I shook his hand, keeping my face blank as he attempted to intimidate me with his strength. I smiled as I slowly clasped his hand tighter, matching and then surpassing his grip. He winced and let go.
I was here to work, not to play games with a wannabe bully. “Mr. Andrews, a pleasure, as always.” The sarcasm was just subtle enough to leave him wondering if I was actually being honest or sarcastic. “Shall we begin?”
“Of course, sir, please follow me. We have a room set up,” he said.
“I’d like to look around first, if you don’t mind,” I said, my tone telling him that he wouldn’t mind.
He looked nervous. “Ah, sir, we have all of our financials ready for you. We have meetings set with the CEO and CFO. A tour now would conflict with our arranged schedule. I’m sure we could tour after the meetings.”
“I will tour now or not at all.” My tone was final. This company was hiding something and I would figure out what it was before I considered a merger or buyout.
My escort was positively sweating now. He looked around for someone to save him but everyone else had already left. “Let me just call to cancel your meetings,” he finally stuttered out while starting to walk away for privacy.
“That won’t be necessary. I’m sure they will figure it out. I would like to tour now. A surprise visit, if you will. Alerting them would not make it much of a surprise now would it?”
He paled. He knew that if he allowed me to tour without notice that he would be in deep shit. However, not allowing me to do so would cause me to suspect they were hiding something. If I suspected they were hiding something, the merger would be called off. I was in the position of strength here and he knew it.
He sighed, resigned. “Very well, Mr. Stevens, please follow me. What would you like to see first?”
“We will start with the lab,” I said, watching him closely. He cringed and paled even further. Ah, so I was correct. The lab was at least one of the places he was trying to keep me from visiting. Excellent. ‘Let the games begin.’
Writing prompts: conflict, work, hand