Here is another piece of The Trees. Rhondi has a big day today, so please send her all the good juju you can. I'm going to be a nervous wreck all day.
“Who are you meeting with next week?” Allie asked.
“Oh, you know. Allegiant Software and Mass Mutual. I’m also heading up into New Hampshire to meet with those eCoast guys. They’ve been asking to pick my brain for a while and it’s time. Your dad and I thought we might do a little sightseeing, too. I’ve never been north of Boston,” Dan replied.
“We haven’t had a campaign for Allegiant for ages. I didn’t realize they were coming back. I thought they were going to do all their sales stuff in house,” Allie asked.
He hated to lie to her, but Dan wasn’t ready to tell anyone that he was going to Maine to talk about turning himself into a plant.
“I got a call from Jim Stevens there. He said the in-house thing was not really working out like they’d hoped,” Dan said. This was not a lie and Dan had told him he would be in touch when he got back from some traveling. They could handle everything over the phone and through email.
“So, you and my dad are just getting out of town, huh? Jan’s okay with you leaving?” Allie asked.
“She’s fine with it. I actually think she needs a little space right now,” Dan said with a heaviness in his voice that Allie didn’t care for.
“Why do you think that?”
“She’s figuring this all out. The new reality, I guess, for lack of a better term.”
He was proud of her. She was using her old skills with him. Skills, in fact, he had taught her. Dan had instilled in all of his calling team that every conversation was worth something. Even if you didn’t set an appointment or get the client an actionable lead, there was something to be gained from every conversation if you were willing to ask a question and then shut up and listen. Sometimes it was valuable to learn about what someone thought about their company, the weather, or what they had for lunch.
“I get that. You know, I’ve had to worry about Ron too many times over the years. I’ve thought about what life would be like if something happened to him more times than I care to count. I’m going to see if she would like to hang out with mom and I one night while you and Dad are gone.”
“I appreciate that, Allie, I really do.”
“I know. So, what do you need me to handle while you are gone?”
Allie and Dan went over the plans for the next week. As usual, it was a productive meeting, but something was still not right about it for Allie. They had known each other for what seemed like her whole life, but this seemed like the first time that Dan was holding something back from her. As she walked back to her office, she decided to do something she normally would never do. She stopped in to see what her dad had to say about their upcoming trip.
“Hey dad, you got a sec?” Allie asked.
John looked up from behind his monitors and waved her in.
“What’s up, Allie-cat?”
“Just got done meeting with Dan about next week. I’m a bit worried, actually.”
“What are you worried about?”
“Is he … (she stammered) … is he worse than he let on? Why would he go meet with small clients in person?”
John hated the idea of lying to Allie but he wanted to respect Dan’s wishes, too.
“I think, (he paused) I think he is trying to figure out things out in the only way Dan knows how to figure them and that’s by talking to people.”
“He mentioned you guys might go up into Maine. Isn’t it going to be cold as heck up there?”
“Oh, it’s going to be cold. He has no idea,” John said with a sly grin but he didn’t like the look on Allie’s face, so he kept talking. “What’s going on, Allie? What are you really worried about?”
“I don’t know, Dad. I’m just worried about this trip and I can’t put my finger on it. It’s just so sudden and you guys rarely do these things together.”
“Well, the Maine thing was my idea. Maybe I’m being a little selfish, but I want as much time with him as I can get, especially while he’s still able to have some fun.”
“I get that, dad, I do. You’d tell me if there was something I needed to worry about, right?”
Allie was a worrier. Dan and John had talked about this a lot over the years. Dan sometimes called her the conscience of the company and John thought it was pretty spot on. He saw the same quality in Annie Lewis, although Annie was way more likely to get in the face of someone she suspected of wrong doing than Allie was. Annie was a spitfire.
“Of course. I think Dan would tell you before I needed to, though, don’t you think?”
“Thank you, Dad. Are we still on for tomorrow afternoon?”
“Oh yes. I promised the kids a trip to the park and some Zoyo.”
“Okay, see you then.”
Allie started to leave John’s office but turned to look at her dad one more time. John noticed the look and pretended to be busy with something on his screen.
“Is there something else, Allie-cat?”
“No, dad. Just watching you do what you do. As long as we keep helping other be better at what they do, everything will be okay, right?”
“Exactly. Do you mind closing the door on the way out? I want to get this stuff done before I get out of here since we will be gone all next week. Thanks, kiddo.”
Allie shut the door behind her and walked down the hall to her own office. She thought about reaching out to Mass Mutual and Allegiant Software but decided against it. She didn’t want to get in the way of whatever Dan was planning. She just wanted to feel better about everything, and she feared that she never would. The last thing she wanted to do was watch Dan waste away. If he didn’t work himself too hard, maybe he would stick around a little longer. Maybe…
See you tomorrow.
Look at this tasty nugget. Probably mid-90s.