Posts Tagged ‘Eger Hungary’

“A Kapitany”, Chapter 26….Again with a WARNING

January 2, 2013

de la Motte house

This is a novel of bdsm, violence, love and also bad language. You have been warned.

In writing this chapter, I came across the Hungarian Labor Camp, Recsk, that was used very near Eger from 1950-1963. This was a Stalinist prison camp that came into Hungary on the heels of WWII and the Nazis leaving Hungary. The brutality of Stalin was a continuation of Hitler. There were ‘only’ 1500 people in this camp, but many never survived. It is hardly ever talked about in Hungary, in part because of the threats by the Soviet government. However, that is slowly changing and people are holding memorials to the victims.

The De La Motte House (from “The Great Country Houses of Hungary) built around 1773, was a visual inspiration. The influence is obviously French and apparently this was not that unusual for Hungary in the 18th century. Some aristocrats, and others from the French Revolution moved to Budiapest and the Hungarian countryside. The workmen and architect came from Eger, which is only 12 kilometers from Eger. The house had many frescos (based on Roman mythology) that have been carefully restorred. It is now a place for tourists and weddings, etc.

The famous “Bull’s Blood”, a Hungarian wine, comes from this region.

Lady Nyo

A Kapitany, Chapter 26

Both of them slept late, Vadas waking with a mild hangover. He fell into his bed without thinking of Elizabeth sleeping there. He was too tired to move. The drink and smoke of last night did him in.

In the morning Elizabeth got up before Vadas. She washed in the cold water from a pitcher on a table near a window. Vadas watched her from the bed, playing possum. He liked these moments when he could observe her. It was an intimacy, different from the usual stuff.

This morning Elizabeth moved carefully from the bed half way across the room. She couldn’t pour water into the bowl because of her wrist but dabbed at her face. She removed the Velcro cast and plunged her arm into the pitcher. Vadas wondered if he should rise and pour water for her. He decided against it, mostly because he was too comfortable. He needed more sleep after last night. Watching her was a nice way to begin the day.

Elizabeth pulled her nightgown over her head. She struggled free and threw it into a chair. Naked, she moved to look out a window. The windows were deep and she had to raise herself on toes to see the morning outside. Vadas saw the marks from Alexandra’s caning and the bruises of Miklos’ usage. She was a small woman, and since Miklos raped her, she had lost weight. She became quiet, withdrawn. It began to worry Vadas. Already he could tell she wasn’t eating enough or sleeping well. He heard her turning over in the middle of the night, crying out in pain.

In all his years playing the Dom, he never did what Miklos dared. Some had begged for pain, and that he could give. But there was a tipping point. There were times the woman demanded things of him he didn’t want to do. Choking them until they fainted. Then having to revive them, and quickly. Vadas had done these things. He knew there would come a time he would slip up, something would happen. He didn’t want to chance it now. The risks and thrills weren’t worth it. Perhaps he was growing old, soft, whatever happened to men. He didn’t know. He did know Elizabeth, probably by her innocence, had turned his sexual desires a bit more wholesome. He laughed to himself. Just the usual fucking and sucking. He enjoyed the simple passion of this woman. He was over the extreme. At least, for now. He could continue to tie her up, play with her, flog her, scare her. He liked to scare her; it fed into his power. He hadn’t made her beg, but that would come. Elizabeth was a curious woman. He could work with that.

She would learn her place in the marriage. She would come to know his. She wasn’t used to Hungarian men, but give her a few years. She would learn. That was if he could get her to marry. He was aroused, his cock swelling slightly under the covers. His thoughts and the sight of a fragile- looking Elizabeth were doing the trick. She made him feel young, and God knew he was far from that. No, perhaps it wasn’t so much sex. Perhaps it was just Elizabeth. He had a woman, one to care for. Perhaps that was all he ever wanted. Since Marta died, he hadn’t known many with real intimacy. He went through the motions, but his heart wasn’t in it.

Vadas watched her put on panties and a long skirt. She couldn’t put on a bra, couldn’t reach behind her back, but pulled a loose grey sweater over her head. She bent over and brushed her long hair, braiding it into one loose braid. Vadas smiled. He remembered his mother doing her hair like that. He was very young, but it was one of the things he remembered of her.

