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Authors: Mary Smith

DREAM

BOOK: DREAM
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DREAM

By: Mary Smith

DREAM

Copyright 2015 by Mary Smith

 

This publication is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws, and all rights are reserved, including resale rights: you are not allowed to give or sell this book to anyone else.

 

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it, and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

All rights reserved. Except for the use of short passages for review purposes, no part of this book may be reproduced, in part or in whole, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically or mechanically, including photocopying, recording, or any information retrieval system, without prior permission in the form of writing by the authors.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Any actual places, products, or events mentioned are used in a purely fictitious manner.

Model:
William Scott

Photog:
Sasserfraz Pictures

Cover Designed:
Rêverie

Dedication

To everyone who has a hard time trusting

To everyone who thinks they’ll never find true love

To everyone …

Chapter 1

 

“Family and Jackson Enterprise are all that you need in your life.” It’s my dad’s motto.

Three months ago, I graduated from Tally University as the valedictorian. I held a double major in business and economics. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I did it.

When my name was called, Dad stood clapping loudly in the crowd. He’d been the only one there for me. I didn’t have time for a full-time social life. I needed to focus on my career.

I’ve had one goal in my whole life. It’s to be the CEO of Jackson Enterprise. That’s it. There are no other options in my life. My father has raised me to be this way.

My mother died when I was quite young, and I don’t remember her, only the stories he’s told me. My father has always been there for me. Not only has he spoiled me with jewels, clothes, shoes, cars, and everything in between, but he’s also taught me hard work comes first. I knew Dad would be stepping down soon and handing over the reins, but I never pictured this.

It’s fall now, and I shouldn’t be shivering as I stand here in the cemetery, but I am. Dad died in sleep. Finding him in his bed ripped my heart out. He’s my dad. He’s the one who has stood by me through thick and thin. There has been no one else but him.

Once the dark dirt covers the hole that now houses my father’s coffin, I walk back to the Lexus SUV. Leo, my driver and confidante for many years, opens the door for me.

As he drives me home, I stare out the window watching the world pass me by. This isn’t how this was supposed to go. Dad was supposed to help me with this transition.

Although, I know JE like the back of my hand, I still have a lot of questions. Now, I have no one. I’m alone.

Leo opens the door for me and I realize we are back at the house. My brain hasn’t shut off since the moment Dad died. I need to focus and get myself back on track.

JE is what I need to get myself back to me.

