He is real

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Chapter 7. Day three

Before dating Misha, it was necessary to clear away the traces of fatigue and tequila drunk the day before (I tried hard), but it turned out to be more complicated task than I had expected. All these repeatedly advertised miracle masks with vitamins, green tea, imposed by the advice of “bloggers”, and even ordinary ice did not help. I put on a tight T-shirt and short denim shorts hoping that Misha’s look would notice my body, not tired eyes, and left the house.

When I got into the car and joyfully pulled towards Misha to kiss his cheek, he drew me to him and kissed me on the lips (recalling how excitingly pleasant his lips were) and tightly hugged me, smelling my hair.

— I missed you, — he whispered, and a shudder ran through my body because of his low hoarse voice, and even my heart began to pound.

— And I missed you. — For the first time I did not lie saying these words to a guy.

Misha smiled, sitting straight in the driver’s seat, put one hand on the steering wheel and looked at me with admiration, before turning the ignition key.

— You look amazing, — he emphasized.

As for me, but for the half open big breast above the neckline of the vest, I did not notice anything amazing in my appearance today. But still I said “thank you”, expressing gratitude.

We went to the embankment flooded with light from the roadside lanterns. We were driving by the promenade paved with multi-colored concrete tiles, where numerous passers-by walked carelessly. I was looking at them through the tinted glass, sitting comfortably in the spacious seat of the executive class car. A lot of pieces of paper with indelible paint were invested in the creation of this ideal streamlined black construction, honed by the minds of geniuses who know their work. The saloon smelled of skin and purity.

I recalled how, not so long ago, in the evening hours, I went for a run, pulling the hood of a sports sweater over my head, and rushed along this paved promenade past the couples of lovers who were enjoying their walk and families surrounded by children. Then I went down to the seashore, ran along the sand by the rolling waves. Breathing in wet air soaked with iodine, jumping over dead transparent jellyfish, which sometimes got on the way. Tired, I went to the coastal bar, took a big glass of ice-cafe and returned to the beach. I sat in the sand and talked to my “invisible friend”, sipping the refreshing ice drink, without thinking about those real and visible friends who I could spend free evenings with. My “invisible friend’s” company has recently become completely suitable for me. The company of the one who I could not sit side by side, but I could imagine it.

Today, Misha was holding my hand, stroking my palm, and I wanted to let it go as long as possible. His company became no less suitable than the company of my friend. I cherished a hope that he was experiencing something more to me than just lust. My doubts could be dispelled in a split second, but my “invisible friend” was still hiding in the unknown, only strengthening this hope with his silence.

Passing the town exit, Misha turned onto the highway and added speed, pressing the gas pedal harder. The car quickly and quietly hit the stride, gently moving along a broad flat road.

— Where did you decide to take me? — I asked.

— A beautiful quiet place. Don’t be afraid.

— I’m not afraid. Did you go to this quiet place with squeezes?

— Never with girls, never. — He turned his head to me, gave a short smile and continued keeping his eyes on the road again. — I often go there alone. Gated settlement where my boss lives. Have you ever been to places like these?

— No, how can I know people living such a luxurious life, — I replied, not at all embarrassed.

It goes without saying, that I happened to be there and more than once, and not for an hour.

— Well, yes, you are a “poor bartender, — he said, glancing a trenchant look at me (here I got a little embarrassed and confusedly lowered my eyes to my tanned knees), and then continued with earnestness: — Before work, I get up early and at dawn I run by the sea along the beach. And when my boss leaves the house, I meet him near the car ready to perform my duties — I drive him where he tells me to, follow him, where he tells me to, and solve disputes, if he says so.

And you stay close. Today I will need you very much. You know it.

It reminds you something, doesn’t it?

— And I rarely have days off. I offered you to have a vacation together, but you don’t want to. Well, it’s OK, I hope, you will change your mind soon, — Misha finished his speech, reached for the glove compartment, took out a pack of cigarettes and handed it to me. — The lighter also should be somewhere there.

I found the lighter, lit a cigarette and silently gave it to Misha.

As I would get to know later, everything he said, even though it reflected the true essence of his “life,” was not real.

***

— So how was your working night? — Holding the champagne glass, Misha was looking at the small bubbles circling inside it.

We were sitting shoulder to shoulder on the rug, which Misha had brought, sipping champagne brought by him, not far from the night surf line. The frothy waves that came running up hit the sand, came very close to our stretched legs, just a little more and they could reach them, but the waves were only slightly touching our toes rolling back.

