"I find it fascinating that you have the balls to talk to me this way, excuse me, I misspoke, I meant foolish, I find it foolish that you have the balls to talk to me in such a disrespectful manner." The man in front of me grinned showing me his smoke-stained teeth. Such a shame when a man so young throws his life away on such a filthy habit.
"Look Darling I came here to deal with Sam Claymore. You may not know who I am so let me enlighten you. My name is Edison Ritch, you might have heard of me, my brothers and I own one of the largest transport companies in the state." He had a self boasting tone about him clearly thinking that owning a company so large made him more superior in my eyes. But in contrast to what he may believe, I knew exactly who he was. I did my research before he walked into my office, I was prepared but it was obvious that he wasn’t. Looking him in the eyes I just knew he had no idea who I was, and that was his first mistake.
He continued to speak. "I am here to talk to Sam Claymore and will only talk to him. My dealings need to be with the head of the Claymore family, I don't have time to go via with some glorified secretary in a tight skirt." Calling me a glorified secretary was his second mistake. "I can wait while you run along and go get him for me."
I silently watched as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. He popped one of the stickers between his lips and was about to light it when I spoke up. "This is a non-smoking area Mr. Ritch."
He smirks as he continues his action. After taking a puff he leaned in close and exhaled the contents of his lungs directly into my face. I keep my cold icy composure as I successfully fight my urgent gag at the smell invading my senses. And that's his third mistake.
"That is a very filthy habit you have, smoking can get you killed at a very young age."
He starts to laugh, putting his teeth on display again. Normally I would have taken care of this pest by now but I was having a good morning so I decided to be generous today. Not knowing who I am and calling me a secretary are basically the same thing. So let's just call this mistake number two. I took a deep breath as I attempted to calm myself down.
"Mr. Ritch, if you wish to deal with the Claymore family then you are indeed in the right place, as you can see by the name on the building and the fact that you are sitting in this office on the top floor. If there is something we can do for you than I am your contact inside the company, I can assure you that I am more than qualified to take care of all your needs."
"Really is that so." He said in a raspy voice as he placed his hand on my thigh and squeezed.
I look down at his hand. Brief images of cutting his fingers off with a dull knife flash through my mind before I push those violent thoughts aside. "And that's your third strike, Mr. Ritch"
He raised his eyebrow and grins. "Look Darling, I am here for serious businesses. If you really want to deal with me I'm sure we can work something out." He was still touching my thigh and I just couldn’t believe that he actually thought this behaviour was acceptable, then again he still thinks I’m a glorified secretary so in his sick mind this is acceptable.
I take his hand and remove it from my leg as I get off my seat. "Tell me, Mr. Ritch, what do you know about Sam Claymore and the rest of the Claymore family."
He scoots in his seat and smiles like this is a fun game to him. I walked through my office till I came to a halt by my floor to ceiling windows where I briefly took in the New York skyline. The only sound being heard in the room was the clicking of my high heels. Behind me, he begins answering my question. "The Claymore family is the most powerful family on the east coast. Their wealth comes from two places, owning several international companies that have dominated their respective fields for years. They pretty much dominate every market they step into. It's safe to say that the Claymores have their fingers in every pot."
"And what is the second place their wealth comes from?" I turn to face him again and start to walk around him slowly. "Their dealings in the underworld of course. It's not public knowledge but they are also the largest crime family in the city. Dealing with drug trafficking, illegal gambling, black market auctions, you name it. Like I said, every pot." He has a cocky grin on his face again like he was so proud of the information he revealed to me thinking that he gave me some valuable knowledge. There is nothing I find more irritating than a man who thinks he has something to teach me when in reality all he can do is waste my time. I continued to circle him slowly knowing that at this point I was just toying with him. I had already made up my mind about what was going to happen now.
"And what is it you know about Sam Claymore Mr. Ritch."
"I was supposed to meet him today before I was sent to you instead so I’ve never met him but I know the guy is brilliant. He almost tripled the family’s assets and overall value in the five years since he’s taken over from his father. Nobody knows exactly how he did it. Some say he is trying to make the entire company and all side endeavors go legitimate. And others say he is an unstable killer who gets a hard-on every time he makes someone bleed. That he thrives on invoking fear and bending everyone to his will. That he doesn't hesitate to kill someone who has wronged him or his people."
"And which of these do you believe Mr. Ritch?"
"I believe he's the ruthless killer everyone says he is, but it doesn't matter, either way he's going to make me a lot of money."
"Yes either the money is clean or it's dirty, but it's still money."
"Why can't it be both Edison?" He raised his eyebrow.
