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Argent Dynasty

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Summary

Argent Enterprises, a multi-billion dollar business empire, has prospered across many generations. William Kale Argent reclaimed the integrity of the Argent name upon his rise to become the newest CEO. However, he has his own demons and a dark past that refuses to go away quietly, as well as family dynamics that are far from perfect. This is their story, as they work to navigate their daily lives and those of their friends and family, one day at a time. The Argent Dynasty is only just beginning.

Genre:
Drama / Romance
Author:
Tanique Adams
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
13
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Prologue

“I’m not a good person.”

The silence hangs in the air over such a blunt statement that even Monica Chavez; renowned network reporter, is taken aback.

“You’re not a good person? How do you mean, William?”

“You asked me how I feel about being praised as a good person for my charity work and advocacy for diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. While it’s true that I sponsor good causes, I would not consider myself a good person. It’s the least I could do to atone.”

“Atone? Do you mean for your history of domestic violence against your ex-wife? The newly acclaimed opera singer and stage performer, Nora Louise?”

William lets out a mildly miserable laugh but maintains his professionalism. “Miss Monica, I wish that was the only thing I needed to atone for. That only scratches the surface.”

“I’m aware you have quite the past, William, but I had assumed you wanted to leave those details behind you. Am I correct in asserting that you are open to discussing your younger years?”

William smiles genuinely at the dark-haired woman before him and stares directly into her oak eyes. “You asked me here today to discuss William Kale Argent, the man behind the empire. You would not be getting your highly coveted exclusive interview in earnest if we do not. I’m not running from my past anymore, so ask away.”

Monica can’t help but smirk slightly at the opportunity she has just been gifted by America’s most discussed person in capitalist society. She’s worked relentlessly and shed blood, sweat and tears to get this opportunity and so she is going to go all in.

“Thank you William, if I may then, could you, in your own words, tell us your journey? Not every instance of course, but the key points that shaped you into the man you were and how you ended up as the man you are today. Don’t omit any significant details.”

William laughs. “I see you’ve allowed your true viper to come out now, Miss Monica. Of course, I will be truthful, but I will leave out certain names for the sake of their privacy. Will that be fine?”

“Certainly, we value privacy here, so that will be fine.”

“I’ll sum my story up in the most efficient but inclusive way I can. It’s best if I start with my upbringing and branch out from there if that’s okay.”

“This is your show William, I’m just here to listen and clarify.”

“Okay then, here it is.” He takes in a huge breath to prepare. “I was born to Richard Argent; the ex-pro-football star and Mellisa Argent; the popular movie actress. They raised me from a distance, leaving my immediate care to the maids and nannies.”

“So, you were alone often, huh?”

“Yes, always. I think I can only recall a handful of times my parents and I were together for more than a couple of hours. Though, they kept me so busy with my extracurriculars between home schooling sessions that I didn’t have time to notice or care. Except perhaps on holidays. Those were somewhat difficult to manage at the start, with my father always away on ‘business’ and mother focused on her own amusements.”

“Hmm, you say business as though you don’t believe that was the case? Do you mean to say your father was having an affair?”

“Oh, without a doubt. Father was very indulgent in his dealings with women and had any number of mistresses. My mother knew of his actions but chose to turn a blind eye simply because he was an asset she couldn’t afford to lose. She didn’t sleep around much, but boy, did she gouge the old man for all she could with company funds. She was quite the socialite, so she had no time for me.”

“How did you deal with this estrangement from your parents?”

“In the worst possible ways, you can imagine. I was basically the poster child for a trust fund baby. I became such a poser the moment I entered high school. I was the coolest kid in school and basically the guy everyone wanted to be friends with. I became quite the player as well, doing every sexual act I could imagine, with every girl I could find, all throughout my tenure.”

“This went on into your first year of university, did it not?”

