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Those same couple months earlier, he sat at his desk with his eyes generally focused in the direction of the two computer monitors directly in front of him. But, his eyes were directed about four inches above the edge of the two monitors at a location just above the abutting sides of the monitors. At that exact location was a 5 x 7 framed photograph of his mother. It was placed on the window sill specifically to be in-line with his sight any time he might look up from the monitors.

His eyes shifted from the photo to the sunny day outside his office. So much luck had brought him to this exact point in his life and the view out the window was a constant reminder. When he fell into this opportunity and needed an office for his new business, he considered himself lucky to find this office suite. As it turned out, the building owner was having trouble filling the suite. It was larger than most small sales offices required and the location was ‘inconvenient’ for anyone relying on visitors of any kind.

He thought the location was perfect, though. Not that he let the owner get even a whiff of his feelings. He was in sales, or rather, an agent for various manufacturers who needed local representation to customers. In this case, electric utilities, maintenance/service companies to the utilities, and construction companies who assembled and constructed the very products he represented. In his way of thinking, he would almost always be going to see the customer at their offices or job sites. On the rare occasion that a visit to his office was required, this location had proven to be enticing. And, he shared that feeling.

His suite of offices was on the northwest corner, second floor, of a two story office complex of three buildings. He looked directly over Campbell Avenue onto Jimenez Field, Sancret Baseball Field, and finally at Arizona Stadium where the Wildcats play football in the Pacific 12 Conference. A meeting in his office invariably began or ended in a local eatery favored by University students and who wouldn’t find that enticing?

But, it was the sunny day outside that seemed almost too good to be true for early Spring in Tucson, Arizona. It was one of those rare days when it wasn’t too cool or too warm, the sun shined bright and it was comfortable to be in it. One of those days that said the time to leave sweatshirts and light jackets at home was coming. The time when the sidewalks around campus would be again filled with tank tops and shorts. He loved that time of teasing that the weather brought to the city and surrounding area. But, on this day, those thoughts were miles away.

He had a half-a-dozen things that needed his immediate attention. He prized himself on the ability to move from one need to another, back again, then interrupted by the phone, and back to the other tasks. All seemingly without missing a beat. He had the skills, some said the innate skills, required for this kind of job. Especially at his age. At the tender of age of 30 years old, he was already the owner of his own agency. It hadn’t been easy and he hadn’t been given anything but the initial chance in the form of employment. What it did take, as he privately admitted to himself, was some luck and timing. That wasn’t to minimize what he had accomplished. He wasn’t one of those who were self-effacing, having difficulty accepting their success, and wondering when others would figure out he was a fraud and out of his league. He took pride in what he could and did accomplish; he just didn’t pretend to be more than he really was. His aptitude results all came back with little surprises, except for what it pointed to. He was high in problem solving, interaction with others, an ability to train and lead others, the ability to listen and actually hear what others said, but also good at speaking and making himself understood. He like helping others (sometimes people said, to a fault), the ability to take charge of situations, and to follow through on commitments.

The interesting part, that he wasn’t prepared for, was that it could lead to engineering, but that he might be bored stuck behind a computer all day. It could be sales, but he might tire of ALWAYS being in front of the others and having little influence of solving problems. He identified an early target position of ‘Sales Engineer’. It was something to keep in his mind.

His early life was difficult to say the least. But, he managed to graduate high school in Skutt City, Kansas. Good old ‘Beaver Pride’. He played some football, basketball, and baseball, the rare three sport letterman. Not nearly well enough in any of them for college, but ataşehir escort well enough to leave a mark in a small town. As he liked to tell it, he was a little too small for football, too short for basketball, and couldn’t hit a sinking curve ball. But, in a small town in a public school conference of small towns, he did just fine. The place was about 3,800 people, located in the far western center of the state and he couldn’t wait to leave, not that it pleased his mother. She hadn’t had much in her life that she took pride in or treasured as much as him. But, when you are 18 years old and your every fiber wants to leave the cold, lonely, and windy plains of western Kansas, that’s all that seems to matter.

He picked the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. He was looking for a dramatic change and he certainly found it. He loved the city so much that he never left; he never even thought about leaving. With his office just across the street, it sometimes felt like he was still a part of the campus scene. But, at 30 years old, that might seem more than a little weird. He studied Mechanical Engineering and got his Bachelor of Science Degree in four years, almost unheard of anymore. It wasn’t that he was anxious to leave the campus, far from it, but he was anxious to move on to the next part of his life. He grew up with a poor expectation of his future, so finding himself in position to get a good job and truly create a new beginning was exciting. The only part of it that wasn’t perfect involved his mother. They had been close, even after she married, and the separation seemed more final all the time. She acted happy for him whenever they got together, always in Kansas, but it often seemed that she had leaned on him as much as he had on her during those years at home. He knew she was sad even if she wouldn’t say it, but all his attempts to get her to visit and see the city for herself never got her to come.

