Any Chance We Could Ch. 38byReindeer58©
This chapter is not meant to stand alone. Please begin at the first chapter to appreciate this tale.
Wednesday, October 31
At seven thirty Scott's cell rang and Veronica picked it up from the dresser and answered when she saw the caller ID was Grace. "Hi, stranger, I've missed you. ... Thanks, and how's your brother-in-law? ... Good. ... This morning? Sure, where? ... Eight? ... We may be a few minutes late, but we'll be there."
I'd just walked out of the bathroom and was tucking in my shirt when Veronica told me that Grace had just called and we were going to meet her for breakfast at the First Watch in the valley. As she hurriedly dressed, I went down to the den and found Grace's check and put it in my jacket pocket. Mary Claire had a cup of coffee waiting for me and both daughters got their usual morning embrace and ass squeeze. Mary Claire walked over to me, turned her back to me and said, "Me too, Dad."
"Grace just called. Your mother and I are going to meet her for breakfast. Katrina you need to be at the club by ten, Mary Claire and Ashley you can hang here until eleven-thirty or leave with your sister at nine-thirty," I reminded them.
Carol and Veronica came down about ten minutes later and I kissed Carol goodbye as we hurried out the door. I had grabbed the keys for Veronica's car so we went in that. At about five after we parked in front of First Watch and were greeted by Grace who stood from her booth when she saw us walking in. After hugs all around, we sat, quickly perused the menu and ordered. After a bit of small talk, Grace announced, "I have some good news and some not so good news."
"The good news is that my brother-in-law should make a complete recovery and I've fallen in love with Edith and she with me."
"Wow," I uttered surprised. I didn't know what else to say. I knew a bit about what happened in California but for the falling in love part, Veronica's story hadn't hinted that they were that serious. My fiancée seemed to be surprised as well by the quickness of it all.
"I know it's sudden. And truthfully it's caught us both off guard and we too are amazed by how rapidly our feelings developed for each other. I can't explain my feelings for her other than she and I've meshed emotionally and she's the person I've been looking for all my life. Edith wants us to travel together. She wants to show me sights she's seen and to explore new ones together. I'm leaving with her tomorrow to spend three weeks to a month at a villa in Tuscany. We fly into Rome where we'll spend a few nights before renting a car and driving to her villa. I guess we'll need to put the job I offered to take on hold. Truthfully, I won't be offended if you hire someone else. Sorry, if this is a disappointment to you."
"It is. I'll miss seeing you everyday. In fact, I have your bonus check with me," I said.
I passed the sealed envelope across the table and Grace opened it with unsteady hands. After pulling it out she said, "There seems to be a mistake. Payroll added an extra zero or two."
"No, no mistake, it's a million, just what Emerson and I agreed on," I said. "Grace you played a big part in our success and we believe you should share in those fruits. This doesn't include your pension, which by the way Emerson made an extra deposit into it last Thursday to bring your annual payment from the corporate pension plan to seventy-eight per cent of current salary and you'll be carried on the medical plan until you become eligible for Medicare."
Holding the check in both unsteady hands, she said, "I just never expected, ... never thought, ... that you'd give me this much. Maybe a year's pay, but not this much. I don't know what else to say except 'thank you'. Do I get to keep it in light of my not staying?" she asked with an unsteady voice.
"Grace, don't be silly. It's in recognition for what you've done for us, on the future at all. What you'd have been paid by me would've been on top of everything else. Grace, I suspect with what you've put aside over the years that you'll have a very comfortable retirement."
"You're right. My investment account is very healthy. I've learned much by listening to you and Emerson talk over the years," she smiled.
Grace finally folded the check and put it in her purse when our food came. We chatted at length about Edith and I asked her if she thought that Cheryl Babcock would be a good choice to run my household office. I also told her that I was interviewing a financial manager later today. She had the highest praise for Cheryl and said the only caveat would be her husband. "He was never too wild about her working, even though he travels quite a bit. He strikes me as over-compensating by constantly attempting to demonstrate that he's so manly. If she can avoid being distracted by her husband and his games, she'd do an excellent job. I've met her kids, very lovely daughter and a handsome son. Haven't seen them in a year though," Grace said.
