Keep It In The Family – Episode 08

Rosie felt herself squaring her shoulders again as she approached the door to the office. She seemed to have been doing that a lot lately. She had been her mother’s strength and support throughout all of the funeral arrangements, but she sometimes wondered when she would be allowed time to tend her own grief.Whenever it might be, it wasn’t now. Now she had to attend to the family business.On that thought she pushed open the door, expecting to see the solid, grizzled presence of Clive Fenton sitting at her father’s desk. Instead, it was her brother Adam who looked up from the paperwork spread out there.“Rosie! Am I glad to see you!”“Adam! What are you doing here?”“Mum asked me to pop in and keep an eye on things.”“She did?” Why hadn’t Mum told her?It was as if Adam read her mind.“I think she reckoned you had enough on your plate right now, propping us all up emotionally. You’ve been amazing this past week, sis. But what about you how are you doing?”She shrugged.“Not so bad. As well as any of us, I guess. So,” she went on, “when did she ask you to do this?”“Last Wednesday. I was in for a while on Wednesday afternoon for Clive to hand over, and then all day Thursday and Friday. I thought you knew.”Rosie stood frowning. She had been Martin’s right-hand woman for years. She knew the business inside out and was the natural choice to take over. Why on earth had her mother asked Adam?Adam pointed to a note in the desk diary he had been leafing through.“Dad had a meeting with Dobson’s last week, and another scheduled for tomorrow. Can you look out our last contract with them and any correspondence since? I thought I might keep that meeting. I seem to remember that Dad was renegotiating the contract to roll it over for another year.”“You’re right. I’d been compiling the figures for him in readiness. I could go, though.”Adam shook his head.“Best not. Not until Mum lets me off the hook. Could you look out the file for me?”“Of course.”She was staring at him without realising, and he looked up and grinned suddenly.“Don’t worry, sis I’ve got no intention of treading on your toes. As I’ve already promised Freya, I’ll be out of here as soon as Mum lets me! This place’ll be all yours. But I know one of the first things I’d tackle, if I were you,” he went on, “and that’s getting more of this information on computer databases and spreadsheets. I can’t handle all these notes and scraps of paper. What do you think?”Rosie nodded.“I suggested it to Dad in the past, but he liked working the way he always had. Said it suited him. But you’re right, it’s time we made changes.”They worked harmoniously for an hour, Adam asking intelligent questions as he came upon items in the diary, Rosie checking files and providing as much information as she could.Adam had always been the dreamer in the family. She was the sensible one, and Sarah was the youngster. Adam was the idealist, and although Rosie knew Martin had wanted to draw his only son into the business, Adam had always resisted.Now, though, watching him concentrating on the task before him, checking files and making notes, she wondered. Had her father seen something in him? Some unfulfilled potential? And was it a hope their mother shared? It seemed the only plausible explanation.Suddenly she felt as if another certainty in her life had shifted. Suddenly she was no longer sure that it would be she who took over the business.


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