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Victoria went about the business of getting settled in her new life. Richard and Victoria agreed that the transfer of power would be better received if it were done slowly allowing the employees and board members time to adjust to Victoria’s coming on board. After all, it was a dream of Tori’s to work side by side with her father.
Ian was also glad that Victoria had come home. His relationship with Pamela was a bit strained what with the new baby’s arrival and the pile up of work that had accumulated. With Victoria and their father putting off his retirement, they could spread the responsibilities out evenly and run the business more efficiently.
Tori had brought in a lot of new business and they could finally catch up on all the work that had backed up. Ian and Richard discovered that Victoria had an incredible sense of the whole as far as the business was concerned. Her approach was a bit unorthodox at times but her reasons for doing it were understandable. While she was in London, it was hard to understand what Victoria’s plan of attack was. Now that she was able to sit down with them and explain her actions for the last four years, everything seemed to make sense.
One day Victoria called a board meeting. Those present at the time were her family and other members of the board. One of which was Gordon Montgomery. When Victoria was finished her presentation, everyone was left sitting with his or her mouth wide open. Victoria’s plans were brilliant. Each acquisition, each negotiation in the last four years was part of a complex puzzle crafted in Victoria’s head. Every business played an integral part in her plan. If Victoria’s master plan came to fruition, Hull enterprises would literally employ hundreds of thousands of people thus providing a stable environment to countless families and boosting many sagging economies. Everyone listened as Victoria went over projection after projection, study after study quoting proven methods and possible outcomes. Hull would be involved in international commerce, state of the art technology, and provide funding for much needed medical research in a bureaucratic health industry. The board had many questions for Victoria. With poise and grace, she answered each and every one with intelligence and ease. When the meeting ended, everyone agreed that Victoria Hull would be the next CEO of Hull Enterprises.
Through all of this, a very proud Richard Hull watched as his daughter captivated the board and assumed the position of the future CEO of Hull Enterprises. His daughter was back and she was better than ever.
Victoria had been staying with her family in South Hampton, but wanted a place in town. Viewing many listings, she finally decided on a property. The moment she saw it she new it was perfect and within 30 days, closed on a very spacious and prestigious penthouse overlooking the park.
She met with an interior designer. Every piece was chosen with her tastes in mind, and a little consideration was paid as to what Brett might like. She knew it was wishful thinking but a girl could dream, right?
With her plans for Hull Enterprises in place, her home found and furnished, the next step was decided.
Victoria had heard that every Friday night, all the girls went over to a club called “The Grove”. Lauren had invited her to come many times but she had always declined.
With everything now in place, she decided to cut out of work early on Friday and go shopping. She treated herself to a new haircut and clothes ending the afternoon at the spa. Feeling absolutely spoiled, she went to the club. She was dressed in a pair of black leather pants, a blue silk blend low cut V-neck sweater that matched her eyes, black Bandolino leather boots, and a floor length leather jacket. She entered the club and scanned the area. It was an old converted warehouse on the pier. Tori had never seen anything like it. The dance floor was huge. Surrounding it were strategically placed bars. Above the dance floor were three other levels all looking down onto it. Two wide spiral staircases were located on opposite corners of the club and two glass elevators balanced the other two corners leading to the upper levels. The theme was tropical in nature with waterfalls cascading down the walls. There were tall coconut trees, other tropical plants, and quaint bridges that spanned over little ponds. Filtered jungle sounds and light misting all over the club completed the mood. When you looked up you found a skylight that covered the whole ceiling allowing you to have an incredible view of the sky. The second level had an arcade, ping pong and billiard hall, a bowling alley, and a skating rink.
The third floor held a food court and “Cornucopia”, an upscale restaurant featuring an array of palatable feasts. The fourth floor had various intimate lounges where people could sit and enjoy a quieter atmosphere. VIP rooms were available as well for private functions.
French doors and windows ran from floor to ceiling along each level allowing you to venture outside and look out onto the river. The first floor opened onto a deck allowing you to walk along the boardwalk.
Tori was amazed with the place. It had every kind of entertainment that you could possibly want under one roof. And it only catered to adults at night. Looking around, she knew there was no way she would be able to find the girls in this place. Pulling out her cell phone, she pulled up Lauren’s number and tried to track them down that way.
