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Off Campus III, Pt. 3
Our polyamory group Steve, Cyan, Phil, Jen, and Ally are starting the second day of executing their plan to buy The Abercrombie Hotel from Ally’s father. A new player in their venture is Ally’s college roommate, Cheyenne, a high-powered Harvard lawyer Ally retained to tilt the scales in favor of our little group.
As usual, things tend to get pretty sexual around this bunch, although sheer exhaustion from the hard work involved with the purchase momentarily set things on “pause”.
The alarm again nags for the 7:00 a.m. start to our workday. I don’t know why I don’t have the front desk do the wakeup call thing. Habit, I guess. On the other hand, if the desk clerk heard Ally’s voice in the background — or next to my head — during the brief call, tongues would wag, as they are wont to do. Several among the staff suspect what we’re about, but rubbing their noses in it is not a good idea.
Ally again gathers her clothes, ducking out our door wearing just enough to run to her apartment to shower and dress for the day. I really wish she wouldn’t run through the halls and use the elevators barefoot, but since she’s done it that way all her life I am in no position to criticize.
Oh, hell! What am I saying? That I want to “fix” things that are so engrained into and so much of Ally’s free-spirit persona? No. Bad Steve. That would be a disaster.
Cyan and I rifle around in our suitcases for our grubbies, dress, and make our way down to the café. I did caution Cyan and Jen they might not want to be dressed in their finest, as the morning’s plant tour is going to be covering some pretty grungy areas like the elevator penthouse and boiler rooms. I know from experience that elevator control rooms are especially dirty; the carbon dust from the motor brushes is just everywhere.
Anyway, Cyan is reassured about her choice of jeans, t-shirt and sneakers when she sees that Jen, Ally and Cheyenne are all in similar work clothes.
Jessica greets us with our coffees and can’t help herself, “Changing the oil today, guys?”
“Very funny, Jess!” Phil protests.
“May as well be,” Ally responds. “Elevator and boiler room inspections are on this morning’s agenda. Central plumbing and cooling tower, too.”
“Yuck. Dirty!” as Jessica wrinkles her nose. “What are you guys having while you’re not covered in schmutz yet?
We give our little friend and lover our requests for breakfast and send her off on her assignment.
It’s pretty quiet around the table this morning. We are a little worn out from yesterday, and know the tasks facing us today are going to take everything we got.
“What in particular are you looking for, Cheyenne?” I pose. “Anything not on the inspection report already?”
“Major stuff they may have overlooked,” she confirms. “Structural, mostly. Have to check for concrete termites, too. Inspectors always miss those.”
“Oh, you’re so funny,” deadpans Phil, with a smirk.
“Hey. Somebody around here has to lighten the mood,” Cheyenne offers. “Steve’s offline for some reason.”
“No sex last night,” Ally teases. She sticks her tongue out at me.
“Yeah, that!” Cyan grumbles. “And he had both of us in the bed! Naked! All night!”
“And he barely said ‘boo’ to me!” Jen complains.
“You guys are brutal,” I protest. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had to work like this! Takes it out of a guy!”
All three of them in a chorus, “Awwwwwwww…”
Cheyenne is cracking up. “You know, Ally told me the three of you are all basically his wives, and this interaction is surely a case in point. It’s hilarious, and totally endearing.”
“He’s a mess sometimes,” Phil pipes in.
Jess has been lurking in the background during this exchange, tray in hand with our breakfasts. She sets it down on the next table, hikes up her skirt and proceeds to sit in my lap bare-assed.
“Here. I know how to fix it,” she grins as she reaches for my zipper.
“JESS! Not here!” Ally laughs.
Everybody is all but rolling on the floor.
“You guys are sooooo bad!” Cheyenne exclaims. “Is it like this all the time?”
“Yes,” I sigh. “Add Hannah and Thad, and, yeah, that’s pretty much the way it is.”
“What sort of insane asylum have you gotten me into, Ally?” Cheyenne asks, half startled, half amused. “A really fun one, obviously, but still!”
“We’re harmless,” Jen counters. “We don’t bite. Unless you want us to.”
Cheyenne chuckles and shakes her head, “Thursday. Save it for Thursday.”
“Breakfast! We gotta get to work!” I scold.
Momentarily still in my lap, Jessica hugs me and lands a loving kiss, “(You needed a little cheering up, lover. Work hard. Do good.)”
“(Thanks, sweetheart. I love you,)” as I am released from Jessica’s embrace.
