The New Game Ch. 14


Chapter 14 — Reality Check

The rest of the weekend was weird.

Brooke did not come home on Saturday night and when she came home on Sunday, she was unusually quiet. I didn’t want to press her for answers, but I was dying to know what happened. I knew that she was hurting inside by not telling me but I could not, in good conscience, put her directly in the center of the growing philosophical differences between Emma and I. I let it be and waited patiently for Monday to arrive.

I was out of the house early Monday morning and intentionally buzzed through my workday. I had several afternoon meetings, regarding our computer network at the office, which served as a great distraction from the very somber mood that hung like a fog over the ladies I worked with. I focused on the tasks at hand during those meetings, knowing that at some point the opportunity to push the existing issues out into the wide open would present itself.

As the day came to a close, most of the ladies left the office quietly. I waited until only Emma and I were left, seeing her office light on and the door open. I felt like this might be the best time to create that moment of opportunity. I got up and started to head for her office when my cellphone rang. I retrieved it from my hip and answered it quickly.

“Hello,” I answered without looking at the caller id.

“Hey kid,” Bill’s voice rang back at me.

“Bill, how are you,” I asked politely, shutting the door to my office.

“I am much better now,” he bellowed. “I have some information.”

“Good or bad,” I asked as I sat back down at my desk.

“It depends on how we use it,” he answered. “I now know the business details of Vivian’s deal with Devilles.”

“WOW,” I exclaimed. “That is great. Tell me.”

“Well, it appears that she is a new employee of Samson Holdings, LLC,” Bill announced.

“Really, what the hell sense does that make,” I wondered aloud.

“Actually, there is a lot to it,” he continued. “She is an employee and therefore drawing a salary. In addition to that, she has four conditional employment agreements in place with the company. If she leaves the company voluntarily before ‘working’ there for two years, the she forfeits her car and her condominium to the company. She also has a one-year non-compete agreement that means if she quits or resigns of her own accord, she cannot work for another holding company for one year.”

I thought about what Bill had just told me. It seemed like a lot but as I processed it, nothing scared me or seemed insurmountable. As I replayed Bill’s words quickly in my head, something else occurred to me.

“Bill, you said she had four agreements with the company,” I reminded him.

“Yes, I did,” he agreed.

“What is the fourth,” I asked gingerly, almost not wanting to hear any more.

“When Emma and Leslie started Adams and Cartwright, they formed an LLP,” he explained. “To further limit the liability, they spread it out with 20% ownership to each of the five partners.”

“WHAT,” I shouted, absolutely floored by this information.

How could I not have known this? Even more concerning to me was what reason could either Emma or Leslie have had for keeping this information from me? I was dumbfounded.

“Adams and Cartwright has five partners,” he repeated to break the silence.

“Do you know who the five partners are,” I asked openly.

“I do,” he admitted. “But it’s not for me to tell Beylikdüzü Escort you.”

The light bulb went on in my head.

“Vivian is one of them, isn’t she,” I pressed.

“She is,” he confirmed.

“So if she bails out on the Deville sister’s game, they get her 20% of this firm,” I surmised.

“That’s correct,” he cemented.

“She wanted to get our attention so badly that she fucked herself and the rest of us royally,” I yelled.

“Kid, I don’t know what she was thinking,” he said. “I have copies of each agreement and they are signed and notarized.”

“Fuck me,” I exhaled, completely dejected.

“On a really funny side note, Bob Ruffe drew up and notarized all the agreements as ‘legal consultant’ to Samson Holdings, not an employee,” Bill told me.

“That’s just fucking fantastic for Bob,” I growled. “What do we do now?”

“I’m not sure yet,” Bill confessed. “But we will figure it out. How did the intervention go?”

“I don’t have any feedback on it yet, but I am going to get some tonight,” I informed him abrasively.

“Tread lightly,” Bill advised.

