– Gukovskiy! Gukovskiy!
– Huh? – Pavel answered drawling, not understanding who might need him at this moment, when the material has not been ready yet, there are loads of doc-uments on the table and the turned-on computer starts to annoy with the same type of icon.
“I should change it”, – a thought flashed through his mind.
– Go to the chief, – a voice materialized in the form of his colleague Sveta.
Pasha nodded. The edition office was already noisy. Everyone was running with papers, showing something to someone. Sveta, after passing him the chief’s request, sat down at her desk and began to call on her mobile phone, tinting lips with one hand.
“How can she manage to combine it all?” – Pasha thought.
The “asshole” (it’s the nickname of Alexander Pletnyov – a skinny blond tall guy who was constantly mocking at Pavel and making fun of him) was telling something to Natasha. Sensing that Pavel was looking at him, he turned around.
– What are you staring at, Celentano? Go, the chief calls you. What are you staring at, slow poke! – He drawled the last word.
Natasha, a busty brunette, laughed as always.
“What a beauty!” – Pavel thought.
He stood up, straightened his fashionable scarf and headed to the chief.
– Hey, Celentano, – the “asshole” called him. – Who are you, Gukovskiy – a Pole or a Jew?
– I am a Jewish Mason! – Pavel retorted.
– Sanya, why did you pick on the guy! – Sveta intervened.
– Oh, our protection has woken up!
– Well, that’s enough! – Sveta shrugged and stared at the monitor.
– He can not stand up for himself! – Alexander did not back off.
– Shall I pour some water over your head? – Pasha asked.
– Just try it!
– Okay, enough! – Pavel said.
He waved his hand and went into the chief editor’s office opposite. The door was closed, and he knocked softly.
– Gukovskiy, come in.
– How did you know it was me? – Pavel said, coming in.
– How, how… Only you come in like this – always guilty and very long.
After hearing the morality of how one should come into an office, Pavel thought, while looking at this, no longer young man: “Why are they all so alike? A bald spot on the head, certainly a white shirt, a tummy and short legs (well, they can’t do without them, do they?), piggy eyes, darting for you in search of some other disadvantages. Maybe, the chief editor is a nationality? Just look at Chinese – they all look alike!”
– In short, Gukovskiy, we need material from you! You are a social lion here. You even have a nickname, which everybody envies – Celentano! In gen-eral, you need to write something about Yarskaya... Sorry, – his phone rang, and the chief editor picked it up.
A secretary entered the room and laid some documents on the table for him to sign. The editor pointed her at a chair, and started signing the documents.
– I said, about Yarskaya!
– Fuck you! – Pavel snapped after a pause.
The chief editor even stood up in surprise.
– How are you talking to me?!
The secretary, a young girl, graduate of the Faculty of Journalism, dyed blonde in a short skirt, who was sitting on a chair, got embarrassed and stared at Pavel, too.
– I will not write anything about Yarskaya!
– Fling mud at her gently, delicately.
– Pasha, do you want to get salary?.. That’s all, Lida, you may go, – he or-dered to the secretary. She obediently left.
– Semyon Semyonovich, this woman will remain in the history of the Rus-sian cinema. We won’t be here, and she will be remembered. She is a star, one of the rare ones. And there will never be the same one on the horizon.
– Pasha! Pasha! Pasha! You are talking about different things! It’s adver-tising for them! Yarskaya is a bright name. Now everyone is talking about her... Well, take an interview.
– She does not give interviews until the fall.
– I’ll fire you until the fall! – He said a quiet, measured voice. – Do you understand? – He stared at Pavel. – Take that act of yours when you poured wa-ter over Sanya’s head... Well, everyone is laughing at you. Everyone knows that you’re in love with Yarskaya as a boy despite your many years. Well, you should somehow... You offended your friend.
– Pletnyov is not my friend!
– Well... and to hell with him... And I...
– I will not write a single bad word about Yarskaya! – Pavel interrupted him.
– Get out of here! You’re fired! Just sitting here, with no sensible material from you! Pathetic scribbler! Everybody writes! Everybody lies! And you’re of the decent ones, it’s even disgusting! The newspaper must be bought, and for this there must be something written in it... Try to enter a shop without money and take some sausage. And in a bid to pay, just say: “Oh, I have no money... You know, I did not write nasty things about Yarskaya and thus was not given sala-ry…” So, when they give you your sausage, then we will not write nasty things! Is everything clear? Well, who I’m telling all this! So, either you quit or interview Yarskaya. If no – you’re fired! And without further talking!
The chief editor was shouting. He even turned red from screaming.
– You know... – Pavel made a pause. It was clear that he was going to say something that... – I wanted to tell you this long ago. You’re such an asshole! – Pavel said the last word with relish, focusing on each letter.
– What? – The chief editor’s eyes began to leave for the desired orbit. – I... am an asshole?! You... Get out of here!!! – He yelled with all his forces.
Pavel went out, banging the door especially loudly. He went into the office. Sveta looked at him intently. Then she got up and came closer to appease her friend.
– Pasha, what’s up with you?.. I heard shouting even from here.
