Chapter 45: Interlude

Erik sat down on a couch opposite Michael. Morning sun streamed in through the windows of Michael’s office, reflecting off his polished stone floor.

Michael asked, “No Melissa?”

“She’s working hard, getting ready for the tournament this weekend. So, alas, no playtime for us this morning.”

“That’s a pity. She’s an incredible woman.”

“Far more than anything I’d expected.”

“You, ah, seem a little smitten.”

Erik laughed, shaking his head, “Yep, well and truly smitten.”

“I’ve known you for… must be over five years now. I don’t think I’ve seen you like this before.”

“True. With Darcy, maybe a little bit, but she was almost twice my age and sort of a mentor, so it was different.”

“Yeah. I still miss her.”

“Me too.”

Both men fell silent for a moment.

Michael restarted the conversation, asking, “You tell Melissa about Glanox yet?”

“No, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”

Michael cocked an eyebrow at him, so Erik explained further, “You’ve got two feuding private equity firms – God knows why they split ownership on this thing. Anyway, there’s no possibility that they’re going to get their act together in time to save the company.”

“Maybe… but Glanox is a hell of a lot bigger than anything you’ve taken on before. It’d be a hell of a payday.”

“Sure, but it would be a huge freaking headache too.”

Michael nodded his agreement, then asked, “You going to go visit anyway?”

Erik nodded, “This Thursday and Friday.”

Michael shot him a concerned look, “And you haven’t told Melissa yet?”

“She’ll be fine. I’m only going to be gone overnight.”

“Uh, Erik, you do know that most women are a little higher maintenance than Serena? In my experience, they get a little perturbed if you just vanish for months at a time, without notice.”

Erik grimaced, trying to hide his embarrassment. “I’ll tell her. But it’s only two days. By the time the Glanox owners and their lawyers get through negotiating a management contract for me, the summer will be over.”

“Okay, but what happens after the summer is over?”

“I don’t know.” Erik responded in a frustrated tone. “Ask me then. Besides, Mel isn’t sure she can handle both school and living with me anyway, so who the hell knows?”

Michael waited awhile before observing, “Seems like a sore spot.”

Dejected, Erik said, “Yeah. The truth is, I don’t know what I want. It’s only been a few weeks, but I can’t imagine living without her. With my work, though, I don’t know why any woman would want to live with me.”

“So… change your work.”

“Sure. That’s right up there with saying, ‘stop being a dominant.’ My work is more than what I do; it’s who I am. You know that.”

“Maybe, but a woman like Melissa, that’d sure get me rethinking my assumptions.”

“And what? Get married? Have kids? Stay home and putter around the yard? Can you see me doing that?”

Michael laughed. “I think you can do almost anything you put your mind to.”