Family & Friends Series

Mac

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

2007 All rights reserved.

Part 4

They arrived back at the penthouse around three. Chris took the bags from the door attendant. "Mr. Stevens, what is the attire for this evening?"

"I'll call my mother and find out."

Drew returned a few minutes later, "The costume is semi-formal, Chris."

"Thank you, sir, I'll lay out Mac's suit," Chris said as he left.

"My mother has uninvited her other guests for tonight. It will just be the four of us for dinner. My stepfather wanted to chat with me regarding this President's project. I think he would like to have my position on the committee. Personally, I think he would be a good choice."

"That's interesting, Drew, your mom will have a chance to grill me while you and your Dad are in conference. Now, the truth about you will be revealed. I can see the headlines, 'Giant of Industry Exposed'. It was revealed to our reporter that Drew Stevens lures promising lawyers into his firm with promises of fame and fortune. We spoke to one of the victims, Mac MacDonald, the same MacDonald that Mr. Stevens allegedly pushed over a cliff ... sorry, but our reporter, Claudia King, is still printing the rest of the story."

Drew laughed, "Maybe I should cancel this dinner. I don't think my mother is ready for you."

"Drew, if your sister and her family survived after two days, surely your mother can make it through one dinner. I'm sure she has more experience dealing with brash young lawyers. No sir, your Mom quickly got rid of the other dinner guests in order to concentrate on me. Put your mind at rest, Drew, I promise I'll be on my best behavior. God, the things I have to do to make a living!"

"Oh, before I forget, do you want me to head back to the Retreat after dinner?"

"Do you want to go back tonight?"

"No, I'd rather stay here with you. I thought you might want to be rid of me."

"No, I would like you to stay."

Mac stared at Drew for some time before he spoke. "Time has a way of slipping by so fast. We think we have all the time in the world to say the things we feel in our hearts. It is much later that we regret not having done so. Six month ago, I would have been embarrassed to express my feelings to you, mainly because it is not the macho thing to do. You have taught me otherwise."

"Tonight I can say, without reservation, that you are the nicest person I have ever known. You'll never know how happy you have made me. I've been overwhelmed by your generosity and your genuine concern for my well being. You are a patient man and have taught me more about relationships than I've learned in four years of college. I wonder how many men in your position would give a neophyte like me the opportunity that you gave me yesterday. I promise you, that you will never regret your decision, and one day I will repay you in kind for everything you have done for me. I wanted you to know how I felt. That said, I think I'll get my workout in before we dress for dinner."

Mac finished his exercises in the mini workout room off the bathroom. He relaxed in the whirlpool after taking a shower. The next thing he knew Drew was waking him.

"Mac, you must be more careful, you could drown in that damn tub," Drew said. "I forbid you to use the whirlpool again unless someone is in attendance."

"I'm sorry, Drew, I should have known better."

                                 

Mac stood in front of the large windows in the living room waiting for Drew.

"Would you like an aperitif, Mac?"

"Yes, thank you. I love watching the sunset from this vantage point. This is a great apartment, Drew. I will always remember this weekend."

"You're in a mellow mood this evening," Drew said. "What brought that on? Are you feeling alright?"

"Yes, I am in a mellow mood. I've really had a wonderful weekend and met some delightful and interesting people. So far, I've only made a few minor social errors and managed not to have embarrassed you too much. Of course, the evening is not over, and mothers are very formidable people when their children are in harm's way. I go into the lions' den with a clear mind and a pure heart, ready to do battle for my honor."

"Let's not become melodramatic, Mac. If you feel that uncomfortable, we don't have to go."

Mac smiled, "Promise me you will never change. The thing I love about you is your sensitivity, you are always so caring. I don't feel a bit uncomfortable about meeting your mother. Don't worry...she'll like me, you forget we are Scotsmen, or to be politically correct Scots-persons. Religion could get in the way but, I am gracious, since I'll be the only Catholic encircled by Protestants."

"God help us," Drew said. "Finish your drink; we should be on our way."

Drew's parents lived in a beautiful town house in Gramercy Park. Robert opened the car door for Drew and told him he would return for them in two hours.

The butler showed them into a comfortable drawing room that was tastefully decorated with priceless antiques. Drew's mother and stepfather greeted them as they entered. Introductions were made and everyone sat around the fireplace with their cocktails in hand. Mrs. Baldwin was a very gracious woman, and Mac detected by her demeanor that she was more outgoing then Drew. It was obvious to him that she loved her son.

"Did you enjoy your weekend with the Kings, Mac?" Mrs. Baldwin asked.

