The Amsterdam Hilton
A check of his watch told Alexei Bukharin his wife had been in the shower for forty-five minutes. Before he could decide whether to go remind her he got a turn, too, his nephew, Kolya, emerged from the second bedroom of the suite. Clad only in a towel around his waist, Kolya made directly for the room service Alexei had ordered.
Kolya wrinkled his nose as he passed his uncle. "Dyadya, you still stink." Then, he dug into the meats and cheeses with abandon.
For more than a week, the three of them had been hostages along with Dutch Peacekeepers, held by the Serbs inside a UN base near Srebrenica. Hundreds of women and girls had been left there with them, after a Serbian paramilitary unit took the men and boys. Trying to feed them all with a small supply of MRE's had proved trying. After some tense negotiations, they and the Dutch soldiers had been evacuated to Amsterdam. The Muslim women and girls were left to the international relief workers.
"This is wonderful, Dyadya," Kolya said around a mouthful. "All I want to do for next week is eat and sleep. Where is Tyotya?"
"My wife is indulging in one of her hour-long showers," Alexei said. Kolya stopped pouring a glass of vodka and looked up, his face showing some emotion. "What?"
Kolya's mask came up. He finished pouring the vodka and shrugged. "Nothing."
Alexei pitched his voice to command level. "Tell me."
Kolya downed half the vodka in one gulp. "It matters nothing now."
Alexei switched to Russian. "Skazhi mnye." Tell me.
Kolya shrugged again. "I don't think she should be left alone."
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