Edward never came back. Seven years later, Bella is a tough, heartless corporate girl in New York City. She has taken down many businesses and never lost. Now, she is about to take down C-CORP. Who is the mysterious owner? Who is "C"? She will find out, and she will destroy him. Who is the monster now? Can she be saved? The story is done. I will update everyday! THIS IS IT GUYS! THE LAST CHAPTER AND EPILOGUE! (SNIFF)
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3742 Review this Chapter
CHAPTER 1 - JUGULAR
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I stood in the middle of my living room in the dark staring at my clock as if it were my mortal enemy. I watched as the second hand kept moving, tick . . .tick . . .tick, oblivious to the fact that I wanted to desperately stop time from ever moving forward.
I closed my eyes and in the silence, I could almost hear every dream that I had kept secretly locked in a secret and small part of my heart, slowly seeping through the cracks in my soul and dissipating into thin air.
Fifteen more seconds, 10 more seconds, 5 more, and then my shoulders slumped and all the air escaped out of me as I hung my head in defeat. Just like it always had, time had kept moving, even for me.
Time was heartless, blind, and cruel.
It was midnight. The date was September 13th. And I was now twenty five years old. I shook my head and once again berated myself. Stupid Bella, stupid foolish Bella.
It had been seven years since he had walked away and left me in the forest, and another birthday had come to me. Wherever he was, I knew in that perfect mind of his that he never forgot anything. Whether or not he wanted to, his mind would remember this day as my birthday and he would know how old I was.
And he didn't care.
I knew it was irrational, but this birthday, turning twenty five, seemed even more final. If he was ever going to come back, he would have done it before I was twenty-five. After that, I would just be too old. The span in our ages would be too great. There were plenty of younger vampires that could do the job much better.
I stared at the clock. One minute had gone by. My mind screamed like it always did, You can stand here counting the minutesuntil you're ninety-two and he still won't come back! I knew that, I really did. My heart was just screaming for something else.
He was somewhere in the world and he was unchanged. The perfect boy that still found a way to invade my thoughts. His crooked smile was still perfect, his bronze hair was perfect, and his arms were still the only place I had ever wanted to be.
I was going to turn twenty-six, and then twenty-seven. I had to stand and face it for the last time. This was beginning of my life, I told myself. No more looking back. Why did it feel like a life sentence?
The clock, uncaring to my misery, was still ticking. I turned around, straightened my shoulders, and went to bed.
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When you're dreamin' with a broken heart,
The waking up is the hardest part.
You roll out of bed and down on your knees,
And for a moment you can hardly breathe,
Wondering was he really here?
Is he standing in my room?
No he's not,
Cause he's gone.
- - - Dreaming with a Broken Heart, John Mayer
I heard the irritating beeping of my alarm clock and threw my hand out of my covers as I searched for the button that would end my annoyance. My eyes squinted in the darkness as I looked at my clock. 5:00 a.m. I pulled the covers over my face and closed my eyes again. It was only for a moment, but it was enough. Before I could stop myself a memory rushed in.
The steady beat of the rain hitting the window in my bedroom woke me, and I slowly opened my eyes. I glanced up at my clock and saw that it was 5:00 a.m.
I turned over in the darkness. My hands found him before my eyes did. He was staring at me with a crooked smile on his face. My angel. I moved over and snuggled in to him as close as possible. I could smell him as I felt his marble arms close tight around me. I kissed his neck and I heard his magical voice whisper, "It's early, you should go back to sleep." I put my mouth next to his ear and whispered back, "I'm not sleepy."
I pulled back my sheet and blanket so he could slide underneath them. I felt his hand move slowly into my hair as he stared at me, then, his cold lips were on mine as I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him down with me onto my pillow.
My eyes shot open and I threw back my covers. In my hurry to get out of the bed as quickly as I could, my feet got tangled in the sheet and I fell out of bed and onto my knees. My hand went to my mouth as I swallowed the tears that were threatening to spill over, but I was determined that they would never show themselves.
