COPYRIGHT © 2019 Miu
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Author.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All pictures and multimedia used are not the author’s work and doesn’t claim any legal rights.
MATURE CONTENT and VULGAR words not suited for young readers below eighteen (18) years old.
FROZEN private meeting room
A man in his twenties was sitting comfortably on a leather chair, wearing the finest mulberry silk shirt under a one of a kind color of vicuna wool coat paired with the most exquisite handmade fitted linen pants and black leather shoes. His legs crossed, fingers intertwined over his knee, emanating elegance and confidence while his beautiful self was adorned with the finest gold. Precious of stones graced his hands, and only the most expensive watch handcrafted by master artisans had the honor of embracing his wrist.
Nothing less from the firstborn son of billionaire Mr. Devondale, the richest man in the south known for its abundant natural resources. The one who controlled both business and government in the dark.
Robert Krisnov repressed the urge to ask about the man’s watch. This was not the right time to think about material things. He was here to do business, and heaven only knew how much he waited for this day to come. To finally expand Frozen in the southeast. If he could land a deal with this man, Frozen would be unstoppable. The man is the key to operate in the whole south.
He tried so many times in the past to meet the elusive family and ask for the venture. But every time, they refused.
But now, his luck was about to change.
He cleared his throat, lowering his voice a few octaves, making sure it sounded from a man of influence and power. His shoulder square, chin lifted, contending with the sophistication the man had since birth. Though he couldn’t entirely surpass it, he had his confidence and tenacity, a pride he accumulated throughout the years of doing business.
“Mr. Calvin Devondale, a pleasure to finally meet your acquaintance. Let’s enjoy a bottle of Romani Conti while we speak business, shall we?”
Calvin smiled, one that didn’t reach his eyes as he received the cup his assistant handed to him.
“Mr. Krisnov, I like your straightforwardness. So I too will get straight to the point.” Calvin gently blew and smelled the aromatic tea before he took a quick sip. “I know you wanted to expand your business in the southeast. But of course, to do that, every proposal must go through us first, the family who governed the south.”
Robert pushed the uncomfortable feeling away every time he stared at Calvin’s amber eyes. The kid was nothing but friendly. A gentleness was enveloping his entire countenance, which was a contrast against his sharp features. But that was precisely the reason which kept him on the edge of his chair. He didn’t believe it in their line of work. People like them didn’t care about one another. It would always come down to self-interest. It was always about ‘what is it’ for them.
“And I’m assuming you’re here because I finally have your family’s permission to expand Frozen in the south, am I right?” Robert didn’t know why the Devondale didn’t approve of it in the past. If Frozen expands in the south, they would greatly benefit from it. Calvin Devondale acquired ten percent of Frozen’s shares, after all. Besides that, there was the addition percentage if Frozen was built in their territory.
Calvin didn’t have anything on his face except a friendly smile, yet the only feeling Robert got was the sense of demeaned, which made his brows twitched though his face remained business-like. Then his forehead creased when Calvin softly laughed.
“Rejoice, Mr. Krisnov! Our family has indeed granted the expansion.” Calvin grinned, showing those perfect rows of teeth before his face turned serious, eyes glimmered with desire. “But, of course, as you know, it comes with a price.”
Robert inwardly sneered. He popped his collar and mused to himself. Did this boy think I would cower before him with just a little fit of intimidation? He had won deals after deals against Kings and Queens all around the globe and expanded his business. He had rattled and played mind games with influential men. He had gambled and crossed arms with business moguls and politicians far and wide. All in the name of expanding his empire. Frozen wouldn’t be sitting as one of the top international brands if it wasn’t for him.
And no snotty brat, who called himself a billionaire because he came from the lineage of a powerful family, could make him lose his game.
“Of course, I believe twenty percent profit from Frozen’s sales in the southeast is enough as collateral for this agreement?” He knew men and knew them well. All minds were alike. If not money, then power. If not power, rare antique collectible things. If not that, then women. Thus, he wasn’t entirely surprised when Calvin laughed while a ridiculing sneer so silently graced his lips.
“Mr. Krisnov, do you think I lack money?”
Robert didn’t fret nor show any emotion. He was confident he could close this deal. He didn’t mind playing mind games for a while with the little boy.
“If not money, I don’t think I have anything that could interest you.”
