Family & Friends Series

Sandy & Dan

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

©2010 All rights reserved

Part Twenty


Both Sandy and Dan were up early the next morning having breakfast in the small dining room. Joe walked in and joined them for a cup of coffee. Dan said, “Well, you’re here early this morning. How did your meeting in Atlanta turn out?”

“If I said it was extremely traumatic, that would be putting it mildly. As I expected, Steve was shocked at first and became very emotional. The poor guy was heartbroken after we explained everything to him, he ran to his room crying. We went up to his room to talk to him. He was angry with his mother and asked her to leave the room. I stayed and talked to him. After a while he calmed down and we talked. He wanted to know about Dunnlap and where we would be living. I told him about the great school and about your boys and the sports activities he would be participating in. I explained how we would be together most of the day and night. I know he was overwhelmed and afraid of being uprooted from everyone he knew and felt safe about, and then moved into a situation completely new to him. After we talked about it for a while, he began to feel better about the move. We all agreed that he would move to Dunnlap as soon as I found a new apartment. In the meantime, he would gather everything he wants to take with him. My ex-wife told me I could have any of the furniture I wanted from the house, since she and her future were going to use his furnishings which are more to their taste. Whatever remained we would sell at an estate sale. We also listed the house with a real estate broker who thought we would have no problem selling.”

Dan said, “Well, I'm glad everything is settled. I don’t think you’ll have any problem finding a place in Dunnlap. On another subject, I had a conversation with Lloyd last night and I was not at all happy with what he told me. It seems that he is being harassed by a few boys in his class and he is afraid that it will get worse. He said he mentioned this to you and you gave him some good advice. However, I would like you to do a little digging to discover who the boys are that are harassing him. Lloyd is a little small for his age and I could see some smart ass giving him a hard time. He’s a warm, gentle boy and I don’t want to see him afraid to go to school. You should be able to get some of the other boys in his class to talk. I understand some of them play on his soccer team.”

Joe said, “I’ll get right on that, Dan. In fact, we have soccer practice for Lloyd’s team and Chip's team this afternoon.”

Sandy said, “Joe, don’t forget that we will be in Canada today and tomorrow. If you have any problems or questions, you can reach us on our cell phones.”

Joe said, “Will do, boss.”

Saint John, New Brunswick

Sandy’s jet taxied up to the General Aviation terminal at Saint John International airport. Brian deplaned and walked over to the waiting van. John stood by the door to wait for the 'all clear' from Brian. Brian gave the signal and Sandy and Dan followed John down the stairs. Captain Nelson greeted them and they all got in the van and took off to the shipyard.

“It good to see you again, Captain," Sandy said. "How are things going aboard the Danny Boy?”

Captain Nelson said, “I’m happy to report that everything is shipshape and we’re ready for your inspection. We’ve made all the changes that you requested.”

The van pulled up to the gangplank of the ship and Brian and John stepped out of the van for a quick look around. Brian spoke to the head of the ship’s security detail then walked back to the van to escort Sandy and Dan onto the ship.

“Why don’t we begin your inspection on the lower decks," Captain Nelson said, "and then work ourselves to the upper decks.”

“Lead on, Captain," said Sandy. "We want to see everything from stem to stern and all in between.”

Two hours later, they were seated in the owner’s suite. Sandy asked, “Well, what do you think, Dan?”

“I can’t believe it's the same ship we walked through in Turkey. This is truly a beautiful ship. I cannot find a flaw in the design, nor the tasteful appointments of each and every stateroom and cabin on this ship. Your people did an excellent job and I know I will feel comfortable living on board.”

“Captain, I feel the same as Dan," Sandy said. "I know the Chef will be very pleased with his galley. The sickbay is like a modern emergency clinic and it's well stocked. I like the quarters for the children and the nursery is just great. I’ve very pleased that our accommodations have the privacy we wanted.”

Captain Nelson said, “Thank you for your compliments. We had some very creative and dedicated designers and craftsmen working on this ship and I'm pleased that the Canadians did such a splendid job. We did our shakedown cruise two days ago and the Danny Boy came through with flying colors.”

Sandy asked, “Would it be possible to have dinner on board tonight, or should we find a restaurant on shore?”

We have our own master chef on board, Skipper, and I’m sure he will be delighted to prepare dinner for you tonight.”

