Chapter 1

Our two weeks on the island were all the hype had made us imagine it could be. Except for onto the island, Saturday for the cleaning, and then when we left, we never wore a stitch other than sandals. We tanned evenly and enjoyed each other's physical bodies wonderfully. We had options for boating and the like but passed them up. We just wanted to be alone in our new marriage. We tried every sexual position we could imagine. At the end of two weeks, we were happily tired. We slept on the plane all the way to England while wearing clothes that we had almost forgotten.

The trip to England was superb. I, of course, didn't have any memory of having been there and Lisa had only been once on a guided tour. While we were on our chartered jet, I reminded her that we could make more trips. This trip was only the beginning. Lisa had been in contact with friends who had helped her with research previously and we had great tours by people who cared about what we saw and knew the parts of the things we saw intimately.

It was interesting for me to watch Lisa in her area of expertise as she questioned and, at one point, even lectured on Tolkien. I loved watching my beautiful wife demonstrate how smart she really is.

We stayed in some great places and some others that were just friendly. All through it, she was beside me and we loved frequently.

We returned to a lot of news.

First, our new home was almost completed.

Second, Reggie had come to terms and I had a contract to review with my favorite advisor, my wife. We reviewed the contract naked in bed. While focusing upon the contract wasn't easy, my slave driver of a wife said that I couldn't play with her body until we had finished reading and discussing each paragraph. Frank and Marv had performed admirably and I had no problems with any part of it. Reggie still didn't know who was buying his company. This was in the form of an offer to sell to us rather than an offer to buy from us. Reggie had cost himself a hundred thousand dollars in a month and a half. I was thinking to cut a return offer that might be lower still. His company was not healthier and the bank had accelerated his loans and seized his checking accounts.

Third, Stan and Irene were married while we were gone and were, it seemed, even happier than before. Irene was staying with the team while Stan was becoming a detective. That would solve the problem of operating together for a long time.

Fourth, Pam announced that she, Frank, and Starcheer were very sure she was pregnant! I'm not sure which one of the three was more excited.

Fifth, Doc Baker, Ron, and Starlight were working wonders with patients in his practice using a process that kept Starlight from being discovered but which allowed Ron to use her skills to examine a patient's mind and find the problems within it. Ron was a widower though, with his cancer now cured, he was more open to the possibility of a female partner in his life.

Sixth, Paul and Linda were totally enchanted with each other. Lightweaver admitted through Stargazer that they could frequently tell what each other was thinking without his help. He admitted that being in partnership with them strengthened his caring for them.

We arrived Saturday afternoon and went to Sunday school and church like we had with Paul and Linda. Saturday was a fun time and we enjoyed being with Paul and Linda that evening though we had talked by phone to them and others while in England. While on the island, we talked to no one except for the Saturday cleaning time and then only for short calls.

Sunday morning, we dressed and went into the seventh grade class to see the kids and Pam and Frank. It was a joyous time. Everyone admired our tans and the obvious joy we had with each other. Pam and Frank were totally in tune and it was a joy to see her free to be who she could be and to realize what a great person we had for a friend and co-worker.

Going into the sanctuary, we saw Jenna who was delighted to see us asking us about our honeymoon. She was particularly interested in our time in England.

At the announcement time, she asked us to stand welcoming us back. She said, "After a marvelous, whirlwind courtship, their honeymoon was no less exciting. They spent two weeks by themselves on an island in the Caribbean and then two weeks in England performing some research for Lisa's doctorate paper on Tolkien. The first sounds excitingly romantic and the second part is something I have dreamed of doing since my first year of college. I'm glad to call them friends and members of this congregation. I'm glad you're back."

Pastor Jim gave his usual inspiring sermon. We went home to Paul and Linda's with Pam and Frank joining us for lunch and supper plus time in between to talk and enjoy each other's presence.

Pam said, "Now that you two are back, what are your immediate plans?"

Lisa said, "Our immediate project to respond back to Reggie. Frank has done a great job and we appreciate his patience in dealing with Reggie. We understand his situation is more serious than before. I think his company is in worse shape than had been thought. We will go over the contract one more time tonight and will call Frank in the morning from our office." She smiled. "That has a nice ring to it. I like the 'our' part of it really well."

I said, "We will want to go out and tour our new home. Through Pam, James says that it's almost finished. We love being here but want to move into our own place soon."

Linda said, "We like having the two of you but have become quite uninhibited while you were gone." She grinned.

Paul said, "It looks like you will be busy tomorrow."

I said, "I know. We've had a good person looking after things while we were gone. However, we still expect a busy few days while we catch up with what we have to do.

"I have a different subject for you to consider. Stargazer has others who would like to pair with humans. Have you any thoughts about other individuals or couples as candidates for partnering?"

That started some thought. Pam said, "I would start with Robert Jenkins, Pastor Jim and his wife, and Pastor Jenna. Frank and I have gotten to know her. She is a neat person."

Paul said, "I can think of a few. Joan quickly comes to mind."

Linda said, "I will have to think on that. There aren't many in my tennis group that I think would work. I would want to think hard before suggesting that they be included. I don't want to mess with people who might not appreciate the benefits of partnering."

Frank said, "I would include Marv. He's a good guy with a good marriage. He and his wife have been supportive of Pam and me as have Paul and Linda. They have helped us learn to be married." Paul and Linda nodded in agreement.

The day ended and Pam and Frank went to their apartment. Pam would see us in the morning and Frank said he would call after talking to Reggie. He said, "What do I say about the lowered price?"