"I had a delightful weekend and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Claudia thought I behaved well enough for them to invite me back again."

After dinner, Mrs. Baldwin said, "Mac would you like to join me in the drawing room while Drew and my husband have their little chat?"

"I hope you don't mind being stuck with me for a while," Mrs. Baldwin said.

"I don't feel that I'm being stuck at all," Mac said. "I happen to enjoy your company."

"Would you mind if we talked a little about my son?" Mrs. Baldwin asked.

"Not at all, I'll gladly answer any question I can about Drew, or myself, but I would be less than candid if I didn't express my surprise at your trying to read my mind. You see that is something I would never do. To me it is an invasion of privacy. I don't dispute your motives. It is a perfectly natural thing for a mother to want to protect her son. I learned some time ago to block anyone from probing my mind, Mrs. Baldwin, and it's not because I have anything to hide from you. The only reason I've stopped you is because of Drew. He has given me certain information that is confidential. If I allowed you to probe my mind I would have compromised his trust. My only recourse would be to tell him, thus revealing our powers. I would rather not share this news with him for the present. I would like us to become friends and I hope you won't let this incident prevent that. Please try to understand my position. I use my powers when it's necessary and never for personal gain. However, I'm prepared to use this power against anyone who threatens Drew, or me."

"Please accept my apologies, Mac. I'm not irresponsible with this gift either, and I only use it when it is important. In this case, my son's welfare is at stake. Wealth is a double-edged sword, Mac. Wealthy people must always be on guard against fortune hunters and charlatans. That is why we must examine every person carefully. What could be worse than to be deceived by someone claiming to be a friend, then only to learn it's your money they are after. That type of experience can be very disturbing. Everything I have heard about you so far has been to your credit. My daughter enjoyed your visit, and has invited you back again. I see no reason why we can't become friends as well. You have my word that I will not use my power on you again. I know you are new to Manhattan and it can be a very lonely place without friends. Since you are a handsome unattached bachelor, I would like to include you as a guest at some of my parties. If you are free any evening, and are feeling lonely, you are welcome to drop in for a visit, or join us for dinner."

"Thank you, that is very thoughtful. I do enjoy meeting new people. It just so happens that Drew wants me to socialize more and seek new opportunities for the company. This could prove helpful; I get overtime after six o'clock and a bonus on any new business, I will be happy to split it with you on any new business we find."

Mrs. Baldwin laughed, "I'm going to hold you to that deal."

Drew and his stepfather joined them in the drawing room. "Are you ready to head back to the apartment?" Drew asked.

"Well, that's my cue to say goodnight," Mac said. "Thank you for a lovely dinner. It's been a pleasant and relaxing evening."

Later, back at the Penthouse, Drew asked, "Did you and mother have a nice chat?"

"She is a lovely lady and has invited me to join them for dinner any time I feel lonely. She is also going to make sure that I meet the right people. She plans to invite me to some of her dinner parties as well. I'll let you in on a little secret. Your Mom is not averse to make a few extra bucks either. I told her that you wanted me to drum up some business at these parties and she has agreed to split my commission on any new business I find."

"You didn't say that to my mother, did you?"

"I sure did and if you don't believe me, ask her. She only wants cash, no checks, or the deal's off."

"Oh, Lord, there is just no hope for you at all," Drew said.

"Let me fix us a night cap before we call it a night."

Drew handed Mac a brandy and said, "Thank you for making this weekend so pleasant. I don't remember the last time I've had such an enjoyable weekend, not to mention a profitable one as well. My only regret is that it has to end so soon. Do you realize you have already earned your salary for the next several years, and a nice commission as well? You have my sister and the kids under your spell, and Charles wants you for his assistant. He told me that you are, by far, the best talent to come along in years. Knowing my mother as I do, you have won her over, as well. If she offered to introduce you to the right people, that means she likes you. I'm very pleased with you and what you have accomplished in a few short days. I know the next several months are going to be very intensive for you, so please call me if you are feeling the pressure."

"What's this about a commission?"

"That's another thing Charles and I discussed this afternoon. You will definitely receive a hefty commission for the Navarro contract. If the Rothacher deal goes through, you should do very well," Drew said smiling.

"God, this is fantastic," Mac said.

"I was touched by the compliment you paid me earlier today," Drew said. "You may have come from a farm, Mac, but you were never a farm boy in the true sense of the colloquial definition of 'farm boy'. It's true, you are my employee, but you are also my friend. In any event, unless we agree otherwise, this is your home and you can come and go as you please. The same is true at the Retreat. I will continue to train you to become an executive in my firm. I hope you will stay with me and move up the corporate ladder."