– I’m so sick and tired of everything! – Pavel took a seat. – Working your ass off here... I worked for him from the very beginning... I’ll leave, Sveta.
– Pasha, what? – She leaned closer to him, touched his hand.
– I... I… – He began to drive his hand from side to side. – I’m a pathetic scribbler, good-for-nothing!
– Well, come on! Do you really pay attention to it?
– He remembered everything: lack of private life, nickname Celentano, be-cause I’m ugly, and not so charming, as he is...
Pavel blew out his cheeks and slowly let the air out. His eyes blinked under the glasses and began to fill with tears.
– I’m leaving.
He rubbed his eyes, already full of tears, and sighed.
Then he took his mobile phone and wallet out of the top drawer and left.
– Lena, where are you going? – Sergey asked, trying to stop her.
– Sergey, leave me alone! – Lena pulled down his arm and headed for the hallway.
– Lena, don’t leave! Lena, don’t leave! – He stood in the middle of the hallway repeating the same thing.
– Sergey, I don’t love you! You know that.
– You are so beautiful, you can not even imagine...
– I’m sick and tired of all of you!!! – She yelled with all her forces and cried. – I’m still a person, and not just an actress. I’m not playing a role, I want to say something, and you just have to listen.
Sergey came over and hugged her.
– Sergey, I don’t want to live like this anymore. I’m leaving you! – She pushed him.
– For Cheburashka?
She looked at him angrily.
– Misha is from him, huh? Is it true? – Sergey stared into her eyes.
– Misha is from me, – she said quietly and walked out the door calmly.
– Elena Mikhailovna, where are you going? – Her guard Mikhail tried to stop her, watching his tearful boss leaving in a short slinky dress. And it will be evening soon.
A luxurious cloud of hair swinging at each step of hers rested on her shoul-ders. Her gait was from the hip. Moreover, from such luxurious hips! She was as graceful as a swan floating on the river. Her facial features and blush were so good that it seemed that she used very expensive cosmetics, but in fact she did it very rarely and mainly for the shooting. The impression was the Lord has once again decided to create Eve, only her name was Elena Yarskaya.
Mikhail was nervously fingering the radio in his left hand and watched her. He felt when it was better to leave his boss alone, but at the same time he was supposed to know where she was.
– Misha, bunny, – she came to him.
– So, it’s Misha or bunny? – He asked, trying to cheer Elena. And he suc-ceeded. A charming smile appeared through the tears.
– What a confidence smile you have!
He stood in front of her admiring the view. Taking a coat from her hands, he said quietly:
– Let me show you the way. Take your coat, it’s cold in the evening.
She nodded. Mikhail was her personal bodyguard and they became friends soon. He became her best friend in the pants, whom she could trust many things that her female friends would not understand because of their talkativeness and chronic natural curiosity. Mikhail often rescued her from various vicissitudes: rich annoying fans, love affairs and other troubles.
He did not let her finish.
– Are you going to Cheburashka?
– No, I’m going to relax a bit... And I was not drinking! – She knew about his suspicions.
– Be careful, otherwise...
Now it was Elena’s turn not to let him finish.
– I remember it – “a good front crash”, – she voiced his bore argument somehow sadly.
– What? – Mikhail hesitated. – Not scary at all?
– Well, you’re threatening and threatening all the time, – Elena said, open-ing the door of the car.
She took her coat from the guard’s hands and threw it on the seat.
– Misha, I love you very much. I even named my son after you. You’re my best friend!
– Well, come here, I’ll kiss you, so be it.
Misha spread his hands. She laughed even harder, seeing her husband’s glance in the window, and with the tips of her lips touched lightly Mikhail’s cheeks.
– Bye, Misha.
– Call if you need me.
– Bye, – she said again and sharply took off.
Streets, lights of the big city were flashing by. She turned on the high beam. During the first minutes she thought of nothing. Everything was left somewhere behind. It always seemed to her that problems stayed exactly where you lived. The whole area inhabited by you acquires your thoughts. You need only to go beyond it, and it becomes much easier for the soul, freedom overwhelms a tired heart.
She sighed, and then...
Pavel went out to breathe fresh spring air mixed with Moscow’s smell of cars, shimmering banners and an endless stream of people running somewhere. He was at piece. He did what he wanted: told the chief that he was an asshole.
“Lord, only two words, and it’s so easy on the soul! So calm! Only it’s not clear what will happen next. Ah, well, tomorrow will be tomorrow”.
He decided to have a walk. While walking, he tried to figure out where to go, and whether to go there at all. He ran across the road and he went to a café: decided to take a hot cappuccino there. It will be evening soon, and he felt cool, even though he was in a jeans suit. The café had Wi-Fi, and he asked for the net-work.
