|“It drives my mom crazy. She thinks t.A.T.u. are these filthy perverts. I haven’t even told her about the concert. She’d lock me up in handcuffs and strap me to the heater. I’ll just call her from the club once we're there. She wants to see me married off ASAP, and she thinks t.A.T.u. is keeping that from happening. Like I’m suddenly going to become a lesbian… well, that’s her problem,” I said, sitting cross-legged on the bed.|
“Mine can’t freaking stand them either, but all she can really think about is that goddamned house… So, anyway, have you become a lesbian?” Lana asked, smiling strangely, lying on the bed.
“Of course not,” I lied, lying next to her.
She’s so close. I can feel her body. I might go crazy, if I haven’t gone crazy already…
“So you’ve never been with a girl?” Lana asked unexpectedly. She turned toward me.
"Nope, never. You?"
“Me either… would you ever want to?”
My face is next to hers. I can feel her breathing. Her lips are so close. Suddenly my throat is dry. There is an uncomfortable pause. The silence is so thick with tension that my ears start to ring. Maybe it’s because I’m so close to her lips. I look into her green eyes, and for a second they seem crazy to me. I look at her strawberry lips, and for a second it seems as though they want to touch mine. My vision starts to darken… But no, it’s not getting darker. Everything around me becomes strawberry-colored, the same color as her lips… No… I can’t. It’s not right. Just not yet, anyway… We turn away from each other at the same time. I get up and put the kettle on. I need to cool off…
Lana asked to lie down. I put her in the guest room to let her rest. She's tired. Who wouldn't be after traveling for so long. We have all night long to hang out… Maybe I should get some rest, too… Although I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep… I’m all confused. I don’t know what to think, I don’t know what to feel… It’s all wrong, somehow. Kris told me I should tell Lana everything. That I’ll feel better. Either that, or it will all be over, and I won’t torture myself any longer with these futile hopes, or... I don't know. I don't know anything. I’m so confused… Maybe Kris is right...
It’s so cold and harsh outside. More stupid snow is falling… Why is the sky so grey? Why is the world so cold and unjust? It’s not fair. Not fair. That’s all I can do now, just repeat the same stupid words: not fair. Just as stupid as the grey snow that keeps falling outside… All I can do is talk… I can’t actually do anything. I’m not Lana. She would surely do whatever she wanted, she wouldn’t just mutter “it’s not fair.” I’m just sitting here by the windowsill, listening to "show me your love." Snow is falling and I want to cry... I was right, I should go sleep a little. Maybe then I can forget all of this crap for a while... Maybe... I just need to lie down and close my eyes... and it will all pass... even just for a minute...
“She’s here. Lana’s at my place… sleeping. She’s really tired and I decided to let her rest a little,” I said, lying on Kris’s sofa. Since I couldn’t fall asleep, I left Lana asleep and went to Kristina’s place.
"You sound so depressed. What, did Lana turn out to be horrible? Or doesn't she like you?" she asked, drinking her tea.
“No, I really like her a lot. She’s great looking… And I think she likes me too,” I tell her with a flat voice.
“So what’s the problem? What’s going on with you?” Kris looked at me, concerned.
What’s going on? If only I knew what’s going on… I am so confused…
“I don't know. I don’t know anything anymore… Kristina, what should I do? I’m confused…” I tell her and lie my head on Kris’s shoulder.
If she doesn’t understand, who will?
“You’re just tired… just look, everything’s working out great. You finally met Lana, and today you’ll spend all night having a ball together, and you’re going to see your favorite band. What could be wrong? It can’t get much better!” Kristina hugs me.
“I don't know,” I say for the thousandth time, adding in a whisper: “I almost kissed her…”
“What? And what did she do? I think I missed something,” Kristina scooted back from me a bit and looked at me squarely. “Why didn’t you tell me to begin with? Wait, did you kiss or not? Did you tell her? Did she tell you to fuck off? Did you fight? What happened? Did you sleep together or what? And you didn’t tell me!?” Kristina shot off this list of questions like a machine gun. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.
For a second I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head. The expression on Kristina’s face was changing from wild surprise to some sort of wild rage because I hadn’t told her about the kiss right off the bat. Except there wasn’t anything to tell, really… How can someone come up with such utter nonsense so quickly? My Kristina should write novels. That’s how old wives’ tales get started…
“Oh, shut up already! What are you making up things up for?” I interrupted her stream of consciousness. “Let me tell you! Nothing happened! There was no sleeping together! Have you totally lost it?!”
“Have I totally lost it?" Kristina yelped, offended. "First you say you kissed Lana and then you say nothing happened! And I’m the one who’s out of it?”
