Stephanie

[Stephanie] Chapter 4

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Translation to English: Georgia Ignatiadi – georgiaignatiadi@gmail.com

Illustration: Dimitra Adamopoulou (Dimi Adam)

“I have a question…” Madeleine asks me the next morning, while I arrange the order on the already full shelves of the bookstore. I look at her puzzled and nod.

“About what?;”

“I wonder why you waste the precious time of your youth, in a bookstore with dusty shelves, with me, when you could be doing other great things.”

It’s my turn to stare at her in disbelief.

“Well, the environment is good…” I whisper.

“Okay beyond that. Of course, the financial is also an issue, but you are young and beautiful Stephania, you won’t find what you are looking for here.”

“Are you dismissing me in a polite way?” I ask her with all the courage she has given me, and we both burst out laughing.

“Basically, something like that Stephanie…”

“What do you mean;” and my laughter stops.

“A friend, a well-known businessman, is looking for a trusted person. He was friends with Iris, that’s where I know him from.”

“What trusted person? For what exactly?’ I manage to say after a few seconds’ pause.

“He’s the CEO of Zentai Pharmaceuticals. He needs an educated and trusted person to teach his son. The whole family changes countries often, for their own reasons, and they want someone who doesn’t have something to keep them somewhere permanently. It’s a great opportunity for you. You will get to travel,  see a lot of places, and you will actually spend time with Nikos’ son, Alexander.”

“Nikos Politis?” I ask surprised.

“Yes, Nikos Politis will be your boss.”

My mouth is open and I look at her. Raphael’s advice, Harim’s messages, and my desire to live carefree come to mind.

“Okay” I reply to Madeleine as she starts clapping her hands together.

“Perfect! I’ll call him now!”

~~~

One week later

Mr. Politis’ instructions were crystal clear. Pack the things you will need, and inform the  landlady that you will be leaving the apartment. I will take care of the furniture as well as your passport. Do not take any electronic devices with you. You will be given a corporate cell phone to talk to your family. But no contact with social media etc. You will have everything else you need.

Having packed only the essentials, I leave my cell phone and computer in a backpack, both turned off, on my bed. I look around the apartment that accommodated me for so many years. I felt butterflies in my stomach from the leap of faith I’m about to take. A few tears well up in my eyes, and second thoughts made their appearance.

Maybe it’s  not a good idea? Are you not connected with Athens? How will you manage spend the night with an unknown family?

My two hearts are on fire. I get goosebumps from anxiety and I feel my head ready to explode. I grab onto the bed rails, and begin to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. A few breaths later everything begins to calm down. Wiping away my tears and runny nose, I quickly exit the apartment and head down the entrance of my apartment building. There, a distinctive Fiat Pundo is waiting for me, with the driver getting out of it and coming towards me.

“Stephania?” asks me

“Yes that’s me…” I answer

“Mr. Politis sent me. We will go straight to the airport. The private flight is in a few hours. May I take your luggage?’

I handle them to him and get into the back seat of the car, accompanied only by my handbag and a notebook. I may not be able to take pictures, but I can sketch and write what I see. The driver gets into the car and we start the journey to the airport. We didn’t exchange any words for most of the ride and I make a move to pick up a conversation.

“Do you know where we’re flying to?”

“No I do not know. Such information does not reach us, and it does not even concern us” he answers somewhat dryly, and the silence continues. Two minutes later I ask again.

“Have you been working for Mr.Politis for a long time ?’

“I cannot share such information. Basis of contract, which you will also have to sign, and are prohibited.” he answers me and I am speechless. I’m thinking of telling him to stop and take me back home. Now that you have come so far there is no turning back whether you like it or not. There is nothing waiting for you back there… the little voice inside me informs me.

We arrive at the airport, he takes me straight to the private runway and there a luxury jet is patiently waiting for us. The sun was starting to set and  the sun’s rays were leaving this side of the earth. The driver takes my luggage out of the car and motions for me to go up the stairs.

Make a decision finally… don’t chicken out now. It’s your turn to see and live! Don’t wait books to make a living for you… Be the protagonist of your own story!

I take a deep breath and head up the stairs. I enter the plane and the first thing I see is a beefy guy blocking my entrance.

“Stephania?” he asks

“Yes” I answer him dryly.

“Mr. Politis and his family are already at our destination. You can sit wherever you want and we’ll be flying soon.”

“What is our destination?” I keep asking and finally get an answer. He smiles somewhat crookedly and lets me get inside the plane.

“London for starters…”

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