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Chapter 2

Ginny stopped by Laura Goldstein's office to thank her for brewing coffee for the staff. It was the joke of the office that Ron couldn’t work effectively unless he had a cup of fresh coffee close at hand. “Thanks, Laura. I was already running behind this morning, and then I received news that a twenty-five-year-old friend died last week.”

“Bummer. My condolences. Accident or illness?”

“Acute leukemia. Sadly, she left behind a young daughter.”

Laura's voice was hushed. “Premature death has a way of bringing my life into focus, reminding me that life should never be taken for granted. Ginny, your friend’s death has to be difficult for you. If you want to take the day off, we’ll manage, and Ron will understand.”

“I need to stay occupied. Work keeps me from dwelling on situations and events I can’t change. I just needed an extra thirty minutes to pull myself together. I’m overly sensitive when I hear news about early deaths.”

“With good reason.”

“I didn’t see Ron’s car? Did he call in?”

“He did. He’s having breakfast with a potential client.”

“That’s good and bad news. He’s already overworked.”

“I keep reminding him that he needs to recruit a partner instead of new clients.”

Ginny was on the phone when Ron strolled into the office. He motioned that he needed to speak with her when she was available. He looked tired. He wasn't smiling, but he didn't look miffed.

Five minutes later, she marched into his office and took the chair across from him.

He broke into a smile. “Wipe that concerned frown off your face. I have what I hope you will consider good news. A week ago, a college friend who has been working for a prestigious civil engineering firm in Chicago, contacted me. He saw our ad in the Professional Staffing review. Mike Weathers is his name. He resigned from his position at the Chicago firm a month ago. He has been actively searching for a successful firm in a mid-size city."

"Why did he resign?"

"He's grown tired of Chicago's bitter cold winters, city traffic and crime."

"Is he qualified?"

"His resume is impressive.”

“What’s his specialty?”

“Analyzing the performance of buildings and property for the owners of public and private sites. We’ve been texting and emailing since his call. I picked him up from the airport last evening and we spent two hours in the office. He liked what he saw. He’s agreed to work for two months. He had planned to take a month’s vacation, but because of our firm’s dire need for immediate help, he is willing to postpone his vacation."

Ginny remained silent.

"Whether he buys your shares in the firm is your call. I’m confident that I can work with him, but the fit has to be right. He likes what he's seen of Archdale, but he wants to make sure that he can adjust to living and working in a small city”

“Good idea. Is he married?”

“Divorced. I suspect that his ex-wife is one of the factors that influenced him to leave Chicago.”

“What does he consider immediately?”

“Monday. As we speak, he’s looking for an apartment. He’ll rent until we talk contract.”

“Whew. Finally. Maybe now the firm can get back on schedule. Our clients have been relatively patient. Thank you for handling the negotiation, Ron.”

“I couldn’t have done it without your input. For someone who didn’t attend engineering school, you have done a remarkably good job for the firm.”

“I appreciate your kind words. The staff has been amazing, but the firm needs a seasoned professional.”

“If we are to grow and prosper we do. Mike isn’t Sam, but I think he’ll run a close second.”

“What about my job, Ron? I would like to be here through the transition, but you need an administrative assistant who has a background in engineering.”

“Your attention to details has been a bonus that I didn’t expect, but I understand that teaching is your calling.”

“Right now, my priority is Brian. I need to spend more time with him. He’s been hanging out at Carol’s in the afternoons, but the two of us need to work on our relationship. It’s suffered since I’ve been spending so much time away from home.”

“I suspected as much. Mike and I discussed your situation. We agree that you should cut your hours to part-time. He can pick up some of your duties. It will be a good way for him to get to know the clients. At the end of his first month of employment, we’ll reevaluate. At some point, the three of us will sit down and hammer out a contract that works for all of us. How does that sound?”

“Like God is answering prayers.”

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