N.B. A note to any of our American cousins who may be following this outlandish fantasy tale. In some of the following chapters there may appear to be a negative attitude to some US institutions, or cultural icons. It's a story - get over it. This is just illustrating a reflection of how the attitudes and world media coverage in some countries portray the USA. On a personal note I get along fine with most folk, but in general I have no interest in local political machinations, and even less interest in world politics (or sport) - my only fervent hope would be for less conflict in the world - as young girls might get hurt.
Copyright (c) 2011, Slow Quill
The big garden party, and they record the cheerleader video.
Their new home was well placed to access two Metro stations, on different branches of the network, and so there was a car at each, from the cab company used by the studio, in order that the drivers would recognise some of their regular customers who would be going to the party.
The whole family had risen early for the big day, Ella had done some last minute baking in her wonderful new oven, which helped calm her nerves. When she had spoken to the caterers, they had understood her point about having some home-made baking along with the other food on offer, to show their guests she had made a personal contribution.
Igor and the boys were out in the garden where a crew of men were inflating the bouncy castle, and putting up an open sided marquee and tables for the food and drinks, they had also set up two large fridges in the garage for enough chilled food and drinks to last throughout the day. There would also be one or two deliveries later in the day to top up supplies as required, being associated with the studio meant getting a five star service.
Greg and Peter were allowed to help set out additional chairs and picnic tables, and when the waitresses arrived Marta and Anna helped with table cloths, and all the disposable tableware and napkins, they had already been busy cleaning in the house, and had placed extra soap, towels, and toilet rolls in the downstairs toilet. Earlier they had been out in the front garden where they had placed signs to direct their guests to a side gate that lead into the rear garden, so this way they would not need to keep answering the door to guests.
Fortunately the rush of activity kept them from clock watching, and the first trickle of guests started about ten-thirty. Marta had purchased several boxes of clip-on name badges that she had given to her brothers, who went round introducing themselves to the guests, and thanking them for helping get the house ready. In his best writing Greg made a name badge for each person, when a couple turned up with a babe in arms he wrote 'Mummy Claire and baby Stephan' on her badge, much to everyone's amusement.
Ella had at last hung up her apron, checked her hair, then joined her husband to greet their guests and enjoy the event, glad that the weather forecast was so favourable. Soon the garden was teeming with people, small groups in animated conversation, and children running about, or clambering over the climbing frame or jumping on the bouncy castle.
Igor had contacted an agency that provided party entertainers and arranged for a magician and a clown/juggler, they were booked to be there from eleven through to five, taking it in turns to entertain their younger guests. Greg taking his responsibilities seriously made up badges for them when they arrived, just as he had for his family and all the catering staff.
Anna and Marta were facing one another, when she saw Marta smile and whisper "Check" turning to see what had caught her sister's attention, she saw Dmitri arriving - with his hand on Alina's waist, they continued to watch from the far side of the garden, both curious if the couple were indeed a "couple".
At the refreshments tent, the waitresses served tea, coffee, wine, and beer and they also had a selection of soft drinks along with the running buffet. As many of the guests so far were those with young children, mostly they were on soft drinks and the odd glass of wine.
As the afternoon progressed both the clown and magician gained spellbound audiences of kids, and a number of adults. Ella proudly took the opportunity to show off the beautiful workmanship done by the various trades, to the partners of those craftsmen who were at the party, making sure to seek out and speak with, and thank all those involved.
Somehow Anna and Marta just happened to be standing in the hallway as Alina emerged from the toilet, both almost busting with curiosity, they planned to give her the guided tour while Dmitri was outside, and maybe get to ask some questions. After showing her around downstairs the tour moved upstairs, to marvel at the boys murals, then on to the girls rooms, where they tried to extract some information from a grinning Alina who long before suspected the reason she had been hauled away.
Standing at the buffet table Dmitri heard a soft sing song voice in each ear.
"Dmitri has a girlfriend", followed by a burst of giggling.
