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Chapter 18 — Promises
I burst into the office on Monday morning with new life. I was very early and no one was there, but I immediately got to work. I went over in my mind how to deliver our proposal to the Deville sisters. This was going to be nerve-racking, complicated and, I felt honestly, somewhat fun. I sat at my desk and drew up several ways to go about it, but I knew I had to feel out whatever setting we were in when the discussion took place to know which tactics to use.
I watched as each of the ladies arrived for work, though I was anxiously awaiting only one. They each smiled at me and headed to their offices as they began their work days, but when Nikki arrived I called her into my office with a simple hand gesture. As she reached the door, I smiled at her.
“Shut the door behind you,” I requested politely.
Nikki closed the door and took a seat. She looked darling in her navy, pinstriped skirt suit. She stared at me, smiling while she waited for what I was going to say, though she had no earthly idea what was coming.
“Nik, I need you to setup a meeting for me,” I began.
“Alright, but why the closed door,” she inquired quickly.
“It is a private, very discreet meeting,” I informed her.
“Oooooohhh,” she replied sarcastically. “With whom?”
“The Deville sisters,” I confirmed.
“NO,” Nikki protested immediately. “I will not.”
She stood up and turned to leave in a huff.
“Nik, this is the meeting that will fix everything,” I said softly.
She stopped, her hand inches from the handle of the door. I waited as she stood there for a long moment with her back to me. She turned around slowly and sat back down. Her eyes were heavy and her cheeks were flushed as she looked across my desk at me.
“Why is this not a public meeting if it will fix things,” she asked.
“I don’t want any interference in my plan,” I admitted casually. “Plus, it will help their mood if it’s just me. I will let them take their shots at me, with no response, which will help their egos.”
“I worry about you going anywhere alone with those two,” she admitted. “I don’t feel right keeping this from the other ladies. They deserve better. And if anything should happen to you, I would feel awful knowing that I let you walk into that lion’s den by yourself. Nope. Not gonna happen.”
“This is for their protection as well,” I reassured her. “Please.”
“Why ask me to do it,” she countered. “You could have set the meeting yourself. Why put me in the middle?”
“You’re right,” I agreed. “I could have set the meeting myself but I wanted someone to know. You are the only one that could handle it. Plus, I don’t want to speak to them until I see them. I am hoping it will be more dramatic and effective.”
She looked at me, fighting the conflict within herself as I stared back at her. She smiled politely and then nodded. I watched as she stood and opened the door. She walked back to her desk and I returned to my planning. I didn’t do much work for the office as the day progressed. I could only focus on outwitting the Devilles.
Just after lunch, Nikki stopped herself in the frame of my door and cleared her throat to get my attention.
“Yes ma’am,” I acknowledged her standing there.
“You are all set with that meeting,” she stated. “Tonight at 8pm. The Cavalier Hotel, downtown. Suite 721.”
“Great,” I responded. “Thank you for all your help with this.”
Nikki did not respond she simply handed me a FedEx envelope that had arrived before she turned and walked back to her desk. I decided that it was probably best not to push this right now. She had done what I had asked, even though it was hurting her. She did it anyway, for me. It was best to leave her be right now.
I spent the rest of the day reviewing everything that Bill had sent me and I kept replaying what was going to happen tonight in my head. I varied the scenario slightly each time, trying to prepare for everything, especially how to best leverage the special present Bill had sent me. It was an audio cassette that could actually be the key to everything. Bill labeled it and sent over an exact play-by-play of the two men talking on it. It was a masterpiece. There was no way to really prepare totally, but I faked it pretty well.
One by one the ladies left the office for the evening. I waited until 10 minutes after seven before shutting down and heading for the door myself. By my count, I should have been the last one there, but I apparently had counted wrong.
As I reached the reception area, Nikki was seated on the couch, waiting for me. She stood up and grabbed her purse, staring at me the entire time.
“Thanks for waiting,” I laughed. “Didn’t you feel safe getting to your car?”
“I’m going with you,” she insisted.
“Um, no you’re not,” I countered quickly.
“Yes I am,” she responded. “It’s not open for debate.”
“You are right, no debate,” I agreed. “Go home.”
“Not happening,” she insisted. “There will be at least two of them, so you will be outnumbered. canlı bahis I am going.”