“That’s great, Captain; Dan and I will be staying on board tonight. Why don’t you have the chef prepare dinner, and we would like you and your executive officer to join us. Let's plan to have cocktails at 6PM? This will give Dan & me time to take care of some business.”

Dan said, “Over dinner we can discuss a time table for the maiden voyage cruise with the family, and a second cruise for our business associates and close friends.”

Captain Nelson said, “My pleasure, sir. Do you wish to dine in the main dining room or your private dining room?”

Sandy said, “Since there are only four of us, why don’t we dine in the private dining room.”

“I’ll give the steward your request, Sir”

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“Thank you, gentlemen, for joining us tonight," Sandy said. "This is a special night for Dan and me, since this will be our first dinner aboard the Danny Boy. As I said earlier today, Captain, both Dan and I are very pleased with the refitting of this ship. It turned out much better then we had hoped. We plan to have two cruises after the Danny Boy is docked in Savannah. Captain, when will you be docking the ship in Savannah?"

Captain Nelson answered, “We have a few minor repairs to make yet, but I feel that we should be in Savannah early next week. The crew we hired will be joining us this week. I will make arrangements to have your estate executive staff over for their input as early as next week.”

Sandy said, “I feel that is very important because they know our routine. I feel confident that Dan will work out the details with you and the staff. Dan, why don’t we plan to have the family cruise in two weeks? We can leave on a Thursday morning and return Sunday night. Maybe we can plan the business cruise the week after that, how do you feel about that schedule?”

Dan said, “That will work, why don’t we plan on that, then. Captain will you be ready by then?”

“Yes sir," the Captain said. “Are you still planning to cruise down to Paradise Island for the New Years?”

Dan said, “Yes, that is still in the works since the boys will be home for Christmas Break and the weather should be great down there.”

“Maybe we can entice Murdoch & Ryan to join us,” Sandy suggested.

Dan said, “That would be great, Sandy. I'll call Ryan when I get back and see what their plans are?”

“Captain," Sandy said, "I’m sure Dan & I will be scheduling some business meetings aboard in the near future and we will keep you informed of those dates.”

The Captain said, “I received a call the other day from Dirk Devlin Harcourt of Harcourt Marina on Long Island. He wanted to know if we were interested to leasing the Danny Boy.”

Sandy said, ‘What do you think, Dan? It’s your ship.”

Dan said, “I don’t know, Sandy. Unless we are planning a trip to the UK, or you have some other trip planned, I don’t see why we shouldn’t explore that possibility. It would sure cut down on the expenses. It’s not a good idea to have a ship that size tied up to the dock for a long period. I think the ship’s crew would prefer to be busy at sea. So, I think we should look into that, do you concur, Sandy?”

“I agree, Dan.” Sandy said. “Captain, give me Dirk Harcourt's contact number. I think I’ll call him. I know Dirk. He is a close friend of Mac and Drew Stevens, Dan. I don’t know if you remember meeting him and Shaun Harcourt. His partner Bret was killed in a plane crash off Long Island a few years ago and Dirk inherited Bret’s half of the Harcourt Oil and Harcourt Marine. I met Dirk at Neil and Scott's. He was trying to sell us a yacht. He is a hell of a nice guy and I trust him.”

Sandy said, “Well, gentlemen, I’ve enjoyed our first dinner on board, but I’ve had a long day and it's time to hit the sack. Captain, we thank you and your Exec for joining us for dinner. Give our compliments to the chef for a great dinner.”

They all left and Sandy and Dan headed to their suite.

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They were seated in their lounge area of their suite. Dan said, “Sweetheart, I really thank you for this wonderful gift, yet I think it’s too extravagant a gift to give me.”

Sandy said, “Look, my love, I’m a multi-billionaire and you deserve this gift. You mean more to me then all my billions. If I can’t spend some of it on presents for you, what else should I spend it on? And don’t say the children, because they all have trust funds and are set for life. If it makes you happy, then you can leave it to the kids in your Will.”

Dan smiled and said, “Sandy, you are my beneficiary and except for a small bequest to my mother and brother, you inherit my estate. If anything happens to both of us it all goes to the kids. I must confess, I am delighted with the Danny Boy.”

Sandy said, “Well, I’m glad that’s settled. I think we should head home after breakfast tomorrow, what do you say?”

“I agree, I have a pile of work and a lot of loose ends to take care of. Now, are you set for the business cruise in three weeks from next Thursday?”

