Family & Friends Series

Alex

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

2008 All rights reserved

Part Three

 

The GW Stevens' corporate jet picked up Alex and Terry in Atlanta and flew them directly to the West Chester County Airport where they transferred to a MacDonald-Stevens helicopter for their trip to the Retreat. They landed at the Retreat thirty minutes later.

Mike Lee and two of the staff were waiting at the landing pad to greet them. Mike hugged Alex, "It's good to see you again. You look great."

Alex made the introductions as they walked to the house. Mike said, "The boss is still tied up. He asked me to take you to your villa first in case you wanted to freshen up. Your bags will be unpacked by the time you return later. I'll take you to the library to meet the boss as soon as you're ready. You can change into something more comfortable later. Tonight is casual dress." He waited for them in the sitting room while they used the facilities. "I'll show you the way to the manor through the underground tunnel so you can find your way back here later."

"Mac should be finished with his meeting," Mike said. "You guy's must rate. It's not that often the big boss will let Mac work on the weekend. Your visit is the exception to the rule. Mac is a workaholic and would work twenty hours a day seven days a week if Drew didn't stop him."

Mike led them into the spacious library. Several men were seated around a large table. Mac was seated at the head of the table. Mac rose as Mike lead Alex and Terry into the room.

"Gentlemen welcome, I'm Mac Stevens. Would you make the Introductions, Mike?"

Mike introduced Terry and Alex. Mac extended his hand, "Please, call me Mac. I'm glad you were able to join us this weekend. Now let me introduce you to my partner and some of our friends," Mac said. He introduced them to John Chang, R.W. Nelson and Karl Landsdorf. "If you gentlemen will excuse us, I want to give Alex and Terry a quick tour of the grounds."

Mac led them out the front door of the mansion. "Kim is our complex manager. He will drop by your villa later and chat with you about the security and all that," Mac said. "He will make sure you have everything you need and answer any questions you may have."

"Our meeting is set for ten o'clock tomorrow morning at the office complex," Mac said. He gave them the rundown on the evening schedule and the normal Saturday morning routine. "If either of you like to work out in the morning, you're welcome to join me tomorrow at the sports building at five-thirty."

"Drew and I would like to take you on the grand tour of the complex tomorrow morning around nine if you're interested." Mac said. "Breakfast is served in the main dining room from 8:00 A.M. on, or you can call room service if you elect to have breakfast in bed. Let me walk you back to your villa."

"Well gentlemen, if you'll excuse me I'm off to the nursery to visit with my kids," Mac said. "My son Lance will be joining us for dinner tonight. The reason I mention Lance is that he has a temporary speech problem that I hope you won't feel uncomfortable with. He slurs his words at times. His brain works faster than his new jaw, I'm afraid. Lance is recovering from a bad automobile accident that messed up his face badly and everything is not working perfectly.

"Now I'll leave you alone so you can relax before dinner. Cocktails in the music room at five thirty," Mac said. "I promise to do a better job at being a host for the rest of your visit."

                                 

Very pleasant guy," Alex said. "I had forgotten about that tragic automobile accident. His wife and chauffeur were killed. His son, unborn baby daughter, and bodyguard survived."

Kim arrived a few minutes later and gave them a rundown on the electronics and telephone system.

"Should we wear our jackets to dinner?"

"No sir, the Stevens' usually like to relax on the weekend, jackets and ties are not required."

"How many children does Mac have?"

"Mr. Mac has four and Mr. Stevens has two," Kim replied. "Mike and Pete each have two. Maybe you will see them at Sunday brunch. Mr. Stevens has established a Sunday tradition of religious services and brunch. Everyone is welcome: the staff, families and guests. Sometimes this place is packed on a Sunday, depending on the guest speaker. Mr. Stevens invites a different religious leader every Sunday. Even the townspeople are invited to attend on those special services. We've had some very noted world leaders in the last four years. The Catholic mass is said at four every Saturday in the chapel located in the Office Complex."

"Is Mac married?" Alex asked.

"Yes sir."

"Who is the lucky person?"

"That is a question you must address to Mr. Stevens."

"How long have you known Mac?"

Kim smiled, "Six years now."

"I am curious about him," Alex said. "He is an industry giant, yet he comes across as you're next door neighbor. What can you tell me first hand about him?"

