Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Mario V. Farina
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“You called for me, Mr. Davis?”
“Yes Franklin, thank you for coming. I’d like to talk to you about your work. Sit down.”
The way he had said this, struck a modicum of fear in me. Mr. James Davis was owner of Southwest Engineering. At the time of the story, I was employed in his company as a Junior Design Facilitator.
There was a plain armchair in front of his desk. I sat, a little apprehensively. “Any problems, Mr. Davis, “ I asked.
“Oh, no, Franklin,” he responded apologetically! “Your work is fine! I just wanted to talk to you about a new responsibility. I’m sorry I alarmed you!”
“I’d be happy to accept additional responsibilities,” I said. This was a welcome episode for me. It meant that I was getting ahead. I waited expectantly.
My name is Franklin Trumbull. I was about twenty-three, and had been employed with this company for about a year. My reviews had been good, and I was looking forward to building a career with this company. I liked Mr. Davis. He expected a great deal from me, and did all I could to justify his confidence. He was about fifty, of medium height, with dark hair, graying at the edges. He was a demanding, no-nonsense individual, but fair.
“You’ve been here long enough for me to get to know you,” Franklin, he began. “I know I can trust you with a matter that requires discretion. It has nothing concerning your regular duties, but I would like you to do something that requires you keep this conversation confidential. It is nothing illegal, but important to me. Are you willing to undertake this challenge? If there is something in it that bothers you, it’s OK to refuse without any consequences.”
“I’d be happy to do whatever you ask, Mr. Davis,” I responded.
“Thank you, Franklin. We have a young lady that works here. You probably know her. She’s just out of college, and has a beginner’s occupation with the company. Without letting it interfere with your normal work, I’d like you to watch her. I’m not saying she has done, or is doing anything wrong. I’m not saying I suspect her for anything in any way. At this point, I can’t tell you what the reason is I’m asking this. All I want you to do, without making it obvious, is observe how she behaves, how she does her work, how she deals with people, what is her honesty, matters of this kind. In brief, just get to know her. I don’t know when I’ll ask you to give me a verbal report on what you have found out. It may come in a week, a month, or never. Are you willing to do this for me?”
“So long as it does not interfere with my regular work, I’d be happy to, Mr. Davis,” I said. “Would there be any restrictions on my getting to know her better in subtle ways, like inviting her to lunch, taking a walk, asking about the weather, things like that?”
“Not at all! Simply, don’t tell her why you’re doing it. I assure you, I have no personal reasons for what I’m asking. My wife and I have a wonderful marriage, I would not want to change for a moment. There is nothing anyone would find problematical in what I’m asking.”
“Based on what you’ve said, Mr. Davis, I’m willing to do this. “ I knew Mr. Davis to be an honorable person, and would not ask me to do anything I would later regret. I would honor his request for confidentiality.
“Thank you, Franklin. Her name is Kelly Wilson. She works a few desks from you. You probably already know her.” He stood up. Following his example, I did the same. He held out his hand. “Let’s shake on this,” he exclaimed. We did, and I left his office greatly excited. I felt honored to have been entrusted with such an important matter.
I knew who Kelly was. (That’s her picture on the front cover.) She and I were on a first-name basis. To me, she was Kelly, and to her, I was Frank. We had sat together in the cafeteria during breaks at times. We had chatted during working hours, but there had never been anything personal. For a few days, nothing changed. I did my work, but tried, to some degree, to discover how she felt about certain matters, what she believed, her goals, and how she dealt with people. There was nothing in what I learned to be alarming in any way. The fact is I began to become interested in her as a person. Though I had dated other women casually, nothing had ever developed between myself and them. From what I discovered about Kelly, there did not seem to be anything that indicated she was serious about anyone. This discovery pleased to me!
There came a time when I felt inclined enough to ask for a date. Yes, part of the reason was of my responsibility to Mr. Davis, but another part that was just as large, concerned my feelings for her. There was nothing in her character that would disqualify her from being a wonderful life-mate. I had never shown an interest in her on a personal basis before, so it was somewhat awkward determining how to ask her out.
After overcoming feelings of trepidation, I put those fears in my pocket, and took a mile-long step. We were sitting together in the cafeteria, enjoying our lunch when I said, “Kelly, I don’t know if you’re going with anyone, but I understand there is a great movie at the Plaza Theater this week. I would like to see it, but it would be no fun seeing it alone. Would you be willing to accompany me this Saturday to see it? We could have a bite afterwards at the Colonie Restaurant.”
