"Elle, are you alright?" Ms Pearson's voice sounded distant. She looked concerned as I sat reeling at the revelations of the last hour of my life.
"Why did Ivan instruct you to reveal the content of his will while he's still alive?" was all I could manage.
"Because he wanted you to look after the companies, knowing you are either doing it for him, or doing it for yourself. Don't let the other directors push through any decisions," she replied. It made sense, with Ivan missing, his companies needed protecting from other, less altruistic directors. I would have looked after them for him, but he had needed me to understand that if the worst should happen, I would need to learn to control the other board members for myself.
"Anything else?" I prayed that there were no further revelations.
"No, not at this stage. I suggest you take leave of absence for now, and I hope for all our sakes that this situation is resolved quickly." Ms Pearson looked sympathetic.
"Yes....yes, so do I...." My voice faltered as I struggled to keep control. I stood to leave, and, even in my dreamlike state, remembered to shake her hand, before heading out to the car.
"Where to next?" I asked Roger, "and who instructed you not to tell me about Ivan earlier?"
"I think you need to go to Retinski head office. Mr Ranenkiov asked me to bring you. Mrs Ballard asked me not to interrupt your mother's funeral with the news."
I remembered telling Jo about the funeral during our weekend in France. "Ok, Retinski it is." We headed off, and almost straightaway my phone rang. It was Oscar.
"Hi Elle. I understand you spoke to Darius. Has anything else happened?"
I raised the privacy screen. "Yes, I've been informed that I'm acting as managing director of his companies in his absence, and I've been told that he asked Ms Pearson to inform me that in the event of his death, all his estate goes to me." Oscar went quiet. "Are you still there?" I asked.
"Of course, I'm just....shocked. He's an extremely wealthy man. I'll sort his bank accounts so that you have access, including the company ones. If you need any help, you can always count on me, you do know that don't you?"
"Thanks. Have you spoken to Darius?"
"Yes, just got off the phone to him. The Russian government are insisting that they don't negotiate with terrorists, which, in itself, presents a bit of a problem."
"What sort of problem?"
"I have to set the terrorists up a numbered bank account in Switzerland so they can access the ransom, otherwise I have no way of getting the money into Russia secretly, that is, without the Russian government finding out."
"So where's the problem?"
"They're peasant revolutionaries, with no way of getting to Switzerland."
"I see. How big a bag would be needed for that amount of cash?"
"It's not that simple. There'd be nothing to stop them taking the cash, and keeping the hostages, or worse, killing them."
I thought about it. "Retinski must have money inside Russia, especially given that Ivan inherited Vlad's estate. Let me talk to Ranenkiov."
"Be careful who you trust, there's going to be a lot of people with a vested interest in Ivan not coming back." Like you Oscar?
"Of course. I'm just on my way to Retinski now. I'll come and see you later on, when I know more."
"Ok. I'll be home tonight."
I cut the call, and sank into the seat, my mind racing with all the various pieces of information. I thought of what lay ahead, and quickly scrolled through the app store on my phone to download a Russian to English translator application. It wouldn't be ideal, but there was no way I'd be able to hire a proper translator quickly enough. When we arrived at the tower, I headed straight up to Retinski Headquarters.#p#分页标题#e#
Walking into Ivan's office was difficult, and slammed it home to me that this really had happened. The room felt empty and void without his electric presence. I switched on his screen, and found that it needed a password. I tried the names Bella and Tania first, with no luck. I typed in my name, and the screen sprang to life, confirming that I had indeed been on his mind. Before I could check the emails, there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find Mr Ranenkiov looking grave.
"Welcome to Retinski, Ms Reynolds, we have been advised of Ivan's wishes that you assume the position of managing director. Have you managed to find out any news?"
"Not much as yet. I need to know the cash position of Retinski in Russia, in case we have to pay a ransom quickly. I also need to meet the other directors."
"Certainly, please come this way, everyone is in the boardroom." I closed down Ivan's emails, and followed him out. We walked down the corridor, and into a large room, dominated by an enormous oak table, with ten men seated around it. Mr Ranenkiov showed me to the seat at the head of the table, before sitting in the chair beside me. I surreptitiously switched on the app, setting the phone beside me on the large chair. One man spoke in Russian to the man seated next to him, and a few people laughed. I glanced down to read the screen. *Ivan must be judging the value of directors on how good their tits are.* sexist bastards.