The morning sun was not encouraging. Pale, barely breaking through the clouds. It was misting outside, a good day to stay by a low fire. They drank their coffee and Elizabeth pulled a shawl over her shoulders in the hall. She saw Vadas put a gun in his hunting vest and take a handful of ammo from a drawer.

Vadas saw her expression in the mirror over the table. She looked confused.

“Don’t worry, Elizabeth. This is just a precaution. I haven’t been up there in years. There might be raccoons or skunks in the house.” Vadas gave her a broad smile.

“Vadas, you don’t shoot a skunk in the house. Are you crazy? That smell will never go away. You will have to pull it down or you will not be able to go near it for years.”

Vadas laughed. “Ok, then no shooting skunks. What about trespassers?”

“No, you don’t shoot them, either. You order them gone and then you call the police.”

“Ah! So you know Hungarian police, now?” Vadas laughed. The police here didn’t function like those in Budapest. They were slow to respond, and when they did, they wanted bribes on the spot. Not much had changed since the previous regime. Corruption was corruption, inbred in people with some small authority.

They drove to the main road in an old, open Jeep. Vadas turned off to a private, overgrown road. It was at an incline. They climbed a rutty road at least three hundred feet. The gravel of the drive had not been raked for years, now mostly covered in leaves. Twice he had to stop and remove limbs.

Before them was a high stone mortared surround with a large wrought iron gate. There were unicorns on top of the two main pillars, missing their horns.

Vadas got out and unlocked a small gate at one side. Elizabeth went through the gate and passed trees and bushes not trimmed in years. These trees and shrubs had grown up and covered the first floor windows. Even with this neglect, the house was a beauty.

Vadas could see from her expression she was impressed. He had not come up here in years. There were too many sad memories of the short life with Marta.

Elizabeth turned to him, her eyes wide. “This is a chateau! You didn’t tell me it would be so grand.” Elizabeth turned back to the house. There was definitely some French influence in the design.

“Well, I don’t know you would call it a chateau in Hungary, but it is an old house. Come, I have the key.”

Elizabeth counted eight windows on both the first and second floors. There was a small balcony in the middle on the second floor, and double wooden doors at the entrance. Just then the sun peeked out and Elizabeth saw the buttery yellow of the building light up. All over central Europe this color, Schonbrunn, was used. It was a color enriching with age.

“Oh, Vadas, it’s beautiful!”

“Wait until you see the inside, Elizabeth. Perhaps you will have ideas what can be restored?”

He unlocked the front door and Elizabeth passed under his arm into the wide and dark hallway. Vadas turned on his flashlight and told her to stay where she was. He would open the interior shutters and the dusty drapes.

Her eyes were slow to adjust to the darkness, even with the open door behind her. When Vadas came back with his flashlight, he aimed it at the ceiling, fully twenty feet above her. There were frescos of some Roman mythology. As he cast his light around the room, she saw faded frescos on the walls.

“Oh, Vadas! You grew up in this house? What a marvelous childhood you must have had.”

“Good and bad, Elizabeth, like most. Come, we go through this door first. There are a number of reception rooms.”

With the shutters opened and the heavy drapes drawn back, Elizabeth could see the interior. First was a large rectangular room banked with windows on the long side. The floor was parquet made up of dark stars on a lighter background. Frescos on these walls, too, but much faded. Some of the walls looked like the plaster had been gouged out. Elizabeth walked over and touched a wall gently.

“During the war, my parents moved outside of Paris. This house was looted, by soldiers mostly. Some locals joined in the looting. Very few family pieces were recovered after the war, so when they came back, they made do what they could find. We never really knew who destroyed some of these frescos, but we think it was not the soldiers. The Nazis were brutal, but they didn’t usually destroy property like this. They bombed Budapest pretty flat in 1944, so maybe I’m wrong. They went after my father’s laborers from the vineyards. Many were sent to Germany to the forced labor camps. The grapes? They were untended for years before my father could work them. He survived a few years after Recsk in the Matra Hills east of here.”

“What was Recsk, Vadas?”

