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1. This is a work of fiction. The activities and practices described in this story are not necessarily either condoned or recommended. If you choose to do anything described in real life with real people you do so at your own risk.
2. All characters are fictional and any likeness to any living person is purely coincidental. The story is purely imaginary and, to the author’s knowledge, bears no relationship to any factual occurrence.
Nobody knew exactly when she arrived in the village. One day she was just there, strutting down High St into the center of Braelsford as bold as brass. Seamus, the publican, even left his bar to gaze at her after she passed his door, licking his lips and unconsciously wishing he was thirty years younger.
Brigida, the local town gossip, noted her well; her diminutive figure probably less than five feet tall, her confident gait and stance as she walked, not hurried but also conservative of time, and most particularly the way that she met the gaze of anyone she chanced to meet. Here was a girl who knew her strengths, had confidence in herself and was not to be outdone by anyone, she thought. Having a nose for a good story, whether true or fictitious, she also thought she perceived a girl with history, with something to hide, and determined to get to the bottom of this no matter what. Meantime, she thought, spreading the story that the newcomer was the ex-mole of a drug baron who had recently been put away, causing her to seek refuge in this isolated location, would be a suitable rumor to put all the local women on their guard.
At first nobody knew where the girl in the tiny black dress was staying. It was obviously out of town, as she would arrive on the outskirts of town in her battered Ford pickup every day. It took a few days before her whereabouts in the evenings was tracked down to a small unpretentious cottage, owned by an absentee landlord, about four miles out of town. It was only luck that Pat O’Shaughnessy happened to be passing the track leading to the cottage as she was emerging from it, because once she passed him on the way to town there was no way in the world that he could keep up with her pickup, especially at the breakneck pace that she drove. One thing was for sure, she knew how to drive well and fast.
Brigida’s rumor quickly spread and was elaborated upon many times. Within a few days the girl in the tiny black dress was not just the ex-mole of a drug lord, but a prostitute, hooker, call girl, stripper, owner of several castles in France and Spain, owner of a large yacht, wanted by the law and out to seduce any male with two legs within a 50 mile radius. These rumors were fueled by the fact that whenever she appeared in town she always wore the same tiny black dress, the top cut so low that it bared the tops of her breasts, the back bare, indicating, to the disgust of the local women, that she wore no bra, and the hem about half an inch decent. The whole affair could have covered no more than eighteen inches of her almost five foot height, leaving little to the imagination.
The local men filled in the imagined details that were to be discovered by the man lucky or brave enough to attract her to his bed. Each night after work they would gather at the Hoof and Bell and discuss such matters as men must while drinking Seamus’ best stout. There was much speculation as to the best method to both get the girl in the tiny black dress into their beds, or themselves into hers, preferably without arousing the suspicions of their wives or any other women in the village. Several men admitted they had tried, but had been unable to even receive a reply when they had asked her name, much less have her stop to chat with them for a few moments. They agreed that they were probably a little less attractive to her than the supposed high society men with whom she was used to mixing, and loving they surmised, but that didn’t make them less worthy, they convinced themselves.
“I’d like to see her sugar daddies catch and shoe a horse or till an acre of land,” commented Seamus after one heated discussion on the relative merits of the possible males available in the village.
She carefully unlocked her door, noting that the hair she had placed in the door jamb was still there, but bracing herself to attack anyone inside, out of habit. She had lived in a war zone for too long to drop her guard now and once again wished she had her trusty Beretta PX4 Storm that had seen her through many battles in the past. There was, of course, nobody inside, but as her father had taught her during all those years of hiding and fighting, once you become complacent you’re as good as dead. She went out to her pickup, collected the few things she had purchased during the day and placed them in the almost bare cupboards in the kitchen. She then went to her bedroom, carefully removed her one and only dress, a present from a past boyfriend, killed in their last bahis firmaları big firefight, and hung it up in the alcove that served as a wardrobe, rubbing her hand gently over the fabric as she remembered, with tear filled eyes, Olaf and the way in which he had given his life to save hers. She pulled on a brief pair of shorts and a top then returned to the kitchen.
