Full Circle Ch. 06bytens©
Readers, thank you for your patience in waiting for this chapter. It's the longest yet. All Russian phrases can be plugged in to a decent online translator for clarification. This story contains more elements of BDSM than previous chapters and may be objectionable to some readers.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
The next morning Persephone rose early to wash the sheets. A firm believer in leaving something borrowed in better condition than she found it, she exiled Vanya to the couch at five in the morning and began setting the guest bedroom and bathroom straight. When they left a little after seven, the bedroom and kitchen table were immaculate. Vanya groggily mumbled something about her being too nice when they walked out the door. Persephone couldn't be brought to care. She planned on facing Andrew again. She wouldn't be able to do so if the first thought in her head when she saw him was, He had to deal with my dirty sheets.
Their last day in Texas was spent in a leisurely fashion with a big dinner and a game night. Poker was the game of choice and John Mark busted out his giant change jar to serve as tender. A straight man, Peter wore his confidence or displeasure on his face and was no good at the game. He bowed out with Margie and Ariana, who were also too expressive to get anything by anyone. John Mark and Emma followed suit. Vanya, Persephone, and Zenovia were the ones to hold out to the highly anticipated final set.
Not one to back down, Vanya was the first to reveal his hand, displaying a straight with perfect calm. He turned to Persephone expectantly. She smiled gleefully and laid a flush down. She quickly turned to Zenovia and arched a brow, believing herself to be the winner of four dollars in coins.
The old woman simply laid down her full house and methodically began to pick up her pennies, nickels, and dimes. Persephone sat agape and ran her fingers through her hair in disbelief. All of her winnings were gone!
"What the crap? I don't believe this! How is that even possible? I just got cleaned out!" she exclaimed.
"Believe it, baby," Zenovia replied, placing her neat stacks of change into her coin purse.
"You're seriously taking all that change, γιαγιά?!" John Mark asked incredulously.
"Oh, yeah, I always keep what's mine, sweetcheeks."
"Well, amen," Vanya concurred, raising his beer. He smiled faintly and took a swig. His eyes then fell on Persephone who was now helping Margie and Emma put away snack foods. The intensity of his gaze wasn't lost on Peter.
Monday, December 31, 2012
"You never did tell me how the trip went. The Thanksgiving one, I mean to say. I guess that was a little while ago, hmm? I feel like we haven't met up too much since then," Finn commented. Her leather-gloved hands gripped the wheel of her navy Porsche Boxster.
She drove with mastery down a scenic route to the city. When Finn asked Persephone to help her decorate for a New Year's Eve party she was throwing at her uncle's ritzy bar that evening, Persephone made sure to dress up just for the drive. The Porsche just made one feel a little hotter. Having Finn at the wheel was an added ego boost. Ever the fashionista, she donned a white and royal blue color-blocked coat that perfectly complemented her League approved red hair. Persephone suspected that the 'decorating' Finn had in mind would entail delegating tasks to hostesses and catering staff.
"Yeah, I guess not," Persephone replied as she gazed ahead, "We weren't hanging out much at the time and when I got back we dove right into finals. It was pretty good -- good enough that I went back for Christmas. That was fun, too."
"Fantastic. Did Emma chill out?"
"Yeah, it was weird actually. The whole time we were totally fine. She apologized pretty quickly as soon as I got there. You know, for the stuff she said the time I went before Thanksgiving. We had a good time. I wasn't expecting that."
"I'm glad it worked out," Finn said with sincerity. "Did the Bensons like Vanya?"
"Yeah, for the most part. Peter warmed up to him eventually. Zenovia, the grandma, kept asking both of us about marriage. Like, she brought it up at least three times. Really, that's just a conservative estimate. I'd be well within my rights to say five times."
"Wow, talk about pressure! Was Vanya weirded out?"
"He actually took it in stride. I think I was the one who was bothered the most."
"What did he even say to her? Like, how does one respond to marriage pressure from retired navy women you've never met before?!" Finn cackled.
"I know, right? Ridic! He was really smooth though. He said, 'We haven't discussed marriage, but it's my understanding that we'd both like to be married with children one day. It's not time to talk about marriage yet.' I couldn't believe he said that at first, but I guess using some good defense was the right way to go about it. All the nuptial inquiries were bounced over to me after that. He was brave -- but Vanya likes to pull out the crazy sometimes."
