Sneak peek at the Vega family photoshoot for their limited biography. You can read Det. Bella Vega’s full biography https://reignagameofpower.com/character-biography/
Sneak peek at the Vega family photoshoot for their limited biography. You can read Det. Bella Vega’s full biography https://reignagameofpower.com/character-biography/
Rico Thomas’ POV
I was in New York for a meeting with Harrison to discuss the Jupiter Works acquisition. Edward Enterprises L.P. is a diversified holdings conglomerate located in the 9 West building in Manhattan. One of Harrison’s subsidiaries is Edward Capital L.P., an activist hedge fund with just over seventeen billion in assets under management. Aside from being a businessman and billionaire philanthropist, Harrison is an old family friend and my mentor. He’s currently married but separated from his wife.
I had the highest respect and admiration Harrison, even more so than my father. He taught me everything I know about my business, how to obtain power; ultimately he’s shown me how to survive.
Harrison had gained a reputation a pit bull corporate raider in the nineties; the preferred modern term is “activist investor or shareholder.” He told me once when I was at Harvard that he preferred the name “corporate raider” because it invoked a feeling of fear and that “activist investor” made him sound like he was outside on 57th street holding up signs in protests. Edward Capital is one of the top hedge funds in the country, particularly in the software technology market. It’s well known for being at the center of many hostile takeovers, acquisitions, and mergers. Several of the takeovers Harrison’s executed over the years have resulted in corporations breaking up, selling off, or shutting down altogether. Harrison was nothing pleasant when it came to a boardroom coup d’etat.
I don’t go to Harrison for every merger or acquisition my firm consults on. There is a multitude of ways we strategize for our clients if they’re looking to merge with another company or completely acquire it. Not all takeovers were hostile, and frankly, I preferred when they’re not. Since Jupiter decided to shut down talks with Grazier, they came to us to execute the best plan that would eventually get them controlling shares of Jupiter.
I wanted to see Harrison face to face to talk about our strategy, and it was better to meet in his New York offices, rather than San Myshuno for various reasons.
Cassandra, the first assistant, greeted me in the executive reception area on the 44th floor. “Good afternoon, Mr. Thomas. Mr. Edward is expecting you, right this way, please.” I closely followed behind Cassandra, admiring the way her sleek black dress fit snuggly over her swinging hips. I could tell she wore Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue because it was the same perfume I’ve purchased for Shoshannah many times.
She showed me into Harrison’s massive corner office with views overlooking the park and expansive surrounding buildings that seemed to go on forever. The hardwood floors were freshly shined and buffed; you could smell the finish the janitors used from the night before.
The sunlight coming from the high windows bounced off the wood-paneled walls. Other than the notifications of the stocks rising and falling on the monitors, the only sound you could hear were the pop and crackle of wood burning in the fireplace.
“Long time, no see,” Harrison smiled, standing up from his desk and extended his hand. His eyes were a piercing ice blue, but there’s warmth behind them. “Cassandra, could you please bring us two coffees?”
“Of course, Mr. Edward.” I slightly turned to watch Cassandra walk out of the room. “Nice view,” I remarked. Harrison raised his eyebrow. “How’s Shoshannah doing these days?” he asked, smirking. I laughed. “The same as ever.”
“Still the heartbreaker, eh?”
“No, not at all. Shoshannah keeps throwing hints at getting married, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.” Harrison gave me a wistful look, undoubtedly looking back on his youth and mistakes he wishes he could’ve remedied, especially now with the problems that led to his moving out his family home and away from his wife.
“How are you? It’s good to see you.” I was genuinely happy to see Harrison. It doesn’t matter how old I get or how good of a player I become of the game; I always learn something new after meeting with him.
“Here, sit. I’m good. How was the flight? It’s been a long while since you’ve been home hasn’t it?” asked Harrison as he headed over to two leather sofas; probably worth the equivalent of a mortgage payment on my first high-end apartment. I nodded. “The flight was fine. And yes, I haven’t been home in nearly a year.”
“You’ve been home to New York in recent months, just not your parent’s home, is what you mean,” observed Harrison. I sighed, not wanting to get into the reasons I’ve avoided going to my parent’s house. Harrison already knew, for the most part, I just didn’t want to discuss the more recent problems I’ve encountered with my father.
“My mom isn’t in the city anyhow. I would see her, but she’s in Tokyo.”
“And Connor?” asked Harrison, wryly. I shook my head. “I haven’t talked to him; he doesn’t know I’m here,” I replied.
Harrison sat back and studied me for a moment. “Connor is certainly aware you’re here, don’t be mistaken. Akira’s in Tokyo, hmm. How are Richard and Ryan doing?” he asked, referring to my brother and sister. “I suppose they’re fine.” I hadn’t expected to see any of my family although I grew up in Manhattan and had many ties to the city. My brother Richard lived in DC and Ryan lived on the Upper West Side. None of us were exactly close. I had a feeling Harrison wasn’t done grilling me about my family just yet.
“You know I ran into your old man at the Met not too long ago. It was for the opening of Kennedey Leeds’ new collection. I spoke with the artist briefly and remembered she was somehow related to your mother’s cousins, the Powers brothers,” recalled Harrison.
