Chapter 16 – Conference Conclusion

Thursday Morning Meeting the Delegates

09:00am. Kirill finished the cigarette and returned to the conference rooms to make his final security checks on the rooms and equipment before the final presentations and summaries. He was tired, both physically and mentally and was looking forward to the departure of the delegates not just from the hotel but from Russian soil, because until they had officially left the country, they were his responsibility.

His intuition told him that the conference had gone very well and according to schedule, what it did not tell him was why he felt the way he did after all the social events and the times he had spent with the group and especially the times he had spent with Victoria. The program was due to start in thirty minutes time and for once in a long, long time, he suddenly felt vulnerable and a cold chill shot up his back hitting the red button in his brain, a warning that he had lost control and that in itself created another level of stress. All his preparations and planning were beginning to become blurred because under normal circumstances Kirill would have been almost certain of the order in which the delegates would arrive, but somehow today he had the feeling that several aspects in his relationship with the delegates had changed and changed significantly.

He quickly recapped over the last few days as he concentrated on the first meeting where he was the sole male amongst some of the most intelligent, wealthy and powerful women on planet earth, but they had their weaknesses and he would use them to his advantage. They had all entered middle age and the looks were demanding more and more attention increasing the spite, nastiness and vitriol that only a cauldron of bitches could produce.

At the beginning of the conference he had total control over accommodation, diet, schedule, content of the presentations and the social program.

He had lost control of the catering and the social program and as a result he knew the delegates had changed and those changes had been profound, his sources had given him detailed analysis over the last few days, it was not good reading. He would have known the order of appearance but today that would be shot to pieces, he was now concerned, and that concern was turning to something he rarely experienced and that was fear! He had written their individual arrival times but crossed them off as they appeared.

09:10am. Zhen Li (Chinese Delegation)

Always the first, and this time no different, however Kirill knew all about her escapades and she still managed to be the first delegate to appear and he greeted her accordingly. She had produced some brilliant work over the years. However, her sexual habits had impacted on several areas of business and she was becoming a problem that may need to be controlled. Kirill had continued his surveillance and the files were comprehensive and their implications on other benefactors may prove to be difficult to explain in future years.

09:15am. Susanna Bancroft (American Delegation)

The tall and skinny Susanna arrived looking as she usually did, like a CIA agent. She walked straight through to her seat and immediately fussed around with her papers and equipment.

09:20am. Suzu (Japanese Delegation)

Suzu greeted Kirill with the usual Japanese formality, she gave a gentle nod of the head to Zhen Li, collected a glass of water from the hostess area and walked through to the conference area and sat down at the same table. She busied herself with papers and laptop keeping her thoughts to herself not wishing or wanting any contact with the other delegates.

09:25am. Tamara Krause (German Delegation)

The elevator door opened, and a hush greeted the arrival of Tamara who marched across the lobby in her usual style, the staff and Kirill were prepared and then genuinely shocked as the expected rudeness did not occur. The shocks continued as she smiled at the staff and greeted Kirill with a warm good morning. There was something about her this morning as Kirill composed himself and inspected her with his searching eyes. He realised that she was dressed differently and that she had actually achieved an air of sexuality that he had not witnessed before, he greeted her as she strolled casually into the meeting area. She was wearing heels and walking with grace and style and smiling, my god thought Kirill what is going on? The starched frilly shirt was gone, and she was wearing a tie, what a transformation. Kirill was indeed impressed, but also concerned with himself as he had been caught off-guard.

09:35am. Taya Morozov (Russian Delegation)

Taya was late, sour faced and angry, she had not found the hearing aid which had somehow disappeared during the night. Her staff had searched everywhere without success, she was now at a serious disadvantage. She said nothing as she entered the conference area and sat down in the remaining seat. Kirill had not started the proceedings and gave no indication of any feelings, but inside he was secretly smiling and relished her discomfort as he knew about the hearing aid and had been personally responsible for the disappearance.

09:40am. Sabrina Belluci (Italian Delegation)

Sabrina was suitably late but disappointed in the fact that she was not the last person to join the delegates and cancelled her ciaos and fake hugs and kisses as she realised that Victoria was missing. She took her seat and waited with the other delegates in a tense hushed atmosphere for Victoria to appear.

09:45am. Victoria Stafford (English Delegation)

Victoria should have been the second to arrive, but Kirill knew all too well why that had not been possible and had been seriously concerned whether she would be able to make the meeting at all. However, when she did the impact had been amazing. Talk about jealous bitches, they understood that she had changed and although she was not a dynamic sex-bomb, they knew that she had what really mattered, and that was real sex appeal and that she had a heart to go with it. The other delegates were also very much aware that Victoria was a highly intelligent adversary with a brilliant mind and she thoroughly deserved her position as a trusted and respected Zodiac.

The Final Session of the Conference:

Kirill allowed the conniving and bitching minds a few more minutes of self-inflicted misery before addressing them with the usual formalities and a quick indication of the agenda for the last few hours. The final session had to finish no later than 01:00pm to ensure the delegates had time to fully adhere to their individual departure programs.

The next few hours were spent interpreting and investigating the data within the reports and all the delegates contributed to their specific areas of expertise with the exception of Taya who sat in an uncomfortable silence for the whole session much to the annoyance of one or two who had very good reason to question aspects of the data she had provided. But Kirill skimmed over the problem and they achieved a satisfactory level of agreement as the session drew to its’ conclusion.

Kirill closed the conference with the expected formalities and on the final farewell he told them that gifts had been assigned to each and all of them and that they had been collected by their associates to help them with their departure schedules.

Only Victoria and Susanna stayed for refreshments with Kirill who had hoped they would all leave him in peace to enjoy fresh coffee and a couple of shots of vodka. He needed a real drink but that could wait until he had received the final notification of departure from the airport. Susanna finished a few more small portions of sushi before thanking Kirill and wishing both he and Victoria goodbye. Victoria asked if she could have a final cigarette on the rooftop as she was scheduled to leave in forty-five minutes. Kirill duly obliged her indulgence and collected their coats together with a bottle of ice-cold vodka and two vintage shot glasses. He wanted to say goodbye in the appropriate Russian manner.