Margo DeLoupe stomped across the faux marble tile toward Higgman's office. The short power hungry little bastard wasn’t going to take credit for her hard work. The DeLoupe deal even had her name on it. It was a thing of beauty and he made it seem like she wasn't even a part of it.
Her father THE Taylor DeLoupe the primary financier of the DeLoupe project gave her horrific terms that through brilliant negotiation and resource juggling that bordered on genius, she worked the arrogant ass down to a reasonable deal that mutually benefitted both companies. The combined income was twice the total income than the original lopsided arrangment. She was the one who made it happen not that arrogant dwarf.
The sound of the door hitting the shatter proof glass was like thunder. “What the hell Higgman” She yelled.
“DeLoup, dear, I apologize for my appearance but normally people set an appointment or at least knock.”
Margo looked toward the regally dressed voice to see a 3 foot 10 inch man, dripping wet, and not clothed at all.
“What are you doing?”
“Showering, what does it look like? Now if you wouldn't mind turning while I become a tad more presentable.”
She turned and watched him in the reflection of the office window. “Why, can I ask, are you showering from your office bar?”
“If you haven’t noticed, I am smaller than most and it seems like it would be full of disadvantages but being able to convert an office bar into a makeshift shower is not one of them."
She tried to not look too obvious watching him dry off and dress in pants, commando style and a t-shirt.
“I’m a tad more decent now if you care to stop ogling my reflection in the window.” He folded a towel and hung it in a coat closet then used a step stool to get into his chair and then directed her to the seat across from him. “What may I do for you?”
Disarmed by the sight of her team lead showering —oddly not the unpleasant experience she would have thought it would have been— she had to look at the folder she was unconsciously creasing in her hand. _Oh, right._ She set it down and tried to smooth it out as best she could. “The DeLoupe.” She opened the folder containing the plan overview and presentation notes and turned to the credits page. “My name doesn’t appear on it at all.”
“Yes?” he genuinely looked confused.
“It was my deal.”
“It was your deal.” The “And?” was left implied.
“Why wasn’t I even mentioned. This deal means Two Hundred Million for the company.”
“Two hundred seventy six, minimum.” He folded his hands took a breath and with calm force said, “I, Ms. DeLoupe, hope you are not implying that I am taking credit for work I did not do.”
Well, yes she was, and maybe, looking at the makeshift shower out of the corner of her eye she was sure she could find some power over him. She had to be coy. “Of course not, I am merely wondering why there is no mention of my name here.” Now was not the time to be thinking of the shower. She could play this game. There was something there, something she could use, but how?
He nodded and re-laced his fingers. “I see.” He pushed himself back, the chair rolling and turning, he jumped from the chair and as he walked to the shower. He said, “If I’m not mistaken, you wanted to be mentioned in a report that proved not only that you were duly allied with both sides to your benefit and could also prove, should things go south to actually leave you in a still better financial place?"
She hadn’t thought of that. Her father the Tycoon had only heard her proposal because she manipulated thanksgiving dinner, and her mother. She had used personal relationship for her gain as a BroKlo Co. employee. She had hoped her association could bring in a new source of revenue that now that she looked at it was beneficial to her regardless. As a BroKlo employee she would gain status and most likely some sort of finical gain. As a family member and heiress of the DeLoupe Fortune she would of course gain their too. She played honestly and created a balance contract for the two companies. A contract when looked at from a specific angle made her the prime beneficiary.
“How does this deal failing benefit me more if it fails?”
“Perhaps I over estimated you.” He said. He was fiddling with the stand for the base of the shower then pushed it under the counter so it looked like a drawer. Took the shower head off a hook and replaced it so it looked like the sprayer/faucet she had on her kitchen sink.
He continued, “The deal itself will make both your father's company and BKC rich but if it fails both will fall into ruin. I can tell by the look in your eyes that you didn’t even realize that’s what was at stake. Yes they would fall into ruin but the trustees of DeLoupe will gain control of the remainder of the fortune and DeLoupe Corp’s sister companies. Something that directly puts money in your pocket. You managed to secure the DeLoupe holdings in such a way that there is no loss for you or your siblings. Weren't you aware of the split of the Hansen holdings from DeLoupe?“
Hansen was a ghost company no one should have known about. Jebadia Hansen was the majority holder of several of DeLoupe Inc.'s less lucrative companies and several other not so well known assets. Jebadia was a corporation to itself held by the more estranged children. How did this little tyrant learn of this? Even she found out only when her father saw they future as she presented it.