“Yes, she’s the sister-in-law to my mother’s cousin, Jaylen Powers. Did you and my father speak?” I asked, even though I knew the answer. Harrison laughed. “No, not even a little bit. You know your daddy doesn’t care for me.”
“The feeling is mutual for you both,” I shrugged. It was good to see Harrison again, but I wanted to move our meeting along to discuss the reason I was here. Talking about my family, especially my father to anyone is not something I revel in.
Harrison sensed my agitation and changed our discussion to the business at hand. “As I told you before, the synergies from combining Grazier and Jupiter would be very profitable down the line. They’re better together than they are apart. Jupiter is undervalued, plus after my research, they have some issues with their latest application Cypher. Once I start buying shares, it will drive the price up. I’ll stay between twenty-nine and fifty-one to start. Just enough so Jupiter will see I mean to set about making changes. They need to reduce cost and fix the issues with their software. I’ll need a clearer picture of their debt as well. When I have a certain percentage, I’ll send a proxy to the shareholders until I can get a specific amount of control. Most of their board if not all will be replaced. Once I sell my shares to Grazier when it’s most profitable, they’ll most likely remove everyone from Jupiter. Then I’ll get a seat on their newly formed board.”
The work of a real mastermind. I loved how Harrison’s mind worked. “It’s a smart plan. Once I hear news of some unexpected early morning raid, I’ll know the play’s in motion,” I said.
Harrison wryly laughed. “There could be a spot for you too,” he said, pointedly. Now that a board position for me was on the table, the stakes were even higher.
“It’s something I would have to review. If I were to take a position, it could risk a conflict of interest for current and future clients of TGS,” I replied. “I wouldn’t concern myself with that, Rico. If a conflict came up later, you have the option to recuse yourself from those dealings and delegate those responsibilities to your associates.” Harrison made a good point, but I’d have to think about what the implication could mean if I became a Grazier Technology board member in the distant future.
Grazier “technically” walked away from Jupiter after their last talks. If they voted to go after them, undoubtedly, Jupiter would employ whatever defense accessible to them to defend itself from a takeover, something Grazier didn’t want. They wouldn’t be expecting Harrison to come along and get the majority of their shares. I was sure once they saw Edward Capital had a significant amount of control, they wouldn’t have much choice but to adhere to any demands Harrison made.
It may seem Machiavellian to some, but the fact is that once everyone saw Harrison buying shares, it would create value for their shareholders. There’s a term in the business people like to refer to whenever they see that Harrison is interested in a company. It’s called the Edward Drive due to his ability to drive up the price and adding value to the shares of the companies he invests in. Jupiter won’t know right away of Harrison’s intention to sell off to Grazier once he fixed their internal issues and made the company more profitable.
It was just another Monday for Edward Capital. The firm bought and sold companies on a regular basis. Harrison had the insight to see where different companies are undervalued, in trouble, or doing well but could be better; he will get enough shares to advocate on behalf of shareholders to their board to bring about changes he wanted to see at those companies. Many dislike Harrison, but funny enough some of the people who hate him have great respect for him.
Harrison narrowed his eyes. “We need a closer look at Cypher, and any vulnerabilities it has that surely will cost Jupiter’s stock to go down were it made public. I don’t need to know how you’ll obtain this information, but I won’t go into a battle without being fully armed.” I nodded in agreement. Whatever Tanner found through his “research” it wouldn’t be enough since Cypher hasn’t gone to market. He could only look at the current data.
Once I got back to San Myshuno, I would follow up with my associate, Bash Banks. I sent him a text not too long ago telling him that I wanted to meet up. Jupiter not only undervalued their product, but they undervalued their employees in many ways. It’s not so much that I think Jupiter isn’t aware of Bash’s education and talent, they’re aware of his negative feelings. More likely than not in most corporate climates having an attitude with a sense of entitlement will get you nowhere fast.
Bash is young, but not too young where he should believe merely having degrees from specific schools is a guarantee of anything. He’ll only have one shot with me; I won’t tolerate ineptitude.
I left New York only hours after meeting with Harrison. I texted Bash telling him to meet me at Georgio’s the following afternoon. He didn’t need to know the specifics of Harrison’s involvement nor his plans for Jupiter once he held a controlling interest.
Not only did I want Bash to give me the information on Cypher technology and other data systems, but I also wanted to gauge what his thinking was like. Sometimes bitter people act out irrationally and make less than smart decisions. If the sting of being passed up for this latest promotion heavily weighed on him, I couldn’t count on Bash to watch his step and not make a big mistake that could put everything at risk.
I stepped into the lounge at Georgio’s where I found Bash sitting across the room near a window. I specifically chose this location because it was out of the way and there was a better chance we wouldn’t run into a lot of people. The atmosphere was quiet; not many patrons had made it from downtown, which was just about twenty-five minutes from here. Georgio’s was more or less on the upscale side, but not in an unattainable way.
Bash spotted me and gave a short wave. He was here before me, which is good. I didn’t see he had a drink already. “How long has he been here?” I asked Roger, one of the servers and a longtime spy. “Not long, less than ten minutes.” I nodded. Getting here too early would signal desperation, it was good for Bash that he hadn’t committed such a transgression, yet.
