The Corporate Raider part 19
by Denise Mayes
"Ms. Madison, its a wonderful party as always."
"I know Mr. Henderson." The woman said with a smirk, as she gave a slight tilt of her head and walked away from the man.
"So any plans for a takeover coming up that you would like to share with us Alex?" A C.O.O., of one of the rival companies asked, hoping to find out a little information. He knew not to expect any, but he didn't think it would hurt to ask.
"Yes, but who knows what company? Maybe its yours Grayson?" Alex said with a devilish glance at the man, who nearly dropped his glass. "Careful Grayson, or youll owe me a new floor." She said, as she gave a wicked grin, then excused herself from the flustered man.
"Alex, you are something! You have a wicked sense of humor."
"You think so Julia?" The woman asked out of curiosity.
"Oh yes, definitely, no one ever knows when your serious or kidding."
"Just the way I like it Julia. By the way, I see that your company's stock has gained a few points more over the last few months, and they even split??"
"Um...yes, but not enough to really make an impact." The woman quickly added, due to Alex turning to face her squarely, with apparent interest in what was going on with her company. The woman noticed the look in Alex's eyes and she became uncomfortable. "Um....wheres your P.A?"
"Hmm...shes around." Alex said with a knowing smirk, enjoying the obvious discomfort the CEO of Technology Data securitys was experiencing.
"Ahh...well I would love to meet her?"
"Certainly, Ill make sure you do. Enjoy yourself Julia. I'll be watching." The woman purred, as she walked away to speak with other guests.
Salina was making her rounds talking to different people, gaining information for Alex, but also for herself and Mr. Wellington. Alex saw Salina make her way over to Mr. Wellington, who was standing off to one side, making conversation with some of the others. She noticed how Wellington excused himself from other CEO'S and VP's to go and talk with Salina. She found that very inappropriate and strange, so she watched the two discreetly as she made her way around, talking to the different guests. D Angelo joined her around 6 that evening as he had been forced to take care of some business with his own company overseas. He had used the phone in Alex's study to make his calls.
"DAngelo, so...you finally made it. I was beginning to wonder if you had been shot or something by the Secret Service?"
"I know, Im sorry it took so long, has she arrived yet?"
"Who?? What do you mean who Alex? The President of the U.S.A."
"No, and why are you so excited? Its not like shes your President or anything. Matter of fact shes only an adopted one of mine. If she shows up fine, if not, fine, its her loss. All the business men and women who have any clout are already here." She smirked, as she took two glasses of champagne off of a tray that one of the servants was passing around.
"And I would bet that theyre all concerned when you show the least little interest in any of their companies?"
"Well, it is nice to be feared." She said, flashing a bright smile at the man.
The two went around together for most of the evening, but there came a point where Alex went to greet The President who had arrived at nine, with her husband. They spoke for a bit, and then the woman introduced the President to some of her admirers, while she went back to talk to one of the agents at the front door. When she finished talking she stood near the door in the view of the window from outside. She was talking to some people who had filtered out of the other room to be able to talk quietly to one another about some business or another.
Meanwhile Taylor had finally decided to go and talk to Alex. She had slept up until 6:30, but she didnt decide until 9:30p.m. Taylor drove her rental car to Alexs resident, and up the driveway, where she observed the agents standing either on the stairs or off around the side of the house. Taylor slowly got out of her car. At first she thought about bringing her small box of gifts with her, but looking at the faces of the agents it made her a bit nervous to even think about reaching for it, so she left it for the time being. She walked up the stairs and just as she arrived at the top, one of the agents stepped up to her.
"May I help you Ma'am?"
"Oh, Im here to see Ms. Alexandra Madison."
"Is she expecting you?"
"No, but I need to speak with her for just a moment."
"Im sorry Ma'am, we can not allow you to go in. Im sorry, but you will have to leave."
"But I just want to talk to Ms. Madison, its very important."
"Im afraid we cant allow you to go inside."
"Okay, well...can you ask her to step out here for a moment?"
"No, we cant."
"But shes right there! Please, just ask her to step out here for a moment?" Taylor was trying to tamper down her rising anxiety. She had come this far, she knew if she didn't do it now, then she would never be able to do it.
"Im sorry Ma'am, its for security reasons that we cant allow you inside."
"I understand that, thats why Im asking you to ask her if she would step out here? I have something for her, its in my car, it's a box with a few gifts inside."
"Check it out." The lead agent ordered one of the others. The agent brought the box back to the landing of the stairs and walked it over to where a machine was set up. He put it inside and it read the contents of the box, as well as gave a visual. The man picked the box up and handed it to Taylor.
"We had to check to make sure."