He went to “Rambler” and read: “...Elena Yarskaya crashed on the Aba-kumova Avenue. A child ran suddenly into the road, she wrenched away and crashed into a truck. Her…”
He ran out of the café, throwing some money for the cappuccino, and rushed to the accident site. It was very close, he had to run two blocks only. Pavel ran them without looking back, pushing people and running in front of cars. Soon he saw the accident site: a truck across the road, and what was left of Yarskaya’s car (BMW of the color of wet asphalt) – a pile of twisted iron now, and a crowd of people watching this horror. He ran closer. She was in the car. Her face, thick hair – everything was covered in blood. Pavel pushed through the crowd and tried to get to her. By the sounds she was making, he realized that she was still alive.
– Has anyone called an ambulance?! Has anyone called an ambulance?.. – Pavel yelled with all his forces.
Everyone stood stone-still: a lean student in glasses, falling jeans and stu-pid blue sweater, a woman with four shopping bags in two hands, some bald hunk filming everything on his mobile phone, and a dozen of other passers-by.
– It’s Yarskaya! – Someone said in the crowd.
– So I film it because of Yarskaya, – the hunk explained calmly.
Pavel felt her pulse – she was still alive!
Remembering first aid techniques, as he recently got his driving license, Pavel gently pulled her out of the car, called an ambulance and the traffic police. According to the rules, she could not be taken away from the scene, but the same could be said about leaving her in this state on the roadway, especially knowing the “speed” of our ambulances. And he needed the first aid kit to help her. He took the liberty and moved her to a small café, which was across the road.
– That’s right, there, – the trucker, a heavyset man of short stature in a baseball cap and robe, supported him.
He stroked his mustache, took her over from Pavel’s hands and helped to carry her to the café.
– You bring her up, and I’ll wait here for the cops.
Pavel nodded and brought Elena in the café.
The waiter – the stronger one – intercepted Yarskaya and put her on the sofa.
Meanwhile, she slowly recovered, and now only moaned.
– Vasya, hang a sign “Closed” on the door. No big deal, they’ll drink else-where. We have something here!!! – The stronger one ordered to his slim col-league.
– Aye, understood! – An obedient boy rushed to perform the task.
– So, come on: cotton, alcohol, first aid kit, if any, – Pasha ordered.
– I’ll be back right now, – the waiter ran away.
While he was absent, Pasha took a damp cloth and wiped the blood from Lena’s forehead. Soon, the waiter returned with the first aid kit. Pasha treated the wound and gave her ammonia to smell.
Elena came to herself, sighing and moaning.
She opened her eyes.
– Oh, who are you? There’s a girl... and where am I?.. We have to go!..
She tried to get up.
– There is no need to go anywhere, – Pavel said calmly. – The girl’s all right. How do you feel?
– What do you mean – no need?! – Elena started screaming and tried to get up again.
– I do not need to lie! – She rudely pushed his hand away. – We have to go and save the poor child! I go! Let me go immediately! – She attempted to get up again. Pavel forcibly sat her down on the sofa.
– Hold her! She’s in shock! – Pavel called the waiter.
The latter grabbed Yarskaya. His grip was actually strong. She immediate-ly stopped and stared at the waiter, her eyes bulging. Meanwhile, Pasha opened a bottle with pure alcohol and poured it into a cup.
– Drink! – He gave it to Elena.
She drank and leaned back on the sofa, calming down. Pasha and the wait-er stood aside looking at her, as if bewitched. Then they looked at each other.
– Alcohol is the best anti-shock remedy! – Pavel commented.
– Ah, – the waiter answered, looking admiringly at Pavel.
– What’s your name? – Pavel asked.
– Namesake! Nice to meet you!
– And are you Celentano? – The waiter did not let him finish.
– Yes, Adriano, – Pasha remarked ironically and then added, – Okay, I’m sorry. Pasha, we need a hearty meal. Bring us something instead of the alcohol.
– Got it, – the waiter nodded.
– I’ll pay, – Pavel called after him.
– Everything on the house! – The waiter said, leaving to fulfill the order.
Pavel approached Yarskaya and sat opposite. He looked around the café. The place was pleasant in all respects. Twilight, dim light in beautiful chande-liers, paintings on the walls – all this created a situation of solitariness. However, wooden tables and white tablecloths on them looked very standard and somehow not in the Moscow style, without the pathos inherent to local restaurants. But the interior was extremely well matched.
– Well, how are you? – He leaned over Elena.
– Quite well! Everything happened so quickly: a truck, that girl, her moth-er, I was so confused...
She gestured strongly. It was evident that she was off her head.
– And then I...
Pavel handed her a glass of water. Lena drank it greedily.
– Do you happen to have a mirror and a comb?
– You are a real woman, – Pavel said admiringly.
She did not answer. Pavel even thought that she was tired of compliments. He got her everything she asked. While Elena was making her toilet, Pavel was afraid to disturb her with a gaze, then sat and stared at her.
Soon the table was set and they sat down to have dinner.
– We have such an unusual acquaintance! – She said with a smile, and took a deep breath.
– It’s okay. You’ll be calmer in a bit.
– Why so? – She asked briskly.
– I finished driving courses recently. There I attended lectures on first aid during accidents.
– Um, they turned out handy, you see.
– Yes, – Pavel said. – Let’s have a drink.
– Well, as I understand it, for the meeting? – She supported him, raising her glass.
