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Excerpt for The Last Limit by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



The Last Limit

Aliona Sadovnikovа




Distributed by Smashwords









































Chapter 1.



Morocco, 2016.



She was sitting on a bench in the middle of a bustling Arab city. The noisy crowd was in a hurry to get somewhere. The sun was beating down mercilessly, although it was only early April. Somewhere in the distance, the muezzin began to sing. Aromas of spices, the sounds of the bazaar, the men who kept darting dirty glances at her, women in the hijabs hurrying for the shopping seemed to be merged into a single stream. Some kind of mist came down on the head of Emilia. She was alone in this strange Eastern world and had no one to help her. She closed her eyes. Where should she go? She felt too weak to move.

'Are you okay?' suddenly she heard someone's distinct voice over her ear.

Emilia opened her eyes. A woman of about forty was standing near her, smiling friendly. 'She must be a French tourist,' thought Emilia.

'Thank you, I'm all right,' she forced out.

'Are you sure?'

And then Emilia burst into tears. The tears rained down her cheeks. 'It's so embarrassing!', this thought made Emilia shed floods of tears. The woman sat down on the bench beside her and started saying some words of consolation in French. Emilia barely understood the language and could not make out the words because of her sobs.

'What's your name?' the question was asked again.

'I don't speak French,' she replied in English, and reached for her bag, intending to leave.

'I speak English. And you are so beautiful!' sounded from the stranger's lips. Emilia was surprised.

'Thank you,' she said softly.

'What is your name and where are you from?'

'My name is Emilia, I'm from Lithuania.'

'What happened to you? Can I help you?'

Emilia looked in the face of the stranger. She could feel the warmth and some power in her brown eyes.

'I've had a trouble.'

And Emilia told the story of her coming to work as a teacher of English in Morocco. It all started rosy, but a month later, the school principal started to harass her. Having been refused, he kicked her out of her work and a rented apartment, finally promising to send a negative reference for her to all his friends.

'Oh, what a bastard!' said the stranger. 'There are many such men here, unfortunately. My name is Shaima, I live nearby.'

'Are you Moroccan?!'

Why? Don't I look like the one?' She laughed. 'Yes, I was born and grew up here.' Emilia looked at the interlocutrix in surprise. An elegant blouse, trousers, high heels, a delicate aroma of expensive perfume, a wave of perfectly laid chestnut hair. Local women do not usually look like that.

'So, you have nowhere to go? Do you want to stay with me?'

'But ...'

'You will not burden me at all, I have a large house.'

She smiled and took Emilia by the hand:

'Let's go!'

The rest was happening like a dream. They were walking holding hands around the city. Shaima turned to one street from the avenue, then to another. Emilia ceased to understand anything. The windows of the houses were shuttered, the linen was being dried on the balconies. Some quiet music sounded from somewhere. Shaima was leading her along with confidence, incidentally asking some ridiculous questions, laughing merrily and this drove Emilia into a state of trance. The road went up, they turned the corner again, and then a view of the sea opened before them, and there was a large fence from one side.

'We've come!' said Shaima, pushed some button on the phone and the gate opened. There was a four-story white stone mansion inside.

'Oh, come on, I live here!' She pulled stunned Emilia at her hand.

There was a tropical garden with a fountain on the territory. There were three expensive cars a little further away. 'What if I'm locked up here and taken into slavery or killed?' the thought flashed through Emilia's head. Shaima was looking at her. The eyes of this woman sparkled with some kind of joy which was unfamiliar to Emilia, she strangely attracted her.

'Well, no, they certainly will not kill me, but ...' She did not have time to think of that 'but'. They approached the house, and Shaima opened the door. Emilia was in such chic interior for the first time in her life. Inside, everything was in an absolutely modern European style, in contrast with the eastern facade of the house. The hostess sat down on the sofa, elegantly crossing her legs, and poured wine into glasses.

'Sit down and make yourself at home! Tell me about your life, I'm so interested in getting to know you better.'

Emilia sat down on the edge of the couch, put her hands on her knees, feeling pinned down, and lowered her eyes. Shaima took her hands and began to stroke her palms slowly, looking straight into her eyes.

'Relax.'

Emilia seemed to plunge into some kind of hypnotic dream. That evening she told Shaima everything about herself - about her childhood in Vilnius, her parents, her ex-boyfriend, her studies in Sweden, her travels, her ups and downs. An hour, two, three, time disappeared. This woman was looking at her with her fathomless brown eyes and seemed to want to penetrate the very depths of her soul. The clock struck 2 a.m. The bottle of wine was empty.

'Shaima, and you?'

'Well, I,' she said casually, 'I'm a fashion designer. I was born and raised here, at the age of 19, I went to France, at 27 to Italy and succeeded there. Everything in my life is beautiful and perfect at first sight. Except for one - I'm a lesbian. It's a curse in this country.’

They were looking into each other's eyes without stopping. 'Should I tell the truth now?' Emilia made up her mind.

'I have also always liked women. I just did not have a chance to feel it in my life.'

Shaima touched the curl of her fair hair at her cheek, and then ran a finger along her lips. Emilia shivered. Shaima took her by the chin and kissed her gently. When she pulled away from her lips, she said:

'Quiet, don't shiver. Let me take you to your room, and tomorrow we'll get everything straightened out.’

Chapter 2.

Emilia woke up alone on a huge bed. Bright, southern sunshine broke through the shutters on the windows. She did not immediately realize where she was. She did not feel like returning from the warm, unveiling bliss. Suddenly she remembered what had happened the day before, and jumped out of bed. It was her first kiss with a woman. But that was not the worst thing! It seemed that she felt love for the first time in her life. A warm, hot, alive fire was flaring up in her chest and spreading like rays all over her body. 'Do I love her? It can't be true!' After all, she believed that earthly love did not exist. People invented sugary tales, but everything that happened between them, in reality, was affection, passion, and ultimately it all lead to disappointment and emptiness. But now she felt it at the very center of herself. 'Should I escape from this house, and hide?' Emilia opened the window, the midday heat burst into the room. 'No, there's no escape. It's already happened, it's in me.'

She opened the door of the room. The house was silent.

'Shaima?' She called.

Nobody answered. Emilia went out into the corridor and went down the stairs. 'How many rooms are there in this house?' the thought flashed through her mind. Emilia came down to the ground floor, crossed the threshold of the living room and almost cried out in surprise. A young man was sitting at the big table with a laptop and drinking coffee.

'Hello!'

The guy looked at her and smiled. He was clearly of Arab origin. He had dark hair and brown eyes, like Shaima's, which seemed to pierce you through with a slight sneer.

'Did you have a good sleep?' he asked.

Emilia was confused:

'Yes, I think so.'

'Have a seat. 1 p.m. is the time for breakfast at our place.'

'At your place?'

'Hasn't Shaima told you about me? I'm Ahmed, her younger brother. I also live here ... from time to time. Jasmine!' he shouted.

An Asian woman in a white apron appeared in the room.

'Bring toasts with ham, fruit salad and mint tea with almonds for Emilia,' he smiled. 'Have I guessed your taste?'

'Just a minute,' the girl bowed respectfully and disappeared.

‘Do you eat ham?' Emilia asked him in surprise.

'The ham is of beef,' Ahmed laughed. 'But in general, we are those who violate the laws of this country. Shaima is talented and well-known, and I am a successful businessman. But we are the dishonor of our family for life. My sister likes women, and I'm gay.'

Emilia looked down.

'I understand, it must be very hard. Sorry for asking, but where is Shaima now?'

'She went to the city,' Ahmed said with a mysterious smile. 'I like you, you're not like everyone else.'

'Everyone else?'

'Well, anything can happen in this house. Shaima loves freedom, and I do not like onlookers. So we hired a Filipina. She does not understand Arabic, minds her own business and doesn't communicate with anyone in this city.' He paused for a moment, and then continued,'Shaima likes having fun. One day I flew in from Paris in the morning. The living room looked as if the Israeli army had attacked us... And three naked girls were sleeping on the carpet with their arms around my sister.’

