her time. Don’t judge, Vadas, war does terrible things to people and especially women. You wouldn’t have known this. You were in France, with us. You were so young, just a baby.”

Aunt Eva did the talking. Aunt Margit was silent with the memories.

“The years after the war were almost as terrible as during the war. The starvation, the lawlessness in the cities, the rampages, and especially the famines, all these things happen, Vadas. What are we to do? We just go on. This child, Zoltan, was given to his father’s family to raise. Your mother didn’t have milk enough to nurse him. Cabbages and turnips were not good food for this. He would have died, one amongst so many babies who did. People suspected his parentage, but who could care? They all had their own worries. One child born above the blanket was not an event to produce much concern during those years. People had too much to do. This was nothing.”

This was nothing? Vadas couldn’t think straight. So, Zoltan was his half brother. What was he to think? Why did they not tell him before? Ah, God! He had almost killed Zoltan, had seen him awash in his own blood, and only a mercy had saved him. He, Vadas, had sent him into danger. He had almost died. He would have killed his own brother had he died. This blood would have been on his hands.

The two sisters couldn’t know what Vadas was thinking, but the shock of it was on his face. He felt physically sick and stood up. He passed his hand over his face, and walked to the window. The two women looked at each other in fear. They didn’t expect this old news, of sixty years duration, to do this to him.

At the window, Vadas took a deep breath. Zoltan was alive and recovering. He would do everything in his power to rectify what he had done.

He faced his aunts. The shock of this was still on his face, and his voice wavered.

“Zoltan is my brother? This is true?”

“Yes, Vadas, he is your half-brother. We didn’t know until recently that Zoltan was still alive or living in Hungary. We had lost sight of him many years ago. We just forgot all this. But we were visited by some investigator and he mentioned Zoltan had been injured. They also mentioned your name. We didn’t give any information, played two old rattled women, which we are, but it was time for you to know about Zoltan.”

Vadas was curious about this investigator. He didn’t want to alarm his aunts. He would find his own answers later.

“Since Zoltan is my half brother, then the estate should be divided between us.”

“There is the house and the hunting lodge. Since Zoltan is not married, we thought perhaps he could be settled in the lodge? But it is up to you, Vadas. You are the main inheritor.”

Vadas thought hard. What should he say to them?

“I was hoping I could restore at least part of the house for us to live in. I don’t know, it would be too expensive to restore the whole house. There isn’t any furniture in it. It isn’t something you can ask a bride to do. I was thinking we would live in the lodge until we could fix up a couple of rooms, and of course patch the roof first. Everything else can be later.”

Vadas looked at the floor. “I thought of asking Zoltan to come live in the lodge. I knew he was injured, and I visited him in hospital. He has no wife or children I know of. I think that is right, to deed over the lodge to him. Of course Janos and Maria would continue to live there. They have been there so long. They also can help Zoltan. All this changes everything, no?”

“Yes, Vadas, it does. And Zoltan living in the lodge is a good idea. He doesn’t know you are his half brother. We thought it would be up to you to tell him.”

Ah God, thought Vadas. I wonder what he will think. And why so long in the coming?

The aunties later said there was a warehouse in Eger full of furniture they had saved from the Russians, first from the Germans, and then later from the Communists. They didn’t know the shape of the stuff, perhaps the mice had destroyed the upholstery, rats had eaten the legs of tables, but it was from the house. Perhaps Elizabeth could see what was there and choose what she wanted?

Vadas smiled. He already knew of a nice bed needing a mattress. Aunt Magrit gave him her best severe look and Eva chuckled. Their darling boy really hadn’t changed over the years. Thank God something of life was still the same, even if in the telling it would make a priest blush in the confession box.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2007-2013

“A Kapitany, Chapter 29 with a WARNING.

January 14, 2013
Marais District, Paris

Marais District, Paris

I have had a lot of fun writing this book. I am very appreciative of the readers and their contacting me with all sorts of suggestions for the progress and plot of this book. That makes it a lot more fun for me. New eyes, fresh vision, etc.