Sandy said, “Yes, you go ahead and work out the details with the Captain and set up a schedule to coordinate with Mac. I’ll contact the family about the cruise in two weeks. I hope you are planning to invite your mother and her family.”

Dan smiled, “Yea, I want to show off my wedding present to my mother. I’m sure she will be delighted with my good fortune.”

Sandy said, “Well, lover, I think we should christen your wedding bed.”

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Sandy and Dan were seated in their private lounge aboard Sandy’s jet. The seat belt sign was just turned off, and the captain announced that the jet had reached cruising altitude so they were free to move about the aircraft. Sandy said, “I think now is a good time to call Dirk Harcourt.” Sandy dialed the number and waited while Dirk’s secretary put his call through. “Hello, Dirk, it’s good to hear your voice once again. It’s been a while since we last talked.”

“Yes, much too long, Sandy, we’ve both had some heavy management dirty work to take care of. Ryan told me about your latest problem with World Com. It sure does make you wonder what these fools were thinking. You can’t let your guard down for a moment. So tell me, my friend, how can I help you?”

“I understand from Captain Nelson that you want to charter the Danny Boy?”

“That’s right, how did you find out?”

“Captain Nelson works for us. The Danny Boy is owned by my spouse, Dan Kelley.”

Dirk said, “What a small world. Several months ago I had contacted the yacht broker that was handling the Aladdin. I was told that the ship was not available for charter. The owner was only interested in selling the ship. When I inquired again last month I was told that the Aladdin had been sold to Dan Kelley and was in dry dock in Canada being refitted. That’s when I contacted your Captain. The last time we talked you were still single.”

Sandy chuckled, “That a long story with a very happy ending. I met Dan and fell madly in love. We officially tied the knot two weeks ago. The Danny Boy was my wedding present to Dan.”

Dirk said, “That was some wedding present. In any event, I would like to charter her for a few months, twice a year, when I do my semi-annual grand tour of our offshore oil refineries. I hate the idea of living in hotels and eating the local cuisine when I’m away, plus the fact that I miss my spouse and my children. Shaun runs Harcourt when I’m away. He flies to meet me every weekend while I’m on the road. We’ve have two more youngsters since we last talked.”

“Dan and I talked about this last night, and he has no objections leasing the Danny Boy to you as long as it does not conflict with our use of the boat. As a matter of fact, we are heading home now. We finished our final inspection of the ship yesterday. Dan has had the ship refitted and she is a beauty. You would never think it was the same ship. Dan and I are planning a business/vacation cruise for the Gourmet Gang in three weeks. You are one of the invited guests. Mac and Dan are working out the guest list and some of the important seminars we plan to hold every day for the top executives. If you and Shaun can attend, it will give you both a chance to examine the refit. I’ll tell you one feature you will like, it has a fully appointed nursery and children’s facility, in addition to a first class clinic staffed with a full time para-medic.”

Dirk said, “It sounds like you guys put a lot of planning into this ship. You can count on Shaun and me being there. I can hardly wait to see the Danny Boy.”

Sandy said, “We are looking forward to this trip. It should be a nice relaxing cruise and give us all a chance to catch up on everyone.”

“By the way," Dirk asked, "how long is this cruise? This is a hectic time for us.”

Sandy said, “It’s from Wednesday to Sunday. I wish it could be longer, but most of the guys can’t spend more than three days away from their businesses.”

Dirk said, “I agree with that thinking. I have another urgent call coming in that I need to take. Again, thank you for the invite, and I’ll be waiting to hear from Dan.”

Sandy filled Dan in on his conversation with Dirk, and said, “Dirk it a great guy and he was really devastated over Brett’s murder. Brett was the nicest person, and extremely handsome; he was the Chairman of Harcourt Oil and also owned Harcourt Marine. Brett hated the oil business and wanted to go back to running his first love, Harcourt Marine. So he had turned over the operation by making Dirk the president of Harcourt Oil and also made him a partner in Harcourt Marine. Dirk loved the oil business and was doing a great job.

