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Chapter 21

Cassie

“I love you Joe, but if it’s Steak and Shake, so you can get discounts, well, maybe this won’t work after all.” I said trying to be playful now that we were over the initial roadblock.

“I never thought how sweet that would be.” He said actually thinking about it. I could see the little gears turning in his head. “But your right, it won’t work. You need something challenging and rewarding. I think I have a better idea.”

“Ok, so don’t keep me in suspense, let’s hear it.” I said.

“You said you’ve been helping Tammy this week?”

“Yeah, it was the only way they would let me see you. While you were on a scouting trip, they put me to work.” I said. “I would do whatever it took to have time with you.”

“Did you enjoy the work?” He asked me.

“I did. It was good to help her, she really needed it, and I seemed to pick it up pretty well. I think my background helped. Why?” I asked.

“Would you like to keep helping her. We have been looking for an assistant for Tammy for a while.” Joe asked me.

“I liked the job and it felt good to find the mistakes, but Tammy, I mean Joe, I just took you away from her. How can I look her in the eyes and work with her?” I asked him in all seriousness. How could I work with a girl knowing I stole her boyfriend away from her.

“Oh, Tammy won’t lose me, we will see each other every day.” Joe said thinking about something again.

“Joe, you can’t see her like you were. I mean, I am understanding and everything, but I’m the only one who is going to be getting special massages from you.” I said remembering the conversation her and Joe had when we were sitting in the restaurant.

He just stared at me for a minute and then he began laughing. He laughed so hard he fell off his seat and was still laughing on the floor. I didn’t think it was that funny. I was about ready to tell him so too.

“Well, we may have to change the guest list on the wedding reception, but I think you two are going to be just fine.” He said laughing again.

“What wedding?” I said in a no-nonsense kind of matter. How far had the two of them already been planning, and why would it be funny to change wedding plans on the poor girl?

“Tammy’s wedding of course,” he said like it was no big deal.

“Joe, how far have you and Tammy gone? You were already making wedding plans with her?”

“I wasn’t the main person making plans but I did give my two cents here and there, but you have to come to the wedding. It’s going to be fantastic. I was with Tammy when she picked out her dress. It is amazing.”

“Joe,” I said getting frantic.

He smiled and started laughing again. “Cassie, Tammy and me are not a couple. Tammy is marrying Alex Hofstra in about a month. Tammy is like my sister, I have known her for years.”

I was shocked and relieved and worried and confused, and all within about two seconds. “I don’t understand, the massages?”

“Scalp massages, her doctor instructed me how to relieve some tension from her by giving her scalp massages. I am sure if Alex can handle me touching her like that, so can you. That’s why Tammy needs me so much.” Joe confessed.

“What’s wrong with her?” I whispered. I worked with her all week and never knew there was a problem. Of course I was looking at her as a rival and not as a friend, and now I felt bad again.

“Really not sure. Some kind of brain disorder that has the doctors stumped. She blacks out and has terrible headaches. Something in her hippocampus is not functioning properly, and no one knows what to do about it.” He said.

“Oh my god, I had no idea. I told her I was going to fight to win you back from her. She must think I’m an idiot.” I said.

“She kind of let it slip that she played along with the thought that you and I were a couple. I think she wanted to see how serious you were. She never told me it was you, she just said the person helping her thought the two of us were a couple. Now that I know it was you, that was a mean trick of her to play. I will yell at her for you.” Joe said.

“Don’t you dare. The poor girl is sick. You can’t yell at her.” I said feeling terrible already.

“Cassie, Tammy doesn’t want to be treated any different than anyone else. I don’t baby her and neither does Alex. Thomas does, but he can.”

“How come Thomas can get away with it, since no one else can?” I asked. Because he was her boss?

“Easy, Fathers can baby their daughters whether their sick or not.” He said and things started clicking into place.

“So it’s Tammy Updyke?”

“Nope, Tammy Sinclair, when she started in the office she used her mom’s maiden name, so no one treated her different. Her dad didn’t even find out she worked here for a year. That was a priceless experience.” Joe said laughing.

