Foto bij Remember me | Chapter twenty-nine

It took Victoria two hours to get to Jung Internationals. The moment Krystal had called her, she had immediately gotten up from work in pure excitement. She had wanted to explain her plan on the phone, but Victoria had cut her off the moment she started, already guessing it would take longer than a few minutes.
Krystal hadn’t bothered to reserve the small meeting room; it was better to enlighten her about the plan in her own office. Her father wasn’t allowed to know that Victoria was coming and they had to keep it as discreet as possible. The only person she told was Eloisa and even to her she didn’t mention Victoria’s real status. Even though her PA was incredible and they had gone through a lot together, Eloisa was known for being a blabbermouth and she didn’t want the whole company to know.

Victoria arrived silent in her office, opening the door without knocking and simply barging in. She wore a black dress that hugged her figure well, with heels that made her even taller – Krystal was so jealous of her height – and dark make-up that made Eloisa cringe of nervousness when she walked after her in the office, as if Victoria was the one to let her instead of the other way around. Her back was straight and her face serious. Victoria Song breathed pure business and Krystal was even gladder she was on her side.
Krystal stood up and directed Victoria to the leather sofa, since it was a little more comfortable. Eloisa left the office and came a few minutes later back with two cups of strong, black coffee. Victoria drunk her coffee the same as Krystal.
"I suppose the voting didn't go so well," Victoria started, as she took her cup from the small coffee table. Krystal sighed and ran with her fingers through her hair, only to have it fall back exactly the same way.
"He won with 54 percent of the votes."
Victoria raised her eyebrows.
"I'm surprised you lost. Didn't you assure me you had all of the females behind you?" she said suspiciously, as if she had purposefully sabotaged the result herself. Krystal huffed.
"I do, the only thing is that they're our level one employees. Only level twos and threes were allowed to participate. My speech might have worked contrary, eventually. I might have lost votes when I came out. The males were not that happy and they were the ones who were allowed to vote. Almost as if we’re back in the 18th century again."
Victoria shook her head.
“That’s very unlikely. Even men have hearts – sometimes… The thing is that the level one employees weren’t able to vote. You would’ve won with so many votes if only they had been allowed to,” she thought out loud. “Either way, what do you want from me, if we have concluded that the problem was the disallowance of the other employees.”
“The thing is that we cannot do anything about that. Father has pleaded for that in court and the judge agreed – he said that only employees with a higher position were allowed to vote because they were the ones leading the company, and not some sort of desk lady. Amber proposed that I should ask the judge if he could change her decision, but I’m not that kind of person.”
Victoria put her chin up in the air, creating the typical arrogant look people were used of her, and rose one of her eyebrows. She smiled almost wickedly.
“So, you want my help to get revenge?” she asked curiously. Krystal smiled back.
“Is that a yes?”
“Of course. The only reason I even signed that stupid contract is because of you. If you won’t become the CEO, there’s nothing here for me to stay. What did you have in mind?”

Krystal told her the whole story; about how she was going to ask Jackie, Amy and Eric too to pull back and break the contract with Jung Internationals. It would cost them a few million to break it – although Victoria had already assured her that it wasn’t a problem, probably for the other leaders too – but Krystal was prepared to help and pay it. As soon as the contracts would be off the table, Jung Internationals’ economy would crumble down. Her father would need to make drastic measures and people would get fired. He’d get criticized by the media. At that time, Krystal would make her re-appearance as candidate for the CEO title and launch another campaign. With all the faith of the employees erased, Krystal would bring out another voting and she’d claim those few extra votes she was missing right now, causing her to win the voting and the CEO title.
As soon as her father had retired, Krystal would draught a new contract for Song Software, Liu Economics, Lee Electronics and the Empire Group and restore the bonds Jung Internationals had with their associates. Her employees would even love her more because she brought back Jung Internationals’ incredible economy and she could re-hire the employees that were fired by her father. They didn’t deserve to lose their job over a fight Krystal had with her father and she was planning to send them a letter as soon as they were fired, to let them know that as soon as her plan worked out they would be able to re-claim their place in the company.

