“My pleasure as always, sir,” I answered humbly.

“I believe it, too. Listen…” he continued, jotting something down on a pocket notebook from behind the monitors, “there’s some talk that I might be moving up.” He glanced up, making eye contact. “Nothing definite yet. But word is that Coppersmith’s taking a leave from the company soon.”

“Coppersmith’s leaving?”

“Yeah, I’m lead to believe so,” he clarified. “Not of his own choice, either. There have been some private conversations between some of the execs and myself…the general impression is that he’s not working out. He’s starting to really clash with some of the others, and they’re thinking that promoting him was a mistake. The man’s on thin ice and he knows it, but I don’t think he realizes how badly off he really is.”

“Is it that bad?”

“It’s bad,” he confirmed. “Real bad. They want him out, and they want me to move up into his position…I won’t be a suit, not for a while. They’ve learned to be cautious about that. But the nature of our talks tell me, at the very least, that they want me as Director of Marketing.”

“That’s…incredible!” I grinned madly. I liked Larry. Sure, he was an easy target when I was plying my former trade, but he was a genuinely good guy. “You already know so much about this stuff, and you’re great with people. You’ll be a perfect fit for the role!”

“It’s not guaranteed – I’m having lunch with half the table after the weekend,” he told me, “but if these talks go well, and as long as I pick a successor, they’re prepared to evict Coppersmith from the company and give me his role. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the man’s great at his job–”

“No, he’s not,” I cut in. “I barely see him around, he’s a nightmare to work for, and he has ridiculous ideas and sets blatantly unrealistic deadlines.”

“–Be that all as it may,” he chuckled nervously, “he’s my boss for now. He came into the company early on with a pocketful of important contacts that seriously put us on the map. Andrews always had a soft spot for him. He was instrumental in the early years, and he earned his keep. I’m only taking the position if the rest of them give me some solid proof that he’s a liability now…and if you give me a yes.”

“A yes to what?”


Larry grinned. “Be my successor.”

“You’re…wait, what?” I was stunned.

“Think about it, Kiona! You’re a natural at this stuff. The first week you were here, I wasn’t so sure about you, but you really pulled through and showed your stuff. The rest of the team gets along with you, you’ve got a record for getting things done and you have a keen eye for detail. On paper, you’re better at this job than I ever was.”

“That’s very kind of you to say,” I graciously replied, quickly processing this news, “but there’s no way that I–”

“You’ve got until early Monday morning. That leaves you the whole weekend to think it over. Just spend some time and consider it for me, would ya? I can’t think of anyone more qualified to take the reins of the team…in fact, if we’re going to be totally honest, you’re the only qualified candidate for it. I’ve seen your resume. Your coworkers do great work and all, but I shudder at thinking any of them could honestly be up to the task.”

“Yes sir,” I answered, blindsided by his trust and compassion. “Thank you, sir. It means the world that you think so highly of me.”

Larry smiled warmly. “You’ve proven your mettle, kid. I haven’t been oblivious to your talents, and when your little stunt in the conference room checked out, it told the board that you’re qualified for leadership material. Anyone else, I’d really have to try and sell…and it would be an inevitable trial by fire if the board even agreed. But with Coppersmith out of the way I can already guarantee that they’ll accept you in my role. Now, this all stays just between you and me, you hear?”

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