He turned to face the sisters, noting that Alina had been waylaid by another guest some distance away, he winked at Marta, "You are very bright Marta, but did you consider you might have been a pawn in my long game?"
Marta stood open mouthed for a moment, then smiled, telling him she didn't mind, as long as it had made two people who she considered to be good friends happy.
They talked for a while longer, until Alina retook possession of Dmitri, then the girls set off to talk with other guests and their families who they were less familiar with, thanking them all for their part in completing their home so quickly. Spotting Svetlana and Lisa at one of the tables, they went over to the buffet then sat and joined them. They learned that Lisa had spent the morning showing her teacher some of the nearby places of interest, and where the two schools were located.
Although Lisa lived some kilometres outside Kiev, she knew the city, and surrounding area well, and told them of many attractions they should visit, and the places they had planned going to on Sunday. Anna teasingly said they should avoid the outdoor folk museum, as that was where Marta would be going on a date with her boyfriend tomorrow.
Lisa of course wanted details, so Anna obliged, as Marta appeared suddenly tongue-tied, not knowing what to say, but Lisa was impressed about her having a sixteen year old boy-friend, and after Anna's description, said she thought she had seen him once at the studio.
Marta wanting to change the subject saw her brothers and called them over, although their guests had been duly labelled, they didn't know Svetlana was an English teacher, this lead to the boys showing off their abilities. The boys avidly enjoyed having two new people to talk with abet haltingly, and Marta made her escape pulling Anna with her.
The girls were amused as they had passed their mum talking with a group of ladies about the garden, and where to buy plants locally, and nearby their dad was with a group of men doing the typical man thing, talking about sport.
Seeing Valya arrive with a dreamy looking hunk, they hurried over to greet them, Alex immediately addressed each girl by name, joking he had heard so much about them, but was glad to have recently got his girlfriend back, and spent some quality time with her.
At Anna's wide eyed expression, Valya winked at her saying, "Don't worry, I haven't told him that much, after all, us girls must have some secrets, it keeps them on their toes."
They stood together talking for a while, and Anna had to mention her sister's date the next day, then pointedly looked at Alex, "That is of course if she doesn't go for an upgrade." This got her a poke in the ribs from Marta, and caused laughter all round, that was drowned out by the shouts of two boys calling out as they ran to their aunty Valya.
She was of course labelled 'Aunty Valya' so consequently by default her boyfriend got his lapel badge, 'Uncle Alex', they thanked her for the DVD's, then the boys wanted to drag her away to show off their new bedrooms to their favourite aunt.
Ivan smiled, and squeezed his wife's hand as they had been watching this encounter from the shade of the mature foliage and trees that edged the boundary of the rear garden.
They crossed the lawn to join the sisters, and he introduced them to Mira, who was another person who had heard all about them. She then surprised them by switching to English to ask about their hobbies and interests, which stretched them both, but they were able to successfully answer her back in English with only a little hesitation.
Mira told them she knew it was bad form to mention 'company' business, but said she had volunteered to be a pretend client to help with the beta testing of the new forum Dmitri was at present working on, so girls training to use it, had a variety of people to interact with.
They went on to discuss other topics, such as how they were settling in, and how they liked living in the city, and if they had made many new friends. Ivan excused himself while they got to know one another, eventually Mira got round to how the catering company had excelled themselves, as they must have introduced a new line in authentic rustic cakes, which she would ask them to include next time she used them for a social event.
She was puzzled by the girls laughter, until they lead her over to the refreshments tent, and asked her to point them out, just as the girls had thought, it was their mums baking that was a hit, and they told her how their mum couldn't cater for the whole event, but she had felt she wanted to show some personal touches.
Ivan had excused himself, not to meet up with anyone in particular, but just to move about and pick up on the atmosphere of the event, deciding that the studio should perhaps run a family fun day gathering one day next summer, as it would reinforce the feeling of team spirit he tried to engender among his staff.
