I stared out the window of the 25 story building while our two teams hammered out the rest of the details for the merge. They had finally come to an agreement and both sides were a lot happier with the contract than they were 2 weeks ago.
"Ethan, can I have a moment with you?"
I turned my head to see M. Frederich, the CEO for Robinox, holding the conference door open. I stood up and walked out the door, barely being missed by anyone around the table, and followed him to his office.
"I hope you and your board are happy with the new terms, Uncle Frederich."
“Please, call me Marshall and I am very pleased. Although, I was more than confident that both you and your partners were going to be able to pull this off. That's why I hired you in the first place."
He pulled a bottle from his bar and poured us each a glass of 50 year old scotch, handing one to me then taking a sip of the other one. He walked over to the large windows and hummed loudly as he took another sip.
"I appreciate that. I know my father and you were very close and you gave him a tremendous amount of work throughout my childhood years.
He turned and looked at me then said "Your father was a great man and I see more of you in him every time you visit but even he wasn't as stubborn as you."
I chuckled at his comment and if he hadn't been more like a distant Uncle to me I probably would have taken offense to it but he had known me my whole life and he was correct, I was stubborn and hard-headed. No one else meant it like he did, though. He knew that my life had been rough these past few years and he was the only one who could tell when something was bothering me, just like my dad always did.
"You never would have merged with the second largest company in Sweden if I weren't."
"That is correct but you work too hard, Ethan, barely spending any time with your mother or siblings and they miss you dearly."
It was true that in the past 10 years I hadn't seen my family more than a couple of times, especially since my mother was now on her third marriage, my sister had opened another boutique and only called me when she needed money and my baby brother was back on the streets with his heroin addiction.
After my father died our family crumbled and I always felt responsible for it. Besides James, I was the most successful of the four of us and I didn't do anything to help the situation, in fact I only added to the chaos when I refused to step back from law school to help all of them get back on their feet when they blew all of their inheritance.
"My mother is quite comfortable in her life right now and it seems my sister has finally turned a profit with her other business."
"And what about Timothy?"
"I have helped him more times than I can count, and so have James and Laura but his refusal to change is out of our hands."
"Give him another chance, Ethan. He was only 10 when your father passed away. What if you sent him here to Sweden? We have excellent rehabilitation centers and then he can work for me after he is through."
I shook my head in agreement and finished off my Scotch then placed the empty glass on his bar before walking out of the room. Talking about my family always took the life out of me. I always felt suffocated when the subject came up because I made the mistake of letting them rely on me one too many times and it blew up in my face. James was the only one who did anything constructive with his life and never depended on me for anything.
I walked back to the conference room just as everyone was shaking hands and exchanging farewells.
"Ethan, everything worked out. You were right, I should never doubted you." Julia said with a smile.
"Great, now I can get back home, unless you have something else that needs my fixing?"
"No. Go home and I see you in a few months when the merge is complete. Thank you."
I grabbed my things and walked out with everyone, It was already dark out so I decided to wait until the morning to head back home. As I walked out the building, I noticed a store across the street and immediately walked over. It was one of the most famous culinary stores in the country and I instantly thought of Brittany. Even though she wasn't talking to me right now, she still deserved something nice to start her career with and what better way than with a set of Sandvik knives?
After spending almost an hour in the store customizing my order, I walked back across the street and to the car. We drove to the apartment where I packed and took a shower and prepared to leave early in the morning. After I was finished, I laid down and tried to go to sleep but as always my thoughts were filled with Brittany. Why was she mad? Was she ok? I knew she hadn't gotten into trouble because I would have been alerted as soon as it happened but the silence from my insider had been deafening so I grabbed my cell and made a call.
"Have you seen her?...Does she suspect anything?...Ok, I'll be back tomorrow night."
His answers were short and if it weren't for all the things I'd done for him in the past, I never would have asked him to help me but he owed me. I closed my eyes again and instantly drifted off.
I felt like I had barely slept at all when my alarm rang but I sat up anyway and started getting dressed. I had to be at the hanger in an hour which is why I had everything ready last night, I hate being late to anything. My driver was patiently waiting for me when I came out the building and quickly placed everything in his trunk while I got into the car.
After we arrived at the plane, I boarded the personal aircraft carrier that belonged to the company and made myself comfortable in the luxurious leather chairs. The flight crew consisted of two pilots and one attendant who were strictly for me and were on 24 hour call and more than happy when they had to work. After all checks were done we took off and I couldn't help but imagine how pissed Brittany would be when she saw what I had bought her.
Twelve grueling hours later, we finally landed in the states, of course it was nighttime here but I wasn't complaining since I was completely exhausted from staying awake on the flight. I had text the guys to let them know I would be back in the office on Monday, but not before giving Brittany's phone another ring.
I'm sorry, but the number you are trying to reach is not in service at the moment. Please try again.
I knew she would not have unblocked me with as busy as she's been since I left but the fact that she didn't try and reach out to me made me even madder than when I left. I asked the driver to pass by her address so I could see why she was still so upset but when we reached her house there was a truck parked in her driveway.
That green-eyed monster reared it's ugly head at the thought of her with someone else. Why did I even care, it's not like we were anything? I felt my blood start to boil as my driver began to slow down and I wanted nothing more than to run up to the door but I knew it would only push her further away, which at this point is the best thing to do. I needed to stay away from her for her own good.
I informed him to keep driving to my pent house all the while trying to come up with every reason to stay away from her. Then I remembered that she would be starting at the restaurant in a week, so I decided I would show up on her first night and give her the knives, then stay out of her life all together.
After the town car pulled into the garage, I grabbed my bags and waited for the elevator. My body was stiff from the flight but my mind was still whirling from seeing that truck in her driveway. What was more unsettling was why I was as disturbed as I was, I mean I never gave a shit before so why now? You know exactly why!
I shook my head as the elevator opened and my front door appeared in view. Just beyond that door I had everything I needed in life, top of the line security system, state of the art sound and appliances, all customized leather furniture and amenities that peopled would sell their souls for. I earned it all and not because of my status but because I made it happen, people feared me and my friends but with that fear came trouble and I'd had my share of it in the last few years.
Could I drag Brittany into that with me? She was so innocent and brazen, not ready to admit when she was wrong and yet I couldn't help but always want to take care of her. She was perfect but could she really handle being with me? Especially since I never gave her a reason to trust me in the first place.
After my bags were unpacked and I took a shower, I grabbed my laptop to finish up some work for tomorrow. In the next few weeks, we had a lot of work to do with some new business coming in and at first I was eager about it but just like always, I started to have my doubts. What if this all blew up in our faces and we took a huge loss from it?
Ummmm so, yeah! Do you think Ethan likes her and just doesn't want to admit it!
And isn't it so cute how he brought her a gift home from Sweden? Do you think she will take them or is she so caught up in Colin that she will refuse to accept them?
He's jealous of Colin but refuses to tell Britt how he feels, he wants to stay away from her for her own good. What is that about and will he be able to?