I look him up and down before I give him a sinister smile that many have mistaken as flirting in the past. I pressed the button on my desk and waited for the intercom to switch over. "Addy can you move my 2 PM meeting off-site, possibly for drinks? Oh, and call the cleaning crew." I smile at the man sitting across from me who seems to get more and more excited. "Tell them this place is going to be a mess in just a few minutes." I release the button and walk over to my desk drawer swaying my hips extra for the show.
"Sure thing Sam, anything else." Addy replies over the intercom.
I see his face turn pale at the mention of my name. "No that's it."
"Let’s make this quick." I pull out the gun I keep in my top drawer and take a seat behind my table. "Why are you really here Mr. Ritch?"
I can see him visibly swallow. "I have a proposal for a new shipment route." He spoke softly as I heard his voice tremble a bit. "Wrong." I said, my voice causing him to jump but I kept my voice neutral. People have the tendency to think that women are emotional and therefore unfit to lead. I never raise my voice, never show any emotion of any kind. I don’t even smile unless I've already decided that someone is going to die. I continue keeping my voice low. "You are here to give me false data that will eventually lead to the arrest of many of my people. See unlike you Mr. Ritch I did enough research on who I'm meeting. I know almost everything about you, your brothers and your company. The one thing I don't know is why. Knowing all you do about me and this family, why is it that you try to go against me, do you actually believe you stand a chance?"
He stayed quiet and I knew he wasn't going to give me anything more. "Fine..... Any last words?" I say trying to hide my frustration.
"YEAH, GO TO HE...-"
I shut him up with the loud bang and the bullet that I smooth between his eyebrows.
As his body drops to the floor I let out an exhausted sigh. "How close are the cleaners?" I asked over the intercom.
"About twenty minutes."
I checked my watch to see that It was fifteen minutes past twelve. "I think I'll take an early lunch." I grab my purse and check all my essentials before I make my way out the door. Passing by Addy's desk she flashes me a smile. She is one of the few people who has seen my actual emotions and is capable of tolerating me for who I am. She's been with me since I took over the family business and before that she's been by my side since we were kids.
I'm still a bit dry towards her, towards everyone actually but I still give her a soft smile before continuing towards my private elevator. I had already pressed the button when she called out to me. I turn to see her get off her chair exposing her four month pregnancy belly while she begins to waddle towards me with a napkin in hand. She then dabs the napkin on her tongue wetting it before she starts wiping my cheek, pulling back I see the blood that stained the paper in her hands. "Thank God you always wear black." She laughed before rolling her eyes at me and walking back to her desk.
"Thanks" I mumbled as I turned back to the elevator. "Hey Addy?" She looks up from her desk. "Do you think this skirt is too tight?"
She laughs again before cockin her brow up at me. "Since when do you care?"
I shrug. "It's a perfect fit for you, but you might wanna button those up since you have a meeting with him after lunch." She used her pencil to point at my chest causing me to quickly button up my shirt. I called the elevator and within seconds found myself downstairs in the lobby.
I put on a pair of sunglasses and walk towards the exit doing my best to avoid everyone. Most people down here don't know who I am which is exactly how I want to keep it. Not that I'm going to extreme lengths to do so, I just avoid public appearance, and professionally I go by Sam Claymore, not Samantha Claymore. People don’t need to know who I am. I've noticed when looking at my credentials they more often than not, assume I'm a man and I get a small kick out of it. Especially regarding my not so legal dealings it really helps when people don't know I am a woman. For some reason, they think I can't shoot their dicks off because I don't have one of my own, but I gladly prove them wrong.
I decided to take a stroll through the park knowing that I was no longer feeling particularly hungry. The sight of a dead body kills my appetite, I can’t really help that it was a pretty natural reaction. The weather was perfect as I took a breath of the early September air. The summer heat would soon disappear and in a few weeks the constant raining would start. I have enjoyed my time living in the city these last few years. There was just something so revitalizing about the streets always being busy and how nothing ever seemed to be closed. I consider myself a night owl and if I had the choice I would be nocturnal. Unfortunately, I have a trillion-dollar company to run and there isn't enough money in the world to convince everyone to adapt their schedules to my preference. I walked around for about an hour before I had to make my way over to my appointment.
I keep my head held high as I walk into 'Ciao', the five-star restaurant owned by one of my family. Not bothering to register myself by the usher I walk past the podium as I start making my way past the line of waiting customers. From the corner of my eye I could see a few people stop what they were doing to glare at me. Some of the women looked agitated as most of the men gawked. I was used to this by now, ever since my late teens this has been happening quite often but It didn’t phase me. I kept my composure cold until I made it all the way to the back of the restaurant. Inside the private dining room sits an older man in his late fifties. He was wearing an Armani suit that was perfectly tailored, and a dark glare that came on his face naturally. He was very tall and had an intimidating posture. His dark brown eyes gave nothing away, his sharp jawline made him look like he could handle a beating and his thick dark eyebrows made him look like he could always be angry. The huge scar that started just under his left ear and made it halfway down his jaw only added to the scary image that is Jack Claymore.
