Chapter 1 : Part 1
Taylor Swift - The Man
"Life is full of surprises," Emerald whispered to herself while checking out the family picture on her makeup desk. Her gentle touch reached over the frame, on her family. She was so slow and kind that almost thought the picture was actually alive. "And it's all about the time we waste." But it wasn't.
Her blue eyes checked herself in the mirror; her dark makeup was what made those eyes special. You could easily get drowned by just looking at them, and she knew about it. She always knew her beauty, and how she could've used it to make people do anything for her. But it wasn't just that, her beauty wasn't her actual sword. Yes, she got that dream blue eyes, like a real ocean, so deep that you could easily get lost in. Dark black hair just like the clear sky at midnight, with no stars. But still, that wasn't it.
It was her mind. Her intelligence. Her strong personality. These are the things that amaze people who meet Emerald, along with her beauty.
Her mornings got their own routine in a very short period of time. She always wakes up, refreshes in the bathroom, gets a strong coffee for the beginning, and starts getting ready for work.
As she walked down the stairs accompanied by the sound of her high heels, Emerald regretted the last few pages she read last night. She usually had no time to do the things that weren't related to her business life, like spending much more time with her friends or giving extra attention to her little sister. She was totally obsessed with her job and being the best businesswoman that she could be.
When she finished the steps and turned to the kitchen, Emerald heard a few chuckles. Her younger sister, Celine, was sitting at the large dining table and having breakfast peacefully while texting with her friends.
"Oh, wow," murmured Emerald. "You're really awake and ready to go, I'm so proud of you baby girl," Celine was partly a tough one. She's either too late, or too early to do anything. And yet, her sister does her best to spend one or two more minutes with her.
"You know, my dear sister, exams are coming so now I have to get up earlier, to study." Celine really did her best to make her sister believe what she's saying, but Emerald didn't eat that. "But the subject is not my lessons right now, why are you so extra this morning, " she looked at her sister up and down and whistled. "You're so beautiful today- why are you looking at me like that?"
Emerald ended her death stare. "Well, I have no doubts about that, " she played with her hair and then kissed her sister. "I have to go now. Please don't be late, you're teacher called me last week and said you started leaving earlier than you should, don't repeat that again."Emerald always did her best to keep an eye on her sister. Celine was actually a nice girl but Emerald's always overprotective. Just like that, no matter how busy she is, she'd always find some free time to take care of her sister; Emerald was like a mother to Celine.
Emerald left her house after picking up her bags. She walked towards her open garage outside the house and took out her keys. "Good morning, " she said while smiling, to her sister's personal driver.
"Good morning, Miss Blackwood. Am I dropping you off?"
"No, but Celine will be down any minute now. Please make sure to pick her up at the right time," After a really short chit chat with her driver, she asked about his newborn baby girl. "I heard she's been doing pretty fine, finally some good news ha?"
"Thanks to you, Mrs. Blackwood, " her driver smiled embarrassingly. "God bless you and your kind heart, I really don't know what would've done without you." Ahmed's wife had a premature birth. The seven-month-old girl was at the tip of death. When Emerald got the news, she took her to the best hospital in the city and took care of the baby's everything. The little girl, who stayed in the hospital for two months, was clinging to life again.
She put her hand on Ahmed's arm and gently squeezed it to be supportive. "Anyone would do the same thing, Ahmed." After checking her watch, she left Ahmed and headed to her car. Since the doors were working with a fingerprint detector, as soon as Emerald put her hand on the door handle, the car was unlocked and started to work already.
Emerald did not have such a large car collection. She never needed such a thing. She bought her third car last year and she was pretty much adoring her Toyota Land Cruiser. One thing you could tell by looking at her is that she loves big cars with heavy engines. Of course, except for her guilty pleasure-speed.
Her company was about thirty minutes away. Looking at the huge building would always make her proud. But to be honest, she was extremely tired. Well, too tired to be at the age of twenty-eight. All her responsibilities started to get heavier and heavier each day, to a point that she wanted to give up; and thank God she didn't. She decided to move on no matter what, and that was the best decision she ever made.
Her brother, Gerald William Blackwood, graduated from the medical university in London, UK, and fell in love with a woman he met while studying a master's degree. His dream was to be a successful surgeon, to be great, and save as many lives as he can. He had never intentionally dealt with company business, nor wanted to acquire a profession.
When he talked about this situation with his younger sister Emerald, his sister tried her best to understand him. Gerald wanted to leave LA and go to London, continue his study there, and be with the woman he fell in love with. His decision brought up some problems at the time; because their dad, Benjamin Blackwood, wanted to leave everything he owns to all of his children. He always thought that his son and his daughters will carry their family name and business on their shoulders proudly, but it turned out that neither Gerald nor Celine wanted to go after their dad's steps. And that was the day when Gerald left, and never really came back.