She was more insistent than I had ever heard her. I looked at the seriousness on her face and thought about her words. I ran through several variations of the scenarios I developed all day long in my head. Would her going with me be a help or a hindrance?
“Ok,” I conceded. “You can come, on two conditions.”
“What are they,” she pressed.
“One, if at any point I ask you to leave us alone, then you will give us our privacy,” I outlined for her.
“I will leave you alone to talk,” she clarified. “I will not leave you at the hotel alone with them. That’s the best I can do.”
I looked at her for a moment and weighed her words.
“I can live with that,” I accepted.
“What’s the second condition,” she asked.
“This stays between us,” I stated. “Everything about tonight stays between you and I.”
“Easy enough,” she replied with a smile.
“I don’t think so,” I argued. “You are going to hear things that you will be surprised by and confused by and possibly angry about. You cannot let that show during this meeting and you cannot tell anyone what goes on in this meeting, no matter what the outcome is. Not even Monica. This has to be something that stays between us. If that is not acceptable, then you should not come with me.”
“That’s not fair,” she protested.
“I know,” I concurred. “But that’s the deal.”
“Can we alter the deal slightly,” she inquired.
“What did you have in mind,” I responded.
“I will keep everything about tonight between us,” she said. “But, if I hear anything I think could put my family in danger, the deal is off. I have to protect what’s mine. Is that a deal?”
“That’s a deal,” I allowed as her words ran through my head.
She had to protect what was hers. I knew what that meant. I felt those words ring inside of me as truth. I, too, had to protect what was mine. I finally felt ready for this meeting.
I turned and we walked to the front door together. I locked up the office and we climbed into my car. As we headed downtown, the conversation was minimal. Nikki seemed very confident, though we discussed nothing of tactic or negotiations. She just had an air of strength about her, which made me much more comfortable that I believed I would have been otherwise.
As we pulled into the valet station at the Cavalier hotel, I put the car in park and took a very deep breath. I watched Nikki exit the car as one of the attendants held the door for her. I stepped out of the car and followed her through the lobby and to the elevator. We moved in silence but her smile was radiant. She was making this very easy for me.
We exited the elevator on the 7th floor and Nikki allowed me to lead the way to Suite 721, which was at the far end of the hall. We reached the door and I looked at her. She smiled again. I looked at my watch and then cleared my throat, clutching to the folder in my hand tightly. I tapped on the door and waited.
A moment later the door opened and there stood Derek. My heart sank when I saw him as disappointment filled me. I entered the suite and we instantly exchanged our old baseball handshake, two taps of the palm followed by a fist pound. It wasn’t very original but for four years, it was ours. I was very conflicted seeing him here.
“Hey man,” he greeted me with a big, goofy smile.
“Hey D,” I replied in a very somber tone. “I am here to meet with your bosses.”
“My bosses,” he repeated. “Dude, I don’t work for them. They are just a couple of chics I am banging. Dude, I can get you in on it if you like. We go back a ways, they would like you.”
“D, I don’t think you understanding all the things that are going on here,” I advised him.
“Man, you always over think things,” he laughed. “We are supposed to have fun in life. Remember that night up in Fresno. That night was fun. And who might this be?”
He finally noticed Nikki standing behind me while he rambled on. This was a relief to me because I did not want him recapping that night in Fresno in front of her.
“This is my assistant, Ms. Barns,” I informed him. “Are Kylie and Sienna here?”
“Yeah,” he confirmed. “They are waiting for you in the office. Just through that door.”
He pointed to a door just off to the left that was shut. I turned and proceeded directly towards it, hearing Nikki’s steps just behind my own. I tapped on the door lightly and waited.
“Come in,” I heard Kylie call out.
I opened the door and proceeded inside. There was a desk to the immediate left and a small table in the center of the room with a phone on it. Kylie was seated at the desk and Sienna was sitting on the edge of the table, swinging her crossed legs anxiously. They had apparently dressed to get my attention. Sienna was wearing a gold halter dress that had a very short skirt and gold heels. I watched as Kylie made her way out from behind the desk and took a seat at the table. She had on a red blazer and matching skirt with silver pumps. I definitely bahis siteleri noticed. I assumed that Nikki noticed as well.
I closed the door behind Nikki and looked over the Deville sisters once more.
“Thank you for taking this meeting,” I opened.
“What do you want,” Kylie snapped.