While I was tempted to tell her that Cheryl was divorcing her husband, it wasn't public knowledge yet, so I'd not violate Cheryl's trust.
It was approaching nine-thirty when I grabbed the check and told her we needed to leave for the closing.
Veronica wished her well as we stood in front of the restaurant and she hugged and kissed us both. "Keep in touch," Veronica told her. "I'll put a piece of wedding cake in the freezer for you."
"I'm sorry I'll miss your wedding. You're both very fortunate to have found your soul mate. I strongly sense Edith may be mine. Love you both and I'll let you know when we're back in town. Dinner together, perhaps?" she sparkled as she turned to walk the opposite direction to her car.
Veronica and I got to the club a few minutes before ten and as we were standing in the lobby Katrina, Ashley and Mary Claire arrived. Emerson and Hazel were next and Kim and Gwen arrived just as Emerson's SUV was being driven to valet parking. Jack, Michael, Margaret and another man were next to arrive in a limo driven by Lauren. Michael introduced the other gentleman to Emerson and me as their attorney, Sanford Billing. I made an inquiry at the office and was told that room six was set up for us and that coffee and juice were waiting. As Emerson began directing everyone back to the room, Clairise Hoffman, Isadore's widow arrived in a cab and Cheryl pulled in right behind her. I went out and helped Clairise from the cab, and gave her a gentle friendly hug before she clung to my arm as we slowly walked in. "Bad hip, really should get the damned thing fixed," she offered as an explanation for her slow pace.
I rubbed her hand as we walked down the hallway. "Clairise, I warn you, if you do I get the first and second dance," I smiled.
"Scott, you're always the charmer," she smiled.
When we were just inside the door she tugged my arm and we stopped for a moment while she searched through her purse and withdrew an envelope and handed it to me. "Here, I should have given this to you in July right after Izzy died, but I forgot."
"What is it?" I asked.
"It's a formal letter of transfer of our sixteen seat private box at Busch Stadium. It's been approved by the Cardinals. I told them a little fib by telling them the box was staying in the family and you were Izzy's nephew." I nodded my understanding. She looked me in the eye, slightly squeezed my hand and smiled, "In a way I wasn't fibbing, you were like a close nephew to Izzy. And I appreciated how you always respected him and how you were constantly with him during those last days."
"Clairise, you're right. He was like a wise uncle, which makes you my glorious and gracious aunt...and I hope that I can still can visit you," I said before kissing her cheek.
In her indomitable style of being careful not to be too emotional she replied with a grin, "Now, now, enough of this nonsense. Regarding that box, now all you have to do is pay the annual fee. I've forgotten what it is, but you can probably scrape enough together to make it work. Redecorate it as you wish. I've taken a few collectables I wanted including the Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax autographed balls...now those three were great pitchers. Izzy would have wanted you to have the rest, including the signed pictures of him with Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, and a game bat signed by Joe Torre in 1971." As we began walking again to the meeting room she squeezed my hand again as a way to affirm that yes, I not only could but would be expected to visit her often.
As few steps later Cheryl came right behind me and walked alongside Clairise introducing herself. She then helped Clairise to her chair and sat next to her.
Emerson, Hazel, Veronica and I sat side by side at the table at the bottom of the 'U', Michael and Margaret were on Emerson's right. Kim, Gwen, my three daughters and Cindy who'd just arrived filled the leg on Veronica's left. Sitting on the leg to Margaret's right were Cheryl, Clairise, Cathleen, Jack, and Sanford. As the waiters were leaving after filling cups and glasses, Emerson stood and introduced everyone and announced that the purpose of today's meeting was to affirm by a shareholder vote the sale of Midwest Capital to CitiGroup for two hundred sixty five million dollars. Sanford polled the shareholders one by one, announced each person's share holding and recorded a unanimous vote in favor of the sale. Each shareholder signed their stock certificates and gave them to Sanford in exchange for two wire transfer receipts. One for the cash deposited to their designated bank account and the other representing the restricted stock transfer to the brokerage accounts at Edward Jones.
"We'd love to stay for awhile but we've got this new company to run so if you'll excuse us," said Michael standing. "Cheryl, why don't you stay for lunch."