Jess grabs the plates from the tray and sets them on the table for each of us. We quiet down as we dig in. Çeşme Escort We look around at each other and quietly chuckle and giggle at ourselves in the wake of our little scene. I wonder what the other café patrons are thinking?
No I’m not. We’re just about to own the place, so we make the rules. Within constraints, of course.
As it appears that everyone is finished or nearly so, “Okay, crew. Everybody done? It’s nine o’clock. Let’s get this show on the road.”
The six of us file out to the lobby through that narrow passageway again… gotta put fixing that on the punch list… to meet with the inspectors and George’s lawyer. We shake hands in the greeting; I’m amused that the inspectors can’t take their eyes off of Cheyenne and Cyan — twins, 20 years apart. Gorgeous, both of ’em. Even in their grubbies. I know the feeling.
“Uh,” one of them starts, “no offense… mom and daughter?”
We all laugh and I answer, “No. No relation at all. Weird, isn’t it?”
They try to erase their startled expressions, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a while.
“Right this way,” as Ally directs us to the bowels of the hotel.
It was a grueling several hours in the underbelly of an old, old building. The last item on our tour was up on the roof, the cooling tower. It’s an ancient monstrosity that should have been replaced decades ago.
“Ally?” I sternly query. “What’s with this? Why hasn’t it been updated?”
“I dunno, Steven,” as she shrugs her shoulders. “Out of sight, out of mind I guess. Hasn’t been much trouble with it.”
“Yet,” I scold. “There’s a lot of corrosion on these flanges,” as I look askance at the inspectors. They understated the problem in their report.
I continue, “Those pumps have got to be on their last legs, too. We may avoid replacing the structure for the time being, but there’s a lot of refit in our near future here. My concern is something is going to let go and ‘rain on our parade’, if you know what I mean.”
“I’ll put it on the list,” she sighs in reluctant confirmation.
“How many engineers do we have on staff?” I ask.
“Just Mac. Mac MacKenzie. In a fit of bad timing, he had Reserves duty last and this week,” Ally admits.
“We’ll talk later about getting him some help and backup”.
At this point we take a break, ostensibly for lunch, but the reality is we’re all a sweaty, dirty mess and are heading straight for the showers. Jen and Ally join me for mine, Cyan and Phil do the same. We are squeaky clean when we emerge, for some reason. Inside and out, and tensions relieved.
Back to work. Conference room. Sandwiches from catering.
Having done the physical inspections we put our heads together and pencil to paper in an attempt to assign values and upgrade costs to the building mechanicals. It is a difficult afternoon, with lots of time on the phone with suppliers and service vendors who know the hotel, getting rough estimates of what we’re in for.
Cheyenne has excused herself for a four o’clock with the bank.
We’re running behind. Our group was supposed to be sitting down with the accountants and HR at 5:00 to go over payroll and employee matters including general policies, but that had to be moved an hour later. That session wasn’t any fun, either, and we’re at it until after 8:00.
We are beyond exhausted, and consensus on the final numbers will have to wait until the morning. Five of us drag ourselves to the bar; Cheyenne has shown herself to her room, equally tired from the back-and-forth with the bankers capped by a fair bit of stressful chat with HR. She was successful, thankfully, in keeping the lines of credit that were secured by the business. She has papers for us to sign tomorrow.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” Jessica examining our general postures and demeanor. “Where was that knothole you guys got pulled through?”
“Oh, gawd. What a day,” Phil moans. “I’ll take the meanest, roughest whisky you have up there, Jess. Rotgut.”
She gets the ladder out and reaches for the top, top shelf stuff. The $150 a bottle single-malt. And that’s the wholesale price!
We manage a chuckle in spite of our collective misery.
“Irish cream,” prompts Cyan. “A double.”
The rest of us are aghast! She never ventures into anything stronger than her virgin tonic water and lime.
“Wow, girlfriend!” Jessica counters. “This must have been a helluva day!”
Ally has slumped into me, and I in turn am leaning against Cyan. We are just this side of comatose.
“Just my usual, Jess,” I tell ‘er. “Unless you have a wheelbarrow to scoop me into to carry me up to the room.”
“Space for me in that wheelbarrow, too?” Jen kids. Mostly.
“I guess this is going to be a quiet night, guys,” Ally breaks in. “Steven, I need you to hold me tight tonight. Cyan, would you mind sleeping with Jen and Phil?”