“I didn’t say that I kissed her. I said that I almost kissed Lana!” I stammered, trying to figure out what was going on with Kris.
She stared at the floor for a while. God, is it really so hard to get through to her?
“Christ, don’t freak out about it. You should have just said so,” Kristina said, irritated.
Didn’t I just say so?! Damn…
"Well because," I started in a sad voice, lying my head on her shoulders again, "it was so scary... for a few seconds I felt like I totally was losing my mind... I don't know what happened to me... I can't say exactly what happened, it was like I was in a fog…
“Well try to tell me. I really don’t understand any of it… What happened there with you two? I wanna know! I mean you and I are close friends… even if you are full of shit and a little bit keee-raaaa-zeeee,” Kristina smiled.
What would I do without her?
“We were just lying on the bed talking… saying something about lesbians… that’s how it started… and then I saw her lips so close to mine, her eyes so close… I mean, basically, somehow… It was really hard to pull myself together and pull away…”
“What about Lana? What did she do?” Kris asked in all seriousness.
“At one point I thought that she was also… that she also wanted to kiss me… I don’t understand anything… maybe I’m just dreaming things…”
"Oh, you idiot! You’d have to look hard to find someone as idiotic as you! Have you totally lost your mind? She wouldn't have rejected you! Don’t you get it?! She likes you, too! You were right up next to her, like two peas in a pod and you couldn’t even take the first step. Am I supposed to arrange everything for you?! Maybe I should buy flowers for you to give to Lana and write out a letter explaining everything?! Like babies! Go on, get back to her. What if she wakes up and you aren’t there? Think about what I said. If you don’t tell her today, then you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life.
It’s so cold and dark here. You wouldn’t know it’s a club to look at it. It’s just too dark here. Even for a club. And all I wore was this tiny little top. It’s so cold. I wish Lana would warm me up…
There’s nothing wrong with a little daydreaming… I hope I’ll at least warm up once the concert starts…
Lana doesn’t let me think about things to the end. She grabs me by the hand and pulls me further into the club, up to the stage. “This is where the party's at. I've been sitting around at home for too long. This is gonna be really something!” she promises. And I believe her. The fire in her eyes is burning too brightly. Her lips are too strawberry red. Her palms are too hot. It's not all so innocent... I believe her.
We work our way towards the stage where tons of fans have already gathered… I can’t believe it! I’m here, and with Lana!!! Oh, I’ve waited so long for this… No, no matter what, this is going to be awesome! Mixes of t.A.T.u. songs are playing at full blast, people are running around everywhere. I look up: the VIP zone is on the second floor, and it's packed with people, probably more than the people in the rest of the club... I wish I could get up there… I wonder what you have to do to get there? They can’t all be friends of the t.A.T.u. girls Julia and Elena. Lucky them… looks like you have to have a glowing yellow bracelet t get in, how original... 'Cept I wouldn't mind having one myself. There are instruments set up on the stage and images of Julia and Elena are showing on the plasma screens above the stage. … I wonder where they are…
“Let's go get a drink,” says Lana.
“Sure,” I say, and we head towards the bar. Lana buys us each a cocktail, and then we go back to the stage. People keep going up and down the stairs to and from the VIP zone. If only I could get in there…
I look up and see Elena Katina walking along the second floor. She’s so beautiful! She’s wearing grey Capri pants, a black top and a grey jacket. The outfit really looks good on her. She's always stylish, and she's got this heavenly smile. I wish I was more like her… Six months ago, I even dyed my hair red, but my hair’s not as pretty as hers. Mine is straight and fine. Then in the summer I had to dye it back to my dark chestnut color... Lana likes Julia better... maybe because they're so alike? Probably...
“Oh, we’re definitely going to be hanging out with those girls,” Lana says, finishing off her cocktail. “Julia is so awesome! We’ll get it going, too... just as soon as the concert is over..."
I just smile silently in reply. How can anyone not believe Lana? How could anyone distrust those strawberry lips? I agree with her. I’m ready to do anything.
Julia Volkova runs past us. Probably for the hundredth time already. She’s giving someone else a pass to the VIP zone, oh God, I wanna get in there! But it's not that important... Nothing means anything to me anymore. The important thing is that Lana is next to me. So close, and yet so far. I love how she looks at Julia. I think if she could, Lana would eat her up… it’s all the same to Julia... But not me. Oh, how I wish Lana would look at me the way she looks at Julia... But it's all the same to Lana.
Boys and girls, fans like us, exchange photos and magazines with articles about t.A.T.u. Lana and I even buy a few pictures - I get four of Elena, and Lana gets four of Julia, and we both chip in on one photo to share, an old one from some concert in St. Petersburg. Sweet!
