Author's Note: I do not own Chess or any of its characters. This story is based of the in concert version.
I found myself on a snow covered mountain overlooking a city. I recognized this place and I'd never forget it. It was cold, not as cold as I was used to, being Russian and all, but cold enough.
I was unaware I was watching the spot where she stood the first time, when we were both trapped in our own thoughts, not able to break the silence. I remembered how beautiful she had looked with the moonlight reflecting off her dark hair.
I had been reluctant to speak but I had forced myself to. It was supposed to have been a meeting regarding the chess match, but that bastard hadn't showed up. It wasn't my fault I was left alone with a beautiful woman. Sure I had gotten frustrated, but I wasn't the one to throw the pieces and storm out. I think Molokov would have killed me if I was.
The silence dragged on as the spot remained empty. I began to get anxious. What if she didn't show up? I didn't know why she would but I just felt it. I stepped down to the ledge and glanced around the corner to see if another cable car was coming up but I was shocked to see there wasn't even anything there. I stepped back and felt no ground under my foot, just air. I looked back expecting to see the mountains but once again saw nothing. My breath caught in my throat and I began to panic.
I woke in a sweat. I sat up holding my head in my hands. I glanced over and saw my wife sleeping peacefully. I pushed the covers off me and stood up.
I was at the door when she spoke. I guess she was awake the whole time or I had woken her. "Where are you going?" She muttered sleepily.
I bit my lip. I had planned to go to the couch, where I usually went when I couldn't sleep but she couldn't stand that. She thought I was leaving her and the kids again. Honestly who did she think I was cheating with? There was only one woman I loved now and she was in England, or America, or wherever else she could be. Wherever that was it was far enough that Svetlana didn't have to worry.
"Anatoly where are you going?" She demanded.
I scratched the back of my head. "Getting a glass of water" I lied.
She sighed "fine"
I started down the halls, frustrated. Between her and Molokov's attempts to control me, I was starting to lose my mind. I needed Florence back. I only left to come back here to get her father out, since I knew that would be enough to satisfy the deal. Apparently it wasn't as I hadn't heard a word of his release. They had lied to both of us.
I decided a glass of water probably wouldn't do any harm and I really didn't want to lie to Svetlana more then I had to. Usually this was when I'd drink something stronger but she had hid all my drinks.
I got a glass cup and filled it. I took a sip and set the glass down. There was a pile of papers on the counter, old mail probably. I sorted through the papers and my heart lept when I found an envelope from the World Chess Federation. I tore it open. I suddenly remembered I was currently the champion and there should be a game soon, although I thought I would have already been notified of when that was taking place. Perhaps that was what this was.
I unfolded the paper, read over it, and realized it was a notice to contact them that I got the invitation to the championship game. I was confused. I had never gotten it, unless...
I found a stack of papers in one of the cabinets and started looking through them. Most of them were just random stuff, advertising, newspapers, etcetera. Then I found what I was looking for. A letter from the World Chess Federation. I was surprised to see it was another letter to notify them. I was angry. She had hid it from me. My anger grew as I flipped the pages, seeing another and another and another. How many times did they send them?
Eventually I found the invitation. It was to take place in London, 'where she might be' I finished the thought. It was dated for January 14th. The game would take place on March 26th, less then a week away.
I picked up my glass of water but my hand shook so much that I dropped it. There was a loud crash as the glass hit the floor.
"Honey what was that?" Svetlana asked.
"For two months?" I shouted.
She emerged around the corner in her night clothes. "Stop yelling you're going to wake the girls"
"For two months?" I repeated.
"What on earth are you talking about?" She asked. She stopped when she saw the glass on the floor. "I told you not to use the glass cups" she muttered, obviously missing the fact I was pissed. She bent down to start cleaning up.
"You hid it from me for two months!" I continued.
She stood up. "Hid what? What are you talking about?"
"Cut the crap! You know! The chess invitation!" I answered.
She didn't say anything else. She bent down to start cleaning up the glass again.
"You know that it's the one thing I still care about!" I continued.
She stood up sighing. "I had to make sure you wouldn't leave us again" she replied calmly.
"So you lied to me?" I asked in disbelief.
"It's not like you've never lied to me!" She yelled back.
"Only because I had to!"
"I'm not the one who decided to go off to England with some slut!" She countered.
"FLORENCE!" I corrected her. She was not going to call her a slut.
"Whatever! I don't even want to hear her god damn name!"
"Why? Why are threatened by her when she's not even here?!"
"Because you still love her!" I glanced over and felt a stab of guilt. She had tears streaming down her face. I had never meant to hurt her.
"Mommy why are you and daddy fighting?" I heard a small voice ask. I turned and saw my daughter. She looked slightly frightened, I am guessing since we were screaming at each other.
Svetlana sighed and turned to her daughter. "It's nothing Alexis honey. Sometimes daddy and I fight over silly things" she told her calmly. We had both agreed to keep our children out of our fighting about Florence. As far as they were aware I was a loyal father who would never dream of falling in love with someone else.
