James called me to inform me that he would be promoting Brittany to executive Chef and I wasn’t surprised at his decision. She had worked so hard to get to where she was and it was finally paying off.
“When will you be telling her?” I asked.
“Before the party. Man I wish you were here, she would be so excited to see you.”
“Facetime me, that way I can watch her get her coat.”
“That’s perfect, so wait what time would it be over there if it’s 8pm here?”
“3am but I don’t care what time it is, I wouldn't miss this for anything. Call me any time and I’ll answer.”
“Will do and make sure you finish your business as fast as you can so you can get back here. I think she misses you more than she’s telling you.”
Hanging up the phone, I placed it in my pocket when I heard a raspy voice next to me.
“What the hell happened?”
Looking over, I saw Julia peering back at me like a hungover boxer who just lost the biggest fight of their career.
“Well look who finally woke up.” I walked back over to her bedside and sat down. “Do you remember anything that happened?”
“Not really.” She looked at her bruised arms and the IV in her hand then rubbed her head.
“You were in an accident a few days ago. You didn’t suffer any major bodily injuries but you had a nasty bump to the head and some swelling on your brain. They placed you in a medicated coma to let you rest then started weening you off the medication yesterday to let you wake up on your own. Luckily, the last MRI they did showed everything had resolved and the rest was up to you. ”
Shaking her head, she narrowed her eyes and said, “You didn’t have to come all the way to Sweden.”
“Yes I did, you’re family Julia and I wanted to make sure you received the best care anyone could get. Plus, I owe you a lot more than this after everything you’ve done for me.”
“We’re family, like you said, you don’t owe me anything.” She laughed then winced at the soreness racking her body.
“Take it easy, you haven’t been out of that bed in days and you’re weak.”
I stepped out the room and called her doctor to let him know that Julia had awakened and he assured me he would be by this afternoon to give her a check up. After I returned to the room, she was fighting with the nurse to get out of bed.
“Julia, listen to the nurse, you cannot just jump out of bed, you need to gain your strength back.”
“Whatever, I have work to do. Get me out of here and I promise I rest at home.”
“You aren’t going anywhere until the doctor discharges you and I have been working on the merger contract for you.”
She froze at my words then said, “You have?”
Knowing she knew that I had figured out the inconstancies, she looked down in defeat.
“Julia, this isn’t your fault, what this company is trying to do is illegal and I know you are trying to fix it but you can’t do it alone. I have been in contact with both of their CEOs and we have a meeting next week. We will not go ahead with this merger if they do not reconsider their terms.”
“I’m sorry, I tried but they gave me so much pushback, they not listen to what I found and it started taking longer than I predicted. The Swedish company said they would find someone else to do contract if I didn’t make it right.”
“Why didn’t you call me?”
“You’re busy in the states with your own firm and extracurricular activities, I didn’t want to bother you.”
“Julia, we are business partners, that means you call me if things get out of hand or just for advice. What this company is doing is wrong and I refuse to let someone push me around just to do it their way and ruin our name in the process. If they don’t want to do things legally, they can find someone else.”
“So what we do now?”
“I’ve rewritten the contract with new terms. We will have the meeting and either they sign or they don’t. We could potentially lose two clients but it’s a risk I am willing to take to keep my integrity.”
“Ok, so I have a week to get strength up and we do this together.”
“You have my word, if you do what you’re supposed to and get cleared by your doctors, we will do this together.”
She shook my hand then asked the nurse for something to drink. For the rest of the day we went over the contract and found all the loopholes they might use on us all while she got out of bed and walked to the bathroom with minimal assistance. Even though she had a long way to go, she was strengthening by the minute.
We called it quits around 8 so she could get some rest and needed to go back to the apartment so I wouldn’t miss James’ call early in the morning. Once I got there, I fixed a quick sandwich and jumped in the shower. After I was done, I set my alarm then fell onto the bed in exhaustion.
