Family & Friends Series


By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

2008 All rights reserved

Part Eight

Stonewall & Savage Corporate Office

Alex arrived in the office at seven. His first call was to Mac MacDonald for his advice on finding four thoroughbred mounts. He told him of his conversation with Dr. Lambert and of Sandy's prowess as an equestrian.

"I hope you realize that you are going to part with some serious dollars if you intend to buy Sandy the best horse flesh around," Mac said. "My advice is to shy clear of the best horse flesh around at this point. That is, unless Sandy is planning to become a professional on the equestrian circuit. I would advise you to look at thoroughbred horses that show promise. They would serve you much better for now. You cannot allow prize horseflesh to sit idle. They must be worked every day. Not only that, they come with a small army of trainers, handlers, vets, and exercise boys."

"If you two become that good, you can always trade up in a couple of years," Mac said. "I'll call two breeders I know and have them contact you. How are you holding up, so far Alex?"

"Like a man who has been given a second chance at happiness. God, I feel on top of the world. You know the feeling. Sandy is a wonderful guy. You and he are alike in many ways. You can't beat that, can you? But then again, what do sailors know, right?"

Mac chuckled, "I'm delighted to hear that our 'top gun' is back with us again. Now, if you don't want to get me fired wasting time on small talk, is there anything else I can help with you today, sailor man?"

"Since I'm on a roll, maybe you can help me. I need to buy my prince charming a Rolls convertible as a wedding present. According to my future father-in-law, Sandy has always dreamed of owning a Rolls-Royce convertible and I would like to have his dream realized. Nothing is too good for my spouse. Not a word to Mike about this, you know how he feels about open vehicles," Alex said.

"I'll have Lance get back to you on the car. He can tell you anything you want to know about Rolls-Royces. He has a thing about them. I'm really looking forward to your engagement party. It should be a fun party. Drew told me Claudia and Charles definitely will be there, as well the Baldwins. Drew's mother wouldn't dare miss the opportunity to attend the same party with Molly Harcourt and Grace Cavanaugh. They are all flying with us on Drew's jet," Mac said.

"I really appreciate your help Mac. I think I'll let Lance handle the Rolls deal for me. Talk to you later."

Lance called Alex later that morning and said he would enjoy hunting down a convertible for him and would be back to him with all the figures.

Six months prior to Terry's death, Alex had given Terry a white Mercedes convertible for his birthday. Terry fell in love with the car and treated it like his baby. He commuted to work everyday when he was in town. After his death, Alex could not bring himself to drive the car. He kept it covered up in the garage. David Chung would take it out for a spin once a week to kept it in first class condition. Other than that, it remained covered up in the garage. When Dr. Lambert mentioned he dreamt of owning a Mercedes convertible, Alex knew he had found a home for the car. It was the ideal present. Alex knew the good doctor wouldn't accept a brand new car as a present, but he would accept this car under the present circumstances.

Alex called the Mercedes agency, to have them repaint the car a bright red, and to have it delivered to the farm the weekend of the party.

He stopped by Tiffany's and selected a Piaget watch, and a gold crucifix and chain for Sandy. For Mrs. Lambert, Alex chose a three-piece ensemble of natural pearls. The set consisted of a long strand necklace, a matched pearl cocktail ring, and earrings.

When he returned to his office, there were two messages: one from Lance Stevens, and the other from Randy Cavanaugh.

"What's up Lance?" Alex asked.

"You've got two options on the Rolls, Uncle Alex. Your first choice is to order a new Rolls and be on a waiting list for about six months to a year, depending on the special options package. Your second option is to purchase the Bentley convertible that they have sitting in their New York showroom. This car is a beauty and fully loaded. It's bulletproof and has a powerful high-efficiency engine. The engine and drive train come with their 100-thousand mile maintenance warranty. It also comes with a separate hardtop roof for winter driving. This is really a super deal."

"If it such a super deal, dear nephew, why is it still sitting in the show room?"

Lance laughed. "Bullet proof cars are not a hot item these days. For another thing, this car normally sells for $100,000 more than the price of your average Rolls."

"You've sold me. Ask your friend at the agency to call me. I hope you're getting a finder's fee on this sale."

