This is the seventh part of a fiction serial, in 749 words.
Helen shivered, as if remembering the cold of a Moscow winter.
“George was right about the cold of course, and I was grateful for his advice about buying a coat and hat. I bought some felt-lined boots later too, you wouldn’t believe how cold it gets over there”. I didn’t bother to tell her I had visited Russia many times. The least she knew about me, the better. I wanted her to talk about her past, not mine.
“I spent a few more days with George, on and off. I knew he was married, but I set my cap at him, fair and square. Do they still say that, set my cap? It meant I flirted with him, let him know I wanted him. I wasn’t always as you see me now, Martin. I was a curvy young woman, dark auburn hair, buxom, and desirable. It wasn’t for lack of offers that I had remained a virgin, believe me. I decided that George would be the one. His wife and family were still in England, so that meant there would be no complications. I didn’t want to fall in love with him, and certainly didn’t want him to fall for me and talk about leaving his family. So whenever we were alone, I flashed him a bit of stocking top, dipped my shoe off my foot, leaned forward too close to him when he lit my cigarette, that sort of thing”.
She sat back, and from the look on her face, she was reminiscing about some sexual encounter.
“Eventually, he just went for it in his office. It was all very fast and passionate, but he thankfully remembered to use a rubber. Do you even know what a rubber is? They call them condoms now, so I have noticed”. The second time was in his nice apartment, and that time I slept over. He was keen to discuss something, and once the sex was out of the way, he poured some drinks and told me about my first really important task. Shall we have an early dinner? Then I will tell you about that. I have something in the fridge, no need to go out”.
With Helen doing something in the kitchen, I took the time to insert a fresh memory card into the video camera, and put it on charge to boost the battery. She returned around thirty minutes later, carrying two plastic containers on separate plates. I took mine to discover it was a shop-bought lasagna, a portion big enough for a family, with an old dessert spoon plonked in it. I put it down and got the camera running. She had started talking already, between mouthfuls.
“What George had in mind was for me to make myself known to Vasily Semenov. He was a diplomat who spoke some English, and usually turned up at any important meetings. George was convinced he was a KGB bigwig, and he wanted me to become involved with the man, in the hope that he would approach me to be one of his agents. He showed me a series of photos of Semenov, mostly taken close to KBG headquarters. So the next time I accompanied the British Ambassador to a bone-dry dull meeting about trade regulations, I wandered over in a refreshment break and asked Semenov for a light for my cigarette”.
She stopped to shovel down a quarter of her meal in one gulp, then polished off half a tumbler of vodka.
“The thing that surpised me most was that Vasily knew who I was. He was very charming too. He introduced himself, speaking to me in Russian at all times. He knew my name, my father’s name, and was even able to quote some of the titles of daddy’s books. I didn’t let that throw me though. When the meeting was over I was free to go home, as the ambassador was being collected by his driver. Vasily touched my arm as we approached the stairwell, and invited me to dinner. Usually, embassy staff would not be asked, as they would have declined. But I was no ordinary staff member”.
Although the food was tasty enough, I could only manage half. When I put my spoon down and sat back, Helen grabbed my dish and ate the rest of it while still talking.
“I was wined and dined, ended up in his bed, and the next morning he told me he had a job for me, if I wanted it”.