She put the kettle on the stove and while she waited for it to boil she poured herself a small glass of kirsch, then sat in the evening sunshine by the western window. She thought back to how she had come to be in this situation, remembering the gunfight, how her rebels had held their own for so long before being overwhelmed, how she had escaped by hiding in a tiny crevice then, after the troops had left, convinced everyone was dead, she had crept out in the darkness of the night, found and taken the hidden diamonds from under the floorboards, then, wearing only the tiny black dress from Olaf, walked to a fishing village, stowed away on a boat and eventually arrived in Bristol after many weeks, many boats and surviving many searches.
The kettle whistled and she made her tea, taking a sip of kirsch, the taste bringing back memories of better times and Olaf. What was she to do? She’d cashed in some of the diamonds, bought the pickup and found this small village where she could hide away and let the world go by, she had thought. However, she had reckoned without the local villagers. She obviously did not fit in. Far too ostentatious, her tiny black dress calling instant attention to her even if her truck fitted in well with the local vehicles. She should have spent more money on homely clothes before she arrived, she berated herself. Oh well, maybe I’ll have to move on, she thought. In the meantime she would have to put up with being hit on by the local guys, both married and single, and shunned by their womenfolk. She wished she had a better understanding of the English language, although even that may not suffice judging by the broad Irish dialect spoken in the village. She nibbled on a cracker as she drank her tea and kirsch while watching the final rays of the sun as it sank below the horizon. Tomorrow will be another day, she told herself resignedly.
Corey was a loner. He also was an outsider who had come to the village several years ago, the son of his mother’s sister who had died in a car crash in Leeds. His aunt Keira had taken care of him until he was old enough to find work at the local garage and move into his own house. Why he’d stayed in the village he had no idea but he did know how the girl in the tiny black dress would feel being so isolated and he alone, of all the men in the village, was concerned for her in a more paternal than sexual manner. He had tried to have a conversation with her but, like everyone else, had failed. Unlike everyone else, he had surmised this was due to her inability with the language rather than an hypothesized disdain. He resolved to try again, as many times as necessary, to help her in what he perceived was her loneliness and despair.
The opportunity for a more personal meeting was not long in coming. Two days later Corey drove his van around a bend in the road to find a pickup in the ditch by the side of the road and the girl in the tiny black dress standing alongside it. He slowed and stopped, noting the girl’s apprehension at his approach. It was obvious to Corey that the pickup had a blown tire, which had put it off the road, so she would need help.
“Good mornin’,” greeted Corey as he slowly approached the nervous girl. “Looks like you could use some help.”
The girl looked downwards, then back at him defiantly, as though challenging him to do anything to harm her.
“Mornin’,” she replied, her speech coming with a strong eastern European accent, “Yes, you can help me, no?”
“Yes, I can help you,” reassured Corey, keeping a discreet distance so as not to appear threatening. He knew from experience how threatened a person could feel when approached too close by a stranger.
Corey took the jack, a few blocks of wood and some tools from his van, removed the spare wheel from the pickup, and quickly chocked the pickup’s wheels and jacked up the corner with the flat tire, all the time being closely watched by the silent girl.
“It’s lucky it’s a nice fine day and not rainin’,” commented Corey, “What’s your name anyway?”
The girl looked puzzled but understood the last part well enough to reply, “Nina. What you name?”
“Hi Nina, I’m Corey.”
“Hi Corey. Dekuji.”
Although Corey didn’t understand the last word, the look of thanks in her eyes confirmed what she was trying to say. He quickly had the wheel off, the spare on and nuts tightened, then let the truck down. He indicated the flat tire.
“I take to work to fix, ok?” he asked, reverting to more simplified English in the hope she would understand better.
“Ano, yes, ok. Dekuji, dank you.”
“That’s ok. Now I need to tow you kaçak iddaa out of the ditch. You get inside and steer, ok.”
Corey indicated with gestures that she should get into the cab, made sure the gear shift was in neutral, then indicated that he would tow her out of the ditch. She nodded, saying, “Ano, ano, yes, ok.”
