This weekend, I literally had to sleep. After a grueling last few weeks on many fronts, I was happy to drop V6, one of a couple of books that are in the queue for RiverHouse.
You know, this book is so exciting in so many ways. It marks the half-way mark for the Chronicles, which I had to expand because the story could not be told in eight volumes. It marks the point of no return for Dmitry and Ivan and it tells the story of why Dmitry never truly loves until he meets Royal.
Love is never easy. We all know that. We go through ups and downs. We have moments when we are not sure what’s what. But Elsa and Dmitry where going through some serious drama. She wanted to be like Beyoncé and make Dmitry put a ring on her finger. Now, who could really blame her? It’s not like you can get a catch like him every day, but the problem was that Dmitry wasn’t interested. He was in the middle of building a skyscraper and gaining legitimate and legal name recognition in the international business community.
Excerpt from The Chronicles of Young Dmitry Medlov: Volume 6
Dmitry had discovered that this outward transformation he was undergoing would be the key to the continuation of the Medlov Crime Family’s existence. The new men of their old brotherhood would have to find innovative ways to help the Vory v Zakone survive, and with Interpol taking a hard stance against them, they had to do it covertly and quickly.
Hundreds of men had been put in prison over the last year, many whom did not bother to hide their affiliations or intent. Others were arrested only because they did not do a good enough job of covering their tracks or hiding their meetings. For Dmitry, it was important to walk the line carefully. He had to be a chameleon so that he could move from one place to the other without agents popping out of his luggage.
The natural fit for most Vory men who were trying to branch out was in business, politics or law. Anyone who was serious about control was involved in all three. Dmitry had decided to start buying up international businesses in various industries including biomedical research, cell phone, computers and whatever else would put him in front of the technology curve. In the process, he also bought as many politicians as his purse could afford and put a few more lawyers on his payroll. He wanted to build a machine large enough to fuel the world’s largest and most powerful crime syndicate but smart enough to simply look like capitalism at its most.
It had only been a year since the bad business with his father. Since then, he had closed the deal with Elsa’s father to provide the Angolan MPLA with all of their munitions, cleansed Hutton’s board of anyone who was not a part of the brotherhood and expand his presence in Mother Russia to exploit the grotesquely large surplus of post-war munitions hidden in bunkers across the country.
In essence, his plan had been a total success. He was finally moving in the direction that he had always envisioned.
End of Excerpt.
However, we all know, you can’t make anyone marry you. Only Elsa didn’t get the memo. In her mind, they were spending time together on a continual basis, they were in a monogamous relationship, and marriage was the next logical step.
Now any true Medlovian is also well versed in the Vory v Zakone. You have to be to understand the plot and twists of the storyline.
The Vory was born of Stalin’s prison camps and grew into a group of criminal barons who kept order in the gulags and governed the dark gaps in Soviet life beyond the reach of the KGB. While the Communist Party had a steadfast grip on government and society, the Vory had something of a monopoly on crime.
While Dmitry later moved into other parts of his life where he could explore marriage, at such a young age during this particular point in his life, he is not interested in marriage or going against his code.
Under the theoretical code of the vory, a thief must:
• Never show his emotions.
• Forsake his relatives: father, mother, brothers, sisters. (Varies)
• Not have a family of his own: no marriage, no children; this does not however, preclude him from having an unlimited number of women. *During a large gathering of thieves-in-law during the late 1980s, this rule was removed. (Varies)
• Never, under any circumstances, have a legitimate job or significant property (e.g. a house), no matter how much difficulty this brings; live only on money obtained through gambling or theft (the word ‘theft’ as used here describes any criminal activity considered ‘legitimate’ by the Vory), and rely on lower-level criminals for accommodation. For example, harming or molesting children is strongly frowned upon and may endanger a vor’s status and could provoke a more brutal retaliation from one’s comrades than from the police. A ‘thief in law’ is a leadership position, so direct participation in arms smuggling and drug trafficking is incompatible with their high status since those crimes are a form of commerce. However receiving tribute from smugglers and drug-dealers or robbing and extorting them is a legitimate activity for a ‘thief in law’. (Traditional thieves this apply but modern Vor tend to be in more powerful positions and this rule now, is very uncommon.)
• Help other thieves: both by moral and material support, utilizing the commune of thieves.
