Chapter 28

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Author Note: Since I've been reworking this story, I've decided to do some more sneak peeks at this new ending to see if you all like it. It makes the novel longer and less of a novella. I'm leaning towards self-publishing or maybe a rewrite into the third person which was suggested at a critique. Let me know what you think in the comments. -Marilyn


Chapter 28

JULIE

We were seated at the table waiting for Peter to rise and make his greeting speech. So much had lead up to this moment. I licked my lips and watched Peter walk up to the podium. He had practiced so much already. This was the bull taking the horns moment where he could show everyone he could lead and had the ability. Creating a fundraising event to honor his father would link him to many of financiers here tonight. If he could convince them to join the Ohio project to help support the objectives of preserving American architect, he might pull in the needed finance. All these thoughts buzzed in my head, trying to steady my nerves. I knew Peter could do it.

Then I saw her. Jessica standing on the other side of the room, drink in hand, glaring at Peter as he walked the stairs to the stage. What was she doing here? Had she crashed the party? I didn't have much more time to think on it. A hush had taken over the room as people noticed Peter taking the stage.

He grabbed the podium, and cleared his throat into the microphone. A lot of the talking stopped at that point. People turned their heads and swiveled their chairs to settle in and listen to him.

He looked around the room and noticed he had everyone looking at first before he started. "Thank you all for coming tonight. As you know, tonight is a special night to honor my father, Theodore Mason, for his work in preserving American architecture. He was a board member for the NPAS, and I'm proud to continue serving in his name and help this great society." There was a polite applause to his comments.

When it died down, he continued. "But it is not the only reason why we are here tonight. I know some of you are wary of change. But sometimes it is inevitable. My father knew that progress only happened with drastic changes. Take a chance to preserve one building, and you'll find it helps serve the community once more. We give old buildings new life with Mason Enterprises, and I'm hear to say we'll continue in the same vein as my father did for the last thirty years." Again, there was a polite applause to Peter's comment. I took this as a good sign. I turned for a moment to see Jessica frowning. She was swirling her wine in the wine glass, arms crossed, and looking like a caged animal ready to spring.

"And with all new beginnings, I have a project I think that spearheads this same philosophy I shared with my father. There are a series of buildings in Ohio that were marked for demolition, and are now on the road to being restored. Again, they will be centers of commerce and luxury in the center of their communities. But I can't do it alone." He paused to look around the room. "I need the support of several more financiers to make this dream happen. It was the last project my father and I worked on together. I want to bring it to fruition, in his name."

Again, he took a moment to eye some of the men with grey hair near the front. The board members looked stonewalled, but one gave Peter a thumbs up. I let out my breath as he went on. "So, I ask you to support this new project, board members and other friends of my father, help make his last dream come true. Support us with the backing we need to make this real estate work in the communities they were build in. Help them serve a new purpose while preserving their heritage."

The man that gave Peter a thumbs up started to applaud, "Here, here." Others started to clap with him, several of the grey haired men surrounding him joined in.

Peter smiled. He looked down to the gentleman at the board table. "Together, we can make great things happen, and look forward to a new beginning. Thank you."

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