"I understand. Now may I talk with Ms. Madison?"
"Im afraid not Ma'am, maybe you can come back tomorrow?" The man said more compassionately, when he saw how upset the young girl was becoming.
Taylor was near tears, but she kept them in check. She looked back in the window, and saw the woman looking out at her. She saw the look of confusion cross the womans face, but yet she made no move to come to the door. She simply watched the girl, and saw how Taylor lowered her eyes to look at the box. Her heart was once again shattering, the tears fell, and she lifted her eyes to see Alex still looking at her, until one of the guests pulled her out of the view of the window, with conversation. The girl swallowed hard, and hurt was written all over her face, to where even the agents felt for her, even though they didn't know the reason why the girl was so hurt.
"Im sorry Ma'am."
Taylor lifted her eyes to the man, and with a failing attempt at a smile, she turned and headed down the stairs. Once she had reached the bottom stairs and had walked halfway back to her car, the front door open and Alex stepped out to speak to the agents for a moment before she spoke to Taylor.
Taylor stopped in her tracks and slowly turned around to see the woman standing on the landing with her arms crossed over her chest.
"Alex? I mean...Ms. Madison." She said, not sure of how to address the woman.
"What did you want?" Alex said getting right to the point.
"Oh! I came by hoping I could talk to you."
"No, Im right in the middle of a function, its just not a good time." The woman answered pointedly.
"Well can I talk to you later?"
"When? Tonight? After this?" Alex asked in a tone of youve got to be kidding.
"Tonight, tomorrow, the day after, whenever you say, Ill be there."
"What if I said never, then what?"
Taylor literally flinched at the harsh words. She tried to think of something to say to that, but she had not actually considered that the woman would say such a thing. It wasn't completely unexpected, but she didn't think Alex hated her enough to tell her to stay away. The girl lifted her eyes back up to the woman on the landing, and all she could manage was a weak shrug of her shoulders. She looked back down at the box, and thinking about all that was inside of it, she decided to give them to the woman anyway. After all, she had bought them specifically for her. Taylor walked back to the stairs and walked up them slowly, as she watched the woman, not sure of what to expect from her.
"I know you're angry with me Alex." She said, as she came to a stop on the step just below where Alex stood, which made the woman look that much more dominating.
"Really? I didnt know it was a secret Ms. Young?"
Taylor's eyes instantly watered as she took Alexs biting sarcasm. "You have the right to be, I was completely wrong...once again, and you were right, as usual. I should have been stronger. If I had been then I would not have lost...well the point is, I wasn't strong enough, and therefore I allowed for things to turn out the way they have."
"Are you trying to tell me that someone else made you do all the things you did?"
"Yes, I mean no, not all, matter of fact as I think about it, it wasn't anyones fault but my own. I chose to pull away, out of my own fear and insecurities, the other person only gave me a reason to use to justify it."
"So you're admitting that you willingly chose to pull away?"
"Thats such a harsh way to look at it. I know hind sight is 20/20, but I didnt think I had any other choices. Im not as strong as you are! I never will be. I admit I was wrong to not come and talk to you about what was going on with me. I admit it Alex! But I swear to you, I NEVER wanted to hurt you! I know how hard it was for you to trust anyone with your heart, and here you were entrusting it to me. So what did I do...I screwed up! I will offer no excuses, because it would only insult and diminish the feelings. I will say this, and I mean it from my heart Alex, I am soo...sorry, if I could take the pain away, and take it on myself, I would. If I could take that look of anger and resentment out of your gaze, and replace it with honest, forthright love once again, I would give anything. Alex I do love you. I have loved you and I will always love you. I want you back in my life, but from the look in your eyes, I can see it's not going to happen. Its...well, anyway, thank you for coming out and listening to me, it means a lot. Ill leave you alone, but I have a few things for you."
"Just gifts, your Birthday, Christmas, and this one, a Valentines gift." Taylor handed the open box to the woman after taking out the necklace container. Alex took the small box of gifts and handed it to the agent who was standing nearby. He walked over and took it and walked back away so as to give the two a semblance of privacy.
"Why a Valentine's gift?" She asked with wonder.
"Because of what the necklace represents."
The woman knitted her brows at the statement, and then took the gift and slowly opened the box to look at what was inside. She lifted the necklace out of the box and held it up looking at it with knitted brows. She saw that it was supposed to be a heart, but she couldnt quite put her finger on the meaning. She had an idea that it was probably a symbol of loss, so thats what she said. "Its supposed to represent the loss?" She asked, as she now looked back at Taylor.
"No, it represents the number of times Ive broken your heart, albeit always unintentionally, but none the less I did."
