By: Kristina Weaver

Chapter 1


I’ve finally done it. I’ve acquired the last company I’d set my sights on eight years ago and now I have it, adding one of the last - not quite the last - but one of the last, pieces to my plan.

“You must be very proud of yourself Marshall. Stealing an old man’s company right out from under him.”

I smile, lift an eyebrow and wait for Gareth Knox to wind down and stop embarrassing himself. When he finally stops talking, God help me, I turn to the board anxiously waiting and sigh deeply, letting them see my rueful expression.

“Knox Communications has been a well-established, leader in the field for years. However, and I say this with the utmost respect to Mr Knox Sr, the company has lost half its total earnings the last five years and with the way the economy is going at the moment, the decline will only get worse unless some drastic steps are taken. Knox Jr doesn’t agree, mores the pity or I rather suspect something would have been done before a company of such high standing hit so close to bankruptcy.”

I take a deep breath and take my time meeting all ten sets of eyes. I want them to know I mean business, my only interest here is the bottom line and I will not tolerate outbursts like the one Gareth Knox couldn’t withhold.

“I haven’t, nor have I ever stolen a thing in my life. This ship is sinking and without the buy-out I closed on with Sr this morning, half your workforce would have been jobless a month from now. Now, that aside I will not tolerate mutiny on one of my ships. If you don’t want to work for Knox as a subsidiary of Marshall Holdings, please, leave now and save us all any further unpleasantness.”

“You son of a bitch!”

“And on that note I am accepting your resignation as CEO. Effective immediately.”

I walk out to the sounds of cursing and Gareth’s yelling, my step light as that very last piece - before the most important - falls into place.

I love my job, love the wheeling and dealing and the thrill of intense and intricate negotiations. Have since I walked away from college on the dream that I could take the ten grand my great uncle left me and make something big happen.

It hadn’t been easy, not one step of the way, but I’d taken that ten gran, sunk it into a derelict shell in down town Washington and worked like a dog to get the thing up to code and looking like a million bucks.

Then I’d flipped it and more than doubled my money. I’d kept the ten aside, taken the profit and bought two more houses. Again the same thing. Soon I’d had enough cash to invest in apartment buildings, which again I had totally overhauled.

Those I didn’t sell, choosing instead to keep them as a profit making investment that is still to this day putting by bank so way over the black that everything I touch immediately turns green and starts spitting more money at me.

I’ve diversified so much that my portfolio is a smorgasbord of variety. Real estate, banking and investment, clothing, shipping, you name it Marshall’s got it.

I am obscenely rich. In the worst way. So rich that last year I dropped five hundred mill building a specialized facility for the study and research of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS to most, and I didn’t even dent my bank account.

The only thing I enjoy more than making money is using it to do better for those who can’t afford it.

And now that I have achieved not only my goals for financial freedom but to take from those who tried to ruin me when I was a child, I can focus on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, my ultimate prize.

“Everything is on track. All we need to do now is slide Chris in as the acting VP and get rid of any pro Knox board members.”

I keep walking as Gabe, my right hand man falls into step beside me, his long legs easily keeping up with me as we make it to the bank of elevators and get on, ready to leave and tackle the next hurdle.

“I want Knox and those three board members, Tyrone, Miller and Grahams out by close of business today. Get Chris on that now before he proceeds with the restructure and for God sakes, do something about the fucking décor in this place. People can’t work properly in a place that looks like a prison.”

Gabe chuckles and starts flipping through emails and messages, which are many for a man as busy as myself. I get at least fourty emails a day and if not for my PA Barb and Gabe I’d never get through it all.

“What’s happening with that Give Back Housing project?”

We’ve reached the lobby and I stride out of the building as he starts giving me an on the fly report about one of the new housing estates I’ve been involved in.

If things run to schedule I should be cutting the ribbon on a three block neighbourhood that will house pensioners and single mothers from low income families.

This has been my passion since the day I walked into the one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the state and witnessed the suffering of children, mothers and the elderly.

Those lives are ruled by poverty and fear of the gangs that run rife. Appalling to think that a mother with three kids and no man is forced to support them all working seventy hours or more a week, just to get shook down by some little punk who wields a gun.

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