I headed to Bash’s table and frowned. After we exchanged pleasantries, I got right to my first point. “Sebastian, let me give you a pro tip. When you’re meeting someone for business, especially when that person is of higher rank and standing than you, wear a tie.” I was aware that people in tech, usually didn’t dress to the nines for work, but one must always be prepared, especially if they know they have an important meeting to attend.
A look of embarrassment briefly spread over Bash’s face, he shifted uncomfortably. “I, uh, I-I’m sorry. I came here after work,” he stammered. His nervousness would need to get in check, but at least Bash didn’t break eye contact with me. Shoshannah told me years ago that like her father, I intimidated people. She claimed that when I met the judge and didn’t cower like most guys our age, her love for me was cemented. I took that with a grain of salt, as she proclaimed the same thing after we first had sex and I gave her five orgasms in a row. It wasn’t even my best work yet.
“From here on out, when I meet with you, don’t worry about it. I’m just getting you ready for game-time,” I replied as I slid into my seat. Bash gave me a quizzical look, wondering if I’d been testing him and I was.
“I was surprised to get your text. Then I didn’t hear from you for a while,” said Bash. Roger came over and took our drink orders. I nodded. “I’ve had some things in the works for several weeks now. I heard about that last promotion you were passed over at work.” I kept my eyes laser-focused on Bash, waiting for his response. He dealt with many internal issues, mostly about race and class. While I can guarantee those things do play a part in corporate America, I know for a fact that isn’t the main reason Bash continues to get passed over for promotions. He’s too focused on bitterness and pettiness to see how his attitude can turn people off. I’ve known him for some years now and witnessed it first hand.
Bash is incredibly smart and gifted, and his talents aren’t utilized at Jupiter. He’s not exactly expendable which makes him highly qualified for the type of career he’s in, but it takes more than just your education and skills to climb the corporate ladder.
If I were going to use Bash for our attack on Jupiter, he’d need to get the chip off his shoulder. Once Harrison had controlling shares and made the company more profitable, Grazier would gain control. If Bash helped us with information on Cypher technology and the bugs in their system, I could guarantee he could move up to a much higher position once Grazier fully acquired Jupiter.
“Yeah, I can’t say I was completely surprised by not getting the promotion. All the tap dancing “they” want me to do, acting like I even had a chance. Never again,” scowled Bash.
I wasn’t the type to beat around the bush. “I wanted to discuss your future. I need to know if you’re in or out right now,” I said. A look of strong curiosity spread over Bash’s face. “What is this about?”
Roger walked back over to our table and set our drinks down. “Is there anything else I can get you?” he asked. I shook my head, no. Roger was a long-time informant in my network of spies I have placed all over the region. He didn’t know exactly why I had him watch Bash today nor the other people I keep tabs on, he just knew I paid him well like the others that report back to me.
“I told you, your future; whether you want to be on the losing team and go down with Jupiter or play for the winning side. For your protection, as well as others and mine, I can’t get into too many details. However, as events unfold in the media, you’ll begin to understand.” I replied.
Bash took a deep breath. “Well, I’ve always known you to be smart and capable, Rico. Everything you touch seems to turn to gold. I don’t normally enter into blind agreements, but yes. I’m in. I know different companies have made plans to merge with us. I can see the writing on the wall. If Jupiter is going down, I don’t want to be on that ship.”
“That’s good to know. Before I go any further, you need to pledge your complete loyalty to me; your resolve must be unassailable. I can’t have any doubts and neither can you.” Bash earnestly nodded in agreement. “I understand, Rico. You have my loyalty.”
I informed Bash that I needed specific information on Cypher, the current data encryption software Jupiter was developing. I wanted to know what bugs the application had, what software or operating systems it wasn’t compatible with and what plans did the developers have to integrate it into their existing systems. Bash wouldn’t be engaging in anything illegal per se by obtaining information he already had access to. Nor contributing to any “insider trading” for Harrison’s benefit.
We at Thomas Global wanted to know exactly what we were dealing with. If I wanted this takeover to go as smooth as possible, we would need to know the areas to target first and foremost when it came to dealing with Jupiter’s board of directors. Harrison will want to replace them eventually, but he couldn’t on day one.
If Jupiter even smelled Grazier in the vicinity or knew they were resolved to acquiring them once it was in Harrison’s control, they would fight dirty. They wouldn’t want to destroy themselves internally, but they don’t have the capital for a “pac” defense, they could and would find a white knight. I would do everything in my power to stop that from happening. We’re going to the mattresses.
After I left Bash and paid the check, I headed downstairs for my car service and driver I periodically use when I travel to meetings.
I pulled out my cell phone and sent a single text to Cressida: Line up the mattresses.
****Author’s Note: Be sure to check out our Facebook group for writers for previews and character updates before they’re posted to this blog Sims of Color Stories
****Check out Rico, Harrison, and Bash’s biographies in the character bio index
****You can check out some background information on the artist Harrison mentioned, Kennedey Leeds in my first Sims story Reagan Leeds: Run The World. She’s the younger sister of Reagan and aunt to Marseille. This Is Only a Test highlights the opening of Kennedey’s first gallery in Isla Paradiso.