Lance chuckled, "I wish I were, but I'm building up my brownie points for Uncle Drew's next car. Tom Williams is the Rolls Royce manager. I'll have him call you."

Alex closed the purchase deal with Tom Williams and had the car registered in Sandy's name. He arranged to have the car delivered to the Atlanta town house. He left instructions to contact David Chung his house manager when the car was ready for delivery.

Later, Mac called with the name of the horse breeders and Alex called Dr. Lambert and made arrangements to pick him up at Dulles International the following Tuesday to fly to Lexington, Kentucky to pick out the horses at the Blue Grass Horse Farms.

Alex was pleased that everything was moving along so smoothly for both functions. He had another meeting with Janet, his Public Relations Director. He thought it would be nice to give an initialed gold key chain to every guest that attended the engagement party. He approved Janet's budget for hiring the temporary staff, entertainment group, the menus, and the transportation and travel arrangements for the entire weekend.

"You've done a fine job Janet on such short notice," Alex said. "You'll need to coordinate your arrangements with Mike Lee. He will be handling the security for our special guests."

"Don't worry. I'll make sure everything goes off without a hitch," Janet said. "The Tiffany store manager asked me to deliver this package."

"Thanks, Janet. We'd better head for the conference room and get the staff meeting out of the way." Alex was to have a final run through with his Vice Presidents of Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations to reviewing everything for the presentation party. Alex passed around the guest list to his staff. "As you can see gentlemen, we are going to have a good turn out. We have some high-level movers and shakers attending this party. The high profile society people from New York and Atlanta will add a nice touch to the proceedings. I'm sure you will be discreet in handling these VIP guests. If any outsiders impose themselves on them, you will see that our security people discreetly remove them."

"Now let's take it from the top one more time," Alex said. The Public Relations Director was the team leader for the Friday night award dinner. He convinced Alex that the news media would not waste their time covering a story about a junior executive being promoted, as important as he may be to the company. However, they would turn out in droves for a newsworthy event that would benefit the local community. So as it turned out, the little award dinner for Sandy developed into the Social event of the season. The Achievement award dinner took on a life of it's own in the hands of the PR Director. Instead of Alex addressing the gathering to praise Sandy for his achievements, Sandy would donate a check on the company's behalf to the President of Atlanta Progress. It was now a major event with a tie-in with the MacDonald-Stevens Corporation. The guest list included the Governor, the Mayor, several Georgia State Senators, a few Congressmen, and some high-level Atlanta business leaders.

The keynote speakers included the President of Atlanta Progress, Mac Stevens, Alex, and Sandy. The Marketing and Advertising directors were responsible to see that the news media were brought on board and that a film crew was on hand to record the event.

Alex gave his approval and thanked them for a job well done. He rushed to his next meeting on the new refinery that they were about to build in Venezuela. If time permitted, he was scheduled to sit in on a staff meeting on the progress of the four new project sites that he and Sandy had visited in South America.

After the meetings broke up, Alex headed back to his office and left a message for Sandy informing him that he was leaving for the day and would see him at home.

After Alex changed into casual clothes, he opened the package from Tiffany to make sure that the engravings were correct. He placed the set of keys to the Rolls Royce on Sandy's new key chain. He checked the inscription on the Piaget watch and the gold crucifix for Sandy. He stuck them into a large brown envelope. He inserted the keys for the Mercedes for Dr. Lambert onto his key chain and placed it in a separate envelope along with Mrs. Lambert's ensemble. He sat down and wrote a note to be placed in the Lambert's brown envelope.

He found David in his suite and handed him the two envelopes. "See that the envelope marked 'Sandy' is delivered to Art Chung with instructions to lock it up in my safe. I would like you have this envelope handed to the Lamberts after they land in Washington on their return flight to Dulles," Alex said. "I've already made arrangements with the Lamberts' overseer about the car and the horses."

"I'll see that it's taken care of, sir."

"I'll be in the nursery with the children," Alex said.

Sandy joined him in the nursery an hour later. "Sorry I'm running late. I have been laboring over my acceptance speech for next month. It's been a hectic day all around. Looks like its payback time for being away for three weeks. I can't let this presentation speech slide. I have to have it down pat in three weeks time."