Here response was unexpectedly speedy. “I’d love to do that,” she responded!
We saw the movie. I don’t remember what its name was. We enjoyed a meal at the Colonie after the show. I don’t remember what we ate. But I do remember that she and I had enjoyed our first date. And we enjoyed many others after that.
It wasn’t long before I discovered that Kelly wasn’t just any girl! She was intelligent, kind, loyal, and honest. She had all those qualities, as well as being beautiful. With time, I found that I had fallen in love with her, and was pleased to discover that she shared the same feelings for me.
As the months flew by, I began to have guilt feeling over having agreed to watch the activities of the girl whom I had the come to deeply love. I asked Mr. Davis’ secretary if I could have a personal talk with him. The answer was quick in coming, yes!
“Mr. Davis,” I began, “I’d like to talk to you about the request you made some months ago.”
“Yes, Frank,” he responded, “what were you able to find out?”
“Kelly is a wonderful person. I have been dating her, and find nothing derogatory. She has qualities that I admire very much. She is kind, loyal, and honest. She is the kind of girl anyone would like to have as a wife. The fact is that I have fallen in love with her. I plan to ask her to marry me. I’m sorry I can’t tell you anything more than what I’ve just said. Perhaps, I have failed in what you wanted me to do.”
“No, Franklin,” he responded. You have fulfilled the mission to my complete satisfaction. In fact, so much so, that you will be getting a ten percent raise effective today, and I am elevating your position to Senior Design Facilitator.”
“Thank you, sir, I managed to blurt after I had recovered from an initial shock. I’ll try to do the very best I can in my new position.”
“I know you will,” he said. “But, don’t just try. Actually do it! By the way, stop calling me Mr. Davis. My first name is James, but everybody calls me Jim.”
Overwhelmed, I uttered, thank you Mr. Davis, I mean Jim.
I left his office with a song in my heart. I stopped at Kelly’s desk. She was on the phone, just hanging up. Excitedly, I told her the news that I had gotten a promotion and a raise. She shared my excitement. “That’s wonderful news,” she exclaimed!
“Now, I feel I can ask you a very important question,” I said.
“I was hoping you would say that,” she responded. “I’d like to have you do that tonight at my home. My parents have been asking to meet you. Are you able to come home with me after work this evening?”
I felt as if I was striking oil every ten minutes. “Of course, I said.”
“Leave your car here,” she said. “I’ll drive.”
Quitting time could not have come soon enough. Kelly and I waited until everyone had left. When we left the building together, she surprised me by locking the door.
“I didn’t know that you had the responsibility of locking the company’s door after everyone has left,” I commented.
“It isn’t my responsibility, as a rule,” she said. “However, tonight is different. Mr. Davis left early, and he asked me to do it.”
On the way to her home, Kelly shared some information about herself I had not known. “My parents are very wealthy,” she said. “I have been working under an assumed name, because I didn’t want a lot of people knowing this.”
“Oh,” I said. “Now I understand something I had not known before. Mr. Davis asked me to do something for him, that, perhaps, I will be free to tell you about tomorrow at work.”
“I’ll look forward to it,” she responded!
We arrived at her home, an elegant white colonial with columns at the front. I was very impressed, but became ill at ease. Kelly and I exited from her car and walked to the front door of her home. As we entered I was surprised to see Mr. Davis and, a woman, obviously his wife, standing next to him.
“Mr. Davis, I stammered, y-you’re Kelly’s father?”
“Yes, I am,” he said. “Remember, you need to call me Jim!” Indicating the woman, he continued, “and this is Madeleine my wife and Kelly’s mother. Kelly has been working at the company incognito because she wanted to start at the very bottom. Someday, she’ll own the company, and wanted to learn the business from the ground up.”
“And, and . . . “
“Yes, and, of course I wanted you to become my son-in-law. That’s why I asked you to find out what you could learn about my daughter. I was actually asking you to fall in love with her, which you did!”
“Daddy,” Kelly addressed her father. “You need to be fair. Please tell, my honey, what you wanted me to do!”
“Well, since you’ve asked me to do it, I will. Franklin, at the same time I asked you about Kelly, I also asked Kelly, to find out what she could about you. I was very impressed by you! Your honesty; your integrity. I couldn’t imagine a better son-in-law! My plan was for Kelly to fall in love with you, and it worked superbly!”
“Now let’s all have something to eat. I understand you need to ask Kelly an important question after dinner!”