I was in the deepest sleep of my life when I heard my alarm going off followed by my facetime tone. Quickly grabbing my phone, I answered to see James laughing.
“Don’t worry bro, I called you a little early so she didn’t see that exact face when I told her.”
“Thanks. Do I really look that bad?” I asked as I tried to tame my bedhead with my fingers.
“No but you do look like you were in a deep, peaceful sleep.”
“I was, give me a minute.”
I put the phone down and grabbed a t-shirt then walked back to the bed and turned on the light. “Ok, I’m ready. You didn’t tell her you were calling me, did you?”
“Nope, everything is a total surprise. Now hold on.”
I heard him place the phone in his pocket then he began his speech.
“You did an amazing job, again. Ever since you started here, we have had more business, so much business that I have had to turn people down but still you pulled us out of the water and for that I am eternally grateful.”
“Thank you, James but you took a chance on me, I am the one who should be grateful.”
I listened to how humble she was and it made me that much prouder of her for her achievements. She never believed in herself like others did but hopefully that would all change with this promotion.
“I’ll be right back.” He said before I heard a bunch of rustling on the line.
Then I heard Brittany ask, “What is this for?”
“An executive Chef should have a real coat.” He said and I could almost hear his smile over the phone.
Listening as she opened the box, I waited for the excited cry but all I heard was silence. She was speechless and I wasn't surprised because I knew she wasn't expecting to be promoted this soon in her career.
“You deserved it Brittany.” He said as I watched the scene change from a blank screen to my teary eyed girlfriend.
“I hope you don’t mind, I facetimed him so he could see you receive it and virtually be here when you officially accepted the position of executive Chef.”
“Well?” We both said as she stood their in total disbelief about what just happened and seeing me.
“YES!” She screamed making my ears ring from the loud proclamation then she covered her mouth and gave James a huge hug.
A tinge of jealousy hit me as she held onto his neck, a gesture she should have shared with me but instead I was thousands of miles away catering to my injured friend.
“I would be honored.”
I heard him laugh then she let go of him and looked over at me.
“Congratulations, Brittany. I can’t stay on the line long but I’m so proud of you and glad that I was able to witness you getting this promotion.” I said trying not to let her see how disappointed I was that I wasn't there in person.
“Thank you, Ethan. I know you’re busy so I’ll let you get back to work but I’m glad you could be here too, even if it was through facetime.”
We said goodbye then I put the phone down and sighed. I needed to make this up to her but how? I laid back down and set another alarm for 7 for my morning workout, maybe a run in the snow would give me some inspiration.
After I did a five mile run and took a quick shower, I went to the office and grabbed all the documents Julia had asked for. When I got to her room she was sitting at the table with a plate of food in front of her. Smiling with a piece of bacon in her mouth, she waved as I walked in.
"Well someone has quite the spread here." I laughed as I watched her take small bites of pancake, eggs, bacon and fruit.
"Yeah, hospital food is disgusting so I got delivery. Come, sit, I got enough for both of us."
"No offense but I don't want to have a heart attack from all the grease."
"Relax, I got egg white scramble for you and protein shake."
Sitting across from her, I laughed at her attempt to make it up to me for being here with her.
"Thanks. Here are all those papers you asked for."
She put her fork down and started looking through everything then smiled and said, "I think we found solution!"
She began to explain why the American company wanted to rush things with the merger and it was because they were on the brink of becoming bankrupt and needed another contributor to stay afloat. Basically they were going to overthrow the Swedish company and seize all their assets then do a massive layoff of the employees.
We finished our internal investigation then I left the hospital. With the way she was improving, I might be going home a lot faster than I anticipated.
I have no doubt Ethan will make things up to Britt in the most fantastic way but what will happen when he returns to train Katiya?
Julia seems like a smart person and a good friend, I wonder what their story is and what happened between them that caused Ethan to owe her so much for.
They finally found out what the company was hiding but will their meeting go good or will this cause more problems for them. And will Julia be ok after Ethan goes back home.