1: Having It All
“That's why the aim here isn’t profit, but success.”
Brandon Reed pulled his tie tighter against his neck as he practiced his speech in the mirror. In about three minutes he would be on his way to one of the most—one of the last— important business meetings he’d ever attend.
It would sky rocket his company to greater heights that even his most prestigious adversaries couldn’t reach. And then, he could finally do what he had been dreaming of for the past couple of years. Retire.
“Mr. Reed, the car is here.”
Brandon nodded at his security guard in the mirror and gave his suit jacket one last adjustment before making his way outside.
At just shy of thirty, he shouldn’t be anywhere near ready to retire. Except, his entire life he’d worked hard for this specific reason.
When he was 13 years old he’d been accepted into an ivy league college. That had only been the beginning of his successful career.
He graduated at the top of his class, early, and had already established his footing in the business world by the time he donned his cap and gown. Brandon possessed Charisma, looks, and brains. Everything he used to the last drop to achieve his heights in less than five years after graduating.
The following five, had been just as accommodating. At least where his career was concerned.
Brandon had fulfilled every dream he had ever had as a child. Every single desire. But there was still a missing piece, one that he would make damn sure he pursued as soon as this deal was done.
His driver was parked in front of his house in a sleek black SUV, he got in quickly and then they were moving. Though he might have had money, this was one of the few luxuries he alotted himself, along with the private jet that was necessary for him to get where he needed to go quickly.
Brandon hadn’t been born into this lifestyle, he came from a lower class background that had his grandfather working long nights and relying on state food stamps to put food on the table every day. That was where he’d learned his work ethic, it was what motivated him to put every small blessing he had to use to build something greater.
That was also probably why he had millions sitting in his bank account and only growing as the minutes ticked by. He didn’t splurge on anything that wasn’t necessary and the times he had, was for the people he cared about.
“Approaching,” His guard announced.
The uproar and flashing of cameras had already informed him of the fact, however. As soon as the car halted and he opened the door, his senses were set alight.
The noise was much louder, reporters and fans on the outsides of the railed off pathway to his central business building. Constant flashes burned his retinas but he moved forward without issue.
The single reporter, hired by his company for marketing purposes, was waiting for him at the entrance of his building.
“Mr. Reed, what do you hope to accomplish with such a large meeting as this?” She asked, tilting the mic toward his mouth.
“I intend to accomplish what I have from the beginning, sustaining our planets natural resources and protecting our environment for the benefit of our futures, ensuring we live on this planet for as long as it’ll have us.”
That’s exactly what he did.
Once he entered the building and rode the elevator to the top floor where the meeting was being held, time seemed to fly by, even though the meeting took well over half the day to finish.
The deal was sealed. Pollutants would diminish greatly and the air everyone breathed would get that much cleaner. His business would continue to transcend and that of its values. He’d succeeded. And finally, he could retire and figure out what that missing piece in his life was.
Shoulders no longer stiff and back not completely rigid, Brandon relaxed in his seat at the head of the meeting table as the other businessmen and representatives cleared the room.
His air already felt lighter and easier to take in. So when his best friend and assistant, Jeremy approached with his signature eye consuming grin, Brandon returned it.
“Brandon Reed, you did it!” Jeremy exclaimed proudly, clasping his hand in a firm handshake before abruptly pulling Brandon in for a strong hug.
“You fucking did it!” He repeated, his usual excitement amplified.
Brandon chuckled. “I did it.” That light feeling fluttered through his chest, igniting his sense of achievement once again.
“Holy shit. We’ve got to celebrate,” Jeremy started up, practically bouncing on his toes.
For once, Brandon didn’t hate the idea of a night out. He hadn’t had one since Jeremy’s bachelor party, and that had been plenty for him until now. He was retiring after all.
Noticing he hadn’t outright shut the idea down, Jeremy went red in the face with excitement. “Alright, we’ll get drunk! We’ll get you—No wait. I’m forgetting something...”
Jeremy patted down his pants and lapels of his jacket, something he often had to do when searching for a reminder note, because often times he got so worked up over something that he would completely space the key facts.
A black envelope was suddenly jerked out of the inside of his suit jacket and Jeremy grinned again. “The fucking invitations. God, how do I forget these things?”
Brandon took one of the papers his best friend held out, and scanned it over. It was an ornate, detailed invite to a secret men’s club for the elite class, one that Brandon was sure Jeremy had mentioned over the years.
“This is a men’s club invitation. You're married?” Brandon said in confusion.
Jeremy rolled his eyes, “Married, not in shackles. Joss goes with me all the time.”
“Okay, lets do it then,” Brandon said, chuckling at his best friends resounding hoorah of excitement.
They took Jeremy’s car and arrived at the pristine, yet ancient building in less than an hour.
The first set of doors they went through, two large security guards were waiting for them behind. They handed over their invites, and were let through the final pair of doors.
As soon as they entered, Brandon remembered exactly what kind of club this was and why he hadn’t accepted any invites those years ago.
The entire ambience of the dimly lit room screamed sex and money. A real fucking addictive combo. And just when they sat on a long sofa around the center stage of the large room, a show began.
“Your wife comes here with you?” Brandon asked in disbelief. On the stage two men were nude and kneeling, their hands bound behind their backs and mouths gaping around gag balls.
Jeremy laughed, “All the time, she fucking loves it. And especially Friday nights.”
It was Friday night, Brandon thought. “What’s so special about tonight?” He queried, looking around the room as the lights cut out completely, and the only light illuminating the room came from directly above the center stage.
“You’ll see,” Jeremy grinned, gesturing to the stage as he relaxed back in his chair.
A few masked women with trays of drinks approached, one boldly running her fingers through Jeremy’s hair.
She received a tsk and child-like reprimand with a wagging finger, “No, no, no. I am a married man. My buddy here, however...” Jeremy trailed, winking suggestively.
The woman turned to look at him, but he looked away at the same time. Because it was then, that he heard it—the soft clicking of heels against the marble surface of the stage.