• Rule and arbitrate the criminal world and protect basic needs of criminals and prisoners according to the extents and priorities set by the thieves’ commune (typically in a given prison/prison cell, or region when not imprisoned)
• Keep secret information about the whereabouts of accomplices (e.g. dens, districts, hideouts, safe apartments, etc.).
• In unavoidable situations (if a thief is under investigation or is arrested) to take the blame for someone else’s crime; this buys the other person time to escape and remain free.
• Demand an inquiry and judgment by a council of thieves to resolve disputes in the event of a conflict between oneself and other thieves, or between thieves.
• If necessary, participate in such inquiries if called upon.
• Punish any offending thief as decided by the judgment of the thieves council.
• Not resist carrying out the decision of punishing the offending thief who is found guilty, with punishment determined by the thieves council.
• Have good command of the thieves’ slang (called “Fenya”), a distinct language spoken by hardcore criminals in Russia and understood by few outsiders.
• Never gamble without being able to cover losses.
• Teach the criminal way of life to youth with potential.
• Have, if possible, informants from the rank and file of thieves.
• Not to lose your reasoning abilities when drunk.
• Have nothing to do with the authorities (particularly with the ITU, Correctional Labor Authority), not participate in public activities, nor join any community organizations. (This rule came from during the years of Soviet oppression and rarely applies now)
• Not serve in the military or accept any weapons from the government or prison authority (police baton). (Again this rule is traditional and rarely applies today, in fact, Vor control the black market, which is discharged Soviet weapons)
• Make good on promises given to other thieves.
• Never deny his Vor status directly. To the questions like ‘Are you a Vor?’ or ‘Who are you for life?’, a vor should always answer: “Yes (I am a vor)”, even if asked by police and videotaped. The latter question phrase is ritual and video footage containing the answer is commonly used by the Russian militsiya to illustrate vory arrests in the media. (Not common in post-Soviet times)
The above code is no longer in use besides the standard prison code of ethics of not cooperating with prison authorities or informing on your fellow inmates. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, claimed never to have seen any thief honor the code if it conflicted with his personal criminal wants.[
Disappointment painted her delicate features from the furrow of her thick, arched brows to the twist of her full mouth. Like an equestrian dismounting her horse, she raised her body and threw her leg over him. The suction of their bodies separating caused a twinge in between her thighs. Shaking her head, she pulled the comforter over her, knocking papers to the floor.
Her voice was weak now. “Dmitry, we’ve been seeing each other for a year, and still you give me the same answer.”
Running a hand through his blonde locks, Dmitry shrugged. “Because I still feel the same way that I did about you a year ago. That should be a good sign.”
“It’s not,” she snapped quickly. “What did Catherine have that I do not? You married her.”
Dmitry’s eyes bucked. “This is not the same situation, and you know it. And I know that you know it because I have painstakingly explained it to you over a thousand times.”
“You say that you married her for money, but that can’t be. You say her name with too much reverence, like she walked on water.” Disgusted, she pushed toward the end of the bed. “If it was a marriage of convenience, then you wouldn’t behave the way that you do.”
“Please. I beg you. Let’s not do this,” he groaned. “We always end up talking about her. It’s a running argument and it’s getting old.”
“Here is something new then. I want more,” she said abruptly, knowing that his next question would more than likely be what do you want from me? Beating him to it was somehow less painful for her.
The words instantly drained Dmitry. More…More…MORE.
“You’re at the top of the food chain at Hutton. I give you everything that you want, although you can now afford it on your own. I shower you with affection. Nearly everywhere that I am, you are. I’m letting you work these crazy ass deals in Angola for your father. And I do care for you.” He said so without strain in his voice, but Dmitry felt a headache coming on, the kind that only a woman could cause.
She dismissed his long list of gifts. “But you don’t love me,” she said, standing up.
“And I’ve reached a point in my life where I need to be loved by someone. And I want to know why it cannot be you.”
Dmitry was lost for words. She just would not stop. He could see that now. Nothing that he could say would pacify her.
Picking up the papers around the bed, he threw them on the nightstand and pulled up his pants to cover his withering erection. “I’m sorry, Elsa,” he said with finality.
“Is it so hard to love me?” she asked one more time.
“It’s not you,” Dmitry answered honestly. “I’m just not equipped right now to love anyone.”
