“I was born Adele Louise Morgan. My parents were Sean and Maddie Morgan. My father was brilliant. He was one of those people who were just born with a knack for numbers. Before he finished college he had already started a little business drawing up investment portfolios for people he knew. He and my mother had just gotten married as well. He was working full-time for an accountant in Mid-Town but on the side he started a tiny little business of his own. He had this inherent business sense and he started out telling his friends and family where they should invest their savings. By word of mouth people from all over the Bronx began coming to him, talking to him about what they should do with their money. My mom told me once that he started out only charging them two percent of their profit. He took that two percent and invested it for himself and my mother. Then he eventually used that money to buy his own firm. When he bought Morgan Corp. there were only five full-time employees. The original owner had retired and moved to Florida. My father kept all the original employees. He didn’t want anyone to lose their jobs.” I stopped for a second and took a sip of my coffee. Seth was listening intently and when I realized he didn’t have anything to say yet, I went on.
“By the time I was born, the business was already doing pretty well. My father told me he had a hundred employees that year. He had moved to a bigger office… the one that your company is still in today. He was so proud of that company, but he was also proud of me and my mom. We spent a lot of time together as a family. I was given what I needed and I was taught to work for what I wanted. They never just handed me anything, but if I did my chores or got good grades I got pretty much whatever I wanted. I had a great childhood. My mother went back to school when I was five and she became a nurse. Our house was busy, but it was so full of love. I never went a day without knowing how much they loved me and how hard they worked for my future…”
“It must have been so hard on you when they died.” Seth looked so sad. It was my life we were talking about and I wanted to give him a hug and tell him it was okay. I nodded again and went on.
“I had just turned thirteen a few weeks before I found out they were never coming home. They had been involved in a big pile-up on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. They’d gone there to see about expanding the business and died on their way home. The first few weeks were so dark and confusing and then there was a question about where I would go and who I would live with. Once it was finally settled that I could stay with Louisa, the lady who took care of the house for us, that was when the lawyers called and told us we had to vacate the house.”
“Why did you have to leave your home?”
“We were told at the time that the estate had to be sold in order to pay back a lot of people whose money my father had taken to invest. I was told that he hadn’t invested it properly and they were entitled to a full refund. There was a lawyer who claimed that these people had come to him to file a suit prior to my father’s death. He was filing it at that time against the estate. They froze everything while it was going through court. I realize now that it went through really quickly… too quickly. Within weeks they had taken everything and I was left penniless.”
“That lawyer, the one who sued your father’s estate… that was my dad?”
“Yes. Suddenly he owned the company and I’ve never really been able to find out exactly how that came about. I promised myself that I would though. I worked and studied and did little else until I had my MBA. I excelled at all things business, just like my dad. My plan was to get a job with Hunter Corp., prove that James Hunter had committed some kind of fraud in order to take the business and cause me to be left with nothing. I was angry. For over ten years it sat inside of me and smoldered. Every time I picked up a paper or a magazine and they talked about your father or showed a picture of him, the rage would flare up.”
“So you got the job with our company with the intention of bringing it and my father to its knees?”
“Something like that. I never intended to do anything that would hurt the company. I wanted it back, more than I’ve ever wanted anything. It was my legacy. My father intended for it to be mine. I took the job thinking that once I was inside I could find something that would help me in that cause. I didn’t bank on falling in love with James Hunter’s son.”
Seth was staring at me, looking into my eyes and I was dying to know what he was thinking. I was going to let him speak when he was ready without pushing it though. I could tell that he was processing all of what I told him. After a few beats I said, “When I started dating you, I was using you. About that, your father was right. But it only took me a few weeks to realize that I was falling hard for you. After that, getting back the company became a secondary goal. Being with you was the primary one. I do love you Seth. I love you so much. I’m not faking that part, I swear.”