Booking the children's entertainers had proved very successful, the kids loved it, and the grown ups had the opportunity to talk together without constant interruptions.
As the day turned to evening, those with small children had left, and reluctantly the boys were herded off to bed by their sisters, but neither lad managed to stay awake to hear the end of their bed-time story.
The guests attending later in the day or evening, were unencumbered by children, and consequently the refreshments tended more to savoury foods, and there was an increase in the consumption of alcohol. Nobody got out of hand, but the car service laid on was much appreciated by those guests whose partners were a bit unstable on their feet, and the drivers took the initiative to deliver some of the merrymakers all the way home.
In the Ukraine the law was very firm on drink driving with harsh penalties.
For the cab drivers it had been a great day, paid a flat rate for the whole day, lots of tips, as people weren't paying the fare, and young Anna who worked at the studio had given them each a nice cash bonus for looking after her "wobbly guests" as she had called them.
After they had shuttled off the last of the party goers Igor came out to thank them and give them a tip but they were honest enough to admit his daughter had sorted it already.
Igor returned to the garden, the towers of the castle sagged as the motor had been turned off after the last of the kids had gone, there were several boxes of empty bottles under the tables, but there was still quite a selection of food remaining which bothered him.
Despite his good mood at how well the day had gone, he couldn't abide the thought of such waste, so he went to find the person in charge of the caterers. He asked the guy what happened to the leftover food and was shocked to find it was all chucked out, as it would be considered stale the next day and unusable.
Igor asked if there were any places in Kiev where homeless people were known to hang about, and on finding there were, he organised loading the caterers van, and together they drove off to one of those places and set the foil trays of food on a bench in one of the parks.
George the man driving said he felt ashamed he had never thought to do this before, but he would in future make sure no leftover food was wasted after an event seeing how grateful the tramps and homeless people had been. Igor felt he would sleep better that night, for it made him shudder to think how close his family had come to being destitute, for that could have been their fate had Anna not come home with that audition notice.
They got back as the rest of the catering staff were preparing to leave, Igor thanked them all, and handed out gratuities, then went inside and closed up for the night.
Ella was in the lounge looking through the cards wishing them well in their new home, also there were many small gifts and several bunches of flowers in vases about the room, for it was traditional to bring flowers for your host, but never as an even number of blooms.
He hugged his wife tightly, after a while she asked what was wrong, they sat down to talk, and he told her of his ride out to the park, and how he felt blessed for the way their lives had changed over the last few months, and the realisation of how awful things could have been with him losing his job if circumstances had been different.
Marta was agonising over what to wear, but at least the zits plaguing her earlier in the week had receded, allowing her to feel more confident about her appearance today.
Anna came in and helped her choose an outfit, joking how nice it was to have that sort of problem for their respective wardrobes had been much slimmer at the start of the summer.
Karl had phoned her yesterday afternoon from the hospital, to explain he would miss the garden party as he was with his neighbour and her little girl who had had an accident, but he promised to be round by nine o'clock Sunday morning, and he would tell her all about it then. All in all she had not been too upset as yesterday was really a family event to thank those who had helped them move in, it was not really a new boyfriend - make that, first boyfriend type of occasion. Today would be the first chance they would have to spend time together outside of the studio, and she was anxious about the forthcoming date.
She was startled out of her contemplations by her phone ringing, it was Valya, they spoke for a bit, Marta relating her concerns, but soon was relieved by her mentors words of advice and encouragement, especially when told that Karl was probably more nervous than she was. Marta later realised the only reason Valya had called was to calm her down.
Sunday was another busy day, for the marquee, tables, and the castle assembled the day before, were now being packed away by the crew who had previously set them up.
The boys had been warned not to get underfoot, and to be on their best behaviour when Karl turned up or there would be consequences. Karl was a few minutes early, in truth he had been a lot early but had hung about at the end of the road nervously looking at his watch trying to decide what time to arrive.
