Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 5
The twins were lying on the floor watching what looked to be an Italian soccer game with Puppy. It’s weird … well, actually it’s weird that it feels weird, but they take up so much more room on the floor than they did, even five years ago. It used to be little boys in footies watching kids’ shows … now, it’s gym shorts, tank tops, hairy legs, and muscles.
Finally, during a lull in the action, Aiden twisted his head around and asked, “So, you gonna buy that cable place, or what?”
I walked over and handed them both a beer. “My lawyers are working on it. You have no idea how many lawyers it takes.”
Andrew rolled over onto his stomach, and propped his head up on his hand. “Why not get dad to do it?” Our dad, Larry, is a partner in a big Denver law firm.
“Cause everybody does that. I mean, it’s gotta be a pain in the ass to be doing all the law work for everybody you know - for free; especially, when he knows I can afford my own lawyers.”
I looked at Andrew. “I mean, how would you feel when you’re a doctor, if we all wanted free doctor shit … it’s unfair.”
Aiden gave a dirty little laugh. “I dunno, as soon as Andrew has a clue, I’m gonna let him examine me; and frankly, I figure he should be paying me.”
Andrew snorted. “I’ve already examined you, but I’m not sure of the medical term for perv.”
Aiden grinned and turned back to the soccer game. “I’m pretty sure it’s pervitus, and it’s hard to cure.”
The puppy was having tennis match eyes as they shifted from one twin to the other. Then apparently, overcome with his love for them both, he got up and, with his tail flicking wildly, and his entire rear end dancing from side to side, licked Aiden, then Andrew. And then maybe in recognition of who buys his food, came over, sat on my feet, leaned against me, shivered, and stared up at me adoringly. I guess this is what fatherhood is like.
The next week you could feel the summer ending. It was still hot as hell, but the light was different, and it spoke of autumn approaching. On Monday, Andrew and I drove Aiden to the airport, and saw to it that he got on my dad’s plane all safe and sound. Then the following day, Andrew took off to go down to Northwestern to get settled into his dorm. He could’ve gotten an apartment of his own, but he said he wanted to get the full college experience. The twins are very social, and I kind of figured he’d be lonely if he was living by himself; which really shows you just how naïve I can be, because he’ll have plenty of female company.
Anyway, the puppy and I ended up standing in the driveway waving goodbye to the departing taillights of my old Honda Accord as he drove away.
Behind me, the house was literally being torn apart by double crews of carpenters and laborers. The roof was being torn off by one crew, while another crew was right behind them erecting the framing for the new second story. It was all very loud; and it made me more than a little crazy, but Eli kept showing up and telling me that everything was okay. The one rule I stood firm on was the moment Nick came home from work and turned into our driveway … all work ended for the day.
While my house was changing, my office was too. After some intense negotiations with his wife, we hired George Matson; and he began setting up what Jack and I simply began to refer to as George’s office. Besides George himself, there was a secretary, and two young assistants that George brought with him.
George was short, a little overweight, mostly bald, and wore small gold rimmed glasses. He was the calmest guy I’d ever met; or maybe it just seemed that way because he was older … I didn’t know. He spoke using as few words as possible, and spoke so softly that I had to lean forward to be sure to hear what he was saying. But I never had the slightest doubt that he knew what he was talking about - he just had that air about him. Though he spoke softly, he spoke with absolute confidence - the confidence of someone who completely understood what he was talking about.
After our first meeting with him, Jack and I were walking back to my office, and I looked at Jack to get a reading of his take on what we’d just heard. George had made a proposal to us that was mind blowing.
Jack just looked at me and said, “Nick was right about him. I’d say you can take everything you just heard to the bank.”
And I did take it to the bank, or rather to the Chairman of the Board of the Bank, my dad. Actually, I emailed it to him, gave him a couple of days to think about it, then called him.
“I just finished checking this out.” Just the sound of his voice caused me to relax. Alex has a way of making me feel safe.
“Is it too big?” It is really big.
He laughed. “Well, it is big. This came from that new guy Nick sent you, right?”
