”You look exquisite, Monique!” Lucia’s mother applauded.
“I do? Thanks.”
“You look great, honey,” her dad complimented.
“Is it too dressy?”
“No, my dear; you’re a Baker-this is just perfect. Isn’t that right?” Sarah asked her husband.
“Very true. Let’s go; I can’t wait to introduce you to everyone at the office.” Sarah gave Lucia a warm hug.
“Have fun today, dear.” He put his arm around his daughter and they walked out.
“I am nervous, dad. What if I mess up on my first day at work?”
“You won’t because you’re smart. Don’t worry, I’ll be right by your side to make you are okay.” Lucia nodded. Mike opened the car door for her. She sat inside and he closed it. He sat in the car and drove off.
“I’m so sure it was Lucia, doc,” Ted told Dr. Grant over the phone.
“Well, it is possible; almost everyone goes to the mall once in a while.”
“I can feel she’s so close but at the same time a little too far for me to reach her. It is frustrating, doctor.”
“I can imagine. I think you should take your mind off her for a while. You being distracted with thoughts of her isn’t helpful. If you’re meant to see her again, you will.”
“I don’t even know how she looks like!”
“Okay, maybe I can help with that.”
“Thank you,” he said with a sigh of relief.
“Sure; I’ve got to go. Take care, Ted.”
“You too, doc.” He put the phone down.
“So I hope you’ll all give her your full support and co-operation. You may go back now,” Mr. Baker said. The employees exited the room. Lucia exhaled deeply. “That went well.”
“Yes it did. Have a seat.” They both sat. He opened a file and pushed it towards her. She glanced at it.
“What am I looking at?”
“Our move to acquire the McLean Company.” Lucia looked at her dad, wide-eyed.
“The mighty McLean?” He nodded.
“Wow…what happened to them?” “A few bad business moves…internal conspiracies, some other minor issues. He wants to get it over and done with,” Mike said.
“Must be hard…letting go of what it took years of sweat to build.” “It certainly is. And I hope that doesn’t happen to us when you take over.” Lucia glanced at her father.
“Me, take over? Dad…”
“I know…I’m not saying now but you’re my only child. If you don’t take charge, who should?”
“Dad, I don’t think I can do it.” “Yes you can; I’ll coach you.” He held her hand.
“One day at a time, dad.”
“Yes, that’s all I need.”
“Okay, let’s do this.”
“Good.” Mike picked up the phone.
“Get us some coffee, please.”
Dr. Grant approached a nurse.
“Is there anything I can get for you, doctor?”
“Yes please. Could you get me a former staff member’s file.” “Sure, whose?”
“I’ll get right to it.”
“Thanks; I’ll be doing rounds for the next half hour so do you think you’ll be done by that time?”
Anita entered Ted’s office. Ted looked up.
“The fact that we went out to a movie doesn’t exclude you from knocking before entering, Ms. Morgan.”
“Mr. McLean is requesting a meet with us and the Bakers.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes at the Hops Hotel in 45 minutes. Let’s go.” Ted took his coat, phone and keys.
“Do you have the file ready?” Dr. Grant asked.
“I’m sorry sir but it is not available.”
“What do you mean? Did you tell whoever it was that I was the one requesting for it?”
“Of course I did; it is not that it is being held, it is not available.” “Meaning what exactly?”
“It is not in the archives.”
“Where is it, then?”
“Gone; according to the one in charge, the mother came for her file.”
“Her mother? And why would they hand it over? It is the hospital’s right to reserve files on all staff members, present and past.”
“I know but the order came up from someone upstairs.”
“Who, the Chairman of the board?”
“Something like that.” He glanced at her, stunned.
“Are you serious? Who is she to be that influential?” She shrugged her shoulders.
“Damn it, thanks for your effort anyway.” He walked away.
“Bourbon? That’s their family name?” Lucia asked her dad. “Fancy, right?”
The car pulled over in front of Hops Hotel. They got down and entered the hotel.
“We can propose that we give him 15% of our annual….” Anita was saying when Ted’s phone rang.
“Excuse me for a minute,” he said as he took it.
“We’ve to get our points right, Ted.”
“I said give me a minute,” he said more firmly as he answered the call.
“Doctor, hi…this is not really a good time…”
“Her file is gone, Ted.”
“Gone, what do you mean, gone?”
“Her mother came for it.”
“Her mother? Is that even allowed?”
“It is not; it so happens she is very powerful to get the board chairman to okay the extraction of the file.” Ted ran his fingers through his hair.
“So what, she’s lost to me forever?” Anita turned to look at him. He gave her a sideways glance and looked away.
“Don’t you have back-up files like a soft copy or something?”
“It has been deleted…permanently.”
“Why is the mother trying so hard to erase her life at the hospital?” “I don’t know, Ted.”
“Okay; I’ve a meeting in a few minutes so I’ll get back to you, all right?”
“Sure, bye.” The line went dead. Ted sat down.
“Who is she?” Anita asked quietly.
“Who?” He asked blankly.
“The lady who might be lost to you forever?”
“Do you know it’s unladylike to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations?”
A relatively aged man and a young lady approached them. Both Ted and Anita stood.
“Hello, you must be Mr. Bourbon,” Mike Baker said as he offered his hand.
“And you must be Mr. Baker,” Ted replied, shaking it.
“This is my assistant, Anita Morgan.”
“Honored to meet you, sir,” Anita said politely as she shook Mike’s hand.
“And this is my daughter…Luc…” “Monique…Monique Baker,” Lucia cut in. Her dad glanced at her. She put on a big smile.
“I’m Monique Baker.” She shook hands with the two of them.
Two men joined them.
“Good to have all parties here. Now, let’s the party begin,” Mr. McLean said.