The Alien and the CEO

alien-and-ceo

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The Alien and the CEO

VIVIAN SORIA NEVER THOUGHT OF SUICIDE. Drinking to the bottom of a bottle, yes, but walking into the comforting waters of the Pacific Ocean? No.

Thirty steps to the elevator, another thirty to the street, two blocks to Waikiki Beach, and maybe one thousand feet into the water until I can’t tread anymore.

She shut down the morbid calculation but couldn’t stop noticing the coincidence of the total—one thousand, three hundred and sixty steps.

A hollow, bitter sound rose from the back of her throat. The number equaled the days since the launch of her online matchmaking service, www.hunting4truelove.net, no longer in her control.

Vivi spun her chair away from the view of tempting blue waters. She contemplated her office for the last time and noted little of value, monetary or sentimental, worth tossing into a cardboard box. The three-and-a-half year venture had produced nothing.

Nothing except her share of the $5M IPO when the board of directors took the company public a year earlier. Nothing except the proceeds when they’d sold Hunting4TrueLove, Inc. to a foreign investor, ousting her in the process.

Cash is cold comfort. What was she to do?

Vivi glanced at her sexy Christian Louboutin pumps. They’d cost more than her first apartment’s rent. Such a shame to wear them into the Pacific.

A quick rap on the door pulled her from thoughts of designer shoes and useless, designed suicide.

Alan-Terry Baxter, her ex-assistant, burst into the room. Alan-Terry burst into everything in life. Vivi wondered if he’d bounce his way to the unemployment line as none of her employees had made the cut to the new regime.

“Boss, I’ve found the source of the up-tick in subscribers.” He laid a printout onto the desk and stepped back with pride.

The use of the word “up-tick” irritated Vivi. Or was it two words?

“Here.” Alan-Terry pointed to a line on the printout.

“It doesn’t matter,” Vivi said. “Show it to the new owners.”

Three months before, the number of subscribers had increased by two-hundred-thousand in one week, an astonishing figure and one reason the board had sold. Alan-Terry had fished for the cause since day one.

“The new owners are behind it.”

“What?” Vivi pulled the report closer and scanned the summary on the back page.

The majority of new subscribers could be traced to Slakerian, Inc., the infinite bastards who had stolen her company.

“Why would they inflate the number and not make it look like the company was in trouble, lowering the purchase price? How did this get past the board? The SEC?” Vivi’s mind raced with possibilities, none of them legal or ethical.

Alan-Terry reached around her and flipped a page. “I don’t know, but the up-tick was orchestrated. What’s more, all two hundred thousand new subscribers cancelled as of yesterday.”

Vivi stared at the latest subscription numbers, down by the exact amount. She stood and crumpled the report. “Who’s the CEO at Slakerian?”

“Jakes Echabarne,” Alan-Terry said, not glancing at any notes.

“Arrange a meeting.” No one messed around with Hunting4TrueLove, whether she held the reins or not.

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