Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! To Everyone: I’ll be traveling and don’t know the state of my wi-fi. I’d pre-schedule the next few posts, but I’ve been struggling with the smoothness of this episode. Many important things happen, and I don’t want to short-change any of the events. When I’m driving, I usually get good insights into the stories I’m writing. So there may be posts Thursday and Friday, and there may not 🙂
Conor stomped back to his office and slammed his door. Roy started blustering about showing Charisse the contract, but Conor yelled, “Shut up and sit down.”
Roy yanked the chair away from the desk and sat.
Conor walked around and sat on the other side. “We’re not talking about Charisse. Tell me about the ship.” He didn’t want to hear about the ship either, but there was nothing to do about Charisse right now except to give her space.
When she’d walked in and started talking about Ansel Adams, he’d wished he’d already shredded the contract, but that would’ve done no good. She was done with being too trusting. A small part of him wished he’d known her in her innocent days, but he also knew that whatever had happened to her was what made her so understanding of people now. She was the only person who had ever gotten him to talk willingly about Elise.
Roy said, “The ship was in a storm and lost communication and power. I tried to tell you the other day that I’d sent that one on a different route, but you wouldn’t listen to me. From what I hear, the captain did a fucking brilliant job keeping the crew focused, and they arrived at port today. Our stock went up considerably.”
“You got lucky,” said Conor.
“I didn’t get lucky. I chose the route and I hired that captain personally. I even remember his interview. I demand you give me back the contract with Charisse.”
“You’re in no position to demand anything,” said Conor in a quiet voice with a cold edge. “You still lost two other ships which we had to pay an outrageous ransom for. You’re not getting the contract, and if you’re lucky, you’ll keep your job.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? The stock is up. The company is bouncing back.”
“And the stock could drop just as easily tomorrow. I’m glad the ship and crew are all right, but you’re not getting the salon back ever. It’s Charisse’s. I’m giving it to her, which as her father should be enough for you.”
Roy slammed his hand on the desk. “You’d better give the salon to her and then stay the hell away from her. You’re the last person she needs in her life.”
“How long were you planning on keeping the contract with her like that? How long until you sold it to someone else?”
“Fuck you,” said Roy. He stood up and left the office, slamming the door behind him.
Conor stared out at the city, pushing back at the turmoil and calming himself. The rain seemed to have cleaned the sky and left it bluer than normal. Why then did he feel black and white like an Ansel Adams photo?
The end of summer—the time when he became a recluse in his Hamptons mansion. He hadn’t wanted to do that this year. He’d wanted to fight it off.
Charisse would love the mansion. He’d blended in hints of Versailles with modern furnishings and even had a shrubbery maze. He wanted to take her there and forget everything else. But her world had been shaken. He needed her to see beyond the contract and forgive his part in it. He needed to have patience.