“I’ll give you my proxy,” said Jamison. “Time limited.”
“Fine,” said Tuck.
He reached into his inside jacket pocket as he returned to the bed, producing the letter his lawyer had crafted. “We can both initial on an end date.”
He approached the bed and maneuvered his father’s tray into position. Then he jotted down a date one month away and stroked his initials next to the addition.
“I need my glasses,” Jamison muttered.
Tuck spotted the glasses on the bedside table and handed them to his father. Then he handed over the pen and watched while Jamison signed over formal control of the company. Butterflies rose up unexpectedly in his stomach.
He didn’t want this. He’d never sought it out. But now that he had it, he found he didn’t want to fail.
“This was all your doing,” Tuck said to Amber as he gazed at the aftermath of the party in the huge, high-ceilinged living room of his family’s home.
Though staff had been ubiquitous throughout, she could see the mansion showed the effects of hosting two hundred people. The midnight buffet was being cleared away by the catering staff and the few glasses left on side tables were being dispatched to the kitchen.
“It doesn’t look that bad,” she responded.
He pulled at the end of his bow tie, releasing the knot. “I’m not blaming you for the mess.”
He gestured to an armchair next to the marble fireplace.
Grateful, she sank down on the soft cream-colored leather. It was a relief to get off the four-inch heels.
Tuck sat in the opposite chair. “You convinced me I could do it.”
“Throw a party?”
Tuck was nothing if not a party guy. She had to assume he’d thrown dozens, if not hundreds, of parties himself over the years.
“I meant run the company. If you hadn’t pushed me to start making decisions, I never would have gone to see my father.”
“And if you hadn’t gone to see your father.”
“I wouldn’t have hired Samuel and Gena.”
“I like Samuel and Gena.”
“So do I. I’m not sure how my father’s going to feel about them.”
“Because they’re too young to have such responsible jobs?” The two were both in their early thirties.
“I’m sure they won’t fit his image of an executive.”
“Do you think clients will care that Samuel wears blue jeans?” asked Amber.
“Lucas wears blue jeans.”
“Operations and marketing are two different functions.”
“True,” Tuck agreed. “Thirsty? You want some ice water?”
Amber expected him to rise and pour some water at the bar. Instead, he subtly raised a hand and a staff member was instantly by his side.
“Yes, sir?” said the neatly dressed waiter.
“Can you bring us some ice water?”
“Right away, sir.” The man withdrew.
Amber could only stare at Tuck for a moment.
“What?” he asked.
“Even knowing you were so rich, I didn’t picture all this.”
He gazed around at the soaring ceilings, wooden pillars and expensive oil paintings. “It is rather ostentatious.”
“Flick of a finger and the ice water appears.”
“I thought you were thirsty.”
“I thought we’d pour it ourselves.”
“Aah. You’re uncomfortable with the household staff.”
“I’m baffled by the notion of household staff.”
“It’s a big house,” said Tuck.
“That doesn’t mean you can’t pour your own water.”
“Are you calling me spoiled?”
“I always call you spoiled.”
To her surprise, he shrugged. “Fair criticism. If it helps, I often pour my own water, and my own whiskey. I even go so far as to open my own beer bottle.”
She couldn’t help but grin. “Then, I take it all back. You’re obviously a self-sufficient man.”
The waiter returned, setting down a silver tray with two glasses and a pitcher.
“Shall I pour, sir?” he asked.
“We’ll be fine, thanks,” Tuck answered with a wry grin.
The man left.
“Okay, now you’re just trying to impress me,” said Amber.