— I don’t want to talk about work, we are having a rest today. — I leaned back and began examining the starry sky.

Misha followed my example, lay down beside me, with his free hand behind his head, holding the glass in his other hand.

— Do you see the Great Bear? — I stretched out my finger to the sky. — Did you know that every star in this constellation has its own name?

Looking intently at a piece of celestial space with the outline of a celestial bucket shown by me, Misha squinted a little and shook his head. That’s it. I was drawn to the lofty themes, and “Anna the dreamer” continued:

— I love to look at the night sky, at the stars, behind which lies another, unknown world.

— Or maybe your world is here, and not beyond the boundless stars?

I slowly turned my head to Misha, and he turned to me. His remark turned out to be ambiguous. Did he mean himself?

— Let’s have a drink. — I stood up and pulled him along.

We sat opposite each other. The moonlight was falling on Misha’s face, reflecting in glimpses in his bright blue eyes, looking at me with a strange languid sadness.

— What did you do before you came to Israel? — I decided to be curious.

— In Russia, I served in the army by contact, and when it was over, I got married. I built a house for us. The house near a lake, in a very beautiful place. — He thought for a moment as if he was looking for words, or maybe he had doubts about the continuation of his story. I was also silent, waiting to hear the development of his story, and hoped for a comment from my “invisible friend.” There was no comment, but Misha continued: — In general, after my wife’s death I left. Abandoned it all and left. He paused again, tapping his fingers lightly on the half-empty glass.

— You said you were boxing. For how long? — I continued asking.

— Twelve years, and I took part in fights, but that was a long time ago. I can’t go into the ring anymore.

— Why? Got a serious injury?

— No. After all, I sought everything not for my own sake, but for us. “Us” is gone, and victories turn out to be unnecessary. — He thoughtfully looked at a pile of large stones, which lay a little distance on the sand and partially got into the water. The waves were crashing against them, splashing away.

— You still cannot accept the fact that she is no longer here? — I never thought that guys like Misha can love truly, giving themselves down to the ground.

— Yes, it was hard for me then, yes, I couldn’t reconcile with circumstances for a long time, but I said that everything was in the past. Time’s a healer, life goes on and all that stuff, — he finished and smiled encouragingly.

My Misha, at least for today, he is a tall, attractive, healthy athlete, one of those people who do not like to cause compassion and self-pity, and I am not one of those who can easily grant sympathy. But it seemed to me that he still wanted to tell a lot of things, and I wanted to listen and understand him. The time for such a dramatic scene has not come yet. Life’s going on, we’re enjoying it and all that stuff.

— Tasty champagne, by the way, — After emptying a half-filled glass in one gulp, I handed it to Misha.

He did not take the glass, but pulled me to him, put one hand on my waist, and his other hand ran into my hair on the top of the head, moving my face closer to his.

— Now it’s my turn to kiss you. — How sweet he said that.

The glass fell out of my weakened hand.

Again I felt the crazy taste of his moist lips that slid over my lips, I could not help but touch the elastic male body hidden under the thin fabric of the T-shirt. I had touched a lot of gorgeous male bodies, performing private dances for four years. I don’t remember exactly how many, but I remember how I had been imagining that I was touching him. Him, yes. And now I didn’t have to imagine anything.

Sitting on Misha’s lap, clasping his hips with my legs and still kissing, I ran my hands over his shoulders, sliding my palms up to his neck, then ran them down his back, feeling every relief of the muscles under my fingers, and excitement began to grow inside me. And not only in me.

— Anna, I feel so good with you. I do not want to leave, that is… he quickly rearranged it: I do not want you to leave. Touching my hair disheveled by the damp wind, he gently ran his hand over it.

— I’m not going anywhere yet. — Smiling tenderly, I reached for a pack of cigarettes lying on the rug to distract myself and suppress my excitement.

— Should we better go for a swim? — He stopped me. — And make up your mind to get rid of this unnecessary habit.

— I’ll definitely make up my mind some day, but actually you smoke yourself, — I said, without touching the pack of cigarettes.

— But not as much as you do. Come on, get up.

— I don’t have a swimsuit.

Having received an invitation to spend time on the seashore, the first thing a girl thinks about is a swimsuit, and she will always be choosing for a long time the model that highlights her merits or conceals her flaws. But I absolutely did not think about it. These are all the consequences of the previous night, I consoled myself, but this consolation did not reassure me. If a couple of hours ago, my brain thought hard, without a drop of alcohol, then what can be said about its work at the moment.

