The men looked at each other. I could tell that my business acumen was not only impressive to them, but somewhat startling. No doubt, even though they’d obviously read my resume and portfolio they still hadn’t expected a twenty-four year old woman to be so prepared. Harlan went next, asking me what other strong skills I had that I thought would be beneficial for this position.
“Well, one thing I have had a lot of success with at Lyon is developing marketing strategies.” I gave them some examples of that and then I went on to say, “I have also managed entire proposal teams and client account managers… very successfully if I might add.”
The interview lasted about forty-five minutes. Seth was obviously smart and in spite of being James Hunter’s son, well-educated and suited for the role he currently filled within the company. I wasn’t sure if that was more to my advantage or disadvantage… I guess time would tell. He asked me a lot of tough questions, and I answered them. I didn’t feel like there was anything he asked me that I wasn’t familiar with. Harlan seemed to like me a lot. I think I had him at the description of my job duties. Seth also seemed impressed with me and not bored or in a hurry to get rid of me so that was a good sign. They gave me the opportunity to ask questions and once again I was prepared with some of what I thought were intelligent, insightful questions and comments. When the interview was over, Harlan told me once more how impressed he was with me. Then I turned to Seth, who seemed to trap me in his blue gaze.
“I’m also impressed with the amount of work you put into researching this company. A lot of people forget that’s a vital part of an interview. I’m glad that you didn’t. Listening to you talk about our company sounded as if you’ve already worked here for a decade. I think you could teach me and Harlan a few things that we didn’t know.” If he only knew. “We have a few more interviews and hope to make a decision by early next week, so someone will be in touch Erin. Thank you so much for coming in.” I shook both their hands and thanked them. I could feel my insides shaking as I made my way outside. As I was going through the outside door after saying good-bye to the receptionist, a tall man with dark hair and gray at the temples was coming in the door. He was well-dressed in an expensive suit and his skin was tanned and healthy looking with just a touch of fine lines around his dark blue eyes. I didn’t have to look twice to know it was James Hunter… the man who had stolen my life.
He didn’t even seem to notice me as he somewhat rudely brushed past me and barged his way into his son’s office unannounced. He was just as ill-mannered as I would have suspected a thief to be.
I walked out of Hunter Corp. with my head held high, smiling at everyone I saw and if anyone didn’t know better they would think I had just landed a job in the executive suite I came out of. Once I made it to the parking garage and got into my car I just sat there for a long time, allowing my body to tremble and shake the way it had wanted to do all day. It was taking every bit of brain power I had to keep myself steady during the interview. It actually felt good to allow them to do what they needed to do.
When my hands were steadier I reached into my bag and took out the bottle of water I’d put in there this morning. I took a healthy drink and then I had to sit there a while longer while my irritable stomach settled. The nerves I’d been tamping down all morning finally wanted their just dues and they were turning into seeds of self-doubt that planted themselves inside my head. I was suddenly afraid that the anger I felt when Seth mentioned his father had shown through my facade. At the time, I thought that I was hiding it well, but now I had to ask myself whether or not I really had. I was not a good liar. I hadn’t practiced it much in my lifetime. What if he saw through me? What if he saw the angry look in my eyes when he mentioned his father? For starters I wouldn’t get the job. Could they damage my career beyond that if they wanted to?
I consciously slowed down my breathing and took another sip of my water. I leaned my head back into the seat and closed my eyes, allowing myself only positive talk in my head. The interview had gone great, better than most of the ones where I’d gotten the job. I was fine, everything was going to be just fine. My nerves were coming down slowly. I concentrated on the fact that I needed to stop second-guessing myself; it wasn’t going to do anything but agitate me, right? I thought about passing James Hunter in the hall and I had to wonder if I would be able to do that every day without ever letting him see the anger and the hate that I had felt for him for so long. That anger was what motivated me most days. Taking back what was mine from James Hunter had become so important that my entire life was designed around it at this point. I’d put my life on the back burner. It was one of the things Grant used when he was in lecture mode about what I was doing. At twenty-four years old everything I did was with one end goal in sight… to get back what that man took from me when I was too young and too innocent to fight for it. I rarely dated and a relationship would just take precious time away from my plan as far as I was concerned. I would have time for all that later when I was running my own company.