I was angry. Angry because I knew the rules. Jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off, Bella. Never allow any unguarded moments in which your mind may begin to wander. I knew from experience that as soon as I let my mind be free, it would go where it always wanted to go, and I was fully aware of what that kind of thinking could do to me.
I clenched my teeth and took a deep breath. That memory was only 10 seconds at the most, I told myself.
I brought my hand down from my mouth, picked myself up, and began walking to my bathroom. I was getting better and better at controlling it. I was getting better and better all the time.
I pulled on my shorts and shirt; put on my running shoes, and was strapping my i-pod on my arm as I walked out of the apartment. I heard the hard rock music begin blasting in my ear as I rode the elevator down the sixty-five floors to the lobby, and I felt the tension that had come from my unwanted memory, begin to leave my body. I tried not to cringe at the music I was listening to. Hard rock and Rap were the only music I allowed. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and shut my eyes as I tried to forget about everything that made me feel weak and helpless. Everything that had to do with him.
Philip, the night guard, waved at me as I walked across the massive lobby and out the doors. Central Park was right across the street from my building, and in less than a minute, I was running. Most mornings I ran five or six miles. The mornings I woke up with dreams about him, or let myself think about him I usually pushed myself a little harder. I felt a good seven or eight mile day coming on. One way or another, I would get him out of my system, out of my mind, out of my heart.
The cool, late September air was perfect for running and about four miles in, I felt my head begin to clear. I pushed myself to run harder, faster. Every step was another victory. Every step meant I was stronger. Every step meant I was farther away from wanting him. Every step meant I was fighting the weak and pathetic Bella, and that I was winning. I wasn't as clumsy as I used to be, but having to concentrate on not tripping, also helped to keep my mind off the wrong things.
At mile five, I was becoming myself again. I checked my watch and forced myself to run faster. I had to be home in 15 minutes and I still had two miles left. This day, of all days, I had to be there exactly on time. This day, of all days, I had to be at the top of my game. For today, was going to be one of the biggest days of my life. I checked my watch again. I had scheduled the big meeting to begin at 8:00 a.m. This meeting would be an important one. It would determine the future direction of the company, and my career.
Business had been my major in college, and I was definitely in business. We were beginning a hostile takeover of #9 on the Fortune 500. There was no way for them to get out of it, we had them over the hot coals. It was my job to turn up the heat until they were burned to a crisp.
After high school, (a time I try not to ever think about,) I began a new chapter in my life. It was called, "Be a Human." This is what he wanted for me, he wanted me to be human, then so be it.
In college, I threw myself into my studies. The human mind is like a sieve, right? I did everything I could to forget about him. I took classes year round. I worked at the library on campus so that I could sneak and study after the library was closed. I became the teaching assistant for my professors so that I could earn more credits. I tutored students so that I could earn more money and therefore, take more classes. I pushed myself to be on the Dean's list and positioned myself at the top of my class.
Men weren't exactly high on my list. In fact they weren't even on the list. I did nothing to encourage men. I purposely had "relaxed" my standards of appearance. Through college I was known as "frump girl." I didn't want anyone talking to me or getting too close to me, and I certainly didn't want a relationship. I just wanted to get through my studies, and I succeeded. I graduated with my Masters at the age of twenty-two.
My rise in the company was nothing short of meteoric. After graduation, I was hired by the #1 high power New York investment firm, Berkshire-Hathaway almost immediately. After I was hired, every boss I had was so impressed with my work ethic and my heartless ability to get the job done, that I kept getting promoted. I crushed anyone that stood in my way of success. I worked harder and longer than anyone else. I was happy for all the responsibility that the CEO had placed on my shoulders. Hard work meant no down time.
Now, I was at the pinnacle. After only three years in the company, at the age of twenty five, I had just been awarded the job that had belonged to my old boss, the Vice President. I felt a little bad about taking the man's job, but hey, it's all part of being "human" right?