They clinked glasses.
– And I know you. You are Celentano.
– Well, yeah, – Pavel remarked ironically. – Adriano.
– Well, what’s up? You are a charming man... And I did not introduce my-self. I am Elena.
– I know who you are, – Pavel said delicately.
– Well, you still need to introduce yourself, don’t you? How are you here, a savior?
– Well, I… you know... problems somehow piled up, I went out for a walk, and then you... in such a situation. I read online that you crashed to death.
– Oh! Well, that’s something new about me! I already “was” a lesbian, slept with all the men of the Russian cinema. I have not been a zoophile yet.
She perked up a bit.
– Do you suffer a lot from the “yellow” press?
– Well, you know... it’s passable. There is, however, one journalist. He is really a representative of the oldest profession...
– And who is that?
Pavel expected to hear “Alexander Pletnyov”, but she shrugged. There was a pause.
– Well, and you? Where were you going?
– I, – she caught her breath, – was going from an unloved man to a beloved one. Wanted to tell him that I love him very much and that he should decide whom to be with. I don’t really like the role of a mistress.
– Yes, it’s not really pleasant. It involves love, but... – Pavel joined her.
– That’s right, there is a “but”. And it’s all about it. Everything should be in place. Beloved people should be together. It’s okay, – she said sadly.
– You know, Lena, until you meet the reciprocity... I had women. Only when I allowed them to be loved, I immediately became the best and the most wonderful one. But then I had to sleep with them without love, and it’s immoral. And the far-fetched pleasure...
– In my opinion, Pasha, we are very proper ones, – Elena concluded, listen-ing to his words. Pavel laughed.
– Many people said something like that to me.
– And I have not come to the place of my destination, – she again passed on sad notes.
– Well, I can give you a lift, – Pavel suggested.
– We’ll sort it out, – Elena waved a hand.
She called the waiter and asked:
– Pasha, do you have the Internet?
– Will do.
Soon he appeared with a laptop. They got on the Internet. The whole net-work flashed with the news that Elena Yarskaya crashed in a car accident: “A famous actress is dead! A terrible accident took place on the Abakumova Ave-nue”.
– Yeah, – she pushed away the laptop and thoughtfully bit her finger.
– I can call... tell them that you are alive, – Pavel suggested.
– No!!! Dead, then dead!!! – She replied sharply and even rude.
– Um, – Pavel started from a sudden rise in her voice.
– I’m sorry, – she apologized.
She leaned back on the sofa again and stared thoughtfully out the window.
– Eat something, – Pasha suggested some time later.
– Yeah, let’s eat. We should ask the waiters not to rat me out. Let’s say that you have taken me to the hospital yourself.
She was silent for a long time and then suddenly said:
– Pasha, I have desires that I have wanted to fulfill for a long time. And now there is a unique situation – everyone thinks that I’m dead. Will you help me?
– With pleasure, – he disappeared in his own smile.
Not far from the café there was a parking lot. Pavel always left there his car – a brand new Volvo which he was able to buy immediately after the courses. They drove out of the parking lot and headed towards the ring road. A long road went right all the time. Cars were becoming scarce. Basically, at this time of the day people were going in the opposite direction – to the city.
They passed the last neighborhood and were outside the city.
– I said good-bye to him in a bad way. It’s about my husband, – Elena be-gan her story. – I can tell you this, – she involuntarily smiled and became thoughtful. – We met long ago, during my first shoot. He is my first director.
Pavel looked at her and then back at the road.
– The first film role. I was in the wild delight. The first director – and crazy about me! I was happy! Then, receiving the first flowers, I realized that he was in love with me. Then – more. He’s older than me and always seemed so experi-enced. And I am so naive, I always thought that everything would be endured and there would be love, I consoled myself with the thoughts that one loves, and the second one allows to be loved. But then I wanted to love. I don’t know when I would have time for everything. Anyway, time is needed for relations, and with my employment... Sergey became very jealous. Thank God, at least he did not raise a hand to me. Pasha, I just wanted to call on him and thank him. I have not told it to him for such a long time. And now, when I’m dead, – she giggled.
– Don’t tell me such things! What’s up?! – Pavel was indignant.
– Well, I’m sorry.
– I... – Pavel started gesticulating. – Well, it’s nothing!
While she spoke, an elite settlement inhabited by new Russian movie, TV stars and other celebrities appeared on the horizon.
– Where shall I go? There? – Pavel asked.
– Yes, Pasha. The second house. Park there, on the left.
A beautiful three-story red brick building barely peeked from behind a tall fence. There was a massive gate with two cameras and two searchlights illuminat-ing the road. Pavel came closer and stopped.
– I’ll go with you, it’s already late, – Pavel turned on the light in the cabin.
She became thoughtful.
– I suppose, yes, – and she got out of the car decidedly.
Approaching the gate, they called. Nobody answered, only a ringtone sounded. Lena and Pavel looked at each other. Then Lena tried to open the gate. She managed to do it. The gate was opened. She carefully looked inside.
– Pasha, let’s go, – she whispered softly.
