Vasili, Her Russian Ex Mafia Man

By: J A Fielding

Chapter 1

Malia Jones took one last bite of her ribeye steak and dabbed her mouth with a napkin.

“New recipe,” she noted as she looked at the chef, Francois who had just finished his shift. Francois smiled at her.

“You have a very keen tongue,” he said, smiling.

“I do,” Malia said nodding.

“But sometimes I wonder how that fine tongue would choose to pair that ribeye with a strawberry daiquiri rather than a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I have a twenty year old bottle out back…I’ve been saving it to share with a friend.”

Malia smiled.

“I guess I have a very complicated…taste.”

“That you do, young lady.”

She took a sip of her daiquiri and looked at him.

“And are you going to tell me what the secret to your new steak is or are you just going to let me wallow?” she asked and Francois wagged a finger in front of her face.

“A good magician never tells his tricks. Besides, if I tell you now, what guarantee do I have that I will see you again?”

Malia smiled and gently smoothed her hair down.

“You know the ribeye steak is not the only reason I come here, right?” she asked.

“I would love to think that it is my dashing personality among other things,” Francois said, smiling.

“Well you are the only person from home out here. So there’s that.”

“But you are settling in Jozi really well,” he pointed out.

“Hey. I had settled. I only have another week before I go back home,” Malia said as she sipped on her daiquiri.

“Are you that tired of South Africa?” Francois asked, smiling at him.

“No, I love it here. It’s just that…” Malia took a long deep breath. She knew that the next words out of her mouth were going to be the complete opposite of every emotion she had kept hidden. “I love it here, Francois. But my company wouldn’t let me stay long enough to be comfortable. I mean, the whole African market is still new and Omar only trusts me to handle everything…some long story about another failed partnership.” She took a long deep breath. “The best I can do is just come out here for a few long months at a time.”

“You’ve been here for four months,” Francois said.

“My point exactly. And I was here for another five before that…I just really want to be at one place for at least ten months. A place that I don’t have to move out of for a while,” she said. “Maybe after I tie up the loose ends in the States I can come back here for longer.”

“Well, that’s too bad. I had kind of gotten used to having you around here.”

“I will only be gone for a couple of weeks, tops.” She shrugged. “It’s not like I plan on staying away for long. I mean, this place has kind of grown on me.”

“On all of us really. Plus, having someone from home is always a good idea,” he said and Malia laughed.

“You are French,” she said, still laughing.

“I am a French American,” he corrected her. “There is a big difference.”

Malia laughed again and took another sip of her drink.

“Well, there’s that.” She raised her glass. “To French America!” she said in a somewhat dramatic voice and Francois smiled.

“You know, I don’t think that would have been such a great thing to say in some time in history.”

“Boy…don’t I know it. And to think I am a black woman saying it too,” Malia said laughing.

“Hey, times are not that different. I mean, out here you are not even black.”

“Actually, I am one hundred per cent black but because I am a little light people around here seem to think I am biracial.”

“Yeah, I heard someone refer to you as colored the other day.” Francois took a sip of the water he had kept under the counter. “It took me everything not to punch him in the face.”

“Yeah, it took me a while to get used to that too,” Malia said smiling. “You know, my sister doesn’t get how I am so okay with people calling me that but it’s not like I can do anything about it, right?”

Francois nodded.

“Yeah, it is actually a legitimized race out here.”

“Different strokes.”

He nodded again.

“Different strokes,” he echoed just as a man who had been sitting at the far end of the bar began walking towards them. “Uh oh, brace yourself. Three o’clock.”

Malia could see a white man in a navy blue slim tailored suit and a white shirt walking towards them. She had noticed him earlier and she had been wondering what a man of his caliber was doing seated at the bar. He seemed classy. Hell, she could smell his class from miles away. And she knew for a fact that he was the kind of person who would rather take a table on his own rather than sit alone at the bar. She barely had enough time to say anything by the time he got to where she was.

“I have been sitting there trying to figure out how I should come over…the words I should use but I don’t have anything original,” he said in a soft voice.

“Pity,” she said.

“Shouldn’t I get pointers just for coming over?” he asked and a smile played on her lips.

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