Mr. Dark 4

By: Lauren Landish

I've never had that feeling myself, although I've come damn close a few times. Despite my adventurous nature, I'm not an easy lay, so for me to be seeing it on Sophie's face on almost a daily basis was a little frustrating at first. Hell, Mark gets shot in the leg, she does emergency surgery on the man, and two weeks later she's back to looking like she's on permanent happy pills.

So I was sitting in my office going over the latest batch of potential investments for Mark and Sophie when my phone rang. I picked it up, tucking it against my shoulder and head. "Taylor & Hardwick's, Tabitha Williams."

"Tabby? Hi, it's Donna down in the intern pool. Got a minute?"

Donna was one of the girls who had started with me. Smarter than I was, she was a graduate of Penn State, and had been pegged as one of the fast risers in the intern pool almost as soon as we both started. Donna's main problem was the way that she presented herself. She lacked self-confidence, and it showed when she conducted business. It caused her to have a hard time getting traction in a business world where, quite frankly, appearance and personality got you clients in the beginning. Donna's advice was great, in fact she could outperform analysts with two and three times the years she had, but she was still slaving away in the intern pool until she got enough people who could get past her first impression and see the brain inside. I liked her, so I tried to help her when I could. "Yeah, what's up Donna?"

"I've got a company investment request that came across my desk, honestly it looks like one of those types of things that you tend to handle. Smallish company, local, looking for investment capital, and willing to give up a percentage of the business for it. I've done just the initial research, but I think it could be a Smiley investment. You mind if I come up and give you the info?"

"Heck no, I'm be all for it," I said. I knew that if Donna brought me the file, she and I would split the revenue for the investment. It could be enough that Donna could find herself the second member of our intern class to get their way into a real office, even if it was shared with another junior associate. "I'm in my office right now. You know where it is?"

"You kidding? Your office is like Valhalla for the interns right now. We all want to get in there."

I laughed. "Well, don't be too overwhelmed, it's not the greatest office in the building. I don't even have a window, and the air conditioner in here sucks."

"But you do have your own space. I'll be up in three minutes." The line went dead, and I waited for Donna to show up. She was true to her word, and knocked on my door, breathing just a bit heavily, three minutes later. She really needed to get more exercise, she spent too many hours working. "Hey Tabby, here you are."

I looked the file folder over. "Hmm, family owned HVAC installation and repair, looking at expanding their service from four trucks to seven, maybe open up a second location across the river to catch that traffic. How're the financials?"

"Solid. Good ROI, maybe twenty five percent cash on cash yearly. They're only looking for twenty five grand, I figure the Smileys can see that back within the first year even with the firm's percentage. Taxes might bite them in the ass a bit, but they're going to clear easy profit on it. I say let the accountants worry about the taxes, they're going to make money."

I nodded. "It's good. So why aren't you taking this to your current clients?"

Donna shook her head. "I don't have any angel investor clients. All I have currently are your standard stock market type crowd, mostly in mutual funds. Besides, my managerial portfolio is based around stocks and bonds anyway. I'm currently fourth in the region in terms of highest performing fund managers, did you know that?"

"No, I didn't. Word of that gets out and you're going to be leapfrogging me on the firm's ladder very quickly," I said in true appreciation. Donna was that sort of woman, you couldn't get mad at her, she was just so sweet and kind. Also, she was just so unabashedly smart, you ended up feeling like a good high school player being jealous of Kobe Bryant or something, it just felt stupid. "So who are the top three?"

"Rob Viscount at East Street, Xavier Washington at Hammersmith, and an online guy, goes by the name of The Frost King. He's a freakin' legend amongst the market day traders, guy seriously has some sort of sixth sense when it comes to picking the right stocks to invest or short. He's down a bit from the past two years, and slipped to third, but he's still beating the market by twenty five percent. God I'd love to meet him."

I smiled to myself and shrugged. "Who knows, maybe you'll get a chance some day. In any case, I'll take this to Marcus Smiley, and you get to keep your share of the credit for your portfolio. What is it now?"

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