It's Game On

3725 Words
She could still feel the burn of his breath on her earlobe as she sat there contemplating his words. She sent a text to the girls. “It’s game on.” Magda responded first, “now what?” “Well, I chased the lover out of the house. It won’t be long before she spreads the word of the philandering bastard she’s been bedding.” Her ability to text was almost as quick as her typing skills. Almost. Darya’s text popped up, “why didn’t he just agree so he could do what he wants?” “Because he can do what he wants and still keep me tied to this stupid family. The rules for men and women are different in this family. It blows and it’s a nightmare. He said no divorce. I need to make him see reason.” “or make him crazy.” She nodded at Magda’s words, “I am not opposed to such a thing.” “What’s next?” Magda typed “Shopping.” Darya responded “Shopping,” she grinned as she contemplated her scheme. “I told him I refused to sleep in a bed he f****d someone else in. His room needs a makeover.” A series of happy face emojis flooded her screen and she laughed before texting, “who is up for a lot of expensive retail therapy?” As she set the place for them to meet up, she was grinning broadly. “I don’t know if I like the look on your face,” Mrs. K came out to the patio with a fruit salad and coffee. “You look as if you’re plotting something terrible.” “Who me? Never.” Her grin was s**t-eating, and she knew it. “Tell me Mrs. K, of all the things in the master’s master suite, would you say his bed is his most prized possession?” “What are you planning?” She said nothing to the woman and just smiled her wicked little grin, the dimple on her left cheek rising high. “Nothing you need to worry about my lovely. You do not want to be a casualty of war.” She reached for the coffee cup. “Oh, in about five minutes, Miklos is going to lose his mind. I might have promised my parents we would attend church services with them at nine-thirty. My father is overjoyed.” Mrs. K threw her head back and laughed, “he is not going to be happy. He usually goes for his run Sunday mornings in the foothills and doesn’t get back until late. His security team might be happy though. I know they hate when he makes them run in the heat.” “Sucks to be all of them today because I checked the church website,” she turned her computer screen for the woman’s view, “and today’s sermon is all about Sampson and Delilah.” The woman was laughing hard now. “You are naughty.” “I know. We’re going to listen about love and fidelity and how a terrible woman destroyed the strongest of men.” She paused and her voice grew quiet but firm, “I’m going to bring that man to his knees, and I will get my divorce and I will have my freedom, if it’s the last thing I do.” At the vehemence of her words, Mrs. K grew still, her eyes wide and she patted her hair nervously. “I know he did you wrong…” “He did not,” Dimi looked to the woman directly. “To do me wrong implies we were in a committed relationship, and he broke the confines of said relationship. We were not. Just because we said a few words in a church means nothing. He told me before the wedding it would never be a real wedding and I would never be his real wife. He reiterated it after. I’m simply asking him to make good on his promise.” “Perhaps he was trying to protect you back then. You were so young.” “I was and his way of protecting me was to hurt me and make me hate him and it’s worked.” She sat back as she plucked at the grapes in the bowl contemplating hard and then she gave a shrug and grinned again at the housekeeper, “don’t you worry. I need to go get ready for church. I have the perfect dress in my room.” She collected her equipment off the table and plucked one more grape before downing the rest of the coffee in a gulp. She winked at the woman whose fingers trembled as she collected the dishes and kissed her cheek before making her way through the house to the guest room. The stomp of furious footsteps and Miklos’ voice yelling her name made her pause before causing a bright smile to appear on her lips. “You!” he leaned over the balustrade of the third floor, “did you tell your father I agreed to go to church?” “I might have said you mentioned the need to cleanse your soul so you can devote yourself back to the vows you uttered the last time you were in a church.” “I am not going to church!” “Then call him and tell him. He will be oh,” she turned on her heel and looked at him while she walked backwards towards her room, “so very disappointed his right-hand son refuses to be seen with his wife on such a glorious day of my return!” She batted her eyelids at him and then laughed aloud when a stream of curses in Greek flooded the entryway. She blew him a