What Dirk didn’t know was that Brett was stepping down as Chairman of Harcourt Oil and turning over the operation to Dirk. Brett was planning to surprise Dirk with that news on the night he was killed. Dirk found that out the next day from Molly Harcourt. He vowed to avenge Brett’s death and find his killers. I think that was what kept him going, that and, of course, the protection of Molly and the children. Brett also left Dirk his holdings in both Harcourt Oil and Harcourt Marine. Overnight, Dirk became a multi-billionaire. He did a great job of turning Harcourt Oil around and got rid of the troublemakers in the firm. It was never proven, but several months later, three former board members and one stock broker, who were opposed to Brett and Dirk, were lost at sea as a result of a boating accident. The authorities ultimately found that Brett’s plane crash was not an accident. They could not prove or find the people responsible for his and pilot's murder. Yet, Sandy had the feeling that Dirk found the guilty people, and had them taken care of.”

Dan said, “How sad, I feel sorry for Brett. He had his whole life ahead of him. When did Dirk meet Shaun?”

“That was a remarkable story, how they met,” Sandy said. “Brett and Dirk had a private lodge in the mountains; they called it their love nest, a place where they could unwind and relax. Brett had purchased this large tract of property in the sticks years ago, and had this beautiful, modern lodge built on the property. It covered hundreds of acres of land with including its own fresh water lake. Dirk loved to fish and would spend hours on the lake. Shaun used to wander the property looking for subjects to paint. One day, Dirk's security guards found Shaun, who at the time was dressed as a hippy, and chased him off the property. This was shortly after Brett was killed. Shaun was caught again on the property. Naturally, Dirk was still a target and was well guarded. So, Dirk had Shaun checked out and found out he was no threat. He later learned that not only was Shaun an accomplished artist but he was a professor with a PhD in Computer Science. They struck up a casual acquaintance that developed into a close friendship. The thing that first attracted Dirk to Shaun was his close resemblance to Brett. They ended up falling in love and Dirk took him home to live at Harcourt Manor. Molly discovered that Shaun was her husband's illegitimate son and Brett’s half brother. Dirk later found the proof in a letter among Brett’s father's private papers."

"Shaun has proven himself to be a very effective business man and an efficient one at that. He has completely automated the Harcourt organization. He has also set in motion new goals as to where Harcourt should be positioned in the future. Molly told me that Shaun reminds her more of his father; he acts just like him. Now the three of them are like peas in a pod, and the children love him.”

Dan said, “That’s quite a story; now I’m looking forward to meeting them.”

“I know you will enjoy their company," Sandy said, "they are fascinating men to talk to. I must warn you, don’t get Dirk started on boats, because he will talk your ear off.”

Dan chuckled, “I’m not in the market for a boat at the moment. Sandy, has Pete mentioned anything to you about me working with him and learning more about his operation?”

“No, he's not said anything to me. Exactly what does he want you to do?”

“You know that he and Penny want to take a second honeymoon. Next year will be their fifteen wedding anniversary and they want to take a six-week world tour. He asked me if would keep an eye on things while they're gone. It’s not that he doesn’t trust his managers, because they are all proficient in their specific area, but he doesn’t have an executive VP who can make the decisions when he is away. He does have a general operations manager, yet he does not know the administrative and financial end of the business. Pete thought that since I was familiar with his entire operation ,I would be the ideal person to fill in for him. He would like me to sit in on his meetings for the next several months and get to know his department heads, to get a feel how they interact with one another. Pete trusts me, and felt that I was capable of running the operation while he is away. He is not worried about the day-to-day operations because the general manager is capable of handling that, and his sales director is capable of managing the sales end of the business. His main concerns are with any expenditures on the capital equipment, and the client liaison. However, Pete said other than himself, he had no one with the authority to make those decisions.”

Sandy said, “How did you leave it with Pete?”

“I told him that I felt that I could handle the job, and that I can always turn to you for any advice if I ran into a problem. I also told him that I would need to get your approval first before I took on any more projects. If you agreed, then I could rework my schedule to free up the time.”

Sandy said, “If you feel that you can do the job for Pete, I have no objections. I don’t think this will be a full time job. You may be able to turn over some of your coaching duties to Joe and his coaching assistances. In any event, Pete will only be gone six weeks. He didn’t ask me because he knows how much I dislike his agriculture business, and anyway I have enough on my hands with running my own operation. Yet, I can see his point. I know he'll have more peace of mind on vacation knowing that a family member is taking care of things for him. The second reason I think this will work out, is because you will be able to keep an eye on our nephews and nieces.”

Dan said, “I'll tell Pete that you have given your blessing and that I’ll be available when he is ready to start my training.”