. . .
. . .
Calvin leisurely leaned back. His smooth tongue wet his lips. The friendly aura he portrayed disappeared, replaced by a lazy and dominant air.
“Oh. . . You do have one. . . and I’m very interested in acquiring it indeed.”
. . .
. . .
Gradually, Robert’s calm and aloof facade cracked. Veins pounded against the skin of his forehead when he realized the meaning of what Calvin said. And the soft leather of the arms rest was bursting from the grip of his hands when Calvin added.
“Evangeline Krisnov . . . Though you disowned her, she’s still your daughter. Flesh and blood. If she married into my family, consider Frozen’s expansion a done deal,” Calvin said, voice enticing while the desire in his eyes burned even more, no longer hiding his hearts yearning. “And my family will even help you expand to other countries. Free of charge. I think this is a deal you can’t miss.”
“. . .”
Calvin lazily propped his chin against the back of his hand, elbow resting on the armrest. A playful smile played on his lips, and his slanting eyes spoke meaning.
“You don’t have to worry about her. I’ll take very good care of her. Think about it. You get to expand your business in the south while I take care of your daughter. What’s more, you’ll have a Devondale as a son in law.” Calvin softly laughed, thick with confidence. “You won’t find a better deal than this.”
“. . .”
“. . .”
Calvin blinked before he dryly laughed without humor. “Excuse me?”
Robert slowly stood from his chair, his whole face red in constrained anger. He glanced at his secretary, Fredrick, and enunciated each word. “Escort Mr. Devondale out.”
At the side, Fredrick, who was busy typing the minutes of the meeting, abruptly stopped. For a moment, he didn’t register what was happening until Robert shot him a piercing glare. He scrambled to his feet and sauntered to Calvin.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Devondale. If you’ll follow me,” Fredrick said, voice respectful.
Calvin was in a state of utter shock. Eyes wide, lips parting in disbelief that Robert Krisnov was shooing him away. He, who was raised in an environment where everyone showed him nothing but respect, was being disrespected by a puny businessman?
Eyes narrowing, the smile on his face faded. He brushed away the assistant and stood from his chair. He had been planning for years to make Evangeline his. And he thought he got his chance when she was disowned. Thinking her father abandoned her, and thus Robert Krisnov would gleefully give her to him in exchange for his desires. A perfect excuse that it was her father who pushed her to him, saving him his pride for he didn’t want to tarnish his reputation of bowing his head to have a woman’s affection.
Sleek and confident, he fixed his lapel before shooting one last glare towards the old man.
“You’ll regret this.”
Was all he said before he turned and left the room, followed by his entourage and Fredrick.
The moment the solid wooden door closed, Robert cough and cough. Grabbing the handkerchief inside his pocket, he pressed it against his lips and controlled his breathing to stabilize his condition. The surging anger did damage to his health, and it took longer this time to regain his breath.
Panting in exhaustion and the weakening of his limbs, he sat on the couch, almost falling. He closed his eyes and took in a mouthful of air before his eyes drifted to the piece of fabric in his hand. The once expensive silk was now painted in red –– blotted dots of crimson splattered across its sleek silk. Mesmerized by the color, he was lost in a trance.
Silence descended for some time, amplifying the gloom in the room before he slumped his tired body against the couch. Closing his eyes tight, brows in one line, forehead wrinkling, he shoved his handkerchief back inside his pocket.
Minutes passed, and he remained stationary. Another minute before he reached for his breast pocket and pulled out a shiny object.
It was a pocket watch made of black emerald. Sleek and elegant with its classic design. He stared at it, mind blank while his thumb brushed the smooth texture. The hardness on his face softened as his mind retold a fond memory.
. . .
. . .
His reverie disrupted when his secretary came inside, announcing.
“Sir, it’s time for your meeting with Mr. Loire.”
“. . .”
Robert blinked. It was only when he registered what his secretary was talking about. He glanced at his wristwatch and found he was in a dream-like state for an hour!
Still, he wished he continued dreaming. Dreaming of that time where all things were as simple as counting from one to ten.
Sighing, he stood and fixed his wrinkled suit before he sauntered towards his next appointment.
As soon as Robert and Aldrick Loire was seated after the pleasantries, Aldrick went straight to the point.