“Kylie, don’t be rude,” Sienna chastised her. “Please sit with us.”
Sienna hopped off the table and took a seat next to Kylie as Nikki and I made our way to the table and took the seats across from them. I looked at them casually, waiting.
“We assumed you would be coming alone,” Sienna admitted.
“Ms. Barns is simply here to provide guidance for me,” I explained.
“She’s here to guide you, my, my, things have certainly changed in Miss Emma’s game,” Sienna laughed. “What can we do for you?”
“Actually, this time I think we can help each other,” I countered. “I have a proposal for you to consider.”
“Because we have the upper hand now,” Kylie snapped.
“Do you,” I asked mischievously.
“Um, yeah, we do,” she insisted. “We have your little blondie, the Australian redhead, the sister of one of your partners and your baseball buddy. We know we got to you and we are not done.”
“So I have learned,” I advised her.
“You know shit about our plans,” she snapped.
“I know you are about to strike me where you think it hurts the absolute most,” I volunteered.
Kylie sat quietly and stared at me. I sensed that she was steaming inside with the information that I shared with her.
“So, let’s talk about this proposal,” Sienna said softly.
“I want a truce,” I offered.
“What do you mean,” Sienna asked.
“I want to leave here with everything I feel is mine,” I explained. “I will leave you with everything I feel is yours. And then I would like the petty bullshit games between us to stop.”
“I seem to remember that you like games,” Sienna contested with a smile.
She appeared much softer than I remembered her. Had her sister’s presence and control changed her?
“I like our game,” I admitted. “You should like your game, too. But, let’s agree that they are separate entities.”
“You are right,” Sienna agreed.
“And our entity is winning,” Kylie added.
“I’ll have to take your word for it,” I said. “I’m not keeping score.”
“Then why play,” Kylie snarled, seemingly disgusted.
“Because I care about our players,” I offered honestly.
“You’re soft,” Kylie accused. “What do you really want?”
“I’d like you to release Vivian and Monica from your game,” I requested.
“Not likely, cowboy,” Kylie declined.
“It’s in your own best interest as well,” I said.
“How so,” Sienna asked with a curious grin.
“In this folder I have a lot of information,” I explained, holding up the small portfolio I was carrying for them both to see. “Information is power in negotiations, as I am sure both of you well know. So we did not come here, hat-in-hand, looking for charity. We came to make a deal.”
“We already have deals in place,” Sienna disclosed peacefully.
“I know,” I admitted. “Those deals equate to your leverage on your players. I have some leverage of my own, so perhaps a new deal can be reached.”
“Why just Monica and Vivian,” Kylie inquired curiously. “Why not Lisa and Derek as well? Your leverage can’t be that good if you aren’t asking for everyone.”
“As I said, I only want to leave here with the things I believe are mine,” I reminded her. “Lisa and Derek are not mine. They are yours, do with them what you will. Vivian, well, she’s not really mine either, but her being set free means a lot to me. So I am asking for that, with the promise to you both that she will not be returning to our game. We would like to see Vivian have a normal life, with no games involved. Monica, on the other hand, is MINE.”
Nikki glared at me as I was very forceful with my last word. There was both hope and despair in her eyes, but she knew to remain silent.
“You really do care for them,” Sienna stated, finding some softness in the truth.
“I do,” I agreed.
“Then you can’t have them,” Kylie barked.
“I know each of them have value to you,” I conceded. “Which is why I propose a trade of sorts.”
“That would mean that you have something we would value as well,” Sienna deduced.
“I believe that to be the case,” I confirmed for her.
“What could you possibly have,” Kylie asked sharply, not believing I had anything that she would want.
“There are a couple of things,” I hinted. “But I think we should review the facts first.”
“We have what you want,” Kylie reiterated. “Those are the facts.”
I watched as Sienna rolled her eyes in frustration. This amused me greatly.
“While that is true, there are more facts to consider,” I added. “Like the fact that I know your leverage on Vivian but do not know your leverage on Monica.”
“You know our ‘leverage’ on Vivian,” Sienna repeated. “What do you know?”
“I know that she is an employee of your company,” I informed them. bahis şirketleri “I also know that if she quits you get her car, her condo and her share of our firm.”
Sienna’s mouth dropped and the look on Kylie’s face could have killed. They were completely stunned that I had these details and now I had there attention. That much was perfectly clear.
