Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
A Little Matter of Sabotage ...
After a fairly hectic morning, Erma summons Ava into her office. Upon arriving, she discovers that her boss is neither alone nor does she look very happy.
“You look upset, is there anything wrong?” Ava questions.
“Ava, please have a seat. You remember Ralph Murdock, don’t you?” Ava walks over to extend him her hand. They shake firmly.
“Hello Ralph, glad to finally meet you in person. I’ve always admired your negotiating skills.” Ava admits to the legendary mediator as she finds a seat next to him.
“Thanks, Ava. I’ve heard quite a bit about you as well.” Ralph replies disconcertingly. Erma picks up some papers from her desk, then hands them to Ava.
“Ralph has been in negotiations with Akira Haru of Yamamoto Intl on behalf of Westbrook Ltd since you were unable to attend.” Ava slightly winches at the mild rebuke.
“He’s learned that Fairchild Enterprises is also interested in representing Yamamoto Intl in this international trade agreement.” Erma says while Ava continues to read the information handed to her.
“In fact, it would seem that Mr. Fairchild has been spreading disparaging remarks regarding both your missing that important meeting in Hong Kong and Westbrook Ltd.” Ralph interjects.
“I see—and what does Mr. Fairchild base his evidence on that I am an unreliable team player? And that Westbrook Ltd would be a poor choice?” Ava struggles to remain calm.
“It was leaked out that you were gone for fourteen days. Just dropped everything and high-tailed it off to parts unknown. And right before a very strategic meeting” Ralph retorts much perturbed.
“It was a much needed therapeutic endeavor.” Ava defends.
“Hey, don’t get me wrong—I think your ex is a pompous ass but as they say, you don’t want to give fuel to the fire.” Ralph replies and Ava relaxes a bit.
“This is why I am putting you back on the Yamamoto Intl agreement. I want you to work closely with Ralph, Ava. He will still resume the lead in these negotiations and you will be there for damage control. I will not have Greg Fairchild either damaging the integrity of my organization or one of my star players.” Erma shakes her fist into the air.
“It would seem that Greg Fairchild is hellbent on destroying Ava—even if it means discrediting Westbrook Ltd as well—” Ralph doesn’t go any further, when he observes the look on Ava’s face.
“Don’t worry, Ava. Remember, Ralph is one of the shrewdest international negotiators in the Northern Hemisphere. He was my first choice for this negotiation, but he turned it down.” Erma informs Ava.
“Why Ralph?” Ava is curious to know.
“My wife has Breast Cancer.” Ralph rejoinders. Ava drops her pen and grabs Ralph’s arm.
“I’m so sorry, Ralph. How is your wife—Margie?”
“That’s right, Margie. She’s doing exceptionally well, and the doctors say it’s due to the fact that I am there to give her emotional support. I didn’t want to leave her at such a crucial time in her life to go overseas but when Erma said it was an emergency—” Ralph pauses.
“I’m so sorry, Ralph. It was just something I need to do.” Ava admits contritely—feeling a tinge of regret.
“It’s alright, Ava. Margie’s sister is more than happy to help out and so am I. That divorce of yours was a nasty one. We’ll beat that scoundrel at his own game!” Ralph pledges.
“Bottom line is that Gregory never took your divorcing him easy. He expected you to remain in his shadow. However, when you started to make a name for yourself with my organization and people started to accept you as a competent negotiator—” Erma recites and Ralph interrupts.
“That pulled on his male ego. First, you get a job at a rival company.”
“He refused to hire me.” Ava interjects but Ralph keeps his train of thought.
“And second, you are doing a bang-up job for Westbrook Ltd. A company owned and operated by a woman and is in the Fortune 500. Hell, Westbrook Ltd is in the Fortune 25.” Ralph proclaims and Erma can’t help but burst into a very big grin.
“What we need to do is find out everything we can to use as leverage against Fairchild Enterprises. We’ve got to turn the tables back into our favor.” The wheels of conspiracy are beginning to churn in Erma’s mind.
“Well—what are we waiting for Ava, come on into my office. See you later boss!” Ralph rises from his chair and Ava follows close behind. In his office, Ava takes a chair and begins to search the web for information.
It is after 7:30 pm when Ava and Ralph complete their tentative compilation of Fairchild Enterprises and some of their worldwide interest. The tired duo step towards the door.
“Maybe I should escort you to your office, Ava. It’s getting pretty late and you shouldn’t leave here, alone.” Ralph offers.
“I’ll be fine, Ralph. You get home to that wife of yours. You’re one in a million, sir.” Ava acknowledges.
“I’m just a man who loves his wife, I’m sure there are still quite a few of us in existence.” Ralph states as he clicks off the light and follows Ava to the elevator.
The elevator door opens and it’s Gregory Fairchild IV who steps out. As usual, he is in a condescending mood.
“Well, well, well, there you are. I heard that you’d gotten back in town. I’ve been trying to contact you but it seems you’ve been occupied.” Greg replies suggestively, giving the two individuals a knowing wink.
“It’s not what you think, Greg.” Suddenly Ava feels extremely tired.
“Oh, it isn’t?” Greg shoots back. This gets Ralph into the conversation.
“No it isn’t. What did you do, bribe the security guard?” Ralph moves in front of Ava.
“I don’t have to sell myself to get ahead.” The remark almost gets Greg a slap in the face from Ava, but Ralph steadies her hand.
“That’s not necessary, Ava. I’ll have security accompany Mr. Fairchild out. Since this is after hours, I suggest that you make an appointment to discuss whatever business you have with Ms. Fairchild then. We don’t do walk-ins.” Ralph pushes past Gregory and Ava follows. The elevator closes before Greg can give his rapid response.
“Thanks, Ralph.” Ava expresses as she leans back against the wall.
“Like I told you before, you are not the only one who thinks that man’s a pompous ass. Now may I follow you to your office?” Ralph inquires.
“Please do.” Ava responds.
Reaching the eleventh floor, they exit and hurry to Ava’s office. She quickly gets her things together and locks the door behind her. Ralph notices that Gregory has just gotten off the elevator and ushers Ava to the back stairs.
“We’ve got a lot of stairs to cover.” Ava chuckles.
“Not if we go to the next floor and take the service elevator to the parking garage. I’d imagine you aren’t up to round two with that moron.” Ralph speculates.
“You got that right, Ralph. Let’s go straight to the parking garage. Why doesn’t that man just leave me alone.” Ava laments.
“You heard Erma. He can’t abide your success. He can’t believe you’d get along this well without him.” Ralph explains.
“And in the beginning—I didn’t. It was only after my trip that I discovered who I really am. He should have moved on when he married that woman—Holly.” Ava says bitterly.
“He married Holly to spite you. Don’t blame her.” Ralph admonishes Ava.
In the garage, Ralph walks Ava to her car.
“See you in the morning, Ava.” Ralph says.
“See you tomorrow, Ralph.” Ava replies. As she pulls away from the parking spot she observes an angry Gregory glaring at her.
To Be Continued …
It Calls to Me: The Sea 7
- It Calls to Me: The Sea 7
After work, Ava spends a very relaxing evening on the telephone with Jared. She’s shared with him the events of the day and as expected he is quite perturbed with her ex-husband. Meanwhile, Gregory Fairchild IV is surprisingly waiting for Ava.
© 2020 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS