From early morning, when she left the sheets, her scent still fresh and warm on the pillow, her only concern was to look good, to shine; and she made every effort to be that “sassy girl,” the most beautiful, wholesome looking, a star-struck wannabe, the most desirable trophy anyone ever laid eyes upon. For she was someone, somebody: the Director of Speechwriting for the President. She was that Romanian sweetheart many men dreamt of, but only a fortunate few dared to touch. And she was proud to be so important. In fact, she was born for it, or at least she envisioned making it so.
She believed, with every single breath she took, that she was entitled to anything, and everything. She was also willing to bend any rules to achieve her goals: after all, she was a desirable woman, yes, but more importantly, she was a mother. Anything goes for the love of your cubs.
Her name, if history will allow it, may be revealed to a fortunate few. For now, let’s call her June, like that peaceful month that signals the heat of the summer.
June, a honey-blonde beauty, was 35 at the time of this tale. She’d gone through two marriages, several failed affairs, and a bunch of unfulfilled dreams. But June had always ended up a winner: she got a country-side property from the first marriage, and a half share from a central apartment in Bucharest from the second. Of course, these things were never enough for the beautiful, talented Director of Speechwriting for the President. She had to have more.
June believed that she was entitled to all the glory that came with her title. In all honesty, looks landed her the job. The looks, and 7 years spent studying on the government’s dime, plus a tenacity that made it all-so-easy for the powers that be, to promote her to the highest position that made sense, for the money invested by the taxpayers. Oh, June was so smart! Until that unfortunate day when she met Steve. Steve Priest, for “tax” purposes, not that the IRS can identify him from this story. Just because.
Steve and June got acquainted through friends, and yet, not really: they met on Facebook, the classical “friend-of-a-friend” affair. Steve, a seasoned womanizer, admired the raw beauty flowing from the pictures shared by June. June, admired the masculinity coming through Steve’s sculptured body, revealed in images, which needed no Photoshop. Alas, he was 58, turning 59. And that’s where it all began.
Steve and June would become an item, but at a high, high cost. The “friend of a friend” affair would involve innocent parties in a story with no happy ending. It all ended bad for Steve, but the always-land-on-your-feet June, just like a cat, went out of this just with a bit of her pride crumpled. June was always a winner.
Long before being a winner though, June was just a young woman, who enjoyed a bit of attention every now and then. She was that person who matched her earrings as closely as possible to the color of her eyes: turquoise blue, with a touch of amber, maybe just like Afroditis herself once wore. June was that girl whose shoes always matched the purse, or the belt, or that little accent on the cheap suit bought from the Chinese market, but that suit that looked like a million dollars after she ironed, and modified it just a bit, to fool the fashionistas, to make them believe that June was the most happening gal in town. She was that kind of person who would use just enough makeup to look daring, but not enough to look like a whore. And interestingly enough, everything she did, was to extract the benefits of being a young, desirable, woman.
June had a child too, yes, a young girl, aged 6. She called Matilda “her pride and joy,” pretty much like any mother would refer to her child. But June, unlike most single moms, who tend to hide the existence of a child, for fear that no man would dare to come near, she used Matilda to attract men. No one was ever as skilled, and as ruthless, at playing the game of the young, hurt and desperate mother, as June was.
She knew just how to use her recent divorce to lure sympathy from friends, colleagues and… potential sex partners. Just like an emphatic vampire, she’d drain the men in her life of all their emotional will: love, jealousy, and hope, she was a black widow, but without the murders, June was always angling for the next best catch. … nothing else ever mattered for cold, calculated, June. Metaphorically speaking, she was the Psi, feeding on the life energy of the mortals. She was an emotional leech, who took pride in her power over men, but also, in her power over everyone else. After all, June was otherwise perfect in every way: as evidenced the time she got a job with the government.
As luck would have it, an uncle first used his influence to bring June in, but after that, everything went easy, like a Swiss wristwatch movement. It all just fell in place: June wanted to study, to ascend higher in the hierarchy, and the Romanian government paid dearly. She never had a passion for learning, but she made good grades. Some say her marks were well deserved, but June… well, June knew better. Then she got promoted, again and again, till she finally landed the job even men would kill for: with no skill for writing whatsoever, June managed to become Director of Speechwriting for the President. Make no mistake though: there was no luck involved in landing that job. Just hard work. Very, very, hard work.
Indeed, it was taxing for June to please so many elderly men… but she eventually got used to it. She refined this to an art: becoming everyone’s sweetheart, and everyone’s best kept secret. No one suitor seemed to know about the other. Government officials have a thing for secrecy, and June used it to her greatest advantage. The only man she could never get was the President himself, try as she did. But the President was not into blondes. Let’s just leave it at that.
At the dawn of her ascension, June was married to Marian, an army sergeant, with strong career ambitions. He was, and will remain, the only young man in June’s life. Be it a father complex, or the intuition that there was some innate weakness in older men, she knew how to play her cards at the right time, to get what she knew she deserved.
Marian was, accidentally, rich. His parents died when he was just a child, leaving him with more property than he could manage. In his defense, he was also too young to understand the value of his fortune when he decided to marry his highschool sweetheart. Then, June stepped in. By August, they were married. Little did he know that with June in August all his dreams would fade away, like the foam in the waves of the sea as they hit the shore.
