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Nadezsha Ivanov huffed softly to herself as she bustled around the restaurant, making sure that the diners in her section were comfortable before going back into the kitchen to check on the potato soup. Her cousins were goofing off again, Ludmilla lingering at a table flirting with an attractive patron while Mikhail texted his friends.
“Mikhail, the soup almost boiled over!” she hissed angrily at Mikhail as she waved her hand over his smartphone, and he glanced up at her with half-lidded eyes and an annoyed smirk. He was five years older than her, and should have been a more responsible worker, but it seemed like he’d never moved beyond his teenage years.
She fired off several phrases in a mixture of Russian and English to the staff before grabbing Mikhail’s phone and pointedly placed it away on the shelf in the alcove that served as the breakroom.
“Hey, you can’t do that-” he protested.
“You think you’re going to run this restaurant when you can’t even keep an eye on the soup?” she snapped peevishly. “I’m not going to have Uncle Boris yell at me over it!” Boris Ivanov was a decent restaurant owner, and Little Russka was a popular spot in the neighborhood, but he gave his own children more lassitude than his niece. It’d always been that way, but recently, she’d been taking more initiative and standing up for herself.
Of course, being of legal age helped. Still, her options were limited due to events beyond her control and that was why she was here, cleaning up after her cousins, and doing various jobs around the restaurant for her uncle. She’d been here since she was sixteen, not long before her mother’s death, working as a waitress and saving every bit of it she could for college.
As a minor, she’d had to open a joint account with her father. His wife’s death hit him hard, and he turned to alcoholism, and in time, gambling, as an escape from his sorrows. Money had already been tight because of medical bills that Mom’s insurance company had refused to cover, and Gregory Ivanov had cleaned out most of his daughter’s savings to gamble with, believing he could win the money he’d already lost.
The results were predictable. But Nadezsha hadn’t learned of it until just after her eighteenth birthday, when she’d gone to change the account. Several weeks later, Gregory had died of a heart attack, and his debt had eaten away entirely what money could have been used for funeral or emergency expenses.
At a time where she should have been ready to go out in the world, Nadezsha Ivanov was virtually penniless. Not only that, but her father had owed Uncle Boris some money as well. Boris was willing to forgive the debt, but he constantly reminded Nadezsha of his ‘generosity’ and expected her loyalty and obedience, which included taking on more duties at the restaurant, with a less than modest increase of pay. Her aunt nagged her about her clothing and hair, and her cousins would shrug off their chores on her, and if Nadezsha complained, Boris would scold her for being ‘ungrateful’.
Her feet ached, and she couldn’t wait to get the fuck home and put her feet up. Her uncle and aunt had offered to let her live with them after her father’s house had been taken by the debt collectors, but she could see how that would make her life hell, and lived in a tiny studio apartment. It might be tiny, but it was hers.
After glancing at the orders in the queue, she ladled soup into several bowls and made up a couple salads before loading them on a tray and delivering them to a table. The menu was authentically Russian, with just a few modifications to make it slightly more accessible to an American audience. She was a good cook, and it was her favorite part of the job – at least, when things were going smoothly. There were times when she wondered if she should open her own restaurant, but seeing what Uncle Boris dealt with made her hesitant. She just wanted to cook, that was all. Or at the very least, not deal with a family who saw her as nothing more than an orphan, a beggar who owed them everything for their generosity, a person who should be happy to be their slave for the scraps they tossed her.
One day, one day, she promised herself as she lifted her chin, smiling at her customers. As she turned away from them, she blinked as she noticed a familiar figure move through the vestibule that opened into the establishment. Tall and broad-shouldered, with thick blonde hair that hinted at a Teutonic ancestry somewhere in his bloodline, Arkady Suvorin was a powerful figure – figuratively and literally – and a familiar face at Little Russka.
Although she did not know for sure, Nadezsha suspected that he and his friends were involved in the mob. Of course, it wasn’t as if she couldn’t just ask them outright, but at the very least, they tipped well. And unlike Ludmilla, she spoke Russian almost as well as she did English, which was something they seemed to be big fans of. This time though, Mr. Suvorin was alone. He looked bursa escort her way, and their eyes met.
