My parents struggled while my father built his company so that by the time I was born, I could have everything. I wasn’t as angry about that being taken away from me as I was about the opportunity to do it being taken away from them. Meanwhile, every time I picked up a newspaper or a financial magazine, the face of the man who had stolen my legacy seemed to stare out at me. James Hunter is the name of the thief and the coward who stole what was rightfully mine. I call him a coward because truthfully what other kind of a man would steal from a child? A man who will steal from a child will do anything to get ahead. In my senior year of college I finally decided that it was not only about revenge… getting even with James Hunter was my civic duty. If he would do what he did to a thirteen year old girl, he would do it again, to someone else. Taking back what he took from me would be a step towards stopping him from doing that.
I started taking internships, paid or not, in my senior year of college. I worked so hard and did such a good job that after I graduated, I had multiple job offers in the corporate world. The first year, I worked two jobs. It wasn’t very conducive to being a young, twenty-something single in the city, but it was a way for me to learn and grow in my field. I needed to first get my foot in the door to what was still a “Man’s” world and then once I’d proven myself I could move on to the one goal I’d been focused on since the day my parent’s died: taking back what they had built.
I eventually landed a position as a top executive in one of Manhattan’s most prestigious business firms, Lyon Enterprises. For a year and a half I had worked sixteen hour days and I was the driving force behind that company branching out and going from a national conglomerate to a multi-national one. There was even talk about me being headed for the position of CEO someday when and if Mr. Lyons ever decided to give up the reins. It’s what the board had been grooming me for all along. If I made it there before I was thirty, which gave me six years, I would be the youngest woman CEO in the business. That’s where some people might get confused about why I would leave a position like that and take a job with Hunter Corp.
Hunter Corp. had a CEO already, and that CEO had a young son, I think I read that he was twenty-six and James Hunter had been grooming him to take over the business since his late teens. As a matter of fact, I’d read in the last issue of Forbes that James Hunter was CEO in name alone these days, his son, Seth, had pretty much taken over the reins. That was okay though, I didn’t have any qualms about taking back what was mine from either of them. I was a firm believer in the apple not falling far from the tree.
I re-focused on my outfit for my interview and finally settled on a light grey suit jacket with a matching skirt and a pale yellow blouse. I picked out a pair of heels that matched and a bag. I looked at myself then in the full-length mirror and took a deep breath. I was ready for this, I told myself. My credentials were golden, my record with Lyon Enterprises spoke for itself; all I had to do was make it through an interview with the man who stole my legacy. Piece of cake, right?
I got to Hunter Corp. at 8:45 a.m. the next day. I’d been up since five, and the truth be told, I hadn’t slept much of the night. I had my long, wild, red Irish hair tamed back into a nice, neat, professional bun and my make-up said I cared about my appearance, but not too much. The green tortoise shell glasses that I wore helped me see, but they also highlighted the green in my hazel eyes. I was dressed to impress. Now hopefully the fact that I was a nervous wreck wouldn’t work against me.
I let the receptionist on the fifth floor know that I was here for an interview. I gave her Brenda’s name since I wasn’t sure who I would be seeing today. I was both hoping for and dreading a meeting with the great and powerful James Hunter himself. He’d been lauded in more than one financial periodical as, “The Greatest Businessman Alive.” Every time I even thought about that headline, I became furious and a little bit sick to my stomach. He was no better than a common thief as far as I was concerned, plain and simple. He may as well be a purse-snatcher, or even a shoplifter. A thief was a thief and I had no respect for someone that would take something that didn’t belong to them for any reason. If he was such a great businessman, why couldn’t he build his own legacy?
“Miss Summers?” the receptionist called for me.
“Yes!” I stood up quickly with a smile. My stomach was turning somersaults. She smiled at me like she knew I was anxious and sympathized. I hoped that it wasn’t apparent on my face and I willed my hands not to shake as I reached for my portfolio.