Suddenly my phone rings. Bad timing... oh, it's mom. Great… now what? I take a deep breath and answer.
“Where in God’s name are you? Have you looked at a clock recently? Why didn’t you tell me you were going out?! I have called everyone looking for you. Where are you?!"
She is furious. She is gonna totally flip her lid once she finds out where I am. I wonder if I’m gonna have to call an ambulance…
“At Gaudi,” I say, after a pause.
“Where?” I hear her ask again in an even more irritated tone of voice. I don’t quite feel like myself, somehow…
“At the t.A.T.u. concert,” I inform her, my voice crumbling. Now it's gonna get scary. She's gonna kill me.
“What?! At those lesbians’ concert? Where’d you get the money? Who are you with?! With the same kind of snot-nosed little perverts as you?! Decide to have an orgy, did you?! There’ll be no justice for those two little hussies! I can’t believe they’re permitted to keep going on like this! And my only daughter following in their footsteps! They’re destroying our children! Get your ass home fast, do you hear me?!”
Wow. She is rabid. She’s gonna kill me for sure, now. But she may still need an ambulance… maybe I should dial 911 just to be on the safe side… Especially since I’m not going anywhere. I’m having a good time. Just let her wear herself down with all that anger!
“I’m not going home,” I pronounce.
“Then don’t bother coming back home ever!! Your father is going to have a word with you now!”
But I’m not going to wait for my dad to get on the phone to yell at me some more. I just turn the phone off. Man, they practically ripped me a new one. I can’t stand to look at them, and hearing them is even worse. I can’t go back home now? Sounds good to me. Better, even. Catch you later, mom and pop!
It’s already 10pm and the concert still hasn’t started. The t.A.T.u. girls are still giving interviews, some people keep running back and forth, up and down the stairs. Everyone's having a great time. Me too, probably... It’s all good. It really is all good. We are at t.A.T.u.’s record release party, Lana is by my side… I just wish it would all start soon…
Lana leaves me at the stage and goes to get another round of cocktails. More and more people keep coming in, and the t.A.T.u. girls are running around up in the VIP zone… Some guy appears from over there and treats me to some champagne. At the same moment, Lana appears with the new cocktails. He pours her some champagne as well, and we mix it with the cocktails… My head is spinning a little, and I lean on Lana. Everything is super. I just wish it would get started…
“Miss, can’t you stand on your own two legs?” Lana jokes and puts her arms around me. So nice...
It’s probably been another half hour. The concert still hasn’t stated. I’m on my way to the bathroom. It's so cold in there! The kind of cold you can just suck up. They could have at least set up a heater or something. Everyone's already so drunk. The free booze is flowing freely up in the VIP zone. Whoever's not drinking upstairs is bringing it downstairs. Everyone's having a great time - so much so that some are already starting to feel icky. The door to one of the stalls is barely open, leaving a glimpse of some girl barfing into the toilet. Who needs to get that drunk?! I mean I understand the free booze and all... but still... we didn't come here to drink, we came here to see t.A.T.u. But who knows. I'm barely standing on my own two feet. Swaying, I have some difficulty opening the door to the next stall, and use the wall to help lower me down...
Finally!! Yes! It’s starting! We made it! I’m so excited. Some guy comes out onto the stage and gives some welcoming speech. And then they’re on stage! The music is blaring, everyone’s thrilled, the girls are amazing! We start to feel a buzz. This is so unreal! I’m so hot. We’re singing all the songs together with the girls. I learned all of the words in a week. This is so awesome! Lana hugs me... Now they're starting "All the things she said."
“Oh, this is great!" Lana whispers in my ear.
“Yes!” I say.
I feel her breath on my neck. It feels so good… like I’m in some sort of fog. We’re just moving to the music, and my heart is beating to the music. This is all I need, I don't need anything else. Nothing else.
The first verse of "All the things she said." It’s all so painfully familiar. My heart starts beating faster, my fingers tap-tapping, my lips are restless. How many long nights did I listen to this song, rewinding it over and over again. How many times did I cry listening to the words? The cassette tape is totally worn down by now. Oh, my head is spinning... it's... so hot… she's... so close... I can feel the heat from her body… all the things she said…
I turn towards Lana… it can’t go on like this any longer… I can’t do it anymore… her face is so close… there’s no one else here… it’s just Lana, me and the music... her lips are so close... everything has turned a strawberry red... she looks me straight in the eyes... her eyes touch mine... I put my arms around her, and she embraces me... my knees buckle... I can't feel anything. Just the taste of strawberries, the taste of her strawberry lips... I belong to her now, and she belongs to me. Now we are one whole… and there’s nobody else, nobody… and we don't need anyone else... To hell with them. To hell with everything! For a second I pull away from her lips to whisper: "I love you," and Lana pulls me back to her and kisses me again. I'm losing my mind... all the things she said... running through my head.
