Chapter III. Nick.

So days followed. Alex conducted a double life, being broken off between family and Natalie. He designated the hours spent with her, “a time in the Eden”. He introduced her to Nick. She became the constant participant of their feasts. Al was impressed that Nick was admiring her. They continued to banter at Rudd, who flushed with rage in the beginning and threateningly bristled his magnificent moustaches, then laughed good-natured together with them.

Sometimes, when Natalie was occupied with patients, he wandered alone around the city. During one of such walks he passed by the hotel and from the distance saw Nick waiting someone. Joyful Al was ready to rush to the friend, but something forced him to stop and be curious: for whom was Nick waiting for? In five minutes he saw a magnificent brunette who approached Nick. Al couldn’t consider her face as she stood with her back to him, but he saw how they kissed.

“Ah, you are hypocrite!” thought Al cheerfully. “Poses himself as the moralist, and impudently has a date on the side! Well, wait, I will expose you soon!” It was amusing to Al to imagine Nick’s physiognomy when they would face.

Nick and the stranger quickly proceeded in the hotel, Al decided to continue a role of the unmasker and settled on a bench in the yard. He couldn’t believe his own eyes! What forced Nick to fool around?! And why did he lie to his friends, showing himself as an ideal family man?

Some twenty minutes has passed. During this instant two police cars approached to the hotel with the switched flashers. From there men in plain clothes jumped out and flew inside. Fifteen more minutes passed. Al’s heart somehow clenched disturbing. “And maybe these cops are from the vice squad and Nick needs the help?” he questioned himself.

Being unable to suffer uncertainty more, Al rushed into the foyer.

“I am interested in the man in a suede jacket and the woman in a white suit, who entered about forty minutes ago!” he addressed to the headwaiter.

“We don’t issue information on visitors!” began a stock phrase the bald man with the running look, but having seen the fifty-dollar note, faltered immediately: the banknote disappeared as though in the fakir’s hands! He quickly continued: “He brought a nice whore and booked a double room! And we have an instruction – to warn the police of customs right there!”

“Thrust your instructions more deeply in your… Where’s my friend!” exclaimed Al, but at the same minute the police officers puzzled and having hastily got into the cars and so immediately left. Behind them, some minutes later there appeared Nick, with an indulgent, self-satisfied smile, and next to him seemed the magnificent brunette whom he ordered. But what is it?! My God! Oh, no! So that’s… Nick’s wife – Leila! This magnificent wig and brightly led round eyes gave to Leila surprising vulgar attractiveness. But what is this masquerade for?!

Vadim Gazi, The Turn



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