kiss, “I will be taking my own car as I am meeting the girls for lunch after.” There was no way he could tell her father he refused to attend services. Miklos might be running the businesses, but Vasili was still the boss. The echoes of his frustrated curse had her giggling all the way to the room. She pulled her dress down from the back of the bathroom door where she’d left it to hang and let her smile loose. She knew every tooth was showing as she almost erupted with laughter. It was the kind of dress an elderly lady would wear to a funeral. Black, calf-length shift dress with a plain black belt and silver buckle. It had a collar which laid flat around the neckline and three black pearl buttons trailing down the front of the chest. Long sleeves extended from thick shoulder pads. She almost clapped with excitement while considering the piece de resistance was going to be the perfect little hat with a veil which covered half of her face. When she had seen the dress in a vintage shop downtown the week before Magda had said it reminded her of a photo, she’d once seen of the dress her grandmother wore to her grandfather’s funeral in nineteen sixty-two. She had immediately raced in and was delighted to find it was her size. A good dry cleaning and the moth ball scent was gone but she knew in wearing it everyone would know she was mourning her marriage. The veil of course would be there to hide the tears she was going to cry after finding her husband slamming into another woman the night before. “Oh, the humanity!” she exclaimed with glee as she turned to start getting ready. Thirty minutes later she was in her room when the hard slam of the front door told her he had left the house and she danced excitedly in the bathroom. She had forty minutes to get to the church and after she got herself ready, she threw a bag together for when she met the girls for lunch. She had a change of clothes for her shopping spree. She dug through her bag and found the card she was looking for. When she had graduated with her bachelor’s degree, Miklos had given her a credit card and told her she could go buy anything she wanted. It had been delivered via courier to her double. She hadn’t used it but over the last two weeks while contemplating all the ways she was going to make him insane enough to leave she had searched for the card and had found it in the bottom of a box of stuff from their apartment in Boston. She had done an online check and the card was still valid and the credit line of fifty-thousand dollars was at zero. Today she was hoping to max it out. She had gone as far as to call the credit card company and warn them she’d be making a significant purchase with the card at various retailers, and they assured her it was no problem. Any card of Mr. Laskaris was always in good standing and ready for use no matter the limit. She had rolled her eyes at the smooth-talking agent on the line. She looked at herself in the floor length mirror and turned sideways. This dress was all kinds of awful and she relished it. She grabbed her little handbag and her duffel bag which contained her change of clothes and made her way through the house. The startled noise of Mrs. K. dropping something made her turn her head, “what’s wrong?” “What on earth are you wearing?” She sniffed, “the only thing my heart would allow me to wear after meeting my husband’s lover this morning while I was making him his breakfast. I’m in mourning.” She sniffed the black gloves in her hands inhaling the strong scent of a muscle-rub ointment she had coated over the thumb which burned the eyes. “It’s all too much.” Mrs. Kyriakos stared incredulously. “Your parents –" “Will be mortified by his behaviour. To know he had a woman in his bed while I was here,” she sniffed again as real tears from the foul-smelling grease permeated her nostrils. “My heart is forever deceased.” “You’re going to do this in a church? You know to be deceitful is a sin.” “So is adultery. I think my sin is less punishable if it comes down to it,” she commented dryly no longer putting on the act. “How do I look?” “Like an old woman going to a funeral. Where did you find the dress?” The woman stepped closer, “is it wool?” “Yes. It itches like mad.” She grinned, “had to put one of those old-fashioned slips under it to protect my delicate skin.” “You’re going to roast.” “If I faint, even better.” She knew no shame as the older woman clucked at her furiously. “I’ll be back later for dinner.” “Miklos won’t be here for dinner. He has a function he needs to attend. He said he’d be back around nine or ten.” “Perfect! My girlfriends are coming over. We’re having a bonfire. Going to roast smores and drink girly drinks by the fire.” “Oh, this sounds