~`Chief Executive Officer (CEO)`~
The highest-ranking corporate officer responsible for the firm's operations and performance.
Chapter 1: The new CEO
"We can't find her, Sir," the man at the other end of the line meekly said. Tristan was almost certain that the man was close to tears.
He didn't care.
"You numbskull!" He bellowed. "This company pays you a million dollars a year, supports your three mistresses' shopping sprees, your wife's regular plastic surgery treatments, and your sons' VIP seating for Lakers games. The list goes on Bradford, so get this drilled in your head. If we don't find Apples St. James in the next five minutes, you'll be out on the streets with nothing but your underwear, a golf club up your ass and the words 'FUCKING IDIOT' tattooed on your chest. Got that?"
He didn't wait for the fifty-five year old's answer.
Tristan groaned in his hands and punched the leather seats while shrieking in frustration. If he didn't find a certain blonde girl and drag her ass back to the towering glass and chrome building that was Deacon International's L.A. headquarters, he'd best kiss his job as company president goodbye. Well, perhaps he'd best kiss his beloved company goodbye. Everybody knows Bernice van der Stoop was out to get it all for herself and the shareholders aren't much too keen with resisting her.
"Where the fuck is that bitch?" He growled as he punched her phone number in for the 316, 578th time. "I did not sweat bucketfuls of blood and tears in Harvard Business School and work 24/7 for the last six years just to hunt down a fugly, immature bitch in the streets of L.A.!"
But he knew he had to.
A flow of profanities in three languages spilled from his mouth as the ringback tone played against his ear. It was an awful pop song with auto-tuned female voices warbling in what sounded to be Korean.
"Gah!" he yelled as he threw his phone against the bullet-proofed windows of his car.
And that's when he saw it.
"Pop Star," the sign of a cute little store declared in obnoxious pink and blue.
"Stooop!" He yelled, and the limo immediately stopped. For the first time since the Chairman told Tristan that he was sick and dying, he smiled. The throbbing vein at the middle of his forehead promptly stopped. The day seemed brighter. Happier. In the concrete jungle of downtown L.A., for the first time ever, he heard the annoying twitter of birds. For him, though, they were music. A goddamn Philharmonic orchestra.
The glass windows had a poster with nine Asian girls on it. They were cute, he noted. But what he cared about was the Korean characters on the poster.
A music store.
With Korean pop star posters on display.
He excitedly turned to the two men in his car. Steve and Joe. His bodyguards. They both flinched at the sight of their boss' almost rabid, maniacal, excited look. They only saw that look in crazed war freaks who craved for blood.
"She's there. I can feel it. Get her in here, pronto." His canines glinted and his eyes, wide because of morbid anticipation, sparkled. The boys didn't waste any time.
In less than a minute, Tristan was laughing an evil "Mwahahaha!" while sipping Veuve as Steve and Joe carried a woman out of the store like a log.
"No. More like a pig for slaughter," he thought happily. He opened the door as Steve grunted while trying to push the girl in as gentle as possible. The girl certainly wasn't making it very easy. She sounded like a cat screaming, fighting tooth and nail to get back out and towards freedom.
Just when he thought everything had gone well for Tristan he just had to see what she did to herself, prompting him to spit some of the liquor on the girl.
The girl froze as the spray of alcohol hit her face.
Steve's mouth formed a very scared 'O' and he most sensibly decided to close the car door, preferring to wait for the back up car for him and Joe to ride on. Very, very good choice.
The girl, who did not have blonde hair, as Tristan had seen this morning, turned towards him slowly. Psychotic-level anger glinted dangerously in her eyes.
"You!" she yelled while jabbing a forefinger with a heavily decorated nail on it.
Tristan recovered from his initial shock of spitting Veuve Clicquot at the Chairman's granddaughter. Then his own anger flared up.
"Serves you right! What the fuck did you do to your hair!"
She absolutely can't face the shareholders and most especially Bernice van der Stoop with that electric-blue mess of a hair with weird purple after-effects. Tristan could see it already. Confidence in the company would reach an all time low. The stock prices will plummet. That bitch van der Stoop will have leverage to override Chairman Deacon St. James' mandate of placing his granddaughter as CEO. Maybe he shouldn't have fucked and dumped Bernice too hastily. He'd surely get the boot now.
Tristan wanted to drop on all fours and scream "Noooo!"
"And where are your heels!" he yelled as he grabbed one leg up to emphasize the grey Chucks she was wearing. At least she still had her Chanel suit and skirt on. Though, it had tiny splatters of what Tristan spit on her.
"It's a wig, you idiot! Took you three hours roaming around like an idiot, passing me six times without recognizing me." She angrily tore the offending multi-colored wig off her head and hurled it at Tristan. Messy, wavy, platinum-blonde hair revealed itself.
Tristan wanted to punch the smug smile on her face to kingdom to come.
