There Comes A Time – Part Seven [FICTION]

Homemade baby food

As Deb teaches new mothers how to make homemade baby food, does she have something else up her sleeve? (Photo by thedabblist, Flickr)

Deb stood behind the cafe counter inside Little Things, pulsing boiled apricots in a blender as she taught a dozen new mothers how to make homemade baby food. “Now slowly add the apple juice and puree,” she said. “You want the apricots to have a smooth, thin texture. If it is too thin, you can always blend in a few Cheerios to thicken it up.”

The moms made fastidious notes as Deb walked them through how to prepare baked apples and bananas for their babies too. At the end of the class, she packed up the food she’d prepared into little glass jars and sent each mom home with some of the goodies for their little ones to sample later. After everyone disbursed, she brushed her gray bangs out of her eyes and smiled as Carla approached. “You just missed my baby food class,” she said.

“I caught the tail end of it. Seemed to go well,” she said, grinning. “You have a way with the moms.”

Deb shrugged. “So many of these women live far away from their own mothers, they like to bask in my wisdom,” she said, chuckling. “I just wish I was really that wise. Practically anyone can make baby food. But I’m glad they like the classes.”

“I was thinking, maybe we could film the class sometime. I have a feeling instructional videos of your classes would do well online, and they could generate another source of revenue for us for moms living in other places or those who are too busy to make it into the store when the courses are offered.”

“You just went over my head,” Deb said, laughing. “All that Internet business is beyond me. That’s why you’re the boss.”

Carla nodded. “Well, you know me, I don’t sleep. My brain never turns off, especially when I’m in full-scale store mode. I was also thinking we might hire another person here, someone who could help with our digital presence for all the stores. I think we’re producing enough content now that we could keep that person busy. What do you think?”

Deb cocked her head for a moment and tapped her chin as she thought. “Wait! Hang on a second,” she said as a memory flickered to life in her brain. Deb pulled a folder out from behind the counter and started thumbing through papers, until she pulled out the one she was looking for. “I almost forgot about this. It came in while you were out, but this person came by and gave me his resume. He was wondering if we might need someone for tweets and Facebook and stuff.” She thrust the application and resume into Carla’s hands.

Scanning through the documents, she quickly noticed a few things about the applicant. His name was Wade Olson. From his college graduation date she gathered that he must be approximately twenty-six years old. He’d worked his way through college doing IT support at his school in New Orleans. His GPA was terrific, and he sounded like a classic overachiever. She wondered why he would want to work at Little Things, but then thought perhaps he wanted a company he could grow with. Then she noticed that one of his previous jobs had also been as a manny, and she wondered if he loved kids as much as the rest of them did. “I can see why you just filed this away,” Carla said, chuckling. “His CV doesn’t exactly scream, ‘I want to work at a maternity shop.'”

Deb grinned. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

“However, I’m intrigued. Call and set up an interview with him, will you? He might be just the person we’re looking for. It sounds like he knows how to do all this social media and website stuff, and his background in child care might provide him with just the right angle we’ll be looking for.”

“I’m on it,” Deb said.

Carla started to turn away and head for her office, but then stopped and put a hand gently on Deb’s forearm. “I thought about what you said yesterday.”

“Oh?” Deb raised an eyebrow.

“I think I’m going to stay put for a while. The work is good for me. Besides, I’ve missed you all too much to leave now, and as you can tell, I’ve got things that I want to get done.”

Deb pursed her lips and nodded, then watched as Carla smiled and went into the back to disappear into her office. When her boss was out of earshot, she looked down and realized she was clutching one of the little baby food containers in her hand so hard her knuckles were white. She quickly let go and the jar landed on the floor with a crash, sending pieces of glass skittering across the floor.

Ferris Price sat behind his monstrosity of a desk, his fingers steepled, as he stared thoughtfully at Lance and Daphne, scrutinizing them as though they were fascinating insects who held the cure for cancer. His gaze obviously made them both uncomfortable, but he didn’t care. He rather enjoyed making people squirm. It was his trademark, and all his employees dreaded meeting with him because of it. He felt manipulating his employees’ emotions kept them sharp. Always keep them guessing, was his motto. Besides, he always found a bit of mirth in their discomfort.

