A Deadly Game
Angelica Bichcova

Sunday, January 15th, 2012-The wedding went into the wee hours of the morning. We don't fly back until tomorrow, so either sleep in and nurse those hangovers or out and explore the city. For a lot of you, it's a chance to see old friends.

“Yes, completely. I will be bringing back up along.” I answered, ending the phone call. I sat up in my bed, shaking my hair out of my face as I rolled to stand up. I glanced at the alarm clock on the table, seeing it was only four in the morning. It felt like I had only just gotten to sleep a little while ago.
I shook out a pair of pants, adding a warm top and a fur coat, knowing it was going to be freezing at this time of morning. I slipped my boots on, grabbing for my phone and dialing. He might not like being woken up this early, but it was part of the deal. It rang a few times, before finally I heard him answer, the phone apparently dropping before I heard his voice.
“God…you do know how early it is right?” Ivan grumbled on the other end of the line. I shook my head. He was going to have to get over that quick. Most deals happened in the late hours of night or early hours of the morning, how ever you wanted to look at it.
“Get dressed, we have a deal to go on.” I breathed, ending the call. If he wasn’t in the lobby in ten minutes, I would know that he didn’t really want this. I grabbed my gun, slipping it into my waistband, as I slid a backup in my purse. One last scan around the room, confirmed that I hadn’t forgotten anything. I stepped out of the room, silently moving down the hall to the elevator.
As the doors opened I stepped in, tapping my foot in the silence as it traveled down. I went over my plan in my head, and how to work Ivan into it. I wasn’t use to taking someone along, that I intended to have run the show. Usually Niko was with me, for muscle mainly. When the doors opened, I stepped out, walking into the deserted room, looking around.
“Hey…” I spun around seeing Ivan step out where I could see him. I nodded at him, turning on heel to make my way out to the street. Outside the wind was howling, chilling me quickly to the bone. I snuggled deeper into my coat as I exhauled.
“Two blocks down, there will be a car waiting for us. Arm around me…we are just a couple going to get an early breakfast.” I instructed, slipping a pair of gloves as I felt his arm go around me. The only rewarding part was the warmth he provided, though I felt him shivering just as much as I was.
The trip to the car was quiet. Ivan didn’t seem to have much to say at all, which was fine. I had no clue if he was nervous, anxious or just attempting to seem stone-faced through it all. We rounded a corner, and I felt myself sigh with relief as I saw the car waiting. A person from the driver seat, climbed out, handing me a folder as I slid in. We didn’t speak during the whole exchange as Ivan climbed in. 
He rubbed his hands together, placing them in front of the heating vents. I smiled briefly at him, before I read the contents of the folder, handing it to Ivan when I was finished. As he opened it, I shifted the car into drive, and pulled away from the alley. We traveled towards an older side of town, where a lot of business was conducted.
“I’ve never received shipments before. I usually just collect smaller debts…” Ivan finally spoke as I navigated the empty streets. As we went I scanned for any activity, not only following us, but in the buildings on either side of us. I had done business here before, and I knew that anything could happen.
“Remember you run the show. The people there for the exchange have done their job. You represent Mr. Romanov, there for you call the shots,” I instructed as I killed the lights on the car, plunging us into darkness, “Inspect the product, if anything feels fishy, you stop them, show force if needed and have them open everything.”
“But…” Ivan started to interrupt.
“No…if they say changes were made you call in reenforcements. Any changes made would have been approved by Romanov, which means they are trying to pull one over.” I tapped the folder in his hands.
“Make sure you read that thoroughly, every detail. If you decide to go through with the deal, you undercut them on cost. If they don’t like it, you show more force.” I smirked.
“What kind of force?” Ivan asked, his eyes scanning the paperwork in his lap.
“You shoot…not the one handling negotiations. Let them know you are in charge.” I finished, pulling up to a warehouse. I kept the car in gear, waiting as the doors slid open. I drove in, shifting and killing the engine.
“You make it sound like I am running this…I thought I was here as your backup.” Ivan muttered, slipping the paperwork into the backseat. I gave a sarcastic chuckle, shaking my head at him as I took off my seatbelt.
“Nope…my ribs are acting up, the cold and all. I need you take this one for me.” I replied, reaching for the door handle.
“What…wait, no,” Ivan hissed, stopping me.
“Ivan, you can stick with collecting a hundred here and there, or you can step it up. How much does Mari mean to you? I’ll be here, just in the background,” I opened the door, not waiting for a reply, as he climbed out as well.
“Ah, the gorgeous Miss Bichcova…a pleasure to see you again in Moscow.” Mr. Denchov murmured stepping forward. I nodded at him, as I crossed my arms, leaning back against the hood of the car. Ivan stepped forward, arms crossed as he sized Denchov up.
“Mr. Pirvonov, I was under the impression that Angelica was handling this,” Denchov replied, returning the hard glare that Ivan had.
“Don’t question how our operations are handled. Did you bring the shipment?” Ivan asked, keeping his tone neutral as Denchov stayed quiet. He gave a curt nod, waving to a few guys near a cargo truck. They stooped down, hauling up a a few heavy looking cases. I watched their every move, knowing that Denchov had a tendency to try and scam people.