"I appreciate your taking me along with you this weekend," Mac said. "Sometimes my ideas may seem to be bizarre, but they are not. As delightful as this weekend was, it will go down as the most important weekend for me, because of what you did. You believed in me, and accepted my advice. If you are willing to trust me, I assure you that there will be other opportunities like today. We're going to make a great team Drew. I thank God every day for dropping me on your doorstep.

"Sometimes, I feel that He has given me too much and I'm not deserving of this. Well, enough of that for tonight. I'm pleasantly tired, and if you don't mind, I think I'm going to call my mom and turn in. Good night, Drew, and again, thank you for everything."

                                 

Mac was up, sitting in the living room, reading the morning papers when Drew entered the room. "Good morning, Drew. You look like a new man. You needed that weekend off. I have a favor to ask. Will you take me sailing before you leave for Europe? It will be nice to get away for a few days."

"Let's plan on that," Drew said.

"Should I take my clothes back to the Retreat?" Mac asked.

"No, let Chris handle that. You'll need clothes at both places from now on. When you get back to the Retreat, tell Kim of the new arrangements and make sure you have your summer wardrobe put together. We have been invited to spend a week with the Navarro's in South America and I plan to take you Island hopping as your graduation present."

"Would you run that by me again? Did you just say you're taking me to South America?"

Drew smiled, "You heard me, farm boy, and I think we both will need a vacation by then. I don't believe this; it's the first time I've ever know you to be speechless! Well, what do you say, do you want to go, yes or no?"

"What a wonderful gift, of course I want to go. When do you plan on leaving?"

"The day after your final exams. I'll arrange everything. Tentatively my plans are to fly into DC from Paris. Spend a few days there, and then pick you up in New Haven and fly directly to Caracas."

"I'll be talking to our South American partners this week, so Christopher can get anything else you may need."

"I'd better run along. I don't want to keep the professor waiting. Good luck with your meeting today with Eric, and keep me posted on our sailing trip."

"I'll call you tonight." Drew turned and walked to the elevator.

"Drew, wait a minute." Mac walked over and hugged him, "I wanted you to know you're a wonderful guy in my book."

                                 

Mac found Chris in the den. "I want you to help me to find a jeweler to make a special gift for Drew. I want a gold medal made from this drawing. It's important that he follow my drawing exactly. Make sure he brings the ridge around the edges high enough to protect the two figures. I know the drawing is not perfect, but let the jeweler submit a sample drawing before casting the gold medal. On the reverse side, I want a cross etched into the gold with this inscription, 'You are my Shepherd, I shall not want'. On the bottom, love Mac."

"I would like to have this ready before we leave for South America. The chain should be strong enough to hold the medal. I don't want an ornate thick chain, you know Drew's taste."

                                 

Kim was all over Mac after he returned to the Retreat. He was like an old hen wanting to know how the weekend turned out. Mac was amused and gave him the complete rundown on his meeting with Drew's family, his new position, and of his living arrangements.

Kim had a big smile on his face when Mac finished. "Didn't I tell you everything would turn out alright," Kim said. "The boss is not going to let a smart fellow like you get away, no sir. Now, maybe you'll listen to me for a change."

Mac hugged him, "You're a good friend, Kim; thanks for everything."

"Drew asked that you make sure that my wardrobe is ready for our vacation to South America." Mac said.

"Oh, before I forget, I'm not to use the whirlpool alone anymore. Drew found me asleep in the whirlpool and blew a fuse. You know, that's the first time I've ever seen him loose his cool. I feel like a kid having to tell on myself, but it's for my own good."

"The boss is right. You may be the brainiest guy around, but you sure do some dumb things. I don't how you survived before we took over."

Mac smiled, "I didn't, Kim, that's how I ended up here; how quickly we forget. I'd better get a move on. You know where I'll be. Looks like I'm back under your thumb again."

Kim smiled and shook his head.

Mac went directly to the villa to work with the Professor.

                                 

The weeks flew by so fast that Mac did not have a minute to himself, what with his days filled with class work, and the evenings spent reading case studies. He also had to make time to study the Stevens Company. He found that project exciting, and began preparing a detailed profile on the company. Drew called him every day to discuss company business.

Their sailing weekend was canceled and rescheduled several times before Drew returned. He called Thursday and asked that they meet at the Penthouse, Friday morning, to fly out to the Marina. Mac found out later that Chris had made the trip out to the West Wind on Thursday to make sure the freezer was full and everything on board was ship-shape, and to have the yard manager make a personal inspection of the yacht.