Vadas looked up at the ceiling as if the answer was floating there. “Recsk, Elizabeth, was a labor camp. This was during Stalin’s time. Officially it was opened in 1950, but it held prisoners after the end of the war. My father was a broken man when he was released. He had worked in a mine all those years. He was considered lucky. He came back. I was too young to take over and by then the Soviets had Hungary in their fist. I spent my early years in Paris with my mother.”

“So no one lived here since the war?”

“Oh, we lived here, came back later right after the war, but our living conditions were greatly changed. Before we had a household staff, laborers for the vines, we had forests to sell timber. After the war? We had nothing except this house tumbling down around our ears.”

These memories had pain for him. “There were times we almost starved. We broke up what furniture we had to warm a room. If it wasn’t for Zoltan’s family and a few others, we would have starved to death.” Vadas laughed. “Zoltan’s father hunted deer on our land and brought us meat. I think our woods fed the whole of Eger after the war. The deer disappeared and we ate what we could find, which wasn’t much. My mother dug up her flower garden and planted cabbage like a peasant woman.”

Vadas moved through the rooms, pointing out the elaborate fireplaces. Some of the marble was missing, and the mantels had been shored up with rough timber. Mirrors had been bashed in, and windows were boarded up, the sashes missing. It was hard to see everything, but the house needed a lot of restoration. For a chateau, it was small, but big enough.

He showed her the first floor, and then led her upstairs to the second. The staircase was a double marble construction, and had wrought iron railings. The central hall was crowned with a fresco on the barreled ceiling. There wasn’t enough light for Elizabeth to make out the theme, but it was from some mythology, probably Roman as in the lower rooms.

They walked through different bedrooms with small closets, which would have been a room for an attending servant. There were no frescos in these rooms, but they did have windows that looked out to the dark mountains. Elizabeth wondered if these were part of the chain of the Matras mountains, where the prison camp Recsk once was.

The landscape outside from the second story view was breathtaking. Elizabeth saw rolling hills, forests, a river in the distance, and what seemed to be once a garden beneath where they were standing. Perhaps this was the flower garden where Vadas’ mother planted cabbage.

Except for the cellar and kitchens, they explored as much as Elizabeth had energy for. She felt tired and asked Vadas if she could lie down somewhere for a few minutes. She hadn’t this much activity since she visited the National Museum, where she had walked for hours. Vadas led her back to the central bedroom, a room at one time of great decoration. The white marble fireplace was rococo in design, though parts of it were missing. There were particular flourishes of Hungarian taste, with what looked like gargoyles flanking each side. They didn’t look French.
Everything in the room had been covered with heavy white sheets. What seemed to be a wardrobe, or armoire, against a long wall, was shrouded with sheeting. A table and individual chairs were covered. The bed was covered, the headboard and footboard, though there was no covering for the plain mattress. It looked old and stained. Elizabeth looked up, and there in the plaster, were great streaks, water markings where the rain had come through the slate roofs. She moved to a window, one of four in the room, reaching from a low ledge almost to the high ceiling. Outside, before her, stretched a landscape of incredible beauty with those rolling hills into the distance.

Vadas watched her. He wanted to see her response to the house. She turned to him and smiled.

“It is more than I thought it would be. It is so beautiful, Vadas, I haven’t the words. But there is so much sadness in the history of this house.”

“Good, I thought you would like it. And yes, there was much sadness. Now, come lie down, I will shake out this dusty sheet. At least the mattress is dry.”

The bed looked to be carved walnut, in the style of Louis XVI. There were no blankets so Vadas smoothed the sheet over the bed. He lay down and patted the mattress. Elizabeth lay next to him, her head on his shoulder. She pulled her shawl around them. Both of them looked up at the stained ceiling. Some plaster decoration had long ago fallen and lathe was exposed in sections of the ceiling.

“What do you think of the house, even with damaged ceilings?”

“I know I can’t marry you now. If I did, you would just think I was marrying you for your house.”

“Women marry for worse reasons, Elizabeth.”

“I will marry only for love, Vadas,” Elizabeth said quietly. “Yes, I will marry you.”

Vadas put his arms around her and placed his chin on top of her head. He looked out the window at the distant mountains and felt peace. It was to be short lived.