An asphalt path illuminated by the searchlights led from the fence to the house. Around it there was a green lawn with an automatic grass-watering sys-tem. But in the house, with about twenty people inside, there was absolute si-lence.
– Pasha, something has happened here, – Elena whispered again.
Looking back, they went to the house along the asphalt path.
– Let me go first, I’m still a man, – Pavel said quietly and went forward.
He opened the door quietly, and they went inside. TV was on, loudly re-porting on the death of Elena Yarskaya, lights were turned on in the hall. They walked up and froze.
– Who’s there? – A voice asked.
– Sergey, it’s me, – she came out of hiding.
– Lena! But you...
A short-cut, black-and-gray-haired man of about forty-five stood looking at his wife. He was wearing faded jeans and a dark blue sweater.
– What’s the matter with you? – She came closer and touched his face, see-ing the marks of beatings on it.
– You’re alive! The main thing is that you’re alive! – He hugged his wife and noticed Pavel.
– Who are you? – Sergey asked.
– Sergey, I have not introduced you two. This is my savior.
– And how did it happen?.. – He wanted to say that she was considered dead. But she did not let him finish.
– Well, then it must be so.
– They searched for your diary, Lena. By the way, they showed me your photo, too, – Sergey turned to Pavel. – Soon is April 4 – presidential elections. Yes, yes, Cheburashka can fail.
– Beasts! – Elena sighed and lowered her head. – Sergey, do not tell anyone that I came. Okay?
Pavel understood that they needed to talk and he – to leave them alone. He went outside and got in the car.
– Sergey, I would like to say thank you for everything you have done for me...
– Well, wait, – he tried to hug her.
– Don’t interrupt me, – Elena snapped. – Thank you for what you have done for me. We will never meet again.
Sergey watched her, not looking away. She turned and left. Sergey was left alone. He did not want to run after her, realizing that it was useless. Anyway, he got a lot: five years of her life, joint life with him. And now he was standing in an empty hallway and listened to the sound of her footsteps – of the woman he loved, who was going away forever and who would never return. Once in the car, Elena did not say anything for a long time. Pavel was silent and waited for an or-der.
– Go, – she said.
– Where to? – Pavel asked.
He started. They drove back to the city. Elena still did not say anything – only told him where to go further. Pavel thought that it did not become easier for her after that visit.
– Take me, for example, – he said cheerfully. – Today I told my boss that he is an asshole!
Lena looked at him in surprise.
– And my mood is wonderful! And you say goodbye in such a sad way! There is in fact a sacred female commandment: “Do not be sad, otherwise your breasts will be bad”.
His joke succeeded. Elena smiled and rejuvenated.
– How so? Did you get sick and tired of him?
– Ah, – Pavel shrugged. – An asshole is an asshole. You just endure it, and then fly over the handle... But in general, it became easier. And after that I went for a walk.
– Oh, I see. And what are you now?
– I’ll find another job.
– Be sure to find it. Everything will be fine.
They were silent for some time.
Soon Pavel started to realize, where they came; the area seemed very famil-iar to him.
– Novo-Ogaryovo? – He asked.
– Yes, it is. Cheburashka lives here.
– Residence of the President, cool! And is he a loved one?
– Well, – Elena began to gesticulate. – It just happened so, – she added with humor. – We met at a reception in honor of the anniversary of something. We talked for a long time, then fled from everybody to the balcony, and drank champagne. Three minutes – and I fell in love. I was looking at him, with my mouth open, and he continued to say something. Then he admitted that it was the same thing with him. I have never loved so, and it came late to me, I was already married. And then he walked me home through the night Moscow. It turned out that in order to see how people live he often walks around the city by himself. We searched the most unusual places of the capital. Still, we have an amazing city. Then we started dating, and Misha appeared – the best man in the whole world. But... he’s married, and then he has another love – politics... Yesterday I was going to tell him to dare to something: whether abandon his wife and politics and stay with me, or...
Elena sighed. Then she grinned.
– You know, I wanted to tell him that he is an asshole! I was so angry. I can’t stay with Sergey, I don’t love him, it all became unbearable... Let’s go?
– Elena Mikhailovna, who will let us in? Maybe you have a right to entry, but not me – of that I’m sure.
– Pasha, don’t be a chicken! It’s Russia. Here, there is a hole in each fence! – She said cheerfully.
– What, in this too?
Pavel stared at Lena with surprised eyes. She said nothing – just smiled. Approaching a long white fence, beyond which there was the residence, Lena took off her shoes, threw one of them over the fence, then the second one.
– Follow me! – She commanded. Pavel shook his head, but obeyed.
The guard was interested in flown items, so they climbed through a secret passage and entered the territory of the residence. They found themselves in front of a huge oak tree in the park – and stood there with their legs apart and their hands behind the back.
– Elena Mikhailovna! – Chief of the guard was screaming at her, surround-ed by his subordinates. – There, there is a door! And above it, there is a doorbell!
