Driving into work one morning traffic was backed up and I ended up stopped. Looking around bored I saw an advertisement for volunteer opportunities for younger people and had what I considered a brilliant idea.
As soon as I made it into work I rushed up to Ezio’s office after quickly checking the incoming email situation at my desk.
Per his secretary, Helen, he was available.
I went in and stood before his desk patiently, just smiling at him, waiting for him to acknowledge my presence.
He was typing, but looked up briefly then focused at his monitor again.
“Oh dear, I know that grin. It’s either going to be expensive or outlandish.”
“It’s neither. Just a teeny tiny favor. No biggie at all.”
“When I hear that, it usually means it REALLY is a biggie after all. So let’s hear it.”
“It’s about an internship.”
“An internship? Am I not paying you enough? Or are you bored?”
“Not for me, of course. For my son.”
“Your son?! As in your son Liam? Or do you have another one tucked away somewhere?”
“Funny. Nope, it would be for the one and only Liam.”
“And you want him working here, why exactly?”
“It think it would be good for him. And I could keep an eye on him.”
“Then why would he suddenly want to work for the – and I quote – ‘old sack, who never tires of hearing himself’ – unquote?” Ezio was referring to a terrible meltdown Liam had at his house some months ago. (see here)
“He may not know he wants to just yet.” I smiled as sweetly as I could.
“Oh Viktoria, no. I am running out of cars and patience to afford having that kid mad at me. I am going to pass. Please understand.” Ezio shook his head.
“Ezio, he has calmed down. A lot. But he has been going through a bit of a rough patch and is pretty apathic. With school being out, he needs something to keep his mind busy. Plus, I do want him to start thinking about his future, maybe get him interested in going to college after all.”
“Does my company have to be the angle point for this intervention? I cannot be part of any potential debacle here at the place of business. I do have to consider my reputation.”
“Ezio, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease. Can we just try it? If he acts up, I’ll admit defeat and he will leave on the spot, without even a peep from me.”
“Fine, but why are you coming to me with this. You know HR has all the forms and deals with this, not me.”
“Yeah, see that is where I kinda need you to swoop in from way on high. HR would not consider him, since he has a record. I kinda need you to supersede their decision and just tell them to accept him in. This will also help his college application, if he does choose to go.”
“What are my chances of just sitting on this request until you forget about it?”
“Snowball in hell.”
“Fine, get me the paperwork and I will put my John Hancock on it.”
“Thank you Ezio, you are the BEST!”
“So I hear.”
“Oh – and by the way – I always meant to tell you this, but never had the right opportunity: thank you VERY much for being so great about Liam’s behavior and him crashing the car. And your text message. That really meant a lot to me.”
“Ah, not to worry. I actually upgraded myself to a newer model of the Lambo, Melissa would have given me grief had I just bought it, but now she was fine with it. Teens can be aggravating, I know that, so no harm, no foul, and as for the text message, I thought it was understood that is always a given. To you and Blaine. From both of us, Melissa too. She really misses you, by the way.”
“Yeah, I have been so preoccupied and after that evening, I was really not in the mood to go to your house any time soon. Yikes.”
“Mrs. Cameron, I am awfully sorry, but the intern position has already been filled. I cannot just hire and fire interns, just because you bypass procedure.” Mrs. Melcher informed me sternly.
Ignoring her accusatory tone I insisted.
“I am sure there must be something you can do.” I smiled encouraging.
“Mrs. Cameron. Unlike you, I cannot just make up new rules as I go. I was given ONE – singular – position to fill, which I have done to the best of my abilities. 30 years of experience in human resources, to be exact. I do not know which hat you pulled your son’s application from, but I am not going to budge unless told otherwise from my supervisor. Which I am sure will happen next when you run back to Mr. Auditore himself to get your way.” the elder Human Resources manager told me sharply.
“I urge you to find a different tone with me, Mrs. Melcher.” my mood was hitting a low.
As if on cue, Ezio poked his head into her office.
“Ah, here you are Viktoria. I need you to look at something for me. I am stuck with some terms to make the Whitehead scenario waterproof. My brain just shut down. And hello Mrs. Melcher. Trust all is well with you?” Ezio flashed his smile and shook her hand.