— And there’s nobody here. — Misha got up and took off his T-shirt.

Still sitting, I watched, with my eyes raised, as he began to unbutton his trousers, looking at his perfect, diligently-worked, lean body. Glare of light from the bright moon, reflected in the waves, scattered around and slid along the curves of the brightly distinguished muscles, emphasizing so exciting reliefs of his strong torso, nude shoulders, arms, and everything that my eyes touched.

“Anna the perfect girl,” as the moral entrepreneur, would say embarrassed: “No, no, that is indecent…” — burying her face in hands. But it’s not fated for us to be the one with you, “Anna the perfect girl,” never. Well, I will not rush off the cliff, arms outstretched, like a bird in free flight, having come to the awareness of this fact. I’ll only bow before you respectfully, miss, taking off my imaginary hat. And in general, at least, I tried my best for the first time for him. I tried, you cannot argue.

I decided to support Misha’s idea and not to pretend to be anyone else. It’s over with images. Having thrown off my shorts and the vest, I had only pink translucent panties on. He threw his trousers aside and stopped for a second, studying the curves of my almost nude figure. Unable to suppress emotions from the sight of heaving breasts (the surgeon stuck them on perfectly, my skills in sculpting are nothing compared to his skill), Misha smiled mysteriously, surprise flashed in his rounded eyes, sighed heavily and said something unintelligible very quietly in a hoarse voice. I turned my back on him, stretching my open palm awaiting. He wasn’t slow in coming and holding hands, we went to the water.

The sea water was invigorating with coolness, and Misha’s large warm body warmed me. We hugged each other, enjoying the touches. I really did not want to let him go, these embraces gave the feeling of peace, even the sea was surprisingly calm.

Misha suggested continuing the night together, leaving me the right to choose the location. I joked off, saying that it would be nice to meet the morning in the Maldives in one of the houses on the water, lying on white sheets surrounded by the crystal clear ocean surface. In response, he said that this option was quite possible. I wanted to believe, and I did believe him, but pretended not to believe. We agreed that we would certainly visit at least one of these picturesque islands in the waters of the Indian Ocean, but some other time.

— Let’s go back to Bat Yam than, but I won’t return you back home today, — said Misha, stroking my back.

Yes, I have already found my home in your heart, do not return me anywhere. Sounds dramatic (it’s good, that not out loud). In such intimate moments, I can say a lot of delusional things. And when it (I mean the moment) was over, Bat Yam turned out to be a good idea. You never know, what if I suddenly I get a wild hair up my butt to run away, so at least it would be close to my rented apartment. And this time I won’t throw my shoes away.

***

Upon our returning, the promenade of our city, which was busy a few hours ago, was empty. Bars and restaurants were closing, white sun loungers standing in straight rows with umbrellas stuck in the sand nearby could seen on the deserted beach.

Misha stopped the car at a multi-storey house, built not so long ago on the coast, pressed a button in a bunch of ignition keys, and the barrier closing the entrance to the courtyard went up. We stopped at a vacant parking space. Having shut off the engine, Misha got outside and walked to the door, behind which I was still sitting, not daring to go out. Opening the door, he looked at me, awaiting my decision and the action that would follow it.

— What house is this? — Looking out, I turned my eyes upwards, running through the large number of rounded floors of the building, going to the height, and then I looked at Misha.

“You treat me shabbily, leaving me in this situation,” I mentally addressed my “invisible friend.”

It would be surprising if he answered. I don’t really know what wrong I have done to him and deserved such an attitude. We did not argue. On the contrary, we embraced not so long ago in a dream and talked about how we love each other. I got scared at the thought: “What if he does not return?” No, it cannot happen. He’s hell of a fool. It seems he’s come up with something new.

— Come on, I’ll tell you everything. — Misha held out his hand to me, I put my hand into it and got off.

We walked to the glass doors of the building. Misha put his phone to the electronic panel located on the wall, and the doors opened smoothly. Then, having crossed a spacious hall with high ceiling and walls decorated with shiny granite tiles, he put the phone against the touch screen next to the metal elevator doors. Entering the cabin, he pressed number forty in the long row of buttons. Without asking questions I was waiting for the elevator to get up to the right floor, and after a minute we went to the elevator landing. Misha went up to one of the two identical white doors that were located opposite each other, took a bunch of keys out of his pocket and opened the front door. He invited me to enter the apartment, shrouded with subdued light, with a gesture.