“I will marry you, Vadas, on one condition.”

“I’m listening, Elizabeth. What is this condition?”

Elizabeth drew her breath. “That you promise you will not go after Miklos. Or Alexandra.”

Vadas sat up and reached for a cigarette in his vest.

“Do you understand what you are asking, Elizabeth? He has violated the woman he knew was going to be my wife, and in doing so he fucked me over as he did you. How would it look to the men I know, men I work with, if I just walked away? You ask too much, Elizabeth.”
She heard the frustration and anger in his voice. She knew this lay beyond anything Vadas could deem reasonable. His pride, his ego, his manhood had been defiled. She was the one physically injured, but he, in typical male fashion, was the insulted.

“I ask this, Vadas, for us. Not for me, nor for you, but for us. You wanted a new life, a fresh start, then let’s take it. What is Miklos to us if we have a different life together? He has no part in it, darling.”

Vadas puffed on his cigarette. There was no way he would stop going after Miklos. This woman asked too much. How could he face the men he called friends all these years? How could he face Zoltan? How could he walk as a man among these men? They were friends, but he was still boss. No, she didn’t understand. He was made a cuckold by Miklos, and the world would see it. This was not how men settled things. Miklos must be found and brought to ground. Alexandra, too, but she was not as important. Miklos would pay with his life. Elizabeth would be revenged and so would he.

Vadas puffed hard on his cigarette, blowing smoke like a dragon. He was visibly upset. However, she had said she would marry. That was one concession he won. This other stuff he would work around. She didn’t have to know everything. A man kept some secrets for the sake of his dignity.


Vadas watched Elizabeth asleep in his arms. He needed her to climax, to scream in passion. He needed to reclaim her with this small act. Miklos had taken so much from him. Now, with this short hour of love making, he had her back under him. It was a beginning, as Elizabeth said. A small beginning, but it helped. He looked at the woman in his arms. She was only weak physically. She surprised him. This marriage might work out. He felt she was his, and in wonder, realized he had become something of hers. It was a strange feeling but had some truth to it. Perhaps this was how love began.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2007, 2013

“A Kapitany”, (The Master) Chapters 16 and 17…..

December 1, 2012

In 2006 I joined a website, ERWA, and this website (Erotica Readers and Writers Ass.) had a lot of writers who delved into bdsm in their writing. Hell, many in their lives. It took me a couple of months before I realized what this stuff contained, and it was pretty interesting. Also scary. It was something totally alien, different from my experience. I started writing a novel, “A Kapitany”, (Hungarian for “The Master”) which had a strong bdsm quality about it, with lots of sex, but then dropped it. I was pretty queered by what I found in this bdsm world, and of course, you can’t write something like this without doing some research. The people in this world were a very mixed bag, and I never thought I would revisit this unfinished novel. Over the fall, I did, and decided to give it to the only sane man (and a friend) I knew from that former world (called a Dominant there) to read. He gave it a thumbs up and suggested I finish it. He had reluctantly read “Fifty Shades of Gray” and thought this “A Kapitany” had some merit. I haven’t read that book and probably won’t, but then again, it seems to be making the rounds in society.

I realized I had lost interest in this book, but not only because I was queered by the behavior I found in this bdsm world. Every chapter had sex in it, and after a while, this became boring, at least to this writer. When I expanded the theme to include international art
thievery….it became more interesting. Expanding the theme brought new challenges and research, and a deepening of plot. If it doesn’t interest the
writer, or they feel they are just going through the motions to finish a book…it won’t hold together.

A quick summary of characters:
Vadas Dohendy is a Dominant man, deeply
involved in the bdsm world, but also an art thief. He is growing older, and he is jaded with his life. He sees his circle of friends for what they are, and they are all corrupted by life. They are opportunists and the women around him now leave him cold. He has inherited a vineyard in Eger, Hungary and wants to leave this other world for a world of fungus, blight and vines. He produces a good “Bulls Blood”, a particular Hungarian wine with a lot of ancient history.