When I hear the door close behind me I finally let my face relax. "Hi dad." I smiled softly as I took a seat in front of him.
He hasn't heard me come in while he was reading his menu but once he saw me his eyes went soft. "Hello, Pumpkin." He gave me a playful grin that lit his face up completely.
I rolled my eyes a bit, I always hated when he called me that. For the big scary gangster, he was back in the day, he is such a softy when it comes to me but that still didn’t mean I should be okay being called Pumpkin.
Jack Claymore only had one weakness, her name was Antonia Clark. She was a middle school teacher who walked into a bar at the wrong time. She was there to meet some friends but got caught in a shootout between members of opposing gangs. When my father laid eyes on her small frame, her Raven black hair, and her piercing blue eyes he fell in love on the spot. That night while trying to protect her his face got sliced with a knife giving him that iconic scar of his. He didn’t mind though because it only made him look tougher. After that night he tried to convince the woman he had saved that he was a decent man but that wasn’t easily accepted. It took him a long time to win her over for obvious reasons. She was a good person, a kind soul, how could she give herself to a madman like Jack Claymore? He refused to give up on his attempts to win her over and soon he won the battle and I came along. He then had two weaknesses.
Unfortunately I don’t have any vivid memories of my mother, when I was 4 years old she was murdered by one of my father's rivals over a territory dispute. He retaliated by destroying the entire family and claiming their land and assets. By many it was seen as a powerful move on his part, something that made everyone fear and respect him. To them he was a God but those closer to him could clearly see he was broken and forever changed.
As I started to mature things started to change between me and him. I later on came to understand that as I was growing up I started to remind him more of her every day and he just couldn’t look at me without constantly reliving the pain. Though I was much taller, I had her hair, pale complexion and most importantly I had her eyes. The eyes he could no longer look into without breaking down. He tried his best to be there for me but he was so lost that it was easier to send me away. When I turned twelve I was shipped off to a boarding school in England and from that moment on I received the best education money could buy. I had everything anyone could ever ask for, materially that is. To everyone I was Samantha Claymore, the only heir to Jack Claymore and his fortune. But that’s not how I saw it, I was left alone and wanted nothing more than to return home, I missed my father, I missed my family. I had to prove that I could take care of myself, that I wasn’t my mother and didn’t need to be hidden away because I couldn’t defend myself.
I started training. I knew deep down he also sent me away for my protection. He was scared that I would come to the same fate as her. I refused to let that happen and decided to become the killer that nobody dared to touch. I had a mission in life to become as cold and unfeeling as possible, only then I could prove that I was not fragile. I became an efficient in everything I did focusing only on my studies and how to become a better fighter. By the time I turned twenty I had mastered every fighting form I could find and had gotten my MBA from Oxford University. I hadn’t told my father any of this, in fact the whole goal of this was to prove myself to him, prove that I could survive by his side.
After I turned twenty I moved back to New York and started a low-level position in his gang as a runner. By this point I have been gone so long that nobody knew who I was, nobody even remembered that the great Jack Claymore had a child yet alone a daughter. It took me less than a month to get noticed by my superiors. After that, it only took me nine to claw my way up in the ranks of my father's organization learning and surpassing everyone in my path. They all saw me as a bloodthirsty animal that could distract any male target before mercilessly killing whoever was needed. I thrived in that role as I played it perfectly.
It wasn't until a gathering one night when one of his generals introduced me to him, that he had found out I was back in the city. He had heard of a young rising killer in his organization but I went by Sam Clark at that point taking my mother's maiden name. I was surprised he didn't put it together sooner but in the end it didn’t matter. He slowly started to understand everything I had done to get where I was and he seemed to accept me, that was until later that same night his enemies decided to make an attempt on his life. I was the one who saved him. But as he watched me slit a man's throat open he stared in shock, hating that I became this way and blaming himself for being the cause of it. He didn’t want this life for me, what kind of father would?