The apartment turned out to be spacious: at the entrance on the right there was a kitchen area with the bar counter as snow-white as the walls; beige glossy tiles covered the floor; a large hall, with a leather corner sofa and a wooden coffee table attached to it, was framed around the perimeter with sliding floor-to-ceiling windows instead of walls. Through these panoramic windows one could see the starry sky above the sea.

A huge flat-screen TV hung on the wall opposite the sofa, and above it there were black shelves. There stood pictures in silver frames, I came closer in order to have a look at them. Misha was still standing at the door. The photographs showed people of different ages and gender, as well as Misha himself. There was no doubt, it was his apartment.

The guard, yes? The guard would not be able to afford such a luxurious by Israeli standards apartment. So he lied to me. What a surprise.

— OK, Misha, do you live here? — Turning around, I asked, confused. While waiting for the answer, I watched him head towards the kitchen area, pull out a bottle of whiskey from the refrigerator and search for glasses, opening the drawers.

— Yes, I’ve told you a little lie, — he said when he had found the glasses, — just as well as you did about yourself.

My heart fell to the floor, flying out of my chest with a feeling of quick dismay burning my body. With frozen anxious surprise on my face, I stared at Misha. He, with deadpan seriousness, poured whiskey into glasses, picked them up, grabbed the bottle, and walked to me.

— Take a seat, — he said politely, pointing to the sofa, and handed me a glass. — I haven’t worked as a security guard for a long time. I do business with a couple of friends. We supply materials for construction companies.

“Thank you, my friend, for such an awkward situation.” — I made a big gulp of whiskey and sank on the sofa. Misha sat down next to me.

— And what does that “you have lied” mean? Where? — Actually, I’ve already guessed, but still asked. You never know.

Taking the TV remote control, Misha pressed the button and the screen lit up his serious face with blue light.

— About the fact that you are actually not a “poor bartender”, but a stripper who earns good money. — He shrugged his shoulders, as if it did not matter to him.

Great, it’s said enough. His response instantly caused anger to my “invisible friend.” Yet my guess was confirmed.

— Do you want to turn on the music? — offered Misha, giving me the remote control.

I grabbed it out of his hand and threw it onto the table, it bounced off the wooden tabletop, hit the floor with a crash and rolled under the sofa. Misha followed it with his eyes, not being upset a little bit. He took it calmly that the remote control could be broken.

— For the first time ever I feel comfortable in silence, — I said in an injured voice being angry, but not with him, of course and drank the whiskey with the last sip.

— No offense. I apologize sincerely. — He smiled; a little beautiful, endearing smile (once again, why I can’t do that) played on his strong face. — Let’s start it all over again?

It turns out that when I was emblazing my legend to Misha, going into the details of the bartender’s work, he was listening to me, nodded his head trustingly, and my “invisible friend” who knew about everything, was deliberately silent. Both of them decided to check if I could start a relationship with a “simple guy in a red T-shirt”. Misha did not demonstrate his status — an expensive car, a luxurious apartment, a successful business, I don’t know what else he has got — and I am still with him.

— How do you know about where I work?

— A couple of weeks ago, one of the clients asked you to send him a friend request on Facebook, this client is my friend, — he began to explain reasonably. — Your other client from the hotel in Herzliya, who you recently visited, is also one of my acquaintances. I asked him to call the agency where you work and order just you. Karina — that’s what you also call yourself at work for everyone. When he told you that he wanted you to come to him the next night, you replied that you had a day off, that you wanted to go to the beach, that you were tired of parties, that you were not getting enough sleep, and so on. He asked what city you live in, and…

— Everything is clear, — I interrupted him.

— Actually, I ran around all the beaches of Bat Yam. I wanted to find you. — With these words, he poured another go of whiskey into my glass, I brought it to my lips and took a sip. — And not once.

It is commendable, I already thought that the time when guys were running after girls is gone. In any case, it hasn’t yet changed the essence of what is happening. It’s not my scene to be on the other side. It is my privilege to know everything about everyone.

Without getting up, Misha leaned over, fumbled his hand under the sofa and picked up the remote control that had rolled under it.

— Actually, you could order me yourself without arranging this show with that casual acquaintance, — I said arrogantly.

