The Mint Key, Part 1

Author's Comments:

Names: Dmitri I chose because I love the name. <g> It's also the name of my computer. <g> Vladimir was chosen by a friend of mine, who says it's the coolest name ever. Gorokhovski is a mutation. When I was a student at the Univ of Oregon, Tatyana Gorokhovskaya was the *best* teacher I ever had. Her Russian class was the hardest I've ever taken, but she was a sweetheart and a half. This year, she was killed in a car accident. I gave them her last name, because she would have loved this story. (She wouldn't care how awful a writer I am. <g> She would have liked the topic, and I know she would have loved anything done by one of her students, no matter how terrible it was. <g> ) Actually, it's not *really* her last name. But Russian names are dependent on gender. The female names end (typically, not always) in a. So the male version would (I *think*) be Gorokhovski. I'm not positive, but I think so.

I tend to procrastinate and feel *extremely* self-conscious (ne, xian-pu?), and I know my work needs a lot of help, so please send me helpful comments and plenty of nags. <g>

Anyway, on with the show!


The Mint Key
(Chara created by Lina [Todd])

Name: Erin Montgomery

Experience: Depends on your point of view. Erin is a very, very, *VERY* eager boy, has learned a lot, but it's all book knowledge and stories, rather than actual experience. So, in essence, he has a lot of knowledge but nothing practical he can draw on. He is a *very* fast learner though, and very eager.

Personality: Energetic and driven to the point of distraction. Were he a girl he'd be called "giggly" by his peers. He's the kind of kid who was so bright that he left the others so far in the dust they couldn't see him anymore, but generally he doesn't use his intellect, preferring to let the tenor of the moment decide his actions. He's very impulsive, sometimes jumpy, and always full of life.

Description: Not quite tall, maybe 5'8". His hair is an unruly flame-red (think Crono from Chrono Trigger) and his build is slender but muscular, like an acrobat's would be. His eyes are deep, shining green and he has freckles on the tops of high cheekbones right below his eyes. Curiously, he wears a single, ever-blooming tiger lily in his hair.

Clothing: Loose. His top is covered in a white tank top, with a loose green vest worn open over it. He also wears a pair of long, green pantalons that match his shirt, and sandles. A very Arabesque style of clothing, overall.

Room: A solarium. There's more space than may first appear due to the amount of plants in the room; there are *tons* of potted flowers and fruits and veggies and sapling trees of all varieties in the room. There is a simulated natural creek running through also.


Part 1

Dmitri glared at the man in front of him, his boss, who coincidentally also happened to be his father. He grasped the box he'd been given so hard his knuckles were white, though he wished more than anything that he could just toss it out the window and be done with all this nonsense. This was a waste of time, anyway. He had work that needed to be finished. He didn't have time to play his father's games. His sullen glare spoke his thoughts clearly without him saying a word.

His father, Vladimir Gorokhovski, returned his glare with one of his own. "I had hoped that you would take your Christmas break as a vacation. I gave you four days off. I had hoped you would use those days to rest. God knows you need it. But instead, I call your house to find out from your housekeeper that you went in to work! On Christmas Day!"

Dmitri remained silent, sulking. Of course he'd gone in on Christmas Day. He had had work to do. And the office had been empty, so no one would bother him. He glared at his father, then turned his gaze to glare at the box in his hand. It was a small wooden box, dark and gleaming with polish. He wondered what was inside, briefly. Plane tickets or a check of vacation pay wouldn't need to be presented in such a container. But he would die before he would show his curiosity in front of his father.

"Mitka," his father tried again, using the name which Dmitri hadn't used since he was a child. "Please. Your mother and I worry. We don't know why you've decided to avoid us, or why you never come over anymore." Dmitri wouldn't meet his father's eyes, just stared resolutely at the box in his hands, a lock of his dark purple hair, its length the one last rebellion he would allow himself, falling over one eye. "But we are still your parents, and we want you to be happy."

"I'm happy when I work," was Dmitri's quiet response, the first words he'd spoken since he'd entered his father's office.

Vladimir sighed. "I know. And you're very good at it." He looked at his son's face, downturned and emotionless, and willed him to look up. Dmitri continued to avoid his gaze, his dark eyes burning angrily. Vladimir closed his eyes for a moment in pain, then opened them again. He had no idea what he had done to make his son hate him, but whatever it was, he still loved his son, and wanted him happy. Dmitri had been working himself to the bone, recently. He was doing a damn good job, and had landed a very important client. But his eyes had shadows under them, he looked tense and exhausted and he snapped at everyone he saw. His poor secretary had come to Vladimir this morning, bawling her eyes out after Dmitri had yelled at her.