He politely greeted Igor, who was helping the workmen, then they went into the back garden, where they had a father to daughters first boyfriend chat, before heading inside.
Marta seeing them from her bedroom window, waited till after they came in before going downstairs, pleased to see them talking with her father's arm about Karl's shoulder.
Karl couldn't imagine how difficult it might be if he were talking to a girls parents for the first time, pleased that he had met them before he had gained the role of boyfriend. It was with a sense of relief they set off on their journey, they would need to use both the bus and Metro services to reach their destination.
At one point they had to rush to catch the train, and he grasped her hand to pull her along, from then on neither one seemed to willing to let go. Karl had been concerned he would not know what to say, and there would be long awkward silences, but Marta told him of the events at the party and he told her about how he had missed out on attending.
He had seen the six year old girl trip and cut her leg, it was a nasty injury, and he carried her to her home a few doors away, her mum seeing the wound, wrapped it up and wanted to take her to the hospital. As the mum couldn't carry her and the girl wouldn't walk he had ended up volunteering and then spent most of the afternoon hanging around the hospital.
When they arrived Karl paid the admission for them both, although Marta had been prepared to pay, but Karl joked he must be an old fashioned type of boyfriend, but Marta said with his good deed yesterday maybe he was the chivalrous type of boyfriend.
They didn't run out of things to talk about and they both enjoyed walking around the exhibits and reading the notices about the various artefacts. Over a late lunch sitting at an outdoor table Marta said it was good that he got on well with her dad, and enquired what they had been talking about in the garden that morning.
Karl coloured up a bit but decided to tell her, "Your father said how precious you were, and that I was to behave like a gentleman, and if I did anything to upset you he would break every bone in my body - slowly."
Marta grinned saying how her daddy was a big soft teddy bear, but Karl insisted he would follow the advice he had been given, though he now was also smiling.
Later that afternoon he had even got round to the subject of where they might go next time, and Marta teasingly asked him why he thought there might be a 'next time', but he could see she was just winding him up. Marta said with school starting, she didn't expect she would be able to go out on week nights apart from Friday evening, and some week-ends may be taken up with studio stuff, so they would have to see how things worked out.
On the way back the train was rather crowded and they had to stand, Karl being tall was able to use the straps hanging from the ceiling but Marta couldn't reach them so he put his arm around her, so she wouldn't fall. At one point as the train jerked they bumped together and Marta was aware that her hip had collided with something other than his wallet.
Colouring Marta said nothing, she just snuggled tighter under his protective arm, with her arm round his waist - just for reasons of safety. On the last few hundred metres walk back to her house she suspected he wanted to kiss her, as there was the onset of an awkwardness that had not been there since they had set off that morning.
She debated what to do, then as they came towards the park near her house she asked if they could sit for a moment as they still had some time before she was expected back.
Both teens were thinking about the same thing, both hesitant, then it just happened, OK so there was a slight clash of noses but then they worked it out. A second and subsequent kisses followed, until a red faced Marta pulled back.
A concerned Karl asked if she was all right, and at her nod, asked tongue in cheek if she was going to get her dad to break all of his bones. That broke the tension, and they both started laughing, Marta checked her watch and said he had better walk her home now, and they would be back in time, and he could kiss her cheek at the door as her sister was bound to be looking out for their return.
They shared a quick kiss for forms sake on the front step, then Marta rooted through her bag for the house key. As soon as the door was open her mum and sister appeared, and Karl was invited in, he had no good excuse to run off so he followed the ladies through to the kitchen where Ella set out some of the cake she had made the day before.
Luckily they only gave him a light grilling, and his story of the previous days events saved him from any further probes, he then asked how their day had been despite Marta already having told him much of what had happened. When at last the opportunity arose for him to escape without seeming impolite he said his good byes and Marta showed him out with another brief, but tender kiss on the front step.
Returning Marta asked where they had locked-up her dad, and Ella admitted she had sent him up to bathe the boys and put them to bed, with instructions they would need a long story, because she didn't want to find any ex-boyfriends under her new flower garden.