— Come on, you have the principle — not to start relationships with customers. Nothing personal, just money. — He turned the remote control in his hands and thoughtfully looked at the buttons.

— How do you know that? — My look has become even more surprised and frowned.

— You told this to a client from Herzelia too.

— I didn’t say that.

— You just don’t remember. — He put the remote on the table.

— I remember everything, I did not tell him anything about my principles. Neither him nor anyone else! — I blurted it out indignantly.

— How would I know it then? You might have drunk a lot and forgot it, — he said as if I was stupid. — Can you turn the music on yet?”

— Are you kidding? Don’t you know how to use your own remote control? — I spoke my words with an even greater emphasis on the fact that he was “pulling a boner”.

— They delivered the TV set in the morning. I haven’t even turned it on, — he made an excuse.

I took out a cigarette from the pack lying on the table, lit a cigarette with my free hand, took the remote control, leaned back on the sofa, breathing out smoke, and fulfilled Misha’s request. I found YouTube icon on the TV screen and selected a club track. Turned the volume up to the maximum and from the speakers suspended under the ceiling, the rhythmic melody played, penetrating the glass with low beats and making it shiver.

— Excellent acoustics! — I noticed, shouting over music. — Do you like arranging parties “on the fortieth floor”?

— It’s forty-first. The downstairs is occupied by the lobby and gym! — He shouted in response, drank his whiskey in one gulp and put the empty glass on the table. Leaning back in the couch, pressed his shoulder to mine and turned his head to me. For several seconds we silently looked at each other, smiling kindly. Music was raising our spirits.

Needless to say, that the night turned out to be absolutely not as I had expected it to be.

Misha reached for my ear and whispered:

— I want to offer you something.

— What are you talking about? — I asked wary. Guessings swept flew in my head at lightning speed. Cocaine? Grass? Ecstasy? Money for a blowjob? … I won’t voice it all.

Having swallowed his silly bait, I was really solving the riddle.

— About the fact that I won’t be able to wait for you, knowing that you undress in front of those who then will paw you over and sniff the powder from your breasts (if anything, not only from your breasts). How much do you earn a week?

I did not want to answer, only continued looking at him blankly, frowning.

— I can give you twice as much, if you take a week off.

— You are crazy. — I smiled sarcastically, pushed him away from me and paused the music track. Silence fell in the apartment.

— Want to take me for a week? — Leaning over the table, I put out a cigarette in a glass ashtray.

— Hire — you said. And I just offered you not to go to work. And I don’t insist on spending the whole week with me. It’s your choice. If you want to leave, I do not hold you, if you want to stay, then you’ll make me happy, just hugging, falling asleep next to you. I feel good and easy with you, Anna and if money is so important to you, take it and don’t think about anything for at least a week, but don’t go to work. — He pulled a wad of hundred-dollar bills with a rubber band out of his back pocket, threw it and it flopped down on the table. — What will be your decision? — Putting a hand on my knee, he seriously looked at me.

After his last words something broke in me. For the first time, someone tells me that. For the first time, someone insistently makes it clear that he will never share me with others. And even if I refuse to spend time with him and leave, he will be sure that I will definitely not spend the next few days at work, with those with whom he does not want to share me. For the first time, someone, knowing what I was doing, perceived me without a stereotype — a “stripper– funny-bunny.

I’d rather say that I perceived him like that — a guy for fun. For the first time, someone destroyed my own stereotypes in me. And most importantly, for the first time it was his attitude that became meaningful to me.

Even my friend had been silent and did not interfere for so long. He might have been somewhere around (so invisible and intangible) observing, knowing what’s going on in Misha’s head, but he was waiting for my choice, not pushing or imposing his opinion. And I will say without any prejudices, all I really wanted was to stay with Misha. An inexplicable craving for him ruled out all the prejudices. And the money — I did not need his money, and I was not going to take it. I did not want to feel obliged for the time he had bought. To be with him in fact — that’s what I wanted.

— I want you. The rest does not matter, — I said confidently.

Misha pulled me to him, I sat down on his lap, so that our faces were opposite each other, wrapped my legs around his hips. He ran his fingers along the curve of my cheekbones and gently kissed my lips. He affectionately hugged my waist and buried his head in my neck. The big guy Misha could sometimes be gentle. How powerfully it did carry me away — a strong bear turns into a submissive “bear cub” looking for affection, it is impossible not to pet such a thing.