“Sure,” as Cyan gives Ally an especially affectionate kiss. “For you. And Steve.”
We sit Çeşme Escort Bayan around mostly exchanging nothing more than weary glances to each other, cracking the occasional smile in the understanding we are in this together, and support each other all the way.
Finishing our drinks, we say “good night” to Jess, make our way through the passage, and crowd into an elevator for the ride up. If all of us weren’t leaning against a wall in the car you’d think it would collapse in on us.
We find our rooms, undress for sleep, wash up, and gather our bed partners for the night. The trio makes it under the covers first, with Cyan and Jen cuddling Phil in the middle. It’s an especially endearing sight… did I just see Ally brush away a tear after looking in on them? I feel the same.
“Come,” beckons Ally. “Our turn. Big day ahead.”
She and I bed down and fall hard asleep clinging to each other, like there is a tomorrow.
Again a 7 a.m. alarm, and the five of us roll out of bed to start the day. As near and dear we hold each other and as warm and fluid our normal chatter is on such mornings, it is eerily silent. Like Sisyphus we are all mentally leaning into the task ahead of us this morning.
All of us have gathered for breakfast one more time, but we remain uncharacteristically subdued. A night of uninterrupted sleep was necessary and helpful, but we are clearly preoccupied with the expected events of the morning and day.
Phyllis is our server this morning; Jessica has the morning off, as this would be her normal evening to hold down the bar. Jess is still going to be working hard given she will be covering Ally’s normal lunch shift in the bar, the double duty amounting to a 14-hour day. We are absolutely going to have to figure out how to reward her and also give her copious time off for her yeoman performance this week, an unsung hero in our facilitating the hotel purchase.
Phyllis knows enough of our daily routine to have brought our coffees and Cyan her tea service. Friendly and personable, she is currently part time working the café. I would talk to her this morning with the idea in mind to make her full time, enabling Jessica to take over the bar from Ally, but I had better talk with Jess first. One concern is her tiny frame and bubbly demeanor may be unable to stand up to the occasional rowdy or belligerent drunk. Like I said, we need to talk. Also, Phyllis is not qualified for the bar relief position, so we’d still have to bring in another bartender.
Phyllis takes our orders and turns them around quickly. I don’t get the feeling she’s particularly intimidated by our status as the soon-to-be owners. This is a good thing, if she treats everyone the same and as well as she is doing with us this morning, then she has a job for as long as she wants it.
I take a last swig of coffee and herd everybody upstairs to the conference room for the final push to tender the offer.
Ally’s on the phone, “Dad, it looks like we won’t be ready until about 11:00,” as she glances over to Cheyenne and me for confirmation.
“Okay. That sounds good. See you then,” as Ally hangs-up the call with her father. “11:30. He said he’ll have Gail arrange for a real lunch this time. No sandwiches.”
“Yeah, a little breathing room is nice,” Cheyenne notes.
We put our accountant visors on, at least figuratively, and get into the meat of the numbers. There were a few surprises from yesterday — like the cooling tower — that have to be figured into the offer.
Eleven o’clock comes and goes, and we’re rushing to verify the math. It’s 11:20 before we look at each other and declare, “That looks like it. Let’s go.”
In a single-file parade we leave the little conference room and make our way to the big meeting room. Ally ducks into her dad’s office suite to have Gail make copies of the offer package for everyone. Lunch is standing by on several service carts, with catering staff in their crisp whites prepared to serve. George has pulled out all the stops for us.
“Thank you, George. This is quite nice,” as I reach to give him a firm handshake as we enter.
“Am I to expect this standard of service will continue, Steven?” he inquires.
“We hope to improve on it, sir,” I confirm. “I have every confidence in Allison’s leadership that attention to quality will be foremost.”
“Thank you. You’re a good man, Steve. I recognize that I have given you and your friends here some difficulty about your unusual relationship with each other, but I have also seen how much you, and the rest, truly care for and cherish my daughter. Thank you for that. Thank you especially for securing her future.”
“It is our honor, George. And thank you for the opportunity to continue your legacy.”
“Thank you, Steve,” as George shakes my hand again. “Let’s eat. We have work to do.”
Besides the six of us, Cyan, Phil, Jen, Ally, Cheyenne and myself, also taking part in our banquet are George, his Escort Çeşme administrative assistant Gail, his personal lawyer, and the hotel’s lawyer, accounting head, outside CPA, and bank representative. A lot of heavy hitters are in this room. Conversation is light; the real discussions come after dessert.
