Alex entered the smoking room, took out a cigarette, lit it, and opened the window, letting in the fresh spring air. He liked something in smoking: whether his brain was tired after a hard day or it was the effect of doing something very important and significant, when sagely inhaling and puffing smoke.
“Yes, I’m tired. The day ended. I should have a rest today... Maybe, hook a woman… It’s Friday, after all. And on Friday, as you know... well, yes, Friday is a reason itself. The most important thing is to learn a trade. If she is an account-ant, then...” he smiled. “I’m tired of them at work... If only I could see her to-day…”
Every evening, she always came out at seven minutes past six. At that time, she was at the elevator. It’s not clear why: whether she went to her husband and at ten minutes a car was waiting for her on the porch, or for some other rea-son.
“Everything has an explanation”, he said something philosophically, puff-ing smoke.
They always said a couple of sentences to each other. Alex told her an an-ecdote, and she laughed.
“My God, what a smile! Wife of the company’s president! It’s frightful even to fall in love with her. Not my rank. A pleasant woman, of course. No match for her fool. Although, it’s not up to me to decide. I don’t understand in the boys”, he liked his own joke. He finished his cigarette and threw the butt into the trash.
The post of a Senior Accountant required corresponding appearance: a stylish suit, a snow-white shirt and a yellow tie with black polka dots. In general, everything is quite standard. Although with his athletic figure it all looked a lot better on him than on others, that even such simple, classic things seemed quite fine.
He went back to the office and, as always, gallantly said goodbye to the colleagues. Those strained from making hypocritical smiles and pronounced:
– See you tomorrow, Alex!
She was not near the elevator.
“Probably, went earlier or will go later”, he waited for her for two more minutes, giving place to the colleagues from other departments, and went down in the next elevator himself.
“But dreams do come true: I have always wanted to work in a large busi-ness center, go up in such a transparent elevator and look down on everything: parked cars, people on their way to or from work...”, he thought examining the local skyline.
A huge white building of the business center with its thirty floors towered over all other buildings. It stood a little distance from them. And a large parking lot ran to it, shrouding it from all the sides with countless cars. He often turned around when he went from work and looked at it. He did not like this “white monster”. And compared to it, he was a small bug in the vast harmonious mech-anism for making money for an “uncle”. And he would like... like... uh... if there was something he would not like. For the whole days he had numbers, papers, reports, sales. Work – home, home – work. If the life would boil up, or some-thing! Just so boring…
“Well, I’ll hook a woman now, get drunk with friends, dial her phone num-ber and put the receiver down with the last digit. So what?”
He walked to his car , took it off the alarm, gently pulled out of the parking lot, and two minutes later sped down the main street.
“Well, my dear Alex, let’s hook a woman then... Go ahead!”
Near the hotel “Megalopolis” he turned left and went down to the restau-rant located in the same building, but in the back. He spent some time in the parking lot hoping to find at least some free space. It did not work. And then a black “Mercedes”, as always dignified and graceful, gave way to him. At such moments, he somehow always remembered the following anecdote: a “Mercedes” had no way to go, as a “Toyota Prado” blocked the road. A man looked out from the “Mercedes” and shouted in the direction of the “Toyota”: “Hey, you! On your UAZ! Let me through!”
Alex nodded to the owner of the “Mercedes” as a sign of gratitude and be-gan to park. Getting out of the car, he looked around. There was no one. “Maybe, everyone has already hooked all women, and I just came? Um...”
Then he heard some shouting.
– Boys, stop it!
He looked back.
– I’m not going anywhere!
The voice was very familiar, and the shouts came from somewhere around the corner. He put on the alarm and quickly headed for the voice.
Turning the corner, he saw the silhouettes of four men and a woman whom they tried hard to push into the car, but she resisted, with all her strength.
– Shall I help you to push?
Everybody froze from such an unexpected question. The woman looked at him almost from out of the car.
– Alex? – The woman asked.
“So, after all, she went down earlier. I was right not to wait for her any longer”, for some reason, the thought raced through his head.
– Hey, you, witling! Shall we fuck you, too?
Apparently, it was the main one among them who asked, because his joke was immediately appreciated by his companions, one of which, judging by his clothing and demeanor, was a foreigner.
– Go away, – the sturdy guy continued closing in on him.
