Greek Passions

By: Holly Rayner

“Are you Kally Jones, miss?” The voice belonged to a rail-thin waiter with a tiny nose and flaxen hair. “Please follow me,” he continued when she replied in the affirmative. “He’ll be with you shortly.”

Kally was led up a spiral staircase and onto a balcony, where a truly extravagant set of tables awaited. She took a seat at the one in the center, and was left to her own devices for a few moments, before the waiter returned to offer her a glass of wine.

“Shortly” turned out to mean over twenty minutes, and Kally found herself getting a little antsy at the wait. What is taking him so long? she thought for the twentieth time. Once or twice, she’d toyed with the idea of trying to order an appetizer. But she always came back to the fact that it would likely cost half her rent without giving her anything to do until her client, whoever he was, condescended to appear. “This is not a good start,” she said out loud. “Not at all.”

She went over everything she would need to ask twice, and made a Sherlock Holmes mystery out of trying to divine her client’s identity. She began with the clues she had at hand: male, rich, Greek, sports fan. She tried to think of all the famous Greeks she could recall, but every one that came to mind worked in politics. She wasn’t sure of much at the moment, but she was fairly certain the Greek prime minister was not about to appear before her.

“It would explain the delay, though,” she mumbled, just as a tall gentleman came into the room.

“Good evening,” he boomed, in a strong Greek accent. “I apologize for making you wait.”

Kally started at the sound, shaking the proffered hand automatically as she collected herself. “No problem at all,” she replied, hoping she sounded genial.

The gentleman eased into the seat across from her. Kally looked at him properly for the first time, and when she did, her chest tightened like a vise.

The man before her had deep brown eyes, a strong jaw, and chiseled cheekbones. His short dark hair fell in unruly waves, and his full beard was neatly trimmed. He had a forlorn look about him, somewhere in the eyes, that he was hiding behind a boisterous smile. Kally was hiding something too: shock, and revulsion. The man sitting across from her had very nearly ruined her life.

“My name is Alexandros Stratos,” he began warmly. “Um…perhaps you have heard of me?” he faltered, catching sight of her face.

Kally forced her features back into her plastic smile, and politely shook her head to indicate that she hadn’t. “I’ve heard your company mentioned before, but I’ve always been a bit vague about what it actually does,” she lied.

“Ah,” he replied, his smile returning slowly. “I thought…but I must apologize for all the secrecy,” he said abruptly. “It can be annoying, I know that more than anyone, but I find it’s necessary in my line of work. I suppose your agent has told you why we’re here today?”

We’re here because you killed my job, you rat bastard, Kally thought furiously.

“Very little,” she said, “I’m told you would like me to assist you in writing a memoir?”

“Yes, of my youth in Kaminos, and the man I have become.”

A heartless son of a bitch who destroys people’s lives without a second thought.

“Kaminos? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it.”

“It’s a small town on the island of Lemnos. I hope you will agree to help me make it more famous.”

It seemed as though he meant for this to sound jovial, but what came out was a wistfulness that momentarily broke through Kally’s hatred.

“It’s a beautiful place, Ms. Jones. Before my grandfather died, he used to take me to the River Kalikos, and we’d go fishing. My father never approved,” he said, his tone darkening slightly, “but my grandfather believed I needed to know something of the old ways.” His eyes were full of nostalgia as he spoke, and he barely noticed when the waiter returned with more wine.

This was not the brash arrogance Kally had expected from the man who had taken away her career. Something in his tone tugged at her journalistic instincts, the words “deeper story” flashing in her mind like a neon sign.

Questions lined up in her mind, and Kally had just parted her lips, wanting to probe deeper and satisfy her curiosity, when her mind showed her the teary, blue eyes of Beth Matthews, the woman who had been her closest friend. Beth hadn’t even spoken when she’d heard the news. She’d simply broken into a bout of quiet sobs. She had just come from the break room, where she had been nursing her four-month-old son. The expression on her face had been completely devoid of hope. Kally glared at the creature that sat across from her. Was she really about to allow herself to work for the man who had thrown her best friend and her child out into the cold?

Top Books