Steve walked into the hotel room and dropped onto the bed. Ten years. It had taken ten. Years.
Granted, he knew it took most people longer, and that by all accounts, his own ride to the point hadn’t been as bumpy as others, but, dammit, he was tired.
Two years of research. Another two gathering resources for the mock-ups, eighteen months searching for just the right poeple to help fill in the spaces his own education and experience couldn’t. Three years to work out all of the bugs, in the product and the team.
And then the last two and a half years. Shopping his dream out to investors, campaigning relentlessly, giving presentation after presentation to bland-faced know-it-all/seen-it-all CEO’s.
Worst of all, he felt, was having to go back out to his team and shaking his head. The first couple times, the disappointment rolling off the others was almost enough to make him give up, but then Sal had tightened his mouth, stood up and said “Well, fuck ’em, then. We’ll find someone else, and when we’re on the front of Forbes, they can kiss our asses.”
And so they went. One after another “No”, “We’re sorry, but we just don’t think…”, “This will never sell.”
After the first dozen rejections, Sal and Kate went out to the nearest office supply store, coming back with a large white posterboard.
“For us to hold when we’re on the front of all the magazines.” Kate explained, blue eyes dancing with a sort of evil glee, as she wrote “Companies That Can Go F*ck Themselves” in big letters across the top. The rest of the team had whooped in delight, before grabbing markers and adding the list of everyone who had turned them down. He had ruffled her blonde hair, mussing up the pixie cut, dodging the hands that slapped at his.
His eyes drifted to the other bed in the room where the team had finished with the fourth white board that morning before they had parted ways. Them to breakfast, him to yet another round of people with too much money asking ‘Why should we put our money where your mouth is?’
A car drove up and Steve heard Sal and Adam arguing over whether or not the waiter was flirting with Kate or Adam over the sound of the doors slamming shut.
“Would you two shut up?” Steve sat up as Kate’s voice filtered through the window. “His car’s back, let’s go. You’ve got the key, right, Tim?”
A brief scuffle at the door, and then the room was filled with light and noise. Tim and Sal had had enough presence of mind to order extra food for Steve, and he dove into it eagerly.
“Hey boss, lookit what I got.” Kate disappeared back out to the car for a minute, coming back with a large Office Depot bag, another large whiteboard ready and waiting to document their newest rejection. She shrugged at his look. “It was next door to the IHOP we found. I wanted to get a head start this time.” She snagged one of the markers off the bed, pushing and pulling on Tim until he gave his seat up for her. Tongue between her teeth, she carefully wrote the date, then frowned and looked up at him. “What was the name of this place again?”
Steve grabbed a napkin out of the bag and wiped his hands off.
“Boss?” Kate prompted.
Standing up, he slid the whiteboard out from under her hands…
“Boss?” Confusion mixed with concern.
Three careful steps away from the group…
“Son?” Sal, this time, and Steve couldn’t ignore him.
“We can’t do this anymore.” He couldn’t face the older man. Sal was the one who had been with him longest. “We’re done.”
Four voices raised in protest, each louder than the one before.
“NO!” Kate’s voice rose above them all. “No, we are not done! Dammit, Steve,” Stomping across the short distance between them, she grabbed his shoulder and spun him around. “You are not giving up now, do you understand me?”
She blinked at him in surprise. “Well….alright then.” She stepped back. “Now that that’s settled. Give me the paper back. We’ll write the jackass company down an-”
He tore the board in half.
“Yes.” He picked her up and spun her around. Sitting her back on her feet, he kept her in his arms, smiling at the rest of the team over her head. “They said yes.”