I lifted his head, clasping his face with my palms, and, rising from my knees, I started kissing his lips, not tenderly, but passionately. He squeezed my buttocks, sharply lowered on him, and I gently pushed my hips. Feeling how quickly he gets excited, felt the heat below my waist and the pulsation between my legs, which were increasing as desire grew in me. His hands slipped on my back under the vest, and goose bumps ran down my skin because of his greedy touches. I wanted to put my arm below his waist, just where the most sensitive part of his body was hiding, but I lingered at his waist, feeling the muscles along the ribs.

— We didn’t go into the shower after the sea. — Having torn away from my lips, he tried to calm his breathing, inhaling the air deeply with his nose. — I promise, I will not molest you brazenly.

I got down from his lap and sat down next to him, pumped up and having lost my head completely. Soon I myself won’t be able to take it any more and start to harass him. I remember, that I thought — “the games are over, it seems I’ve had it, my friend. Maybe you will finally say something?”

Far from it.

Misha got up from the couch.

— Are you coming? — He looked in the direction of the bedroom and headed there without waiting for an answer.

Taking another sip of whiskey, I also got up from the couch, left the glass on the table and followed him.

***

We went into a spacious bedroom with a large bed in the center, adjacent to the wall, covered with a white silk blanket. Transparent beige light curtains were swaying with the wind in the large open window. On the left of the entrance was a glass door that led to the bathroom. Standing next to it, Misha took off his clothes, revealing a beautiful toned body, it was very difficult just to look at, without doing anything to it. As it turned out that not only his muscles were of impressive size, but also the part which I didn’t get round to.

I did not even notice how I began to undress. Standing, naked I continued looking at Misha no less frankly than he did.

— I’m looking at you, and I can’t believe it … — he hesitated, as if he realized that he had almost said what he shouldn’t have said. — You’re incredibly beautiful. You must have driven lots of men crazy.

Why did he mention the other guys at this moment? Yes, there have been a lot of others, and maybe there will be more. Actually, in his life there have also been other girls, I don’t know how many, as well as how many more there can be.

— And you’ve driven me mad too, — he added, after a brief pause. In response, I shook my head, replying with an embarrassed look.

Misha opened the door of the shower cabin, then he led me in and lifted the lever of the silver mixer mounted on the wall.

Being with him in a narrow confined space, I felt him only mine, denying the existence of the world beyond the doors of the bathroom. Hugging him, I looked into his insanely beautiful face, which I thought I had already seen in one of my sexual fantasies.

Champagne, whiskey, the warmth of the water and Misha’s touches relaxed me, and I melted in his hands.

— Your skin is so pleasant and elastic that it is impossible to tear of it, — he bent slightly and touched my shoulder with his lips, then moved them up, along the neck, up to the earlobe. With one hand he leaned against the tiled wall above my head, and the second hand clasped my throat right under my jaw, turning it up to his lips and he kissed me hungrily. He made me defenseless, obedient to his will. Such things have never happened before. I had always had everything under control, I “led”, I did everything I wanted, but they were only “dolls in the skillful hands of a puppeteer”.

Having torn away from my lips, Misha stretched out his hand to a shelf with plastic bottles standing in a row, took one of them, and a thin, translucent strip of liquid soap with flower aroma poured out on my breasts. Having covered it with his big palm, he began to smear this slippy mass. His fingers moved along my waist, to my thighs, then headed down the waist and down on, penetrating between my legs, where he could feel the humidity of my desire that overwhelmed me. At this point, I wanted the water falling on us become brisk cold. A soft moan came out of my chest, the world floated in my eyes due to excitement.

I haven’t felt such a wild desire that I want to last as long as possible. He teased me and caused a hidden fear, attractive, inviting, similar to what you feel, looking at the drug, daring to try it for the first time.

— Misha, stop or … — My fingers embracing his neck, were trembling.

— Yes, I’m sorry, I’ve promised, — he said apologetically. He took his hands away from me, opened the shower cabin door to let me out and added. — Get into bed, I’ll be there soon.

I went out, stepped with my wet feet on the tiled floor, found the folded towel on the shelf, wrapped into it and took a few steps and came to the glass door leading into the bedroom. I stopped. Turning around I took a look at Misha, who was standing with his back to me under strong water streams hitting his elastic shoulders.

Get into bed, I’ll be there soon.

