“Why so grim?” asks Phillip. “Clayton seems a nice guy.”
“I’m sure he is,” says Alex, grumpily. “But he’s only with us because he lost the horse show.”
“Was it deliberate? What was the alternative?”
“Hell, I don’t know,” growled Alex. “If he had won, he could have taken Tara out for dinner. I suppose he thought this way he could see her more often.”
“Ah. What are Tara’s feelings about this?”
Alex shrugged. “She would have been happy either way.”
“Well, maybe it’s time you let Tara know how you feel. You’ve been dragging your feet in your approach to her.
“I wanted to thank you for the review,” says Ashley.
“You’re welcome,” says Rachel. “But, I was only trying to be honest.”
“Yes, but it’s landed me a recording contract.”
“Really?” asks Nicholas, overhearing. “That’s great news.”
“Yes, even though it is just a small contract with a small studio,” says Ashley, turning to him. “But I came over to ask you out to celebrate.”
“Uh, sure,” says Nicholas, turning to Rachel. “Will you be joining us?”
Rachel, seeing the miffed look on Ashley’s face, answers, “Sorry, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Have fun.”
“William thinks I should work with you to introduce the Golde Signature line to Bellington’s,” says Melanie.
“And what experience of marketing do you have?” asks Jason.
“Well, none, actually,” Melanie responds. “But he thinks I should learn.”
“We don’t have time for a novice. We need someone to hit the ground running because we’re behind as it is already. It’s better not to have someone new to hinder our progress. So, I suggest you start somewhere else.”
Blanche comes in and hands Jason a portfolio. “Bellington’s has made a huge profit in the past year, but their jewelry department has suffered recently due to lower quality and higher prices.”
Melanie turns to her. “But Blanche is practically as new as I am,” she protests.
“Oh, yes,” Jason turns to Melanie. “But Aunt Blanche does have a marketing degree and has worked in that field previously.”
Blanche looks from Jason to Melanie, and back to Jason again. “What seems to be the problem?”
“Dad thinks Melanie should join our team, but I don’t feel we can afford to slow down to train her.”
“Oh,” says Blanche, thoughtfully. “Well, don’t worry Jason. I’m sure I can take her under my wings and teach her what she needs to know. And, as long as she’s by my side, she won’t interfere with your work.” Jason scowls but Blanche turns to Melanie. “Come along, let’s get started.”
“Where are you going?” Gavin asks.
Belle turns around. “So, you’re back. I should have expected that you wouldn’t have considered calling to let us know what happened.”
Gavin’s eyebrows shot up, then he grins. “I came directly here from the airport. Wasn’t that considerate enough? I thought it better to thank you in person. For someone who only acts as an agent temporarily, you are very well trained. And I have many reasons to be grateful for that.”
Belle shrugs. “What can I say? I’m a perfectionist. You can’t do a job very well unless you are well prepared. So, are you going to fill me in on what happened?”
“I’d love to,” says Gavin. “But it looks like you’re heading out.”
Belle considers. “I was going out. But I’ve changed my mind. Let’s talk.”
“That’s wonderful news,” says Marie to Lisa. “I certainly hope to have Lucas’ situation all settled soon.”
“Yes,” says Lisa. “But we’ve just started. He still has to have his time with Amanda and Michael. That will start next week.”
“And we’re looking forward to it,” says Amanda. “Especially as he has made such strides despite the change in environment.”
“Michael,” says Marie. “I wondered if I could discuss something with you.”
“Would you like us to leave you alone?” Amanda offers.
Marie thinks about it. “No, that won’t be necessary. Lisa’s part of the family now, and even if she won’t be affected by what I’d like to discuss, she may take a familial interest. After all, Aunt Blanche is in on this.”