"Mr. Mac is one of the finest people you will ever meet. You are right about him," Kim said. "He is unpretentious and treats everyone with respect and kindness. We all admire him. He is a very unusual and gifted man. Mac is our protector; he watches over everyone. He is sincere and treats each of us like a member of his family. He never forgets a birthday and he is the first one to help if you're sick, or in trouble. You must be special to be invited to the Retreat for a long weekend."

"Thanks Kim, it's obvious you think very highly of him and I appreciate your comments. I know he has an excellent reputation in business."

"Mac is like a son to me and I take good care of him," Kim said. "His son Lance is my second son. He is just like Mac and one day he'll be the big boss. If you need anything at all, please contact me on the cell phone. You can find my number on the touch pad." Kim left.

Alex said, "Very interesting. Did you observe Kim when he spoke about his little family? He is dedicated to this family. It's refreshing to see these wholesome values in a household. We must take that into consideration down the road."

When Terry and I arrived in the music room a little after five, Mac was playing a Beethoven piano concerto, accompanied by a symphony orchestra that was prerecorded on digital CD. Drew greeted us and led us over to where he was sitting. Drew introduced Pete Schneider and Lance who were seated next to Drew.

"Mike Lee said he would join us around six," Drew said. "He's spending some quality time with his children. Come and sit with us."

The butler came over and took their cocktail requests. Alex sat in the chair next to Lance. "Your father told me that you are recovering from a rather bad automobile accident."

"Yes sir, I was one of the lucky ones, my bodyguard, Pat McCormick is still having problems, but he is expected to make a full recovery. Uncle Mike told me that you graduated from the Naval Academy."

"Yes, that's right," Alex said.

"That is quite an achievement, Mr. Savage. I've always wanted to talk to a Naval Academy graduate to find out if they are as strict on the cadets as I've read." Lance said. "The stories I've read paint a grim picture about the hazing and the tough code of discipline the cadets must follow."

"They were pretty shocking to me in the beginning. I was eighteen years old when I entered the Academy," Alex said. He went on to explain the theory behind the hazing and the tough treatment they go through for the first year. Mac strolled over and took a seat next to his son. He told them about his stint at the academy and of his short tour of duty on board a nuclear attack submarine under the ice pack.

"That was an interesting story, Mr. Savage, thanks for sharing that with me," Lance said. "Dad, would you have liked to have attended the Academy?"

"Yes Lance, but I was needed on the farm. Don't think it wasn't on my mind. I was accepted to enter West Point, but couldn't go because of my dad's poor health, at the time. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't attend. I'm sure the Academy wouldn't have taken me back in if I had taken that year off to help my dad."

Mike arrived and sat with the group until they all went into the dining room for dinner.

"Karl and I would like to invite the four of you over for cocktails and one of my special Chinese dinners tomorrow evening, unless you have something special planned, Mac."

"As far as I know we have nothing planned, we would be delighted to have one of your special meals."

"Great! Let's plan on five o'clock then. Karl and I are going to say goodnight. Thank you for an enjoyable evening, Drew."

Alex finished his brandy, "Gentlemen if you'll excuse me, I'm starting to fade. I've a five-thirty appointment tomorrow morning with Mac."

"Great, I'll be there," Mac said.

"I think I will call it a night also," Terry said, "it's been a pleasant evening, thank you for everything."

When Terry and Alex returned to the villa they undressed and elected to sleep in the large master bedroom with the king sized bed. We climbed in bed together and snuggled up close to each other.

"I'm impressed with everyone and everything so far," Alex said. "When Mike said this place was unusual, I never thought it could be this humongous. Drew must own the whole mountain range. I understand now what Mac meant when he mentioned the loving care Drew took in designing this complex, it's magnificent."

"Did you have a chance to take a close look at the antique furniture and the paintings hanging in the music room and dining room?" Terry asked. "Mac happened to mention in passing, that every canvas hanging in this complex is an original."

"My God Terry, the paintings in those two rooms alone are worth millions. You must admit they are great hosts, they really make you feel welcome."