How long I’ve waited for this! Now we’ll be together. Forever. No one can tear us part… We listen to the rest of the concert with our arms around each other. I've never felt so good with anyone before. A bottle of wine appears from out of nowhere and we drink it with some other fans. We could have got to know them, at least I surely would have before. But that was then, and this is now. Now I don't need anyone besides Lana. I pull close to her to keep from falling. My head is spinning from all the booze and I can barely stand. I close my eyes and snuggle into her neck. Lana smells so good… It’s driving me crazy… even more.. t.A.T.u. finishes up their concert before I know it. It lasted less than an hour. But who cares. I don’t care anymore.
“You can barely stand,” says Lana, whose no more sober than me. “I'm taking you to the bathroom, so you can sober up a bit..."
We return more or less sober. We stand and kiss right in the middle of the concert hall. The security guards are giving us dirty looks. One guy practically twisted his neck when he walked past. But we don't care. We're finally together. To hell with everything else…
“A coupla hours ago my mom called and told me never to come back home again. Can you believe it?” I tell her with a smile. I absolutely do not care. Nothing makes any difference to me anymore. Except Lana.
“Don’t worry. We’ll think of something. We’ll find a place to live. Everything will be OK," Lana says. She smiles back at me. I feel so good…
“I’m not worried,” I say, and I kiss my girl.
She’s mine now. All mine, all of her. From head to toe. Forever.
“And now we gotta look for the t.A.T.u. girls,” says Lana, down to business already and looking from side to side.
“Right, let’s go,” I agree. I still haven’t the faintest idea how she plans to pull this off. But I can’t refuse her…
Lana kisses me again. Our kiss lasts for a long time, I can’t stop. I can’t live without Lana. I can’t live without her strawberry lips. Suddenly we see Ed, the same guy who brought us the champagne.
“Hey, there, girls! I can set you two up with passes to the VIP zone if you want,” he smiles, standing not too steadily on his feet.
“How’s that?” I ask, doubting him. And I really want to know.
“Just like that. I like you two. We’ll get something going…” Ed burbles out something drunkenly, and I'm not totally sure that he's gonna come back with the passes. Well, since he wants to…
“Go on then, bring some, and we'll check it out," Lana says, smiling. She then embraces me demonstratively.
Ed stumbles upstairs. “Everything’s gonna be totally awesome, just count on me,” Lana says, reinforcing my faith with another kiss. How could I ever refuse her?
“Let's start looking for Julia and Elena,” Lana says as soon as we're in the VIP zone.
There are a few celebrities milling about. Serioga Lazarev walks past us, looking a little lost. He probably decided to walk amongst the people to feel like a star again. Personally, I don't see what's so exciting about him. And then there are journalists, journalists, journalists. Vanya Shapovalov is sitting on a loveseat in the corner with a small crowd around him. Mmm-mmm... interesting! I've got to convince Lana to go talk with him, too, after we find Julia and Elena. He’s not too shabby.
Suddenly, Lana pulls me into someplace dark, yanking on my arm:
“Look, look!” she whispers while shoving a finger sandwich into her mouth.
“Look where? What?" I look left and right.
“The t.A.T.u. girls! Julia and Elena!” Lena is practically screaming. I look in the direction Lana is pointing. And it’s true - there they are! Ed is already sitting next to them, after having disappeared somewhere just minutes before when he brought us the VIP bracelets.
“Oh my God! Look, Ed's there with them!” I can barely believe my eyes.
“Perfect. He can introduce us. Don’t sweat it, it's all good," Lana smiles, pulling me towards them with her.
They are so awesome. I just can't believe that they're so friendly! We're standing around drinking champagne. Me, Lana, Elena and Julia - it's unbelievable! After Ed introduced us to the girls, Lana took things into her own hands. Just like always... We're standing and laughing. Ed is telling a really funny story about how he met Julia. I just can’t believe that this is all really happening, that’s it's not just a dream. We’re standing in an embrace.
“Can you believe that today is the first day that Jane and I met face to face? Before that, we just messaged each other," Lana tells Julia. Lana isn't looking at her in awe any longer. Now Lana is looking at me... because she's mine. She is mine, and I am hers. And this is the biggest joy of my life.
“Cool,” says Julia. “So, like, you still in school?”