****The term “going to the mattresses” is a line from The Godfather, basically meaning going to war.
My hostile takeover storyline contains elements of the power dynamics in the business world, I’ve always had a keen interest in. It’s taken a lot of research and my intense desire to develop this arc in GOP. I appreciate you all who “tune” in to read the story.
Thank you once again for reading and Happy Simming,
Hello everyone, these are a few unedited previews of the upcoming chapter. Rico heads to his hometown, Manhattan to see his mentor Harrison Edward to discuss the Jupiter Works hostile takeover.
Shoshannah Carter was born into a life of privilege being apart of one of the most prominent black families in the south and the DMV area. As the daughter of a former Secretary of the Interior in the president’s cabinet and a judge who sits on the second most powerful court in the country, she operates in some of the most exclusive social circles of DC society.
She went to undergrad at Jefferson State, the most prestigious HBCU in the country. By senior year, Shoshannah was president of her sorority Sigma Alpha Phi and went onto receive her masters from Harvard where she dated Rico Thomas throughout most of her time there.
Currently, she splits her time between San Myshuno and DC as the co-chair of her father’s charitable organization The Corliss Carter Heritage Foundation. She’s also a director of the local John & Jenn organization and regularly hosts fundraisers and galas to benefit her family’s charities.
Not officially raised in the south (though many would argue that DC is part of it) Shoshannah came out to society in South Carolina, where her family’s roots date back to slavery. Through her mother’s line, their descendants now own the very plantation their ancestors born and died. The Carmichaels turned the old Johnson plantations into museums to preserve their heritage and history.
For a social climber, merely being born into privilege is not enough. Shoshannah wants to seen, acknowledged and revered by her peers. Her pedigree is very impressive, and she has no problem letting people know it. Due to her mother, Clara’s insistence she marries well, Shoshannah has made it her goal since freshman year in college to find a suitable match. She’s in love with Rico, not only is he handsome and intelligent, but he comes from a wealthy old money family and old money ties. Rico doesn’t, unfortunately, share her desire to marry and settle down into the role of the next great “Barack and Michelle.” But if her mother has taught her anything, defeat is not an option. For unknown reasons to Shoshannah, there is a select group of people who would greatly benefit from such an alliance.
There are many games of power we play every day. Shoshannah must skillfully play them all, especially the one of “love and marriage” for if she’s victorious, she’ll gain more than a husband, but the influence of Rico’s connections among the upper echelon of elite high society, the wealthy over the rich.
If Shoshannah wants to come out a game of power as the victor, she needs to play her cards right, for she’ll face many worthy skilled opponents, even those close to her. What foolish games we play against the ones we love.
John & Jenn of America is a Black American social organization created during the Reconstruction Era following (the legal) end of slavery. It was started by black mothers who wanted to form a bond with other families living in the segregated south. Over time the vision was catered to blacks that owned land and were educated at colleges and universities. Being among the black elite, people could network and benefit from shared interests and social standing.
Membership has historically been extended through legacy member inheritance or sponsorship. Many of the first Black American millionaires in the late 1800s were members of this exclusive organization. John & Jenn counted prominent Civil Rights leaders, blacks who were the first to receive medical and law degrees and entrepreneurs as members.
Throughout early the 20th-century chapters spread through several southern states. Membership was limited to Descendants of Slaves and their offspring. Due to legal segregation and Jim Crow laws, blacks were excluded from many public parks, pools, theaters, and shops. The families of John & Jenn established their own social functions for black children and single people looking to meet others in the same social class.
During the 1960s additional chapters opened in the northeast in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. By the 1980s there were few chapters in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Over the years the organization has been the target of accusations of being elitist and not embracing “new money blacks.” The leadership of John & Jenn have vehemently denied this and has made an effort to reach out to professionals whose families aren’t legacy members nor products of generational wealth. Southern debutante balls may be a thing of the past in most areas, but John & Jenn has continued to host them each year as young ladies enter into society.
J&J has come a long way since their days of “the paper bag test and good hair requirements,” but there is room for improvement and inclusion to uplift the black community as a whole. However, there are members who are okay with the old way and want to keep membership limited to the upper crust whose been in the group for generations. Among degrees and money, you’ll find cattiness, deception and social climbing as it’s finest. As some potential members will find out that maybe not everything that glitters is gold.
****Please check out the limited biography on one of J&J’s most prominent families The Carters
(The work of this group is entirely fictional and any resemblance to real organizations or persons is coincidental)
The Carters are one of the most prominent black legacy families in the south and the DMV. They are one of the founding members of John&Jenn, an old societal club that formed during the Reconstruction period for black families that grouped together in their communities to support each other and fight for civil rights but on a much smaller scale than what came several decades later.
If the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts are what is considered WASPs blue-blooded American aristocracy, then the Carters, the Livaudaiss, and the Carmichaels were the “black equivalent.” While the J&Js legacy families are located in many states, their “unwritten” membership requirements and traditions are very southern. No one person could apply for membership. You either had to be brought in through family legacy, sponsored, or marry someone that was already in the organization.
