By Design – Chapter 32

Eli sat back in his office chair, staring at the ceiling. He felt like his life was falling apart around him. Everything was just going so badly, and he couldn’t quite figure out how it had gotten to this point.

Six months ago everything had been different. Six months ago he had felt on top of the world. He had everything going in his favor. Sure there was that pesky complaint that had been brought against Walk on Design, but he had been assured it would be taken care of cleanly and quickly.

However, six months later it was still here. Not only that, but it was growing worse. The threat to his business over this stupid lawsuit had suddenly become very real the moment Ken had placed the data on his desk. If they lost this case, Eli was also going to lose his business. And if Eli lost his business, his dreams for his career would go up in smoke and his father would have the right to gloat with an unending “I told you so” for the rest of his life.

The thing that he still couldn’t quite grasp was that it was really beginning to look like they were going to lose this case when Eli was one hundred percent sure that they hadn’t actually done anything wrong (except perhaps, now that he thought back on it , hire the wrong lawyer).

But it wasn’t just his business that was facing a threat right now. There was also his family, Russ in particular. Russ had been doing his best to bite his tongue and just go along with what their father asked of him, especially since he had become aware of everything else Eli was dealing with outside of trying to protect his little brother’s future.

Then, of course, there was the whole situation with Gracie and Mei. Gracie had told him about being confronted by Mei the week before. Gracie had seemed shaken by the whole thing, but also seemed resolute, determined not to back down to her. Mei, on the other hand, was like a steel wall: impenetrable.  He didn’t know how he would ever be able to convince her that no meant no when she had already decided it meant yes. She had only shown up at his office one time this week, but he was constantly aware of the uncomfortable feeling that she was always watching, just waiting for her chance to strike. The thought of her made Eli shiver.

Eli brought his gaze back down to see Russ and Ken sitting on the other side of his desk watching him closely. The three of them had been tossing around ideas for the last half hour, trying to come up with a game plan to fight back against the lawsuit, save Walk on Design, and free Eli and Russ from the grasp of their father’s business all in a neat and tidy manner. So far they had come up with nothing.

“Any other ideas?” Eli asked them.

They both dropped their gaze indicating that their idea pools were just as empty as his.

Eli sighed. This was useless, he realized. There was no way they could fight any one of these things from this mindset, let alone all of them. They were just going to have to wait and see how everything played out. There was still hope that one of these problems would work out in their favor. As for the others… Well, hopefully the damage they caused would at least be manageable.

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