"Miss St. James," Tristan began loudly, and through gritted teeth.
"Yes, Mister Crawford?" She shot back while fluttering her lashes in mock, sleazy admiration. She then scoffed and folded her arms.
"I thought I specifically told you that we have a meeting with our major shareholders at one o'clock," he said, taking pains to level his tone and voice. He can't be hoarse for the meeting, he figured.
She frowned and looked away. "You thought right," she mumbled begrudgingly.
"Oh? Then why were you out on the streets? Please explain that to me. Because you see, common sense would dictate that you should've been there in the office thirty fucking minutes ago!"
"What the hell is your problem! It's still like half an hour 'til one pm?"
"And your clothes?"
"You messed this up!"
She was right.
"And your heels?"
"Well you can't expect me to run around and fight for the limited edition copy of SNSD's new album with four inches of hell on!"
Tristan massaged the bridge of his nose first and he allowed his heart to resume a healthy, normal pace before speaking again.
Screw it. It'd take at least ten years for that.
"Where are your heels, Miss St. James?"
Her face flashed a look of worry for two seconds. Tristan gritted his teeth. He didn't miss the damn-I-thought-he'd-skip-that-bit look on her face.
"Miss St. James," Tristan said with a not-so-downgraded murderous edge to it, and she winced this time. He was already too angry to relish her fear.
"Those Louboutins were specifically custom-made for your size 5 and ½ freak of nature-shaped feet."
Of course she felt insulted. "Wha? My feet are okay-shaped. Lay off my feet. Shouldn't you be worrying about the content of my speech instead?"
Wrong conversation route.
Three massive veins successively sprouted on Tristan's forehead. "Ah, so you finally had some concern about the shareholder meeting that's going to start in," he dramatically checked his Rolex, "Oh! Fifteen minutes!"
Her proud stance slumped into a defeated pose as she grimaced while Tristan started his slow clapping. "Well done, Miss St. James. Very well done. And I suppose you also did the initiative of reading through the file I gave you yesterday? You know, the one that had your speech in it? Plus some facts and figures about our beloved, little company?"
Of course, he knew the answer to that.
No, Mister Crawford. I threw it in the waste basket along with the remnants of the Quarter Pounder and Cheese meal (upsized drinks and fries, plus two apple pies) I ordered last night.
Miss St. James kept silent. When she was about to nibble on one of her glued-on nails, Tristan stopped her by throwing a manila envelope to the empty seat beside her. He would've thrown it at her face, but he still had sky-high respect for her grandfather.
He grabbed his phone off the car floor and contacted one of his secretaries.
"Gina," he barked. "Please prepare a size two corporate attire with accessories from a credible brand. And get me a pair of four inch high heeled shoes to go with. Either a Jimmy Choo or a Louboutin. Five and a half. Get the one with the highest arch, and lots of space for extra-long toes. I need it ten minutes before one o'clock" He flicked a smirk towards the girl in front of him. She was glaring at him.
"And, Gina? Make sure the whole she-bang is in Miss St. James' office ten minutes before one. Coz' if not, then don't bother coming in for work tomorrow morning."
He dropped the phone in his pocket.
"That was heartless."
Tristan raised an eyebrow. "What was?"
"You gave her an impossible task! And she's gonna lose her job!"
He scoffed. "Oh, sweetheart. That was nothing compared to handling you," he thought.
Tristan nodded towards the manila envelope, still untouched. "Incompetence is unacceptable. Now don't worry your pretty little head about that. Just study the file."
She shook her head slowly, like how old grannies do it while saying, "Shame on you, young man. Shame on you!"
"And Miss St. James? Please do well during your speech. I'd hate to fire Charles for failing to write a speech that even you shouldn't be able to fuck up. He's a scholar of the company, you see? Extremely talented and hardworking man. I'd hate to send him packing back to Omaha…"
Just because you fucked up.
Miss St. James grip on the papers tightened as she narrowed her eyes and sent a chilling glare towards him. He could see that her blue eyes were watering already.
It only made him smile on the inside some more.
But upon nearing the company's building, he found the need to finish another glass of Veuve.
The girl was already seriously poring over the papers he gave her, and he was pleased. And he gave himself a mental pat on the back. It was a victory. Not permanent, but still a victory. But Tristan frowned when he realized that he could not enjoy his latest triumph.
He shuddered and tried to shake off thoughts about all the other possible disasters she could do to ruin him.
"What the hell does 'shares' mean?" she asked out loud right before the limo swerved in front of Deacon International's lobby doors.
Oh, dear Lord.
Trial period. Tell me if you like it. If not, tell me what you don't like. Then if it's really bad, I'll just pull it out and do some revisions. Please help a fellow writer. Thanks!
It's been six months since these two characters appeared in my head. And this was written in an hour and a half. So it's totally okay to be harsh and all.