Elizabeth is Vadas’ new squeeze but she hasn’t a clue to his real life. He has proposed, sort of, but she isn’t biting. He is older than she, but not by much. She hasn’t been corrupted by his activities and her freshness is part of Vadas’ interest.

Miklos: basically, the ‘boss’ of Vadas and a thoroughly bad character. He is a sexual sadist and not a nice guy at all. People should move far down the bench from him. Vadas is trying to find a way to get rid and around him without the usual violence. It probably won’t happen.

Lady Nyo

A Kapitany, chapter 16

It was time for dinner and Vadas always listened to his stomach. I didn’t know if I was hungry or my stomach was responding to the latest news of Vadas’ life, but nothing seemed normal to me. I felt suspended in time. I was falling in love with this complicated man, and at the same time knocked off my feet with what he said. Then, there was also the issue of my staying with him. Could I possibly live in that remote area of Hungary? Could I be serious about marrying him? And was his proposal driven because he had revealed something very dangerous about himself, something anyone could use, could go to the authorities and reveal?

“Elizabeth, I am hungry and I would suppose you are, too? Let’s go to a nice restaurant around the hotel, I know of a few. I am tired of room service.”

This was new. Vadas loved room service. At least in the States. But we were in Budapest, and it was, from what I had seen, a glorious city, full of museums, churches and art galleries. Of course I hadn’t seen any of these places. I still was a tourist and wanted this before I left. When and where I was leaving I hadn’t the time to yet consider. There was just too much to decide and right now, my stomach was deciding for me.

We walked down Vaci utca, a historic street full of Nouveau Art buildings, former mansions and now hotels and restaurants. A full moon was just rising, and the street was lit with those street lights that were soft globes far above the cobblestones. The facades of the buildings were marvelous, something rare and wonderful. Vaci utca was a pedestrian only street and people were sitting at tables outside restaurants and cafes. Vadas turned into a restaurant and we were immediately placed at a table in an alcove. I had the idea he had come here before, perhaps many times, because the maître de bowed, his face lit up with a smile, and he whispered a greeting. Vadas replied, of course in Hungarian, and a few words were exchanged, beyond my comprehension.

It seemed a rather formal restaurant for a quick dinner, but I had come to see that Vadas did things in a grand fashion. Immediately a waiter appeared and Vadas ordered a couple of bottles of wine. I could make out the word ‘wine’ but I was surprised how fast they appeared. Generally Hungarian food was based around meat and heavy starches, and I was afraid this constant fare would get me fat so I decided to order just a salad and perhaps grilled shrimp. Vadas had a bottle of rosé brought to the table for me. He didn’t even look at the menu but was brought a steak and two bottles of some red wine.

The rosé was rather sweet and delicious, perfect for my fare. Vadas said little, but he tore into his meal like a starving man. Perhaps he was, as I wasn’t around to see what he was eating for the past few days.

“Vadas. Except for the shopping trips with your Soffia, I haven’t seen anything really of Budapest.”

“That can be easily remedied, Elizabeth. Where would you like to go?”

“I would like to see some museums, some galleries and of course a church or two.”

“Ah, do you feel so sinful you need to empty your heart in confession?” Vadas chuckled and picked up his glass.

“No, I don’t. I just want to see what other tourists see of Budapest.”

“But Elizabeth, you aren’t exactly a tourist. I am hoping you will stay with me and make this country your home.”

I sat back, surprised at this quick turn of conversation and looked at him.

“Vadas, I haven’t decided anything yet. I have a lot of confusion about how I feel, and especially about you.”

“Elizabeth, try this wine, and tell me what you think.” Vadas was clearly avoiding this topic.
He pushed a large wine glass across the white linen cloth and I tasted the wine. It was deep red, and stout. It wasn’t to my taste at all. I made a small grimace.

“What? You don’t like it? It came from my vineyard.”

I looked up at him in surprise. “Oh, Vadas, I am so sorry. It’s just that I haven’t developed a taste for strong red wines, yet, but I am sure it is a very good wine.”

“Well, I brought you to this restaurant because I supply some of the wine, and I wanted to surprise you. Perhaps next year, when I play with the vines and combine different grapes, you will grow to like the results.”

