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Giving My All to You Sheryl Lister 2022/8/3 13:47:38

Faith rose from the table and took their dishes to the sink. “If you show me where the plates and silverware are, I’ll cut you a piece and bring it in.” He pointed out the cabinet and drawers and left her to the task. She cut two slices of the cake, added forks and carried them to where he sat in the same recliner as he had on her first visit. She handed him the larger piece.

A smile blossomed on his face. “Now, that’s what I’m talking about.”

She laughed. “You might want to hold off until you taste it.”

He forked up a large bite and chewed. His eyes slid closed and he groaned with delight. “Baby girl, I may have to ask for one of these monthly. Although my doctor won’t agree.”

“I’m glad you like it. How about we make it bimonthly? That way you’ll have plenty of time to work it off in between.”

Thad chuckled. “That’s a deal I can live with.” He toasted her with his fork and went back to his cake. A minute later, he set the plate aside, picked up a check from the side table and handed it to her.

Faith looked at it and her eyes widened. “What’s this for?”

“You’ve spent a lot of money between flying and staying at that hotel. I would’ve loved to have you stay here, but I didn’t know how comfortable you’d be, so you take that.”

He had been correct about the costs, but the amount on the check in her hand could cover what she’d spent three times over. “But—”

He shook his head. “No buts. I never meant for you to pay in the first place. I had planned to send for you when and if you called.”

“I… I don’t know what to say.”

Thad picked up his plate. “You can just say thank you and eat your cake.” That said, he went back to his half-eaten cake.

“Thank you.” Still stunned, she smiled and finished eating. When they were done, she stood and reached for his plate. “I’ll take these to the kitchen. Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?”

Faith stopped, turned back and noted his serious expression. “Okay,” she said slowly. “I’ll be right back.” As she stacked the plates, she tried to figure out what else he might say. He had told her he wasn’t ill, but maybe he hadn’t wanted to tell her over the phone. She came back and reclaimed her spot on the sofa.

Thad leaned forward and clasped his hands together. “I’m going to retire soon—in the next few weeks, actually—and I have a proposal for you to consider.”

“Maybe I should start from the beginning. I told you that the company where I worked was started by my best friend and that he invited me to join him as vice president.”

“Well, at that time we decided that the company would always remain in our families, with a Gray at the helm as CEO and a Whitcomb as VP.”

Faith sat up straight. “Are you saying…?”

Thad nodded. “Yes. I want you to succeed me as vice president, as well as occupy my seat on the board. Nolan and I will remain on as advisors, but his oldest son will take his seat and you, mine.”

She rose to her feet and paced, trying to process what he’d said. “I don’t know anything about the home safety business.”

He shrugged. “Maybe not now, but you’re an intelligent young woman who started her own business, so I have no doubts that you’ll be able to learn what you need to know. And I’ll be here to help you.”

She dropped back down on the sofa. Several things had crossed her mind, but no way could she have imagined this.

“This is your legacy, Faith. I prayed and prayed that I would have the opportunity to pass it on to you.”

His voice cracked and she sensed his emotions rising again. She felt herself on the brink of agreeing, but pushed it down. She had too much at stake. “I understand. I’m honored and…frankly speechless. What about my business? I don’t know how I’d be able to do both and I can’t just give up what I’ve worked so hard to build. Then there’s my living arrangements. My home and my life are in Portland.” She threw her hands up. “I’d have to give up everything.”