– CHARLES’S OFFICE
said for me to come right on in,” Trevor Callison said as he came
through the door of his father’s office, a thick envelope tucked under
his arm. When he realized
that his older brother, Reginald
Callison, and company attorney Douglas
Davis were also present, he paused for a moment, quickly assuming that
he was interrupting something important.
“Did you bring the papers?” Charles
asked, rising from his seat behind his desk and motioning for his son to
come on into the room.
“Right here,” he replied and handed
his father the envelope. “Sara
sounds really eager to work with us on Thornton Preston’s manuscripts.
I didn’t have any problem at all getting her to sign the
“Good, good,” Charles nodded.
“Sara’s a smart girl. I’ve
always liked her. I didn’t
think there’d be a problem.”
Am I interrupting something?” Trevor asked as his eyes moved
from his father to Douglas before landing on Reginald.
“Shouldn’t you be at home with Jillian?
Didn’t she just get out of the hospital today.”
“She did,” he nodded, “but we have
this meeting scheduled with Orin Macalister.
Maggie was there when I left.”
“We’re hoping we can finally persuade
Macalister into signing that contract with us.”
Charles returned to his seat behind his desk and began organizing
papers and documents for the meeting.
“I thought Douglas would’ve gotten him to sign when he went
out to California, but….”
“He’ll sign,” Douglas quickly spoke
up. “I’m sure of it.”
when he does, Douglas, we’ll owe it all to you and the ground work you
laid with him. If you keep
doing good work like this with your contracts, our stable of talented
and sellable writers is going to be well stocked.”
“Speaking of which….”
Trevor hesitated for a moment as he considered whether it was the
proper time to bring up a question that had been lingering on his mind.
“I know that Douglas was instrumental in signing Thornton
Preston and he’s the person who primarily dealt with him before he
died. Why isn’t he dealing
with Sara about those manuscripts you want to publish?”
“I thought you’d be a better fit to
work with Sara, honestly,” Charles explained.
“I know that the two of you are friends and could work well
together. Besides… well…
I thought you needed something substantial to occupy your time.”
“What you mean is that you wanted to
make sure I was too busy to keep looking for Grace, don’t you?”
Trevor looked his father dead in the eyes before turning to look
at Douglas in a way that silently accused him of complicity in the
matter. Before anyone had a
chance to address Trevor’s accusations, there came a knock at the
Callison,” his secretary, Agnes Martin, poked her head into the
office, “Mr. Macalister is here. Should
I… have him wait for a moment?”
“No, send him right on in.”
As the four men waited anxiously for
their first group meeting with famed adventure novelist Orin Macalister,
Trevor shot both his father and Douglas a silent glare that let them
know that their previous discussion regarding Thornton Preston and his
search for Douglas’s sister, Grace, wasn’t finished.
“Gentlemen!” Orin called out as he
came into the office, a boisterous and dynamic figure who instantly
commanded everyone’s attention. “It’s
good to finally meet you, Mr. Callison.
Your man Douglas here has told me lots of good things about you
and your company.”
extended his hand to Charles, who promptly shook it, before offering his
hand to the others.
“You already know Douglas,” Charles
began the introductions. “This
is my oldest son, Reginald, who’s in charge of our newspaper, the Daily Post – he has quite a few wonderful ideas about serializing
portions of your next novel in the Sunday edition of the Post – and this is my other son, Trevor, who’s currently working
with the estate of the late Thornton Preston to bring the remainder of
his novels to print under the Callison banner.”
“I can tell you have fine boys, Mr.
you.” Charles maneuvered
his way back to his desk so that he could have easy access to the notes,
files, and legal documents he needed to help seal the deal with
Macalister. “But, in all
seriousness, let’s get down to business.
As I’m sure Douglas explained to you during his trip to
“Yes, yes, yes,” Macalister nodded
with a sigh and a wave of his hand.
“You want me to sign with your company and allow you to handle
the exclusive publishing and handling rights of my next four books.
Douglas here more than went over that.”
“Well, he indicated to me that you had
some sort of problem with the contract.”
“Oh, I had no problem with the contract
at all,” Macalister laughed. “In
fact, as far as I can tell, it’s a damn good deal.
It’s no secret that I’ve been really happy with my most
recent arrangements for quite a while.”
I don’t understand why Douglas couldn’t get you to sign.”
“Mr. Callison, did you really expect me
to put my signature on anything that I haven’t had thoroughly looked
over by my own counsel?” Macalister
let out a hearty laugh. “Besides,
I wanted to make this trip and meet the people behind the contract in
“Then you’re willing to sign the
“Of course!” Macalister laughed
again. “Now, are you going
to give me the damn thing to sign, or are we going to drag this out all
blessed day? I’d hoped
that we could get all of this taken care of pretty quickly.
I’ve got a lot of other more important things to take care of
today than worry with some fool contract.”