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Virgin Bride(2)

By:B. B. Hamel

My company, The Numbers Group, is one of the largest data analytics companies in the world. We take huge consumer data sets and basically break them down into digestible pieces with actionable suggestions. I started the Group when I was just a kid in college at MIT, but I aggressively scaled it up, and now we work with congressmen, huge companies, and even Hollywood studios.

I went from a poor orphan with a scholarship at a good school to one of the youngest billionaires in the world, and I did it all on my own. My parents died in a car crash when I was eighteen, leaving me alone to figure out how the hell I was going to get through college on my own.

Things worked out for me, of course. Work was going great, I was on top of the world, up until I met my ex, Catherine.

I liked her at first, but things quickly soured. I have a habit of not sticking around too long with any one woman. I’m young and attractive, I don’t see any reason to settle down too soon.

At least until Catherine showed up one day with Lacey, claiming she was mine, and stating that she absolutely wouldn’t keep her.

So of course, I took Lacey. I confirmed my paternity, because Catherine turned out to be a notorious liar, but fortunately Lacey is all mine and Catherine is very much out of the picture. I paid her off and now she’s living somewhere in Milwaukee last I heard.

I lost my parents too young. I wasn’t about to let Lacey grow up without at least her father. And so my life changed, but it changed for the better. I learned responsibility. I learned what it means to love someone so much that it hurts. Every day, I love Lacey even more than the day before, and it kills me that I haven’t been able to see her as much lately.

All because of the merger. The Group is in talks with another big data firm called Fisher Consortium, named after its founder and CEO Rick Fisher. His company is another big data analytics firm, and although it’s not as big as mine, they have some incredibly specialized and important data sets that we desperately want.

My job works like this: places like Facebook and other websites are constantly tracking everything people do on the internet. So much data has been collected on everyone that we can get some pretty granular and amazing insights about them. But there’s so much data that it takes a special and powerful group of people to be able to make sense of it all, and that’s what we do. We take all that big messy data and we turn it into something useful that companies can then turn around and use in their advertising.

The merger should be simple, but it’s not, not at all. Rick Fisher is an abrasive asshole who refuses to budge on any one of his demands, and so far negotiations have stalled. I’m working late nights to try and get this thing through, because it has the potential to make my Group the largest analytics firm in the world, but I’m starting to feel like I’m sacrificing too much to make it happen.

As I finish up feeding Lacey, I grab myself a bowl of cereal. Just as I sit down to eat, the intercom at the front door buzzes.

I groan a little and trot over to it. Lacey is busy playing with some Cheerios in her high chair as I go over to the intercom and hit the button.

“Yes?” I ask, annoyed someone is here so early.

“Uhm, Mr. McGrath?” It’s a young woman’s voice.

“Yes?” I ask again.

“I’m Erin,” she says and pauses. “The nanny,” she says.

Oh shit, I think. I totally forgot. “Right, come on in.” I hit a button and the door opens. Erin comes in through the foyer and I open the front door for her. “Sorry about that,” I say, a little embarrassed. I totally forgot she was coming. My best friend and my second in command at the Group, James Moore, recommended Erin to me, and I basically hired her without ever even meeting her. I’ve known James for years, and I basically trust him implicitly. If he says Erin is great, then Erin is great.

She steps in through the door. “It’s nice meet you, Mr. McGrath,” she says.

“Call me Griffin.” I smile and we shake hands, which gives me a second to look at her.

She’s young, probably in her early to mid-twenties. Long, dark hair, and bright blue eyes. Her skin is pale and smooth, and I can’t help but notice that she has a gorgeous little body. In fact, she’s really beautiful in a surprising way. She’s probably about five foot four, which means I tower over her, but I like that. I’ve always liked smaller women.

For a second, I’m taken by how gorgeous she is. I can tell she’s maybe a little surprised by how I’m looking at her.

“Come in,” I say finally. “Let’s go meet Lacey.”

She follows me in, and I get the sense that she’s nervous and shy.