EPILOGUE - HEADLINE

I sat in my car, oblivious to the morning traffic. I didn't worry myself with such trivial things, that was my driver's job.

The car pulled up in front of the office and I huffed my way out of the back seat. I needed to start working out, I chided myself. Maybe if I cut back on the scotch I would lose a few pounds. If I could just pay someone to work out for me, that would be the perfect scenario.

I made my grand entrance onto the 42nd floor. It was 6 am, and my four secretaries were standing at attention waiting for me, just like they were paid to do.

"Good morning Mr. Hathaway," they all chimed in.

Secretary #1 handed me my schedule for the day, Secretary #2 handed me my messages. Secretary #3 followed me into my office and set my coffee on my desk with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal lying beside it, and Secretary #4 sat down in her usual chair, poised and ready to take notes for the first of many memos that would be going out today.

Secretary #3 was still standing in front of my desk.

"What do you want," I growled.

"The Board is assembled and waiting in the main conference room for you, Mr. Hathaway."

I waved my hand dismissively. "Make them wait," I grumbled.

I always made a grand entrance. But not before I made them wait at least twenty minutes for me. It made me look even more important.

Secretary #3 turned and left the office as I perused my messages. I smiled in satisfaction at one message. Hans Grunderman had called to say that he was about to put the final nail in the coffin of a company that I couldn't wait to own. I was going to break it into a hundred different pieces with each going to the highest bidder. His meeting was scheduled for 8 am and he would be in to report the goings on around 9:00.

"Good man," I murmured.

Now there was a man after my own heart. He was ruthless, and heartless, and didn't let anything personal get in the way of the kill. Not like Bella Swan. I felt my blood pressure spike just thinking of her. No, Hans Grunderman never let anything get in his way. He would take down his own mother if she had anything he valued. Just like it should be.

Secretary #2 buzzed in to say that I was due for a lunch meeting with Lawrence Dawson of the law firm, Dawson, Grines & Nelson at 12:30. I sneered. Yeah, I 'd let him take me to lunch. I'd make it the most expensive restaurant in town. Why not? I was already taking him for all he was worth. Let him whimper and cry about why his client needed to keep his company, it wouldn't do him any good. It never did.

I was the great Sterling Hathaway.

I always won.

I never lost.

I stood up and turned to face the city. The large expanse of Lower Manhattan hustled and bustled below me. I looked down on my subjects and muttered arrogantly, "I own this town."

I breathed in deeply and looked out past the buildings and out over the horizon, to the Atlantic Ocean. Now, I was making deep strides internationally as well. A few more years and I would own the world.

I closed my eyes and breathed in deeper.

I looked back at my desk and saw a message from Viktor Nogorov, the new manager of the Moscow Branch. He was going to be in the city next week and he wanted to meet with me. I had just fired the man that had taken Michael Simmons' place. He had been there for the last two years, and he had done a fine job, but he wasn't gong in for the kill as hard as I'd hoped. It was so hard to find good help these days.

Michael Simmons. It had been two years since he had left, and the thought of him still made my blood boil. Michael Simmons was a wimp. He got in one little car accident and apparently fell apart. Couldn't handle it. I still couldn't believe that he had quit his job. No one quits a job like this! It's the best place in the world to work! I knew I was the best boss. He was just like Bella. I molded and shaped them, using all my knowledge to help them, and how do they thank me?

Ungrateful, that's what they were.

I sipped my coffee as I sat back down. Secretary #4 was still poised and waiting. Let her wait. She would sit here all day if I made her.

I picked up the New York Times and perused the front cover. Just the same old thing, I thought. Nothing new. What I really wanted to see was the financial section. That was where the real news was. "If it's worth reading, it's in the financials" that's what I always said.

At first, I thought I read it wrong.

Secretary #4 ran to my side. "Mr. Hathaway, are you all right?"

There was a strange wheezing sound. I realized it was coming from me. She yelled for help and secretaries and assistants came running in. I clutched the paper in both hands as I shook them off of me. I let out a large growl and stormed past them.

This couldn't happen.

I would stop them. Somehow I would stop them.

That lying Simmons. Just as I suspected.

He had been planning to join Swan all along.

My cell phone began ringing in my pocket. I knew what it was about.

I scanned the article as I walked, and read their new office was a few blocks away, by Upper New York Bay. It was reported that they were excited to be back.

This was mutinous.

TRAITORS!

I was almost to the boardroom. I pushed through the door and stood there, breathing heavily.

I silently began going through the list of my clients that I knew would jump ship and join them the second they got the news.

We're ruined! I wanted to yell. We're finished.

No matter how true it might be, I could never say it. I would never say it.

I would never let the board see my fear.

I stood in front of the Board as I shakily raised the newspaper up to eye level.

"We're in for a war, gentlemen." That's all I could say.

For the headline read,

"SWAN AND SIMMONS PARTNERS, AND BACK IN BUSINESS."

Thank you from the bottom of my Edward lovin' heart. You are the best twlight friends ever. Special thanks to Aspiring Empath, and TexasTripletMom, Marijee, Charley, and JenLouise0201, persephonesfolly, and tnuccio for pushing me and making me better. I hope to hear from everyone again, sometime. You all rock amazingly!