There are many kinds of people in the world. There are those who genuinely want to help other but are too lazy and selfish to make a move. Then there are those who are kind-hearted enough to go out into dangerous mission fields and risk their own lives to help kids with AIDS and in war-torn countries. The list is endless. However, the worst kinds of people that exist in the world are those who feed off others' misfortunes and who grow bloated and prideful on other people's belongings. They are the ones who can snatch a lollipop from a baby, turn a lukewarm coffee into a state issue and think anything can be solved with money. However, as we shall soon see, the universe works in wonderful and mysterious ways to topple these kinds of people and their acts of hubris.
And this, my dear readers, is where the story begins.
She tossed her hair back and smirked at the groveling man at her feet. The malevolent glint in her eyes was a foreshadowing of approaching danger.
"Mr. Whiteman, you know that it's impossible to extend the deadline any further than today. I already did my utmost best to make you as comfortable as you could possibly be in this excruciatingly tight situation and this is how you repay me?"
He sobbed and wiped the snot from his nose with the back of his tailored sleeve.
"Please, please, Miss Ronan, just give me one more month," he sniffled and looked up at her with pleading eyes. She looked down in disgust. If he had more pride and had been less of a spineless worm, she might have accommodated him, but as it was, he was the kind of weak person she hated the most.
Her expensive shoes clicked in a slow circle around him, torturously beautiful legs in their graceful stride.
Long, slender fingers held out a contract to him.
"You know what to do."
He cried, "No! Please! My family's business! My entire life is held within it! Just one more month. Please!"
Desperation. Panic. Catastrophic consequences.
She saw it all and inwardly smiled in satisfaction. The smell of terror and her ability to produce large amounts of it from other people was intoxicating. Nothing could touch her. She was too powerful. Her family name alone caused people to tremble with fear and grow clammy with dread.
"I am truly sorry for your loss but, Mr. Whiteman, even one such as I cannot bend the law at my own bidding. Please sign."
Her voice was remorseful but if one was to look more closely, they would spot glimpses of anticipation and pleasure hidden her eyes.
The aging man, still sobbing, gradually signed the contract. She grew irritated by the revolting noises he was making and the way he seemed to think that she would change her mind if he wrote more slowly.
"Mr. Whiteman, please. Do not cry any more. Your company will be in good hands. I promise you that much."
Ah, but one thing I forgot to mention to you, my dear readers, is that these kinds of people also like to think that lies are as plentiful as candy and hand them out to everyone. In truth, she was already thinking about dissolving his precious business and selling the remains for a profit, therefore, getting more than what she was owed by Mr. Whiteman. Never, ever trust the silver-tongued devils.
Her voice dripped with honey and his head came up.
"Yes, yes, I do believe that I can trust you, Miss Ronan. I do apologize for behaving in such an inappropriate manner. I know that you have also put your best efforts in trying to find a solution."
With her face as smooth as marble, although inside she was grimacing, she took his extended hand.
They went over the final details and the deal ended with more signatures from a markedly less hysterical Mr. Whiteman and false promises on our dear Miss Ronan's part.
Once he had removed himself from her office, she hurriedly opened her drawer and withdrew a packet of antibacterial wipes. She then proceeded to vigorously rub the wipe on her hands and even going so far as to wipe her forearms, although they had had no contact with Mr. Whiteman.
"Horrible, despicable man," she muttered snidely as she followed her routine and felt much relief from removing his germs off her porcelain pale skin. Then she sprayed her perfume throughout her office and breathed more easily.
She pressed the intercom button and said, "Lisa, my office."
A short, nervous girl with adoring eyes scuttled into the room with a large pile of paperwork in her arms.
"Y-Yes, Miss Ronan?" she stuttered.
People always wondered why she had hired Lisa when she was known for her ruthlessness and impatience concerning weak and incompetent people. The greater mystery was why she always treated Lisa differently from the rest of the staff; somehow she was treated more tenderly and less harshly.
Maya Ronan smiled at Lisa with a twinkle in her usually condescending eyes and waved her over. Although their age difference was only 5 years, her assistant had the tendency to treat Maya the way one would treat their grandmother, that is, with reverence.
Lisa let a tremulous smile appear on her round face. It appeared as though her boss was in a particularly good mood. She took small steps over to the large mahogany desk and waited quietly, hands clasped lightly in front of her.
Maya still felt heady from the previous encounter with Mr. Whiteman and said, "Let's go out for lunch, assistant."
She never bothered to call Lisa by her name.
Lisa felt so blessed and happy by the rare offer that she eagerly responded with, "Of course, Miss Ronan. Which restaurant shall I book?"
Maya felt slight amusement from watching her assistant light up with the chance to eat with her. She was well aware that eating with her was a privilege.
She thought about the business she had stolen away and laughed. Sunlight danced in her unusual golden eyes as she took immense enjoyment in the obliteration of the source of a family's income.
Here, our second protagonist enters. He belongs in the category of people who would give up everything, including their lives, to protect their loved ones. He is one of those passionate people who give their absolute best in everything that they do. But he is also irrational, stubborn and impulsive. Mix the kind of person Maya is with our new character and what do you get? Disaster.