Victoria had listened carefully to Krystal’s story, sometimes humming in agreement. She stayed silent for a couple of seconds after she stopped talking, taking her time to think.
“It’s not a bad idea. The only thing I’m worried about is that it will affect the other companies badly. And Jung Internationals might take a blow as well. To cut of the connections with four of the major associates… there is a chance the company will never be the same again. You’ll have a difficult job as a CEO from the moment you start. The economy of the company will go downwards.”
Krystal nodded. She had her hands wrapped around the already lukewarm coffee cup, quickly taking two big sips.
“Do you think there’s a possibility it’ll work out?” she asked, after she swallowed. “I want your honest opinion.”
Victoria stayed silent for a moment, just observing the empty mug in her hands. Eventually, she put it down and pointed her gaze at Krystal. It didn’t happen often that those black eyes contained a sense compassion.
“You have to ask yourself if it’s worth the risk. The company’s future will change drastically, people will be fired… But a war has never been won by playing by the rules. And there is a chance, if it happens fast, the company’s economy won’t take very long to recover from the pull back of the other companies. If I were you, I’d take the risk. But then again, I’m a very adventurous woman,” Krystal tried to keep in her laughter – she couldn’t exactly picture Victoria climbing a mountain, “-and I took a risk myself too when I became CEO. If you can help this company out of its economic crisis, the employees will love you even more.”
Krystal let a sigh escape her mouth – a sigh of relief. If Victoria – the criminal master mind of the business world – agreed to her plan, then there at least was a chance that is was going to work out.
“But there’s a possibility your father will kick you out as soon as he notices it’s you, you know that right?” the older woman added. Krystal looked up and nodded.
“He can try.”

It took her a week to inform the other CEO’s. Jackie didn’t even let her finish; she agreed half way her story, the moment Krystal told her about what she wanted from Liu Economics. She told her that the Liu’s would always side with her and support her, even if there was a chance of failing. Amy Lee from Lee Electronics was a little more sceptic, like Victoria. But she was eventually convinced when Krystal told her Song Software and Liu Economics were already in on the game.
Nevertheless, Eric refused. He told her kindly that he would not want to risk getting on her father’s bad side and that the Empire Group wasn’t running that well on itself, so they needed Jung Internationals’ support. If they were going to break the contract, it would influence his company badly.
Krystal couldn’t blame him. It was nothing more than logical that he thought of his own company first before helping others, especially since the thing Krystal asked of him was rather big.
The Empire Group would stay out of this, which made it a women versus men case, the only three female CEO’s in the business plus Krystal together would oppose against her father. It was going to be one hell of a fight.

Krystal would draught a contract for all three of the women, so that she at least had some insurance that they really were going to break the contract. It wasn’t like she didn’t trust them – especially Jackie and Victoria had earned her trust long ago – but Amy was still doubtful and she would get suspicious if only she was needed to sign the contract, so she made the other two sign as well.
Now that Krystal had their autographs, it was all settled. She didn’t want to carry out her plan immediately. First, she needed to make sure that her father would more or less trust her again. He didn’t entirely need to trust her – and she sure as hell wasn’t going to act nice again – but she wanted him to not accuse her right away as soon as the plan was set in motion.

Krystal decided to wait two months. It was a long time and she was aching to pay back her father for the fact that he had kept Jung Internationals from her, but Victoria and Jackie agreed that it was the best choice to make. It didn’t matter that her father knew it was her but she didn’t want him to stop her before she could even carry out half of the plan. For it to be effective, she needed to have enough space to carry every single piece of it out, otherwise it wouldn’t work. He needed to sort of trust her again and view her as that loyal employee she used to be.

The waiting was terrible. Krystal spend her time at the office being the perfect vice president, always handing in her work on time, running the company efficiently and flawlessly whilst her father was resting at home and basically performing like she always does. Evans tried to make her come back on the deal they had made together once or twice, but Krystal had very innocently said that the deal would have only lasted if she had become the new CEO – and she hadn’t. With her new plan she probably needed to give him the position anyway, but if it all worked out she guessed she could live with Evans becoming her VP.
The safest was to keep Evans at a distance, though. He was still a dangerous man and even though he had agreed to helping Krystal, she knew he had only done it because Krystal had offered him something her father couldn’t. He was still loyal to her father – as far as you could call Evans loyal – and she didn’t want to risk blurting out something of her plan to him, so he could tell her off to her father right away.