The resultant laughter brought Igor into the room.
"Daddy I had a nice day out and Karl was a perfect gentleman - so you won't have to do anything nasty to him."
Igor knowing that was all he was likely to hear about his daughters first date, gave both girls a hug, before Anna grabbed her sister's hand and the pair of them ran upstairs.
There followed a complete blow by blow account of how the day had progressed, and not wishing to interrupt the narrative, the girls shared a bath just as they used to, in order they could continue. Marta also supplied details, such as the fact she was sure he was hard at several times during the day, and got confirmation of his condition when they were on the train on the way home, and about the episode on the park bench for their first kiss.
The next morning when they arrived at the apartment it had been freshly cleaned, there were a few pot plants, tins of cat and dog food on the counter with pet dishes on the floor, there were new pictures on the walls, and all of the other set dressings were in place. Looking for a way to describe the place, you might say lived-in but tidy.
Svetlana called in with an excited Lisa, and she delivered the books she had promised to add to the set dressings, although she would have liked to stay, there were two school meetings she had booked for that day. It was while the girls were distributing the new props, that Lisa holding a large photo frame, asked where Anna went riding.
They all looked at the picture, "I've never ridden a horse in my life, it can't be me."
Marta looking closely determined that Anna's face had been superimposed on the photo of a girl her age on a horse, on the same shelf there were also some rosettes for 1st and 2nd placements in gymkhana events. This caused the girls to check out all the other props to see what else had been faked, and they found another picture, this time of 'Natasha' with her three pets as stated in the web bio.
Marta going to the kitchen to make tea found a folder that must have belonged to Sergio, that had large photos from all over the apartment with notes and arrows showing the placement for all of the various props. By the time the tea was ready Oksana showed up with John, Valya, and two of the ladies from the beauty salon, so she took drink orders from them too.
Anna said how pleased she was that her mentor, friend, and make-up expert had turned up, and Valya replied how she wouldn't want to miss any shoots by her star model.
The ladies from the salon fussed over the girls hair, setting Anna's in twin pig tails, and Lisa had a single pony tail, then both girls had their nails done. Oksana and John were busy setting up lights, and had set out a number of tripods with video cameras while looking over the final script with Marta.
When the opportunity came up Valya winked at Anna and whispered,"Bottom left hand drawer", Anna immediately realised to what she was referring, and smiled back.
At last the girls were ready in their 'school uniforms', and had their bags with the cheer-leader outfits and pompoms, and the salon ladies had returned to the studio.
Oksana held court explaining how she had been told to use multiple cameras, to cut and splice the action for the best views, this would also mean if they fluffed their lines, or needed a break in the script it would not be obvious in the final edit. Next she handed over to Marta, who told them, not to worry about being word perfect, and they could ad-lib if they felt inspired, so that it would look more spontaneous, she then told them to have fun.
Anna as usual had her last minute bathroom break before the shooting commenced.
The two girls actually went outside, and Oksana called action, the key sounded in the lock, then both girls stepped inside, Natasha held on to the coat hook by the riding hat and crop as she took off her shoes, and as the dialogue flowed with the subtle name checks and mention of the girls ages, Nadia also removed her shoes.
Oksana followed through to the main room using a hand held camera, then switching over to one of the tripod mounting ones that had both been set to run from the start, meanwhile Marta was using one of Johns stills cameras for the odd promotional shot. This was due to the fact that John was aiming the other mounted video camera in the lounge.
Lisa who had been really 'bricking-it' before hand, was now playing the part with Anna, aware of, but not playing direct to cameras, as they had discussed on Friday during their many practice runs. The lines of the script just came to her, she didn't dry-up as she had feared, and between them they were having a genuine laugh, even when an accidental spill not in the planned routine happened, Anna made some unscripted remark, and Lisa thought of an apt reply that proved funny itself.