“I am surprised, Vadas. I didn’t think where your wines went. And perhaps it is just my inexperience with Hungarian wines, my ignorance, that makes them not to my taste. Please forgive me. I can learn.”

Here was an honest venture of his, and I had not seen it coming.

“If you become my wife, Elizabeth, you will see my wines are far flung. You will visit many restaurants and will be treated like a queen.”
“There are many problems first, Vadas. But I like the idea of being treated like a queen.” I laughed, and hoped that he had not taken offense.

“Vadas, I can not live in that house of yours with the pig head in the dining room and the wolf head in the hall. They have to go.”

Vadas sat back and I saw him tapping the table, planning his answer. He even scowled.

“Elizabeth, you don’t know the history of those two. The boar as you call pig, killed a man and gored another. He lost his leg. This was in my father’s time. And the wolf? Well, he was a man killer, coming down from Transylvania, for we don’t have black wolves, ours are grey. He killed a number of people before my grandfather led a pack of men to hunt him down. Both of them have history, important history and lots of memories for the people who live here.”

It was clear these two mounted heads meant more than just to Vadas. What right did I have to demand they be removed? Ah, this was more of the Hungarian cultural issues that I did not understand. And to live in this region, well, could I?

I sat back, and sipped my sweet wine. It was good but was going straight to my head. I felt my emotions rising as I looked at the man across the table. Ah, Vadas, what am I to do or say to you? Do I even tell you I am falling in love or do I play it safe?

Somewhere the strains of a violin started up, the music soft and alluring. Usually I found violinists traveling between tables annoying, but this was music of Bartok, not what was played for tourists as ‘gypsy’ music. The combination of wine and music was beginning to relax me, perhaps too much. I was with Vadas, after all, and needed my wits about me.

“Vadas, I don’t want to pry, but have you decided what to do with Miklos?”

“That is not of your worry, Elizabeth. And no, I haven’t decided about Miklos, if you must know. I am more interested in you right now.”
I picked at my salad and avoided his eyes.

“Tell me what you want, Elizabeth. Look me in the eye and tell me what you want.”

Oh, this was the classic appeal of a Hungarian man to get to the truth. I sat back and thought what I should tell him.

“Vadas, what reason do I have in asking you anything? We have known each other only six weeks. How much do we really know of each other? I know you were married once before, you have a vineyard and live in a former hunting lodge. I know you have two dubious side lines. Or careers if you prefer. You know nothing of me, except what I have told you and that is little enough. We haven’t a basis for marriage, certainly not now. Do we even understand each other? Plus, there are cultural differences between us. Surely they can’t be ignored.”

“Elizabeth, I know more than you suspect. It is very easy, if you know how, to obtain information on just about anyone. I know, for instance, that your first husband was a spoiled brat and your second one a drunk. That you disliked your mother and adored your father, but of course he was Hungarian, so that is understandable. I know you worked as a graphic artist, and hated it, and wanted to paint landscapes. I know you had some successes in a few galleries, but not enough to support yourself by sales. I know you are a talented and intelligent woman and I know that you are older than you have said. Just a few years, but still I am older.”

My face showed my surprise. So, he has snooped on me? And who was he talking to? Did he hire a private investigator? Did he know how much I had in the bank and did he know how many men I had screwed?

“Elizabeth, don’t be angry with me, darling. I became very interested in you from the second day we met. From the first. I needed to know who and what you were, and I was not disappointed. In fact, I was intrigued. You are a very independent and strong woman, and if you weren’t such a challenge, I would not have been interested. Do you understand? Perhaps Hungarian men do things differently than what you are used to, but there was some risk for me. If you had known, or had been a plant as they say in America, to inform on me, I would have been at your mercy. But you were innocent of all suspicions. And plus, the sex was very, very good.”

Vadas sat back and smiled, as if that last comment made all else disappear.

I had no answer for him, but I checked my anger. I could play my own cards.

“Vadas, what do you really want from me? And are you willing to give me what I want?”

He looked across the table, his eyes locking mine. “Tell me, then, Elizabeth, what you want. If I can give it to you, you will have it.”

“I want to paint. I want very much to go back to painting. I want my own studio, with good light and space enough. I want to be able to contact galleries, not just local ones in Eger, but here, in Budapest. I want someday to own my own gallery. I also want some sheep.”

