By Design – Chapter 2

“Sorry. Can you go over that one more time?”

“From the marketing division. It’s a good plan. Affordable too.”

Eli glanced over the form, not really taking much in. His mind was preoccupied with other things at the moment and the letters seemed to blur together on the page. But he trusted Ken’s judgment about these things—that was why he had hired him in the first place—so he picked up his pen and signed his name on the line at the bottom.

“Excellent,” Ken said as he took the form back from Eli and added it to the others that had already been signed that afternoon. Eli hated to admit his head was in such a fog that he couldn’t remember what any of them were about. “Well, that looks to be about it for the moment, I believe.”

“Any word back from the lawyer?” Eli asked.

Ken lowered his gaze, avoiding eye contact. “Not yet,” he said. “But as soon as word comes in, you will be the first to know.”

Eli gave a curt nod of understanding. This was an issue he was ready to have behind him. The whole mess was giving him a headache, and if it continued to hang around, it would reflect poorly on the company. Who would have guessed that his biggest bane in his first year of business would be a bogus charge of copyright infringement? Still, if that was the worst thing he had to deal with—a claim with no evidence to back it up—he assumed he should feel lucky. After all the horror stories he had heard about company start-ups, his own venture had gone relatively smoothly. He just needed to make sure the company name stayed clean into the next year of business.

“Actually, sir…”

Ken’s words brought Eli’s attention back to the present. He was pulling another form from the stack in his arms.

“It looks like there’s one more that got overlooked.” Organization what still something Ken needed to work on. It was dangerous to allow things to get overlooked in any kind of business. Eli would have to have a chat with him about it later.

“What is this one?” Eli asked as he took the form from his assistant.

“It’s about the party next week,” Ken informed him. “There were some changes made with the catering company that need to be signed off on. Something with the delivery, I believe it was. They just need your approval before they can alter the service.”

Eli tried his best to focus on the form in front of him, but it was no use. He couldn’t get himself to concentrate. He felt like his head was swimming. Of course the lawsuit had occurred just after Walk on Design had announced its intention of celebrating their successful first year of business. Trying to keep it all under control without letting the public know his concerns was beginning to take its toll on him. He quit trying to make sense of the page in front of him and simply signed his name.

“How are the preparations coming along?” he asked Ken. Though he wasn’t quite sure why, every time some mention of the celebration came up, his heart started racing and his palms got sweaty. It seemed silly to think he was more anxious about a social party than he was about his company getting sued. Yet for some reason that seemed to be the case.

“Everything’s coming along nicely,” Ken assured him. Then again, Ken would probably have given him the same response regardless of what state the event preparations were in. Ken knew Eli’s habit of worrying over things like this—he had a tendency to overthink his public image—and Ken always did everything he could to try and minimize his boss’s anxiety.

“Good to know,” Eli said only because he felt like he needed to give a response since he was the one who had asked in the first place. When it came right down to it, though, this party was more than just a social event. It was proof. Proof that he had done it, that he had succeeded. It was the first time in his life Eli had earned the right to brag like this, and he wanted everything to be perfect. He didn’t want to give anyone the opportunity not to be impressed by what he had accomplished.

“We’ve already received RSVPs from nearly everyone. Especially the media outlets. They’ve been following your every move so meticulously for the last year that they’re all excited about seeing what you have to offer them in the role of host next week.”

Eli couldn’t help but smile a bit at that. But he didn’t let the expression linger. He had grown so good at keeping his poker face in place while at work over the last year. He didn’t want to break the habit now. The first rule of negotiating the business world was not to let everyone else see what you were thinking.

“Thanks, Ken. That will be all.”

Ken flipped through his papers one last time, making sure he had everything he needed, before exiting Eli’s office, closing the door of Eli’s office behind him.

Left to himself, Eli released a deep sigh. He moved to the window and looked outside. It was a nice day, sunny, not too cold. It was a shame he had to spend it cooped up inside at work. Still, he wasn’t going to complain too much. This was what he had always wanted, after all. This company was his, and it had become so successful so quickly due to his own management. That was something nobody would ever be able to take away from him. Was it extravagant for him to throw a party of this scale to celebrate himself like this? Probably. But who cared? He had the money to do it and then some. He knew serious businessmen like his father wouldn’t approve of such frivolous expenses, but this wasn’t his father’s company. Besides, the older generation was outdated. Young people today relished the chance to party with those who ran the big businesses. It made them hip… and human. He was doing this as much for the publicity as anything else. The whole country would see that he was someone cool and relaxed, someone who liked to have fun and not take life too seriously. They would eat it up and business would only continue to improve.

Another smile crept onto Eli’s face. He really was pretty smart when it came to these things. After all, it had been an idea just as simple that had allowed this company to spring into existence in the first place. He would have them all—the public, clients, investors—wrapped around his finger. Things were done differently now than they had been done in the past, especially in the world of technology. It was something his father still needed to learn. It was something he had figured out long before he had put down the down payment on Walk on Design. People wanted a sensation. And he planned for this party to be sensational if nothing else.


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