Once he had positioned his van in front of the pickup, attached the tow chain and taken up the slack he gently eased the van forward and noted that she was steering the truck back onto the road. He stopped and backed up a little once she was fully on the road, then disconnected the chain.
“You follow me to garage, ok?” he said, gesturing that she should follow on behind.
She nodded, “Ano, yes,” she said, “Dekuji, dank you.”
They drove off down the road, Nina travelling far slower than usual behind the van. Once at the garage Corey suggested that he fit a new tire to the wheel while she went into town as usual. This took some time as it was a combination of English, her language, which he would find out later was Czech, and gestures. They arranged that she would return at about lunch time or when she had finished what she needed to do in town.
Corey’s work was completed quickly with no hitches and the pickup was ready for Nina when she arrived at 12.30 to collect it. She offered him some Euros but he didn’t take the payment immediately.
“We have some lunch together, you, me, eat?” Corey made eating gestures, causing Nina to smile, the first time in a long time she realized. She nodded her head and Corey told her to wait a few minutes while he cleaned up. When he returned they walked together to a small café a few hundred yards down the street.
They sat together in the shade of a tree in the secluded courtyard. It was difficult to make conversation and slowly Corey taught her a little more English and learnt a few Czech words in return. As they ate Nina felt herself relaxing, the first time she felt safe dropping her guard for a long time. She thought Corey was safe and unassuming, reasonably intelligent and very practical, especially after dealing so competently with her crisis this morning.
He, in return, thought she was a highly intelligent person, very friendly but also very suspicious. He realized, from the little that could be communicated, that her previous experiences had made her the way she was and that she was probably unfamiliar with being able to drop her guard with people, especially those she barely knew. He also thought she was very attractive, had a sexy body, and could barely keep his eyes off the exposed thigh below the tiny black dress that had worked its way even higher as she sat. Eventually he brought up the topic he’d wondered about since he first saw her.
“Nina, you have a boyfriend?”
He was unprepared for her response. He had expected her to say “Ano”, which he now knew meant yes; had hoped she would say “Ne” which he had learnt meant no, but was amazed as tears came to her eyes and she looked away from him, allowed the tears to roll down her cheeks, then buried her head in her hands, resting them on the table. For a few moments she shook, her shoulders heaving as she sobbed, apparently from some painful memory which she had been unable to release. He reached out and touched the back of her head, stroking her hair as you would to console a small child. After a few minutes she calmed down, sat up, and brushed her tears away with an angry gesture.
“Prominte. I sorry,” she said. “Ne, was killed, shot. Our band wiped out by government troops. Bastards! I managed to hide and saw Olaf shot. He fell on me, hid me.”
Instinctively Corey reached out to touch her arm, seeking to reassure her. She brushed his hand off impatiently. Corey withdrew his hand reluctantly.
“So how did you come to Braelsford?”
“By ship. Took long time, many months. Friends hid me, took me to port. Stowed away on ship, arrived England, came here. Long way from state soldiers. Safe, maybe? Maybe not. Tell you too much. You betray me?”
“No, I’d never betray you, never,” Corey reassured her.
She looked into his eyes for a long time.
“I believe you. That good. No want to kill you.”
Corey realized she was serious and probably quite capable of doing that, even with her diminutive size. He looked at his watch – time to return to work. He reached for her hand and looked earnestly into her eyes.
“I must go and work more,” he told her, copying her non-grammatical speech. “You walk back with me?”
Together they walked silently back to the garage, each lost in their own thoughts, Corey pleased and surprised that Nina allowed him to hold her hand the whole way. Once there, he reluctantly accepted money for the tire, telling her that he was quite happy to do the work for free and he’d like to see her again.
“Hmmm, maybe, maybe soon, don’t know,” she replied noncommittally before driving away, slightly slower than her usual breakneck speed. Corey watched her go, not knowing what to think kaçak bahis or hope for, resolving to play it cool and see what happened.