The West Wind

"You need some time off, Drew, you look awful. I hope you can hold out for another month," Mac said.

Now, I know this is going to sound silly, but please explain everything you are doing, as you go along. The name of each piece of equipment, the proper name of a given line, sail, divot, etc. This is the only way I'm going to learn. Let me help you as much as I can."

"No problem," Drew said. "We'll sail around the Island until sunset. Then we can find a sheltered cove and anchor for the night."

They pulled out of the mooring and headed for the inlet towards the ocean. "Come and sit behind the wheel," Drew said, "I want you to get a feel for how she handles."

Mac sat next to Drew, "This is nice and relaxing, now I know why you love to sail," Mac said.

They spent the entire day on the ocean, each taking a turn at the wheel. As the sun began to set, Drew found the spot he was looking for, dropped sails and anchored the yacht. He explained his every move as Mac requested, including how he set the main anchors.

"This yacht has a security warning system, as well as radar depth finding, and ship to shore radio," Drew said. "I'll explain the emergency procedures and the safety backup systems to you later. The yacht has a gas generator that will automatically charge the batteries and generate the power to run the electrical system aboard the ship while at anchor; it has its own heating and air conditioning systems with hot and cold running water, television, stereo system, and galley dining area. There is a master bedroom and two guest staterooms, in addition to a large, comfortable lounge with a small piano.

"This is really comfortable, Drew. Before I get tipsy, what are we having for dinner, and whose turn is it to cook?"

"Everything is prepared; all I have to do is pop it in the oven and presto, dinner is ready. Now, what can I fix you to drink?"

"Bourbon and soda, please. That's what true Southerners from Kentucky drink. Bourbon is a man's drink. We don't hold with those sissy drinks. Have you ever heard the true story of the history of Bourbon?"

Drew smiled, "No, but I feel certain you're going to tell me the story anyway."

"Now, Drew, I don't want you embarrassing me if someone should ask. Since I'm a good ole Kentucky boy and all. You can only call a whiskey, Bourbon, if it is made in Bourbon County, Kentucky. That distinctive flavor and taste comes from the limestone spring water that's used in the process in Bourbon County. It is the only true Native American whiskey made in the good ole U.S. of A. The Scots brought the formula over from the old country and made the first Bourbon whiskey in Bourbon County. Now, I hope you were paying attention Drew because I may give you a quiz on this at any time."

"Well, how long are you going to keep me in limbo?" Mac said. "You never did tell me how everything went with Eric Rothacher and Ramon Navarro."

"I'm sorry, Mac. Everything worked out fine on both contracts. I've been holding off telling you until our trip to South America next month. But I see no reason to keep you in suspense. Guess who is going to be Manager of International Business Development for South America?"

"My guess would be Charles," Mac said.

Drew shook his head and smiled. "Nope, it's none other than 'farm boy'."

"You're kidding, this is great news. I'm overwhelmed. Thank you, Drew. Now you didn't have to do any arm twisting on this one, did you?"

"No, as a matter of fact, Charles made the suggestion. Your friend, Eric Rothacher, is another kettle of fish. If he can close that deal with his board, we will be in clover for many, many years to come. That guy knows more powerful people than NATO has generals. He is a perceptive businessman. He is the kind of person we like to have as a partner. You will be working with Eric as liaison between our two firms, as soon as his board signs the contract. Eric personally asked that you be selected for the job. I don't know why, but for some strange reason, he likes you. Naturally, I told him you wouldn't be interested because you were going back to Kentucky to train mentally challenged horses. He was really disappointed."

Drew laughingly said, "Gotcha that time, farm boy!"

"Eric really asked for me, Drew?"

"Straight from the horse's mouth, Scout's Honor. Eric told me he was very impressed with the way you coordinated that meeting with the principles of the corporation within one half hour after meeting him. The reason he agreed to meet us in the first place was your loyalty to the firm. That's why you have been promoted. Are you duly impressed with this turn of events, or would you prefer to work with David Chang?"

"I'm ecstatic, this is almost too much to grasp at one time. You'd better keep me away from the side of the boat, or I just may attempt to do a little water walking. All I do is keep thanking you, Drew. When does the dream end? I think I'm going to explode, I'm so happy."

"You just keep doing what you're doing," Drew said. "If you're happy, then I'm happy. The dream will end when you want it to end and not before."

"Are you getting hungry? I'm about ready to fix dinner. This fresh air gives me an appetite."

"Let me help with something."

                                 

Mac was up before the sun the next morning and made a pot of tea. He took a cup with him to the forward deck, where Drew joined him a little later.

