The clock read half past four when Alice arrived back home. When she opened the door to her apartment, the lights sprung on to welcome her. It was the only thing that welcomed her.
Sunday was the one day in the week she disliked since there was nothing to be done. Sometimes she took a book to entertain herself, but there were only few she really liked and even the Catcher in the Rye could not excite her after a visit to the Richmond Mansion. And by now, she knew the book by heart. Holden Caulfield could not cheer her up. He hadn't done that in weeks, in fact.
Watching television wasn't an option either. The TV was only turned on for the eight o'clock news every morning and besides that she was not interested in the hordes of soaps and TV-shows that were being constantly showed and repeated on every single channel. Cooking wasn't her thing either, nor gardening or drawing nor anything else. She worked out on Friday and Wednesday evenings and that was enough to keep her body fit.
Alice wished that Sundays always passed as quickly as possible.

Hours passed and Alice worked until her phone recommended her going to bed. At a quarter to twelve, she closed her laptop and put it away. A sigh escaped her lips slowly.
Normally she would just have started preparing herself for the next morning or do some things she hadn't been able to complete last Friday, but now that Rilex Internationals' 40th anniversary was coming up, Alice wasn't able to enjoy the easy rate of which she usually went through her work. As chief executive officer, she was in charge of planning the party that was going to be thrown in the welcoming hall of Rilex Internationals' Headquarters. It was going to be the biggest party Rilex had ever known since her father had died and with that resigned from his position. He had passed away when Alice was five years old and during that period, Rilex had turned 30 but the vice-president hadn't organized a party then. Now that Alice was in charge, she wanted to make her first anniversary of Rilex Internationals big. She wanted to honour her father with that. She wanted to honour her family and all of her employees that worked day-in day-out so hard to make Rilex successful. But most of all, she wanted to show off her wealth and her power. She wanted other CEOs to know that she was more successful than them and she wanted them to cower in front of her when she spoke.
On top of that, it was a great way to strengthen the bonds Rilex has with other companies. She'd invite all the other CEOs to make sure one and each of them were still loyal to her company. Perhaps, there were even going to be opportunities to form new alliances. Rilex wasn't alone in the business world and even though a lot of other rivals had already begun to collaborate with Rilex, there were still a few left that were too stubborn to see that Rilex offered them big chances. Alice could promise them wealth if they did what she said. Wealth came with a decrease from personal freedom, but were they really going to risk bankruptcy for something shallow as pride? Woolf Industries, their top component was. But Woolf Industries had a domain which was at least as big as Rilex's. They had not given in to Alice yet, but she knew they would.
Yes, one day they would. And Rilex would grow out to the biggest international the world had ever seen.