I smiled with him and came to another realization. “Joe, how long have you known Mr. Updyke?”

“Well let’s see, I was a freshman in college when I was interning. We met a few weeks after I started. So forever.” He said laughing and I again laughed with him.

“It’s just weird, you two seem to be so close. I mean closer than an employee and employer. I just thought you might have known each other for even longer.” I said.

“Nope, he seemed to like me from the start, and one night his wife Veronica and Tammy came to a tailwinds game. Me and Tammy had already met a few times and were already friends so I would hang out with them a little. Mr. Updyke got called away to an important meeting and when the game was over I walked with them to the parking garage where the service limo was waiting.”

“Before we got to the car a man jumped out in a ski mask with a gun and was going to kidnap Tammy. I wasn’t thinking. I was carrying a hockey stick that all the players had signed for Tammy, and I swung it. I caught the man in the temple and he went down. The driver in the limo came running up and when he saw what happened he rushed both of the women away.”

“I stood in the parking garage holding a stick that I just beat a man with and when the police showed up I was taken to the station. The man hadn’t moved again while I stood there. Mr. Updyke came to the station and took me home. I don’t know whatever happened to the man, but me and Thomas have been close ever since.”

“Sometimes he would ask me questions about players and I would tell him what I thought and he would listen. Pretty soon he began having me go on scouting assignments and talk to players and the rest is history.”

“Joe, that is freaking amazing. All I did my freshman year in college was gain eight pounds. You saved two women from a masked vigilante. Holy crap, you are fantastic.” I said. Then it dawned on me. And you’re mine.

“I don’t deserve you,” I said seriously. “I really don’t. You are the most amazing man I have ever met, and all I know is that I don’t deserve you.”

“Well, it’s a good thing for both of us that you don’t get to make the decision. Only I get to choose who I fall in love with, and it happens to be you. Now, back to more important things. Would you like to be Tammy’s assistant?”

“I would get to see you at work, why wouldn’t I? I like Tammy, even more now, now that I know the two of you aren’t sleeping together. It seems like a no brainer.” I confessed.

“Well. Let’s discuss salary.” He said.

“Joe, I would do it for free to be with you again.”

“Well, that’s not how this is going to work. I am in charge of signing talent, and you are very talented Miss. Lewis. I will make you two offers. You can accept either one, or neither, and walk away. If you would like to be employed by the Tornado office those are the conditions. Are you ready?” Joe asked me and I was breathless.

“I’m ready Mr. Miles.” I said smiling a huge smile at him.

“Don’t try flirting with me Miss Lewis to get a better offer. I don’t think my girlfriend would appreciate it.”

“No sir, I wouldn’t dream of it.” I said again smiling at him and touching his hand with a light caress.

He laughed and pulled out a couple of contract sheets he had been carrying. Why he was carrying them I had no idea. Maybe he always walked around with them, he was in charge of signing players after all.

He made a few indications and notes and then he passed me the paperwork on the first one. The form read as follows:

Three weeks vacation

Driver service

Company condo

All health insurance benefits

Retirement package

Salary of a very junior vice president, $ 125,000.00

I was in awe of the offer and would have grabbed a pen out of his hand if he was holding one. I was speechless. I finally got my voice back and asked him “Are you serious? This is amazing.”

“That is the standard offer for a Vice President. You would actually be an assistant, but no one will question it because of whose assistant you are, and they all know she needs more and more time off.” Joe said explaining everything out. He even detailed the profit sharing plan and the health insurance.

“It is an amazing offer. I would be a fool to turn it down. I would get to see you and have a career to be proud of. Why would I even second guess this offer?” I asked feeling a little skeptical.

“The other offer is not as lavish but it has a different incentive plan. I will write it up and then we can go over the differences. Then you can decide if either offer is right for you.” Joe said scribbling out another contract.

This one seemed to be taking him a lot longer and he seemed to ponder over different things as he wrote. I was nervous wondering what the differences would be. I knew Joe would not take advantage of me, in any way, but the unknowing of what he was writing got to me a bit. He finally finished and slid it over.

