In case you’re curious – this is what Andrew and Niko look like –
Today’s revisions were on chapter 2.
On the hour-long ride back to Brighton, Andrew and Niko got to know one another.
Niko was amiable, yet brash; he was the most attractive man Andrew had met so far since coming to New York. He understood Slovak, so they exchanged introductions in it before breaking into English to talk to Samil and Radek.
“Why don’t you like Madonna, she’s a sexy woman?” Radek asked, Niko shook his head and pursed his lips.
The conversation, instigated by Samil’s choice of radio stations, was about the singer’s latest album and how much Niko hated it and her new world-tour movie.
“She’s fake. You watch that shit movie of hers and it’s all a show. She’s fake, like those Vamilli singers, those idiots with all the braids.” Niko said.
“Milli Vanilli?” Samil said laughing. Andrew, who’d stifled his laughter up to that point, just couldn’t hold it anymore as Samil continued to tease, “or Vamilli Manilli,”
“Shut up, you,” Nico said, “or I’ll come up there and Vamilli you. Those bastards ripped me off. I want my money back.”
“You can get up to three dollars back, you know.” Andrew said.
As Niko looked over at him, Andrew was captivated. The hat was off and two long wisps of coffee colored hair festooned his face, one of them danced over the ridge of his large sharp nose.
“Is that right?”
“There was big court case and if you take your disk back and turn it in, you can get a three dollar refund.”
“I liked them though,” Samil said and started singing, “Blame it on the rain that was coming dow-ow-own!“
Niko and Radek groaned.
“Oh shut up!” Samil said.
“Don’t quit day job,” Radek said in his broken English.
“He’s better than Madonna.” Niko said.
“She took her top off in that film,” Radek said into the rearview, the word film came out sounding like feelm.
“She’s no tits.” Niko said.
“What do you care about tits, you’re queer.” Samil asked.
“We care about tits,” Niko said, as Radek nodded in agreement. “You should be thankful we like tits, little cubs like you should be wearing a bra.”
As Niko insulted him for being chubby, Samil’s middle finger rose to his defense.
“Rude boy,” he said, and then turned his attention to Andrew.
“Are you from New York?” Andrew asked, watching the muscles in Niko’s chiseled biceps jerk as he adjusted the band of his ponytail.
“Born in Simferopol, Ukraine. I came here about five years ago with my step-father and Radek.” He said.
“Half. We had the same momma, but she’s gone.” Niko said, and made the sign of the cross and kissed his thumbnail. Radek did the same.
“So what were you in for?” Andrew asked.
“Stealing, Milli Vanilli cd’s.” Samil said, and Radek laughed at this.
“He’s very funny,” Niko said, and then explained, “I was caught selling some stolen things, and I served my time for it. I won’t brag I’m not proud of it.”
“…of getting caught or fencing?” Andrew asked.
“Both.” Niko said with a smile.
Andrew couldn’t get over the whiteness of his smile, his teeth beautiful, despite the gold cap.
“What do they give you to brush your teeth in there, because I can see my reflection,” he said, and everyone laughed.
“Nikola is insane crazy about his teeth,” Radek said.
“I like a clean mouth.” Niko said, staring boldly at Andrew.
“How old are you?” Andrew asked.
“I’m twenty-five, why?” he said.
“Just curious,” Andrew said.
“So where are you from Andy?” he asked.
“Andrew. And before you ask, I’m twenty.” He said, “I’m from Atlantic City.”
He then turned away from Niko and looked out his window; in the hope he’d stop asking questions.
“Why are you here, Andrew?” he asked.
“I’m a violinist. I’m here for the summer, to play.” Andrew said, and with that folded his arms over his chest and leaned against the door.
Niko got the point this time and stopped talking.
Tomorrow – chapter 3.