 

~~~

 

I spent most of the night in Dad’s office looking through files, contracts, and catching up on the things I’ve missed since I’d been away at school and taking the summer off.

I didn’t want to take the time off, but Dad insisted. He joined me for a lot of my travels, but it was mainly Leo watching over me.

Dad’s company is very simply run. He buys out troubled companies and
flips
them. He goes in and does a major overhaul: new management, new employees, and sometimes a whole new board. If the company did really well, he held on to the shares for profit. There were other times he would sell his shares back, for profit.

Dad was good at reading people, making business plans, and above all, making money. It’s how he could spoil me all these years.

I walk around our gigantic home. I love this place more than anything. The large staircase when you first walk in looks a masterpiece. It has leaves, trees, and flowers all hand carved through the handrail and the posts throughout. The formal living room is all white, from the furniture to the carpet and even the drapes. No one goes in there to get something dirty. It’s the room my dad told me that Mom loved the most.

The dining room has a large twenty-seat table in the middle of it. The walls are red as blood and have a gothic feel to them. It’s almost seems scary until you turn on the fifty thousand dollar chandelier. Then it seems lighter and has a more airy feel to it.

I walk into the kitchen. It’s the largest room on the first floor. Everything is state of the art—from the appliances to the granite counters. In the corner of the room there’s an iron piped table with a glass top. It’s my favorite because Dad and I would sit there in the mornings and discuss our busy days. Even as a child, I had a hectic schedule. I was involved in everything from sports to extra-curricular academic clubs. Anything that would boost me into the Ivy League world is what I did.

Dad’s life was different than mine. He didn’t go to college. He worked hard and had to save every penny he made until he could open up his own company. He finally did it at twenty-five. That was the same year he met and married my mother. Soon after that, I came along.

My phone keeps buzzing with notifications from texts, tweets, and Facebook posts. I haven’t answered any of them. I didn’t want to deal with all my so-called friends. I know they are only around because of my money. I’m not ignorant of that. It’s one reason why I didn’t socialize a ton in college.

“Dream.”

I turn to see Mrs. Stones walking into the kitchen in a black pantsuit and pale green blouse. She has been my dad’s assistant since the day he started his business. Her hair has been snow white gray for as far back as I can remember.

“Dream, I’m sorry.” She pats her cheeks with her linen handkerchief to dry her tears. “Your father was a good man.”

“Thank you.” I choke out. They are the first words I’ve spoken in the past forty-eight hours.

“Now,” she comes over and sits across from me. “Do you want to discuss business now or later?”

Family and Jackson Enterprise are all that you need in your life.
Dad’s motto bounces in my head.

“Now.” I firmly answer her.

“Just like your father.” Mrs. Stones smiles at me and begins to pull files out of her bag.

For a couple hours, we go through the new clients that Dad had planned on signing contracts with this week. She also goes over my schedule for the week.

“You have to meet the lawyer in the morning. He’ll go over the will. I know it like the back of my hand, and you’ll be getting everything.” She pats my hand. I hadn’t been concerned about it. There’s no one else to get, but me. I’m an only child, as were my parents. The only friends my dad had were a few golfing buddies at the club. Mrs. Stones is the closest person I have to family, besides Leo.

I nod.

“After that, you have a meeting with Gable Butler.”

“What?” My mouth drops. “The Gable Butler?”

“Yes.”

“What is this meeting about?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure. Gable is the one who requested the meeting.”

Gable Butler is a billionaire and owns a massive company that handles environmental technology and major security. It’s a strange combination, but it works well for him. I can’t imagine why he needs anything from our company.

“Well, all right. I don’t particularly like walking in there not knowing, but I’ll figure it out.”

Mrs. Stones nods and continues with my schedule. When we’re done, she asks if I need anything else.

“No. Go home and rest. We’ll deal with everything when I get to the office after I’m through with the lawyer.”

She gives me a small smile, gathers the work, and leaves.

I spend the rest of my day and night looking through old photo albums before I finally cry myself to sleep.

 

~~~

 

I sit in the lobby waiting for Mr. Nickerson to get me. He’s been Dad’s lawyer for the past ten years. I’ve been here several times before and have seen him at a lot of parties.

“Dream Jackson.” Mr. Nickerson comes down the hall in his dark gray suit. He’s green tie matches his eyes. He’s hair is what I would call salt-and-pepper. It’s not quite gray but it’s getting there.

“Hello.” I stand and take his hand.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I’m waiting for Ronnie.”

I tilt my head. “Ronnie?”

“Yes,” he points down the hall and begins to walk toward his office.

“Are you referring to Ronnie Ferguson? The CFO of JE?”

“Yes,” he repeats. “He needs to be part of this meeting as well.

We walk into his large office and sit at the round table in the corner. Before I can ask what’s going on, the secretary beeps in announcing Ronnie’s arrival.

“Dream.” Ronnie comes in the room. I stand and he hugs me. He’s worked for Dad for many years, and I’ve known him since I was young.

“Are we ready?” Mr. Nickerson asks.

We both nod and sit down.

Mr. Nickerson shuffles some papers around and hands us both a copy of the will. Seeing my father’s signature brings a tear to my eyes.

“He updated this about a year ago, so I don’t believe there should be any big surprises in it,” he starts. “Ronnie, you will get the 1969 Mustang that’s stored in the garage. Dream, you get everything else.”

I swallow back my emotions. I knew I would be getting it all, but I’d rather have my dad here by my side.