He diced that some major changes were needed, he didn’t want my life to only revolve around murder and other illegal dealings. He decided to legitimise his organisation which was much more difficult than any of us could have imagined, the real battle had only begun. He started turning his business around one by one, but the real fight was with me. When I returned after all those years I wasn't myself anymore, at least not the version of me that he sent away. I was this cold murderous unfeeling monster. It took extensive therapy for me to even start letting my guard down around him. Most people still don’t consider me to be ‘okay’ or ‘normal’ but I’m living a half decent life. Soon I joined my father's company and when I turned twenty-three he handed the reins over to me. He respected and recognized my capabilities and intelligence believing that if he really wanted to make a change someone else needed to be at the head of the table for both the company and the family. It was the only way he thought we could get a clean slate. So far I have not disappointed or failed in the goals set for myself and this company. I have my father and a hand full of people who I let myself feel safe around. To the rest, I am now the twenty-eight-year-old Sam Claymore, head of the slowly legitimizing Claymore family and CEO of the Claymore group.
My train of thought was interrupted by Christof the bartender walking in with a glass of whiskey. I’ve been here so often he just knew that that was what he had to bring. Back was my icy exterior as he placed the drink down in front of me. I gave him a silent nod to which he responded with a small bow as he left. He was one of the few people who knew who I was, one of the people who knew me as Sam Clark the killer from eight years ago.
I stir the ice in my drink as I look over at my father reading his menu. He briefly glances up and stares at the drink in my hand. "Samantha isn't it a bit early for that?" He had a bit of a grin on his face when he pointed at my whiskey on the rocks.
"Let’s just say I had a rough morning."
"So I've heard." I raise my eyebrow, maybe Addy gave him a call? Those two are always trying to run my life behind my back together. I wouldn’t be surprised if she already snitched on me. "I wondered why our meeting was moved out of the office but then I saw the request you put in at the cleaners."
I shrug my shoulders and take a sip. As I feel the slow burn go down my throat he looks back down at his menu. "I think I'll have the steak."
He raised his hand and a waiter came running through the door seconds later. After my father placed his order the younger man looked at me asking what I would be having. I still had vivid memories of the body I left on my office floor and was about to send him away when I looked at the drink in my hand. I still had some work to do today and drinking on an empty stomach doesn't help. "Bring a breadbasket for the table." He nodded and was gone as fast as he came in.
As the door closed behind him my father’s attention came back on me as she studied me with a strict expression. "Who was it?"
"Edison Ritch." I stated with no emotion.
"And what did he do to deserve this fate?" He wasn’t mad at me but my father had the tendency to worry a bit too much whenever I killed someone.
"What didn't he do?" I sigh before I continue. "He called me a secretary, then he blew his cigarette smoke in my face. After that, he tried to shag me."
"And that's why you had to kill him?"
"No, that's why I wanted to kill him. I had to kill him because he tried selling us this."
I take the files out of my purse that I had removed from the dead man in my office before leaving. He scans the papers for a bit before he looks back up at me with a frown. "This would have gotten a lot of our people killed or captured." I nod. "It looks like he was trying to make a statement. We are becoming weaker in the underworld as we try to legitimise and register our assets. It seems that Mr. Ritch didn’t believe we deserve a gracious exit."
He closed the file. "Edison has brothers, they'll be coming for you."
"I know, let them, I'm ready."
"If you need my help let me know."
Seconds later his steak arrived along with the bread.
As I watched him cut into the still bloody meat I spoke again knowing that there was more to my summoning than asking how my morning went. "So why did you want to meet in such a setting. If this was an informal call you would have invited me home."
He places his fork down and takes a sip of water and cleared his throat. "I have been talking the marketing team, they say that Claymore group has an image problem." So it was about the company. "That's absurd, our image has done nothing but improve in the last five years."
"That's what I said, but it's not a matter of what we are doing anymore. The problem stems from the fact that people don’t see who exactly is in charge of everything. The company doesn't look strong because it doesn't have a face."
I knew exactly where this was going and I didn’t like it one bit. "Father," I said in a firm tone but he raised his hand cutting me off before I could continue.
"Samantha it's time."
"Why can't you do it?" I felt myself grow a bit agitated but kept my cool composure.
"Because I'm no longer the CEO. Besides, you've hidden yourself away long enough, why not let the world see that all this strength and power is coming from you and not some faceless man. Look Pumpkin I know this is difficult for you but I promise it's for the best. For you and the company, you need to interact more with people and this will help. Getting your face out there will help you live more of a life."
I down my drink in one go knowing that his decision had already been made. "When?" I ask as I place my glass down.
"In one week we will have the yearly charity auction. You will accompany me, and when people ask who the beautiful young woman on my arm is I will introduce them as my daughter." He had a proud grin on his face. "After that, there are a few more things I'll need you to do. Public appearance, presentations, and social gatherings. Oh and the project we planned on starting with SHH, you’ll be running it first hand from our end. It all starts in one week so get your things in order, my dear. I will take care of our people in the underworld, make sure none of them talks. Things are about to change."
Aake care of our people in the underworld, make sure none of them talks. Things are about to change."
It may seem like a slow start but it gets better 😅🙈