“How strange it is”, I thought then, not even realizing that this was only the beginning: soon there would be many more of them, and left…

The rays of the predawn sun had already been penetrating into the bedroom through the open window. Having thrown off the towel, I lay down in bed, pressed the button at the head of the bed, and the blinds outside the window began to close slowly. The room got dark, the only light triangle fell to the floor from the slightly open shower door. I closed my eyes, feeling tired, slowly began to fall asleep. When Misha lay down next to me, I put my head on his shoulder half asleep, embracing his hard stomach, and crashed out.

***

- Look, — the voice of my “invisible friend” is heard.

I look around. I am surrounded by familiar setting. One of those similar nights in a nightclub room, which is used for an “afterparty”.

The bass roars of club music penetrate the chest with their blows, and a large number of people crowded around the bar where I was sitting. In the darkened space the multi-colored shadows of the twinkling lights of the light chaser reflected on their faces.

A cigarette is smoking between my fingers, and a strange bloke of standard Israeli appearance is found nearby; dark-haired, dark-skinned, with a perfectly selected shape of his beard. A thin gold chain with a diamond pendant in the shape of Mogen David gleams on his hairy chest in the unbuttoned collar of a strict black shirt.

— And she asks me, well, the girl who is sitting in the chair next to you, and do you have anything to sniff? You can’t even imagine who I am, — he says to me in Hebrew, trying to shout down the music, and directly into my ear. He was twitching slightly with the rattling and wall-shaking even beats.

— I can imagine. A lawyer, — I answer, slightly leaning towards him. — You defended one famous politician in Israel. And in America, you managed to get a swindler, who had conned the state for a decent amount, out of prison. Donovan, Dorian, what’s his name, I have bad memory for names. And this swindler has recommended you to the outstanding figure of our country. He offered you a lot of money, so you came back to Israel. — I casually throw an unfinished cigarette on the floor between the seat occupied by me and the adjacent chair where my interlocutor is sitting.

— How do you know … — His face, killed by heroin and alcohol, suddenly begins to seem clear and sober. — They did not report this to the press, — he continues. — I wanted to show you, they wrote about me in the newspapers. — He throws a puzzled look at the glowing screen of the phone in his hands.

To show off that’s what you wanted, I say in my mind, not having the slightest interest in him.

— There’s no need to show anything, I’ve just recognized you. You are a great specialist.

— So, one more chaser? — He offers and, without waiting for the answer, asks the following question: — Did we come across with you somewhere before, in America?

— Yes, yes, in the courtroom. — No such thing had ever happen, and I had not had a chance to go to America by that time yet. My “invisible friend” had told me his story. — I don’t want to drink anymore; you’d better go to dance. — And I point with my hand at the dancing crowd of people next to the DJ.

Having obeyed me, he leaves, disappears in the crowd, which is moving synchronously, slightly changing movements in the rhythm of the music.

— I’m bored … — I address my “invisible friend.”

— Choose whoever you want, — he replies so quickly that I don’t even have time to finish speaking.

Once again I’m looking at the people crowded near the bar. I notice a guy, a tall, strong blond wearing a white shirt, standing on the corner of the bar to my right, he is laughing and talking to friends. He rises a glass of beer, sips and cheerfully slaps one of his friends on the shoulder.

It was needless to say who my choice fell on.

“Michael, an American tourist. Recently served his time in army”.

I take out another cigarette from the pack lying on the bar and smoke it, not taking my eyes off the handsome guy from the West.

Michael, who was called so by my “invisible friend,” catches my apprising look on him. Smiles in response, I smile friendly at him. Then, leaving the company of his friends, he goes around the bar counter and comes to me.

— Hello. Can I give you a treat? — Michael asks in English, taking seat on a chair nearby.

— Yes, the whiskey chaser, — I respond kindly in his native language.

He raises his hand, trying to call the bartender, who is busy beyond all measure, serving a large number of visitors, and leans towards me:

— My name is…

— Michael, — I beat him, shouting his name clearly.

— What? — In the glare of repetitive light pulses, I notice his expressive surprise.

Oh, this one-of-a-kind stupid American facial expression, that can be seen even under the stroboscopic effect. “Civilian guys” (as we called them between us in a strip club), under any circumstances and in whatever condition they may be, they try to shine a Hollywood smile. And for the most cases it works properly, charging people with cheerfulness. In most cases, but not this night.

— How do you know my name? — Michael turns to me, embarrassed, but the smile still does not leave his attractive face.

“Do you want to mop him up?” — After the words of my “invisible friend”, I could not restrain myself and giggled, almost choking with cigarette smoke, lowered my head, trying to hide laughter.