She swallowed thickly before pulling on a calm expression, and moved forward. As was the norm, Arkady was dressed in a suit, looking ready for a board meeting or the courtroom. His suit was a dark gray, only a few shades lighter than black, and his tie was solid black. The shirt he wore was a deep red and made for a striking visual effect against his blonde hair and dark suit.
“Good evening, Mr. Suvorin. Are you waiting for friends?” she asked politely in Russian as he slid his jacket off.
“Not this time, Nadezsha. So I would like a quiet place to sit.”
“Certainly.” She moved quickly, leading him to one of several alcoves to one side of Little Russka, sliding a menu to the table before asking him if he wanted something to drink.
“I believe for the time being that you can start me off with some water,” he replied in a casual tone, but his eyes fixed on hers, and she could not look away. A small smirk tugged at the corner of his lip, and she quickly turned from him to get his water, feeling her pulse racing.
She hated him, or knew she should. He had made no secret of his desire to her, a desire that had remained unfulfilled for the past several years. She’d been sixteen, and waitressing when Arkady had come in with two of his friends. Back then, at least she’d been a minor and he seemed unwilling to disobey that law, at least, but once she’d become eighteen, he had asked her out several times.
Her answer every time was no. He fascinated her yet at the same time she was certain that it was nothing more than a moth to flame. He was handsome, powerful, and of more than modest means. He was not flashy about his wealth, but his attitude spoke of a man who was confident in his holdings. She knew that she could be a sugar baby if she was willing to accommodate him, but she had her dignity.
Arkady Alexyev Suvorin sat back as he watched her walk away. He’d never forget the first time he saw her, at the tender age of sixteen, flustered as she dashed from table to table on a busy night, taking orders and doing the best she could at waitressing. He’d come here with his boss and a couple of friends upon the recommendation of another friend of theirs. The food here was tasty and authentic, and Boris knew how to treat certain customers. Stereotypical as it could be, this place had become to Arkady and his peers what the Italian restaurant in the Godfather had done for the mobsters. It was a place to enjoy good food, surrounded by Russian culture, and enjoy the American hospitality.
That was the nice thing about America. Poor Russians like Boris and his brother had found opportunity here, and the elder brother had made the most of his opportunity, opening a restaurant that had been greatly welcome to the local Russian-American community. Not so much his younger brother, who Arkady had come to learn was Nadezsha’s father.
Arkady could do so much for Nadezsha… if she would allow him. He often made sure he was seated in her section, so she would need to wait on him, since it was often the only opportunity she would afford him to speak with her. And the food she prepared – delicious. A proper wife should know how to cook, after all. He relished the thought of her serving him a nice supper at home – or breakfast. His lips curved upward at that thought before she returned to the table with water and a small basket of herb bread.
“Are you sure you don’t want something stronger to drink tonight, Mr. Suvorin?” Nadezsha asked politely. He looked up at her, seeing the several loose strands of dark hair that had escaped her bun to frame her heart-shaped face.
“To be frank, I am not particularly in the mood for a drink tonight as I have much on my mind, but I am hungry.” He quickly glanced over the menu, familiar with the dishes of Little Russka. “I believe I will start with borscht. With all the trimmings, of course.”
“Of course,” Nadezsha replied politely as she started writing on her pad.
“What is tonight’s special?”
“I will have that, as long as you’re the one to prepare it.”
Their eyes met for a moment before she wrote his request.
“Have you prepared any of the desserts tonight? Though nothing here is as sweet as you.”
“Honey cake is the dessert special and yes, I made it.” Her tone was even and professional, showing no delight at his praise. Though she wore the modest black pants that many restaurant workers wore, her blouse had embroidery along the sleeves like one would find on traditional Russian clothing.
“Then I will have that, at the end of dinner. How are you?” he asked, shifting to small talk after his order had been placed.
“I am fine. I’m going to take care of your food now.” With that, she retreated from the table, and he rested his chin on his hands. He’d been tempted to order a shot – or two, or three – of vodka, but tonight bursa escort bayan he wanted to be absolutely clear-minded, given his nervousness.
He closed his eyes for several minutes, pondering his options.
