Sunday Morning was spent relaxing. Patrice and Corrine had left for the airport, Diane and I left to go home. As it was not expected that Tamara and Sofia would be spending an extra day in the UK, they stayed the night with Dee and Zack.
Diane was still having difficulty sitting in the car on the way home and I teased her about. She complained that the worst point was exactly where four of her strokes met on the middle on each cheek. I said “That was what I felt like after Kathy gave me a pattern like yours a few weeks ago.”
The next morning we got ready as usual and it was as Diane put it ‘a little less frenetic’ without Tamara and Sofia.
I went into work and as soon as I had got to my office, I was summoned to see David, the managing director of my employer. I was asked to take a place at the meeting table when my immediate manager came into the office.
David started “I have had an unusual request and I have agreed to it. I am not in a position to give you much in the way of detail; however I can say that I have agreed that you should attend the Bustards board meeting this afternoon as a representative of our company. I know that there are some proposals that could involve work for this company. You have my permission to accept any consultancy work offered on our behalf.
“The reason I have agreed to this is simple. Charles, you are the only senior person here that has experience and knowledge of Bustards after your work there last year. I have also been told there may a surprise or two when a presentation is made to the board.”
“Umm, I think I know a little about the surprise, but not the details.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well for the last two weeks, Diane and I have had two foreign students stay with us while they had some work experience with Bustards. On Friday evening they gave Dee a document that outlined some findings that they had made. They have been asked to attend the meeting to present the findings to the board.”
“That explains a lot. Anyway, just remember you are authorised to accept any work that is offered to this company. Further, you will be heading up the team and will report only to me.”
I looked a little startled and my manager said “I only heard about this a few minutes before you joined us, and based on what David has said to me, it is definitely for the best for all of us.”
After the meeting broke up, I phoned Diane and asked if we could meet for lunch. She replied “Sorry, I have a stacked diary this morning as I have had to re-arrange everything to able to attend the meeting this afternoon.”
“That’s strange, I will be there too. I have just been told by the big boss to attend as well.”
I could her in Diane’s voice the amusement “Oh well, I think we will have to ensure Dee and Zack get their just desserts for this in due course.”
I arrived a few minutes early for the meeting and saw Zack was on his own in the meeting room. I said to him “What is going on, I have had my big boss talk to me this morning and I have not got a clue as to why I am needed.”
Zack replied mysteriously “Well, don’t worry. All should become clear later. All I know is that Dee has something up her sleeve and it is to do with the two girls.”
I replied, “well if it is such a surprise, then I hope Dee and you are prepared to accept the consequences when we next get together in a play environment.”
Zack spluttered a little when saying “I have not had much to do with this, so I have no problem agreeing to Dee paying for it at a play session.”
Once everyone had gathered in the meeting room, Dee started “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now resuming the meeting after the adjournment for lunch. I thank you all for re-arranging your diaries at short notice to stay on, but I feel that what we discuss this afternoon requires your consideration.
“I would like to introduce Charles, who helped us last year when we had our troubles. Also I welcome the two young ladies, Tamara and Sofia, who have been here on two weeks work experience with Diane. They provided Zack and me with a short report on Friday. I have asked them to explain their findings to you.”
Tamara and Sofia stood up and nervously started to present their findings. After a few minutes their nervousness had disappeared as it was clear that knew exactly what they were talking about. As they finished, there was a round of applause and a lot of thoughtful people sat around the table.
There were a lot of very detailed questions and they answered with ease. This lasted until one director who I knew was a well-respected fund manager said “Tell me, are you studying under Professor Stein at Lausanne?”
“Yes we are.” The girls replied in unison.
“I thought so; your presentation has all the hallmarks of the type of research and free thinking conclusions that he is so respected for.”
There was a lot more discussion before Dee proposed “I move that we ask Tamara and Sofia to work with us for a year with the resources of Charles’s company behind them. In that year I would like them to enlarge their studies to cover all departments in all stores and report in six months. Following that they and Charles’s company can oversee the implementation of any changes agreed by the board.”
The girls blushed, before saying “we still have another three months of studying to do.”
“No problem, then I would like to invite you to work for us for a year starting 1 August.”
They asked for and were given a few minutes to chat between themselves in another room. When they returned they asked “We thank you for the offer and are very tempted to accept immediately, but we would like to discuss this with our mentor before we make a decision.”
“No problem, why not go to Diane’s office and talk to him on the phone.”
While they were out of the meeting the board agreed, assuming that they accepted the offer, to offer my company a long consultative contract to oversee their work.
I was able to agree it immediately following the discussion with my boss earlier.
Tamara and Sofia returned and were able to agree to work with Bustards for a year. The meeting ended and we saw the girls off. Dee invited Diane and me to join her and Zack in her office.
We all sat round her meeting table and Dee said, before we talk about other things, there is just one extra bit from this morning’s meeting. She turned to Diane “It was agreed that there is to be a new addition to the board. There is to be a new director responsible for the oversight of the general management of stores. I proposed your name, then both Zack and I left the meeting. It took five minutes of us sitting outside before we were asked to re-join them and they announced that there was a unanimous decision to offer you the post after the meeting finished. So, the offer is a promotion to the board of Bustards as the retail director.”
Diane was shocked to say the least and looked at me. I just nodded as I knew she was capable of being effective in the job.
She thought for a few minutes before saying “I am minded to say yes, but would like to think about it.”
Dee smiled, “that is what I thought you would say, but I sincerely hope you will accept as I know you would be very effective. What may help is that one of the employee representatives said to me ‘Do whatever it takes to get her to take the position.’ So I am agreeing with him.”
Zack interrupted, “I was told about this and I agreed to it very quickly.”
Diane said, “OK. Now what about the girls, how on earth have you managed to persuade them to work here for a year when they are so devoted to Patrice.”
“That was not so easy, we had a long discussion over dinner and then we all talked to Patrice and Corrine on the phone. When they had gone to bed, I then outlined my thoughts to Patrice and with Zack’s permission I have agreed to certain arrangements that you and the others will be party to. I can say, I am not quite as enamoured as I will, on at least one occasion, have difficulty sitting down for a few days. As the girls have agreed to work for Bustards, my first penalty is to be performed at the wedding in ten days, and I am rather nervous about it.”
We departed and after a lot of discussion in the car and at home Diane said to me, “I really cannot find an excuse not to do the job. However Dee needs to pay over next weekend. However before that let’s play one of our games to see who has two playthings.”
I laughed, “well if she joins us on Friday after work, why don’t we play the game at dinner and then she can find out who is in charge.”
“I love that idea.”
Diane rang Dee and told her of the decision and that she had to be here on Friday afternoon.
Just before I was to leave the office, I got a call from Dee. She nervously asked “Did you know I have to meet you at the station with nothing but a coat and a pair of shoes?”
“Yes, I will see you there in a few minutes. Diane will be at home when we get there. Oh, don’t forget just a coat and shoes. Nothing else.”