If I didn't know better, I would find it hard to believe that Mac is the high power captain of industry that I've read about," Terry said. "He comes across as one of the most unassuming man I've ever met. But I can detect steel beneath that sophisticated charm. I've noticed how he picks up on every detail. He was fully aware of a project I worked on several years ago in the Far East. Not only did he know of the project, but he offered his own opinion on how he would have handled the project. The guy is sharp; it's easy to see how he rose to power. It's obvious he had dug deeply into my background."

"Now I understand why Mike said not to underestimate the guy," Alex said. "We better take his advice and are completely open with him. I don't know why, but I have this strange feeling that he can see right through me. It's obvious we are dealing with a very powerful man, and the die has already been cast on this deal."

♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦

The dinner party ended shortly after Alex and Terry left. The rest of the group all went their separate ways. Mac made his nightly visit to Lance's suite. The bedroom door was ajar; this meant that he was still awake. Lance was reading in bed. Mac walked in and sat next to him. "What did you think of our guests?"

"I liked them, dad. They are interesting. Mr. Stonewall is a bit more laid-back than Alex. He reminds me a little of Uncle Drew. Alex is more friendly and outgoing, yet he has a rapid thought process, an excellent analytical mind and he is an Alpha male like you Dad. The exact attributes you would expect from a Naval Officer. They are both the caliber of executives you hire. Alex is definitely the dominant of the two men. Did you know that Alex is a linguist? He's fluent in Spanish and German as well."

"No, but that is certainly a plus in our business," Mac said.

"Sounds as if you have already made up your mind about them, Dad." Lance laughed, "You know you haven't added any new divisions for some time. Are you going to make Mr. Stonewall an offer he can't refuse?"

Mac laughed, "You know me too well, but you're right." Mac got up and kissed Lance on the head. "I had better keep an eye on you. Now you're anticipating my next move. Good night son, it looks like I need all the sleep I can get to stay ahead of you."

Drew was in bed reading when Mac joined him in the bedroom. He brushed his teeth, undressed, and slipped into bed. He pulled Drew into his arms and kissed him. "What are you thinking about, baby?"

"I was thinking about Alex and Terry. They're a handsome couple, don't you think?"

"Ah, you reached the same conclusion that I did? They are a couple. Terry is careful in hiding his feelings, but I saw the way he looked at Alex. They would make a welcome addition to our circle of friends, even if they don't join us."

"I'm surprised Mike never mentioned that," Mac said. "That is so unlike him."

"Maybe he doesn't know," Drew responded. "Didn't you say that Alex and Mike were in the service together and both were married at the time?"

"That's right; they haven't seen each other for over two years." Mac lifted Drew on top of his naked body.

"It's about time you took advantage of me. I've been anxiously waiting to be ravished by you all evening."

He kissed Drew very passionately until he felt Drew's erection. "I want to feel you deep inside me tonight my love."

♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦

Mac awoke at four thirty. Drew was cuddled up next to him with his head next to Mac's. Mac kissed him on the cheek, covered him with the blanket, and slipped out of bed. He changed into his workout sweats and headed for the new sports complex. He switched on the lights and began his workout. Ten minutes later Alex appeared and began his workout. By five thirty, Mac had completed his last set and headed for the showers.

After Alex finished his set, he headed for the showers as well. Mac was in the whirlpool with his eyes at half-mast. Alex remembered what the house rules stated about the use of the whirlpool and sat with Mac until the timer went off.

Mac woke up at the beep of the timer going off "Oops, I must have dozed off," Mac said. "Thank you for keeping an eye on me. I broke one of Drew's cardinal rules. I make it a habit to stay out of the whirlpool if I'm alone."

"That's okay; you only had 10-minutes left on the timer anyway."

"Would you mind handing me a towel, Alex?" Mac got out, dried himself, and put on one of the robes that were stacked next to the towels. Alex undressed and walked into the shower room.

Mac was at the mirror blow-drying his hair when Alex joined him. "You're welcome to use the hair dryer if you wish."

"I never had time for those things in the Navy. I still keep my hair cut short for that very reason. About all I had time for in the military was to grab a quick shower and brush my teeth. I always shaved before I hit the sack. It became a habit since then and I never saw a reason to change."

"I used to think the same way until it was suggested that I improve my image after I joined the GW Stevens Company. Drew has a dress code for his young executives and I've followed that policy ever since. Of course, I'm not disappointed with my new image."