Jack, Michael, Sanford and Margaret shook each hand around the table and Margaret called Lauren on her cell as they were leaving the room. Veronica nudged me and looked at Margaret's ass and legs. I followed her line of sight and noticed that Margaret was wearing seamed hose, the Cuban heel indicated garter stockings. "I thought I noticed a garter bump on her thigh when she got out of the car," remarked Veronica.
"Good for her," I smiled. I then stood and asked, "Cheryl, can Veronica and I talk to you for a few minutes?"
The three of us walked across the room and when we stopped, I said, "Cheryl, Grace was going to come work for me, ... us, but she's fallen in love and has declined the position. I don't want you to feel that you're a second choice, but I'd like you to consider being our personal secretary, household manager, executive assistant, purchasing agent or whatever we ask of you. No bottle washing, no windows, no floors or no cooking. I've watched you during the last week and you've very efficient. I'll pay you fifty percent more than you're making now, give you a car for personal use as well as to run errands for us, plus a twenty-five thousand dollar a year clothing allowance. I must warn you that Veronica or I could make clothing recommendations that would consume part of your clothing allowance."
"Are you serious. Gosh, Scott what an offer! Would I have to stop having sex with you, and you?" looking at Veronica.
"No, I'm afraid not, at least not on our account. It started before employment and isn't a condition of employment. Participate as much as you desire. Call it a fringe benefit if you will. For all of us," grinned Veronica.
"When do you want me start, should I give Michael a two week notice?" gasped Cheryl.
"With him telling you to stay for lunch I think the handwriting's on the wall. Did you notice anyone new wandering around your area this morning?' I asked.
"Yeah, I think I did. They were going to move me or fire me weren't they?" she frowned.
"I expect they'll make some aggressive changes in middle management jobs very quickly, so probably yes but they've not indicated who or when to either Emerson or me," I said.
"Well, fuck 'em. I'll resign right after lunch and start with you tomorrow. I don't do accounting though, will that be a problem?" Cheryl asked.
"No, we're interviewing a CPA this afternoon. Cheryl, may I make a suggestion?" When she nodded, I continued, "Hold off resigning today or even tomorrow, or leaving on your own before the customary notice. When Clairise is ready to leave, drive her home. When you get back to the office speak to Michael, apologize for the delay explaining you were taking Clairise home. Also mention that in the last two weeks you'd started to serve as my executive assistant while you were still the office manager and were wondering where you'll be working at the same level in the new organization.
"By mentioning your recent duties you'll provide him with the opportunity to tell you today his plan rather than later in the week or next week. He'll already have a settlement offer worked out, part of which'll be according to the purchase terms Emerson worked into the agreement, that anyone let go within sixty days will be given severance pay for three months. There's a similar clause for demoting someone too. But if you resign, the clauses don't apply and they'll keep what they were going to offer leaving you with only what's legally due you. If they're letting you go, accept their offer which is likely to be more generous in your case to keep you from making waves. Hence, by the end of the day, or tomorrow, you'd be free to accept my job offer. And as far as I'm concerned, your earlier statement is understood not as acceptance but as strong interest and that you'll get back to me by the end of the week. And Emerson and Hazel could also probably use you too. Tomorrow they're looking at the house next door."
"Yes, yes, yes, of course yes I'll consider it." She nodded with a smile, "I plan to get back to you after I talk to Michael, I can't imagine anything better than seeing both of you every day," grinned Cheryl almost jumping up and down. We both knew she'd take the position, but formal acceptance needed to wait a day or two at the most.
"We'll eagerly await your answer," laughed Veronica.
"Thank you. Let me go find Clairise and offer to take her home."
"Tell her that I've told you to take her home. Otherwise she may decline your offer," I smiled.
We both hugged her and Veronica invited her, Beth and Max to join us back here on Friday at seven for dinner and dancing.
"What's the dress?" asked Cheryl.
"Sexy," responded a grinning Veronica. "Call me for details later."
As we got back to the table the wait staff was taking lunch orders and I announced that I'd made a job offer to Cheryl and that she's considering coming to work for us in the near future. After the applause from my family died down, Emerson asked if he could talk to me later.