“Yeah. It seems kind of far reaching.” Actually, calling it far reaching was putting it mildly, because it would probably turn into the biggest real estate deal this city has ever seen.
“You think it’s a bad idea?” This is what I wanted more than anything to avoid, sending him something that he might think was a mistake.
“It’s a great idea, but I do have questions.”
I laughed. “Do I need to get a pen?”
“No, I’ll email everything, but something to think about is will the city go along with everything. The money isn’t a problem, because you could do it in stages, or if you want partners … and I would suggest it, your grandfather and I would each take a third, unless you’re committed to going solo. But you’re going to need a lot of approvals from the city. It’s pretty much like this will be a city within the city. I would start contributing to anybody running for anything that’s connected to the city government. It’s surprising how little money it takes to get folks on your side.”
“The other thing you need to determine is can your guy George Matson supervise something like this. Of course, there’ll be architects and construction people, who will be directly responsible. I guess what I’m thinking is you might want to let me send you a couple of guys, who could bird dog something like this without it being obvious. They could have a small office somewhere, and advice you on what you should be asking your people.”
I started to object, but only got as far as, “But …”
“They won’t interfere, really they won’t; they’d just be personal advisors to you. Nobody knows how to do everything, Chris, not right away; and this would give you the opportunity to learn, not only from my guys, but from your guys too. And no one would know what was happening except you and me. Believe me, it’s better than screwing something up, or rather letting someone else screw something up, and having to fix it later. And once you’ve done this project, you’ll know what you’re doing, and your people will know that you know. David and Gerhardt did basically the same thing for me.” He laughed. “Or did you think I was always this smart?”
It was my turn to laugh. “Actually, I did think you were always that smart.”
“Well, my real dad left me a real estate organization that didn’t really need me at all, but David and Gerhardt helped me to slowly learn the business. And by the time I started taking actual control, I’d learned how to do things; but that was only possible, because a lot of really capable people took the time to help me learn. So, why not let me help you learn? You know, it’s not like you have to build this stuff yourself; and as a manager, you really only need to know the right questions to ask.”
“I guess I can’t say no to that, but where would your guys do their thing? Would they want offices in the same building I’m in?”
“No. If they’re in your building, the odds are that somehow everyone will find out, and your people will wonder what you’re doing bringing these people in … like you don’t trust them. And that could cause a problem. But my guys’ll work something out, and the thing is the questions you’ll be able to ask your guys will have them wondering exactly how much you know about this stuff. And keeping them slightly off balance, with regard to your abilities, will be a very good thing, both long and short term.”
Then he laughed and said, “But that land is a remarkable deal, even if you’ve got to buy all of it.”
“So, you think I should buy it, no matter what?”
“Yes. Frankly, it’s probably cheap, because there’s a lot you have to do to it, and that becomes expensive even if you’re just building one building. But that’s not the case here, and what you’re planning will add tremendous value to the whole area. So yeah, you oughta get it; and frankly, if there are interesting pieces of land anywhere around there, you might want to pick those up too.”
“And frankly, if you decide you don’t want it … I’ll buy it.”
Nick and I were walking through our house. There was nothing in the living room, dining room, or family room … the entire western end of the house. Everything had been moved into storage, and those rooms had been stripped down to the bare floors. The wall that had separated the garage from the rest of the house was gone, and tomorrow the rest would go. The garage door was gone, and had already been replaced with framing. The kitchen would be moving to that end of the house … well actually, where the garage used to be. Tomorrow they were pouring the foundation for the new garage that would still be on the west side of the house, but further back on the lot, and would double from two cars to four.
Half way through our tour my phone rang. It was Michael.
“You’re coming out here on Friday to sign the papers and go through the place, right?” He was talking about the cable place. I was scheduled to go to Madison to sign the papers and meet the rest of the employees.
“Yep. Eleven o’clock, right?”
“Yeah.” Michael was being too quiet.
“’What is it, Michael?”
He sighed. “Remember you said to send you the bills for the dogs?”