“To tell you the truth, Mr. Auditore, all is NOT well. I cannot work under such circumstances. Some people here feel like they need to bend the rules and go just tossing interns around like they are nothing, ignoring any rules and regulations. Where there should be only one, we now have two. I simply cannot work like that.”
“Oh, but my dear Mrs. Melcher, I am sure there is something a wonderful, brilliant mind like yours can do about that. By the way, that blue blouse is simply dashing on you. Brings out the color of your eyes, such a brilliant ocean blue. Reminiscent of a young Elizabeth Taylor.”
“Oh, Mr. Auditore! I simply adore Liz Taylor, such a talent and beauty. You are just too much!” she blushed and smiled, giggling like a school girl.
Dang, Ezio. I tried hard to keep a straight face and not grin, while he worked her over with his charm.
“So what was it with the interns?” he now asked her.
“Oh, not a thing. I will get it squared away. Mrs. Cameron, please have your son report to Mr. Richards Monday morning at 8 AM sharp.”
Ezio and I left, while she was still giggling in her office. I could not help grinning and shaking my head. Oh, he could be irresistibly charming if he chose to be.
“It would appear that I just saved the day again. I will soon have to build a dedicated room just to store those favors you owe me.” he smiled at me as we were climbing up the stairs together.
“Whatever floats your boat, Ezio. And since I have not said it in about 30 minutes – thank you.”
“What? Mom, school’s FINALLY out for a few weeks and you want me to go and sit on my ass in an office to sort paper? Come on!” Liam whined.
“Stop it, you are going. And you will be at your best behavior!” I instructed firmly.
“Dad! Say something!” he now whined at Blaine.
“I agree with your mother. It will be good for you. You need to get your head out of your ass, son. As flattering as it may seem, I really do not want you to continue repeating my mistakes. You need a goal in life to work towards. Need to make something of yourself. You need another outlet for your energy than vaginas.” Blaine said calmly and ended by taking a sip of his coffee.
“DAD!” Liam blushed to a shade of hot pink.
Despite the crudeness, I was truly shocked to hear Blaine be so sincere and level-headed. It seemed to strike a chord with Liam as well. Eventually he nodded and listened to my instructions.
It was interesting to walk into work with my son that morning.
I explained briefly the dos and don’ts and where the important things were located.
Then I delivered him straight to Mr. Richards, who was in charge of training our interns and runners.
“OK, I need you to take that stack of documents over there and shred it. No more than 10 pages at a time or the machine will jam up. Do you understand?” Mr. Richards told Liam.
“ALL of that?” Liam’s eyes grew wide.
“Yes, all of that. I know it is a lot, which is why we have interns to help. Should take the better part of the day. Use the dolly over there. When you are done, report back to me.” Richards patted Liam on the shoulder and left.
Liam sighed. It were about a dozen banker’s boxes filled to the brim with papers. He loaded them up 4 at a time, stacked them in the file room, then got the next batch. Once he had all boxes there, he began feeding them into the shredder, 10 pages at a time as instructed.
Every so often other employees would come in to use one of the three copiers or get files, smiling at him, shooting him pitiful glances.
Thanks a lot mom. I am shredding my way into college. Really learned a lot today. Liam thought.
He had arrived at the 8th box when he heard his name in a familiar voice.
“Liam?” disbelief sounded in the feminine tone.
He looked up and thought he had a vision from all the paper dust in the air.
“Leonie?” Liam sounded just as doubtful as he walked over to her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, her face still puzzled.
“Internship. My mom’s idea.” Liam explained.
“Me too. The internship, I mean, but was my idea! No way! This is so funny! Small world.”
“Yeah, seriously. So you do still remember me then?” Liam added sarcastically.
“OK, here it comes. Just lay it on me, Liam.”
“I plan on it. Why have you been ignoring me? What have I done to you? I just don’t get it. Not even an explanation. Nothing, at all? Really classy!”
“OK, hold it right there. Last time I snuck out to spent time with you against my father’s wishes, lying to my entire family about it and getting a friend involved to cover for me, you ended up with your crazy ex-girlfriend naked in your bed, half-dead. I was THIS close to getting caught in all that. Do you understand what that means? My dad is so serious about that, he told me if he caught us together, he’d ship me off to some boarding school and I am pretty sure that is not some empty threat. I am not interested in spending the next 3 years as some Catholic school girl in some remote hole in the woods somewhere.”
