“Mr. Hall, I saw on the form that you completed that you are twenty years old. Is that correct?”
“That’s okay Gene. Excuse me just a moment Mr. Hall. This won’t take long.” He started to look over the papers.
Noah’s mind wandered to Sharlee, hoping that she was okay. He’d hated to go out of town while she was still on bed rest, but he’d needed to attend this meeting. He also knew that her family would take good care of her.
However, he left the door to the office open. Several people stopped in the doorway and pointedly looked at Noah, both males and females. Noah was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. Then another person came to the door and asked to speak with Mr. Collins outside. Mr. Collins excused himself and left the office. He was gone for about fifteen minutes, and Noah wondered what was going on.
“I’m sorry about that Mr. Hall. However, Gene has a proposition for you.”
“May I call you Noah?”
“Yes of course.”
“Do you know how long the Harley Davidson company has been in business?”
Noah had researched the company and was very prepared. “The company was started in 1903. So it’s been in operation for 110 years.”
“That’s exactly right. We are mostly known for our motorcycles, but we are expanding to other things. In order to do that, we need to increase our customer base, appeal to a wider audience.” He sighed.
Noah was wondering what this had to do with him.
Gene continued speaking. “Right now the average age of the Harley owner is in his fifties. We have to draw in a younger customer base. That’s where you come in. We need a new face of Harley. You have the look that we want. We want someone who will appeal to younger men and women.”
Mr. Collins laughed. That was the reaction that he’d expected from Noah. He spoke up.
“That is what I thought you’d say, Noah. When we say the new face of Harley, it will involve more than just pictures and commercials. I’ve looked over the data that you’ve provided as well as ours here. Santa Fe is an excellent location for another franchise. The business will eventually be yours, but you will also have to agree to do commercials and pictures for us as our company spokesman. The whole point will be that someone young and attractive is not only a Harley Davidson owner, but also running a successful Harley franchise. So you will definitely have an opportunity to get your hands dirty working at the dealership.”
Noah’s mind was racing. He hadn’t expected this. He’d be able to have the business without taking Dale’s money. The company itself would back him. Of course he’d have to pay them franchise fees, but it’d be better than owing Dale. However, he hated the modeling aspect of it. Whether they called him a spokesman or not, it was really modeling.
“Of course, we don’t expect your answer right now. We’ll prepare a written proposal for you to consider with your attorney.”
Gene added. “Also think about the fringe benefits. A single guy with your looks will have the women lining up, and we’ll get gorgeous models to pose with you. Then all the guys will want to be just like you. The bikes and clothing will sell like hotcakes!”
Gene hadn’t realized that Noah was married. His mind started considering the other possibilities. Maybe they could sell the Harley lifestyle to couples and families as well. He was sure that Noah’s wife had to be a knockout with the way that he spoke about his marriage.
“Do you have a picture of your wife?”
Noah hesitated. “Yes.”
He pulled out his wallet and handed a picture to Gene. Gene’s eyes opened wide. Yeah, Noah’s wife was gorgeous and really sexy. He showed the picture to Terry. He had the same reaction.
“Wow, she’s a knockout Noah!”
Gene didn’t immediately give it to him. “May I make a copy of it?”
Noah frowned. “No, I’d like it back now.”
Gene handed it back to him, and Noah returned it to his wallet.
“We’d like to include her in the campaign. As I said we want to widen our customer base. I think that she too would help us to do that. We’ll work out all of the details, but I can promise you that we would make sure that you are both well compensated for the spokesperson duties as well as the money that you would earn from a successful franchise.”
Again Gene saw dollar signs. “How far along is she?”
“She’s three months.”
Gene looked at Terry. “We could follow her pregnancy in our commercials and ads! The public would love that. Harley! Not just for wild boys but for families!”
“No, Sharlee can’t be on her feet for long periods of time.”
“Yes, her name is Sharlee.”
Terry said, “Well why don’t you talk it over with her and with your father-in-law. We have a seminar coming up in two weeks for those who are about to open new franchises. It will be at a resort in Isla Paradiso. We’d love for you to join us there as our guest. It will last for three days and you’re welcome to remain the weekend at our expense. The marketing department will have the offer ready to present to you then.”
