Chapter 8 - Fake Wife
"As I said before, I don't want a merger. I want to buy their company." He reiterated to the men seating around the conference table.
It was already an hour since they started this board meeting, but they barely accomplished anything. He was getting frustrated with the other board members for pushing for the merger rather than a buy-out.
"I think what they are offering is a fair deal." Marcus insisted as he looked at the contract. "A merger would give us enough profit and fewer problems."
Although Marcus was also for acquiring the shipping company, he could see why the other board members were conservative in taking the plunge with Alexander's plans.
Buying the company was far too expensive and there was a very high chance that they would not be able to recover their investment. The owner was pushing for a hard bargain and the board was skeptical to gamble on such a large stake.
"He already declared his price if we want to buy the company. It is too high and we could not afford to take that risk." Mr. Benson, the head of the Finance Department stated.
"Give me a few more days to find another way to make a better deal. If I could at least decrease it by twenty-five percent, would you say that it would be financially viable to proceed with the buy-out?" He questioned Marcus and all the board present in the room.
"Yes, I believe it will be more acceptable." Another board member, who was earlier extremely opposed to the idea, suddenly agreed. By lowering their exposure, the buy-out would certainly be more profitable.
He was finally seeing hope if he could make a believer out of Mr. Jackson. His opinion was well valued by the board, so all he needed to do was make sure he agreed. Then, the rest of the board would eventually follow suit.
He was the head of the company, but he still had to prove himself since he lacked the experience and the trust of the board, being new with nothing much on his belt. However, he believed that after this acquisition, the board would see him in a new light.
"Just give me a week to settle this problem. If I could not get the price down as promised then I would concede with the merger." He guaranteed it to the rest of the men in the room.
He was here for a kill, not just to scavenge for scraps. A merger would only give him half of the profit he wanted, but a buy-out, if he played his cards right would bring him double or even triple the amount of his investment.
"I believe that you can deliver, Alex." Mr. Charles Jefferson tapped him on the shoulder to show his support.
Charles, also known as Charlie was one of his mentors who had guided him in the world of business. He met him during his time at the university where he conducted a seminar for young entrepreneurs.
From that day on, he had guided him in the world of business, keeping Charlie at his side as his confidant. Charlie, Marcus, and he slowly climbed the ladder to success, but they still had a long way to go before he could reach his goal. To be on the top.
"Thanks, Charlie. I will make sure of that." He nodded his head in acknowledgment before they parted and he went directly into his office with Marcus by his side.
He was ruthless when it came to getting what he wanted. He had been trained all his life to be one as the second in line to the throne. Next to the only son of the king. But life changed him as his path went in another direction.
He wanted real power. To be king of something he had fought hard to achieve. Not because he was born to wear the crown or entitled to a seat on the throne. He wanted nothing to do with a kingdom that did not rule anything.
"What happened yesterday?" Marcus asked as soon as they were back in his office. "Did your father force the crown down on your head?"
Marcus learned about his true identity back in college. They were dorm mates. He was taking a business course while Marcus was in pre-law. As soon as Marcus opened his mouth when they first met in their room, they knew they would become friends.
Not knowing too many real-life princes in the real world, Marcus enjoyed teasing him about his legacy. In truth, he had been a great friend throughout his struggle in his youth, until he found his true calling.
"You know if he could nail it in my head, he would." He said jokingly.
Now, that Marcus mentioned it, he began to contemplate on his father's words. He did not have time to think about it much since he was too tired from the long trips. Then, his mind was busy with the board meeting this morning.
After his father's announcement, he marched out of his office and the palace, directly going back to the helicopter. The next thing he knew he was flying back to New York, away from the place he once called home.
He never even saw his mother who would surely be disappointed, not even getting a glimpse of him. She could always visit him anytime she wanted, but she opted not to. He always wondered why, but he never asked her reason.
"So, what did he wanted from you? Did he demand that you go home and take his throne?" Marcus tried to squeeze the information out of him. He was indeed a good lawyer. Always the inquisitive.
"They are planning a grand celebration on my birthday next month to be held at the palace." He checked his schedule that his secretary placed on his desk. Ignoring the questioning look on Marcus' face.
"I think there is more to it than just your annual birthday." Marcus inquired. "If I remembered right, it was not such a big deal, since you simply ditched attending it last year."
"This time it's different. I'm thinking of attending it." He shook his head, unsure of his decision.
"Now, that's great news. I can finally attend a royal celebration. Maybe you could hook me up with some princesses at the party." Marcus continued to play around, but he knew there was more to the story that his friend was not telling. "Spill it." He finally said seriously, seeing the frown on his friend's face.
"My father wanted me to present during the celebration my future wife." He looked at his friend waiting for his reaction.
Marcus did not fail him as he started laughing loudly. "You!" He shouted between laughter. "Fiancé!" He kept going.
He just dismissed his friend's jester and continued to scan the files in front of him. "When you're done? You know your way out."
"Come on, Alex. Surely, you can see the funny side of this." Marcus continued with still a slight smirk on his face.
"It's not funny at all. As I said before marriage is out of the question. I have no time for it and no intention of being a part of it anytime soon." He closed the folder that he just finished reading and grabbed the next file.
"Well, I don't know what your customs are, but to me, your life, your choice," Marcus said seriously this time.
"Yes, I do intend to keep it that way. I did not build a life here just to bow to my father's every whim or the Empire's stupid law." He stood by his principle and he had no plan to get into the Royal Empires' stupid traditions.
"Maybe this would be a good opportunity for you to keep your father off your back for a while," Marcus stated as he started rubbing his chin.
"What do you mean?" He was now interested in what his friend was saying.
"Think about it. If you could present an acceptable fiancé to your father. Would that make him happy and maybe you could get him to agree that you should live your life following your wishes. It is not like you would be the next line on the throne."
Marcus was making a good point. He started thinking about it. But then again, there was a problem with that.
"But, where would I find a fake bride who would agree to pretend as my fiancé? You knew that everyone who got a whiff of who I am tends to want more." He stated, waiting for his friend's suggestion.
"Yeah. That is the problem. Or you could just marry the bride they arranged for you." Marcus said jokingly as he stood from his chair ready to leave him with his dilemma.
"Just get out of here and work your ass. We have a week to get this deal done. Find me some solutions." His mind was again back to the immediate problem at hand.
"Yes, Your highness." He addressed him formally before leaving for the door. He grabbed his stress ball and throw it at him. He docked successfully before closing the door.
Finally, he was alone. He tried to concentrate back on the papers in front of him, but his mind wandered to what Marcus said. He had a good idea, but finding a girl who would cooperate with his plan would be much difficult.
It was not going to work anyway. His father would never agree to just any commoner to be his wife. He also had no intention to propose to a princess just to please his father.
But, the idea of a fake wife that his father would like sounded much better, but to find her would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
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