Alex smiled, "You've handled speeches before. Now tell me, what's really bothering you?"

"You can read me like an open book," Sandy said. "I'm nervous about giving this speech. If it were a speech about the company, or any project, I wouldn't have a problem. It's different when I'm talking about myself."

"I see your point," Alex said. "I think you'll need some professional help on this one. In the past, I used Professor Page at Emory to help me with my important speeches. He is super. He heads up the Theater Arts & Sciences Department at Emory University. Would you like him to help you on this one?"

"That would be great. I would welcome his help," Sandy said.

"If you will read to the kids, I'll see what I can work out for you," Alex said.

Alex returned to the nursery. "You have an appointment with Professor Page tomorrow morning. He will meet with you at his home at 2736 Peachtree Road at seven o'clock. Take along a copy of your speech."

"What would I do without you?"

"I hope you will never have to find out," Alex said. "Don't be surprised if I'm missing from the office for a few days next week. Mike Lee and Janet have me sitting in on some of their meetings out of the office. Once this party is over it will be business as usual. I may have to fly down to Jekyll sometime next week for the day, but I'm trying to avoid that if at all possible. I'll keep you posted."

"Aren't you excited?" Alex asked.

"I'm too nervous to be excited," Sandy said. "You're an experienced pro at this, but I'm just learning."

"Let's talk about this later in private," Alex said. "We've an hour before dinner is ready."

Alex closed the door to the suite and hugged him. "Just relax, baby. You'll be wonderful and everything will be just fine. Now sit down on that hassock and let me work on those tight neck muscles." Alex worked on Sandy's back until he could feel the muscles relax. "I love to feel your body," Alex said. "Now, let's get comfortable on the sofa and talk."

Sandy had his head on Alex's lap as Alex kissed Sandy tenderly. "I know you're getting anxious about your big weekend," Alex said. "Try to remember that this party is for you. It's your reward for landing some very profitable contracts for the company. If I felt you were not capable of handling this speech I would never have suggested it."

"Let me tell you a little secret, Sandy. I knew after the first six months you started with me, that you could handle the job," Alex said. "That is when I decided to pull out all the stops and began training you. I pushed you hard and you met every challenge. You have learned well and have grown into a seasoned executive."

"Our clients and senior executives have sung your praises and have given me glowing reports on your abilities. You, of all people, have nothing to be nervous about. You have the talent and the charisma to control any audience. Remember Sandy, you are my hand-picked successor and I'm proud of you."

"I'm the only person in the audience that you have to please and I happen to know you're perfect in every way. Stop worrying. You'll give your usual outstanding performance. Look at it as a learning experience on your journey to becoming president of this company. I'm sure you'll feel more confident after working with Professor Page."

"The wedding ceremony in Hawaii will only serve to legitimize the vow we have already taken," Alex said. "As far as I'm concerned, we are already married and I look at this engagement party as our wedding reception. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I plan to. We are in love, Sandy, and that is all that really matters in this crazy world."

Sandy reached up, pulled Alex to him, and kissed him tenderly. "You make me feel like I'm ten feet tall, my love; with you at my side I can't lose."

Three Weeks Later

Alex looked up from his newspaper as Sandy walked into the breakfast room. "Good morning, handsome, are you ready for breakfast?"

"I think I'll have something light for breakfast maybe some fruit and cereal this morning," Sandy said. "Why didn't you wake me when you took off for the gym this morning?"

Alex smiled, "I wanted you to sleep as long as possible this morning, and you got your workout last night."

Sandy laughed, "What an enjoyable night it was. You are one hot tiger, my love. I'm completely drained. It's going to take me at least two days to completely recover."

"Are you telling me I'm going to have to settle for some heavy petting tonight?" Alex asked.

Sandy broke out into a wide grin. "I'm sure it won't take you long to light my fire again. You know all the right buttons to push."

Alex dished the fresh-cut fruit into two bowls while Sandy poured the cereal into the bowls. "Are you sure you want me to tag along with you at the airport to meet your family this afternoon?" Alex asked.

"Are you crazy? Of course, I want you there. They wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. Anyway, I'm proud to show you off, you're my pride and joy."