Nina’s thoughts were in turmoil. Corey was so like Olaf; caring, tender, not afraid to show his feelings, practical and able to turn his hand to anything. She felt so alone, so lonely, a stranger in a strange land with an even stranger past. She drove fast but carefully, determined to avoid a repeat of her earlier act, yet wanting to see Corey once again. A young woman can only go so long without a loving man, she thought, rationalizing her desires as more feelings of loneliness than sexual desire. Nonetheless, once she arrived home she wasted little time in removing her tiny black dress and satisfying the itch between her big toes.
“The bitch must’ve taken them,” said Franz quietly yet vehemently.
“Too bad for her,” replied Yugo, “We’ll have to find her, torture the location of the diamonds from her then kill her. If she’d just gone she wouldn’t have been worth chasing, but with a fortune in diamonds . . . “
They looked around the crowded, noisy bar in a seedy area of Warsaw, their agreed meeting place.
“Where do you reckon she’ll have gone?”
“Dunno. It’ll be somewhere outside continental Europe I’m pickin’, we made it too hot for her here. But I’m pissed off that a woman, and such an insignificant woman at that, could have eluded us. She seemed to just disappear into thin air. However, I have my sources and we’ll find her, then, . . . ” he made a cutting motion across his throat.
“I heard a while ago that there was someone who fitted her description seen to have been smuggled out in a ship. Be worth followin’ up. I’ve asked for more information, but information costs. I guess we’ll get a good return once we find her. Anyway, you’re buyin’.” He pushed his glass towards Yugo, who finished his beer and left for refills.
The black limo with the heavily tinted windows slipped slowly down the street. It attracted the attention of the locals who were totally unaccustomed to large opulent cars in their small village. Brigida watched the car pass, wondering at its significance. There were too many strange happenings in this village for her liking. She turned away, walking home as she thought of what rumors she could spread about the newly arrived car.
Franz and Yugo peered through the tinted windows looking at the strange, small village. Where would she be, they wondered. The local fisherman they’d spoken to had been almost certain that the bitch they were seeking was living here. He’d heard a rumor about a woman who had recently arrived. He hadn’t believed the rumor at all, but for such a rumor to have been started there had to have been someone arrive, some stranger arrive, he corrected himself.
The car stopped outside the local, tavern, the most likely place to gain some information, and the men left the car and stepped into the cool gloom of the barroom, looked around, then ordered a pint of bitter each. They didn’t sit but stood at the bar and started chatting with a guy who was obviously a local.
“Nice village,” he complimented the local.
“Guess you don’t get too many visitors out here.”
“Nah, not many. Although with you guys we’ve had a few so far this month.”
“Oh, who else has been here?”
“A skinny gal, wears a tiny black dress all a time.”
“What’s her name?”
“Dunno. She keeps to herself.”
“She got a friend or boyfriend?”
“Nah, not’s I know. Unless it’s Corey. He fixed a tire for her week or so ago.”
“Where’d I find this Corey guy?” asked Yugo.
“At the garage p’raps. He sometimes drops in for a beer in the evenin’ so if you wanna wait he may be here soon. May not too.”
Yugo bought the local a beer and together he and Franz drank and gazed out the window deep in thought, pretending to watch for Corey, but not knowing what he looked like.
“Doesn’t look like Corey’s coming tonight,” said Yugo at length. “I wonder where he lives.”
Together they went back to the bar but their helpful local was nowhere to be seen. They ordered another two beers and asked the bartender where Corey lives.
“Who wants to know?” asked the bartender.
“We’re old friends of his,” lied Yugo, “Come all the way from eastern Europe to see him again and heard he lived here.”
“Well, that’s as it may be,” the bartender replied thoughtfully, “What’s your names and if I see him I’ll tell him you’re lookin’ for him.”
“Nah, don’t worry, we’ll find him thanks.”
Yugo and Franz moved back to their table by the window before the bartender could reply.
“Should’ve known as much. The locals will always look after their own,” commented Yugo.
Corey arrived soon after 6pm and parked his truck around the back of her house. He knocked on the door and noticed the curtains move as Nina checked him out, then the door opened and he was pulled inside. Nina stuck her head out for a quick look but could see nobody else watching, so shut the door and bolted it. She then threw her arms around him and hugged him to her.
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