Judge Corliss Carter sits on the bench of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second most powerful court in the country. He previously worked as a US attorney, Corliss received his presidential appointment ten years ago.
Secretary Clara Carter served in the last administration in the president’s cabinet as Secretary of the Interior. Since leaving the White House, Clara spends her time running The Carter Foundation in addition to consulting work and sitting on the board of The Kennedy Center.
Shaun Carter received his law degree from Yale and currently works as a DC lobbyist on K street for Hallow, Schlesinger & Reid, one of the most influential lobbying firms in Washington.
Shoshannah Carter splits her time between San Myshuno and DC as the co-chair of her father’s charitable organization “The Corliss Carter Heritage Foundation.” She’s also a director of the local John & Jenn organization and regularly hosts fundraisers and galas to benefit her family’s charities.
Shante Carter is a corporate attorney and business consultant. She regularly travels between San Myshuno, New York, and DC.
*background credit freshwallpapers.net free backgrounds no copyright intended.
You know her mother, you know her father, now Marseille Powers daughter of legendary supermodel/fashion designer Reagan Leeds-Powers and nightclub magnate Jaylen Powers climbs out of their shadows to establish her reign.
Many would reduce the existence of a privileged socialite to private schools, parties, and elite vacation destinations, but Marsy never desired the life of a kept rich girl. She excelled in college where she started a successful event planning company due to her wit and business acumen. Her company, City Girls Elite was a mere stepping stone.
Reagan Leeds has long dreamed of her oldest daughter following in her footsteps and taking over her companies, so when Marsy informs her mother of her desire to work for her father, she’s heartbroken. However, anyone who knows Reagan knows that she won’t readily accept defeat nor let a “broken heart” stop her from getting what she wants and what’s best for her heir.
It wasn’t always easy living under the public gaze of an international fashion legend, despite how close Marsy and her mother were. But she was still more like her father, Jaylen; forever on the party scene thus making nightclubs his business that’s earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Powers Enterprises.
Co-founder and co-CEO, Amarre Powers has tasked his niece with operating their newest nightclub expansion in San Myshuno. Tomo is an international nightclub, resort and hotel chain with five hundred locations worldwide. He sees the same intelligence and relentless ambition in Marsy as he does in himself; all she needs is someone to drive it out and mold it. Jaylen was never as power hungry as his brother, and he initially opposed Marsy taking on such massive task until Amarre assured him that she would get all the support and resources needed to make Tomo San Myshuno a success. It took some convincing, but Jaylen eventually signed off on his daughter’s promotion.
There’s one person who’s never welcomed the idea of Amarre molding Marsy, and that’s Reagan. Amarre and Reagan have often found themselves at odds over the years as he always pushed to expand Powers Enterprises with ruthless determination to conquer and remove their competitors and enemies alike at any cost. Reagan is very success driven herself and encourages her children to be the same way, but not to the extreme like her power-hungry brother-in-law. Soon enough she and Amarre ensue in a battle over Marsy’s career path.
Marsy is loyal to her family and will do anything to protect their interest. When enemies from the past and present begin to emerge determined to dismantle the Powers reign, she’s unequipped with the arsenal required to fight them. Fearing failure and disappointing her father and uncle, Marsy turns to Amarre who tells her she must be relentless to silence all enemies.
For the protection and advancement of her family legacy, Marsy must become a skilled and merciless player of the game. Amarre instructs her in no uncertain terms to start treating the game like the bloodsport it truly is.
Not everyone is equipped to pay the price for winning the many games of power. Long live her reign.
****Marseille Powers is a legacy member of my most important dynasty; the Leeds and Powers dynasty. Through the Leeds and Powers family branches, all my stories and several characters were created. Her mother, Reagan Leeds-Powers has been the center of my Sims Universe for several years. She’s the protagonist of my first full epic Sims story, Reagan Leeds: Run The World. It’s because of that story I’ve been able to create so many complex characters and storylines. It’s a great pleasure for me to continue Reagan’s legacy through her oldest daughter.
****Read about the beginning of Tomo Nightclub in chapter 20 Steelo Part I. This is when Reagan and Jaylen meet for the first time. You can also read about Marsy’s birth in chapter 38 And Baby Makes Three. Be sure to check out Amarre’s POVs as part of the Expanded Universe of Reagan Leeds: Run The World.
Colin Stone is the star quarterback for the San Myshuno Panthers. Being a star athlete gave Colin and his family access to a life they could only dream about when he was growing up. His father, Aubrey made good money from his tattoo chain and online business, but he did the bare minimum when it came to being in Colin’s life. Malika, his mother, received a substantial amount of child support from Colin’s father but often had to use it to care for her other kids.
Colin always felt like he got the short end of the stick in comparison to his father’s other children and some ways his siblings he grew up with as well; until his family saw he had a natural gift with a football. From the time he was a freshman in high school, picking which college he would play for, and until the NFL draft, Malika relentlessly pushed her son to become a highly paid athlete. She knew her son was their ticket to get out from a life of struggle and scorn she faced at the hands of her family. Now the entire weight of the world is on Colin as he takes care of his mother and younger siblings.