"Thank you, sweetheart. Are you going to meet with Professor Page again today?"

"I have an eight o'clock final run through with him this morning. I thought you could drop me off on the way to the office."

"No problem. I'm planning to have lunch with the kids and spend some time with them this afternoon since we'll be tied up for the next few days. How do you feel about breaking away early next Thursday and taking the kids up to visit your folks?"

"I think it's a great idea. I know the folks will be delighted. I can finally make love to you in my bed. You can't imagine how many times I've dreamt of making love to you in my bed."

"Why don't you clear it with your folks?" Alex said. "Remind them again about the extra staff we will be taking along with us."

"Yes, dear. I'll take care of everything. Oh! By the way, I need to finish up and send those two proposals out by tomorrow, so it looks like I'll be working today and tomorrow."

"I'm sorry you'll miss the tour. Janet has everything worked out beautifully. I don't think the family will miss you. Tell you what. We'll invite your folks over for breakfast tomorrow morning. This way you can spend some time together before heading for the office. I'll entertain them until its time for their tour. This will give them a chance to meet the kids and our staff."

"Thanks, I really appreciate everything you are doing for my family. Pay back is going to be fun, baby."

Alex smiled, "You bet! It could possibly take you the rest of your life."

Friday morning Alex, Sandy, and his parents were having breakfast in the dining room. "That was a delightful dinner party you gave us last night," Dr. Lambert said. "Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. That is one fine hotel. They really know how to cater to your every need. They make you feel right at home."

"The Ritz is one of my favorite hotels," Alex said. "I happen to prefer the antique furnishings. It gives you the feel of elegant living. That's where we'll be holding our presentation party tonight."

"The Ritz is so convenient right in the heart of Buckhead. It's convenient to shopping and the up-scale night clubs. I find it one of the most pleasant areas in Atlanta."

"I'm sorry I won't be able to be with you today," Sandy said. "I hate to leave, but, I must go into the office today. I'll see you this evening at the party. Enjoy your day."

After Sandy left, Alex said, "Jim Taylor informed me that the horses showed no ill effects from their trip. He said they are doing just fine at your farm. He has assured me that a handler would stay with the animals until he was satisfied they have adjusted without any problems."

"I want the trainer to stay around to answer any questions Sandy might have about the horses," Alex said. "I want to make sure he is satisfied with our selection."

"Are you kidding? Sandy will go crazy over those horses," Dr. Lambert said. "They are the finest horses I've seen in a long time. They should be for what you've paid for them."

"I think we should hire an experienced handler to take care of all the horses full time," Alex said. "Jim told me that thoroughbreds like that are high-strung and can be flaky at times. I wouldn't expect you to take on that chore. We'll find a good handler to do the job."

"Jim may be right," Dr. Lambert said. "I would feel terrible if anything happened to them on my watch."

"Good, I'll let my better half handle that," Alex said. "If you're ready, now would be a good time to introduce you to my loved ones."

They rode the elevator to the third floor. The elevator doors opened into a large sunny room that served as the children's playroom. It was tastefully decorated in children's half-sized English period furniture. It looked warm and cozy--almost like an English country cottage. The children were in the dining room having their breakfast.

"Good morning, Terry, Alexandra, I would like you to meet Uncle Sandy's parents, Doctor and Mrs. Lambert."

The children smiled and greeted them. "Uncle Sandy told us that if we were really good he would take us to his farm next week," Alexandra said. "He promised us we could feed the animals and even ride a horse. Daddy, could I show Uncle Sandy's mother my parquet?" Alexandra asked.

"You must ask Mrs. Lambert, dear, after you finish your breakfast," Alex said.

Not to be outdone by his sister, Terry said, "Daddy could I show Dr. Lambert my trains?"

Alex winked at the Lamberts. "You'll have to ask Dr. Lambert after you finish your breakfast. My son loves trains. He has a video of every model train that is for sale. I started him off with two sets and he is allowed to pick a new train set on his birthday and at Christmas. I can tell you it is quite a tough decision for him to make. In the end he is always pleased with his final choice."

"Aren't you, Terry?" Alex asked.

Terry smiled and nodded his head, "Yes, Dad."

"They are adorable," Mrs. Lambert said. "They speak so beautifully, better that most adults I know."