Vadas’ eyes widened and I heard him chuckle. “Good! I love lamb and we could market it with the wines. That is a very good idea, Elizabeth. I congratulate you on your invention.”

“No, Vadas. I don’t want to raise sheep for food, or for slaughter, I want to raise sheep for wool. To market fine wool to different artisans. And since I am probably becoming a vegetarian, I wouldn’t be eating meat.”

Vadas looked worried when I mentioned not eating meat. “You don’t expect me to eat grass, do you?”

“No, Vadas, but I do expect you to quit smoking. You are going to die from it, and I will not be married to a man who is going to die soon from such a habit.”

“So, you are going to marry me?”

I had to backup quickly, but the wine was clouding my head.

Before I could open my mouth to answer, Vadas pushed a black velvet box across the table.

“Open it, Elizabeth. Then you will know my intentions.”

I sat and looked at it for a few moments. I was curious but the wine hadn’t completely screwed with my senses. I sensed something different, something a bit dangerous to my present convictions.

“Open it, Elizabeth.” I looked up at Vadas, and he seemed to be so earnest, so serious.

There in white satin lining was a bracelet. A diamond bracelet with rubies and emeralds. They were large stones and were set in what looked like platinum or white gold. The diamonds were strung in two strains, linking the rubies and emeralds. I had never seen such a piece of jewelry. It was very fine and obviously very expensive.

“I can’t accept this, Vadas. This is too valuable, and it would be wrong to do so. It is too valuable a gift for me to accept.”

I couldn’t take my eyes off of this bracelet and in the dim light of our table, it sparkled like a million stars come down to earth. The fire of the diamonds and the depth of the other stones made this jewelry captivating.

Vadas reached across the table and took my left hand. “I give this to you, Elizabeth, because I have love for you and hope you have some for me. You are right, we have been together a short time, but in this time I have seen a woman I would want to spend my life with. Not since Marta have I had these feelings, and they make me feel younger. Just try it on for me.”

I picked up the bracelet and placed it on my right wrist. The clasp was strange, not what I was used to in a bracelet. It was like a small box with a large ruby in the middle. I didn’t see any way to secure it on my wrist. I looked up at him, puzzled, and he was smiling.

“Here, extend your arm to me, Elizabeth. I will show you how it works.”

Vadas took a tiny, delicate key from his pocket and pressing the ruby, the clasp opened. Then the other end of the bracelet could be joined to secure it. He turned the key, and with a sly smile, pocketed the key.

“There, it is on your arm, only to be removed by this key and by me. So, how do you like your gift?”

Vadas had tricked me! But it was not something I could have anticipated. I just shook my head and laughed. This man was one tricky devil, but I couldn’t for the life of me take my eyes off his gift. In a way, it was a very expensive slave bracelet and the meaning of it was not lost.

A Kapitany, Chapter 17
Vadas sat in the darkened hotel room illuminated by the full moon. Elizabeth was asleep on the bed, gently snoring. The rosé proved to be too much for her, even two glasses. All the way home Vadas listened to her tipsy chatter. He also watched her raise her arm to admire the bracelet every time they walked under a street lamp. It fitted her arm well, and she seemed happy, perhaps because she was drunk. It was the first time he had seen her in such a state and it amused him.

She was dead on her feet when they got to their suite and he undressed her. He placed her naked on the bed and sat in an armchair watching her sleep. The moon fell across her pale body and she looked like a little Venus on the half-shell. Her long hair fell over her face and breast and her stomach rose and fell with her breaths. She was a small woman, but the roundness of her belly gave her a charming appearance, a ripeness that only could come with maturity.

She looked so innocent, lying there exposed to the moon, his eyes. There was nothing he could not do to her in this state, but he felt no lust. Perhaps he was tired himself or perhaps he was just old. There was more on his mind than Elizabeth. He couldn’t help wonder, though, if demanding that she live in Eger was the right thing to do. Here was a modern woman, not of his usual society, and certainly not a submissive woman. He was asking her to make a radical rupture with most of what she knew in life. He wondered if she would marry him, but then again, what was his rush to marriage? Probably because he was old fashioned and needed to claim her. Perhaps he thought she would leave him if he didn’t. There were no guarantees in life, he knew that.