– Boys, –she began playfully, turning to them. – Pavel and I were walking past the residence. I was in a good mood. There was nobody in the street, and I allowed myself a weakness – tossed up a shoe, and it accidentally flew over the fence. So I decided to climb in, but I would not climb in one shoe, like a fool. That’s why I threw the second one.
– Kostya! – Chief of the guard shouted to his subordinate, who stood at a distance. – Come here, you should hear this.
The young man approached.
– That’s what I love you for, Elena Mikhailovna. Every time you penetrate here you come up with a new explanation, and you have never repeated yourself in your explanations!
– I thought Cheburashka was not alone, – Lena explained guiltily.
Chief of the guard sighed and said:
– Victoria Eduardovna is absent. She will not return soon.
– Your hand, Pavel, – Elena approached Pavel. He silently handed her an elbow. She took Pavel’s arm and, watched by the six guards, they went to the two-story house at the end of the square. Other guards opened the door for them. Pavel and Lena entered the house and mounted the stairs to the second floor. There, at the door, they stopped.
– Pasha, I can’t face him!
She became worried, as a person worries before an important conversation in life.
– Well, come on! We got through such things here! – Pavel became indig-nant.
– Listen. You start first: introduce yourself and so on, and I… I’ll hide here and then I’ll go out from behind a corner.
– Well, what... – Pavel rebelled. But seeing how hard it all was for her, he gave in. Meanwhile, someone was going to the door and, seeing a familiar silhou-ette, Elena hid around the corner.
– Hello, Anatoliy Mikhailovich.
– Hello, Pavel Nikolayevich.
– Do you know my name?
Pavel did not expect it. Inside, he realized that there was a guard and other informants, but he was pleased that a person of such high rank called him by name.
– But you did not come alone, – the owner of the house began delicately.
– No. She said to tell you that she sees your relationship differently, that they should be built on a different basis, on the basis of mutual understanding.
– I just feel as if at a meeting. Where is she? Is she alive?
– Yes, yes, everything is fine. She asked me to tell you that...
– That you are an asshole! That’s what I wanted to tell you, – she came from behind a cover, placing hands on the belt.
– Pasha, go take a walk!
Pavel went one stairwell down and out into the street.
– Come in, – Anatoliy Mikhailovich suggested to Elena.
She entered and remained standing at the door.
– Tolya, listen to me, do not interrupt, I have to go... I have a lot to say to you.
– I read that you were dead, almost went crazy.
She paused. He kept silence, too, looking at her, afraid to touch, to get closer.
– You know, I dream that you will live in a huge mansion in a village. When someone calls at the door, you will appear in your chestnut gown, busily tightening the belt, and ask: “What do you want?” And I will live with you, we will have many children, and the oldest one, Misha, will look after everything... It will be my best role. Thank you for everything that I have experienced... Yes, – she changed the tone. – They searched for my diary at Sergey’s. Elections are soon, and then...
– Yes, I know what’s then. We are already engaged in it.
– You can abandon your search, here it is.
She handed him a small book.
– I will not keep anything anymore. Let it remain with you. As a souvenir.
She went out and closed the door quietly.
– Did it become easier?
Pavel waited for Lena in the car. She drooped even more and stared out the window. He did not wait for an answer and started the car.
– I will never return here. There will be nothing more... Let’s go, – she whispered in a sad tone.
– Where to?
– There is one trash – Alexander Pletnyov.
Pavel looked at her with surprise. “So, a real asshole”.
– Drank so much blood from me. There is such a colleague of yours. I just do not know where he lives.
– I know, – Pavel said.
– What, seriously? – Elena raised an eyebrow in surprise.
– We work together.
– So, that is your rag?! – She said at an elevated tone.
– Not mine, – he tried to pacify her edifyingly.
– I’m sorry, Pasha.
– Then to his home. You know, all these publications are not painless. Ser-gey rolled such scenes that... And how can I explain him? He sees what is writ-ten, there is a harmless photo enclosed, but you can turn upside down every-thing. And Misha heard it all. And for a child’s mind it’s very dangerous. Very!
– And what do you want?
– I want to stuff his face. Just so. I’ve never done it before, but I’ll try. I think I will succeed.
– What is an action plan?
– We’ll see.
Circumstances were such that Pavel hid near Pletnyov’s door, and Elena called the door, pulled a strap of her dress and ruffled her hair. A lavender fitting dress, luxurious thighs in flesh-colored stockings, high heels... Pavel could imag-ine what picture Pletnyov will see. Her eyes changed. It seemed to him that she begins to play a role. A victim? A prostitute? A sexual stranger ringing the door-bell? Pavel did not know yet. But he could argue that it was not Elena Yarskaya near him, but a completely different woman.
– Who’s there? – Pletnyov opened the door without looking. – You? – He stood in the doorway, staring at Elena’s charms.
– You always wanted me, right? – She said, pulling a button on his shirt.
– You?! But you are dead. I saw it in the Internet! – He backed away.
– Well, come on, while I’m still warm.
– Well, that’s enough!