"Are you trying to tell me in a nice way that I should change my image?"

"No, not at all Alex, what I'm suggesting is that you may wish to change your image to adapt to the style of the business executives you will be associating with in the future," Mac said. "You're an attractive man and you should use that to your advantage. Your image is very important if you want to be accepted by these high-powered businessmen. I feel that you have the potential to do well in business and it never hurts to wrap your talent in a neat package. That's what the big boys call, projecting a positive image."

"I guess I have a lot to learn if I'm to fit into your world," Alex said. "Right now I'm more concerned about how this meeting will turn out with you later this morning. I want to see Terry come out of this mess in one piece. He has worked hard to get where he is and I don't want to see him lose everything."

"I'm a tough-minded businessman, Alex. The big boys play ball with me because I'm a winner. I'm tough and have earned their respect. I'm an honest executive and have never taken unfair advantage of any man, much less a man who is in trouble. I won't waste my time on any project that does not fit into my overall corporate business plan. My family and my employees expect me to do my best to build a strong corporation and I feel that it's my responsibility to do my best until my replacement is found. If Terry's petrochemical complex makes good sense, all the better. But I won't know that until I sit down with him this morning. You've worked closely with Terry. Do you think he can manage a 500-million dollar petrochemical project?"

"You lost me somewhere Mac. Stonewall Engineering is a construction firm. Terry designs and builds the petrochemical plants. After the plant start-up is over his work is finished. If you're asking me if Terry can build the plant, and complete it on schedule, the answer is yes. I honestly cannot answer for his experience in the operations of a petrochemical plant. I know he is a PE and is an excellent manager. He has a proven record of accomplishment in business. I personally feel that Terry could manage any plant he has built."

"No matter how this weekend turns out business wise," Mac said, "Drew and I would like to keep you two as friends. We plan to have you back again when you can spare the time. Keep that in mind for the future. Let's get back to the house. I would like you and Terry to join us for breakfast."

"We would like that, what time?"

"Let's plan on meeting at eight o'clock in the dining room."

"We'll be there. Do you mind answering a personal question for me?"

"It depends on the question," Mac replied.

"Are you married, Mac?"

"Yes, Drew is my spouse and we've been married for six years now. My marriage to Lenore was a marriage of convenience for the children's sake. My only adopted child is Lance. The other children are mine from surrogate mothers."

"I can't believe that you're not Lance's natural father. He is like you in every way," Alex said.

"Lance is a unique and very special young man. We're still trying to trace down his mother's background. We're convinced that Lance is actually my first cousin on my mother's side of the family. After his automobile accident Lance asked his uncle Scott to make him look like me. I feel blessed to have a son like Lance. We have an excellent father-son relationship. You can't help but admire Lance; he is an extraordinarily brave young man."

"It's obvious he feels the same way about you," Alex said. "His mannerisms, his speech patterns and build are exactly like yours. According to Kim he's like you in every way including your brains and talent."

"How long have you and Terry been lovers?"

"We became a couple two weeks ago but have been lovers over six months," Alex said. "I never knew true love until I found Terry. These last six months have been the best I have ever known. How did you know?"

"It was an educated guess on my part. Drew is the one that figured it out. One question: does Mike know you and Terry are a couple?"

"No, I don't think Mike is even aware that I'm divorced from my first wife, let alone that I'm gay. I haven't seen him in over two years. Our friendship goes back to our service days. We worked together on several assignments. The friendship didn't extend into our private lives. We're planning to spend some time together this afternoon to talk over old times. We knew a lot of the same people and things in the spook business that we can't discuss with outsiders. He was with the Agency and I was with Naval Intelligence. We both had to take an oath not to discuss our work with outsiders."

Mac turned off all the lights as they left the building. "Do you plan to tell him about your new life?"

"Only if the topic does come up, I'm not ashamed of my orientation, or of my relationship with Terry."

"Good. We have to be careful who we confide in. There's a lot of hate out there for men like us. See you at breakfast."

It was still dark outside when Mac returned to bed. Drew was lying in the same position as before. He undressed and crawled into bed next to Drew. He pulled him into his arms and kissed him. He gently rubbed his chest and massaged his testicles and penis. It was not long before Drew responded to his affection.