"Tell him that I lost interest while waiting for him and decided that the prior offers were too high. Use a pronoun for me like she. I might ask Lisa to sign everything at the closing."

Lisa said, "We go together, Al"

Paul said, "That will get his goat. He is, as Linda described him, a MCP."

Pam said, "A MCP?"

Linda said, "That is the abbreviation for male chauvinist pig." She chuckled.

We all said our "good nights" and Pam and Frank left. Linda said, "I'm tired. I want my husband to take me up stairs and wear me out."

She laughed. "Lisa, if it weren't for your sensibilities, he could do it on the floor right here. After all, we have while you two were gone!"

Lisa grinned. "Mom!" Then she grinned some more. "I dare you! I don't think you will do it!"

Paul grinned. Linda blushed. "Okay! You called my bluff. I'm not ready to be in the buff making love in front of my daughter and her husband. At least, not yet!" She grabbed Paul's hand and headed upstairs pulling him along. We closed things up for the night and followed them up into our room.

"Lisa, I will miss this room when we move into our house. We have some really, really good memories from this room. Now, kiss me and let's add another." We did, twice!

We went in to our office in the morning. Pam welcomed us warmly. We both hugged her again telling her how much we appreciated her working for us and watching the fort while we were gone. She said, "I have all your messages and mail here. How do you want to handle it?"

I said, "Why don't we all go into the conference room and go through it together." We got coffee that had been loaned from Paul and Linda's private stock. We would be on the list to get our own shipment and Pam was waiting for the first shipment. We had gotten her a company charge card while we were gone. It made life simpler for us. It had a five thousand dollar limit though we paid it off each month.

We started going through all the calls and letters she had received. She had handled most of it and did so very impressively. I found no fault with anything she did. Lisa had a professor who had called and wanted to reach her but had not told her any reason other than "I need to talk to Miss Goodbody." When informed that Miss Goodbody was now Missus Chambers and that she was on her honeymoon, the professor lost interest and didn't even leave a number.

Lisa said, "I know what that's about One is he had tried to date me when I was in one of his classes and two was his hope that Dad would fund some research project for him. Pam, you did better than you thought on that one."

I had four lost cousins who had called and were told that I was out of the country for an unspecified time. I said, "Pam, I don't even know who they are. If they call again though, I'll talk to them."

We had calls from a number of people because we were a new business. There were insurance agents, CPA's, brokers, and a few others. Pam had told them all to bring by the office a letter of introduction and we would follow up upon our return. We had our current insurance with Myron Johnson but I planned to take bids to get everything under one general umbrella. I told Pam that I would field insurance agent calls from now on as we determined what coverages were appropriate for us. Paul's CPA had left a number for our return. I would handle his call also. When we finished, I said, "Pam, you handled it all and did so very well. I would say that I'm surprised but I knew you could and would. We're going to have to find more for you to do after you hire your replacement for the front desk."

Lisa grinned while Pam blushed. She said quietly, "I do have a cousin who is looking for a job. She just finished two years at the junior college with an associate's degree. Her company's in trouble."

Lisa said, "Call her and let's you and I talk to her. We'll need to furnish that other office pretty quickly."

We had spent two hours going over the last month but I was very satisfied that Lisa's idea to hire Pam had been better than we could have guessed. I went into my office and the phone rang. I said, "Hello, Al Chambers here."

"Good morning, Al. This is Frank Lauder. We heard back from Reggie. He wasn't happy but he took your counter but wants to close by Friday. I believe that he's out of money and his company will be gone."

"That's good for us, Frank. Let's try for Thursday. I want to take over then and go to the business location and talk to everyone Friday. We'll pay them because that's a good idea. It will also give Reggie a little breathing room financially. Reggie and any family member waives any money due them for salaries, cars or the like."

"We can do it though you will have to explain to my wife why I will have to work late." He chuckled. "I had already warned Reggie to expect all that. He does have a cousin working for him but I think we can waive that one since he seems to be a real employee."

I said, "Okay, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Other than bringing money Thursday, what do I need to do?"

Frank said, "The only thing I can think of is to let Robert Jenkins know so nothing further happens between now and Thursday. Plan on all of Thursday afternoon. It may not be that bad but don't be surprised."

"Okay, I've got it blocked out. Lisa will be with me, of course. She will sign the checks and most of the paperwork."

"Okay, Al. We'll be busy. If we need something, we will call. You looked at the paperwork. You are buying the assets and liabilities not his corporation. We will set up a new entity for it. It is safer for you. Call me tomorrow before noon with the new name for the business. Thank you and have fun."

"Bye, Frank." I hung up the phone and went into Lisa's office. "Missus Chambers, we are closing on Reggie's business purchase Thursday afternoon. You will need to block out the afternoon completely. Friday morning, we will go meet the employees. Finally, we will need to name it."

"Oh! I guess we can do that. We may have another employee by then. Pam's cousin is coming over late this afternoon for an interview. She sounds sharp. Also, I want to increase Pam's pay by fifty percent and put her on salary."

I shrugged. "Suits me. She's worth it. We need a new name for Reggie's company. I don't want to call it by its old name since his name is in it."

Lisa said, "No, I want his name gone. Pam, we need an idea. We're buying the company from Reggie McNamara and it needs a new name."

She came in and said, "What have they been doing?"

I said, "They have been building custom plant equipment for the most part."

She said, "Why not Chambers Mechanical Equipment?"

Lisa said, "That works for me unless someone develops a stroke of genius.

I said, "We had no breakfast this morning. I'm not thinking much less have genius. What about lunch? I'm buying. We can go by the new company location on the way or way back."

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