Romantic Acquisition

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Book: Romantic Acquisition Read Online Free PDF
Author: Elizabeth Lennox
, just to take a break .  Once the gumball machine was empty, he’d have a meeting with all the people on the staff and they’d vote to see which charity would get the money.  He’d then pay out of his own pocket to fill up the gumball machine again and the whole process would start over again.”
    Carlo smiled with her at the memory.  “And now?  Who get s the gumball money? Or does David just decide for himself? ”
    Kate’s hands dismissed the idea.  “Oh, that’s gone now.”  The nostalgia in her eyes instantly disappeared and she took another bite of her pasta. 
    Carlo wouldn’t let the subject go although he could tell she wanted to drop the idea.  He suspected that the gumball machine meant more to her than she was willing to admit.  It represented more than just a previous president that she respected.  The way she told the story, the gumball machine represented the difference between Phillip’s management style and David’s.  “Where did it go?”
    Without any expression on her face, she explained, “David Jamison had it stored somewhere.  We have no idea where it went.   It just disappeared one day and no one had the guts to ask him where he’d put it. ”
    “What did the staff say when it disappeared?”
    “Well, most of the old staff left soon after Phillip’s retirement .  The people who work here now don’t know about the old days and the gumball machine.”  She tilted her head to the side slightly, “I don’t think some would like the idea.”
    She shrugged slightly.  “I just get the impression that most of the people on staff now are too career oriented to think about contributing to charity.  And none would be caught dead chewing gum,” she laughed slightly.
    “Would you?”
    “Oh sure.  Especially if it…” she stopped.  “Yes, of course.”
    “That’s not what you were going to say. Finish your thought,” Carlo asked.
    “No, it isn’t relevant.  Anyway, the gumball machine is gone and it is a very different place to work now.  Not just because of a silly gumball machine.”
    “Good or bad?”
    “Neither, I suppose, just different,” she said but wouldn’t look him in the eye.
    Carlo knew she wasn’t telling him the truth about her opinions on David Jamison’s management of the stores.  But her lack of response said volumes.  Both about her opinion and about herself. 
    Carlo decided to change the subject and come back to David’s management style another time.  Hopefully, he could get her to trust him enough to voice her opinion of the current management team and give him some insight.  “Why did you stay on ?   You could work in any store with your experience and knowledge.  You also have a great reputation within the industry. ”
    Kate smiled, flattered that he knew about her .   In answer, she shrugged slightly,   “Because they kept promoting me and I love this place.  It kind of got into my bones.”
    He nodded, understanding that she had a great deal of loyalty to the previous owner which translated to loyalty to the stores but not necessarily to the current owner.  Would it transfer to the future owners?  That was the big question.  He suspected that it would.  “Is your mother still around?” he asked , extremely curious about the woman who raised such an intelligent and loyal woman on her own . 
    Kate smiled fondly.  “Yes. Phillip left her a huge amount of money after he died.  That, plus her retirement, has her living in relative splendor down in Florida .”
    Carlo nodded, glad that her mother was taken care of.  “What does she think about the changes?”
    Shaking her head, Kate looked away.  “She might have a few things to say about them.”   She didn’t elaborate, not wanting to talk about her mother’s frustration with David Jamison and his management style. 
    Carlo wasn’t going to let her get away
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