Foto bij 017. - Lucien

The phone call has been dragging on for well over two hours. Every now and then I'm starting to tune out, because it's mostly the same thing being repeated over and over: they think a merger will benefit both our companies, while we are pretty sure it will only benefit them and disadvantage us. However, if we refuse the merger they will pull all contracts and immediately seize working with us. Blackmail, in the technical sense of the word. When they pulled that little stunt the decision was immediately made, but we need a safety net for when we pull the plug on our collaboration.
"We just need a little more time to work out the details." I say, for what may be the fifthhundreth time in this single conversation. "As we discussed, your terms don't match our current views and we are trying to figure out a way to make them more so. It's a delicate process."
"Mr. Castellon," he protests, using the English version of my last name; a habit my father installed in everyone after getting fed up with everyone butchering it. "We have given you nothing but time for the past three weeks." the man on the other end of the line says. He thinks there's only two of us, but I'm well aware of my father listening in, even if he thinks I don't know. I flick to my planner.
"I'm aware and I thank you for it. But we agreed upon a deadline and that deadline is not until tomorrow. Now, I've heard your concerns and I promise we'll have news for you tomorrow."
"How can you make a decision tomorrow when you have no news for me today?!"
I roll my eyes. I know for a fact that he wouldn't act like this if he had my father, the big Jacques du Castellon, on the line, but since I'm the 'child', it's okay to talk down on me. "Mr. Pye, I have nothing else to offer. And may I remind you that if this merger goes through, I will be the one to oversee it."
A silence, then: "We'll speak tomorrow, then."
"A pleasant afternoon, Mr. Pye." I press the call away and let out a deep sigh. With the push of another button, Selene pops in.
"Yes, sir?"
"Remind me to call Jamesson this afternoon, I need to know where we stand on replacing that god awful Giles Pye."
"Absolutely. Oh, before I forget - Human Resources asked if you wanted to go meet the new employee that starts today."
A glance at my watch tells me it's time for a break anyway. "Of course! Where might I find them?"
"They're supposed to come up to this floor any time now, sir."
"Thank you, Selene. No other appointments for the day, right?"
"No, sir. Liliana asked if she could come by this afternoon, but I suspect the call with Jamesson might take a while. Do you want me to decline?"
"I'll let her know myself." I wave her off with a smile. In the past few weeks, Selene has been a massive help. I know that many employees here are not too jazzed about me being here, because they don't think I qualify or that father is just doing me a favour. Which he is, of course, but he wouldn't have given me this job if he didn't think me qualified. He's never been the favour type of guy. He's done me one big favour, and it haunts me to this day. This is not a favour, this is because he thinks I'll be of value to the company. And I plan on proving him right. A knock and Selene pops her head around the corner again. "Sasha is here with the new employee, sir."
I thank her again, quickly text Liliana that this afternoon is not a good time but that I'll clear the evening for her and then leave my office to meet this new employee.
I spot Sasha down the hall, talking in an animated way to a girl with long dark hair. She's dressed impeccably, so that's a good start. Something's familiar, though...
"Oh, Mr. Castellon!" Sasha calls cheerfully when she catches sight of me, waving me over as if I wasn't already headed their way. "I would like to introduce you to our newest employee: Emmeline Middleton. Emmeline, this is Mr. Lucien Castellon, our deputy CEO."
The girl turns to me. My stomach drops to my feet.
Oh, hell.
With only a split second to decide how I'm going to play this, I hold out my hand to her and plaster a smile on my face. Upsides from being both familiar with law and a social media pressence: your fake smile gets awfully convincing. Downside: so is Emma's. "Emmeline!" I say as she shakes my hand. "A pleasure to meet you! How are you liking the office so far?"
"A little overwhelming," she admits. "But it's wonderful! It helps to have a fantastic guide like Sasha here. I'm very excited to get to work!"
"No doubt you'll be a shining star. We pride ourselves in hiring only the most promising new lawyers, so I can't wait what you have to offer! What department will you be working?"
"Family law." she says smoothly. Nothing about her shows it, but no doubt that she is less than happy with my pressence, like I am with hers. "Though I don't like to limit myself. Any case that I think I'll be able to tackle, I'll be happy to take."
"I'm sure that Mr. Castellon will soon assign you a case that will show all your talent, Emmeline!" Sasha chimes in. Something flickers on Emma's face, though I can't say what; it quickly morphs to questioning.
"You assign cases?"
"Not all. As I'm sure Sasha has explained - or maybe I'm getting ahead of her -, you'll be able to be hired for individual cases. You'll still do it as a representative of Rutherfeld and Havemeyer and if needed you'll be assigned a partner, but in essence the case will be yours. However, the firm regularly gets approached, for lack of a better word, asking for the best lawyer to fit their certain case. Those cases will be assigned by the deputy CEO. In this particular firm, that would be me." I give her a charming smile. She seems unfazed by all of this, which I like. I make a silent promise to myself that no matter how much I dislike this girl, I won't purposedly stand in the way of her career. "But I have no doubt you'll soon build a splendid resume that puts you on the map in permanent ink."

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