Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Senior Fall

Checking her email one evening at the Secret Society’s lot, Yulia opened a message from her mother.

"Hey, cookie, you father and I just back from vacation. Call me, okay? Love, Mother." Yulia, wondering if she should be worried, went immediately to the phone and dialed her parents’ house.

"Mother? Is everything okay?" she asked.

"Of course, dear,” Yelena answered. “I just want to hear from my baby. How you doing? Where are you now?"

"I'm at Landgrabb House," Yulia answered, lowering her voice. Though her membership in the Society was supposed to be a secret, Yulia had told her mother all about it.

"Having fun with you rich-kid friends?” her mother teased.

“Not everyone here’s rich, Mother,” Yulia chided.

“Let’s see…” Yelena mused.

“... Bryan Kratz family big in furniture, Leonid Chan mother is internet millionaire, Emma Macarevich dad is big rock star….”

“Well, my best friend here is Lilly Thompson,” Yulia defended herself, “and she’s got no money at all—she’s a hardworking scholarship student.”

“But she come from very old, good family,” Yelena informed her. “Thompsons use to have money—use to be big in retail. Then something bad happen; I don’t know what. Hey,” her mother changed the subject, “how you brother?”

Yulia knew that Yuri never called their parents. “He’s fine,” she assured her mother.

“How his girlfriend?” Yelena pressed.

“She’s fine, I suppose,” answered Yulia, indifferently. “I don’t really know.”

Her mother picked up on Yulia’s dismissive tone. “Why you no like Rebecka?”

“Let’s see…” Yulia said. “Perhaps because ... she’s a money-grubbing golddigger?”

Yelena exhaled sharply.

“You no like Yuri's girl because she got no money and want to have some?” she challenged her daughter. “That not fair. It not like Rebecka lazy—she do good job on island house...."

"And she give Meadow solid business advice on farmstand. And she get Kevin verrry good deal on engagement ring for Chloe. And,” she continued, because her daughter had not uttered a word, “if you brother love her, and want to marry her, then it okay with you father and me.”

Yulia talked to her mother for a few more minutes, then hung up, troubled.

She was sure that her brother did not love Rebecka and didn’t want to marry her. Or, at least, she thought she was sure.

“Is something wrong?” Lilly Thompson asked Yulia, in her breathy, little-girl voice.

“Not really,” Yulia answered, unconvincingly. “My mother was just asking me about Yuri. I wish he’d just call her himself, so I wouldn’t have to get involved.”

“But you love your brother—the two of you seem so close!” Lilly said, surprised.

“She was asking about Rebecka,” Yulia explained, “and I just loathe that girl, and I don’t even really know why. It’s just a feeling I have about her.”

Lilly looked sympathetic.

“I don’t know Yuri that well, but he seems like a guy who can take care of himself,” Lilly observed.


‘Ugh,’ Chloe said under her breath as she read the Music and Culture section of the morning paper.

“What is it?” Tosha asked.

“Nothing!” Chloe said, brightly, quickly turning the page.

Tosha rolled her eyes. “Let me guess—Maria made the gossip pages again.”

“You got it,” Chloe replied grimly.

“Let me see,” Tosha said impatiently, grabbing for the paper. “I’m actually amused reading about her shenanigans these days, now that she’s someone else’s problem.”

Maria Ivanova had graduated from college the previous spring and, during her senior year, had been the dance partner of Tosha’s fiancé, George. Maria was now embarked on her professional career at City Ballet and, though she was a very junior dancer at the company, she was managing to create a fair bit of press for herself in the local newspapers via her outlandish public behavior.

“Oh for heaven’s sake!” Tosha snorted, reading. “She threw a hissy fit because she didn’t get her favorite table at a restaurant? Give me a break!”

“You reading about Maria’s latest escapade?” asked George, as he plopped down beside Tosha on the sofa. “It’s all anyone was talking about in Movement class this morning.”

“Maria’s pretty over-the-top for a new member of the company,” Tosha observed.

George took the newspaper, threw it on the floor, and put his arm around Tosha.

“That’s exactly why she behaves as she does,” George explained. “A dancer is at her peak for only a few years, and Maria’s trying to get the public interested in her so that City Ballet—which after all is a business, with its eye on the bottom line—will notice she has drawing power and will cast her in bigger parts—sooner rather than later. Maria’s doing what she can to raise her profile early.”

“Well,” Tosha replied, “at least she’s out of my hair. And, I’ve got to go to Psych now.” She kissed George on the cheek, got up from the sofa, and headed out to her class.

Once Tosha had left the room, Chloe gave George an uncomfortable smile.