Woolf Industries were perhaps their largest and challenger. Not only because they had snatched away a couple of smaller companies that could still be of use to Rilex, but also because there was an ever-lasting competitorship between the two companies. As far as Alice knew, her father and Dexter Woolf had been college friends - best friends, to be exact. They used to do everything together. There were even pictures of them together in Richmond Mansion, ones that Alice had always found rather peculiar.
Her father had never told her the real story, since she had been still too young to understand before he died. Later on, she had tried her mother when she was still sane, but she had waved away her questions with an arrogant flick of her hand, hissing towards her daughter that the Woolfs could not be trusted and that she needn't to know anything more than that Rilex had been Woolf's rival for over two decades.
A few years before she finished college, Mr White had told her what had happened between the Richmonds and the Woolfs. It was less spectacular than she had thought it would be, since the two friends had gone their own ways without a single fight or a single foul word.
You see, Dexter Woolf had specialized in ICT & Economics whereas Chester Richmond had always dreamed of his own bio-technical company. It therefor happened that Chester had co-founded Rilex Internationals with another man named Felix Lexon. The two of the later split because Lexon wasn't able to keep up with the growth of Rilex anymore. Chester then bought his share and build a subsystem for the company to grow on until it was as big as it is today. Nowadays, they did not only specialize in bio-technology anymore, but had more projects running than NASA.
Dexter Woolf had started his own company about the same time Chester had and had had more difficulty starting up than his old friend. Nevertheless, he made it through and out-rose Rilex around the time her father had passed away. In the time that Alice had needed to grow up and get her university degree, Rilex had fallen far behind on Woolf Industries, who was besides Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Philips, Sony, LG and so on one of the main leading companies. They earned piles of money and with every minute, Woolf Industrials put more distance between them and other companies, including Rilex Internationals.
Now that Alice was in charge, she had decreased the gap but there was still a long way to go until she was big enough to buy Woolf Industrials. But unlike the vice-president and her father before him, she had started to make alliances with other leading companies. A collaboration with Sony to create an AR system that was actually worth something, a partnership with Apple to bring out a new Macbook with special software that allowed the computer to log into, among other things, into MRI- and CT-systems and finally an association with Oxford University to help scientist create more devices that could medically be used in hospitals and research centres.
Rilex had shot up on the ladder almost immediately, all thanks to Alice. And for a while everything was good. Alice had even been on the edge of contacting Dexter Woolf to try and get him into a discussion whether the two companies and families should re-form their former bonds, when Dexter Woolf had stepped down.
Dexter Woolf had traded places with his daughter. His second-born daughter, Olympia Woolf. Olympia was just a year younger than Alice was and the moment she had held a press conference to announce that she would take over her father's place and act as the CEO of Woolf Industries from now on, Alice had started to dislike the girl.
With a small face, perfect features, full, pink lips and light, intelligent blue eyes, the girl seemed to be a flawless little copy of her father. Her cheekbones were high and her frame petite. Her fragile appearance was a complete illusion though, as she fired half of the Board less than a week later. All of her father's old rods were kindly asked to resign so that they still could keep some of their dignity and were replaced by Olympia's own little dogs, who would follow her around on every occasion.
Alice knew little of what was happening behind the walls of Woolf Industries. Now that Olympia was in charge, press conferences rarely happened. Whereas her father always made known to his clients and to the general public what Woolf Industries was working on, Olympia preferred to keep it a secret. It was therefore very hard to estimate what she was working on. Was it virtual reality? Augmented reality? Robotics? Or perhaps had she become interested in aviation and space travel? Alice didn't know what she was working on and couldn't adjust her schedules to that either. She was still aiming to surpass Woolf Industries soon but if Olympia suddenly brought out a completely working robot who was able to help in the household whilst Alice was working on augmented reality glasses, she would make incredible profits and Alice would fall behind immediately. There was no way of knowing what Olympia wanted to bring out, which meant that the only way to decrease the gap between Rilex and Woolf Industrials was to bring out a dashing product first.

The rivalry between Richmond and Woolf endured because of the sudden change in CEOs. As their fathers had gotten along just fine and the two companies had been able to co-exist perfectly, their daughters had sparked up a fire that had soon grown out into a flaming forest fire that was about to indulge both of them. As far as Alice knew, her only goal was to surpass Woolf Industries and stay ahead as long as she could but if she could take down Woolf Industrials on her way doing so, then she would not mind the least.
Alice had hired 50 more engineers in the past year. By now, she had at least six new projects running alongside the rather 'standard' products she wanted to bring out, like computers with facial recognition or improved versions of the software for the electronica that was already out there. They, too, were still working on and funding research to more medical devices, although it was put on low-maintenance right now.
Alice had changed her father's company into her own battleground and sometimes she couldn't help to feel a little bit ashamed because of that. Her father had wanted to help people through working closely with scientists and develop new systems that would be of use in many hospitals. But the moment she thought about quitting her projects and going back to the things they were, she realized that Olympia Woolf would win. Alice would rather die than letting that happen.

Rilex Internationals' 40th anniversary party was going to include many of Woolf Industries partners, or those who had not chosen for either companies yet. She was even considering inviting the Woolfs too. Dexter Woolf and his wife were still an important part of the Richmonds' history. Not even for her dad, but for Alice too. Her family history was etched in her personality and her soul.
On top of that, she liked to have a talk with miss Olympia Woolf herself. She wanted to see what kind of person she was; wanted to see if she could overpower her; wanted to test if there were any weaknesses and if she could take advantage of them. The idea of bringing down Olympia Woolf excited her more than anything else and was the only thing that could bring a bright smile on her face nowadays. Olympia's sour face at the sight of the enormous amount of important guests who would be attending Rilex's 40th anniversary party made her heart beat faster.

It was one of the few things that made her heart beat faster. It was the only thing she lived for, or so it seemed.

Alice closed her laptop that night with a smile. She fell asleep contently for the first time in weeks that night.

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