“Good evening, Mr. Suvorin! It’s always a pleasure to see you!” he heard a familiar but not welcome voice. He opened his eyes to see Ludmilla, Nadezsha’s cousin. The young woman was what many men imagined when the phrase ‘hot Russian babe’ was mentioned. Ludmilla was blond and leggy, and there were enough men who did want to bang her, but Arkady personally found her distasteful. In a cruel twist of fate, out of the cousins, it was Ludmilla who wanted him. She’d made that clear enough in the past, but was always rebuffed.
Love was a cruel mistress, Arkady mused. “Good evening, Miss Ivanov,” he replied in the same English she had used to greet him. That was another thing he liked about Nadezsha. Despite being born and raised in America, her Russian was nearly flawless. Ludmilla on the other hand, eh. Like so many American children, she disdained her ancestors’ heritage, and her work ethic was… well, it wasn’t bad. But there was plenty of room for improvement. She did just enough work so that she could go have fun with friends and do frivolous things while Nadezsha strove to make better of herself.
“I already have a waitress, but thank you for your concern,” Arkady said as he took a sip of water.
“I see you don’t have a drink. Would you like a shot or two of our top-shelf liquor? On the house of course, for one of our best customers!”
Fuck’s sake, he thought wearily. “I’m good, thank you,” he said in a firm voice. Her smile faltered a bit, but she had enough sense to retreat from the table and not a moment too soon, since Nadezsha was quick in appearing with a bowl of borscht.
She set the aromatic soup in front of him, and he reached out to gently grasp her wrist. She stiffened, and he felt her try to pull away.
“Nadezsha, I would like to speak with you after my meal.”
“I… have to study,” she said quickly.
“Your diligence is to be commended, but all work and no play makes for a dull life, no?” He’d slid right back into Russian as soon as she approached him. Many considered Russian a harsh-sounding language, but he pitched his voice, giving the words a slight purr.
“I have told you in the past, to call me Arkady. It would please me greatly.”
“I am here to feed you, not please you,” she replied in a hiss. He smirked and let her go.
Borscht, the much-loved Russian and Eastern European recipe, was a popular dish here at Little Russka, and could be eaten by itself or as an accompaniment to more courses. Given its versatility, Nadezsha had experimented for several months before coming up with a savory recipe that her uncle had begrudgingly incorporated into the restaurant’s menu.
Beetroot, onions, carrots, and potatoes floated in a thick red broth, the most identifying feature of the most familiar borscht version. Sitting atop the stew was a fat dollop of sour cream, and at the side were a dozen uski, little dumplings filled with minced meat and mushrooms. He leaned over slightly, inhaling the scent of the soup and dipping his spoon to take some broth. The unique color of the soup came from the beets, making it an easily recognizable dish.
He sipped the flavorful broth, feeling the warmth slide down his throat. His meal went by in an unhurried manner as he savored the course, letting Nadezsha alone when she brought him the stroganoff. He thanked her graciously when she took the dishes for the soup, and he dipped a piece of bread into the sauce on the stroganoff. Many American versions of this dish put the stroganoff on top of rice or pasta, but here it was served as it was made, pieces of beef under a thick sauce of onions, mustard, and mushrooms, and topped with another dollop of sour cream, with several crisp potato pieces on the side.
“How is your meal? Is everything to your satisfaction?” he heard Ludmilla ask. He looked up with a tight smile and nodded.
“Yes. Everything is fine. There is absolutely nothing you need to do,” he replied. He stared into her eyes, and she turned away.
The dessert came along on a little plate, with several blueberries on top. Medovik, or honey cake was another thing that Nadezsha excelled at, and she had made several this morning for tonight, giving the sweet filling ample time to get absorbed into the eight layers of cake.
“You could open your own bakery. People would be lining around the block for these,” Arkady commented as he lowered his fork to the cake. He was gratified to see a smile flicker across her face before she demurred.
“You are too kind, Mr. Suvorin. Please enjoy your dessert.” With that, she bowed out to attend another table. He lifted the fork to his mouth, letting the sweet treat melt on his tongue. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ludmilla hovering near for several moments escort bursa before she flitted away to greet a couple of newcomers.