Lisa demonstrated a step routine with high kicks complete with the chant, then the girls did it together in sync.
"T - I - G - E - R - S, go tigers go", at the same time waving their pompoms, then they bent over and shook their bare bums towards the cameras, then they resumed with the chant.
"Tigers, Tigers, make that play, Tigers, Tigers, make our day", the performance continued with similar inane shouts and provocative movements, until both girls had worked up some genuine perspiration under the hot lights.
Considering their current state Anna went off script, "Look I'm all hot and and damp" she said running her hand up the inside of her thigh, just shy of her glistening pussy, "Do you mind if I take my top off before we practice the last routine."
Lisa answered, saying it was OK and she would also remove her top. The last part of this set had some moves that would show off the bounce of the older girls attributes, and Marta who had been taking still pictures throughout, noted that a part of John had been paying attention from the time the girls first striped-off.
They got to the point in the script where the girls flopped down on the sofa, that which had been often flashed at the audience was now on open display as the girls talked of relaxing in a nice warm bath. They got up and the cameras followed them as they disappeared through the bathroom door, to be followed by Oksana shouting "Cut."
After a rapid briefing, Oksana, John, and Marta went into the bathroom to film the girls enter from the lounge, and start to fill the tub. This entailed both girls losing the last remnants of their uniforms, then leaning over across the double ended bath to adjust the taps on the far side, presenting two delightful derrières. They maintained the position, swirling their hands through the water as it filled, while Oksana did a slow pan around, and John caught some snatches of film capturing each girl side on while bent over.
Lisa stood to get some bathing products from the counter, while Oksana recorded a shot of Anna looking back over her shoulder and smiling, then asking for her bath toys.
These turn out to be a duck and a submarine, which enabled some more of Marta's clever word play as the scripted lines contained a few more of her famous double entendres.
After a relatively short bathing scene, both girls stood up, as if they were about to get out of the bath, with suds sliding slowly down their gentle wet curves. Then Natasha delivers the last line of the script, "Thank you Nadia for helping me with the cheerleader moves, I'm sure it will help me pass the audition. I'm just wondering what my next adventure will be."
"Cut, that's a wrap."
Stepping out, the two girls slipped into nice fluffy bathrobes, Lisa was just so happy she could not have put it into words. The effort spent studying over the last few weeks had seemed so hard, but now she knew her dreams of going to University and plans to travel around Europe when she was older were now that much closer to reality.
Lisa hugged Anna lifting her off the floor, then she hugged Marta too, thanking them both for selecting her for the part, the girls then went to the kitchen where someone had set out fruit juice and some Pampushki fruit-filled baked rolls.
This helped settle them down after the end of the shoot, and was followed by a discussion on how well things had gone, about the fluffs, and recoveries, and how well the pair had ad-libbed when they saw an opportunity. Oksana said she had thought beforehand they would need to have several breaks, and have endless takes for scenes the girls stumbled over, and was pleased that hadn't happened.
When all the analysing was over Marta said she wanted to compare her script to the actual dialogue in the final result as it might improve her writing. Oksana said that was her cue to get back to the studio and edit the rushes together, as Ivan's bosses were anxious to see if his faith in the 'English Programme' was justified.
Valya stated she could not believe how anyone could have any doubts about the direction Ivan was leading the studio especially after the success of Anna's first video, but Oksana had heard rumours how he had pushed budgets to the limit for the next quarter and questions were being asked from on high. At their looks of concern, she smiled saying that this production alone would soon hush the descenting voices, and after the next one every one of the directors would claim to have backed Ivan from the very beginning.
Shortly Lisa phoned home, gushing down the phone how well the shoot had gone, after some discussion it was arranged her mum would collect her from the studio, so John ended up loading her case in the SUV for it's last transfer before she headed home. He offered to drop them all at the studio, then he would find someone to go back with him to help return all of the equipment, this trip he just loaded Valya and three smiling girls.
To be continued in chapter 18
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