Monday 15 – Wednesday 17 January 2018
After inviting himself into Wakefield Manor, Korsakov settled in the ballroom with a glass of single malt whiskey. He’d helped himself to the bar, just as he intended to help himself to anything else he desired in the world. First on his list was Caroline James. It had been easy to discover that she was Anthony Groban’s girlfriend of the moment. The grubby little shyster would make sure he’d get his money if Dmitri had his woman. Acquiring her would be relatively easy. She did the late shift at Hennessey’s club. One way or another, Dmitri Korsakov was going to get his money.
A much simpler way of acquiring Caroline was to wait at Wakefield Manor for her and her little friend to arrive. His investigators told Korsakov of the friendship between Caroline and Gina, and he decided at trip to the manor would be a fine place to begin his new acquisition. He hadn’t come alone. A contingent of his hard men were strategically positioned around the immediate perimeter of the manor. They were as far from being inconspicuous as they could possibly be, but Dmitri wasn’t concerned with how invisible his men were.
* * * * *
‘Stop by Gina’s before we do the job,’ Ciaran instructed Brennan from the back of the van. ‘I’ve just got a text from her. She needs to see me.’
‘We don’t have time to stop,’ Jeremy replied. ‘Keep driving.’
‘But it’s important.’ Ciaran handed his mobile phone to Jeremy. Gina’s text message was displayed on the screen. Jeremy reread the message four times before changing his mind.
‘Get to Wakefield Manor as fast as you can, Brennan. As fast as you can.’
Brennan took his eyes off the winding road for a moment. Jeremy was wearing the focussed expression he always had on when they were on a job. It was not usual for him to be wearing it in the van on the way to the job though.
‘What’s up?’ Brennan asked.
‘Eyes on the road!’ yelled Jeremy. ‘Keep your bloody eyes on the road.’
Brennan steered the almost out of control van back onto the road, spraying gravel as it went.
‘You trying to fucking kill us before we get to the job? Shit, we don’t need to worry about Hennessey or any of his mates then, do we?’ Jeremy loosened his grip on Ciaran’s mobile as he spoke. ‘Fucking idiot.’
Brennan gasped for air. He’d frightened himself with the momentary loss of control of the van.
‘Shit. Sorry. Sorry. Fuck. Sorry. Ciaran, you alright back there?’
Ciaran rubbed the back of his head and looked at his hand. ‘No blood, so I’d say I’m okay.’
‘Was that your head I heard hitting the side of the van?’ asked Jeremy.
Ciaran smiled. ‘No, the top of the van, not the side.’
Jeremy grunted his approval of Ciaran’s comeback. He looked at the text message once more then directed Brennan again to drive to the manor.
* * * * *
‘You’re a fucking idiot.’ Hennessey thumped his desk with enough force to send pens flying. Although he was sitting, Groban visibly jumped. Hennessey mad was not a man to be trifled with.
‘And stop fucking apologising. Own what you do and say. That’s what real men do. They own their mistakes as they own their successes.’ Hennessey glared at Groban, and gestured to the pens that had rolled onto the floor. ‘Pick those up, number nine.’
Groban looked confused.
‘You only have nine fingers now, don’t you?’ Hennessey quipped. Groban’s shoulders sunk at the insult, and he bent forward to pick up the pens and get out of Hennessey’s view.
‘So, is Korsakov going to replace that diamond?’ Hennessey asked. ‘Because I’m paying good money for flawless stones.’
Whether it was the effects of the painkillers, or that he’d simply just had enough of Hennessey, Groban snapped. ‘He cut off my fucking finger. Do you really think he’s going to be worried about whether or not to replace your diamonds? It was a warning, my finger in a box sent to you. He wants his money and he wants it now, which unfortunately, is too late for my finger.’
Hennessey was startled into silence. No one had ever spoken to him with the ferocity that Anthony Groban had just done.
‘So, pay him his fucking money, you self-righteous, greedy, arsehole, and maybe no one else will get hurt on your behalf. Because believe you me, after everyone hears why Korsakov cut off my finger, no one here is going to go out of their way to do anything for you again, for fear of the same thing happening to them.’
Hennessey composed himself, straightened his tie, smoothed his hair and leant forward on his desk. He intended to be menacing, intimidating, powerful.
‘You speak to me like that again, and I’ll have Bruno cut off your whole fucking hand. Do I make myself clear?’
Still full of courage, Groban replied, ‘That’s nothing compared to what Korsakov is going to do to me if you don’t pay him what you owe him. So, Brian, you’re making hollow threats. You don’t scare me. Korsakov does, but you don’t. And once he’s finished with me, he’ll come for you. Once again, pay him what you owe.’
Hennessey hadn’t considered that Korsakov might move on to dealing with him personally rather than any of his employees again. More frightening still was the thought that Korsakov might leave him alone and go after his family instead. Groban was speaking some sense.
* * * * *
Jeremy sat closer to Gina. ‘And did he say why he was taking Caroline?’
Gina sniffled. Tears and mucous mingled under her nose. ‘Something about getting to Hennessey through Anthony.’
‘Sounds about right,’ Brennan mumbled. ‘He’s an arsehole of the highest order.’
‘Who?’ Gina asked.
‘Both of them. Hennessey and Korsakov. Neither cares about the collateral damage. People are expendable, even if they’ve been with you for decades. Everyone is disposable.’
‘What – what can we do?’
‘You can’t do anything, Gina,’ Jeremy replied. ‘Leave everything to us. We’ll find Caroline. Now, go upstairs and get some rest. I’ll call in a couple of friends of mine to hang out with you for a while. Kind of a protection detail. Until we can sort this out.’
Ciaran watched Gina plod upstairs. She looked deflated and scared.
‘What are we going to do?’ Ciaran asked Jeremy.
‘We’re going to get Caroline back from Korsakov.’
‘What about the job?’ asked Brennan.
‘Hennessey promised me no one would get hurt, but people are getting hurt. We need to put a stop to this. Hennessey can find someone else to do this one if he doesn’t like it.’
. . . To be continued . . .