I have also decided to leave in the sexual content of this chapter. You are all adults or you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog.

Lady Nyo

A Kapitany, Chapter 29

Paris never changes, thought Vadas. It was an old shoe, comfortable, familiar.

He maintained an apartment, more a loft on the Ile Saint Louis. It was expensive, but he was right in the middle of Paris. It was a place where he could disappear, think, gather himself. Not many knew of it and that was what he wanted. It was a place where he could bring a woman, to finalize plans, to relax. Rarely had he brought other men there, and certainly no clients.

While he told people he was going to Budapest, he went to Paris. It was a short flight. He hadn’t been here in a while and needed to think. He couldn’t do this around Elizabeth. She was too much a distraction. Plus she would whine if she knew why he was in Paris. He had a phone call one night. Miklos was seen in Paris. Whether he was still here or not, Vadas would find out. What he did next had to be planned very carefully.

He looked down at the woman between his knees. “Voici, Noele. Merci. It is useless, cheri.”

Noele lived on the Ile Saint Louis. He had known her for years. Sometimes she appeared like clockwork when Vadas was there. Other times, she didn’t, but if Vadas waited, Noele appeared. She was a prostitute but one Vadas found interesting. Or had. Now? He was too distracted to make good on what Noele was so energetically attempting to do. Vadas handed her double her usual charge and she left.

He looked around the loft. It was very modern, with just a large bed in the loft up the steel staircase. A small kitchen, most of the ground floor was furnished with a leather couch and some club chairs. It was comfortable, without frills, stripped down. industrial fans whirled overhead and pipes were exposed. He leased this loft a decade ago, had done nothing with it and always found it restful. Now he wondered whether he could keep it. He wouldn’t need this place if he was working the vines in Noszvaj. He probably wouldn’t be able to afford it. He shouldn’t bring Elizabeth here. She would ask too many questions, and he would have to lie too much.

Vadas thought of the years with Miklos. They had both grown rich with this work. Now that it had come to the end, Vadas knew he would have to scramble to make up the difference. The vineyard would have to prove itself each year. He would have to search out new clients for the wine. The restoration on the house would have to wait. He was a fool to think he could move Elizabeth in there after their wedding. Better continue to live in the lodge where at least there was electricity. He would remove the boar head from the dining room. The wolf head would stay where it was.

He knew why Miklos took his revenge on Elizabeth. It was meant for him. Elizabeth had just been handy. He leaving had upset the apple cart. For years they had a clear division of labor: Miklos acquired the merchandise, and Vadas moved it. The insurance concerns were those of the original owners. It had worked smoothly for twenty years. They picked up their fee when the insurance paid out. Now? With him pulling out, Miklos had no where to put these works. Miklos had been the brains on one end, and Vadas on the other. Miklos couldn’t be sure that these works would disappear and wouldn’t be traced. In over twenty years, Vadas had come to know the tastes and expectations of their clients. He would present these works to new owners who weren’t particular of legalities and provenance. Of course, they never dealt in well known artists or pieces: those were impossible to unload, except for a few collectors who would pay a lot of money to lock up a Picasso in a home vault. They were the eccentrics. They were also dangerous. They had enough wealth to roll over on anyone who appeared suspicious to the police.

No, their business was different. If an owner had need of money, a burglary could be done and later, an insurance claim made. Once the work was well hidden, the list of clients could be trolled and a new owner found. Again, this owner would not care about ownership, provenance or the attending legalities. He had previously obtained part of his collections this way. Of course, the work in question could not be seen for a matter of years, until interest and knowledge of the piece had died down. No, it could not be shown to knowledgeable guests at a dinner or cocktail party. But so many of these collectors would want something they had to lock up: to be seen by them only. It was a rush to them. They had deceived the police, investigators and the insurance men. That was thrilling to many and played heavily into the game. Sometimes, Vadas thought, the artwork was just a vehicle for this rush. No different than drugs.

