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A Very Corporate Affair 3(7)

By:D A Latham

"Maybe I'm not an emotional person," I challenged. I was certain that my hesitation with Ivan was down to recent events, and not a lack of feelings for the man himself.

"That's not true Elle, you're quite normal emotionally," he paused, "when you look ahead, how do you see your future?"

I frowned as I thought about it. "Always on my own. I never had daydreams about husbands and babies, if that's what you're asking. It was always just me, with a good job, and a comfortable life. I like that Ivan breaks down my barriers, you know, by refusing to be fussed about my hang ups. He makes me feel normal."

"Didn't I do that for you?"

"No, I felt ashamed of being poor, and as I said before, you found me a bit distasteful. I never felt good enough, so it was almost as stressful being with you, as it is worrying that Ivan's mates being free and easy with the polonium. I can protect myself against them, I refused to eat or drink anything at Retinski yesterday. I can't protect my self esteem from being with a man who is more comfortable with male genitals than mine." I tried to choose my words carefully. "There are times that I wish I was with you, and I want to run into your arms and start again, when I realise I got a lot wrong about you, but then I worry that I'll never be enough for you." I stared at the ground, wondering what he'd say. He stayed quiet for a while.

Eventually he spoke. "I would change for you. I would treat you the way I should have treated you from the start. If you are truly in love with Ivan, then I'll just worship you from afar, but if you're not, or you're unsure, then as your friend, I'd urge you to get yourself away from him."

"You're a great friend," I said, not wanting to say more than that.

"I try to be."

The girls came racing back over, breaking the tension. We headed back to the house. I wanted to shower and change before Ivan returned, and Oscar said he had a builder coming to discuss some repairs to the castle.

Roger saw Oscar out, before informing me that Ivan would be landing in approximately four hours time at Gatwick. "It will take us approximately half an hour to get to the south terminal. I'm assuming you want to meet him?"

"Oh definitely, I'll be ready by three." I made a cup of tea, and checked through my emails. The other directors had each mailed their relief at the situation being resolved, their tone entirely different from the day before. I bet they're cacking themselves.

I watched the news conference again online, gazing at his beautiful face, trying to understand the feelings I had for him. I'd no sooner closed my laptop when Jo arrived back with bags of shopping. She busied herself preparing everything, waving off my offer of help. I worked out that we'd be home around half four, so she timed everything to be almost ready shortly after that.

I showered, did my hair, and applied some makeup, wanting to look my best. In the end I was ready by half two, and had to endure watching the clock for the last half hour before it was time to set off.

Roger took the Bentley, and we pulled directly into the private flight area of the south terminal, and were waved straight through the security gates. Ivan had been worldwide news, so I figured the staff at Gatwick weren't going to get picky about having his car ready and waiting.

I paced around the seating area while we waited, probably getting on Roger's nerves. Eventually I was rewarded by the sight of Ivan and his entourage striding through the walkway. He looked grim, and frankly rather angry. I hesitated, not wanting to throw myself into his arms until I was sure it would be welcomed. He fixed me with his laser stare as he strode towards me.#p#分页标题#e#

"Elle, thank you for coming to meet me. I have rather a lot to ask you on the way back to the house."

I stood rather uncertainly, before trotting along behind him to the car. He looked furious. We slid into the back of the Bentley, and set off. Ivan immediately raised the privacy screen.

"Did you send in the SAS?"



"That's confidential. Are you not pleased to be home?" I was shocked by his anger, and his attitude.

"Of course I am, I'm just wondering what the fuck happened. One minute Marakov was negotiating, the next, men in black balaclavas burst in."

I frowned. "Marakov wasn't negotiating. What gave you that idea?"

"The terrorists said Marakov put fifty mill in an account for them."

"Oh yeah, I got him to do that, but he wasn't negotiating. He was too busy trying to persuade me to grant enhanced share options and bonuses to the board. If anything, he sounded as though he didn't want you back alive, none of them did. It's why I chose the route that I did."