Chapter 19

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“Welcome back, dear.” Kate welcomed as she enveloped me in one of her warm hugs.

“Mrs. Thorne.” I smiled and inhaled her floral, but woodsy scent.

“You are all Mike has talked about for the past few days. Chris why don’t you take Liz here back to the den so you can make Mike a happier man? Dinner is almost finished. I’ll come get you once it’s ready.”

Chris gave Kate a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek before grabbing my hand and leading me back to see Mike. Chris was the first to enter into the den and Mike’s reaction was immediate.

“Chris m’boy! Did you go after my Liz like I told you? Liz! How I’ve missed you! Come give an old man a hug!”

I laughed and ran over to Mike. As I neared, I took in the prominent bags under his eyes that made him look slightly older than his years. Worry settled in my stomach like lead, but I ignored it. This was supposed to be a happy reunion; my worry could be dealt with later.

“I’ve missed you as well Mr. Thorne! I heard you got into some trouble while I was gone.” I raised my eyebrow at him scoldingly and looked at him expectantly.

“See what happens when you leave me to my own devices?”

“Oh, nonsense! We both know Kate doesn’t let you lift a finger when you’re not at work.”

“Yes well, that’s both a blessing and a curse.”

“Chris! Come set the table!” Kate called.

After giving me one of his cute half smiles I had missed for what felt like forever, Chris left to do as he was bid.

“Finally! I thought he’d never leave!” Mike exclaimed quietly so his voice wouldn’t travel past the doorway.

“Uh oh.”

“Uh oh is right missy. We’ve things to discuss. I require your opinion and a favor. Which would you like first?”

“The opinion I guess.”

“Right. Well as you know, I’m getting on in years and I’m not getting any healthier. I’m thinking about taking a less active role and officially giving the reigns over to Chris. He handles pretty much everything already, but I want to make him the CEO of Oceanside Talent Agency. I’d like to retire early and spend the rest of my years travelling with Kate. She always wanted to go to Greece, but business has never given me that luxury. The few times we went out of the country were to visit her family in England. I suppose what I’m trying to say is, what do you think? He’s more than capable, but he’s so young and after I got sick the first time, he gave up his drama scholarship and changed to a business major… I just feel like maybe I’ve saddled him with too much responsibility too early. Has he said anything to you? I don’t want you to feel like you have to break confidence or anything…”

Chris had had a drama scholarship? I knew he had liked drama, because that’s where I had met him, but that single statement made me feel like there was so much more to Chris than the responsible business oriented man I knew now, or even the semi-popular drama loving jock I knew from high school. I always wondered what he’d have been like had his mother not died giving birth to him or had his father not passed away when we were in high school. I now had another thing to add to the list. What would Chris be like today had tragedy not struck his life at every major decision making point in his life? Would he be some famous actor that wouldn’t deign to be in the presence of one such as myself? Would he have even liked drama to begin with? The possibilities were endless and it made me realize that Chris was who he was because he chose the selfless route at every major crossroad in his life.

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