"They are tri-lingual. They speak German and Spanish as well," Alex said. "I feel that helps them with their English. Some days we only converse in the language of the day. Today it's happens to be English. They are quite good, I'm pleased to report. They have been a great comfort and they have helped me to keep my sanity after Terry died," Alex said. "They have so much love to give and I take all they give me."

"They're crazy about Sandy," Alex said. "They've grown up with him. Of course, I'm the one that has to discipline them, but, that's rare. They are really very well behaved. They both go to private school and, of course, I have tutors in to teach them their foreign languages. I make it a practice to take them with me whenever I can. They enjoy the change. Of course that will all change when they begin grammar school."

After the children showed the Lamberts their prize possessions, they walked along with Alex as he took the Lamberts on a tour of the town house. When they returned to the first floor, Alex showed them his pride and joy, the kitchen.

They returned to the drawing room to wait for the tour bus to pick them up. "You certainly have a beautiful home," Mrs. Lambert said. "I can see a lot of thought and time went into the decor. The furnishings are absolutely first quality."

"Thank you. I wish I could take the entire credit for the decor, but Terry was responsible for that," Alex said.

"I assume the Sergeant canvas hanging in the living room is an original?" Mrs. Lambert asked.

"You know your artists, Mrs. Lambert. You're correct; of course, all the artwork and furnishings in this house are authentic."

"Sandy and I have talked about looking around for a larger house with more property. This is not the best area to raise children. They need more space to run around. We need a home with grass and trees and a garden. This is the ideal house for Sandy and me, but we will need a larger staff when the children start school and we just don't have the room to expand in this house. Don't mention this to Sandy, but I've narrowed my search down to three estates that would be ideal for us. They are all big enough to put up your whole family at one time. Now all I have to do in convince Sandy."

"I've never known Sandy to object to moving up in the world," Dr. Lambert said.

"Sandy likes living in this part of town and in this house in particular. This house holds many fond memories for us. Of course, I have no idea of selling the place. We'll keep this house in any event. I'm hoping once we move into our new home Sandy will change his mind, now that he has agreed to father a few more children. We will definitely need a larger house by then." David informed Alex that the tour bus would arrive in ten minutes.

Thank you for breakfast and the grand tour of your beautiful home," Dr. Lambert said. "See you at the Ritz this evening."

Alex decided to skip the office and stay home. He called his secretary to let her know his plans and to have any important calls transferred to the house. The local Rolls Royce agency called to notify him that the car was in and would be delivered on schedule. The Mercedes had been delivered to Dr. Lambert's farm. Alex took the time to read over the final marriage contract that Randy Cavanaugh had drawn up for him and Sandy. He had Craig Nelson, his personal attorney draw up the codicil adding Sandy to his will and naming Mac Stevens as his executor.

Sandy had already signed the cards for their joint checking and savings accounts. In addition, Alex opened a personal money market account for Sandy and deposited two million dollars as his wedding present. His only concern was Sandy's reaction to such an extravagant gift. If he refused the present, he would roll it over into a trust fund for him."

He separated all the papers and inserted one set into the folders he had already prepared for Sandy and locked them in his briefcase. Alex could hear the hustle and bustle of the activities outside his library door. The temporary staff David had hired was busy preparing for the additional guests. He called David on the intercom and asked him to step into the den.

David rapped on the door a few minutes later. "Come in and sit down for a minute," Alex said. "I wanted to talk to you before you got too busy. You've done a fine job as usual, everything looks great. Mike Lee should be arriving with his security team within the hour. Knowing Mike as I do, he will have his top men on this assignment. Please make them comfortable and ask our staff to cooperate with his people."

"Sandy and I will be on vacation for the next two weeks. We will be returning the first thing Thursday morning to pick up the kids and Mrs. Morris. We'll all be flying to the Lambert farm in Manassas for a long weekend and back here on Sunday afternoon. Feel free to take any time off, as long as everything is packed for Thursday morning. The Rolls agency called to let me know that Sandy's car is ready. You can have them deliver it on Wednesday afternoon."

"I'll take care of everything, boss," David said. "I'll have everyone's bags packed and ready to go early Thursday.

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To be continued
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