This trip would give his son some time away from the office, and a chance to seek some...relaxation...with a beautiful woman. He had no delusions that this act would repair whatever damage existed in his relationship with his son, but it might, at least for a while, make his son happier. "In that box, Mitka, you'll find instructions. Follow them, and return in two weeks." His eyes were sad, but his voice was stern as he continued, "If you return before the two weeks are up, you'll find your job snatched away and given to some two-bit Yale graduate, and you'll be working in the mail room as a flunky."

Dmitri raised his head, his dark violet eyes shooting flames of anger and hatred at his father. But Vladimir was resolute. "It's only two weeks. When you return, maybe a Vice Presidency will have opened up."

Dmitri snorted. "Fine," he ground out. "I'll play your stupid game. But only because I've worked too hard for this job to jeopardize it." His eyes shined with resentment that pained Vladimir straight to his heart. He sincerely hoped this would work.

Dmitri had opened the box immediately after returning to his apartment. Inside of the dark wood had been mint-colored satin, beautiful, and soft to the touch. Lying in it's pillow of decadence, had been a key. About 3 inches long, the key was delicate and frail looking, though when Dmitri had picked it up, he'd known it was strong and resilient. It was gold with a pale green ribbon, that matched the satin of the box perfectly, intertwined through the intricate design at the top of the key.

A frown had appeared on his brow. What the hell was this? When he had lifted the key from it's bed of satin, he had discovered a small black piece of paper, with scalloped edges and small gold lettering that read "The Palace" and had a phone number underneath it. He had snorted. Some instructions. But he had called the number, and now he was on a plane over a grand expanse of water.

He leaned his head back against the luxurious seat in the small plane and sighed. What the hell was he doing here, he grumbled to himself. He should never have agreed to this stupid trip. Should never have given in to his father's stupid game. He sighed. He'd known he would give in to his father's wishes the minute he'd approached him with the box. He knew his father thought he hated him, but it wasn't true. Dmitri had all the same loyalties and love for his family that he had been raised with.

He did love his family. If he didn't he would have left the family-owned company ages ago. He loved the work there, true, but he could easily have found a job elsewhere and still have been happy. But he loved his parents, and believed in preserving the business, so he stayed. However, he had secrets. And his father...

He opened his eyes and looked at the man sitting across from him, reading a magazine. He was handsome. Dark, ebony hair, which fell just to his shoulders, blue eyes, bright and clear, and a body that reflected hours spent outside, exercising. Dmitri's eyes darkened in appreciation as the man ran a hand through his hair, and the light glinted off the ends.

The man had come to him about three hours after he had called the number in the box. Wearing a three-piece suit and a serious expression, he verified that Dmitri had done as the voice on the phone had said and packed his bags, then introduced himself as "Gold." That was all. Dmitri had no clue whether that was a first name, a last name or a pseudonym, but he hadn't been encouraged to ask questions. Gold had led him to the stretch limo which had brought him to the private airport, all with very little conversation.

Dmitri returned his gaze to the window and watched as the plane began its descent. Finally, fed up with the silent treatment he'd been given, he turned to Gold and asked, "So where are we going?"

Gold raised his head and met Dmitri's gaze with surprise in his eyes. "What do you mean?"

Dmitri rolled his eyes. Pretty, but not overly intelligent, he decided. "What was the key for? Where is the plane taking us?" He spoke as if to a three year old, condescending and arrogant.

But Gold took it well. Not even narrowing his eyes at Dmitri's insulting tone, he replied, "We're going to the Palace. The key is to your room."

"Some sort of hotel," Dmitri surmised.

Gold blinked. "Not quite. The Palace is a resort, of sorts. The key is to your suite, and your slave."

"Slave?!" Dmitri couldn't keep the incredulous tone out of his voice. The arrogant tone returned quickly, though, and he continued sardonically, "Isn't that just a little illegal?"

Now it was Gold who rolled his eyes. "These slaves are here willingly and of their own volition. The term slave is just that. A term. Your slave will be Erin. Erin will be at your beck and call, to do whatever you wish. You are registered to stay for two weeks, but the key is currently for sale, so if you should choose to purchase it or stay longer, you will have that option."

Dmitri nodded and returned to his silence. Now it made sense. He couldn't imagine his father condoning slavery, but a willing female love slave...Whether it was because he was Russian, or because it was a family trait,and Dmitri strongly suspected the latter, Dmitri's father was instilled with the same ultra-charming chauvinism that his father, grandfather and great grandfather had been. He would naturally assume that a woman who was there to serve him, to cater to his every whim, would be Dmitri's dream come true. Dmitri almost chuckled to himself. His father hadn't a clue. And Dmitri wasn't about to let him in on the secret. He almost felt sorry for this "Erin." She certainly wouldn't be getting any action for the next two weeks.

End Part 1