Madigan returned to her office with a file under her arm – the Sakroviche file. She sat down behind her desk and began to read. At first glance, Sakroviche had a neat portfolio and even with the time restraint, selling the company should be somewhat straight-forward, but Madigan didn’t know the parent company, Sergiev Limited. It was only mentioned once or twice in the file, and mostly just as the seller without any additional information.
Madigan needed to plan the deal out, keeping Allister Consolidated and herself safe. The file mentioned one potential buyer. A. B. Entertainment Group. The main players were on the field.
A knock on the door made Madigan glance up.
Gavin smiled and strode in, legal pad in hand and ready to be of assistance. Madigan folded her hands in front of her. She didn’t want Gavin to get in any trouble. If this deal went bad in any way, Gavin didn’t need to be contaminated.
‘How far along are your plans to return to Hawaii?’
Gavin’s smile vanished, seriousness taking its place.
‘I haven’t handed in my resignation just yet.’
He was ready to tread the rough path ahead by her side. Madigan knew, he would stay, if she asked him, but that wasn’t a viable option.
‘No time like the present, Gavin. You should do it now.’
Madigan couldn’t begin to divulge the details of the Sakroviche deal nor the sordid client of Allister Consolidated. She was leaving a lot of essential details out, but she hoped that their long professional relationship provided Gavin with the foundation to understand the unsaid implications.
‘You sure?’ Gavin asked.
Her spacious office was full of the silence between them. Gavin hesitated for a few moments, before he answered,
Gavin withdrew, leaving Madigan to the file again. She needed to get started with her intensive research, and in this case, she wanted to spare her associates as much as she could. Her first order of business was meeting the owner of Sakroviche.
Sergiev Imports was situated in a dilapidated industrial area close to the harbor. On her way there, Madigan passed numerous chain link fences and buildings with boarded up windows. She definitely wasn’t in Kansas anymore, she told herself, as a front tire once again jerked over a hole in the asphalt.
Normally, Madigan preferred the town cars, Allister Consolidated offered with drivers, but today she requested one of the BMWs, she could drive herself.
The Sergiev Imports sign was old and dirty with the brine of heavy traffic, pollution, and neglect. Madigan slowed the car and took a deep breath. Her heart may be beating so fast, she felt it in her throat, but once she was through the gates, she needed to be the top negotiator, Allister Consolidated employed. Madigan was the top negotiator.
The heavy metal gate skittered open slowly, two guards already visible by the control booth. They didn’t look like has-been rent-a-cops or guards from a professional security firm. They were huge, un-uniformed, and with scowls like muggers. Madigan let out a breath, when they waved her past them.
Madigan parked the BMW by the main warehouse on the lot and turned to the passager seat to get her bag and her papers. A curl of wind made her jump as her door was opened.
‘Ms. Gardner?’ The man outside asked with a smirk. His minty breath wafted into her personal space.
Madigan tried to regain her cool and smiled.
‘Yes, thank you.’
The man looked a lot like his buddies at the gate, although he was without the scowl. His dark hair was slicked back with pomade and he carried himself as a ladies’ man.
Madigan knew she was on the wrong side of the tracks.
The way the man leaned against the door, Madigan saw that he was carrying a concealed weapon. Top professional, Madigan soundlessly repeated to herself as the man led the way into the warehouse.
Mr. Sergiev rose from behind his cluttered desk and came around to greet her. Tattoos peaked out of his unbuttoned shirt collar. He was tall and sinewy. His hair was salt and pepper, but the firmness of his handshake exhibited his strength.
‘You are definitely prettier than Kilroy. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Gardner.’ His accent was definitely Russian and his overall appearance menacing.
Madigan tried to ignore the presence of the other man behind her and concentrated on maintaining her calm, professional air.
‘Thank you, Mr. Sergiev. As I mentioned earlier, I will handle the sale of Sakroviche within the deadline. My errand today is to introduce myself and make sure we are on the same page regarding the specifics.’ Madigan flashed her professional smile.
Mr. Sergiev showed her to the conference table.
‘Down to business it is.’
The meeting went well, despite the menacing undercurrent. Madigan weighed every word before uttering it, and sensed that Mr. Sergiev was confident with her abilities.
‘Thank you for your time, Mr. Sergiev. I will proceed with negotiations with the potential buyers and will get back to you as soon as possible. There are always details that will necessitate your decision, but I am confident that the sale will be concluded within the timeframe.’
Mr. Sergiev’s smile gave Madigan the chills, but she returned it. She noticed that there are an odd space in his smile, where he was missing a tooth.
‘I am sure we are in the best of hands. Vladimir, please show Ms. Gardner out.’
Vladimir slicked back his hair with flourish and opened the door to the hall. Madigan couldn’t wait to breath fresh air again.
She let out a sigh of relief when Vladimir closed the car door and she turned the BMW’s key. Having her foot firmly planted on the speeder was a mental challenge. Every fiber in Madigan’s body told her to drive away as fast as she could, but she stayed in control, driving slowly by the control booth and out the metal gate.
Madigan sped up despite the bumpy road and didn’t see the helmeted man on a motorcycle following her all the way back to Allister Consolidated.