She entered the apartment and closed the door. He leaned against the wall, standing in his jeans, plaid shirt and torn slippers, frozen, unable to take his eyes off her. Elena came quite close. The tips of her hair touched his face. He enjoyed the line of her lips, they were getting closer and closer. He could feel her every breath, her breasts rising, her cold fingers touching his body. She undid one but-ton at a time. He began to breathe deeply. His eyes were closed in pleasure... And then she hit him in the groin.
– This one is because I’m a whore and slept with everyone!
The second blow.
– This one is for tantrums at my home after your articles!
– This one is for the fact that I lost a role in the States because of my alleg-edly tarnished reputation. And remember, pathetic scribbler, if you write any-thing from my diary, I’ll be back!
She went out and slammed the door.
– Let’s go! – She ran down the stairs.
– What happened?
– I’ve done what I wanted to. Come on, until he called the police.
Soon they raced along the highway.
– Elena Mikhailovna, I’m still a man. Somehow it’s not “comme il faut” that you left me behind the door and went to stuff his face! I was worried, by the way! Where are we going? – He asked in one breath.
– House of the Actor... Pasha, no offense, I had to do it myself.
– It was so funny to look at you when you shouted “let’s go”.
She laughed, too, imagining how it looked with her – an intelligent woman.
– Introduction in the House of the Actor? Ah, yes, – Pavel began with iro-ny. – We’ll see. Your favorite method!
– Um, um, – Lena answered.
The famous building held a regular meeting on something in the name of something. As soon as she came in, there was a storm of applause. She took the floor and spoke without any notes for about forty minutes. All this time Pavel listened calmly leaning against the wall. Everybody applauded standing, includ-ing all those envious – both men and women.
– There is one place left, Pasha. Misha is the best man in the whole world. I promised him something.
Along the way, they stopped at a supermarket and bought a huge construc-tion set. Misha lived with Lena’s mother in a private house in the suburb. When they arrived, they saw no light in the windows. Only in one window there was light: a reading lamp was turned on. We were greeted by an elderly woman, of about seventy, in a flannel white scarf and dark blue dress.
– Pasha, let me introduce my mom.
– Maria Sergeyevna, – the woman said, and asked in the same breath: – Well, my girl, why are you so late? – An old lady came up and hugged Elena, in-vited them into the house.
– Misha? – Lena asked in a whisper, knowing that her son was probably already asleep.
– Sleeping, – the grandmother smiled. – Come on, go look at him. He’s an angel, looks like Cheburashka, like his father.
Elena smiled. She went into the bedroom to see her son. He wrapped him-self in a blanket. A sweet expression on his face told her that his dreams were nice. She sat on the bed and ran a hand through his hair. She sat for a while, ad-miring the best man in the world, then got up and went to the kitchen to her mother.
– Well, why are you standing? Come here, have some tea with the old lady.
She leaned against the doorway and stared at her mother.
– My girl, I don’t like your look, as if you are saying goodbye. It’s not good.
– Mommy, sweetheart, well, if I need to go, what shall I do?
She came closer. The mother hugged her, kissed her on the forehead like in the childhood. For a moment she became warm and calm from her mother’s hug.
– It’s time, Mom, – she stood up. – You’re the best in the whole world.
Her eyes changed. She became sad, hopelessness appeared on her face. The old woman walked her to the door. She went out and closed the gate quietly. Pavel was waiting for her at the car. The sky was starry, beautiful. There, outside the city, it seemed closer, with brighter stars. Pavel stood admiring the warmth of a spring night, with his hands on the car. At the sound of her footsteps he turned.
– That’s all, Pasha, thank you. I’ll do myself now.
– What do you mean “yourself”? I’ll give you a lift.
He was surprised. She looked intently at him… and said:
– Pasha, well, you know that nothing of this was real...
After a pause, she added:
– You know that you pulled me dead out of the car.
Pavel said nothing.
– It’s time for you to go... Come, the living are there... behind you... Thank you. I’ve done what I wanted.
She turned her back on him and left. Pavel stood watching her. She raised her hand and waved at him without turning around. Pavel stood watching until her figure merged with the darkness of the night.
She’s right – nothing of that was real. There was a completely different sto-ry...
I pulled her dead out of the car and screamed in pain for a long time. I loved that person so much and had to meet her like that. I hugged her, smearing blood on my jacket, and saw a notebook next to her. I don’t know why, but I took it. The title page stated: “Actress’s diary”. I put it in the inside pocket of my jacket. When the ambulance arrived, I got in the car and left. Then I stopped at the curb and began to read. I read everything and was shocked. I had some doubts: maybe, it was a murder? The diary contained everything: about deputies, what they do in reality, about higher ranks of the country and our celebrities – addicts and perverts. No, it was a really tragic accident. The girl broke away from her mother and ran out into the road. To save a child’s life, Elena twisted the wheel and smashed into a truck. The girl whom she saved is going to become an actress; her name is Elena, as her grief-stricken mother said. I did not understand only one thing: why does my neighbor Semyon, a rare drunk, live? Let him live, of course. But people who are so few are no longer with us and will never be. Of course, you can ponder over it for ages! But... there is no such desire. I watched her movies many times. I cried and laughed, I was happy and said. It was so sin-cere and incorruptible! In general, I lived a life!