Lauren had tried for weeks to get Tori to come out with them. But she was always told that she was too busy. It was understandable. Their father, Gordon, had told them during the holidays of Victoria’s plans for Hull Enterprises. It was quite extensive. Lauren really wanted to get Tori and Brett together but time was working against her. Or at least the lack of it.
After Lauren informed Brett of how busy Victoria was now, Brett decided to wait for Tori to get settled in before she tested the waters. Lauren had told Brett that she thought Tori was interested however Brett wasn’t quite as convinced. Brett hadn’t really dated anyone seriously since Jenna. She was a little gun shy. However, if in the end she might be with Tori, then she could wait. Tori was definitely worth it.
Lauren, Brett, Alexi, and Adrian were upstairs just beginning to order their meal when Lauren’s cell phone rang.
“Lauren? Hey… its Tori.”
“Hey gorgeous! Where are you?”
“Well I’m at The Grove.”
“No way! So are we.” She looked around to see if she could spot Tori.
“Actually, I’m at the front door. Where are you?”
“We’re on level three grabbing something to eat. You haven’t eaten have you? The food here is incredible.”, Lauren exclaimed.
“No, I haven’t. Okay…well I’ll be right up. See you in a minute.” This was it. She was finally going to get to see Brett and hopefully spend some time with her. She excitedly made her way to one of the elevators.
Looking at everyone, Lauren told them that Tori was on her way and that she would be up in a minute.
Brett immediately felt her heart rate pick up. Tori’s here? Okay… breath Brett… That right, nice… deep…. breath… Whew… That feels better. Okay you can handle this. “Oh my God…”
They spotted Victoria making her way towards them. All eyes in the place watched her come into the restaurant wondering who this beautiful creature was.
“Hey guys. How’s it going?” Tori went around the table and gave everyone a hug, lingering a little longer when she reached Brett.
The waiter quickly came over, obviously in lust. “Miss, will you be joining us this evening?”
Tori nodded and waiters everywhere came running over to set a place for her.
Tori let out a little laugh and thanked everyone for their hospitality. Sitting down, she met four smirking faces.
“What?” asked Tori.
Lauren spoke first. “You know Brett is absolutely right. You are a heartbreaker.”
Tori in all seriousness turned towards Brett, took her hand in hers and looked her straight in the eyes. “You know baby…If I was ever given a chance with you… there is absolutely no way I’d ever break your heart.” With a wink and a smile, she placed a tender kiss on Brett’s hand and then let go. Without another word, she nonchalantly picked up her menu and picked something to eat.
Adrian had just taken a sip of her water when she heard what Tori had said. With an absolute lack of grace she proceeded to cover a very pissed off Alexi with the contents of her drink. Lauren quickly got up and ran over to Adrian patting her on the back to try to stop her from swallowing her tongue. Brett on the other hand just sat there stunned.
The waiter came over and asked if everything was all right. When he received an appropriate answer, he turned to Tori and asked if she was ready to order. Calmly placing her order, she waited until he was far enough away and fell into a fit of uncontrolled laughter. The laughter was so infectious that everyone else joined in.
When they finally calmed down, Tori apologized for what she had done. She didn’t notice the look of disappointment in Brett’s eyes. Brett had hoped that Tori was flirting with her. Instead she took the apology as Tori just being playing and not meaning a word of it.
After dinner was over, they went down to the dance floor. They found a table and ordered another round of drinks. Lauren had spotted a group of friends and said she would be right back. Alexi and Adrian got up to dance because they were playing Adrian’s favorite song leaving a very quiet Brett and apologetic Tori alone together.
“Look Brett, I’m really sorry for what I said up there. I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”
Brett looked at Tori. “Look it’s okay. I understand. Can we just drop it please.” There was a definite hint of irritation in her voice.
Tori lifted Brett’s chin making sure she had Brett’s complete attention. She tried again. “No Brett. I don’t think you do understand. Yes, I am sorry I picked that moment to tell you. But I don’t regret a word of what I said.”
Tori moved her hand to Brett’s cheek and moved in a little closer. “You have always meant the world to me.” Brett tried to move away not wanting to hear the little girl speech again. However, Tori stopped her.
“Listen to me. I love you Brett...I’ve always loved you…I would do anything and everything to make sure your heart was never ever broken.” Tori watched as a single tear made its way down Brett’s cheek.
Thinking this was not where she wanted to have this conversation, Tori looked around the club and spotted what she was looking for. She grabbed their coats, got up, and took Brett’s hand in hers. “Come on. Let’s go outside and talk.”