To know about her was one thing, to see her in my house was another.
“Want a drink, babe?” my son asks the girl sitting nearby. The way he looks at her brings bile to my throat. I curl my fingers into a fist, the pain of my nails biting into my palm redirecting the absolute disgust I feel away from my stomach.
“I’m good, thanks, baby,” she responds. My son kisses her and adjusts the necklace around her neck. They stare at each other intently and, I know, that had I not been in that room, they would have been at each other like animals. I clear my throat loudly and Yulian gives the girl an apologetic smile before heading to the small bar area.
<<Why is she here?>> I demand.
<<I told you earlier. I need you to set up an account with Delcroix West for her. It’ll bypass all the waiting and shit so she can start using it to funnel money into.>> He answers me in flawless Russian, with only the tiniest hint of an accent - my father is proud of that, it just brings me shame.
I look at the girl who now has her phone out, idly tapping at the screen. She has hickeys on her chest that is on display for anyone who cares to look directly at her. Even though her clothes and jewelry are expensive (no doubt purchased on my son’s dime), she’s trash and no amount of fancy window dressing is going to cover that up. What little she does cover, anyway. I sigh in exasperation, I do not want to help her, I do not want her here, nor anywhere near my son. <<I can’t just open an account, you know that. Not only do I not work for that bank, but that section is headed by Phillipe’s brother. There’s an interview process - one wherein she cannot have her udders hanging out.>> The girl lets out a snort of laughter, but doesn’t look up from her phone. Yulian’s gaze is scolding.
<<Mother,>> he drops the affectionate term he usually uses and instead uses the stiff, formal word. I narrow my eyes, he’s going to pick a fight with me for this? <<I know there’s an interview. I also know that if you would be the one to initiate it, it’s not much of an interview at all. Please. This is my girlfriend and I plan on keeping her around.>>
<<There’s always other girlfriends,>> I huff. <<Ones that I won’t be ashamed to be associated with.>>
Yulian sighs and roughly pulls a hand through his hair. He’s always done that when he gets frustrated since the time he first started growing hair. I warned him that one of these days it’d make his hair fall out. I swallow the criticism down – I know how to pick my battles and I’d rather win the one that involves me tossing an overpriced whore out on the street. <<If you won’t, I will. But in the meantime, I’ll open all my accounts and give her permiss->>
<<You wouldn’t dare!>> I roar, furious that he’d even consider that as an option. My son’s money from his investments were clean, if she were to start dumping dirty money in there it would open him up to a lot of scrutiny that he definitely would not want. <<Fine, I’ll talk to them but don’t ->>
There’s a knock at the door and Yulian and I go completely silent, eyeing the door tensely. “Um, Forgive me, Mrs. Delcroix, but Mr. Volkov has arrived for, er, Mr. Volkov,” one of the maids nervously stuttered. I’d have to remember to request that she not have access to door duty again. I don’t like mousey people and I especially don’t like it when they can’t speak without all the ‘ums’ and the like.
“Em, if you want me to stay, I will. I can put this off for later. Or you could come with,” my son says, downing the rest of his drink in one smooth motion.
“No, baby, go to your meeting with your grandfather. I think your mother and I should get to know each other. Have girl talk, you know?” she smiles at me brightly. Stupid, girl.
Yulian looks skeptical, “I don’t think –“
“Then don’t think, cariño. I’ll be fine. Go,” she shoos him out the door before settling on the couch next to me.
I let the silence hang before starting, “I don’t know why he told you I’d be setting up that account for you. Because I won’t.”
She levels a look at me, bored, the bright smile she had previously vanishing. It was strange, she didn’t seem upset – it came across as her taking off a mask, revealing herself. “That’s a shame,” she tsked. “I think you and I could get along if you were open to it. I really do admire your work.”
Pinpricks settled up and down my spine, I had forgotten in my anger to see essentially her face that this was not the same woman. This was the Oracle for the LA-13 and any vapidness perceived was, most likely, an act. “Yes, well, charity work is very rewarding, even if it does take up a lot of my free time.”
“Charity?” she laughs. “No, I don’t care about your philanthropic work at all. I was referring to your manipulations to make Yulian heir. You’ve been working on it for quite some time, I imagine seeing him going to big decision meetings with your father is particularly satisfying.” She smiles, it’s cold. “It must really piss you off to know that, with all that work, all that time you’ve put in, I could just destroy it in a minute if I chose to.”
White-hot anger flares in me, “You’ve a lot of confidence for someone whose only skill is laying on their back,” I hiss. “Yulian has lain with other girls like you, you’re nothing. Why, he even has a girl in a house he owns right now. He pays her to live there. I’m told she’s very pretty.”
The girl cackles, obviously finding my revelation to be hilarious. “Allison Katz, right? Oh, I agree she’s pretty,” her laughs rising, “but I don’t think Yulian’s her type.”
“And why not?” I ask, indignant. “My son is handsome, intelligent, and rich. Any woman –“
“You forgot to add he’s got a huge dick. That’s pretty important too. He fucked me so good on that plane I’m still not sure how I managed to walk off of it. To be honest, I’m still a little wobbly.”
I can feel the heat rise in my cheeks. Hearing her talk about Yulian that way makes me think… Лука. I shake my head, no matter. “Then you know that they’re probably seeing each other as well.” I finish.
“Katz? No. I know you haven’t met her before otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’m more of Katz’ type.”
Oh. “Why act like this? You need my help, don’t you? Why are you trying to piss me off then?” I try a different approach.
“You’re wrong. I don’t need your help,” she says, drawing herself up, “And I don’t need Yulian’s either. I’m with Yulian because he lays good pipe.”
“You’re disgusting,” I spit.
She shrugs. “I figured this would be a waste of time. After all, I’m told I look strikingly similar to my Aunt Colleen when she was my age.”
I feel as though ice flows through my veins, “You know. Does he?”
“Not yet. Of course, there’s no real incentive for me to keep it to myself, now is there? Of course, I think Yulian would be more likely to fuck Luke up for you if he knew the truth.”
“He’s your uncle,” I say, incredulous, “You wouldn’t let him take everything.”
“You’re right about not letting him take everything. I’m still looking after Hector and Colleen. But Luke? Luke cheats on my Aunt all the time. It’s so open, no one talks about it anymore. Water is wet, the sky is blue. Luke fucks anything with legs. That sort of thing.”
I watch her, I’ve wanted an ally for so long. But not her, not with that face. “I’ll keep it in mind,” I try to sound dismissive.
“I bet,” her tone is saccharine. “You’ll need to keep this as well – Yulian doesn’t really care to take over for your father. But with me? I’ll make him want it. He’ll even think it’s his own idea.”