"So why give me such a gift?! Why would I want to remember such a thing Taylor??!" The woman said, now getting angry at the very thought.
"No...not so you would remember the broken heart." The girl said stepping up on the landing and taking the pendant part of the necklace in her hands, while the woman held the chain part. Taylor closed the heart's clasps, thereby making it look like a whole heart.
Alexs eyes lit with understanding, but then she said in an even tone. "But the breaks are still there."
"Yes, but over time, I would hope you would forget that they were there, and just see the wholeness. Alex if you give me another chance, I promise you I will make this up to you."
Alex studied her for a very long and uncomfortable moment for Taylor, and then she said evenly once again. "Is that all? I need to get back inside with my guests."
"Um...yes, except for two envelopes inside of the box, one is from me, and the other is from Grammy. She left it for you in her will."
"Yes, I think its a letter of some sort."
"Hm...well thank you for bringing it, it wasnt necessary, you could have mailed it."
"No, it was necessary. At least I got to see you one last time. I hope you and DAngelo will be happy. You deserve it Alex, you're a wonderful woman. Well, Ill let you get back in to your guests. Take care." Taylor turned and then headed down the stairs slowly at first, and then as her anxiety rose, she then ran down the stairs to her car.
"Taylor!! Dont you dare!!" Alex shouted at the girl, noticing the same behavior Taylor displayed when she was driving like a madwoman in the heart of the city, sometime ago.
Taylor stopped in her tracks once again and looked back at the woman who was now glaring at her. Taylor understood what Alex was saying, so she simply nodded her head and turned back around and walked the rest of the way to her car. She got in but didn't start it, instead she sat in it, crossed her arms and with the stress of how she was feeling she then cried. Alex took in a deep, relieved breath, then turned and walked over to the agent. She picked up the box and spoke to him. "Make sure she does not leave here until she has either composed herself, or one of you drive her back to wherever she is staying. I dont want her to leave here as upset as she is. She has a tendency to drive recklessly, and that could be even more dangerous up here, especially with the winding roads."
"No problem. Well make sure shes all right before she leaves here, otherwise Ill have someone drive her home."
"Thank you." Alex then turned back around to look at the girl who was now leaning on the steering wheel crying. She pinched her lips, and then she turned and walked back inside to attend her party.
Taylor sat in the car for over an hour just crying and trying to calm down enough to drive herself back to the hotel. The agents stood watching her making sure she didnt leave until she was okay. Finally, she composed herself. The moment she put the key in the ignition and turned in on, the head agent went out to the car to the driver's side. "Are you okay?"
She looked up at the man, and with tears still rolling down her face, she simply nodded.
"Okay, I had to ask, you were so upset. You're sure you're okay to drive this road?"
"Yes, thank you." The girl said, then put her car in gear and pulled slowly away from the place. The man, still worried, decided to have one of his agents follow the girl just to make sure. So Taylor drove back to the hotel without knowing that she was being followed.
Meanwhile, Alex had intermittently checked to see if the girl had left yet. The final time she checked, she saw the agent talking to Taylor and then she pulled off. A few moments later she saw one of the agents pull out and follow after Taylor. Alex went back to her party and DAngelo was by her side. Salina would come over to the two and talk to them for a moment about things she had found out, and Alex would watch and listen to Salina with suspicion, and anger. She didn't allow her contempt to show outwardly but it was there. The party continued throughout the night, into the early morning. Alexs time being taken up mostly by the President, the Senators, and other political people. They were, of course trying to garner support for their upcoming elections, but Alex played the game and talked around any guarantees to any of them. She loved the conversation, and the challenge that they offered her. When the event finally ended, and everyone had gone, Alex and D'Angelo went upstairs and talked for a bit before they turned in.
"So...great party Rose."
"Yes, it turned out the way it was supposed to." She said, distracted.
"Made a lot of contacts." DAngelo said, noticing the woman was distracted by the box that was sitting on the dresser.
"Yeah, perfect environment."
"Okay Alex, its obvious to me that you're not going to bring it up, so I will." DAngelo said with frustration at being ignored.
"What are you talking about?"
"That box, and who gave it to you!"
"What about it?" The woman said flatly.
"I know you want to look inside and see what all is in there, so fine!" The man jumped off of the bed, got the box, and set it down on the bed next to Alex.
She looked at him like he had lost his mind, she felt like he was challenging her. So then she lowered her gaze to the box. After a moment, she picked it up and opened it. She took out the two other gifts and the cards that went along with them. Opening the card to the birthday gift first, she read it and then read the hand written part of it.