He languishes in the party lifestyle befitting a famous athlete. Colin works hard in the NFL and likes to indulge in the many pleasures and luxuries only a certain amount of income can afford. His primary concern has always been about his money and caring for his family, as he refuses to bend over backward to help extended family members who shunned him, his mother, and siblings.
As someone who never cared for school or much else besides games and girls, Colin never had to think about life outside of having a successful career in football. He faces a battle as he renegotiates his contract and endorsement deals as the NFL landscape begins to mix entertainment and politics for many players.
Colin is thrust into the national spotlight, and everyone has an opinion on what choice he should make. He’s at a delicate point in his career when making the “wrong” move could anger TPTB (The powers that be) and cost him millions of dollars in the years to come. He seeks the advice from a powerful associate who tells him that sometimes one must “play by the rules until he’s in a position to change the rules.” Colin would love to own an NFL franchise one day affording him not only status and money, but power and influence over a game he dearly loves.
Colin must consider if the opportunity to grow wealth, influence, and power is more important than appeasing the faceless people on social media who wouldn’t choose what they’re demanding of him if the shoe were on the other foot. The lesson in learning how to play a game of power could be knowing when to pass, throw, or change the play altogether when you’re the one holding the ball.
****If you want to read about Colin’s parents, Malika and Aubrey, you can check out his auntie Briah’s story in the Expanded Universe of Reagan Leeds: Run The World.
Carl Icahn, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Niccolò Machiavelli. What do these men have in common? They understood the practical uses of power. Much like the former, Harrison Edward understands the levels of power, how to use it, and where it can be found.
Acquiring power isn’t easily attainable. One must me be pragmatic and practical in one’s ventures and plan their moves according to the reality that is before them.
Harrison Edward is an American businessman, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. As the founder and controlling shareholder of Edward Enterprises L.P. a multinational diversified holdings conglomerate, he keeps offices in New York City, San Myshuno, Dubai, and London.
Harrison and his businesses are featured in Fortune magazine on a regular basis. His mastery of business politics, executing boardroom coup d’etats, and building wealth have given him a life and the kind of power very few people will ever know. There’s a difference between people who believe they’re powerful and those who actually are.
Having a lot of money, doesn’t make one rich, being rich doesn’t make one wealthy or powerful. However, there are ways to turn riches into wealth and in turn power. You will see the Edward name on hospital wings, university libraries, museums, and bridges. Take a look at the list of the board of directors of many influential and honored institutes of the arts, education, and business; you find the same. Having your own shoe line is not power. Owning bridges, hospitals, and banks is not only wealth, but it is also power; there’s a difference. Unfortunately, most people don’t know the distinction, and they’re the same people who will never hold any real power.
Harrison is a family friend and mentor to Rico Thomas and taught him everything about how to play the game of power. Even as someone who’s mastered it, the attacks never stop. Daily, there is someone who seeks to destroy his reign. Harrison is a skilled chess player, and like chess masters, he never tires of the game, for its second nature to employ strategy and checkmate the opposing king.
If you ever want to step into the ring with a master of the games, you better know what you’re doing. For the one who calls the challenge, will be answered.
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Marquez “Meech” Flex POV
(Sexual situations, language, no nudity)
“Where you been? You think I got all day to sit around waiting on your ass?” I had just walked into Lamar McQueen’s office in the Spice District. These days, he kept his headquarters at a number of locations to either ward off the police or the other cartels he’s been fighting over territory with for months. Currently, Lamar chose to meet with his crew in an old textile factory near the docks downtown. The area didn’t get a lot of traffic. Forty years ago, there were all sorts of manufacturing jobs in this area, now it was desolate.
I didn’t need to check my cell for the time, nor was I surprised by Lamar accusing me of being “late.” He wanted to show his lapdogs who was boss around here; trying to act like I’d wasted his time and him reprimanding me for it was his way of doing that. “Yesterday, you said to meet you at four; it’s four.” I sat down in a chair across from Lamar’s desk. I kept my eyes locked on his. I had no shame nor reason to be sorry. The man who is guilty or afraid will never look at you in the eye. Lamar stretched his torso upright so he could appear taller than me even when sitting down. His insecurity was open for all to see, but if he were smart, he would dead that shit. Lamar waited for an apology from me, but once he could see he wasn’t about to get one, he moved onto the reason I was called in for this meeting, although I could guess.
“It was three. Next time, don’t make me wait on you, nigga. I got more important things to do with my time,” replied Lama. His two lapdog bitches, CJ and Step or as I refer to them: Stepin Fetchit clapped their hands; doling out fake laughs. I guess you could call them his bodyguards or errand boys; either way, I didn’t give two shits about how they front. If they didn’t keep they mouth shut, I would muzzle it.
“Our product ain’t movin’. Ever since the Latin gangs started to post up in Spice Lane, deals ain’t working out; muthafuckas is going elsewhere. We can’t have that. It’s that Noriega bitch not watching her step and coming into areas that ain’t hers.” It took a while, but Lamar finally got around to telling me the reason he called me down here, but I knew this is what he would say. The Noriegas aren’t the reason our numbers are low. While it was true, a number of smaller gang factions have been rising ever since our old boss, DM Sanders was executed less than two years ago, but Spice Lane has been under the control of Noriega’s street affiliates for years now. Lamar knew all of this in reality, but if he were to own that his bad decisions in the last eighteen months are the real reason our money flow has declined, he would have to admit that his rule was weak and ineffectual. I wasn’t worth it to me to point all of this out right now.