— And your cat’s name is Magdalena. — I limit myself only to the cat’s name, although I already know a lot more. For example, about Michael’s sexual inclinations, which he carefully hides from everyone.

— Who are you? — He’s desperately trying to remember me, carefully sorting his memories, spreading his hands in amazement.

I show two fingers to the bartender, having caught his distracted gaze. He quickly puts the shots in front of me and Michael and pours whiskey into them, then covers them with lemon slices, Michael, in turn, gives him his credit card.

— I can’t remember you, — Michael insists.

— It does not matter.

We drank the whiskey, chased it down with lemon and squinted our eyes a bit because of the sourness.

“Maybe you’ve drunk enough for today? As someone will feel very bad tomorrow. Your head hurts, you feel sick…”

— C’mon you. Actually I’m tired of everything. I’ll just find my friend and leave.

— What did you say? — asks Michael in bewilderment.

— I say, — I begin to shout into his ear, trying to shout down music that had already gained momentum and drummed even louder, — I’ll go to find my friend, she should be somewhere here. I’m worried about her. And you talk to your grandmother.

— What grandmother?

— The one that will call you now.

Michael pulls his iPhone out the pocket and looks puzzled at the dark screen. In a second it lights up.

Smirking, I get up from my chair and go on my own I don’t know exactly where, making my way through a dense crowd of people dancing like in trance, pushing them angrily with my elbows.

“So, we’ve had fun.”

— Well, I don’t care, — I muttered to myself. — As a matter of fact some people fool around with blow-up dolls.

The sounds of music began to subside, the vision dimmed, the crowd of people began to mix up in a black lump.

“Do you want to go back to your room?”

— What room? And what on earth is going on? Is this another dream?

“No, a forgotten memory.”

The music finally disappeared, and a dark spot, reaching consciousness, swallowed me. Everything faded in my eyes, and then the light came.

***

I was sitting on a bed lit by the rays of the sun that made their way through the open window framed by beige curtains in a small room and looking at my own reflection in the closet door covered with a mirror-film. I was wearing a wide cut white cotton pajamas, and my hair was gathered at the back of my head.

“What do you think exists? This room or the one where you fell asleep in?”

— Of course, the one where I fell asleep, — I said mentally.

“Then why do you see this room now?”

I got out of bed and turned around. The room looked like a single room in a cheap but clean hotel and was furnished with the minimum furniture: a single bed, a bedside table, a plastic chair and a wardrobe; blue painted walls.

— I don’t have a clue. Do you want to confuse me completely? Or do not you know what kind of place it is yourself?

“I know, but I don’t understand how you managed to get here, and even took me with you. Come back quickly.”

I woke up on Misha’s shoulder in his bedroom, shrouded in twilight. My eyes rested on his chest. I pressed closer to him, thinking: it’s all right, just a psychodelic dream.

It turned out that it was not just me, who had psychedelic dreams. Misha’s body suddenly shuddered, a nervous shudder pierced him with a wave, like the one created by a defibrillator, making the heart that has stopped beat again. He jumped, and I followed him. Leaning on his hand, he frowned, lowered his head, overcoming the pain, then threw his wide-open eyes on me with a frightening surprise frozen in them, and in a hoarse voice said:

— Do not do this anymore, — he leaned toward me, kissed my cheek and added: “Forgive me if I scared you, — and leaned back on the pillow, rolling his eyes, plunging back into sleep.

— Why, don’t apologize, — I said, continuing for a few more seconds to sit in a stupor and look at him sleeping. Then I moved Misha’s motionless hand so that it was possible to return to the original position on his shoulder, lay down, leaning against him, and only at that moment understood. I managed to fall asleep without a sleeping pill.

Outside the closed window the midday sun was already shining. The promenade was filled with people again, all the coastal bars opened, beach umbrellas were melting in the sun, the loungers were not empty. And the bundle of dollars (I don’t know exactly how I would dispose of them, but still the more pieces of paper with indelible paint, the better) was lying on the table in the hall. It seems to be mine.

What stopped me from taking it and leaving?

Misha was lying in bed with me. I knew that I would be here with him (not having the exact idea, of course, what kind of bed it would be and where it would be, but the fact was that I would be with him) as soon as evening came. Just I did not imagine that I would prefer to stay in it.

I nestled closer to him, sighed lingeringly and tried not to think of anything at all.

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