I came back into the lobby a sweaty mess. My lungs were screaming for air, and my ears were ringing from the loud annoying music, but now my head was on straight. I was ready to crack some skulls in the meeting today. I waved at Oscar, the morning doorman, and rushed to the elevator. My driver would be here to pick me up at 7:30 a.m., and I was never late for anything.
Sometimes I marveled at how much I had changed in the last seven years. As my salary increased, I did two things. I bought a Penthouse Suite on Park Avenue, and learned how to dress to kill. My intention was not to get a man, it was never about that, it was to throw off balance any man that got in the way of my success.
I was known in the high stakes world of cutthroat marketing as the "Bitch in heels" and it was a title I wore proudly.
I stood in my massive closet deciding what to wear. I chose a blood red dress that was knit and fit tight against my thighs, and pair of five inch black pumps that made my legs look extremely long and slender. (I practiced walking in them for two weeks before I went out in public).
I decided to wear my long hair down. I styled it so it had a slight wave to it and it was so shiny that the light bounced off of it when I moved. I was never one to overdo the makeup, but just the right amount of blush, mascara and blood red lipstick put the finishing touch to my outfit.
The phone rang, my driver was here. I strapped my phone on my ear and began calling those on my team that would be at the meeting. I stole one last appraising look in the mirror and then raced out the door with my briefcase.
As the driver pulled in front of our high rise offices, I got one last call from Simmons, my assistant. Everyone was sitting in the room and ready. Perfect. I was ready for my grand entrance. I loved hunting, especially early in the morning. In a few hours the company would be ours. I smelled blood and I was going in for the kill. I was going for the jugular, and I would suck them dry.
I was four for four. I had taken down every company that I had gone after.
And I had never lost.
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An hour and a half into the meeting, the adversary finally broke down and realized that they were pushed into a corner from which there was no escape. Their lawyers had their head in their hands and beads of sweat were on their foreheads. I smelled victory. I had made the company roughly 33.5 billion dollars and it wasn't even 10:00 a.m. yet.
I turned to Simmons and with my eyes communicated that I was turning the meeting over to him. I stood up and said, "Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure working with you. I will leave you in the capable hands of my staff," and then I left the room. I never bothered with the details. I left that to the little people.
As I approached my office, my head secretary stood up immediately and began walking rapidly along beside me.
"Ms. Swan, I have your list of clients for today and your phone messages are sitting on your desk. I took the liberty of setting up your lunch meeting at the client's favorite restaurant."
She was out of breath from running. I glanced quizzically at her. For crying out loud, I thought. I was walking in five inch heels, why she couldn't she keep up with me?
She gulped a large amount of air and started in again. "Mr. Clooney has called twice and left a message for you to call him on his private number."
I rolled my eyes. I attended one movie premiere as a favor to a production company and that, Joe . . . or was it George, Clooney somebody would not stop calling me.
"Please Sally, get rid of that guy." I said exasperated.
Her eyes were wide. You want me to give George Clooney the brush-off?"
Ah, it was George then, I was right. "Yes, do whatever, tell him I have some horrible disease, or something." I waved my hand at her. We were almost at my office now.
"He was just voted the sexiest guy on the planet! For the third time!" she said in a high pitched voice.
Not as beautiful as the boy I once loved. . .Shut up Bella!
Sally looked strangely at my face. I was clenching my teeth and my face was all twisted. I took a large breath and said, "Is there anything else, Sally?" She handed me a large thick folder. "Here is the information you requested on that company, C- CORP."
I took the folder from her and walked into my office.
She raised her voice, "Remember that the CEO of Radial Systems will be here to meet with you in twenty minutes." She got the last few words out as the large wooden double doors closed on her face. I sat down in my plush leather chair and breathed a sigh of relief.
The first rule of business is to never let the enemy see you show fear. I had been afraid today. Afraid that the whole takeover would fall apart right in front of my face. I had worried that those lawyers for the adversary would have some last minute trick up their sleeves, but we had done it. My team and I had taken down one of the biggest companies of all time. I smiled. Smiling was an extravagance I didn't allow myself very often these days, but for this victory, I allowed myself one short smile.