“I will,” I assured him. “I will update you when I have some info or an idea. I am sorry for my temper. Thank you again for all your help.”

“Kid, I know this is tough,” he stated. “But this is the time when your mind will serve as your best weapon. I will talk to you soon.”

As we ended our conversation, I was in shock and very, very angry. What was Vivian thinking? I really didn’t know. Had I hurt her so much that all she could do was lash back at me like this? This put every single one of us in jeopardy if we made a move towards Vivian or against the Devilles. I was very confused and extremely worried about where we might be headed.

I got up from my desk and opened my office door. I was pleased to see the light in Emma’s office was still on. I slowly walked over to the open door and peaked my head inside. Emma was at her desk, head down, pen in hand. She looked adorable with her glasses on, slid halfway down her nose. I watched in silence for a moment before she got tired of my staring.

“Can I help you,” she asked bluntly.

“I need to talk to you,” I responded.

“About what,” she inquired.

“Everything,” I blurted out, not sure where I was going with this yet.

“Oh,” she replied sarcastically. “I’m not sure I have time for that. That could take weeks.”

“Way to break the tension,” I laughed.

I walked into her office and sat in one of the chairs in front of her desk. I watched her continue to read and take notes while she waited for me to start the conversation.

“So, what’s on your mind,” she asked.

“How did things go with Vivian,” I asked directly.

“Quite poorly,” she admitted openly, which caught me by surprise.

“How poorly,” I pressed.

Emma looked up from her work. She removed her glasses and dropped them on her desk in front of her. She looked at me with pain on her face.

“I have never seen my sister act like that before,” she stated. “She was the biggest spoiled brat I have ever seen. She blamed me, she blamed you, she blamed Nikki, she blamed Penny and she cursed every one of the other women. It was quite classless and awful, really. I was and still am stunned. I have been through a range of emotion each time I think about it.”

“That’s not good,” I offered in agreement.

“It is so far beyond not good, you Beylikdüzü Escort Bayan have no idea,” she countered. “I am so embarrassed and hurt. I can’t believe she blames me for any of this.”

“I think I have a pretty good idea how far beyond not good this go,” I told her; having the information Bill just gave me as a foundation to my statement.

“She isn’t leaving their game,” Emma continued. “She can’t. She said she gave up too much to get into it and it was giving her a sense of purpose. What a load of crap. I don’t know what her deal is with Sienna and her sister, but I can’t do anything about it, apparently.”

“So you are done trying,” I questioned.

“I can’t very well leave her in that game,” Emma shouted back at me.

“Let me try,” I requested softly.

“What,” she responded with quite a nasty tone.

“You took your shot and it didn’t work,” I clarified for her peacefully. “Let me take my shot at setting her free.”

It was clear that Emma had no idea the things that were tying Vivian to the Devilles. I hoped that with this new information I could come up with a way to get her out of their hands but I wanted Emma to be on-board with my efforts.

“You can’t,” she insisted. “If Vivian saw you, it would not be good. She is not ready to see you, that I am sure of. She is hurting and angry and confused. I will handle this.”

“I am gonna ask you one more time,” I said sharply. “Let me have my shot. I won’t deal with Vivian at all. I will simply find a way to leverage the Devilles. My way.”

“You have to stop trying to be the hero all the time,” she snapped. “You CAN’T handle this.”

I got very insulted by that comment and stood up. I placed both my hands on her desk and leaned towards her. I looked her directly in the eye.

“Sometimes, you need to trust other people to get the job done,” I growled in a low, raspy voice. “Why else do you have us around?”

“I most certainly do not have to trust anyone,” she countered flatly. “I can’t afford to.”

“Why not,” I asked sharply, still not taking my eyes off of hers.

“Because it’s my game and I want it back,” she declared crisply.

I eased back off of her desk and then lowered myself back into the chair I had been sitting. She had finally said it. It was out there now. This was not what I expected at all and I was quite unsure how to handle it.

