The ringing of the phone could be heard throughout the room. Rebecca hurried to answer it, unaware that the news she was about to receive would change her life forever. Her parents had died in a car accident that same morning.
"What happened?" she asked the police officer on the other end of the line.
"They went off the road on their way back from Glem City."
"The mine," she whispered.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Nevermind, thank you for letting me know."
In the following days, Rebecca focused on preparing for the funeral. She didn't have time to grieve, only allowing herself to do so in short moments when she was alone. She had to stay strong, there was so much to take care of. Not only did she have to prepare the farewell for her parents and console her devastated sister, Diffu, but she also had to take over the family business. As the older of the two, she would now be the head of the company.
The death of her parents had complicated things for the company. She knew that her father had been having problems with the shareholders for a couple of months, as despite being the founder of that vast jewelry empire, the men who formed part of the main leadership wanted to remove him from leadership and put Vetter, one of the main shareholders, in his place.
"I can't let them win," she said to herself.
She wiped the tears from her face and left the closet where she had been hiding to cry. She couldn't continue to behave like a child, she had to be at the forefront of the company and assume her responsibilities. Rebecca took a deep breath and headed to the boardroom where they were waiting for her.
She and her sister were the only heirs to the empire her parents had built with so much effort. Everyone knew it very well, but that didn't prevent the vultures at the investor table from wanting to take a larger portion of what they had. They wanted to leave her and her sister out of everything. She couldn't allow it.
"Alright gentlemen, it's time to resolve this," she exclaimed confidently as she entered the boardroom.
Those present observed her in silence. It had only been a couple of days since the tragic news when her father's lawyer arrived at the company to read the will. Rebecca was nervous, as that meeting would define the fate of the company. The tension grew as the lawyer began to read that last document that Robert Stellar had left in his hands.
"My two precious daughters, Rebecca and Diffu, are the universal heirs to my fortune," Rebecca breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing the lawyer read those lines.
Gradually, each of the properties and assets that the now-deceased Robert and Jane Stellar owned were listed. Similarly, the document explained the percentages that corresponded to each of the girls and what they should do with each of them, as in some cases, the assets had to be donated to charity or used to create certain links and alliances that his father had thought of beforehand.
Some of these assets were part of the conglomerate of companies that the Stellar family ran, so the present shareholders were not very happy with the decisions Robert had made. However, he managed those particular properties completely, so they could do nothing to change the situation. They could only listen attentively to the details about the direction of the main company, as everything would be decided based on that. From there, they could evaluate their chances of getting Vetter to take over the leadership and perhaps he could recover all the other assets that were now in the hands of the two girls.
"Stellar Gems Co. has been like a daughter to me..." read the lawyer. Everyone present tensed as they heard the man read those words, the moment that would decide everything had arrived. "...that's why I believe it's necessary for someone intelligent, bold, and capable of making the right decisions to take over as its leader in the future. For a long time, I thought about who could be the correct choice, and although it wasn't easy, I have decided without any doubt whatsoever that my daughter Rebecca should be in charge," the girl smiled upon hearing that. She felt incredibly relieved and happy, although the rest of the board was clearly upset, however, before she could sing victory, the lawyer continued, "however, I am aware that despite all the potential my daughter has to become a successful businesswoman, she still needs some help, so she will be given complete control only when she has fully complied with the conditions stipulated here."
"What? What is this?" exclaimed Rebecca, puzzled. She couldn't help but interrupt the lawyer, as she was taken by surprise and didn't understand what was happening. The rest of the board smiled at the last sentence, they still had a chance to take control as they wanted.
"Well, despite having worked alongside her father for several years," the lawyer began to explain, "she has never held a high position or managed any of the important businesses, so Mr. Stellar considered it necessary for you to complete your professional preparation before entrusting you with the full management of the company, since there may be many complications when running such a large corporation, especially given your lack of experience."
Rebecca gritted her teeth in annoyance. All of that was true. Her father was right, and she knew he was doing it for her and the company he had worked so hard to create, but the problem was the situation in which he was putting her with the shareholders. She knew she was going to have to live in a constant battle against them because they would use the conditions imposed on her to try to remove her and take over everything.
