“May is always a good time to visit Moscow,” was Julian’s final words to Cass as he left her for the first class lounge. Cass was spending the 4 hours 30 in cattle class, not even business economy.

She had the pleasant company of Julian’s creepy protégé, Usman. He had already told her once over drinks, he thought white women were whores. He had a wife from the old country and child but he was looking forward to meeting some nice Moscow ladies. “They find me exotic,” he stated proudly. Julian, for whatever reason, could not see Usman for a dangerous charlatan. She was sure Julian employed him out of some misplaced tokenism.

She wondered when people would realize it is just as patronizing and racist to employ someone based on any racial profile. She imagined Julian patting himself on the back for be such a good guy for giving Usman another chance. The fact that three young blond receptionists had to leave in quick succession because of Usman’s attentions, was just a cultural misunderstandings, Julian had argued. Usman was from Bethnal Green. HR was happier to look sexist rather than being falsely accused of racism. The girls were paid off more cheaply. Cass tried to bury herself in her book. She smiled darkly at the memory of Shaheen’s Dad’s sage words, ”Men, like that, only wanted tolerance to work in their favour. They don’t care if they mess it up for the rest of the world. “

When they got through customs and found Julian, it became apparent that the Aeroexpress was not an option. Usman pushed the trolley. Cass helped support Julian into a taxi. She was not too sure how he had managed to get through customs that drunk. She was annoyed, the Aeroexpress was quicker and the traffic was back to back at this time of day.

She used her basic Russian to get them to the hotel, which turned out to be compensation enough for having to spend two hours in traffic pinned next to Usman, while Julian started to sober up with his face pressed to the window. In Julian’s room, he tried to give them fake Russian Internal Passports, “It reduces the bribes.”

“I am not Oksana,” hissed Cass, insulted by Julian’s perverse joke.” It is illegal just to have these things, you should know that! No, I am not taking it.”

“Suit yourself,” Julian lay on the bed, dismissing her imperiously. “But don’t expect to claim back the extra cost on the expenses account.”

Her room gave her a view over the Moskva to Red Square. The only downside was all the traffic on the bridge. She could never get used to the Moscovite’s car obsession. She loved the Moscow Metro’s grandeur, it was a functional art gallery. She was beginning to realize she was not going to see much of it this trip. Julian and Usman did not do public transport. She suspected it was more to do with fear, rather than snobbery.

They were going to waste a ridiculous amount of time, for the sake of status and show. “What is the point, it would be quicker to walk,” she muttered to herself as she settled down for a nap before the evening meetings.

They met in the marble lobby and took the car to Smolenskaya Square. Cass found it slightly ironic that the office was so close to the monstrous Stalinist Wedding Cake of the Russian Foreign Ministry, but then again most of their clients needed quick access to their services.

She had talked to some of her Moscovite colleagues over the telephone. She astutely avoided using Skye. The sight of a massive chin and looking up her own nostrils in the mini screen, always put her off her game. So she was surprised when she met Semyon. The Moscow office did not have staff pictures on its website, for security reasons. She had envisaged a dark middle aged, bearded rotund man, who made her laugh in emails and on the telephone. Instead she was met by a mid 30’s 6’5 lion of a man. He managed to smile at her with just his ice blue eyes as he ushered them to a meeting room.

During the usual business wank about drilling down into projections, pushing envelopes and escalating matters to blue sky thinking, Cass had to stifle snigger as Semyon caught her eye and rolled his eyes.

They all went to a popular Japanese Restaurant, which was packed. It was noticeable that a lot of the cliental were sharing meals for one between two. The Russian recession was hitting the most expensive city in the world. Usman grumbled petulantly that last year they went to White Rabbit.

Julian whispered to Cass, “Well if he worked a bit harder, we could.”

After the meal, and plenty of wine, there was a consensus among the men that they should visit the more earthy delights of Moscow. Cass, as the only woman, had little choice but to acquiesce.

