Mr. Dark 4By: Lauren Landish
There are downsides to being the second most public face of a new and intentionally attention-grabbing company. While Marcus Smiley was the president and public head, in public I was his trusty assistant Sophie Warbird. With long, electric purple hair and a penchant for tight-waisted outfits that emphasized my cleavage and my hips, I showed up in the news almost as often as Marcus did. I had even been named one of the sexiest new trendsetters in the city in a recent Sunday supplement article. It was quite a change from being plain old Sophie Snow, medical student and part time bartender. In fact, Mark and I had such a laugh over it we clipped it out of the paper and put it up on the refrigerator on magnets, like some school kids first A test or something.
But with all of the fun of becoming a sex symbol, there were things I didn't like. Besides the fact that I had to go to every public work appearance dressed like a walking anime fantasy, I had to sit through meetings. While Marcus and I kept things pretty loose due to the other activities in our life, we still had to go through the whole rigmarole every time we wanted to sink money into a new investment.
"So as you can see," the guy at the front of the room said as he turned his attention away from my breasts to the LCD display behind him, which dominated the west wall of the room. I'd have preferred a good projector myself, but the LCD was a product of one of our other investments, a tech company that was trying to make revolutionary ultra thin LCD's. I had to say the display was pretty good, to the point Marcus and I had sometimes watched videos on it, and it could run off of a nine volt battery if we wanted. I shook my head and tried to pay attention to the guy at the front of the room.
"We've increased sales by an average margin of twenty percent over the past five years," he said, pointing towards a bar chart on the screen. "But more importantly, we're poised for even more growth. The past two years I've intentionally held back on further growth options because I was worried about overreaching my company's ability to deliver quality service to our customers. This year though I'm at a plateau. If I don't get venture capital in order to expand into new facilities, I'm going to be stuck where I am."
"What's so wrong with that?" Marcus asked from his chair next to me. "You know that if I give you the money you're asking for, you're giving up at least twenty five percent ownership in the company you founded. Isn't one hundred percent of a smaller pie better than seventy five percent of a bigger pie?"
"Depends on the size of the bigger pie. I predict we can double in size. Mr. Smiley, I came to you because you've gained a reputation in the city of being able to help companies like mine when we cannot go through traditional channels. I've tried those ways, but each bank I've approached has turned me down. If you say no, I'm going to have to look outside the city for expansion capital."
"So you're this certain about your company?" I asked him. "Because while we provide money, the sweat equity and hard work comes from your end. Mr. Smiley makes his money by giving other people an opportunity, not handouts."
"Miss Warbird, I've already put everything into this company. My home is carrying two mortgages and I'm driving a fifteen year old Ford for a reason. I know that we can make ourselves into a great success. I'm just looking for that last little bit to prime the pump."
Marcus nodded. "Okay. Let me and my assistant look the figures and details over, and I'll have you an answer within twenty four hours. Thank you for stopping by."
The man clicked the power button on the remote he was holding, and the LCD went blank. "No, thank you Mr. Smiley. I look forward to hearing from you."
After he left, Marcus Smiley was able to set his mask aside, and I was able to look at the face of the man I loved, Mark Snow. "So what do you think?"
I stood up and stretched, aware that my position was making my already enhanced bust line stick out even more. Since it was just Mark though, I didn't mind showing off a little bit. "I think he spent far too much time looking at my breasts for someone who was dedicated to growing his company."
Mark smiled and gestured with his hand. "Babe, with what you were wearing today, I had trouble not just jumping out of my chair and ending the meeting early myself. You looked incredibly sexy today."
I could feel the blush creeping up my neck and waved off his compliment. "You tell me I look sexy, that's one thing," I said as I unbuttoned the form fitting suit jacket. "Hell, you tell me to dress like every guy's fantasy of an office vixen, and it turns me on, you know that. But when Mr. Potato Head is checking out my boobs too, no thanks. These belong to the Snowman only."