“Yeah,” I answer.
“And we live real far away from each other,” Lana adds sadly.
Suddenly I realize that our little fairy tale is about to come abruptly to an end tomorrow, when Lana gets on her train and goes back to shitty old Stary Luk. And I'll be stuck here in shitty old Moscow. With my parents, who are going to ground me for the rest of my life. We'll never see each other again. Never. I just can’t let that happen.
“Plus my parents have told me never to come back home again,” I say, my voice totally flat.
“Oh, they don’t want that. I’m sure your parents will welcome you back home with open arms tomorrow - no, even today. They're just worried about you. They want you to be happy," Lena tells me.
She’s so smart and sensible. And so nice… Maybe she’ll help Lana and me…
“They might want me to be happy, but I seriously doubt it, and in the end they are going to make me very unhappy. Today Lana and I have no where to go, and tomorrow... tomorrow she has to leave and we'll never see each other again," I nearly start to cry.
Lana holds me even closer. I feel like she truly understands it, too: today is our first and last day.
“What should we do?” we ask them.
“Well right now the party’s moving to the restaurant 21st Floor. Why don’t you come along?” Elena offers. We don’t turn them down. How could we turn them down?
What’s happening to me today is like a dream. Like a magical dream... If someone told me yesterday that I would be partying with t.A.T.u. in some elite restaurant, I would never have believed them. I would have said they were out of their minds. But it turns out I'm the one who's out of her mind. If someone told me yesterday that Lana and I would be together, I wouldn't have believed them for the world. I would have told them they were nuts. As it turns out, we're the ones who're nuts. Both of us. Together…
We’re sitting at a table with Elena and Julia, talking. Unbelievable!
“Well I'll have to come back to Moscow somehow or another," Lana says, thinking, and holding out her glass of red wine.
“Definitely,” says Julia.
“But I don’t know where I'll live. Jane’s homeless now," Lana says even more pensively.
"Yeah… my folks will be just ‘thrilled’ about the news,” I add. And really, where will we live? Moreover, my own mother doesn’t want me at home. It's not like I can bring Lana there, too. Totally stuck…
“You come back, and we’ll figure something out… maybe…maybe we can get you some sort of job or something. Like you can be costume attendants or some sort of assistants!" Julia laughs.
If only it were true. If only… We sit with these girls for about an hour and a half, and then somehow we end up quietly splitting up. Elena goes over to her ex-classmate and other friends, and Julia goes somewhere, probably to smoke. We’re just wandering around the restaurant. There are so many interesting people here. Probably even more than were at Gaudi. I just can’t believe my luck: Lana and I are together, we love each other, and we're gonna work for t.A.T.u. No one will ever be able to tear us apart...
We hold hands and walk around the restaurant. Suddenly Lana starts to pull me somewhere again. Where to this time? My head is spinning from the countless drinks, and everything seems a little blurry.
“Look, Mitrofanov is over there. Let's go get a picture with him, it'd be cool," says Lana.
“Yeah, cool,” I say, and we make our way over to him, trying not to fall on the way there.
“Hi!” Lana says to Mitrofanov in a businesslike manner. I stand there smiling with all 32 of my teeth. I probably shouldn’t have had so much to drink. Oh well. It’s a little late now. Just try not to fall on him…
“Can we take a picture with you?” Lana asks, poking me in the side.
“Yes-yes-yes!” I add, trying to find the camera in my bag.
Really, I shouldn’t have had so much to drink. Gonna drop the camera… or I guess I could use my cell phone. But it wouldn't come out as good... want a good photo... where did this camera come from, anyway? Ohhhh yeah, I brought it from home. It's my camera... Damn! How’d I get so drunk?
I give the camera to someone and stand with Lana and Mitrofanov. Someone takes our pictures and I sort of slither away. Lana wants to stay and say something, but then we see Ed approaching. He spots us right away and starts waving at us. Why not party with him, too? We can do anything we want tonight.
“Shall we?” Lana asks.
“We shall,” I say right away, agreeing so quickly, as quickly as I can in my state. It’s not fair, I drank as much as Lana did, maybe even less, and she's practically sober. In any case, she's not wobbly.
Lana takes me by the hand and we make our way towards our new acquaintance. Oh, good thing I didn't forget to take my camera back. I'm on top of things tonight...
He’s hilarious. I’m liking it here more and more every minute.
Then Lana’s phone rings. We both jump. Who could be calling at this hour? Lana digs in her backpack for her cell phone, turning pale with every second.
“It’s my mom. It’s definitely her,” my girl mumbles. I'm tensing up, too. "Found it! It's not her! What’s this? I don’t know this number,” Lana exhales.