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Sandy said, “Sweetheart, I need to spend a few hours at the office this afternoon. I will try to be home around five.”

Dan said, “That’s fine, I need to see how everything is going at home." He hugged Sandy and walked out the exit door of the plane to the van that was waiting to take him up to the house. Sandy, with his driver and Brian, took off in the SUV to his office.

Ludlow opened the front door for Dan. “Good afternoon, Ludlow, do you have everything under control?”

“Yes, sir, Master Dan. Nelson asked if you would call him when you arrived. And Joe said he has the information you requested.”

“Thank you, Ludlow. Please tell Joe, when you see him, that I’ll be in my office for the rest of the day.”

“Yes, sir.”

Dan dialed Nelson’s number. “Hi, Nelson, you wanted me to call you.”

“Yes, sir. I wanted to let you and Sandy know that Craig had a bad day yesterday and is not much better today. He lost his balance yesterday and fell. I had to help him into bed. He fell asleep yesterday and has slept all day today. I called his doctor to change his medication. I had to catheterize him last night and then insert an IV this morning. I’ve ordered a hospital bed with side rails. I don’t want him falling out of bed.”

Dan said, “I’m sorry to hear that Nelson, this is not a good sign. Have the boys been in to see him?”

“Yes, sir, they came in yesterday after school, and again before bedtime. Both times Craig was sleeping. I think they are beginning to accept his illness. They didn’t seem too upset when I tucked them in last night. If Craig does not come around with this new medication, I think you and Sandy will need to decide how you want to handle the next phase. You can either send him to the a nursing facility, or hire another LPN for the night shift.”

Dan said, “Why don’t we wait a few more days to see if there is any improvement in his condition. Have the doctor come and check on him again. In the meantime go ahead and hire a nurse to take on the night shift. I’ll discuss this with Sandy tonight.”

“Thank you, Dan, I’ll call the agency and hire an LPN right away.”

Dan said, “I'll check back with you later.”

Dan called Pete to let him know that he has agreed to learn to run his business as requested. He busied himself putting the guest list together for the executive cruise. He made a stop at the nursery to check on the babies, the returned to his office to answer his emails. He was distracted by the sound of footsteps and chatting outside his office. Seconds later the three boys and Joe walked into his office.

Dan said, “Good afternoon, all. Come here and give me hug, boys. I missed you guys.” The three boys got their hugs. “I trust there were no emergencies?”

Jeremy said, “No, Daddy Dan, everything was as usual. We missed you at soccer practice this afternoon, but Joe took over.”

Dan said, "I’m happy to see your bright, smiling faces. What are you guys planning this afternoon?”

Chip said, “After we change and have our snack, we'll be heading to the pool for our swimming lessons today.”

Dan said, “Sounds like a full schedule. Tell you what, why don’t you guys go ahead and change and have your snack. I need to talk to Joe.”

The boys left and Dan said, “Ludlow gave me your message. What’s up?”

“I was able to talk to some of the boys in Lloyd’s class. They gave me an earful of the harassments that Lloyd has been getting from three boys; their names: John McNulty, Jim Regan and Paul Hoffman. From what I understand, John McNulty is the ring leader. The other two are his followers, all three are big for their age and are not well liked. I can understand why he is scared.” Joe handed him the list with the names of the three boys. “I don’t know any of the boys as they are not on our soccer teams.”

“Thanks, Joe, I’ll talk to Lloyd tonight. Any luck finding an apartment?”

“Great luck. I called the relocation guy you recommended over at Sandy’s HR Department. He gave me the name of a local real estate firm they use. So, I called them and they showed me three rentals last night. The good news is that I've signed a lease on a nice townhouse. I called Steve and Lucy, and gave them the news. I’ll be picking Steve up on Friday to show him the house and give him a tour of Dunnlap.”

“That is good news, Joe. If you're free, why don’t you bring Steve around for lunch on Saturday to meet our boys.”

“That would be great, Dan, I really appreciate that. I know Steve will be impressed.”

“Good, you and Steve can come over any time in the morning. We'll be around.”

“Again, thank you, Dan. I need to catch up with the boys.”

After Joe left, Dan placed a call to Dr. Mary Ward, the principal of Dunnlap Elementary School. The secretary answered and said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Dunnlap, Dr. Ward is in a meeting.”

“That’s fine, please ask her to call me at 250-1000," Dan said.”


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To be continued
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