NOTES: Conflict time! I was meant to be writing the follow on from the section where the women were at Fia’s house and they were ready to start the very first meeting of The Naked Ladies Writing Group, when I had this powerful idea about Fia and a male entrepreneur and what he wanted from her and what she thought of that, so I had to get that started.
Fia had a brunch booked with another entrepreneur, which was the main reason she’d stayed sober last night. This guy had sought her out to see if they could do some work together. She was out the door and in her car by nine am. It wasn’t always a good idea to meet up with people who found her through the blog, but this guy seemed to know his stuff and Fia’s interest was piqued.
NOTES: who is this guy, the entrepreneur??? Name? Maybe Lance or… Zander, yes Zander Sharp. Haha I love that name.
She parked five blocks from the cafe, and knew she was lucky to find a space so close. Sundays were busy in the city, seriously busy people seeking coffee and maybe a croissant. Fia had never been to this cafe before but she wasn’t surprised to find every footpath table taken.
“Fia?” A tall man inside the cafe waved.. Fia waved back and made her way inside to his table.
“Hi,” she said, taking the chair he offered her.
“I’ve ordered our coffee already,” he said. Fia opened her mouth to question him, as in how did he know what kind of coffee she preferred? “I’ve been on your website this morning, to prepare for our meeting and in your bio it says you like a piccolo latte.”
“That’s exactly right,” Fia said, feeling mixed emotions. Sure, it was impressive that he’d done his research, but she’d forgotten that when the blog was rewritten, her assistant had asked a few personal questions, so she could seem warm and friendly. She preferred to feel like she had the upper hand in meetings, especially meetings with important new contacts.
“No mention of coffee on your website, that I saw.” She said, smiling to cover her awkwardness.
“I am a complete coffee addict,” he said. “Would you like something to eat as well?”
“No, thanks, coffee will be fine.” She said.
“I have an idea that would benefit both our businesses,” he said.
“Go for it,” she said.
“As you know, I own the biggest ? In the country. I employ fifteen people in my content creation section alone. They keep my many blogs and websites going, popular, and selling what we want to sell.”
Fia nodded and smiled as the waiter placed her little piccolo in front of her. She tore the top off a packet of artificial sweetener and added it to her coffee.
“You’re doing well.” She said.
“We are,” he said. “And I have an itch to grow in an area where you are doing well.”
Now he had her attention. His statement had the edge of a threat, or was she being paranoid?
“Keep going,” she said.
“I would like to not only branch out, but buy you out, as a starting point from which to dive off from.”
Fia wasn’t sure she’d heard him right. “Buy my company?” She said.
“I have a very generous offer in mind,” Zander finished his coffee and placed the glass back on its saucer. “Really generous. Considering how long you’ve been in business, how long since you really started to succeed.”
“You’ve been in business six months longer than I have, no longer.” She said, not even attempting to cover her irritation.
“I’ve hit a nerve, I can tell.” He said, holding his hands out in front of him. “Absolutely not my intention to offend or irritate you. The opposite really.”
“Why do you think I’d sell my company?” Fia said, crossing her legs.
“Nothing you’ve said or done has made me think that.” Zander shook his head. “I had an idea, I jumped at the chance to speak to you about it. I don’t want to put you out of business, unless I buy what you’ve already built up.”
“Put me out of business?” Fia had to calm herself before she said something unprofessional. “I love my company,” she said. “It’s a part of me, I grew it from nothing, up to what it is now.”
“Yes,” Zander said, leaning forward. “And what it is is a truly valuable asset. One that I believe I can grow exponentially in the coming year.”
“What makes you think I can’t grow it exponentially in the coming year?” Fia said. “How do you know that’s not my plan?”
“Oh, I have my spies,” Zander said, sitting back in his chair and lifting his left foot up to balance on his right knee.
“Spies?” Fia was shocked. “Spies in my company do you mean?”
“I can’t tell you a name, but yes Fia, someone in your own company who knows you’ve gone about as far as you can go alone. I haven’t even gotten to the generous salary package I’d offer you to stay on and run things, on top of the purchase of the business itself.”
Fia was doing a fast inner inventory of her staff. Who would do this? Everyone seemed so loyal. To her face at least. She’d fire all of them. Every single one.
“Zander,” she said. “You don’t know me. We’ve never met before. So I’ll excuse you for thinking I’d sell to you, because whoever you’ve been talking to is wrong. I’m far from finished with FiaQuinn.”
“It’s a cute name,” Zander said. “Your company has been on the verge of becoming the biggest of its kind for a year. Why do you keep dipping your toe in the ocean and then running back to the pond? What are you waiting for? I think you’re waiting to find someone to partner with who is completely at home in the ocean.”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Fia said. “I love where I’m at, what I do, and the way we are growing.”
“Zsharp can help you, it’s as simple as that.” Zander said.
Fia was thinking about throwing the table over, smacking him in the face and walking out. It was hard to concentrate on formulating a reasonable reply.
“Who have you been talking to in my office?” She said.
“I can tell you, because they are leaving you to join my team,” Zander said. “It’s Cassie Wilson.”
“Cassie?” Fia said, her mouth staying open in surprise. “I can’t imagine,”
“You can imagine,” he interrupted. “Cassie has been trying to get you to listen to her for months, trying to suggest changes, growth strategies. You didn’t listen to her, and now she’s bringing her brilliant mind to Zsharp.”
“You reached out to her?” Fia said.
“Yes, I did the reaching out, but she was ready to go,” he said. “You should be proud of her, she nailed down a mean deal with me.”
“Go her,” Fia said. “You know what they say, once a deserter, always a deserter. You can never trust her.”
“I’m sure she’ll be great for as long as she works with us.” He said. “I don’t believe in holding onto people if they want to move on. Neither should you.”
“I’m not saying another word right now,” Fia said. “Good luck to you.” She left the cafe and made it to her car, where she turned the air conditioning on and made a phone call. Cassie answered on the first ring.
“Hi,” she said, sounding very different to Cassie from the office.
“Cassie,” Fia said. “I’ve just spoken to Zander.”
“He messaged me,” Cassie said. “There’s no point calling and chewing me out.”
“Not what this call is about,” Fia said. “I want you to stay.”
“You what?” Cassie said. “You want me to stay?”
“You’re a brilliant woman, an essential part of the team. Please stay, we can talk about a new salary package. I want to hear your ideas, I’ve been slack obviously.”
“I don’t know about this,” Cassie said. “I wasn’t expecting this. I thought you’d have people packing up my desk by now.”
“You underestimate how much we need you, how much I need you. You’re gold, your ideas are so different to mine, I need that, even if I don’t agree to implement every single one.”
There was silence on the other end and Fia knew she was in with a chance.
“Can we talk?” Fia said. “Like, now?”
More silence, and she let Cassie think.
“Okay,” Cassie said. “But that doesn’t mean I’ve changed my mind.”
“No,” Fia said, taking a deep breath. “Can I come over?”
“No, I can leave the kids here with Curtis, let me come to yours.”
“I’ll be there as soon as I can, just leaving the cafe.” Fia said.
“See you soon, then.” Cassie said and ended the call.
When Fia pulled up at home, she couldn’t remember the drive, she’d been too busy going over every conversation she’d had with Cassie recently. There had been ideas she’d rejected without enough thought. There was definitely room for her to grow as a boss, and she was going to convince Cassie to teach her.
NOTES: Now I’m writing the first group meeting of TNLWG. How is it possible that characters I create, surprise me?