Jasmine came into the living room with a tray in her hands, put food in front of Emilia, set out the table, and walked away, humbly looking down at the floor. Ahmed looked at the dumbfounded interlocutrix.

'I love my sister. She is talented, intelligent and has the right to everything. But you are special. I've never seen her like she was this morning. She was so sincerely happy and radiant. Do not disappoint her! Well, I have to go on business. Enjoy your meal!'

Ahmed went out of the living room, leaving the girl in a state of complete prostration.

Emilia was sitting by the pool and looking at the sun. She loved the sun, even such scorching, as Moroccan. It gave energy, and its fire seemed to clear her from vanity and all the incomprehensible and superfluous that was going on around her.

Suddenly, someone put his hands on her eyes. Emilia shuddered.

'Shaima?'

Shaima took her hands off, tenderly put her arms around Emilia's shoulders and kissed her cheek.

'Look at what I've brought for you!'

Emilia turned around. There was a whole pile of some packages and boxes a bit further off.

'What is it?'

'It's all for you. You've got into the world of an Arab princess,' Shaima laughed. 'So, you'll fully immerse yourself in it!'

Emilia went up to the store of the packages.

'Wait! First I want you to put this on!' She was holding something in her hands. 'This is a traditional Moroccan dress of my design. Get undressed!'

She caught Emilia's surprised look.

'Right here! I want to feast my eyes on you!'

Emilia took off her T-shirt, and then, pausing, dropped her skirt. Standing with her back to Shaima, she could feel her gaze, which was gliding over her like a hot ray, studying all the details of her body.

'Now, turn to me!'

Emilia obeyed. Shaima was dressed in a black business suit and seemed impenetrable. The Moroccan 'princess' looked directly into Emilia's eyes, then her gaze slid lower and lower. A crazy desire arose in Emilia. She wanted to fall into Shaima's arms and give herself up to her right there, on the stone floor by the pool.

'Well, why are you still standing? Put on a dress!'

Barely controlling the tightness in her chest, Emilia got her breath and tried on her dress.

'Shaima, aren't you hot?'

'Me? No!' laughed the other. 'I'm a child of the desert. Have you ever seen the endless sands that go beyond the horizon?'

'No, but I’ve always dreamed about it.'

'Well, get ready then, tomorrow your dream will come true.'

The gifts barely fitted in her room. It was chock-full of presents. Cosmetics, jewelry, and clothes - surprisingly, everything fitted her and looked gorgeous on her. But most of all Emilia was struck by the perfume. There were amazing oriental fragrances in it. They were so rich that as soon as she brought a drop of it to her nose, the pictures of ancient cities began to come to life, the fragrances of the sea, flowers, spices were felt as if the whole soul of North Africa fitted in several small bottles.



Chapter 3.

They were driving along the coast. The wind blew into their faces from the open window of the car. Now and then stunning views opened round the bend. The sky connected with the sea on the horizon, light white foam near the shore was running off into the distance.

'I want to know the soul of your country,' Emilia said, thoughtfully looking out the window.

'And mine?' Shaima looked at her with her fathomless eyes.

'Yours, yes, I do. More than anything.'

When they arrived in the desert, it was getting dark. At first, there was a rocky landscape around, but then suddenly there appeared dunes, the very dunes that Emilia had dreamed of from her childhood. They stayed in a small hotel. The hosts were friendly Berbers and offered them the best room.

Having walked a short distance away from the hotel, Shaima said:

'Well, we are here alone, as you wanted. No people, no city, only you, me and the sand.'

The dunes were something unreal. It seemed that time stopped there. 'How many people have been here for centuries,' thought Emilia. 'They fought, loved, hated, died. The whole of their vanity was absorbed by this unshakable beauty. Only the sky speaks with sand here for thousands of years. And it knows the answer to all questions.'

They went up the dune. When they reached the summit, the hot sun set over the horizon and flooded this cosmic landscape with an amazing light.

'Shaima, I'm disappearing in you, as if I was no longer supposed to be. And my heart seems to be breaking out of my chest now.'

Shaima took Emilia by the hand.