“It’s Kristina. Who else could it be? I left her Lana’s number. It’s not cool to scare people like that. Oh, right. I forgot - I turned my cell phone off. My mom probably called her, too. And I didn’t tell her anything… suddenly I burst out laughing, and I can't stop. Everything seems hilarious!
“Heeelllllloooooooo!” I say in between laughs.
“Hello there, miss. You turn someone’s cell phone off?” a sleepy-sounding Kristina asks.
The poor thing. She's not sleeping because of me. Damn, I totally forgot I promised to call her from the club!
“Me? Oh it is so much fun here!”
Why did I drink more with Ed?!
“Oo-ooh, I can tell you’re having fun… well, I won’t interrupt you… just let me know, how’re things working out with Lana?”
“Fantastic! We’re… I love her, and she loves me,” it’s a challenge to string the words together.
“I’m happy for you… you be careful over there, OK? And call me tomorrow,” she sounds a little worried. Maybe I'm burdening her.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be a good girl. Later,” I promise, and in the depths of my soul I know that I am not going to be a good girl. And why did I drink so much? I hang up and fall on Ed.
“You’re drunk!” he laughs.
“Not true! I am totally… and absotutely… sober…” I say in a hurt voice, letting myself hang on Ed’s neck. He’s so funny! Really, he is…
“Drunk chick, drunk chick!” Lana laughs.
“What’re you all laughing at? You can barely stand up. I see everything," I almost have to pull the words out of my mouth. My voice sounds funny and awkward. It makes me want to laugh. We just stand there and laugh.
I’m nauseous. My head is killing me. I feel like I’m going to die. I’m in a total fog… Lana and Ed are dragging me somewhere. I can’t even move. I feel like shit.
They take me into the bathroom. I can’t see anything… I think I’m about to turn inside out. Someone, please, kill me… Ugh… I feel awful…
“We need to take her out to the balcony,” I hear Ed’s voice from somewhere far away.
“Help me,” Lana says.
I must have blacked out. I wake up on Lana’s lap. The music is so loud. I didn’t really notice before… Besides Ed, some other guys and girls are sitting with us. Maybe about five or six people. I look up, it’s hard to lift my head, and I look dumbly at Lana. Then I try to sit. She helps me. My head is killing me, but all the same I feel better. I hope it goes away soon. It might sound strange, but I still wanna party...
“You got pretty drunk,” Lana says.
No, she’s not angry, she’s not hurt. She says it gently. The kind of gentleness that nearly makes my heart stop in its tracks. I hug Lana. Despite my aching head, I’m feeling pretty good, because my beloved is next to me.
“Let’s go to the balcony," I suggest. Lana takes me by the hand and stands up.
“We’ll be right back. Just gonna go get some fresh air,” she tells the others, and we walk away.
It’s so cold. There’s snow on the street, the balcony isn’t heated and I’m in this tiny little top.
“You’re freezing, aren’t you?” Lana asks, noticing that I'm shaking a little.
“Mmmhmm,” I answer, pressing myself to her.
Lana embraces me gently. Her lips gently embrace mine… I don’t feel the cold anymore… that taste of fresh strawberries and her soft arms around me. Soft and so hot…
We return to the room in about a half hour. My headache is already gone. I'm ready to keep partying... I wonder what time it is... People keep leaving. I guess it's pretty late. Or pretty early… but what difference does it make? We just need to figure out where to keep the party going.
I kneel near Lana and sip a cocktail. The people we’ve met are really cool, and they’re all Ed’s friends.
“Let’s go dance!” says one of the girls.
“Sure!” Lana answers.
We get up together and go to dance. By this time the restaurant is half empty. Lana puts her arms around my waist. We dance and kiss each other passionately. Everything is so unreal, so totally amazing…
“Naw… that’s no fun,” says Ed, leaving the girl he was just dancing with. “Let’s switch, it’s getting boring. Let’s have some fun.”
“No problem,” says Lana. I don’t really want to let her go, but… well, maybe it will be more fun.
Ed is dancing with Lana, and I’m dancing with Pasha. I think that’s his name. We're drinking cocktails that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. My head is spinning a little again. I try to turn to get a look at Ed and Lana. They’re both totally sloshed… when did that happen? They laugh loudly and hug each other. It’s completely idiotic. I mean, it’s not like it makes me jealous, just a little tense. Lana’s my girl, after all… Mine… On the other hand, why not let them dance, today anything can happen. And I’m going to dance. Pasha’s got strong hands, plus they’re really warm. He’s pretty cute, actually. I press up against Pasha, either because of a surge of emotions or because it’s getting hard to stand up again.
