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Chapter 22

Joe

“Well there is a simple solution. I’ll sign if you do,” she said sliding something across the table to me.

“What is this?” I asked.

“To be honest I’m not sure,” she said. “Mr. Updyke, said if we could work things out, he wanted me to get you to sign a longer contract. He made it sound like it would help us be together, and I wasn’t in a position to argue.”

It was still closed and I had to wonder what Thomas was up to now. That man had more irons in the fire than any man I had ever met. I opened the manila envelope and took out the forms, and when I say forms, I mean forms.

It was a book, or at least a novella. I started flipping pages and looking through as I went. I wasn’t a lawyer but it seemed to me like this was something out of the ordinary. My initial response was that it was a joke, but I knew him better than that.

Cassie slid her chair over by me and began reading through as I did. I looked at her and she looked back. We were both confused. In a nutshell nothing was explained. It basically didn’t outline any salary or benefits but it said it was for a lifetime position. I loved Tammy and Thomas, but did I want a lifetime position, especially if something happened and Thomas sold the team?

I went through page by page and a lot of what was written went on to detailed budgets and future forecasts. I didn’t understand a thing that I was reading. Cassie took the contract out of my hands and began going through the forecasts and budgets. She was reading through all the dynamics and future clauses.

She began to flip pages faster and faster. She was getting hot, and what I mean was her breathing was picking up and her face was flushing. I wasn’t sure what she was seeing that I didn’t but it couldn’t be good. Finally, she set the contract back down on the counter and got up and grabbed us both a cold drink.

Never a word was said as she opened her Pepsi and took a drink and her face was crunched up in concentration. She finally looked over at me. She didn’t say anything she just looked at me. I had enough.

“Cassie, must be you read something that I didn’t. What is it?” I asked.

“I can’t tell you. In fact; it says so in the contract. He actually had it put into the contract that I can’t say anything about it to you.” She said.

“You’re kidding?” I said and she began flipping pages.

“Any employee who has worked, ever worked or will work for this organization. Or any contractor who has accepted a payment or a value of goods greater than one dollar may not advise the current Director of player personnel to any of the wording or format of this legal and binding document.”

“Then it goes on to say that if they do they will be hauled into court and basically stripped bare of anything they own or might own someday.” She explained.

“It’s not a problem. You don’t work for the company.” I said smiling. Thomas didn’t get me this time.

“Joe, what have I been doing all week?” Cassie asked me.

“Helping Tammy, but you weren’t getting paid for it.” I countered.

“Joe, think about it as a private contractor. They gave me a place to stay, and they bought me dinner every night. Joe what is this box worth for one night this close to the playoffs. This was my deal. I asked for time alone with you, and they granted it here in this box. This is my pay for the work I did.”

“Sneaky bastard isn’t he.” I said laughing. Thomas was always teaching me something.

“Joe, I can’t tell you anything about that contract. I can’t even advise you what to read and where to read it. My hands are tied.” She said and thoughts of her being tied up ran through my mind and I stopped myself and concentrated on the matter at hand.

“So. Let’s think like Thomas for a second. If I sign that contract, would you still sign yours?” I asked.

“That’s advising.” She said helplessly.

Ok I thought to myself. Thomas was playing a game with me, and I could win this game. He would never hurt me. I believed that with every ounce of my being. Besides if he did, Mamma Jade would come here and kick his ass, and he knew that.

How could I beat him at his own game? It would have to be circumspect and well thought out. I didn’t understand enough about that really big contract to make a change to it, but I knew enough about the ones I had been doing. What could I do there.

“Miss Lewis. I see you haven’t signed either of your contracts. Are the terms unacceptable?” I asked and Cassie looked at me funny for using her proper name. Then she smiled and she caught on.

“I’m sorry Mr. Miles. I really liked the second contract, but in its present wording, I just can’t bring myself to sign it.” She said.

“I see, well I was tasked to bring you into the company fold. If we were to negotiate something on your contract to maybe help you feel better about signing it perhaps?” I enquired.

“Maybe sir, what did you have in mind?”

“I assume the retirement and health package are acceptable?”

“More than adequate sir.” She said smiling.

“Salary, perhaps, is that a deal breaker?”

“The Salary is sufficient, as well as the vacation package.” She said.

“I see. Then that leaves the extra duties to be determined by the Director. I can see where that may be a little ambiguous. Perhaps a wording change would make the deal more enticing?” I asked feeling her out.

“It may sir. I like to know exactly what I will be doing, and for whom.” Cassie responded carefully.

“I see,” and I did. Thomas was probably changing my title again. He does that all the time, it seemed. He liked this game. Tammy was probably going to be leaving the organization soon, so I he might be listing me as the GM on paper, and then have Cassie as the real workhorse behind the scenes.

“Would the position of assistant to the General Manager change your mind?” I asked.

“I would value such a position, but the problem comes up, what if the General Manager changes, and we do not get along?” She asked and I could see her point. Thomas could change my position at any time and I couldn’t do anything about it.

I wasn’t a lawyer and I had less knowledge of this stuff than I should have. It would always work before because Tammy would always cover that part for me, but if she did leave, where would I be. What could I do now so that Cassie and I could work together.

I could make her Thomas’s assistant. Then I could tell him I needed her help. He’d be the type to laugh and tell me that wouldn’t work. How was I going to fix this?

Cassie

It was killing me not to be able to help him. It was spelled out pretty clearly in the contract that I could mention nothing about his contract to him. I thought he was on the right path when he brought up my contract, but I knew Joe, he would never come up with the wording it would take for the two of us to be together. Not every day, and after seeing his contract, I wasn’t sure that was even a possibility myself.

I had an idea, but I didn’t know if he would like it or think it was me trying to rid myself of him. I couldn’t lose him, but I didn’t know how he would take this new approach. Would he trust me enough?

