“My dear friend Engel, may I present the most dedicated secretary in the entire Free Russia Association, Nadezhda Volkov.” Sergei’s accent was barely noticeable compared to some in the room. “And Nadezhda, Engel Huber is a reporter from the Fluchtstadt Presse.”
I smiled dutifully as he made introductions, wondering if she was the scoop Sergei had told me about. “She survived a gulag,” he’d said. “Nobody survives the gulags.”
Nadezhda barely glanced up, concentrating instead on prying the pit from the inside of a peach. Some of the juice dribbled down the inside of her arm and soaked into her green silk dress, but it didn’t seem to bother her. “Charmed.”
“She’s the one,” Sergei mouthed.
I quirked an eyebrow. “So, Frau Volkov, how long have you been in the West Germany?”
I was taken aback. “That’s all?”
“What she means,” Sergei interrupted, “is it’s been two weeks since she returned from her trip to the motherland. She’s worked here for over eight years now.”
“A trip to the USSR? That must have been quite a trip.”
Nadezhda smiled flatly. “The borders aren’t impenetrable.”
And neither are you, I thought with a sly smile. At last I would have the chance to prove my ex-wife was wrong when she declared no woman could bear to live with me more than a month.
The way I figured it, a woman who could survive the gulag oughta be able to stand five weeks with me.
Opening: Rachel.....Continuation: Janae/EE