“Well, now we need to get down to the serious business at hand.”

I look up at Mr. Nickerson.

“What do you mean?”

“Jackson Enterprise.”

“What about it?”

He takes a deep breath and looks at Ronnie.

“Dream.” I turn at Ronnie’s uncertain voice. “JE has some downfall these past couple years.”

“I’m aware. Dad told me he had a small setback, but not to worry about anything because it was coming back around.” Dad has always kept me in the loop.

“That’s not entirely true.” Ronnie drags out the sentence.

“Wha…what?”

“The company is going to have to close.” Mr. Nickerson tells me.

My mouth is agape. I can’t believe it.

“That’s impossible.” I slam my hand on the table, feeling my temper rise. I might have my mother’s light brown eyes, but I have my father hot head. “I would have known.”

“Dream, your father kept it from you. He didn’t want to burden you with it.” Ronnie tries to calm me down.

“Like hell. You’re lying. Dad told me everything about JE. He wouldn’t have kept this from me. This company and me is all he had, and he wouldn’t have let it go down the drain.” I’m yelling at them both now.

“Dream, look at these.” Mr. Nickerson slides over a large stack of papers.

I thumb through the expense sheets. There it is in front of me. The bright red, negative numbers are screaming at me; they’re telling the truth.

“What can we do to stop this?” I refuse to let this happen.

“There is nothing. Every bank credit line is exhausted. There are two liens against your home and your trust fund. Your dad borrowed from everyone. JE has to close.” Ronnie’s tone is sad as he makes me further aware of the situation.

“How long?” I push out the question without a crack in my voice.

“Maybe a month,” Ronnie mumbles. “If we’re lucky.”

“How many people know?”

“Us, Mrs. Stones, and the people he’s borrowed from. I would guess maybe twenty.”

I glance at Mrs. Stones.
Why didn’t she say anything?
I hang my head. That means the whole city knows. Everyone talks, especially if it involves JE. My father has hands in everything in the city. There’s no one that doesn’t know his face or name.

“If I’m reading this correctly, it means JE is about twenty million dollars in the hole?” I look over at Ronnie and then Mr. Nickerson.

“Yes,” they both confirm.

My heart drops. My father’s life was JE, and I know he wouldn’t go down without fighting.     

“It seems I have one month to fix it.” I stand ready to head to the office and start on a plan of action.

“Dream, you can’t save JE. There’s no way for you to come up with that money.” Ronnie pushes up from his chair.

“Those words:
I can’t
are words I don’t understand because they’re not part of my vocabulary. Jackson Enterprise is all I have left and I’m not going to lose it.” My jaw is tight as I hiss out the words. I pick up the papers and storm out of the office and down to where Leo is waiting for me.

“To the office,” I order. Without a word, Leo pulls out and heads downtown.

My head is spinning with the possibilities of how I’m going to fix this. Twenty million dollars?

Oh, Dad, what have you done?

Ronnie’s right, there’s no way I can come up with that in a month. Especially, if Dad has already exhausted all the credit lines. There has to be a way. I’m not going to give up until I figure it out.

Leo opens the door for me when we reach the building. I clamber out and head inside. Jackson Enterprise sits on the top floor of the city’s tallest building. My father…er…I employee about fifty people. It doesn’t sound like a lot but they travel all over the world scoping out new business or managing the current companies that are contracted with JE.

Mrs. Stones is sitting at her desk at the end of the hall right in front of the large oak door that is my dad’s office. Well, now my office.

“You left Mr. Nickerson’s office before he was finished with you.” Mrs. Stones scolds me.

I walk past her and open the office door. I halt for a heartbeat, inhaling my father’s scent—his cologne and the hint of stale cigars. I can’t let it stop me right now. I’m a girl on a mission. I sit my purse in the chair and start on Mrs. Stones.

“Did you know the truth about JE?”

She shuts the door. “I did.”

I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am for a second before I regain my focus.

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