And Emerald agreed to be the heir.
Nothing went really smooth back then, because there wasn't just her father making decisions; it was her grandfather, Arnold Blackwood. He's the Chairman of the Board, and even his son couldn't make big decisions without him. But surprisingly, Arnold accepted his sons and Emerald's deal. If something ever happened to Benjamin Blackwood, Emerald Blackwood would take everything he owns. Everything.
One year after Emerald signed the contracts, everything went down, tragedies appeared one after another.
Benjamin Blackwood was found dead in his bedroom, and it was just a simple heart attack, which changed Emerald's life forever.
Her father's death shook her deeply. It hurt her heart to see the man she always leaned on her back, dead on the ground. Maybe she whispers to herself sometimes. Maybe if she had gone ten minutes early that day, he would have intervened in his room before it was too late. Even her cardiac massage did not help at all. For the first time in her life, she felt empty. And that was the time when she swore to her dad, that she'll never fail and let him down, ever again.
She stopped her car in front of the company. Thinking about her family somehow made her even more angry and competitive. Emerald got off the car with her bags and hand the keys to the valet who opened her door.
As soon as she entered the building, a fancy entrance welcomed her. She took a look around and found her best friend, also the Financial Manager of the company, Sam Redfield, standing in front of the reception. "Good morning." Emerald, in a calm voice as walking towards him.
"Good morning, Mrs. Blackwood," Sam grabbed Emerald's briefcase. "Hope you're feeling well today."
"You know, Mr. Redfield, " both walked to the elevator. "I get better and better every day." Emerald and Sam were actually the closest friends that you'd ever see, but they always kept their friendship professional around the company.
"No doubts about that, " Sam fixed his glasses. "I think you have a busy schedule today, first of all, Dean Brandon is coming to visit you for an unknown reason." Emerald sighed. There were people in her business life that she did not even want to hear about. Some were people she met face-to-face and had to tolerate for a while, while others were the people she knew about all the dirty work they do under their reputation. Dean Brandon was from the first group. Emerald and he used to be closer than they are now. Very close, more specifically.
"The way I can't stand him anymore... He behaves like an absolute child and I don't have time for that. No like, do I look like I have tolerance for imbalanced people? " The empty elevator was the chance for them to talk freely. "I am really looking forward to the day that our contracts end. If I could, I would risk everything and kick him out of the business, but..."
"..but there are tons of contracts you signed. The project we're working on will take at least two years. Maybe even more, but we're trying our best to make it lesser. My point is; if you end the partnership, we will have to pay an extensive compensation. Samet shrugged. "Not that you care but as your Financial Manager, those numbers freak me out, boss."
Emerald's death stare found her friend. "I really hate how you're always right. But I think I pay you to agree with everything I say, right?"
"Okay, okay, I didn't say anything! I don't want to annoy my boss in the morning." When Emerald laughed, Sam would laugh. Sam was a forty-five-year-old man who seemed to be really younger than he is. He and Emerald were on good terms ever since Emerald was his new boss. They actually had a good friendship and Sam was like a big brother to her; she always knew who she'd go to if she ever feels like she's drowning.
When the elevator stopped, Emerald stepped out with the satisfying sound of her heels. Her head and shoulders were upright, her blue eyes were as kind as they could be, and her long black hair was just flawless.
Sam handed her briefcase to Demi, the secretary of Emerald, and entered his own room. As soon as Emerald walked into her room, Demi took her notebook and the briefcase and followed her boss.
Emerald sat on her chair and placed her handbag on the desk. She fixed her hair and cleared her throat, then focused on her Secretary. "I'm listening, Demi."
"They called from the construction site and asked if you would go and check the area. I did not give a definitive answer. Immediately afterward, interior architects ask for final confirmation for the restoration of the hotel in Texas, would you like to call them or let me do it? And Mr. Brandon wanted to have a meeting with you, he said its too important so I just scheduled him to 4 pm, but I can cancel any time you want."
Emerald took a deep breath and approached her desk. "Tell Mrs. Maddox to go and check on the site, and let her inform me. Also, they've waited for the restoration long enough, the interior designers had to start a week ago. They better not waste more time." she watched her assistant quickly take notes and close her notebook. "Is that all?"
Demi nodded. "Good, you may go. And, please bring me a coffee with sugar." Her assistant left the room as soon as she can.