After letting him pretty close, Alex jumped and stabbed him in the stom-ach. The latter doubled over in pain and fell to the pavement. The second one went at Alex immediately, with a knife in his hand. Alex turned away from the knife, grabbed it and stabbed his attacker in the leg. The second one cried out in pain. With the remaining one, it was much easier. The foreigner released Valenti-na and backed away. So as not to have problems for sure, Alex kicked him in the head. That one started cursing in his native language and fell down. The fourth one, their partner, said:
– I’m not going to do my face because of a woman!
And he ran away.
Alex grabbed Valya’s hand, she somehow grabbed a briefcase, standing on the hood of her abusers’ car, and they ran away with all their might. Despite the danger looming over them, Alex still managed to notice her luxurious appear-ance: a mini-skirt, covering up little, with her chic thighs, a blouse unbuttoned at her chest, and high-heeled shoes, which prevented their escape now and then.
– Wait, – she said nervously. – Or I’ll lose a shoe.
– Come on! – He urged her. They ran behind a row of cars and took refuge there. – There seems no one.
Alex looked out, and they ran to his black “Skoda”.
They started sharply, but at the very exit from the parking lot a man ap-peared from nowhere, blocking their way. Alex did not slow down the speed, but vice versa, even put it on.
– What are you doing? We will crush him! – Valya screamed, trying to stop him.
Alex did not react. Before the actual collision, the young man jumped to the side, cursing.
– You must never allow yourself to be blackmailed! – Alex looked out the side window. – There is a tail. We did not manage to leave in time! Damn it!
They were chased by a black “Lexus”, and at high speed.
Valya looked at the car following them, then at Alex.
– Now do not be afraid and sit quietly, – he said, assessing the situation, turned into the next quarter, and then drove some more, turned into a side street where there were three arches, moved into one of them and ordered:
– Get out. Quickly. But quiet!
Two cars drove in the yard. Eight men got out, and all of them moved in the direction of the three arches. Alex looked around. In the arch there was a door leading to one of the entrances. They ran there and paused at the open door. Two men went into the arch and stood at the entrance. One said to another:
– We find them, and I’ll do the face to this man. We’ll fuck the chick and write it off on... on anything.
Another one smiled mischievously.
Hearing that, Alex came up a little closer and struck the head of one of them from the corner, jumped out and punched the liver of the second one with a fist. Both bent down.
– Now, be quick! Who follows us?! – Alex asked.
– I will not say, – one of them said.
– The answer is not full! – Alex said and dealt another blow to his stom-ach. That one bent down and began to spit. From the inner pocket of the coat of one of the strangers Alex pulled a license and read: “Main Intelligence Direc-torate, Special Department”.
– Fucking shit!
He quickly grabbed Valya, and they rushed to the car. Her shoe slipped again. Alex bent down and with all the anger hurled both shoes to the side.
– I’ll buy you new ones! Well, if my salary would allow it.
– Two grands! Of course, you’ll buy them...
– Do you want to talk about this now? – He snapped at her. They managed to get into the car and drove away in front of their pursuers.
On the road, Alex sighed.
It was night, the road was empty, with a single car driving from time to time in the opposite direction. His eyes fell on the diplomat on Valya’s laps.
– What’s that? – He turned on light.
– I don’t know, I took it there, in the alley, from those men who grabbed me, – Valya answered excitedly.
– Open it, what’s there?
Valya opened a small red leather diplomat.
– Oh, there are some drawings, – she turned over one of them, then picked up another one.
He looked down at her legs.
“What luxurious legs, and this mini-skirt... there, under it, there is probably something I’ve never seen!..” – He thought.
Seeing his look, she gently said:
– Maybe, a little later? – And she smiled fabulously.
– There is a cape for sexual fellow travelers there! Put it on your legs! – He shouted. – I can not concentrate! Sorry, – he added more calmly. – I’m just wor-ried, and with your legs I can not watch the road.
– Yes, I’m sorry.
– So what’s there? – Alex was watching the road.
– Oh, yes, – she again looked at the drawings. She gave him one of them. – It is marked “top secret”. These are drawing of a new secret submarine, – she was horrified and bewildered when she uttered these words.
– Damn it! We ran into a spy story! In a single moment! – Alex laughed and slapped his hand on the steering wheel.
– Over a whole lifetime, you will not get into this story, and here we did it in one night! Y-yes. Cool!
– Yes, really, she supported him.
– And what were you doing there? – He asked Valya.
He looked at her, then back at the road.
– It’s a long story. – She hesitated and asked in return. – And you?
– I... well... – This time he hesitated. – It’s a long story.
She smiled in response.
– Do you know who chases us? – She looked at him. He replied calmly:
– MID, Special Department.
– What is MID?
– Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia!
– Fucking shit! – She clutched her head.
– Yeah, that’s for sure.
– Well, fine… – She began, and continued encouragingly: – They follow us, so we just stop and give up this fucking diplomat! Yes?
– Did you hear the conversation of those two fighters? Huh? – He stared at her, frowning, then looked back at the road. They drove up to the circular road.
– Yes, but...
– I think I’ll take you to my country cottage, nobody knows it, and then I’ll take this bag and give it away, and you’ll be safe.
– No, I grabbed this damn diplomat, and I’ll take back! Why do you have to get mixed up in this story? – She stared at him for a moment. – Alex, and who are you?
– Accountant, – he answered with astonishment, understanding in general why she asked.
– And how do you know to fight so well?
– I wanted to enter the MID. But failed sparring and orienteering, to put it simply.
She raised an eyebrow in surprise.
– Well, that’s the way it is! – Alex continued. – This is Russia, after all. By the way, tell me, who are these people?
– I came to this restaurant, – she began, – sat at one of the tables; then two men approached me and asked for permission to take a seat. One of them was an American, as I understand from the dialogue, he lived in this hotel...
To the left there was a forest, to the right – a small sleeping area of the city. Alex drove her to his country cottage. Very few people knew it, he wanted to leave Valya there, then to head to the Russian Federal Security Service.
– Here, well, then, – she continued, – they dragged me into the street. Well, then you’ve seen everything yourself.
– Which one of them had the red diplomat?
– The American, – she answered.
– Yeah, – Alex sighed.
They were silent for a bit, and then suddenly they saw a traffic police post in front of them.
– Oh! That’s it! We’ll give them the drawings and we are free, – she said briskly, looking at Alex with the hope in her eyes.
– There never was a traffic police post, – he said quietly.
– Alex, – she took him by the sleeve, – are you sure?
– No, but I know this road.
– Alex, – she tugged at his sleeve, – it’s a quarter past one now, middle of the night. You can be wrong. They were probably instructed by the radio to take a bag, and that’s all. Don’t be a chicken, baby! – She slapped him on the shoul-der.
– Oh, Valya! – Alex got excited. – It’s a bad idea!
Meanwhile, the traffic police post was getting closer, and they saw an in-spector waving his stick. Alex thought hard: to stop or not.
– Okay, I’ll listen to you! – From the nervous tension, he even shouted.
– Well, everything will be fine! – She slapped him on the shoulder again.
– Well, – said Alex with displeasure, leaning back in his seat. – Let’s stop.
They approached a traffic cop, a middle-aged thin man, with a cap shifted to the top of the head.
– Well, you’ve done something seriously wrong, yeah? – With these words, he tapped on the glass with his stick. Alex looked around, behind him there was another cop, a large man with a large face, holding some papers. He was walking sedately, not in a hurry, swaying from foot to foot. He pointed to the subordi-nate, saying “get them out”. Alex and Valya dutifully got out.
– Wow! – The two cops froze, staring at Valentina’s charms. She effective-ly strode toward them, wiggling her hips.
– Lieutenant Petrenko, – the senior one introduced himself. – We received an orientation on you. Your documents!
Alex reached into the inside pocket of his jacket. A car roared somewhere near – someone else approached them, and from the forest belt. A toned “Lada” appeared. From it, three men with machine guns got out. They opened fire on everyone at once.
– What is that? – Lieutenant Petrenko asked...
Those were his last words. He and his assistant were killed with the ma-chine guns. At this moment, Alex and Valya leaped away and hid behind the cops’ car.
– Oh, God! Living people! Living people, and that’s all! – She grabbed her head and started to cry. – I should have listened to you! What a fool I am! Alex, I’m sorry!
Alex stayed cool. He literally pulled her along the ground to his car.
– Valya, come on!
– Yes, yes, yes, Alex, I’m coming! – She said through her tears, got up and ran after him.
Soon, the toned “Lada” began to overtake them. They heard a machine gun fire.
– Get down, now! – He tilted her head down. Crushed glass rained down. The car was touched, but Alex twisted the steering wheel sharply.
– Never mind, we’ll turn to the sleeping area. There we’ll deal with them. I know this area well.
They drove into the neighborhood, and Alex immediately turned inward. Some side streets, yards, trash cans flashed by.
– I wonder who is this? – Without straightening, Valya asked.
– I think owners of the diplomat.
The car continued to follow them. They turned again.