After graduation and a short visit to Kansas, he worked for three years as an engineer for a product manufacturer in Phoenix. It meant leaving Tucson, but he knew he would return at some point in the future. He had shown immediate value to customers with his ability to show customers advantages in product design and resolving conflicts and problems on construction sites. He was recruited after those three years by a representative agency in Phoenix. Their product lines were nearly identical to the ones he had even now, largely because many of the same companies moved over to his firm.

The agency he went to work for had offices in Phoenix and Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was jointly owned by two partners, one had the office in Albuquerque and the other Phoenix, which Nick found himself based out of.

Nick had spent time in a hotel bar while on a business trip once with a long-time rep. Nick was always looking for insights and this guy was willing to expound, especially if Nick was buying. He told Nick a couple things that really stuck with him. The first was that luck was very often involved in business and success; it wasn’t that luck gave you success, but gave you situations that could lead to success depending on your reaction to the situation. The second was that the agency business was extremely tenuous and difficult. Your job was to represent the company while keeping the customer happy. But, a happy customer at the expense of the company might only get you fired. An agency was only as valuable as the relationships he had with the customer, so keeping the company happy at the expense of the customer might destroy your value to both. He never forgot the tightrope performance required. He also never forgot the issue of luck.

After three years with the agency, the matter of luck came into play. Two things came into play nearly simultaneously, but acting on it would be complicated and a huge gamble. He reasoned that he was young and unattached, what better time to gamble big. The play took about 6 months to completely play out, but when it finally did, he won big. More important to him was that he won fair and without anyone being hurt in the process.

It started as he was leaving the clubhouse of the Arizona National Golf Club, which was really much more than that. It was a private golf course inside a residential community, which normally limited entrance to course members and residents. On this Friday afternoon, however, he had managed to snag a spot of a 4-some as part of a customer’s annual charity fundraising event. He had played with one of their engineers and two other vendors. They didn’t win, but played well enough to place in the prizes, making the engineer happy.

He had just excused himself, expressing his göztepe escort appreciation to as many of the customer employees as he could identify in the event room, then making his way down the hallway to the main doors took him past the bar area. He was already thinking about the traffic to re-enter the Tucson area from the north where the club was located at the foothills of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. As he passed the bar entry, he thought he heard his name being shouted. Surprised that anyone there would know him, he backed up to look for the caller. He found a local utility Vice President huddled with an elderly man. The Vice President was waving him over. Nick reluctantly accepted a drink and they resettled at a table in a far corner. Nick learned that the elderly man was a long time supplier of steel parts to the utility, but over the recent couple years he had been preoccupied by his wife’s struggle with cancer. She survived and he had re-evaluated his life, but his company suffered in the interim; apparently, his managers weren’t as capable as he thought they were. He was wanting to sell the company and property to spend their remaining years traveling. But he needed to sell his company and it needed some infusion of good business to make that happen.

Nick had felt sorry for the man, but expressed his confusion about how he might be of assistance. He remembered the warnings about his inclination to helping people, but he did feel sorry for the man, especially after the years of supporting his wife through cancer. All he could think was that a love and devotion like that shouldn’t have to settle for “if only”. The utility Vice President already seemed inclined to assist with orders, if the man could provide a product at a good price. Nick told them he would spend the weekend working up some ideas. Gamble one.

At the same time, he was hearing gossip around the office about his own firm. He was apparently spending so much time on the road that he was surprised when he heard talk of trouble with the partner. There seemed to be some kind of fraud investigation that Nick was completely in the dark about. There was talk of criminal charges and that the NM partner was separating into a different company to protect himself. Additionally, some of his manufacturing companies had also gotten wind of trouble, not to mention some complaints from customers. Gamble two.

He could get fired because he was violating his contract by assisting another company. He could be violating the trust of one of his manufacturers who was also trying to enter that market, but had been unsuccessful because of their high overhead costs. And, he couldn’t accept commission from the man’s company because that would be in complete violation of his contract with the agency.

Despite all that, he let his overriding desire to help the man lead his action, all the while assuming that it would work out for him in the end. He was a firm believer in the philosophy that good things happen to good people … as long as they covered all their bases. Or, at least as many of them that can be covered.

When the dust settled, finally, Nick found himself with the opportunity to open his own agency, which he did and moved it to Tucson. He always knew he would be back there some day. On top of that, he moved into his first ever home at the same time. The elderly man and his wife wanted to live the next years travelling the country and world. They had no need for their home and made Nick an offer he would be a fool to reject. The taxes might be steep, but the purchase was a steal. Ironically, the house was located in the residential community surrounding the Arizona National Golf Club, the same club where he first met the man.

