The Contract(3)

By: Melanie Moreland



“No, nothing tangible. I want to stay here. Why can’t I get a job at The Gavin Group? They’d be fucking lucky to have me. My portfolio speaks for itself.”

Brian cleared his throat, tapping his glass with his manicured fingernail. “As does your personality.”

“Blunt and in charge works in the advertising industry, Brian.”

“That’s not exactly what I’m referring to, Richard.”

“What exactly are you fucking referring to then?”

Brian signaled for more drinks, and sat back, adjusting his tie before he spoke. “Your reputation and name speak for themselves. You know you’re known as ‘The Dick’ in many circles.” He lifted one shoulder. “For obvious reasons.”

I shrugged. I didn’t care what people called me.

“The Gavin Group is a family-run company. Unlike Anderson, they operate the company on two fundamental principles: family and integrity. They’re extremely particular when it comes to their client base.”

I snorted. Anderson Inc. would work for anyone. As long as there was money to make, they’d create a campaign—no matter how distasteful it was to some consumers. I knew this, and I didn’t care much one way or another. I knew The Gavin Group was far more discriminating in regards to clients, but I could work within those boundaries. David hated The Gavin Group—to leave Anderson Inc. and work there would piss him off so thoroughly he’d offer me a partnership to come back. He might even offer it on the spot when he discovered I was leaving. I had to make this happen.

“I can hold back and work within their parameters.”

“It’s not only that.”

I waited until the waiter withdrew after delivering our fresh drinks. I studied Brian briefly. His bald head gleamed under the lights, and his light blue eyes twinkled. He was relaxed and at ease with himself, not at all worried over my dilemma. He stretched his long legs, leisurely crossed them, swinging one as he picked up his glass.

“What else?”

“Graham Gavin is a family man and he runs his business the same way. He only hires people of the same mindset. Your, ah, personal life isn’t what he’d consider acceptable.”

I waved my hand, knowing exactly to what he was referring. “I dumped Erica a few months ago.”

My ex-whatever, made headlines with her drug problem when she walked off the runway in a narcotic-induced high during a fashion show. I was tired of her high-maintenance attitude, anyway. I had Miss Elliott send flowers to rehab with a note saying we were done, and then I blocked her number. Last week, when she tried to see me, I had security escort her out of the building—or, rather, I had Miss Elliott take care of that task. She actually looked sorry for Erica when she went downstairs, returning a short time later to assure me Erica would not bother me again. Good riddance.

“It’s not only Erica, Richard. Your reputation is well known. You’re a playboy outside business hours and a tyrant during the day. You’ve earned your nickname. Neither sits well with Graham Gavin.”

“Consider me a changed man.”

Brian laughed. “Richard, you don’t get it. Graham’s company is family-oriented. My girlfriend, Amy, works there. I know how they operate. I’ve never seen a company like it.”

“Tell me.”

“His entire family is involved with the operation. His wife and children, even their spouses work there. They have picnics and dinners for their staff and their families. They pay well; they treat them well. Their clients love them. Getting hired there is difficult since it’s rare anyone leaves.”

I mulled over what he said. It wasn’t a secret how important family was at The Gavin Group, or how little turnover the company had in personnel. David hated Graham Gavin and everything he stood for in the business world. To him it was a dog-eat-dog world, and that was how he played. The bloodier, the better. We had lost two major accounts to Gavin recently, and David had been furious. Heads rolled that day—many of them. I was lucky they hadn’t been my accounts.

“So, I’m shit out of luck.”

He hesitated, glanced at me, then looked over my shoulder. “I do know one of their top executives is leaving.”

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