"May I continue?" asked the lawyer. Rebecca nodded.
"Yes. Sorry for the interruption."
"To receive complete control of the company, my daughter Rebecca Stellar must comply with three mandatory conditions. The first one is that she must obtain her degree in finance and business management, which she is currently studying for."
Rebecca took a deep breath. The first condition wasn't bad, it made sense, and it was in line with her plans. She couldn't lead a company like that without a professional degree and studies that would allow her to operate properly. She sighed, trying to calm down as she continued to listen to the rules imposed on her.
"Secondly, I believe that experience in the business world is necessary to make the most informed decisions, therefore, Rebecca must remain working for at least 3 years in the position of leader of Stellar Gem Co. under the tutelage of a person with greater knowledge, experience, and performance in the position, which will allow her to learn and prepare to manage future businesses. After this period has elapsed and having fulfilled the other two conditions, the tutor will resign from his position to grant full power to Rebecca Stellar."
That condition made Rebecca a little nervous. Basically, she would be on a three-year probation with someone who probably wouldn't agree with her decisions or perhaps wouldn't even want her in the position, as there weren't many people outside the board of directors who could occupy that position. So the anxiety grew inside her as she waited to hear the name of her tutor.
"Choosing a business tutor for Rebecca was the most difficult decision, as there is no one I trust enough to leave the future of my company and my daughter in their hands, but after much consideration, I have decided that despite our differences, the best qualified person for the position is Hangor Vetter."
Everyone present celebrated the announcement except Rebecca, who had turned pale and almost had a heart attack upon hearing the news. Her father had gone crazy, she didn't understand why he had left that man as her tutor. Although she admitted that Vetter did meet all the requirements to hold that position, her father and he had had several conflicts in recent years that had made them more rivals than friends. Vetter wanted to take over the company and displace Robert as the leader of Stellar Gems Co., he had been trying for years, and now it seemed that Robert himself had given him the opportunity on a silver platter.
Rebecca couldn't understand that decision. She knew that not everything was lost, as Vetter would only be her tutor and at the end of the day, she was the majority shareholder and the official CEO, but all her movements would be watched and evaluated by that man who would also have a very heavy weight in the final decisions. It wouldn't be easy what awaited her, it would really be three years of a strong battle for control and if she made a mistake, she could lose everything. That man would be like a predator stalking, so she had to be aware of every step she took.
"The last condition is the most important," continued the lawyer, "as it refers to the relationship and alliance that I have created with my old friend Joseph Lombardo. He has been an important support for my businesses over the years, and our friendship goes back even further than this whole adventure began."
Rebecca frowned. She didn't know who that person her father was talking about was, she didn't understand how they could be such good friends, and she had never even heard of him. However, at one point, she remembered that despite how much Rebecca loved Robert and Jane, they were not her biological parents, nor her sister's. Both had been adopted by the couple when they were very young, so maybe that man was one of those friends that her father had made long before they came into his life and with whom he used to maintain a relationship away from the family environment, as he only related to them on business matters. Rebecca sighed once more, waiting to hear what she had to comply with.
"For years, we have done good business together, and we always had plans to merge one of our companies," continued the lawyer. "I believe that Joseph is a brilliant man, just like his grandson Luciano Lombardo, who is now in charge of the direction of his company. Thinking about my desire for my daughter to become as successful and skilled a professional as Luciano, as well as the desire my old friend and I have had to link our companies, we have both decided that Rebecca must marry Luciano, and in this way, not only will he be able to teach her everything she needs to learn in her life to become the businesswoman I want her to be, but this will finally allow both corporations, Stellar Gems Co. and Lombardo Legacy Co., to merge." Rebecca was stunned by that announcement. She couldn't react.
"Do I have to get married?" she whispered, astonished.
Her father's plans hadn't been exactly what she expected. Her life had just taken an even more drastic turn. She was no longer only facing the loss of two of the people she loved most in the world, but now she had to spend the next 3 years in the middle of a war for control of the company and, on top of that, marry a man she had never seen in her life. What was she going to do?
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