THE CALLISON HOME -
I have to tell you that was a beautiful toast," Douglas Davis smiled as he
walked up to his friend and employer and shook his hand.
"But what, Douglas?" Charles asked curiously before
taking a sip of his champagne. "Don't you believe in the promise of
"Of course, I do," Douglas laughed heartily as he
swirled his bourbon and water around in its glass causing the ice cubes to clink
against one another. "But you were acting like you were making
Stephanie an unofficial member of the family. After everything her mother
did, do you really think that's wise? I mean, how does your wife feel
about all of this?"
"That girl went through a terrible ordeal. In spite
of that, she came through for this family when we needed it. If it weren't
for her, it's very possible that my wife would be locked away in a prison cell,
right now, for something she didn't do."
"I know all of that, Charles, but...well...I can appreciate
your feelings of gratitude towards Stephanie, but to welcome her with open
arms? She is Annabelle's daughter and...."
"Douglas, I can appreciate your concerns
but...well...that's not what I want to talk to you about." Charles
flashed a knowing smile.
Douglas eyed Charles suspiciously. "Is there
something going on that I should know about? What is it?"
"I'd intended on holding this off until Monday at the
"Chamberlain submitted his retirement notice."
Charles paused as he watched Douglas closely for some kind of reaction or an appearance
"We've been expecting that for quite a while, now.
He's been talking about retiring for as long as I've known him."
"We've also decided on his replacement."
"I guess I'm finally going to have a boss other than
you. Chamberlain really never got too involved in office business. We
all divided up his work load and took care of everything for him. So,
who's going to be my direct superior now?"
"I am." Charles smiled broadly as he waited for
a light to come on.
Douglas furrowed his brow as he shook his head, not fully
understanding what Charles was trying to say. "Well, ultimately,
you're everyone's boss. You do own the company. I mean, who's my
direct superior? Who's going to be in charge of the legal
Charles smiled even broader and stuck out his hand.
"You are. Congratulations."
"M-me? But, I...."
"You've done some fine work for this company,
Douglas," Charles explained as he grasped Douglas's hand tightly, "and
you've done some fine work for this family. I couldn't think of better
hands to put my legal department in."
"I...I don't know what to say!"
Douglas almost felt like the wind had been knocked out of
him. He'd known about Chamberlain's impending retirement for months and
he'd known of the possibility that he'd be in line for the promotion -- he'd
even dreamed about it -- but he'd never allowed himself to be overly confident
about actually getting it.
"Well, don't say too much just yet," Charles explained
as his expression quickly grew more serious. "Chamberlain couldn't
have picked a worse time to retire and I rushed your promotion through because
there's a big deal brewing."
"What kind of deal?" Douglas listened closely,
waiting for more details.
"Are you familiar with Orin Macalister?"
"Macalister? Isn't he the writer who does all of
those big adventure novels? He had one on the best seller's list last
year. Army of None, I believe it was."
"Yes, that's him. To make a long story short, the
publishing company he was signed to folded and he's now a free agent."
"How can a publisher go out of business when it's got a
book on the best seller's list?" Douglas cocked his head slightly as
he tried understand the reasoning.
"It's simple, really," Charles laughed.
"Macalister was their only author that ever sold any books." He
paused and took another sip of his drink. "I think that he'd be an
excellent author to bring over to our ranks."
"And you want me to get him to sign on the dotted
"Exactly!" Charles reached out and put his hand
firmly on Douglas's shoulder. "This is going to be a very important
deal and that's why I'm putting my best man in charge of it."
Douglas inhaled deeply and thought about the myriad of new
responsibilities that he was going to have. Signing a new author was going
to be the least of his worries.