Finally, he decided to break the silence. “So I had a long chat with the Chesterfields last night.”

Daphne cast a furtive glance at Lance, but he wouldn’t look at her.

“They had a lot to say regarding the way the closing went,” Price continued. “A great many things.”

Lance sat back in his chair, his expression stoic, his arms draped over the sides of the chair, one of his legs resting on top of the other. Still, he continued to make eye contact, never flinching.

“Of course I don’t need to tell either of you that they are one of our biggest clients,” Ferris said.

Daphne nodded, her lower lip caught under her front teeth. The ivory colored suit she wore was lightweight and polished, but little beads of sweat appeared on her forehead nevertheless.

The old man knit his brows together. “The fact that they called me personally less than twenty-four hours after the closing is rather unprecedented, and sent off several alarm bells for me, I must say.” He studied their faces and realized with a modicum of delight that Ms. Moretti was about to become completely unhinged if he kept up this ruse. Finally, he just couldn’t torment her anymore. “Which is why I’m delighted to say that they were thoroughly impressed with you both.”

Daphne nearly fell back into her chair in relief. Lance reached over and squeezed her hand gently. “I’m so glad to hear that,” she said.

“As was I,” Ferris said, his eyebrow raised at the momentary sign of affection between his two employees. Finally, the shadow of a smile crossed his face, however fleeting, and he said, “But the bomb they dropped on me after that sent me reeling.”

Lance leaned forward in his chair as he glanced at Daphne, then back at Ferris. “Bomb?”

“Yes. You heard me correctly,” Ferris said. “A three-hundred and fifty two million dollar bomb, to be exact.”

Daphne and Lance were completely puzzled. They had no idea what Ferris had up his sleeve this time.

“Let me see if I can recall Lydia Chesterfield’s words exactly,” Ferris said, tapping his chin. “Oh yes, she said, ‘because of your obvious skill and thorough understanding of their needs,’ they would like to work with you both again on another, much more detailed, much more expensive project.”

“What is it,” Lance said, sitting forward on his chair.

For the first time, Ferris looked put out. “I don’t know. They only gave me a dollar figure and said that it would mean new money for the bank. However, they also said that they needed both of you to meet with them first thing Monday morning.”

“I’m sure that won’t be a problem,” Daphne said.

“Do you both have your passports in order,” Ferris asked, his keen eyes intently watching them. “Because that would be the only reason I would assume there would be trouble.”

Lance and Daphne looked at one another again, their jaws hanging slightly ajar. “Passports, sir?”

“Yes, you’re flying out Friday afternoon on their private jet to meet them in Venice. Will you be able to do that?”

“Honestly, I’ll have to check,” Daphne said. “I have a passport, but I’ve never used it and I don’t recall when it expires.”

“You’ve never used your passport, Moretti,” Lance asked, his surprise evident on his face.

Embarrassed, she shook her head and looked back at Ferris. “I’ll run home at lunch and check the date, sir.”

“Mine is current,” Lance said.

“Very good,” Ferris said, standing up. “Mr. Daly, please drive Ms. Moretti home so she can check on that date now. Otherwise, it will be foremost on my mind, and I need to focus on other things.”

“Yes sir.”

“Oh, and no need to hurry back. You two go have a nice lunch to celebrate your victory. Feel free to charge it to the corporate credit card.”

Lance and Daphne were once again in shock. Ferris was notoriously tightfisted, and yet he’d offered to pay for their lunch? It made no sense.

“That will be all,” Ferris said, waving his hand to dismiss them the way someone might brush away a fly. “Just be sure you let me know about your passport when you return,” he said, as his secretary ushered them out and closed the door.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to There Comes A Time – Part Seven [FICTION]

  1. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    If you’ve been patiently awaiting episode seven of THERE COMES A TIME, it is finally here! This time out, Carla makes a decision about the future of the business, while an unexpected development catches Lance and Daphne by surprise. Happy reading!

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