"Although we are apart, you will always be in my heart. I hope this day will be full of joy for you. The thought of your happiness brings a smile to my face, and fills my heart. Happy Birthday Alexandra."
Alex noticed that the girl obviously couldnt decide on how to sign it, so she ended it by writing "Taylor", after crossing out the "L", and the "your" that she had started signing it with.
Alex put the card down and opened the smaller box that held the gift. She discovered that it was a crystal, tulip shaped, vase. She admired the small token, then DAngelo reached for it to look at it while the woman knitted her brows at the gesture by him. She gave it to him and picked up the other gift that was in the box. Again she read the card and the hand written part of it first, before reaching for the Christmas gift.
"I saw this and I thought of us, as Im always doing. Grammy thinks that I should go back there to talk to you and see if we can work things out, but I told her I didnt think there was any chance of it working out. She asked me why I would be buying you gifts if I didn't have some hope, and I could only tell her, "for the memories". If you never receive any of these, Ill always remember the love I felt for you when I bought them. I hope you have a blessed and Merry Christmas Alexandra....God Bless you in all you do. Taylor Young."
Again Alex picked up the Christmas wrapped box. She opened it and pulled out a figurine of two women. One was taller than the other and both were standing within arms reach of each other, facing one another. The taller figure was holding her hands with the palms facing up with the smaller womans hands resting on top of them. Both figurines were looking into each others eyes. Alex held the figurine up for a while, just looking at it and then thinking about the meaning of it.
"Alex!" DAngelo called, nearly shouting, making it obvious that he had called the woman a couple of times.
"What?!" She shouted back, as she looked over at him.
"I was just saying how its obvious that your friend still has a thing for you?"
"So...shes no different than anyone else, mainly you! That's why you're here isnt it?" Alex stated matter-of-factly.
"Yes, but I want you to marry me, shes only offering you sex."
"DAngelo?! Thats not true at all, and I thought you liked her?"
"I did when she was not competing for your affections. She had you, and lost you. Now its my turn and I dont plan on losing you to her or anyone else." D'Angelo said, as he laid a passion filled kiss on the woman.
After breaking the kiss, the woman smirked and said in a wry tone. "If I didnt know better, Id think you were jealous of a woman?"
"Jealous? I have no reason to be jealous of your little friend, you're with me now."
"Am I now? When exactly did I ever tell you that you and I were together?" Alex asked, as she turned to face the now surprised man sitting on her bed next to her.
"What are you saying Rose?"
"Im not saying anything that I have not said before DAngelo, Im just trying to get answers. Look D'Angelo, I love your company. You're funny, challenging, smart and intelligent. While I am flattered that you want me in your life forever, I don't think I'm ready for that right now. Then again who knows, I may take you up on your offer of marriage. But not now. There are just too many things happening in my life right now."
"One of which is her. I admit it, there are a LOT of unresolved issues between us, and I can not and will not make any decisions until everything is resolved, one way or the other."
"DAngelo, thats my decision, if you dont want to accept it, then you are free to leave." Alex said, with sincerity and compassion.
DAngelo heard the compassion and he had to smile as a result of it.
"What do you mean what?"
"Why the smile DAngelo?"
"Oh, that. Because out of all the years weve known each other and have done business with each other, I for the first time can see a change in you. There's a compassion that you never had or showed before. I was just wondering if I was the one who helped bring that out in you?" The man said, in a hopeful tone..
Alex raised a brow at him, then turned her attention back to the box while at the same time letting a smirk play at her lips. The man sat waiting for her to answer the question, and she knew that's what he was waiting for.
"Well what DAngelo?" She asked, as she lifted out the envelope from Taylor and the one from her grandmother. She put the one from the grandmother down as she opened the other one.
DAngelo was looking at the woman with frustration and in the midst of it he asked her the question again. Instead of getting the answer he expected, he got one directed somewhere else. "Damnit!! I cant believe this!!" The woman hissed, as she jumped up off of the bed and immediately went to changing back into street clothes. She threw on a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt with tennis shoes.
"Rose?! Whats going on? Where are you going?"
"Ill be back after I ring someones little neck." The woman sneered as she snatched up the envelope and her keys and flew out the door. She stopped for a moment at the bottom of the stairs to make a call.
"Ms. Madison, its 4:30 in the morning! Is something wrong?"
"Where is Taylor staying?"
"At the hotel right down the road from your place. Why? Is everything all right, I mean you sound a little tense?"
"Well Im a little tired, what room?" Alex said not wanting Yasmeia to call Taylor, before she got there.
The woman hung up the phone and raced out of the house to her car. She put it in gear and sped out of the estate, down the winding road, to the hotel that was nearby. She parked her car and walked, focused on getting to the girl.
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