“I didn’t have anything to do with that.”
“No? Who’s going to believe you?”
“Are _you_ planning something?”
“Accusations? Ms. DeLoupe don’t confuse me for a cretin. It is my job to look at all the angles. Do you know how many hours a week I put in here at BKC?” He paused and poured himself a beverage and proffered her a glass. She shook her head no. “112 to 130. You are here what, 60 or less?”
“I work 20 from home” it sounded desperate even to here.
“I’m sure you do." He closed his eyes and seemed to come to a conclusion. "May I call you Margo?" he didn't wait for a responce, "Margo, I’m, what they refer to as a ‘Little Person’, a demeaning phrase, little person. My size and shape put me at a huge dis-advantage for the more social aspects of life. For years I could see how people pitied me or were nice to me out of self loathing than any real care for me. Friends liked me when I was more Oompa-Loompa than human. And yes I went out on a few dates but the shame of being seen with me. Margo, can you imagine what it must be like to hold hands with someone the height of a child?"
“I’m…” She stopped when he put his hand up.
“No, I’m not asking for pity. I want you to understand that I wanted what normal people wanted but then I found BroKlo Co. BKC accepted me in a way the world wouldn’t. I learned to give it all I had. I gained respect out of Merritt not looks or height."
I don’t have a home Ms. DeLoupe , did you know that?”
She shook her head, where was this going?
“I said there were some advantages to my…” he spread his arms and ice clinked in the glass, “condition.”
She took a breath. What did he want? What should she say?
“No Ms. DeLoupe. Have a little respect, the evil genius is monologuing, this is his, my moment.” He looked at her and waited until she relaxed. “Now, where was I? Yes, benefits; I am just the right size to fit under my desk. Isn’t that a hoot? I became so involved and accepted by this thing, this evil corporation that I didn’t want to leave. There was too much to stop and too much to do. Having a home I went to once a week was stupid. I rent, “he used air quotes, “ a room for $278.23 from a nice lady who lives too far for a daily commute, but it’s an address and the amount happens to be the exact amount of my mother’s medication.”
“Monologuing, Ms. DeLoupe.” he snapped. “This company is a home, a wife. A reason for me to exist. Pathetic, maybe but when I saw a woman, an honest woman, one who was fair beyond anyone I’d ever seen come through this company. Someone who when I checked found no deceit, only a pregnancy scare at 22, and who was willing to deal so drastically and viciously to make a mutually fair deal for both my home and her’s; even risking banishment from her family. A person who is willing to put so much on the line to be fair. I had to see what was really there. I found a dirty trick.”
Margo took another breath but thought better of it.
He looked at her and continued when she didn’t speak, “This was a One Percenter’s trick. Something that only the rich could dream up, and manage. I did a full check and realized this honest woman didn’t even know. So I did the thing that if she were as honest as she presented herself wouldn’t matter. I removed her name from the deal.”
She sat there looking at him. His squat, slightly baby shaped body standing there looking strong, sure. Higgman was known for his dirty deals and evil back handed methods. Maybe he was different.
“Now, Ms DeLoupe if there is nothing else?”
“How do you know it’s not a trick.”
“A good question.” He moved to his file cabinet pulled the step ladder and dug out a folder.
Folder in hand he returned to her, “First, you Margo DeLoupe, have tensions with your father’s morals but don’t hate him. Second you are a giver, you volunteer and help manage a soupe kitchen completely without notice. Third.” he handed her the folder.
She took it and looked at the title, Lander DeLoupe surveillance. “I like playing a fair game, I bought this from one Mercer Ledwigg, hired to give info to Besdra Intl. He’d been unable to remove the taps so kept them going. I found them when I was researching you. My only copy and It’s yours. And something more powerful than telling on me that I turned my liquor cabinet into a shower.”
He escorted her to the door, two files in her hand. One bent and wrinkled the other ominous and hard to hold.
He’d actually done her a favor.