What would Nadezsha be like in bed? Would she be sweet and shy, needing the coaxing of a patient lover? Or once she was roused, was she a tigress? How would it be to have her writhing under him as he pounded into her, spending some of his pent-up desire, her legs wrapped around his middle? Or on top of him as he laid back, her hips gyrating on his cock, her chocolate-brown hair whipping around her angelic face, eyes ablaze with passion for only him.
How many times had he fantasized about her in the shower, only to touch himself under the cascade of water, or under the sheets, or sprawled on his sofa? Just the thought of her could get him hard almost too quickly. He looked up, feeling an ache in his groin as their eyes met, icy blue meeting warm hazel as she approached him with the bill. She set the small leather folder on the table as she started to take his empty plate.
“Could I have some coffee?” he asked. She paused and nodded. He smiled. He would tip her generously.
After Nadezsha brought him coffee, she returned to the kitchen. God, Arkady Suvorin was a prime physical example of a male, and for a moment, she wondered how it would feel to have that thick blond hair in her grip. It fell several inches past his shoulder, framing strong features that would have made him a fine king, mighty warrior, or even a god, had he been cast in a movie. She could swear she felt her wrist still tingling from the physical contact she had with him.
She’d been just sixteen when she’d first seen him. Ludmilla had gone cross-eyed over him, and this love triangle had been going on for three years now. With a low huff, she decided to duck outside for a quick break, as the dinner rush had slowed down, most people having moved on to dessert or drink.
Striding through the kitchen, she came around the back and stepped outside, her breath misting slightly in the crisp air as she leaned her head back against the wall. Pulling her smartphone out, she skimmed through her messages, looking for any that was related to her schooling. Midterms were coming up, and even though she was just a part-time student, she was still learning to juggle work and education, especially with her limited funds. She’d been able to get a couple of small scholarships, but nothing major, and nowhere near enough to go full-time. It was at these times that she really hated her father and the way he’d royally screwed her over.
Arkady quickly paid at the counter, giving Ludmilla just enough for the meal itself. He would personally hand the tip to Nadezsha, and it gave him the perfect excuse to seek her out. He had a good idea where she would be, given that he or one of his friends had had discussions with Boris there from time to time.
His expectations were met as he quickly slid through the kitchen and past the coats hanging near the back door. Nadezsha’s face was illuminated by the screen of her phone, and he paused for several moments to admire her. His eyes lingered on her face before moving down her jaw, and to the bit of flesh he saw between the folds of her coat and blouse. His fingers itched to part that cloth and take these breasts in his calloused palms. He would flick his tongue across her nipples and suck on them until they were hard, and reach between her legs to an even more private place…
His mouth watered at the thought, and his attention returned to her face as a wind blew a strand of hair into her face. Without thinking, he reached out to brush it aside, tucking it behind her ear. A soft gasp met his ears as her eyes flashed up at him.
Arkady stepped forward and plucked the phone from her hand and slid it into his pocket. As her brow furrowed in protest, he pinned her to the wall, looking down at her as he rested one of his hands on the cool brick near her head.
“Arkady!” she finally hissed. He lowered his head to brush his lips against her cheek before moving down to her jaw. She smelled faintly of different things – cooking, sweat, deodorant, and a touch of perfume. He kept his face buried against the side of her neck, savoring her presence, and how her body felt against his.
“Damn you, Arkady. Give me my phone back, or I will scream.” As she shifted her body against him, his cock stirred as she inadvertently pressed it with her lower stomach. “This… this is an employee-only area!” she managed to protest weakly, batting at his head. She continued to twist around, only adding to the delicious friction between their bodies. Gods, she had to know what she was doing to him as his manhood stirred further.
“I think from the amount of patronage that me and my men give this restaurant, I have earned a bit of leeway. And I touched nothing in the kitchen, so no one can accuse me of violating the health code,” he chuckled.
However, he stepped back, giving her some space. “Nadezsha, I want to have a serious discussion with you. I’m not gong to hurt you. I never would hurt you.”
She was silent for several moments, staring down at the ground before she lifted her chin, making eye contact.
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