Cathleen and Cheryl were sitting on either side of Clairise and they were keeping each other entertained. I overheard some bits and pieces and they were reminiscing about the 'old days' when Isadore had first gotten involved with us. Kim and Katrina had their heads together and were constantly laughing and touching each other. Gwen and Ashley were acting similarly and occasionally would draw Cindy and Mary Claire into their levity. Suddenly Kim piped up to the assemblage, "Drinks are on the house, I'll buy the next two rounds. I've always wanted to say that, but now I can afford it." Everyone laughed and the waiters magically reappeared. "Not now," she told them, "Friday night when we're back here."
As things were winding down Veronica reminded Emerson and Hazel that they should drop by our house first and we'd go to the house next door with them. "We have a limo to take us to dinner, so dress for 'messing around' and why don't the two of you spend the 'rest' of the evening with us. We'll need a refresher on Hazel's rules before we play on Bryce Field. Interested?" cooed Veronica.
Emerson immediately answered, "Yes, who'll be the rest of the players, besides you two of course."
"Well, does it make a difference? But how about our three daughters and Carol. We could divide up into teams of four."
"If Hazel doesn't fuck me into a heart attack before then, count on us," grinned Emerson as Hazel grinned and vigorously nodded her head.
"Lauren Franklin, the CPA limo driver is meeting with us at two-thirty and I'll let you know this evening or tomorrow how that goes. You and Hazel might be interested in availing yourselves of her services," I told Emerson.
"Keep me posted I may just do that," he nodded. "And would it be possible to buy some of Cheryl's services too."
"Yeah, let's talk about her too," I agreed.
Cindy came over and kissed both Veronica and me and said her goodbyes, she needed to get back to work. Mary Claire asked for a ride home with us, Ashley and Katrina took off for Wash U to meet with Evie. Clairise did accept Cheryl's offered to take her home and I invited Cathleen to join us Friday night here, at seven.
Veronica in a soft voice said, "Call me, we'll talk about what to wear. These events have become one where all the females get the males aroused and then dance very closely ... and."
"Do women dance together?" asked Cathleen.
"Yep, no rules about who dances with who, or whom. It'll be fun. You'll be surprised at the 'new' Emerson and Hazel demeanor," I laughed.
"Okay, I'll be here. Veronica again ... are you sure about Saturday night?" she tentatively asked.
"Absolutely," replied Veronica.
The five of us were the last to leave and after Veronica and Hazel kissed the other's spouse and Mary Claire kissed both the Jacobsons we left for home.
Lauren arrived at two twenty-five and through the window I watched her walk towards the door. She was wearing her long hair, now a dark blond with a darker underlayer, down and wavy. The scooped neckline of the sweater under her unbuttoned suit jacket was appropriately form fitting and accentuated her breasts to their best advantage. Her skirt ended five inches above her knees was of a stretchy material that tightly hugged the curves of her hips and ass. Finishing off the outfit her legs were adorned with tan hose and three inch black pumps. Lauren looked sharp and sexy, yet also a very feminine professional. Veronica opened the door and invited her in. As she walked into the living room I caught a whiff of her delightful perfume. Reaching out to shake her hand I said, "Welcome to the inside of our house, nice to see you again."
Mary Claire wearing a more conservative French Maid outfit was in the kitchen making some snacks and producing some nice savory smells.
"Let's go into the den." I touched her elbow and led her in. Veronica sat on the couch and I offered either the couch or wingback to her. When she opted for the wingback I sat in the other one across from her and took the offered resume'.
"You're just as beautiful as you were Friday night, Mrs. Appleton."
"Please, it's Veronica and he's Scott, and thank you. You're very attractive yourself and I like the new hair color. Scott is very interested in your diverse skill sets and that's the reason you're here," said Veronica.
"Thanks, being a brunette was a brief interlude. I've also been a redhead."
I began, "Veronica and I are experiencing a lifestyle change. I've sold my company, I guess your dad told you, and as of today both my partner and I are 'retired' so to speak. Veronica and I want to put together a ten million dollar charitable foundation. More may be added later if other investments work well for us. Veronica may or may not go back into the real estate business, and I'll have a large portfolio to manage. We want to hire a secretary to handle correspondence, schedule our lives, pay approved bills and generally manage our household. We offered the position this morning to a highly efficient woman who worked for me and she is taking a day or two to consider the offer." She nodded her understanding.