Second Impressions

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The devil is blonde

“Ollie, so happy you arrived in time. Donald will represent you legally. Please sit by my side.” Archibald greeted me sweetly as he opened a chair to his right.

Who would know that in a matter of minutes, I would pass from Darius’s car to a conference room with Archibald?

I arrived on time for the meeting, just like I promised, and the room was empty with the three of us, and here Donald looked like a sharp attorney slash bodyguard.

I couldn’t help but think about Darius. How he held my hand as he drove me back to my new apartment. Two hours later, and back in New York City, he kissed me on the steps of my building, telling me that he was going to pick me up in a couple of hours.

Once he left, I took a taxi to the address Archibald set the meeting, and here I was, waiting for Roger to show his face.

“Hi, Ollie,” Blondy said as she stepped into the room wearing long high heels and a black pencil skirt. Behind her, a handsome Japanese gentleman with an expensive suit followed her. He was watching her ass.

“Seline, what are you doing here?” I muttered in surprise.

“You didn’t tell her?” Seline asked Archer. “I am here to represent my client’s interests with this project. We already secured a percentage; Archer here wants a cut of the cake too.”

“Seline, always so...edgy. Hi Saionji.” Archibald muttered, and the Japanese man nodded his head.

“I’ll handle them, Ollie,” Archer whispered in my ear and pressed his hand on top of mine.

“Where is Roger?” I asked.

“He is not coming. It would not be smart.” Seline answered quickly, sitting in the chair putting on the top of the table three different contracts.

“Wouldn’t be smart?”I scoffed. Saionji sat by her side, and soon we were all facing each other.

“Considering your past relationship. feelings can get in the way.” Seline said reasonably.

Donald just stayed watching and listening to the conversation, and Archibald held my hand again, calming my nerves.

“So, what’s new?” Archibald asked casually.

Are they buddies?

“The usual, business. Just without your cousin.” She added.

Oh, she is not working for Darius anymore…

Archer grinned. “I told you long ago that you had so much potential to be stuck in his shadow.”

“I know, that ungrateful bastard,” Seline muttered to herself with too much poison in her mouth. Saionji laughed.

They are talking about Darius.

“How exciting, is it?” Saionji said, putting a hand behind Seline’s chair.

He had a dark sense of humor, and he gave me the same feeling as Darius, both ready to bite when necessary. I wouldn’t want him as an enemy. I found him very intimidating.

“Glad that we are all together for the same purpose,” Archie muttered, bringing a flashing smile in Seline’s mouth. “Mine is to help Ollie, not that I mind about your motivations Seline; they seem quite unprofessional.”

“Oh, Archer, are you afraid that what I got here in my hands might not benefit Olivia? I am not that bad... you know that I am fair. Business is business.”

“Until it gets mixed with your shit. I want her project to bloom, not to be a meaningless playground with Inkforce for your selfish goals.”

“The righteous Archibald. Stop faking. I know you want this as much as I do.” She breathed in confidently, enjoying herself before speaking again. “I have three contracts; one of them secures you the same percentage as Saionji. That way, you can oversee the project for yourself if you so much care about Olivia.”

Now the room was getting tense.

“But before doing business, I need a minute alone with Olivia, thank you, gentleman” She dismissed them and watched me with her beautiful almond eyes, her wavy blonde hair resting in waves to her aside from her chest.

Archibald, Saionji, and Donald stood up. “Be smart before signing a confidential agreement, Ollie. As I said before, she likes to play games.”

They left the conference room, and now I was alone with Seline.

“Ollie, now that we are off the record, I am going to be honest with you because I like you. You already know that.” She said with her velvet voice.

“Donald, there,” she said, pointing at the closed door. “Doesn’t have shit. No evidence can back up you ever being part of this project. Trust me, I already clean everything that might track Roger back to you, but maybe we can work together.”

Oh, this bitch likes to play games for sure.

“I have three options to present to you” she passed her beautiful hands on top of the documents. “If you see fit, that at the end, you want to pursue this in a legal matter, I have to warn you that we are prepared to push you down for years in court.”

I could feel the seriousness in her tone, no bluff whatsoever. This woman was at the top of the food chain. She knew this, and she took pleasure in making sure people knew it too. In a way, I envied her; she represented everything that I was a failure in. Look at the position I put myself in because I trusted a man that I thought loved me back.

“But as we are all friends and have in mind that Archibald is with you, I feel pressured into offering you an olive branch.” She said, piercing me with those killer eyes and fake smile.

“I’ll start with the option that benefits you the most. We acknowledge your part of the shares as one of the project owners, and we do business with Saionji and Archibald. So appealing for everyone.”

Ok, that wasn’t as bad as I thought!

“Now only two more contracts left,” she said, her eyes glowed in the wrong way.

Shit is about to hit the fan, I’m sure.

“Oh, it’s going to be fun explaining them to you because they are not for you. One is for Archibald and the other one for Saionji, just preparing you that someone will sign if you do not do it.” She said, laughing.

“I am wondering how much he likes you.” She added, staring at me with a puzzled look.

How much he likes me?

“With this one, a bigger cut goes for Archie for leaving you outside. Do you trust him?” Seline asked with a wicked smile. “He might go for this contract and leave you without Donald there. As I said, we have known each other for years.”

She was right. I’ve only met Archer for less than a week. How could I trust him? He seems an honorable guy, but Seline is right. Business is business.