"Yeah, the crazy jealous." Finn's smirk was full of vexation. Persephone caught the look on her friend's face. She rode along silently for a few moments.
They had lapsed back into a more friendly routine after Persephone's return from Texas. Party planning was something in which both women had a fervent interest and something Vanya perceived as too dull to interrupt on behalf of his ego. The 'girl time' had relieved some of the awkwardness that had seeped into their friendship once Finn's attraction had been revealed.
She had noticed some changes in Finn's behavior though. There were less comforting caresses and straightening of errant locks of hair. Persephone felt it was necessary to clear the air though.
"But we're good though, right? No weirdness or hard feelings?"
Finn smiled genuinely and kept her eyes on the road. "Of course, it's not the first time I've been in that situation and I suspect it won't be the last. Besides, I hooked up with Lauren Vickers and she turned me out. I now spend most of my time concentrating on my crush on her."
"Lauren Vickers! When did this happen? She is like, a frickin' maneater. Or womaneater I guess, hell, I don't know. Where was I when this happened? Oh, my gosh!"
"You were in Texas. It went down at Tom Nichol's LGBT Thanksgiving bash for everyone who was still in town. She took me back to her place; it's like a harem with a toy chest. And when I say that I'm being completely serious. It's all reds, fuchsias, and oranges and there's this colossal chest at the end of her huge bed and it has everything. Everything you could possibly imagine."
"Okay, I know you might be upset with me for asking this but I have to because we're talking about Lauren Vickers. I can't even say just her first name," Persephone shook her head, placing her face in her hand, "I have to say the whole thing. Lauren Vickers; it's like a fucking legend or something."
"Out with it already!" Finn demanded, suppressing a snicker.
"Did you make her wash those toys and use protection?"
"Oh, my god, you nerd. Yeah, she did but it didn't matter, it was all brand new and she sent me home with one toy."
"Ahh, Finn! She has her eyes on you! What was it?"
"Eh, it was probably a vibrating dildo that goes along with her go-to strap on harness."
"What?! What do you mean probably? Either it is or it isn't. Hmph, you know if she breaks your heart you'll have to burn it."
"I don't know; it looks kind of expensive. Plus, silicon won't burn easily. It can, however, be thoroughly sanitized."
Persephone glared over at Finn trying to figure out if she was being facetious. It was always hard to tell, especially now, when dark designer sunglasses masked her eyes. She really hoped Finn was joking; Lauren Vickers was known for her exotic looks, sharp wit, and "love 'em and leave 'em" approach to relationships. However, as Persephone thought more about it she supposed Finn and the bawdy half-Lebanese girl made a decent match.
"It's the memories, Finn, the memories. That's what's being purged."
"Do I look like the sentimental type? I'm already over you, darling. Now all we have to do is convince Ivan that I'm no threat and that you're already head over heels in love with him."
"Whoa, whoa, I don't know about head over heels or anything -- "
"No! Don't lie! You told me you let him come inside you. You, who flipped out when I took a teensy tiny sip of your water bottle when we went running together."
"I didn't flip out!"
"And I quote, 'The exchange of bodily fluids is repulsive to me. I don't share drinks or lip balm with anyone. Absolutely no one.' Then you snatched that bottle right out of my hands!"
"Yeah, but that's different," Persephone grumbled as red infused her brown cheeks.
"I know. The difference is that you're not in love with me. You're in love with Vanya. Just admit it, Perce."
Persephone stared straight ahead at the highway. She was tightlipped and her silence betrayed her secret to Finn. After about ten seconds, she sighed resignedly and dropped her head back against the headrest. "Well, I'm pretty sure I do. I know he feels that way."
Another few moments passed and Finn quickly diverted her attention to deliver what Persephone thought might have been a look of shock. She couldn't tell because of the shades. When Finn returned her eyes to the road she hurriedly waved her right hand in a circular motion. "Oh, my god, do not stop there! How do you know? What did he say?"
Persephone's stomach lurched as she recalled the night she spent with Vanya in Andrew's guest bedroom. Anxiety and arousal churned inside her as she relayed the details to Finn. The way he had exclaimed his love for her during coitus came as a big surprise and she hadn't been ready to reciprocate. During the past few weeks she'd constantly asked herself if she loved him or not. She had pretty much decided the answer was "yes," but only by default. She knew the answer wasn't "No."