Vadas threw back his head and stared at the dark ceiling, wanting a cigarette to accompany his thoughts. He would have smoked but it probably would have awakened her. She was bound to make trouble, to rock the boat with the Kovacs. Maria and Janos had been in the family for forty years and two women in the same kitchen was a recipe for disaster. Elizabeth seemed to be a little domestic, and would probably want her own space. She would want to cook for him, or do something to mark her territory, and that was most probably him. Ah, there was trouble ahead and he had to figure out how to make his world…undisturbed. Probably not possible. He would have to make some changes, too.

Perhaps they should live in the old house? He hadn’t been there for twenty years. It was falling apart. The last time he was there was when Marta had died after childbirth, and he had abandoned it like so much of life. Probably bats and wolves inhabited the rooms, now.

Could he afford to renovate the house of his ancestors? It was too large and drafty, the window glass gone in some of the rooms, just boarded up against the weather. Zoltan had been up there on the hill, had gone through the house, made an accounting of the continued decline. He told him on the way to Eger. It didn’t sound good. The plaster had fallen from the walls of some of the rooms, the floor boards had rotted in sections from a bad roof and the smell was one of a general decay. The only rooms that had survived were those where the old furniture was stored, covered up from the elements. These were in a side wing of the main house. Perhaps they could live in this part and slowly, given the finances, restore the rest of the house? Ah, Elizabeth had a ‘nose’ for old things, antiques, perhaps she would rally to this. There was no modern heat, barely plumbing but it would be more of an adventure to a new bride, if he read Elizabeth right.

Elizabeth liked historic buildings and this certainly fit the bill. Perhaps there was a sunny room where she could set up her studio? Perhaps in years to come they could open this as a hotel? There were rooms enough for that, but of course they would have to put in the modern conveniences. People couldn’t be expected to use chamber pots and fireplaces nowadays, not like when he was growing up.
There were servants then, and now nothing like that. Of course the Kovacs were there, but after forty years, they were more family than the other. But two women in one kitchen was a recipe for trouble.

Vadas looked at Elizabeth lying in the moonlight. If he would admit it, if he would ‘look himself in the eye and tell the truth’; he was lonely. Elizabeth looked sturdy enough to work the vines by his side, to hunt with him, to walk the caves and inspect the barrels, to grow old with him and warm his bed. He was lonely, and the past twenty years had done nothing to change this. Funny he had to travel half way around the world to meet someone who was only just a little Hungarian, but had interested him enough to grow love. Since Marta died he had not had love, only lust and lust had made him run from any consideration of love. Lust had been enough then, but now?

He was thankful Elizabeth was at an age where the possibility of a child was over. He didn’t want to chance another birth like the last. If his blood had brought forth a monster, it was better he remain childless. There was no heir, but then again, the loss of Marta had ruined him.

He was empty, his heart was empty, barren, and only with this little chit of a woman had he begun to realize what he was missing. When she had gotten so angry at him, when she challenged him, he had known fear. He was afraid of being alone again, afraid of losing her. She had spirit and was no fool. She had allowed him liberties but she knew her own head. He could push her around just so much. She had substance and could survive on her own. She didn’t need him, and he knew it. That was why he told her about Miklos and his history with him. It was time to be honest with her if he wanted her to stay. As honest as it suited him. There were always other considerations. He was still the man and had secrets she didn’t need to know.

Miklos. Vadas sighed. Miklos once again stood in the way of his happiness. How many times over the years had this been true and how many times had he bowed to the power of Miklos? What would Miklos want to end this, to break these ties that bound them together? He knew there was no future with Elizabeth if he didn’t get away from Miklos.

Vadas yawned. He was more tired than he knew. It had been a long three days and tomorrow night he would confront Miklos in his own lair. That bracelet on Elizabeth’s arm would signify much to anyone in the room who knew him. It was time for old Vadas to start a new life. And the farther away he was from Miklos and his circle? The better for his future. And the safety of Elizabeth’s life.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008-2012

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