Drew opened his eyes, reached up and kissed Mac. "Good morning, sweetheart, you smell so good and feel even better."

They made love and fell asleep again. The warm sunlight shining on Mac's face woke him up. He leaned over to the control panel and pressed the control that closed the curtain. Drew was still asleep with his head on the pillow. Mac smiled, and kissed him on the cheek. He thought to himself, 'I never thought it was possible to love Drew more today then I did six years ago.' "Thank you God for all your blessings." He recalled his concerns about how the children might adversely affect their marriage. How wrong he was. The children have made their relationship even stronger. It made their quality time together more precious. The love they share with the children is yet another outlet for their love. Mac is content and happy with his marriage with Drew and they both love their children dearly.

Drew opened his eyes and saw Mac smiling. "What is my beautiful farm boy grinning at this morning?"

"I was thinking about how much I love you, and how happy you've made me."

Drew kissed him, "I knew that married life with you would be great, but I never thought I could be so happy. God has been good to us, my love."

"Yes sir, God has been very good to us. We have not had a chance to discuss Terry," Mac said. "What do you think of him?"

"He appears to be intelligent and well mannered from what I've been able to observe. I'm sure you have already checked him out."

"You bet. I had a chat with Alex this morning. He's convinced that Terry can handle any project. Of course he is prejudiced when it comes to Terry."

Drew smiled, "There was never a doubt in my mind that they are lovers; you could say I'm a mind reader."

Mac laughed, "I'd had better watch you two. Both you and Lance are getting better every day at mind reading."

After breakfast, Mac and Drew took Terry and Alex on a tour of the grounds surrounding the Retreat, then drove an electric cart to the office building for their meeting. They took a short trip through the entire complex ending at Mac's office on the top floor.

"I'll wait in the lounge while you men discuss business," Alex said.

"Terry if you have no objections, I would like Alex to join us," Mac said.

"I've no objections; if wasn't for Alex we wouldn't be sitting here today."

"Good. I'm a firm believer in putting everything on the table," Mac said. "I have no hidden agenda and I've made it a policy to be completely honest and above board in my dealings. With that said, let me explain our objectives and why we should become partners. Terry, there is very little I don't know about you and Stonewall Engineering. I'm aware of your present construction projects and your business dealings with the Cartel."

Mac went on to explain to Terry about the MacDonald-Stevens business in the South American markets and of the company's growth in that market area. He gave them a detailed report of the Cartel's participating members and their political connections with the Brazilian government. He told them of his plan to neutralize the Cartel by using the Stonewall contract to force the Cartel out and take over the entire contract. He explained why he wanted the refinery and how it would fit into the Navarro and Rothacher Divisions.

"My plan is to make Stonewall Engineering a division of the MacDonald-Stevens Corporation. Stonewall will continue to operate independently as it always has under your leadership. The only exception is that you will be able cut your overhead by 15 percent a year as our partner. In addition, Stonewall will have first refusal on all construction contracts for all the divisions of MacDonald-Stevens. We will determine the present dollar value of your firm and issue you MacDonald-Stevens stock of equal value. Also you will receive a stock dividend on all new business you generate. This will be in addition to your normal corporate dividends and salary. You will still remain an autonomous corporation and we will not interfere in the operation of your division, unless you ask for our help."

"I want you to take over the operation of the refinery once we have taken over the contract from the cartel." Mac went on to explain how MacDonald-Stevens would be responsible for the payrolls, accounting, security, finance, government taxes, health and benefits programs, and legal areas. The MacDonald-Stevens divisions who are experts in those areas would handle them. "Drew and I will work right along with you until you feel comfortable running the refinery operation. You will also become a corporate vice-president of the MacDonald-Stevens Corporation and have a seat on our board of directors. What do you say so far?"

"This comes as a complete surprise to me," Terry said. "I was not even thinking along these lines. It does sound appealing not to have to go outside for administration and financing on every project. Let's talk more about the financial package before I give you my answer."

"I've anticipated that and have drawn up a contract for your perusal." He handed Terry two copies and passed one copy to Drew.

"I would like you to take the time to read the contract now," Mac said. "Then we can discuss any clauses you don't like or areas you want clarified."