“The last contract,” she continued. “Both of you simply do not exist. It will only be Roger with Saionji. It is a harsh world, Ollie.”

“Where is the catch?” I stop to breath in, my heart was beginning to beat fast, so fast that I was almost sure I was a about to have an episode. “You are offering my rightful part of the shares, but what in return?”

She watched me closely in silence, and I was ready to see how she spilled her venom...

“You want to hurt him” I took my guess.

“As he hurt me,” she added, clapping.

I frowned my face.

How far will she go for revenge?

“What if I don’t want to hurt him?” I said seriously.

“Your company or a dick? What a dilemma. Already catching feelings for him?” She laughed, showing her beautiful smile. “Olivia, you’ve only met him for six days, and you are drooling for the guy?”

She was speaking the truth. But was I ready to accept it?

“I mean, I don’t blame you. He has that effect on women, but are you going to throw a bright future for a good fuck?

“What do you want from me?” I asked, breathing hard.

She was right. I barely knew him. I couldn’t possibly throw everything under the bus for him.

It was just sex! Liar Ollie, you know it was more than that.

No, it wasn’t just sex and chosing myself was the going to be the most difficult decision ever, if I could manage to do it.

“Well, I am offering you success and innovation. I want you to help me destroy Inkforce with the rise of your company. ”

I swallowed hard.

“Wait, we can do this without destroying Inkforce.”

“You are seriously considering it twice? I thought you were smarter. Why do you care so much what happens to him? With us, with our resources, you can revolutionize the future of publishing. Isn’t it exciting?”

I stayed quiet, looking at my fingers, thinking about Edmund Rothschild and his proposal in my head. I guess everyone does have a price after all, or at least I did. My life’s project.

Will Darius do the same for Inkfore? Surely, he would make every sacrifice possible for his vision.

I felt tightness in my chest as if I was making a decision that was pulling my integrity away, all for my professional growth.

“Whatever, Olivia, you are starting to bore me,” Seline said as she saw my defeated face and sighed impatiently. “Accept it or walk out. You have five seconds.”

I was being pushed with only two choices. It was all or nothing.

“You are exhorting me.” I watched her angrily.

“No, I am pushing you into your greatest potential. If I didn’t like you, I would have already cut you from this deal.”

“You are missing the part that you need my brain to succeed in this project. That is why Roger isn’t here. He is not good at bluffing.”

“Exactly, you are necessary, but not an impediment to continue. We can do this without you, but it will make us slower in achieving results. That is why I am being fair with you. If you decide to come along.”

“So you do need me, Seline.”

“But you need me more.” She finished.

I could see the triumph in her eyes. She was right. I needed her more. I needed to regain the reigns of my life.

“I want Roger out,” I said, not thinking.

“Well, look at that. Someone has some balls after all,” She said while standing up and walking towards me around the table.

Instinctively I rose from the chair to meet her.

Blondie was a stunning woman, one that would go all the way to get her way. She stopped in front of me. She smelled like power, success. No one can fuck up with this woman.

“Let’s have it your way. Roger is out. You have my word. I can manage something out,” she said, extending her hand for me to shake.

I knew I was shaking hands with the devil, a blond one. But this was my shot. I shook her hand, and she leaned over to me.

“Why do you think I didn’t bring him to the meeting?” She said while winking at me.

She turned around, going back to her seat.

“Call him and finish it if you want your company back. End it, convince me and make it quick,” She said, grabbing the first document, which was my contract, the one I needed to set my life back on track, and she placed it in front of me with a pen and a phone.

I didn’t like to be pressured, and I was at a moment where I needed to think rationally and with no feelings attached. What I hated the most wasn’t only hurting someone in the process but giving up my integrity.

I closed my eyes, thinking about Darius. I had to be real. What happened between us was passionate, but it wasn’t love. I was just fucking sex, or I least I lied to myself about it.

“Hi Darius,” I said, shaking as I heard his voice calling me baby.

“Baby? Stop calling me baby. It’s over, I don’t want you, and I never liked you.” I yelled, feeling how my voice started breaking. This was becoming more emotional than I had planned.

Be strong, Ollie.

Seline arched her eyebrows as if telling me that I could do better.

“There is no us, I just fucked you for fun, and well, I guess I am starting to feel uncomfortable. Yes, I am here with Archer.” I said as coldly as I could, feeling how my throat closed. “No, I am not going anywhere with you.”

I closed the call, feeling tears on my face, and Seline smiled. “That’s better, Ollie. I really didn’t need you to call him, but it is better this way as he is our competition now, and things will get bumpy.”

She put a hand on mine, raising my spirit.

“Oh. No. Don’t cry,” She coed me. “I thought you were a tough bitch. Consider this a training on how things work in our world. You should start growing a thicker skin if you think this is the end.”

“What do you mean?” I said, trying to recover myself.

“You just won yourself a common enemy. He will not come just for me, for you too, sweetie, when he figures out who you did business with.”

Archibald and Saionji returned to the room, and Seline only showed them the signed contract. At least she did stick to her promises. I covered my face and hid my tears. I felt like my chest was closing, and I couldn’t breathe.

“What have you done, Seline?” Archibald said, giving her a harsh look.

“Corrupt her innocence,” she said with a wicked smile. “Making her stronger for what is coming.”

Archibald placed a hand on my shoulder. “Everything is going to be fine. I promise.”

Even Donald congratulated me, telling me that it was a great deal, that I made the perfect call. They didn’t know that I had just made a deal with the blond devil.

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