The Cambridge Connection – Chapters 5 – 6

The Indelicate ApproachChapter 5

Jane Howlett was the picture of decorum and professionalism as they met in Charles office next day. He’d understood from the brief meeting the previous day the American company was interested in making a takeover offer for a UK cutting edge tech company based outside of London and they wanted to be sure they were working within the UK legal system and have the firm do an in-depth analysis of the research they’d already done in New York.

It all seemed above board but bearing in mind the counsel he’d received from his mentor the day before Charles listened carefully looking for any potential compromising of the firm’s ethical positions. So far all looked clear. Charles quickly scanned the brief handed to him and began a careful and time-consuming online search of accessible documents online. Jane watched him work with admiration at his obvious skills asking questions now and then as something came up on screen she didn’t quite understand, and Charles patiently explained the way the legal system worked in this country and the various reporting requirements that made information available to the public. His interactions during the morning lessened his fears about the team’s possible motivation for their investigations and hoped for capture of the company. They worked fast because the team would be coming in that afternoon and had been granted access to the largest interview room where their previous research would be closely analyzed, and they’d have a chance to test their thinking against Charles responses.

As this was a big prize to be gained for the Americans, they’d take several days to examine and re-examine their options. Of course, the tech firm had become aware of the interest and were preparing to defend the status quo but open minded enough to listen in case their own shareholders could make a killing from the proposal. Obviously, it was not the intention of the Americans to give them that windfall, but business was often a series of compromises if each were equally equipped financially to match each other in corporate battle. If the tech firm were too powerful to be taken over by a hostile bid shareholders felt was inadequate the Americans would move on for easier pickings.

Not that Americans were the only ones to look for easy pickings. The Brits did that and the Europeans too. The Japanese were masters at it and the Koreans not far behind. They were now being joined by the Chinese who’d amassed an enormous financial war chest while they were learning all sophisticated economic techniques to be masters of the world. It was the way big business functioned internationally. Provided it all happened within the protective legal frameworks set by the UK government Charles could not pick fault with it though it often offended him to see local industries sacrificed to a foreign buyer, especially if the ultimate result was seen to be the dismantling of a corporation to remove them as a competing international player and to see hundreds lose their employment while the local industry was shut down as an international strategic denial of competition. Governments were supposed to be aware of that and build laws to protect their citizens.

At the end of the day Charles was much more relaxed with this American team and the team expressed genuine admiration for Charles professionalism and the representative of the corporate law firm Charles had persuaded to join them that afternoon. The interview room was set up for international video conferencing and Charles had an opportunity to watch as the team interfaced through video conferencing with the rest of the vice presidents in New York as new issues encountered had to be sorted out with the executive branch. Jane Howlett led out when the other Vice Presidents input was being solicited.

At the end of that first day and the team departed for their hotel Jane lingered behind.

“Charles the Vice Presidents liked the way you led out and the level of expertise you have in your area of knowledge. You have knowledge beyond your area of training too. We are thinking of setting up a permanent office here in London, would you be interested in leaving your work here and overseeing our proposed office? You’d no doubt be paid much more than you’re earning here and have preferential treatments available such as stock options. Think it over and if interested let me know by the end of the week. In the meantime, I’m wondering if you would have the time to show me around some London night life tonight. It would be on our expense account of course.”

Charles shrugged. “We’d have to do that early as I have work for the firm I have to do when I return home of an evening while we are accommodating your team during the day.”

“I think if you’d defer that work tonight and think seriously about our offer for you to work with us permanently, I’d make it attractive for you to be with me tonight. We are all entitled to have a little fun occasionally when we have such stressful work to deal with every day.” She stretched to accentuate her attractive womanly features and smiled at him enticingly.

Charles looked at her in surprise taking in her beautiful features. He’d never encountered this kind of aggression on the part of a woman before and it made him feel uncomfortable. He remembered Jane’s aggressive stance with the senior partner on that first introduction and the advice of his mentor.

He smiled. “Jane you’re a piece of work and obviously great in your role for your company and I admire that. Tell you what! I’m taking you out to one of the best restaurants they have in London, and we’ll talk business there, but I meant it when I said I was going to work on my clients this evening. I think you’d do the same thing in my position as you’re very committed to the role you must play for your conglomerate otherwise; they wouldn’t have made you a Vice President. And apart from that you really are a knock-out to look at.  Incidentally, the meal will be on me personally and not on my work expense budget and I’ll have to leave early to attend to my client business.”

Jane smiled. “You’re not a push over are you, Charles. I think I could get to like you very much and hope we can keep in touch after this assignment is over. Think about our offer seriously, we’d value having you as part of our permanent team and that way I’d get to see you more and see if I could get you to like me over time. So, I’m looking forward to this restaurant you promised me and then I’ll unwillingly watch you leave for home. My offer stands of spending the evening with you after that meal, but I do so for different reasons now. I really like you Charles and regret that I miscalculated what kind of man you are.”

“Thank you, Jane. I really appreciate what you just said, and you can be sure I’ll work my tail off to see your current project succeeds. Now let’s get this restaurant date going and enjoy a pleasant time there.”