"You haven't said anything to him about it?" Finn pried gently.
"No. I tried to but he read me like a book. He does it at the weirdest times."
Persephone told Finn about the tactic she'd used at the Benson's house just in case she was caught coming home the morning after 'the kids' all went out. She had hoped bringing in breakfast would create an alibi of an early morning outing rather than a walk-in of shame. If the ruse failed, she expected a bribe of food would lessen any judgment.
Unfortunately, Peter had been wide-awake when she and Vanya arrived, blowing leaves into a gigantic pile in the middle of the yard. He'd cast a look toward Vanya that could not be taken for anything but disapproval. Persephone had decided to run interference before one of the men could ruin the good weekend.
"Good morning, Peter!" Persephone attempted to release some of the tension, however, it was to no avail. Peter kept his eyes trained on Vanya. His premature white hair and beard only enhanced his angry, blue stare.
"Good mornin', Persephone," he finally turned to her and smiled, "what cha got there?"
"A bunch of croissant sandwiches from MartieBeth's and some coffee, too. Come on in and take a break. We bought enough for everybody."
Peter's stare returned to Vanya and he held it. Vanya wasn't ashamed or afraid; if Peter thought he could intimidate him for taking Persephone out he had another thing coming. In a show of both solidarity and defiance, he placed his arm around Persephone's shoulder.
Peter sighed, seemingly giving up with a hint of a grin. "You two go on. I'll be inside after a while."
They went inside, washed their hands, and began unloading the food on the kitchen table. "That was awwwwwkwarrrrd..." Persephone frowned goofily, "I wonder if he stayed up all night."
"I wouldn't put it past him. He probably received some type of intense-ass sleep deprivation training in the SEALs. Keeping his skills sharp or some shit."
"Intense-ass? I am rubbin' off on you."
"I'd rub one out on you any day."
"Eww! And we're back! That wasn't even that clever, it was just gross."
"That's not what you were saying last night. In fact, I don't recall you saying much of anything last night."
Persephone stopped placing forks on the table settings. It seemed he had noticed her silence after his confession. She had no idea how he felt about it. As of yet, Vanya hadn't given anything away. It was something she didn't want to get into given that the Bensons would be up and about at any minute. "Um, could we not talk about that until we get back?"
Vanya continued to casually pull items from the takeout bag. He didn't raise his head to address her. "I don't think it requires a talk. I'm a patient man...for you. It felt right. I meant it. You shouldn't say anything until you're ready to. That's it."
Persephone made her way around the long oak table and reached up to take his face in her hands. "Thanks, Gigantor. For this and this whole trip."
"You're welcome, sweetpea," he replied with a triumphant look on his face. He leaned down and proceeded to kiss her until they heard the sounds of everyone waking up.
"Wow, that is pretty hot," Finn replied after the account was finished.
"Yeah, it was amazing. Super mushy, super Vanya. I still haven't said anything. We haven't discussed it since. I feel like if I say it now it'll feel forced and that's the last thing I want."
"Tell him tonight when you surprise him. I think the whole champagne and roses thing emotes love."
"No, that's too...I don't know...framed? It just wouldn't feel right if I planned it. Pssh, I wasn't even thinking of saying anything until I started talking to you!"
"Oh, yes. What are friends for?"
Persephone had not expected Finn's uncle's bar to be so sleek. The establishment wasn't just a bar. It was a very posh restaurant atop a tall building. The interior was clearly touched by the hand of a gifted designer.
The main room was adorned with intricate, wrought iron chandeliers. The gray stone tiled tables were topped with minimalist place settings. Glass partitions separated various dining spaces. It would have all appeared sterile if not for the orange Lucite chairs.
They immediately went to a backroom where Finn helped hostesses arrange tall tables for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Chic quilted sofas lined the walls as well as modern art that Persephone wasn't particularly receptive to. She felt most useful stringing up lights and lanterns on the large patio. The view of the streets below and the surrounding buildings was breathtaking; it made her brim with anticipation for the evening and Vanya's arrival.