The strip joint was like every other strip joint she had ever been to. Black shiny surfaces, neon, nylon and no knickers. It struck her that there was little imagination put into the design of these places. She decided to get stuck into the vodka, but after the obligatory “Dance for the Lady” she was bored. She could not hear anything Semyon was saying to her and then she put her hand into something thick, wet and sticky. She hoped to God that it was cocktail spillage, but on the safe side, she decided to excuse herself to wash her hands.

The ladies toilet was being used as a makeshift changing rooms for the entertainers. A babushka was the attendant. Cass washed her hands, thanked the old lady and left 10 US dollars in the tin. As the door swung shut behind Cass, she heard the old witch mutter loudly about English Dikes. It was time to go. She could get a cab, it was too late for the Metro.

As she approached the table, she noted that the majority of the party had disappeared apart from Semyon. She explained that she was going to hail a cab and he looked shocked, “No, no, no I am coming with you.”

“I have done it before, I know how to get across Moscow. Better than my boss actually,” Cass reassured him.

“For sure. Julian is drunk,” a shadow crossed Semyon’s sunny face. “He used to be able to hold his drink better than us. Now I am not too sure he can hold a glass of Kvass. No, if anything happened I would feel responsible. Come, I will get you back to your hotel. Anyway this place is cheap and boring.”

“Can we walk?” Cass asked. “I love Moscow and have hardly seen any of it this time.”

“Yes, but aren’t you scarred? Lots of people carry guns here.”

“I live in East London, lots of people carry weapons there as well.”

It was that magic time when night was caressing morning, as they walked. There was a slight bird song as they left the club and the air was clearer of the normal car ozone.

They reached the embankment by skirting beautiful Gorky Central Park and were confronted by the 1990’s monstrosity of Peter the Great’s statue. “Another of Putin’s heros,” quipped Cass.

“He can try to be like him, but he will never get there,” Semyon said putting his arm around Cass. Cass did not resist this intimacy but looked at him quizzically. “He is too short!” he laughed.

“Why do you guys keep on voting for him?” Cass asked.

“I don’t but all people are simple and want a Papochka to make everything safe and ordered. Democracy has only been here for less than 30 years. It takes time to get used to it.”

“When you put it like that, you are doing pretty well.”

“It is only in US action movies that democracy is the magic wand, Cass. Real democracy has to deal with real people and that is what makes it imperfect. But it is the best imperfect system. ” Semyon smiled and kissed her softly on the forehead. Cass looked up at him and they kissed tenderly. She was pleasantly surprised that she did not have her usual guilt ridden monologue interrupting her enjoyment.

They were both surprised out of their clinch by a siren blast and a paunchy middle aged police office demanding their papers. Semyon took over and then handed over 50 USD to the officer. Cass worked out that the officer was asking for a “translation charge” for her passport. The policeman grinned lasciviously at Cass, “Well done my friend, most of the good looking women are going to Britain. You have stolen one from them!”

“Did you understand that?” Semyon asked.

“Yes, an extremely expensive compliment. I will pay you back.”

“No, I am embarrassed enough,” he said sadly. “It is not normal. I hate it. I was in London last year and there is none of this nonsense.”

“There is,” Cass was shocked by his naivety, especially considering their work. “It is just a little more subtle and done by big business and the tax man.”

Semyon read her confusion on her face, “But if it wasn’t done by officials, business would not need to use our services. What is the point of working hard, earning money and then have it all taken away by greedy officials, because they are intimidated by success.”

“Come on. Don’t wish away your job,” Cass laughed. Semyon kissed her again.

When they got to her hotel room, Semyon wrapped one of his massive arms around her waist as she opened the door, pushing her towards the wall. He pulled her hair back from the back of her neck and kissed it hungrily, his hands pulling up at her skirt.

Cass pushed her buttocks back provocatively into his rock hard crotch, moving his hands up to her tits, guiding him in the pressure she wanted, which was harder than most.

They scrambled over to the bed, desperately ripping at each others’ clothing. They laughed when clothing got stuck and things got knocked over. It both felt right to them, like an instinctive anarchic tango. Semyon flipped Cass onto her front and spanked her playfully. He had never known a woman to purr before. She gratifyingly arched for more.

