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The deal is off

I am already running an hour late and I know this cannot end well. Driving towards my office I feel a little guilty for the way I left and I can't stop thinking of that girl's scared, but also intimidating look. I have never felt the need to look away from someone, but it felt like her eyes were stabbing mine, right before she looked away. I wonder what's the story behind those sad eyes and I find myself wanting to turn the car back to see if she is ok. What the fuck is wrong with me? I don't owe her shit. I 've already lost half my day because of this girl and I have an extremely upset Chinese man sitting in my office, ready to walk out of our deal, all for a complete stranger and now here I am, thinking about her instead of how to fix things when I eventually get there.

I pick up the phone and I call my driver.
"How is she?"

"She has yet to come around sir."

"Call me when she wakes up, I want to speak to her".

"Sir I am supposed to leave in a while, to come to you"

"No, stay there, I will not be needing you after all" is all I say and I can't really understand why I feel the urge to help this stranger any further. Besides, she was now safe in the hospital and they would handle everything from that point on. I am sure they have already contacted the closest family member and they are on their way over, so this doesn't make sense to me at all.

By the time I finish my thoughts, I realise I am already there and I leave the car to one of the guards standing at the building's entrance. I rush up to find an outraged Chinese businessman seating in MY fucking seat.

"Well well well... Look who decided to show up." Mr. Yang mocks me.

I lower my eyes, as I see my father's ex biggest competitor, now to become one of our business partners, staring at me in pure anger, while his eyes betray his intentions and mood.

"I have been waiting for you for over an hour and honestly it's the first time in my life that I have waited for someone for more than 5 minutes. I will do all the talking and I will be very brief" he says turning his eyes away.
"Your offer to simply take from me what I inherited from my father and I have worked so hard for my whole life, is offending to say at least. I demand that you offer me another way out of the mess you 've put me in. With all your dishonest actions, you stole all of my big accounts and left me only with small investors to work with. I was doubting my decision to work as partners with your father, but now that I see what a loser his successor is, I am sure I do not want anything to do with you, or your company, as I have today lost any trace of trust, that I might have previously had.

My eyes widen and I try to remain calm, when I hear the door open and I see my father's face behind it.

"Why are you here?" I calmly say.

"I am here because the board called me worried about you not showing up." His face is calm and I know he is only right to show up this time.

We made an agreement when I turned thirty last summer, that he would resign from his lead of the board position and finally let me run the company, but he would still be an important advisor and of course he would still go through my decisions before they were final, to fully prepare me for when he would fully retire.
Although every other time it would annoy me for him to show up in an important meeting by not trusting me entirely, this was the one time I wish he had. Now he was only proved right for the opinion he had over me, saying I wasn't ready to take over the company.

I am thinking that it's ironic how I cannot be blamed for being so late and instead of them accusing me of being irresponsible, I should be awarded as the most responsible man of the year, after all I have done for that stranger, instead this could actually turn to be a huge damage to the firm and my prestige.

I know Mr. Yang is a smart businessman, but he finds being stood up very disrespectful and him being the insensitive man he is known to be, I don't think he will agree on me pretending to be Mr. nice guy all of a sudden and missing on our meeting only to help a complete stranger. People like Mr. Yang put pride above money and by standing him up, I seem to have pushed that button.

"I am extremely sorry I am so late and I will not bother you anymore of my reason, but I promise you it was of great importance. Now I suggest we don't waste any more of your precious time and get to it" I say, trying my best to remain calm and hide my concern, by bringing this conversation back to a strictly professional level.

"No!" Mr. Yang is now standing up from the chair hitting his hand on the table before walking towards me. He stands inches away from my face, looking infuriated and demanding of an explanation. "It better be good Mr. Anderson or the agreement is off before negotiations even begin." His eyes are telling me he is not bluffing.

"Ok!" I exclaim. I have my father and another 8 pair of eyes staring at me and I know I have to make this sound bigger than it actually is. They would probably laugh at me if I told them I was late because I had to care for a complete stranger. I cannot be humiliated in front of the administration board and so I am trying to think of a good reason quickly.

I turn to my father and I begin to explain the situation I unwillingly found myself into. "You know I've just returned from London, but what you don't know is that I was accompanied by a friend" I pause for a moment and look around to get the vibe, but what I see is everyone in this room staring at me, waiting for my story and hoping it's good.

"She is in hospital now as we speak". I began to explain. She felt lightheaded and collapsed, while we were still at the airport, knocking her head on the way down and I surely don't think you would suggest I should have left her there to bleed to death. Some things are more important than business and one would say a person's life is one of them. You wouldn't want to be partners with a cruel man and my actions should please and reassure you, instead of causing you doubts and annoyance.

"And you think that a friend is more important than me?" he spits.

"Of course not, but your life wasn't in danger Mr. Yang. Please don't be insulted. I would never be disrespectful of your time" I say trying to keep my cool but my body language fails me as every muscle of my body is now tensed.
"I have already explained that I had an important reason for being this late."

My father takes a seat and asks Mr. Yang to do the same, as he knows me too well and realizes I will not tolerate his aggressive behavior for much longer.

"So, who is this important friend of yours and why haven't I ever heard of him?" my father asks.

"Her." I correct him.

"Her? Now I know there is more to it!" my father says cunningly and begins to laugh out loud as if he can't help it otherwise. Mr. Yang soon joins him and so do the rest of the board members. He gently taps Mr. Yang's shoulder in humour and asks everybody to leave the room.

"You too" he commands with a look of contempt.

"I will not!" I shout back at him, my fist hitting the table hard, forcing Mr. Yang back on his feet.

"I think there isn't anything else you can do, as you've already done enough, don't you think? " he cynically says.

All three of us stand still for a while, and although no one speaks, one could cut through the thick intensity floating in the air with a knife.

"Fine, I 'll go. Although you should see someone about that hole in your chest. You should be proud of me, that I put a human's life above business, instead you are belittling me. What would you want me to do? Leave her there to die, so I am not late for my business meeting?" I shout at my father.

"Couldn't your driver handle it? Who is this lady friend that means so much to you, that you would miss your appointment with our good friend Mr. Yang here?" my father says in the sweetest tone, touching his shoulder!
I look at him disgusted. No matter how good of a business man I am trying to be, I will never be able to treat people with 'diplomacy' like that.

As I exit the room, I hope my father will manage to manipulate this annoying prick and put an end on this horrible day. I don't care if he had to suck him up to get him to sign. It was his decision to become partners with this stubborn man in the first place. I remember telling him off about his awful choice and presenting the board numerous of other options to expand our business. It's his fault this cruel man is here threatening to back off on our deal, so he should take care of it.

My phone once again vibrates in my pocket. It has been several times since I was in that office, but only now I realize who that might be.
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