Terry passed a copy of the draft to Alex. It took about a half hour to read the contract. "This is a great package, Mac. It is more generous than I ever expected. You must understand that it has been a while since I have managed a large refinery operation of this size and it will take me a little time to get back up to speed."

"Your concerns are well taken, Terry. My thought was for you to concentrate exclusively on this project and let Alex manage Stonewall Engineering until you find a competent manager to replace you to run the refinery. Of course that's a decision you must make. Remember, we will be relieving you of the burden of all your administrative functions. This will allow you more time to concentrate on running your business. You will be able to keep tighter controls on your budgets. You will be receiving an update on your costs every week and a P&L statement every month.

"Our divisions in South America should be able to give you all the technical support you will need. I've already instructed them to draw up a list of qualified engineering candidates for your review. The timing couldn't be better for this operation. I know you will want to take time to discuss this with Alex before making your decision."

"You're right of course," Terry said.

"Alex, you haven't said anything about this," Drew said. "What do you think?"

"This is really a decision that Terry has to make for us," Alex said. "Stonewall is his company and he's the one that will be taking on the responsibility for running the refinery. I will support him in any decision he makes."

"I like the package," Terry said. "Alex and I have a lot of brainstorming ahead of us. Let's proceed with your plan and start working out the details. I can't afford to waste any time, not with the banks breathing down my neck."

"Terry, welcome to the MacDonald-Stevens Corporation. We are very pleased that you have decided to join us as partners. Your money worries are over from now on. You now have our financial support. Let's plan on meeting again after lunch. This will give you the time to read the contract again and fax a copy to your lawyers. I will need to talk to them anyway regarding the details on the Cartel contract. If you are satisfied with this agreement, we can both sign the agreement and meet with my board of directors on Monday morning.

"I'll be talking to Eric Rothacher and Ramon Navarro via video hookup tomorrow for their input on the Cartel. They have a lot of clout in South America. I would like you and Alex to be with me when we talk. I'll let you know as soon as I can schedule a time.

"I'm not bragging when I say that we have the best talent in the world working at MacDonald-Stevens. We are a dynamic young corporation that is growing rapidly. You already met two of our divisional presidents last night. Karl and Mike each run their own divisions. I'm sure they will be happy to talk to you about their divisions.

"You'll both have the opportunity to meet them all in person by Monday. The only two exceptions will be the Navarro's. However, we will be talking to them via videophone tomorrow. In any event, the board gave their approval for the merger on Wednesday. The meeting on Monday will make it official and introduce you to our organization.

"The board is not privy to your package, or to the details of this contract. They are aware of the joint venture and non-compete portion of our contract. Only the four of us know the exact details of this contract. Remember Terry, Stonewall engineering remains an autonomous corporation under your control. You can pull out of the contract any time you wish. Naturally, certain restrictions will apply, which are spelled out in detail in our contract. It goes without saying that it is in our best interests to keep you in the fold.

"Your joint venture partners are there to give you the support services you need at a savings you could not achieve on your own. As I said before, they will give Stonewall Engineering first refusal on all of their construction needs. Naturally, Drew and I are here to give you any support you need for as long as you need it. Now gentlemen if you're ready, I would like to continue our tour of the complex."

They toured the rest of the facilities including the nursery school building, which was the newest addition to the complex. The children were in the playground and they showered Drew and Mac with affection as they entered the area. They quieted down after the initial rush and spoke one at a time. Drew introduced his children to his guests and each greeted Terry and Alex in turn. Lance caught up with them to tell his father that he would be flying over to his Uncle Noel's for lunch after he finished his piano lesson.

"Dad, Aunt Claudia has invited the Erickson's and me over for the weekend, is that all right with you?"

"That's fine with me Lance. See me before you take off."

"Uncle Noel asked you to call him."

I excused myself and made the call to Noel. I returned a few minutes later. "We all have been invited over to the Erickson's for Sunday brunch. Drew, Claudia would like us all to join them for Sunday dinner."

"Gentlemen do you have any objections to those arrangements for the next two days?" Drew asked.

"We're your guests, what ever you decide is fine with us," Terry said.

"It's settled then," Drew said. "It sounds like a delightful weekend Mac. We won't have to do any cooking at all."