“Harder, damn it, I have been bad!” Cass demanded cheesily, then burst into laughter. She really was not used to vodka. As Semyon was gentleman, he did what he was told, until there was a nice glow to her bottom.

Cass felt like a bitch on heat, she rubbed her soar butt against his cock. He pushed her forward into the pillows as he thrust into her cunt. His strong fingers gripped her hips hard as he let her get used to him. She exhaled hard, as it was more than she was used to, both in girth and length. “Do you want to carry on?” he asked with concern.

“Yes, just give me a second to get used to you.” He remained stood to attention behind her, enjoying her gripping and relaxing around his cock. He felt her relax, and pulled out half way. She moved back chasing it. He held her hips harder, she stayed still, as he slowly withdrew, then peaked the head of his monster inside her again. He pulled her onto him inch by enormous inch. Once Cass was full with him, she turned her head and smiled at him.

She did not care for once, about her career or the consequences. That evening for the first time in a long time she was really happy and confident. She was decided to ask for exactly what she wanted, “Pull my hair while you fuck me. Fuck me hard.”

Semyon was a good hair puller, he wrapped her locks around his hand, pulled her head back as he thrust away with abandon until he shot his load with a roar. Cass did not come with him, but he was still hard and played with her clit until she came. She quaked into the bed, with him cock deep in her.

Semyon stayed. He knew he could get back to his apartment, but he did not want to. He liked this prickly funny woman, it was a bonus that she was hot. They woke early and had cute curled up hang over sex.

Cass was just coming out of the shower when her work mobile went off. “We are not meeting until 12,”she said irritably. She answered her phone thinking it would be Julian. There was a small soft Russian voice at the end of the phone, “Help me, he is hurt.”

Cass and Semyon hurried to the room. A small very young looking brunette in clothing meant for the night, opened the door. “I am Cass, I am here to help.” Semyon started talking to the woman in Russian to calm her down. Cass entered the suite. There again was the sour stench of excessive vodka. Two glasses with empty and open bottles were on the table. She cautiously entered the bedroom. She tried to ignore the used condoms on the floor, the large stack of US Dollars and blue pills on the bedside table. The bathroom door was ajar, she could see feet on the floor of the bathroom.   She inhaled hard as she pushed open the bathroom door.   He was not dead, but he had hit his head against the sink and passed out. He wound looked big.

Cass returned to the living room, “We need an ambulance.”

“We need to get his girlfriend out of here and clean up. If it is found like this he might not get another visa, at worst he will be arrested,” Semyon said pragmatically. “I will get her to your room and then get her out of here, can she have some of your clothes? Do you think you can get rid of all the mess in time before the manager gets up here?”

“There are some leggings and a t shirt in my bag, get her out of here. There is money is on the bedroom table. Give it all to her. How old is she?” Cass asked in a panic.

The woman interjected,”21 and thank you.” Cass mentally calculated backwards, so the prostitute was hopefully 18, poor kid. Cass had no idea about the legal age in Russia, nor laws on prostitution. Cass said to Semyon, “There is another hundred in my purse, give it to her as well. It is all I have on me.”

Semyon gave the prostitute his jacket, to hid her from the security cameras and they did as they were instructed by Cass. Cass called down to reception and then started her damage limitations, pocketing the Viagra, removing one vodka glass for verisimilitude and trying not to gag as she picked up her boss’ used condoms. She heard snores from the bathroom, but Julian still needed a doctor.

The manager was surprisingly understanding when she explained that Julian had a drink problem. “Lots of great men do, especially in this country I am afraid,” he placated. “I will send for the maid.”

Julian was taken away, wrapped up in a clean hotel sheet like a mummy in a wheelchair to the hospital. Cass called the office, forgetting that the office might not be open yet and left a message to call her. She knocked on Usman’s door, she heard giggling and thought, “Fuck It. I am going back to bed for an hour.”

To her surprise Semyon was still there and he had made her a coffee. They sat in bed talking about Julian. It was amazing how her boss seemed to be invading every aspect of her life, even a fun fling. As Semyon left to get home and change before the meeting, he looked at Cass slightly seriously, “I will see you again.”

Cass laughed, “Yes at the office.”

“Good,” he smiled broadly.