“Mr. Nygaard will see you now, Ms. Reynolds,” the secretary tells her, nothing of a smile or emotion flashing across her face as she walks out from the office. “There’s no need to knock since he’s expecting you.”
The secretary moves aside as Khloe moves past her into the CEO’s office. Light floods into the room from the window, acting as a well, opposite her as she steps inside and her pace slows in the middle of the room before stopping a couple of meters away from the desk in front of her.
The man, well-dressed in a tailored, slim fitted and grey suit stares out the window in front of him before turning to face her.
“Khloe Reynolds?” A thick, Scandinavian and masculine voice comes from him as a smile twitches upon his face.
“That’s me,” she smiles, offering the man her hand and he takes it.
“Call me Aleksander. Please, my offer.”
He walks around his desk, his hand sweeping to Khloe’s left. Four, seemingly untouched wooden and grey barrel chairs surround a low, glass table.
“Do you need anything before we...start?” He offers as she gets comfortable in one of the chairs.
Hesitating, Khloe lets out a laugh before answering, “I’m fine, thank you.”
With her answer, another smile spreads across his face as it reaches his eyes.
“Do you...mind if I record this?” Khloe asks as she shifts her bag in front of her legs.
“No, no, please do. I don’t want you getting on Miss Aleyev’s bad side already.”
His smile disappears for a moment before reappearing as he sits across from her, “Of course. Ready when you are.”
Inhaling sharply, Khloe pulls up the questions on her tablet and clicked into editing mode. She stares at the device in her hand for a moment, looking up afterward with something of a forced smile.
Tucking and smoothing a hair behind her ear, she says, “Okay, this shouldn’t take long, but you take as much time as you need.”
She hesitates, looking at the first question before asking him, “In previous interviews, you said that you started up this company almost a decade ago if I’m not mistaken. Over the years, you turned yourself into one of Scandinavia’s most successful businessmen. To what do you owe your success?”
His dark eyes study the woman in front of him, faltering for a moment as he thinks it over.
“Well,” he starts, crossing a leg over the other as he settles into the chair. “It’s all about people, Miss Reynolds, and what they want to aspire to be, their goals, how to motivate them. To achieve success in the business world and industry, one has to be motivated to obtain and master of it, inside and out. I work hard and play hard to make sure the goals are accomplished. My decisions are based on facts and logic, not human emotion since human emotion can be fallible and manipulatable. Bottom line? It’s always down to the good and moral people.”
“Would you also...say...it’s due to luck?”
“I don’t believe in luck, Miss Reynolds. The harder I work, the more doors and opportunities are opened up for me.”
“That’s...very ambitious of you.”
“I’m an ambitious man. I’m sure you heard from your...industry,” the CEO leans forward, uncrossing his legs as he rests his elbows on top. “I don’t let personal connections get in the way. That’s because my business is more important, and I believe that personal connections can affect and manipulate my choices and decisions.”
She looks down at her tablet, trying to word the answer correctly.
“Can you define personal connections for me?” Khloe asks as soon as she’s done writing up his answer.
“Family, the person I’m dating, friends, acquaintances.”
“When you say that your personal connections can affect and manipulate your decisions and such, can you expand more on that? I think I understand, but I don’t know.”
He stands, straightening out his jacket as he walks over to the massive looming over the city as the silence between the two grow.
“Personal connections become emotional attachments,” he tells Khloe as he looks at her, crossing his arms. “Emotional attachments hold power over basic decision-making and choices.”
Khloe, flustered, takes minimal notes before collecting herself again and looks up at him as he takes a few steps to stand in front of her before leaning up against his desk.
“Besides...your job,” she continues, reading off her tablet. “Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of your business?”
“Why does my personal life concern you?”
“There must be some way that you relax besides staying...at your business...all day.”
His arms relaxing, he lets out a breath as he stares at the ground in front of him.
“On the rare occasion I get away from my business,” he begins, his gaze moving back up to Khloe as she shifts in her seat. “I enjoy art, cooking, and traveling.”
“What type of art do you do?”
“Realism, painterly, and photorealism. All done with acrylic, oil, or pencil.”
Clearing her throat, “Do you mind giving me more about cooking and traveling?”
He smiles, his body relaxing as he uncrosses his arms. As he walks back to his chair, he replies, “Cooking is, well, just cooking. I enjoy a lot of foods that you probably haven’t heard of. Traveling...well, it depends on the time of year and the weather. What do you want to know about my travels?”
Khloe, hesitating, gaps at her tablet in silence for a second, looking back at him as she questions him, “What’s the most beautiful country you’ve been to?”
“Beauty’s subjective, Miss Reynolds, but France, Canada, and Japan are the closest that I could think of.”
“What country has the best food?”
“Italy and France.”
“Okay, moving on, if you don’t mind,” Khloe tells him as she finishes up the answers. “You said, in previous interviews, that you invest in architecture, engineering, and technology. Why those three things? Why not...engineering and manufacturing?”
“I’ve always had a...thing for innovation and building new advancements. They’re built to be solid, stable things and no one wants a faulty building or a phone, right?”
“They’re all very fine businesses, Ms. Reynolds,” he comments. “And they’ve been here since the beginning of time, so why invest in something that doesn’t work when there’s already things out there?”
A knock comes at the door, the secretary coming in and the two exchange words in Norwegian before she leaves a minute later.
“Sorry about that,” he apologizes as something of a half-smile popping upon his face. “I was just informed that my meeting today was canceled.”
Khloe bites her lower lip, “Of...of course.”
“Do you have any more questions for me, Ms. Reynolds?”
“No, sir. I’m afraid this is all that my supervisor’s given me.”
This time, a full smile crosses his face, “That’s fine. I’ll tell her that you’ve done an excellent job.”
“Thank you, sir,” she almost stammers, putting the tablet into her bag and standing.
“Pleasure’s been mine,” he tells her as he extends a hand out after standing, the two shaking for a brief moment. “Until next time.”
“You, too, Mr. Nygaard,” she returns the smile.
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