“Anyone else,” she said, correcting him. “You loved her.”
His voice grew sterner despite himself. “My relationship with Catherine is not up for discussion, here. Whether I loved her or not has no bearing on the way that I feel about you,” Dmitry said, getting frustrated. “We’ve had this discussion over and over and it just goes nowhere. Why do you continue?”
“Because you won’t let us go anywhere,” Elsa said, slightly raising her voice. She stood in the sunlight from the open window and looked at him. “We’re stagnant, stuck right here in this place in our relationship. You refuse to give any part of yourself, just your possessions.”
“We’re all here for a purpose, Elsa. You’re here because it benefits you, and I’m here because it benefits me. We knew our constraints before we ever started this relationship. The fact that it has not changed means that unlike the other men in your life, I have not gone back on my word.”
“Don’t use that!” Elsa screamed. Tears streamed down her high cheeks. “Don’t use other men in my life as a reason for why you shouldn’t give me any more than you already have! It’s not fair! I’m not asking for more money, damn you. I’m asking for your heart!” Her face was awash with painful tears that had built up for the last year and now erupted unexpectedly.
Dmitry looked up at her, stunned by her outburst. Silence filled the room. Raising his brow, he stood up beside the bed and gathered his fleeting composure. “Alright. This conversation is over. I’m going for a run,” he said, walking toward the walk-in closet. “I need to clear my head.”
Elsa watched the giant as he opened the double doors to the over-stocked closet and began to cry.
“You should get ready,” Dmitry said voice low. “You don’t want to miss your flight.”
“So you’re going to ignore me?” Elsa asked, wiping her face.
The muscles in his back tensed. Grabbing a t-shirt and jogging pants from the wooden dresser, he spoke softly. “I’m not ignoring you. I just don’t want to fight.” In his own way, he was pleading with her, knowing that if she pushed him any further, she’d just push him away.
“You just don’t want to talk,” she said, walking toward him. “It gives the other person too much control. If you have to be questioned about anything, then you just end the conversation.”
Dmitry pulled down his pajamas and kicked them across the closet, unleashing a little frustration. “It’s not about control.” He paused for a minute and looked down at the marble floor. “It’s about the fact that I told you where I stood, and you want to move me from that, but you can’t.” He clenched his jaw and turned halfway towards her. “I’m sorry if this isn’t enough, but it is all that I can give you.” He started to dress again.
“It’s all that you want to give,” she spat. “But I know that there is more in you, Dmitry. I’ve seen it. You have the capacity to love; you just refuse to do so. Why? Is it that I’m black?”
Dmitry rolled his eyes. He wouldn’t dignify that accusation with an answer.
“Is it because of Vladimir?” she fished.
Without a word, Dmitry bent down and slipped on his black Jockeys. As the thick elastic slapped around his rock hard abs, he turned fully towards her. His face was calm, almost emotionless. Inside, he was near a volcanic eruption of emotion, but he refused to show an ounce of it.
Thinking of his dead father, his stepdaughter and the mother of his brother’s child, Emma Hutton and the separation of both her and her brother from his dead wife Catherine, all the back alley deals and all the dead people, his missing son, Alexandria. His mother. And how fucked up Ivan had become. It was all too much.
Feeling himself slipping with each second, he finally pushed all of the thoughts out of his head.
“I’m not getting married ever again. I’m not having children with you. I’m not falling in love. It’s not good for the person who has to suffer through it with me. Consider it a favor to you, if that will make you feel better, but I have my reasons and my responsibilities,” he said, deep voice nearly in a whisper. “If this isn’t enough,” he raised the palms of his hands towards the ceiling, muscles bulging and tattoos on display, “Then maybe you should find someone else. I won’t stop you. I won’t try to hurt you or take anything away from you. You can keep your position in the company. Nothing will change, except that maybe you can find someone who can love you properly.”
Dmitry’s cool exterior only made Elsa angrier. She was good enough to bed, good enough to sit at the head of his boardroom table, but not enough to marry and have a family with.
“You know. You try to pretend that you are so different from Ivan, but you’re not. You’re just a quieter, smarter, more methodical sociopath,” she said, eyes narrowed and blazing.
So the question in the post finally comes out. Do you think that Elsa should have been pushing Dmitry towards marriage? Please no spoilers without a spoiler alert up top of your statement.