She had tears in her eyes. “You’re leaving tomorrow, and I am going to miss having our long talks. You have such deep thoughts and ideas. I don’t think that you really know how intelligent you are. Please write down those thoughts that just suddenly come to you. Then when you come home, you can choose some of them to share with me.”
“Oh, Mom! I’m going to miss you too!”
“I know that your Dad and I have already had a long talk with you and Shawn about protecting yourselves and not letting anyone take advantage of you. So, I’m not going to say any more on that. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders, and you make good decisions. I just want to remind you to have some fun too! Being serious about your studies is wonderful, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself!”
“Dale, why did they have to go so far away? Were they that desperate to get away from us?”
After Rene gave birth to her baby boy, Noah knew that Darion wanted to spend more time at home. However, the dealership had just recently opened and there was an even larger than expected volume of business. So Darion wasn’t asking to take any extra time off. Noah insisted that he take at least a week away.
There was still one key management position unfilled at the dealership. Noah didn’t have an assistant manager. He and Darion hadn’t clicked with any of the applicants that Terry had sent to interview for the position. It would have to be a person who Noah could trust as much as he trusted Darion and with whom their personalities meshed.
So it was an extremely hectic time for Noah. He was grateful that his business was turning out to be very successful, but balancing everything was proving difficult again. Sharlee and Skylar still needed his time too.
He didn’t make the mistake he’d made before of keeping Sharlee uniformed. He let Sharlee know what was going on with him, and she was being very supportive. Several evenings she had brought dinner for the three of them to the dealership, and they had had a picnic on the floor in his office.
Because she knew that he’d bring Skylar with him to the office occasionally, Sharlee had suggested that the designer include a play area for Skylar and a daybed in a nook that Noah could close off with pocket doors when not needed.
They both laughed.
Dale and Aiden both tried not to laugh when Joy told them how her experiment had failed. Science was one of her least favorite classes. As they ate dinner and laughed and talked together, Alissa noticed how tired Noah seemed. She took him aside after dinner.
“Yes, it is. We still have customers coming in even at closing time. My sales manager, Roberta, asked if she could hire another person to work in her department, and so now we have an additional salesman. Terry is extremely pleased with the dealership’s productivity. He said that if we keep it up for another six months, we’ll become one of Harley’s flagship locations. I have a lot of ideas that I still want to implement if I can find the time.”
“You still don’t have an assistant manager?”
“No, not yet.”
“Why don’t you offer the job to Lucille Richardson?”
Noah was surprised. “Mrs. Richardson? Isn’t she retired?”
“Yes. I know she’s over-qualified for the position. However, we were talking a couple of days ago, and she told me that she’s already bored from retirement. She loves motorcycles and with her background in business management, this would be a perfect fit for her at this stage of her life. If you give her some flexibility with her schedule, I think she’d jump at the opportunity.”
“I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask.”
“She’s usually home in the mornings, and that’s the best time to reach her.”
Noah talked it over with Sharlee that night, and she agreed with her Mom that Mrs. Richardson would be a perfect fit at the dealership. Sharlee grinned at Noah.
“She’ll keep you and Darion in line.”
Noah laughed thinking that Mrs. Richardson would fit in very well at the shop. He talked with Darion, and Darion thought the three of them would work well together too.
Some of them she thought were very feasible, and he appreciated her honesty in helping him to see which ones would not work well. She had to attend some Harley courses to learn Harley’s procedures, but her instructors said that she was so knowledgeable that she could teach them a thing or two!
In a short time, Noah was amazed at how much less pressure he felt at work, and Darion told him that he felt the same way. Darion and Noah were both able to spend the time that they now needed with their families without worrying about what was happening at the dealership. They knew that Lucille would call them if needed, but they also knew that Lucille would have no need to call them. She could handle any situation that arose.
“Thank you for suggesting her, Mom. You were right!”
“I’m glad it’s working out well for you. Lucille said that it’s great to feel really needed again. Retirement wasn’t right for her. She and her husband chose not to have any children, but she’s always loved mine. She said that you are like the son she would have wished for if she’d had one of her own. I know she won’t mind me telling you that.”
Noah smiled. “Well, you’re my “Mom,” but that was a great compliment too.”
Alissa smiled back at him.
The next morning Sharlee and Noah went to her doctor’s office. It was a really satisfying feeling for Noah to realize that he didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to miss work and go with his wife for her appointment. He was the boss! He’d called and told Darion that he would not be at the dealership today.
The doctor had examined her and then sent Sharlee to get a sonogram. The technician passed the probe slowly across Sharlee’s abdomen.
“You’re having a baby boy!”
“Skylar, you’re getting a baby brother! The doctor told us today!”
Then after she realized what her parents had told her, Skylar’s face was beaming with happiness, and she jumped up and down excitedly. They had settled on two names and let Sky pick the one of the two that she liked best. Then she wanted to talk to him.
Sharlee had tears in her eyes, and Noah was surprised to feel tears in his as well. Their little family was extremely happy! Noah again pushed away the thought that his happiness couldn’t last.