“Mr. Krisnov, before we start, I want you to look at this first and tell me what you think.”
Robert shot Aldrick a glance before he grabbed the folder that was handed to him. As he turned the pages, his interest surfaced on his face. The pieces of paper didn’t have fancy words written on it nor world breaking proposals. What it did have was a set of designs. Designs of clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories that left him in awe. In fact, in his years of working in this industry, this was a first that he laid eyes on another design that was on par with Evangeline’s. In fact, it was like a replica with his daughter.
Aldrick smiled when he saw he successfully caught the old man’s interest. “Those are my little sister’s designs. She studied in the school of fashion in Paris. A recent graduate. She’s a fan of Frozen, so her designs have some elements of the brand.”
Robert eyed Aldrick, pushing the folder on the side. His tone didn’t give anything as he asked, “And may I know why you are showing this to me? If you wanted a position for your sister in my company, by all means, she could start by tomorrow as the assistant head designer.”
Aldrick let out a small laugh. “Mr. Krisnov, I think you misunderstood me. I’m not here to sign my little sister for a position at your company. She’s already doing perfectly fine with her newly open boutique.”
Robert’s eyelid twitched. “Then what exactly are you here for, showing me these pictures if you’re not here to discuss about your sister working in my company?”
Straightening his back, Aldrick interlaced his fingers on top of his crossing legs. “Simple, I’m here to tell you about a proposal that will greatly benefit you.”
Robert’s lips hooked in a small smile before asking in an amused tone, “And what proposal is that?” His smirking lips and the bored tone was enough indication that he didn’t have any expectation in this so-called proposal. What could he possibly offer him, which would make him hop to his feet in excitement?
However, the smugness on his face was washed away by Aldrick’s next words.
“I heard Evangeline, your daughter, owned forty percent of Frozen.”
“Where did you hear that? Did Angel told you?” Robert’s face darkened. His spine flinched straight at the boy’s words.
Unfettered by the pressure from Robert’s gaze, Aldrick continued in a calm voice, “No. I have my investigation.”
Robert’s forehead crumpled, half believing Aldrick’s words. His brain was formulating thoughts as to what his estranged daughter had done for Aldrick Loire to act like this.
“Did Evangeline done something? Why are you interested in her shares?” Robert said.
“Oh, don’t get me wrong. Evangeline hadn’t particularly done something to me. It’s that, she did something unforgivable to a person she shouldn’t.”
“. . .”
Robert’s crinkled forehead deepened. “What do you mean?”
Aldrick stifled a laugh with no humor. “I’m surprised you haven’t heard about it when it is all over the media.” He fished his phone from his pocket and showed the video to the old man. And the longer Robert watched the video, the more his face couldn’t be painted.
“You know I love your niece, right? And I’ll be dammed that I’ll tolerate Evangeline’s behavior after what she did to Angel. I’m sure, you would think the same.”
“. . .”
After a while of staring at the video, Robert slumped on his seat. He looked worn out like the video snatched some years of his life. He briefly closed his eyes and massaged the skin on his forehead, hoping it would ease his headache.
“And what exactly are you going to do?” he asked, voice dejected.
Aldrick retrieved his phone and said, “Nothing heavy. A little punishment to teach her a lesson. I think you will agree with me that Evangeline is acting like this because she has the power. Cut that power, and I believe she will learn her mistakes and reflect on her actions.”
Robert opened his eyes, gaze blank. For a moment, he didn’t know how to respond. Half of him agreed to what Aldrick said, while the other half didn’t want to bother his daughter anymore. He was about to open his mouth to say his piece when Aldrick beat him.
“Strip her of her share, and I promise you, I’ll have my sister replace her position. Free of charge. It is not hard to do, right? I’m sure you can see that my little sister has the advantage over Evangeline. Evangeline can design, true. But she lacks other aspects. A lot of it. She lacks the proper education, the technical know-how of things.”
“. . .”
Robert clamped his lips in a silent scream of his inner turmoil. Aldrick even knew that Evangeline was the real head designer. And he came prepared. For a time, he didn’t know how to respond. True, he could remove Evangeline from the board. He has the power to do it being the founder of Frozen. All he had to do was rally the board members and have them vote to strip her of her shares by repurchasing. It had been going in his head in the past, but he couldn’t bring himself to do so because one, he still needed her. And two, the other board members wouldn’t kick her out knowing it was her designs behind Frozen’s success.