“Bring her with you. She’ll be our guest too. It will give us an opportunity to meet her. Of course, we do have some entertainment scheduled that is geared more towards guys, but the morning of the first day, she is welcome to attend. The other days we can arrange for her to do some sightseeing or shopping. We’ll pay for all of your meals and your hotel suite. We’ll also pay for your flights.”
“Alright, thank you. We’ll be there.”
Terry said enthusiastically, “Good! I’ll have someone call you tomorrow morning to finalize the arrangements for the trip.” He held out his hand. “It’s been a pleasure Noah, and I hope that you’ll agree to do business with us. It will be very lucrative for you and your family as well as for Harley Davidson.”
Noah shook his hand. “Thank you for the offer.”
Then he left the office and headed home.
Sharlee was in their bedroom when Noah got home. She was so tired of taking it easy. She started to rush to Noah when he entered the room and then caught herself. She waited for him to come over to her and hug and kiss her.
He’d decided to talk with Dale before he talked with Sharlee about the offer. The less for her to worry about the better.
“How are you and our little one doing?”
He didn’t elaborate and Sharlee didn’t ask anymore questions.
“Sharlee, I got an A on my science project!”
“Yeah, and the teacher said that he can enter it into the science fair.”
Sharlee smiled as she listened to her little brother and sister chatter away. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed them.
Dale was in the livingroom reading and Alissa was cooking dinner when Noah went downstairs. “Mr. Stallworth, may I speak with you privately?”
“Of course. Let’s go into the office.”
Noah told him about his meeting and the offer that Harley Davidson had made.
“Well, I think you’re right not to jump at their offer. I’d suggest that you don’t sign anything when you go that seminar. Why don’t you let me and my business manager and lawyer look over the offer and any contracts.”
Dale frowned. “So they want Sharlee too. You’re going to have to make sure that special provisions are made in any contract for the considerations that she will need due to her pregnancy. As a matter of fact I think that you should have an agent looking out for your interests in that part of the deal. I’m sure Alissa’s agent would be happy to represent you and Sharlee as well.”
“Sharlee is my daughter, and you are my son-in-law. We may not be each others favorite people, but we’re family. Neither one of us would be comfortable with you calling me Dad, but how about if you call me Dale.”
“Alright, that sounds good.”
She was quiet as they ate. She finally pushed her tray aside.
“What is it Honey?”
Sharlee looked at him and said, “Nothing is wrong. I just suddenly felt like crying, but I’m fine now.” She was smiling as though nothing had happened. Noah looked at her in amazement and realized that it must be a mood swing caused by her pregnancy. He had read up on what to expect, but he still had a lot to learn.
Sharlee knew Noah and that he wouldn’t like the spokesman part of the offer. She herself wasn’t crazy about doing it either. However, having his own Harley Davidson dealership was a dream of Noah’s. This was an awesome opportunity for him. Especially as young as he was.
“Noah, if you want to do it, then so do I.”
“Yes, I’m sure. If the terms work out, and you decide that it’s right for us, yes I want to do it.”
Noah hugged her. “Alright, we’ll go to the seminar and see what they’re offering. Even if the deal doesn’t work out, it will be a nice trip for us. We’ll have to talk with your doctor to find out what provisions we’ll need to tell them to include in the contract. I’m not taking a chance on your health or the baby’s health.”
Even though it was a wonderful opportunity for him, Sharlee had misgivings. However, she didn’t say anything to Noah. She wasn’t worried about herself, but she hoped that he would not be overwhelmed by all of the changes in their lives that were happening so quickly.
Noah had already registered for all of the classes that he would have to take. Even if Dale was no longer involved, he realized that he would still need more training to run a profitable business. The next year was going to be very busy and challenging for him, but he’d do anything for his family.
After they finished eating, Noah took their trays down to the kitchen. Shawn surprised Noah by taking the trays from him. Ever since Noah had hurt Sharlee, Shawn had been upset with him. Cara had said he’d better never hurt Sharlee again but that she forgave him. Of course the younger kids didn’t know the details. They only knew that Sharlee wasn’t well.
“Thanks for asking me, but I think I’d better keep Sharlee company.”