“Open them,” Ivan ground out, stepping forward. Denchov rattled off instructions in Ukrainian to his men as they entered the key codes. The lids unlocked as they moved them back and the smell of iron filled the room. I watched as Ivan’s eyes moved over the cases full of fire arms. He gave a nod, stepping on to the next one. Normally I was tense during these, but Ivan was handling it well enough. He paused suddenly, examining something in one of the cases.
“This case is half empty…The agreement was for 60 AR-15’s, there’s probably only 35 in there.” Ivan’s voice commented lowly. I perked up, shaking my head, somehow knowing that Denchov was going to do this.
“Ivan, I can only get what is available. Things not so good in the Ukraine…the dealer there, he try.” Denchv explained, as he smiled, patting the cases.
“The deal was for 60 of each. No negotiations Denchov.” Ivan growled, stepping back from the case. I could feel the tension in the cold warehouse build as the two glared at each other. I really didn’t want to have to step, seeing that Ivan had handled things up to here so well.
“You take these, I get you the rest later. Mr. Romanov won’t mind.” Denchov nodded, pointing to his men to reseal up the cases. Ivan shook his head, holding his hand up to stop them.
“I don’t believe you speak for Mr. Romanov on the matter, I do…and this wasn’t the deal.” Ivan replied, dropping his arms to his side. Outside the wind was howling as the lights inside flickered. I slid my hands up the hood of the car, til I could feel my weapon through my pants. Somehow I sensed that things were going to get heated, quick.
Over the wind, I could hear the transport vehicle pull up. I glanced quickly to see someone climb out, pulling open the doors. I nodded at them as the threw up the tracked door to the truck as two more men joined me by the car.
“I’ll take what you have here, everything for $235,000.” Ivan finally spoke. Denchov’s eyes grew wide as he shook his head.
“No, no the deal was for $300,000. I’ll not leave here with less.” Denchov shouted. I watched as his hand went inside his coat, but Ivan was alert, moving first. He drew his weapon out, aiming it at a shocked Denchov.
The rest of us followed suit, drawing our weapons. Denchov’s eyes went from person to person as he gave a nervous chuckle. He knew he was outmaned in this situation. He drew it out a moment longer, as he waved his guys off, shouting at them in Ukrainian to put their weapons away.
“Angelica, the case,” ivan spoke up, keeping his weapon drawn. I slipped mine away, moving off the hood to the car to retrieve the case. I handed it off to Ivan, who opened it, taking the extra money out, before closing it and handing it off to Denchov.
Our two men moved forward, loading the cases. As soon as they were done, they pulled quietly away from the warehouse. Ivan nodded to Denchov as he climbed back in the car. I shut the door, starting the engine as we backed out. Neither of us talking, until I had turned and pulled away from the building.
“I really didn’t want to have to kill anyone.” Ivan muttered, slumping down in the seat. I gave him a tight smile, keeping my eye on the rearview mirror. Something felt off. As we made our way back towards the regular side of town, I finally spotted it. A car, hanging back, but it had been with us since leaving the warehouse. I pulled off the road, parking as I waited to see what they were going to do.
The car parked, idling a few spots back from us. I tapped my nails on the steering wheel as I waited. “What are you doing now?” Ivan asked, looking around. I nodded towards the mirror, hoping he would see it.
“We have company. Stay here,” I instructed, opening the door. I made my way across the street, ducking into a coffee shop that was just opening. I didn’t look back to see if I was followed, knowing that I would be. I made my way to the back, startling the owner as I slipped out the back, ducking behind a trash bin and waiting.
A few moments later, I heard the door open again. I held my breath as I silently drew my weapon. The footsteps were moving away from me, as I took my opportunity. I moved out, rushing behind him as he spun, weapon out as well.
“Who the f*ck are you?” I asked, “and why are you following me?”
“I work for Romanov,” he growled. His voice was deep, graveling and I wouldn’t lie that even in that moment, he sounded incredibly attractive. Furthermore he was visually amazing looking, and vaguely familiar. I lowered my eyes at him, trying to place him, but didn’t want to waste the time.
“Romanov sent you to check up on me?” I barked, keeping my weapon trained on him.
“He was concerned that you choose to take Ivan Pirvonov with you as backup.” He went on, almost looking amused at me.
“The deal was fine, no need for concern,” I answered, finally lowering my gun, “I don’t apprieciate the lack of trust. Romanov knows me well enough to know I can handle a simple shipment.”
“Noted,” He chuckled, stepping back.
I gave him one last glance, before moving back inside the building. The owner gave a gasp as he saw my gun, moving back into the kitchen, till I left. I made my way back to the car, where Ivan was talking on the phone. I slid in startling him as I shut the door, pulling away from the curb in a rush. Suddenly I just wanted to get back to the hotel. I didn’t like when people didn’t trust me to handle things. 
“Is everything ok?” Ivan asked, finally ending his call. I gave a curt nod, keeping my eyes on the road as we made it back to the same alley. The guy was waiting, to retrieve the car. I slammed the door, taking off down the street without waiting for Ivan. I heard him catch up, slipping his arm around me. I wanted so badly to shake it off, but he was just following instruction. Perhaps this hadn’t been a great idea afterall, especially if people were going to start doubting me as a result.

('Doubts get you nowhere in life' if you read it all. Sorry for another long one...I jsut couldn't seem to edit it down anymore. So I thank any of you that took the time and actually read it all the way through. )

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