Now Miami was the international center to fence stolen art. With the wealth there and the drugs, these precious paintings were traded for guns, drugs or used for ransom. This was too dangerous for Vadas and probably for Miklos. However, this situation would give Miklos an outlet if he so desired. That’s if he lived long enough.

Miklos and Vadas had worked like clockwork. Both knew their roles and both excelled at them. Now with Vadas pulling out, the whole business would crash around Miklos’ feet. No wonder he was in a rage. He would have to train someone to take Vadas’ place. That would not be easy.

At one point, Vadas considered turning state’s evidence. Too many of his own men would fall with him. Even if Miklos fell harder, Vadas was thinking of the others. This was no way to repay the loyalty of a group of men who had, over the years, taken the big risks. Some had become friends.

The next day he met with a man on the Left Bank. This man had been paid to watch all the usual places that Miklos was seen when in Paris. Vadas couldn’t track him because Miklos or his men would immediately recognize him, but informants would work well here. So far, Miklos had been seen only once. He hadn’t checked into his usual hotel, and wasn’t seen in his usual haunts. But he was here for some purpose.

Vadas had another reason to come to Paris. His dead mother’s lawyers held property for him. He knew it would be wise to collect that property now before he dealt with Miklos. He needed to get as much of it back to Hungary where he could secure it. Who knew what the future would bring.

The morning of his appointment, he left the loft and strolled over the Pont Marie. He headed down to the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the Marais district. There were boutiques lining each side of this long street and a lot of pedestrians. It was a beautiful morning, with sunlight touching the buildings and giving them a soft gleam. There were old women, flower vendors, with bouquets in buckets near the park and at entrances of old buildings. Bookshops, restaurants, and the smell of coffee and flowers filled the air. Vadas stopped for a coffee and sat outside at a table. There was nothing more colorful, more interesting than watching Parisians walk about. The women were sleek, like greyhounds, and dressed with flare. Perhaps it was the same in Budapest, but here, in the Marais district, it was more exotic to his eyes. Parisian style was a world to itself.

Paris in this early summer was as Paris should be: the center of the world and as romantic a place as one could desire. He would bring Elizabeth to Paris, perhaps on a honeymoon. He was old fashioned enough to want one and to dazzle her with the surroundings. Perhaps they would spend a couple of weeks here just getting to know each other. Perhaps he could keep her in bed for a week and get to know every inch of her. Elizabeth had never been in France. This would be the place to start. The countryside could wait, but he knew she would want to experience that, too. He wanted to see her reaction to a city he deeply loved. He knew she would not be disappointed. He looked at his watch. It was almost time for his appointment.

Entering the 19th century building of the law firm, Vadas wondered about the property. He knew some land was involved, perhaps land heavily timbered. He knew his mother’s jewels were part of this wealth he had come to Paris to collect. Since Miklos had taken the bracelet he gave Elizabeth, he wanted to replace it with something. What, he had no idea as he had not seen the jewelry. It had been placed with these lawyers many years ago, when she died.

He was shown into the interior office of one of the firm’s lawyers. He remembered Monsieur Depardieu from his last visit. That had been at least ten years ago. Monsieur Depardieu was small and sleek, much like the women outside the window. He hadn’t changed much in the years. More grey hair on his head, but he looked much the same. Shaking hands, Vadas sat down across the large desk. An assistant appeared and returned with a locked wooden box. There was a folder of papers on the desk in front of Monsieur Depardieu.

“I have been looking over the deeds and titles, Monsieur. Of course, the main estate, that of the chateau, is held by your mother’s two sisters. Have you seen the dear ladies recently? I hope they are well?”

Vadas thought he had rather neglected the two old darlings, but said he was on his way to Budapest to visit them. He would remember Monsieur to them.

“Ah. Please give them our best regards. They must be very ancient, no?”

“They are in their early 90’s, Monsieur. But so far of good health and better spirit.”

