Part 4, Mail Order Romance
Raya receives a letter from Russia — will it be family, friends or something darker?
Stan’s brother Manuel had invited Raya into his home, planning to spend the rest of their lives together. But then Cupid struck and Stan kissed Raya. Where would this lead? A chance encounter with Stan’s ex confused Raya. Would this blight their budding romance? Stan receives an invitation to his brother’s wedding. Will Raya comply and will they see it through?
Stan brought Raya to his apartment. He thought it wiser for her to stay with him for now, seeing as her bond with Manuel was pretty shattered at this point. He texted the message to his brother. The only thing he got in response was, ‘Whatever.’
Somehow the living arrangements between Raya and Stan were peaceful from the beginning. Raya worked on the mural and began taking up chores around the house while Stan went to work. They didn’t discuss the botched marriage. The few times Stan tried to bring it up, Raya became so upset that Stan didn’t want to touch the subject anymore.
They weren’t romantically involved either. It was like neither of them wanted to go there. Stan was sorry about this, as he was still very much attracted to the woman now staying in his house, but the situation never arose, and he didn’t want to force things or steer them in that direction.
Things were good the way they were now. Neither of them wanted to break the peace they were currently living in.
Three months after the wedding date, a letter from Russia arrived. Raya went pale as she saw who had sent it and quickly ran to her room read it.
When she hadn’t reemerged an hour later, Stan knocked on her door. “Raya, you okay?”
She opened the door and nodded at Stan, brushing away tears.
The two of them had developed a language of small words with which they could communicate simple things.
“What is going on? Is anybody hurt? Is it your family?”
This was way out of their ‘small words language,’ but Stan hoped Raya would understand nonetheless.
“Is good. No problem,” Raya assured him.
Stan sighed. “Come downstairs and tell me with your phone when you’re ready. I want to help.”
“Yes, Stan.” She closed the door.
Somehow Stan had expected this to happen. He was certain Raya still had unfinished business in Russia, and even though he didn’t know how much she talked with her friends and relatives from her birth country, he was not surprised something would turn up. Neither would he be shocked if it spelt trouble. He only hoped he would be able to help her.
Stan had never seen Raya so distraught as when she emerged in the living room.
“Tell me about the letter, Raya,” he asked.
“Can’t. You angry,” she stated while avoiding meeting his eye.
“Raya, you know me. I’d never be angry. Tell me, and we’ll fix this.”
“Fix it,” she repeated and huffed. She took her cell phone and began typing.
‘Letter is from Aleksei, my husband,’ was the text she showed him after translation.
“Your what?” Stan exclaimed. “Your husband?” He mimicked putting a ring on his finger. “Like real husband? But why were you with the website then? You would be married to Manuel?” He translated the website question on his phone: “Pochemu vy byli na sayte?”
Raya began to sob. “I’m sorry.”
Stan pulled her into his arms. “No, no, it’s okay, Raya. Tell me what happened.”
When she had calmed down a little, she took a deep breath, picked up her phone and relayed her story.
‘Aleksei, my husband, is a bad man. He was not good to me. I needed to get away. I hoped it wouldn’t count in another country. But now he found me here.’
Stan turned pale. “Where was the letter delivered? Here, or at Manuel’s?”
“Manuel address. He brought here.”
Stan nodded. That gave him at least a little relief. “You are safe here, with me.”
They sat silent for a few moments.
“Okay, now what? Will you return to him to Russia?”
Raya’s eyes went large, and she shook her head. “Njet. No Russia.”
“So divorce him. Ravestis’ s nim.”
Raya shook her head some more. “Impossible. How?”
“We’ll go to a lawyer who knows international law and get it done.” He typed it on his phone and showed her the translation.
“Really?” she asked, her eyes shining with tears.
“Of course, my love. Anything for you.”
Raya planted her lips onto Stan’s and kissed him fervently. Stan was shocked and unsure how to react at first but relaxed and enjoyed the pressure of her mouth and what it was doing to him when she continued.
He had missed this so much. They hadn’t made any moves in the past few months, and Stan had assumed Raya was no longer interested in him as a lover anymore. He had respected her and kept his distance. But now that the flame was lit again, it was hard to hold back. He longed to touch her, all of her.
While he took in her sweet lavender scent, her hands began to roam his body. She slid under his shirt. He moaned as tiny goosebumps arose on his chest and arms. She giggled. Her eyes dark with desire, she took his hands and placed them on her breasts.
“Oh God, really, Raya?”
He massaged her globes through the blouse she was wearing. They felt even more exquisite than he had dared to imagine.
She began to unbutton the top buttons of her blouse.
“Oh no, let me,” Stan intervened. Wearing a devilish grin, he unbuttoned the next two. He lightly traced the now revealed skin. Raya held her breath.
“It’s so soft.”
Her hands reached for the next one, wanting to speed up the process, but he shook his head.
Very slowly, he undid the next two. Never before had he ever undressed a woman this languidly. He enjoyed every moment.
When finally the blouse was open, Raya reached behind her, undid her bra and pulled down the cups. Stan didn’t hesitate and placed his hands on her breasts immediately. All these months nothing happened, and now they were here, with the events flowing just as naturally as their first kiss had been. He massaged them firmly, and he wasn’t too careful. Raya moaned and arched her back. Finally, she gave herself over to him.
Raya was every bit as magnificent as he had imagined her to be. Now he wanted more.
He undid her pants, and her breathing sped up. Just when he had lowered the zipper, she froze entirely and squealed. Stan held up his hands and backed off.
“Njet, njet, njet!” Raya screamed, scrambled away and ran out of the room.
Stan was astounded. What had just happened? They were sharing an incredibly intimate moment, and then this transpired. He was sure he hadn’t hurt her, at least physically. He had only wanted to continue with what she had started. But now she had disappeared.
Stan rubbed his forehead. The secrets from Russia he had been fearing were indeed true. Someone had hurt this beautiful woman more than they should have. Stan was determined to make things right. Raya deserved to be happy, maybe with him, maybe not. Her well-being was what mattered.