All of the law school's students had been working so hard up until the end of finals week. Persephone knew Vanya had been stressed because of something going on with his family but she didn't want to pry. If he wanted to comment on it he would, just as he always did. When he was ready, she would listen with an objective ear.
Persephone and Finn left to get dressed at the Cagney's home when the party set up was finished. It was a short drive to the stately single-family townhome. They took the elevator to a storage room on the third floor due to the load of extra decorations they were carrying. Afterward, they walked up to Finn's room on the fourth floor.
While Finn's room was vast and lovely, Persephone was most impressed with the zebra skin rug and the spa-like en suite bathroom. The rug was a cast off from her adventurous uncle, and the bathroom had been revamped during a renovation while Finn was away at college. Persephone rarely thought of Finn in relation to her obvious wealth. However, the prim room, with its elegant splashes of lavender fabric, objects, and hydrangea helped put some of Finn's proper mannerisms and causal attitude toward money into perspective.
She was currently modeling a couple of dresses in order to choose one for the evening's festivities. Finn stated that as the hostess she could forego a cocktail dress for a show stopping, slender gown. The first was beaded and embroidered in tones of silver, cream, and pearl. The short collar and capped sleeves gave it an air of regality despite the plunging neckline. The second was a fluttering chiffon number, emerald in color with an embroidered empire waist.
"I really do love both of these," Finn complained, holding both up in front of her full-length mirror.
"Just wear them both. You're going to get tired of the creamy one after a while and the green one is going to feel so comfortable after standing around all evening. You could slip it on after midnight."
"That's an excellent idea. I'll just keep the second one in the office until I'm ready to wear it. It's long enough for me to sneak into some flats, too. I can do a sloppy bun and go for the goddess thing!"
"Yep, I'm awesome," Persephone said, taking a moment to actually pat herself on the back. She placed her hands behind her head and reclined on the chaise at the foot of the bed. "I do have some sense of fashion."
"The jury is still out on that one. Let's see this dress of yours," Finn replied, nodding toward the bathroom.
Persephone rolled her eyes as she rose and grabbed her garment bag from the bed. The turtleneck dress was cute and reserved. Persephone knew Finn would hate it but she liked the simple look because she knew she could pull it off. When she emerged from the bathroom Finn's sour look confirmed her prediction.
"Yes," Finn sighed, "I thought so. It's a good thing I came prepared."
" 'Came prepared?' This is perfectly fine, I don't need any crazy jewelry or alterations."
"Yes, whatever you say, Perce," Finn have an exasperated wave of her hand, and entered the closet. "Before you look at this I want you to promise to keep an open mind and remember that you're trying to seduce your boyfriend tonight."
"I'll have all the proper seduction materials at the hotel. It'll be a complete surprise that way," Persephone protested.
"Yeah, but you've got to build up to it; anticipation and such. This is going to blow everyone away and make your He-man go insane. You know how he gets sometimes."
Finn emerged with a cream sheath dress laden with miniscule silver beaded tassels. It resembled something a classy flapper would wear, but it was an inch or so short for that. The frock was lovely, but Persephone couldn't quite imagine flitting around her friends and colleagues in it.
"I can't afford that! It's gorge but it's super ritzy..." she stalled.
"Well, ritzy is the idea, friend. Look, don't fight me on this one. You still have to get to the hotel and that leaves barely enough time to dress. If you're worried about money then we can just return it later. Do it for me? I promise you'll look beautiful."
Persephone inhaled slowly and hesitantly took the dress from Finn's hands.
Persephone wasn't sure if she was receiving second glances because she looked good or because she looked fidgety. The party was in full swing, had been for over two hours, and Vanya was nowhere to be found. By this time, she had chatted up everyone she knew and everyone that seemed approachable. Finn was currently with Lauren Vickers and her crowd. Lauren was much too rambunctious and energetic for Persephone's liking. She had to avoid Lauren's punches in the arm and requests to join in on shots or bombs of some sort. Persephone rubbed her arm reflexively. Who needed to punch someone in the arm just to ask them to have a drink?
Persephone removed herself from Lauren's overwhelming presence to speak with Timothy Kim. The conversation was polite, but not as lively as in the past. He seemed wary of her company, but that couldn't be helped. After a few failed attempts to draw him into more conversation she resigned herself to the bar.