lovely. It will be a nice break from all of this. Would you like me to make something special for you and your friends for dinner?” “It would be amazing. You can surprise me. Anything you make is always incredible.” “I look forward to cooking for you, Dimitra.” She watched the woman walk back in the direction of the kitchen aware she’d made her day by saying she was bringing friends over. Wait until she found out what the plans were for the night. She drove the short distance to the church and admitted she was itchy as hell the whole drive. Once she was done with it, she should donate it to her father for the torture of his enemies. She parked the car and noted her parents waiting outside the church and eyeballed the man who walked up to greet them. Miklos Laskaris was a handsome man. He was easily six-foot two or three, not that she was certain. His chest was broad and thick, and she knew he worked out a lot. Long lean legs which went on forever and arms bunching and buckling under his tailored suit. He was strong. She had once seen him punch a man out cold with a single strike at her father’s command and the power in his body had reminded her of a cobra. He was always coiled tight, ready to strike. Sinew and muscle and animalistic. Watching him dive into the pool this morning completely nude had been a shock. She had gotten out of the bed to watch his bare back and ass gliding through the water and it had made her wetter than the pool he was in. She’d had to take a quick cold shower with her little battery-operated friend before she had hidden in the backyard when he’d gone upstairs to shower after his laps. His lips were full and plush. His nose, straight and patrician, reminiscent of those seen on marble statues of ancient Greece. His cheekbones, like his nose amplified the cold aristocratic demeanor he bestowed on anyone who dared look in his direction. His nose’s prominence on his face though, did nothing to take away from his dark eyes. They were perfectly set and symmetrical. Coal like and yet for the warmth they should possess with the deep richness of brown, they were cold and cut to the quick with a flick of his thick dark lashes. He had a perfectly groomed thin dark beard around his jaw, adding to his masculinity. His skin was golden and toasty as if he’d spent a lot of time out of doors and yet she knew while the sun amplified his glow, it was his natural color. All in all, he was the perfect specimen of man, and she wasn’t too proud to admit it. She examined him from the safety of her car, aware he’d rather be anywhere than here at church. While her father attended church regularly, mostly to flaunt to the world he would do what he wanted, without repercussions, Miklos had no desire to enter the hallowed halls. Her father was a feared man. Most of the people in the congregation loved him because he’d protected them, but they were terrified of the horrors he would do if they crossed him. People in trouble came to him for help and he helped them but there was always a cost. She knew Miklos was not only his enforcer but the man who was now running the operation at his side. As her father gradually stepped back, Miklos was taking over. Miklos’ father Giorgio was a smart man. Incredible with numbers and bookkeeping, he, and Vasili had created an empire of criminal activity. Loan sharks, racketeering, drugs, gambling, guns and anything and everything they could do to make a profit, they were engaged in. It had never been hidden from her. Her father had come up with the idea when she was only four or five and her intelligence had really begun to show. Miklos would run the empire the way Vasili did, but she would rule it with him the way Giorgio had. She grimaced at the thought. Groomed her entire life to be part of her family’s mafia, the shock of marrying Miklos only to be left to her own devices immediately after had put things into perspective. She would never rule with Miklos. He would never respect her to be his equal. She was nothing more than an annoying brat who he had to contend with. He had never wanted her. He was saddled with her. Now, her plan was to unsaddle him. She slipped her gloves back on and took a long, deep inhalation of the muscle rub on her thumb. The s**t burned but it was doing the trick. She slipped out of her car and made her way to her parents, her veil covering her teary eyes. She saw her mother c**k her head to one side and then drop her mouth open in stunned horror as she recognized her daughter. “Dimitra?” “Mama,” she leaned forward and kissed both of her mother’s cheeks. “What the hell are you wearing?” her father hissed. “My heart is broken,” she sniffed and refused to look at the man tense at her side. “What