'It's just a desert. Unrestrained sadness often descends on people or they are taken with unrestrained joy here. And some of them even have visions. But don't worry, it will pass.'

'No, it won't pass.'

Emilia pulled Shaima to herself and kissed her. Then she unbuttoned her blouse and touched her breast. Her beloved took off her dress, pushed her lightly onto the sand and pressed her clitoris to hers. Emilia felt like she was seized by an all-consuming primitive passion. At that moment, she was the continuation of Shaima's every movement. When she began to feel only the desire and the will of her beloved, her feelings and mind were obliterated. Then the orgasm overwhelmed her.

They were lying with their arms around each other and looking at the sky, where the first stars began to appear.

'I've never felt this way about a woman before,' Shaima said. 'You are like a message from above, the source of joy and real happiness that I asked from Heaven for all these years. Finally, God gave me so much.'

'And how do you imagine God?'

'I feel the Light that leads me in my life. Sometimes its strength decreases, and I wither like a plant in the desert. And sometimes I feel it very intensely, like before our meeting with you. It has nothing to do with Islam or other religions. It's what's inside me. I see it brighter in the stars than in the walls of mosques or churches.'

'That's right. You seem to read my mind. In addition, religions try to declare us sinners and forcibly take away what we are from us. But love can't be a vice. It is divine.'

They looked up at the sky. Myriads of stars were scattered over it, drawing the canvases of constellations going to infinity.

'And what will happen to us when we die?' whispered Shaima. 'Will we get lost among these stars?'

'I will always be with you, I feel it. It sounds strange, but it is as if you were already me. It seems to me that nothing can separate us, and everything else is not important.

Chapter 4.

A few days after their return, Shaima said:

'I need to go to Italy. I'll have a fashion show. All my friends and competitors will get together, and there will be a big party later on. Will you come with me?'

Emilia answered:

'Yes, of course, my love. I'm far from the world of fashion, but I'm so interested in learning everything about your life.'

Florence Airport greeted them with rain and cheerful Italians. European girls suddenly stroke Emilia as so free, although she had never noticed that before. They did not hide their eyes, gaily talked with men and did not hide their sexuality. The spirit of freedom and joy spread in the air, despite the gloomy weather.

Shaima had an apartment on the top floor of the building in the old town, and the whole roof belonged to her. There were chairs, plants in pots and even a small pool. There were antique furniture and chandeliers, and oddly shaped mirrors in the apartment.

'Good Heavens, it looks like a little paradise,' Emilia said, standing on the roof and looking at the city.

'I'm glad you like it here. Let's go for a walk, I'll show you the city.'

Emilia always preferred nature to cities. But Florence was something out of the ordinary. Almost every building was an architectural masterpiece, and Emilia could not see enough of houses, streets, cathedrals, and bridges across the river. The picture was complemented by surprisingly stylishly dressed people. When they sat down at a table in a cafe, Emilia said:

'It seems to me that I understand why you create beauty here. This city breathes it from within.'

'Now, a real muse has been added to this beauty,' her beloved smiled slyly.

The next morning Shaima said:

'I need to see the hall for the show. Come with me!'

'But I don't know anyone, what will I do there?'

'Don't worry. I'll introduce you to everyone. They are cute and quite friendly.'

When they entered the room, Emilia saw unusually dressed girls and men. They began greeting and hugging Shaima and talking something non-stop in Italian. Then Shaima pointed to Emilia, they looked all together in her direction and smiled friendly. One of the girls hugged her shoulders and led her around the hall:

'Look, we have a backstage here, the models change clothes, and you can lie on the couch here and have a snack.'

She pointed to the table with a large number of bottles of different sizes.

'Do you want to become a model?'

'Me? Oh, no! This is my first time in such a place.'

The girl's eyes flashed with envy.

'Where did you meet the most famous designer in Europe then?'

'I didn't know that Shaima is so famous, I don't really know much about fashion.' 'Well, yes, of course,' she lowered her voice slightly and continued. 'She has a different girl every week. I don't even remember the names of all her mistresses. So, if you want to make something of yourself, go ahead until she's bored with you.'


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