Alexei Bukharin keyed in the code to unlock the home office’s door. When he opened it, he winced. The music bleeding from the elaborate sound system was something Irish, played on a tin whistle. He supposed that was preferable to the heavy metal Mai often had blaring so loud it threatened to render the soundproofing useless.
Though a cozy fire danced in the fireplace, Mai sat at her desk, spreadsheets fanned out before her. He went to the dry bar, pulled the cork on the bottle of wine he’d brought in, and poured two glasses. He set her glass on the desk by her right hand and peered over her shoulder.
“Counting your vast wealth?” he asked.
“Hardly,” Mai replied. “Do you remember years ago I set up a cousin of mine with a pub not far from here?”
“Yes. Fintan’s Shebeen.”
“These are the financials for the past decade. Roisin sent them over for me to review.”
“Has he reneged on the agreement?”
“Oh, he’s kept his nose clean. He knows very well what awaits him if I find a penny of his intake has gone to the IRA. No, he’s done such a good job of running the place, he’s paid off his loan. Fintan’s Shebeen could be his, free and clear.”
“Fin stays honest because he knows the O’Saidhs are watching the books. If he thought he were out from under that…” She broke off and took a generous swig of her wine.
“The IRA would get a generous infusion of cash. So, don’t tell him.”
She leaned back in her chair and looked at him. “Let him think he’s still paying off his loan?” she asked, and smiled. “Are you sure you’re not an O’Saidh?”
“No, thank god. I can barely tolerate the music. No way I could stomach the whiskey.”
She smiled again, picked up the remote for the sound system, and increased the volume.