That was two years ago. It took him six months to feel that his agency business was for real before he sought out the office space he dreamed he would grow into. His manufacturing clients universally agreed to gamble with him, largely from the recommendation of that utility Vice President. Now it was two years later and he was ready, probably past ready, to hire two more people for the office.

The office was run by a very efficient flirt of a woman, Janice Beck. Janice took care of everything that wasn’t outside sales or field work. Dan Mansfield took care of the field work. Nick learned early on that customers were constantly in need of someone in the field or at the site to hold their hands and few agencies or manufacturers were inclined to do that. He received more repeat business and quotation consideration simply because of the number of times he and Dan eased customers out of problems.

Nick was rigid about hiring the most qualified ümraniye escort person for the job, forget about gender, orientation, age, size, or quirkiness. It could all be managed if you had people who were as devoted to the idea of success and fun as he was. When Nick met Janice, that philosophy fit her perfectly. Janice was 46 at the time and, in her words, “curvy”. She was a bit overweight, average height, shoulder length brown hair, and a personality that shined out of her. She was widowed seven years by the time Nick met her. Her husband died of cancer after several years of very difficult treatments. When he died, she was left with nothing after the medical expenses and no income for years. She had three grown k**s (2 daughters and a son) who provided some support but all lived with their families in distant states. She was on her own and was looking for a new life she could sink her teeth into. She found it with Nick who gave her the inner workings of the office. Initially, Nick closed his eyes and prayed while he focused on the customers and sales. Now, he understood the reason the office ran as well as it did was because of her. The surprising, and completely disarming, thing about her is her playful flirting, which she restricts to Nick.

If Janice is a little overweight, Dan is well beyond that. He is 53 years old and, despite his weight, has the energy of two normal men. He retired from a utility in Idaho and moved to Arizona for the warmer weather and golf. He was familiar with the products sold by the agency and was a natural fit for working in the field with the customers.

Nick’s preoccupied was broken by a disturbance in the force, as Dan would describe it. Of course, he would mostly blame that disturbance on Janice. Even as he turned in his chair to face his doorway, a slight smile creased his mouth at the thought of them. Indeed, the disturbance was real and it was both of them.

“How long have you two been standing there not making me money?” When he played the boss role, it was mostly playful.

Janice, of course, had the sharp response, “Not nearly as long as you haven’t making money for us.”

They came in and took chairs on the opposite side of his desk. Then Janice got up from her chair, placed her hands on the desktop, and leaned over the desk. This was Janice. She was still an attractive woman and usually, like today, left several buttons of her blouse unbuttoned, all part of her flirty persona. It didn’t matter who you were, you were going to look and that was the idea. She knew that her well-endowed boobs would take attention from any problem, even if just for the moment.

Nick must have reacted because Dan threw in a wise-crack. “I know … it’s like looking over the edge into the Grand Canyon …” Nick couldn’t help smiling … not a bad analogy … she was definitely “curvy” in the right places. Then it was as if he remembered that this was Janice and quickly looked up into her face, her eyes smiling back him. But the image hadn’t left his mind and the image was more intriguing than normal. There was no sign of a bra in the view he had, but as an engineer, he knew those boobs needed some good structural support.

Satisfied that she had pulled him back from his funk, she sat back down. “What’s the problem, boss?” Now that she had his attention, she might get an answer. “The resumes?”

“Yeah, one is a problem. I need to figure out how to respond. It’s a little delicate.”

They both just stared at him. He was a wizard with words and reading people, how could this be a problem for him? It must be delicate if he wasn’t going to share more. Janice looked at the funny little clock on his desk. They had laughed at the story of his mom giving it to him.

Janice, “Nick, go home. Take the file with you and think about it with a Jack Daniels on the patio by the pool. You need some quiet time.”

He wanted to argue, but knew her idea was perfect. They got up and left. He looked at the document on his PC before shutting it down and pulling the laptop from the docking station. This was perfect for the sales position, except for one thing: the recruiter/investigator had found sexual improprieties between her and several of the male employees at her former agency. He put the laptop and paper files into his backpack, turned out the light to his office, and walked down to the parking lot. He attached the back pack to the passenger seat support, put his helmet on, turned the key to his year-old Harley 1200 Custom in Charcoal Pearl.

The bike was one of his more brilliant ideas. When he rode it, his mind seemed to clear as he had to focus extra hard on the road, drivers, and everything else on the road and nearby. He hoped he would have clarity by the time he pulled into the driveway. Before starting off, he shook his head and muttered to himself, “Mother … mother … what’s going on?”

* * CHAPTER THREE: SAMANTHA JAMESON will follow * * Thanks for reading.

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