Broken Whispers: Epilogue


Six weeks later

“I have a surprise for you.” I sign and place my hands on Mikhail’s chest.

“Oh? What is it?”

I let my lips widen in a smug smile, take a hold of his tie, and take a step backward, pulling him toward me. Mikhail’s eyebrow lifts, but he follows me, taking one step forward for every two of mine as he allows me to lead him across the living room to the gym. Without letting go of his tie, I turn the knob and drag him inside, waiting for his reaction when he sees the setup I’ve prepared. He stops at the threshold to look at the blinds I pulled all the way down over the floor-to-ceiling windows. The only light in the room is from two lamps I moved from the living room and placed in opposing corners. His lips lift when he spots the chair I placed in the middle of the room, but he doesn’t comment. Curling my finger at him, I draw him into my makeshift theater, leading him until we reach the chair.

“Sit down,” I sign and push lightly at his chest.

Mikhail lowers himself to the chair and cocks his head to the side, pursing his lips as if trying to read my intentions.

“Close your eyes. And no peeking.”

“Alright.” He smiles and leans back in the chair.

I place a light kiss on his lips, then rush toward the corner, where I left my tulle skirt and ballet slippers hidden under a towel. It takes me less than two minutes to get out of my dress and put on the slippers, cropped top, and skirt. At first, I planned on wearing a leotard but that would get in the way later. After debating for a few seconds, I take off my panties and throw them over the discarded dress. With a glance over my shoulder at Mikhail, I smile in anticipation as I set the PA system to play at max volume. In the pause I included before my playlist begins, I assume an open fourth position with one arm outstretched in a soft arc.

The opening sounds of Chopin’s Nocturne No.9 fill the room, and Mikhail’s eye snaps open. I smile, blow him a kiss, and begin. I draw myself into a pirouette, slowly extend my leg in a suspended developpé, my opening sequence from Swan Lake, then continue into a series of different choreographies. Mikhail’s eye watches me without blinking, following my every move. I grew accustomed to having men looking at me, both on stage and off, but no one ever looked at me the way Mikhail does. Like I am something precious, and he is afraid that if he moves his eye from me, I might disappear. Such a silly man, my husband. No one will make me let go of him. Ever. I perform an arabesque and a few smaller steps until I am standing right in front of him, then do a fouetté and stop at the same moment when the Chopin piece ends.

There are a few seconds of silence, during which he just watches me with a small smile on his lips. He probably thinks this was all I’ve prepared, and when the sound of John Legend’s All Of Me fills the room, he quirks his eyebrow . I smile and step forward, coming to stand between his legs. The first verse passes with us staring at each other without even touching, but when the choir sings, I place my left palm over his right cheek and, without breaking the eye contact, remove his eyepatch with my free hand.

“All of me,” I whisper and place a kiss on his lips. “All of you . . . baby.”

He regards me as his hand comes to the back of my neck, threading my hair through his fingers and squeezing. I remove his tie and unbutton his shirt. Mikhail doesn’t say a word, only watches me while his grip on my hair keeps my head unmoving. As if he wants to keep my face in sight.

When the chorus starts again, I remove his shirt and bend to press my lips over his scarred right eyelid. “All your . . . imperfections.”

He takes a deep breath and cups my face between his huge rough palms, his touch so impossibly tender. I smile and, with my finger, trace a heart shape on his chest.

I can’t believe I almost lost him. The nightmares of that day still plague me, and I wake up in the middle of the night with panic squeezing my chest. Leaning forward, I slam my lips into his while my hands travel to his bare back, heedless of his older scars. But when I feel the raised round mark under my fingers, I shudder and squeeze him tighter to me.




There is not much light in the room, but, even with my slightly blurred vision, I can see the tears gathering in the corners of Bianca’s eyes.

“Baby? What’s wrong?”

She presses her lips together and touches her forehead to mine while her finger traces a pattern around the already healed gunshot wound on my back.

“Bianca, look at me, baby.”

She lifts her head, and I take her chin between my fingers. “I am okay. Can you please try to forget about it?”

Her hand rests at the nape of my neck and she nods, but I know she’s lying because one tear escapes and rolls down her cheek. I can’t take it. For years, I believed there was nothing I couldn’t endure, but seeing Bianca cry because of me . . . I can’t take that.