“Yes. I only got worse by the time I could finally leave the nest and taste freedom. I went crazy and became such a despicable man in my dealings with women, much like my father. I objectified them, got way more handsy than I should’ve, and committed acts that might be classified as borderline assault. I was disgusting, frankly.”

“That bad behavior caught up to you in the worst way, didn’t it?”

“Indeed.” William becomes obviously disheartened. “Because of my reckless behavior, a young woman is dead. A good girl who genuinely cared for me was killed in a senseless car crash caused by my hands. I was drunk out of my mind, thinking only about what sexual favors I wanted from her. I took a curve too quickly, we crashed, and I blacked out. When I woke up, I was in the hospital and told she was dead at the scene. I didn’t even know her name.”

Even Monica is silent for a moment before speaking again. “This seems like something that particularly bothers you.”

“That day still haunts me even now, as well as the weight of what I’d done. What’s worse, my father had it covered up, just as all the Argent men have their scandals for generations. So, I didn’t get held accountable for my actions, and that caught up to me years later in the worst way.”

“You are referring to the incident with Zachary Storz, correct?”

“Yes...he was that girl’s younger brother. He’d blamed me for his sister’s death, rightfully so, and finally took action into his own hands a year ago when he came to enact his revenge, using my children as his collateral. I almost lost them, and that haunts me too. To know that my mistakes nearly cost me the most important things I’ve ever made. Sadly, it did cost someone dear to me their family’s lives, and that will always torture me too.”

“Yes, your current wife’s mother died in the conflict protecting her daughters and grandchildren. Her younger daughter was actually the half-sister of Zachary. Is that correct?”

“Yes, that’s correct. My biggest mistake caused a chain reaction leading to the death of a dear soul, and the incarceration of another as a result of multiple factors, but still my influence. I’ve made many mistakes, but this is the one that haunts me most insistently, and it always will.”

“Well, it was indeed a damning mistake, but I think you can trust me when I say that your remorse is clear and I’m sure the world will see it too. Will you ever be able to truly atone for it though? Well, that’s something no one can answer except perhaps a higher entity. Us mortals have no right to cast judgment otherwise.”

“I don’t really believe in higher powers and all that, but it is comforting to hope that I might find salvation one day, I guess.”

“Right, well, let’s get back on topic. You changed after that experience, didn’t you? You met your current wife, Jenevieve Barlow, and entered a romantic relationship that lasted through distance and time to lead you to your current state today, right?”

“Yes, Jenny and I met while we were in college and were together throughout, until I messed that up too. I got drunk over my arranged marriage and parental woes, and my old self came out in an unwelcome manner, scaring her away.”

“She was pregnant with your oldest daughter at the time, wasn’t she? Yet, you didn’t actually meet her until five years later, when you met again here in New York City, correct?”

“Yes, but I never held any true resentment with her for that. I understood why she kept that secret from me, and I’m glad she did. I think it would’ve only led to more complications had she been discovered sooner. Those five years were some of my darkest in terms of my own demons, and I wouldn’t have been the father she deserved. I’m still paying for my mistakes with Nora and my son, who doesn’t wish to be around me. I couldn’t handle my daughter hating me too.”

“Let’s talk about that. You and Nora were forced into marriage by your parents, from what I understand. You resisted initially, but once Jenny left you, you gave into their demands and had the ceremony soon after. Not long after that, Nora conceived your son, Augustus Jude Argent, who is only a couple months younger than his sister, Kaylee Rei Argent. Is that right?”

“Yes. While Kay was raised in the shadows, Jude was raised in the center of all our attention. This was hard on him, especially when news of my violence against his mother broke. He had a lot of pressure on him from the public to be an exceptional child befitting of such a tycoon as myself. Though Nora and I never wanted him to buckle under such pressure. She kept him busy with many hobbies, but in a reasonable manner that only served to foster his future success. It was never forceful. She is a wonderful mother. He adores her, naturally.”