“So what are your plans?” I asked as if I didn’t know what Lamar’s move was going to be; he’s predictable. The expression on his face grew very dark; he knew that I would not agree with whatever plan he was about to present. Every day, I was starting to care less and less about giving a damn whether or not Lamar believed I was here to prop up his rule with my loyalty. He knew I wasn’t. All the same, Lamar expected loyalty from me because he “brought” me into the business and showed me the ropes. That would only get one so far with me, but I refuse to pledge complete allegiance to anyone I didn’t view as a strong leader, I didn’t care who the nigga was.
“The bitch has a shipment coming in soon. I got the goods on when and where. We’re gonna take it from her.” Lupita Noriega or “the bitch” as Lamar calls her was just as ruthless her father, Carmine Noriega. Their cartel controlled New Crest, one of the largest cities in the region. Ever since Carmine has been locked up awaiting trial, Lupita has been running his operations.
I contemplated what I would say to convey to Lamar that jacking anything of Noriega’s wasn’t the best idea right now. “Why would we need to make a move on the Noriegas? If Carmine gets out on bail, you can count on retaliation, even if he isn’t released out on bail you can count on Lupita’s revenge.”
Lamar ’s brow furrowed and lip curled up in agitation. He tried to give an air of confidence, but I knew him too well. His bad nerves made him sweat; it was taking a concerted effort on his part to keep control. Lamar rhythmically knocked his ring against the desk as his beady eyes seared into me. His countenance told me everything I already knew.
“They ain’t gonna let Carmine out, ever. He’s a flight risk; got too many connects that can get him out the country,” argued Lamar. “You can’t be sure. I heard they tryin’ to get him house arrest until trial. It’s a good possibility he will get it,” I replied.
“Well ain’t you the nigga with all the answers, huh? You got connects in the D.A. office. You need to make sure that fucker stays in jail!”
“Lamar, you’re asking me to call in a pretty big favor when my connection could be much more useful on something more significant than trying to keep Carmine Noriega in jail. Like I said, whether he’s in or out; you move on them, you can expect major heat from Lupita if you try them. The product you talking about it ain’t even worth all that.” I reasoned.
“And how would you know exactly? It ain’t like I gave you any details. Unless you know something you ain’t telling me,” said Lamar. He was trying to insinuate that I was playing both sides. “I know nothing more than you. I just know if there is product that Lupita is allowing the little weak ass Spice Lane homies to handle, it ain’t worth that much. She would never allow some little ain’t shit bangers to be responsible for product that’s worth enough to go to war over.”
Whether or not I made sense to Lamar, he would not admit it. He wanted to show his weight to the bosses in the surrounding cities and the smaller factions in the four boroughs that have begun to rise against him. McQueen’s reign wasn’t secure, and when DM Sanders was killed, a lot of his loyal men left to start their own operations. Even if he got away with stealing one little insignificant shipment and was somehow able to get away with it, no one would give him respect because anyone in their right mind knows it’s a dumb ass move.
Lamar was determined to make a move against Lupita anyway; there wasn’t anything I could say that would change his mind. He laid down the specifics of the shipment to a warehouse not far from here and how he wanted me to go about stealing it and “cleaning up the mess” afterward. I’m not afraid of bloodshed, but it wasn’t necessary for this instance. If your way was to always move in violence, you get what you give in return, and sometimes the means didn’t justify the ends.
“Fine. We can have it your way, but expect a war,” I said after Lamar finished giving me the details. He had ordered my crew, The Thetas and me to put his plan into action. He couldn’t be bothered with getting his hands dirty even though this was his stupid scheme.
“You act like you so scared of those bastards, Meech. Fuck that hoe and her daddy! Just get it done!” Lamar raised himself up on the desk, simultaneously slamming his hands down. It took a lot for me to hold my breath and not sock him straight dead in his mouth. But I maintained my chill; my poker face and agreed to steal the shipment.
“Maybe you ain’t good for the job though. Ever since 5-0 ran up in your spot, nigga they watching you.” Lamar knew good and well the search conducted in my apartment a while ago wasn’t significant. The police wanted information on him, but more than that I knew agents on the task force were looking for more significant people than Lamar. “Nothing came out of that, which I told you it wouldn’t. I’m not dumb enough to get caught up by 5-0,” I replied. Lamar gave me a skeptical look. I’d given him the details after the popos left my house, but I don’t think he trusted I told him everything, and he was right because I didn’t.
There were all kinds of ways this operation could turn out bad, and I had to think about plan b, so neither I or any of my boys ended up dead over some shit that wasn’t even worth it. There’s a balance I had to maintain. No, Lamar isn’t a good leader, and my respect for him is all but gone. But I couldn’t openly defy him on orders he’s directed. He wasn’t entirely without power; not yet. Lamar, whether I liked it or not, was still the boss; a boss I faked allegiance to. For now, that was my position, until I could make better moves, I would play by the rules.
