Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 81byrpsuch©
"This is why you needed to see me?" my father said, gesturing toward Jeff.
"What did you do to Sabrina? That poor girl ran off like she was being chased by a posse."
Jeff smiled. "That's an apt analogy. A posse would be appropriate for her role in this. But I have no doubt you are the mastermind of this deal with the devil."
"I don't have to put up with this disrespect," my father said. He turned to leave.
"Hey, Dad, don't be that way," Jeff said, oozing sarcasm.
My father turned and looked like he was ready to hit Jeff.
"If you walk out of this room without our reaching an understanding I'll unleash so much damage on your bank that you'll still be digging out when your grandchildren, whom you will never see, graduate college."
"Another bluff. You're so full of shit."
"I never told Ashley what we talked about in your study. As little as she thought of you, I didn't think your relationship would ever recover if she knew."
"Well, now she knows you asked me for a million dollars to dump her."
"Dad, Dad, that makes so little sense you couldn't even sell it to your mother."
My father advanced on Jeff.
"I laughed in your face when you offered me ten million dollars to stop seeing her. You sounded like a joke of a medieval king. Didn't you think for a nanosecond about the destruction it could cause to your relationship with Ashley? Didn't you think for a nanosecond about the rift that would cause in your relationship with Joanne? Did you give a hot damn what it would do to Ashley?
"I sucked up your vile, smarmy attitude because I didn't want Ashley hurt. You could have escaped that damage if you had kept your stupid mouth shut."
"What do you know, you pissant?" My father stopped, realizing his mistake, not that he could have saved the situation. He had not denied offering Jeff ten million dollars.
I would have believed Jeff anyway.
"I've had enough of you," my father said.
"There is no way I can fix the damage you have done to Ashley and your relationship with her. But if you don't admit your role in this to her and refrain from any future disruptive effort or even so much as an unkind word about us, we will let everybody know what you did."
My father seemed amused. "Do you think anyone would believe either of you over me? You're just a scheming, gold digger and she's been swept away in your thrall."
Jeff gave him a look of pity. "Even now, do you hear what you're doing to her? You disgust me."
My father tensed and said, "It's been fun, but I have to be going."
"I talked with my CEO about you." Jeff said it quietly, casually.
Dad turned and shrugged. "So what?"
"Second Foundation will never use your bank for any kind of financing."
"Gee, how will I ever survive that?" my father mocked.
"Then he will talk to every other biotech and pharmaceutical at their conferences and let them know we have no confidence that your bank will keep its word. We're worried you'll try to cook something up to your benefit and our detriment."
"You will never be involved in an IPO, secondary offering, or any kind of financing in the entire industry."
My father shrugged.
"And this not-so-secret problem will become known to other industries. We won't have to go to them. When they hear of our mistrust and lack of confidence it will spread like a communicable disease.
"Their executives will be loath to have any association linking them to the bank; not so much as a savings bond held in a safe-deposit box.
"As many contacts as you have in government, everyone else combined has way more. You won't be able to afford the campaign contributions it would take to outweigh their clout."
My father remained silent.
"Do you have any questions or smart-ass remarks, Dad?"
My father remained silent.
"Do you require any clarifications?"
"Don't you mean no, pissant?"
My father didn't say a word.
I didn't realize I had been crying. Jeff took me in his arms. He had been audacious to think I would go along with whatever he said without question. He had complete trust in how I would act because he knew who I was.
My father might have thought Jeff was playing this up to achieve the greatest leverage from this confrontation. He would have been wrong.
I had never seen Jeff this angry. I didn't know Jeff could get this angry. The most amazing thing about it was Jeff was as out of control as he could possibly be, while remaining under control.
"Next, you're going to go out there now and not only give your daughter away, you will give her away with great pleasure.
"Next, when you make your speech, tell us how proud you are knowing Ashley will be making significant contributions in whatever she chooses to do. Don't feel compelled to mention me, even with a pronoun. I'll survive the slight.
"Last, when you're considering your very generous wedding gift, the most valuable thing you can give me is to never have to see your smarmy face again. If Ashley decides she wants to see you, I'll conquer my revulsion for her sake. "Have I made anything unclear? Is there anything you need explained, Dad?"
"You can't talk to me like that outside this room. It would be humiliating."
"Who do you think I am, Dad, you? I wouldn't do that, even to you, except to retaliate for a similar humiliation."
My father slowly walked to the door, opened it, and closed it as he left the room.
I didn't know whether to say anything until Jeff's adrenaline rush subsided.
"I guess I should change into my tux," Jeff said.
"Jeff, you didn't leave him with a shred of dignity."
"He never had a shred of dignity to begin with."
Wow. No hesitation. Not a hint of vacillation. Not a scintilla of regret. He did what he had to do and held nothing back.
I tried to emulate a male voice. "Don't make Jeff angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry."
He started to laugh.
"Really? The Incredible Hulk? You never cease to amaze me."
"I never get tired of hearing that."
He put his arm around my shoulder.
"Let's go get married," he said.