“Yes, and he was ultimately your wake-up call to stop the abuse, wasn’t he? He was badly injured in an altercation between you and your wife, which gave you quite the scare and awakened you.”

“Yes, I indirectly caused him a serious head injury in my rage, which almost cost him his life. It was the only time I’ve ever prayed to a god I hoped existed. After that, I checked into rehab, started attending AA sessions, anger management and regular therapy sessions. I never assaulted Nora again in the remaining three years we were together, and even tried to seriously give her my love. However, she was understandably hesitant to fully trust me again and even when we found genuine love again, it just wasn’t enough to keep us together or compete with my love for Jenny.”

“Jenny really is the key to your heart, isn’t she?”

“Yes, for sure. It’s always been Jenny, and it wasn’t something I could change. Our attraction has always been magnetic and absolute. Our biggest mistake we made together was thinking we could be apart. We took the long way around, but we found each other again, and when we did, we vowed to never let go again.”

“Are you on good terms with Nora and Jude? Now that you’ve effectively ‘chosen’ to settle together with Jenny, Kaylee and your youngest daughter, Scarlet Bea Argent, how did they take it?”

“Nora and I are on good terms now, and I’m a big fan of her work. I’m genuinely happy for her success, which she found all on her own I might add, and she in return respects my achievements too. However, Jude...well, understandably, he can’t get past my apparent ‘betrayal’. Not only does he resent me for my mistreatment of his mother for all that time, but also for being an absent father and then turning around and picking his unexpected sister in place of him. That’s how he sees it, but I never meant to make him feel unwanted. I have room for all my children. But it’ll take time for us to get there. I believe we will.”

“I’m sure that if you continue to be an exemplary person and continue to do good as you have been, he will, someday. I pray for nothing but happiness for your family. Your story is certainly not a perfect one, and you’re not a perfect man, but I do believe you are inherently a good person William, even if you don’t feel you deserve the claim. I suppose the public will judge you according to their own views, however, as is the nature of this broadcast.”

“I appreciate your kind words Miss Monica, and I truly hope I can one day see myself as a good man as you claim me to be. I might be able to reach that status, but I’m not there yet. I still have a lot more to do, and that’s how I approach my position as Argent Enterprises’ current CEO. I want to bring the company in to a more positive and supportive light. I want to make it an empire that people can trust to do what’s right and invest into businesses honestly and fairly. That’s the foundation it was built on, but it lost its way along the line. I want to get it back and then make it better than before. I want to leave a legacy that my children can be proud of.”

“Well, I would certainly agree you’re on the right track, considering Argent Enterprises is the largest business empire in the country and is on track to go widely global in the next few years. I only have one last question for us to close with.”

“Fire away Miss Monica.”

“What would you say binds you to this world and inspires you to keep moving forward when you wake up each day?”

“Daddy, is it done now?” A young girl with dark blonde hair runs to her father, seemingly unconcerned with the numerous cameras and production crew all around. Staring with her big blue eyes, she shouts, “I want to go to the aquarium!”

“Kaylee!” A chestnut-haired woman runs over, her baby asleep against her back, and grabs the girl with apologetic auburn eyes. “I’m so sorry! I turned away for one second and she just bolted.” She attempts to drag the girl back.

“No mommy, I want to stay with daddy!” She clings to William’s arm.

“Kay, come on, you’re disrupting their interview! Kale, I’m sorry. To you as well Monica. Forgive us,” she pleads.

“Oh no, this is quite heartwarming. I think the viewers will love it. You must have a lively household William. Shall we formally introduce your family then?”

William laughs deeply. “Miss Monica, you have no idea. I’d be happy to introduce them. To answer first your question, however, this is it.” He pulls the three into his lap proudly. “It’s to this happiness that I am forever bound.”


*Note: This is a spin-off sequel to my Bound Series. While this Prologue tells you all you need to know to enjoy this story, for the full experience, you may want to check out the related books, Bound, Divided and Freed, which are also here on Inkitt.

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