Elizabeth - Page 54

“So I won’t be seeing a return immediately.”

“Not according to the outlines I gave you toward the beginning of the document. Right now, the world is tilting on its axis. I’ve helped the military and our allies’ militaries where I can, but now it’s time to help the people in all of those countries. The highest-climbing rate of crime is cybercrime, yet massive companies are the only ones who have access to decent cybersecurity protocols and programs. I’m now in the debugging stage of a software I believe will be a perfect first pitch to the masses on how to secure their own technology. Everything from small businesses and their personal effects to the average housewife and her sexy electronic books.”

“See, I like that. I like a mind that thinks about the people as well. A lot of people make assumptions about me. They feel that because my family is old and comes from old money, that we don’t care about anyone but ourselves. That isn’t true, however. Every few generations, there’s a fool that comes along and loses the fortune. Then, the burden is laid on that generation as well as the next generation to rebuild it and salvage the family name. I’m not a fool, but I’m also not heartless.”

“I never took you to be the type,” I said.

“I want to take my family in a slightly different direction. I have no kids to pass my wealth down to, but I do have a couple of younger cousins that are beginning to take a serious interest in the family business. I want to set a moral standard for them as well as a monetary one. The return on my investment isn’t as important as my stake in what you’re doing. The larger my stake, the more of a message it sends to whomever I bestow the family fortune upon at the time of my death.”

“Completely understandable,” I said.

“Right now, the deal is two million dollars for fifteen percent. Would you be willing to do four million for thirty?”

I tried to contain my excitement as I drew in a deep breath.

“Do you have a notary around after hours like this that could oversee the change in your office?” I asked.

He grinned as he reached over and pressed down onto a button. The door of his office opened, and I looked behind me as an older woman, with white hair piled high on her head and glasses sliding down her nose, came walking in.. The two of us worked with her to solidify the tweak in the contract, which handed over more money for me to use for marketing purposes and developmental research in exchange for him having a larger chunk of this new venture of mine.

I sat back down in my seat after signing my signature to officiate the change.

“You won’t regret this, Cristoff. My life is business, and I will do everything in my power to make our arrangement a profitable one for you in the future.”

“Before I sign this contract, I want you to know something, Phillip.”

“I’m all ears,” I said.

Anything to sign this fucking thing and get on with it.

“Elizabeth and I went on a horseback ride yesterday. She wandered into the stables and was mucking out stalls when I found her,” he said.

“She what?” I asked.

What the hell was this man about to tell me?

“I had an interesting conversation with her, and I want you to know that I wasn’t fully convinced about doing business with you until I talked with her yesterday.”

I watched him pick up his pen and sign the contract, signifying our financial union  . But I was no longer paying attention to it, to the action or the place. I was fully hooked on what Cristoff was telling me about his interaction with Elizabeth the other day.

“I made a lot of sacrifices in my life to get to where I am, and not all of them were worth it, Phillip. While I want a man to work hard, working isn’t the only thing there is in life. My marriage suffered because of my unwillingness to learn that rule, and I can tell that Elizabeth of yours is a spitfire. She loves you dearly, but she won’t take your shit if you let her down.”

His eyes connected with mine as the notary witnessed the document.

“You better take time for that beautiful fiancée of yours, because a woman like that can’t be expected to sit around bored all day while her husband is off building an empire. If you don’t pay attention to her and treat her correctly, I’ll be sure to find a man who will,” he said.

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