Mac laughed, "Don't you love it when everything works out perfectly. This will give Terry and Alex a chance to talk to two more of our divisional managers before our meeting on Monday. Drew would you mind going ahead with the rest of the tour without me?" Mac asked. "I know Terry and Alex are anxious to see your art collection."

"You run along Mac, I'll take care of our guests."

After reading Terry's contract over Mac called Eric Rothacher and Ramon Navarro and discussed the details of his new acquisition and made arrangements for the conference call for the next afternoon. Eric assured Mac that he would not have any problems securing the operating permits as soon as his government certified the refinery. Eric suggested that they all meet in Brazil as soon as the contract is signed.

Mac assured them that he already has a commitment from one of the major Cartel stockholders to sell their interest. He then called Noel and discussed their game plan for the pressure points they would use to close the deal and the action they would take if the Cartel didn't play ball.

Lance walked into his father's office and sat down just as Mac was finishing his call. "Are you ready to leave for Scarborough Hall?"

"Yes sir, the pilot and Pat are waiting for me to takeoff."

"Good. I'll walk over to the pad with you." He put his arm around his son's shoulder as they walked over to the chopper pad. "I'll call you this evening at Aunt Claudia's. You will be happy to learn that Terry has agreed to our offer."

"That's super dad, they made the right decision. Now Alex can share some more war stories about the Navy."

"I hope you aren't thinking of a career in the Navy," Mac said. "I don't think I'm strong enough to see you take that route, Lance."

"No way, dad, I would never even consider making a decision like that without discussing it with you first. Anyway, I still plan on becoming a lawyer and running the family business. I find the Navy fascinating and I enjoy talking about it with Alex, that's all it is Dad. He's a very understanding person for a naval officer and we get along. Alex has had an interesting background. Have you thought of using him to run the security group for South America since he will be moving there with Terry?"

"The thought occurred to me, but I immediately rejected it. My initial thought was to ask him to work in Mike Lee's division, but I have to be careful not to interfere with the internal workings of one of our divisions. Remember, his loyalty is to Terry Stonewall and I don't think Terry is about to let him go. Terry will need Alex's language skills and to run Stonewall Engineering. They are a good team and I wouldn't want to change that."

"Your right Dad, I didn't take their relationship into consideration."

"Well I'm off Dad, see you tomorrow for dinner." They hugged and Lance boarded the helicopter.

Mac found their little group in the living room viewing the paintings and antiques that Drew had purchased for the public rooms on the first floor. This room was the most magnificent room in the manor. Drew had used the Adams style when he designed this suite of rooms. The upholstery fabric, draperies, rugs and wall covering had the same pattern with only the colors changed. The design pattern in the huge handmade rug matched the ceiling. Drew had artisans flown in from Europe to handcraft the plaster ceilings. The wall covering is silk damask as are the draperies. The predominant colors of the room were shades of light red and gold. The furniture was a mixture of Adams and Louis the 16th. The decorator had designated where the fresh-cut flowers were to be placed.

"This home is absolutely beautiful," Alex said. "This room is your crowning achievement Drew. I would never tire of being in here. There are so many lovely things to see that it would take me several visits just to absorb everything in this room. Everything fits perfectly."

"I've always loved this room myself," Mac said. "It's much larger than it appears. One day I casually mentioned that I preferred fresh cut flowers instead of hand blown man-made reproductions, even if they were quite beautiful. The next week all the artificial flowers were gone and replaced with fresh cut flowers. Drew hired a staff florist who's only job it is to take care of arrangements in the manor and our office complex. I have never known a man as considerate as Drew, he makes life worth living."

"Is everyone ready for lunch?" Drew asked.

"I'm starved," Terry said. "Now that we've closed that contract, I feel like a new person again."

"Good," Mac said. "Alex, if you'd rather skip this afternoon's nuts and bolts session and spend some with Mike, we'll understand."

"Terry, if you don't need me," Alex said. "I'd really like to visit with Mike."

"I don't mind at all," Terry said. "It would probably be a boring session for you. The three of us will probably be tied up the rest of the afternoon. Why don't we meet you at Mike's when we finish up here?"

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To be continued
Ron.Robbins70@gmail.com
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