Around 13.30 the next day, Cass had come to a decision. She could not live with herself. She needed to confess and her confessor would be Julian. She had made her excuses to leave the office early, collected her car and drove to the clinic. She had to do this in person. He had always treated her fairly and he deserved a chance to change things.

The clinic was a red brick neo gothic Victorian pile. The nurses resembled five star health spa staff rather than a serious mental health facility. The enormous entrance hall was full of subtle plinky plink of meditation music and expensive vapours of frangipane. The relaxing atmosphere grated on Cass. She was finally received by one of the therapists, “We have consulted with Mr. Bauer and though he should not of agreed to see you, we have also asked Mrs. Bauer and we are willing to let him see you. I will have to search you and your bag.”

“Of course,” Cass agreed. “ I should not be too long.”

“You are permitted half an hour,” the nurse commanded.

“I won’t need that long. How is he?” Cass asked apprehensively.

“We are not permitted to discuss patients but he is improving,” the nurse said officiously.

“Good,” Cass said. The nurse escorted Cass to the “Relaxation Room.” It was a spa. Julian received Cass in a hot tub.

“Cass! Don’t I look improved!” Julian shouted over the bubbles. “Give me a moment and I will be with you.” His skinny frame got out of the tub and wrapped himself in a large fluffy dressing gown. Cass thought it strange he was so thin. She thought alcohol made you fat. She did not realise vodka was Julian’s only calorific intake. Eating hurt him now and it added bulk to the vomit. So in his mind it was a pointless exercise.

“The anti depressants are kicking in now, so I am allowed to see people. Amazing really, I don’t even feel like a drink,” Julian said. Cass cringed as it was obviously for the nurse’s benefit, who smiled and left them to talk.

“Have you brought me anything?” Julian asked furtively.

“No,” Cass looked at the floor suddenly ashamed.

“Don’t worry, one of the gardeners gets me a supply. Expensive though,” Julian smiled boyishly. “Don’t tell, he gets paid nothing and this helps him out.”

Cass was not going to tell. The gardener was just another one of Julian’s victims. Julian had probably convinced him that Rebecca was a neurotic worrier and he was just in here to keep her quiet. Julian would have waved enough money at this poor guy, until the risk seemed worth it. Julian thought everyone could be bought.

“For fucksake Julian!” Cass was angry. Julian seemed hell bent on hitting the self-destruct button good and hard. The realization she was going to make his choice easier for him, made her feel sick. He was not going to sort this situation. He did not care. It was a game for him, but in his mind every time he lost, he felt like a winner. He was pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes and enjoying the hoodwink. He sat there smiling at her and basking in his perverse sense of victory.

“I know what you have done Julian. I was asked by Ivana’s associate to find out and I have to tell this person.”

“No you don’t, you could just help me sort it out,” Julian seemed unfazed. “All I need is a little time and some help from someone like you. Anyway it is all mine after all.”

Cass was talking to a mad man. He did not seem to think that he had done anything particularly wrong. Cass had seen from the accounts that this charade had gone on for years. The money was so mixed up that there was not telling to whom it belonged.

“No one is going to come after me. They don’t want questions. If they were to come after me, it would have been years ago. Cass, stop looking so shocked, you don’t understand business. This amount is nothing to them.”

“Do you know how much you have borrowed?” Cass could not hide the sarcasm in her voice as she tried to pull him back to reality.

“A few thousand, a hundred at the most,” he said nonchalantly.

“How about £50 million?” Cass asked.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Julian laughed.

“Julian, you burnt through 10 grand before leaving for Moscow. The week before that it was 5 and the week before that it was 20. You know it isn’t just a 100k!” hissed Cass. “What about the houses?”

“London house prices always increase. It is only a small discrepancy. They will make it up and the client will never know,” Julian’s eyes glinted with the thought of the bet.

“I don’t call £1,500,000.00 a small discrepancy. And that was just one deal! What happens when the client wants to sell? How are you going to explain the loss? What if they visit? These people are not idiots,” said Cass. “What it they go to another firm and find out that you haven’t even bought the property, they instructed you to buy!”

Then it dawned on Cass, this was exactly what he thought of everyone. He thought they were all idiots. People were there to be manipulated. Golems, simply there to do his bidding. It never occurred to him that he would get caught. He had used smoke and mirrors for so long he began to believe his own illusion. She had a chilling sensation, she was sat with a true psychopath. He was not homicidal. He just had a compulsion to control with charm and destroy with deception.

All the damaged people he kept in his entourage, were just there to make him feel normal. He felt less broken with them around and he liked them to feel indebted. It helped him with his god complex. His employees were like obedient dogs, wagging their tails at any praise or treat.

Cass stiffened her resolved trying not to hate him, “I have to tell Ivana’s associate. I have no choice. I am sorry. I wanted to give you a chance, but I can see this has gone too far.”

“You always have a choice,” Julian seemed completely insouciant.

“I don’t, not this time Julian,” Cass got up to leave. “They have threatened my family.”

He grabbed her wrist, shakily, “You don’t know, who I know. You underestimate who I am.”

Cass shook off his hand, lent towards him and whispered in Russian,” And you don’t know, who I know.”

He shouted behind her, “Cass don’t leave like this. Come back, we can talk about this.”