“I don’t think this group can handle a power struggle at the top right now, especially with everything else that has gone on recently,” I cautioned her.

“Who said anything about a struggle,” Emma defied. “What if I just take the game back?”

“Then you will tear this team apart and lose half of your roster,” I explained.

“It’s my game,” she snapped.

“I know,” I agreed. “Now think about why you started it. Think about the best interest of all the people involved that you care about. This is wrong and it’s selfish.”

Emma got up from behind her desk and I stood to greet her when she reached where I was seated. She stared at me and then her right hand crashed into my face sharply with a loud crack of skin on skin. My head snapped to the side and then right back to locking eyes with her.

“Don’t ever call me selfish,” she whispered.

I looked deep into the anger that filled her eyes.

“Sienna hit me a few times,” I informed her. “I thought you were better than her.”

The pain of those words splintered Esenyurt Escort the anger in her eyes and brought single tears from each. The streams ran down her cheek and she closed her eyes as she stood in front of me. I raised my hand and lowered to her cheek gently. I wiped away the two tears and kissed her softly on the cheek.

“You ARE better than that,” I stated.

“I’m sorry,” she said as she looked down at the floor. “I didn’t mean to do that. I am going crazy and falling apart.”

Her vulnerability at that moment was both surprising and concerning.

“It’s ok,” I conceded, trying to comfort her as the tears continued to fall.

“What can I do to make this up to you,” she asked with a small whimper. “I really am so very sorry.”

“You can trust me,” I answered. “And answer one question for me, honestly.”

“Alright,” she agreed. “What is your question?”

“Who are your four partners in this law firm,” I asked her bluntly.

I didn’t know what made me say that. As the words came out of my mouth I was just as shocked as Emma was. She stared at me and then moved back around the other side of her desk. She slowly sat down, adjusting her skirt as she did so. She picked up her glasses and put them on. She placed her hands in her lap and looked up at me. I was still very surprised with my question and I was nervous about the pending response.

“This law firm is called Adams I just waited for what else was coming.

“I want to tell you the truth,” she continued. “When everything went on with Sienna, I was so scared about my kids getting hurt, that I asked Bill for help. He is one of my oldest friends and one of the smartest men I know. He guided me. He knew Leslie was struggling with her depression and that we could help each other. Starting this firm was his idea for us to come together and get our shit straight. It was his way of guiding us to protect each other.”

I nodded, acknowledging that every word she had uttered made complete sense. No surprises there.

“Bill suggested that, for limited liability purposes as well as external leverage, that we have more than two partners,” Emma went on. “Leslie and I both agreed. Naturally we thought to keep it in the family, so we brought Brooke and Vivian in as partners three and four. We proceeded as four until Brooke suggested we take a fifth partner in-case we hit a major issue where we were split two and two. It was a very smart suggestion, but we struggled with who to bring in. We needed someone with money, yet someone who could be objective amongst all of us. Bill offered but we all thought his objectivity was a question. Then, as we were all sitting around at dinner celebrating finally being rid of Sienna, it happened.”

She stopped and then looked at me for a moment, as if she were still torn to tell me.

“Bonnie offered to be the fifth partner,” Emma disclosed. “We were all stunned, even Bill. I never thought Bonnie liked me, so I was just floored. It actually turned out to be the perfect person. She was completely objective and has plenty of money. I still almost can’t believe it. But we accepted and we started our firm, five partners strong.”

I sighed heavily, digesting the information that she had just given me. I was very surprised. Bill knew that Bonnie was a partner, yet hadn’t told me. Why? How was I supposed to proceed with this information?

I stood slowly and walked to Emma’s desk. I leaned in and kissed her softly on the cheek. She stared up at me as I pulled away.

“Thank you for trusting me,” I acknowledged. “Now, it’s my turn to try and get Vivian out her jam. I will keep you updated on what’s going on, but I AM taking my shot.”

She nodded slowly.

I turned and left her office.

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