That evening Charles returned home feeling good about himself. He’d cleverly negotiated a delicate situation departing as friends and avoided compromising his set of ethics in dealing with clients. As he opened his apartment door, he was startled to see his neighbour Taniyah sitting on the couch asleep in his apartment. Then he remembered they had the spare key to each other’s apartment but what was she doing here? She woke up as she heard the door click shut behind him and began to cry.

BetrayalChapter 6

Charles didn’t know what to do in this situation. He waited standing in front of Taniyah until she’d calmed down enough to talk and then spoke.

“Has something happened to Omario?”

Taniyah burst into tears again and he decided to check out the other apartment opposite to see if something had happened to Omario. A quick search found it empty. Strange, no Omario and that girl was not there either. He returned to his apartment and found Taniyah out of tears and exhausted. She spoke.

“Amoy is not Omario’s sister. Yesterday I sent a picture of the three of us to Omario’s parents who I regularly keep in touch with to thank them for sending Amoy to help me out while I’m in the final stages of pregnancy. Omario was at work and Amoy had left to buy some supermarket items when I received a quick reply from them. They sent me a long message. Apparently, Amoy was the daughter of one of their servants and the Gordon family had paid for her education. She became pregnant and identified Omario as the father. Of course, Omario denied it and the girl, and her parents were paid out and sent away. The Gordon’s found out Omario was still seeing her secretly and sent him to England to study. I had no knowledge of any of that background when I married him. Omario must have been in contact with Amoy because she didn’t return home until Omario arrived home with her in the evening. Apparently, his parents had sent him a message saying he was no longer their son, and they wouldn’t accept Amoy either. He was furious when he arrived home and pushed me around for sending that photo to his parents. Then he and Amoy gathered their things and left telling me I was on my own now and he wanted nothing to do with this child.

Charles was shocked into silence. “I’m so sorry. I thought he was a respectable and responsible person and really liked him.”

“So did I!” There were no tears now, just a quiet reservation to her new status.

Charles mind searched for a solution to her problem. “Why don’t I prepare some food for you and then take you home and settle you down for the night. I’ll look after your needs while you decide whether you want to return to Jamaica to be with your parents.”

Taniyah laughed bitterly. “You have no idea of our culture Charles. It’s better I stay here rather than cause a loss of face to my parents or the Gordons. I’m hoping the Gordons will send me money until the baby is born at least. Besides, I need to sort out how I can finish my doctor certification as that is my dearest ambition. Can I sleep on your couch tonight as I can’t sleep in that bed after this?”

Charles busied himself preparing food for her while she protested, she didn’t need anything to eat. He insisted she eat and watched as she accepted it and ate it. She shook her head as she ate trying to clear the horrors of the day, Then, she looked up and smiled.

“Thank you so much for caring. Can I sleep on the couch this evening?”

“I’m sorry, that will not be possible as you need more comfort in your condition. You can use my bed and I’ll use your apartment this evening then we’ll work something out tomorrow.” He steered her toward the bedroom, but she stopped him.

“I’ll need to get my clothes and personal items from the apartment, will you come with me?”

He nodded not having thought of that. That means he’d have to move his things over to the other apartment too. For a moment he felt irritation at this turn of events but quickly suppressed the feeling and followed her to the door.

To their surprise they saw Amoy sitting on the floor outside the other apartment door. She’d been crying.

“I’ve got nowhere to go. I let my apartment go in Croyden to be with Omario at his request and moved here but he got angry and pushed me out of his hotel room after we left here today. I didn’t know he was in London until he saw me on a commuter train a month ago and I tried to keep him out of my life, but I’ve loved him since I was a teenager, and he took advantage of me. I’m sorry, but I need help and have nowhere else to turn.”

Taniyah yelled in anger at the sight of Amoy and began to beat on the girl and Charles pulled her away quickly holding her at arms-length. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of cash counting it silently. It would get her a hotel for the night, and it was obvious she must have had some means at her disposal otherwise how had she been surviving in London prior to meeting Omario?

“Amoy you can’t stay here. This will get you a hotel for at least a few nights and you’ll have to sort things out as to where you can stay by yourself after that. Do not attempt to come back here again or I’ll have to make a police complaint.”

Amoy grabbed the wad of cash and fled.

They entered Taniya’s apartment and viewed the mess created as Omario had pulled items out of drawers and left Taniya’s personal things scattered in his haste to be gone. Taniya attempted to pick things she needed with difficulty, so Charles asked her to point to what she needed and took armfuls into his apartment. Then he took armfuls of the personal things he’d need and deposited them in the other apartment. He was bone tired and becoming irritated again at the imposition. He then waited in his apartment as she showered and checked she was safely in bed before heading for Taniya’s apartment thinking of the busy day he’d have tomorrow at the office.

He’d no sooner arrived and sorted out clean sheets for his neighbour’s bed when the phone chimed. He picked up the cell phone and noted it was the senior partner from the office. What could be the problem for him to be phoning at 9pm?

To be continued.

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© Copyright 2021 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved.

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