"What a wonderful way to greet a new day. There is nothing around but clean fresh air and the wonderful smell of the sea," Mac said. "It is so peaceful. It reminds me of happier days in Kentucky. The mornings when I watched the sun come up over the fields of hay. The wind gently making the tall grass sway, like the wave motion of an ocean. It is so peaceful and quiet. All you can hear is the sound of the wind rustling through the fields and the songs of the birds. Nature is just so wonderful. The simple things that God has given us are still a wonder to behold."

"This is why I love to sail," Drew said. "I'm glad you suggested it, Mac. It's a crime to let this boat remain idle. Why don't you fix us breakfast while I get my maps out and chart a course for our day of sailing?"

Mac went below and made breakfast. He called Drew below when all was ready. They both ate heartily. On the return trip, Drew explained everything he was doing to Mac, and let him sail the West Wind out through the cove into the open ocean. When they reached deeper water, Drew added more sail. They were moving along with the wind at a good clip as the sun climbed higher and the wind picked up.

Drew let Mac take the wheel for the outward leg of the course he had laid out. At noon they reversed the course and started the return leg of the journey. Drew took over while Mac went below to prepared lunch, and took it up on deck. Drew engaged the autopilot and they sat in the cockpit to eat lunch. It was a warm, sunny day, a perfect day for sailing, and both men had shed their shirts.

They sailed into port as the sun was setting, secured the boat, and called their pilot to fly them back to New York.

"Thank you for this wonderful weekend, and for the promotion," Mac said. "We probably won't see each other again for another month. How about me getting a hug from you before we leave?"

Drew smiled, walked over and embraced Mac. "Please take care of yourself; I will call you as often as I can."

They locked up the West Wind and left. They flew into Manhattan to drop Drew off, then Mac continued on to the Retreat.

That evening, Mac telephoned Drew and wished him a safe trip. "Let's plan on spending more weekends on the boat when you return."

"You've got a date. I'll call you from Paris next week, and Mac, I feel the same way, and I'm going to miss you, too. Promise me that you won't push yourself too hard, and take some time off to visit Claudia."

"Only if you promise me to make a serious effort to take more time off yourself, and tell the President to find himself another man. You have a business to run; you're needed here."

"I promise to give this job up, you have my word on that. Goodbye for now."

The month passed very quickly for Mac, much faster than he thought possible. He considered himself very lucky to have the warm friendship of the King family in Pound Ridge. The relaxed country atmosphere rejuvenated his spirits. Claudia and the children made Mac feel like he was part of the family. Charles and Mac were becoming good friends, even though they got into some heady discussions about the Law. Charles had developed his legal skills through years of practice, whereas Mac relied on his analytical mind. Having a veritable computer for a brain did not hurt at all.

                                 

Unbeknown to Mac, Drew had conferred with Professor Webster on Mac's progress every week. When the professor felt that Mac was pushing himself too hard, he would warn Drew. It was during this period that Drew allowed Mac to handle some of the routine correspondence and reports that he didn't have time for. Mac read through the larger reports and condensed them to one page synopses with his comments for Drew. He E-mailed these to Drew every day. Drew was delighted with the results and was able to cut down on his paperwork by seventy percent. Once again, Mac showed his ability to master complex subjects in half the time it would take to train one of the staff VP's. This was not an easy task for Mac, because he had to review volumes of paperwork before he became competent on a given subject.

Drew had planned to return a week before Mac's exams. Of course, that didn't happened. The latest plan was to pick up Mac in Hartford, and fly directly to South America. He landed in Washington, DC on Monday evening and called Mac as soon as he settled into his hotel.

"Thank God you are back in the United States again," Mac said. "I thought you were going to miss our vacation altogether."

"You sound in good spirits," Drew said. "Do you want me to fly up and hold your hand tomorrow night?"

"No, I'm doing just fine. I do appreciate the offer, but I feel I'm ready for the exam. How do you feel?"

"Fine, now. It feels good to be back in the States again. I'll pick you up in New Haven early Thursday morning. Chris told me that our bags are packed and will be delivered to the airport Thursday morning. All you need to bring along is your passport. How is the leg doing?"

"Almost back to normal. Doc said I'm doing fine. It still swells a little if I overdo it, but it gets better every day. Thanks for asking. I'm looking forward to this trip."

"If you have time, why don't you clean out your old apartment, Wednesday," Drew said. "Ask Kim to have whatever you want saved to be picked up and sent to the Retreat. Call me Wednesday evening to confirm everything. I'll talk to you Wednesday, I'm anxious to see you again."

                                 
To be continued
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