“No way, there’s nothing to do here anymore. We should get outta here," says Ed. "Might not be a bad idea to go to Shapovalov’s place. We can keep partying there, it'll be awesome."
“That’s right. It’ll be cool, all right. You’ll see. It’s always a blast with Vanya,” laughs one of the girls. I think her name is Masha. “Let’s go!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah! Let’s go! I wanna go there! All right!” I agree enthusiastically once I remember Vanya from the club. I want to fall into him right now, everything, my arms, my legs, every part of my body. Hold me!!! I wanted to talk with him, and now we're gonna go see him! Right on!
We put on our coats and crawl out of the restaurant. Someone's cars are parked outside the restaurant. We get in without thinking twice. There's no reason to think, after all... oh, to hell with it.
What a sweet building. I wish I lived in a place like this… I can imagine how much an apartment here costs. I bet the attic costs more than my apartment. It’s so pretty…
Vanya lives on the sixth floor of one of the Stalin skyscrapers. Very nice, just the teeniest bit dirty. The entire floor is covered in sunflower seeds and other debris, empty bottles are rolling around... As soon as I get out of the elevator, I’m practically knocked back - the place reeks of alcohol, smoke, and who knows what else. Gross! But I don’t really care… There’s a rug in the stairwell, with three wooden benches. The staircase itself is littered with pillows...
At the moment we arrive, it seems like the whole stairwell is crammed with people. It's getting tricky to tell the girls from the boys. Everyone's as wasted as we are. Ed goes over to hug someone right away. He's kissed at least half of the people here already.
“This is so cool,” Lana whispers to me.
“Sure is,” I say. “So freaking cool we're at Shapovalov's!"
Lana and I are still standing by the elevator, without the slightest clue as to how to work our way into the crowd. There's simply too many people.
“Girls, what’re you standing around for like a couple of poor relatives?” Ed walks over and asks us.
He takes us by the arm and sits us down somewhere. I don’t really get what’s going on… But where’s Vanya? I wanna get a look at him. Oh, yeah!
About thirty minutes later I try to pull myself up and crawl into the apartment. I start looking for the bathroom… The apartment could stand to be a little bigger… but I just try not to fall…oops, I fell… I don’t find the bathroom, but I do find Vanya. Where'd he come from?
“Oh! Vanya!” I barely pronounce and happily fall right into Shapovalov.
I didn’t do it on purpose. I just lost my balance. My head keeps spinning for some reason. I think I might be really ashamed tomorrow… Shapovalov stares at me, shocked, for a second, just before I muster up the last of my strength and coordination and try to push myself away from him. Success! Damn, I’m smooth! I’m still gonna be embarrassed tomorrow… I somehow manage to pull myself to my feel and keep looking for the bathroom? Where the hell could it be? While I stumble around without any clear destination, Vanya keeps looking at me… Oh, here’s the bathroom! Rock on! I found it. I feel like freakin' Christopher Columbus discovering America, and try to slip into the bathroom. Now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to walk in through the doorway, without bumping into the wall or the door. Mission impossible...
After some time, I manage to actually get inside the bathroom. But someone’s already in there. And they look just about as bad (or good, depending on your state of mind) as me. We split up after about 10 minutes. He leaves, and I make my way to the sink. Way to go, we did it without causing any victims. I’m surprised, actually… I wash up with some ice cold water and start to feel a little better… Hey - why is the tub filled with water? Was someone actually planning on taking a bath? I sure hope I don’t fall in - I’d drown for sure! It sure would suck if my obituary was like: “She passed away after drowning in the bathtub of ex-t.A.T.u. producer Ivan Shapovalov. An apt death for such a big fan of the group…” Suddenly I get the giggles from these ridiculous thoughts. I squat down and laugh hysterically. I’m laughing so hard, I start to cry...
Some girl comes into the bathroom. She doesn't go over to the sink. Instead she just stands across from me and stares at me. Her eyes are like glass. Then suddenly she asks me, with a glass voice, "What the hell are you laughing at?" I try to answer, but I can’t. I’m so stuck in this laughing jag that I can barely get a word out. I just sit there and laugh, and sometimes I laugh so hard I snort or cackle. Instead of an explanation, she gets some totally abstract gestures and an incoherent jumble of words that are totally unrelated to one another. It probably looks pretty odd. In any case, the girl sits down. We sit across from each other, just screaming with laughter. And we can't stop.
By the time I get out of the bathroom, a few more people have made their way into the apartment. I call out to Lana and we both go to the living room.