“Mr. Miles, if you would excuse me a moment, I need to make a call?” I asked.

He looked startled but he nodded. I pulled out my phone and dialed the number that I had memorized. I waited one second and the phone in Joe’s pocket went off. He pulled it out and looked at me weird. I mouthed for him to answer it.

“Hi Cassie,” he said looking at me strange.

“Joe, I’m glad I caught you. I have a problem that only my boyfriend can help me with.” I said.

He smiled. “What’s that baby,”

I smiled with the baby reference again. I liked having him as my boyfriend. Hell, I loved having him as my boyfriend.

“I’m being offered a job, but the wording on the contract would put me in someone’s supervision that could change and I don’t know if I might like the next person to take the job.” I told him.

“I see. Well is the person offering you the job an asshole?”

“No, in fact he is this great looking, down to earth, romantic kind of guy, but he doesn’t understand the need to feel secure in a position. I can’t screw this up though, because I think it’s what you and I both want.”

“I see. I don’t like the idea of you flirting with this guy, but is there a way that maybe you can get that point across.”

“I don’t know, while he is a great guy, he seems to be stuck in a certain frame of mind, and if I suggest something off the wall, he might think I am using him, and I would never do that. I love you sweetheart, and I want us to be happy, but there may be no way of being together one hundred percent of the time with the contract they are offering me.” I told him.

“I understand. While I want to be with you as much as I can, I trust you to make the right decisions. Agree to whatever will make us the happiest in the end. I believe in you.” He said and then he hung up his phone.

“I love you.” I said into my phone even though the other side was already disconnected. I knew that he got the message though.

“Sorry about that Mr. Miles. My boyfriend needed to talk to me for a second.”

“Not a problem, we are very understanding here. Now back to your contract Miss Lewis. Where were we, you said you liked the second contract, but not the wording?” He asked me.

“Actually, I’ve changed my mind. I think now that I have had more time to consider, the first offer is more to my liking, but I would like to negotiate the benefits a little more.”

“Alright, I assume the standards are still not an issue?” He asked.

“Nope they are fine. I was thinking of more vacation time, and before you say no, I am willing to give up a little to get it.” I said hurriedly.

“What would you be willing to give up, may I ask?”

“Well, I think I would only need the condo for six months. The car service on the other hand may still be needed. My boyfriend travels a lot, and I never know when he will be around.” I explained.

“That is an interesting proposal. I think that would be acceptable. So you would agree to be the assistant to the GM for that one change.” He asked.

“Well that, or until someone in higher management thinks I would be suited for a different position. I am willing to put a lot of faith in the management of the company.” I said hoping I hadn’t gone too far.

Joe

I smiled. Thomas thought he had me. So I figured out he was going to name me GM. Cassie was going to be my assistant but the way she said the traveling bit, it was going to be a dual role. I would still be director of Player Personnel as well. I re-wrote the contract giving her six weeks’ vacation, and changing the conditioning on the condo and the driver service.

I left the salary the same as it had been, since it was still under the limit Thomas was willing to pay. I still worked for the company and had to make a deal that was good for them as well, besides if things went the way I hoped, Cassie would be living with me in the near future anyway.

I passed the reworked contract to her and she looked at it and signed it. She smiled and handed it back. “I think this calls for a celebration,” I said about to get up and get something a little more potent than an ice cold Pepsi.

“Not so fast Joe, you didn’t sign yours. No celebrating till you sign the contract I gave you.” She said looking urgent.

It wasn’t that big a deal, Thomas had me doing different assignments all the time. I liked the diversity. I grabbed it and scribbled my name in the indicated spots and handed it back to her. She took care of it and then she jumped up out of her seat and kissed me again. I could definitely get used to this part of the relationship.

We opened a bottle of champagne that just happened to be in the fridge and poured two glasses when the final horn sounded on the game. We ended up winning in a one to zero shut out. Then I heard a voice behind us. “I see we opened some bubbly, what are we celebrating?”

Thomas was smiling ear to ear and Tammy was standing next to him. I thought about being smart and telling him we were eloping and running away together, but I didn’t have the heart, and I didn’t want to take any chances of hurting Tammy.

“The first thing we are celebrating is the beginning over of a relationship that should never have ended.” Cassie said beating me to it. “Joe and I are a couple, again. Tammy, that was evil of you, to let me think that.”

Tammy smiled. She didn’t apologize or even seem to care. “Yup, and you know how that feels now, so don’t let it ever happen again.” Then she walked over and gave Cassie the biggest hug I had ever seen. I was getting jealous at how long they hugged.

“Is there anything else we are celebrating?” Thomas asked urgently.

I knew he was impatient for the news that Cassie would be helping Tammy. I handed him the contract she signed and the wording. He read it through twice and looked at Cassie. “So, should I call you Miss Lewis now?”

“Oh no sir, I’m still Cassie.” She said blushing.

“Interesting contract you drew up Joe. Well below the max levels I gave you. Cassie, now that you are part of the organization, you should know that Joe is our best negotiator. I gave him a lot of wiggle room to work with, and he was below all the levels.” He said smiling.

She stared at me, and then she began laughing. “Then he is what is best for the organization. I was very happy with the contract that he wrote up, and look forward to begin working with Tammy.”

“Speaking of which, Cassie, were you able to take care of the matter I gave to you.” He said a little shakily.

She handed him the book that he thinks is a contract. He looks at all the signatures and then he smiles. “I assume you didn’t explain any of this to him?”

“How could I? You put it right in there that I couldn’t. A little devilish of you don’t you think?” Cassie said smirking.

“Oh my dear, I didn’t get to be where I am by not being devilish.” He said grinning. “Now pour two more glasses of that so we can all celebrate.”

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