– Valya, I’ve got an idea. At the end of this neighborhood there is a high-way, which is located on the bridge. Only two roads lead to it. I will go along one of them. I would like them to go along the same one. So, along the second road – it comes from the top down – you’ll have to throw down a series of barrels – there is a beer warehouse there. Barrels will roll down, then they will turn and go down the same road as I, and then I’ll deal with them myself.
– I did not understand anything, but I agree.
Alex smiled, he liked her answer. They cleverly hid from their pursuers. She ran to these barrels and with all her forces pushed them around. They rolled down. At this time, the toned “Lada” put on speed, and then Alex ran into them in his “Skoda” and began pressing to the edge of the road, behind which there was a precipice. They opened fire, but, nevertheless, from the third attempt he hit their car from the bridge and into the precipice. There was a deafening explosion, and a pillar of fire rose into the sky. He took a deep breath. After some time, Valya ran up to him, gasping for air, and leaned on the car. Alex put his car on the handbrake and got out.
– You know, I’m tired of running all the night! Fuck them all! Let’s have a rest, – he slammed the door hard, took out a pack of cigarettes and pulled one of them. – Do you smoke? – He asked her.
– Only when having a rest, – she said, and reached for a cigarette. He raised an eyebrow in response (well, yes, logically, we’re having a rest, aren’t we?).
– And I smoke when the stress is strong, but this is rare. Well, once in a quarter, – he smiled at those words, referring to the quarterly report. – You know, she screams so! I just can’t stand that shout!
– Our chief accountant? – Valya asked in surprise. – A hysterical patient! A fool! And my husband pays her big money!
It was evident that she soiled, throwing down barrels. He took out a hand-kerchief and handed it to her.
– And what were you doing there? – She asked.
– Actually, I wanted to hook a woman.
She smiled and said quietly:
– And I went there to hook a man. Mine is cheating on me! – She stared in-to his eyes.
– Cheating on you? – He cried out.
– Yeah, can you imagine? I foolishly decided to take revenge, and that’s why I dressed up, and only later came to senses, it’s so stupid, but it was too late, at least you arrived in time.
They both put their hands on the car and stared off into the distance.
– Dawn is soon, – he said. – In all this running around I never...
She finished herself.
– You wanted to say “never hooked a woman”? And I did not hook a man, what shall we do?
– I know what to do, – he came closer and gently kissed her on the tip of her lips.
– I’m sure it’s necessary to achieve our small goals, – she put her arms around him, and for a while they forgot about everything.
– My God, I don’t want to go anywhere. Let’s stay here, – she reached out and stared at the ceiling of the car.
– We’ll have traffic cops put on us, you’ll see.
– Oh, what a night! I did not even expect it. Let’s throw out this fucking suitcase!
– Diplomat, – Alex corrected her calmly, but seriously.
– Yes, we shall get dressed and go, – she concluded, putting on her bra with displeasure.
Alex was dressed in forty-five seconds. She slapped him on the buttocks.
– Did you learn it in the army or with women in the back seat? – She asked him slyly.
He looked at her bang that fell over her eyes, at the little bra, trying to keep those breasts, and briefly stopped his stare.
– No, Alex, we must go. Is it far from your country cottage?
She quickly got dressed and sat down next to him.
– No, we’ll be in place soon. I think no one will find us there. It does not look like there is a house behind the trees at all.
– That’s excellent. Let’s go.
They added speed.
– I did not think that accountant is such a sexy profession, – Valya said, after a pause, while buttoning her blouse. He did not just smile, but blossomed from such compliments.
Soon, they came to a settlement located in the forest. Small one-story hous-es were to the left and right of them. A flock of local dogs, seeing early guests, clung to the car, barking at it. Because of the lack of roads in the settlement, the car was shaking a little. Turning to the next street, Alex pulled up.
– But there is nothing here! – Valentina said, looking ahead.
– Everybody thinks so, so we will not be found here.
They went behind the trees that made the appearance that there was a for-est belt behind them and nothing else, and there was a house and a small garden.
– Look, it really seems that a forest starts behind these trees! – She stopped and looked at his car.
– Well, you beat your car a lot, of course!
– Well, what could I do? – He threw up his hands.
They went into the house. Reaching out, Alex took a key hidden over the door.
Upon entering, he turned on the lights and she saw a small and cozy room, in the middle of which there was an oak table, behind the table, in the corner – a fridge, to the left of the wall – a fireplace, and then there was a bedroom.
– Take a seat, – he pointed to a chair. – I’ll do everything myself.
She sat down.
– And what do you have to eat?