Although the program seemed to be filled with drafts that could be done in a short time, it has been extremely busy for the last two months. Blackwood Company, which he re-established in Spain, heralded new partnerships and new businesses. Blackwood Company had hotels in Spain, UAE, and Turkey. Actually, the past CEO Benjamin Blackwood had to close both companies due to several overlapping troubles. Now, years later, Emerald had taken the edge of the work that her father could not continue.
There was always a hustle and bustle at the company. Engineers discussing the maps and angles of the constructions, interior designers who deal with the decoration of each hotel individually, those in the finance department, and the company's brain, the people at the head of Blackwood Company. Even though it seemed like it was broken into pieces, they were all moving together and there was no room for a single mistake.
When the door suddenly opened, she looked up startled. Emerald watched her cousin come in and sit on the couch, catching a comfy position and acting like it she wasn't in a pretty serious building. Well, Lucy Blackwood was really a woman that Emerald's secretary couldn't deal with. Or even Emerald.
"It's nice to see you here Lucy, it really is, but don't do that again. Ever." Emerald was pretty much serious but it wasn't really important to Lucy. They literally grew up together and were each other's best supporters from day one. So no matter how bad the situation is; they'd always find a way to make it better.
"Before you start telling me how professional your job is; we have a really big problem."
" What happened?" asked Emerald, while putting down her pen.
"My grandfather and grandmother are coming." Emerald had enlarged her eyes. Mallory Blackwood was the most grumpy and sweetest woman you could ever see in your life. "Do you know the reason for their arrival? Well, at least my grandma's reason is to make sure that both of us are ready for marriage. Us!"
"Shit, " whispered Emerald. "Of course that's why. When are they coming?"
Like Emerald didn't have enough reasons to be worried about, and now knowing that her grandparents are coming was the next level of anxiety. She definitely can't deal with both of them at the same time. "I didn't know about it."
"We're so dead. So dead!"
"Why are you even panicking?" Emerald looked at her cousin. "I mean, you're the one with the giant ring, she should focus on you, not me."
Lucy was actually been engaged for one year now. Steve, her fiancee, was a funny and sympathetic man that cares about Lucy more than himself. After they got engaged, they decided to not rush into things and marry whenever they want to.
When Sam entered the room in a hurry, Emerald gave a deep breath. Well, people really forgot how to enter a CEO's room. "Sample-"
"Emerald! You must come with me! NOW!" Sam exclaimed breathlessly.
Well, Sam's flurry and fear expression on his face easily terrified Emerald. "What?"
"Safe. They broke the safe."
She could not remain calm after what she saw in seconds.
The wide corridor was filled with glass fragments, all doors were broken and opened. Stunned in shock, she moved to the room where the safe was in small steps. As the tears rushed into her eyes, the security panel pushed slightly to the door that had broken. She involuntarily closed her mouth with her hand.
The shelf with important files was overturned, and all the documents in the files were scattered on the floor. Other than that, the mouth of the case standing in the corner was wide open. When Emerald turned to the safe and looked inside, she noticed that a few files and many documents were missing. As her eyes misted, she couldn't stand any longer and left the room.
Everyone on the wide floor was staring at her with full attention. She was trying her best not to look at the two dead bodies lying in front of her. At that moment, everyone seemed to be waiting for her to do something. To say something, to move... But Emerald was completely locked.
She first felt a terrible bitter taste, rising from her stomach into her throat. Nobody could stay for more than two minutes because of the rotten flesh that started to surround. How long have they been here? She couldn't stop thinking. What happened here?
She shouldn't have lost herself. Get your shit together. Right now. She began to take deep breaths to get over the first shock. Immediately afterward she returned to Sam, who was standing a few meters away. "Have you notified the police ...?" After receiving a positive answer, she slowly walked away. As Emerald started to get away, she completely forgot how her own feelings could hurt.
It is obvious that Emerald wasn't feeling like herself. It was like she was completely lost with nothing. The labor of the years was gone. From the material gains to the tenders she won, to the bids, she will make in the future tenders, the documents related to the companies she will be partners with, the new projects that she will undertake to promote her holding for multi-purpose. All were taken.
Most importantly, all the efforts of her father were wasted.
Emerald rested her elbows on the table and rubbed her face. She couldn't realize how many minutes have passed, or for how long she's been hiding. She was completely out of words, couldn't even face anyone. Emerald was devastated, and mostly, all of her employers were disappointed. She had no idea what to do. She didn't even know what happened upstairs.
She washed her face so many times that all of her makeup was gone. She still didn't feel well and seemed to retch any minute. Emerald was the only person that should get herself together, but she couldn't even think properly. Everyone was waiting for her to do something in such a crisis, but she was silent for too long now.
When the door was clicked twice, Sam entered with three people behind him. Emerald looked up at two unknown men and a woman, who entered the room with calm steps.