Aldrick really came prepared and solved all those problems. Aldrick’s little sister’s designs share similarities with Evangeline’s. Not only that, but she also had an advantage over Evangeline by a considerable margin knowing she graduated at a Design school. She was equipped with the knowledge and technical know-how, while Evangeline relied purely on her visual aesthetics.
. . . But . . .
Snowfalls glided smoothly, freely across the sky, blanketing the streets and pathways in a comforting embrace.
Inside a restaurant on top of a skyscraper, Angel watched as the snow fell while a smirk never disappeared from her face. Sitting comfortably on a chair, she gently swirled the wine glass in her hand. She lazily tilted her head, waiting for someone to bring her the good news. And when she spotted the approaching man, her smirking face turned into one of panic and worry, and she stood when Aldrick approached her table.
“Aldrick! What happened? How did your meeting go with uncle Robert? Don’t you know how worried and guilty I am? I shouldn’t have told you . . . I shouldn’t have told you about Evangeline and the company. If I knew you’re going to storm my uncle, I shouldn’t have––”
“Angel, calm down,” Aldrick said, soothing the distressed woman before he sat on the chair opposite Angel.
But as soon as Angel planted herself on her chair, she attacked without pause.
“How do you expect me to calm down? Aldrick, how could you? If Evangeline lost her position in the company, it would be all my fault. Please tell me my uncle didn’t agree with your proposal. If he did, what will happen to Eva––”
“You don’t have to worry about that. Your uncle didn’t agree.”
“I knew it! It’s all my fault! Now Evangeline’s shares are strip from her! What should I do? What should I . . . Wait. . .”
Angel stopped, the words stuck in her throat. The concern and worry on her face lessened, transforming to one of utter disbelief as she gaped at Aldrick.
“What did you say?” she asked voice high pitched.
Aldrick sighed, brushing his hands through his hair before answering, tone didn’t hide his discontent and irritation. Irritation for Robert Krisnov for rejecting his proposal. “Your uncle rejected the proposal. Apparently, he still cared about his disowned daughter.”
Angel momentarily lost her ability to hear as the words ‘Robert Krisnov rejected the proposal’ kept ringing in her ear.
She shrieked. She utterly lost her composure when the reality sunk in, and her palms meet against the table in a resounding SLAM! Her shrill voice mixed with the slamming sound bounced along the room, garnering eyes toward their direction.
Angel quickly recovered her wits, and she added when Aldrick was looking at her with wide eyes and gaping mouth.
“I . . . I mean . . . that’s great! I know uncle would make the right choice . . .” She sighed in fake relief, and a gentle smile replaced the downward curved of her lips.
After recovering from Angel’s sudden outburst, Aldrick was preoccupied once more with plans to teach Evangeline a lesson now that his proposal was rejected. He couldn’t believe his perfect plan didn’t work. He was even willing to bargain his little sister. His belly was stuffed with irritation while his mouth rant nonstop, trying to unleash some of the stuffy feeling boiling inside him.
“I can’t believe that man. I mean no offense to Aunt Cherry. But this time, your uncle passed a good opportunity. I mean, it’s not like Evangeline would live poorly. Though she would lose her means of income, she would be compensated with money. I think it is a win-win situation. Your uncle can finally get that forty percent while maintaining his company’s overall performance with my little sister as the head designer. I believe she can bring Frozen to a new height with her skills, unlike Evangeline. And besides that. . .”
While Aldrick rant, Angel’s brain was on the verge of shutting down from overthinking her next plan. She was having a hard time believing that Robert Krisnov would refuse such an excellent proposal. He was a greedy and ambitious man. There was no way he would reject such an offer.
Unless . . .
Aldrick was right. He still somehow cared about his daughter.
Angel bit her thumbnail, chewing on her chopped nail. Her initial plan was to steal the shares from Evangeline, but she was also okay if she couldn’t have her hands on it as long as Evangeline was stripped of her primary line of defense, which was the protection of that forty percent. And everything after that was easy.
But unfortunately, that plan was thwarted by Robert Krisnov no less. And she thought he was her ticket in trampling Evangeline to dust.
I guess I have no other choice.
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