– Of course! – He smiled, opening the fridge. She took a cloth and wiped off the table. Soon everything she could think of appeared on it: salmon, sand-wiches with red caviar, tomatoes salad, cheese, and a bottle of champagne.
– You’re a magician, – she said, with her mouth open, looking at all this abundance.
– Wait a minute! – He looked hard at the window. – There’s someone there.
– I want to bring you flowers, – he said and took her hand. – I’ve got such roses here!..
– Damn it, Alex!.. You scared me! – Valya became indignant. – Run, I’m waiting for you.
– I’ll be quick.
On the porch, he took a knife and went to the forest belt. Leaning over the roses, he felt… a knife at his throat.
– Russian MID, come with me, – a steel voice sounded.
– There won’t be any other offers? – Alex tried to laugh it off. MID soldier took him to the house. Several men in civilian clothes were already inside. Valya was sitting in a chair, with her hands handcuffed. She lowered her head, her hair hiding her eyes.
– Men, we are in no way to blame, – Alex started.
– Maybe, you – no, – one of the men in civilian clothes said, showing Alex his ID. – Colleagues, I am pleased to introduce you to Alexa Cole, – he pointed to Valentina. – Since 2000 a CIA agent. In Russia since 2007. Taking into ac-count the disaster of the ship “White Gull” in 2007, after which a Valentina Gorokhova goes missing, God rest her soul, we have her – Alexa Cole – new Valentina Gorokhova. Well, yeah. In 2008 she married a prominent business-man, owning an agricultural company with branches across the country. On their professional holiday, this businessman invites a number of high-ranking officials from the government. With these parameters of the body, she easily gains trust, has affairs with some of these officials, and so on. A great number of brilliant op-erations! The elusive person! From her former colleagues in MI-6, from under their nose, she stole drawings of the new submarine, and do you know what she used? After the next operation Steve Jones always went to hook a woman. Well, take this diplomat to the embassy, but no! This one, with her parameters, ap-peared in the right place. And then, a young man, – a man in civilian clothes pointed to Alex, – came to hand as ever in time.
Alex stood, listening to it all, and could not believe his ears and eyes.
– If it were not for this turkey in love!.. – Valentina snorted.
He did not see her like that. She has changed in a single moment, it was a different face: evil eyes and sarcastic mockery. It was a different person! Flowers on such a night! You would have never caught me!
– In some ways you’re right. In 1999 Alex Seleznyov tried to enter our of-fice, and he brilliantly chose a place for his country cottage. Probably, away from thieves. Okay, enough of romance. Pack up that lady!
Two men in civilian clothes took her by the arms and led to the door. Pass-ing by Alex, who wilted, she stopped, pulled out of the men’s hands, and her lips passionately dug into his. He did not answer.
– I’m sorry... It was the best sex of my life.
– Go! – One of the men pushed her. – You’ll still have the best sex of your life! We are going to… have your brains right now! – Again, she was taken by the arms and pushed into the car.
He turned around, looking at all this, and thought: “Yesterday she was stuffed into the car, and today... Why would I do that? The result is the same”. Alex stood a little more, then left the house and went to the river bank. He sat down on the grass. His hand reached for the water surface, scooped some water, and washed his face. He loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt.
– What a night!.. What a shame!.. – A lump was raising to his throat, so that…
With the rustling of the grass, he turned. A man in civilian clothes was heading to him, holding something in his hand.
– Do you mind? – He asked.
– No, not at all, – Alex tried to smile, but apparently, he did not do it well.
– You tried to enter, didn’t you?
– Yes, we were together. You’re… Konstantin Govorkov, Govorukhin...
– Do not guess – Gorelov.
– Maybe, you’ll join us now?
– No, Kostya, thank you. I’d better stay with my numbers, papers, reports, summary tables and women who come to work not to work, but to keep gossip, intrigue, secret games, – Alex said sadly.
– Well, – Konstantin said and placed a bottle of champagne and a glass be-side him. – Have a drink, you can use several glasses. Well, bye, – Kostya said and gave Alex a hand.
– Bye, Kostya.
“Here it is, the truth”, Alex thought, looking at the lake. “Smooth surface of the water, which reflects the forest, a boat mooring, a duck on the water, birds singing in the morning, the blue of the sky... And there is nothing else: no Valya, no women from work, because there is no need in it! Everything is here without it!”
He opened the bottle and poured a glass of champagne, lit a cigarette...
– I do want to sleep, – he stretched himself to the sky and fell into the grass. A minute later he was asleep.
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