I lit my blunt, the lighter briefly illuminated my otherwise darkened living room. My conversation earlier with Lamar had been on my mind ever since I left his office. Everything in me said going after a Noriega shipment wasn’t a smart move. What you have to understand about me is, I’m not the type of nigga that makes a play based on some stupid shit. Lamar wanted to flex so to speak and let the Ivanovs who ran Windenburg, The Noriegas, The Costas of Willow Creek, and Bobby Wilds who ran Oasis Springs that he had balls and was willing to challenge them if they made any attempts to take over the four boroughs which consisted of Uptown, Fashion Row, The Spice District, and Art of the City.
Lamar hadn’t cemented his reign as genuinely legitimate yet, and the other outfits were going to try him. But what he didn’t need to do was make any first moves; it wasn’t the time. I can count the number of occasions Lamar has taken me aside with some half-ass plan to either push our product or retain the territories left by DM. He had a lot of bold ideas; unfortunately, most of them were dumb as fuck. He’s gonna play around and get people killed unnecessarily.
I took a long hit of my blunt and walked over to the window. I had some of the best views of the city from my apartment. San Myshuno is expansive. Millions of people lived here. I thought about all the neighborhoods I used to slang in when DM was still the boss. I was pretty much solo at the time as far as pushing weight. I’d known Lamar from the block for years, and he brought me into the Sanders outfit. I quickly rose through the ranks because I was no dummy. I negotiated the best deals for the product and made our organization a lot of money in the process. DM could see that, and soon enough I was nearly at Lamar’s level, which I felt he resented. If DM hadn’t been shot before he could name a successor, I believe he would have chosen me over Lamar.
One of DM’s sons, Kao could’ve been a consideration too, but he fell out with his dad years ago and rarely came around. I didn’t know Kao’s whereabouts. The last time I saw him was at his dad’s funeral. He seemed to have disappeared after that. If Kao came back right now, I think he could quickly get support from Sanders loyalists and get the business back from Lamar, but who’s to say he was about this life anymore.
My doorbell rang, snapping me back to the present. It was after midnight. Vistors coming and going at all hours of the night wasn’t unusual for me. I clicked a remote; turning on the lights. “Who is it?” I asked. “It’s me. Open up,” said Ekko, from the hallway. I unlocked the door; letting her inside. I held onto the doorknob; taking a breath. I’d forgotten she told me she was coming back in town tonight from New York. Ekko was always doing the most, and I wasn’t in the mood to deal with her.
Ekko is my “girlfriend.” Actually, what she had was the privilege of being my main chick. She knew what was up and that I saw other women. Ekko is a bad as fuck Blasian model, so I claim her and the other girls I deal with know they place.
Ekko was wearing no less than four-inch heels, stepped up, reaching her lips to mine. Her kiss was warm and her lips soft, but I didn’t return the favor. “I missed you,” she said. I feigned like I had missed her too when in reality I’ve been too busy to notice she hasn’t been in town for the last week.
“How was New York?” I asked. Ekko was originally born and raised in Manhattan, and that’s where her parents currently live. “Good. I saw my parents, and just about everyone else. I met up with Marseille at Tomo. Her uncle is actually bringing her out here with him and my dad to review the new club building inspections. I still can’t believe Amarre Powers is entrusting his niece with running the most anticipated new club in San Myshuno. Not to mention Marsy’s dad is on board as well. She’s so fucking spoiled.” Ekko accusing someone else of being spoiled was the pot calling the kettle black.
Ekko had followed me over to the couch and went on about her trip and bored me with the details of her escapades with the rest of the bougie ass socialites and models she grew up with. I hadn’t met most of her friends. She preferred to not take me around them or her parents if they were in town from New York because of my lifestyle. That was fine with me because the last thing I felt like doing was sitting up with a bunch of silver spoon bitches that spent their summer weekends in the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard.
As beautiful as she is, Ekko can be extremely jealous of other females. The more she talked about her so-called “oldest friend” Marseille moving to San Myshuno, the more I could see the jealousy stirring inside her. She had managed to briefly distract me from work and what Lamar wanted me to do in a few days. But what I needed was to stay focused so I could get the job done without getting a bullet in the heads of my crew and me.
I had to distract Ekko for the rest of the night. What she needed was a good dickin’ down so she could shut the fuck up about shit I couldn’t care less about. After smoking this blunt, the last thing I wanted to hear was her yapping in my ear. I wasn’t with the shit, not tonight.
****Author’s Note: The title of this chapter “All Harm, All Foul” is supposed to convey the opposite of the common phrase “No Harm, No Foul”. Basically, the meaning is that when one commits a mistake, transgression or engaged in misconduct, they would be forgiven/excused because it didn’t harm anyone. The opposite is true of the McQueen situation. His plans for action against the Noriegas will cause harm to people, especially because it’s unnecessary. This isn’t the first time McQueen has stepped out of bounds since forming his cartel and it won’t be the last.
****If you want to read about Marquez’s background, check out his bio here. I edited some information out of his original bio because I felt like it gave maybe too much of his future storyline away. You can also read about Lupita Noriega, another main character coming into the story in the near future here.
Thanks for reading.
Happy Simming, Camille.
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