All health insurance benefits

Retirement

Occasional driver service after six months, full service before

Company condo for six months

One-week standard vacation

Additional duties to include personal assistant to director of player personnel. Must accompany director on any trips he or she deems necessary. After six months must decide whether to continue with current contract, or leave the company. Six-month probation is mandatory.

Salary is to be for junior vice president rank as high level assistant $ 75,000.00

I didn’t really understand some of this so after I read it I looked at Joe with a clueless look I think. He laughed and placed the paper between us.

“So the base benefits are the same, retirement and health. After that things get a little more personally orientated. Driver and Condo are for the duration if need be after the six-month probation. Vacation, is more for when it differs from the director, because when they are on vacation you will be accompanying them.”

“Lesser salary for the simple reason, you won’t need as much since the director will be picking up a lot of your expenses. Food, lodging when away, and incidentals are all taken care of by the director.” Joe explained.

I was still a little confused. If Tammy was the director, and I was her assistant, then wouldn’t it be about the same thing? I asked Joe about that and he looked a little sheepish.

“Tammy is the General Manager, and if you take the first position, you will be the assistant General Manager. It is a great position, and as you can see, the benefits are very thorough. The driver service and condo, are a huge bonus.” He explained.

“So if Tammy is the General Manager, who is the Director?”

“Currently, that is my official title since joining the main team.”

I was in awe. I knew he was big in the company, but I thought he was like a scout, or at the most, director of scouting. I had no idea he held the third highest position with the team. He must have seen the realization on my face because he kind of blushed.

“Yeah I know, I don’t deserve it, but Thomas insisted, and at the time, I needed out of Syracuse. So Miss. Lewis, what do you think of the offers?” He asked me and I was still in shock.

“I am overwhelmed. What else would I be? Can I ask you a few things though?”

“Anything?” He said and I hoped he meant it.

“If Tammy is the one that needs my help, then why would I be your assistant. I know you’re too good a boy to want an assistant to just take advantage of.” I asked smiling.

He had the decency to blush, which made me think the thought had crossed his mind, which I was happy about.

“You would be able to perform any duty that I saw fit. I of course would see fit to have you help Tammy for the rest of the year. The biggest difference would be, in traveling. I am gone a lot, and, that way if Tammy could spare you, you could accompany me.” He explained.

“I can see that,” I said and I did. We needed time together to know if we would work out. “Ok, then what about the probation. Six months go by in a hurry, and if you don’t like me, you throw me away?”

I had no right to say it like that, but we were being honest, and I wanted him to know I was thinking long term. It must have got to him a little bit because he was starting to squirm in his seat. I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable, but we had to be honest with each other now, if we were to be together.

“Actually, the probation is more for the condo and driver service.” He said shifting a little bit. “I was hoping in that time that maybe you wouldn’t need the condo anymore, and only a driver when we couldn’t ride together.”

Was he saying what I thought he was? Was he hoping that I would move in with him? “Joe, are you saying that we could be together and living together?”

He was blushing full blush now and it was the cutest thing on his red little cheeks. “I thought after we saw each other again, well, we could move on in our relationship. I know that is rushing things, but if it works out, well, I was hoping.”

I kissed him again. I hoped the kiss cam wasn’t on us now, because it was a hot kiss, and kids didn’t need to see that. “I love that idea.”

“Then sign that contract, and we can begin.” He said smiling.

I was reaching for it when I remembered something. “Joe, if the contract reads like that, and they put a different person in your place, am I beholden to them?”

“Well, I guess, but that would never happen.” He said smiling.

“What if it did though? Could you change the wording so that it had to be you?” I asked.

“No, it has to be to a position. That’s how all the assistant positions are wrote up. I can’t see why anything would change, but if it did, you could always resign.” He explained and seemed a little distressed.

“Well there is a simple solution. I’ll sign if you do,” and I took out the contract I had in my possession from Mr. Updyke.

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