“We understand there are congratulations to be offered?”

“Yes, I am to be married, but not immediately. I have the fall harvest taking my attention and then the wedding in Eger.”

After discussion about the deeds, which turned out mostly to be of hectares of timberland, Monsieur Depardieu opened the locked box and turned it to Vadas.
There were necklaces pinned on black velvet, bracelets and some pins. A few rings, but not what Vadas wanted for Elizabeth. He wanted a wedding ring, or something with a diamond. There were a few that had possibilities but none struck him as right. Some of them were just fussy, out of fashion. The necklaces were something to be worn on special occasions, not daily fare. Perhaps he would have to look for a ring either here or in Budapest.

He finished with Monsieur Depardieu and arranged for the box to be shipped to his Budapest bank. It would be safer for the lawyers to arrange their delivery from Paris to Budapest, than for him to make the effort. When he was in Budapest, perhaps he could look again at the pieces. Perhaps something would stand out for her wedding present. As for the deeds, they did expand his vineyards, and though he would have to chop down a lot of trees, he could sell the timber and then plant more vines when the land was cleared. It would take a lot of labor. The vineyard needed to be expanded if he was going to plant more varieties. And he needed to do this if he was going to make his living honestly. The money with Miklos was over. He would live a different life. It would be a shift in priorities.

*****

That evening Vadas lit a cigar. He rarely had a chance to enjoy one as Elizabeth didn’t like the smell. She would learn to live with it after they married, he thought with a chuckle. He wondered whether he should call but decided not to. Soffia was there for a purpose and let her entertain Elizabeth. He wondered what Soffia was doing on that front. Probably they were spending his money in Eger. That was inevitable.

Vadas blew smoke towards the ceiling. He watched the slow moving fan above. Those two were as different as two women could be. Soffia took from life without a second thought. She would be a bad influence on Elizabeth if they ran around too long. Elizabeth was impressionable. Vadas laughed to himself. He told Soffia to obey “Rule Number One” in his absence. He knew before he was out the door she wouldn’t.

He slouched down in the chair. It had been a long day, and finally he was relaxing. He had done a lot of walking, more than he usually did. His feet were tired. Walking the streets of Paris were harder than climbing the hills of the vineyard.

What did it really matter if Soffia seduced Elizabeth? Again. What a lesbian did to another woman was nothing but girls playing around. Innocent enough. Let Soffia stick her nose in Elizabeth. It would not matter a mite when he got home. He knew his sexual power over Elizabeth would erase any such nonsense.

Ah, Elizabeth. There were endearing things about that girl. She would come from the bath and use some sweet smelling oil on her skin. She would shake powder over her, rub it in. He would act like he wasn’t watching, wasn’t interested in her toilette, but he was. He was interested in all she did in these things. He watched her shave her legs (with his razor), even caught her douching. She went from extreme modesty to tolerating his presence as she prepared herself for bed. One day he went over to where she had her bath supplies and picked up the powder. Baby powder. Ah, when she came to bed, he wanted to eat her up. She smelled so clean and fresh, just like a baby.

He loved to dig his face into her flesh and smell these enchanting female scents. He loved the softness of her, each fold revealing itself like a flower petal. He would push his tongue deep into her and bury his face, holding her tightly by the hips. He loved how she made these little mouse squeaks when aroused. She could scream her head off when coming. It always made him smile when she yelled. This was how a man possessed a woman. Satisfy her to her toes and she would show her devotion. She would wind herself around him like a cat.

Vadas’ thoughts did what Noele couldn’t. He was stiff with no woman around. Ah well, he would just have to finish up his business here, go to Budapest and see the old aunties. Then he would go home and plow Elizabeth. Perhaps Soffia would warm her up for him. He pulled a folded handkerchief from his pocket. It was sprinkled with baby powder. Vadas sniffed deeply.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2013

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 27

January 7, 2013

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.

Lady Nyo

“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.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2007-2013


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