I was five for five. I had a perfect winning record.
I leaned back in my chair and turned to stare out over the cityscape. Having a corner office with walls that were floor to ceiling windows allowed me to have a panoramic view of the Bay and most of Wall Street. It was a beautiful sight. From up this high I felt like I had a window on the world. A window where I could see out, without anyone looking back in on me.
Which is just how I liked it.
I could look down on the people below without them ever knowing I was here. Without them ever knowing what was really going on inside of me.
I especially loved the way the city looked at night when it was lit up like a sparkling diamond. I spent most nights here, until at least midnight or 1:00 a.m. Then I would go home for a few hours sleep, and start this all over again.
I took a deep breath and shook my head. That was all the down time my mind could risk. Instinct told me that I must keep busy at all times. I turned back to my desk and there I saw my next opponent. Across the top of the very thick folder that Sally had given me, were the words, "C-Corp". I opened the folder to read until my appointment arrived.
About a year ago, while researching financial records of successful companies, I came across C- CORP. First, I was intrigued at the profits that the company had made, and second, I was amazed at their secrecy. As I read over everything I could find on C- CORP, I began to get that feeling that came over me when I found a company that was perfect for a hostile takeover. Like I was the predator, and they were the prey.
I alerted the CEO, Mr. Sterling Hathaway, about C- CORP, and within the week we were quietly buying up shares of stock through small companies that would not alert anyone as to what we were doing. It took some effort, but six months later, we had bought shares totaling 42% of the company. It wouldn't be long now. There were however, some things about C- CORP I still didn't know, like who owned the company. I eagerly opened the file expecting to get my answers.
I had hired interns to spend months going over every part of the company's records with a fine tooth comb. The folder contained important information that listed, among other things, the weaknesses of the company. The details I required were specific, I wanted as much data as possible. I wanted to know what brand of dental floss the CEO used, anything I could turn to my advantage. But, from the very first paragraph, I saw that the interns had been as unsuccessful as I had been in finding the company's owner.
I read down farther thinking surely I would learn the name. In all my years, I had never seen anything like it. The billionaire behind this company requested to remain anonymous. The person had taken great pains in assuring secrecy. This was going to be a challenge. All I could glean, was that the company dealt primarily in foreign countries and for some odd reason, Alaska. The money had been made by setting up small promising businesses and nursing them into large money-making corporations.
The financial backer had been careful and patient. Some of these businesses had been purchased back in the early 1900's. The companies were built slowly, almost as if he or she thought they had all the time in the world. The businesses had somehow managed to flourish even through the Great Depression in the 1930's. The backer had cleverly protected the companies right before the stock market crash, almost as if he had some warning it was going to happen.
One thing I couldn't figure out is how this company had stayed together for so long. Surely the original backer had died long ago.
When computers came into their own in the early 1960's the profits of C- CORP went through the roof. Again, it was almost as if the company knew what an astronomical effect computers would play in the world to come.
How this company had stayed off the radar of so many other headhunters was beyond me, but I was going to get them. They had taken great pains to stay quiet and private, but I was going to acquire this company and break it up into a hundred different pieces all going to the highest bidder.
There had to be some clue as to who was holding the money behind this billion dollar company. I felt the rush of the hunt coming on. My instincts were taking over. Another diversion to keep my mind busy.
The "C" in C- CORP had to be a clue. "Okay "C", I said, while talking to the folder. "I am coming after you. Your number will be up the first time I meet you," I then sneered at the folder.
Sally opened my door and made a face as she saw me talking to my desk. She paused a moment and then said, "Ms. Swan, Mr. Jensen is here for his appointment."
"Send him in," I said as I hastily put the folder in my top drawer. I smelled fresh blood and I would show no restraint. I wasn't about to let this C- CORP get away from me. I could be a real monster when I wanted to be.
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