WRIT LARGE: Ch 7, Part 3
In this part, Lucas reveals his motive to have Leann attend their brunch meeting and invites Leann to join the Syndicate. Cathie agrees to have Leann write her biography and invites Leann to the impending poker game as well.
I take a deep breath and inform Cathie that there was another motive for me to invite Leann to accompany us today. The smile fades, the ranch temporarily dismissed, and Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest returns, hands clasped in front of her. “I’m listening,” she says. I’ve always thought that a strange expression – if you’re having a conversation with someone, does it not stand to reason that you are listening to what they have to say? I clear the thought from my head and focus on my announcement. I tell Leann that she is the newest member of my Writer’s Guild and that I would be delighted if she would accept Cathie’s biography as her first assignment, with Cathie’s approval of course.
Leann does not try to contain her smile. She addresses Cathie, “Lucas has deliberately kept me waiting for this news knowing my eagerness to be accepted into his circle.”
“Congratulations,” says Cathie. “And the biography?”
“I am flattered.” Leann inclines her head my way. “I must confess I wasn’t expecting to be offered such an incredible opportunity, and so soon, however I feel that Lucas would be far worthier of the project.”
Cathie watches her. “You shouldn’t sell yourself short, Leann. I asked Lucas to write my biography based on his reputation, true, but I also said that I would be happy for him to recommend another author should he find himself unavailable.”
I reiterate Cathie’s comment and add that Leann has the necessary experience and has already proven herself in the literary world, and again today in this meeting. She has a connection with Cathie which will lead to an outstanding biography.
“I am grateful to you both, truly,” says Leann. “Lucas, I will feel guilty stealing the opportunity from you. You are a master at what you do. I have seen the way you have already begun to work your magic on Bernard, and I could not possibly live up to that.”
I am taken aback by Leann’s reaction. I had assumed, incorrectly now it seems, that Leann would accept inclusion into the Guild, and the assignment, with open arms and her customary grace. Is there a reason I am unaware of that is forcing her to decline the offer? Is it a personal matter, or something that has passed between the two women on another occasion that has made her disinclined to work so closely with Cathie?
Leann is still speaking. “… and I know how inspirational you find both Bernard and Cathie.” She watches me with glittering eyes and a hint of a smile on her lips and I understand what she is doing. She is elated by my offer for her to join the Guild although she knew it was only a matter of time. Leann is a confident woman who knows her worth. She is also delighted for the opportunity to work with Cathie Wood, a woman who she clearly has a great deal of respect for. This is simply her way of repaying me for keeping her waiting. In her own way, Leann is as playful as Olivia with one major difference: she has years of experience in the art of subtlety.
I nod, an admittance of defeat. I tell her that she has worked her own magic today, and that there is undeniably a connection between the two women which already bodes well for the biography.
I ask Cathie’s opinion. “Sure,” she says, following my lead. “Leann, I insist. Think of it as a little healthy competition between yourself and Lucas and may the best man win.” She leans forward and shakes Leann’s hand before offering her hand to me.
The meeting could not have gone more smoothly, and I mentally congratulate myself for having matched the perfect author to the perfect subject. During brunch, the women discuss some of Leann’s recent investments, and Cathie’s apparent knack for predicting successful investments when all others are being overly cautious. Numbers, percentages, interest rates, and shares, are all topics that have never interested me, but I find that I am able to enjoy Cathie’s passion and Leann’s enthusiasm from a distance and an entirely detached perspective. I will send Leann flowers later to welcome her to the Writer’s Guild and as a thank you for taking on the biography. I am excited to read the finished book.
As the morning turns inexorably into afternoon I make my excuses to leave. We shake hands once again and I invite Leann to join me later this evening for the poker game.
“Ah, the lessons,” says Leann. “I rather fear it is your poker-face you may need to work on, Lucas, more than the game itself.”
“You should join us,” says Cathie. “I will be there, although I might sit back and watch until everyone else has had a few drinks before I participate.”
“If I do, I intend to do the opposite as I find a few drinks generally help to soften the blow of parting with money,” says Leann.
Outside, I find Olivia and the boys climbing into a stretch limo parked beneath an elegant porte cochere. The youngest lad who is glancing all around him as if waiting for someone or something, waves when he spots me. I wave back.