Of course by now I can’t see too well, nor do I really know where I am, but it seems like Vanya's room is weird. Really weird. Although, an apartment will be like its owner. The first thing I see is a brown plush horse hanging from the upper window. The poor thing is hanging by a noose around its neck. Oh, Vanya, why are you so mean to poor, poor animals?! Beast! Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? But I don’t care, really. There’s a computer on a computer table by the window, with a huge monitor. Well, it’s not that huge, just a lot bigger than mine and what all my friends have. It might be a plasma though, since Vanya’s got money. Even Sasha has a plasma screen monitor. A cute blonde guy with an earring in his left ear is sitting at the computer. Or maybe it’s his right ear. No, the left one. Christ, it’s like I can’t remember what’s left and what’s right… But who the hell cares? They’re his ears, he can do what he wants with them.
Along the same wall where the computer is, there are some white shelves. They are literally covered in awards. Awards, awards, and more awards. So many of them, and all to do with t.A.T.u. Vanya really did good. Aside from his collection of awards, his shelve are decorated with several pictures of icebreakers, a few discs, someone’s passport and piles of other crap. And there's one more totally awesome thing by the shelves. It's just too cool! I want one, too. Maybe I can snatch it… Naw, it’s big and heavy. And I’m drunk. Juuuuuust a little! Plus, people would see. Too bad… So what it is, is a diploma issued to t.A.T.u. for selling four million copies of their debut album around the world. It's gorgeous! I've seen it on TV before, but to see it up close, it's even more amazing. The diploma is covered in glass and about half my height. It lists how many albums were sold in which countries. So cool!
There’s a sofa in the corner near the door. It used to be white at some point… sometime long, long ago… The poor sofa is littered with an old, chewed up apple core, unfinished yogurt and a bunch of other stuff… man, it’s filthy here! But I don’t care, really… At first I try to clear a place to sit on the sofa, moving someone’s cell phone, a pen, and some other debris. Then I just sit on the floor with some giant black pillows. Seems cleaner down here, and it’s closer to the TV. Vanya’s TV is in this room. It's a huge plasma one. I want one like it. Nearby some DVDs are lying around, strewn about near the DVD player. The room may be strange, but it’s sweet all the same. I don’t really know why. It just is.
I plop down on a pillow, and so do the others. It's so soft and comfy.
“Let’s do something, something fun,” says Marina.
“Yeah, let’s,” says a girl sitting to my right. I still don’t know what her name is. “But what? I can’t think of anything.”
“Need to come up with something, something…” Pasha mumbles.
I agree. It’s started to get a little dull, and I don’t want to go to sleep just yet. But I can’t think of anything. I try to remember what I usually do with my friends, but I can’t think of anything.
“I’ve got an idea. Let’s play a game,” Ed says kinda strangely. “We’ll play spin the bottle. It’ll be fun,” he smiles.
“We’re for it,” says Lana, taking my hand.
We are. Why not? I mean, today anything goes.
Everyone agrees to play. No one has any objections to heating things up a bit. Spin the bottle is always a blast. Especially today… Ed gets an empty bottle out from somewhere, and we all sit in a circle.
“I’ll spin it,” Ed says in a weird voice. He gives Lana this mysterious kind of look.
“Well spin it, then. But spin it good,” she says, looking him straight in the eye.
“Naturally,” he whispers.
He spins the bottle. Ed is obviously trying his damndest - the bottle spins for a long time. Who will it stop at? Me... Lana… Marina… Pasha… Masha… Ed… Stas… Lana. Ed and Lana. He smiles and looks at her.
“No tricks! It’s all good, honest fun," he smiles.
She leans in towards Ed and kisses him. It's a long kiss, a real one. Just like in the movies. Based on Lana's expression, she seems to be enjoying it... And I just don't care... Lana's mine, after all, and this is just a game. They’re playing a game with each other and Lana will come back to me in the end. She takes me by the hand and whispers “I love you, and this is just a game…” I believe her. I believe her because I love her. I feel her breath on my skin. I feel her strawberry lips near my ears. I'm ready to forgive her for anything. Absolutely everything.
Ed spins the bottle again. He looks more than satisfied. And I just don't care. The bottle spins and spins. Ed is a spinning master. He really tries.
This time the bottle stops at Dima and some other guy. Interesting…
“Oops. Gotta spin again,” the guy laughs. “Good job, Ed.”
“No way. No re-spins. Rules are rules: whoever it points to has to kiss. So go on, kiss,” Ed laughs.
“No way,” says Dima. “Smart ass, aren’t you? You got yourself a girl, and then what do you do for me? I’m no fag, I’m not gonna suck face with Roman here!” he complains.
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