Devlin slammed his hand down onto the desk.
"Dad! How could you do this? I told you that I would find a way out of this!"
He furiously ran a hand through his tousled brown hair.
Mr. Whiteman sat across from his son quite calmly.
"Miss Ronan isn't as bad as you think. She has promised to keep the company name as Whiteman Corporations. We didn't have any time left, Devlin. There was no other choice."
"She was probably bluffing. Big fish like her eat up companies that are struggling! What-"
"Mr. Whiteman, you have a call," stated the intercom.
The middle-aged man sighed and shooed his son from the room with a gesture of his hand but he didn't budge. His explanation wasn't good enough. His father gave up trying to get rid of him and answered the phone instead.
After a couple of minutes of stunned silence, he hung up the phone. The color in Mr. Whiteman's face drained away and he wore a shocked look upon his face.
"I don't believe this," he mumbled.
Devlin knew that something was wrong.
"Dad, who was it?"
"The company is being dissolved as we speak."
His father spoke with deadened eyes and suddenly he looked far older than his 55 years.
"What have I done?"
Fury shot up Devlin's spine and his vision clouded over with a red mist.
"That leech," he hissed and strode angrily out the door, intent on making her pay. She might be powerful but she had just messed with the wrong family.
"Devlin! Don't do anything rash!" his father called out in worry. He knew that sometimes his son was far more hotheaded than was useful.
"Miss Ronan, there's a Mr. Devlin Whiteman to see you."
Maya looked up from the documents she was working on in surprise. Everybody knew that she didn't see anyone without an appointment. Who was this arrogant fool who thought he could just demand to see her?
A polished nail pressed on the intercom button.
"Please tell him I don't see anyone without a scheduled time and then make an appointment for him."
She shook her head in disbelief and continued to study the papers in front of her.
Suddenly she heard an increasingly loud voices right outside her door.
"Please! Miss Ronan doesn't see anyone without an appointment! You must abide by the rules!" That was Lisa's voice.
An angry, deep voice retorted, "I demand that she see me right this instant and tell me why she broke her promise to my father!"
'Ah, the angry son of the weakling father', she thought and decided to deal with it sooner rather than later. Opening the door, she found herself confronted with a beautiful specimen of a man. He looked to be in his mid twenties.
For a second, he just stared at her, obviously not expecting her to be so young and beautiful. He had never seen a pair of translucent golden eyes. The rings of gold called to him enticingly. She smirked, knowing exactly what was going through his mind.
"Are you Ronan?" he barked after snapping out of his trance.
She crossed her arms and coolly said, "That's Miss Ronan. And who might you be?"
He strode to her angrily and leaned in close.
"I'm Devlin Whiteman, son of Henry Whiteman, and I demand that you return my father's company."
He was even more delicious up close but obviously rather stupid.
She laughed, catching him off-guard.
"I'm sorry but the matter has already left my hands. If you want to complain about anything then it would be better if you met with my employer," she explained, "Next time, please try to act a little more like your father rather than an angry barbarian. I always require an appointment."
She turned her head to Lisa and motioned to Devlin.
"Please make sure this doesn't happen again."
Lisa flushed and stuttered, "Y-yes, M-miss Ronan." Her stuttering was always worse when Maya showed disapproval.
Maya smiled coldly.
"If you'll excuse me, Mr. Whiteman, I have other business to attend to."
With that, she closed her door and relaxed into her comfortable leather chair.
Devlin felt stung and dismissed. What a cold and calculating creature! It didn't matter that she was beautiful. What right did she have to treat him like the dirt on the bottom of her shoes? He wasn't sure if dirt would even have the courage to stay stuck to her feet. His ire rose as the shy assistant attempted to usher him out. What increased his own frustration was that he couldn't find the words to respond to her.
He barged into the office.
Maya glanced up at him. The first time could be counted as stupidity but the second time was obviously an attempt to discard her authority. She couldn't let this go unpunished.
So she played her ace. Or so she thought.
"I'm sure your father wouldn't like hearing about incident. I was going to raise the sum that your family was getting as reimbursement because I liked him, however, I suddenly don't feel inclined to show my good favor towards your family."
Such is the mindset of such twisted creatures. But for people like Devlin, it wasn't the money that was important but rather the fact that his pride, dignity and family were being played. The three things that made his life worth living.
He leaned over her desk and forcibly lifted her up out of her seat.
His eyes glittered with a wild, primitive light.
"Money isn't the problem. It's you," he spat out, "I'm going to make you regret this."
"Is that a threat, Mr. Whiteman?" Maya asked in a voice that was too calm to truly be calm. Her amber eyes shone at the challenge.
"No, it's a promise."
And with that, he let go of her and walked out of the room without a single glance back.
The lack of fear and terror in him intrigued her but at the same time she knew she couldn't allow it. Not in her world, where fear was the sharpest weapon of them all.
She stood at the window, looking down into the streets and watched Devlin leave the building with an unreadable expression.
"Let the games begin," she whispered softly.