you want to go public. It might be tough for you to do, but it’s necessary if you want to play in the big leagues. And if you don’t screw up, that’s where you’re going and that’s why I want to be there.”
      He suddenly stopped and looked at me with concern. “You’re not sleeping with her, are you?” he asked.
      I told Dave that I needed a week. For the first three days, I retreated into coding, humming along without thinking. It was a decision I didn’t want to make, although I knew right from the beginning what it would be. I’d give Annamaria the same as Steve, even though her contract didn’t call for it; Three months severance, a year’s medical insurance and whatever else I could squeeze out for her.
      At least it would get Medusa’s family off my back, and until the company was public and I had my end of it in hand, I couldn’t afford to ease the pressure with them in any other way. Once I had my money, then I’d see.
      The evening I told Annamaria about hiring Dave Dante, was the day we’d just signed with our first major distributor. Annamaria’s stock in the office was at its highest. Balloons and flowers and gift boxes appeared on her desk, along with a huge bottle of champagne sent over by the venture capitalists.
      After everyone had congratulated her and left for the day, she sat across a desk from me again, as she had on the night she’d asked me to promote her to marketing manager, only this time, she was the one behind the desk. Half chuckling to myself, I put my feet up on her desk.
      “Look at this,” she said, holding up the bottle of Dom Perignon. “It’s the real thing, and they’ve sent it to me. It just shows they know how real I am and what I’ve

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