“Your lovely fiancée seems not to realize that you will very probably be dancing with Maria again next year, once you join the City Ballet,” she said.

“And I’m going to put off telling her as long as possible, believe me,” George replied.

“Hopefully, once we’re married and Tosha’s got her own career going, she’ll be less concerned about Maria,” he added.

“Hopefully,” Chloe echoed, but privately she doubted it.


One night mid-semester, Yuri was abducted from Pinenut Plaza, his hands bound behind him.

‘Excellent,’ he thought to himself. ‘Being taken captive by a nice-looking blonde is my idea of a good time,’ he thought as he was put into a limousine.

After being inducted into the Landgrabb Society, he ran into Lilly Thompson, which only improved his evening.

“My sister's never going to believe this!” he exulted.

“Yes she will,” countered Lilly, “because she’s already been a member for a few months.” Yuri was slightly peeved to discover that his sister had again beaten him to an achievement.


Yuri was very happy to have the opportunity to spend time with Lilly, who for 3 years had rejected his many advances. “So,” he asked brightly as they were playing chess one evening, “how about going out with me this weekend?”

Lilly frowned and rubbed her forehead. “We’ve been through this several times, Yuri--you have a girlfriend. And even if you broke up with Rebecka to go out with me, that wouldn’t make you someone I’d feel comfortable dating.”


“George, that’s terrific!” Rebecka squealed into the phone. “Thank you soooo much for thinking of me!!”

“What was that about?” asked Derek, looking up from working on his term paper.

“George’s former dance partner, Maria Ivanova, needs an interior designer for her new apartment, and he recommended me!” Rebecka reportedly happily.

“I thought she was living in one of the City Ballet-owned apartments with three other ballerinas,” Derek said. “That’s what George told me, and I didn’t think there was much decorating you could do in such a place.”

“She’s apparently found some way to afford a place of her own,” Rebecka said. “I’m going over there tomorrow to see what I can do for her. Even if it’s a small job, and even if I have to do it for next to nothing, it’ll be worth it, because I should at least be able to wrangle a few introductions to higher-ups in the City Ballet, and you know all their trustees are absolutely loaded!” she announced with glee.


One evening near the end of fall semester, Yulia looked up from her studying and asked her brother, “Where the heck’s Rebecka? I just realized I haven’t seen her in weeks.”

“She’s finishing up Maria’s apartment,” Yuri answered. “She works night and day, whenever she’s not in class. Even I haven’t seen her in weeks—whenever she’s got a project, she sure gets independent. She promised to drop by tonight, though, and we’re going to go out and grab a bite.”

At just that moment, Rebecka came up the stairs, looking a bit harried.

Yuri had surmised that Maria was a bit much to handle as a client, even for Rebecka.

“Hi, you two!” Rebecka said with forced gaiety, as she collapsed onto the sofa next to Yulia.

“How are things going with your job for Maria?” Yulia asked politely. She was trying to be nice to Rebecka, having taken to heart her mother’s reprimand.

“Oh, just fine,” Rebecka answered, somewhat unconvincingly.

“Becks,” chided Yuri, “it’s obvious Maria’s been driving you crazy for weeks, and still you won’t say anything bad about her.”

“Yuri, she’s a client,” Rebecka protested, sounding a bit desperate. “And I do not talk about my clients on a personal level.”

“Whatever,” Yuri responded. “Will this job ever be done?”

“As a matter of fact,” Rebecka replied, “it will be done in a couple of days, and Maria is throwing a party next weekend to celebrate, and you’re both invited. And Derek, too,” she added, turning to Yulia.

“Is it a housewarming?” asked Yulia. “Should we bring her some sort of gift—a coffeemaker, a blender, something like that? She must need stuff for her new apartment—everybody does.”

“Um, that won’t be necessary,” said Rebecka slowly, obviously uncomfortable for some reason that was not apparent to the twins. “She seems to be doing fine all by … umm … herself….”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next week for "Maria's Party."


  1. Great update as always. I really like how you really get into your characters' heads and lives and make them come alive as distinct personalities. Their stories are always very entertaining to read. Keep up the good work :)

  2. OOhhh what kind of party is Maria gonna have??? Wow, Yelena likes Rebecca???? Hmmm I imagine she would. So does this mean that Yulia's eyes are gonna be opened??? A great cliffhanger, as always.

  3. Oooh, gotta love the cliffhanger! Can't wait to hear about this party...

  4. Oh boy... Don't like the trailing off there Rebecka...

    Great update Veil! Can't wait to read more!!

  5. aw man i read these out of order. ah well that was great to see what led up to the party.