A Man Among WomenbyDinsmore©
Virginia had something on her mind. "Well, Bob, I had been detecting some, `tremors in the force' as the `dark side' raised its ugly head but from what I've been hearing the, young 'Jedi' has triumphed. Nice work." He'd had no idea that Virginia was a Star Wars aficionado.
The presentation went off brilliantly. Virginia needed to add some pieces of her own personality to it, but the changes were minor. The four worked together into the night to finalize it. The next day they pitched it to the executive committee---all were sworn to secrecy.
The four then took the show on the road, pitching it to board of directors, key analysts, potential lenders and major stock holders. Each had input, particularly as far as the financial pieces would fit, but it was a winner. Rumors leaked out and the stock price benefited from those leaks.
Two weeks later it was time to bring the troops in for the final presentation---to those who would have to buy in completely and execute the plan. It was agreed that all management folks at every level would hear it together. Virginia would deliver the opening address and announce Bob's promotion to Vice President as she introduced him. Bob would make the majority of the presentation. The top four under Virginia would then add their glowing comments. What was needed was more than consensus. What was needed was total buy in by everyone in the room.
Bob wondered, as he looked out over the sea of faces, close to five hundred, mostly female, if there had ever before been such a stunning array of women assembled in one room. Beauty and brains were in abundance. He'd met the majority of them and as was his style, had filed little bits and pieces away in his mental Rolodex.
A little over an hour later, Bob was done. There were certainly seeds of doubt in the room and some who just wouldn't be able to adapt, but overall he'd hit a home run. Molly was the last of the four to follow Bob.
"You knocked `em dead, champ!" She whispered in his ear as she prepared to add her piece.
After the formal part of the program, there was lunch. In the afternoon and during the following two days, groups would break out in separate rooms to develop questions and answers as well as ascertaining what and who fit where in the new organization chart. He'd seen Megan several times and had a chance to chat with her over lunch on one of the days. Mary sidled up to him between sessions the next afternoon.
"You want her, don't you?" Mary asked.
"You want to steal Megan from me and bring her in to work on the steering committee. I'm more than okay with that. I need to have someone up here to look out for my interests. She's the best of my brood and, going back to our conversation a number of weeks ago, she's exactly what you're looking for."
A permanent steering committee based at the home office was formed. They in turn would communicate regularly with the larger task force which included all key senior managers and actually meet with them every couple of weeks somewhere around the country.
Bob had originally planned to ask the senior VP who had been on board from the start to be a part of the permanent steering committee but chose Molly instead; they had become good friends and worked well together. And he got Megan along with a dozen or so other managers from every level.
Over the ensuing months and weeks there were hurdles and setbacks, but within a year, the new organization was in full tilt. The new products were being well received, existing outlets were adjusting, begrudgingly to the rule changes, and the stock was taking off. Virginia ended up on the cover of several business publications. Bob's name was being whispered in inner circles across the business world. He started receiving calls from corporate recruiters wanting to snake him away. He politely ignored them.
Mary was promoted and came to the home office to replace the expected retiree. She suggested that Megan would be the right choice to replace her in Dallas. Virginia agreed. Bob would miss her both professionally and personally. She had been critical to the success of their enterprise. He had also grown very fond of her.
It was on that Friday night like so many others, as he and his team trudged out to their cars after a very long day of work that it happened. As was often the case, he and Megan ended up being the last to leave. As they prepared to say goodnight, they were in each others arms. They were still in each others arms the following morning and virtually every morning for the next week. They were desperately, madly and hopelessly in love.
For Bob, Megan had always been special. For Megan, their time working together had allowed her to get past hero worship and see Bob simply as the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. The thought of being separated following her impending promotion was more than either could stand. And so it was a few weeks later that Bob went into Virginia's office early one morning to tender his resignation.
"Virginia, we've always been absolutely straight with each other so give me a chance to explain the, `why' before you throw something at me. I'm in love; it had to happen some day. I'm hopelessly and madly in love. Megan deserves that promotion to Dallas and I couldn't stand in her way---but I don't want to spend another day of my life without her. I can't be here and have her there. Commuting romance doesn't cut it. So..."
"You're pretty dumb sometimes for a smart guy." Virginia quipped. "Love must have clouded your senses. Hell no I'm not accepting your resignation! We'll work something out. We've got spin offs to do and someone has to run them; the structure is getting unwieldy to handle from a single central location. Hell we've got instant communications, conferencing, email and all that stuff! This is the computer age, in case you've forgotten. Have you set a date---have you even proposed? Men!" Virginia said in mock disgust.
"Proposed, yes, ring, yes. Date, sooner rather than later, with her folks mulling over the possibilities."
"Well, first, congratulations! You make a gorgeous couple. And you've shared some experiences that most of us can't even imagine. My bet is yours will be one of the ones that makes it for a very, very long time. Second, go to Dallas with your bride to be! That's where you belong. There's extra office space there. Hell, you could find another job, maybe a better one---you're in demand. I don't want to lose you over this silliness. You can work out of Dallas. Most of the times you and I need to get face to face you'll probably end up flying here together. We'll make it work---you let me worry about that! You worry about becoming a husband."
It was settled. Bob and Megan moved to Dallas together and found a home. They were married three months later with Virginia as their matron of honor and many of their colleagues from the company in attendance.
Bob ultimately ended up heading one of the spin-offs, a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent company. Virginia's wedding present consisted of a substantial ownership position in the newly formed corporation. She knew she owed that special man more than she could ever repay him, but it was a start. And she too had grown to love him like the son she had never had.
Megan stayed with the company in Dallas and became a Vice President. She took brief leaves to give birth to three children, two girls and a boy. After her third child was born, she retired from corporate life and devoted all of her time to being a mommy. Well, most of her time, at least. The remainder of her waking hours were devoted to the special man she had fallen in love with so many years before, flying over that God forsaken country one night, scared to death, with a brave young soldier clinging to life on the floor behind her seat. She'd known it in her heart that night.
And so, when he thought about it, had he. Megan had always been special, his favorite, and the best he had ever had the privilege of serving with. It had just taken him a little longer to realize that she was also the only woman he would ever love and the one in whose arms he would spend the rest of his life.