happened?” Her mother gripped her hand surprised when she pulled her left hand away. She hadn’t wanted her mother to get the ointment on her own hand, “I have things I need to work out through prayer. Only God can help me.” She flicked a glance in Miklos’ direction. She heard his hiss. “We need to head inside. I was so happy to hear you wanted to attend service this morning, but I’m worried now I see how you’re dressed. What is happening?” She turned dramatically and gripped her mother’s hand tight. She considered a Bronte era heroine couldn’t have been more over-the-top, “Mama, do not worry. I need to pray to God to give me the strength to go on. This morning,” she fanned herself with vigor as she saw Miklos tense up behind her mother, shooting her a warning glance as his jaw bunched with fury. “This morning I met a woman named Eve. She was a very vocal woman, and it is clear like the Eve from the bible, she loves serpents,” she deliberately leaned past her mother to look Miklos up and down and then whispered not so quietly, “a very specific serpent. I was making breakfast Mama. It was all so humiliating. I’m sure God will guide me.” She turned on her heel aware her father had gripped Miklos’ arm as she walked away into the darkness of the cathedral. Her mother was quick on her heels, following her to the pew her family always sat in. Her mother hissed in her ear, “are you saying he had a woman in the house this morning?” She pushed her thumb near her nose and breathed deeply, “I was making pancakes and she came in screaming demanding to know who I was. It seems he didn’t even tell her he was married. I fear she was as much a victim as I.” “My darling, I’m so sorry. Are you and Miklos together, together now?” her mother asked quietly shooting a glance in the direction of her father and Miklos who were now coming down the aisle. “Papa ordered me home to start a family. I was ready but it seems Miklos still has oats to sow.” She gave an exaggerated sigh. She almost laughed aloud as her mother issued a slew of whispered words in Miklos’ and her father’s direction. Her mother wrapped an arm around her shoulder and then abruptly pulled it away rubbing herself. “The wool poked me right through my dress,” she whispered to Dimi. “It is the shards of my broken heart,” she sniffed. “For f**k’s sake,” Miklos voice hissed as he sat on the other side of her. “Enough.” She blinked behind the veil at him, her eyes watery and limpid. “Have you had enough? Care to cry uncle?” He leaned close and whispered in her ear, “my love, we are just beginning. You want to play the game, game on.” She turned her face so close to him their breath was mingling, “your hurt me, Miklos. It isn’t a game. I won’t rest until my heart no longer aches.” Her words carried in the sudden quiet of the church and as her mother moaned as if her own heart broke and her father huffed furiously, Miklos’ face closed off in furious rage. She turned away and lowered her head as if in prayer, desperately trying to hide the laughter billowing up from her chest. It erupted and her mother moaned, “Vasili, she’s sobbing. She’s so upset she’s sobbing. Miklos’ what have you done?” Her mother hissed at him across the back of her daughter’s head. “This is ridiculous. I haven’t seen her in years.” “She was home not two months ago when Vasili had his surgery. You did not see her then?” “I had to fly to Greece,” he shrugged uncomfortably. “What about when she was home at Easter?” “At Easter I had the business in New York.” “Christmas? New Years Eve?” “He was in Greece then Miami, Mama. Remember Papa was telling us all about the new clubs they bought there?” Dimi threw him under the bus he himself was driving. “I haven’t seen him face to face in almost five years and only three time before that. He didn’t even come to graduation. He has never once visited me in Boston. Remember? Whenever I stay at the house, he leaves.” Her mother was glowering now. It was one thing her own husband disrespected her by keeping lovers all the time but to know her daughter was going through the same thing was too much. “You will fix this Miklos. You will fix this, or you will have to make a decision.” “My love, you are getting heated,” Vasili patted his wife’s hand. “They will sort out their marriage on their own. Miklos assured me outside he intends to put his wife first moving forward. He will make the effort.” Dimi made a face into her gloves and then smiled at the floor as the service began. As the priest began talking about the sanctity of marriage and how deceit and wickedness can destroy the purest of love, she felt the man beside her shift uncomfortably. It was bloody fantastic.
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