And she also wrote about what she would like to do. She had a few desires. And I thought that I should go and make it all for her. I imagined how she would do it. I was sure: just as I wrote in the first chapter. I wish she still lived in my imagination! At least one more evening, one more night. She was an adventuress – in the best sense of the word. Who else would I penetrate into the residence of the president with? And now... But why talk about it!
After that I went to see Sergey. His house was really searched. They were looking for her diary. Sergey and I talked and decided to cheat at something. Watching the movie “Midshipmen, go ahead!” attentively, I caught out one detail. Do you remember how Bestuzhev pretended that his correspondence was authen-tic? He gave away a couple of real letters, but put a few fakes into them. We did the same thing: we got four diaries instead of the one (it was of a tear-off type). She wrote a lot and preferred a piece of paper instead of a file in the computer. Thus, we did it. They really showed him my photo, and I realized that they would not leave me alone just that simple. On April 4 we’ll have presidential elections, and because of this diary the country may have another president. Then I went to Cheburashka. He opened the door for me. I said:
– I have a message from Elena Yarskaya. She was going to see you. She wanted to tell you something.
– I know, – he said quietly, his head bowed.
He smelled strongly of alcohol. I paused for a moment and then said:
– She asked me to tell you that you are an asshole, but she loves you very much.
I was emboldened by reading her diary. Thought that I would be killed right there.
– Come on, – he said.
Misha – her guard and best friend – was at the table. We had a drink, and then Cheburashka asked about the diary. I gave him the diary.
Next, I went to the set of Mosfilm (there was no House of the Actor – I came up with it). There I was raised on high, and I read from her diary everything she wanted to tell everyone. There was a storm of applause. I went to the director and said:
– I’d like to give you her diary.
I felt that I was being watched. I do not know who by – special services? Cheburashka’s ill-wishers? But someone was constantly there. In each place I visited I left one diary. While the essence of the matter, while they sort out whether it’s true or not, in the meantime I’ll be in another place – namely, with Pletnyov. On Friday evening he was drinking with his friends – as usual. The bar was the same. And for me it was no trouble to find him.
– Ah, a moron, well, your Yarskaya kicked the bucket? And I wanted to fuck her, – he did a puff and exhaled.
– Let’s go, we need to talk, – I began sharply. I found him in the dressing room, where people smoked.
– Come on, the weather is nice, – Pletnyov said.
He stubbed out his cigarette and followed me to the door. We went out into the street. Backyard of the restaurant was a deserted place. I looked around and realized that we were alone.
– Listen, a defective one. You have Yarskaya’s real diary, and not the bull-shit you gave me.
“Oh! – I thought. – My calculation is correct”.
– You won’t get it. She wanted to stuff your face. It was her last wish. So, I’ll do it.
I recoiled at the thought that he was going to hit me first. But he just laughed. I swung to hit him in the jaw. He put a block with his hand and struck the counterblow. I found myself on the pavement. I felt that I had a mouth full of blood. And falling, I hit my head. A sharp pain crushed my head into pieces.
– Well, a defective one, the diary! – Pletnyov said and kicked me in the stomach.
I shouted. Spitting blood, I tried to get up. Another kick followed, this time in the jaw. Here Yarskaya’s diary helped me, namely the place where she de-scribed shooting an action. After reading it, I remembered how to make an under-cut. She liked this technique herself, and she laid it out really well. My opponent was on the ground. Oh! And that was my turn. I jumped on him and stuffed his face so that it was a bloody mess.
– That’s for Yarskaya’s being a whore! That’s for me being defective...
I remembered all his rags.
– Bitch, here is your fucking diary! Nothing can help her now. And the fact that another president may be elected... Well, to hell with him, we’ll survive!
I reached inside my jacket and pulled out the diary I wanted to give him. In general, I presented it in a way as if it were real. I knew that he would buy it. In the talk show for the first channel he made a fool of himself in full, for the whole country. Everyone understood that there was no compromising there. And I, all beaten, went to see her son, gave him a construction set through his grandmother. And his mother’s diary, too – a real one, of course. He will grow up and decide for himself what to do with it. And nobody will tell him better about his mother.
I came back to the accident scene in the morning. The night was... God for-bid having another such. With a broken face, I sat on the fence and drank a bottle of beer. It’s very difficult to have this amount of stress for one night, all the more sober. The accident scene was already cleaned, which was natural, of course. Cleanliness. Utility services in Moscow operate properly. An empty highway, no people. Early morning. All the shops and cafés closed. Soon everything will re-vive. However, the entire highway was dotted with flowers. The police marked them with a red ribbon. The day will begin soon. The first day without her!
That morning I went to the editorial office long before the workday. I sat at my desk and wrote a letter of resignation. Then I picked up another piece of pa-per and wrote the name of my first story: “Actress’s diary”.
Друзья, на развитие проекта- Карточка в Приватбанке,
номер- 5457 0822 3208 7523 Алексей Мухин;
- Веб мани.
- Яндекс- деньги
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