In all fairness, Marian was also very handsome, and he looked like a homeric warrior in his uniform. For a while there, the first and last time in her life, June actually was in love. But like Achilles himself, Marian had a fatal weakness: he worshiped her. Back then June was just 19, a very ambitious 19. She had her eyes on a prize, and that was to see her young husband an officer. But, Marian had no aspirations for more wealth, his only lust being for some Spartan legacy. He was happy to be, to serve, and to protect, like any good soldier. This was not, couldn’t be enough, for the girl with the golden hair, and amber in her eyes.
“You have no future, you are pitiful, and I cannot live like this,” she said, one day, out of the blue.
Stunned, Marian gawked at her, slack-jawed, and gave no reply. Was this a dream? Was she just pulling his chain? Her little, innocent jokes, were customary after all. Little did he know that those jokes, were, in fact, previews of a dark, and sad, future, yet to come. This time, however, June decided to push on:
“What is our life to be like? You make little to no money, you are only interested in the glory of your uniform… and that’s not bread on the table. How can you not see that your friend, Major David, who is younger, is less deserving, but earns more? Do you expect me to raise my children on the salary of an Army sergeant?”
Marian never expected any children in the first place. He was happy to have the most beautiful girl in Bragadiru. Having a beautiful woman by your side, he thought, comes with a price, and he was happy to pay it. This flawed thinking was enough to boost June’s ego to a dangerous extreme: from a country girl, she would become the most refined city Jezebel anyone could ever envision.
“I want a divorce,” she said that night, and he only thought to himself that true love sets one free.
“Of course, my love,” he whispered, and come December, they both went their separate ways.
But Marian felt it was fair for June to get a home from this failed marriage. His noble heart couldn’t stand to see her out of the house she decorated with so much love and dedication. Although a marriage of only 5 months, this affair turned fruitful for June, who soon understood that men, yes, men, they were that weak.
This childless marriage gave June just the confidence boost she needed to pursue her next big dream: high school graduate, she needed a good job, and the job market was tough. Her distant uncle, however, had offered many times to help her land a position within the ultimate hierarchy of the government, as a clerk. The thing was that the uncle expected a little something in return for the favor, and June decided that, after all, that little something was not too precious to give, for the right price.
“I’d be working for the government,” she thought, and that was enough to make her feel powerful. Who else in her family even dreamt of such a position?
She realized that even a government clerk would appear like a magnificent being in the eyes of her simple folks, who never even had the luxury of an indoor toilet. Although she never uttered the word out loud, she could only think “leverage.”
Her mom raised geese to sell at the local market. Her dad, a drunk, had never amounted to much. Her brother, the typical Romanian macho man, didn’t care about anything but beer, cars, and chicks, but he could only afford the hemp brew at times. June was about to become the breadwinner in the family, and she felt powerful, important, and indispensable.
Like Marian while they were married, her family soon begun worshiping her, and they remained, blinded by her aura, faithful and guileless, for many years. Eventually, June would decide what her mother wore, when her brother was allowed to date, whether her father was “healthy” for the family… He wasn’t, and soon, chastised and alone, the man succumbed to an overdose of tuica.
The loss of her father didn’t sadden June: he was not part of the bigger picture to begin with. He was just the weight that slowed her down. Free, and with only a farmer mother and a worthless brother to care for, she was finally able to pursue an academic dream, but not out of thirst of knowledge. She knew that academic education would push her higher in the governmental hierarchy. Tired to be just a clerk, she aimed to be someone’s assistant. She knew that beauty alone, and that special little something that was so easy to give to land this job in the first place, were not enough to boost a career. She needed more, and she needed to refine herself, if she wanted to step up her game.
She opted for majoring in Political Science – it only made sense. This was the best degree to help her land a position of power faster than the many other academic facades. Instinctively, she knew not to use only her God-given beauty to get a promotion. A job like hers, even as a clerk, was something awe-inspring, she believed, and she was entitled to make the best out of a great situation. To be a governmental clerk at such a young age, with no higher education, was not only a stroke of luck, but a stroke of political genius. Somewhere down the road, June, the beautiful country girl, whose grades in high school were average, who never even managed to finish a belletristic novel, and who couldn’t remember the most important events in the history of her own country, figured it out that success was not measured in knowledge, but in power of influence. There was nothing more powerful than a politician.
“What’s the fastest way to become a politician,” she once asked her very distant uncle, the one who helped her land a job, despite her lack of skill, and higher education.
“Ability to understand the weaknesses of human nature,” he answered, in his usual flamboyant self-important tone of voice. He was patronizing, yes, but June didn’t mind. That was just the answer she expected to hear, and boy, did she understand human nature!
“Oh, then that’s easy, uncle,” she said, and to prove her point, added: “And if you ever talk about us to anyone, I will make sure they all learn that you raped me!”
The look on his face would have sunk the Titanic. He had this cold, calculated, and faint smile on his face, still superior and patronizing, the smile that made his enemies a footstool for his feet every time. She noticed, and laughed, opened her purse, and pulled out a very explicit picture. His jaw dropped so fast, you could almost hear the noise.
“Oh, my fucking God,” he said, and shivered.
“And there’s more where that came from,” she replied, then stood up proudly, like the queen of Sheba. “Next time I ask for something, I’ll expect that you give it to me without any fuss.”
She left him there, a grown man turned scared schoolboy. When he finally came back to his senses, he could be heard whispering, “that little whore!”