"Emerald, cops." When Sam spoke, Emerald immediately stood up. The big, blue-eyed man advanced ahead and headed towards Emerald. The young woman shook her trembling hand quickly and then shook the man's outstretched hand.
" Detective Henry Fitzgerald."
After the handshake, Detective Henry and the civil servants next to him were standing still. "Would you like to drink something?" Sam asked, just so. In such a case, he really didn't think someone would like to have the pleasure of coffee. Fortunately, the detective did not want such a thing either.
"Crime Scene Investigation teams are working above. This is now a crime scene. You will have to close the company for today, maybe it'll take more than a day."
As he swallowed, Emerald looked at whether the man was serious or not. There was no way to close the entire company. This building was the heart of all the other company buildings and hotels, in all of the worlds. And closing it means that deactivating all the work, everywhere. She couldn't close the company. "I can't close the company. You may only work upstairs."
"The entire building is suspicious."
"You will only be able to find evidence above." Emerald had not liked this man already.
Detective Henry was stubborn. He did not like what Emerald has said. They seemed to be able to argue here, right now.
"I thought you were a businesswoman, not a detective." Sam's pupils grew slowly, bowed his head, and worn his nose bone. This will not end well.
Emerald had hit her hand hard on the table. "You can't ask me to stop my entire job!"
"Will you not even give your employees the opportunity to mourn?" Detective Henry laughed sarcastically. "They're not robots, they're people."
Sam felt the need to intervene. At the moment it seemed like he was understanding both of the sides and this was very bad. He approached Emerald and put his hand on her shoulder. "Let them do their job. You need time to think too." Emerald looked up and literally begged her friend with her eyes. Nobody seemed to understand her.
Then, Emerald looked at Detective in surprise. The man's cold navy eyes were nothing but determination. He knew that he was acting so harshly and knew that the woman had justified reasons. Well, he didn't really think that Emerald would shut up and do whatever she's told either. At least not in the future. "Now accompany us to the department, please."
Emerald took a deep breath. She quickly returned to Sam, who stood beside her after gathering her belongings. "Do whatever it takes. Don't let the press get any single information about what happened."
Right after that, she had left the company with curious looks. While waiting for a blue and white police car, there was a sedan vehicle with a siren on the ceiling.
At the time of their departure, there was no sound other than the voice of the radio in the car. Finally, Emerald's phone started ringing. She picked up her phone and looked tiredly at the screen.
Of course, as soon as these boring glances saw the name on the screen, it was replaced by anxious peeks.
Incoming Call: Mallory Blackwood
After looking at the screen for a while, she realized that she couldn't escape anymore.
"Baby girl, how are you?" Well, would it be too absurd to say I was suffering? Her grandmother's cheery voice had little effect on her mood. "I'm fine, grandma. How are you?"
"I'm fine, my beautiful daughter. Are you in the company?" With the question asked by her grandmother, she began to beat her lips. "I and your grandfather just landed and we miss you so much. If you're at the company, we'd come and see you."
Emerald's eyes had grown involuntarily. "I'm not in the company!" She nearly yelled without control, even Detective Henry turned and glanced at her, and Emerald rolled her eyes as a response. "Well, I'm not right now. I have a few meetings. I'll come to you later if you want?"
"Oh, is it?" Her grandmother's face fell. She was in the car right now, on her way to the building. "Let me come and wait for you there?" Nope, this was a much worse situation. She and her husband would have a heart attack second they get the news. The building was filled up with cops and employers were heading home.
"Why don't you go to Lucy's? As soon as I'm done with my meetings, I'll come over and we'll have a nice dinner. What do you say?" Please agree. Please agree.
"Sweetheart I'm okay with that but your grandpa has to visit the company. You know, he wants to check up on work." Of course, he wants to check the work!
Emerald sighed deeply. She seemed to have no escape. Se couldn't hide this situation from her grandfather anyways, he should have known about it. "Can you give the phone to my grandfather?"
Her grandmother handed the phone to his wife without pairing. While Arnold Blackwood told his granddaughter a few sweet words about how much he missed her, Emerald was pretty stressed. "Something is going on in the company. Things that I don't want my grandmother to know. So, please can you guys go to Lucy's and wait for me? I'll explain everything when I'm done."
The old man stopped. He nodded slightly after playing his granddaughters' voice twice in his head. "OK." Emerald was surprised that her grandfather accepted without asking questions. After taking a deep breath, she hung up, saying that she would meet them later. How do I tell you this?
If there was only one thing that she knew so well, was that this wouldn't end well in any way.
Well, hello everyone. And welcome to White Flowers.
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