"Well it's loud" my older daughter, Lilia complained.
"Just go back to sleep" Svetlana told them gently.
Lilia shrugged and took her sisters hand and lead her away from us.
After a few seconds, Svetlana turned to me "I hope you're happy now" she hissed. "They heard all of that!"
"Keep your voice down" I told her. She massaged her temple with her palm. After a moment of silence I spoke. "I'm going" I told her, gesturing to the paper in my hand. "And neither you nor Molokov are going to stop me."
"I know" she whispered. I heard her swallow "well I'm going to bed..." She pushed past me in the direction of our room. I picked up the invitation again. I had never been to London before, despite living in England for a year.
I set it on the counter and looked at the mess I had made on the floor. I should at least clean it up, I owed it to her for making her upset.
I quickly swept up the glass and dried the water. I knew it would at least make her a little happier. I planned on packing tonight and leaving tomorrow morning, that meant I also had to call Molokov tonight, which I did NOT want to do.
I looked at the clock which read 3:45. Alright so it was the middle of the night but Molokov should be awake, I wonder if he even sleeps at all or has his time filled, plotting devious ideas that the very thought of, I'm sure, would make me want to throw up.
That was where I lived now. People could do awful things and there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was fucked up to say the least, my whole god damn country was fucked up- no, their country but not mine, or my family's. We still lived in Russia. Russia... It didn't exist anymore. It was trampled by the soviets, stripped of its beauty, and forced to take on a new name, flag, and set of values. It was something I could relate to.
I don't know how long I sat in front of the phone, with the unfortunately, familiar number on the screen, my finger over the green call button, too anxious or scared to actually press it.
To my own horror I heard ringing on the other end. Guess I subconsciously pressed it but I knew there was no turning back.
After a few more rings I heard the click of someone picking up the receiver.
"Alexander Molokov" came the strong accent. He sounded kind of exhausted.
I swallowed nervously, my hand shook so hard that I doubted I'd be able to hold the phone.
He spoke again, sounding annoyed now. "Hello?"
"I'm sorry" I heard myself say way too quickly. I forced my hand to still so my voice wouldn't shake when I talked. The last thing I wanted was for him to think I was afraid of him.
"Who is it?" He asked.
"Anatoly" I bit my lip. I swear I heard him laugh a little on the other end.
"Ah Sergievsky. How fortunate am I that you called." I heard a rustling of papers. "Your wife is not good at relaying messages is she?" He asked amused.
"I told her two months ago to tell you to call me" he explained "did you not get any of the game invitations?"
"my wife hid them" I muttered.
"Paranoid much?" He asked rhetorically. "Not that I blame her. It must've broken her heart to hear her loyal husband left her for a whole year for some chess playing skank"
The second the words left his mouth I clenched my fists. "What did you call her!" I hissed.
"You know I'm just playing with you comrade" he chuckled, making my anger grow. "Although I thought your feelings for her were gone" his tone changed drastically, making me extremely uneasy. "You're not going to betray your country again are you?"
I swallowed nervously. 'Your country' I added in my head. "No of course not"
"That's what I thought comrade" his tone changed once again "now for the arrangements for your trip. The plane should be ready for you by 10:30. You should get to London before 5. I will meet you there this time to tell you about everything else, including where you are going to stay"
"Ok thank you" I told him, feeling not at all thankful.
"I will see you there comrade" the phone clicked as he hung up. I hadn't spoken to Molokov face to face ever since I had first come back to Moscow and it wasn't an encounter I was looking forward to.
I set the phone down and ran my fingers through my hair. I glanced at the clock seeing it was close to 4. I did my best to pack up enough clothes for the week in London without waking Svetlana. Either I succeeded or she never bothered to mention I had woken her. It didn't matter anyways.
After I finished I found myself subconsciously heading to a room I never went to anymore. I opened the door seeing my favorite chess set, set up perfectly on the table. There was a thin layer of dust on the pieces. I walked over to the table circling it slowly. I didn't know what I was looking for.
The empty space seemed to jump out at me, although I dreaded returning the piece to its place next to the king. I reached into my pocket, pulling out the one object I felt under my fingertips. The one thing I always kept with me. The black queen.
It made me think of Florence. Whenever we would play I would usually play white and she would usually play black and she'd always beat me distracting me with her queen, while her other pieces cornered my king.
I should see it coming by now, but for some reason I can't until she's telling me checkmate with that perfect grin. By then it's too late.
Just remembering her sent a jolt of pain through my heart. I missed her way too much. I never imagined when I was leaving with her the first time that I would fall so hopelessly in love with her, but here I was today wishing nothing more then to hold her in my arms.
I glanced down at the piece in my hand, tracing every part of it with my fingers. If I was to put it back I wanted to at least remember every little detail, like I wished I could with her.
After a moment I placed the piece back into my pocket, unable to part with it just yet. It seemed wrong for some reason. I took one glance at the board and left the room. I decided I needed to get whatever sleep I could before tomorrow so I headed back to my room, not at all eager at the fact I might have to deal with my wife again.