“How did you get all that information,” Sienna asked in an almost breathless voice.
“I don’t think that’s important,” I replied simply.
“You’re right, it’s not,” Kylie agreed. “It’s just information. Information we already know and control. So it’s of no value to us. You have nothing.”
I sat back and smiled at her politely.
“Kylie,” Sienna addressed her sister sharply. “Shut up.”
Sienna nodded at me to continue.
“Now, we have used this information to make some acquisitions,” I explained. “We know that Samson Holdings LLC is public and we are now shareholders.”
Kylie stood up and stared down at me.
“Don’t toy with me,” she snapped at me. “How much did you buy?”
“We were only able to acquire 15%,” I admitted.
A nasty, devious smile spread across Kylie’s face as she sat back down.
“That is when information became important to us again,” I stated. “When we read your divorce papers, we knew how much ownership you had. Then we knew the number we had to beat.”
“But you didn’t beat it,” Kylie reminded me.
“Not on the open market,” I agreed. “So private deals had to be made.”
“A boytoy like you doesn’t have the kind of money it takes to make those kinds of deals,” she snickered.
“I know,” I concurred as I smiled widely at her.
“Friends in high places,” Sienna said.
Kylie turned and stared at her sister. There lack of communication was becoming more and more evident. Sienna looked at her and exhaled.
“Emma always said that the firm had ‘friends in high places’ whenever I expressed worry about anything,” Sienna explained. “I am assuming those friends helped you here.”
I nodded with a smile.
“So, how much do you really own,” Sienna asked plainly.
“As I said, we were able to acquire 15%,” I reiterated.
“I don’t get it,” Kylie expressed with a very confused look on her face.
I was enjoying this way too much. The fact that they were not even on the same page made me hopeful that a good outcome was, for the first time, actually possible.
“So you made a deal with the devil himself,” Sienna said perceptively.
“We have made a deal with someone you are very familiar with,” I informed them with a smile. “A mister Edwin Samson.”
“That little fucking weasel,” Kylie shrieked. “Fuck him. And fuck you too.”
“So you are buying Ed’s share of the company,” Sienna recapped. “Where does that put you?”
“Well, Mr. Samson still owns 25% of Samson Holdings,” I informed them. “We have reached a tentative agreement to purchase that 25%.”
“So that only gives you 40%,” Kylie spewed. “You would have to share control with me and I am sure that you know how much fun that would be.”
“That’s true,” I agreed. “Which is why we have reached a second agreement.”
“What second agreement,” Kylie barked. “There was only 25% in circulation aside from my piece and Ed’s piece. What else is there?”
“The board,” Sienna declared. “All you would need is one of them to sell you their seat.”
“And that’s what we have,” I cemented. “One of them.”
Kylie stood up and reared her right arm back as if to take a swing at me. Sienna quickly jumped out of her seat and stepped in front of her sister. She ushered Kylie away from the table as Nikki let out a little snicker. Sienna turned back around and came back to her seat after calming her sister for a moment.
“So what is your plan,” she asked gingerly.
“Well, we could go through with our purchases,” I explained. “We could own 41% of Samson Holdings, LLC, and have a seat on the board. We would then use those positions to remove Kylie as president and release Vivian from her obligations to the company. We would then investigate every single thing that has gone on here and see what else we uncover. Then you will sue us and we will fight in court. There will be a bunch of pissed off people and some really rich lawyers at the end of this. We will probably have to sell the company and divide the proceeds. Sounds like fun, no?”
They both stared at me, knowing that every word I said was rooted in truth. They were both very unsure how to proceed.
“Or,” Kylie said softly, seemingly defeated.
“Or, as I said, we make a new deal,” I offered.
“What did you have in mind,” Sienna asked.
“Value for value,” I reminded her. “You get what’s yours and I get what’s mine.”
“Specifically,” she pressed for details.
“You know what we want,” I stated. “Vivian and Monica are released 100% from all obligations to the two of you and your company.”
“What do we get,” Kylie exhaled heavily.
“We will agree not to purchase Edwin’s ownership stake in this company,” I laid out for them. “Also we will not buy the seat on the board we have agreed to purchase. In addition, we will agree to sell you the 15% of Samson Holdings that we do own, giving you complete controlling ownership.”
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