Liam grinned “Sounds interesting – and kinda sexy.”
“Perv!” she turned around and continued sorting copies on one of the desks in the file room.
“I am fine. Don’t you have your own pile to worry about?”
“That won’t run away. But you will.”
“I do not run away. I just stay away.”
“Still haven’t lived down my rep with you?”
“Not even close.”
“What do I have to do to get a chance? Just go out with me one time. If you do not like it, I’ll stop.”
“No, you won’t.”
“Promise, I will.”
“And you promise to behave and not try anything weird or expect anything?”
“I’ll be on my best behavior, and my only expectation will be that you’ll try to give me a fighting chance to convince you that I am not an ass.”
“OK, fine. I can’t swing it this week, but next week Friday my dad is out of town with Steven until Sunday evening. You are on.”
“It’s a date!” Liam could not stop smiling, even after she had left the room. He shredded away happily and did all the other little tasks.
He was still in a super-mood on the car ride home with me that night.
“So kiddo, what do you want to do for your upcoming birthday?”
“Dunno mom, but please PLEASE not another cake!”
“What about the mortals? Addy and her family, Finn, Ben and Fey, Corbin and the rest of your friends?”
“They can bring their own cake. Besides, can we not celebrate in a restaurant or something? I want to go out with the boys again, so not really interested in some happy family sitting around the fireplace deal. I’d prefer just you, dad and I and then have Corbin and the guys pick me up to go party.”
The joys of having a teen boy. Vivian loved her parties. Oh well. His big day, his choice. At least he wanted to celebrate with his parents.
“So what do you want for a gift, Liam?”
“Honestly mom, after all the shit I pulled and put you guys through, and what I have already cost you guys, I’d feel bad wishing for anything. Just hang with me, and love me. I know that’s not always easy.”
He sounded so grown up right now. I recalled when that question would generate a long list of toys recited by an excited little boy. And I felt proud and moved, had I not been driving I would have snuggled and smooched that kid to pieces.
Later that night I told Blaine about the conversation with Liam in the car and he just grinned contently.
“Good, maybe there is hope for that one yet and he won’t become another Blaine.”
“I don’t see a problem with Blaines in general and this one here in particular.” I quipped, pointing at Blaine’s chest, who took my finger and kissed it.
This is when we noticed Liam staring at us from across the room.
“See anything interesting, son?” Blaine grinned.
“Just trying to get some pointers.”
“Pointers? For what exactly?”
“How to get the girl I want.”
“Since when do you have any troubles with that, kiddo?”
“Since Leonie. She’s different.”
“Oh yeah, Blaine, I forgot to mention. Wanna guess who the second intern is?”
“Of course. Who else? How’s that going?”
“Judging by the perma-grin on our son and his comment just now, I’d say it is going well.”
“Wonder if that will stay that way once her father figures out who all works there.”
“I do not see how that could happen. Auditore Financials is a huge firm. You could work there for years with someone without ever running into one another.”
“And yet, your son and his flame managed just fine.”
I excused myself to the bathroom. In the meantime Liam got up and went to sit next to his father. They sat in silence for a few moments until Blaine broke it.
“You want a pointer? Here is the only one you will need. If you are sure she is the one, then don’t give up. No matter how many times you strike out, keep trying. Treat her right, always, stay focused on what you want and don’t loose your temper if you don’t end up with her right away. Look how long it took me to get your mother. But I tell you what kid, it was worth it. You are still so young, Liam. Be careful not to confuse infatuation with the real love, the soulmate. That’s a whole different ballgame.”
Liam’s birthday came. 16 years old now. We celebrated together, he unwrapped a few presents and then Blaine handed him a small box, containing keys. It took Liam a minute, then he ran outside. We had bought him his own car.
He just about did backflips and cartwheels, we had not seen him THIS excited in a very very long time. He already knew how to drive, had been doing it legally with a learner’s permit and one of us or even Vivian on a few occasions for months now, not to mention all the times before during his rampage phase, so we were confident about letting him drive himself to the club, to meet Corbin and the others there.
He proclaimed several times that this had been his ‘best birthday ever’.