Everybody sated, the service staff quickly clears the tables, and Gail distributes the offer packets. Time to hunker down.
The discussion is lively. There is some dispute over deductions Cheyenne and I have taken in light of condition issues with the physical plant, but generally there are no surprises. We have made sure that George has a generous pension beyond the proceeds of the sale; most of the debate centered around whether it was to be based on a percentage of gross or net income. Our group reluctantly gave into George’s insistence on gross, but we had to take a quick break to calculate the impact of that particular change. It was enough to result in delays in the upgrade plan.
It’s 4:30. It seems we have homed-in on the final numbers. Everyone is leaning back in their chairs in confirmation that the day’s work is done. The lawyers have Gail insert the final numbers into the contracts, and the several of us who need to sign the papers gather around the head table, executing the purchase.
Steven Albertson, Cyan Leslie, Phillip Roberts, and Jennifer Roberts now own The Abercrombie Hotel; Allison Abercrombie, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Handshakes and congratulations are exchanged. George breaks his executive persona and gives me a big hug, “Thank you for taking such good care of my daughter, Steve. She loves you tremendously, and it’s so obvious you are dedicated to her. How you do this with all of ‘your ladies’ — as she tells me — I can’t begin to fathom. But you do. Great job executing the purchase. Congratulations!”
“Thanks, George. Ally is a treasure. We will do her well. You, too.”
We shake hands again and each goes to gather with our respective associates for the casual wrap-ups.
“Ready for downstairs?” I ask our group.
I’m sort of reeling from it all, but somehow I manage to put one foot in front of the other to make my way to the elevators.
The six of us gather into one elevator car for the short ride down. Extra-cozy, which we don’t mind at all since the adrenaline is at peak and we want to be with each other “in our special way” so badly. Ally and Cyan are hugging me so, so tight, and Jen is doing the same with Phil. Not yet initiated into The Gang at this point, Cheyenne is leaning into a corner, sort of staring at the floor.
“Guys?” I pose.
“Yes?” a couple of them respond.
“Straight faces, especially in the lobby. We don’t want to tip our hands to the staff. Not just yet,” I caution. “I would like a few seconds in the bar, too, to say some serious words.”
“Okay, chief,” Ally jests. And smiles.
We unload from the elevator and scoot quickly over to the passage to the bar.
“Again, straight faces, guys!” I remind.
I emerge into the bar first, and have my breath taken away from me. There are 90, maybe 100 crowded into the modest tavern, family, employees, friends and fans all anticipating the news I have in my hand.
I start to break up a little, “Guys, you gotta see this,” as all six of us file slowly into the bar.
“Holy shit, Steve,” Cheyenne volunteers. “I had no idea that this whole affair had this kind of following.”
“(I told you, roomie. It’s a spirit thing,)” Ally whispers.
The crowd cheers as we make our way in. They divide to clear a path for me to the raised section near the hostess stand.
“Everybody,” I start. The cheering dies down. “Everybody, it’s been a very tough two weeks to get to this point. Regardless of the result, I had the unyielding support of Ally, Phil, Jen, Cyan and our stalwart advocate, Cheyenne, to make whatever was to happen, happen. Jessica back behind the bar there — stand up, Jess.”
I continue, “And Hannah, and Thad, our BFFs, were our bottomless supply of spirit and support. We couldn’t have done it without all of them, and they gave us incentive and the motivation to do things right. And then there’s everybody — all of you — here. Thank you for your enthusiasm and great cheer. Thank you for your encouragement, and — heck — thank you for being here, and thanks for the confidence that it could be good news.”
“To this end, everyone,” I continue, “contracts are signed and sealed. THE ABERCROMBIE IS OFFICIALLY OURS!” as I shake the sheaf of paperwork in my hand over my head. “Drinks are on us! For real! Uh, good luck with that, Jess.”
“I love you so, so much, Stevie, but you should have warned me you bastard!” Jess hollers. “Ally, get your cute CEO ass over here and help! Criminy!”
There’s lots of laughter from our side of the room at this exchange, followed by raucous cheering, high fives, and everybody wanting to pat us and especially me on the back. Lots of handshakes with “Congratulations!” and “We knew you could!” from all corners and cubbies in the bar. The four of us plus Hannah and Thad make our way to our table, where everybody there knows it’s our table, and clear out so we have our designated spots.
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