“Yeah, but you haven’t sent any.”
“I know … I mean, I wasn’t totally sure you … you know, that you meant it. The thing is we got this dog today that has some major problems.”
“That’s okay, Michael, just send the bills to Jack.”
“This dog has two broken legs, though; and it’s gonna take an operation.”
“Two broken … what the hell happened?”
“I dunno, car probably. I don’t know if he had an owner, but he was living under some bushes. The legs kinda healed, but not like they’re supposed to, and now it’s a mess. We’re probably talking a couple thousand … maybe more.”
The thought of what these animals had to endure made me sick. I shook my head slowly; and seeing the look on my face, Nick walked over and put his arms around me.
“Fix it, Michael. I don’t care what it costs. Call Jack tomorrow, give him the names of the vets you use, and he’ll take it from there. We’ll set it up so that all the bills are sent right to him. That way, you can just worry about the animals, not the bills.”
I could hear his voice lighten. “Oh, wow, that’s great … I’ll call Jack tomorrow. Meanwhile, you think you might be interested in another business?”
I laughed, because it was unexpected. “Sure, I guess. What kind of business?”
“Pretty basic, it’s all standard manufacturing; in this case, exercise equipment … you know for gyms. It’s a fairly big company, and I didn’t know if maybe it was too big. It’s owned by a retired military guy - he was in Vietnam and got pretty banged up. He used to fly choppers and got hurt bad when his crashed. Anyway, he started this business, and it’s been really successful. I haven’t seen any hard figures yet, but he tells me he’s doing around twenty million a year. The thing is he’s sixty-five, and while that’s not really all that old; all the shit that happened during the war is taking its toll. He says it’s getting to be too much. It’s really hard for him to get around. I asked him why not get a wheel chair or something like that, and he said he’d rather be dead. About five years ago, he married a really hot blond, and that might have something to do with this.”
“What’s his name?”
“Stanley Nash, everybody calls him Stan. Pretty much a no- nonsense guy, like a lotta those old military guys. My hunch is if you offered him a fair price; or anyway, what he might consider a fair price … he’d take it. But if you low-balled him, he’d figure you were trying to steal it, and he’d say no - and you’d never get him back. He’d consider it a matter of principle. Anyway, he’s supposed to email me figures.”
What’s the name of the company?”
“Send me the figures when you get em, Michael, and I’ll have the bank run some checks.” I laughed, because he was surprising me. “You’re really doing great, Michael! I knew you’d be good at this.”
He laughed. “It’s pretty much just luck, so far. And I like to talk to people - and listen.”
“Well, keep at it, and don’t forget to call Jack tomorrow, so he can pay those bills.”
Nick and I continued our tour of what was left of our house. We stepped into the garage, and I gestured at the new wall where once the garage door had been, then the whole area. “This will be the western end of the dining room. The kitchen will be part of the addition, and will start about ten feet back from the start of the existing stuff, then further back will be the garage.” Nick had stepped behind me and wrapped his arms around me. His chin was on my shoulder.
“Gonna be a pretty big dining room.”
“Well, it will be bigger, but a lot of that room if going to a bigger foyer, because they’ll need a staircase to the second floor.”
He nodded against my shoulder and whispered, “Are they doing anything to our bedroom?” His dick was getting hard and pushing against my butt.
I wrapped my arms around his, and tilted my head to the side as his lips moved to my neck. “Ahh, they’re making it bigger by a lot, and the bathroom is gonna be amazing. And there’s gonna be a kind of sitting room.”
Nick moved his hands down, then up under my tee shirt; his mouth was against my ear, and while he was whispering, the words were vibrating in my head. “Remember the night you drove through the blizzard, and I made you take a hot bath?”
I nodded against his arm. “Uh huh.”
“I wanted to fuck you so bad.”
I pushed back against him and said, “You should have. Well, maybe not. I was pretty fucked up.” I pulled away from him, grabbed his hand, and pulled him towards our bedroom.
“C’mon, you can make up for it now.”