Under Her(4)

By: Samantha Towle



“Wilder, I know you’re thinking that we made this decision to bring someone else in because we think you can’t run the company alone. But that’s not the case.”

“I’m not thinking that at all. I know I’m more than capable of running the company alone.” My surly words echo my thoughts.

Okay, so my attempt to guilt trip them didn’t last very long, and that smart comment is definitely not going to help my cause, but I just couldn’t help it.

At my tenacity, I see a small smile touch my dad’s lips, which tells me this was more my mother’s idea than his. That gives me a boost, knowing that he’s not one hundred percent on board with this, so he’ll be easier to sway when the time comes.

“Of course you are, Wilder. But what’s made this company so successful is the male-female dynamic from your father and me.”

“So, from that, should I take it that you’ve hired a woman?”

“Yes. We’ve hired a female co-CEO to help you run the company. I love you, Wilder. You’re my son. You’re incredibly bright and talented. But, when it comes to women, you don’t have a clue. You don’t understand their wants and needs.”

I’m mortally offended by this. I know women’s needs very well, but it’s not like I can vocalize this to my mom. I mean, no guy wants to share his sexual expertise with his mother.

My brow goes up. “That’s a very sexist thing for you to say, Mom.”

My dad smothers a laugh.

My mom throws an annoyed glance at my dad and then looks back at me, her brows furrowed in annoyance. “I meant that you don’t understand their wants and needs when it comes to the actual items. That can only come from being a woman. And having both a male and female viewpoint helps enormously with the business we’re in. My view comes from a woman’s perspective—of actually wearing and understanding the product, the issues of materials and comfort as well as the look. Your father’s perspective is in sales and focused on branding. Together, we’ve been a formidable team. I want that for you.”

“I’m not marrying this chick.”

“Of course not!” My mother’s laugh tinkles around the room.

“Your mother just wants you to have a counterbalance, Wilder,” my dad says.

“Why didn’t you tell me this before now?”

“Because we weren’t sure that we were going to find the right person to fit the role.”

“And, now, you have?”

“Yes.”

“Just out of curiosity, what would you have done if you hadn’t found the right woman for the job?”

My mother’s shoulders lift. “We would have crossed that bridge when we came to it.”

I know my parents love me, but this sure does feel a lot like betrayal, and it tastes bitter as fuck.

“We’re not doing this to hurt you, Wilder. You know we’ve only ever had your best interests at heart.”

“Mmhmm.” I fold my arms over my chest. “And how long will I be co-CEOing for?”

My mom’s brows draw together. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, how long will I have to share my job for?”

My parents glance at each other and then back at me.

“Well, we’re not sure…exactly,” my mom answers.

“So, that means, I will one day have the company to run alone?”

My mother looks at my father again. But he’s looking at me.

“Yes,” he says decisively. “Wilder, you know the company will be yours when your mother and I are gone. And you can do as you choose with it then.”

“Well, I’m hoping you don’t go anytime soon, and I’d quite like to run the business solo well before then.”

“Let’s put a pin in this for now.” My mother claps her hands together, ending the conversation.

Put a pin in it? Jesus fucking Christ. We’re talking about my life here, and my mom wants to stick a pin in it.

But I know that pushing the issue right now will get me nowhere. I need to tackle this again—and soon—but at this moment in time, I need to deal with the crap they’ve just dropped in my lap.

“So, when do I get to meet this mystery woman?” Who’s stealing half of my company.

Okay, she’s not actually stealing it, but she’s definitely stealing half of my job.

“Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” I echo.

“Yes, she’s coming in first thing tomorrow morning to meet with you. And then, afterward, in the weekly meeting, we’ll formally announce her new role along with your step up as co-CEOs.”

Co-CEO. The word makes me want to vomit.

If I didn’t love my parents, I would legit strangle them right now. With my bare hands.

A day. I’ve got a motherfucking day to get my head around this…this curveball that they’ve thrown at me.

“I know you’re worried about this, Wilder, but Morgan is great, and you do actually already know her,” my mom says.

That brings my head up. “I know her?”

Please God don’t let it be someone I slept with. Not that I do much sleeping with the women I have sex with. I’m not one to hang around after the deed is done.

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