Angela blinked several times, bringing herself back to the present. “I know.” She patted Denise’s hand encouragingly.
“Is something else going on?”
Angela shook her head. She certainly wasn’t about to spill her guts to her baby sister about an inappropriate relationship with her boss in a profession her family didn’t fully support. “No, I’m just a little touchy on the subject of my career. I believe in what I’m doing, Denise, and all of you are going to have to get on board with that.”
“I will,” Denise replied. “Though you know Mom and Dad are academics, so it might be a little harder for them to come around, but you won’t hold that against them, will you? You’ll help with the party?”
Angela didn’t hesitate to respond. “Of course I will, but we’ll need to discuss budget. I’m working toward a goal, and I won’t let anyone or anything get in the way of it.”
* * *
“Thank you for making the time to meet with me,” Joshua said when Daniel stopped by the yacht club where Joshua’s private vessel was moored that afternoon. The yacht was exactly like its owner, sleek and sophisticated without trying too hard.
“It’s no problem,” Daniel responded.
“Care for a drink?” Joshua inquired.
While Joshua set about making his drink, Daniel gave him the once-over. From what he was wearing, no one would ever know Joshua was a member of the prestigious Prescott George, because he danced to the beat of his own drum. Even now, he wore cargo shorts and a cotton V-neck T-shirt that revealed a small tattoo of the infinity symbol on his right biceps. The only reason anyone would know he had any money was his Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses and Jack & Jones leather boat shoes.
Daniel didn’t mind. Nor did it bother him that everything came easy to Joshua. Or so it seemed to Daniel. As a corporate raider, Joshua appeared to make his fortune from the misfortune of others, but his natural charisma made everyone he came into contact with a believer, all except Ashton. Daniel suspected the club president was the real reason Joshua wanted to meet privately on his yacht, and away from public eyes and ears. Although the paparazzi had a passing fascination with Daniel because he used social media as a means to an end for his business, they loved Joshua, because he catered to them.
“Why all the cloak-and-dagger?” Daniel teased when Joshua walked over and handed him his scotch.
“I think you know why,” Joshua said, sitting across from him. “It’s time we oust Ashton.”
“Cutting to the chase. I appreciate your directness.”
“And?” Joshua leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his thighs. “Are you on board with helping me on this? You’ve been a member of PG a helluva lot longer than me. People respect you, listen to you.”
“Yeah, well, I’m sure with your charisma, you can bring the other members around.”
“Not without your support.” Joshua swigged his beer and leaned back in his chair. “You’ve known Ashton a long time and everyone knows it. If you say our practices are outdated, folks will listen.”
“It won’t be easy dethroning Ashton,” Daniel said. “There’s never been a time in the organization’s history when a Rollins or an Owens hasn’t been in command. There’s a legacy there, Joshua. You would do well to remember that.”
“Yeah, well, it’s time for a change,” Joshua responded. “Ashton is still clinging to some twentieth-century way of doing things. It’s the twenty-first century, Daniel. You and I know that the only way we’ll keep Prescott George moving upward is to recognize that.”
“I agree with you.”
“But are you with me?” Joshua asked. “Ready to do battle with me, against Ashton? I know it won’t be easy. He recommended you for the club. It’ll feel like a betrayal if you turn on him.”
“Then he would know how it feels,” Daniel murmured under his breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing.” Daniel rose from the lounger, downed the rest of his scotch and turned to face his friend. “I’m in.”