Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Love on the ice

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova and her slightly older friend Achilles Medved, who just became girlfriend and boyfriend, are on the skating rink of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, copying the relatively simpler moves of pair skaters. Nothing advanced like death spirals, throws, or star lifts.

Their romantic time on the ice was just interrupted by newlyweds Yustina and Nestor, who married on New Year’s Eve and moved to one of the large estates in Ditmas Park (which were fairly cheap in that era). Nestor is a former Marine who lost most of his right leg at Iwo Jima and was disowned by his parents in disgust as a result.

Yustina flushes. “We can’t do that every single second, as fun as it is. Nestik loves roller-skating with me, and decided to try ice-skating as well. He can never skate alone, but I certainly don’t mind holding him tight so he won’t fall.” Yustina gazes up at Nestor, her face full of love. “I never thought I could love Nestik more than I already did, but becoming his wife has increased my passions a millionfold.”

“Bogusya’s my woman now.” Achilles is still holding her in the same lift, his eyes still firmly locked on hers with the same intimate, smoldering gaze. “I can’t predict when she’ll feel ready to be my wife, but I’ll do whatever it takes to help with healing her wounded mind, heart, and soul.”

Posted in 1950s, Couples, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Amateur pair skating

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes a few pages after last week’s, from Chapter 55, “The Streets of the Future,” of my WIP A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. This chapter, which closes Part I (to be published as Volume I), is mostly set over Orthodox Christmas 1950.

Twenty-year-old Bogdana Sheltsova, who survived two horrific, life-altering events six weeks apart, is now living with her aunt Fyodora in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. Her friend Achilles visited with roses and a necklace, and after much emotional discussion, Bogdana agreed to be his girlfriend.

They’re now on the rink at Prospect Park. Before leaving home, Bogdana changed into a white, form-fitting, knee-length dress and thick white hosiery she overlooked when getting rid of her former wardrobe. Achilles also received a pair of black professional skates from a neighbor, who said her husband will probably never want them back.

Bogdana agreed to let Achilles copy pair skating moves with her like he did with his late wife Sabina, as long as he doesn’t try any fancy, advanced moves or drop her.

Achilles lifts her by the waist and raises her as high as he can, then lowers her and lifts her again, with his arms around her waist, slightly leaning forward. Bogdana melts into his powerful body as he alternates spinning around with her and skating in figures. After he lowers her to the ice again, he skates around to face her and lifts her with his right arm behind her knees, his left arm behind her back. Bogdana puts her arms around his shoulders and meets his smoldering gaze, communicating equal parts tenderness and desire. She shudders with her own longings, overwhelmed by the raw intimacy of his intense gaze. This is far more intimate and vulnerable than anything that happened in the clinic.

“Should I assume Dr. Medved is no longer just your cabbie and doctor’s assistant?”

Bogdana glares in the direction of the voice shattering this private moment, and sees Yustina holding Nestor’s left arm. “What are two newlyweds doing out of their love nest? I’d think you’d be locked to each other’s sides until Christmas vacation forces you back to work.”

Posted in 1940s, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—A secret connection

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m currently sharing from Chapter 52, “Lyuba’s Golden Jubilee,” of my WIP, A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. It’s December 1949, and newly-11-year-old Sonyechka has been knocked over and had her hand skated over at Rockefeller Rink.

This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, when Sonyechka’s helper Adrian complimented her and her sister Irina on their fancy, custom-dyed skates and told Sonyechka he hopes her hand heals soon. Now Irina, who’s old enough to understand certain things and keep important secrets, realizes just who Adrian and Poliksena are.

As Adrian skates after Poliksena, it dawns on Irina that these must be the shunned Anya and Alya’s children. She doesn’t envy them, having to keep so many secrets at all times, spin plausible cover stories, and avoid other topics altogether.

“What a nice young man,” Platosha says. “I wonder how he and his sister know our family.”

“Probably from church,” Irina lies. “It’s probably one of those cases where someone remembers or knows you a lot better than you do them. I’d surely remember someone with an unusual name like Poliksena.”

“That’s the kind of boy you need to date when you’re old enough, Sonyechka,” Beatrisa says. “Adrian is very mature for his age. I assume he’s about fifteen.”

Anya and Alya are longtime friends of Lyuba’s who were shunned from their circle after their lesbian relationship was discovered on Coney Island in 1923. In 1927, out of desperation, Lyuba came to them to beg for financial help, and was told they’d forgive her and give her money regularly if she came for weekly visits and genuinely rekindled their friendship. All these years, Lyuba and her four oldest children have kept their friendship a secret from everyone.

A gay friend provided the material for an artificial insemination at a radical underground clinic, and they publicly pass Adrian and Poliksena off as children they adopted in Prague. A few extremely trusted people know they’re natural children, but not about the lesbian relationship.

Posted in 1940s, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Fancy skates

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m currently sharing from Chapter 52, “Lyuba’s Golden Jubilee,” of my WIP, A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. It’s December 1949, and newly-11-year-old Sonyechka has been knocked over and had her hand skated over at Rockefeller Rink.

This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s, when one of Sonyechka’s helpers, Poliksena, asked if her family are the Konevs from Minnesota. Sonyechka’s sister Irina nodded and asked if their families are acquainted, and Poliksena only said that’s a very long story.

“I like your skates, Sonya,” Adrian says as Poliksena skates off. “Your sister’s skates are nifty too. I thought only Polya dyed her skates fancy colors.”

“I love making my own fashions,” Irina says. “Who wants to have plain white skates like everyone else when we can have eye-catching colors like turquoise and royal blue? I’d rather be one in a million than one of a million.”

“That’s what my parents say too. It’s nice to blend into the crowd and be just like everyone else, but human beings aren’t supposed to be like coins who come out of the mold identical. I hope your hand heals quickly, Sonya.”

Posted in 1940s, Fourth Russian novel, Historical fiction, Writing

WeWriWa—Back to skating

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m currently sharing from Chapter 52, “Lyuba’s Golden Jubilee,” of my WIP, A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. It’s December 1949, and newly-11-year-old Sonyechka has been knocked over and had her hand skated over at Rockefeller Rink.

This week’s snippet comes a bit after last week’s, when Sonyechka’s sister Irina and cousin Platosha told her how lucky she was to get a cute older boy helping her. Sonyechka said she wasn’t paying attention to what he looked like, and Irina said she won’t think like that much longer. The conversation then turned to Irina’s crush on Vadim, one of family friend Yuriy’s brothers.

Sonyechka has just asked if they can get back to skating, and promised she’d be more careful.

Irina puts her hat back on and hobbles out of the ladies’ room. “It’s no fun walking on knives on solid ground. Now I know how the Little Mermaid felt.”

When they get back on the rink, Adrian and Polya are still with the younger half of their group, now joined by Beatrisa. Irina feels a bit sorry for them, only there with one another instead of friends. Teenagers are supposed to have lots of friends, unless they’re outsiders in a hick town like Melville.

“Is Sonya okay?” Adrian asks. “I hope that blade didn’t cut into bone, muscle, or vein.”

“She’s as stubborn as everyone else in our family,” Irina reports. “Thank God that’s not her dominant hand.”