For a while, it seemed like nothing had happened at all. In the first two weeks, some of the employees couldn’t help themselves and stared at her when she walked by. But Krystal didn’t pay them attention and didn’t speak of her defeat, so even that grew boring. The media was enlightened as well, but Krystal nor her father wanted to give an interview, which led to a dead end as well.
Back at home, things settled as well. Krystal wasn’t that busy anymore – at least, not busier than usual – so she had some more time to spend with Amber. Her girlfriend at the prospect to revenge were the only things that made her keep going. Especially Amber made everything bearable and there wasn’t one moment she regretted being with her. It has been 6 months since they started dating, since Krystal’s inauguration. It had been one hell of a ride but it was all worth it.

Eventually, people simply forgot. They forgot that Krystal had ever tried to run for the company’s President and they forgot that she wasn’t the kind of person to accept defeat easily. And that was the exact moment Krystal waited for.

One month, three weeks and four days later, Victoria received Krystal’s call – her starting signal. It only took Victoria a few hours to come up with a reasonable e-mail that she sent to her father. The next day, the whole company was in uproar. She had never seen so many people literally running around, papers flying everywhere and even de the desk ladies were busy telephoning all sorts of people. And that was only the entrance hall.

As soon as Krystal got upstairs, she was dragged into a meeting with the board and her father. They were all busily discussing the matter at hands when she came in. With a fake surprised expression, she looked at the big screen, which displayed Victoria’s e-mail.
“What on earth made her pull back on us?” Evans exclaimed loudly. His baritone voice sounded over all the other voices, even her father’s, who softly tried to shush them.
“That bitch has no right to cancel on us! We’re one of the leading companies, we could destroy Song Software if we wanted to!” Jasper Watson, one of the other board members screamed. Mitchell immediately started to shush him – since her father had stopped – but Evans as well as Watson were incredibly hyped up by the idea that this was all unfair. Her father was leaning back in his chair, with his hand supporting his head. He was watching the other five men fight about how to handle this, whilst staying silent himself. He was observing them, she noticed.
Krystal took her place on her father’s right hand and laid down her stuff. She as well let the other five – well, actually, the other four since Mitchell wasn’t participating in the heated discussion that grew louder with every passing second – cool down.
As soon as they were calmed down, Krystal stood up.
“Does anyone of you actually know the actual reason she left?” she asked them. Toby Young and Cooper Jackson, the final two board members, already opened their mouths to tell her how stupid she was: it was right there on the screen. But Krystal made them be silent with a single hand signal.
“Besides, of course, that she didn’t want to work with my father? That’s a lame excuse, don’t you think?” she said. That made the men finally shut up well. They didn’t know exactly what to say.
Evans watched her suspiciously.
“Do you know more than we do, Krystal?” he asked her. Krystal snorted disdainfully.
“She didn’t even bother to send me a mail. Do you think I know more than you bunch do? No, it’s just that if Victoria Song pulls out on us, there might be something going on, don’t you think?”
This caused the rest to start chit chatting again, softly mumbling with each other. Her father stood up from his chair as well and sighed. His shoulders and jaw were tensed, his brows furrowed. He looked at each of them with utter seriousness. Krystal saw the dark circles underneath his eyes. Even though her father worked again, he still wasn’t as fit as he used to be.
Eventually, he turned his gaze to her.
“I want you on the case, Krystal. Find out why she pulled back. Go by Song Software as soon as possible and get me that information. I want to cover it up as fast as possible before something even worse happens. You’re all dismissed.”
With a grave face, her father walked with large passes out of the meeting room. The board quickly packed their stuff and hurried after her father the way only a kiss-ass can. Only Mitchell stayed behind. He gave her a knowing gaze and a soft smile. Krystal forced herself to smile back, as innocently as possible. He lingered for a moment, as if he wanted to say something, but then shook his head and walked out, following his other board members.
Krystal let out a relieved sigh. A bubble of excitement started to grow in her chest when she thought of how well this might work out. If she was the one who would need to retrieve information from Victoria, she could control the situation the way she wanted. It was ideal.

With a triumphant smile, she walked out of the meeting room.

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