“Do you want me to reassure you, my little lamb?” I ask as I trail my hand down the center of her chest and stomach, then reach under her tulle skirt to press my fingers at her pussy.

She takes a deep breath and nods, and I slide my finger inside of her. Standing up from the chair, I start unbuttoning my pants with my right hand, without removing the left one from her pussy. When I manage to get rid of my pants, I take the waistband of her skirt and pull it up and over her head, then turn her around and press her back to me, wrapping my free hand around her waist.

“Ready?” I ask and nuzzle her neck.

She nods, and I tighten the arm around her, then lift her and head out of the gym. Bianca squeezes my forearm and presses her legs together, panting as I carry her. I make sure I go slow, teasing the inside of her all the way to the bedroom, and by the time we reach the bed, she is already close to coming.

“Not yet, baby.” I set her down next to the bed and slowly remove my finger from her, but instead of laying down, she climbs to stand on the edge of the bed and presses her palms onto my chest.

“I want to . . .” she whispers, “tell you . . . so much.”

“You don’t have to say anything, Bianca.” I press my lips to hers, then slide my palms down her back and grab her under her ass. I planned on savoring her in the bed but changed my mind, so I pull her up until her legs wrap around my waist and I turn to lean her back against the wall. I lower her onto my rock-hard cock slowly, loving the way her breath catches when I fill her up.

“Even half blind, I can see everything, baby.” I slide out and then slam into her. “Every.” Slam. “Single.” Slam. “Thing.”

Bianca whimpers, squeezing her arms around my neck as she inhales to the beat of me pounding into her. She usually closes her eyes when she comes, but now, she keeps them wide open, holding my gaze as she trembles and pants. I explode inside her like never before, then crash my mouth to hers, squeezing her body to mine and holding her long after we both come down from the high.




Shit. Something is not right.

I try working the dough a bit more, but it’s still sticking to my fingers. After wiping the flour from my hands on the apron, I take the phone from the back pocket of my jeans and open the message window. I promised Lena piroshki for dinner, and I need to make this dough right, damn it.

19:22 Bianca: I fucked up something, the dough looks like bubble gum. Can you check with Igor if he gave you the right measurements?

19:24 Nina: Just try adding more flour. He gives me different measurements every time I ask and I’m starting to wonder if he’s doing it on purpose. Doesn’t want anyone to get his piroshki recipe probably. I’ll tell Roman to scare him a bit, maybe he’ll succumb then.

19:25 Bianca: Please don’t. Lol. I’ll try adding more flour. Anything new there?

19:26 Nina: Roman just came from Sergei’s place. He said that the house looks like a hurricane went through it. Sergei smashed everything.

19:27 Bianca: Why? I never met the guy, but from what I heard from Mikhail, he’s a little . . . unhinged.

19:29 Nina: That’s an understatement of the century, dear. Looks like the girl he had at his place disappeared and he went ballistic. Want to come over?

I’m just typing my answer when I feel a light touch at the base of my neck, followed by a kiss.

Dusha moya . . .”

I smile and start to turn around, but Mikhail winds his arm around my waist and keeps my back pressed to his chest. He nuzzles my neck as his right hand comes to rest on the countertop in front of me, holding a single yellow rose. All the breath leaves my lungs as I stare at the delicate flower, its stem wrapped in a wide yellow silk ribbon embroidered with gold.

“I never told you,” he whispers in my ear, “ That I was always your biggest fan. I still am.”

“Mikhail?” I utter, my eyes still focused on the flower.

“There was this poster I saw one evening—I think it was in some shop window—almost a year ago. I remember walking past it, and then retracing my steps to take a better look at the image. It showed a group of dancers. All except one were wearing yellow costumes, and as I regarded them, I wondered why, among all of them, the one dancer who wore a black outfit shined brighter than the rest.” A kiss lands at the side of my neck. “Like a sun.”

He turns me to face him then, cups my face with his hand, and places a soft kiss on my lips. “I never missed any of your shows after that. I love you, my little sun. My solnyshko.”

I wind my arms around his waist and bury my face in his chest. “I love you, too . . . my Mikhail.”


The End



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